We just got back from our 7 days Southbound Alaskan cruise. Embarkation is the only complaint we have. The lines were laid out poorly, allowing people to conveniently cut in front of us. The Carnival personnel were nice, however, they didn't appear to be well trained in checking people in. The ship is absolutely gorgeous! We were worried that the decor would be obnoxious, but the ship was elegantly decorated! There was always something going on and the Carnival Capers helped to keep us informed!The food was very good; our waiter, Allen from South Africa, was a delight! We also had a wonderful cocktail waitress, Tory, who took great care of us! I highly recommend spending the extra $$$$ to get a balcony! We spent a lot of time on the balcony watching for whales or any other wild life. Our room was fantastic, mainly because of our steward, Dean Martin, from Costa Rica! What an absolute pleasure he was! He always stopped to say hello in passing and always ensured everything was going well. His imaginative "towel designs" were great!!!The entertainment was top notch! The Spirit employs some of the most talented dancers and singers imaginable! The comedy, however, could be slightly improved.The Ports of Call were great--we had perfect weather in all ports except in Ketchikan. It was in the high 40s and rained the whole time we were there! We saved a lot of money booking our excursions in advance. Do your homework and research the ports of call you will be visiting. Call and talk to the different tour companies that you may be interested in. The people of Alaska are so friendly and will give you some great ideas!We went on a helicopter and glacier hike tour in Juneau with Temsco Helicopters; what an incredible tour! I would highly recommend TEMSCO--the guides are so enthusiastic and professional--you can tell they love what they do for a living!We did the train-ride in Skagway which was a nice relaxing excursion. Book before you get on the cruise--you save about $25.00.In Ketchikan we went sea-kayaking with Southeast Sea Kayaks. Despite the terrible weather we encountered, we had an absolute blast! Two seals came within 7 feet of our boat! We saw tons of eagles but no whales! Our guide, Sarah, was fantastic and was very knowledgable!In Sitka, we just walked around the quaint little town. It's a great town to shop in!Disembarkation was a nightmare, not entirely at the fault of Carnival. The Vancouver airport was absolutely chaotic--we had 3 1/2 hours to catch our flight, and almost missed it, due to long lines to check in, customs, security clearance, etc. If we had to do it all over again, we'd get to Alaska one or two nights early (to get used to the time difference) and stay in Vancouver a day or two--their Airport isn't equipped to handle the thousands of passengers getting off of cruise boats! All in all, Carnival gave us a vacation of a lifetime. I would highly recommend the Spirit to anyone, and hope that we will have the opportunity to sail on her again.Jennifer
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