A good value
Carnival Spirit Cruise Review to Mexico
Good Value for the Money
We drove to the ship from Las Vegas and stayed at the San Pedro Doubletree. They let you park for the week as part of a room package and deliver you in their van to and from the pier. Tip the driver, who works very hard at getting you close to the curbside porters. My only complaint was that the porters seemed overwhelmed and you do not get a claim check for your luggage. That said, our luggage was in our room in less than 2 hours from the curb. The Carnival check-in personnel were quick and pleasant. TSA could take lessons. We were on the ship in less than 30 minutes from the curb at the height of check-in.
I was hoping to get some lunch but the Lido deck, where lunch was served, was extremely crowded. That said, we got a quick bite before the ship departed. I think the signage on the Lido deck and throughout the ship could learn a thing or two from Las Vegas casinos. Signs are often small and hard to read, particularly near the elevators. The buffet stations are somewhat confusing but offered an ample lunch. During the cruise, the Lido deck food is well prepared and hot and there are numerous choices.
The ship held a thorough muster drill before departure. Our cabin steward showed us our life jackets. We had three in a room with only 2 people. We never felt our safety was compromised in any way. Plus, I read the signs and practiced going to the muster station.
Our room was a starboard balcony. It had two chairs and a small table outside with a wooden deck. It was quite comfortable. We watched Mexico go by -- a lot. Our floor had only cabins above and below (hat tip to my travel agent for that recommendation.) The room is about 185 square feet. The bathroom was clean and had free samples of various products. Towels were changed when we asked and not changed when we asked. Our cabin steward, Jessie, learned our names on day one and was ready if needed.
The decor of the ship can be described as "Vegas casino modern." It is an eclectic mix that grows on you. After the first night, people spread out and the ship did not seem crowded. It was a mix of families, young people, and retirees. The casino looks interesting but I can gamble in my grocery store so I did not play.
The shows were good. I recommend New Orleans night on the last night.
The ship has Internet access, which worked fine, albeit a bit slow. I used both my iPad and the Internet cafe. ($29 for 40 minutes.) Word of caution -- don't use your cell phone on the ship. You will get service (Cell at Sea). It is $2.99 per minute! Also, don't use your cell phone in Mexico without discussing it with your US carrier before you go. Foreign cell changes can be very high. I have a friend who ran up a $3k bill on a recent trip since his iPhone was pinging the Mexican network. You get wireless service from the shore anchored in Cabo.
We ate most nights in the MDR with anytime dining. We got a table for two by the window, most nights. The lower MDR can be loud but our area was relatively quiet. The food is well-done though lukewarm on a couple of occasions. The wait staff was attentive and never pushed drink specials. The menu ranged from comfort food to more interesting choices, like frog legs. Wine prices are a bit high but not extraordinarily so. The wine list is what you would expect on a value-oriented cruise ship. Carnival is constantly hawking drinks but it is not as intrusive as some reviews claim.
We ate breakfast in the MDR but try not to sit in the back. The vibration from the screws is annoying.
We also ate dinner in the Steakhouse ($30/pp supplement). The food was extraordinary. My 18 oz rib-eye steak would have been $75 at Smith & Wollensky in Las Vegas. The wine list was superb and our wine captain helped us make a great selection. Dessert is not to be missed, save room.
One food tip -- try the sushi cart early in the evening. Usually 3 interesting items but not enough for a f
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Pros: Balcony cabin
Cons: Average food, poor disembarkation handling