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Carnival Cruise Lines: Carnival Spirit

Carnival Spirit Cruise Review

First in the new Spirit-class, Carnival Spirit entered service in 2001. In 2012, she was refitted with features designed to appeal to the Australian market, such as an aqua park with a 180-foot twisting waterslide and a new top-deck barbecue venue. Now in her new home “down under,” Spirit offers passengers improved coffee, more beers on tap, and more cabins with connecting doors.

Spirit-class vessels may have seemed like throwbacks in size when they launched, but these sleek ships have the advantage of fitting through the Panama Canal's original locks and, with their additional length, include all the trademark characteristics of their larger fleetmates. They're also racehorses with the speed to reach far-flung destinations. Carnival Spirit—for which the class is named—makes its home port in Australia, primarily serving the Australian and New Zealand markets.

A rosy red skylight in the front bulkhead of the funnel—which houses the reservations-only upscale steak house—caps a soaring, 11-deck atrium. Lovely chapels are available for weddings, either upon embarkation or while in a port of call, and are also used for occasional shipboard religious services.

The upper and lower interior promenade decks are unhampered by a mid-ship restaurant or galley, which means that passenger flow throughout the ships is much improved over earlier, and even subsequent, designs.

The world's largest cruise line—and one of the most widely recognized—originated its "Fun Ship" concept in 1972 and has been launching party-packed superliners with signature red funnels ever since. The line's ever-growing fleet features entertainment and activities designed for passengers of all ages, from game shows and lip sync competitions to twisting waterslides and mini golf. These ships are a reliable choice for families as well as young singles and couples who want a vacation that won’t break the bank.

Nearly all onboard dining options are included in the fare, as are comedy and production shows, children’s programs, and use of state-of-the-art fitness centers. With some of the most comfortable accommodations at sea, large new ships are continuously added to the fleet and rarely deviate from a successful pattern, while older vessels are updated with popular features, such as the poolside BlueIguana Tequila Bar with an adjacent burrito cantina, the Red Frog Rum Bar that also serves Carnival’s own brand of Thirsty Frog Red beer, and Guy’s Burger Joint, created with Food Network star Guy Fieri.

What You Should Know


  • The enclosed space located forward on the promenade deck is quiet and good for reading
  • For relaxation, his-and-hers saunas and steam rooms have glass walls and sea views
  • Complimentary self-serve ice cream dispensers are on the Lido deck


  • These are long ships, and some cabins are quite far from elevators
  • Connecting staterooms are relatively scarce
  • The video arcade is almost hidden at the forward end of the ship
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 930
  • Entered Service 2001
  • Gross Tons 88,500
  • Length 960 feet
  • Number of Cabins 1,062
  • Passenger Capacity 2,124 (2,667 max)
  • Width 105.7 feet

By Daly_CR

  • New

Jan 19, 2016

Pacific Islands

Perfect for what you pay for, except the lack of professional staff in some areas of the ship (Carnival's Serenity) for adults. Had an unpleasant time there, and never came back since we felt threatened. Food was actually fine at the value we got. Excellent cabin, clean and maintained well daily. Perfect activities for kids and family. Mystery Island was a bless. Wonderful time we had on this trip with family.

Unfortunately, some staff members speak in their own language in the presence of passengers, and numerously hearing profanity in English, not the kind of thing you want to listen to when having a coffee. Heard supervisors telling off staff often too. One unforgettable experience we wish to share with everyone, hopefully to look out, or voice concerns when this happen to ensure future passengers enjoy their holiday (don't we all). Neglected bar at 'Carnival's Serenity' was a major disappointed. Husband walked up to the bar and waited for sometime, called out for assistance, no one showed up, we could see staff socialising inside the backroom through the side doors, but they seem to be busy chatting away. We waited for 10 minutes, until we saw a happy Filipino staff member walked out from the backdoor into the bar. The moment she saw us, and my husband walking towards the bar, her pleasant smile diminished as if we were the nuisance of the day. It was not as busy either. My husband asked mentioned to her of how long we waited for, she looked at me and then said to him 'What would you like to order' ignoring his concern. He placed the order and we sat together till our order came through, no thank you or enjoy from the staff member. When we ordered another drink and she brought it to us, we enquired about the delay and if she was ok, she gave us the most rudest of any look I experienced since my high school years. She said that she is fine and quickly walked away back to the bar. She picked up the phone and talked loudly in her foreign language. Moments later, a security guard came to the bar area and started chatting to her in their language. It really felt odd, the guard kept on looking at us. We could hear her tome of voice, sounding upset (can tell a lot from the body language), but he seem to comfort her while giving us the stares. We finished our drinks and left. We wrote to the captain and wrote again two months later to management about this experience. Never heard a thing, except online survey requests (which usually take place after a cruise). We are not a big fan of high expectations from staff members providing a service, and we are very happy with the cruise line, but that experience made a permanent impression on this cruise line.

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  • New

Aug 10, 2015

one way trip sydney to singapore

I am still on it, and it is the Fawlty Towers of the sea. It is going for a refit and it shows. There are no complaints/suggestions boxes. You just queue for a very long time, then get a gormless look and be told that it would be noted...and forgotten needless to say Having been on a Carnival Legend cruise in March 2015, it is like being in a time warp. Same repetition on the menus and the tv is on a two day loop, and was

the same as when on the Legend, so other then the news, it is as still on the Legend Have Indian Chef and it shows but someone should have pointed out that the meals just do not match. Mexican night, only time saw Brussel Sprouts.... in Mexican duh, When having a lovely rib of beef roast, no green veg to go with it.. plenty of Indian food but no green veg for the roast... time after time it is the same. The mix is just wrong Now 12 days into the cruise and ever lunch time that pie and snags counter are still pumping out Lamb and Feta snags... day after day. It is as if they have a few tonnes of them so getting rid of them. Variety would be nice. This morning, trying to make a bacon sandwich... every bit of white bread, on all serving stations were frozen... something as simple as not having bread frozen in the center should not be hard. 5139 is one cabin to avoid if just a couple or single. The sofa is a sofa bed and very uncomfortable and the small balcony had a triangle area in the corner which restricts the placement of the chairs and table. So you have to giggle the table etc for two people to get out average entertainment and activities. Way over priced tours. It is like waking up in a time warp and thinking I am still on the Legend... turn on tv and the same repeated channels as were on the Legend. Surely Canival can afford to have enough in their budget to give passengers better then the repeat, repeat cycle. This is my last Carnival Cruise... I go on two per year and changed the jan cruise to a Princess. At least on my last cruise with them I could get more then lamb and feta sausages and frozen bread.

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  • New

Dec 18, 2012

New Caledonia

Disappointing. We were expecting Carnival and got Carnival Lite. Too many kids. Relaxing ports with good snorkeling. The food was fair and has deteriorated significantly in quality since we sailed on Spirit less than 2 years ago from San Diego to Mexico. No lobster and very little seafood (other than defrosted prawns/shrimp or fish fillets) served in the dining room. Several people returned the lamb on one of the later nights because it

was so tough they couldn't cut or chew through it. The choice was very limited. Only 2 courses offered for dinner plus dessert. Soup/salad and appetizer all in same course (about 5 choices in all) and main course was choice of five. Amongst the most lack lustre cruises we've ever had for food. The buffet was OK for breakfast and lunch but very limited for dinner. One station is devoted to meat pies, sausage rolls and other Australian fast food 'delicacies' at lunch. The Asian and Caribbean were popular as were the Hamburger grill and overworked and very slow pizza section where you have to wait in line before ordering your pizza (limited choice of 6 - no vegetarian) and then wait again for the guy to roll the dough and pass it in through the window to have the toppings applied and the pizza to be cooked before it finally comes out again and you have to jostle for position to get it before someone else does. It would take about 15 minutes to get a piece of pizza - all going well. Our balcony cabin was the usual layout although it seemed slightly smaller than some we've had but we couldn't figure out why. The cabin steward (Putu) was the best one we've had in years. The things I most liked were that the supplied hairdryer was actually strong enough to dry my hair, the mattress was more comfortable than many I have had previously, the shower curtain somehow stayed in place and did not keep trying to attack me while I was in the shower (like on most ships). Whatever they did to it they should also do on other ships. What I didn't like was the bad vibrations you could feel while lying down on your bed especially when the ship was travelling below full speed. It was only after experiencing them again did I remember they had occurred on the sailing to Mexico as well. They seem to disappear when the ship is travelling at 20-21 knots but at 10-12 knots (ie when travelling between the actual ports of call) they are quite pronounced. Onboard activities were fairly poor and aimed mainly at children (eg. hula hooping and paper aeroplane making). The movies on show were old and many very old Australian movies (repeated numerous times) like The Castle and Strictly Ballroom. Yawn. The TV service was poor. No music channel, limited news, limited old movies repeated several times. The gym as usual was great, the Spa popular, the mini-golf fun. The kids waterpark area looked fun but can't have been too great because there were usually about 20 kids sitting in each of the two main whirlpools/spas on deck at any time of the day/evening and lots more splashing in the main pools. This made it very difficult for any adult to use one without risking being bombarded by many small and unsupervised children. The large water slides seemed to mainly be open when the ship was in port. The shows appeared to be the same as those I had seen two years earlier. The dancing/entertainment crew seem to have it fairly easy on this ship performing for about 7 hours throughout the 9-10 days of an average cruise. They surely can't need that much practise if they are doing the same shows as 2 years ago. There was the usual trivia for a ship on a stick. Only one morning of wake up TV with the cruise director (last sea day), only one dance class (last afternoon of the cruise - not much use if you wanted to practise while you had bands and dance floors available to you throughout the cruise. Bingo sales appeared fairly brisk. The scrapbooking was a joke - no kits were supplied - only limited left over supplies from past cruises with no guidance. No other arts and crafts offered other than paper aeroplane making. There were a few exercise classes for free - more than on some other ships. The Captain's Welcome Party (held at the Atrium bar) was a sad affair - no free drinks or nibbles anymore - and we had to go up to the next level to see where he was. There was no party held for returning passengers as supposedly there weren't enough to warrant it. Overall almost the worst cruise for onboard activities we've been on but it could have been worse. The excursions were expensive. In Noumea I would suggest you book a city tour when you get to the cruise terminal if that' what you want to do. They are priced at least $10 less than on the ship. Alternately, if you have local money it is easy to catch a public bus to either of the main beaches Anse Vata or Citron/Lemon Bay. In Mare the majority of the passengers paid $15/16 each for local transportation to a beach about 20 minutes away. Many people returned complaining of bluebottle/jellyfish stings. We snorkeled right near where the tender pulled up in a roped off area. It was very good but only suitable for agile people who can climb in and out of the water on a ladder and who are also good swimmers as the water is at least 8-10 feet deep and there is nowhere you can stand up in the water. In Isle of Pines you just need to walk to the beach or snorkeling area - no need for a tour at all. In Lifou you can walk to the beach just near the tender jetty. We had been looking forward to our cruise as we have been waiting for Carnival to come to Australia for a long time. What we got was Carnival Lite. In their usual wisdom, a cruise company has yet again decided that Australians are happy to pay more for their cruises than their American counterparts for less of everything. We sailed on the Spirit less than two years ago and the difference in what we experienced between then and now was significant. The only real improvement was our cabin steward. Everything else was similar or worse. The food, activities, movies, TV and even the cruise director (though he was the same one) and his staff were much worse. The ship itself was looking a little tired. The worst thing though about the entire cruise was the number of unruly and unsupervised children running riot throughout the ship at ALL hours of the day AND night. It was like Camp Carnival and the rest of the childrens program wasn't running. There were literally 100s of children (figures of over 500 and 900 were overheard on board) and no-one appeared to be responsible for them. Whereas usually they are being looked after and entertained in their own areas, on this cruise they took over all the areas. It ruined the enjoyment of many passengers - even some with their own kids complained to me about the other kids. The only areas you could escape were the gym and the adults only Serenity area at the rear of the ship. However, much of the Serenity area is taken up by 'private' two people pods/cabanas that are staked out by people at 5am and never vacated - some people even slept in them at night to make sure they had them the next day. This means that people seeking some peace and quiet relaxation time are very restricted in where they can go. We found we spent a lot of time in the cabin or on the balcony just to get away. Carnival will need to limit the number of children on board or drastically improve the services they provide to keep the 100s of kids busy, entertained/amused if they want people seeking a relaxing holiday &/or those without kids to come back to the Spirit or maybe they are happy for them to go to Royal Caribbean/Celebrity and Princess instead.

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  • New

Nov 18, 2012

Glacier Bay

We enjoyed cruising the Inside Passage and visiting the glaciers. Everything was just beautiful. Food was good. Enjoyed the evening dinners and the Steak House. Stateroom was great. We got a balcony on the rear of the ship and enjoyed the a very good view throughout the cruise. We also enjoyed sitting on the balcony in the evenings and listing to the prop wash, very relaxing. We didn't attend to many activities except for the

family stage show normally each evening around 8PM. Most of our time was spent relaxing on our balcony. Juneau we took the Evening Whale Watch excursion. The weather was cool, cloudy and off and on rain. We saw a glimpse of a few humpback whales. Water was very rough, boat spent a lot of time running around in heavy fog looking for whales. Would advise against this excursion any time weather is rainy and foggy. Took the Steam Engine Train ride in Skagway. Very beautiful trip up through the mountains into Canada. Attended the Lumberjack Show in Ketchikan. Good show, but priced too high. Enjoyed the trip very much, first time to Alaska. Enjoyed taking in the view of the Glaciers while sitting on our balcony.

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  • New

Feb 5, 2012


Five previous cruises on Carnival and we have had a good time on all, but noticed a general downturn in food and entertainment as we took more cruises. This, our sixth cruise only proved that point to my wife and I. Love the fact that they have past guest parties and some upgrades, but that is not enough to make up for our cruise this time. We love cruising and have never cruised on another cruise line, but we will be changing next time. Food,

both on the Lido deck and in the dining room was better on past cruises. There were times that the meals were tasty, but much of the food was just soaked in grease especially the bacon in the morning. Deserts were fantastic. My biggest complaint on the food was that it was barely warm, both in the dining room and on the Lido deck. This has nothing to do with the food, but the tile floors around the grills were extremely slippery and I fell down when my feet just went out from under me. The floors were not wet, but were extremely greasy from the open grills. I notified one of the floor mgr's, but did not notice a change for several days. Drinks on board are way too expensive. Average price is $8.75 with tip and a beer is around $6.00. Stateroom was kept clean and in good order and the room steward was great. Same old stuff as on previous cruises. Saw the same New Orleans show 2 years ago on a different ship. Carnival really needs to do something about their entertainment or they will lose return customers like myself. I really expected different shows two years later. Most all the on board activities were repeats also. We chose this cruise so we could see the humpback whale migration going on around Hawaii this time of year and were not disappointed, but to spend a total of 10 days at sea over and back this time of year turned out to be a real bummer. We had only one day of sun and no wind. The rest were very cold and windy. If I had it to do over, I would fly over and spend a couple weeks on an island. We took a couple tours, but highly recommend doing your own thing in Hawaii. Get off the ship and talk to some of the tour van drivers that are at the dock. Most are pretty honest and do a good job. Check to see if they have a PUC permit and tour license. I would not recommend this in Mexico or the Carribean. Stay with the ship tours there. Do be sure to get back to the ship on time. 5 people were left behind in Honolulu when the ship left on time. Not sure what happened.

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