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Christine Rufkahr

Age: 38

Occupation:Software Instructor

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Spirit

Sailing Date: 2008-04-14

Itinerary: Mexican Riviera

This was one of the best vacations of my life. It was my third cruise - first on Carnival. It was my niece's first cruise. She was 19 at the time. I have been taking my niece on vacations since I she was 9. This was the first we had been on as "adults". We could have been on any cruise line and had an absolute blast, but I was glad I got to experience Carnival. The crowd was much more fun than Royal Caribbean. And it was fun to see the snobs turn their noses up at everything.
I was suprised. The food was excellent. I am very lucky in that I am able to dine at very nice restaurants frequently, and this was comparable. The wine list was good as well. My niece loved the food. We ate in the dining room each night. I never eat at the restaurants on board because I like to save my money for wine. Our servers were fantastic! The best I have ever had. I had sushi one night at a special sushi station set up for that evening. It was quite good - fresh, good flavor. Just the basics, but it was free. I don't do the midnight buffets so I don't even know if there was one. The regular restaurants for breakfast and lunch were just fine.
Again, I was suprised. It was nicer than the rooms I have been in on RCCL (Majesty & Radiance). I always do interior staterooms - again, saving the money for booz! The bathroom was nicer and it just seemed bigger.
We had a blast doing the Scavenger Hunt. The bars were a blast, but then again I was with my niece who didn't get carded. Yes, I'm a bad influence, but she is a straight, full ride scholarship student who is very responsible but enjoys drinking on occassion. As if none of you drank when you were college age! Anyway, she met this really nice kid who was 2 years older than her. I made him show me his ID to make sure he wasn't a lot older! LOL. The three of us hung out each night and had a blast. The disco was a lot of fun, but not very crowded. The Karaoke bar was a blast. The Casino Bar had a GREAT BAND. The singer interacted well with the crowd. The stage is above and behind the bar so we would go to the Casion Bar each night to hear them play. I'm not much of a gambler but this was a really fun bar so we spent a lot of time there. In fact, this was were my niece smacked my digital camera out of my hand and it broke. I also did the wine tasting during one of the days at sea. It was great. The ship's sommellier paired several different types of wine with various food. I thoroughly enjoyed it. We went to the spa and were disappointed. I prefer the spa on RCCL. We are big into the spa thing. We had are hair done at the salon one night and they didn't do anything but blow dry it. On RCCL, if you just want them to blow it out for you, it's much less expensive. If you actually pay to get your hair done, they actually style it. My niece was also pretty sure her massage therapist was dosing off as she was giving the massage! She would stop and then all of suddent start up again like she had just fallen asleep and woke up suddenly. It was not very relaxing. She's had several massages before so she knows what to expect. The only other part that I didn't like is that the lounge chairs around the pool look like those you would see at a cheap motel. Other than that, the pools and pool bars were great. A major difference I noticed was that the other guests on the cruise were so much more fun than guests on RCCL.
LA PAZ! LA PAZ! LA PAZ! - You must do the Los Oslotes (sp) Sea Lion Snorkel adventure. This is one of the coolest things I have ever done. The Sea Lions swim right up to you, inches away. There are hundreds of them. It was cold so we had to wear wet suits. Later we went to a really pretty, secluded beach and found tons of huge, gorgeous shells. On the way back, the crew spotted a group of dolphins. I have photos and videos of them. It was amazing! There must have been 40 of them. In Mazatlan, we did one of those Beach Break excursions. It was not that great. In Cabo, we did a Zip Line Tour. I had done one in Jamaica with The Original Canopy Tour and absolutely loved it. This one was not nearly as good. There is nothing to see because your out in the middle of the desert. It got up to 100 degrees. It was very physically challenging compared to the other one which wasn't really physically challenging at all, just a lot of fun. My niece, of course, loved it because she had never done it and she is in really good shape. There was a lot of hiking with this one and one of those rope bridges which I did not do. There was also a rock climbing wall you had to do or climb a really tall ladder. If I get back into shape at some point, I want to go back to this place and finish the course - I actually didn't make it through because it was over 100 degrees and all the hiking and mostly because I'm not in great shape. When I say that, I mean that I don't work out at all but I do play soccer and volleyball so it's not like I'm a total couch potato.
Once again, it was one of the best vacations of my life. Food was excellent. Night Life was excellent. Cabin was very nice. Only one excursion was disappointing but we still had a blast that day. Thumbs down on the spa and pool lounge chairs. I would love to do a Carnival Cruise with my boyfriend sometime. I think we would have a blast.

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