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RockyMtnGal

Age: 46

Occupation:Personal Fitness Trainer

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Spirit

Sailing Date: 2010-08-3

Itinerary: Alaska

My husband and I are very active people, so we knew when we went that we were probably not "cruise" people and we were right. If you are sitting on the fence like we were, and you don't think you would like to spend that much time on a ship, then go with your instincts. I did not care to be on a ship 131 hours and off for 28. The times in port were way too short. We don't drink or gamble or play bingo, so there wasn't much to do on the ship for us.

The food in the main dining room was usually good. But if you ordered a hamburger or sandwich for lunch, it took an act of Congress to get mayo or mustard or ketchup....not sure why, but they would not automatically bring it for you. I would recommend "anytime" dining as we did not like being locked down for a time every evening. The food on the Lido deck was decent, but just may not always be what you want to eat. I thought it was odd that they had a deli open all the time, but no chips anywhere to be found. I'm not sure why you can't get individual bags of chips. Burgers and dogs and pizza are always available. On Lido deck for breakfast you can get eggs, bacon, oatmeal, cereal, pretty much anything you want. Lunch will vary each day. The dessert table is ridiculous and soft-serve ice cream is available 24 hours! That's what we all need! They really push the alcoholic drinks on you b/c that's where they make money. Drinks are anywhere from $4.75 to $7.50 for the "drink of the day." Soft drinks are extra, you can buy them for $1.95 each or get an "unlimited" plan if you are an addict!

I don't have any comparisons, but it was fine for me. We had a big bed that was comfy with lots of pillows, a small couch, desk/dresser, 3 closets (2 for hanging and 1 with shelves), shower and bath and a balcony with 2 chairs and a table.
HOWEVER: The people in the next room had 2 rooms with 3 kids who kept going back and forth from room to room and slamming the cabin doors and yelling at each other "let me in." This went on throughout the cruise and was annoying. The cabin doors slam very hard unless you hold them b/c they are on a hydraulic hinge.

Horrible choices for active people. If you are an inactive and/or retired person or have mobility issues, they are probably great. If you are obsessed with drinking, gambling and eating, it's also great. I kept my Fun Times sheets and will list activities directly from the cruise I just took. This is pretty much everything and it's just repeated several times a day:
Adult Karaoke
British Pub Quiz
Art Auction
Bridge Players Meet
Jackpot Bingo
Fine Jewelry Seminar (several seminars Tanzanite, Emmolite, Gemstones, etc.)
Triviathon: 50s Decade, 80s, Big Screen
Ballroom Dance Class (this one was good)
Slot Tournament, Blackjack Tournaments
Trivial Pursuit, Sports Trivia, Big Screen Trivia
Shopping Seminar
Rubberball Bowling
ScrapbookIt
Adult Arts & Crafts

Shows at nite were comedy (comedians had both clean and R rated comedy, neither of which was very good), they had a singing/dancing show and that bored me to tears and they were awful to boot (i.e., they could neither sing nor dance). The quality was about what you would find at a theme park like Six Flags.

The music provided was awful. There were 2 one-man band guys, 1 in the casino that nobody paid any attention to and 1 country singer in the Atrium that was the best (which isn't saying alot). They had an Asian couple that tried to sing and not only couldn't sing on key but could barely speak English! Luckily they did not play alot. They had another band that played oldies (60s mostly except for one nite of 70s disco) and they were awful too. Then they had a "jazz" band that played instrumental "muzak" Lawrence Welk style music (luckily again they didn't play too often).

Kayaking the Mendenhall Lake up to the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau was AMAZING! I think we were the only ones that went. We got up close and personal to the glacier and huge waterfalls and it was breathtaking!! KNOW THIS: the kayak trip across the lake is about 6 miles RT and it gets windy closer to the glacier. I think there are small tour boats that will take you if you are not able to kayak. You can also take a tandem Kayak with Above and Beyond Alaska (great people if you want to kayak on your own).

The float plane in Ketchikan was fun, but we didn't see any wildlife and visibility was low. I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND TAKING A FLIGHT-SEEING TOUR ON A CLOUDY DAY! You really can't see ANYTHING. ALSO KNOW THAT FLIGHT-SEEING TOURS ARE SUBJECT TO CANCELLATION DUE TO WEATHER SO HAVE A BACK UP EXCURSION IN MIND! We got done early and went on a bus tour that was supposed to be a wildlife tour but all we saw was an Eagle and the Salmon swimming up stream. This bus tour is more suited for retired persons and/or people who don't want to leave the bus. I think I would try the Orca watching trip on the Zodiac boats. But know that Orcas are most active in May and June even though the tour companies will take you all summer long.

The train in Skagway I think is pretty much the thing to do. You can ride to the top or get off and hike to Laughton Glacier which is amazing. If you get off for a hike, the train picks you up on the way down and you don't get to go all the way to the top. KNOW THIS: THE HIKE UP TO THE GLACIER IS DIFFICULT AND REQUIRES HIGH TOP HIKING BOOTS WITH STEEL SHANKS. THE TRAIL IS EASY FOR THE FIRST 2 MILES, THEN IT GETS DIFFICULT WITH ANOTHER 2 MILES TO THE GLACIER. YOU ARE HIKING ON BROKEN GRANITE AND SCREE AND IT IS VERY SLIPPERY IF IT IS RAINING. ALSO, YOU REALLY CAN'T SEE THIS PARTICULAR GLACIER WHEN IT IS CLOUDY. Visibility was very poor when we were there. IF YOU ARE NOT AN EXPERIENCED HIKER, GO WITH A GUIDE! BRING RAIN GEAR AND THE RIGHT FOOTWEAR!!

The last night we were in Victoria, BC at night time. DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY GOING TO BUTCHART GARDENS AT NIGHT! You can't see anything!! Even though some of the flowers were lit, IT WAS NOT WORTH THE $89 CARNIVAL WANTED TO CHARGE YOU TO GO! IT WAS A RIP OFF! Luckily, we went with another group on board and were able to go for $55 each. If you get a large group of 25 or 30, you can arrange your own transportation and go cheaper, but it's NOT WORTH IT AT NIGHT! SAVE YOUR $$$!!

My husband and I knew when we tried this trip that we were probably not "cruise" people. We don't really drink and gamble, so that doesn't leave much other than eating. We are more "active" adventure people and this particular cruise and I think most cruises are not designed with people like us in mind. In fact, the Carnival rep even said that the ship is losing money when it's in port, so their objective is not to be in port. Carnival is changing their cruise to Hawaii after this year, no more overnights b/c it costs them too much money.

Basically, you spend 131 hours on the ship and 28 hours in port. If you are addicted to eating, drinking and gambling, this is a great vacation for you. If you are very sedentary or an inactive and/or retired person or someone with mobility issues, then this is probably a good trip. There were lots of groups on board, a polka group, a line dance group, a singles group, etc. So perhaps if you are going with a group, you might enjoy it.

Each port was so commercialized, it was just sad to me. Jewelry stores lined the streets with most being owned by foreigners from Middle East who are NOT U.S. or Alaska residents. Think about that when you go to spend your money there!

Cruises are just not for us as I would rather go where the people "AREN'T".....but here is some helpful information for those deciding to go:

IF YOU DECIDE TO GO: IMPORTANT INFO:

1) WATCH THE WEATHER REPORT A DAY OR SO BEFORE YOU PACK TO LEAVE! Inside Passage weather is EXTREMELY UNPREDICTABLE!! BRING RAIN GEAR!!! BRING COLD WEATHER CLOTHES AND WARM WEATHER CLOTHES! It was very cold and wet the entire time on our trip! They sell cheap jackets made in China everywhere for $19 if you end up having to purchase one. It will not be "rain-proof" but it will help.
2) THERE IS ONLY ONE 110 PLUG IN YOUR CABIN. You could probably bring a multi-plug cord with you (I would have tried it if I had known). Charging cameras and cell phones and using hair dryers becomes challenging. Not one OUTLET, ONE PLUG!
3) BRING A CLOTHES HAMPER. You can buy one for $5 at Walgreens that fits in the palm of your hand.
4) IF YOU PLAN TO WASH CLOTHES ON THE SHIP, BE SURE TO GET QUARTERS DURING CASINO HOURS as the change machines are turned off when the casino is closed AND GO TO LAUDRY AT 5 A.M., the only time it will be available! Trust me, I tried numerous times!
5) BRING SANDWICH BAGS SO THAT YOU CAN PACK SNACKS FROM THE DINING ROOM WITH YOU WHEN YOU GO ON EXCURSIONS! Get a sandwich at the deli and put it in a baggie and take it with you. The ship is "green" so there is no paper or plastic anywhere. There are also no chips anywhere on board.
6) BRING MOTION SICKNESS PATCHES OR DRAMAMINE WITH YOU! THEY ONLY SELL THE WRIST BANDS ON BOARD! If you don't know if you get motion sickness, I would bring the Scopoderm patch with you. The first 2 days at sea that ship was rocking and rolling! BE PREPARED! DO NOT ASSUME YOU DON'T GET MOTION SICKNESS, ASSUME YOU DO!! Once you get into the "Inside Passage" the water is very calm.
7) SPEND THE EXTRA $$ FOR A BALCONY ROOM......SOOOOO WORTH IT! I cannot even imagine being cooped up in that room without being able to go outside! I would have been claustrophobic! Also, you get to see amazing whales from your balcony!


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