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Age: 39

Occupation:Finance Director

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Spirit

Sailing Date: December 27th, 2004

Itinerary: Deep Mexican Riviera

This was my third cruise, first time with Carnival. The ship arrived on time or early. Embarkation was very smooth, Debarkation would have been smooth but for one person that wouldn't show to immigration (not Carnival's fault). The tender service was smooth and quick. The ports were GREAT. Acapulco is a bit crowded and the city life is not for small children, but this is to be expected - plan accordingly. We shopped locally (our mistake) but should have caught a taxi to the resort area for a beach day or done a tour.

Ixtapa/Zijuatenejo was very nice. We went to a beach in Zijua - ate and drank all day on the beach, used the lounge chairs...grand total of $50 for three people. The beach is clean, the water was nice. We took a banana boat ride that the kids loved. There are numerous resorts in the area...pick one and have a great day. Some others in our group did the golf outing and it was poorly managed and no lunch provided. Opt for tropical beach paradise instead of the golf day.

Manzanillo is BEAUTIFUL. The place where the ship docks is not. Catch a cab to Navidad. We spent the day at the Karmina Palace, it was $70 a day for adults, $35 for kids and included all you can eat and drink - well worth it. There is a private cove to snorkel with tons of fish in waist or chest high water (bring your snorkel gear). The kids loved the water slide and pools. Get to Karmina early because it is tough to find a chair if you are running late. Don't do the tour, it gives you only 3 hours at the resort. Cabs were $12 each way. Our cabbie took us on a tour...this was a bit scary for a minute until we realized he was just really proud of his city and wanted to show it off. We politely told him we needed to get back to our group and he obliged. The best part of this stop was when the ship was leaving port. There were hundreds of locals lining the shoreline all the way out to sea clapping and whistling at us yelling "gracias...thank you". They really appreciate the business and love the tourists. Manzanillo and Zijua have the laid back feel that Acapulco does not.

The food...well....not so great. Boring at best. Pretty much the same stuff every day. The staff, they all seemed nice but a bit burnt out. It helps to be especially polite to them. People that were not polite got no service - but hey, that serves them right! Our cabin steward (Annamaria) was excellent. The cruise director Todd was very enthusiastic and could be a stand up comedian. It would have been good to have a few more activities. The activities they did have didn't really make you want to get out of your chair to look or participate.

The gym is nice, but much of the equipment was out of order the entire cruise. Unacceptable...

The decks around the pool got wet from the kids and no one mopped them. This created a slip/fall hazard and kids were hitting their heads. We asked several times to have someone mop up the water. It seems that they deal with water by posting a sign rather fixing the problem. Be very careful with children and elderly, the decks are VERY SLIPPERY with the smallest amount of water. Also unacceptable...

Bottom line, Carnival appeals to the masses. The kids had a great time, the adults also did if they had the right attitude. If you set your expectations to the highest level, you will be disappointed. Instead, just go to have fun and watch your kids have the time of their life.

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