Occupation:Director, Materials Distribution
Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Spirit
Sailing Date: August 24th, 2005
We found the Carnival spirit to be a very nice cruise ship. Overall, received good service and attention from the staff. The ship interior is quite nice - nicer than I had expected. This was our second cruise (first was in the Carribbean) and we came away with four key lessons learned:
1. The 7-day Northbound Alaska cruise is the best to select. This is what we had and I'm so glad we did. The Northbound trip saves the best scenery and glaciers for the last. The roundtrip cruises that take you back to Vancouver would miss the sights of the last two days of Prince William Sound and College Fjord which, in my opinion, was the photographic jewel of the trip.
2. If you can afford to do so, upgrade to a suite. At a minimum, you absolutely must have an outside balcony. I decided to upgrade to a suite several months before the cruise and IT WAS THE BEST DECISION I'VE EVER MADE. Of all cruise destinations, ALASKA IS THE ONE cruise where you truly get value of an outisde balcony because you are seeing sights all the time along the way. For most cruises, all the outside balcony lets you see is ocean - no big dealt. On an Alaska cruise, you'll see beautfiul scenery, glaciers and wildlife galore. I found about 2/3rds of all the pictures I took were from our room balcony and I got some absolutely beautiful, postcard-like pictures that will I will have for my lifetime.
3. Select a room on the port (i.e, left) side of the ship. Our room was on the port side and I was wondering if it was the better side or not. In the end, I think the port side has the slight edge for the Northbound cruises as you'll see the other side of the Inland Passage and the numerous other small isles along the way. The starboard (i.e., right) side on the Northbound route lets you see more coastline but I really think the port side provides a slight advantage for sightseeing and picture taking.
4. Take the GrandView train from Whittier to Anchorage ..and by all means, DO NOT PACK AWAY YOUR CAMERA IN YOUR LUGGAGE for the flight home! The train enables you see much more beautiful sights than the bus trip to Anchorage. Take the train (thru Carnival's connection/excursion with the Alaska Railroad) to Anchorage and enjoy the opportunity for more breathtaking pics.