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Age: 36


Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Spirit

Sailing Date: March 16th, 2006

Itinerary: Mexican Riviera

Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Spirit Cruise Review
Exotic Mexican Rivera


I am a first time cruiser, so some of the reviews I read did help. Here is my experience. Except for a few minor details, I thought the experience was a dream. I am 36, my new husband 32 with two boys ages 11 and 7. My mother and her two sisters came along, as well as my cousin and her mate. If you take a large group, you can book through your travel agent to have your group sit at the same table every night.

We booked for a late dinner 8:15pm. It is great, but not fitting for parents if you have children. The kids camp breaks for dinner time, so you would need to pick up your kids around 445 pm. Sometimes we wished we had chosen the 515pm dinner so that we could just get the boys and go. Also the ship on some of the days has these wonderful midnight buffets which we missed because every time we got done with dinner around 10pm we were all stuffed to the gills and found it hard not to want to go to sleep.

My cousin ate three lobsters, I thought they gave them to her because she was pregnant, turns out that you can eat as much as you want as long as its on the menu. You can eat in the restaurant three times a day or you can eat on the upper deck in a mall style type of eateries, such as a deli, pizza, grilled hamburger, hotdogs, chicken sandwiches, ice-cream. Just a whole lot of foooooood!

If you like to drink watch out because the drink prices will kill you also every time you get a drink there is a 15% gratuity charge. The ship does not accept any cash, they make you charge everything to your room card and then pay when the cruise is over. This makes it easy to spend, spend, spend. For you alcoholics don’t be afraid to grab some water bottles and pour in vodka or rum to mix your own drinks in your room. That’s what we did and it helped save a little money. Be sure that you put the bottles in a plastic bag and put them in your luggage that you are not going to carry on. This way for sure they don’t have time to check your luggage if you check it in at port because they just grab your luggage and send it on board. They are too busy to check. They will check your carry-on luggage so I don’t recommend it.

The first day will seem crappy because everyone is confused and trying to get settled in, just get it over with and things will fall into place after that. Once we got the kids sent off to kid’s camp they loved it. The parent that checks in the kid has to be the one to check them out. If you kid is 11 years or older then they can check themselves in and out. Which can be good or bad depending on your kid’s obedience level. Be sure to bring a power strip because literally there is only one plug, not one outlet with two plugs, but one plug to use your electronic stuff.
You may want to iron your clothes before you go because irons are not allowed in the room. They have a laundry room that you can use, but don’t wait until the last minute to iron because everyone else is in there using laundry room before dinner. Also the laundry room was a little bit of a walk away from my room and not convenient.

Acapulco was very nice if you have a handle on your Spanish you can save money and book your own excursions on the day you arrive. But watch out for the Drivers they all want to overcharge you. So make sure you get the price ahead of time. This one driver was unclear on his charges and then told us that we owed him 35. Dollars per hour after we had spent three hours with him. I told him, in Spanish that he was crazy and only gave him half the money. I was angry they seem to think that if your American and on a cruise ship that your are filthy rich.

Ixtapa was just beautiful, we had the overpriced taxi jerk take us to a horse ranch and that was nice we paid 35 dollars per person to ride horses on the beach for an hour and a half. If you have someone take you to a horse place don’t allow them to wait because they charge a fortune, these people have phones that you can use and they can call you a taxi when you get done. Also don’t settle for the prices they give you always offer to pay for half of what they are asking for. You must barter, that’s the fun of it.

Many people complained about Manzanillo, but that was because the ship docks in a shipping yard and all you can see are metal boxes and nothing else. For 15 dollars we got a taxi to take all four of us to the local beach there are two of them. About a 20 minute drive. There is shopping all along the beach have him drop you off and walk along the beach when you are done you can always hail a taxi or go to a business and have someone call. There were taxis constantly moving along that area all day.

Comedy shows were great you must go. Vegas style shows were Vegas style. Casino was not open 24 hours but we did pretty well. They had slot and black jack tournaments almost every day. The ship also had bingo. Each day you will get a news letter with the daily activities. For those that have children if you do not want to take them on shore you can leave them in the kid’s camp and they will feed them meals until you get back. If you are not on shore you must pick up your kids daily from 12 to 2 and 445 to 7 for meals which were fine with us because we enjoyed eating with the boys.

The service was great. They have this supper club that you can pay an extra thirty dollars to have super good food, service, and jazz singer and slow dancing. It is very romantic but I didn’t think it was much better than the service that we got every night in the dining hall. However the dessert was to DIE for it was DEATH by chocolate.

I loved the gym you could get good work out or just speed walk around the top of the ship. It usually opened every morning around 7am. There is a topless deck just above that. All in all, we had no complaints except for the arcade. There was no supervision and the games sucked. They needed a better variety. They were all driving games. They should also play music in the arcade to give it a better atmosphere.

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