Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Spirit
Sailing Date: April 1st, 2006
Itinerary: Mexican Riviera
Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Spirit Cruise Review
Exotic Mexican Rivera
We chose this particular cruise because of
specific spring break availability dates and the fact that we didn't want to
spend an entire day in route from Seattle.
Boarding the ship in San Diego was not a problem. The airport is located inside the city limits and it is very convenient to anything you want to do in San Diego.
Naturally, the boarding/registration lines were long but they progressed at a reasonable speed.
We found the staff of the cruise to be extremely professional and helpful. The Camp Carnival program far exceeded our expectations - our sons. 10 and 8, loved going to camp each day. The ship has the agendas published by age groupings, so you can choose what activities that the kids want to participate in. The staff really did stick to their posted agendas and they were great with the kids.
The ship is lovely, however I believe that it was built in Poland and, frankly, the main decor reflects darker, eastern European-meets-Vegas. Based on our previous experience with Norwegian, we were expecting a lighter decor with greater water views from public areas. Honestly, if you chose to stay in the main areas and the casino, you could almost imagine yourself actually in Vegas.
We prefer the freestyle dining over the set schedule, but with our children along this time, the scheduled dining times worked out well. The food was very good and the wait staff was great.
If you chose to pass up the dining room, the option was a cafeteria/food court style area with several choices of cuisine. The food was very good, but feeling of being at an all-you-can-eat buffet with the starving grew to be annoying. The food was very good, though.
Our room steward was wonderful and our rooms remained very clean.
I realize that this will sound very elitist, but we were, as was the staff we spoke with, surprised at the clientele who chose to wear (for example) ball caps to the dining room and so on. This was not a refined or generally cultured crowd. Rather, it was a spring break crowd for many who were quite beyond the age of celebrating the event. Older couples that we spoke with clearly felt expressed the same thoughts. The pool area was disappointing. instead of an area of relaxation, it was overrun by a too-loud band and groups of folks who grew slightly more crass as the afternoons at sea wore on. The poolside service was terrible. Families tended to gravitate to one particular pool. But the service was equally lousy.
Briefly, we chose the nature island hike/snorkel in Acapulco and it was fabulous. We had enough time afterwards to catch a port-authorized taxi (SUV) to the cliff divers show. The max waited for us and gave us some history of the area and it cost of only $20 for a family of 4.
Ixtapa/Xihuatinejo was wonderful. We swam with the dolphins - the max. package - and it was worth the money. If you can afford it, go for it. We had plenty of time after we returned back to Xihuatinejo to walk through and enjoy this unspoiled, beautiful fishing town and enjoy some great food and a little tequila. The boys even caught a swim in the bay.
Manzanillo is a waste of time. Period. It's a dump. We spent quite a bit to go to the resort for the day. It is beautiful. My husband took our eldest kayaking, but the water was rough and the beach area was very rocky -- not very user friendly. There were several pools that were beautifully tiered at the resort and the pool service was great and the drink prices were very reasonable. Food came with the tickets and it was fine, also. From the cruise, it was a 30 minute bus ride and the guests staying at the hotel seemed to look at us like 2nd class citizens. Never mind that we spent close to $300 to spend the afternoon there.
Due to the time of the year, the first day and last day at sea were too cool to enjoy outside by the pool.
overall, we enjoyed ourselves and had a great time. However, it is a party crowd.