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William Freeman

Age: 60

Occupation:Lawyer

Number of Cruises: 18

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Spirit

Sailing Date: November 7th, 2005

Itinerary: Mexican Riviera

Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Spirit Cruise Review
Mexican Riviera

William Freeman


Embarkation:
Easy as can be - we were in the process for less than 20 minutes. We got to the ship about 12:30 and by 1:15 we were working on our second pina colada. Out first thought- “Where IS everyone??” We took advantage of the “Park and Cruise” arrangement at the nearby Bayside Best Western Hotel. A nice room and covered parking for the car while we were on the cruise- all for the price of one night’s stay at the hotel. Included a shuttle to and from the ship.

Cabin:
We originally selected our usual nice inside-inside- dark quiet and pleasant, but we got upgraded to an outside with French Doors, overlooking a life boat, one of those “obstructed views”. Oh well- not too bad but the door didn’t open. Perfect invisible service from the steward.

Dining:
We like to get a big table and make some friends, but this time we got a table for four, the closest one to the front door, right under the Maitre'd nose, and the other four people never showed up.
The two-story Empire Dining room is very nice as long as you don’t look up at the stupid ceiling murals- they look like they were done by a five year old. The faux-ivory life-sized statue of Napoleon being crowned emperor by the angels is … well, you either love it or hate it. It was immediately next to our table.
The service was extraordinary. The food was magnificent. Duck, mushroom soup, mango soup, escargot, smoked salmon, beef Wellington, and the tiger shrimp cocktail were some of my favorites. The lobster was good but not quite up to my expectations.

The Playa Grill on the Lido Deck is great for casual dining. There’s a pizza kitchen,  24 hours a day and the pizza is dynamite! There’s one station that always had oriental food.
 

Activities:
No live reggae band on the pool deck, just some DJ, playing hip-hop. Pretty poor for Carnival. Much of the casual entertainment aboard was of a better than average quality, especially the classical quartet in the “Artists” bar. I didn’t go to any of the big shows but I heard good comments about the hypnotist. The ships entertainment staff was superb as was the Cruise director, named Shawn. The games and contests only gave away two different prizes, a bottle of cheap champagne or a “ship on a stick” trophy about 4 inches tall. I collected 6 of those things and two bottles of champagne.

Ports of call:
It was very hot and humid in Zihuatenejo and Manzanillo. The former is a rather rural undeveloped little town and the latter looks like the port of Los Angeles with cargo ships, gantry cranes and naval vessels. At Zihuatenejo they were selling fish on the beach. Avoid the tour from Manzanillo to Barras de Navidad and the plantations. Rather dull and pretty surroundings but ugly town. My friend went to the tour to Colima and liked it.

Acapulco is the cliff divers and shopping. That’s about it. The four days at sea were the best and the staff kept us busy.

Crew:
Very friendly as befits the Carnival tradition, helpful, they speak English and will drop everything to help you.

Overall, a great cruise- but try it later in the year. December or January. Wow - that country is hot and humid. Be ready for it.

 


 

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