i just got off the Spirit yesterday. I traveled with 2 children, 12 and 15. (Hubby had to work...)
Kids programs are fairly good; a bit "lame" at times though. 12 and under must be signed in and out by someone who is 21. Over 12 can come and go as they please.
There was only 1 show that did not allow children, that one was 18 and above. There are absolutely no problems with kids in the front row for shows. Don't believe it. My 12 year old and I sat in the front row for the last show; she was even chosen to participate.
The food is passable. As long as you like chicken and fish you can eat. None of us were thrilled with the main dining rooms - just an appetizer, main course and a dessert. No fancy multiple course meals like on other ships. And the portions in the dining rooms are very small as well. Pretty, but small. We skipped the specialty restaurants. I heard the food was better there, but the hassle of reservations and then paying a lot extra per person didn't make sense. The buffet was, well, a buffet. The food is either too cold or too warm. Hot food gets cold, cold foods warm. There is no kitchen near the buffet; food has to be transported from another location on the ship and loses a lot in transit. The choices are the same every day, with just a few changes here and there. As I said, fish and chicken. Chicken and fish. The cooked to order stir fry is good, but it takes about 5 minutes for each order, and with 1 cook, if the line is more than 2 or 3 people you're in for a long wait.
Room service is the pits. Few choices, sandwiches are made way in advance and stale by the time you get them. Portions are small as well. A fruit plate consists of 1 piece of cantaloupe sliced into 4 little fans, 1 slice of orange, 1 slice of kiwi, 1 or 2 little triangles of pineapple, and 2 triangles of watermelon. It took 3 or 4 of these to keep my kids happy. And the reminder that gratuities are suggested on the menu floored me. I never had a cruise line suggest tipping right on the menu! If you don't tip, the service changes quickly. No cream/sugar with coffee. No condiments with sandwiches. Etc.
Suggestions for traveling with a family:
- Pack lightly. You don't have much space in these miniature cabins.
- Bring hangers. You don't have many.
- Bring a power strip if you plan to charge anything - laptops, cell phones, etc. You only get 1 working plug in the room.
- Forget about coffee. It's terrible. Period.
- Get drink cards (actually stickers on the key cards) for kids if they like soda. They're $16, and allow unlimited soda. Almost 50 for adults for the same thing!
- Know that your service fee is not optional. $10 for adults, $5 for kids 12 and under, per day. And still everyone has their hand out - room service, kids crew counselors, etc.[/list]
I could go on and on... Any specific questions?