Fun For All Cruisers On Carnival Spirit
I had been on board the Carnival Spirit a couple of times for ship inspections and cruise functions, but never actually sailed on her, so I was absolutely delighted when I was offered the opportunity to get out there on a proper excursion and experience those beautiful New Caledonian islands that I hear so much about.
I loved the online check-in process; all of my documents were ready go by the time I got down to the port in Sydney. I arrived at about 12.00pm and left my bags at the bag drop area where they attached my bag tags and took them away, so I no longer had to worry about carrying them around. Very simple and straight forward!
Once onboard, I still had about an hour to go until my cabin was ready, so I spent some time taking photos of the Opera House, enjoying a light lunch in the buffet area and getting my first cocktail to kick-start that holiday mode.
Once I made my way to the cabin, my luggage was already outside the door. My 'Obstructed View Balcony Cabin' on deck 5 was fantastic!
I was surprised that it was such a great cabin type with hardly any obstruction, as the life boats which are technically the "obstruction" were below the railing of the balcony, meaning I still had a great view. This is definitely worth taking into consideration if you are looking at having a private balcony, but want to try and keep the price down.
Never seen the Pacific? Local Cruising: 3 Reasons to Explore The Pacific
Which island's for you? On Location: The South Pacific Islands
Every morning I received a daily schedule newsletter called 'Fun Times', which had all the information about the daily activities on board the ship with times and locations so I could plan everything I wanted to do each day. I could never get bored with so much going on, and I particularly loved the trivia nights.
Fun Times also contained information about the next port of call. This planner was also how I found out about formal and themed nights (Mexican Fiesta Party and Caribbean Night), and my favourite event, the adults-only Robe Party!
One of my favourite areas on the ship was the Serenity Pool. It was a relaxing adults-only area with its own pool, spa and bar. Beautiful loungers, hammocks and pods were available for lazing around, but to guarantee a spot on sea days I found it best to get out there early. People generally reserved their spots by around 9.00am.
If a towel was there for longer than approximately 45 minutes the staff moved it to make sure it was fair for everyone. On port days it was very quiet and quite easy to find a spot.
My favourite port stop, which is now in my top three of all beach/island destinations, was Isle of Pines.
I was genuinely blown away by its crystal-clear water and amazing white sand. It was also amazing to see the contrast of palm and pine trees, better than any of the Caribbean islands I'd seen before.
However, the one thing that was most impressive about my experience on the Carnival Spirit was the staff and the uncompromising service every crew member provided.
As a vegetarian I thought I could be left disappointed with the food options, but my waiter at the main dining room made a special menu for me. I had to make sure I selected a set dining time to ensure I had the same waiter each night who knew my dietary requirements.
I noticed a lot of families on board, as well as groups of friends in their 20s and couples of all ages, so I would definitely recommended Carnival Spirit to anyone looking for a great-value and fun holiday.
The Carnival Spirit is currently undergoing a refurbishment in Singapore. I'd love to get back on board, because there are some amazing new options being added such as the Blue Iguana Mexican Cantina for made-to-order tacos and burritos (included in the cruise fare); Bonsai Sushi (a small additional charge); and some gorgeous new bar areas.
Alchemy Bar will have specialised staff in lab coats creating amazing cocktails specifically designed for individual taste buds based on a 'prescription' guests fill out!
Written by: Hayley Heperi, Cruising Expert at Cruiseabout Williamstown, VIC
Set sail on a dream holiday with Cruiseabout