Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Carnival Spirit: San Diego, Hawaiian Islands + Ensenada Mexico

The Carnival Spirit is coming permanently Downunder! I was lucky enough to be invited on board for a sailing and to take part in the Inauguration of The Green Thunder Waterslide. The Green Thunder was built on the ship specifically for the Aussie market, once they had decided The Spirit would make Australia her home. They ran a national competition to name it, which was won by a lady from Tasmania. Here is the official Video of the event. Myself and a few of the other Aussies I travelled with are all on here. Blink and you'll miss me though.

The group of Aussies (plus a couple of Canadian 'ring-ins' we met and loved immediately!) I travelled with...

At the point i sailed on her, she was still  'American' and apart for the Green Thunder hadn't been to dry dock for her 'Aussification'. Here is a bit of a rundown on my experience with her then. Keep watching for a detailed 'mini-blog' coming soon of my new experiences on Carnival Spirit Downunder!

I believe this ship is different from any sailing in Australian waters at the moment. It is ALOT of fun. It is bold and exciting. At first i was a bit taken aback by the extremely busy decor that carnival designer Joe farcus is reknowned for, but soon grew to love it! 

Food: I thought the food was excellent. The dining room was exceptional. The decor was wonderful and I must admit I found it a welcome break from the hectic buffet at times. I also loved joining in on a random conga line in between courses... or when a waiter jumped upon a podium to serenade us! 

The Buffet at La Playa grill had a very plentiful array of good food, although I did find it a tad confusing and busy at times. One definite bonus was that there wasn't just one line to join, so it didn't feel like you were queuing for long. 

The Nouveau Steakhouse was REALLY special and worth paying a little extra for the ambiance, service, and the steak.... yummmmmm! (and the chance to eat off Versace plates) 

I also loved that you could get 24 hour pizza, pasta, salad etc in La Playa Grill. Great for those of us that like to dance the night away!

Cabins: Cabins were a good size. The bathrooms were on the big side for a cruise ship i thought. I had a obstructed view balcony... it was fantastic! The view was just fine I thought.

Gym/Spa: The Gym seemed very big and airy to me. I didn't actually use it though (although i probably should have after all the food and cocktails!!). The Spa was indeed very good. I enjoyed a 'Hot stone' massage...oh so relaxing!

Activities: Plenty to do...arts and crafts, bean bag Bocce, cards, dance lessons, bingo, cocktail making, art auctions, trivia, karaoke... If you cant find something to do, you are hard to please!

Entertainment: The shows were the best I'd seen at sea. Talented dancers and singers in professional productions where people got hoisted upon wires and the like! Great sets, fabulous costumes 10/10. I hope the quality has been maintained now it has come to Oz.

The comedy club was a fave of mine... hilarious. The 'Adults Only' show was a bit racey. Myself and plenty of others enjoyed it thoroughly though. 

Pools/Spaces: There was so many public areas on this ship, it never felt crowded or busy. The pools were spectacular. It's great that they are the walk-in 'lagoon' style... not the climb down a ladder fish tank style that actually puts me off P&O a little. They have 2 main ones, and one has a sliding dome for inclement weather. There is a 'Serenity' area for adults only, which is awesome! Heaven, with big cabanas and good cocktail service. You could spend hours there, reading and enjoying some peace and quiet. The nightclub was the best I've seen in a cruise ship. It was a decent size, with an 70's/80's style electric light floor... perfect for partying!

Green Thunder and the Water park: Fun, fun, FUN!!!! Caters for everyone. Little slides for littlies
 and a splash bucket. Bigger slides for teens and adults and the incredible thrills of the big one - Green Thunder. I loved it! 3-2-1 ..aahhh! This is me. I sure look like i had fun!

Kids Cub: Caters for all age groups except newborns. Bright, colourful rooms and the staff seem genuinely warm and caring. The teen rooms were definitely catering for young adults, not treating them like kids. Club O2 (15-17) looked fantastic with x-boxes and a room set up like a niteclub.

Overall...great fun. Has a different vibe to other ships i've cruised on. I hope they made good on some promised changes. Gratuites are supposed to be going, that awful steaky American bacon is going as well, the coffee is changing (good..bleurghhh), they've put an Aussie style BBQ eating venue on deck i've heard, and the activities may
be changed slightly to suit us. Things like the power points have changed too obviously.

I cant wait to sail on her again! In the mean time say ''Hi!'' to Stu the Aussie cruise Director for me!

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