Carnival Spirit - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Carnival Spirit

★★★ +

Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 361 out of 500

Accommodation: 143 out of 200

Food: 223 out of 400

Service: 252 out of 400

Entertainment: 76 out of 100

Cruise: 269 out of 400

Overall Score: 1324 out of 2000

Carnival Spirit Statistics

Size: Large Resort Ship

Tonnage: 85,920

Lifestyle: Standard

Cruise Line: Carnival Cruise Lines

Former Names: none

IMO Number: 9188647

Builder: Kvaerner Masa-Yards

Original Cost: $375 million

Entered Service: Apr 2001

Registry: Malta

Length (ft/m): 959.6/292.5

Beam (ft/m): 105.6/32.2

Draft (ft/m): 25.5/7.8

Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (62,370kW)/2 azimuthing pods

Passenger Decks: 12

Total Crew: 930

Passengers (lower beds): 2,124

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 40.4

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.2

Cabins (total): 1,062

Size Range (sq ft/m): 185.0-490.0/17.1-45.5

Cabins (for one person): 0

Cabins (with private balcony): 750

Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 16

Wheelchair accessibility: Good

Cabin Current: 110 volts

Elevators: 15

Casino (gaming tables): Yes

Slot Machines: Yes

Swimming Pools: 3 (1 w/sliding glass dome)

Hot Tubs (on deck): 5

Self-Service Launderette: Yes

Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: US$


Good for a fun-filled cruise in a contemporary setting

Overview. Carnival Spirit is a sister ship to Carnival Legend, Carnival Miracle, and Carnival Pride, and shares the same layout and configuration. It was built in 100 blocks, each weighing up to 450 tons, and assembled in the shipyard. In 2012, Carnival Spirit was moved to Sydney, Australia, for year-round fun-in-the-sun cruises. Could it be rebranded as a P&O Cruises (Australia) ship soon?

The Ship. Following a 2012 refurbishment before its Australia deployment, much of the outdoor deck space was designated a Water Park and Splash Zone, with water wheels, spraying jets, water blasters, pull ropes, two Mini Racer slides, and more.

Then there’s the really big attraction, Green Thunder, a thrill ride that starts 100ft (30m) above sea level. The floor suddenly drops out of the platform and you plummet in a near-vertical drop at about 23ft (7m) a second. When you hit the water in the fast water slide, you twist and turn through a transparent tube that extends over the side of the ship. Kids will love it, but need to be 42ins (1.1m) tall to be able to experience it. The open deck space is a bit tight when the ship sails full in warm-weather areas.

An extra-charge, adults-only area, Sanctuary has its own bar, pool, hot tub, and other facilities. Located at the aft of the ship on Lido Deck, it is a pleasant area for anyone seeking a quieter space for sunbathing and relaxation - and to escape the many children on board during the major holidays.

An interior walkway, named the Fashion Boulevard, connects many of the major public rooms on Atlantic Deck, one deck above Promenade Deck, which also sports a number of public rooms, including a large Louis XIV Casino.

The colorful atrium lobby, which spans eight decks, has wall decorations best seen from any of the multiple viewing balconies on any deck above the main lobby level. Take a drink from the lobby bar and look upwards - the surroundings and artwork are visually stunning.

Perhaps the most dramatic room is the Pharaoh’s Palace Showlounge, which spans three decks in the forward section. Directly underneath is the Versailles Lounge, which has a bar in its starboard aft section.

A small wedding chapel is located forward of the uppermost level of the two main entertainment decks, adjacent to the Nobel Library and Internet center. Other facilities include a winding shopping street with boutique stores, photo gallery, video games room, and an observation balcony in the center of the vessel, at the top of the multi-deck atrium. The large Winners Club Casino invites hopeful gamers and slot players alike.

You need a credit card to open the personal safe in your cabin - inconvenient if your credit cards and wallet are inside the safe!

Families. Youngsters have their own play areas, with children’s programs divided into five age-specific groups under Camp Ocean (ages 2−11 - with children ages 2−5 called ‘Penguins’; 6−8-year-olds called ‘Sting Rays’; 9−11-year-olds called ‘Sharks’). Tweens have ‘Circle C’, while teenagers have their own ‘Club O2’ - a chill-out (no adults allowed) room/disco. Also, soft-drinks packages can be purchased for children (and adults).

By the end of 2015, the words and world of Dr. Seuss will have been rolled out as part of Carnival’s children’s program (check before you sail) − from ‘green eggs and ham’ for breakfast, served by waiters in Dr. Seuss-inspired uniforms, and characters such as the Cat in the Hat, Thing One and Thing Two, and Sam attending, to special showings of movies such as The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (these will be shown outdoors on the poolside Seaside Theater screen on Lido Deck).

Accommodation. There are many different cabin categories, priced by grade, location, and size. The range includes suites (with private balcony), outside-view cabins with private balcony, 68 ocean-view cabins with French doors (pseudo balconies that have doors which open, but no balcony to step out onto), and a healthy proportion of standard outside-view to interior cabins.

All cabins have spy-hole doors, twin beds that can be converted into a queen-size bed, individually controlled air conditioning, TV set, and telephone. A number of cabins on the lowest deck have views that are obstructed by lifeboats. Some cabins can accommodate a third and fourth person, but have little closet space, and there’s only one personal safe.

Book one of the suites (Category 11 or 12 in the Carnival Cruise Lines brochure) and you automatically qualify for Skipper’s Club priority check-in at any US homeland port - useful for getting ahead of the crowd.

Among the most desirable suites and cabins are those on five of the aft-facing decks; these have private balconies overlooking the stern and ship’s wash. You might think that these units would suffer from vibration, but they don’t - a bonus provided by the pod propulsion system.

For extra space, book one of the larger deluxe balcony suites on Deck 6, with private teakwood balcony. These tend to be quiet, with a lounge and sleeping area, a good-size bathroom with twin washbasins, toilet and bidet, and whirlpool tub; twin beds convert to a queen-size bed, and there’s a huge amount of storage space. The balcony has a wide teakwood deck with smoked glass and wood railing (you could easily seat 10 people).

Even the largest suites are quite small compared with suites aboard other ships of a similar size - for example, Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Millennium, and Celebrity Summit, where penthouse suites measure up to 2,530 sq ft (235 sq m).

Dining. The Empire Restaurant is the large, two-deck-high, 1,250-seat main restaurant. Small rooms on both upper and lower levels can be closed off for groups of up to 60. Choose either fixed-time dining (6pm or 8.15pm) or flexible dining (between 5.45pm and 9.30pm). The dining room is not open for lunch on port days.

Other dining options. La Playa Grille Lido Restaurant is the casual self-serve buffet-style eatery. It’s located in the aft third of Deck 9 (part of it wraps around the upper section of the large atrium). The venue includes a central area with a deli sandwich corner, Asian corner, rotisserie, salad bar, an international (Taste of the Nations) counter, and a 24-hour pizzeria counter, all of which offer both indoor and outdoor seating. Movement around the buffet area is slow, and lines will form. At night, the venue morphs into the Seaview Bistro, for serve-yourself-style dinners (typically 6pm-9.30pm).

Nouveau Steakhouse - an upscale (reservations-required) dining spot atop the ship, with just 156 seats and a show kitchen. It is located on two of the uppermost decks of the ship, above the Lido Restaurant, in the lower, forward section of the funnel housing, with neat views over the colorful atrium lobby (actually, the four-person tables tucked beneath the overhang of the upper level are cozy and have ocean views). Fine table settings, china, and silverware are provided, and a cover charge applies.

Entertainment. The glamorous 1,167-seat Pharaoh’s Palace is the ship’s principal venue for large-scale production shows and cabaret shows. Shows are best seen from the upper three levels. Directly underneath the showlounge is the Versailles Lounge and bar.

Almost every lounge/bar, including the Shanghai Piano Bar, the Club Cool Jazz Club, and the Artists’ Lobby Lounge, has live music in the evening. Finally, for the very lively, there’s the Dancin’ Dance Club for thump thump music; and there’s always karaoke.

Spa/Fitness. SpaCarnival spans two decks; it is located directly above the navigation bridge in the forward part of the ship and has 13,700 sq ft (1,272 sq m) of space. Facilities on the lower level include a solarium, eight treatment rooms, lecture rooms, sauna and steam rooms for men and women, and a beauty parlor. The upper level consists of a large gymnasium with floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides, including forward-facing ocean views, and an aerobics room with instructor-led classes.

There are two centrally located pools outdoors, one with a retractable glass dome cover. An outdoor jogging track is located around the ship’s mast and the forward third of the ship; it doesn’t go around the whole ship, but it’s long enough for some serious walking.