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  #1  
Old July 9th, 2011, 01:15 PM
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Quilting_Cruiser Quilting_Cruiser is offline
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Default Carnival Spirit June 28th Alaska Review: Tons of Photos and Oodles of Food Porn!

My DD and I returned this week from a round-trip Alaskan cruise on the Carnival Spirit. A little background: DD is 16 years old and I’m a recently-divorced single mom, age 52. This was our eighth cruise, seventh on Carnival, third to Alaska, and fourth time on the Spirit. We’re from the Portland, Oregon area, so we drove to port for the first time. Loved that! I booked this cruise in August with an Early Saver rate. By final payment, the price had gone down only $30 pp, but by the time we sailed, we had accumulated $260 in on-board credit. It’s the first time I’ve booked ES and will likely do it again.

I read as many reviews as I can find before I sail, so I'm sure there are some of you looking for recent Alaska cruise reviews! Most of the photos (other than the food) are off the ship--not too many of the Spirit herself since this was our fourth time sailing on her.

I’m including our two days pre-cruise in Seattle since so many fly in at least a day early and I’m hopeful some of you may find the pre-cruise comments helpful. I’ve included tons of photos as I tend to see life through the lens of a camera. DD and I had attended a photography workshop and photo safari two days before the cruise. Much of the workshop was a refresher for both of us, but we were excited to try out a few new techniques we’d learned.

We drove to Seattle on Sunday morning, June 26 (embarkation was June 28). We drove straight to the Woodland Park Zoo and spent the afternoon there. We both enjoy zoos and love seeing new ones as DD is an animal lover.







The zoo had a Sea Eagle, which we’d never seen before. DD said he had a beak like a Puffin and the body of an eagle. At one point he took flight, and his wingspan was huge!



One of my favorite exhibits at the zoo was the aviary. Almost as soon as we went in, a Cockatiel landed on my shoulder to take a ride for a while. That was kind of fun and kind of strange at the same time.



__________________
It isn't that life ashore is distasteful to me. But life at sea is better.
-Sir Francis Drake
Counting Down the Days:





Happy Cruising Memories:

Carnival Legend, 6/21/13 (Baltic)
Carnival Inspiration, 08/10/12
Carnival Inspiration, 08/13/12 (birthday cruise!)

Carnival Spirit, 06/28/11 (Alaska)
Cruise Review

Carnival Splendor, 08/22/10 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 08/15/07 (Alaska)

Caribbean Princess, 07/29/06 (W. Caribbean)

Carnival Pride, 12/21/03 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 12/18/02 (S. Caribbean)

Carnival Spirit, 8/15/01 (Alaska)

Carnival Holiday, 3/10/97 (Mexico)

Last edited by Quilting_Cruiser; July 9th, 2011 at 01:18 PM.
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  #2  
Old July 9th, 2011, 01:16 PM
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We then found ourselves in front of birds we’d never seen…Kookaburras!



Another highlight of the zoo, was the snow leopard:



DD and I also love Meerkats.




After the zoo, we drove to our downtown hotel, the Monaco, and checked in. The hotel was lovely and we really enjoyed the décor. I booked on Hotwire ($151 per night) and parking was $36 per day.



One of the things we loved was our goldfish. His name was Lonnie, but we renamed him “Frank.”



If you look closely at the picture of Frank, you’ll see that behind his bowl is the face of our beloved travel companion Joey. Joey is a multi-colored monkey who has been on about five cruises with us and has traveled all over the U.S. and to Singapore, Malaysia, India, and China with me on business trips. We have pictures of him in various places, including perched on the Great Wall of China. You’ll see more of him as the review progresses.

After settling in, we walked a few blocks to The Brooklyn for dinner. I’m a foodie, and DD is becoming one as well—she’s been a rather adventurous eater since first trying escargots at age 8, and I was thrilled to introduce her to oysters on the half shell that evening. She loved them! We were seated at the chef’s counter and had a great view of the galley, which kept us entertained while we ate.

We returned to the hotel just in time for me to catch Next Food Network Star.
__________________
It isn't that life ashore is distasteful to me. But life at sea is better.
-Sir Francis Drake
Counting Down the Days:





Happy Cruising Memories:

Carnival Legend, 6/21/13 (Baltic)
Carnival Inspiration, 08/10/12
Carnival Inspiration, 08/13/12 (birthday cruise!)

Carnival Spirit, 06/28/11 (Alaska)
Cruise Review

Carnival Splendor, 08/22/10 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 08/15/07 (Alaska)

Caribbean Princess, 07/29/06 (W. Caribbean)

Carnival Pride, 12/21/03 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 12/18/02 (S. Caribbean)

Carnival Spirit, 8/15/01 (Alaska)

Carnival Holiday, 3/10/97 (Mexico)
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  #3  
Old July 9th, 2011, 01:16 PM
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The next morning, I experienced the only real disappointment of the vacation…hair in the tub. Ewwww. I cleaned out the tub before I took my shower, of course, but it left a lasting impression. I did mention it when we checked out and the desk clerk handled the situation very well. She was very apologetic, said the problem would be addressed, and took $30 off our final bill. I was happy with that, and left feeling better about our stay. Anyway, Monday morning we left the hotel about 9:00 a.m. and walked a few blocks to Pike Place Market.



We spent a few hours there and thoroughly enjoyed it! Of course, we had to visit Pike Place Fish to watch the fishmongers hurtling the fish around! There wasn’t any action when we first arrived, but I decided to purchase a t-shirt. The fishmonger I asked about it, yelled for a t-shirt (so glad I’ve recently lost 60 pounds and he was yelling for a medium instead of a huge! LOL)—they threw it like it was a fish, which got a laugh from the crowd. He then told DD and me that he’d throw a fish for us and told us the best place to stand for pics. They threw it back and forth a few times—very entertaining. We decided that if we didn’t catch any salmon on our fishing trip in Ketchikan that we’d make a return visit and get a salmon there—we did catch salmon in Ketchikan, so we’ll revisit Pike Place Fish on our next stop in Seattle.








We walked around the market for an hour or so and then asked about Matt’s in the Market, a restaurant I’d heard about and wanted to try. The chefs from Matt’s were on Throwdown and beat Chef Bobby Flay in a seafood chowder throwdown. We found the restaurant about 11:45 and they were packed, but we were able to make a reservation for 1:00. It was well worth the wait—the service was excellent and the food was off the charts fantastic! DD had a tuna sandwich, proclaiming it the “best tuna sandwich ever!” and I had a pork Bahn Mi, which I only wish I could have eaten all of! We also each had a cup of seafood chowder. When I asked if this was the chowder that beat Bobby Flay, the waiter laughed and said it had the same base, but the throwdown chowder had more seafood in it. I probably don’t need to say it, but it was the best seafood chowder ever! Well, apparently the throwdown chowder was better, but I was happy.



During the time we waited for our lunch reservation, we searched for the Cat Whisper (a street entertainer who we learned wasn’t around that day) and visited the Gum Wall, rated the second germiest tourist attraction in the world, second only to the Blarney Stone. You can see what DD thought of it…

__________________
It isn't that life ashore is distasteful to me. But life at sea is better.
-Sir Francis Drake
Counting Down the Days:





Happy Cruising Memories:

Carnival Legend, 6/21/13 (Baltic)
Carnival Inspiration, 08/10/12
Carnival Inspiration, 08/13/12 (birthday cruise!)

Carnival Spirit, 06/28/11 (Alaska)
Cruise Review

Carnival Splendor, 08/22/10 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 08/15/07 (Alaska)

Caribbean Princess, 07/29/06 (W. Caribbean)

Carnival Pride, 12/21/03 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 12/18/02 (S. Caribbean)

Carnival Spirit, 8/15/01 (Alaska)

Carnival Holiday, 3/10/97 (Mexico)
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  #4  
Old July 9th, 2011, 01:17 PM
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After lunch we headed for the monorail. It was just a few blocks and we enjoyed walking through downtown. Seattle is really a lovely city and I haven’t been there in several years so it was nice to visit. The monorail goes to the Space Needle and the Experience Music Project. We started at the EMP—I’ve heard so much about it and was interested in seeing what they had. My DD was a percussionist and my ex was a musician and all my stepchildren have musical talent, so music has been a part of my life for the past 18 years. We were a bit underwhelmed by EMP. There were a lot of interactive things to do, but it was very difficult to get an opportunity to participate, so we did a lot of watching other people with the instruments. DD did get the opportunity to play guitar and keyboard and we did vocals together, but for that you wore a pair of headphones that were falling apart and I just had to keep myself from thinking about how many heads they’d been on! The highlight was the Avatar exhibit. We really enjoyed that.



The guitar sculpture was impressive and I we loved seeing that, as well.



I think the idea of the EMP—with all the interactivity—is a great idea. The problem is that people are, well, people and I can’t tell you how many times DD would start looking at something and an unsupervised child would shove in front of her or actually climb up on the instrument (yes, that actually happened!) or, even worse, a parent would do what basically amounted to a body block to hog a display to himself and his children. We just don’t do things like that—not that I can’t be selfish, too—and are fine with waiting our turn for things. We’d just like to get that turn. Just sayin’.

After EMP, we went over to the Space Needle and didn’t have to wait long at all to go up to the observation deck. After you purchase your ticket there’s a photo stop where they take you pic; when you’re on the observation deck, you can put various Seattle and Space Needle backgrounds on the photo and send it to you email. This comes with the price of admission. Nice touch. It was an overcast day, but the views were still fantastic. It started to sprinkle a bit while we were on the observation deck and rained on the walk back to the hotel.

After our busy, busy day, we stopped at the Starbucks ½ a block from our hotel and got sandwiches for dinner. We got to bed about 11:00 with everything ready to go for heading to the pier the next morning!

Next up will be drive to the pier and embarkation.

Thanks!
__________________
It isn't that life ashore is distasteful to me. But life at sea is better.
-Sir Francis Drake
Counting Down the Days:





Happy Cruising Memories:

Carnival Legend, 6/21/13 (Baltic)
Carnival Inspiration, 08/10/12
Carnival Inspiration, 08/13/12 (birthday cruise!)

Carnival Spirit, 06/28/11 (Alaska)
Cruise Review

Carnival Splendor, 08/22/10 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 08/15/07 (Alaska)

Caribbean Princess, 07/29/06 (W. Caribbean)

Carnival Pride, 12/21/03 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 12/18/02 (S. Caribbean)

Carnival Spirit, 8/15/01 (Alaska)

Carnival Holiday, 3/10/97 (Mexico)
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  #5  
Old July 9th, 2011, 01:36 PM
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Great review! It brings back memories of our trip in June 09. I can't wait to go back to Seattle and Alaska. We are hoping to go next summer. It will be my DD's first time there.

Love all your pictures! What camera did you use? I especially love the animal pictures. They make we want to go to the zoo.

I can't wait to read more of the review!
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09/23/07 Carnival Legend
03/19/09 Carnival Sensation
06/20/09 Princess Golden
02/19/11 Carnival Fascination
07/25/11 Carnival Inspiration
10/14/11 RC Monarch
03/31/12 Princess Crown
05/03/12 Carnival Ecstasy
10/04/12 Disney Dream
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  #6  
Old July 9th, 2011, 02:23 PM
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I'm loving this review!!!
Sure wish I had been there.
Oh, wait, I was!!!

David and I have decided that this was our best cruise/vacation we've ever been on so far.

Keep up the great review Jayne, can't wait for more.


~Pam
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Norwegian Sea - Mexico/Central America - 2004
Norwegian Sea - Mexico/Central America - 2005
Carnival Conquest - Western Caribbean - 2008
Carnival Conquest - Western Caribbean - 2010
Carnival Spirit - Alaska - 2011
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  #7  
Old July 9th, 2011, 02:31 PM
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I was so excited the next morning! Embarkation Day! YAY!!


I got up about 7:00 a.m. and slipped out to Starbucks to get a huge latte—great way to start embarkation day. LOL. I grabbed a couple breakfast items so we could eat before heading out. With the car all packed and check-out complete, we left Hotel Monaco about 9:35 a.m. for an easy drive to Smith Cove Travel. They have a secured lot on Amory Way about a mile from the pier. They provide free shuttle service to and from, but our driver gave us a taxi voucher for the return, saying it was much easier since they have only the one shuttle bus. Here’s a photo of the lot. I felt fine leaving my car there and was pleased at the much lower price than parking at the pier.



We arrived at Smith Cove Travel at about 9:50. They said we were early and the shuttle bus wasn’t running yet and would be making the first run in about 15 minutes. Well, I found out a bit later that what really happened was one of their employees ran an errand and had the shuttle bus keys in his pocket. He returned and we were on our way at 10:25, so the wait wasn’t too long, but when you can see the funnel of your ship in the distance, you just want to go!! LOL.

There were few porters available at the pier, but we did find one to help us with our bags. We checked two somewhat large suitcases and one small suitcase and I tipped $3. We needed our passports out in order to get to the check-in area, so be sure to have them handy. Check-in was very easy, though there was some confusion over my on-board credit. Between the $260 from Early Saver, $100 from the FCC, and what I’d had applied, I had more than $700 in OBC so didn’t plan to secure my Sail & Sign with a credit card. This somehow confused the woman checking us in and she had to get a supervisor to discuss it. The supervisor at first insisted I provide a credit card, but I explained to her I’d add cash, if needed and she approved it. I thought that was odd since I’ve done both credit card and cash S&S accounts before, but I was in vacation mode and not about to let that ruffle me at all. LOL. We were seated in the waiting area by 10:50 after our welcome aboard photo and getting our Alaska coupon book.



It wasn’t long before several members of our roll call arrived. They all knew what I looked like—it’s hard to miss a 6’1” tall woman with white hair! LOL. Tulsacruiser, ArcCruises, Bronco77, and eljeffo were among the families we met and chatted with during the short wait to board. We were in Zone 3, which was called at 11:35 and we were stepping onto the ship at 11:40. Yes, I looked at my watch!

We had decided to not book the Behind the Fun Tour this time as we did it on our last cruise and we were already booked at the steakhouse and for Chef’s Table, so we headed up to the Lido deck. We found a table facing the small boat harbor and DD was off to the grill for some chicken strips. When she returned, I hit the Asian station. Both were typical buffet food—nothing special, but just fine. During lunch we saw our first wildlife of the trip! A little seal popped his head up to check out the Spirit and swam around in front of us for several minutes. I figured he was an omen of things to come (I was right! LOL).

We headed down to the lobby and grabbed a copy of the Fun Times. The games and entertainment don’t hold much appeal for me—that’s most definitely not why I cruise—but I go if DD has an inkling. We didn’t participate in any of the games this cruise and the only entertainment we went to was the hypnotist show. DD always enjoys that and we were surprised to see the same hypnotist who was on our Splendor cruise in August. This show was much better (it’s all about the suckers, oops, I mean audience members who end up on stage) and quite entertaining.

We went to our room at 1:30 and two of our bags were on the cart near the elevator and delivered within minutes. The third arrived about 15 minutes later. We were in an 8J extended balcony, room 6267. I loved the extra 18” or so on the depth of the balcony. The room was your typical Carnival balcony stateroom and we had no issues at all. Our room steward Calixto was great and always greeted us by name and with a smile, asking about our day. I like to get unpacked and get the bags under the beds as soon as possible and we got that taken care of right away. As usual, I overpacked (not as bad as usual though!); at least there’s plenty of storage room!

At 2:20 we grabbed the name tags and pens and headed to the Sun Forward Pool for our Cruise Critic Meet and Greet. Even though we didn’t arrange it through Carnival, they had it listed in the Fun Times at the Fantail Pool. Another CC member said on her last cruise Carnival had listed a Cruise Critic Meet and Greet as well. The discrepancy didn’t cause much confusion—we’d communicated well on the roll call, so all but one roll call member went to the place we’d discussed instead of what Carnival had deemed. Tulsacruiser went back to Fantail pool to see if any CC members were there, but unfortunately the family that went there had already left by that time. We had an enjoyable time getting to know each other a bit. I always enjoy seeing the familiar faces throughout the week and several of us had the Tracy Arm excursion booked. Tulsacruiser and DS and DD and I also had Chef’s Table booked.

Safety drill was announced about 3:30, so DD and I headed for Muster Station C. I know from experience not to hurry so we don’t get stuck in the back. We timed it perfectly and were in the front row. Yep. I can be selfish. ;-) The drill was quick and easy and we were back on our balcony well before sail away at 4:05.



Can you tell I was excited?!?
__________________
It isn't that life ashore is distasteful to me. But life at sea is better.
-Sir Francis Drake
Counting Down the Days:





Happy Cruising Memories:

Carnival Legend, 6/21/13 (Baltic)
Carnival Inspiration, 08/10/12
Carnival Inspiration, 08/13/12 (birthday cruise!)

Carnival Spirit, 06/28/11 (Alaska)
Cruise Review

Carnival Splendor, 08/22/10 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 08/15/07 (Alaska)

Caribbean Princess, 07/29/06 (W. Caribbean)

Carnival Pride, 12/21/03 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 12/18/02 (S. Caribbean)

Carnival Spirit, 8/15/01 (Alaska)

Carnival Holiday, 3/10/97 (Mexico)
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  #8  
Old July 9th, 2011, 02:34 PM
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Quilting_Cruiser Quilting_Cruiser is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmt218 View Post
Great review! It brings back memories of our trip in June 09. I can't wait to go back to Seattle and Alaska. We are hoping to go next summer. It will be my DD's first time there.

Love all your pictures! What camera did you use? I especially love the animal pictures. They make we want to go to the zoo.

I can't wait to read more of the review!

Thanks, tmt! How old is our DD? Mine was six the first time we did an Alaska cruise and she LOVED it! The second time, she was 12, and 16 this time. I was planning to take her to the Caribbean next summer, but she's asking to do Alaska again, and I really can't complain about that! LOL.

I have a simple DSLR, a Canon Digital Rebel XSi. Most of the photos at the zoo were taken with a 100-300 zoom lens. I set the aperture as wide as possible and was able to get pics even in the dimmer reptile habitats.
__________________
It isn't that life ashore is distasteful to me. But life at sea is better.
-Sir Francis Drake
Counting Down the Days:





Happy Cruising Memories:

Carnival Legend, 6/21/13 (Baltic)
Carnival Inspiration, 08/10/12
Carnival Inspiration, 08/13/12 (birthday cruise!)

Carnival Spirit, 06/28/11 (Alaska)
Cruise Review

Carnival Splendor, 08/22/10 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 08/15/07 (Alaska)

Caribbean Princess, 07/29/06 (W. Caribbean)

Carnival Pride, 12/21/03 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 12/18/02 (S. Caribbean)

Carnival Spirit, 8/15/01 (Alaska)

Carnival Holiday, 3/10/97 (Mexico)
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  #9  
Old July 9th, 2011, 02:37 PM
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Quilting_Cruiser Quilting_Cruiser is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tulsacruiser View Post
I'm loving this review!!!
Sure wish I had been there.
Oh, wait, I was!!!

David and I have decided that this was our best cruise/vacation we've ever been on so far.

Keep up the great review Jayne, can't wait for more.


~Pam
Pam, I knew you'd be the first one to see it when I posted a review! LOL. Beck and I feel the same way and I'm so happy we met the two of you--you definitely enhanced our cruise! Want to do it again next year??

I'm enjoying writing it--my way of reliving the vacation and it was definitely worth reliving! I'll be scrapbooking it soon to extend that feeling!

BTW, I have some Bald Eagle shots I'll have to send you so you can show them to David.

Cheers!
Jayne
__________________
It isn't that life ashore is distasteful to me. But life at sea is better.
-Sir Francis Drake
Counting Down the Days:





Happy Cruising Memories:

Carnival Legend, 6/21/13 (Baltic)
Carnival Inspiration, 08/10/12
Carnival Inspiration, 08/13/12 (birthday cruise!)

Carnival Spirit, 06/28/11 (Alaska)
Cruise Review

Carnival Splendor, 08/22/10 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 08/15/07 (Alaska)

Caribbean Princess, 07/29/06 (W. Caribbean)

Carnival Pride, 12/21/03 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 12/18/02 (S. Caribbean)

Carnival Spirit, 8/15/01 (Alaska)

Carnival Holiday, 3/10/97 (Mexico)
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  #10  
Old July 9th, 2011, 02:51 PM
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Quilting_Cruiser Quilting_Cruiser is offline
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We had Your Time Dining booked. We usually have early seating, but I wanted to be more flexible this cruise so we booked YTD. The first evening we went to the MDR about 5:15 and were seated immediately. YTD is on the upper level of the Empire Dining Room and we were seated by the railing at a table for two, which was very nice.

Are you ready for the food porn? Here we go…

DD started with chicken fingers and I had gazpacho. The gazpacho was very good. Yum.





The entrees were Norwegian salmon fillet (me) and flat iron steak (DD).





The salmon was moderately good and DD really enjoyed her steak. I’ve lost 60 pounds since our last cruise and I was determined to watch what I ate but not be too restrictive about it, so choice like salmon were great for me. And the “not too restrictive” part came in at dessert. Nothing on the regular menu appealed to me, so I ordered a banana split from the kids menu. Loved it!



DD had Warm Chocolate Melting Cake. I don’t have a photo of it—don’t know how we missed that one since I made a point of embarrassing her by taking a photo of every dish—but, it’s not hard to find photos of that one!

After dinner we spent some time on our balcony and then headed for the Fantail hot tub. The view was beautiful, but it was much too windy and cold, so we decided to switch to the hot tub in the spa/gym area. It’s larger and hotter! We were the only ones there until a few minutes before we left when we were joined by a middle-aged man in a Speedo. Seriously.
__________________
It isn't that life ashore is distasteful to me. But life at sea is better.
-Sir Francis Drake
Counting Down the Days:





Happy Cruising Memories:

Carnival Legend, 6/21/13 (Baltic)
Carnival Inspiration, 08/10/12
Carnival Inspiration, 08/13/12 (birthday cruise!)

Carnival Spirit, 06/28/11 (Alaska)
Cruise Review

Carnival Splendor, 08/22/10 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 08/15/07 (Alaska)

Caribbean Princess, 07/29/06 (W. Caribbean)

Carnival Pride, 12/21/03 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 12/18/02 (S. Caribbean)

Carnival Spirit, 8/15/01 (Alaska)

Carnival Holiday, 3/10/97 (Mexico)
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  #11  
Old July 9th, 2011, 03:22 PM
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The next day was a sea day, and we decided we’d make a lazy day of it. I awoke at 6 a.m. and started to get up and then thought, “What are you doing?!? You’re on vacation!” and went back to sleep until 7:15. I quietly got ready and left DD soundly asleep and was off to the Fountain Café for a latte. While I was waiting for my latte, a very nice, friendly man greeted me and we chatted for a moment. I realized later it was Stu, the cruise director. On our last two Alaska cruises, I sadly found the CD to be quite annoying, but I found Stu to hit the right balance between being humorous and informative and making too many announcements. I’ve never really interacted with the entertainment staff, and this cruise was no different. I’m just not a fan of the hairy chest contest and such. But, DD and I do have three ships on sticks from past scavenger hunt wins.

Latte in hand, I headed for Lido for breakfast. I was happy to see the grilled mushrooms, which were quite good and a great complement to the eggs.

DD awoke a little after 11:00 and was ready to go exploring. After breakfast she wanted to revisit the Jungle—one of our favorite places on the Spirit. For no particular reason, we usually go into the starboard side and spend time there, but a young boy had succumbed to motion sickness on that side, so we headed for the port side. Then we just walked around the ship, enjoying being back on the Spirit.

I did get a DOD because I could just envision the cup sitting on my bookshelf at work—it’ll make me think of cruising every day. Perfect.



DD was put off by how rude passengers are to the staff. She asked what’s happened to “please” and “thank you.” She’s a very polite kid and always has been and has little tolerance for rudeness. I’m so proud of her and the young woman she’s becoming. When we were on our whale watch in Juneau, I pulled a couple of fives out of my wallet and handed one to her. When I did, I saw she’s already taken a couple dollars out of her own spending money to tip. I told her she didn’t need to do that and she responded that she enjoyed the naturalist and captain and she wanted to contribute. Yep. She’s pretty cool.

Anyway, back on topic…we spent some time on our balcony and then I left DD there and went to the gym to get in a workout. I used a stationary bike and treadmill and then the free weights. The equipment was in good shape and I had no issues there. It was nice to see the ocean while working out.

We had a 6:30 reservation at the Nouveau Steakhouse that evening. We typically eat there the first sea day, which is usually the first elegant night as well. We arrived a few minutes early and were seated immediately. We were seated by the window, so the views were marvelous, of course. I really enjoy the décor in this steakhouse and, as usual, the food was excellent.





And, of course, the service was excellent.
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It isn't that life ashore is distasteful to me. But life at sea is better.
-Sir Francis Drake
Counting Down the Days:





Happy Cruising Memories:

Carnival Legend, 6/21/13 (Baltic)
Carnival Inspiration, 08/10/12
Carnival Inspiration, 08/13/12 (birthday cruise!)

Carnival Spirit, 06/28/11 (Alaska)
Cruise Review

Carnival Splendor, 08/22/10 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 08/15/07 (Alaska)

Caribbean Princess, 07/29/06 (W. Caribbean)

Carnival Pride, 12/21/03 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 12/18/02 (S. Caribbean)

Carnival Spirit, 8/15/01 (Alaska)

Carnival Holiday, 3/10/97 (Mexico)

Last edited by Quilting_Cruiser; July 9th, 2011 at 03:29 PM.
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  #12  
Old July 9th, 2011, 03:31 PM
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Now, for the food! We always enjoy the steakhouse. It’s well worth the $30 pp charge—I don’t know of a restaurant anywhere that you could get that caliber of a meal for that price!

First, we each received an amuse bouche from the chef. DD’s was a roasted pepper soup, I believe, and mine was an absolutely delicious lobster Carpaccio.





We both opted for the Focaccia bread and there were two toppings in addition to butter.





I always think I’m going to try a new appetizer in the steakhouse and then end up with the escargot. This is the preparation we’ve had the last few visits to a Carnival steakhouse and was by far the best we’ve had of this prep. Delicious!

__________________
It isn't that life ashore is distasteful to me. But life at sea is better.
-Sir Francis Drake
Counting Down the Days:





Happy Cruising Memories:

Carnival Legend, 6/21/13 (Baltic)
Carnival Inspiration, 08/10/12
Carnival Inspiration, 08/13/12 (birthday cruise!)

Carnival Spirit, 06/28/11 (Alaska)
Cruise Review

Carnival Splendor, 08/22/10 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 08/15/07 (Alaska)

Caribbean Princess, 07/29/06 (W. Caribbean)

Carnival Pride, 12/21/03 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 12/18/02 (S. Caribbean)

Carnival Spirit, 8/15/01 (Alaska)

Carnival Holiday, 3/10/97 (Mexico)
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  #13  
Old July 9th, 2011, 03:46 PM
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DD had a Caesar salad and said it was excellent.


And, I opted for the spinach salad with warm bacon bits. It was very good.




Our steaks arrived, perfectly cooked. DD’s ribeye was delicious and my filet was one of the best I’ve ever had. Possibly THE best.





And, finally, for dessert…in the past, she’s usually gotten cheesecake and I’ve gotten the chocolate sampler, but without discussing it, we both chose the caramelized apple tart. It was fantastic! The apples were perfect and the dough was crunchy. There were also raspberries and white and dark chocolate. Excellent.



It was a wonderful evening. There’s so much food and we were, of course, stuffed, so we headed back to our cabin to change into more comfortable clothes and sit on the balcony. About 8:30 we saw some Dahl’s porpoises and at 10:00, DD spotted a whale. We never actually saw the whale, but saw it spout four times. We went to bed very happy and looking forward to cruising Tracy Arm Fjord the next day. Other than our salmon fishing trip in Ketchikan, the small boat excursion in Tracy Arm was what we were most looking forward to.
__________________
It isn't that life ashore is distasteful to me. But life at sea is better.
-Sir Francis Drake
Counting Down the Days:





Happy Cruising Memories:

Carnival Legend, 6/21/13 (Baltic)
Carnival Inspiration, 08/10/12
Carnival Inspiration, 08/13/12 (birthday cruise!)

Carnival Spirit, 06/28/11 (Alaska)
Cruise Review

Carnival Splendor, 08/22/10 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 08/15/07 (Alaska)

Caribbean Princess, 07/29/06 (W. Caribbean)

Carnival Pride, 12/21/03 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 12/18/02 (S. Caribbean)

Carnival Spirit, 8/15/01 (Alaska)

Carnival Holiday, 3/10/97 (Mexico)
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  #14  
Old July 9th, 2011, 03:57 PM
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I just realized I neglected to post our towel animals! We love the towel animals, and though there was nothing new this cruise, we enjoyed the familiar animals.We speculate each evening on the way to the cabin what our animal will be that night. I mentioned Joey, our traveling monkey, and he always poses with the towel animals.



We've never been two sure what these guys are. We think they might be seals, but they just don't look like animals to us, so we just refer to them as the "butt cracks." LOL.

This guy was waiting when we returned from the steakhouse. The framing of the photo tells you how stuffed I was! LOL. I obviously wasn't paying much attention.

__________________
It isn't that life ashore is distasteful to me. But life at sea is better.
-Sir Francis Drake
Counting Down the Days:





Happy Cruising Memories:

Carnival Legend, 6/21/13 (Baltic)
Carnival Inspiration, 08/10/12
Carnival Inspiration, 08/13/12 (birthday cruise!)

Carnival Spirit, 06/28/11 (Alaska)
Cruise Review

Carnival Splendor, 08/22/10 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 08/15/07 (Alaska)

Caribbean Princess, 07/29/06 (W. Caribbean)

Carnival Pride, 12/21/03 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 12/18/02 (S. Caribbean)

Carnival Spirit, 8/15/01 (Alaska)

Carnival Holiday, 3/10/97 (Mexico)
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  #15  
Old July 9th, 2011, 05:37 PM
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I awoke in the morning excited about our day. I’d read many reviews about the Tracy Arm excursion and was excited to see one of the twin Sawyer glaciers up close. I believe it was the south glacier where we spent our time, but please correct me if you see in the pictures it was the north glacier. I was so in awe of the scenery and having such a wonderful time, I really didn’t hear much of the commentary from the naturalist. I generally enjoy that (Michelle on the Spirit definitely enhances our experience) so my only that, but I was paying attention to the fjord walls and icebergs and waterfalls, etc.

Shortly after boarding the Allen Marine boat, we saw Orcas! I was very excited. I live on the West Coast and have gone on a number of whale watches (including one on our last Alaska cruise), but I’ve never seen Orcas in the wild. It was thrilling.



There were two of them, and we saw them surface several times before losing track of them.

I spent very little time inside during this excursion, preferring to be on deck viewing the scenery. We dressed warmly with t-shirts, sweatshirts, and wind-resistant jackets and hats and gloves as well. I was glad we did! I’d chosen to do this excursion based on reviews I read on Cruise Critic and I join others who highly recommend it. We cruised through the fjord ahead of the Spirit and got to spend significant time in front of the glacier. Here’s some of the scenery:












First glimpse of the glacier:

__________________
It isn't that life ashore is distasteful to me. But life at sea is better.
-Sir Francis Drake
Counting Down the Days:





Happy Cruising Memories:

Carnival Legend, 6/21/13 (Baltic)
Carnival Inspiration, 08/10/12
Carnival Inspiration, 08/13/12 (birthday cruise!)

Carnival Spirit, 06/28/11 (Alaska)
Cruise Review

Carnival Splendor, 08/22/10 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 08/15/07 (Alaska)

Caribbean Princess, 07/29/06 (W. Caribbean)

Carnival Pride, 12/21/03 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 12/18/02 (S. Caribbean)

Carnival Spirit, 8/15/01 (Alaska)

Carnival Holiday, 3/10/97 (Mexico)
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  #16  
Old July 9th, 2011, 05:39 PM
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I had a small list of things I was hoping to see in Alaska, and at the top of that list was seeing a glacier calve. We’ve gone on glacier cruises before, but never seen calving, so I was so excited when the glacier did, indeed, calve right there in front of us! A cheer went up from the crowd on deck! Before we left, we got to see it four times! Amazing!







I’m not embarrassed to admit that I cried—not all out sobbing (that I’d be embarrassed about! LOL), but I teared up at the beauty of the scenery, the glacier, the calving. It was an amazing day!

__________________
It isn't that life ashore is distasteful to me. But life at sea is better.
-Sir Francis Drake
Counting Down the Days:





Happy Cruising Memories:

Carnival Legend, 6/21/13 (Baltic)
Carnival Inspiration, 08/10/12
Carnival Inspiration, 08/13/12 (birthday cruise!)

Carnival Spirit, 06/28/11 (Alaska)
Cruise Review

Carnival Splendor, 08/22/10 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 08/15/07 (Alaska)

Caribbean Princess, 07/29/06 (W. Caribbean)

Carnival Pride, 12/21/03 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 12/18/02 (S. Caribbean)

Carnival Spirit, 8/15/01 (Alaska)

Carnival Holiday, 3/10/97 (Mexico)
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  #17  
Old July 9th, 2011, 05:41 PM
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The time went quickly, and as we sailed away from the glacier, we saw the Spirit heading our way. It was almost time for us to reboard and the next group to enjoy the small-boat experience. We saw harbor seals and many birds on some of the ice bergs as well.





While the view back on board was still breathtaking, the experience of seeing the glacier calve was more than worth the “price of admission.” Here’s a view from our balcony:



And, another from the Lido deck:



Ten years ago, when we took our first Alaska cruise, I took a photo of DD in this very place. It was my favorite photo of the cruise, so we decided to recreate it. Last time we were in College Fjord and Harvard Glacier was in the background and her head just barely cleared the railing.

__________________
It isn't that life ashore is distasteful to me. But life at sea is better.
-Sir Francis Drake
Counting Down the Days:





Happy Cruising Memories:

Carnival Legend, 6/21/13 (Baltic)
Carnival Inspiration, 08/10/12
Carnival Inspiration, 08/13/12 (birthday cruise!)

Carnival Spirit, 06/28/11 (Alaska)
Cruise Review

Carnival Splendor, 08/22/10 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 08/15/07 (Alaska)

Caribbean Princess, 07/29/06 (W. Caribbean)

Carnival Pride, 12/21/03 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 12/18/02 (S. Caribbean)

Carnival Spirit, 8/15/01 (Alaska)

Carnival Holiday, 3/10/97 (Mexico)
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  #18  
Old July 9th, 2011, 06:12 PM
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We sat on the Lido deck for a couple of hours and were joined by tulsacruiser and her DS. It was a great afternoon! While we were chatting, I saw a spout and pointed it out to our group—a couple minutes later, two Orcas surfaced not far from the ship! We all stood and were very excited. DD was laughing when she saw a bunch of people run over to the windows asking what we saw. We then noticed that a lot of chairs were moved from the tables all along the dining room and others were also on the lookout. There were a lot of us who spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying hot chocolate and Tracy Arm.

We decided to go to dinner around 6:30. This was the first time we had to wait for a table, but it was only about 15 minutes. We were seated near the table we’d had the first evening, but had a different wait staff. Victor was our headwaiter (Alberto and Luisa were his assistants). Victor was a great head waiter and knew almost immediately that we would ask to be seated in his section the rest of the cruise.




I had the chilled mango and cream soup. Delicious!




And DD had the shrimp appetizer. She said it was great.

And


Our entrees were lamb for DD and I again had salmon. I could eat salmon every day of the week.



For dessert, we both had Bitter & Blanc. We’ve been on seven Carnival cruises, and this was the first time we’ve had B&B. It was very rich, but absolutely wonderful. I loved the hot vanilla sauce. Yum.



When we returned to our room, we were delighted to see an elephant towel animal waiting for us. That’s always my favorite towel animal.

__________________
It isn't that life ashore is distasteful to me. But life at sea is better.
-Sir Francis Drake
Counting Down the Days:





Happy Cruising Memories:

Carnival Legend, 6/21/13 (Baltic)
Carnival Inspiration, 08/10/12
Carnival Inspiration, 08/13/12 (birthday cruise!)

Carnival Spirit, 06/28/11 (Alaska)
Cruise Review

Carnival Splendor, 08/22/10 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 08/15/07 (Alaska)

Caribbean Princess, 07/29/06 (W. Caribbean)

Carnival Pride, 12/21/03 (Mexican Riviera)

Carnival Spirit, 12/18/02 (S. Caribbean)

Carnival Spirit, 8/15/01 (Alaska)

Carnival Holiday, 3/10/97 (Mexico)
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  #19  
Old July 9th, 2011, 06:32 PM
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Thankyou for this review.....I am dreaming of going to Alaska and I too teared up at the beauty of the pictures......
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  #20  
Old July 9th, 2011, 07:39 PM
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Great review. We are going in August. Taking the Tracy Arms boat tour. Looking forward to it. Keep it coming. Love the food pics as we are foodies.
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