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My Spirit Review (plus 3 pre-cruise days in Seattle)


K.T.B.

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Tracy Arm pics!

 

 

 

Yes, it was that foggy, but I also took the picture from inside the boat through the window.

 

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Clearing up, still inside the boat.

 

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ICE!

 

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Another amazing waterfall.

 

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Yes, those are kayakers.... but not from our ship. They were camping out there.

 

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More pics!

 

North arm of Sawyer glacier.

 

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A closer shot.

 

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South part of Sawyer glacier, with lounging harbor seals.

 

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Close up of the seals.

 

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One more view of the south arm.

 

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Even more pics!!

 

Me and a piece of glacier ice they guessed could be hundreds of years old.

 

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The Spirit meeting us. Oh, and some guy.

 

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The tents of the kayakers, that's my guess. (Used the 48X option on the camera for this.)

 

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And that's it for Tracy Arm. :)

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We will be sailing on the Spirit Aug 28th. Looking for a little help....We land in Seattle at 10:50 do you think we have time to visit the Space Needle after checking in. Do you know how far away the Space needle is from the ship?

 

No, you will not have time to go to the Space Needle. By the time you land, grab your luggage, and get to the ship to check in (assuming NO problems whatsoever), you're looking at 1PM at the absolute earliest. The ship may sail at 4, but you'd need to be back on board by 3:30. There's usually a very long line to get up to the observation deck. Waits of up 30 minutes are the norm.

 

Oh, and I have not forgotten about the review and pics, life has just kind of gotten in the way. ;) I'll post more later!

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August 3, Skagway! And rain... lots and lots of rain...

 

Despite the rain, Skagway was easily the best cruise day of the seven for us. Yes, even better than Tracy Arm. This was the day with the us going through the eagle preserve on a flat bottomed boat. However, it was in the afternoon, so we just spent part of the morning walking a bit in Skagway. "Quaint" is the best way to describe it. Even with the rain we enjoyed ourselves, plus we stopped in the Red Onion for a quick cup of GOOD coffee!

 

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And I do like the paintings that have in there, too!

 

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So after an hour or two, we head back to the ship for some lunch and to wait for our excursion... and it's still raining. But the flowers were nice and it didn't bother the train!

 

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Our excursion began at about 1:30 or so, so off we went... yes, into the rain. So we had the ponchos on to protect us, but it still made for a grey day.

 

Once on board of the ferry to take us over to Haines, where our excursion was at, I took this picture of Spirit.

 

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On the way over to Haines, the rain seemed to slow a bit and one of the naturalists on board mentioned a "sucker hole" that had formed. It's a hole in the grey cloud cover that allows blue sky ans sunshine to be seen! It suckers people into thinking it's stopped raining...

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Well, we get to Haines and guess what? NO RAIN!

 

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My wife was very happy! As was I!

 

Anyway, I am just going to post some pictures here of the trip to Haines. It was a GREAT excursion. And the boat we were in was literally floating in water not more than 3 feet deep, and it was ICE cold. I really recommend the Eagle Preserve Wildlife River Adventure excursion. Anyone can do this excursion, even those with limited mobility. (You just sit in a boat and click pictures!)

 

Here's some of what I got:

 

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Yes, I was in the front of the boat.

 

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Our captain.

 

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A baby eagle, about 8 weeks old!

 

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Just a gorgeous view.

 

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More pictures:

 

Me, happy about the sunshine!

 

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One of the eagles we saw.

 

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More gorgeous views.

 

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And as we head back to the ferry to get back to Skagway, an eagle sitting there watching and waiting...

 

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As I said, easily the best cruise day of the trip. And the last good day of the trip for me unfortunately. Once we hit Juneau, as I mentioned above, it was pretty much "meh" from that point forward, and it was not entirely Carnival's fault, though they had some part in it.

 

But Skagway/Haines was awesome! :D

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I had fully intended to begin and post my review today, but life got in the way...

 

Anyway, as for the MDR food and service for us, it was just fine. What we had ordered was quite good, except for 2 things: Thje baked potatoes were not as done as my wife and I like them to be (not a huge deal, but I do like my potato to be DONE completely) and my prime rib on the first formal night was merely ok, though done the way I like it. It just had no flavor really...

 

And as for the service, I did get us a table for two, so our service was fabulous. Though the very first night it was a little off kilter in the beginning, but by the main course it had smoothed out. Perhaps there being only 2 of us made the difference. Who knows? I definitely have no complaints there. :)

 

Anyway, I WILL get the review going soon. Tomorrow I am back to work though, but I can probably sneak in a few things throughout the day. ;)

 

Hi Kevin,

 

Great review so far! Brings back memories of our Alaskan cruise honeymoon! (on HAL).

 

Quick question, do you remember what table # you had and did you like the location? Thanks in advance! :)

 

Jenn

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Glad you had good service. Other than the very bad service and mediocre food in the MDR, Our cruise on the Spirit was fun and like the OP, I like the Spirit very much. The scenery was beautiful and the and the ports nice, (I also agree with the OP, would like more time in Ketchikan, Juneau and Victoria). The room stewart was great - never saw him, but our room was spotless and always serviced. This was my 4th Carnival cruise and the food and service in MDR was SO BELOW the standards of the other three, I couldn't believe it was the same cruise line. The MDR, was VERY disappointing. We were stuck back in a corner and basically ignored. Most nights it took about 1- 1.5 HOURS before our main course was delivered and then it was cold - their excuse, "so sorry, we are just so busy tonight". Really! aren't you this busy every night - isn't it a full dining room every night? Not only was the food served cold several times, but it was definitely not as good as on previous cruises even the couple of times it was served hot. I had to laugh at one lady at a table near us who got so tired of waiting (& repeatedly asking) for her water to be refilled that she got up and started to the beverage station to refill her own - that did get their attention. We tried to get moved, but nothing was available. We did opt for the buffet one night, (at least the food was hot, but not great there either - definitely not as good as on previous cruises) but, preferring the sit down restaurant style dining for dinner and being optomistic that surely tonight would be better, we just kept going to the MDR.

 

Some will say they don't cruise for the food, while that isn't the only reason I cruise, being able to sit down in a nice restaurant and being served good food in a pleasant atmosphere, with decent service, is definitely one of the reasons I chose a cruising vacation over other types of vacations.

 

A friend went on a different Carnival cruise in June to New England and Canada and basically said the same thing about the food and MDR. Not sure what is going on at Carnival and why so many changes, but I sure miss the old days with good food and good service. I was always one of the Carnival Cheer Leaders, but rethinking that now.

I would have spoken to the Maitre'D and asked what was going on...If you do that you get your servers attention...Dennis

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August 4, Juneau. It was also my wife's birthday!

 

Let me say that I love Juneau. It's a great city. However, on this trip, it sucked big time. I mentioned earlier about the cancelled excursion. Amd I will reiterate: IF you have a helicopter tour booked before 9:30AM in Juneau, cancel it. It will not happen, especially if you're flying out to Mendenhall Glacier. So do not put yourself through the disappointment. Just book a later tour and you'll be fine.

 

So after wasating our time leaving the ship, being disappointed, and then not wanting to be "upsold" a more expensive and later excursion, we got back on the ship to figure out what to do for the day. Basically, I was so pissed off I needed time to cool down before facing the public again.

 

After an hour or so we head back out to do something. We decided instead to take the tram up to Mount Roberts to do the trails. It did turn out to be a gorgeous day and it was perfect for walking in the woods. So for the next 3 hours or so we did that.

 

After coming back down the tram we were hjungry and I wanted to go to a restaurant called Pie in the Sky! (Guinness Chocolate Fudge cake with Bailey's Buttercream Frosting will soon be mine!) It was a few blocks away, but it not a long walk. Well, we did get turned around a bit, but we finally find it! And it's closed............ Closed on the weekends during the summer. Just one more disappointment for the day. :(

 

We instead stop off at a nearby coffeeshop for more GOOD coffee and to relax before walking back to the ship for real food.

 

That evening my wife got her birthday cake (white cake with strawberry fillking and vanilla frosting) and got sung to, badly, by the waitstaff. :) So a good ending to an overall sucky day.

 

Now some pics...

 

Juneau from our balcony.

 

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Our cabin from the outside and on the pier in Juneau. Nice big balcony! (Ours is the one with the 2 chairs pushed up close to the glass.)

 

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The tram on the way up as we pass the other one.

 

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Spirit from up above.

 

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Fabulous pictures and great review.........well worth waiting for!

 

Amazing to see the difference in the landscaping colors from May to August. We did Alaska in May and you in August.....I was surprised to still see snow on the ground in August.

 

The walkways on Mt. Roberts look amazing.

Susan

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Now for the finale, with pictures to be posted tonight.

 

After Juneau the rest of the trip was blah for me. We had an excursion in Ketchikan that was supposed to last 3 hours, but lasted just over 4. Giving us NO time to do anything in Ketchikan at all, except get back on the ship. I would not have minded so much if the excursion wasn't a huge waste of time and money. It might have been "hangover" from the previous day's disappointment, but I doubt it. It was The Best of Ketchikan by Land & Sea.

 

Another thing I was not pleased about was the amount of time spent in ports after Skagway. I know it takes 10 hours to get from Juneau to Ketchikan by ferry boat. So why did we need to leave by 3PM out of Juneau to arrive in Ketchikan by 7AM the next day? And then having us leave by 1PM out of Ketchikan on Sunday to get to Victoria BC by 7PM Monday. This itinerary just does not work. They need to, and can, add a couple of hours at Juneau and Ketchikan, otherwise it feels like a wasted port day.

 

Anyway, Ketchikan felt quick and we did not get off the ship in Victoria, which was planned. And when we saw the line to get off the ship and to go through customs on the pier, I'm glad we decided to remain on board!

 

Overall, it was a great trip, with the exception of one really bad moment. I really like Carnival, I love Spirit and I love visiting Alaska. However, with Spirit moving to Australia now and with my dislike of the intinerary, I doubt we'll ever take Carnival again to Alaska. We'll just stick with Carnival in the warm climates. ;) Also, Seattle is an awesome, awesome city to visit. I truly wish we had more time there! We're seriously considering a trip just to visit the city itself someday.

 

I will post pictures later today! If you've got questions, ask away!

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