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Trip report and photos from !2/3/04 Spirit - San Diego-Mexico

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This was our fourth cruise on Carnival and the best. The Spirit is a much nicer ship than the Fantasy class. While the ship had over 2200 passengers, it didn't seem crowded. Service was great and Cruise Director Todd is really energentic. He does sing and have a good voice. He's not shy about taking the stage. DO NOT MISS THE HIGH SPIRITS SHOW that was on the second to last night. They have a breathtaking routine with great coordination with wingwalkers on a biplane.

We were lucky enough to be upgraded from an extended balcony stateroom to a Category 11 suite (room 8266) because we used Carnival Master Card points, there was a screwup in posting points payment and our cabin was automatically cancelled. When I noted that the docs hadn't arrived, Aldo at Carnival saw the problem and got it fixed with the upgrade - thanks Aldo. (see photo link below for shots of the suite) Our suite was well located just one floor under the Lido Deck food services and Fantail deck/pool area . There was plenty of storage space, marble in the bathroom with two sinks and a shower/tub combo with the tub being a whirlpool - we tried it once. We found that taking showers at the gym is better as they have huge showers that have five shower heads. You just can't go coed as they are within the men's and women's locker rooms.

 

If you take this cruise and want sun, get a cabin on the right side of the ship. The left side is in the shade all the way south and at all three ports. We did get sun in the afternoon on both sea days north, but the second day was windy and we pretty much had to stay inside.

 

Acapulco is the first port and it's too bad the ship doesn't arrive until 1pm - it does stay until 2am, however. There is time for sun and night tours. We walked through the "need a taxi" gauntlet and over the hill to the cliff diver's location. I wouldn't recommend it unless you like to walk as it's not the best area and it's hilly. We missed the diving (but did see the divers after the previous show asking for tips) and didn't wait for the extra shows scheduled for the ship's tours because we didn't know when they would be - the normal shows are in the evening assuming you can't get there in time for the sole daytime show at 12:30pm. I wouldn't walk there at night.

Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa is next and a tender port. Tendering was smooth as they have a system of going to the Lido deck starting at 8:30 to receive a tender boat number sticker. Just go up there about 30 minutes before you want to leave the ship and you won't have to wait long - enjoy breakfast while you wait for your boat to be called. We just walked through Zuhuatenjo and got into the local shopping streets where no one hassled us about coming into their shops. We heard Ixtapa was nice but we didn;'t get there. Having $1 beers on the beach was relaxing.

Manzanillo was the last port. The dock is in the industrial port, but a $10 cab ride gets you to Las Hadas. At Audiencia Beach we took a $30 per person snorkeling/boat tour (1.5 hours). We had the ponga boat and Spanish speaking guide to ourselves as he took us along Santiago Beach, a shipwreck, the snorkeling area and a few landmarks (see photos from link below). We walked maybe 3/4 mile to Las Hadas, but didn't have the $25 per person they want as an entrance fee that entitles you to $25 in food, drinks, etc. After asking where an ATM was, they let us in without paying and we spent $25 on a credit card for beers and pizza. A beautiful hotel, pool, etc.

Seas were a little rough for the second half of the return trip with moderate swells and 20 knot winds equaling our 20 knot speed (40 knots of wind at the bow). The ship did not roll, but the bow did go up and down. It was not a problem and we saw no one seasick.

 

I've heard the tip on bungie cords to hold the balconey doors open. While that works, a better idea is to get a 3/4 inch dowel (or 3/4 by 3/4 piece of wood) about 9 to 10 inches long. Placed in the track at the top of the door, it keeps the door open without having to figure out where to locate the end of the bungie. The service staff uses these blocks of wood to keep the cabin doors open during cleaning and I don't think the ship's movement would push the door open and allow the dowel to drop out. We had a double length balcony and climbed over the bungie several times.

 

San Diego was not a problem boarding as we had heard from other posts. We did get there about 12:30 and were on the ship in about an hour. The rooms were ready right away. However, with this 8 day schedule, there's a possibility of having two cruise ships in as Holland America operates to Mexico on Saturdays and that may delay boarding. There are other sporatic cruises that start and end in SD. While this is our home and a friend dropped us off, the proximity to the airport is under two miles and the ship docks in Downtown, not with container ships. Come early or stay late in San Diego, where's it's usually 65 to 70 even in the "Winter"

 

One lounge we found on the second to last night was the Versallies Lounge (under the Pharos Palace main show lounge). You have to catch a spiral staircase to get there. They were running karioke contests and they were funny. Art Auctions there as well.

 

We got shut out of the Nouveau Supper Club as we waited until leaving Manzanillo to check on a reservation and found there was a waiting list of ten groups for the rest of the cruise. It looked nice with views, a band and dance floor, for $25 each.

 

We didn't check out the Carnival Vacations program as it looked kind of like a timeshare deal where you had to listen to a 20 minute presentation.

 

My photos are posted at the following address:

http://www.aquawise.com/cruise04f.html

There are 6 pages of photos to see - one for each port plus a couple on the ship and activities on board. Enjoy.

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Thanks for the review!

 

I had to laugh when you mentioned running the "need a taxi?" gauntlet in Acapulco. That was obnoxious!

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Thanks for the wonderful pictures, I almost forgot I'm not really there yet. We leave Jan. 28th for our sailing and I'm really dreaming now.

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Thanks for the review Emptynest. I'm going on the 28th of Jan. Was on her last year for a Southern Caribbean cruise. I agree, she's a very nice ship you never feel crowded even when it's full. (except for some bottlenecks on the lido buffets):)

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Thanks for the great pictures - I am also on the January 28th cruise - can hardly wait! We love cruising - I know my husband will like the pictures, too.

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Great pictures. We are going in a couple of weeks. Can you tell what time they started letting people off the ship. We are trying to make 9:30 train, or we have to wait till noon.Think we can do it?

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