On a cruise ship
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Carnival Spirit: Fun sailings from Australia to Alaska
One of the standbys of the Carnival fleet since 2001, Carnival Spirit has grown into one of Australians' favorite cruise ships. Back in the day, the 85,920-ton, 2,124-passenger ship introduced a few significant firsts for the cruise line, including specialty restaurants, as the first of four Spirit-class ships. Those ships also boast an appealing configuration with four-fifths of the cabins having ocean views.
After several multimillion-dollar refurbishments in recent years, Carnival Spirit now boasts an aqua park and waterslide, Green Thunder; a 180-foot-long twister that starts with a pulse-pounding, near-vertical drop; the Serenity deck space for an adults-only retreat; a top-deck barbecue venue; and draft beers on tap.
Who will like sailing on Carnival Spirit
The ship attracts two distinct audiences: From October to March, you'll find a majority of Aussies and a sprinkling of travelers from elsewhere looking for a holiday on a Fun Ship with lots of family activities. During the U.S.'s summer months, Americans and Canadians make up the majority of guests, with mostly sightseeing adults and a fair number of familiies looking to experience the wonders of Alaska.
Where Carnival Spirit sails
Home port: Sydney; in 2020, the ship will home port in Brisbane, Australia.
Carnival Spirit offers a variety of sailings. For those looking to see if cruising agrees with them, a 3-Night Weekend Sampler on Carnival Spirit, from Sydney to Melbourne and back, will give you a good taste. Spirit is a good choice for a circumnavigation of Australia as well as voyages to New Zeland, Tasmania, Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. Each April the ship moves north, with Alaska cruises from Seattle to Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Skagway, Ketchikan and Vancouver, B.C.
Dining on Carnival Spirit
Carnival Spirit features a variety of complimentary dining options for guests, including:
- Empire Restaurant, the 1,300-seat, two-deck main dining room, with two fixed dinner seatings or anytime dining. The decor is what you might call "Napoleonic splendor," with crystal chandeliers, gold-trimmed portholes and murals decorating the ceiling domes. Breakfast, lunch and dinner served.
- La Playa Grille Lido Buffet Restaurant, a 1,458-seat self-service restaurant on the Lido deck with complimentary food stations; it turns into a dinner bistro in the evenings.
- Guy's Burger Joint, the popular Carnival restaurant with some of the best burgers at sea.
- BlueIguana Cantina, the Mexican restaurant featuring freshly made salsa, burritos and tacos.
- Fat Jimmy's C-Side BBQ serves Black Angus beef sausages, smoked chicken breast, pulled-pork sandwiches, salads, grilled onion rings and the like.
Dining for a fee
Specialty dining on Spirit includes these options:
- Nouveau Steakhouse, a 156-seat restaurant serving seafood and prime beef steaks, with live performances on stage. Reservations are required.
- Seafood Corner with a menu that includes seafood platters, local prawns, oysters, fresh fish (barramundi, snapper and flounder fresh from Sydney's seafood markets), fish'n'chips, lobster rolls and more.
- Bonsai Sushi with a la carte pricing for sushi and sashimi dishes.
- Chef's Table, the $90 (AU) per guest celebration of gastronomy, with beautifully prepared courses.
Entertainment & activities
Carnival Spirit is big on trivia, with three to four games with different themes happening on any given day. You'll also find golf chipping competitions, table tennis competitions, family scavenger hunts, along with towel-folding lessons and dance classes. Pop into one of the lectures about port destinations or local culture, given by the cruise director or by a visiting expert. Sushi-making demonstrations take place in the Bonsai Sushi and ticketed wine-and-cheese tastings in the adults-only Serenity area are held at least once per cruise.
In the evening, guests can head to the theater for musical productions or game shows, take part in a karaoke sing-along with a live band, take in a comedian, play a game show and more. The optional theme nights get a lot of passengers to participate, with guests dressed in their best '80s, Mexican or Caribbean garb.
Carnival Spirit has 1,062 staterooms n 33 grades. Inside cabins (213 of them), Oceanview (167) and Balcony cabins (632) are 185 square feet in size, with Balcony rooms coming with verandas of 40 to 85 square feet). The ship also has 50 Suites and 16 wheelchair-accessible cabins, though no Spa accommodations. Suites include separate sitting areas, refrigerators, whirlpool bathtubs, double sinks and large balconies with two tables, sun loungers and sitting chairs.
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