Carnival Spirit Northbound Alaska, Sailing of May 23, 2001
We flew into Seattle a day early, used some Hotel points for a nights stay and had time for some sightseeing before the Cruise.
Embarkation: We arrived at the Seattle airport at 9:00 am and checked in with the Carnival Rep. At Luggage claim #1. We received our Snack Meal and ticket for our bus. Luggage was taken here and sent to the ship. The Bus ride was about 3-1/2 hours with one stop along the way to get out and stretch. Customs into Canada took about 10 min. They do not allow anyone to bring into Canada and Firearms or Mace or Pepper Spray. Two people had to give there's up, so leave it at home. The drive through Vancouver is like any big city, and your arrival at the Dock is surprising. You round the corner and there is the Bow of the ship, but that's all you get to see before the bus pulls into the building. A short walk get your picture taken then on to the lines.
My have arrived at a bad time, but only 17 representatives were working, so spent 30-45 min going through the lines. On to the new Photo ID station, must be new to the staff as well as the cruisers, but took some time, but then you arrive at the ship.
The Ship: We entered the ship on deck 2 into the Atrium which seams smaller than some of the
others. The decor was not as overwhelming as expected, but the lack of neon was note able.
With everything being new and clean, and thinking back to our last few cruises, I was impressed by how well the other ships are maintained. This ship is a little harder to find your way around on then others, and a few signs indicating direction to the front and back would help also. Floor level
are marked at each stairwell and elevator point with the floor number embedded into the carpet, it was the second day before I noticed them, you have to look to see them. The ship sailed very smoothly, the worst we had were 4-6 foot seas.
The Dome pool was heated and was in use, the water slide was not in use, the Spa's were heated and received a lot of use. One of the complaints heard were why the Spa's closed at 8:00 PM..
Staterooms: We were in stateroom 4171 on Main deck, an Outside with Balcony. For storage the room has three closets, one hanger closet with the bar at about 6', this came with 6 hangers. One hanger closet with the bar at about 5', this came with 6 hangers, there is a shelf above the hanger bar. The third closet could be used as a hanger closet with the bar at 6' , this came with 8 hangers or there were 3 fold down shelves to make storage. The dressing table had four drawers to one side, (the top drawer included a hair dryer) one center drawer, one Mini Bar in a refrigerator,
above the Mini Bar is the television, (no fun vision), there were AV/audio input jacks on the front which made reviewing the tapes we recorded easy. Just under the Television is the in room safe. To the side of the Mini Bar is another storage area of narrow shelves. There are two night stands with storage under them. The couch has two storage area under then. The bathroom had lots of storage space and was well lit, it has a large wall to wall vanity top. There is one outlet in the restroom for a shaver. There is only one electrical outlet in the stateroom.
Entertainment: Shawn Bussey is the Cruise Director, can't say she is the best, but saw nothing that deserved the bad press I have read on the board. There was entertainment all over the ship
many trio's playing in the Atrium, Dining Room, and Supper club. Party music was by a group called Zest, the Piano Bar was hosted by "Big Diamond Dave" the disco was hosted by a DJ, we walked through the DJ nice area but nothing was happening there so back to Big Diamond Dave.
Karaoke was held two nights and drew a good crowd. They had a great Country singer in the Casino, why there I don't know, he should have been in a club where he could have been heard and enjoyed.
The on board shows were outstanding as always, the sight line in the theater have been greatly improved, the seating in the upper levels is much better, and better seats also. In addition to the Broadway type shows they had Billy Armstrong, fiddle player, Lubo & Lucy and Pepper Kaminoff balancing acts. Merle Hobbs and Happy Cole comedy acts. The ever popular guest talent show rounding out the shows.
Food--Dining Room: The food was good, but the menu seamed the same as most of the Caribbean Cruises we had been on. We had hoped for something a little different. The service under the new team concept was slower than we are use too, but in no means, was it less than great. The dining room is two stories and quite attractive. There are more tables for two than on most ships and few tables for 8-10 people. Being in the back of the ship and down on decks 2 and 3 there was some noise and vibration from the engine room, but nothing bad. Formal Nights were on Thursday and Monday, Few Tuxes but a lot of suits and formal Dresses. The dining room and the rest of the interior of the ship was kept very warm, strapless style grown for diner would be ok for the ladies.
Food--La Playa Grill: Deli bar, Oriental bar, Pizza bar, Salad bar, Desert bar, Lido deck grill, and my favorite the Ice Cream bar, offered a wide variety of food,. Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate, Fruit drinks we available also.
Port of Call—Ketchikan: Weather today, warm and sunny. At this port you must TENDER in. We took the Mystic Fjords Seaplane Adventure. This was in a 17 passenger, twin engine air craft, this plane was quite noisy and very crowded. The tour took about two hours, and we saw a lot of mountains, streams, and lakes, one of which we landed on and had a chance to step out on the planes floats and enjoy the quiet and take a few photos. Upon return we walked thru the town and did some shopping. There were lots of Bald Eagles to be seen nesting in the trees and
Port of Call–Juneau: Weather today, warm and sunny. At a dock today, thank goodness...In the morning we did a walking tour of the city along with some shopping. Then in the afternoon we took the Helicopter Glacier Discovery tour. This was provided by NorthStar Trekking. This being our first time in a Helicopter we were quite nervous, but after just a few minutes into the flight that was all far behind us. The view was outstanding, the flight was very smooth with few turbulence. The Best part of the trip was the landing on Gilkey Glacier. We got out and spent about 30 min. walking around the glacier, the pilot was very well informed and told us a lot about glaciers. This tour was one of the high points of the trip, even with the cost, this was worth the expense. One of the most often heard question was why we stayed in Juneau till 11:00 PM!!!
Port of Call–Skagway: Weather today, overcast and drizzly. At a dock today, in the morning walked through the town, missed the morning ranger tour, so just did our own, you can tour the whole town in about two hours. In the afternoon did the White Pass Rail Summit Excursion (up and down). Very enjoyable trip, very few taking the trip at this time, we did not have to change sides on the way down. Wish the train had gone a little slower, have to be ready for the photo opportunity as they don't last very long. The only wildlife we saw was Black bear on the way down.
Port of Call–Sitka: Weather today, warm and sunny. We did not take a tour here, the tender ride was almost 30 min. each way, and there were lines on both ends waiting. There were a total of three cruise ships in ports today, the town was just overwhelmed with people, we tried to do some shopping but gave up, took some photos and headed back to the ship. There were some Bald Eagles here also.
Cruising Prince William Sound and College Fjord.: Weather today, Overcast and cool. You needed a jacket today. The second highlight of the cruise. Got into the college Fjord area starting about noon, the ship slowed down to about 2 knots as it slowly made its way up the Fjord
the ships naturalist Steve Zeff provided a running commentary of what we were seeing. The ship ended up about 2/10 of a mile from the face of the glacier. There were Otters floating around in the water and some on the icebergs.
Port of call–Seward: Weather today, warm and sunny. We opted to take the Portage Glacier Cruise tour as our flight home was not till 8:00PM. This tour goes out on portage lake and up close to the face of the glacier. They collect chunks of ice for you to inspect, and provide a great deal of information. Saw a Moose as we were arriving. Also saw a beaver along the way.
Debarkation:–Weather today, warn and sunny. Ready for the shocker, debarkation starts at
6:00 AM, yes 6:00 AM, they have most people off by 8:00 AM. No Immigration, no Customs, just up early, breakfast starts at 5:00 AM.
Look for other posts with information on tour cost, mini-bar contents, cigar menu and price list, and revised drink price list.