We just sailed Spirit 2/21-3/1. We traveled with our 2 sons, 7&10. I must say , my husband and I both were very pleasantly surprised. we sailed RCL, Vision of the Seas last year, and Spirit was much better in many ways.
I just don't know what some people are talking about, because we had a very good experience over all. We are fairly sophiticated travelers, and usually stay at 5 star resorts in Hawaii.
Embarkation was a breeze! We got to the dock about 1:00-we were in our rooms by 1:30. Very easy. In fact, organization seemed to be one of Carnival's strenghts throughout the cruise.
We had 2 connecting balcony rooms on deck 7 mid ship. The rooms were nicely decorated-bathrooms were small, but had GREAT shower fixtures, and lots of shelves and storage.
The ship left and arrived at all ports on time. Infact, we were 2 hours early at Acapulco.
The food was plentiful and there were many, many choices-everywhere. Each meal was very good. Service was excellent. I would give the food 4 stars-If I were looking for a 5 star dining experience, I would cruise Crystal or Radisson.
The evening entertainment was good. I thought the Cruise directors (husband and wife team) were charming and entertaining. There were 3 dance shows, and some outside vocalists, and a comedian. There was also a hypnotist who was not great. The entertainment could have been better if there were more comedians, or a magician. This was the only area we thought RCL excelled in.
The casino is beautiful and large. We enjoyed playing some poker, and also enjoyed the ships games and bingo. There were arts and crafts, and family activities with Camp Carnival.
Camp Carnival was good. My kids enjoyed it, although there were no "guy counselors" and my kids think the guys like to play more games, etc. My kids also liked the arcade.
The pools were great-the slide was cool, too.
The gym was great-I also had a hot stone massage by Renata form Poland-it was probably the best massage I have ever had.
The dining was great-although they do have the wait staff sing almost every night in the dining room-just enjoy it all, even though it may not be your style-they just want everyone to have "fun".
Acapulco was nice-we hired a cab for $100 to take us around to the cliff divers, some old landmarks-we had lunch at Senor Frogs-it was good, but over priced a bit.
La Roqueta (the island)-looked nice, and I think if you like to snorkel, that would have made for a nice outing.I heard great things about it.
IXtapa was fabulous! We walked the town of Zijhataneo, then got a water taxi to Las Gatas Beach-it was great. Warm water, mariachis, and there a Palapas (restaurants) all lined up with chairs and umbrellas. You can also rent fins and/or snorkel gear for a few bucks there. We ate at El Arricife-it was excellent-fish, shrimp, guacamole, etc.
We had friends who went to the beach in Ixtapa, and said it was very nice, very quiet, and the water was beautiful-live coral reefs, etc.
Manzanillo was OK-it was a little cloudy-we took a cab to Playa Miramar-It was a nice beach-with waves, the kids liked that. There were also Palapas, but not as good as Zihja.
I wanted to go the the Karmina Palace resort for the day, but my Husband did not want to-it was about $60-70 pp including your food and drink-we had friends who went and said it was really nice. I would have spent the $$, but not hubby. Karmina palace would be 1st choice, playa miramar 2nd.
Debarkation was soooooo easy-Carnival was very organized. Also, when we tendered in Zihja/Ixtapa, we got our tickets, and were off the boat in about 15 minutes.
Overall, a great vacation value, and we had a really nice time-I also like the itinerary-2 days at sea, 3 port days, then 2 more sea days.
I would highly recommend this ship-If you don't have kids, go to the late seating dinner and show, you probably won't ever see children.