Carnival Cruise Lines
'The Fun Ships'
Carnival Cruise Lines is the world's largest and most popular cruise line on the planet with 22 ships.
Carnival Corporation is the industry's largest. Other cruise lines in the family fold include Costa Cruise Lines, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, Seabourn Cruise Line, and Windstar Cruises.
Using it's 'Fun Ships' branding, they go all over the Americas (and even Europe), and offer an experience that is very varied indeed.
Carnival, holding a long-time reputation for being full of fun, glitzy and 'festival-yet-casual', have moved on, taken note of market trends and upgraded.
Not to say that the Carnival atmosphere has gone, indeed they are well-placed, with their excellent, bright and brash lounges and discos, to appeal to a young set.
In tune with the growing short-break market Carnival Cruise Lines has grasped the opportunity in the US, with vacations of three to five nights using most of its Fantasy-class ships in those markets.
As one of the most innovative of cruise lines Carnival offers, uniquely amongst their competitors, a 'vacation guarantee', whereby unhappy guests can disembark at the first port of call and receive a full refund.
Carnival have been making a lot of changes over the last couple of years. These have meant that some are upgraded in different ways and if it's a particular feature you want, best to check out which ships carry the particular feature.
For 12-night Hawai'i cruises, they start from Ensenada, Honolulu and Vancouver.
Hawaiian ports of call on 'Carnival Spirit' are Kona, Hawai'i; Hilo, Hawai'i; Kahului, Maui; and Honolulu, Oahu, Lahaina, Maui, though exactly where you touch down depends on the cruise itinerary.
For Carnival Spirit, 80% of her staterooms have ocean views, and of those, 80% have balconies - make the Carnival Spirit the perfect ship for extra-special itineraries like Hawaii.
What's the Food Like?
From the two-story high Empire Restaurant, the elegant main dining room, through to the La Playa Grille, providing fabulous bistro-style eating at your choice of table.
These are the top two layers of the Carnival Spirit culinary experience. driven by creative menus from Georges Blanc.
The signature "Total Choice Dining" experience is completed with passengers choosing dining times from 5:45 PM, 6:15 PM, 8 PM, and 8:30 PM.
For more casual dining, the 24 hour pizzeria is there for your 3am snack and the Fountain Cafe is daytime comfort and coffeeshop eating. Scattered around are plenty of other feeding stops to build your reserves.
On the Carnival Spirit, one unique feature is the Nouveau Supper Club (extra charge applies), another two-story high, restaurant which provides it's own bandstand music, for a special and intimate evening onboard.
What's There to Do?
During the day
Carnival, as you might expect, provides a very wide range of range of activities to keep you amused.
There are the usual physical distractions and typically, some to appeal to your artistic, culinary or 'inner soul' side.
There are also the usual fitness centres and Carnival has rebranded it's spa offering to Spa Carnival, with steam rooms & beauty salon.
Choosing from the 4 pools can be tricky too. The jogging track around the ship very precisely measure 15 laps to the mile.
Want to shop? The Fashion Boulevard will happily extract dollars from your plastic.
If the thought of all that exhausts you, the Chippendale Library has a huge selection of books for you to relax and chill.
The Fun House is the home of the Camp Carnival program, which is for younger kids, whilst the O2 program looks after teens and above.
There's fun around the pool with a huge 72ft spiral waterslide into a pool on Deck 11 and other kids pools around the ship.
Older kids will be thrilled with the Techno Arcade, loaded with state-of-the-art virtual reality experiences.
When the Sun goes down
Once the kids are either tucked in or off with the bigger kids elsewhere, the grown ups can indulge themselves.
The Carnival Spirit provides a wide range of entertainment for your pleasure. Catering to the interest of everyone, whether a bar or a lounge is your preference, there are 18 of them to explore, enough for your 12 day cruise - maybe!
The main center where guests flock in the evening is the Pharoh's Palace, a three story theatre where your fabulous 'Las Vegas & Broadway Style Shows' are held nightly.
If you are keen to strut your stuff, the Dancin' Dance Club in a two stories high setting will keep your feet tapping (and more), till the early hours.
Lots of fun is the Shanghai Piano Lounge - A Sing-A-Long Bar where everyone gets the chance to join in and have lots of fun!
That's about 4 or 5, so you can see there's lots more to go at.
Need to keep in touch?
Other ship highlights include Internet cafés and, of course you can dial home to check that everyone is working hard at the day job while you relax!
Who Goes on Carnival Cruises?
According to their own data, Carnival's breakdown of age groups is 30% under age 35, 40% are ages 35–55, and 30% are over age 55. So it's a broad church for which Carnival caters well.
Catering for passengers are a broad cross-section of mainly middle-America
Need to rest your head? Well, suite passengers even have a "suite pillow menu" from which to select a specific pillow of their choice!