Getting Into the Spirit on Carnival Cruises

Posted February 21st, 2013

Cruising Sydney Harbour on Carnival Cruises was an amazing experience for Julia Hindman from Cruiseabout in Auckland, who found almost too much to fit in to her all-too-brief time on board.

Arriving at Sydney’s Circular Quay to board our ship, we showed our boarding pass, received our “sail and sign” cards which act as both room key and charge card on board for your purchases, then headed straight across the gangway onto the ship. I'd recommend arriving at your allotted time to avoid queues. Use the afternoon to explore the ship and enjoy the views of Sydney harbour from the top deck.

Even better, arrive a day early so you have the morning to walk around Darling Harbour and enjoy the city before joining your cruise (and to help adjust to the 2 hour time difference from NZ). Darling Harbour has the Maritime Museum, IMAX, Aquarium, Zoo, Madame Tussauds, Chinese Gardens, monorail and a great shady playground for kids, as well as all the bars and restaurants, so there's plenty to occupy you with before or after your cruise.

Carnival Spirit has been sailing since 2001, and offers a range of cruises from Australia. The ship carries an impressive 2100 guests plus 1000 crew across 12 passenger decks. It's too tall to fit under the Sydney Harbour Bridge and is one of the largest ships to call Sydney home. The main reception area has 3 glass elevators which take passengers up to each level where balconies overlook the glitzy atrium.

Our extended balcony cabin was clean and tidy, with a flatscreen TV, lots of little cupboards and a wardrobe with dressing gowns, but the real treasure was the balcony. It's worth the upgrade to an extended balcony to have the floor to ceiling windows and be able to step out into the fresh air. For anyone worried about sea sickness, this was my private retreat to get some fresh air. Or for romantics, here is your space for savouring breakfast room service in your dressing gown!

The ship can also offer interconnecting balcony cabins, which are great for families. This really is a ship designed for families and groups.

It is all about FUN on Carnival Spirit. On deck there is mini golf, running tracks, a sports court, BBQ areas, swimming pools and sun loungers, plus over 40 onboard activities each day. The day spa has several treatment rooms for individual or couples massages, and there is a full hair salon right next door.

For kids (or those just feeling adventurous) there is the Green Thunder - the steepest and fastest water slide at sea. Stand with your legs and arms crossed against your body and countdown 3,2,1 then the ground gives way and you fall vertical into the slide. The slide actually sticks out over the side of the ship! The splash zone is a great area for kids,very well organised and like being on a floating water park.

The kids clubs are awesome areas for each age group, with loads of toys and computers plus a night owl programme screening movies.

If Mum and Dad are needing some quiet time, there is an adults only area at the aft of the ship. This is a peaceful retreat with day beds, hammocks, sun loungers , a spa, small pool and a bar with shady lounge seating around it. This was definitely a favourite of mine; a place to have a break from the crowds and families, like being at a tropical resort.

In the theatre there are 3 floors of circular seating used for movies and stage shows. Sometimes it can seem a bit cheesy, but the New Orleans style show we saw was very entertaining. There's also a smaller theatre on the floor below where there is a comedy club and karaoke.

The main restaurant is at the aft of the ship with large circle windows. It is a bouquet of glitter, gold and cream across two levels. To warm you up for the evening, the Shanghai Piano Bar is a nice smaller setting for pre-dinner drinks. Chinese themed, it features a grand piano in the centre of a bar which curves around the room.

There are also live bands playing out by the pool, and a nightclub in which you can dance the night away.

Carnival Spirit is great for couples, friends, families... everyone!

For more information on Carnival Cruises please contact a Cruiseabout cruise specialist or call on 0800 22 11 00.

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