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Best Cruise Prices - Cheap Cruise Review - It Was Cheap, But it Was Fantastic!

This was our first cruise on Carnival Cruise Lines, and we were apprehensive. It was a great cruise.

General Impressions of our "Best Cruise Prices" Cheap Cruise aboard the Carnival Spirit

Ok, that headline is for the search engines.  :)

First, let me say that there is not a one size fits all cruise line.  Each of them have their strengths and weaknesses.  It does not make one cruise line better than another, it just makes them different.

For tight budgets the best cruise prices are on Carnival .

 The ship from our best cruise prices experiment is in good shape and obviously well maintained.  As is usual on a ship there were people cleaning constantly.  In reading these boards I was actually expecting a much “gaudier” décor than we found.  It is lively and colorful, but all in all I think it works. The traffic patterns were all good and we found it easy to get around.

Demographics – There are very few children on board this week.  They did have Halloween activities for them, but we seldom saw most of them.  In general, this was a much older than I was expecting with a great many seniors and it did appear to us that most of the passengers were in the 40 – 60  age range.

Our stateroom was fantastic and so was the cabin steward.

The best cruise price or not, I do not think we have ever had a better cabin steward than Wayan!! He not only put up with all our decorating and antics, he was happy to help with the pranks and to join in the fun.  Our stateroom was always immaculate and we never had a request that was not fulfilled immediately.

  We loved this stateroom. Again, aft cabins are not for everyone and in fact, on member of our group said he never used his balcony because it was too noisy. I have read differences in opinion on the configuration of the aft wrap cabins on the spirit class ship because it is really cut into a living area, the bathroom/dressing area and the bedroom.  We found this to be a great configuration and enjoyed it immensely. The mattresses rival the ones on HAL and I hope Carnival gets on the stick and makes the change on Princess too.  They were very comfortable. You wouldn't know is was a cheap cruise by the stateroom we had.

The food on the ship was hit-and-miss

Cruise Ship Food – This is probably the single most subjective area on reviews of a cruise.  As with every cruise, we found some things we loved and some things that were just awful.  We enjoyed the Nouveau Supper Club and will be going for the second time tonight. The dining room was really hit and miss. Some wonderful dishes ( the lobster was as good as any I have ever had at sea) and some not so good ones ( most of the beef dishes.)

  I will state right here and now that I am in the very small percentage of people that did not like the chocolate melting cake, again personal preferences.  The Buffet was identical and limited every morning for breakfast. (We were never up early enough to make it to the dining room)  The lunch was varied and had some good things and some not so great but again it is easy to pick and choose at a buffet.  We liked the pizza and the hamburgers and the pasta.  We enjoyed having soft serve ice cream available.

We found the service less than ideal

Service and Staff – This is where we hit the real problem areas. We never saw the CD out and around on deck.  He was at some games and some trivia etc, but as far as meeting and greeting passengers, none of us saw him.  Our waiter was arrogant and uninterested although his assistant was wonderful.  On Halloween, the CD said in an announcement if you didn’t bring a costume just grab a sheet or make something up.  So one couple in our group did just that and fashioned togas, the gentleman’s shoulder was bare but the wife’s was not.  The Maitre De refused to allow him in the dining room. What was up with that ??  When all was said and done, the only people that we felt deserved extra tips were our steward and assistant and the dining room assistant.  That has never happened to us before.

The best cruise prices but not the best communication

Communication – The order and some of the hours of the itinerary was changed.  Apparently some people got flyers about this at embarkation, but most did not.  No general announcement was made and the only place we ever saw it in writing was the reservation for shore excursion form. How simple would it have been to include a piece of paper with the first capers??  Also, I can actually read my own capers, I found it annoying that the CD read the whole thing over the loudspeaker each day.

We didn’t go to the entertainment.  We did have a ball at the Piano Bar with Steve, and I saw the question about whether he would still be here in January , I will be there tonight and get an answer. If I see the CD I will ask him too, but I am not holding out much hope.

Embarkation was a mess, but it was people being humans.

Embarkation was a mess, but that was a fluke.  It would, however, have been much smoother if so many passengers had not insisted on bringing their luggage on board with them and completely clogging the passageways to the gangway while waiting for their zones to be called.  The flip side of that, we got our luggage much quicker than expected, I am not sure they had much to deliver.

General Information

I don’t remember reading a few things that surprised me on these boards so I will mention them here.  We had two sign and sail cards with different numbers on the same credit card.  Every charge that my husband made was on his folio on the TV and also on my folio so it looked like it was charged twice.  This caused many passengers to crowd the pursers desk for an explanation the first couple of days.  Also, the pursers desk does allow a check to be cashed for $5.50 / $100.00.  So if you wanted $400.00 it would cost you $22.00. Not the best cruise prices.

Overall – We have enjoyed ourselves.  Our group from cruise critics, many of whom have sailed together before had a ball with all our goings on and antics.  Would I cruise Carnival again?  Yes, if this group decided that that would be next years cruise.  I would pick a different line for my husband and myself because we did find some of the things that we value most in cruising to be lacking, unless a bunch of our friends wanted to do anther cheap cruise, and then we might go.