At first it was hard to get used to the rolling.
It wasn’t really rocky, but it did make you feel, and look like, you had drunk far too many Mojitos.
Truth be told, I probably had. My head sure felt it as I jogged around the 400m running track my first morning on Canival Spirit’s upper deck.
The fresh, crisp air helped shake the hangover away. Several other cruisers had the same idea: some walked, some ran, others sat watching the sun rise toast in one hand, coffee in the other.
With endless ocean on either side, how could one not be satisfied?
I wasn’t too sure how I’d take to it, but it did not take me long to slip into a way of life that does not require you to do much other than eat, sleep, and drink with a bit of reading, shopping, watching entertainment shows, and relaxation therapies thrown in between.
Since I first heard of the Serenity Deck on Carival Spirit months earlier, I had dreamt of it nightly.
The Serenity Deck, at the very back of the ship, is an adults only sanctury and a place where you could potentially while away the hours uninterrupted: soft music playing in the background; padded turquoise deck chairs; book in one hand, drink in the other; and the sun beaming down.
Serenity Deck fitted perfectly with the words “Kids Club”.
As busy parents to two young daughters it’s not often we get much down time, so the idea of us relaxing uninterupted on Serenity Deck whilst Kalyra was happy socializing with kids her own age, creating T-shirts and watching magic shows in the Kids Club was very appealing.
Although we didn’t get to utilize Serenity Deck as much as hoped on this cruise, it was Spring Break time meaning extra College kids on board and the padded turquoise deck chairs and spa in this kids free zone were hot tickets, we did snatch was a quick one hour before dinner on the last evening.
We were sailing into San Diego and it was windier and colder. There was no one else around, just Craig and I and our pints of Red Frog beer watching the sunset. I got a glimpse into just what a magical part of a Carnival Spirit cruise it would be under normal conditions.
So if you are planning to sail on Carnival Spirit and experience Serenity, our HOT TIP would be to get there early to claim your chair, or, wait until late in the afternoon when people had moved on to get ready for dinner, or the drinkers had moved on to more lively bars.
And plenty of bars there were.
From sports bars to jazz lounges, to piano and pool bars, the ship had 16 of them to play in. (I was pleasantly surprised to see that the alcohol prices were not exorbitant.)
And the food. Oh, the food. At least while on board you did not have to worry about food: the quality, the amount or the price.
Lucky for me I’m not a big fan of pizza or ice-cream, as the 24/7 supplies would have tripled my weight, instead of doubling it. However, Kalyra was in ice cream heaven.
A smorgasbord of food is served three times a day in the Lido buffet restaurant. There’s a wide variety of meal choices to choose from to suit all needs.
But I found myself gravitating more towards the Empire Restaurant. An a la carte menu, with world class food headed up by a world class Indian Chef.
I was not let down by one meal in the restaurant and found myself talking about certain dishes, like the lobster and chocolate melting cake, for days after.
The dinner atmosphere was particularly festive, at random times the wait staff would break into entertaining renditions of “That’s Amore” or booty shaking disco beats.
It’s not just about relaxation.
Whilst you can have that “do nothing” experience, you can also go the other way.
I was really surprised at how much there is to do on a cruise ship. Activities include; the Water park, swimming pools & spas, a gym, the running track, mini golf, bingo, trivia quizzes, build- a- bear, karaoke, a disco, a casino, singing and comedy shows, and much more.
In total 43 different activities every day.
The pool deck is pumping with live music, pineapple cocktails, two pools and spas that we had to drag Kalyra out of. Each day there is a cocktail of the day, today’s was a Pina Colada.
Kalyra loved spending time in the Kids Club creating princess crowns, meeting Freddy the Funship mascot, and attending dance parties with lots of new friends.
She wasn’t in there much, as there were too many fun things for us to do as a family.
We particularly enjoyed playing mini-golf. It was far more relaxing than our first experience in the Hunter Valley, when Kalyra threw her club down and spat forth her hatred for the game.
It must have been the sight of the ocean as a putting backdrop that enticed her back.
She teed off first and effortlessly putted a hole in one. A couple of holes later and she hit the shot of the game, it bumped over the hill, did a 360 reverse angle, hit off the backboard, and rolled into the hole.
At least it looked like it did something like that.
Carnival Cruise ships are made with families in mind.
There is so much to do to keep all members of the family entertained and happy.
We enjoyed some peaceful time out in the spa having massages. It was difficult to select just one from the menu. Craig went for his favourite Deep Tissue and I decided to be bold and try a bamboo massage.
My extreme disappointment came at the end when Sammy told me that she believed bamboo massages could not be found on land. I think I could safely say, the bamboo massage was almost as good as, if not better than, a Thai massage.
I’ve never felt a massage get so deeply into my knots before and release massive amounts of tension in such a short period of time.
Carnival Spirit has upped the fun for its relocation to its new home, Sydney, in October.
If you want some thrills then head straight to the Green Thunder water slide.
You know that it’s the fastest slide at sea, you know that it will take you over the water, but you still don’t really know what is about to happen as you stand inside the capsule waiting for the floor to be whisked out from underneath your feet.
It is a surreal experience. The attendant counts you down and before you know it you are dropping and shooting through the water tunnel at speeds that can only drive your costumes up your butt.
Cruising is not just about life at sea.
There is life on the land to experience as well. On our five day cruise we spent two days in our port of call in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Although it was a tourist town, heavy with Spring Breakers, I found it to be a great introduction to Mexico. We skipped the party fun the first day and ventured beyond the town to some nearby beaches on a jeep tour.
Kalyra took to it immediately, climbing in and out of the jeep like she was Daisy from the Dukes of Hazard.
We drove past cacti in the desert, along the sandy beaches, resting at a beautiful local beach here we clamoured over the rocks and swam in the icy, yet clear turquoise waters. It was really beautiful.
Of course we made sure that on the way back we stopped at the Pirates Tavern for fish tacos and Margaritas and loaded up our suitcases with cheap tequila.
Day two on land and we decided to get amongst the action at Medano Beach, which is Cabo’s main beach and extends through the main beachfront hotel zone, and abounds with beach activity such as; watercraft, catamarans, sea kayaks, parasailors, and drinking.
Being Spring Break, the music was pumping and the College kids were downing shots, but there was still a high volume of families enjoying the vibe, the views, and the Mexican beach lifestyle.
By the end of the cruise we had gotten used to the rolling and the cruising lifestyle. We had both decided that cruising could be a family holiday we could adopt more often.
Some holidays are just meant for relaxing, giving back to yourself, and having memorable times with those you love.
You get to see the sunrise over the water, potentially watch whales and dolphins playing outside your bedroom window, and then watch the sun set over the water in the evening.
There are not too many places in the world where you can do that.
And that sums up the experience of cruising.
Carnival Spirit will be permanently based out of Sydney in October. That’s right, the worlds funnest cruise ship is making it’s home in the worlds best harbour.
More Info: Visit www.Carnival.com.au
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Carnival Cruise Lines Australia, but all opinions are my own.