The Cruise of a Lifetime with the Carnival Spirit
From the moment we stepped on-board the Carnival Spirit, we were catapulted into an incredible family experience that we will never forget! It was literally the stuff dreams are made of! If you’re looking for a holiday that is equally as fabulous for kids as it is for parents, I cannot recommend a cruise highly enough! It was a series of adventures, one after the other!
Food glorious Food
A family that makes pizza together, stays together. This was great fun cooking in the kitchen with the kids.
Let’s begin with the food - a smorgasbord of culinary delights (you might recall I’ve mentioned my ‘buffet belly’ on more than one occasion!) We were lucky enough to be traveling courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines (last time and had a fabulous table at the popular Empire dining room restaurant.
The range of food on the menu was incredible – one side of the menu is standard and familiar, from surf ‘n turf and Caesar salad to grilled prawns and lamb casserole but every night they spoilt us with a special theme: Mexican night, seafood night, Indian night. The atmosphere in the restaurant was like a carnival itself, with the fun-loving waiters getting up for a song and dance!
The buffet in Lido was to-die-for and caters to every taste – from the 24-hour pizza, hot food including roast dinners, Indian delights, seafood, hamburgers with delicious spicy French fries, 24 hour ice-cream for the kids (let’s face it, the adults loved it too!) and a fantastic salad bar. Needless to say the dessert station was a huge hit too, with salted caramel cheesecakes, strawberry shortcakes, fruit salad, chocolate mousse…the list goes on!
Trust me when I say I haven’t come close to mentioning all the food on offer! There’s also a fabulous sushi restaurant, Bonsai Sushi and also the opportunity to book a table in the incredible Nouveau restaurant.
We had a great time staying fit on the ship – if you stroll around the deck 10 times you’ve already covered 5kms! Carnival Spirit is equipped with some highly-experienced fitness trainers who can take you for a class and give you some great tips. The gym is as good as anywhere in the world; what better way to work out than with the rolling waves of the glorious ocean in your sights!
The kids also kept fit playing soccer, basketball and mini-golf but, like any kids, mine were happiest just running around, swimming and playing with new-found friends. And that’s another thing about cruising, the friends you’ll make. My family and I all made friends we know we will have for a lifetime! Another fantastic aspect of Carnival is the incredible staff. These glorious people have been handpicked from a variety of 51 (yes – 51!) different nationalities.
I loved being able to look at the staffs’ name badges which included the name of their home country and I was thrilled to meet a few staff members from Serbia and Croatia – this meant we could have a good old chat in the native tongue! The kids were truly sad to say goodbye to the incredible staff who were so warm, loving, kind and super fun! We will never forget them.
The facilities on-board Carnival Spirit are just incredible – the kids club is organised into age groups and gives mums and dads a chance to relax. There’s a special section of the ship called Serenity which is reserved for 18-plus and it was simply heaven, with its own pool, hammocks, and a bar (another green iguana please!)
Tip: for Serenity, you’ll need to get there early to grab the best seats! I loved that the kids were given so much independence. With their ID on a name badge that doubled as a room key, they were able to let themselves in and out of the cabin and check themselves in and out of ‘Kids club.’
One of my highlights was the nightly pre-dinner drinks at the Alchemy cocktail bar with my fellow Serbian barman . The staff went out of their way to make us happy, with tailor-made cocktails!
All you had to do was let them know your favourite flavours – let’s say grapefruit and cranberry – and within minutes they will concoct a cocktail, or mocktail, that suits you to a T! My hubby helped created a cocktail that the waiter christened ‘Humpty Dumpty’ – if he manages to recreate that drink at home, it will always be his ‘signature drink!”
Our first port was Mare, New Caledonia where a shuttle bus was waiting to take us to the incredible local beach – with crystal clear water, and a beautiful beach that was lined with little huts filled with stalls. You could buy drinks, coconuts and hot chips – or simply get your hair braided.
Our second stop was Noumea and Amadee island. A quick boat ride to the island was all it took to be in paradise. Amadee Island truly resembled the classic ‘desert island’ that has starred in countless movies. In fact, it really resembled a movie set! It was one of the most idyllic beach settings I have ever seen.
There was plenty of snorkelling fun; you can hire all the gear at the local shop. The kids (and their father) loved jumped off the jetty into the water. Plus we were treated to a buffet of exquisite French Polynesian food. We did not want to leave!
Lifou, New Caledonia was equally as stunning. We spent the day visiting the local villages and we were given a fascinating lesson in what life is like on the island. We visited a large hut that was the equivalent of Parliament House, a stunning Catholic church and then a cooking demonstration.
Port Vila, Vanuatu
Port Vila was a definite highlight, despite the incredibly humid weather which took us all by surprise! We caught a shuttle bus to the Cascade Falls, where a gloriously warm and friendly guide took us to the waterfalls. It was sheer heaven as we all climbed the rocks to jump into the beautiful water. It’s an experience we will never forget. Even my 4-year-old Zali was jumping off the rocks, proving that it really is a trip for families of all ages!
I hope you enjoy our happy videos that sums up our magical trip of a lifetime! My kids, my hubby and I are already dreaming of our next cruise and cannot stop talking about our incredible experience on the Carnival Spirit. We were all so sad to say goodbye to the ship and, especially, the wonderful crew. Make sure you book a cruise holiday real soon, okay? I can’t recommend it enough!
WANT TO GO?
Fares on Carnival Spirit’s 10-night roundtrip cruise to New Caledonia and Vanuatu departing Sydney on May 23, 2016, start from $954* per person quad share and $1049* twin share. Price includes accommodation, main meals, and onboard entertainment. Fares valid for sale until March 28, 2016. Book by January 25, 2016 and receive an onboard credit of up to $300 per stateroom.
For more information and bookings see a travel agent, contact Carnival Cruise Line on 13 31 94, or visit www.carnival.com.au
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