First Time Cruisers review of Carnival Spirit

A friend of Cruise Factor recently took their first cruise on Carnival Spirit and she wrote a blog about her journey and is happy for us to share. She traveled as part of a multi-generational family group. She gives great insight from a first time cruiser to everyone who is yet to take the plunge and book their first cruise!! This cruise was out of Sydney to the Pacific Islands.




Day 1:

Wow what a day!!! The Ship is amazing so much to explore. It’s the end of the day we are shattered – managed to try a cocktail, called a “Cruiser” definitely having another one of those.. “ Mum tried a Tahitian Sunset which wasn’t as good. Relaxed dinner in the buffet area and then bed. Ready for an exciting day tomorrow





Day 2:

What a day!!!! Buffet for breakfast, swimming, 24 hr all you can eat ice cream, burgers for lunch,,more swimming, cocktail number 2 and dinner in the elegant dining room and bed.. bit rough last night on the water but we are hooked!!!







Day 3:

Another day at sea so swimming, another cocktail, shopping, Build a Bear Workshop, Elegant Evening and a show. As for the dancers.. the costumes were great but my mother always said if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all so I’ll not comment on the dancing… The girls LOVED it!. Noumea tomorrow so exciting!!


Day 4:

Arrived in Noumea. It wasn’t anything like I had imagined it would be. Some beautiful beaches and islands but also lots of derelict buildings, houses and lots of graffiti everywhere. We jumped on a Tchou-Tchou Train and went on a tour of the city. Hopped off at the main bus terminal for some shopping. There were markets upstairs and you could get your hair braided there if you wanted to! Back to the ship for some lunch, a swim (of course) and a movie by the pool. Then we joined in on the trivia game “One Hit Wonders” and we won!!! Dinner was Hawaiian Night and then another show “Island Getaway” The guy juggling the glasses and cocktails was good!! Onto Mystery Island tomorrow for some snorkeling



Day 5:

Mystery Island…. Wow!! So beautiful!!! Size 1.5km2 (0.57 square miles), population 0!!! Location southernmost part of Vanuatu. Formerly used during World War II as an allied forces landing strip the air strip is still in operation for those with more money than they know what to do with. The locals from the nearby island of Tanna come ashore only during the day to sell trinkets, shells, sarongs etc. There’s no running water, electricity, phones, internet or TV and half of the island is the grass airstrip which runs from the beach on one side to the beach on the other. And it’s name is a Mystery.. because you can’t find it on any map and the locals believe it’s haunted at night which is why no one lives here… swimming, you had the opportunity to hold Iguanas, there was fresh coconut, and we went on the hunt for and found Dori.. Nemo alluded us this time, back on the ship for lunch, a cocktail, more swimming, dinner and another show this time a comical juggler.. Sea day tomorrow heading for Fiji.. this is bliss!!!


Day 6:

A nice relaxing day at sea today heading for Fiji. Breakfast in the Empire Dining Room, lots of towel animals everywhere, swimming (of course), Lip sync competition (no we didn’t enter), tried my first Espresso Martini and a Toblerone Cocktail, dinner and dancing again in the Empire Dining Hall (entertainment every night at dinner and it’s so much fun!), then another show 88 keys and found a massive bottle of Bacardi!!!! Onto Denarau tomorrow









Day 7:

Early start again this morning with breakfast and then in the queue to get on a tender for Denarau. Gorgeous day, some shopping and a short tour round the island. It was beautiful don’t get me wrong, but I kinda felt like we could have been anywhere in the world. Back on board for lunch, a swim then off to a 90s song trivia which we let someone else win this time 😉 then dinner and the most amazing Red Velvet Cake for dessert and more dancing during dinner. The show tonight was Hasbro the Game Show.. lots of fun.. Suva tomorrow.


I was in Suva 25 years ago so will be interesting to see if it has changed at all…


Day 8:

We cruised around to Suva overnight and by the time we woke we had docked. Off the ship and onto a free bus into the city to take a look around. Suva hasn’t changed…. lots of make-shift stalls and poverty. The mall we got dropped off at was lovely and air conditioned (thank goodness) cause boy was it hot!!! We shopped till we dropped and we all got our first pair of Nikes!!! 3 pairs for $300!!! Score!!! Back on the ship for a swim, some lunch and a cocktail and then off to learn the “Thriller” dance for the “80’s Rock’n’Glow” party. Dinner in the Empire, off to the “80’s Show” then the party up at what we call the “Movie Pool”. A couple of “Dance Floor” cocktails, we did our Thriller Dance then off to bed… can’t party like I used to be able to… 😳 Relaxing day at sea tomorrow on our way to Mare (pronounced Mar-aye) 😎


Day 9:

A lovely laid back day today…. breakfast, swimming, sunbathing, ice sculpture, cocktail, and recharging the batteries… we played “Bean Bag Toss” before dinner.. desert tonight.. Vanilla Creme Brûlée!!!! OMG it was divine!!! Then off to the show which was “Comedy and Hypnotisim with Bill Wheeler”… This Bill guy was awful.. ok some of his stuff was funny I’ll give him that but he was rude and arrogant to his guests/subjects on the stage!! And publicly over the microphone!!! People would not go under and he would say to them into the mike “ok, get off” and point to the stairs!! I was quite shocked!! And the way he hypnotised them he was so rough with them.





Day 10:

Our last Island stop. Mare (pronounced Mar-aye), an Island of New Caledonia. Wow so beautiful and for an Island in the Pacific, still so primitive and untouched by the Western World. The water was crystal clear and so beautiful and the locals came out to greet us with song and offerings of sarongs to purchase. Both girls got their hair braided, back on board for another cocktail, swim, Seuss-a-Palooza show and Mexican themed dinner with amazing deserts!! Today is our second to last day on the ship… 😩 as we head back to Sydney…


Day 11:

Had a quieter day today as some of the family are fighting colds 😨😟 … Headed up to the Lido Deck (pool area) to find towel animals everywhere!!! Finally got around to a game of mini golf, another cocktail and swim as it was another beautiful hot day. Had some photos taken the other night but they are ridiculously expensive so trying to get snaps of them when no ones around 🤫… Our last Elegant Evening at dinner and then off to the best show we’ve seen so far!!! “Epic Rock” Completely different cast.. none of the usuals and they were fabulous!! Voices and dancing were fantastic!! Very sad that this is our last full day on the ship!!! I could stay here forever!!! Definitely keen to do this again next year….


Wrap up and recommendations:

As we sit waiting to board our flight, I think back over the last couple of weeks. 9 months of planning and saving and it was all so worth it!! There were things we did to make the trip easier that I would absolutely do again… Another cruise is definitely at the top of my list and I would do the same one again with Carnival in a heartbeat!! I bought travel inners, they were fabulous!!! Each person got a different colour and we took them out of the suitcases when we got into the cabin, stored the suitcases under the bed (yes they all fitted), and the packs went on the shelves in the cupboard and we lived out of them. You can buy expensive ones from Kathmandu, but I got ours from Aliexpress or Wish (can’t remember which one). We also bought walkie talkies for the ship. The wifi is really expensive and the walkie talkies meant that we could split up and still find each other. The ship is as big as you think it is!!! We got a double pack from Wish for about $40 and chose the ones with USB chargers (see pic). They had about a 5km range (line of sight) and the only time we had major issues was when someone was in the cabin and the other person was at the other end of the ship. Highly recommend. Also take goggles for the pools plus snorkel for the islands. The pools were a combination of chlorine and salt and it really hurt your eyes if you opened them. Take lots of sun screen. The sun was much harsher than we expected. Lastly, take your own lanyards for your sail & sign cards. We thought they would come  with the cards but you had to buy them at $7 each.. not a biggie but you can buy them much cheaper at home…  Such a fabulous holiday. Already thinking about the next one!!!



So if you think you would like to try your first cruise check out the website or give us a call and we can help you find the perfect cruise

0800 60 82 60


Towel art









  1. Marion Handisides
    Posted March 12, 2018 at 3:07 am | Permalink

    Although this was not our first cruise, it was the first time with family including 2 of our grandchildren. We can totally agree with the First Time Cruisers Review posted, as it was done by our daughter. Carnival certainly caters for families in a BIG way. Thanks for your choice of activities for ALL ages, but especi ally the children. However, the adults were definitely excluded. The Serenity Club was Adults Only and the name certainly nailed the environment – quiet and serenely peaceful. All the staff who we encountered were polite, helpful and most obliging. A Party atmosphere was what greeted us everyday, yet also respectful for those who preferred a quieter time.
    The grandchildren had the time of their lives! Not once did I here the words ” I’m bored”. Thanks Carnival for a holiday to remember.

    • alison
      Posted March 12, 2018 at 3:21 am | Permalink

      Thanks Marion for the great comments and feedback. Cheers

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