We recently spent an amazing 9 days aboard the Carnival Spirit, and it’s not hard to know why cruising with your kids is such a popular holiday option for fun loving families!
The Carnival Spirit is larger than the Titanic was and measures a massive 294m (963 ft) long (that’s over 3 football fields), is 12 decks high, has a maximum capacity of 2124 guests and 961 crew and is 88,500 tonnes of fun!
“You can’t spell FUNNEL without FUN!”
– Jennifer Vandekreeke, Vice President and General Manager, Australia at Carnival Cruise Lines
From the moment you board the Carnival Spirit, the fun begins! There is more to do than can ever be done. Seriously. Try as we did, we still didn’t get to experience all that was on offer (so I guess that means we need to go again!).
Each day, a copy of the FUN TIMES (Carnival Cruises’ daily newspaper) is delivered to your stateroom with information about the 45+ daily options available to you (these include: venue opening hours, restaurants, spa services and specials, lectures, activities and games, show times and contact information) as well as shore excursion details (such as port arrival and departure times and other important information). Finally, on the last day of your Carnival Cruise, the FUN TIMES will feature information regarding the process of getting off the ship, and, settling your shipboard account. Everything is covered which means all you have to do is have fun!
Take a highlighter so that you can highlight specific activities that you want to do in your FUN TIMES each night so that you don’t forget!
10 WAYS TO GO KIDDING AROUND WITH CARNIVAL CRUISES
1. DAILY ACTIVITIES
Each Carnival Cruise has a dedicated (and super friendly) Cruise Director (in our case, it was Eli) who is the face and voice of the ship. Eli ran many activities during the day, hosted shows in the main theatre and generally made sure we all had a great time!
Throughout your holiday, you can participate in as much or as little as you would like. We loved Creative Cove and making beach tote bags, crew-led fun such as the Wiggle for Westmead and the behind the scenes tour (where we met Captain Adriano Binacchi and toured the bridge, checked out the costumes backstage at Pharaoh’s Palace and visited the talented chef’s in the ships galley).
Some activities do require additional payment and places are limited. Make sure you book early with Guest Services on Level 2.
2. WATER SLIDES, POOLS, SPAS and SPLASH PARKS
Towards the back of the ship is a fantastic splash park and water slides. The yellow Twister is fun for anyone over 105cm and the free-falling, 65km per hour Green Thunder is for those over 120cm. This is such a fun place to hang out and if your kids still have energy to burn after returning from a shore excursion then you will have the place almost to yourself!
Carnival Spirit has three swimming pools – each with a spa and towels are provided. The two main pools welcome kids, however, one pool is located in the Serenity adults only retreat for when you need a little time to yourself.
In times of high winds or inclement weather the water slides and splash park will close and not be operational. Make sure you visit at the beginning of the cruise so that if the weather turns bad you don’t miss out!
3. FUN AND GAMES
At the front of the ship you will find a running track, mini golf, netted sports court for basketball and football, as well as a table tennis table. That’s a whole lot of fun and games!
But, it’s not all that’s on offer! There is a video arcade on Deck 4, Foosball and shuffle board tables in the RedFrog Rum Bar, Build-A-Bear Workshop in Camp Ocean, Trivia and Bingo.
Pack more sunscreen than you think you will need as it’s very expensive on board and often they sell out. Fun Fact: They sell 120+ sunscreen in New Caledonia as the sun has such a kick to it.
4. CAMP OCEAN (KIDS CLUB)
Designed for children aged 2-11, Camp Ocean features three age-related areas including a Penguin colony for two to five-year-olds and a Sting Ray camp for six to eight-year-olds, while nine to 11-year-olds can sink their teeth into their Shark enclosure (and for even older kids there is a dedicated area on the ship that includes a nightclub).
Alegría and Isaac LOVED kids club! They asked to go every day and so we found it was easy to drop them off at 5:15pm and the Camp Ocean educators would feed them dinner in a special area on Lido (Deck 9) and then take them back to Camp Ocean for fun evening activities. We then went out for a relaxed dinner – heaven!
Isaac won a trophy for being the “Best Boy Dancer” and they both came home with a special backpack, t-shirt and slapbands after the farewell party on the final night.
Register for Camp Ocean as soon as you board the ship. They only have a limited number of places and you don’t want to miss out. The kids will love it!
5. DINING AND CHARACTER EXPERIENCES
Prepare for a whimsical, wonderful cruise,
A character parade to amuse and enthuse,
A storytime featuring books that you know
It’s Seuss-A-Palooza … get ready to go!
Alegría and Isaac loved the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with their Dadda (Mumma was feeling a little green herself at the time), where they ate Dr. Seuss inspired fare alongside some of their favourite characters. The Seuss-A-Palooza Character Parade, where the children were encouraged to follow along after listening to an entertaining story was also a fun activity.
We also enjoyed a delicious afternoon tea with none other than Alice (from Wonderland) and her friends for the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea Party. The tables were full of mouth-watering sweet treats, hot chocolate (or tea and coffee, if you preferred) and the most amazing ice sculpture. The Carnival Spirit staff sure know how to put on an event!
The activities that included food incurred an additional fee. The Seuss-A-Palooza Character Parade and Storytime is free of charge.
6. NIGHT TIME FUN
If you aren’t exhausted by all the fun you have had during the day, then there is plenty to keep you entertained at night. We enjoyed going to Pharaoh’s Palace (a three-level theatre that hosts a variety of shows such as guest comedians at the Punchliner Comedy Club (early sessions are suitable for kids – late sessions are not!), rock tribute shows, Cluedo mysteries, stage shows, playlist productions and Hasbro, The Game Show. Alegría and Tim enjoyed a daddy-daughter date to the magic show and we all cheered on our new friends that found themselves on stage during Hasbro, The Game Show!
Pharaoh’s Palace is not the only place to have fun! There are “Dive In” movies by the main pool, piano bars, karaoke, live bands and for the kids there is “Night Owls” at Camp Ocean.
Camp Ocean is free of charge until 10pm. There is the option to have the kids cared for until 1am for a small per hour fee.
7. FOOD, GLORIOUS, FOOD!
We were told before we left to “Eat All The Food!” and I think we almost did! There are over 20 places serving food from the casual dining options at the Lido Restaurant to Guy’s Burger Joint (they have vegetarian options, you just need to ask), Fat Jimmy’s C-Side BBQ, Mexican delights at the Blue Iguana Café and 24 hour pizza and ice-cream! YES, 24 hour!
The Empire Dining Room is the place to dine on theme and formal nights. We had 2 formal, a Mexican, an 80’s and a Caribbean night whilst we were onboard. Get dressed up as fancy as you want to (and stop for a photo opportunity), add a few simple costume pieces or accessories, and you’ll have a great time! We were on a first name basis with our singing and dancing wait staff at the Empire Dining Room and each night, Dessi the maître d’ introduced “show time” and we all smiled until our cheeks hurt. You must try their famous warm chocolate melting cake – it’s delicious!
There are specialty restaurants that (for a fee) offer you a magnificent dining experience. We HIGHLY suggest you eat at least one meal at the French restaurant Nouveau – it was one of the best meals of my life!
Take a tip from our fit and friendly host Jennifer Vandekreeke – ALWAYS take the stairs and choose the small plate at the all-you-can-eat buffet!
Everyone we met are so friendly! Carnival staff really excel at customer service. There are over 900 crew members on the Carnival Spirit and all of them deserve to be congratulated!
Everyday, our room stewards greeted us by name and made a towel animal for each of the children! Jennifer in guest services made sure that we were in good hands and supported us when this Mumma couldn’t get out of bed due to sea sickness and the onboard Doctor had her feeling better in no time! Andrej, our head waiter at the Empire Dining Room, was so accommodating with our dietary requests and was a friendly face each night. Dessi, the maître d’, was wonderful with the kids, she painted little girl finger nails, drew mustaches on Mexican night and made us all feel very special!
And then there was Jennifer, Vice President and General Manager, Australia at Carnival Cruise Lines who made our time on the Carnival Spirit so much fun! It was a true family affair and we enjoyed getting to know her children and the other members of our group. How many kids can say they have been stand up paddle boarding with the VP of an international company!
If you suffer from motion sickness, then go see the onboard Doctor early in your trip. We spent hundreds of dollars on medication (which didn’t work very well) and as soon as Georgina had the injection she felt so much better!
9. THE STATEROOM
Your stateroom is your sanctuary and every room, whether it be an interior, ocean view, balcony or suite, on the Carnival Spirit comes with these standard features:
- 24–hour room service
- 24–hour room steward
- Personal safe for valuables
- Nightly turn-down service (and fun towel animal!)
- Plenty of closet and drawer space (you won’t be tripping over your suitcase!)
- Private bathroom and shower (with body wash, soap, shampoo and conditioner)
- Television (which features a kids movie each day!)
- Individual climate control
Making a personalised door sign seems to be the thing to do when going a cruise! We saw family names, birthdays, anniversaries and newly wed signs on our cruise – why not get your kids to make one in the lead up to your cruise?
A signature feature of a Carnival Cruise is a new towel animal each day to delight passengers young and old. The kids loved coming back at the end of each day and finding out what our steward had in store for them! Sometimes our new friends were on the beds, sometimes hanging from the roof! Always different, always fun!
If you would like to learn how to make the different towel animals the Carnival staff hold a workshop during the cruise so you can learn!
We were lucky enough during our stay to have interconnecting balcony rooms and we loved it! We were slightly concerned with having a balcony and a very adventurous three year old but we were diligent and made the rules clear from the very beginning! Carnival help parents out in this regard as the lock is up high on the door so by the time your child has dragged a chair from the desk over to reach it you should have been alerted to their plan! If in doubt, ask your room steward to remove the chair from your room and there will be no problem!
We have also stayed in an ocean view room (with queen bed and bunks) which was ample for a family of four. That being said, we have to say that the balcony room is worth the extra money. There is nothing like looking out over the horizon with the wind in your hair breathing deeply the fresh ocean air.
Pack a bag with your bathers, sunscreen, hat, drink bottle, change of clothes and any medication you need to take with you when you board so you can go for a swim or on the water slides as soon as you have had lunch (lunch is provided on the first day)! Your suitcases will be delivered to your room but often not until after dinner on the first night so make sure you take what you need!
10. SHORE EXCURSIONS
We couldn’t mention all the best things about travelling on the Carnival Spirit without talking about all we experienced in New Caledonia.
Our first visit was to Maré Island (the second-largest of the Loyalty Islands) where we spent the day enjoying the beautiful Yejele Beach.
Our second shore excursion was from Noumea where we took a trip to the exclusive Amédée Island which was an amazing location and photographers paradise.
Our third and final day was to the Isle of Pines. A snorkelers playground, pristine beaches and speed boat adventures.
Book your shore excursions as soon as you board as many sell out quickly. We hired snorkels but didn’t need any reef shoes on our trip. If you take your passport to Amédée Island you can get a stamp in it – which is the only stamp our passports received on our journey.
The Carnival Spirit and Carnival Legend depart from Sydney, Singapore, Melbourne and Honolulu with cruise lengths ranging from 2 to 10+ days.
For more information or to book your amazing family holiday visit: www.carnival.com.au
As you know, we participated in the Social Soup Carnival Creaters Halloween Promotion and as we were judged the influencer with the best content we were invited as media guests onboard an 8 night, 9 day Carnival Spirit cruise to New Caledonia.
We would like to thank Social Soup and Carnival Cruise Lines Australia for making it possible for us to have such an amazing experience. Alegría and Isaac said it was the best days of their lives, Tim loved the whole cruise and Georgina has forgotten all about her sea sickness and can’t wait to go on another cruise again!
Please note all details quoted are correct at the time of publishing. All details are subject to change without notice and Kidding Around Australia takes no responsibility for information contained in this post. Please check the appropriate website to ensure that information is still correct and current.
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One thought on “Carnival Spirit – Cruising Tips for Fun Loving Families”
Omg, this makes me miss New Caledonia so much! 😦
We also went on the Carnival Spirit line for 9 days – it was SO good!!
We unfortunately didn’t get to swim with turtles though 😦