We’re running away to join the Carnival, Carnival Spirit that is.

We’re off to road test the enormous fun ship to see what she has to offer little passengers (and their parents!)

With more than 40 activities on board guests can set their own pace, and that pace can be from zen to adrenalin and every speed between.

On a scale of one to ten my unstoppable pre-schoolers go to 11, on a quiet day.

So with the tearaway twosome in tow, you can guess which end of the zen scale we spent most of our time on.

After checking into our surprisingly spacious and comfortable suite, replete with generous balcony and a bath, we make a plan! Predictably with my four-year old son, this plan includes filling his stomach, mini-golf and hitting the pool. In no specific order.

Let’s Eat!

We head to lunch at La Playa Grill, the ship’s casual style buffet and one of 20 restaurants and bars on board where we can’t go past a slice or two of fantastic made-to-order pizza and really good barista-style coffee. Afterwards we hit the self-serve ice cream machine to tick another must-do off my boy’s cruising bucket list.

We take a wander around and stumble across the brand new Fat Jimmy’s C-Side BBQ, an open air char-grill offering Aussie faves as well as traditional American offerings. Full, but unable to resist the smell, I have to grab a little of the pulled pork. It’s sublime.

Let’s tee off!

While we wait for our tummies to settle we hit the 18-hole mini golf for a round or two of being shamefully defeated by a four-year old.

Let’s get wet!

It’s time to get wet so we set off for Carnival Waterworks and the SplashZone area where we let both our kids loose in the kiddie heaven of mini-slides, waterplay areas and tipping buckets. Splash park aside, the ship also boasts not one but two twisty turny (and that’s just my stomach after riding them) waterslides, including Green Thunder, the world’s steepest and fastest waterslide at sea.

While my twin terrors are too tiny to take on Carnival Spirit’s star attraction (height restrictions apply on both slides), I man up, so to speak, for three seconds of heart pumping WOW! The free falling, 65 km/h slide snakes out and over the side of the ship, at which point I scream something that rhymes with ship that is terribly impolite…. by the time I reach the bottom the slide isn’t the only thing that’s green.

Let’s get zen!

The appeal of a little zen is hard to resist and Camp Carnival (the ship’s kids club for two to fives) comes to our rescue. Carnival’s award-winning youth program offers three age appropriate clubs for kids from two to 17. Though ours kids are both keen to stay in the pool, once they see all the games on offer and meet the lovely staff, the pool and their parents are dismissed with barely a backward glance. Yippee!

While I head straight for the day spa and a stress-busting massage, my husband seizes this rare moment of childlessness and heads off to Serenity, an open-air, child-free area where grown-ups can soak up the sun and cocktails from one of the day beds and enjoy the 270-degree views of wherever they happen to be. In peace!

So what do we have to say of our Carnival Spirit cruise experience?

Did Carnival Spirit pass the family test? You bet. We’re giving her an “A” for awesome.


Parenting and travel writer Aleney de Winter, is mum to two frequent-flying tiny travellers, son Rafferty 5 and daughter Marlo 2. Aleney shares her top travel tips and tales of adventure as the editor of family travel bible Out & About With Kids magazine and on her blog www.boyeatsworld.com.au

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  • Very cool! Thanks for sharing this!


  • wow looks like heaps of fun. i would love to go on a cruise with the family


  • one day, i will go on a cruise somewhere lol. what a relaxing experience that would be


  • Thanks for sharing this interesting article.


  • ive always wanted to go on a cruise. ive heard that carnival offer brilliant cruises


  • Thank you for sharing I’d love to go on one


  • A cruise sounds so exciting with so many amazing things for everyone to do. Although I’m sure my nightmares would go into overdrive thinking about children overboard! Eek!


  • Would love to go on a cruise but hubbie isn’t so keen.


  • Cruises are so family friendly. We went on one last year and we all loved it.


  • This sounds like a fantastic cruise. The last cruise I did was on the Fairstar many years ago.

    • Ohh my close friend has been on a cruise with them also, she absolutely loved it.


  • My parents are going on a cruise soon.. If only I could join them! Cruises sound fantastic!


  • another thing I wish to do one day, I have heard these are amazing


  • My sister is going on a cruise so I am looking forward to hearing how it all goes


  • So much to do for all ages, even the grandparents would have a ball! You’d be hard pressed to get me away from that mouth watering food though!


  • Was a great read, would love to take a cruise.


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