CRUISE: Getting into the Spirit

“Three, two, one,” a robotic voice counts out loudly in my ear. I’m standing in a glass capsule, with ten storeys between me and the Pacific Ocean as Sydney Harbour retreats towards the horizon.

The floor falls from beneath my feet and I plummet downwards in a watery whirl of green. A gargled wail escapes my lips as my stomach leaps into my throat.

This is Green Thunder, the world’s steepest and fastest waterslide at sea, on board Carnival Spirit. And I must be mad.

After just a couple of seconds, I suddenly splosh to a halt at the bottom, water spurting from my nose and mouth as I pull my bikini back into place.

Adrenaline pumping, we decide to try the other waterslide, but it’s nothing compared to the white knuckle thrills of Green Thunder.

The thrills offered by the cocktail menu almost come close though. We ditch the wet zone to dry off in the comfort of a hammock in the Serenity adults-only area with a strawberry daiquiri in hand.

Many of the ship’s features have been “Aussified” to help the US cruise firm’s product appeal to the Australian market – barista coffee, a barbeque and vegemite are a few of the touches. But the drinks measures are certainly American – these cocktails pack a punch.

It’s perfect cruising weather – endless blue skies and blazing sunshine – meaning all 2,680 guests packed onto Spirit can make the most of what’s on offer from mini golf to swimming pools and live music.

But instead, we opt for another daiquiri.

Rumbling stomachs are the only reason we eventually leave our spot. We wander from the hamburger kitchen, to the sandwich joint and then finally settle on the pizzeria. The chef rolls the dough freshly in front of us and makes our pizza to order. Just five minutes later and we’re tucking in.

We wash it all down with desserts of all shapes and sizes. And another daiquiri.

Despite our mid-afternoon snack, by the time dinner comes around, we manage to make room. Bring on beef carpaccio and escargots, followed by lobster ravioli in fancy restaurant Nouveau, with a slice of cheesecake the size of my head for dessert.

The last few mouthfuls are an ordeal, but it seems such a shame to let any of the food go to waste. It squeezes down my gullet, packing down tightly on the previous courses until it is no longer physically possible to push any more down.

The cheese cart circulates, but I can’t even look at it.

Instead, we take to the ship’s deck to try and walk off some of the food in the balmy evening breeze. There’s still a hell of a lot of the ship to explore – its 18 bars and lounges, and its nightclub too.

It’ll take some serious dance moves on that illuminated dance floor to burn off some of this excess, that’s for sure.

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