We travelled to Tasmania on the Spirit in early January, and returned after two glorious weeks travelling around. We paid just shy of $1,300 for two adults and a child, with a four berth cabin for three persons (exclusive occupancy). It was a little on the expensive side, but as it was our first trip, we decided to try a night crossing. We had a very smooth crossing from Melbourne to Devonport, and slept soundly in the comfortable room. We ate in a small cafe in Port Melbourne prior to boarding as we had read previous reviews on Trip Advisor in relation to the catering. As indicated by others its quite a wait for boarding, so no point in being first in the queue; best to wait until a bit later. It was a warm day and sitting around in the car isn't much fun, so make sure you have something to while away the time and a cool drink. Checks prior to boarding were swift and well executed. We were given the magic green card in Melbourne, which made our exit at Devonport fast. The Tourism place on board was a great bonus and staff were very helpful. We spent some money in the shop on souvenirs and the like and customer service was exemplary. Purchased drinks and light snacks from the bar and found them to be a little high in price, but it is what it is. Its not a cruise ship, its a ferry as alluded to in earlier reviews, however, we enjoyed the experience. Seating around the boat is comfortable and tv's are a distraction to stave off boredom.
On the return trip the weather was a little less kind, than our trip over, however, the ferry was more than comfortable, and we were able to sleep.
(a) Wait as long as you can prior to heading to the boarding queue.
(b) Have something to do/read/watch/play while in the queue, and definitely if its a warmish day, take cold drinks.
(c) Book to travel on the night crossing.
(d) Treat yourself to a cabin. Its worth the extra money. The recliners look really uncomfortable and not very private.
(e) If travelling with children, take their pillow from home.
(f) Don't eat breakfast on board. Its too early anyway. Get through the exit process, then drive until you come across somewhere at a reasonable hour that serves good breakfasts. (For us that was at Wynyard.)
(g) Pray that you don't have any rude, inconsiderate nuff heads that think chatting to all and sundry takes precedence over your egress/exit from the boat in a timely manner..... Yes, it does happen......
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.