NCL Spirit & Western Carribbean
This was my second cruise on NCL Spirit. Cruised November 2011, March 2012 & just booked another for November 2012. My cruise was booked through Harrahs Casino at Sea program. There were 4 middle aged women in our group in two rooms. We rode Amtrak to New Orleans, which is sooo easy and cheap! Stayed at Harrahs in New Orleans the night before the cruise, great hotel & casino!
Embarkation was very easy, we were on the ship in no time, our cabin was ready and our luggage was there.
Cabin - our cabin was an inside cabin & was clean & comfortable. The beds were comfortable & there were plenty of pillows. I only saw our cabin steward once, but he kept our room made up & we had a towel animal each night. We always had clean bath/beach towels. The other ladies in our group had a different cabin steward, who was always around & knew them by name.
Food - Since I had cruised on the Spirit before, I knew that the first night was Lobster night in the dining rooms. More
It is the only night Lobster is served except in the Specialty Restaurants, don't miss it! We all order 2 lobster tails (they were small). We checked the menus each day and ate in Windows Dining Room most nights. I think the menu could use a little more variety. Shrimp was only served one night. Everything was good, but we got tired of the same appetizers/desserts every night. We ate in the Garden Dining room one night, but preferred the elegance of Windows. We ate at the buffet for breakfast each morning & it was good. The Blue Lagoon has excellent wings & fish and the Bier Garten has good burgers. We didn't eat at the specialty restaurants.
Entertainment - we saw a couple of shows, they were good, but most nights we had a late dinner and went to the casino or turned in early. Enjoyed the music at Champagne Charlie's several nights and karaoke one night.
Casino - Enjoyed the casino more this trip, probably because I won some and saw several other slot players winning.
Pool - Enjoyed the pool, but wish they would enforce the "adult pool" policy. There were always kids in the adult pool & hot tub. They have a children's pool & hot tub on the ship. I was always up early and out at the pool and most loungers had already been "saved".
Disembarkation - we carried our own luggage off the ship, which was very easy, but it is a much longer walk off the ship. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
Ahhh...Belize! One of my favorite places. We were tendered into Belize and immediately booked the same snorkeling excursion that we booked last November for $49 each. As soon as you hit Belize City, you will see "Eco Tour" vendors holding blue signs. Our excursion left at 10:30 a.m. We were taken by boat (about 20 min) to Goff's Caye, a gorgeous island that is only 1.5 acres. There is a restroom on the island. Ask for Gilbert to be your tour guide. We also had Skinny, Janine & Jose, who are all great guides. The snorkeling was good, but the guides really make the trip enjoyable and you will want to tip them and they definitely earn it. All the rum punch you want is included and for $8 more you can enjoy grilled chicken on the beach, which was very good. We snorkeled for a couple of hours, ate and still had time to enjoy the beach/water. We were taken back to Belize by boat and still had time to shop before being tendered back to the Spirit.
We found a cab company & told them we wanted to go to a nice beach without grass in the water (something we were disappointed in last trip). They assured us it would be a beautiful beach & took us to Blue Bay for $5. It was a beautiful beach, but there was grass in water & it was a little rocky. Make sure to wear water shoes! All facilities (restroom, shower, loungers, shade)are included for one price of $20 for non-alcohol drinks and $30 for unlimited alcohol. We spent about 3 hours on the beach and went back to the pier area to shop.
The shopping was great in Costa Maya and we bought most of our souvenirs here and haggled on prices.
The Senor Frogs and Carlos & Charlies has a beautiful pool with a sandy area & lounge chairs, right in the middle of the shopping area. Next time I think I will just stay there. Not sure, but I think the pool is probably free to use if you are a bar patron.
Cozumel is my least favorite port because it is so commercialized. Two of our group stayed on the ship because they feel the same way. I went into port with the other lady who had never been to Cozumel. We shopped a little & spent some time at Senor Frogs, which is always a good time.
Roatan is beautiful. This trip, we had to be tendered in, because the pier can only accomodate one ship, so our day was shorter than we would have liked. A new pier should be finished by November to accomodate more ships. We went to the same beach as last time, Bananarama Beach, which is part of West Beach. "Things to Do Roatan" was transportation company that took us to Bananarama for $20 each, including a tour guide that stayed with us all day. On the way to Bananarama, Melody, our tour guide, gave us a lot of interesting information about Roatan and we stopped to take pictures on top of the mountain where you can see both sides of the island. At Bananarama, we rented a lounge chair for $5 each and enjoyed the beautiful beach and scenery. Melody found a waitress that waited on us and kept the drinks coming! "The Thirsty Turtle Bar" serves drinks for $5 each and excellent food. There is a restroom & shower available for their patrons. You can also rent snorkel equipment for $5. The reef at Bananarama if unbelievable! It is the same reef you will be taken to if you book a snorkel excursion, so save the money & take a cab there and snorkel on your own. You will not be sorry if you go to Bananarama.