Norwegian Spirit from New Orleans March 2012
We arrived in New Orleans with friends and family on Mar. 24, traveling as a group of 6 (4 adults and two children aged 9 and 10). Stayed at Omni Royal Orleans and had carriage ride through the French Quarter, visited the Insectarium (creepy fun), and had dinner at Brigtsen's (fabulous). Next day after breakfast at Cafe du Monde had a tour of the outlying swamp with Capt. Chip of Airboat Adventures, absolutely magical time for all.
We went to the ship at about 2 PM and flew on, there was no line or delay of any kind.
We stayed in a penthouse suite which was lovely but showed signs of wear and age. One flaw in design is that the only thing between the toilet and the bedroom and deck window was a glass door, which my wife obscured with a cloth for privacy. Our friends had the adjacent penthouse and for our group of 6 it was ideal arrangement.
We ate in all the premium restaurants, and even at that we would give the food a grade of no higher than C. The food in More
the general dining rooms looked worse. But that did not stop us from enjoying the cruise immensely. The staff was very friendly and we found the service to be very good. We used the fitness center and the pools and the casino (the non-smoking casino level with slot machines and video machines offered a nice break from the smoky main casino).
Getting on and off the ship at the various ports of call was quite smooth, but rough seas at Roatan caused some delay in tender transport.
We wish that NCL would incorporate the daily service charge of $12. per person into the prepaid cabin fare. If the ship wants to say service is included, include it at the beginning, and not at the end. Less
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Cabin review: Norwegian Spirit 10001
Cabin 10001, Forward Cabin Penthouse Suite. The room is wonderfully spacious, has a good deck, but is showing signs of wear and age. The tv's in the living room and bedroom each are equipped with DVD players, and the bathroom is large and well equipped. The toilet, however, has a glass door and is in clear view of the bedroom and deck window. That is a strange configuration, which we did not favor. Excellent closet space and the bed was great.
Port and Shore Excursions
We took the "Crystal Caves Tubing and Zip Combo" excursion and enjoyed it very much. First is an hour long bus ride from the ship to the caves and zip lines, which was narrated without pause by our guide. it was an "un Belize-able" experience. Only when you arrive at the site is it determined which event you will do first. In our case we did the zip lines first and caves second. Both were fun for young and old alike. Walking in the caves can be dark and obstacle-filled, so those who are not sure-footed should take extra care. The crystal cave was beautiful and we had a very pleasant young guide; it was sometimes difficult to hear him though with the echo of adjacent tour guides interfering. It makes for a cool respite on a hot day.
We didn't spend any time in Belize City, other than driving though in the bus. It did not strike us that we missed anything.
We went to Nohoch Kay, just ten minutes from the ship, and arranged in advance for the rental of stand up paddleboards from Carolyn, proprietor of Undertoe Mexico. We had a great time and all six of us got up on the boards in relatively short order, after brief instruction from Carolyn. It was lots of fun. We had lunch at Nohoch Kay, and rented snorkels there too, for a most enjoyable afternoon.
The "easy shore-side snorkeling" trip was great, but at first glance you will think you have made a huge mistake. The "beach" is all rocks, right off the road, but the site is a stone's throw from the ship, which is convenient. We had great guides and saw scores of fabulous fish, which made it very worthwhile. We enjoyed it very much. Then we took a cab to Playa Mia for an afternoon at the beach, which was perfect for the kids as there were lots of aquatic activities for them, all included in the admission fee $16. p/p.
We did the Dolphin Encounter in Roatan and it was extraordinary. We were able to spend 30 minutes with a trainer and a dolphin, had wonderful photo opportunities and learned a lot about the dolphin program in Roatan. It could not have been better. We give it a rating of 5+, but for some reason the excursion rating option did not pop up under this port. We have done Dolphin Encounters in the past, but none equalled the experience we had in Roatan.
Roatan is spectacularly beautiful and was our "find" of this cruise. A local driver named Italo took us to the Mayan Princess hotel for a beach break in the afternoon and a sublime lunch. Italo was extraordinary and gave us a wonderful insight into the island. At the Dolphin Encounter gift shop, ask for Italo, and if he is available your day will be made.