We 'escorted' the Spirit from Cyprus to Newcastle and had a lovely time in the bargain. Our cabin (543 on A Deck) was spacious, tucked away on a very short corridor with a lift nearby and was kept immaculate by Bert and Mai-Anne. Some engine noise but nothing to write home about. No problems whatsoever with embarkation and disembarkation.
Mainly the Ports of call were fine but we hit Kalamata and the lovely Vigo on a Sunday so there wasn't much going off. Loved Gibraltar but not enough time there. Naples is okay for visiting Sorrento, the Isle of Capri and the beautiful Amalfi Coast. The Port of Civitavecchia feeds Rome which is a couple of hours ride away and not much else. Barcelona is well worth a visit and holds many attractions. Lisbon is okay but has a massive graffiti problem. Cherbourg was nice and convenient for a D Day Landings trip which we did.
By choice and convenience we ate mainly at the Lido Buffet where the food was good and varied. Can't see anyone going hungry even those who may be picky or are vegetarians/piscatarians. Didn't go to the Captain's Evening because we've done it so many times so thought we'd have a break. We're on the Spirit again in September so we may dress up and attend.
The entertainment from the Thomson team was really good and worth watching. Guest entertainers included comedians Maxwell Plum and Rudi West and Chris Andre(brother of Peter Andre)and an ex Drifter called Michael. All were superb especially the latter.
The casino is worth a visit and has some really friendly staff. Look out for Larry and Kushan who work in the adjoining Raffles Bar. The shops are good and have plenty of sales and bargains. Visited the Spa and had a special package of three wonderful treatments there.
If you want big and impressive with fancy cabins and fine dining then the Spirit is not for you but if you want small and comfortable, laid back, homely and friendly with good grub then this ship is for you. My grumbles are so small I'm not going to bother you with them.