The June 3rd cruise was one marvelous cruise. We have traveled on Carnival (3 times), Celebrity (2 times), RCCL (2 times) NCL (3 times) and even the Big Red Boat (the old Disney Cruise, for those of you who can remember it.) I probably missed some. After being on the Dawn twice (1/2005 & 1/2006), we didn't know what to expect of the Spirit. This was one of the best trips yet.
Embarkation and debarkation, were the fastest and smoothest I can remember.
The staff was the friendliest and most attentive.
From Captain Gunnar Hammerin, very witty and personable; the very special Hotel Director Hugo; Food & Beverage Manager Robb Brand; Excursion Desk Assistant, Brad (who spent much time with us discussing problems with the tours; CD Ricky Matthews; Assistant Cruise Director John; our old friend Marco from the Daw; Lisa; the Casino staff, the stewards, the waiters and assistant waiters, and the very fine staff at the medical center (Dr. Adriaan Swart More
and Nurse Mabeth Malavenga (*yes my husband needed to visit the ships medical center); the reception staff; the security staff (we locked ourselves out of the safe 3 times during our trip, I guess it was all the money that we won in the casino that blocked the safe door), just kidding. If I missed anyone, I'm sorry.
We ate in Le Bistro (chocolate fondue), not to be missed, Cagney's, La Trattoria, Shogun, Tapanaki (a show besides a dinner). Windows, the Garden Restaurant and the Buffet. Everything was wonderful. I enjoyed the stir fry and stir fry soup in the buffet for lunch. We did not have time to sample the Blue Lagoon or the fish and chips at Henry's Pub.
If you want to eat in the specialty restaurants, make your reservations for the whole week on day one, even before you go to lunch. The specialty restaurants were 1/2 price on day one and one other day. The restaurants, especially Tapenaki fill up quickly. You can cancel within 24 hours without being charged the $5 cancellation fee. Menus are available in the atrium even for the regular restaurants, so you can decide when and where to go.
We skipped the chocolate buffet but the casino had a mini chocolate buffet. In addition, there were late night snacks in the casino every night from about 11 - 1.
People were complaining that there were no trays in the buffet, but everyone managed.
The entertainment was good. We loved Ed Alonzo and our favorites were Seymour and Alfred. We had seen Second City twice before. The dancers were excellent.
There was so much entertainment and activity that it was hard to decide where to go first. Between the music, trivias, game shows, bingo, arts and crafts, food demonstrations, etc, never a dull moment.
We opted not to do the murder mystery since we had done it twice on the Dawn.
The Officer's Dinner is something new and we enjoyed it immensely. It is done by lottery, and each officer hosts a table of 4-6 people. We were very lucky to be invited to dine at Hugo's table. He made the whole trip very special for us. This is the third time we were traveling with him. Hugo, don't ever leave NCL. ****"TO NCL, HE'S A KEEPER."****
We visited St. Thomas, Tortola and Bermuda. In St. Thomas, we were there until 12:30 and the shops and restaurants all closed by 6 P.M. It appeared that everyone was back on board. St. Thomas Officials approved the opening of the Casino while in port and NCL is trying to get them to approve opening of the shops. I think the ship should leave St. Thomas earlier AND GIVE MORE TIME IN BERMUDA. Tortola was beautiful (short stay). We docked on the West end of Bermuda at the Naval Shipyard and had to take a ferry to Hamilton for our bus tour of St. George and Hamilton. It rained all day in Bermuda and we needed to be back on board at 4:30, no time for shopping. In order to visit Hamilton and St. George I think the itinerary should be 2 days instead of 1.
All in all we had a great trip.
By the way, we had about 25 Cruise Critics members for our meet and greet and had another sail away in Bermuda.