Spirit 7/16-22/2006 Review
Background: This was our (DH 48, Myself 50) fourth cruise. We were on the Spirit last November for the one night Cruise to Nowhere. This was our first cruise without the kids!
I just read RoosterSharkey's review of the 7/8-16 voyage, and all I can say is Wow. Great details about the ship. I don't know if I can add anything, but I'll do my best and hopefully someone will find something helpful.
I have seen the dailies from the 5/28 voyage, so I will try to point out some things that have changed since then. One cool thing is that the dailies have been redesigned, and I love the new format. Find it much easier to read and see what is happening for the day.
Embarkation: We traveled in from Connecticut. Took the train to GCS, and then a taxi to the pier, about $10. We ended up at the pier before 10:30.
This is my best tip for early arrival. For a short time they set up an early registration table in front of the general waiting area. Even though we are Latitudes, we went down and registered there, and had our room cards in hand by 10:30. They close this table early, and register everyone inside after that. When Latitudes was called, we bypassed everything and walked right on to the ship. It just doesn't get any easier. I made my specialty restaurant reservation right away, but we decided not to reserve the other nights. Had lunch slightly after noon in Windows. Cabins were available at 2PM.
Stateroom: We stayed in category BD, cabin 9668, port side aft. Our cabin was lovely and plenty roomy for two of us. I didn't even need the over the door shoe holder to organize. We spent a lot of time enjoying the balcony, two lounge chairs and a small table. Room was very quiet, and a convenient location to Windows and the Stardust Theatre. There is a vibration that is quite noticeable from the ship, but it really didn't bother us.
Ship Info: I don't think I can add much to the wonderful reviews of this ship. We absolutely love the Asian dEcor, everything we noticed was beautifully maintained. The promenade goes all the way around and makes for lovely strolls. We do not really lounge by the pools, but there seemed to be chairs available most of the time. I did notice someone picking up towels from lounges that were left for a period of time. We did lounge a little bit in the amphitheater on the aft portion of the ship, which was great if you want to find someplace to relax in the shade.
Dining: Basically, we were very happy with the food. We ate in the Dining Rooms, only visiting the buffet a couple of times when we missed the restaurants. The buffet was pretty standard buffet food, I thought a very wide selection.
The dining rooms had a good selection. Breads were fantastic. They did have the chilled soups at lunch, now I understand why you all were asking about them. I felt I was having dessert for an appetizer.
The schedule for the week was:
Day 1: Bon Voyage Dinner - featured prime rib. Day 2: Captain's Gala - featured lobster tail and Beef Wellington Day 3: Caribbean Dinner Day 4: Italian Dinner Day 5: French Dinner Day 6: Freestyle Dinner
Specials for the week: Dine any evening after 9:30pm, take 50% off the cover charge in all specialty restaurants.
50% off Le Bistro and Shogun for 5:30 & 6PM seatings every evening except the last.
Does not include a la carte items. I also noticed that they only discounted the basic cover charge 50%, any add ons were full price.
I had both the lobster and Beef Wellington for the Captain's gala. First time I ever had the nerve to order two entrEes. They were both delicious.
We ate at Le Bistro on Caribbean night. We tried the Firestar combo and highly recommend it. You can order any three items for the Firestar, they don't have to be in the combination listed in the menu, so you can have a surf n turf combo if you wish. Don't forget to order cheesecake and chocolate fondue, so you can dip the cheesecake too. Order the Escargot and dip your bread in the garlic butter. Le Bistro is my favorite restaurant.
We won a complimentary dinner in Shogun at the Latitudes party. We hadn't planned on dining there, but since we won the dinner we went there on Italian night. What a pleasant surprise, ended up being one of the best meals we had. Try the salad with the Won Ton and chicken. The Beef and Broccoli and Sweet and Sour pork were great.
How can I complain about 6 days of someone cooking and serving all of my meals?
Activities: I'll focus on the main shows for the day. We did have a meet and greet, arranged by Judyf, on Monday in the Pub. It was great to meet the CC'ers we had been chatting and planning with. We felt we had friends on the ship and were fortunate to see many of them throughout the week. We had a nice chat with Julie the Cruise Director, and Frank the Hotel Director. Some others stopped in, but we didn't get to talk to them. They provided snacks and beverages for us as well. Very cool.
I have read mixed reviews about Julie. She doesn't have Colin's personality, but who does? I found her to be warm and charming.
Day 1: Seymour and Alfred, Galaxy of the Stars, 8 & 10PM. These two young men have opened for Dave Chappelle and are working on a movie with Ice Cube. They do stand up comedy and some break dancing. This first night was basically just a teaser for their full show. Pretty funny.
Day 2: Standing Room Only with the NCL Production Co. 7:30 and 9:30, Stardust Theatre. High energy tribute to show tunes, fast moving with a wide variety of tunes. Also on Day 2, Jose and Patty do a Neil Diamond show, and if you like Neil Diamond, don't miss it.
Day 3: Dr. Trance Hilarious Hypnosis, 7:45 & 9:30, Stardust Theatre. Dr. Trance hypnotizes about 15 guests, quite funny and appropriate for the whole family. He also does an adults only show on Day 6 in the Galaxy of the Stars that is very funny.
Day 4: The Second City, 6:30 & 8:15, Stardust Theatre. Chicago Comedy Troupe. I have seen this show before, and thought it was better last time, but still entertaining. Also, there is a Junkanoo Action Show (limbo) on the private island at 9:30PM.
Day 5: On the Radio with the NCL Production Co. Radio hits from the 60's to the 90's. Again, very lively and entertaining.
Day 6: Seymour & Alfred's full show. A fuller version of their teaser, don't be late unless you want to become part of the show!
Lots of other stuff going on as well. Previous voyages had Misfit of Comedy with Ed Alonzo, but he did not perform on this voyage, probably why we had two nights of Seymour & Alfred. This show was highly praised by previous passengers, so I was bummed that we didn't get to see it, but maybe he'll be back. We had a good time at all of the shows.
Service: We found service to be outstanding in all venues. Our room steward Jonathan was just charming, and kept us in great shape all week. Restaurant staff, reception desk, basically everyone we dealt with was helpful and pleasant. No complaints whatsoever.
Shore Excursions: Well, we didn't take any formal excursions, we love being on the ship. Didn't disembark in Port Canaveral at all. In Nassau, we did a walking tour on our own. We hadn't planned on disembarking in Nassau, but then I found this tour and we decided to try it. So glad we did. It was fun, free, and gave us a much greater appreciation of the island. Here is a link to the info if anyone is interested: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=332656
We didn't do the evening on GSC, but went early the next morning to snorkel. There is a coral reef paralleling the shore on the right (less crowded) side of the tender lane that was absolutely wonderful for snorkeling. We brought masks and goggles and just borrowed the required life vest for free. Equipment can also be rented for $29. Absolutely love this little island.
Disembarkation: Smooth as silk. We were in no hurry to leave the ship, so we didn't do the express disembark. Everything was on time, we were off, and caught a cab pretty quickly, even with the Dawn there at the same time. Back to GCS, and home. Over all too soon. From our experience, on and off in New York has been flawless.
You may decide from my review that I am something of a Pollyanna, and you would be right about that. Cruising is such a privilege, and I want to enjoy every second. It would take something very serious to convince me to waste one minute being unhappy on my cruise. Fortunately, that never happened:)! I would love to sail the Spirit again.