Background - My husband and I are over 60. This was our 9th cruise. We previously sailed on Princess, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Celebrity.
This cruise was a Christmas present to my children and grandchildren. There were 10 of us, 6 adults and 4 children ages 10 - 14. It was the first cruise for the children and my son-in-law.
After reviewing the various cruises near our home in Pennsylvania, I booked the Spirit. I was a little apprehensive, given the reasonable price. I was pleasantly surprised. We all had a great time and can't wait to go again. It is a great value!!
We traveled to New York via a van service. We arrived at the port around 11 am. My grandchildren's eyes lit up when they saw the Spirit. We had to wait for a little while, but we were on board by noon. Sailing by the Statue of Liberty was an experience.
Our staterooms were ok for inside cabins. We had 2 adults and 1 or 2 children in each cabin. Our first cruise had been on the Chandris Galileo. Now, those were small cabins! Given the price of the cruise, the accommodations were fine. Were they as nice as a balcony cabin on Princess? No, but they were less than a third of the price.
I think Norwegian does a great job for a family oriented cruise.
I was pleased with the food. Maybe, it was because my expectations were not very high or I am easy to please, especially when someone else is preparing it, serving it and cleaning up. My son-law, who is a first-time cruise was amazed at how beautiful the ship was, the food, the entertainment, everything.
We sailed through Tropical Storm Alberto and hit some rough seas. It was during the night, so some of us slept though it.
At Port Canaveral we stayed on board. Some of the excursions were cancelled due to the weather. We agreed that the Disney trip at $165 for a few hours in the park is a bit much.
We did our own thing at Nassau and went to the beach at Paradise Island and did some shopping. We selected this cruise partially because it stops at their Private Island. That was the best part of the trip. We were there over night and had a nighttime beach party.
The children were a little old for the children's area. They also had each other, so they really didn't participate. The children's pool area is the nicest I've seen on any ship. The children seemed to be having a ball. The Spirit is very family friendly. There were many children on board, but all were very well behaved. On an Alaska cruise last year, some parents went on shore excursions and left their pre-teen children on-board at the pool, annoying everyone with a marathon "Marco Polo" game.
On the minus side, it was very crowded by the pool on sea days. I know that is true on all ships, but I felt pretty crowded on the Spirit.
The drink prices remained the same either in port or at sea. On previous cruises, the drink prices went down when we were at sea.
The service was ok, some staff more courteous than others. That may be the result of the free style cruising and the tipping policy. The entertainment was ok, not great. The bands around the pool and in the lounges all were pretty good.
Disembarkation went very smoothly. Since we didn't have a plane to catch, we waited in one of the lounges and were off the ship about 11.
We all had a blast and can't wait to cruise again.