Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review by prinsjh: FABULOUS ITINERARY AND SIGHTS
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FABULOUS ITINERARY AND SIGHTS
This is my third cruise with NCL. Chose this itinerary given the ports and variety of countries. NCL does a great job at insuring the comfort of its guests and running a smooth operation. There were no major glitches with embarkation. We had purchased the transfers from the airport and were met once deplaning and were quickly transported to the port. We did need to wait to board but the process was quick and efficient. The only downside was that we were told there would be a "safety drill" at 4:30 PM so instead of leaving the ship to go to Venice, we stayed aboard until 5 PM and missed several hours of seeing the sights in town. There were many passengers missing so there was no reason for us to have stayed.
Cabin was very small. We had selected the cabin in the same category as our cruise on the Norwegian Sun but this room was very cramped in comparison and we had to shuffle around each other or the furniture to get from one end of the room to the other. The bathroom was More outdated but sufficient. The steward was fabulous and helped us rearrange the furniture to make the room more passable.
We had two days at sea initially. It looks like there is more time in Venice than there is (the ship leaves at 1AM and you are onboard for a full two days). We had terrific weather so we could relax, explore the ship, settle into the cabin, and take it easy. VERY necessary given what the next four days were to be like. Meals onboard ranged from good to very good. The buffet was handy with a variety of food. Liked the set up on the decks for lunch. The two main restaurants offered a variety of menu choices each night. The only major complaint was that often the food was cold and had to be sent back to be microwaved. The wait staff was extremely accommodating. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
Temple of Poseidon
Fabulous tour. We had both been to Athens some 35 plus years ago so it was great to return. I had remembered Athens being very filthy and unappealing but found the city and particularly the Acropolis being well cared for and clean. Lunch was fabulous (Greek buffet) at the Intercontinental Hotel. Our guide, Helen, was very knowlegeable and responsive to people's questions and needs. The climb to the top is quite steep and on uneven terrain. Wear good footwear. The city tour showed hightlights of Athens followed with a coastal drive to Cape Sounion. Coastal drive was just spectacular and the Temple of Poseiden was lovely albeit very small compared to the Acropolis.
Lucca Walking Tour
We had both been to Florence so decided to try an alternate tour. Lucca was just a delightful small city. Had a great tour guide and enjoyed the time off to just stroll the streets and have a fabulous lunch at Tosca near the Puccini staute.
Pisa Walking Tour
This was a fabulous site. You do have to hike from the parking lot into town but well worth it. Tour guide was great. We loved seeing the basilica, baptisery and Leaning Tower, of course. Many times to Italy but never to Pisa. Thought the small city was fantastic and really enjoyed seeing this iconic place.
Very crowded. Bring a scarf you can cover your head and wear socks so your feet are covered entering the mosque.
Just part of the tour as you made your way from the port to the major sights.
This is really phenomenal. If you are a shopper, this is not to be missed. Thousands of stalls and vendors everywhere you stroll.
Just FABULOUS!! Our tour guide took us there at the end of day so we were able to really admire and view the beautiful architecture and decor.
Topkapi Walking Tour
All the sites listed were on our NCL shore excursion. We decided to upgrade to the "exclusive classic Istanbul" which was well worth the price difference. There were only 13 of us with one guide in a minivan. The minivan was able to manuever aroung many traffic snarls. Our guide, Jasmine, was very informative and made the tour interesting and most enjoyable. She again was from the Turkish Tourism agency and just fabulous. She interacted with all the passengers and made for the best tour on the cruise. Lunch at the terrace level of a local hotel near the Grand Bazaar was delicious. It is very crowded in Istanbul now that many of the cruise lines have rerouted to Turkey instead of Eqypt. It is best of find a small group to tour the city. This particular excursion is one of the best I have ever experienced.
Archaeological Site of Ephesus
The tour of Ephesus was good (not great). NCL, like other cruise lines, arrange for tours through the local or national tour agencies. This was the Turkish tourism tour (Tura Turizm). The guide was OK but had a thick accent and was difficult to understand. The site itself was interesting but didn't hold some of the significance and mystery of some other ancient ruins.
Fun day in port. Walked around town (very easy). Found a good seaside restaurant to have lunch.
Just beautful ride along the Amalfi coast. We had upgraded to the "exclusive Amalfi tour" so we were in a minivan which made for a more covenient and accessible tour in these small towns.
Pompeii Walking Tour
The was a fabulous tour. Guide was very informative. Pompeii is a huge archeological site. You only cover a small section. Very interesting and well worth the visit.
Positano Walking Tour
Tour takes you into Positano for a morning visit. Very cute town but quite commercial.
Loved this town. Much bigger than Positiano but vibrant, clean, and interesting. Tour included visit to wood inlay furniture demo and shop. No hard sell which was nice. Time to stroll the shopping area. Many cute shops. GREAT lunch at the Htoel Mediterraneo on the outskirts of town. Meal was delicious with an absolutely phenomenal view. We had upgraded to this tour as it was the only one NCL offered which included Positano. I preferrred Sorrento but am not sure if we would have dined at the same place for lunch on a larger tour.
We had both been to Rome recently so decided to do an alternate excursion. Not worth doing in my mind. After seeing the ruins of Pompeii and Athens this was a huge letdown. Tarquinia was not particularly interesting and we would have been better off choosing another tour.
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