Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review by trb7777: Beware cabin 4539 !!!!!
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Beware cabin 4539 !!!!!
We have just returned from our 1st ever cruise, we did not have a particular cruise company in mind but were led more by the itinerary and an offer price to NCL on their Spirit ship on the Grand Mediteranean cruise.
On the whole we had a lovely time however there were a few bug bears that I feel others should be made aware of.
Firstly when we received our cabin number approx. 4 weeks before our cruise , we did what i'm sure other first time cruisers do...we went onto the NCL website to check the deck plans and to ' see ' where we would be. We were deck 4 cabin 4539 which according to their deck plan showed us on ' a corner' or beside ' a gap' down the corridor near to the medical room. We were fairly happy with that and started counting down the days.
On embarkation we went to find our cabin and started walking down the corridor, and were very surprised to reach the Medical centre!! We hadn't passed any gaps or corners so we turned around and paid more More attention to the cabin numbers. We reached our cabin and whilst we found that it was clean we discovered it was next to a crew access passage door.
The next morning at approx. 6am we were woken up by extremely loud rumbling noises and sounds of footsteps. It was like someone was pulling a very heavy suitcase across a cobbled surface with the occasional bang made by something bumping into the wall !!!
We were up early the next 2 days as excursions started very early but the following 2 mornings we were at sea and could have a ' lie-in' . This never happened though as right on cue 6am the noises started, we rang guest services who told us it was house keeping with their trolleys and the restaurant trolleys with room service for other cabins. Every morning we had the same thing, we didn't bother setting an alarm after that as we didn't need to between 6 and 6.15 am we had our own personal if VERY LOUD wake up service.
My husband got so fed up he was actually complaining in person at 6 am one morning to guest services. We were given a bottle of wine for our inconvenience but would have preferred an uninterrupted sleep.
I actually felt so tired by day 5 that I fell asleep during one of the shows in the Stardust theatre and it was only 8pm !!!!!!!!
The worst night was the night before disembarkation when we had to leave suitcases in the corridor we put ours out at approx. 11pm along with others, we got into bed and then spent the next 2 hours listening to all those suitcases being dragged along the crew access passage right beside our heads!!!! it was deafening and considering that we had to be off the ship early for our return flight to the UK we did not need such a bad nights sleep.
The staff generally were very friendly , the food in the main restaurants was excellent, the waiting staff were attentive ( only thing I disliked was in Raffles the self service buffet area - the staff were so keen to clear plates that they kept interrupting us, my husband eats quicker than I do and they would whip his plate away before I was finished which seemed a little awkward while my husband sat with an empty table in front of him whilst I continued eating) it may seem a small matter but is actually quite off putting and meant I did not enjoy that experience as much as I was constantly aware that they were hovering over you but overall we had a good time.
The entertainment was varied and good fun if you are wiling to ' have - a - go' and we met lots of interesting and lovely people but the ' Gloss' was certainly taken off our first ever cruise because of the noise we encountered. When we should have been able to stay up and watch the shows, which were very good indeed , we found ourselves yawning!!
We also booked a Romance Package as it was our anniversary , it included
* some strawberries dipped in chocolate with a bottle of champagne = gorgeous, presented beautifully and were delicious!
* canapés = delicious and beautifully presented !
* afternoon tea = absolutely awful ( there were 6 slices of poppy seed cake , 6 slices of madeira cake , 6 choc chip cookies & 6 macadamia nut cookies ) all of this for TWO PEOPLE !!! it was on a brown plastic tray from the self service restaurant with two plastic thermos jugs full of crappy coffee and luke warm water. It was in complete contrast to the previous 2 items which looked so beautifully presented. I feel it was thrown together at the last minute and guest services couldn't understand why I would complain about it ??? I absolutely hate wasted food and felt it was disproportionate for just 2 people and in the UK afternoon tea is : a selection of small finger sandwiches, scones with cream and jam & some very pretty cakes !!! This definitely did NOT qualify as afternoon tea.
we also should have had 12 red roses but were told that they did not have enough so we opted for a partial refund on the package. they were going to deduct $44 from the package price, however when it came time to check our on board account and settle up all they deducted was $15 !! we were told on 3 separate occasions that it wold be $44 but they did not do what they said.
We obviously have never cruised with any other company as this was our 1st cruise but I will be very wary in future of which company I book with and I will be a little bit wiser to the whole cruise experience. As much as we enjoyed it , we are now aware of possible pitfalls in the future. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
This was a surprising highlight of our cruise. We wanted to see the Underground Basilica Cistern which was only available on the 'most expensive' tour at $399 each !!
we were told by the cruise line that Istanbul is quite a rough place to be out by 'yourself' and they recommended everyone did a tour ! they said that people get lost, that the traffic is so bad on the bridge leading back to the ship that passengers get stranded and the ship cant wait for you etc etc
But we found all of that to be utter nonsense.........the ship docked on one side of Istanbul and the ancient sights are on the other side, but this doesn't mean its miles away, all the main sights are visible from the ship itself. The bridge you cross is 5 mins walk from the dock and it took us 15 minutes ( 42 and 41 yr olds ) to walk to the Basilica Cistern which was then opposite the Hagia Sophia, which was across the road to The Blue Mosque and very close to the Tokapi Palace. We saw everything we wanted to in just over 3 hours. ( this also allowed us time to eat some Turkish food ). The Grand bazaar was VERY busy and with over 58 exits very hard to walk around but the Spice Bazaar is an L shaped building, you go in one door and keep walking, turn the corner and walk to the other door......you cant go wrong. We then took a leisurely walk back to our ship ( 20mins) and were back with 3 hours to spare before everyone HAD to be back onboard. We felt that there was a lot of unnecessary scaremongering about transport etc which was totally unfounded.
There were a lot of warnings about the buses / taxis etc getting stuck in traffic and therefore you should take a tour but there is actually a brilliant tram service that runs all around the sights in the ancient area and the tram runs down the middle of the road on the bridge which is not affected in anyway by the cars/ busses etc on the bridge, so if you have had enough of walking you can catch the tram back and get off right next to the dock !!!
The Turkish people were very friendly but like anywhere you need to watch for pickpockets mainy from the Roma Gypsies not the Turks themselves and you should also note that The Blue Mosque closes for 90 mins at a time for prayers 5 times a day so plan your visit , we walked the place gardens whilst waiting for our 90 mins to be finished then just before it was due to reopen we joined the queue so it wasn't too long and got straight in.
Lovely place, an excursion with the ship is not necessary as you can walk around the town on your own very easily ( unless you want the history - personally do some research on the web and take yourself around and save your dollars )
. This was the only place we tendered in and you need to be aware that the process for tender tickets is a bit hit and miss.
my advice is to get to wherever they tell you they are going to hand out tender tickets at least 30 minutes before as the queues will build up and you are not likely to get off the ship very quickly.
we got tender number 1 and some people we spoke to got tickets for tender 12 and they were still on the boat and hour and half after we got off !! The only other thing you can do is get tickets for others for example we got friendly with another couple and so collected 4 tickets not 2 and we all got off together but only 1 person from each travelling party needed to queue up !!
It pays to be friendly !!
this it was described as a 3.5hr tour ( inc the 20 min there and back ) so we should have had at least 2 and a half hours ( which having been before would have been possible) however we had a trip to a cameo factory included which said ' time permitting' on the excursion details. We left the ship and went straight to the factory where we wasted 25 minutes - no one wanted to buy anything. We ended up with 1 hr and 15 minutes in Herculaneum. Our guide was nice enough with good English but we had no ear pieces unlike other tours so it was nearly impossible to hear what she said and our group was over 50 people. Many of them were elderly and couldn't keep up with her anyway. I had been before but my husband hadn't and he never got to see the Mens Baths with undulating floor created by the pressure of volcanic mud or the boat sheds with the skeletons in down on the old sea front site or any of the main villas, so we were extremely disappointed. We sat around on the ship until 2 pm when NCL could have started this tour much earlier and given us a decent amount of time to visit the site properly. It was billed in the pre tour talk in the theatre as ' better preserved than Pompeii' and a ' must see ' site but they didn't actually allow us the time needed to do it justice.
Rome on Your Own
Having visited Rome before we decided to do our own thing and booked the ' Rome on your own' tour which basically meant that the ship took you on a coach to Rome , dropped you off and then you met up again for the return journey to the ship. We were dropped off at 10am and had to be back on the coach for 4pm. This would normally give you enough time to see some sights, the metro system is easy to use ( there are only 2 lines ) and quite cheap it was 1 euro 30 cents each for a timed ticket valid for 100 minutes of travel. HOWEVER what they didn't tell us was that EVERY WEDNESDAY ( yes you guessed it - it was a Wednesday) the Pope gives an audience in St Peters square !! therefore we and 100,000 other people were in Rome trying to get into St Peters basilica. We only wanted to go up to the Cupola ( the dome of St Peters) and down to the grottoes ( tombs of the Popes) however the police closed everything down til 1 pm. We went back at 1 pm and fought ( and I do mean fought) our way through the crowds of people only to be told that the ppope was then deciding to take a little ride in his car and so it would be closed til at least 3pm!! Bearing in mind our return time of 4pm for our coach our visit to St Peters was completely ruined. We asked an English speaking guide how come this was al happening and were told that this happens EVERY Wednesday..........now NCL have run countless cruises to Rome and I feel that they should have known this info and imparted that info to their PAYING guests, we ended up spending $180 for a coach trip to stand shoulder to shoulder with 100,000 others and see exactly NOTHING !!!
If I had known that I would have opted for a different tour and actually seen something instead.
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