This is our 5th completed cruise with NCL; Jade (9n - Canaries, Spain & Madeira); Jade (7n - Venice & Greek Islands); Dawn (7n - Mexican Riviera); Jade (10 - Italy; Greece; Turkey). The Jade and the Dawn are a similar size to the Spirit and offer a good comparison to base this review. Embarkation, a breeze! Safety Drill (on deck) before departure, well organised and swift. Mixed of old/young, nationalities on board. The itinerary; (9n - Canaries, Spain & Casablanca).Casablanca was warm but not a place you would rush back to! We took a tour to the Hassan II Mosque (LCC pre-booked) who provided a very knowledgeable local guide. The Mosque was very impressive and made the trip out worthwhile, the promenade was also very pleasant and clearly developing for the tourist trade. Other than that the only advantage to visiting Casablanca appears to be keeping the cost down (as its outside the EU it reduces the tax on the cruise) The Canaries are a good place to go for winter sun and More
offered a welcome break again, as did Malaga with plenty to occupy you for a few ours. Now the ship, the Spirit is the oldest and smallest ship in the NCL fleet and has recently undergone a cosmetic. Public areas have received new carpet and there is the usual array of staff keeping the ship clean and tidy. The layout of public areas is however dated buy comparison, even with ships of a similar size/age. The cabins are a little smaller than usual, albeit fine for 2 people and our room Steward Srinivas, ensured we were comfortable and entertained with an array of towel animals, the monkey was particularly good. The complimentary restaurants offered limited choice, the buffet was particularly limited at lunch / dinner. The quality of food was poorer than previous NCl cruises, except for the Blue Lagoon which offered 'fast food' that was freshly prepared and well cooked (shame its in such an odd place!) You could of course upcharge to the 'speciality restaurants' we did not as speaking to others reviews were mixed. Staff were, as always polite and helpful, and worked extremely hard, but other than Windows, Blue Lagoon and Maharaja's Casino, lacked the extra sparkle that NCL staff usually have. Entertainment was the usual fare but as we had seen most the shows before we were selective, the best of the bunch undoubtedly 'Graffiti Classics' the worst according to fellow passengers the 'magician' and the 'comedian'. The ship magazine 'Freestyle Daily' provides a good way to plan the day and there is something going on all the time, daytime; organised activities, sports, spa, gym, competitions, trivia, art auctions, bingo but not many 'talks'. Evenings; bars; music (different music in different places) the casino (great fun and great staff, especially Angelo, Igor, Luis, Eric, Gino, Alex and Stanley) Smoking is permitted in the casino; selected deck area and on balcony cabins, the remainder is smoke free; Drinks $$, Jack and Pepsi $9, cocktails $6-10, beer $5, Pepsi products, $2.50 and all come with a 15% service charge + vat when in Spain). Overall if you want a relatively cheap break and you book at the right time the cruise offers good value. Less
9006 - forward / starboard was a little smaller than usual, albeit fine for 2 people. It is quiet, adequate storage; safe and TV. It has a small balcony with 2 chairs and a small table. On arrival there was an unpleasant smell from the drain in the bathroom, but this dissipated in a few days. Our room Steward Srinivas, ensured we were comfortable and entertained with an array of towel animals, the monkey was particularly good. There was not a single occasion that we returned to our room that it had not been made up, excellent!