We have always been hesitant with regards booking a cruise as the message we received was we would either love it or hate it. We saw an excellent deal for the Spirit and so decided to take a chance and try cruising. We went with an open mind and we were not disappointed.
This was quick and efficient with drink and cake available while we waited to board the ship. We boarded shortly after midday and were very quickly able to drop our hand luggage and hop on the bus into Barcelona city centre. The bus stops outside the cruise terminal and is 6 euros per person return.
Overall the ship was in good condition. The staff worked hard to keep her clean and tidy. There was always a visible presence of officers walking around speaking to guests at all time. When we spoke to one of them in Cagney's steakhouse on our wedding anniversary night he gave us a lovely bottle of wine to celebrate which we thought was a lovely touch.
We had an inside cabin with a large window. The bed was really large. I commented to the maid that it was a tad on the hard side and within a couple of hours a memory foam topper had been added. There was more than adequate storage and a mini bar with some free space that you could use for your water if needed. The bathroom had wonderfully fluffy towels and facecloths that were changed daily. Shampoo soap and shower gel were also in plentiful supply.
I am gluten intolerant so in some ways I dread holidays as I am always watching what I eat. This was my first holiday where my food order was taken 1 day in advance and then cooked to my own requirements. It was an excellent system which meant I ate well with no worries. They even made a gluten free birthday cake for my husband so I could eat some with him. My husband also felt the food choices were excellent and having stayed in 5 star resorts in many places we both feel the Spirit served up as good if not better than some of these places. I also ordered room service breakfast most mornings and it was delivered right on time each time. I was able to handwrite items I'd like on the card that were not listed and these came with no fuss/
The staff had a real 'can do' attitude. Nothing was too much bother for them. Our cabin steward always addressed us by saying good morning Mrs xxx or Mr xxx. He tied balloons to the door on the morning of our wedding anniversary which we thought was a lovely gesture.
There was real multi-cultural mix on board. As usual however it was the brits who let the side down. The Windows restaurant was the most formal and expected gentlemen to wear long trousers and a collared shirt as a minimum. On more than one occasion we saw a couple of men in shorts and football shirts. We guessed their nationality and as soon as they opened their mouths our guesses proved right. There was a very informal buffet style affair in Raffles Court. We avoided it like the plague as eating food that other people have poked their fingers in is not my idea of mealtimes.
We paid quite a lot to visit the ship organised trip to Marrakesh. It was worth every penny. However we also booked their day trip to Gibraltar which was a complete fail. The trip was on a Sunday. Gibraltar closes on a Sunday. Even some of the attractions do not open so it seemed rather pointless to take us all that way to walk through a street of closed shops and not be able to see the 2nd World War tunnels. We complained when we got back on board and they refunded 25% of the ticket cost.
We have been converted to cruising and are already planning to book again with NCL to cruise the eastern med later in the year.