Having been on the Epic 6 months earlier we were a bit worried that a smaller, older, ship wouldn't suit us fun-loving party animals...hmm, maybe I exaggerated our energy levels, but we are early 30s and go to bed past midnight on holiday!
Embarkation was great with a taxi from the airport for about 30e (better than the NCL transfers IMO) and a quick check-in. We couldn't board because we were early, but it was nice to wander around Barcelona for a bit. Top tip - get the shuttle, it's a lot longer walk than it looks!
Our room, balcony on 10, was a bit small but never felt too small, and although it was a bit dated compared to the EPIC, it didn't detract from our overall enjoyment. For us faded carpet and a small toilet don't negatively impact our holiday!
The MDRs could be busy, but it's important to time it around the entertainment, we had a pager on 2 nights, but we don't mind: we like to go with the flow. We didn't eat in any pay restaurants and enjoyed More
our meals and service every night. We also had lunch in Windows a few times, and this did seem to be a little lacklustre service-wise, but not really bad or worth moaning about.
The buffet was actually really good and the crepes are amazing! On a few occasions it was too busy to find a seat (at lunch). We weren't keen on the Blue Lagoon - it's situated in a walkway and it's not nice being banged into when eating. At one point we had several people stood right next to us singing psalms (I think) and it was very loud and then a grow of children were left to sun riot it put us off for the rest of the cruise.
We loved the shows and enjoyed them all - probably not what we would expect to like, but they don't last long and are quite varied. They also have films on and use it as a cinema - we really enjoyed this beings as the time of year meant lounging on deck wasn't fun!
The Galaxy bar was brilliant and busy every night, although the music got a little repetitive in here it was still fun. The disco was never on, and if it was it was empty. It's a shame because it's a nice room, but I think there was a problem with the DJ having to leave the ship. There were a few other bars and a pub which were all ok, and the atrium area was lovely in the evening: quite bustling.
We loved the jacuzzis and used them a lot. I also enjoyed the steam room and sauna - but they are separate for men and women and it can be confusing not knowing the "etiquette" of nakedness, but you are ok in a bikini/swimwear, you don't have to be naked! Plus they are free so that's always a bonus. The gym was small but adequate and you could always get on the equipment. There were plenty of loungers on the deck - i just wish the weather had been better!
Casablanca - we did the ships tour of Casablanca. Lots of people did Rabat, but that was several hours on the bus, and I don't like coach travel. Plus Casablanca is an intriguing city and really interesting - ice it a try (but I would stick to the ships tours).
Funchal - did our own thing and loved it: the red bus tour and the cable car. I don't see the point in doing a tour unless you want to see other parts of the Island.
Lanzarote - this was cancelled due to bad weather and replaced with Tenerife
Santa Cruz, Tenerife - it's a nice city but don't think I can judge it as a port as it was a last minute additional and we hadn't done any research so didn't know what to do with ourselves.
Malaga - again everyone seemed to opt for the 2hr bus ride to Gibralta, but we really enjoyed Malaga itself and there us lots to see and all quite a good price.
Barcelona - loads to see within walking distance, but next time we will definitely do the HoHo bus.
Overall we loved it all. The entertainments team were brilliant and there was a good mix of holiday makers. The casino (although tiny compared to the Epic) was quite lively and they always had a busy Craps table and managed a poker cash game every night. And no, we did not develop any serious "second hand smoking" complications. If you want glossy, modern, perfect and new don't go on the Spirit. If you want a relaxed holiday with good people, and like to feel comfortable and surrounded by other like-minded relaxed people, then book it!
P.s. If you wait until a few weeks before, and are happy for not so good weather (15-20c), you can get an absolute bargain! Less