We did not expect this ship to be as lovely as it was because it's older and was refurbished a few years ago. The ship was perfect, nothing looked worn, as I have seen on other older ships we've sailed before. Everything sparkled with cleanliness. Every staff member we encountered was friendly and you got the feeling that they really liked their jobs and were well taken care of.
My stateroom was very nice, with it's location mid-ship. My room was a few doors down from the atrium elevators. While my stateroom was comfortable, the bathroom was NOT. I never did manage to "get used to it" for the entire 12 day cruise. There was a sliding door across the toilet and another across the shower. By doing this it created a tiny 4x4 space in which to "do everything else".The sink took up almost the entire countertop so there was no space to lay out your toiletries. The wand-style hairdryer was mounted above the towel bar and burned your hand after using it for several minutes. You could not use the desk in the stateroom to plug in your own hairdryer and had to use this one. There was only two tiny hooks mounted on the shower door for your clothes. When the shower door was opened, the clothes hung over that tiny sink area. AND, there is no soap or conditioner provided. There is a dispenser for hand soap hanging over that precious little space on the counter top and it drips. In the shower is another dispenser with shampoo and body wash. Neither of them suds very much! I'm so glad I read another cruiser's review before I took this trip and brought my own small bottles of shampoo & conditioner. In our first port I bought a wonderful scented bar of Olive oil soap. The olive oil in the soap must have helped me tan because I never got sunburned after forgetting to put on sunblock!
The entertainment staff were wonderful. Everyone worked together as a team and were infectious with their enthusiasm. They planned some of the most entertaining events I've seen in a long time. Most of the entertainment that the cruise director hired were great. I didn't enjoy the violinist, however. The Spirit Dancers were a little flat, in my opinion. Their first number had the most awful, dull costumes. Kenosis, the band starring, for the most part, in the Galaxy lounge was so entertaining. They could play any style of music. I managed to be in that lounge every night just to hear them. I asked if they had a CD out but was told to check with facebook since they were still working on it.
The food on this ship was delicious and well presented. We ate only once in the Windows restaurant. It was a little more difficult to get to and since the menus are the same we returned the rest of the time to the Garden restaurant. The service, while pleasant and efficient, was rather slow. We got there early, as soon as the doors opened for dinner, but were always late for the show at 7:30. You never, ever, got coffee at the same time as your dessert! The dessert menu was boring. Only 3 things changed per night. Everything else on the menu was the same every night! And they only had the standard vanilla, chocolate or strawberry ice cream offerings. If you wanted a change of flavors you had to go to the buffet on deck 12. once in awhile they offered a delicious coconut flavor.
Speaking of the buffet, We found a wonderful variety offered everyday with a few specials thrown in from day to day. The carving station had something new everyday. We never had trouble finding a seat in this dining room. On other ships we had to circle the dining room several times in order to find a place to sit down. By now your food was ice cold. There was a cute pair of "Surprise" girls mingling throughout the dining room in the mornings. They were the most delightful girls with big smiles and they offered their "Surprise", a tray of the most sinful buns, rolls and muffins, just in case you still had room in your tummies. Oh Boy!
We ordered our tours on-line thinking we'd be all set and ready to travel with no hassels. Not the case! Two of our tours were canceled! We had to book the Level 1 tours due to health issues but I guess there wasn't enough interest in the same tours we picked. Needless to say, we were very disappointed. The other tours were OK, but not great. We couldn't find any tours for Rome in a level 1 that didn't require lots of walking. We were going to just walk around Chivitavecchia when we met an independent travel service and along with 4 other persons, shared a comfortable van and got to see all the sights offered in Rome. Our driver managed to navigate those tiny streets in Rome and find a parking space. We got an hour to walk in the Vatican,and an hour outside the Colliseum. Our driver spoke a little English but for the most part was easy to understand. This tour only cost us $50 PP! Our driver, Felice, drives very fast and it took us only 1hr and 10 minutes to get to Rome. The ship's tours all say it takes 2 hrs to get there. They use a big bus and can't navigate the small streets the way our van did. And the buses had to park quite a distance from the attractions.
I don't know what has happened to the pricing of games on this ship. BINGO cost $39 for a pkg of two sets of cards with three games each. AND the prizes did not justify the cost. Most winners received $120 to $150 total! And more than one winner had to split the money! There was another game, DEAL OR NO DEAL, and a card cost $20.
All in all, this was a wonderful cruise. It was our first time sailing with NCL and we would do it again in a heartbeat. However, we would not use that travel agent they had on board. They offered $100 ship board credit if you booked another cruise while still onboard this cruise. We tried to get information from this girl and she was useless. She told us to go on-line when we got home to check out the ships and their itineries. I wonder why Spirit has her on their payroll? She did absolutely NOTHING! And, she looked bored besides!