This is our 5th cruise. Have cruised with Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Carnival. We arrived at 12:30. We boarded in less than an hour. Everything went quickly and smoothly.The ship is on the smaller size from the ones I've cruised on before. I loved all the little intimate areas with tables and the window seats all over the ship. I loved the lounge chairs on the deck, but there wasn't enough of them. They had plenty of room for more. The lounge chairs in the pool area were always taken. People had put towels on them in the morning and left them. There were tables in the pool area with no chairs around them because people had moved them. They should have a pile of chairs stacked that can be used when this happens.
Room: We had an inside cabin on the 10th floor. It was small by other ship's standards. There was only one chair to lounge in, unless you wanted to use the chair at the desk. The bed was comfortable. I found the bathroom quite large with a large shower. You could actually move in this shower. There was sign of wear at the bottom of the shower with rust. We found our room not to be on the clean side. When we came in it looked like it hadn't been vacuumed. I found a hair tie and a cap from something on the floor. I don't think they vacuumed the room the whole time we were there, because the same items were still on the floor when we left, and the floor looked dirty. There was also a shortage of washcloths on this ship. We had to keep asking for washcloths and were told they were being washed. I was disappointed with the cleanliness of the room, but it must have just been our steward, because people I spoke with said their room was good.
Food: The food was good. Especially the beef wellington on lobster night. It was so tender it melted in my mouth. In the Raffles Buffet there were always long lines, especially for the omelets and the stir fry. They had a nice variety of foods in the buffet. I did, however, find that they were slow in cleaning up dirty dishes people left. Many times I had to move dirty dishes over when I wanted to sit down and eat. They also ran out of coffee quite often. The Windows and Garden Cafe food was good. We waited no longer than 15 minutes to be seated. Service was fast and efficient. The BBQ on the pool deck was very nice. The ribs were great. This was our first time with Free Style, and we liked the freedom of eating when you wanted.
Shows: The Musical Showcase and the Retro Show were fantastic! Those young people who were in it were so high energy. They danced and sang to perfection. They couldn't have done it better on Broadway. Don't miss the Retro Show. The kids will love this, and so will the adults! The jugglers were good. I could have done without the magician, although the the kids liked him. The shows in the Galaxy of Stars were also excellent.
Ports: Bermuda: This is a beautiful, expensive island. It's very clean and the properties are kept nice. We didn't book a ship tour. It was confusing when we got off the ship. There was a booth selling bus and ferry token to get to the city of Hamilton (their large city). The lady at the booth wasn't any help. There was a long line. We met a nice man who overheard us talking to the lady in the booth. He explained that we should take the local bus #7 to get to Hamilton or the ferry. It cost $8.00 roundtrip to get to Hamilton. You could use the token to use the bus or the ferry. We chose the bus. It took about an hour to get to Hamilton. It was a very scenic ride. Hamilton is a bustling city with lots of highly priced shops. We took the ferry back to ship which took about 20 minutes. Tortola: We took a ship's tour or the island. We drove down some very scary streets much resembling a roller coaster ride. It's not for the faint hearted.We were glad the vehicle had good brakes. There were also hair-pin turns, which I don't know how the driver made his way. There were stops along the way for photos. It's a very pretty island. St. Thomas: We booked the ship's tour for beach/downtown. Because of "Carnival" going on downtown and some stores being closed, they changed the tour to have the beach in the morning. It was raining in the morning but we hoped it would clear up and we went. We were taken to the Marriott. It was a beautiful hotel with a beautiful beach. It cleared for a little while so we enjoyed the beach. There was a nice covered lounge area where you can stay at if it is raining. There's a charge for beach chairs of $10.00, which is a rip-off since you're only there 2 hours. Then we were taken back to the ship to change. It rained again when we went downtown. There are lots of jewelry stores there and the usual tourist junk. I felt it was not worth taking this tour. We met some people from the ship that had taken a cab to the beach for $8.00 and went on their own downtown. They saved lots of money since the ship's tour cost $43.00/person. My advise: take a cab to the Marriott and shop by the dock where it has the same merchandise and downtown.
My evaluation of the Spirit: It's a nice ship. The shows are great. The embarkation and debarkation are very well organized. I found the ship not the cleanest ship I've been on: in my cabin and on the ship. There were dirty dishes left all over the ship and not cleaned up. The ship had lots of families, which is great. I love kids, but the teenagers were left to roam the ship in gangs of 15 - 20 kids at a time disturbing shows and out of control. We were in the Galaxy of Stars and a show was going on and they came in, put their feet on tables, and were disruptive and no one corrected their behavior or said anything to them. There needs to be areas they're not allowed in. One of them even asked my husband to buy a drink for them.
Overall: I enjoyed the cruise, the itinerary,and the price. They need to work on the cleanliness issues. They have a lot of competition out there. Debarkation: We docked at 10:00 promptly. They have "express debarkation", in which you can carry out your own luggage and get off the ship first. This is a great idea. We had the color "light blue" and were 2nd to last to get off. We enjoyed breakfast at Raffles and were off the ship by 12:00. Everything went smoothly.