My husband and I sailed with a small group of 16 adults and 2 teenage children. Some of us were Lattitude members and some were not. 4 of the Lattitude members arrived aprox 11am at the NYC piers and got very special boarding privileges. They boarded immediately and through a different area upstairs then the rest of us Lattitude members who arrived about 12 noon. We had to wait on a long line outside the actual checkin area. We expressed that we were Lattitude members but that didn't make a difference. Once inside the check-in area we went right to the Lattitudes deck and moved quickly through there. Upon boarding we went directly to Windows for lunch. It was uncrowded and the food was very good. You can't go into your cabins until 2pm so we hung out by the Bier Garden. Most of us are long time cruisers with aprox 20 cruises under our belts but I was amazed at the cost of a glass of wine on the Spirit. It was $9 plus some change. Mixed drinks were less and beer was less but I felt that was a high price for a glass of duty free wine. Oh well if you want to drink they gotcha there.
My husband and I ate the first night in Gardens and it was great. The next night we ate in Windows and enjoyed that also. We decided to try Le Bistro the next night and while we enjoyed the atmosphere the food could have been better. We both had the duck so you might think twice about that dish if you are going there. We ate another evening at Shogun and we were unlucky to get a table that is along side the corridor where everyone is passing to go to either the show or the casino. Very noisy, very unnerving, very unenjoyable. The food was pretty awful too. We eat in many Japanese restaurants on Long Island and this was far from the average restaurant as we know it. The chow fun noodles tasted like the bags of noodles you buy in the supermarket for 9 cents a bag. I ordered the teriyaki steak and it was too tough to eat. My husband ordered the sweet and sour shrimp and it tasted like a tv dinner. We never tried Cagney's Steakhouse but our cruising mates did and they said it was great!
Our balcony cabin was small but doable, the balcony is also small. Our steward was pretty good except that I finished the bottle of water that was in the cabin the first night and never saw another one. The beds are very hard and I had an egg crate padding put on mine and that worked out fine.
The casino was nice. Did some winning but more losing. Make sure the amount you want to play on the slots is showing before you make a bet. Too many times I thought I was playing quarters only to realize it was dollars. Once that actually worked in my favor. We didn't get to any of the shows. Everytime we scheduled a dinner in the special restaurants, it coincided with the show. You can only make your reservation for the special restaurants 24 hours ahead. After 8:30 the price for the special restaurants gets cut in half. We also had 2 Lattitudes parties to attend and our group party and our Anniversary package party so getting to the shows was not going to happen. Bingo was ok and that also is expensive. The day I went if you wanted to buy the biggest package it was $120.00. I think the lowest price was around $60. You will need to carry around your daily paper because events do not get announced regularly or often. The pool area is very nice including 4 jacuzzis. But the ever playing latin music can begin to get on your nerves. Why they were playing Spanish music everyday on a cruise to Bahamas is beyond me - cruise to Mexico - yeah - great - but to the Bahamas? Where was the reggae?
We booked the bus to Disney as we had our own park passes. It is a little over an hour traveling there and the same back. It doesn't give you much time in the park. And the park was crowded, long lines for everything. We took the Atlantis tour and we all enjoyed it although some thought it was too hot to be walking in stuffy underground tunnels. It was informative. Tried the Atlantis casino - no luck there. The Bahamas has changed since we were there many moons ago. Around the ship terminal it is nice but the old Bahamas is still there if you venture out a little farther. Great Stirrup Cay was nice and the water was warm but there are a lot of rocks before you get into the deeper area. When your tender pulls in and you are facing the beach go to the beach on the left it has less rocks then the right. There are hammocks under trees and they rent nice large round floats for $20. They have a place to get some food and there are also shops. Hair braiding while we were there was $2.00 per braid. I suggest you bring your own comb just to be on the safe side. The largest dining tables are for 14 so if you have more in your group you will have to split up. If you need a large table you have to let them know because there are only a few of those, so make arrangements for them. There wasn't ever a problem getting seated in the dining room, if it was just 2-8 of us we were seated immediately.
Disembarking ran very smoothly. Express were let off first, then the non-citizens and then they started with the colors. We were lime and we lucked out being first off after the non-citizens but my friends had 2 colors behind us and they were off within 20 minutes from the time we left the ship, maybe sooner. It was not chaotic at all. The seas were magnificent when we sailed. We had smooth sailing all the time. I hope your cruise will be the same. Happy sailing.