My family and I (4 in total) sailed on the Spirit on 7/29/07 to Florida and the Bahamas. This is the second time I have sailed the Spirit. Took an 8 day cruise last year to St. Thomas, Tortola and Bermuda. I had an idea of what to expect and was not disappointed.
EMBARKATION: We took a car service in from NJ and arrived at the pier around 11:30. Waited in the Latitudes waiting area until about 12:00 and were on the ship by 12:15. Very easy process. We went up to Raffles to get some lunch. Since we were among the first to get on the ship, there were no lines. Lunch was good. Although we couldn't get into the rooms until 2:00, we did sneak in and drop off our carry ons (SHH!) We then headed to the Bier Garten and purchased a soda card for our teens. I think $50 is a bit steep but we got them anyway.
SHIP: The Spirit is a beautiful ship. There Asian decor is spectacular and gives a bit of elegance to the ship. The pool area does tend to get crowded, but we had no problem getting a chair one deck up on the sun deck. I prefer this anyway, since it is so crowded down by the pool. Pool is a nice size, nothing great but it does the job when you need to get cooled off.
EXCURSION: We went to Universal Studios in Florida. It was a bit rushed but we had a blast. In the Bahamas we went to the British Colonial Hilton and bought a day pass for $15/pp. This was well worth it. The hotel is close to the ship and we got to use their pool facilities and the beach. It was a great day. Nassau isn't a great area and I really didn't want to walk around, besides, it was extremely HOT!
ROOMS: We had two connecting balcony cabins on the 11th deck. These rooms were fine. I've been on 8 cruises and know what to expect out of cabins on a cruise ship. They were smaller than other balcony cabins I've had, but I never felt too cramped. The connecting rooms were great to have. The balcony itself is on the small size, but there was room for a small table and two chairs. I didn't find the beds hard at all but my room steward said he could bring something if we needed to make it softer. The room steward's name was Damien and he was pleasant enough. Didnt' speak too much, but would engage in conversation if I started.
SERVICE: This was one of the best staffs. Pretty much everyone was always smiling and saying good morning. I accidentally spilled some half/half (opened the small container and...poof, all over the floor - Ooops!) While I was cleaning it up one of the workers ran over to me and took over. Told me not to worry about it. I said I had made the mess, it was alright. He insisted that I not worry myself, so I went and sat down. Servers in Raffles were very nice and the place always seemed clean. They are big on hand sanitizing. So you'll get squirted with the stuff.
ENTERTAINMENT: Nothing great but nothing horrible. The juggling/comedian team of Shark Bait were great. Don't miss that show. On the first night there was a hypnotist that was great. My BF volunteered to be hypnotized and it was hilarious. The casino was always packed. I'm not a big gambler, but I did win $125 on the 5 cents slots...lol. The Monopoly game near the back. It was fun. Two days there was jewelry making in Galaxy of the Stars - it was free so I went. Made a nice pear of earrings and a nice bracelet.
DINING: I found the food to be above my expectations. I am not a big eater and tend to be picky, but to my surprise, the food was very good. I did hear some people complain. One woman actually said she couldn't find ANYTHING edible on the whole ship. I find that hard to believe. There are so many choices of where to eat. The Blue Lagoon serves burgers, hot dogs, wings, chips, etc. and there are always sandwiches in Raffles. I find it impossible that people say the food wasn't good. Out of Windows and Garden Restaurants, Windows is the bigger of the two. We went there two nights. I had the rack of Lamb one night and the Lobster tail and Beef Wellington the next. The beef wellington was one of the best things I have ever eaten - Delicious!!! The lobster was a bit chewy. The deserts in the restaurants are to die for. When we went to Gardens, I had the Veal Scallopini - Wow, that was sooooo rich. Delicious but could only eat half. We went to Cagney's steak house one night. Although the food was very good, I didn't find it that much better than the food in the other restaurants. We booked a late seating, 8:30, so we had no trouble getting a table and only paid $10/pp - Great deal!. Ate breakfast every morning at the buffet - typical buffet breakfast. The iced tea is not sweetened. Just add sugar and lemon and it tastes good - don't make a big deal about this, as some others did. It was quite annoying.
DISEMBARKATION: The ship arrived in New York about 9:00 - We had to wait until about 10:30 to get off the ship and we were the 2nd color called. I think next time I may do the express disembarkation.
SUMMARY: I loved this cruise. I heard some people complaining about everything so I guess to each his own. Go with an open mind, don't expect everything to be perfect, and just enjoy your vacation.