DW and I just returned from the Spirit Canada/ New England (10/14 - 10/20). We have been on the Spirit before, Aug 2006, so we knew the layout of the ship, which always helps.
Embarkation. We arrived in NYC 9:30, and to the port around 10:30, the Bike Race made it hard to get to the port. We parked, gave the porter the luggage and was directed to the Latitude waiting area. We were in that area for 30 minutes at most and then were sent to check in. We sat in the chairs for 30 minutes at most and then got on the ship.
Cabin. The cabin, 11520 a BA category, was always clean. The only issue was the power, which was fixed quickly. The one and only 110 volt receptacle did not work. I went to the front desk and with in 20 minutes someone brought a transformer, it gave us two 110 volt plugs
Dining. Overall the food on the ship was very good. We eat in Windows twice, one diner and one lunch. The food and the service were both very good. Each morning we had breakfast at the buffet. The selection of food was OK, but NCL had not gotten the hint, the SCRAMBLE EGGS ARE WET STILL. There was an omelet station, there were two staff members manning it and the layout was confusing. Guest would be in line waiting were you got a plate. As you walk up to the first staff member if the other was available you would walk over, other guest would start a line behind you. No fault to the guests, a "rope line" may be in order. Had diner in the specialty three time, Cagney's one and Le Bistro twice. The service and food in Cagney's was very good and worth the money, but nothing compared the Le Bistro, the Le Bistro was OUTSTANDING. Wendell was the concierge both nights and was outstanding. Michael and Mary took care of us the first night. On the second night we had Donald and Mary, other members also made sure the food arrived, plates were cleared and the water was full. If you are reading this review before you cruise the Spirit, make it a point to book at least one diner in the Le Bistro, it IS worth the price. The Blue Lagoon is a good place for a quick meal. Overall the food is good, at times the service is slow and if you order lets say, Wings, Chili, and a Burger, they all come at the same time. At times the Fries and Potatoes Skins are warm and soggy.
Entertainment. Cameo Rascale and family were very good, Young James stole the show. He had a juggling clinic; it was fun to watch adults try to juggle. Second City was very funny. I have seen them on other cruises; this group of Second City performers was the best we have seen. We did not go to the shows buy the NCL production company; this was for no reason other than we have seen the "On the Radio" and "Broadway" show on other cruises. They are always good. The comedian was Chris Riche. He had seen her on the Dawn in May of this year. She is OK but not my "Cup of Tea".
Ports/Destination. We enjoyed Halifax, Boston and Martha Vineyard. Being from Boston we did a Duck Tour of the city. I live in Boston; it was fun and an interesting way to see the city I live in as a tourist. In Halifax, the Citadel and Maritime Museum were great takes. Get to the Citadel for the Noon time canon, and watch the changing of the Guards. The Maritime Museum is also a good take. The second floor has stuff from many wrecks and outstanding ship models. Martha Vineyard is a very pretty island. We took the only shore excursion that was offered, it was a bus tour of the island that dropped us off in Edgartown for 1.5 Hrs, and we did some shopping and seeing of the sites
Now the two areas that I had concerns with
Casino. I was not overly impressed with the Casino Staff. I asked on the first day if my points from the Dawn could be applied to the Spirit, by the last day they were not. I was told the Dawn "Did not reply to the email" When I got on the Dawn in May 2007 the points from Aug 2006 on the Spirit were transfer as I waited, no email no waiting, did some thing change were in the system? The times in the Freestyle and the Slots Tournament did not match. When asked I was told it was a mix-up, it was printed as if we stopped in Bar Harbor???????? Now my big issue, the Craps Table. There are Dealers and Stickman that should not be working on that game. Examples: $5 table, Point was 8; I dropped $15 and asked for a 6 and 9. On a $5 dollar table that is a $5 - 9 and a $6 -6. It took some time for the dealer to get it, the Stickman and the Box man needed to tell the person what to do. NOTE: I was one of three people playing; there was not a lot of action. On that same run, added a $5 -5, the game had to stop because the dealer had no idea what bet each of the three people had. Craps is a fast game, and I understand that Stickman and Dealers get changed, but they MUST understand the game. The Casino opened late several nights, I think it was due to the slow speed we were traveling since the fog was heavy as we left Boston. The late opening is NO fault of the casino staff, I think telling the many people that were waiting what was going on would have been in order.
Cruise Ship Staff. The Food Service and House Keeping staff did a very good job, my option of the Cruise Director and his staff is different. I saw and heard the Cruise Director less on this cruise than others. The announcements that were made had very little detail, and information was not supplied on a timely basis. The ship did not info us until the Wed night that we would have to clear US Immigration Thursday morning in Boston. The notification was the papers left by the Hotel staff when they turned down the beds. A less formal notification was taped in the elevators. When Thursday morning came the ship did not follow its own schedule on who went to Immigration when. The Freestyle Daily said that when we got to Martha Vineyard the tenders until 10:30 were to be for guest with Shore Excursion, after that "Independent Guests" could go ashore. When the announcement was made about the tenders being ready, no note was made about guests with excursion being first. Also, I have never heard of the phase "Independent Guests", is that a new NCL word. The only announcement that had detail and followed the schedule was the deck by deck departure on the last day.
DW and I have been to Bermuda and the surrounding area 5+ times and wanted a change and it was enjoyable. I would recommend the ports to others as well as NCL.