This is my official review of the Norwegian Spirit Cruise Jan 20th - 27th.
Embarkation - Took a little while, we arrived at 11:45 and were on board right around 1:15, we had the wrong luggage delivered to our room twice, and ours finally arrive at 6:45pm.
Activities - This was the first cruise ever for both my boyfriend and myself, and overall we were not impressed at all. We are both in our 20's and do not by any means expect to be catered on hand and foot, what we were hoping for was a lot of fun activities on board as well as off. I'm not sure if we set our expectations too high, but we did not have as great of a time on board as I imagined. Most of the day activities consisted of Trivia, Shuffleboard Tournaments, and Alcohol tasting (at $15 per person for each of them). This was disappointing as we were left with not alot to do other than head up to the top deck and read, which I admit was nice and relaxing. Most of the fun and entertainment that I felt catered to our age included the late night pool parties, but since we got into the ports so early in the morning it made it difficult to start partying around 10:30 or 11:00pm, and still be able to get up at 6:00am the next day to eat breakfast and prepare to go ashore. I believe the activity planning was largely due to the fact that at least 90% of the passengers aboard were collecting social security, I'm not sure if a different cruise director would have made a difference, or if they check the demographics of the cruise before the plan out the days, but over all we were very disappointed in the days activities aboard.
The Good part was the itinerary was amazing. It was such a relief to be able to get off the boat and see some of the most amazing places in central america.
Roatan - We arrived into this port at 3:30 and got off the boat around 4:00. We took a cab to West Bay and stopped at a cute little bar on the beach for some cocktails then proceeded down the road and checked out alot of the local stores and shops along the way. We ate lunch at a place called Eagle Rays, if you are ever in the West Bay area in Roatan, I highly recommend this little joint. It is right on the water front, the food is awesome, and they have 4 parrots that you can hold and talk to, and these little guys talk back. Very cool experience. The shopping in this area was much less expensive than in the port area (we found this to be true for all the ports). If you are scared to venture out into Roatan alone, don't be, it's a really great place with really nice people.
Santo Tomas - This was my second favorite port. We could not find information in time to take the trip that we wanted to the 7 Alters, so instead we went on the ship Kayak Excursion. We took a tender boat over to Amitique Bay Resort around 9:30 and hung out there for a little bit until our kayak guide was ready. We left around 10:30 and went up one of their natural resources rivers, after about 40 minutes we turned around and headed back, then we hung out at the resort until 3:00pm that afternoon. The resort was beautiful, with plenty of pool space, a wet bar, and they even served a buffet lunch which was really really good. Overall, I think this port had the most unique shopping, and I wish that I would have bought a few more things while we were here.
Belize - This was the most amazing day ever and it made this vacation so awesome. We booked our cave tubing excursion through cave-tubing.com, and had an awesome time. Yhonny, Akron, and Luis took such good care of us and made sure everyone had a good time. They knew how important it was for us to get back on time and made sure there was plenty of time for us to get back to port. The juggle trek was amazing and the tubing experience is something I will never forget. The trek takes about 20-30 minutes and the tubing took about 1 1/2 hours. This is a must do experience if you ever have the chance to visit Belize. Our group range everywhere from 4 years old, to 60 or so years of age. Yhonny made sure that no one was left behind and that everyone was safe. After the excursion we had the chance to visit a few of the shops and have lunch at the Wet Lizard, great food, great service, right off the pier.
Cozumel - I was really excited about Cozumel, but this turned out to be my least favorite port, it is so touristy now, its difficult to enjoy getting hassled be every shop you walk by, so we rented a jeep and took our selves on an island tour. The East side of the island was very beautiful and completely different than the West side. Very rough waters, and rough beaches, but still beautiful. A round 11:30 we found our selves at Mr Sanchos because we had hear such good things about it on the boards and also we have a few friends from the boat that were going to be there. This was by far the biggest waste of time that day. We waited 20 minutes for someone to take our drink order, then another 30 for them to take our food order. We ended up just leaving and headed down the road to Carlos and Charlies. The staff here was awesome, and the food was so good. I wish that we would have just gone there in the first place. We were also able to get a few lounge chairs with an umbrella right on the beach. It also was not nearly as crowded here as it was at Mr. Sanchos. We headed back to town around 2:30 to take care of some last minute shopping. In my opinion Cozumel had the worst shopping of all the ports. We were not interested in the jewelry or any of the mainstream stores, but the local goods vendors were very difficult to bargain with, and the prices were almost double here over every where else. We still picked up some goods that we were satisfied with and got back on board around 4:45.
Food - I was not impressed with the ships food at all we had a mix of some good (not excellent) and some really terrible. We ate in Windows, the Garden Room, Raffles, and Cagney's. The service for us in Windows was terrible, we ordered our beverages one night before our food and they did not show up until we were almost finished with our main courses. This was disappointing and was pretty much how service was in Windows for use the rest of the cruise. The Garden Room service was good, it seemed like a completely different atmosphere than windows, much more alive and welcoming. Raffles was fine, for the most part it was alot of stuff from the day prior at the main restaurants, nothing memorable, but nothing inedible either. Cagney's was the biggest waste of money on the boat besides bingo. We both ordered the Lobster (at $30 each), and were not impressed at all, they were over cooked which made them like rubber and very small. The lobster tails in windows were much bigger and better than what we had at Cagney's. Over all this was the biggest disappointment in food for the entire cruise. Breakfast in Raffles was always good, lots of selection, you could eat something different every morning.
Service - The service was so so, some really good some really really bad, and everything else in between. Our room steward, Rodolfo, was nice. I didn't see the cruise director until the last day on board, which I think is part of the reason the activities were so horrible. Had he actually been around to see what was going on maybe it would have been different. Raquel in reception was a sweetheart, and always very helpful. For the most part any staff you pasted in the halls would say hello and smile.
Disembarkation - We were off the boat by 7:45. Through Customs by 8:15 and to the airport by 8:45. Very easy and smooth.
Overall Summary - Not sure is we will ever cruise again, or if we do, we will have to go with another ship or line. I don't know if I set my expectations too high since this was our first, but we are pretty laid back people so I don't think that was it. The ports were amazing and I can't wait to go back to a few of them. We did not have any bed bugs (room 8052), or sand flees, or any or the other crazy things you hear about on these boards. The friends we made on boards were awesome (Misti, Matt and the Girls, and Troy& Megan). Very relaxing trip which is what we needed, very happy to be home and have my starbucks.