A little history here, my husband and I have been on 3 prior cruises-Princess, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean. This is my children's 2nd cruise. We have enjoyed all the previous cruises, some areas more than others. This was our first time for a cruise in January. This was a 7 day cruise out of New Orleans on the NCL Spirit.
Hotel: We drove down to New Orleans. We stayed at the Drury Inn on Poydras. Parking was included if you booked under the NOLA cruise rate. This saved us quite a bit of money. The hotel was really nice. Breakfast was included along with three evening cocktails per person per night. My husband dropped us off at the cruise terminal around 11:15AM and went back to park the car at the Drury. Taxi back to the port cost $10.
Embarkation: Fairly smooth. Make sure you have your passport and cruise ticket in hand when proceeding into the terminal. We waited in a short line to check in at the terminal counter, and then waited for our number to be called to board. While waiting they served complimentary juice and cookies. We were onboard by 12:45. I would recommend getting there before noon, as we were boarding we saw a long, long line waiting to check in.
Once onboard we went straight to Windows to have lunch. It was a chilly cold day, so we didn't want to wait outside. There were just a few people in Windows at this time. It was very relaxing. The rooms were ready around 2PM.
Cabin: We had an inside cabin on deck 6. There were 2 twin beds, 1 pull down and 1 that comes out from under the bed. It appeared that the chair also pulled out into a bed. This would have made it very cramped. Beds were quite firm, but sheets and duvet were comfortable. You may want to ask for a top sheet the first day like we did. Rest assured there were no bedbugs in our cabin. (I did check!) No huge stains or dirt like others have said. We managed to fit our luggage under the bed and into the closet. No easy task as we had 2 mediums suitcases, 1 large suitcase, garment bag, carnival beach bag-packed with stuff, carry on overnight bag, shoe bag, camera bag, oh and did I mention 3 heavy coats. Try to pack light! My husband and I were pleased to see that the TV showed new release movies. It proved helpful for the rough sea day. (More on that in a minute.) Bathroom shower was very nice with the class door. No water seeped out to the rest of the bathroom. Shampoo and body wash were in a dispenser in the shower. There was also a shower cap and lotion. We received towel animals 4 nights. Our steward kept our room very clean. All our luggage arrived by 5:15PM.
Dinner was very good that night. I had some type of jerk chicken. Daughter had a skirt steak with Chorizo. My husband and DD thought it was outstanding.
1st full day at Sea- Here is where it gets interesting. It started with me in the cabin when we were getting ready. I kept telling my family to hurry up I was starting to not feel so good. I need the great outdoors. FRESH AIR!!!!! We made it out of the rocky cabin and went to breakfast. We all ate a small amount because of the motion of the ship. My DD then says she feels a little off also. We stop by the reception desk to pick up some sea calm. I take it and feel better within 1 hour.
DD's go to the Kids crew. We registered them the night before. About an hour goes by when my oldest daughter and one of the Kids crew staff come and find us saying she had been seasick in the bathroom. We go sit outside and drink Ginger Ale. We all start feeling better. We decided to go to the Mahjong room and play some board games since the weather outside is nasty. Seas were from 10 to 12 ft. So we are all playing games and talking when my husband who has been feeling okay says we have to go like now. He had to make a run for it because he then felt sick. So here I am rushing to put up the board games and trying to catch up to my husband. I found him on the pool deck with a bag to his face. Of course he said it was because I gave him Sea Calm pills (which made him sick) Ha Ha. He feels better after that.
We head to the cabin to get ready for formal night or not so formal night. On the menu for dinner is Lobster and Beef Wellington. We are getting ready to be seated when my daughter then gets sick in a bag. We head to the restroom and she decides she feels good enough to go ahead to restaurant. Windows is in the back of the ship and sitting there for two long is not good on a rough day at sea. We order and make it through the soup when my husband starts to sweat; here we go again I thought. He goes out for some air and says he feels better. He doesn't look it! I tell him if he and our daughter want to go to the room they can. They decide that is for the best and head out. Neither have ate more than a couple of bites of broth. Our server is concerned and volunteers to get entrees to go, both declined. She sent them with some saltines though. I later took them some wonderful Apple pie with the crumb top, drizzled in caramel sauce. Mine also had praline ice cream on it. I can just taste it. Do not whatever you do miss this dessert. It is the best all week. The Beef Wellington was also extremely good.
Day 2- Roatan Arrived at 3:30. Met Henry at 4PM from Victor Bodden tours. He gave us a tour of the island. We went to the East side first, saw the ship wrecks and governors house. We then went to the West End and Bay area. By the time we arrived the sun was setting. I had time to snap some gorgeous pictures of the sunset and beach area. I would really like to go back here as the beach was so pretty. We had only been at the beach for about 5 minutes when it started pouring rain. Ran back to the van sopping wet. I was really glad I booked an independent excursion ahead of time as getting off and just walking around the port could be intimidating with all the people trying to get you to take their excursion or buy something (Never seen anything quite like it before)There was a line of people just waiting for you! We definitely want to go back to West Bay Beach area! We were back on the ship by 6:15.
Dinner-good-Jamaican black bean soup Excellent. Potato and leek soup was also great. Caesar salad always good. I ordered that every night. Husband had some type of strip steak that he said was some of the best he ever had. My DH never orders steak out because he feels he can cook it better, so it's something to say it was so good! Ice cream was always very good!
Day 3-Santo Tomas Loved IT! I had spoke with the Kids Crew Staff for a long time the night before. They said when they get off the ship they sometimes go to this place called Green Bay resort. Once we got off the ship we went over close to happy fish a lady from another company said they do Green Bay Resort and the Waterfalls. Price $40 for adults and free for children. What a deal! This saved us a bundle compared to the ship excursion. They took us by water taxi to the resort, then by van to the waterfalls. The hike up the falls was quite tiring especially when you sometimes have to carry a 4yo. It was worth it though when we got to swim at the falls. The falls were not huge because it hadn't rained to much lately. It was still very enjoyable. Did you know if you see snails in the water that means the water is pure? After the falls we went back to the resort. The resort was so pretty. It was kind of like our own private paradise. There were only about 20 other people there at the resort. They had a pool with a volleyball net and another pool with fountains and a small slide. We had the best nachos and frozen margaritas here! You could take the water taxi back at your leisure!
The port had internet access and phone service. Phone to the US was a $1 a minute. The vendors would negotiate with you. Make sure you watch the send off at the port. Food was again good.
Day 4-Belize I was up at 5:45AM to get tender tickets. They didn't start giving out tickets until 7 but I wanted to make sure we got the first tender off after the NCL groups. Turned out that at 8:45 we decided to go down by the tender area and told them about our 9:15 excursion on land. They had us wait to see if there were any open space on the next tender. There were and off we went. I can't say enough about how nice the staff on the ship was. We booked online Cavetubing.com and had a blast. Never once did I question making it back to the ship in time. We were back at port by 3:00. Butts up to all my fellow tubers. Our group consisted of my 4yo to mid to upper 60's. My little one said Can we do this every day! Don't worry if you are going with cavetubing.com Yhonni and his group will take care of you. I cannot describe how fun this was. Questions just ask?
Day 5-Cozumel We went to Mr. Sanchos beach. We arrived at 10:00AM. Taxi there cost $15 for 4 people. Really enjoyed the beach and food. We ate the chicken fajitas and guacamole-lots of food for 4 people. Make sure you get there early because it gets pretty busy. We saw so many fish here. We really enjoyed playing in the water here. They also had a pool here. This surprised us because last year we went to Paradise Beach and really didn't enjoy it too much. There were too many boulders and rocks in the water.
Last Day at Sea- Nice weather until late in the afternoon. You could tell we were getting closer to New Orleans because the temperature started dropping.
Getting off the ship: Do express if you need to get off early. We were at our car by 8:15. Very Easy!
PRO- The ports were fantastic. Do get off the ship but have a plan.
Kids Crew-Fabulous loved Spacey and Sugar. My girls 4 and 9 always wanted to go. Princess Parade, Cookies with the Captain and pj party. What else could a child want!!!! The pools were great also. Staff was also wonderful in almost all areas of the ship. Portions we found in the dining room to be quite good on the entrées. Didn't really matter since my husband would order at least 2 every night.
Bier Garten grill was very good for hamburgers and hot dogs.
Acrobat family and Crew show were both very good.
Entertainment staff(deck party staff)-they were great. They really got my 9yo involved with dancing. One even slow danced with her at the end of the evening which I thought was sweet.
Cons: Food for the first 4 nights was outstanding, menu was a bit weak the last 3. We made do though, you can always order strip steak or grilled salmon every night. They don't tell you this, so ask! I don't normally eat steak but liked the strip so much I ate it the last 3 nights. We found options of eating in the late afternoon or late night to be a bit lacking. Buffet closed down at 9:30 or so. Several people said there is a buffet in the casino late in the evening. We never went though because we had kids with us. Buffet not open in the late afternoon except ice cream. Missed not having a pizza area open 24 hours. Blue Lagoon chicken strips were just gross.
Where was the cruise director? We didn't see him until the next to last night!!! We felt activities during the day were a bit lacking and sometimes during the evening. Maybe it was because of the time of the year. We normally go at spring break. We will probably do this the next time we go.
Overall: I would cruise the Norwegian Spirit again. Great cruise overall. We met some great people who I hope to be lifelong friends with. I'm sure I missed something so feel free to hammer me with questions because I love to talk about my cruise!!