The Spirit is a beautiful ship. Unfortunately, the service and food on board is not.
"Freestyle cruising" is nothing more than NCL luring passengers with cheap fares and then charging for more on board. Most of the time, the "free" restaurants are overcrowded and the alternative restaurants empty but with cover charges ranging from $12.50 to $15 per person and even more surcharges for steak and lobster ($10). At times I saw over 100 passengers sitting on the stairs waiting to get into the free dining areas.
NCL also charges $10 per day per passenger tipping "conveniently added to your on board account." The buffet dining was a mob scene, everyday. Buffet crew would not bring water to your table, refill coffee or anything like it. Beverage dispensers frequently were empty causing one to go to the other side of the ship which was like crossing the Berlin Wall. Room stewards cleaned your cabin at their will; putting the "Please Make Up Room" card in the cabin door key was totally useless. One could hardly take a nap for fear that the cabin would be passed by for cleaing. This was hardly the kind of service customary with other cruise lines such as HAL and RCL.
The Captain of the Spirit, whom we never saw, did a wonderful job bringing the ship close to the South Sawyer Glacier and again on an emergency helicopter medical evacuation.
In short, if you cruise NCL be prepared to pay at least another 15% of your fare for service and food usually included.