We had a wonderful time on this cruise. It seems as though most of the ships' kinks have been or are being ironed out. The crew was friendly and helpful, and I neither saw any passengers who felt they needed to berate crewmembers nor any crewmembers being rude to passengers. The crew took great care of the ship; it's very clean and I noticed staff cleaning and painting and varnishing almost every day.
Embarkation in Seattle was easy as pie for Latitudes members, but a long line for everyone else. Debarkation was easy as well; it's nice not to have to sit in a lounge with other passengers and wait in long lines in the stairwell. We had a leisurely breakfast in Windows and debarked when our tag color was called. No lines to speak of, and we saw many taxis outside to whisk passengers away.
We had an inside cabin and it was larger than I was expecting. I wouldn't want to have more than two--or maybe three with a small child--in there, though. (That also goes for the balcony cabin my father was staying in.) The bathrooms are nice; I liked the shower especially with its removable showerhead. Shelves and drawers were plentiful, but the closet needed more hangers. There is one outlet that will take the standard plugs for the USA passengers, but it only will handle 500 watts.
The ship itself is quite beautiful and very well kept. The decor is brightly colored, and some of it can be too garish (like the carpet in the hallway next to the Taipan Bistro), but mostly the colors are cheerful. The Galaxy of the Stars lounge has great views, and The Cafe on the port side of the Grand Centrum is the perfect spot for coffee, pastries and people watching.
The food was good in the main dining rooms; the vegetarian meals were very tasty and, most importantly, filling. There were a few minor mishaps with servers (one forgot to give me a menu) and mistakes on the menu (watercress salad without watercress), but nothing very major. Both Windows and the Garden Room are nicely decorated; I rather preferred the Garden Room for its more intimate atmosphere and the lovely Asian decor. Too bad they played Celine Dion and Whitney Houston instead of relaxing instrumental music.
The buffet is best during breakfast and afternoon snack times. Lunch and dinner were okay, but there were sometimes odd combinations of ingredients or inedible items. Don't judge a dish by its appearance. The desserts were very good.
The food in the specialty restaurants are even better than the main dining rooms, and I recommend trying one that appeals to you. By comparison, the food in the main restaurants is a bit blander.
I don't know how many children were on the cruise, but the ones I encountered were very well-behaved and seemed to be enjoying themselves. We sat near a family of five one night at dinner and the kids made no noise; they were all just tuckered out! The kids' pirate-themed pool area has slides and water jets and fountains. It looked much more fun than the main pool; it even has its own hot tub. There is a lot of space for parents to relax and still watch over their children. We had unusually hot weather in Alaska, and the pools seemed to get plenty of use.
As for Alaska, the place is stunning. When cruising up the Tracy Arm Fjord, get thee to an open deck. The views are wonderful, and Sawyer Glacier is magnificent. We were lucky to see some calving.
I recommend a whale watching excursion; seeing those enormous creatures up close is so much better and you get an accurate idea of their size and majesty. While on the Spirit itself we did see some whales, but far away. The dolphins, sharks and seals we saw swam much closer to the ship, so it's not as though you won't see any marine life.
In summation, our family had a fantastic vacation on the Norwegian Spirit, and I would definitely cruise her again.