Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review by CruisinMaterial: Norwegian Spirit has... SPIRIT!
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Norwegian Spirit has... SPIRIT!
Introduction: I'm a 27 year old male who sailed with his 59 year old mother onboard the Norwegian Spirit leaving
Pre-Cruise Booking with NCL Direct: A few weeks prior to sailing there was a restructuring of prices and I figured it wouldn't be a bad thing to call up and see if I could surprise my mom for Mother's Day by moving us from an ocean More
view cabin to a balcony. The
Norwegian Spirit Cruise:
Embarkation: I am familiar with what NCL has control over and what they don't. Unfortunately the shore-side operation this year like last year was lacking and this was not NCL's fault. The way the longshoreman take the luggage you will stand forever in a line outside the terminal and then move inside and move MUCH quicker and get on the ship. The NCL reps inside the terminal moved things right along. I have never seen a lazier bunch of porters and we again left late because the ship wasn't fully provisioned by the time by 4PM. We arrived at the terminal shortly after Noon and were not on the ship until 1:20PM. However, as I usually do I met people in line and it helped pass the time.
The Ship: Built as the SuperStar Leo for NCL's parent Star Cruises, this ship is a one-of-a-kind gem in the Norwegian fleet. Her Asian inspirations are everywhere and the attention to detail in all paintings - especially on Deck 7 aft and in the Garden Room (Deck 6 - Mid-ship Dining Room) are just breathtaking. Stunning in its ability to have an abundance of natural light aft is the Windows Restaurant. This restaurant was also the resort casual ("no jeans and shorts") restaurant.
The Maharajah's casino had low ceilings on the gaming floor so if you're 6'4" or taller be sure to mind your head as those little security globes become quite the obstacle course to dodge. Forward on Deck 7 is Maharini's Lounge with TV screens and a nice U-shaped bar. The loungers in this area are more like beds (although not quite so comfortable to lie on). Just forward of the lounge was Maharini's Nightclub. This was the nightly entertainment venue when it came to dance club music. Both the lounge and the nightclub were the best designed with dEcor that I've seen at sea. It's very dark but elegant.
While I didn't dine in any of the specialty restaurants on this cruise I did go into each one and thought the dEcor was up to par with the Asian influence. Cagney's Steakhouse and Shogun (Asian cuisine and sushi bar) were very elegantly decorated. Le Bistro shies away from the Asian influence but that makes sense considering it's a French bistro.
Overall the public areas of the Spirit were very well preserved given the ship's recent dry dock in late 2008. Worn carpeting was hard to come by in all public spaces and upholstery was freshened just about everywhere. The ship's beauty does not disappoint.
Food: Completely subjective experience for anyone. This cruise's food was like the past Norwegian cruises since the menu change. Executive Chef Hans Peter did a fantastic job with presentation of the food on each plate. Thanks to the Executive Chef we were able to have another helping of Blueberry Chilled Soup on another night outside of the original night it was offered. If you haven't tried Norwegian's cold soups you are missing out on a signature item that you can only find on NCL! All of the cold soups are great from Peach, Blueberry, and Strawberry to Chilled Melon. The only one I didn't like which seems new to me is the Avocado and Tomatillo chilled soup. Ick on this one but the waiter (Kelton "Fox") was happy to replace it with another menu item. Main entrees were exceptional in presentation and preparation including the Beef Wellington and Prime Rib. I was surprised to see Escargot on the menu on the last night in the main dining room as well. I thought most cruise lines had gotten rid of it of their main restaurant menus so it was a pleasant surprise to have it and I very well enjoyed it!
Service was exceptional all around minus some early snafus but nothing to be highly critical about. To address the exceptional service where it was due I am going to just run through the events of the cruise as they occurred:
Day 1 - Embarkation Day -
Dinner was at the Garden Room the first night. We didn't feel like unpacking our clothes with the late embarkation and still weren't familiar with the ship and with reading the FreeStyle Daily and the policy about no jeans in Windows we headed to the Garden Room around 6PM. It took until 7:55PM to have the entire dinner service. I don't know what caused this mishap but space between courses was very lengthy. More so than we're accustomed to and some thought it was prudent to leave because the service was bad. Our waitress seemed overwhelmed. I'm not sure if she was new or what but we were in no rush since the Variety Show was at 9PM.
The Welcome Aboard Showtime is at 9PM and the Cruise Director Paul Scally doubles as a comedian during this opening act which thankfully included other acts like Home Free (an Acapella group which left the Spirit when we arrived back in
Day 2 - At Sea: Ordered room service which was delivered promptly - even when it was sped up because we got up earlier than expected. The convenience of having a stateroom close to mid-ship is that I could walk up the buffet and grab a plate of food from there and consume it with the additional sides ordered from room service and eat on the balcony (if it were warm enough too but this day the fog was still with us and there was a chill in the air). At 10AM we had the Cruise Critic gathering which was well attended by senior staff members onboard including the Hotel Director (Frank), Food & Beverage Director (from Austria... name escapes me at the moment), Executive Chef (Hans Peter) and Front Desk Office Manager (Amnita). I mentioned the CD to the Hotel Director Frank and he said he'd follow up with DJ Freddy. Frank was also very interested in hearing how our cruise was going so far and what we thought of the first night onboard. He took all of our feedback in stride - most of ours (mom and I) were positive comments minus the first night service but that was minor since we're not cooking and we're cleaning so waiting is not an issue! Remember - you're free to whatever!!!
That evening we dined in Windows Restaurant and had really great service provided by dining room staff. The maitre d' also stopped by our table to make sure everything was going smoothly which it was. This night our stateroom stewardess Meyrine (aka Nona) had made us our first towel animal of the cruise. Nona who services the deck 9 midship area of staterooms was fantastic in her service and very personable to us during the entire cruise. Excellent service provided by her and her assistant steward.
Showtime tonight was at 7:30PM and it was "On Broadway". The show consisted of great musical featuring numbers from Hairspray, Wicked and Mamma Mia. One singer's energy was clearly noticeable and when you see this show if she's still onboard you'll instantly recognize her talent if you know anything about singing and dancing. Jaylynn's voice is incredible. Best at sea I've ever had the opportunity to hear and this was cruise number 15 for me. I can only say a guest singer like Kimberly Locke had a better voice (but was not a regular on the cruise ship). Incredible show with tons of energy and not to be missed!
Day 3 - At Sea / Bermuda @ 11AM - Woke up and did the walk a mile with the Fitness Instructor Johan from
Dined again in the Windows Restaurant for dinner and again had excellent service - this time provided by Kelton "Fox" from
Nightlife onboard the ship consisted of Comedy Showtime of Second City and the 70's Groove Dance Party with the cruise staff. I passed on both of them and went back to the ship after the night excursion and changed and went ashore to the Frog and Onion and met up with some new found crew and passenger friends I made onboard.
Day 4 -
We spent the remainder of the day in
We returned to the ship for a later dinner and once again had Kelton as our waiter. Again a great dinner service provided by him and the food was great. Tonight's onboard entertainment featured a magician / comedian. We opted to skip this entertainment and instead lurked around until the Super Spirit Bermuda Deck Party. It seemed like a lot of people were ashore. This deck party had the lowest attendance of any deck party I've seen on any regular cruise. I went back and changed and ventured to the crew party ashore. All I can say is the crew knows how to party and I didn't get back onboard until 3:30AM. Great time ashore and had a great time with the crew.
Day 5 -
Back onboard it was dinner in Windows with Kelton again. Fabulous food and fantastic service! Afterward we headed to the first show time of Home Free a cappella group in the Stardust Theater. These guys were very good. Then it was back to the room to finalize the wardrobe for the White Hot Party in Galaxy of the Stars!
Frank, the Hotel Director, came through with the music which was interlaced with the regular music line up they play during the White Hot Party. Thanks to
Day 6 - At Sea - The ship was prompt in pulling out at 6AM. This is the first time that no announcements have been made onboard the ship for missing passengers. I don't know if it had to be due to the early hour or what but we left and navigated the channel. I fell asleep before getting a chance to see the Norwegian Dawn pass. I was informed by my crew friend at the Omelet station in Raffles that we did pass and you could clearly make her out. The rest of the day I slept and woke only for grazing (I mean eating). Ate at Windows that night and again had service by Kelton. I do highly recommend him. Tonight's entertainment was "On The Radio" - the second large scale production onboard. Great variations of music performances to music that you'd find on the radio - from Oldies and Country to Pop. Jaylynn once again shined during this performance. I wouldn't miss this show!
Later in the evening was Le Cabaret Glamour Party. This is something unique to the Norwegian Spirit so far and it's a cabaret style entertainment with a twist. There is a section called Ship 'N Dales at the end that women (or gay men) definitely don't want to miss. Everything is pretty skimpy all the way around and it's definitely NOT recommended for under 18 years old. Don't try to get them in either - proper ID is required. It seemed like a fantastic show from what I could see but the venue seems off. You can't really see most of what the dancers were doing because you're on the same line of sight as everyone in front of you so unless you're in the front row you can't see as much.
Day 7 - At Sea - Full Sea Day - Floated around the ship and shopped for souvenirs onboard and picked up the pictures I wanted. Bumped into the Hotel Director in the lobby and again he checked in to make sure everything was going great. He made mom and I feel very welcomed. He wanted to be sure this was our best cruise ever and through his crew and his efforts it certainly was right up there. Later in the evening after dining in Windows this final time (unfortunately Kelton didn't have a window section and wasn't anywhere close to where there was an open table) we had to sit somewhere else. During our dinner the ship slowed because we were going through a whale mating area east of
Two shows this night made our final evening onboard enjoyable including the Farewell Variety Show consisting of all acts onboard during the cruise minus
Day 8 -
Conclusion: The Norwegian Spirit is the best ship for
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