CRUISE REVIEW - MAY 29, 2009
This was our 12th. cruise, 9 on Norwegian Majesty to Bermuda, 1 on Norwegian Dream to Bermuda, and this time on The Spirit. The cruise is a working vacation. The band is considered a "guest entertainer", thus, we stay in very nice staterooms supplied by our sponsoring local travel agent. We are not employed or paid by NCL.
We all loved the Majesty but she was getting a bit tired. The Dream was pretty disappointing in lay out and service.
For us The Spirit is a perfect size ship. If you crave the massive ships with skating rinks, wall climbing or bowling allies then the Spirit isn't for you. If however, like me you want a clean well maintained ship that doesn't take you half a day to walk from one end to the other then her size will be perfect. We didn't encounter any rough seas but I would expect her to be a comfortable ride. The layout of the ship was very friendly and after a day we knew our way around just fine. Elevator travel was very efficient and the center atrium is very nicely done. The main dining rooms are bright, spacious and comfortable. Raffles, the topside buffet is very large with a lot of indoor and outdoor seating.
There was enough to do for those who like to keep active and busy. The specialty nights and daily activities weren't quite the quality of The Majesty, but in all fairness we didn't attend very many. Once again the layout of the ship is excellent for multiple activities.
I thought that the pool area was great.
The staff that met us while coming on board were all very friendly. As always, our experience with the housekeeping staff was excellent. Wait service in the main dining rooms were good but slow. If a two hour dinner seems too long, than maybe mention to your server that you'd like a quicker meal. We enjoyed the leisurely pace but some of the younger folks didn't. Specialty restaurants always have great service.
After 11 cruises to Bermuda we have pretty much tried most excursions and enjoyed them. We didn't participate this time but those we spoke to seemed to enjoy them.
Boston and the Black Falcon terminal are great places to sail from even though the ship now leaves and returns on Friday. There was a long line but for Latitude members it was a breeze to check in. There is a parking garage around the corner and the format has changed. This year you park on the forth level and you don't pay until you return. The cost for the week was $105 and they take cash or credit cards.
Unless you do a suite or balcony, cruise staterooms are what they are. I was on deck 5 midship. The room has a deceptive amount of storage and the shower is twice the size as the Majesty and the sliding glass door is great because taking a shower doesn't soak the whole bathroom. I must say that light in the bathroom is a bit dim. That was noted by several folks. The plug that says "No Hairdryers" means just that. One of the teenagers ignored the notice and half their room was without power. TV's are small and basically only good for hearing the announcements.
Food on cruise ships is very subjective. What one person hates another loves. Personally, I enjoyed all my meals in Windows dining room. The chilled soups have always been a highlight for me. Every night in addition to the menu selections there is always a sirloin steak, a broiled salmon or a breast of chicken available. If you enjoy a breakfast buffet than Raffles on deck 12 has everything you could ask for but it is crowded. You can go to Windows dining room and be served whatever breakfast items you want. No lines and no trying to juggle plates and coffee cups. The BBQ on the pool deck is good. Now my only criticism of the Spirit was the after hours food service. They have a small diner-like room off of the main lobby. There is seating for maybe 30 or 40 people at small tables. You give your room number to a host or hostess and when seats are ready you sit and place your order. The food is good by compared to the aft 24 hour food service on the Majesty it's not convenient or comfortable. The sad part is they have spectacular areas topside that would be great to sit out side and eat a late night meal. We did do Tappenyaki and the show and food were great.
Members of our group raved about Kid's Klub. All the little people seemed to have a great time. The aft kids pool is terrific. I wanted to do the waterslide. Oh to be a kid again!
I thought the music on board was excellent. We were thrilled to see our long time friends, Amadeus, playing on board. They have an amazing song selection and sound great. Selwyn Wright and Carrie Stone are very enjoyable. The Stardust Theater is a magnificent room. There is not a bad seat in the house. I didn't think that Second City Comedy was on par with many of the comedians that we've seen over the years. Although I'm not a Karaoke fan, I do know that a lot of folks love it and The Spirit doesn't really cater to those people. There is some but the diehard singers won't be happy.
It was a piece of cake for us. But, we are Gold Latitude members so I'll have to defer to other folks.
This cruise is in the top 3 of our 11 Bermuda cruises. The Spirit is a wonderful ship and the crew is terrific. I'm thrilled that we will be sailing her again in 2010. What can you say about Bermuda, it's a great place to vacation.
I would stress to all that Cruise Critic is invaluable with the info that is available. I would definitely advise everyone to go on your ships Roll Call. You get to meet some great fellow cruisers and once again there is a ton of useful information.
All the best to you all and I'll be more that happy to answer any specific questions.
The Band Guy