Norwegian Spirit - Alaska: Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review by cvm4739
Overall Member Rating
Norwegian Spirit - Alaska
I sailed on the Norwegian Star last August to Hawaii, and though the Spirit is smaller there are many similarities.
First of all, these waters are very smooth sailing, so don't be afraid to book a cabin on a lower deck. We did have two days of rain and fog (our 2 sea days) but otherwise the weather was unseasonably warm.
I was travelling with my sister-in-law and her 2 kids, 3 and 7 years old. The Spirit had the best kids center I've seen on a cruise ship (though the younger one refused to go). The older girl loved the kid's crew and hardly missed a session during the whole cruise. Plus there was a wet-and-wild type kids pool (though I hear they are going to do away with it to put in more cabins).
Norwegian isn't my favorite cruise line, but with the kids it was the only way to go. Several days we missed lunch because of shore excursions and were More grateful for the Blue Lagoon being open 24 hours. We did wish that room service would provide some hot items, though.
The biggest complaint was the fact that we had to tender into Ketchikan. There were 2 other ships in port. We waited in line over 1 and a half hours to board the ship! Lahina had lines in Hawaii, but nothing like this! We were never told why we had to tender instead of dock.
And personally I would have liked a better selection of TV programs on the in cabin TV. RCL for instance has fairly new movies for free. If you don't like CNN, cartoons, or TMC you are out of luck.
Tracey arm was awesome. But here's a tip. I had just had a hot stone massage (definitely have to do that again) when we started seeing icebergs. Instead of going to Dazzles, forward, where the crowd was huge, I sat in the little waiting room in the spa with floor to ceiling windows and about 3 people! The photos I took are quite incredible. So don't fight the crowds. Go to the spa! It's open to everyone (because of the fitness center).
I thought that the food on the Spirit was much better than on the star (I remember not even eating dinner the last night on the Star because it was so awful), but the service was slow. That's because there is only one kitchen to serve the 2 main dining rooms plus the buffet and the part they turn into the trattoria.
Ate in the Japanese restaurant twice. Both times the food was excellent for only a $12 surcharge. One time we were in the Teppanyaki room and had a lot of fun. Didn't want to pay $20 for a steak, especially since I wasn't very impressed with the Bistro/Maxims on the Star. It didn't seem that too many people were taking advantage of the pay restaurants and reservations were fairly easy to get.
I had a guarantee cabin on deck 5. Nice picture window. Glad I didn't pay more. But mom and kids were on deck 4 and all they had was a porthole! Same size room, though. They weren't very happy, but we blame the travel agent, not NCL.
Also, shopping on board was really meager. Maybe that's because it is a smaller ship than the Star. The Star had much better shopping.
I spent most of my money on excursions. I took the float plane over Misty Fjords in Ketchikan. Cheaper than a helicopter and everyone gets a window seat!
In Juneau, we did the whale and wildlife sightseeing. We saw humpback whales, seals, and bald eagles.
In Skagway, we took the train and then went panning for gold. What fun!
Not much to say about Prince Rupert, BC. Not much there. By that time the kids and I had rebelled against any more shopping! But we did need to hit a foreign port.
There are a lot of oriental decorations on board and the zodiac motif plays heavily (former name was Super Star Leo, so I guess that explains it). I heard that when they took the ship from Hong Kong to the US all signs were written in Chinese! I think the ship still needs to be a little more "Americanized."
Crew was more friendly than I remember on the Star, too. In fact, one waitress in Blue Lagoon actually peeled the skin off a hot dog (without being asked) so one of the kids would eat it!
Reduced price spa treatments were affordable. A little too much emphasis on Bingo, but the best art auction at sea I've ever been to. Wasn't looking for art, but a huge Thomas Kinkade print of he Alaska mountains went for around $300. They also had Miro, Dali, and Rembrandt. Me? I went for the champagne and the seat! But if you are into art, this was quite incredible.
I also liked that though they had a $7 drink of the day, they also had special daily drinks for only $3.75. Other lines don't do that, and Norwegian Star didn't do that last year, either. So Norwegian has made a lot of changes for the positive.
So if you like free style cruising, have kids, and/or don't mind a little bit smaller ship (it isn't THAT small), the Spirit is for you. Less