My wife and enjoyed our week on the Spirit very much. The ship was beautiful and its condition was immaculate. Virtually every member of the crew we met was courteous and determined to make our stay pleasurable.
We didn't go to any of the specialty restaurants, as the food in the main dining rooms (Windows and Garden) was excellent. While there were a couple of dishes we didn't particularly care for, the quality of the food was very high. The wait staff was efficient and any slow service was understandable due to the number of tables each one of them covered. We loved the Freestyle program. We usually went as early as possible in order to make it to the evening shows and had very little trouble getting a table. When it was busy, we were offered the opportunity to share a large table with several other groups or wait for a smaller table for just the two of us. We usually were open to sharing except for the night we celebrated our anniversary (we purchased this cruise for our 10th wedding anniversary). We met a lot of nice people when we shared a table.
As far as the other dining choices go (Raffles and The Blue Lagoon) the food was about what one would expect at a buffet and a fast food restaurant. That is to say it was nothing special but when you are in a hurry, it will certainly do. The food at The Blue Lagoon, however, was better than the average fast food experience. We ate at Raffles for breakfast a few times and while it was crowded, it allowed us to share tables with other passengers and relate our cruising experiences over the meal. We never experienced empty coffee machines or any of the other disappointments we read about Raffles in some of the CC postings.
We heard several of our fellow passengers complain about the wait at the main dining rooms as well as the quality of the food at the other venues. I am convinced that those who were complaining would not be happy no matter what was offered to them. Here was a ship with close to 2,000 passengers - of course you're going to have to wait in a few lines now and then, especially if you are unwilling to share a table with other passengers. And who has ever received gourmet food at a buffet? I'd venture a guess that no one has. Life is full of inconveniences; take a breath, a reality check and enjoy your cruise.
Our room stewardess was great. Any request we made was met almost immediately (the towel animals were a nice touch too). We had an inside cabin which was adequate for the two of us. It had plenty of storage for our suitcases and the closet and drawers held all we brought (we did bring a few extra hangers based on helpful CC suggestions).
The entertainment available was plentiful and we lost sleep trying to take in all we could. The shows in the Moulin Rouge were top notch and the variety of things to do in the various nightclubs that we participated in was generally very good. We took part in the Sports Afloat program and earned a t-shirt at the end of the cruise (lots of hard work to set off all the food we ate).
As far as the ports of call were concerned, we enjoyed that aspect as well. We took a bus tour of Juneau and Mendenhall Glacier. This tour package included a salmon bake at the Thane Ore House a few miles out of town. Both the salmon and the halibut were excellent. We booked the excursion through an independent vendor that saved us quite a bit of money compared to the same tour offered through the ship (another helpful CC tip). At Ketchikan, Skagway and Prince Rupert we just toured on our own. Ketchikan and Skagway had some great history to educate yourself with and some great shopping choices as well. Prince Rupert is probably a couple years away from catching up to the cruise ship industry but they did have some nice little shops and the Canadian dollar exchange helped bring down the expense (hint: use your credit card to take full advantage of the exchange rate). The trip up to visit Sawyer Glacier was breathtaking and we enjoyed the chocolate buffet that was served during it.
This was a great way to visit Alaska and see the beauty of the Inside Passage. We loved our NCL Spirit experience and highly recommend it to anyone. We definitely look forward to sailing with NCL again.