We traveled to New Orleans a Day early to enjoy some of the festivities going on there during Carnival/Mardi Gras. There were six people in our party and we hired a Limo Service to transport us from the airport to the Chateau Leymone in the French Quarter. Deluxe Limo serivce was awesome. $100 to hotel for all six people. Also used them for transport back to the airport from the French Quarter after getting off the ship. $100 for that too. Great service and the car was awesome. Worked out really great! Much better than getting on a bus at the airport and sitting there for 2 hours before going to the cruise ship terminal.
Embarkation in New Orleans was very quick and we were on the Ship around 11:30. We went directly to Windows for lunch as we prefer the service over the buffet. The restaurant was virtually empty and the service was great. We did get to go to our rooms at about 2:00 and our luggage was delivered around 3:30. The rooms were clean and there were no issues.
The Spirit is an older ship and therefore there are some areas that show the age. It is well maintained though and we did not encounter any issues with the cleaniness. I am a germaphobe, so I can really be picky. I did not have any issues with anything in our rooms not being clean and well kept. We have always booked an inside cabin and feel that there is adequate room for the two of us. I try to book a room that is labeled for 3 people because there is one pull down bunk that can be used as extra storage. There is room to pull down the bunk and lay out your clothes as a makeshift dresser. This works excellent for me since I tend to overpack anyway. And I'm not fond of putting all my stuff in the drawers anyway.
Everyone in our party was very pleased with the food on the Spirit. We went to Windows for Breakfast and Dinner everyday. We felt the food was excellent and more than ample. We were able to pick our waiter every night and we had an awesome one. Edgar was more than accomodating and did a fantastic job. I love my veggies and every night he brought me a platter of steamed veggies. We could not have asked for better service. We would pop in the buffet occasionally for a quick bite at lunch but that was about all we had there. I mostly had the pasta bar, but my husband tried alot of the other items. The food was always fresh and plentiful. We were always pleased with the selection and loved the "everyday" choices. The Cheese Tortollini was awesome! We all shared some of that every night!
Now for the shocking part of the dining experience..... We had never tried one of the "additional" charge restaurants before. Since we were celebrating a 25th anniversary we decided to splurge and go to Cagneys. We were really dissapointed. The service was good.....not as good as the service we had been getting in Windows with Edgar. The atmosphere was good because we were put in a private room since there were eight of us. Of course the $25 fee only covered steak....if you wanted the Surf and Turf it was $35. Two couples ordered the S&T and said that the lobster was tough. I ordered a filet and it was really tough. Others ordered the strip steaks and the prime rib and said that they were just okay. Actually the Prime Rib was better in Windows and the Sirloin that was on the everyday menu in Windows was better than the filet that I had. We were sorely dissapointed, and would not recommend going there for an additional charge. They have a girl that comes around selling roses that is sort of strange.....just uncomfortable since they seem to be a little pushy.
We ate in the Blue Lagoon a couple of times and the food there was good....just standard fast food....but still good.
Since we had been on the Spirit before, the itinery was pretty much the same. We did the Jungle Beach Break in Costa Maya and that was good. The only problem is they ran out of Margaritas when we got there. No food was included (alcohol was) and the food was just okay....a little on the expensive side and a very limited menu. The beach was well kept and the restrooms were very nice and clean. Overall it was a good time. The weather wasn't the best but it was still a good time. The Catamaran in Belize was great. We didn't get to go but two other couples went and said that it was a great time. There was really rough water that day and the tender was really late in getting into Belize. Since we had been there already we just walked around the shops a little and spent the day relaxing on the ship. In Guatemala there is a shopping area right off the ship that has some vendors set up. We did not leave the shopping area because some of the locals were telling us that it really was not safe to leave the area. When were here before we did do a river tour and stopped in Livingston and felt that it was a little dangerous for tourists. In Cozumel we just went shopping since we had been here twice before. The guys got a massage there and loved it.
Overall we love NCL. We have been on Carnival also and favor NCL. The only suggestions we would make would be reduce the prices on the Spa services. They are really high and we would have used them if they were more reasonably priced. Also the pictures are really expensive. They print off off these pictures and they mostly go to waste. Wouldn't it be better to have lower prices and more more pictures. The waiters/waitresses in the pool area were always coming around trying to sell drinks....we're not huge drinkers so it got a little annoying after a while.
The entertainment was great......Elements was awesome and so were the Acrobats. We tried to do all the shows each night and really enjoyed them. White Hot party was fun lots of music!
Would we recommend the Spirit....definitely. Everyone was friendly and we had no major problems at all. We are definitely sailing NCL again. It is a great deal to put a $250 deposit on a cruise and receive $100 in shipboard credit right away.