Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review by Lena B: Loving the Spirit on Valentine's Day
Overall Member Rating
Loving the Spirit on Valentine's Day
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: New Orleans
This was the Fifth NCL cruise for my husband and I and our second time on the NCL Spirit. We have also cruised with Celebrity. We love the relaxed atmosphere and freestyle dining that NCL offers. The Spirit is my favorite NCL ship. It is a comfortable size and an easy ship to learn. Although she is not brand new, she is very lovingly tended and I find her to be quite beautiful. We drove to Covington the day before the cruise and it was an easy 30 minute drive to get to the terminal the next morning. We arrived early, parked the car, checked our bags, then took the trolley into the French Quarter to explore for a couple of hours.
When we arrived back at the terminal around noon there was absolutely no wait for check-in. We were eating lunch at Windows about as quickly as we could walk! A dinner highlight was the Special Valentine's Day Dinner held at Le Bistro with a special menu that included wine pairings with each course. Well worth the added cost. The food in the main More dining rooms was the best NCL food that we have experienced. Everything served at the proper temperatures and done to order. Another highlight was the Mardi Gras party held on Fat Tuesday at the Bier Garten. Jo-El Sonnier & Friends provided excellent music, Beads were flying through the air, drinks were flowing and a good time was had by all. Service was excellent. Angel, our cabin steward, took very good care of us. He always had a smile and a kind word. The dining staff took very good care of us, including Ferdinand Manaois, the Asst. Maitre 'D at windows, who gave us excellent dining recommendations. We did have a problem with our phone and maintenance was there within an hour after we reported the problem to the front desk and the repair was made within minutes. Every ship employee that we encountered was smiling, friendly and polite. I often wonder if the people who report surly staff in reviews are maybe a bit surly, themselves?
In Costa Maya we took a $6 cab ride to Mahajual and spent a lovely day drinking $2 beer and eating seafood under an umbrella on a stunning beach. Cabs were plentiful both directions. In Guatemala we spent time with new-found friends in the port area. We went cave tubing through the ship in Belize and in Cozumel we shopped and drank too many margaritas and beers with our (now old-found) friends. Our stateroom was small but sufficient and it is an older ship, but it was very bright, clean and well-tended. I love the generously sized shower with a sliding door in the bathroom. We don't eat at the buffet, but did enjoy Le Bistro, Windows, Garden, and The Blue Lagoon.
Disembarkation is a breeze on the Spirit. I'm ready to go again! Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
On the last trip to Belize we went cave tubing and it was such a blast that we couldn't wait to go again. The water was much lower this time, though and there wasn't much current, so our poor guide wound up towing us through the caves. There has been a lot of development at the site with a fancy buffet restaurant area and a much nicer bathroom/changing facility.
We have always done ship sponsored excursions in Belize, because the trips can be a bit long and the roads a bit rough.
Make sure that you pick up some Marie Sharp's hot sauce and exotic sauce (yum!) and try the Belikan Beer before you get back on board the ship. Too many and you might easily succumb to Belikan Sleeping Sickness!
I prefer to hire a cab driver for the day to take us across to the wild (ocean)side of the island. There is a beach restaurant called Playa Chen where the beer is cheap, the margaritas pack a punch and they serve delicious seafood that was caught that morning. This restaurant has a swimming area that is protected by some large rocks, so the water is calm enough to be safe.
We booked this cruise last minute on the last weekend of Mardi Gras, so I was unable to find an affordable room pre-cruise. We stayed in Covington which was an easy 30 minute drive. We stayed at the Holiday Inn on Royal Street before we headed home, which gave us a little New Orleans time to unwind before heading back to home, work, and real life!
The Holiday Inn is not the most fabulous hotel, but is conveniently located within walking distance to many things and has parking available.
Make sure to visit the Acme Oyster Bar, and Johnnie's Po-Boys. Fabulous music is on every corner...it's the vacation before and after the vacation!
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