After reading for a few years now a lot of cruise reviews that are really negative, I find myself and my wife among the fortunate few who have thoroughly enjoyed all 9 of the cruises we have experienced.
Our most recent cruise was aboard the NCL ship 'Spirit' to the western Caribbean. 'Spirit' is a beautiful vessel. She was clean throughout and was very smooth riding as she sailed through the mostly calm Caribbean. As to the crew, I can't find anything to complain about. They were all very pleasant and professional.
Pre-cruise: We spent a couple of days in New Orleans prior to our cruise. We were travelling with friends who had spent a lot of time there and gave us the grand tour of the city. We stayed at the Ambassador Hotel on their 'Stay-Park-and cruise package. Nice hotel and everything went smoothly.
Embarkation: As usual, the low-light of any cruise - long lines, slow and boring.
Cabin: Ocean view on deck 5 mid-ship with plenty of room. Comfortable bed and , although a little tight fitting, a well designed bathroom. I especially liked the sliding shower door instead of a curtain.
Dining and food: Enjoyed each and every meal (too much). We were traveling with another couple and all agreed that we were well satisfied with the food we received in each eatery we visited. We ate in both main dining rooms and in 3 of the specialty venues.
Entertainment: The production shows were well presented and performed. The professional off-ship acts brought aboard were first class. We were fortunate to have the great Cajun band, Jo-el Sonnier, to entertain us. Another group I must single out is 'The Love Brothers and Lina'. This trio is magnificent. We really enjoyed sitting in Champagne Charlies after dinner and listening to them sing and play. If they are on a ship you travel on, don't miss them.
We didn't avail ourselves of the spa or exercise facilities but they were well attended whenever we passed by. There were a few children aboard and they seemed to be well taken care of with many activities to keep them busy.
Disembarkation: A breeze!! This particular cruising experience sure has improved since we took our first cruise some 12 years ago.
All in all a great 7 day cruise to the warm and beautiful Caribbean. The 'Spirit' will be sailing these 7 day western Caribbean cruises out of New Orleans at least through 2011. I can recommend it without reservation.