Embarkation was a breeze in New Orleans. We parked our car at the pier and it was so nice to drop off our luggage, park the car, get on the elevator and within minutes we were on the ship. Parking at the pier is $112.00 for the week.
Windows restaurant and the buffet are open for lunch on embarkation day. The buffet is very well set-up and there is a wide variety of food available. I always browse first and then make my choices. The pasta station is great. Very fresh ingredients and you can choose whatever you would like for your pasta. I try to stay away from the dessert islands, however I am glad that they serve small portions so you can try two!
The announcement that our cabins were ready was right on the dot at 2:00.
We had a balcony cabin on deck 11. Our cabin was very well maintained and clean. The balconies are on the small side but I am never going to complain when I have my very own private view of the ocean. We met our cabin stewards Pel and Jamie. Our luggage was delivered within the hour and we settled in.
We had dinner at Windows main dining room. There are two main dining rooms on the Spirit. Windows and Garden. We prefer Windows because it is larger and has the huge windows so you can see the sunset from almost anywhere in the dining room. Garden is the more casual restaurant of the two. The menu changes every evening but there is the "always available" side of the menu if you would prefer something different. There are so many choices that it is hard to choose just one entree or appetizer so sometimes we would have to choose an extra and share.
We did eat dinner at Le Bistro twice and Cagney's once. All I can say is Cagney's used to be my favorite but it is very hard to beat Le Bistro. The French Onion Soup is fantastic and the desserts are masterpieces. Both are well worth the surcharges.
We saw the show Elements and I think it is one of the best shows I have seen at sea. A combination of magic, ballet and modern dance. We also saw the show with acrobats. It is a husband and wife team and they are so much more than acrobats. The show was phenomenal. Their little son joins in on the act and he is just adorable.
We visited Costa Maya. The port area is very nice. Alot of shops, a large bar, pool, dolphin area and clean restrooms. We took a taxi ($3.00) to the small town of Mahual (sp?). This is basically one street of shops, bars and restaurants right on the beach. Very nice for a day at the beach with chairs, umbrellas and drink service. The souvenir prices are slightly better than the port area but you do have to haggle to get the best deal.
In Belize we visited the mayan ruins at Altun Ha. It is just amazing to see ruins that are over 2000 years old and hear the history of the area.
In Roatan we hired a driver and toured the whole island. It did rain the whole day so I am glad that we had something planned that did not require a dry day. Oh, the new port at Mahogany Bay is beautiful. Alot of shops....some open air. It also has a huge bar area with great music playing. They have flying chairs that will take you over to the beach area.
We have been to Cozumel many times so we just went into town for a little while and spent the rest of the day relaxing on the ship.
I was very impressed with the Norwegian Spirit. It is an older ship by cruise ship standards but it is unique in the fact that it was built for the Asian market. The common areas are very well maintained and I could not tell that this ship is 12 years old. There is always plenty to do onboard and it is an easy ship to navigate. The pool area is very nice. Alot of places to sit in and out of the sun. I had no problems getting a lounger anywhere or anytime I wanted one.
I would recommend this ship for you if you have not cruised before or are looking for a more intimate, relaxed cruise experience. Since the ship departs from New Orleans it is an easy port for alot of people to drive to.
A special thank you to Prem (hotel director) and Belle (concierge). They made this voyage very special for us. They are very proud of their ship and it shows. We also spent some time with Captain Harstrom. He is a very interesting man and his knowledge of ships and sailing in general is amazing. If you have time take the Behind the Scenes Tour. You cannot imagine how many people it takes to run a ship of this size on a day to day basis. Actually it takes 950 crew members! The size of the many galleys, freezers, cold storage, washers, dryers etc. is truly something to see.
This was our second time sailing on the Spirit and I am sure it will not be our last.