Wow! What a week! The Norwegian Spirit far exceeded our expectations. New Orleans was an easy day's drive for us and embarkation was a breeze! We pulled into the parking garage, our luggage was taken, we parked, went through an easy line and we were on the boat in about 20 minutes. We went to lunch at Raffles. Of course, it was a bit crowded and crazy, but lots of fun with everyone so excited about a fun week at sea.
By 2:00 we were in our cabin. My husband, 17 year old son, and myself found ourselves in a rather small cabin, but we finally figured out how to make it all work. There was plenty of storage and that really helped. We were able to manage the suitcases at the end of the bed. We put the desk chair on the balcony, and unpacked our clothes. Our cabin was next to the door leading out to the ping pong area. That was very nice because it gave us a place to sit other than the balcony close to our cabin. The bathroom was, of course, small. We didn't enjoy the potty area, but loved the shower. The glass door was awesome, and we were amazed at the great water pressure. Midweek we noticed a sewer smell for a day or so, but this passed rather quickly. We did hear noise from the buffet, but it usually stopped fairly early. The bed was hard, but it was spacious. I didn't like the pillows. Way too flat.
Our first day at sea was lots of fun. I went on the cruise to read and relax and I got my wish! We enjoyed breakfast at the buffet. Raffles was good. Not great, but good. Lots of choices. I didn't care for the desserts, but there was lots of fresh watermelon and that makes me happy! We had lunch in the Blue Lagoon and we thought it was fine. I do think the fifty dollar soda card is ridiculous, but we took advantage of our cards at every bar! We enjoyed touring the ship and were particularly impressed with the area on the 12th floor at the front of the ship. It was magnificent! A beautiful place to read and relax! We had dinner in the Garden Dining Room. It was not our favorite because we had such a long wait. Returning to our cabin was always a pleasure. Chris and Shashunk were fabulous cabin stewards. We were amused and amazed by our towel animals each night!
Our first port was Costa Maya. We had visited this port before the hurricane. We chose not to do an excursion. We thought the beach would have an admission price, but it was free. My husband and son made it through the rocks and enjoyed snorkeling in the beautiful water. I don't think they saw much but they had a lot of fun. I was only asked a couple of times to buy a drink and I didn't think it was terribly expensive. Only $2.00 for a coke! Watching the dolphins was fun, but I did worry that the space was too small. It is a very pretty cruise port area.
Our second port of Belize found my husband and son on a catamaran snorkeling. They had a great time. My husband said he would have liked to have more time snorkeling and less on the beach. I have been to Belize before and did not care to tender in just to shop. There were so many people tendering. Their excursion did not begin until noon and I was glad they had so much time to get there.
Our favorite port was Roatan. We LOVED it. We went to the Tabayan Beach Party. It was amazing. We almost missed our excursion because we were using our cell phones to check the time. BIG MISTAKE!!!! They get all messed up in this area. We made the bus just in time. It was about a 45 minute drive, but it gave us time to see the island. It was very interesting. The beach was just amazing. It was everything you could ask for. Beautiful water and unbelievable snorkeling. We had a ball. Lunch was good. The attendants were just as nice as they could be. We did tip heavily, but they deserved it. I am looking forward to this island becoming a wonderful place to vacation and it will benefit the people there so much.
We also really enjoyed Cozumel. My husband and son went deep sea fishing and my son caught a HUGE fish. They had a ball. My son got seasick but didn't really care! After getting back, my husband and I did a little shopping in the port shopping area. We should have explored more, but really enjoyed the music and dancing. I am not looking for the expensive stuff, just a few souvenirs to take home. This was a fun place to shop.
Our last day at sea found us having breakfast in Windows. We really enjoyed Windows for several meals. We had lots of fun "pushing quarters" in the casino. I enjoyed the casino but don't like the smoke. Our son had fun playing basketball and playing in the arcade.
We had sailed on the Norwegian Sun for our first cruise. We were not impressed with it, but the Spirit was SO much better. It was fun, pretty and well-kept. The best part were the people who worked there. They were determined to do whatever we could to insure that we had a good time. Everything was well thought out. The only real negative was:NEVER drink the water from the bathroom sink no matter how badly you need a little sip of water! Other than that, I had no true complaints. Disembarkation was simple. We were in our car, and unfortunately headed back home very quickly!
Now, we're just saving our money looking for the next cruise! The Spirit was, while not the most luxurious, just awesome!