Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review by autumnsunrise: Excellent time aboard the Spirit
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Excellent time aboard the Spirit
We cruised on the May 1st Spirit. This is the second cruise for us (I am 25, and husband is 29) and our first cruise on NCL. Overall, we had an excellent time and would return on another cruise with NCL soon! We booked our cruise through cruisecompete[dot]com and used Crown Cruise Vacations out of NJ. They gave us a great rate plus onboard credit and a complementary bottle of wine. I was hesitant to book through an online agency because of fear of the unknown but had no problems and will book this way in the future.
We drove from Tennessee early that morning and parked at the Fulton St. Parking Lot for $12/day (once you park, go downstairs and "check in" with the ladies there). We prepaid and were on our way around 11 AM. A shuttle picked us up within a few minutes of parking and promptly transported us to the dock.
Compared to Mobile (our previous cruise), the port of New Orleans ran very quickly and smoothly. We were checked in and on the ship More within 45 minutes. Our room (interior room on 5th floor) was ready around 2:15 PM. The ship was bumpy this night as well as the entire next day. After that, movement was barely noticeable for the remainder of the trip.
ON THE SHIP
We enjoyed the Spirit. The ship was clean and well maintained (for the most part- some wearing of carpet in a few areas). Our room seemed small at first, but once we unpacked, there was plenty of room for all of our things. Our room steward kept everything straightened. I liked the spaciousness of the shower as well as the sliding door rather than a shower curtain.
The food was good but not amazing. We ate at Windows Dining Room, Raffles Buffet, Bier Garten, Blue Lagoon (as everyone says, great wings and spinach/artichoke dip!), and through room service. My husband is a big pizza buff and was really disappointed by the availability and quality of the pizza (I agree with previous posters who say it is the quality of cheap frozen pizza).
Entertainment was plentiful and very good for the most part. We saw the magician (Jorgos) twice, two musical type shows ("On Broadway" and "Soul Rockin' Night"), comedians (The Second City), and acrobatics (Maria and Dmitri), a combo show with all of the elements listed above except the comedians (called "Elements"), and a ship crew talent show. "Elements" was by far the best, followed by Maria and Dmiriti's stunning show. The Second City was refreshing, mostly with short skits and an improv act that involved the audience.
COSTA MAYA, MEXICO
We scheduled a spot at the Maya Chan Beach Resort and were THRILLED with our choice. An air-conditioned bus picked us up at the port. The road was a little bumpy on the way back (by taxi) but not unbearable.
Maya Chan itself is a slice of heaven. It is immaculately landscaped with friendly staff, never-ending cold drinks, and great access to the beach. We were served a delicious, buffet lunch of tortillas with fish, chicken, beef, and beans as well as plenty of fresh guacamole and salsa.
There was sea grass in the water but this added to the character! There are plenty of clear areas of water, too. Everyone enjoyed the floats and kayaks. I snorkeled right off the beach and saw a baby stingray, fish, a starfish, and a little coral. Our own shaded, private beach cabana had two chairs, a hammock, and a padded couch type piece of furniture. It was an oasis of relaxation! I highly recommend this.
This was our least favorite port day but was still an enjoyable day for the most part. Roatan itself is gorgeous, and I can't wait to go back and do some more exploring. We chose a beach day at Bananarama contracted through Island Marketing. We waited about 45 minutes for our taxi. To the credit of the company, the ship docked early so we probably waited only 20 minutes when taking that into consideration.
The drive to West Bay Beach was great and scenic. The beach itself was okay. It was pretty but disappointing considering there were numerous boats in the area we were swimming in. Also, it was a huge disappointment how many vendors walked up to us asking us to buy things. The worst was a rude massage lady who gave a 10 minute, very explicit rant because Bananarama wrote on their board that selling massage on the beach was illegal. The Bananrama facilities including staff, restaurant, etc. were pleasant, though. I would recommend this to people who want to lounge on a pretty beach as long as they are okay with a constant stream of people selling things. I wouldn't go back. Island Marketing itself was easy to work with, and I think we got a great value with their package.
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE
We took the Lamani Ruins and Belize River tour through NCL. I was glad we went through the cruise line since doing so meant we left on the first tender and had the security of being through NCL since we traveled so far away from the ship. The first leg of the trip was on an air-conditioned charter bus. The trip was through Belize City as well as through the surrounding rural area. It was very enjoyable to see the culture through the homes and comings and goings of the people.
We stopped after about an hour and 15 minutes at a shaded facility with restrooms, punch, water, and cookies. This where we boarded the boats to the ruins. Guides pointed out 2 spider monkeys, 3 iguanas, a baby crocodile, as well as numerous local birds and some bats. The boat was covered and was nice and cool when the boat was at its top speed. It took about 1 and ½ hours to get to the ruins. We walked the ruins which are built in a square with a path weaving through tropical terrain between each site. We saw two howler monkeys on the trails. There were opportunities to climb two of the ruins (including the main, large one). I climbed both- it was a little challenging, very hot, but a great experience. We were there about 2 hours which was long enough to see everything but not study it closely. The return trip began with an hour boat ride back to the shaded facility to eat lunch- rice, beans, chicken, coleslaw, chips and salsa, and coconut dessert served buffet style. Next was another hour and 15 minute bus ride back to Belize City. Everything about the trip was interesting! We both really enjoyed ourselves and would recommend the trip to anyone, as long as they could keep up with the pace.
We had a leisurely day shopping around Cozumel for our final port day. We made a great choice! There is plentiful shopping right within walking distance of the ship. The prices and variety of items were much better than the other three ports combined... but leave the port shopping center and venture down the main strip for the best deals! We enjoyed lunch at La Mission which was good. We also found a great popsicle shop in the bottom floor of Mega (superstore like Walmart) with Mexican popsicles, creamsicles, and ice cream.
We did walk off. We got in a line on the 7th floor around 7:15 AM, left the ship around 7:30 AM, and were through customs by 8 AM. The parking garage shuttle took a few minutes to pick us up; we were on the road home around 8:20 AM. The process was smooth and easy. Less
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