The wife and I, our 16 year old son, 13 year old daughter, and another 50ish couple sailed on the Spirit 7/3 and were very pleased with the trip over all. Drove down from Tulsa Oklahoma a day in advance, stayed Friday night in Baton Rouge, as NOLA was very busy with the essence music festival that weekend. Saturday morning drove on into NOLA and went to the french quarter and market areas, myself and the kids had never been there so it was neat to see, went to Margaritaville (big time parrotheads FYI)
Sunday morning grabbed some breakfast and went to the pier, arrived around 10 am, parked in the garage at the pier, 112.00 for the duration of the cruise. you go into the parking structure and porters will stop you and take your bags, then park, elevator to the terminal. The check in process was very efficient and quick, as latitudes members we were given an "A" group card, the couple with us who have never sailed NCL were given one as well so they could stay with us. NCL had cookies and slices of cake, juice and water for you while waiting to board. They also have bar staff set up selling the soda package/stickers which saved us some time once we were on board. About 11 they pre boarded the VIPs and then the assisted passengers, by 11:10 they were calling our group, maybe 200 to a group? We went right on board, great with huge fervor and joy by the crew, right into the main atrium where we meet the cruise director and made ourselves know to him and as much staff as possible, love us or hate us you WILL remember us! As we finish intros with the C.D. he informs us staterooms are ready feel free....REALLY COOL! We went to our cabin to drop our carry ons and check it out, 4479 AMAZING CABIN separate post and pics to follow in the NCL board for those wanting info on it. We boarded in our swimming suits so we went straight up to the pool deck to start our vacation. First ones in the pool! Guillermo one of the many bar waiters was right there, quick to bring a bucket of beers and a plastic glass for the pool! 6 beers fro the price of 5, not bad but beware that since our cruise last summer they now charge a 5.00 "deposit" on the bucket, you have to turn in the bucket and the 5.00 charge slip our you own the bucket, FYI. We were living it up with our other couple and a few other folks who began to filter in, only down side one of 2 water proof cameras we had got stolen off our table right beside the pool, but stupid me possible impaired (see bucket of beers above) sat it down, and shortly after realized it was gone.....We believe other passenger not the staff, in fact all week we had numerous staff ask about the camera. That's life!
Dinner in windows that evening food was good, not insane but good. Explored the ship, very beautiful ship the Asian influence is nice, condition of everything was great, clean, well maintained (much better than the sky and it's not bad) Found our way to Henry's pub, they have a guy who plays guitar and sings to a backing track, 60's, 70's, 80's music very good,and then when his set was done KARAOKE!!!! if you don't like it sorry but we love it! With some liquid courage I belted out my best Rod Stewart, if you want my body...
1st full day is a sea day, spent some time at the pool, discovered that Galaxy of the stars is the place to just sit and have a snack and a drink and watch the sea slip under the bow. all day we were amazed that 99% of the staff were truly friendly and eager to please. Dinner in the Garden Room, the other MDR, or as we called it, THE CAVE! man it's dark in there, barely read the menu dark! But the food was above par and compared to the house fairly gourmet.
Next morning we're in Costa Maya. As we are approaching and docking we all had breakfast out back on the terrace of Raffles on deck 12, nice to eat, drink coffee and watch the port take shape. No scheduled excursion here just advice from folks on CC to make our way to "Tequila Beach Club" for a beach day. As you make your way out of the tourist trap port village, there are numerous "representatives" ready to sell you adventures, rent golf carts, our arrange beach days. We gave 30.00 each for round trip transportation, chairs, umbrellas, open bar(cha-ching!)and told food and other amenities were available as well. 2-3 mile ride from the port landed us at a beachfront area with several "beach clubs" The beach was beautiful and the free drinks were strong-be advised the bar tenders will freely and gladly serve your teens, on a related note my 16 year old won't drink again soon! They had a nice menu of items they served right on the beach, my wife got a 45 minute massage for 25.00 and everyone in our group had a great time, my son and the other couple a little too much fun but we keep them pointed the right direction all day! after leaving the beach we went to Senor Frogs which is 1/2 block from the tourist/terminal area, had a snack and enjoyed the mayhem that is frogs (for those who know frogs) before heading back towards the ship. the tourist area has a huge meandering pool with swim up bar, we had an hour before all aboard so we spent 20 minutes just cooling back down in the pool before boarding the ship. I will say that compared to previous cruises, security seemed rather lax, they always said be sure you have your card and photo ID but no port ever checked our ID, just waved us through with our key cards, of course the ship swiped us in when we boarded each time. Needed a power nap after a day of sum and rum, dinner in Windows was above par, then went to galaxy of the stars to "Disco" hope there is no video but we had a blast.
Morning brings us to coffee on the back deck followed by breakfast as we dock in Roatan. Beautiful, the way the tropics should look, even if there is another fake tourist village right there at the dock. We had prearranged Discover Scuba dive so we made our way to the pick up point out side trap-de-tourista, where we were taken by van 30 minutes to our dive center, subway water sports. Excellent folks, super experience, whole family wants to get certified now, and to those who rail against these "discovery dives" given the shallow depth and that we had 3 instructors for 4 students, I couldn't have felt safer. After the dive and trip back we all needed down time and took naps, then had dinner at Cagney's to celebrate our dive. Well worth the 25.00 cover and everyone had an "extra" to get crab or lobster, so really it cost 33.00 per person. But the food was a 10, and the service top notch. Went to Henry's for a night cap, go there for a relaxing retreat and you can get pop corn and big pretzels too!
Another morning or coffee and buffet on the back porch of Raffles as we prepare to be tendered to the saddest stop on the cruise Belize...it might be Mexico's arm pit. Ship anchored 5-6 miles out, something was wrong with one tender and was being worked on tied to the spirit. We waited almost an hour to be called and we were group 3. Small enclosed tender, very little air, 10 minute ride to the pier. We had no plan for Belize, just planned to find a beach- MAKE PLANS FOR BELIZE!!!!!!!! We wandered the tourist trap a little, asked a merchant were we should and shouldn't go and were told "Don't go outside the fence!" Not what we wanted to hear. Asking another security gaurd he laughed and said it was OK, go out the gate and you can rent scooters get a cab, anything you want. So we did, the "representatives" here were like a plague of locust, kinda funny but the other gentleman with us was a little freaked. We said we wanted to go the beach, and were told "go to the man made beach" the only beach in Belize. Don't do this, go see the monkeys or something, after a 20 minute van ride we got to a different fake tourist trap where we were informed the beach was closed. Turns out the beach is a big sand pond they dug and the pumps were down to pump in sea water so it was stagnant. Well we got a nice locals tour by the van driver, got to see three police check points with lots of machine gun! Interesting day, but a sad sad 3rd world country, line Belize out of my list of retirement spots! Couldn't get back to the ship fast enough, got on the tender and the wives were gone...they talked the captain of the tender into letting them drive!!! Back on board we went to blue lagoon for a quick snack, the kids eat their weight in wings and chicken tenders in the blue lagoon. Dinner in windows was very good but the ships motion combined with the vibration in the very back if you sit by the actual windows got to our whole party. Before dessert could get to the table we had to leave, and our group loves dessert!. White hot party tonight, everybody got dressed in our clean white stuff and went to the Galaxy of the Stars for the party. Well We're too old and not hard bodies, so after 45 minutes of watching other younger, firmer folks grind we headed for bed...
Cozumel didn't disappoint, with many trips to Cancun on our resume it was as expected. Women had dolphin swims booked through the ship and the guys booked bottom fishing. Both excursions were at noon so we had 3 hours to wander the market around the pier area, found Margaritaville so got the required pictures and bought some shirts, cause Jimmy needs the money.....The dolphin swim was excellent for the girls and us guys didn't catch too many but fish were caught and the boat was not crowed, all the soda and bear and snacks you want, well worth the price. Meet up with the girls at Senor Frogs for Nachos and to discuss our adventures, then back to the ship where we grabbed a snack to go from blue lagoon and went up to Galaxy to watch for pier runners! Amazing people who are 30 minutes past all aboard time walk so casually down the pier....After cleaning up went to the show, a circ de sol thing, pretty good with a 15 minute pat on the back for the crew/commercial on the end. Garden room for dinner....and just couldn't do it, nothing on the menu any of us would eat so we went to the Italian room and after just 5 minutes they had our table for 6, right next to a table of 8-the Captain, his Exec officers and the CEO of NCL! As they left we got the Captain and his officers to pose for a picture with us, all smiling huge and giving goofy thumbs up (we did this all week with everyone we meet, our embarkment pictures were even like this, always made the crew laugh if they swiped our card) Didn't get CEO, but oh well. The food was ok, but olive garden is better! of the specialty restaurants I think it is the least worth the extra cost, it is a curtained of area of the buffet and it really felt like they were plating up our buffet food and charging extra for the "Atmosphere"
Last day sleep in, barely make breakfast in the MDR, honestly preferred breakfast in the buffet, eggs and omelettes were cooked on the spot, not plated and domed and dead by the time you get them. Pool looked hopeless so wandered to the Galaxy our refuge of relaxation, the Captain and officers were having an question answer session, and the CEO was there too-we marched up camera in hand and got the wife and him giving the thumbs up, nice guy and the other suits with him thought it was hysterical. Spent part ofthe afternoon in Henry's listening to the guitar guy, and watching ESPN, eating popcorn and pretzels. Decided to have Shogun the Chinese? Japanese? room for dinner, good, different, but good. Service was incredible, was disappointed when we made the reservation we were told it included the sushi bar which my son wanted to try, but then were told it would be an additional cover charge if he ordered sushi...bummer.
Sunday morning grabbed breakfast in the buffet, had the bags ready, the account cleared, when the ship had cleared customs we walked off with out hardly having to stop, just long enough for the gentleman to swipe our cards one last time. Customs took moment while them pondered if my wooden tiki mask from Costa Maya should be in the USA, but they decided it was OK! At the car by 7:50, on the highway by 8:00, home in Broken Arrow OK by 8:15 that night!
Cabin 4479, some sound, some motion but 288 sqft for the price of an inside gty, I can't imagine the family of four in an std inside for a week.
The staff and crew of the Spirit, we sang their praises to the captain and the CEO
Roatan and Subway water sports
The Texas 25!
Henry's for live music, drinks, and KARAOKE!
Pound Cake and strawberries from Blue Lagoon
Cagney's food and service
Second City Improv Show
MDR menu can get repetitive
Belize, good excursion is a must
Lack of odd hour food options, Blue Lagoon menu is very limited.
Over all an excellent week, all 6 in our party had a great time and we were never bored, we all gained weight, and all want to go again soon.
Thank you you Spirit and NCL!