We cruised on the Norwegian Spirit out of New Orleans May 22. This was our honeymoon and also our first cruise, so we were very excited. We arrived super early so had to wait around a bit but were on the ship by around 11:30.
The ship was beautiful; they definitely get you in the mood as soon as you step on board with the fun music and the fruity cocktails. We had lunch in Raffles and were very pleased with the selection and the quality of the food. Then we hung out at Bier Garten overlooking the pool, where we met Guillermo, who became our favorite member of the Spirit staff. He always knew us by name and we never got the feeling that he was being friendly just to get us to buy drinks, as we did with many of the other servers.
We got to our stateroom around 3:00. After reading countless reviews and information on cruises in general, I was expecting a tiny room with no room to move around. We were actually very pleased with the size of the stateroom and the balcony. It worked for what we needed. The stewards were very nice and friendly. Can't speak so much for helpfulness because we really didn't request any special treatment. They did keep our cooler filled with ice though, which was very nice!
Not going to bore you with every last detail of each meal of our trip, but overall we were very pleased with the food on the ship. We ate at Raffles several times, the Windows several times, and one of the little bars for chips and dip one afternoon. We also splurged one night and dined at Cagney's, which we were overall very pleased with. The crabcakes were the best part. However, we paid extra for King crab legs, which were definitely not the best I've had. Also I was very disappointed in the espresso brownie I chose for dessert. Actually I was pretty disappointed in the desserts on the ship in general, but I am a baker myself so I am a bit of a dessert snob. My husband didn't seem to mind them. But overall, Cagney's was worth the upcharge.
The entertainment that we saw on the ship was very good. We went to the opening show, the duo acrobatique show, and the Elements show. Would have loved to have seen more of the acrobatic couple; they were incredible. We also attended four of the gameshows, which were lots of fun. Between us and our friends we met on the ship, someone from our group won three of the four gameshows! The prizes were a little lame though, but it was fun. Music by the pool each day was happy and upbeat.
I got a massage in the spa while hubby worked out in the gym. Was very happy with the massage, until the end when she tried to upsell me $120 worth of lotions and oils. Kinda ruins the relaxation when you're laying there with someone standing over you with their hand out wanting money. Hubby seemed fairly happy with the gym, except that the current in the lap pools was not fast enough to actually swim laps.
As far as the ports go, I will elaborate more on them in our port reviews, but Costa Maya was definitely our favorite. We learned that we prefer the more private excursions to secluded areas over the ones to public beaches where someone is in your face trying to sell you something every thirty seconds.
Disembarkation was a bit stressful, mainly because of negative people with attitudes in line in front of us. Everyone thinks they have a better solution to the situation, even though the cruise staff have done it a time or two and have probably figured out the most efficient way.
All in all, we were very pleased with our first cruise experience. We would definitely choose Norwegian again; I can't imagine being on a schedule where you had to eat when someone else told you to, etc. Oh and one tip for first time cruisers-if you are drinkers, invest in rum runner flasks! They are easy to conceal and saved us so much money! We did still buy some drinks on the ship from our friend Guillermo, but our tab was a whole lot lower than it would have been otherwise.