We just returned from sailing the Spirit. Previously a Carnival customer for three other cruises, we decided to give Norwegian a try. I have some complaints, but first let it be said that the overall cruise was very good. Come on, it's cruising! It is very hard not to find something good.
There were five in our group and we stayed pre-cruise a couple of days at the Hampton Inn Convention Center. We were very pleased with our stay there this year. We stayed there pre-cruise last year but it was just okay. I will start by getting the hiccups out of the way first.
Last year, almost a year to date we sailed out of New Orleans and witnessed a very sad situation. An older couple in line in front of us had entered the drop off area in a rush since the police pester people to move quickly. Before they realized what had happened the porters ran away with their luggage containing passports and identification. The distraught couple was told if their luggage could not be located in the countless stacked high carts being loaded on the ship, they would not be allowed to sail.
This year we accidentally left our documents and cash in luggage placed in the back of Hampton Inn's motor coach taking us to the pier. Upon arrival we tried to lay claim to the needed upright before it was taken away. But, a pesky porter decided to quickly exercise authority and told us not to touch the luggage. I had to get rude telling him to back off. I'm sure everyone thought I was crazy. I just didn't want a repeat of the scene we witnessed last year.
When we finally moved inside to check in, we were in store for delays. I had booked two cabins and wanted to use a separate credit card for each to cover onboard charges. We were delayed excessively because the NCL staff was not trained properly. This simple issue was made into a capital offense. First I was told they could not accept two separate cards from the same person and confusion persisted on and on with supervisors getting involved. It ended by the staff instructing me to wait in line again after boarding the ship at guest services. After another long hassle aboard, the issue was finally settled. A very bad first impression and inconvenience right out of the gate.
Throughout the cruise we were also disgusted with miscues of untrained staff giving us improper information that led to even more inconveniences. We started checking and double checking any information we received from staff. It was very disappointing.
Last complaint, the food at the buffet was terrible and we usually love buffets. We never found a good selection and the taste was not good.
Overall, the ship is older and smaller than we're used to but well decorated. We enjoyed the Spirit.
Other than the buffet, the food was very good. We enjoyed Windows, The Garden Room and the Blue Lagoon. We also dined at Le Bistro and Shogun and enjoyed the both very much. The wait staff throughout the ship was very good and we loved the atmosphere of the restaurants.
For us, the ships regular performers were not as talented as we've seen on other cruises. Elements is very good and the Russian acrobats are excellent. Don't miss that show. Magic was pretty good. We were disappointed by the welcome aboard show. If we would have used that show as a gauge for all the entertainment, we wouldn't have returned. We didn't like Jose and Patty or any of the entertainers performing in the lounges. And please NCL, scrap the Evening of Enchantment show on the last night. It is terrible. If we were not second row center we would have walked out. It was very painful.
We loved all the ports of call. And yes, we even loved Costa Maya in the rain.
As I said before, even with all the negatives I have listed I wouldn't have wanted to miss this cruise. We had a great time.