I am a Senior Writer for one of the Major Travel Magazines. I have been on all of the cruise lines sailing from North America.
I know the differences.
Norwegian, in general is my LEAST favorite cruise line. Their promotional materials do not accurately reflect the type of cruise they offer. It makes me wonder if the writers in their marketing department have even sailed on this ship!
It is what Norwegian does NOT tell a prospective passenger that is critical to know. They sucker you in with incredibly low ticket prices, and once on board they will hit you with ever possibly type of add on charges. You are not a passenger, you are treated like a "wallet"
Daily activities like shuffleboard and napkin folding classes are free.
Interesting activities, like a behind the scenes tour of the ship, cost extra.
The alternative restaurants can cost an additional $25.00 per person per meal.
If you want real orange juice even in the buffet restaurant, it will cost you an additional $2.50 per glass. If you want a good cup of coffee with your lunch meal, it will cost extra.
The onboard "Shopping Specialist" must be a major stock holder of Diamonds International. Passengers are subjected to an incessent series of commericals for this Company. You are awakened from an afternoon nap for Public address announcements for Diamonds International. Your Port Information Newsletter will not show you where to get a good meal, or reasponably priced trinkets,.. .but it will always tell you where ALL of the Diamonds International stores are located.
The Norwegian Spirit has some significant design flaws, and no amount of alleged "refurbishment" is going to change that. These design flaws pose significant safety issues in the event of an adverse event.
Traffic flow is absurd. Our cabin was located immediately adjacent to the main dining room. Oo any other cruise ship, there would be a hallway leading right into the dining room. On the Spirit, there is a solid wall blocking access.
We had to go to the front elevators, walk back the length of the ship, and then go down aflight of stairs .. .each time we wanted to dine in the main dining room.
There are significant safety concerns inherent in the design of this ship.
There are three sets of elevtors on this ship. Only the FRONT elevators stopped at the sixth floor. In the event of an accident, passengers on the sixth floor have to go over a block to find the stairs. Imagine the bottle neck of ALL the passengers on that deck need to evacuate?
This is also not a ship for people who have any sort of mobility issues.
The floors in the public spaces have thick metal panels across many of the doorways -- making it impossible to self propel a wheel chair across them.
The main entrance to the Gift Shop has five steep stairs which cannot be negotiated by someone in a chair or a walker.
On our Western Caribbean Cruise, two of the four ports do not dock - they require tenders to get to shore. These tenders are not set up to transport people in wheel chairs or safely transport people with walkers.
While the itinery lists four ports in the Western Caribbean cruise.
Weather conditions may preent docking at Roatan Island and at Belize.
Our cruise bypassed Roatan completely, because high winds made it hazardous to send the small tender boats to shore.
Norwegian prides itself on "Free Style Dining". They fail to mention that you need to take time each day to make reservation to eat at many of the restaurants on board. They fail to mention that the food on the Spirit is among the POOREST offered on any cruise ship.
The food is on par with a hospital cafeteria. Even in the expensive alternative restaurants, the food quality is sub standard -- not even the quality of a generic Denney's type restaurant. This is particularly evident in the CHinese restaurant, which charges an additional $10.00 per person for steam table noodles and "glop" covered with canned pre made sauce.
The average passenger will feel "nickled and dimed" to death. They will untimately pay substantially more than they would pay for basic service son any other cruise line.