A big thanks for captain and crew for keeping the norovirus down. The captain came on the loudspeakers several times telling us about other cruises that had to turn back due to the virus, our "body count" or number of passengers with the virus and to remind us to take precautions to keep ourselves healthy. It worked for us.
FREE STYLE DINING - For us this is one of the best aspects of our cruise. There is no pressure to be dressed and at your table by a certain time. Want to take a nap after a shore excursion? No problem. There was always some yummy part of each meal be it an appetizers, soup, salad, entree or dessert. Spirit dining staff were very pleasant and efficient. We enjoyed Windows restaurant the most. You can keep to yourself, share a table with "new" friends or start up a conversation with the couple at the table next to you. I missed some of the dishes - escargot & duck - that have usually been on cruise menus. Here, you have to book at a specialty More
restaurant and pay extra for that. We did. It was delicious.
We didn't use the pool, but like the free steam rooms and sauna. Spa & fitness packages available had a nice variety. Casino was very smoky & we had to leave. We are not big on going to all the entertainment, but those we did attend were fine.
CABIN - Our balcony was great. Plenty of room for our clothes & stuff. I counted 20 hangers. Loved the robes. Fresh towels when we wanted them. Had to ask for ice after the first few days. The little couch was awful. You could not sit on it without sinking down into the pull-out parts for the extra bed. The bathroom was spacious for a cruise bathroom. Once in the bathroom there is a separate door for the toilet & for the shower with the sink in between. BEVERAGES - Tisdale, the NCL "house wine" for $22 a bottle. Really? Tisdale is a joke around our town. We can buy it at our local gas station for under $3 per bottle. "2 buck chuck", we tease our friends who love it. We were "busted" for bringing on several half bottles of wine packed in a suitcase. We were called down to the Stardust Lounge to claim our suitcase. We told them what we had and they let us take it. Other we spoke to had to leave it for after the cruise of pay extra to take it aboard.
Fellow passengers can make or brake a cruise also. We had super passengers aboard.
We chose this cruise for the ports of call and that it left out of New Orleans. Last year in February, we were scheduled to fly out of Chicago for vacation. There was a blizzard and we never got out of O'Hare. We figured Amtrak would get us to New Orleans. We stayed at Staybridge Suites and walked the 6 blocks to the cruise terminal.
Embarkation was smooth. Our check-in girl on the dock was a bit crabby. Too much Krewe du Vieux the night before.? We were able to go right to our cabin to drop off things before eating a late lunch and exploring the ship. Liked that we did not have to put on life jackets at the muster drill.
Disembarkation was the easiest we have ever experienced. Less
We read that Belize had the best barrier reef next to Australia and were looking forward to snorkeling there. The cruise ship excursion had only a 45 minute window for their snorkeling tour, so I booked an excursion with Coral Breeze/ Hammerhead Water Sports. They advertised 90 minutes of snorkeling time. It was disappointing. We did not get the 90 minutes promised and had to snorkel as in a group tour, bumping into each other. If we went a little off on our own we were told to get back to the group. The head on the boat was just nasty. Crew was nice enough.
Shopping along the water front was okay. Some interesting shops with local made items.
This is a tender port, but that was not problem. It was easy to get off and not much of a wait to catch a tender back. It is very clear where the Spirit tender is leaving from.
Felt like we were herded into the bus. On the bus, our guide gave a little history of the ruins and Mayans in general. She passed around some Mayan-made things for passengers to look at & hold. The ruin site was interesting. There was some walking and climbing if you wished. Our guide gathered us at various sites for more explanations, but let us explore on our own some also. There is a small store for souvenirs and restrooms at the site. We were offered bottled water or plastic cups of pop/soda before boarding the bus to return to the ship. There was plenty of time to shop at Costa May before or after the excursion.
It was great to just walk off the ship to the pier and then shopping. This is the place to buy your souvenirs. Tee shirts are plentiful and cheap. Tequila is a good buy. Find a tasting room. It can be very busy when there are many ships in port, but manageable.
We stopped for a drink at Wet Wendy's a block in from the water front. What a great oasis! Great drinks and great blackened chicken nachos.
Made arrangements for Bananarama to pick us up and take us to the beach on their property. Snorkeling on Roatan is fabulous. We have our own equipment, but you can rent. Up & down the beaches natives from Roatan were selling things from cotton candy, necklaces to sunglasses and wind surf rides. They did not pressure us to buy. There was security from Bananarama watching at all times.
Roatan is a very depressed area. A man from Rotary Club had a booth on the dock. He would stamp your passport with a stamp from Roatan if you wished. He told us that Rotary International was helping the police and fire department to get equipment so that they could communicate with each other. He also said that the schools have no indoor plumbing or electricity.