Norwegian Spirit offers an impressive number of bars, lounges and entertainment venues.
The sexy Maharini's Lounge & Nightclub, which is accessed only through the casino, has an Indian-influenced decor with fancy chandeliers, velvet curtains and plush daybeds with pillows. It feels like a V.I.P. room in a South Beach Club, and a D.J. spins tunes there nightly.
Another fun space is the traditional, English-style Henry's Pub. (Yes, there are darts.) Henry's is a much better spot to watch sporting events on TV than the cheesy Shanghai sports bar near Blue Lagoon, which looks like an afterthought. At night, go to Henry's for folk music; the Shanghai Bar's main attractions are the seven private karaoke rooms for guests who want to sing along without a big crowd.
Elsewhere at night, Champagne Charlie's has live music (usually a piano player/singer), and the sound delightfully drifts throughout the atrium.
Galaxy of the Stars on Deck 12 is the ship's observation lounge and is a real winner, offering views from floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides. Its padded window seats are the perfect spot to sit and stare mindlessly at the sea (that is, if no activities like Bingo are going on in the space at the time). Blue carpeting and ship models in cases highlight the lounge's nautical theme. A bandstand and dance floor in the center of the large space get a good workout at night, and the lounge's large bar is the place for singles to meet and greet.
Editor's note: For some goofy fun, head down the steps at the front of Galaxy of the Stars, and snap a photo as you pretend to steer the ship via the captain's wheel that's positioned there. For the real deal, head down the circular stairway, and you can peer through a glass window at the Captain and officers on the bridge. You'll also find a small display of items the ship has acquired at its various ports of call, including plaques and artifacts.
The oversized Maharajah's casino sees lots of action, day and night, with its huge array of slots and tables, including blackjack, roulette, three-card poker, Caribbean Stud Poker, Let it Ride Bonus, Texas Hold 'Em and Craps. Baccarat and other specialty tables are available on request. Gaming areas are also located off the pool deck and in Galaxy of the Stars, but they're mostly focused on video poker and blackjack machines.
NCL is known for its colorful, lively production shows, and on this ship, they are performed by a team of singers and dancers in a real, classic theater. The recently renovated Stardust Theater, with its plush red-velvet seating and opera-house ambience, is one of the prettiest show lounges at sea. Two decks create a slant and great sightlines in the main section, but sit in the balcony on Deck 8 if you think you might want to leave early. (Otherwise, you need to walk to the front of the theater in front of everyone.) In addition to the show productions, the theater hosts visiting performers and is the venue for the highly popular International Crew Show. The resident Second City improvisational theater troupe does a couple of performances there too, encouraging audience participation. They also do an R-rated, late-night show in the Galaxy of the Stars lounge one night.
During the day, the activities crew hosts trivia contests, sports activities and frequent Bingo rounds. Lottery tickets are also proffered throughout the cruise. Game shows like the Not So Newlywed Game and The Perfect Couple -- all a tiny bit risque and geared toward adults (think PG, rather than R) -- are also fun.
Art auctions by Park West pack folks into the art gallery, which is hidden away above the casino. Frequent come-ons of free Champagne may be part of the draw.
On my Bermuda cruise, dozens of shore excursions were on offer each day, from beach transfers ($26) to twilight snorkel adventures ($56), SCUBA lessons ($164) and deep-sea fishing excursions ($260). Golfers will delight in a chance to play on some of the island's famous courses, such as Port Royal, Ocean View, Fairmont Southampton Princess, Belmont Hills, Riddells Bay or Tuckers Point (from $95 to $261 for 18 holes). One of the most creative tours is the Bermuda Triangle Night Glass-Bottom Boat tour, which ventures into the notorious waters, with the boat's lights illuminating the coral and fish and the crew sharing tales of disasters (spooky!). Prices are reasonable; most tours are less than $100 with many $60 or less. Often, the tours have discounted prices for kids, 12 and younger.