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11 Norwegian (NCL) Orlando (Port Canaveral) Cruise Reviews

we choose ncl because of the freestyle and upgrade availability, the Haven experience was awesome. We had private everything, no waiting and exceptional service.. the entire trip was just better than any before ( 30 plus). The ship was ... Read More
we choose ncl because of the freestyle and upgrade availability, the Haven experience was awesome. We had private everything, no waiting and exceptional service.. the entire trip was just better than any before ( 30 plus). The ship was very clean, some of the areas were a bit unorganized, like the comedy club. Most of the public areas were very clean and the layout of the ship was good. Some of the shows/games were placed in bad areas, like deal or no deal... it was in the small atrium of the ship and did not have near enough seating. The main shows were not very interesting to us, but not bad. The restaurant's had very good food, but as usual on all the cruises now days that tipping is automatic the service is not what it used to be. The Ports were all pretty easy on and off the ship not much hassle. Overall the best trip so far, unfortunately we have booked another trip for April 15th and Ncl has advised me that they no longer offer upgrades ... I think this is stupid and hopefully they rectify it or I will be shopping for another line to spend my money with. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Just returned from a week in the wonderful Haven on the Epic. This is our third time on this ship, and our first in the Haven. We ended up spending 90% of our time in the Haven. The food in the Epic Club was far superior to anything ... Read More
Just returned from a week in the wonderful Haven on the Epic. This is our third time on this ship, and our first in the Haven. We ended up spending 90% of our time in the Haven. The food in the Epic Club was far superior to anything else available on the ship. We have cruised with NCL since 2008, and the meals in the Epic Club were just fantastic! I like the Epic because Haven guests have access to Posh, as well as the Haven itself. Posh is great because it overlooks the pool deck, so you can still hear the music, and watch the crazy, fun activities they do poolside without the alienation of the Haven pool area, or the craziness of the main pool deck. It's the best of both worlds! Haven guests are able to order lunch in Posh (those purchasing Posh passes are not). Lunch in Posh and the Courtyard were the same menu. You had your choice(s) of a grilled veggie wrap, chicken Caesar salad wrap, grilled swordfish burger, cheeseburger, hotdog, and the best onion rings on a cruise! I can't recall if there was a salad on that menu or not. Lunch in the Epic Club was a full menu consisting of various sandwiches (French dip, sesame encrusted mahi mahi served on a pretzel roll, a burger, etc) a couple of salads (cobb, Caesar, and a mixed salad), to "dinner for lunch" options (linguini with clam sauce, salmon with lobster sauce, etc). There were other options, but I did not take a picture of the menu, and cannot remember them all. I had the mahi mahi one day, and the French dip another. Both were very good. My husband had the salmon one day, and the cobb salad another, and he enjoyed both. The kids only ate lunch with us on embarkation day, and both ordered burgers. We all had lunch in Posh a few times. My husband ordered the Caesar salad wrap a few times, and other times, the hot dog. I had the grilled veggie wrap one day, and a burger another day. The kids pretty much ordered hot dogs when eating there. I say kids - they are 19 and 20 !! My daughter had her friend from high school traveling with us as they are both on college break. As stated, Posh and the Courtyard were the same menu, and both were "okay". The Epic Club was fantastic. We ate dinner in the Epic Club for 5 of our 7 nights. We ate once in the Manhattan Dining Room because my husband ran into Grace, the hotel director's secretary, and she asked if we would enjoy dinner and the Burn the Floor show that evening. He said yes, and she secured a dance floor table for us, with our meal reservation for 8pm. The assistant maître d in the Manhattan room is Sasa from Bosnia, and he quickly became a favorite for my family. He has such a fantastic personality, and was very attentive to my family. During the day, Sasa manages O'Sheehan's, and also made sure our lunch there was up to par. If you do eat in O'Sheehan's, make sure to save room for the brownie cheesecake. We were stuffed, but Sasa insisted that we try it - and we are glad we did. It was delicious. In the Epic Club, Maria was our server for most of our meals (breakfast and dinner). Our family very quickly fell in love with Maria, and her sweet personality. She definitely made our experience more enjoyable! The food in the Epic Club was outstanding. The mustard encrusted rack of lamb was melt in your mouth delicious! My daughter ate surf and turf (filet and jumbo shrimp) multiple times. My husband and I pretty much tried everything on the menu. My daughter's friend tended to stick with the chicken, but only because she loved it so much. I honestly did not think we would eat there so often because the menu is limited, but the food is far superior to that anywhere else on the ship. It was definitely worth repeating a meal or two. The colossal shrimp cocktail were a favorite of mine, as well as the butternut squash soup. My husband had the shrimp risotto appetizer every night. We did end up eating in La Cucina one night, but only because we had platinum certificates to burn. I really did not want to leave the Epic Club for dinner! Dinner in La Cucina was good though, so no complaints there! Diego is the bartender in the Haven Bar. Fabulous bartender who can pretty much make any drink you want, and he does it well!! We started our evening there every night. By night two, he knew names and what people were drinking. This was also the gathering place for the same group of people (or so it seemed) every night before dinner. Friendships were quickly made!! We sailed during new year's week, so the ship was sold out. Crowded is an understatement. We were lucky to have David to escort us to Priscilla so we did not have to wait in line (great show!!). We really did not leave the Haven area unless necessary. Outside of the Haven, the ship was a zoo. Inside - a completely different experience. It was a wonderful, relaxing week. It will be very difficult to return to a "regular" cruise after this one. Leaving the ship - we were finishing breakfast at 6:40am or so, when the ship was cleared by customs. I don't think we were ever cleared that early! We finished our breakfast and were escorted downstairs to walk off the ship. We were in our car and headed home before 7am. Can't say it enough - this was a great cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Having never sailed on the Epic before I was quite a bit worried reading all the November reviews that seemed overall negative. I can let you know we were very impressed! This is a bit of a departure from the freestyle cruising with NCL ... Read More
Having never sailed on the Epic before I was quite a bit worried reading all the November reviews that seemed overall negative. I can let you know we were very impressed! This is a bit of a departure from the freestyle cruising with NCL that we are used to. You do need to make some reservations or risk being disappointed when you don't get into the show or have the seat location that you want. Thankfully my wife booked what we wanted to see in advance and prepaid everything. This was also different from in the past and we will prepay everything in the future. It eliminates the small surcharges that always seem to add up during the cruise and put a damper on things. This time we walked off the cruise with only the following expenses: dinner, cruise next deposit, some gift shop purchases, and a bottle of wine that we enjoyed. We stayed in a balcony cabin on the 13th deck, mid ship. With so much to do we barely stayed out there. This is quite different from previous cruises where we congregate on the balcony for hours a day, reading, relaxing, and viewing the passing water... With so much going on the Epic we always found something to do. One of my favorite things is to be served breakfast in the main dining room as we recap the previous days activities and plan our current day. This never happened because the food in the buffet was so delicious. I have never wanted to go to the buffet more so than on this cruise. We also indulged in Cagney's (worth EVERY penny of the $60 we paid) one night, Shanghai, and once in The Manhattan Room, otherwise you could find us at the buffet. We have been to all the ports before and chose to do some different excursions. More sight seeing than activity as in the past. This was a fun departure from the norm and lead to a relaxing experience. We did swim with the stingrays in Cozumel and of course snorkeled all day before laying out on the beach at Great Stirup Cay. I'm not sure why there seems to be a rash of negative reviews. You do have to do a little more planning, there are a lot more people on board which means you have to arrive early, and when the weather is not ideal outside the inside activities become slammed! Other than that we were still able to do everything we wanted to do this cruise. Yes the elevators are crowded and sometimes you have to wait one or two cycles to find an empty one. We both are able to take the stairs so that is what we did when we could. Not always ideal but sometimes just walking up or down a flight of stairs can improve your chances of getting in the elevator. Large groups should be prepared to be split up though and meet at their location. Service was excellence. We did notice a lot more of the officers (I assume as they were in the white coats) not as friendly as in the past. Our room staff (Putu) was amazing and while we are not high maintenance, he knew our names and we always had a short chat as we passed each other. At first I didn't think I would like the big ship, then as the excitement built and I was reading Cruise Critic I saw the negative reviews and this began to confirm my initial impression. Not one to let the situation dictate my enjoyment level, I hit the bar on the first day and made the cruise what I wanted it to be. Not only did I enjoy the larger crowds, they made everything else more enjoyable. Howl and the Moon would have been a bore had it not been for the 100 plus that filled it and sang along each night. I have been on many other cruises that have 20-30 people in the bar after dinner and within an hour there are only 5. So yes the crowds were not always ideal, but they increased the excitement of the events. We enjoyed this cruise and ship so much that we have already booked our next sailing on the same ship. Knowing what we now know will only make the next time easier! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Some background: My husband and I are in our late 20’s/early 30’s. We have been on 5 Disney Cruises sailing on each of their ships at least once and 1 cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas. Disney is the line that we took ... Read More
Some background: My husband and I are in our late 20’s/early 30’s. We have been on 5 Disney Cruises sailing on each of their ships at least once and 1 cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas. Disney is the line that we took our first cruise on. We also got engaged, married, and took our honeymoon all on Disney cruises. It is safe to say that Disney cruises hold a very special place for us because along with many memories, Disney cruises excel in almost all areas that are important for us. For this reason, I will mostly be comparing what we experienced on the Norwegian Epic to DCL. We were shocked that this Norwegian cruise met Disney standards in many areas and even, dare I say because I feel like Walt himself is turning in his grave, exceeded what we have come to expect on a Disney Cruise. Of course, there were things that we did not love about this Norwegian Cruise, which I will get to. We also sailed with my mother and father-in-law who have been on the Norwegian Jade plus close to 50 Disney cruises (you can see who we got it from). Also, our trip was booked through a timeshare and for this reason, we did not have any “free at sea” offers and we also were unable to book our rooms close to each other. Boarding: We had a boarding time of 11:30 – noon. The longest wait that we experienced during the entire process was waiting in the line of cars to get into the parking garage. After that, the process was absolutely seamless. From the time that we got out of the car to the time that we walked onto the ship was about 20-25 minutes. I do have to make a note that part of what I love about DCL cruises is that, on each of their ships, you enter directly into the atrium with a beautiful chandelier, grand staircase, and statue of the ship’s mascot. It seems that on all other ships, you enter onto the deck and then your first introduction to the ship is a view of the elevators which is not nearly as grand of an entrance. Room: My husband and I and his parents booked 2 standard inside cabins. Their room was on deck 14 forward and ours on deck 13 midship. My in-laws room was located between the 2 sets of staircases and we were concerned that the room would be loud, however they reported that their room was nice and quiet. We were very pleased with our room. I thought that the size was perfect for the 2 of us. We felt spoiled coming from the Majesty of the Seas where the room was so small that you could not get off of both sides of the bed and my husband would have the crawl over me if he needed to get out in the middle of the night. The bathroom was a little strange and I would not want to sail in that room with anyone except for my husband, but it made no difference since it was just the two of us. It was nice that the different floor plan provided for, it seems, a slightly bigger shower than we have seen on other cruise ships although the round tub/shower on DCL is still my favorite. I was really impressed by the bed. It was nice and firm and very comfortable. We could hardly even tell that the bed was 2 twins pushed together. The pillows were full and soft. I do wish that the comforter was a little thicker or that they provided an extra blanket. I was disappointed with the TV. We do not spend much time in our room during cruises, but we do enjoy watching a movie before bed and there was very little to choose from. The TV was also so high that you could not see the screen well when lying on the bed. Our room steward, Bernard, was awesome. One day we slept in until 11am and I thought that we wouldn’t have our room attended to until that night, but less than 2 hours later, it was spotless! Whenever he spotted us in the hallway he always greeted us by name. In fact, we never passed one stateroom host without a smile and greeting. Food: There are so many places to dine on this ship! We visited many of them, but did not have time to go to them all. We missed Manhattan room, Tepanyaki/sushi bar, and Moderno. We had the 3-night dining package and so we dined at the specialty restaurants 3 nights and then at the complementary restaurants for the remainder of the time. Overall, our entire group was extremely impressed with our dining experience. The food exceeded our expectations. We never once had to wait for a table even at the complementary restaurants where we did not have a reservation. I was a little disappointed with the service. While all of the service was very quick, the wait staff was not very friendly or engaging. I expected some better, more specialized service in the specialty restaurants, but that did not happen. It was pretty clear to me that they did not want to be there and were just going through the motions. We had made reservations for 3 specialty restaurants before getting on the ship, but did change the reservations twice while on-board. This was done easily by either calling the reservation desk on the stateroom phone or stopping by the reservation table right outside the buffet. Buffet - The buffet was great and we dined there for several breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. This is one area that I think that the Norwegian Epic excels above DCL. The food was fresh and tasty. We loved that the buffet was open for dinner. On Disney, the buffet turns into a sit-down restaurant at night. It was nice to have something quick and easy for dinner without having to rely on just hamburgers and hotdogs. We also loved the small buffet that was open for several hours between lunch and dinner and also late at night until 11:30. My husband and I quickly developed a love for their cookies, especially the oatmeal raison! A downside is that the buffet did tend to get busy and the lines for the main rotating dishes would get very long at times! We learned to get there early. The buffet was scheduled to open at 5:30pm for dinner, but we noticed that they would usually open about 10-15 minutes early and so we made a habit to arrive around 5:15pm and get through the line and grab a table before it got crazy. Taste: We dined at Taste once for lunch and once for dinner and were pleased with our meals. Service was quick but not overly friendly. I had the soda package and I had heard that it was impossible to get refills due to the wait staff being so busy, but I did not find this to be true. I was brought a new soda 3 times during dinner without having to ask. We did have an unpleasant interaction with the hostess at Taste during Breakfast, There had been a time change the night before and we thought that we had set our clocks appropriately, but had not. When we arrived, the kitchen was closed. While the mistake was our fault, I do not think the level of rudeness that we experienced from the hostess was called for. While we did not experience breakfast at this restaurant, but my in-laws did and spoke highly of it. O’Sheehans: Dined here twice and my husband and I were both underwhelmed. Service was OK. The first time I dined there, I ordered a hamburger. A waiter came by shortly after with a tray of food and asked if I had ordered wings. I told him no, that I had ordered a hamburger. He then took a burger and fries from his tray and placed it in front of me. I removed the top bun and rearranged some of the toppings which were falling out of the burger. A few seconds later, another waiter came up and grabbed my plate and said “no, that one isn’t yours”. I called after him to tell him that I had already touched it, but he was already on the other side of the restaurant giving it to another customer. My burger arrived a short time later. The second time, we had finished our entrees and waited about 25 minutes for our desserts. We could not find our waiter so we asked another waiter who was passing. He apologized and delivered our desserts in a matter of minutes. The food was alright, but not very flavorful. The best was the brownie cheesecake with caramel marshmallows. Shanghai/Noodle bar: We dined here on the last night of our trip. We were pleased. Service was quick and accurate. The food was hot and tasty. La Cucina: Our party had one dinner here on the first night and we were impressed. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was nice and quiet. Le Bistro: This dinner was both hit and miss. Service was pretty good and the food was presented beautifully. My husband ordered the mussels for his appetizer and they were terrible. I did not taste them, but both he and his father agreed that they did not taste fresh and almost tasted as though they had gone bad. My mother-in-law got the sole for her entrée and although the taste was good, it was so overcooked that she needed a knife to cut it. The coffee that we were served after dinner was gross. We all agreed that it tasted terribly burnt. Not one of us finished our cups. There were however several dishes here which we enjoyed. The lamb that I ordered for an entrée was delicious and was more tender than the sole! I think that this was the meal that we were most disappointed in. The atmosphere was really nice at the beginning of the dinner, but it was ruined a little when we could here songs such as “YMCA” booming from the atrium. Also, I think that the bowling alley may be above Le Bistro, because several times, there were loud noises from overheard. Side note, this is no fault of the restaurant, but I was annoyed that at the table behind us, there was a young woman who was dining by herself. I guess she got lonely because she took out her phone and proceeded to hold a 15 minute Skype conversation at the table while she ate. Also, this is one of the 2 restaurants on the boat with a dress code (the other being the Manhattan room). It is not strict, but they do require pants (although nice jeans will suffice). Cagneys: Our whole group agreed that this was our favorite meal of the cruise. We each commented that our steaks were excellent. The appetizers, sides, and desserts were all perfect complements. My husband ordered the Tomahawk and said that it was cooked absolutely perfectly and is among the best steaks he has even had. My prime rib was also amazing! Some in our group even went as far to say that their meal was better than Palo which is a pay extra restaurant on DCL and my favorite restaurant of all time. I do not think I can go quite that far! Entertainment: I actually think that the nighttime entertainment was what really set this cruise apart. On Disney Cruises, there is never much that goes on after 9pm or so at night. Since many of the passengers are families with young kids, nighttime entertainment is not Disney’s focus. On this cruise, my husband and I were out past midnight for 5 of the 7 nights which we loved! We really enjoyed the comedian. I was a little disappointed with the “newlywed/not so newlywed” game. This is always my favorite show on a cruise and part of what makes it so fun is the host. On the Epic, the cruise director hosted this show and while he was very energetic, he just was not funny and sounded scripted. Also, instead of having the couples do a funny or embarrassing task to win their place on the stage, they just drew the names from a bucket which meant that the couples were not nearly as outgoing as they usually are. We enjoyed some of the daytime entertainment such as a short beginners Chinese class. It was a little disappointing how many of the daytime entertainment activities involve an extra charge. They had a painting class, but when we went to check it out it was $30 per person. Plus, the example was not that impressive to begin with. As far as the big productions, we did not go to the Cirque dinner show as there were so many other places to eat for free, although I did hear good things about the show. We went to Burn the Floor on our second night. The dancers were world class and absolutely amazing, but the show was kind of weird as there was no story line at all. Just, what felt like random costumes and sets. I still very much enjoyed the dancing. My absolute favorite show was Pricilla Queen of the Dessert. I loved it so much that I went twice. I made sure to sit right up at the front the second time because I wanted to see the detail of the costumes. This show was hilarious and top notch. Side note, the second time I went, all of the reservations were sold out. I decided to try and go anyways and arrived about 15 minutes before the show. I was let in immediately and there were plenty of seats although I think some of my luck had to do with the fact that it was a later show at 10pm. We also attended the Dueling Pianos show in the Headliners comedy theater twice and it was awesome. The crowd was energetic and the musicians were talented and entertaining. I do wish that they provided some additional bar staff because the room was packed. There were about 2-3 servers running around like crazy, but it took quite a while to get any drinks. Ports: Tortola: Getting onto the island was a breeze. Literally just walked straight off. We strolled around and explored the shops which were not too interesting. We found a martini cigar bar at the end of the small shopping area on the right called Aromas. We spent a pleasant few hours relaxing here and enjoyed using the free internet to check in on our puppies back home. My husband ordered a few beers and a cigar and I had 2 dessert martinis. I was happy to find this place because when I went to order a dessert martini on the ship, they were $18! The martinis here were a reasonable $10. From there we tried to find a book store, but were unsuccessful. Our exploration did lead to us stumbling upon an area with a great view of the ship. To get there you can just walk to the left once you get off of the boat and through the parking lot until you get to a rocky beach area. St. Thomas: Again, getting off the ship was quick. St Thomas has many more shops, but after we had been through 25% of the stores, we didn’t find anything new. Same bags, magnets, shirts ect. We then took the skyride and got an amazing view of the island and all of the ships in port. We wished that we had done this earlier and had time to sit and enjoy a drink while taking in the view and fresh air, but unfortunately, we had to be back on the boat by 2pm. Great Stirrup Cay: This is Norwegians private island and does require passengers to tender. We realized on the 3rd day of the cruise that you have to make a tender reservation if you want to get off of the boat early. This was done easily by call the box office on the stateroom phone. I have never made a tender reservation before and was surprised that you are assigned a letter and not a time. Due to this, we did not know when we would be getting off of the ship and had to pay attention to the announcements. The tendering took longer that I expected however this was mostly due to rough seas which is obviously outside of the cruise line’s control. The process was very organized which I appreciated. There was no pushing and shoving with people skipping in line and not knowing where to go. We hung out in the atrium and waiting until our letter was called before heading to the theater. From there they released us row by row to board the tender. The island was beautiful and we were thoroughly impressed. We have been to two other private islands including Disney’s Castaway Cay and Royal Caribbean’s Cocoa Cay and if we had to choose where to spend a day, I think I would pick Great Stirrup Cay. The island was well laid out. My mother in law walks with a cane and she had no difficulty navigating the island. Cocoa Cay on the other hand was underdeveloped with lots of unmarked dirt paths. We were impressed with the availability of chairs and plenty in the shade. I loved that on the bridge that takes you to the cabanas (which looked amazing), there is a nice view of the ship. My husband and I went for a short swim. The water was cold, but enjoyable once we got in. I was glad that I brought my swim socks which have thin rubber soles as some of the beach area was a bit rocky. The island buffet was pretty good with a good selection. The line to get back onto the tender was long, but moved quickly once boarding began. Disembarkation: We decided to put our luggage out the night before. If you do want to have your baggage taken off for you and also want to get out early, make sure to pick up your tags several days before the cruise ends as the early ones always go quickly. The early morning was a little stressful as my husband did not sleep well and decided to go explore the ship around 4:30 am. Que the panicking wife when both myself and my father in law searched the ship for an hour and could not find him. We eventually found him and I warned him that under penalty of serious bodily injury, he is not to do that to me ever again. After an early breakfast at the buffet we gathered our things and sat in the atrium lounge until our tag color was called. We walked straight off, gathered our luggage, and were waiting in the line for customs within about 20 minutes. We had a little hiccup when we realized that our stateroom host had not left a customs form in our room and we had completely forgotten about it until we saw everyone else pulling there’s out. We easily found a new form before getting in line and were in the car heading home 15 minutes later. Overall Impression: Obviously choosing a cruise really depends on what you are looking for. My husband and I agree that we have enjoyed this cruise the most. While the level of service was not quite what we have come to expect on Disney, the combination of the entertainment, food options, and price difference really set the Norwegian epic apart. We even booked a credit for a future cruise on board and hope to sail on the Norwegian Escape next December. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Travel for relaxation was the main reason for this particular cruise. MISSON ACCOMPLISHED! The ship is smallish and very easy to navigate. We had a balcony room on the 10 deck which was perfect. Large enough for 2 people to easily ... Read More
Travel for relaxation was the main reason for this particular cruise. MISSON ACCOMPLISHED! The ship is smallish and very easy to navigate. We had a balcony room on the 10 deck which was perfect. Large enough for 2 people to easily navigate and a much larger bathroom that many other cruise ships. The service from beginning to end was great. We spent a great deal of time in deck chairs enjoying the calm seas and sun that we were lucky enough to have. The food was very good and plentiful. never long waits in the dining rooms. Ports of call were nice, especially Maderia Portugal...very interesting and beautiful. The time at sea was filled very well by the cruise staff. Lots of interesting activities for almost everyone. Different entertainment styles for most peoples enjoyment Check in check out easy as pie. Would recommend for someone looking for lots of down time and relaxation! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Having just returned from a cruise on Norwegian Spirit, I have to say what a very pleasant surprise I had. I had read many reviews that had made me doubt my choice, mostly about the age and condition of the ship. I am happy to say, that ... Read More
Having just returned from a cruise on Norwegian Spirit, I have to say what a very pleasant surprise I had. I had read many reviews that had made me doubt my choice, mostly about the age and condition of the ship. I am happy to say, that although not as grand as some of the other ships I have cruised on, it was in very good condition, clean and comfortable with ample restaurants and activities. The service was second to none and the entertainment was very good. The atmosphere was extremely relaxed and I really could not fault the holiday. Stirrup Cay was a lovely island (privately owned by NCL) and the ships crew worked very hard providing a bbq and buffet on the beach, the reggae band played and the drinks were readily available. I personally liked the 'anytime dining' and whilst there is no pressure to dress up, the majority of people did. It really was 'freestyle' cruising. I didn't have children with me, but there quite a few children and they appeared to be very well entertained. There was the usual, bingo, quizzes etc but no pressure to join in if you didn't want to. The embarkation and disembarkation went smoother than I have found on other cruises that I have been on, but this could be due to this being a smaller ship and therefore less people. I understand that the ship is due another upgrade this year, but whilst I agree that parts were a little dated, they were not in bad repair, it was all rather charming. I would definitely sail with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Myself and my husband were cruise virgins. We booked this to mark our 50th birthdays, so really wanted to celebrate this special occasion. Prior to our cruise I came across this website and read numerous reviews on the Spirit, some ... Read More
Myself and my husband were cruise virgins. We booked this to mark our 50th birthdays, so really wanted to celebrate this special occasion. Prior to our cruise I came across this website and read numerous reviews on the Spirit, some very bad, some very good! We decided that as this was our first time on a cruise, we would go with an open mind on what to expect! We were not disappointed. Yes the ship is getting old, but it was spotlessly clean and we noticed that the crew were constantly maintaining and cleaning during our stay. From the moment we arrived at Port Canaveral to check in, we were made to feel very welcome. The staff were an absolute credit to the cruise line. The atmosphere on board amongst fellow cruiser's was very relaxed and sociable, from the Spring Breakers to the retired we felt that all mixed really well. In terms of entertainment on board, we felt that all genres were catered for. We really enjoyed Champagne Charlie's, the pianist Barry had us laughing all night long! A special mention must be made to 'Lester' the head barman at Henry's Bar. He was so attentive to all his customers not just ourselves, this was noticed by myself more so due to the fact I am in the industry myself and am very critical of the service received! The dining experience was 9 out of 10, the only disappointing meal we encountered was when we dined in the Garden Room, the service was excellent but the food rather bland and tasted very mass produced. The speciality restaurants were superb and in particular I must recommend Cagney's Steak Grill, the food was delicious and service superb. At this point I must point out the service supplied by Enriquo (Rico) a waiter at Cagney's who went out of his way to give us tips on how to make the most out of our time aboard! Excursions; Costa Maya Mexico Booked with an independent tour operator, Native Choice. Chose to do the Maya reality tour which involved a trip to the ruins, then a lunch in a Mayan village learning to cook Tortillas. A really lovely tour in a relaxed manner, the tour guide was very informative and flexible, arranged the tour to avoid the crowds. Georgetown Grand Cayman Chose The Trolley Roger Tour, booked through the cruise line! This was absolute disorganised chaos! Got ashore and waited for an hour, to be told that they were still waiting for another 20 people before they started the tour. We informed the guide that we would go get a drink in a nearby bar whilst waiting, she informed us she would come and get us when ready. We had our drink and went back to the meeting point only to be told that the tour had left without us!! Was informed that we could go on another in hours time, this we declined as we were fed up of waiting. This left a really sour note on the cruise for myself as this was an island I was really looking forward to. Ochos Rios Jamaica Booked through an independent tour guide Karandas Tours. Chose to do the river tubing, Dunns River climb and the Cool Running's bob sled. Had an absolute ball, from the moment our guide collected us to the time he dropped us off. Nothing was too much trouble and we got to see parts of the island that other tours do not venture to. Highly recommend this! Grand Stirrup Cay The cruise lines private island, absolutely beautiful, went jet skiing which was brilliant, then relaxed on the pristine beaches. A lovely way to end a cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We had been on Carnival the last five cruises and had been a bit disappointed with the crew energy on the last one. It was the Fantasy, and we were aware about it's age. The Spirit is a similar ship, small and a few years on her, but ... Read More
We had been on Carnival the last five cruises and had been a bit disappointed with the crew energy on the last one. It was the Fantasy, and we were aware about it's age. The Spirit is a similar ship, small and a few years on her, but the crew was outstanding. Yes if you look hard you can find old carpet or a rust spot or two, and we were concerned with all the negative reviews. The energy and attitude was the best we had ever encountered on a cruise. The shows were better than what we had seen on Carnival and the Cruise Director GIO was great. When we did encounter some issues with an excursion, not directly NCL fault, the excursion staff was understanding and gave us a credit with their apologies. We ate mostly in The Gardens Main Dining. Found a waiter we Herald, and asked for him each night, super service. Only issue came on disembarkation, signed up for early as we had a long drive, they lost a cart with luggage and many people had to wait in the terminal. That was the only negative on a 7 day enjoyable vacation. We are signed up for another NCL cruise, hopefully the staff will also be as great as the Spirit's was. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We just got back from our first week long cruise. It was my wife and I who are in our 30's as well as her parents. We have cruised twice before but on 3 night cruises. We read all the negative feedback and I am happy to say this crew ... Read More
We just got back from our first week long cruise. It was my wife and I who are in our 30's as well as her parents. We have cruised twice before but on 3 night cruises. We read all the negative feedback and I am happy to say this crew has figured their stuff out and it was a great time. My wife has celiac disease (gluten allergy) and we told Norwegian about it prior to leaving. We had no idea they were going to go way out of their way to make her comfortable. They assigned Jonathan to us for every meal to make sure she could navigate the menu and order ahead of time in case they didn't have what she wanted. It took so much of the worry out of ordering food and her getting sick. All of the food was great especially at Windows and Le Bistro. Le Bistro was the highlight of the trip, lobster, muscles and steak were amazing. They also made us a small cake for our anniversary. The buffet at Raffles was pretty good, but still a buffet. Windows was always fantastic and there really wasn't much of a need for us to spend the money on a dining package. Drinks were good and service was generally quick. There were times it could get slow (beginning of dinner) but if you brought your own drink then it was never a problem. The bartenders were all skilled and knew how to make the drinks we wanted. It was a much older crowd than we expected, most were in their 60's. We were told since it was a smaller ship that is normal. So the nightlife catered to that a bit and although there was some fun dance parties, they ended early even if the staff wanted to continue. There just wasn't enough nigh owls to have much of a night life after midnight. Still it was a good cruise and enough areas to hang out and listen to music. There wasn't a ton of kids (maybe 20-30) but it seemed like they were always in the hot tubs and main pool. They have a kids area but it seemed liked it didn't get used that much. So that was a bit of a disappointment. Overall it was a great cruise and I would recommend it to anyone but young singles. We met a few and there just wasn't enough of them to make it a fun time for that crowd. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We were a bit apprehensive about this ship before boarding....not very good reviews, older ship, smaller ship, etc. However, we were pleasantly surprised after boarding....the Spirit has a LOT of character. We loved everything about it! ... Read More
We were a bit apprehensive about this ship before boarding....not very good reviews, older ship, smaller ship, etc. However, we were pleasantly surprised after boarding....the Spirit has a LOT of character. We loved everything about it! The decor is unusual, the Asian artifacts were interesting, the public spaces were inviting, the atrium is gorgeous! We mostly ate in the specialty restaurants (Cagney's, LeBistro, Trattoria), and all our meals were outstanding. We ate in the Asian restaurant once, and again, outstanding! We also dined in Windows twice (once with the captain, lucky us!!), and we were all pleased with our choices. We rarely ate in the buffet, because we had breakfast and lunch at Cagney's every day (VIP status), which was awesome. Every crew member/staff we interacted with were happy, helpful, and very friendly. No complaints there! (Except the cruise director....he was okay, nothing special). Our room steward was one of the best, and when someone was smoking a cigar on the balcony 2 rooms down from us, he promptly asked him to stop. Thank you! The itinerary was good, except for Nassau (been there too many times). We did have to tender in St. Thomas, because of so many ships in port that day, but tender operations seemed to go pretty smoothly (at least for us). It did rain hard after we got to shore, but stopped after maybe half an hour, so it was all good! Magen's Bay is a great beach, and large enough that it didn't seem too crowded with 6 ships in port. Tortola is one of our favorite ports, and going to the Baths is a must. The entertainment was excellent, except for the magician they had on board. His show was a bit cheesy, and some of the illusions were obvious. The Elements show was probably the best show, with the comedian a close second. The crew talent show was one of the best I've been to! Overall, we would definitely sail the Spirit again, and I think it has become our favorite NCL (smaller) ship. Just keep in mind it does not have all the bells and whistles of the newer ships, but there was never a moment when we felt bored. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. Port Canaveral is one of the best...they really have it down! We live about 30 minutes from there, so we are ecstatic that NCL is home porting there again in the winter months! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Ship> Beautiful. Classic. Shows> Makes Carnival look like 2 Point O, the Bands on Carnival told us that means they cut all the shows in Half and Expect them to work twice as hard. Do Not Miss> Rock n Roll, The World and ... Read More
Ship> Beautiful. Classic. Shows> Makes Carnival look like 2 Point O, the Bands on Carnival told us that means they cut all the shows in Half and Expect them to work twice as hard. Do Not Miss> Rock n Roll, The World and Elements. If you are too Old to stand up at the end and give them a standing applause,Maybe you should not have left the Home...you will get up after they leave anyway. Food> I Loved Shogun's and Teppanyaki. Wings 24/7, great dogs and Hamburgers at the Bier Garden Over the Front Pool. Get the Lobster at Shogun's, best ever. Over and Over I here folks saying "I'm not leaving a tip..... " well they are used to you guys, and that's why you get what you expect. We tip hundreds over the week, on top of the room charges, and get great service. We bring candy to also tip with, and had 50 Lbs. that we gave away to everyone, not just folks waiting on us. Take some boxes of candy to tip with, Pay it Forward. Make them happy and you'll be too. Talk to the crew make them your friends and you will bond and have a great time. They are your equals in life. Captain Peter> I think he had too much coffee, sailing at 19 knots to get to Ports very early, and my family was ill in flat Seas but High winds, 2nd time in 25 years of cruising, Last time was 30ft. Seas and trying to avoid a Hurricane. Peter will get better with "training" lol Cruise Director Gio, the best we've ever had. Tell him Ed and Sean say hello. The Quest show, do not miss. Room service 24/7> a great BLT late at nite is awesome. Bartenders> 5 Stars> Benji and Bong were great. Reggae Band on Deck> 5 stars> much better than DJ's on Carnival. Piano Bar> Great. Room Steward> 5 stars. Thanks Win. I could go on but you get the idea we had an awesome time. One crew member told me the average age on our cruise was 67 years old, that is including children and younger folks... My daughter who is 19 was very upset as to no friends to find. Did did find Zach on day four... It's always 5 O'Clock on the Ship. So says Jimmy Buffet. Ps- Our room was haunted, some folks pay extra for that! We had others in a room 8 doors away that told us the same thing about their cabin. Caspers coo with us. Safe Journeys everyone, please do not listen to folks that say they had a #1 rating on a ship, maybe they should take the Casino Boat Out of Canaveral.... lol Any Questions plase ask, our other review is on Message Boards under Eddeb: Spirit cruise> Nov. 28th> Dec. 5th, Any Questions? Safe journeys every one, Good luck to all in 2016. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
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