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11 Norwegian (NCL) Malaga Cruise Reviews

We really liked the ship, BUT it is in need of an up date. The cabin was rather poor. Only one bedside table, the other side had a standard lamp ? Very strange. Carpet was dirty and vanity table was broken The food was good, staff ... Read More
We really liked the ship, BUT it is in need of an up date. The cabin was rather poor. Only one bedside table, the other side had a standard lamp ? Very strange. Carpet was dirty and vanity table was broken The food was good, staff was lovely. BUT this ship is to small for the Atlantic and it was a very bumpy ride, with sea sick bags placed on very floor. We had a drinks package, BUT got charged a tax on top every time we were in Spanish waters ??. We cruise a lot round the Med and have never been charged before, very money grasping by Norwegian. Coffee at the coffee shop had to be paid for and in all my life have never been served such awful coffee. Shows were excellent BUT unbelievably they have a show with LIVE animals ! This is disgusting in this day and age. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We had never sailed with NCL and saw this cruise from Barcelona which included a drinks package. Never had one of those either but we soon got into the swing of things, too much gin ! We stayed in Barcelona for 2 days prior to sailing ... Read More
We had never sailed with NCL and saw this cruise from Barcelona which included a drinks package. Never had one of those either but we soon got into the swing of things, too much gin ! We stayed in Barcelona for 2 days prior to sailing and it was raing when we arrived, this set the tone of things for the whole holiday. We had two sunny days, Madeira and Malaga, the rest were cold and wet. Anyway, there is nowt we can do about the weather so we made the most of it. We had a verandah stateroom ar aft of ship, wonderful for dining and shows. We liked the bathroom with separate shower and toilet. There was only one bedside cabinet which was a little awkward but the overall size of room and balcony were fine. There was also coffee and tea making facilities in the cabin which we love, very unusual for a US ship, health and safety I assume. Food great, drinks flowed, the most unusual thing at dinner was that we were 4 and all had drinks package, however the waiters had to keep bringing glasses ans bottles weren't included, so to save the waiters feet we eventually got to know them and they brought LARGE glasses for us. All gratuities were also included so we tipped separately. At end of cruise our account was $US28 .....amazing. On Majestic Princess in October, don't think that trip will be so cost effective. Overall a wonderful cruise apart from weather, we will be with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
This was a last minute booking due to family circumstances which in truth limited our choice of cruise. However, we have now cruised with NCL five times and since our first cruise with NCL 24 years ago we have noted a marked decline in ... Read More
This was a last minute booking due to family circumstances which in truth limited our choice of cruise. However, we have now cruised with NCL five times and since our first cruise with NCL 24 years ago we have noted a marked decline in standards and quality. This time my wife and I cruised with my brother and sister-in-law and both of them reflect our views on standards and quality. The reason we chose this cruise was it covered the Christmas and New Year periods and my brother and his wife had never been to the Canary Islands. Christmas was disappointing in that it was not marked in any special way, the Christmas dinner was two slices of turkey with few trimmings served as usual on a cold plate. More effort was made for the New Year festivities. Despite a recent refit parts of the ship were drab and dated. Particular in this respect was the scruffy Henry`s bar and Blue Lagoon cafe. The Raffles restaurant offered repetitively burgers, hot dogs plus other dishes and the general scrummage for food was only tolerated when there was no alternative options. The main windows restaurant was acceptable and a calm recluse when not full up but there was constant repetition of some of the meals on offer, though counterbalanced by an extensive choice of dishes. The service was generally good but was spoilt by a lack of understanding of our requirements by both waiting staff and Matre `D.The waiting staff were falling over themselves to help but due to lack of training they would not always fulfill their function correctly. As a party of 4 we were always prepared to share with others on tables of six plus, but however hard we tried to convey this concept the idea was never executed. There were often long queues for tables at Windows and Garden restaurants and sharing would have gone some way to alleviating the waiting time. We noticed a tremendous wastage of food when waiters failed to served the requested portions. One egg at breakfast time was always interpreted as two resulting in wastage. Portions of fruit plate were excessive but despite pleas to reduce the portion size this again went unheeded. The evening entertainment whilst generally good was of poor standard in some cases being typical of a budget cruise line. The daytime activity programme whilst plentiful were in most cases designed specifically to raise revenue for NCL and not necessarily for the enjoyment of passengers. The talks given on ports of call were short, normally less than 15 minutes and did not convey the extent of information most passengers required. Information regarding shuttle bus service were not always relayed and resulted in confusion on the dockside when attempting to find transport. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We were looking for a holiday getaway and love NCL and this fit the bill. We really liked that they added a extra embarkation port in Malaga. There was no line, we just dropped off our bags and walked on. The ports of call were great with ... Read More
We were looking for a holiday getaway and love NCL and this fit the bill. We really liked that they added a extra embarkation port in Malaga. There was no line, we just dropped off our bags and walked on. The ports of call were great with exception of Casablanca, if there is a need to go to Morocco I would much have preferred Agadir. This is an older mid sized ship that has been well maintained and has an Asian flair. The specialty restaurants as well as the buffet and main dinning room where all good. The service on NCL is always good. Because of it being a holiday there were a lot of families and it was a little harder finding a quiet place to get away and read. There was a "new" drink tax when you are in Spanish waters that was a pain in the a.. especially when you had a drink package. Overall, we had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Wanted to see what it was like on a cruise ship this time of year it was good ,weather was ok better than home . Maybe we expected the weather to be warmer. We did a few ship excursions all were good . Casablanca I would recommend a ... Read More
Wanted to see what it was like on a cruise ship this time of year it was good ,weather was ok better than home . Maybe we expected the weather to be warmer. We did a few ship excursions all were good . Casablanca I would recommend a ship excursions we did Hasan 11 mosque and Ricks cafe plus a look around a market . . Malaga we headed for Gibraltar ships excursion 2 hour drive free time in Gibraltar then headed for the rock and caves .. Good day . Valencia was a shuttle bus in to center had a walk around then back to ship . Good . Funchal Madera ships excursions headed for the mountains ,cable car then sledge down the road great fun , good day . Tenerife we went to the loro parque because the wife wanted to , must say I did enjoy it . Good . Gran canaria was a walk off so was Lanzarote. Food on board the ship was very good and I am gluten free the catered for me . I had steak from Windows main dinning room just perfect every time, steak chateaubriand new years eve from windows main dinning room out of this world delicious . Cagneys steak house was very good couldn't fault the food plenty to choose from . Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We embarked in Malaga 2 days ahead of the main embarkation in Barcelona. We flew in with Ryan Air from Liverpool and arrived in Malaga at 11.15 am. We took a taxi to the port which cost 24 euros and we were at the port by 11.40 pm. We ... Read More
We embarked in Malaga 2 days ahead of the main embarkation in Barcelona. We flew in with Ryan Air from Liverpool and arrived in Malaga at 11.15 am. We took a taxi to the port which cost 24 euros and we were at the port by 11.40 pm. We dropped our suitcases off outside and were given our stateroom number. As we had booked last minute we were guaranteed an inside cabin and that was all we knew! We then made our way to check in and were the only ones waiting to do so. We were checked in, usual welcome on board photo taken and on board by noon. As this wasn't the main embarkation port, we felt a little let down that there was no welcome committee so to speak that you usually get and which happened 2 days later for the majority who boarded in Barcelona, as this is the main start to the holiday...first impressions. We quickly got our bearings found our cabin to find we had been upgraded to a porthole window..the cabin was adequate, clean and functional our suitcases were delivered by 1 pm. We had the muster drill in the theater which was painless. Food and service in the Garden restaurant was excellent. As we did anytime dining we didn't have the same waiter once but the standard we received was consistently good. We tried Windows for breakfast on one occasion but had to wait over an hour for our food so never went back but the staff were very friendly. The Bistro - not so good. The service was slow with no atmosphere. We waited over 40 minutes for our order to be taken and then a further 40 minutes for our starters to arrive. My husband who never complains had a really bad meal. We didn't bother with desserts as we were totally fed up by now and just wanted to leave. The manager promised to refund the cover charge as a goodwill gesture but we were still charged. Cagney's - good but not amazing. We felt a bit rushed as we had booked at 7 pm by 7.45 pm we had left having had 3 courses in less than an hour. Tappanyaki - starter and dessert disappointing but the main course was lovely and of course the added attraction of the chef cooking it for you was good although not sure if it warrants the larger cover charge. We only used the buffet restaurant now and again as it was always crowded with no where to sit unless you went out onto the back of the ship which would've been fine if it wasn't blowing a gale. The Blue Lagoon - good for munchies after the nightclub. The chicken wings were excellent. Also had fish and chips here during the day which were also very good. We found all the staff who served us in the bars to be friendly and efficient. A big shout out to Alfredo who works in the Beer Garden during the day and the Galaxy of the Stars at night. Go find him...he's such a joy and a credit to NCL. Also Philly in the night club, bless her she must have one of the hardest jobs on board dealing with the "rowdy ones" until silly o clock each morning. the staff in the champagne bar were excellent too. The entertainment staff were very good. They even managed to get my husband up for dancing like a Norwegian which was brilliant fun for me, he's still in hiding now ;) The pool was closed for 5 days whilst we were on board, mostly due to rough seas but then a crack appeared. We were fortunate to meet some lovely people on board who made the holiday for us as without them I think we would've been bored by day 4. We plan to cruise with them again next year. So in a nutshell... A very old ship which could do with a major refurbish, excellent staff, good food and good entertainment. After 6 cruises with Princess and 7 with celebrity we loved the freestyle idea. Would we sail with Norwegian again? Definitely but on a newer ship. Many thanks. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We have taken cruises with NCL before, travelling twice on the Jade and once on the Star so we were looking forward to not only another cruise but a new ship. We had read good reviews about the Spirit on Cruise Critic as well. We ... Read More
We have taken cruises with NCL before, travelling twice on the Jade and once on the Star so we were looking forward to not only another cruise but a new ship. We had read good reviews about the Spirit on Cruise Critic as well. We boarded in Malaga (after enjoying 2 days there revisiting our old haunts as we used to live there) after taking a taxi which dropped us right at the entrance to the terminal. Immediately, a porter was there to take our cases and point us in the right direction. The check in process was simple and quick (most people would be boarding in Barcelona 48 hours later) and there were no queues at all. We checked in and were on the boat within 10 minutes. Our cabin, 9071, was ready for us and our steward, Dominic came to introduce himself. He was such a credit to NCL throughout our 10 day cruise. The room was always immaculate and our 4 year old always loved seeing what towel animal Dominic had made him. Our first day was a day at sea which was a nice start and gave us a chance to explore the ship. Our son has always gone tot he kids club but has never stayed that long. This time, it was a different matter. He was a bit worried at first but when we went back a few hours later to see if he was ok and if he wanted to come out, he said he wanted to stay!! The kids club staff were amazing with him (especially Honeybee, his favourite) They really looked after him and he couldnt wait to go to the kids club every day. If you have young children and you are worried about this, dont be. They will love this. Our sons only complaint was it closed at 10.30pm and he wanted to stay longer :-) We tried the Garden restaurant and the Windows restaurant and in both, the service and food was excellent. The steaks are huge and were always cooked to perfection as we requested. We used Raffles a few times as well for lunches, snacks and hot drinks in the evening and we never found anything wrong with the staff, the food or the cleanliness. I even managed to leave a bag with two t-shirts i had purchased from the gift shop there and someone handed it in to the Guest Services desk for which i was extremely grateful. We met Armando da Silva the Hotel Director of the ship. He must be complimented in not only the job that he does but the fact that at a number of gatherings where we met, he took time to come over and speak to us. Even on our last day, he arranged for a small case we had to be stored in his office for us until we were ready to leave the ship. He could not do enough to help and we heard other passengers saying the same thing about him. Our son was able to visit the bridge of the ship where he got to meet the Captain and sit in the Captains chair which he absolutely loved. The Captain was seen by us many times around the ship and was always very friendly and made time for people who spoke to him. As our cruise was well underway, we looked forward to our first stop which is one of our favourite cities in the world, Barcelona. Disembarkation was simple and quick, with no queuing to get off the ship. We got straight onto a free shuttle bus which dropped us at the bottom of La Ramblas. We took the metro to the Sagrada Familia as it was shrouded in sheets last time we visited. If you book ahead you can take the lift up one of the towers. There are a few 'balconies' that you can step out onto for a great selfie and the way down is totally up to you. You can move from tower to tower as you descend. Back on the shuttle bus and back onto the ship was as painless and getting off. The next stop was Casablanca. All of the reviews we read said it wasnt worth getting off here and we are going to say exactly the same. To us, and please remember this is only our personal opinion, is dirty and noisy and has the worst traffic laws we have seen. None of us enjoyed it and after seeing the Hassan Mosque, we could not wait to be back on the boat. We will never visit Casablanca again. The next stop was Funchal in Madeira. What a difference this was to our last stop. A beautiful town and our main reason for stopping here was to take the toboggan ride down the hill. This costs 30 euros per toboggan (they seat a maximum of 3 people so we took two of them) and it was great fun. My son was laughing all the way down. At the bottom of the ride you can buy photos which are taken on the way down for 10 euros each. If you say no, the just walk away.No heavy pressure selling here. You are asked by numerous taxi drivers if you want a taxi back down into the town though. They told us it was over 6km and the fair was 20 euros. As we walked away, the price dropped to 15 euros but we still walked anyway. It was a 30 minute walk down hill which told us it was not 6km!! The next stop was Tenerife and we hired a minibus with another family we had met on Cruise Critic. If you do this, remember to ask when booking the minibus if they are allowed to drive up to the ship or if they have to park outside the port. Ours had to park outside and use the free shuttle bus to come and find us. Loro Parque is an amazing place. It is one of the cleanest zoos we have visited. My wife used the phrase 'the animals even look happy' and we all had to agree. The dolphin show has to be seen, its amazing. Our final stop was Lanzarote and for this, we booked our first excursion with NCL. We have to say, it was fantastic. We booked the 'Easy Lanzarote' tour. The coach was waiting for us as we left the ship. The tour guide and driver were both brilliant. Very informative and friendly but without going on and on just for the sake of it. We can totally recommend this tour. All in all, this was an amazing cruise, made amazing by the staff of the NCL spirit. Our thanks have to go out to the Captain, Armando and Dominic. You are all a credit to NCL and you helped make our holiday very memorable. If anyone is going on the Spirit anytime soon and wants to ask anything, please contact us and we will do our best to help answer any questions. Otherwise, look forward to your cruise, you are going to love it :-) Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
First of all - the positives. The cabin was clean and comfortable, although showing signs of wear. The cabin steward was friendly and helpful, as were all the staff. Our excursion to Casablanca was great, the highlight being the Hassan ... Read More
First of all - the positives. The cabin was clean and comfortable, although showing signs of wear. The cabin steward was friendly and helpful, as were all the staff. Our excursion to Casablanca was great, the highlight being the Hassan II mosque. At Funchal and Santa Cruz we did our own thing. Lanzarote was interesting, but the visit was hurried and uninspiring. Recommended: Look out for the Wine package, which is a really good deal. Pick up a leaflet at the beginning of the cruise, either from Customer Services or a wine waiter. Gives you a generous discount on either 4, 6 or 8 bottles of your own selection. Re the dining experiences: all the food was good. Raffles buffet offered a great selection but, predictably, it was overcrowded, noisy, and all rather chaotic. Our preference for breakfast was Windows - but this was where they let themselves down. The menu is great, but the service was awful. On more than one occasion, we waited nearly an hour for the food to be served. And forget poached eggs or Eggs Benedict - hard as rocks (even when we asked for soft eggs). Also disappointing, Windows either closes or has restricted times on 'port days'. Windows Main Dining was excellent for lunch though, which was good news as (unlike the Jade) Blue Horizon and Harry's Pub venues are both situated in the corridor! Walking traffic passing through all the time, at very close quarters. For dinner, we had much better and quicker service in the Garden Main Dining Room, which doesn't make much sense as I believe they share the same kitchen. Similarly, the location and size of Champagne Charlie's is unwelcoming and awkward. On both the Jade and the Dawn this piano bar was a delight. At the risk of sounding like a cheapskate, our main niggle was the service charges (now 18%), not only on all the drinks (including the mini-bar!) but also on the already hefty supplement applied to the Speciality Restaurants. The Bistro is lovely, and I was tempted by the Trattoria. But it felt like a rip-off. I have never had a problem with the $12 per person, per day gratuity charge (now $12.95). It is a fair way to ensure that ALL the staff get their rewards. But I feel that this should include bar staff - the service charges on drinks in the bar and at the table make no sense. It makes even less sense when applied to the mini bar in the stateroom, and the supplemented restaurant charges. So, a decent holiday. But it is a shame that much of what we remember is being "nickle and dimed"! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was our first cruise experience. Generally we enjoyed it. The staff were friendly and courteous and our Cabin Steward looked after us very well. For the most part we avoided Raffles - which was chaotic and noisy. The Windows ... Read More
This was our first cruise experience. Generally we enjoyed it. The staff were friendly and courteous and our Cabin Steward looked after us very well. For the most part we avoided Raffles - which was chaotic and noisy. The Windows restaurant was excellent and we also enjoyed the specialty restaurants. Shore excursion organisation was also very good. We had a Balcony Stateroom which we felt was clean but with tired decor and furnishings. It was also smaller than we expected. We joined the cruise at Malaga, which was not the main embarkation point - it took four hours for one of our suitcases to get to our cabin The Library on board was too small for the the numbers seeking to use it and there was a distinct lack of quiet lounges where you could go to read or just talk. There was an obsession with loud music in the common areas which was intrusive and to a degree spoiled the overall ambiance and experience for us. Music from the Galaxy lounge also intruded into the library! Although we enjoyed aspects of the cruise, there was an over concentration on loud activities at the expense of those who might prefer a quieter experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Only our second cruise & must admit we'll cruise again. Booked this with a cruise travel agent: Flights from/to Malaga was with a low cost airline which was pleasent enough & arrived on time Transfer both ways via air ... Read More
Only our second cruise & must admit we'll cruise again. Booked this with a cruise travel agent: Flights from/to Malaga was with a low cost airline which was pleasent enough & arrived on time Transfer both ways via air conditioned taxis was good. Note" leaving the port at Malaga to return back to the airport, the taxi was booked too early & we had to stay at the airport for several hours prior to departure....next time, we'll ask for a later time so that we could have time to look around Malaga. Embarkation / disembarkation was easy enough as only a few hundred of us was arriving on that day, the main embarkation / disembarkation being at Barcelona two days later. Staff were happy & welcomed us on board & waved us away upon leaving. We had Speciality Dining which meant that we could dine in several diners onboard , all of these were really good....the food really fantastic. We did try both the dining rooms, however although adequate they couldn't compete in taste against the speciality diners on board. Breakfast had a good variety about it, we ate every morning at the open aft area. Comfort food during the day in the Blue Lagon / Raffles & BBQ were good. Entertainment ranged from mediocre to excellent in the theatre, the seats were really comfortable & you could have a drink in the theatre. When we sailed during the duration, the sports tv channels concentrated on the English Premiership & US Golf. Someone needs to tell whoever organises the channels to remember that other sports are played. No rugby...missed the 6 Nations Final Weekend & El Classico (Barcelona v Real Madrid)....probably the biggest disappointment of the cruise. Plenty to do on "Sea Days" with numerous activities going on during the day. The gym was well equipped, which I used a few times. Was interesting to be having a workout when entering a port! Jenny used the saua & had a pamper afternoon which she enjoyed. Enjoyed the bars onboard, especially when entertainment was on. One excursion to Rabat (Capital of Morroco) with the ship, which was good & had lunch provided as well. Stopped off at Casablanca for some sightseeing at the Mosque & Rick's Cafe. Had the inevitable stop off to tempt us into buying oils, rugs, etc...bought some oils & scarf was good to haggle though! Both of us on the last day were ill with dizziness, stomach cramps, etc..however this can't be entirely blamed on the ship, as they did a good job keeping the Overall, a good cruise & value for money. We kept our gratuities on as all the staff provided good customer service. Jenny & Steve   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We joined the Norwegian Spirit in Malaga as we live close by. This was a late booking, incentivised by all the New Year special offers included! Check in was exceptionally easy and we were on board before noon, scarcely 15 minutes after ... Read More
We joined the Norwegian Spirit in Malaga as we live close by. This was a late booking, incentivised by all the New Year special offers included! Check in was exceptionally easy and we were on board before noon, scarcely 15 minutes after arriving at the port. It was a very wet day and we felt sorry for the majority of the passengers who were visiting Malaga and the surrounding attractions. For us the ship was nearly empty until late afternoon. This was our second time on Spirit as we did virtually the same cruise in November 2013. Little has changed although this time we were on deck 10, aft, compared to deck 4 forward last time. Given that we again had Force 8 gales in the Atlantic, I think we felt less motion this time. Food was good. Usually we used the Raffles Court Buffet as we prefer to choose our own selections and quantities. We went once to each of the Windows and Garden restaurants and enjoyed good meals with attentive service. The strip steak was excellent in both. This time we gave the paying restaurants a miss – really unnecessary as so much variety elsewhere. Cruise Director Jill was previously on Norwegian Epic when we sailed on that last year and I think she has improved the standard of the entertainment team since moving to Spirit. She has amazing energy and seems ever present around the ship. Shows were excellent and some of the individuals in her team were born to entertain wherever on the ship they were helping out. The majority of passengers board in Barcelona and we found all the crew assumed we were leaving on our second day. The daily news-sheet also starts with Day 1 in Barcelona so we boarded on Day 9! Occasionally this caused confusion when prize draws were being made after we left the ship. We enjoyed the art auctions and found some of the auctioneer’s talks very informative, even making a carry off purchase. For the itinerary of the cruise we love Barcelona and did our own thing using the shuttle bus and the metro. In Casablanca we took the NCL tour of the city including the Hassan Mosque. The latter was most impressive and our guide was brilliant, explaining more than we expected about local customs We had visited Funchal before but this time took the cable car to Monte and came down on the toboggan – an experience not to be missed once in a lifetime! In Tenerife we walked around Santa Cruz on our own and on Lanzarote we took the NCL Cesar Manrique tour which was most enjoyable. Our cabin steward was efficient and friendly and the cabin had all we needed. There seemed to be much more space in the balcony cabin, compared to the ocean-view we had last time. All the crew seemed very happy with their work. We thought there were less waiters around than previously – maybe reflecting the fact that many people now have free drinks packages so less incentive for NCL to maximize drink revenue. We joined the Cruise Critic Meet & Greet and admire the senior officers for attending and talking to a relatively small group. We also met up with some of the others who were at the M & G when on the tours. Good to have a few familiar faces. Disembarcation was simple – choosing our own luggage labels for the time we wanted. We expect to sail with NCL again.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
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