2,153 Norwegian Spirit Cruise Reviews

NCL knew before the Dubai leg of this trip to Cape Town took place , that the Corona Virus would prevent us reaching any ports other than the UAE. and one of them was awful. The Captain did not communicate any useful information to us ... Read More
NCL knew before the Dubai leg of this trip to Cape Town took place , that the Corona Virus would prevent us reaching any ports other than the UAE. and one of them was awful. The Captain did not communicate any useful information to us and on several occasions told lies about what was to take place at each port of call. This is by far the worse cruise we have ever taken on NCL (This was our 16th cruise with NCL) and we will never go on the NCL SPIRIT again it was that bad. The Captain should be sacked and NCL need to hire real officers who are able to communicate with passengers and not hide at key periods of crisis and leave their front of house staff to take the flack from frustrated crowds. The poor German's on board had only one point of contact at the front desk, which caused heated exchanges, again no Officers to inform anyone or Captain to quell the crowds. The Seychelles local paper had already banned ships as did the port authority in Mauritius Madagascar was off right from the start as we got notice of that cancellation two days before the sail date...too late to pull out. Got a series of letters from the ship about Compensation and latterly one online from the CEO of NCL SAYING WE WOULD GET 100% of our money back ( I wonder how long that might take) and how good Mr.Sommer is at keeping his promise????? I understand that the COVID19 caught everyone out , including cruise companies. Miami HQ knew this as all the ship were under pressure and looking for information...our guy must have forgotten to call them to ask what to say to us, but the Captain definitely knew about the depth of the ocean , air temperature , and sea temperature as this was his key information at times of crisis ...no bloody good Inside Cabins were fitted out for four people bunk bed on wall , sofa square seat /fold down bed took up and blocked one side of the bed , so you had to climb over it when leaving or going into the bed, hopeless if you are not fit ...we got ours removed.This breaches all Health & safety guidelines that I know from my experience of Hotel management. Cabin staff were very good Children's activities were awful and consisted of the pool, only that went out of action for days...so colouring in was the activities DO NOT BRING CHILDREN ON THIS SHIP Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This was to be the cruise of a lifetime but now it will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Even before we embarked, the itinerary had been changed. It was only when I contacted a tour company in Madagascar that I found out that ... Read More
This was to be the cruise of a lifetime but now it will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Even before we embarked, the itinerary had been changed. It was only when I contacted a tour company in Madagascar that I found out that Madagascar had been taken off the itinerary. No communication from NCL, though they were quick enough to send communications about booking tours! Little did we know as we sailed from Dubai that passengers on another cruise ship were being attacked by locals on Reunion Island as a result of fears of Covid-19. By the time Norwegian Spirit sailed for Abu Dhabi, NCL management should have been aware of this and the deteriorating situation along the line of our itinerary. Within a few days, we were already running out of wine and draft beer. A few days more and other provisions began to disappear - muesli, butter, milk, orange juice, pineapple juice, salads, fresh fruit, chicken, fresh vegetables. We wondered how this could happen so early on in a trip. Later, staff scavenged mini bars to supplement the disappearing wines. Food from other restaurants on the ship was requisitioned for the main eateries. The published menus grew shorter each day as the cruise developed with clearly adapted dishes being added to make up for the lack of fare. Meanwhile, all remaining destinations were dropped from the itinerary. Little to no information was given by the captain, who seemed happier to tell us the depth of the sea and the wind speed than what was happening to our cruise. He might as well have been an imaginary figure as he was never spotted round the ship. In fact, he didn’t even turn up to the cocktail party for repeat cruisers. Perhaps he knew what reception he would face? Guest services was just as bad as the captain in giving information. They refused to answer questions, obfuscated, and were downright disrespectful at times. Bar and restaurant staff were great, however, doing their best to make up for the rapidly deteriorating cruise experience. By the time we reached our final destination of Cape Town, we just wanted to be off the ship. By this time, passengers had taken matters into their own hands, holding meetings by nationality and contacting senators, MPs and other officials in their own countries. We were allowed into Cape Town harbour but not off the ship until we could be bussed directly to the airport. More NCL-created confusion followed as misleading information was issued at times too late to take action. Some people were left at Cape Town airport for an entire day till their flight took off. Some were told at the last minute to pack and get off the ship and bussed directly from the ship to the back of the airport without going through immigration and health controls. Others took three days to get back to the UK, on three different flights and to the wrong destination airport. We have been greatly let down by NCL. NCL knew Madagascar was closed to cruise ships from 13th February. Their risk assessment team will have warned them about the deteriorating situation worldwide as a result of COVID-19 and the effect this was having on the ports on the cruise itinerary of Norwegian Spirit. This intelligence that should have led them to cancel the cruise. It looks as if Norwegian may have been involved in a major deception in order to cheat the passengers of Norwegian Spirit cruise of 2nd March 2020 – the day that a riot against cruise passengers took place on Reunion Island, something that had been brewing for some time. They would have known that future cruises would be cancelled and would have wanted to hang on to the monies that we had already paid. Norwegian did not meet the planned itinerary on eight separate occasions. Further, as stated above, there were severe and obvious shortages of provisions, meaning that in addition to the itinerary being curtailed, the other aspects of the cruise that we contracted from NCL were not delivered – salads, fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, cereals, milk, the published menu, draft beer, numerous wines, etc, etc - everything that might reasonably be expected on a cruise of this nature, price and reputation. In other words, NCL failed to deliver what they advertised. It was not COVID-19 that ruined our holiday. It was NCL who failed to cancel the trip when it was clear that it could not be delivered as advertised and then went on to make a bad situation worse. We have been offered a 50% refund by NCL. This is laughable. The cruise should never have gone ahead. The stress created, and added to, by NCL merits a 100% refund and additional recompense to make up for the stress that NCL created. It seems that Norwegian Cruise Lines and their new CEO find it difficult to learn lessons. So, I will never sail with this cruise line again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We booked a cruise from Dubai to Cape Town on the Norwegian Spirit because it had an interesting itinerary but, after just 3 stops, we ended up with 16 consecutive days at sea. During embarkation we were disappointed to learn that the ... Read More
We booked a cruise from Dubai to Cape Town on the Norwegian Spirit because it had an interesting itinerary but, after just 3 stops, we ended up with 16 consecutive days at sea. During embarkation we were disappointed to learn that the stop at Nosy Be, Madagascar, had been cancelled but an alternative call at La Digue, Seychelles was scheduled. A few days later, stops at the Seychelles, Mauritius and Reunion were also cancelled and passengers were then informed that excursions to Richards Bay and Port Elizabeth, in South Africa, had also been cancelled. NCL clearly knew that we would not be stopping but did not have the decency to admit it. Throughout the cruise, the Captain and Cruise Director, Alvin, remained in hiding and Alvin was only ever seen after show time in the theatre. Alvin’s announcements were clear, unlike the Captain, but contained no relevant information until we eventually started to dock at Cape Town. Communication was abysmal with no announcements to inform passengers that ports were being closed and we had to rely upon gossip and the occasional randomly distributed note to discover what was happening. It soon became evident that insufficient provisions had been taken on board initially and basic items, like fruit juice and vegetables started to run out after just a few days. We had paid £250 each for a Premium Drinks Package but most dry white wines and various spirits had run out after 4 or 5 days. Food in the speciality restaurants was excellent initially but we had an abysmal meal in Cagney’s towards the end of the cruise. Cagney’s is supposed to be a steak house but had no decent steak or vegetables left. After a few days, service in Windows restaurant had deteriorated to the point where it took 1½ to 2 hours for a mediocre meal, so we were obliged to use the busy Garden Café buffet instead. Protections against the Coronavirus clearly contributed to delays but the waiters were going around empty handed. Service in the cramped Taste restaurant was better than Windows. The refurbished ship looked good, apart from signs of work still in progress and ongoing plumbing issues. However, part of the ceiling in the Spinnaker lounge collapsed resulting in overcrowding elsewhere for several days, whilst major repairs were in progress. Our tiny inside cabin (10067) was extremely noisy, with constant banging from the adjacent service area throughout the night. This may be due to the ship’s age but is totally unacceptable and should have been investigated. Fortunately, there were no infected passengers on board, after 16 days of isolation at sea. It was, therefore, an absolute disgrace for NCL to take us to the airport 7 hours before our flight, which exposed everybody travelling to an avoidable and unacceptable risk. Clearly NCL has total disregard for passenger safety, which was also evident from their shambolic emergency drill on the open deck. NCL initially credited each cabin with 200 USD on board credit and later promised a 50% refund, which has yet to materialize. NCL’s offer of 75% off a future cruise, which is currently conditional upon starting the cruise before 2 March 2021, is a worthless gesture as passengers are still likely to be at risk. A window of at least 2 years would seem more reasonable for any passengers still willing to travel with NCL. We had cruised with NCL back in 2002 and said “never again” but gave them a second chance, as we liked the itinerary. Having enjoyed many cruises with Princess since then, we felt NCL’s entertainment and speciality dining was excellent but in all other respects, including food, Princess Cruises is so much better. To finish on a positive note, we would like to thank the cheerful, hard-working crew who are, presumably, still stuck on board and compliment the resident entertainers for some excellent shows. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Currently floating around the Indian Ocean a sport after port cancels our ability to land. The crew are not handling this at all well. God knows where and when we shall land. We were asked for a health check so as to land at the ... Read More
Currently floating around the Indian Ocean a sport after port cancels our ability to land. The crew are not handling this at all well. God knows where and when we shall land. We were asked for a health check so as to land at the Seychelles. The instructions were for half the passengers to turn up at the same time to the disco. Absurd decision. Chaos ensured as queues formed haphazardly and no staff visible at all. Tempers exploded due to the lack of organisation. The cruise directors overall communication is woeful and he treats the passengers as village idiots when most of us are not. They refused to accept my partners credit card because it was a shared account and had same numbers as mine. As such I had to sign for everything. Absurd policy no one could explain. Other gripes. 1. The coffee is a international disgrace. Any non American expects better and the only option is over priced Starbucks that is not included in any package. For goodness sake. Hire some baristas and get some decent coffee underway. 2. You have to pay for water !!!!! I have stayed in thousands of hotels, shops, resorts etc and never had that before. Filling water bottles even via glasses resulted in being jumped upon. 3. Not sure why the adult pool only has half a metre of water in it. I realise most of the guests are over 65 but they can still stand up!! 4 The guest service staff on the front desk need to be tripled in number and have some lessons in client service. Attitude needs to be improved That said the cabin and most of the restaurant staff are terrific. Cabins fine. Gym fine (more stretching mats please) . Entertainers have been excellent. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Almost a year before the cruise, we started researching what was available to visit countries that were a part of our ancient history. Time in Israel was a primary consideration. The initial 21 day Mediterranean cruise was our choice ... Read More
Almost a year before the cruise, we started researching what was available to visit countries that were a part of our ancient history. Time in Israel was a primary consideration. The initial 21 day Mediterranean cruise was our choice which we booked in February 2019 and booked our air-fare shortly after. And the dollar-coaster ride began. Between February and July there were three price reductions bringing the balcony cabin cost from $188 per night to $140 per night. In September we were advised that the cruise was to be shortened to 20 days and be embarking 2/11 instead of 2/10. Also 2 price reductions bringing the nightly cost to $119. It needs to be mentioned that every time the reservation is rewritten, there is a $100 processing fee payable to the travel agent. In January, the Spirit went in for a 40 day refurbishment. We would be the first to sail on the new Spirit, how exciting! We arrived in Rome on February 5th planning to do some sightseeing before we boarded the ship on February 11th. While we were in the air, NCL sent out a notice to some, but not all passengers on the upcoming cruise that said, because of a dock worker strike, the cruise was being delayed for 4 days and would not leave until February 14? We would also be losing stops in Greece and Limassol. Because of the delay our cruise cost would be reduced by 25%. (The cruise was now 1/4 of what it was initially). There was no assistance offered for the extra cost in hotels, food, flight changes and other ancillary expenses. Embarkation day and no more changes. The shuttle took us to the terminal where the boarding process began. NCL staff was friendly but everyone had a different answer to our requests for wheelchair assistance. Our temperatures were taken, passports traded for room keys and we were on our way. Once onboard, we had lunch in Windows – the main dining room. Wait staff was friendly, professional and fun to talk to. One of our waitresses was from Wuhan China. She told us more than once that she was safe, the significance of her statement did not sink in until later. Lunch was good except french fries were cold – this was an issue throughout the cruise. It appears to be mission impossible to get french fries from the kitchen to the table still hot. For the most part NCL staff were wonderful.. Easy to talk to and very good at their jobs. They would admit to the difficulties of the delay in departure but would only talk about it briefly. I must confess to being uncomfortable about being a “guinea pig” for the refurbishment process. Drains drained slowly, toilets didn’t flush or only flushed partially, some toilets didn’t have toilet seats, handicap restroom doors didn’t open or close properly, stair rails were not attached, there was banging and hammering all night long as the work continued to bring the ship up to par.. The line at customer service was horrible and remained that way for the majority of the trip. Staff that worked the counter were for the most part, attentive and understanding. We had an ongoing issue with a premium beverage package, it took 10 days to finally get it straightened out. As a meet and greet activity for members of our group, we had a Pub Crawl that was a combination of bingo and a poker hand. The Cruise Director and Beverage Manager were great to work with. The Champagne Bar over looks the atrium. Evening entertainment was excellent. Of note was a piano player that played several evenings and he was absolutely wonderful. He had an extensive knowledge of piano classics and it was possible to talk without yelling. But I date myself. The addition of Starbucks was a plus for me, but I miss the towel animals and chocolates that used to be a part of turn down service. Cagney’s Steakhouse and Le Bistro remain my favorites for good food and excellent service. The new Omada was excellent as well. A very nice addition was the certified wine sommeliers. The new color scheme is a modern greys, blues and burgundies. I miss the three color coded carpeting (you knew if you were up front, midship or aft by the color of the carpet), it is all the same color now. I will probably sail with NCL again.although I sincerely hope that I never have to go through the difficulties we faced dealing with the corporate offices and trying to adjust on the fly to the changes we had to work with on this cruise. Despite my disappointment at not being able to visit Greece, Egypt, Israel, Jordan and UAE were all I had hoped for. In addition, the folk on the Cruise Critic blog were the best and the cruise staff is what made the cruise special once we finally boarded. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Big mistake. We weren't told at the time of booking that the ship was being refurbished but thought at least things will be updated. Nice. Well the toilets didn't work on the first day and few, if any, restrooms in the ... Read More
Big mistake. We weren't told at the time of booking that the ship was being refurbished but thought at least things will be updated. Nice. Well the toilets didn't work on the first day and few, if any, restrooms in the public areas were available. The toilets worked intermittently for the first few days. Our cabin's heating/air conditioning worked intermittently as well. We stayed in a hotel that lacked hot water but for some reason there was no cold water, at times, in our shower and no way to cool the scalding hot water. The shore excursions desk people were unfriendly and not helpful. They could not or would not answer any questions about any upcoming port. Usually, with any cruise, the customer service desk is busy the first or second day of the cruise. On this cruise there was a line of at least 10 to 20 people every day and the phone system didn't always work and when it did work, no one answered anyway. Only recourse was to wait, often more than an hour, at the customer service desk. Our first port, Haifa, was a disaster. For some reason the crew on the ship was holding everyone and, having been released to go on our shore excursions, had to wait in the stairwell. If their concern was to limit exposure to COVID-19, then holding several 100 people in a congested staircase is a bit guided. The fact that we have been given the runaround on our 25% refund, the lack of involvement by the officers, and overall abysmal customer service tells me that these problems are endemic to Norwegian Cruise Line. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
As several other posts describe a recent NCL Spirit cruise that was supposed to be 21 days from Rome-Dubai, leaving on Feb. 11, I would like to add my observations.The sail date  was changed because the ship was being refurbished and it ... Read More
As several other posts describe a recent NCL Spirit cruise that was supposed to be 21 days from Rome-Dubai, leaving on Feb. 11, I would like to add my observations.The sail date  was changed because the ship was being refurbished and it was not ready. A new date Feb.14 was given, we were not notified until 5 days before sailing, after we were in route to spend a few days in Civitavecchia . Because of this delay there were 4 ports that were deleted. They offered $300 for flight changes. We have trip insurance so we are trying to recover these costs, which is ridiculous as the insurance coverage will not begin to cover the amounts.   The ship was not completely finished and should have never been allowed to sail with passengers.  Work crews continued to swarm the boat as passengers were aboard, long lines of irate customers were at the Cruise Assistance desk and this frustrated and angry line queuing went on for days after the ship was at sea. The nightmare started from the moment I arrived at the ship’s boarding process.  There were nearly 300 people standing in line at the Guest Assistant desk in an over 3 hour wait, all massively complaining about no rooms, or not the room they booked, incorrect financials that were being sent prior to boarding saying people still owed monies for the entire trip and so much more.  In fact a near-riot was being filmed on many cell phones with people screaming NO NO NO when told that we had to get out of lines we had been in for 2 to 3 hours so to learn the safety protocol.  It was the nearest I have ever come to being afraid for my safety, and I truly think this could have gone very very badly if not for one wise NCL security officer who began a number taking process for your place in the line.  Other NCL management staff were simply watching the horrible situation from the balcony above, and much more followed with poor entertainment, problems found in the rooms like closet rods not properly affixed, in room refrigerators not working, shower-stall water backing up in the pan of the shower, and key cards that should be specific to your room only-opening other suite doors. The disappointment continued with poor entertainment on board, nothing in gift shops-as we were told the vendors did not have time to stock their shops, a non-working ATM thru the entire trip so the only way we could get money was thru the casino cashier who charged fees for their service and so much more.    Personally, I was told I did not have a room when I boarded, then was sent to two other rooms which when I arrived found other occupants in those rooms and finally arriving in a room that was much less than I had booked.  Each of the rooms I was given the toilets did not work.  I received a small compensation for this disaster. While on the ship we proactively brought concerns to the ship hotel manager and the concierge.  The concierge staff member was wonderful, the ship hotel manager did nothing but send me a form note.  We never heard a word from the captain.  I wrote two very descriptive notes to the ship upper management with no reply.  When I arrived back home after a less than happy experience, I immediately sent a three-page registered letter to CEO H Sommer and NCL Guest Services manager K Bird, to date no response.  Both the ship concierge and the NCL booking agent said their hands were tied to address issues as well as they could not respond to when we would get the offered compensation back to our accounts as promised in letters from NCL.  I would like to take a moment here to recognize all the hard working NCL staff members on the ship:the room attendants, the food servers, the bartenders, the housekeeping staff,the ship cleaning staff....these people are heroes and worked tirelessly in very stressful situations.  I doubt if NCL acknowledges these front-line staff but they are the ones saving a NCL reputation which is clearly tarnished and documented in recent shared newsletters and stories.  And as to the compensation process, many were offered different amounts seemingly based on the status of the rooms booked.  In my mind we all equally suffered and should be equally compensated.  In asking many of my fellow travelers no one has received any apology from NCL, nor any acknowledgement of the issues on this cruise, nor any updates as to compensation timing or consideration for fair and equitable compensation. I enjoy cruising very much and have previously enjoyed NCL on many occasions, all with great success.  Sadly, this time is so horrible I can’t imagine how NCL could rebuild trust.  It will take a massive effort. As of now I think of NCL as "NoCustomerLove". Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I like cruising and was basically looking for places where I have never been before . I did enjoy most of the ports , loved activities , basketball, games , shows , spa salon and food . Met lots of interesting people from all over the ... Read More
I like cruising and was basically looking for places where I have never been before . I did enjoy most of the ports , loved activities , basketball, games , shows , spa salon and food . Met lots of interesting people from all over the world. Played and won deal or not deal game( one of my favourites) . Went to most of dance classes , where Dan and Bianca where instructors, laughter during their dance class since it was not only a class it was just amazing and funny show. Since ship was just refurbished there was some small stuff which could and was improved almost instantly . Where were tons of dolphins swimming by cruise ship, jumping and people watching. My room was super clean though I was just coming to sleep there. Front desk was overwhelmed since it was the first cruise after it was remodelled and I saw lots of people there. Nice karaoke as well. Did not have time to check casino though it looked beautiful. Will recommend to friends and family as long as they are not too picky and want to have good time. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
looked a decent price for a solo, originally 20 nights it was reduced to 17 nights with a promised 25% reduction and a 25% off the next booking - problems with a refit lead to the reduced cruise nights the rearranged flights meant that ... Read More
looked a decent price for a solo, originally 20 nights it was reduced to 17 nights with a promised 25% reduction and a 25% off the next booking - problems with a refit lead to the reduced cruise nights the rearranged flights meant that ncl put me up in a hotel for one night at fumicino airport. I had to arrange my own transfers to be refunded later which was odd as I was greeted at the airport by an ncl person who informed me of a coach the following morning from rome airport to the port which would cost me 60$ - so either pay 60$ to ncl or arrange my own transfers of 105 euros which ncl said they will refund, makes no sense whatsoever embarkation took over 3 hours, the longest ever, arrived on board for the safety drill which was the longest drill ever covering everything form use handrails and don't forget to tie your shoe laces only to be repeated all again in Italian my cabin, apart from the first 3 days and nights being cold and uncomfortable was very good, a number of suite owners had no suite available for the first 10 days the ship had had a refit which was incomplete hence the delayed sailing date and loads of workmen on board and was not fit to sail there was a staff shortage - entertainments staff should have been 5 was 3 - a lot of staff were unable to sail because of previous close contact with china there were a lot of unhappy people on board but being English we made the best of things and apart from my cold initial cabin and statement being wrong and having to queue every 3 days to sort it which in fairness ncl did sort out I was relatively happy but others who had paid a lot of dosh for suites that were not available were not any sign of the captain or hotel manager apologising or explaining the difficulties er NO, senior staff were conspicuous by their absence, the poor front line desk staff had to take a lot of flak for something that wasn't their fault or responsibility - they were brilliant a pity the senior staff weren't I have had automated replies from ncl but no direct contact from them or my travel agent about the promised refunds which is disappointing especially from the travel agent as there were only 5 of us who had booked from that particular agent, just an e-mail to inform us of the refund situation but nothing in 2 weeks I could have made more of an issue about my cabin and the mistakes in my account charges but I did not as there were a lot of people with much more serious problems like wet carpets in their cabins, toilets that didn't work etc basically the ship was not ready to sail and ncl should have cancelled the cruise instead they went ahead and upset a lot of passengers - I sailed on the star in November and although there were not the same refit issues there was no organisation and again low profile captain and a lot of unhappy passengers, my previous 4 cruises with ncl were brilliant sad to say my last 2 with ncl were far from brilliant - NCL YOU HAVE LOST THE PLOT Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Just recently returned from NCL Spirit cruise that was suppose to be 21 days from Rome-Dubai, leaving on Feb. 11. This was changed because the ship was being refurbished and it was not ready. New date Feb. 14. We were not notified until 5 ... Read More
Just recently returned from NCL Spirit cruise that was suppose to be 21 days from Rome-Dubai, leaving on Feb. 11. This was changed because the ship was being refurbished and it was not ready. New date Feb. 14. We were not notified until 5 days before sailing, after we were in route to spend a few days in Rome. Because of this there were 4 ports that were deleted. They offered $300 for flight changes. We had already left so flights was not an issue but they would not offer the money towards hotels if not needed for flights. Which is ridiculous. It took 4 hours to board the ship because they were so unorganized. The ship should have never been able to depart. Toilets around the ship and in cabins did not work. No hot water for days. Flooding in the halls and around elevator, squishy wet carpet everywhere. Terrible smells from carpet glue and other construction. People were sick from the smell. Lights in some cabins never worked. Our cabin door did not lock and close properly. The staff was clearly not trained. No one knew what to do. Lines were huge at customer service desk with no resolve. Took three hours to debark ship at first port because they were so unorganized. We lost half a day in Jerusalem. Took almost two hours to get main entree in dinning room. Finally just ate at buffet. Jets did not work in Jacuzzi's. Games and events around the ship were very poor. They had you carry around a card they signed when you went to the games. After 10 signatures you turned it in for for a bottle opener or deck of cards. Hardly any shopping areas. The shows were very poor except for their dancers which were very good. Said they would give us 25% off cruise and another 25% towards another which I have not seen. I have reached out to them about this but no answer as yet. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
My sister and I worked hard to find the vacation of a lifetime that our family of nine could all enjoy, including our 80 year old physically challenged mother who was gifting us this trip, our husbands, three 20-something kids and my 15 ... Read More
My sister and I worked hard to find the vacation of a lifetime that our family of nine could all enjoy, including our 80 year old physically challenged mother who was gifting us this trip, our husbands, three 20-something kids and my 15 year old daughter. A fabulous experience seemed to present itself in an NCL Spirit 11-Day Holiday Celebration leaving Rome on December 22, 2019 that would take us, together, into new ports and the New Year. We booked our cruise and airfare directly through NCL Group Sales assuming that by doing so we would be ensured efficient and safe travel from our homes in New Jersey to meet the ship in Rome prior to sailing. When the booking information arrived, we were immediately concerned because some of our children were booked on flights different from the rest of us and horrified that we had to figure out ourselves that the flights you booked them on were not even going to put them in Rome until the day after the cruise set sail!! We called more than once as we were very concerned that there wasn't enough time between the flights in Lisbon, especially with a special needs traveler, but were assured all would work out well. We could not leave the day before, as we had hoped, since one of our college students had a final until 7PM that night! Uggh. We were right! We did not land in Lisbon until 6:25AM, at which point there was no way possible to make our connection on the next flight which closed its door at 6:40AM, especially as we had to clear a customs and immigration entry point with an hour long line. We were dismayed to learn that there had been a 10AM flight out of Lisbon all along and, had we been booked on that from the start, it was much more likely that we would have made it to the ship before it was scheduled to depart at 5PM. Of course, the 10AM flight was full by the time we were stuck in Lisbon and could not be accommodated. Utterly disappointed, we came to terms with the fact that we would have to wait to board the ship in Venice, missing the first few days of fun and excitement that the rest of the travellers would have at embarkation. We were rebooked on a Tuesday, December 24th flight from Lisbon to Venice. While still in the Lisbon airport Sunday morning, we tried desperately to reach anyone at NCL to help us and we left urgent messages for our Group Sales agent Shanice, which were never returned. The call to NCL’s emergency numbers took several tries before we finally reached someone at Total Travel Marine named Tania. Tania explained that she was just at a call center but would forward our information via email to NCL and advise them that we would be meeting the ship in Venice. Tania's email, which I have a copy of, clearly states our phone number and asks for someone at NCL to call us as soon as possible. To date we have heard from no one at NCL. We had pre-arranged for a van to pick the nine of us up at the Rome airport Sunday to transport us to the ship and since it was too late to cancel, we were charged for the missed pick up. Luckily we were able to schedule with the same company for pick up at the Venice airport on Tuesday, December 24, 2019, when our next flight was scheduled to arrive. All of these calls and efforts to reschedule our vacation had us at the airline counter until after 1PM. Exhausted, confused and frustrated, the nine of us trudged to the Lost Baggage area of the Lisbon airport expecting to retrieve our luggage. Another two hours later, the search for our luggage began but no one could find any information on them anywhere. By 6PM we finally left, being told by TAP that “there were well over 2,000 bags in their holding” but that ours would be located and placed on our flight two days later to Venice. On Monday, December 23rd, I tried to call our NCL group sales agent again in Florida, at an hour that I assumed the US staff would be working. While I was never able to reach her directly and left several more voice messages, I finally got to a general customer service agent. I cannot tell you how flabbergasted I was when she actually said to me, “had you purchased your travel insurance through us, we would help you but since you didn’t, once your ship left port, you are now considered a closed case”. Is this really how NCL has trained their customer support team to respond to travellers in distress? On Tuesday morning, Christmas Eve, we left the hotel at 4:20AM and headed back to the Lisbon airport to make our 6AM flight. At the Lisbon airport we went directly to the wheelchair area to get mom assistance but were told we would have to wait. We gave it until 5:30AM but concerned at how long it would take us to get to the gate, and afraid to miss our flight, we grabbed a chair and pushed her ourselves. We finally settled into our flight to Venice, exhausted, dirty and stressed but ready to grab our bags and meet our cruise and begin our holiday together. Two hours later, watching an empty baggage carousel spin by with no luggage in hand, we dejected made our way to the lost luggage counter at the Venice airport. We told the agent that our ship would be in Venice until 5PM on Wednesday 12/25/19 and she assured us that our nine bags would be flown to Venice in time to be delivered to the ship before we set sail again. After dealing with this, we headed out of the baggage claim area to meet our driver. It was now just before noon and although our ship was not due into Venice port until 5PM, we figured our best option was to be dropped at the port and wait. We arrived at the gate to the port around 12:30PM only to be advised that the ship had hit bad weather between Rome and Venice and would not be arriving until after midnight and we would have to stay in another hotel overnight and meet the ship the next morning. So Christmas Eve would not be spent celebrating on our special cruise, but instead in a cheap hotel near the port of Venice, cramped three to a room. We were now also on day three in the same clothes and we did not have anything nearly warm enough to wear, nor any toiletries and we could not board a cruise uncertain that we would ever have our necessities. We found a local mall and purchase a few necessities that we believed we would need until our luggage would be brought on board later the next day. Later that night, I called the Lost Baggage Service to track our bags and was asked to email them a copy of our cruise itinerary, which I did. The next morning we were finally delivered to the ship where we boarded and found our staterooms. My mother and children (a 21 year old man and 15 year old teenager) were booked to share a balcony room. Once the beds were opened at night, there was literally no room to move. The floor was nothing but bed and my son had to climb over my daughter to go to sleep! I can’t even imagine that this is not a safety hazard waiting to happen. When we boarded, NCL staff did provide us each with a bag that contained a tee shirt, a tiny toiletries bag and one ticket each for free laundry service (the best part of the bag!). However, the shirts were all one size (XL) which were too big for most of the women and too small for two of the men. Christmas evening dinner in the dining room was very nice, although we thought it would have been even nicer if we had the special outfits we had purchased and packed to wear for pictures since we had a 20 Picture Package that we had chosen as our on-board promotion. That did not seem to be much of an issue, however, since no photographer ever came into a public space we were in the entire time we were on the ship. The two times we had pictures taken were when we got off the ship in a port or if we found the photographer and their backdrop in the main lobby. This too had been a disappointment as we had first been advised that we could choose the Soda Package in our room as our on-board promotion since we do not drink alcohol. I was even quoted that we would be charged $17.49 per person for the 11 days in service charges, to which I had agreed. When I did not see that package on my itinerary closer to sailing, I was then informed that this was not actually a choice I could have made, that the only choice would have been to choose the “free alcohol package” that would have cost me $400 for the stateroom in service charges. REALLY?? Clearly this package was made available to some travellers, why not to us? Of course, by the time we sailed out of Venice on Wednesday evening, our luggage had not been delivered as promised. We were assured it would be flown to Dubrovnik and would meet our ship the next day, Thursday, 12/26/19. On Thursday morning, 12/26/19, we headed into Dubrovnik for a day of sightseeing. Freezing cold without our warm clothes, we bought some more warm things to wear for the day. Upon arrival back on board at 5:00PM, we were advised that two pieces of our family’s luggage had arrive on board, but the remaining 7 bags were hopefully going to be found and brought on board before we left port at 10PM. By 9:30PM the ship had already started moving and no luggage had been delivered. The next day we tendered into Kotor. By now it had been six days without our belongings and little more than a change of underwear and a toothbrush. Our first stop that morning was to a pharmacy because, by now, my husband had a headcold and needed medication which I would have had if I had any luggage. As soon as we got near a local restaurant with free WIFI I checked my email to discover I had received a notice from the Lost Luggage company stating that our bags had been delivered and the case was considered closed. Since we had only received two of our bags by that point, we were quite concerned and immediately had to tender back to the ship, missing any opportunity for real sightseeing in Kotor. Back aboard, we called Lost Luggage again and were advised that all of our bags had been sent to Venice but that seven of them had then been re-routed to Munich for some unknown reason rather than delivered to the ship with the first two! Almost an hour more was spent on the phone with the agent from the Lost Luggage company before he advised me that our bags would be flown from Munich to Pisa where they would be sent by courier to meet the ship when we arrived in Livorno on 12/29/19. So, on top of everything else we had missed already, we missed Kotor as well. We spent the next day, Saturday, 12/28/19 on board the ship in our barest clothing while having our bits and pieces washed at the laundry so that we had clean clothes again to wear when we arrived in Livorno on Sunday, 12/29/19. We spent the day Sunday with a tour of Lucca and Pisa and returned to the ship at 6:30PM, initially excited to hear that our bags were finally waiting for us at our stateroom, then utterly dejected to discover that one bag had been completely destroyed and was being held together with packing tape. Two others had been damaged to the point of having to be replaced as well. We spent part of our day in Barcelona purchasing new luggage in order to repack for the trip back home. We began this trip with the highest of hopes for an unforgettable family vacation. Unforgettable is certainly what we got. We are BRONZE level NCL cruisers who would have been one day short of reaching SILVER level when we disembarked at the end of this trip and couldn’t wait to begin thinking about where that next adventure would be. As of today, because meeting the ship in Rome had been taken away from us, we only got credit for 8 days on the ship and although I assume that we will be financially compensated for the missed days, the cost to my Latitudes account is just one more way we are feeling let down by NCL. Fruthermore, had we known at booking that the Spirit was going into dry dock at the end of our trip for a complete refurbishment, we would very likely have made other vacation plans from the start. What a difference this ship was from the NCL Gem, a previous NCL ship that we sailed on. While their staff, as always, was courteous and professional, we noticed the little touches that were missing. As I mentioned, no photographer throughout the ship. No towel animals ever appeared in any of our rooms on any night. My daughter’s dinner order placed the night before (she has a life-threating nut allergy) was forgotten one evening so that she had to wait for her dinner while everyone else was served. Even the chocolates put out at the dining hall on Christmas were old and stale (they had already turned white inside the wrappers!). We were on the Norwegien GEM from Christmas to New Years Eve so we had a reasonable expectation that the Spirit would be a similar experience. We could not believe that after the hubub of midnight passed on New Years Eve, there was not a morsel of food available to ship full of drinking passengers! Truly not a cracker or a cookie, the buffet room was locked up tight. While the lost luggage fiasco was technically not NCL's fault, the bottom line is that we spent a great deal of money booking our trip as a whole unit directly with NCL because it was our belief that NCL would be best qualified to ensure we were safely and reasonably delivered from our home to their ship. Had we realized how “hands-off” their group sales and travel departments would be as soon as our check cleared, we not only would have booked our own flights, and now know to do so for the future, but we probably would have booked either through a separate travel agent or with a different cruise line altogether. Travel insurance will cover the cost of a hotel or new piece of luggage, but when we were scared and stranded in a foreign country in the middle of a voyage that a company scheduled and booked for us, it is hard to believe that NCL's customer care policy is to "not care". We found out after returning home that NOT taking the cruise line's insurance policy was one of the smartest thing we could have done for ourselves. Frankly, although it saddens me to feel like this, it is very likely good-bye from our family to the NCL family. There are just too many other cruise lines we can choose from who we hope will treat us like we matter. I only hope that when I share this story, it will save other families from making the mistake we made. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We picked this cruise for the itinerary. It was my pre-PhD graduation present. Both embarkation and disembarkation were smooth at the ship. We had to tender in two ports, which took much longer than expected. We spent two days in Rome ... Read More
We picked this cruise for the itinerary. It was my pre-PhD graduation present. Both embarkation and disembarkation were smooth at the ship. We had to tender in two ports, which took much longer than expected. We spent two days in Rome before the cruise. We enjoyed all of the ports, but it was difficult to figure out what would be open on the holidays in Venice and Barcelona. Because of the dry dock our cruise was shorted by one day after we booked. We tried to take the offered OBC instead of the provided hotel afterwards and our travel agent didn't notify NCL by the deadline. We got off the ship and boarded buses to the hotel quickly, but it went downhill quickly from there. They dumped about 600 people at a hotel between 7am and 9am with no information, just a conference room to wait in. There was no communication from anyone and there were no NCL representatives present. We didn't get a room until 3:30pm and it was only because we complained that we had been sitting there for more than 6 hours. We were told that we could go into Rome, but it was a 1.5 hour walk or a €30 taxi ride. The did provide us lunch the day we got off the ship and breakfast the next morning, but we were on our own for dinner and had to take a taxi because there were no options that were walkable. We wasted out last day in Rome because we were never given any clear information and were stuck at a hotel far outside the city. NCL had plenty of time to make better arrangements or give us information, but failed. Weather was chilly, except in Barcelona and Monte Carlo, and we had bad storms with lots of wind for the first two days on the ship. The storms delayed our arrival in Venice. The ship was old but in good shape. It headed for dry dock immediately after our cruise. Entertainment was good. They did a special Christmas show one night plus the 3 production shows. Elements was our favorite. The buffet is extremely small compared to what we are used to. There was less variety in what was available for each meal and from day to day. We ate at Teppanyaki, Le Bistro, and Cagney's and all were good. We ate in the main dining room for the rest of our meals and it was good too. We had the beverage package and found it frustrating. We could get any drink we wanted, but couldn't get a can of soda or a bottle of water. This just felt cheap to us, because we could get a full can of soda, but it had to be poured into a glass to give to us. One night my husband was feeling seasick and wanted a can of ginger ale to take back to the cabin to drink overnight, but it had to be poured into a glass. We will be back to Europe, but it is very unlikely that we will sail NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Looking for something fun and stress-free as a way to celebrate my 50th birthday, my wife and I booked a cruise on the Norwegian Spirit over the holidays. The itinerary had us leaving Civitavecchia (port near Rome) on the 22nd, spending ... Read More
Looking for something fun and stress-free as a way to celebrate my 50th birthday, my wife and I booked a cruise on the Norwegian Spirit over the holidays. The itinerary had us leaving Civitavecchia (port near Rome) on the 22nd, spending Christmas Eve - Christmas Day in Venice, seeing Croatia, Montenegro, Florence/Pisa, and Monte Carlo before stopping in Barcelona for New Year's Eve, then returning to Civitavecchia on January 2nd. Because it was a good deal, we purchased the reduced airfare through the cruise line. BIG MISTAKE. Travel to / Embarkation: Delta / Al Italia Departure Flights December 21: - Arrive at LAX, was able to check into Delta flight and check luggage through to Rome, but NOT able to check in for Al Italia flight - Flight from LAX was in Terminal 2, had to check in at Terminal 3, then go back to Terminal 2 - Arrive in New York (JFK) with 1.5 hours to connect - but had to CHECK IN with Al Italia in Terminal 2 - Take shuttle from arrival terminal (4) to Terminal 1, EXIT THE AIRPORT, run to Terminal 2, find Al Italia counter, try to check in - Two of the four of us were checked in for flight to Rome, originally told the other two would not be able to get on the flight (even though our luggage was checked through to Rome?) - After pleading, attendant takes back tickets she’d given to a standby customer and puts us on flight, all separated from each other (not ideal, but ok) - Second attendant rushes us through security, but stopped at screening due to water in daughter’s Hydroflask (She hadn’t realized we’d be going through security a second time, we had to surrender the $40 Hydroflask - enjoy TSA) - Finally get on flight, ten minutes later 13 year old daughter escorted off plane WITHOUT TALKING TO EITHER PARENT. Daughter in tears, afraid she’ll be left in New York by herself. Dad (me) irate. Eventually my daughter was given a seat and the flight departed. December 22: -Arrive in Rome: (Of course) one bag wasn’t transferred, 16 year old daughter left without clothes for what was thought would be two days (bag would catch up to us in Venice, scheduled to arrive there on December 24th) - Arrive at Cruise Terminal, ask to have rooms adjusted (when booked, given two staterooms with one adult in each, even though NCL POLICY stated kids could be by themselves if in ADJOINING stateroom, which we booked) - staff was unable to do so, we were told it had to be done on the ship. - Board ship, go straight to Guest Services. HUGE line of people, apparently a lot of people with issues. - Go to get a couple of beers to enjoy while waiting in line (much needed after the horrible flight/luggage experience). Get a bill (Premium Beverage Package was one of the Perks included in our package). - After 30+ minutes, get to the counter. Representative can’t change rooms, either. Offers to give extra door keys (this was the best they could do). - Representative can’t find any evidence of our perks. - NCL App had LITERALLY showed the perks two days prior, but changed for some reason after we boarded. - Had to fill out multiple forms too have our daughter’s luggage allowed onboard in Venice, including one form twice (?). *Keep in mind we’re dealing with this after 24 hours of travel.* - Representative said she would email their corporate office to see about our perks, but was unable to offer anything else. - Go to room and pay international charges so I can call NCL Customer Service in the U.S. directly. Do so, they assist promptly. December 23: - Go downstairs to verify perks are now showing on my account. At 8 a.m. the line is already forming at Guest Services. Woman behind me is talking to her husband about how she found the email that shows their perks. Must be a common issue. - Get to the counter, finally perks are reflected in our accounts, new cards issued (still in separate rooms). - Decided to get a cup of coffee, found out the $99/day Premium Drink Package doesn’t include coffee from the coffee bar. - Also found out bottled water was NOT included in our Drink Packages either. (Purchase 6 liters for $19.99) - Then found out weather delayed our arrival in Venice until the 25th. (Not the ship’s fault, but daughter would be without her clothes for a third day. (A third day of borrowing clothes from her sister)) Onboard experiences: - Balcony stateroom was very small. Two twin cot-like beds pushed together, a small table as a vanity, a tiny cushioned chair. Balcony was barely deep enough for the chairs. - Specialty dining was OK, certainly not worth any extra $, especially not the Italian restaurant. - Buffet was mediocre at BEST, though the made to order omelets at breakfast were pretty good. I swear they were serving frozen pizza. - Buffet during off-hours was hit or miss at best. - Coffee at buffet was the basic large vat of cafeteria coffee. - Specialty Dining fills up quickly, but we tried three: La Trattoria: Not worth it. Didn't care for the Somelier, either. Cagney's: decent, good steak. Teppanyaki's: Great. Lots of fun, great chef, good food. - Children were EVERYWHERE. - Quiet places to enjoy a drink were non-existent. The main bar/lounge was used for family fun (bingo, dancing lessons, kids vs. adults challenges, etc.). Never less than a half dozen strollers in the bar. - Other bar (Champagne Charlies) was ok, pretty good three person musical group, but small. - Henry’s Pub (mostly beer) was a great hangout spot, but very small. - Shanghai Bar was even smaller, and being situated next to the equally tiny Blue Lagoon 24 hour eatery, seating in the bar was typically in use by people eating. - Only real option for enjoying a quiet glass of wine was in your room - as long as you don’t mind the sound of children running up and down the hallways. Service: Average. Stateroom attendant was very nice and very professional. Also encountered a nice waitress in the main lounge. Service in main dining rooms (Windows or Garden) was very good. Most of the other service attendants were a toss up: some nice, some indifferent, some treating you like you're an inconvenience. Guest services....average at best. First night experience was enough to make me wish we'd chosen differently. Also a bit off-putting when you're competing for seating with the staff. The buffet area was already crowded. Add in workers eating their meals and it gets even more frustrating. Imagine seeing some of the best seating in the main lounge being occupied by ship's staff. Entertainment was good. Enjoyed the Elements and World Beat show. Juggler was probably my favorite (sounds crazy, but he was hilarious). The quartet of singers was also very good. Ports/Shore excursions: The ports saved the cruise. Best, most enjoyable time was when we were off the ship. Venice (Christmas Day) - great city, but still flooded. Very surreal. Very walkable, and since I'd been there previously, we didn't take a shore excursion. Did a gondola ride, a bit expensive but memorable, just COLD. Dubrovnik, Croatia - took the ship-arranged ($15pp) shuttle into town, walked the city walls. Amazing. Inside the city walls was magical, though the wind seems to gain intensity traveling through the small alleyways and blasts you with cold air. Spiced wine helped. Kotor, Montenegro - Ferry drops you off near the small town. Walked through town (on our own) to entrance to steps (1300+) that lead to the fort at the top of the mountain. Guy at the top sells soda, water, and, more importantly, beer. Amazing views from the top. Small town inside the walls was very cool. Cats are EVERYWHERE and very friendly. Livorno (Port City) - we took the Florence/Pisa shore excursion. Pisa was a fun, quick stop, the highlight being, of course, the Tower. Florence was amazing. So much history, so much significance. We will definitely return, preferably when its warmer. Monaco - we took the Nice and Little Train tour, it was okay. Parts of what the tour guide covered were also covered during the Little Train tour, would be good to remove the duplicity in the interest of time. Upon return to Monte Carlo, we had time to see the Christmas village area near the port. Really, really cool. Had Nutella crepes, then the adults enjoyed spiced wine while the kids had hot chocolate. **Return Ferry boarding process was a cluster**** Arriving one hour before the last ferry was scheduled to depart, we spent that hour on the pier waiting. Pretty sure the ship departed about an hour and a half late. Barcelona (New Year's Eve) - Our second time there, so we ventured out on our own. Went to Barcelona Cathedral, very impressive. Spent lots of time on La Rambla. Definitely feels like the center of the city in a good way. La Boqueria Market (Mercado de Boqueria) is a must-visit. So much good food, it'd be easy to pig out, walk around, then pig out again. We determined the New Year's Eve celebration was at Placa Espanaya. Party there was INCREDIBLE. Finished up and ended up walking about two miles back to the ship (catching a cab in the middle of crowd that size was both difficult and impractical), made it back with about twenty minutes to spare. Disembarkation / Return Travel: January 2nd: - Because a port was removed from the itinerary AFTER the flights had been booked, we were given a night’s stay at a hotel in Rome (pretty decent trade off, but Mallorca would have been fun). - We would be transported to the hotel instead of the airport, like our vouchers said. - Asked if transportation to airport was included, was told it was not - 25 buses deliver hundreds of people to the hotel and dump us there. Inside is pandemonium. A few NCL employees were trying to answer the questions of hundreds of people. - Finally found out we’d have to check in sometime after 3, so we stashed our luggage and headed out for sightseeing. - Came back about five, got our room keys. Find out NCL actually DID set up transportation to the airport. - Go to get luggage. NOT THERE. - Hotel attendant tells me they took it to our room. Go to the room. Not there. - Go back down, find out they may have taken it to another person’s room with the same last name…. - Follow the worker to the other room, there’s our luggage. - In the morning, driver was there early and with a van, ready to go. Ride to the airport was the easiest part of travel to that point. (Finally something was easy!) - No issues with return flight. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Our last 5 cruises in a row have been on various Norwegian ships with various itineraries. They were all excellent. We like Norwegian because it is economical, has great ports of call, have sufficient time in each port and do not have ... Read More
Our last 5 cruises in a row have been on various Norwegian ships with various itineraries. They were all excellent. We like Norwegian because it is economical, has great ports of call, have sufficient time in each port and do not have specific dinner times. However, on this cruise we had a few issues. Our toilet didn't work off and on for a couple days, some of the dining room staff in the Windows dining room seem to be indifferent (Garden restaurant was better) and our last port of call Livorno/Florence was cancelled inexplicably because of high winds. The toilet was fixed (the ship is going in for an update soon) but in the interim we had to go up a couple floors to the public washrooms (none down near the rooms). Our room steward was excellent (we tipped her separately) as was some of the table clean-up staff which we got to know and talk to but some the Windows dining staff and some counter staff were terse and short with us. Our last stop Livorno was cancelled because of high winds even though the weather report said it was fine a couple of hours later. We returned to Civitavecchia a day early and had to scramble to find transportation to Rome and find something else to do in Rome (we spent 3 days there at the start). My wife had private transportation booked to Florence (Norwegian transportation and tours are generally over-priced) but couldn't get all her money back. Announcements on the ship were difficult to hear and there was only one live show, the rest were singers singing old songs and acrobats. My wife likes to do the painting classes but they were painting the same picture she did in 2013 and 2016. This was our worst experience yet with Norwegian but is 5 out of 6 acceptable? Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I just came back from a 7 days Mediterranean cruise with my family by NCL. My cabin was very nice and comfortable. The food was the best of the 3 cruise lines. However, entertainment, shopping and customer service were the worst of ... Read More
I just came back from a 7 days Mediterranean cruise with my family by NCL. My cabin was very nice and comfortable. The food was the best of the 3 cruise lines. However, entertainment, shopping and customer service were the worst of the 3 other lines. The shore excursions were very expensive. What bothered me the most was the bad smell in the elevator. It smelled dead fish. The embark and disembark were great. When I got home I noticed that several pieces of my jewelry were missing. I cruised many times with different cruise lines but it was my first time with NCL and the first time I had my belongings missing as well. So I decided to google if anybody had the same experience, and to my surprise, It is overwhelming the number of cases of theft in-room cabin. I am hating myself for being so naive. I guess I learned a lesson! I would not go cruise again with NCL. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Some elevators did not work. The Floors in the buffet are old tile which is slippery when wet, we saw more than a couple of falls, even by crew. We hit rough weather and the captain shut down the midship elevators because he said they ... Read More
Some elevators did not work. The Floors in the buffet are old tile which is slippery when wet, we saw more than a couple of falls, even by crew. We hit rough weather and the captain shut down the midship elevators because he said they were unsafe! Out dated interior cabin. Stains in bathroom. The room Stewart was very nice and did a great job. The Internet cafe worker was rude and unhelpful, he couldn’t waste his time with the passengers. When we received the final billing they had given us our cabin and then part of someone else’s, when we told them they had made mistakes they were rude. The dining room service was unorganized and to many mistakes were made. Even though it’s an old ship it should not be in this condition. The shore excursion team did an excellent job getting everyone to the right buses, and that was the main reason for taking this ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
A Cruise to the Holy Land on the NCL Spirit We traveled to the Holy Land from Rome on the NCL Spirit on December 2, 2019. We were wondering how we would perceive this older, smaller ship since we had just disembarked from the brand new ... Read More
A Cruise to the Holy Land on the NCL Spirit We traveled to the Holy Land from Rome on the NCL Spirit on December 2, 2019. We were wondering how we would perceive this older, smaller ship since we had just disembarked from the brand new MSC Grandiosa. Without going into details, the Spirit was perfect for this port-intensive trip, the passengers were much friendlier, the food and restaurants better, and the atmosphere couldn’t have been nicer. I was surprised how nice the Spirit looked, considering that it is going into an extensive drydock in early 2020. It will be absolutely splendid when it is finished. Keep in mind that the NCL Spirit is regarded as a more adult ship for port-intensive itineraries. Even with the renovations, it isn’t going to have all the bells and whistles of the newer, large ships that cater to families. Embarkation at the Port of Civitavecchia We were on an MSC ship right before this cruise and had one evening to stay in the port. We chose Hotel Borgo del Mare that provided free shuttle service to their hotel and back to the port. My husband was under the weather, so I ventured out to the pharmacy and grocery, which was about a 20-30-minute walk. The signs were all in Italian, but I survived the cultural experience. The hotel was somewhat isolated, but the weather that evening was pretty rainy, so we wouldn’t have ventured out to explore anyway. Next time, I would stay closer to the port. Our day of embarkation was rainy, but the luggage drop off was inside, so the weather didn’t affect much. December is still going to have cooler weather with some rain, so this is to be expected. The processing was quick, and we were on the ship by 11:30. The Asian décor was rather garish but will be removed next month. The ship was decorated for Christmas, and that made the décor somewhat better. The staff mentioned that most will be happy to see the removal of that ugly fountain on deck 7, the seashells on the cabin doors, and the horrid statues by the staircases. Cagneys will look quite different as they are removing the private rooms. We went to the Windows Dining Room for a quiet lunch. Our luggage was delivered quickly, and so we unpacked and then explored the ship. With three sets of elevators, we almost never had to wait long. Cabin We booked an inside cabin midship on deck five as this was a port intensive cruise in the cooler weather. No need for a balcony! It was a great choice as it was quiet, with no public areas above or below the cabin. The storage was more than enough for two people, the bed and pillows were comfy, and the bathroom was clean and an adequate size, and the water was always hot. The small couch, used only for our suitcase and bags (upholstered furniture often reeks with germs) and pictures were quite old. The picture above the bed was labeled “Super Star Leo,” which went back to the Spirit’s earliest years before it was acquired by NCL. Our attendant introduced himself right away and was always pleasant and efficient. Restaurants and Buffet We preferred to eat at Windows because it is quieter than the Garden Restaurant and is open for all three meals. The menu and food would be rated between good and very good. The buffet is called Raffles, and the food was also good, and remarkably, we could always find a place to sit. There are many tables on the outside aft of Raffles, but of course, the wind and weather affected its use. The Blue Lagoon Café (known on other NCL ships as O’Sheehans) is available 24 hours a day, but the seating consists of hard benches, and the foot traffic makes it quite unatmospheric. This café will be redone and expanded during drydock. Pity the poor waiters who had to deal with serving in this hectic environment. The specialty restaurants are all very good. We liked Cagneys and LeBistro the best and ate there five times. We had the five complimentary dinners plus the two Platinum Latitude dinners. We missed our reservation at Tempanyaki because we arrived late back to the ship. La Trattoria was fine, but it is really just a section of the buffet they isolate for the dinner time. We didn’t try Shogun or the Sushi bar. Fellow Passengers This group was about the nicest I have ever traveled with. People struck up conversations in the elevator and seemed to be having a good time. My CC friends liked almost all aspects of the cruise, but a few other passengers complained about the food. I don’t agree with their views on this topic. This cruise also reinforced the importance of getting to know other people on the Cruise Critic Roll Call. Our group of about twelve, which planned many excursions together, really bonded. We toured together, often ate the evening meal together, and played games on sea days. Another nice feature was that we looked out for one another. This was especially evident when one single woman fell on an excursion and had to return by taxi to the ship for stitches and a possible concussion. One of our group volunteered to go with her. Another time, when the ship didn’t notify us about a time discrepancy, we worked hard to notify one another about this problem. Our group evolved from the Cruise Critic Roll Call. For our joint excursions, we met at a lounge and disembarked together. These wonderful people looked out for one another, played games on sea day afternoons, often ate together, and became good friends. We set the expectation to be on time, and everyone happily complied. May I suggest that on cruises like this that the roll call folks keep chit chat and other personal issues off the roll call board? Arranging a junk food exchange took the group down another alley and was hard for any new folks to find the helpful information. Also, once the sailaway or other events are planned, only provide a bad weather option if it is outside. One person decided on her own to change it, and that split the group in two because it was supposed to be in Champagne Charlies (bad weather place as it was rainy) but she moved it to the noisy Galaxy Lounge. Communications broke down because of this. Also, if you are a solo traveler, it is probably best to just work with the whole group rather than try to arrange solo events. The ship tries to assist solos, and we were always happy to include any single people who wished to dine or travel with us. On our last TA in 2018, the solos were the ones who organized game times on sea days. We were invited and loved joining them. If you are the “lead person” who organized a private tour, it is really nice if you take some responsibility and try to get others’ contact information. I attempted to do this with my van for GTI, and the group evolved into a very nice travel and dining group. Those who gave me their contact info probably had a much better experience. We had each other’s’ backs! The NCL App was very helpful in keeping us in good communication. For just $9.99 for the trip, it is a great idea and good value. The light on the cabin phone for voice mail didn’t work (I verified this with CS), so it was even more important to get the App. The public areas never seemed too crowded except in the evening at Champagne Charlies. At times, there weren’t many good alternatives, and this was a place that had reliable entertainers. The crew were almost all very pleasant and helpful. I met a few very nice customer service people who handled issues with a smile and competence. The officers tended to not be noticeable, but as long as they are doing their job, I don’t really care. Entertainment Since this was a very port intensive cruise, the entertainment wasn’t a huge factor, but we still had a good time. The lounge entertainment was good, depending on the group. Hotwire, the Acoustic Soul Brothers, and Ian, the pianist, were our favorites. The Latin Fiesta Duo was geared to the Hispanics onboard. We enjoy dancing so the Galaxy Lounge was our favorite. There were quite a few dancers on board. The one place I just don’t get is the Maharajah’s Lounge, and I doubt it was in vogue twenty years ago. It featured big heavy velveteen drapery, dumpy upholstered couches, and lots of hammock type seating. No wonder it was often a ghost town, but it took up so much space. The casino smoke that drifted into it made this lounge unusable. I sure hope this place is turned into a functional dancing lounge at drydock! The main theatre entertainment was the weak link of the cruise, but this was a very special, port intensive and tiring 13-day cruise with only three scheduled sea days. I didn’t see any production shows because I believe I missed one due to fatigue, and the other two were canceled because of sea conditions. The performers put on a cabaret show as a replacement. The Spirit has a very nice card, reading, and computer rooms. The Galaxy Lounge is available during the day for a variety of activities. The cruise director was one of the least visible and frankly maybe one of the worst we have ever seen, but her staff were attentive and ran many nice games and activities. The ship itself never seemed crowded, and even exiting and reentering the ship at ports was never a problem. The pools were rarely used because of the rain or cool temperatures. We had one major issue with the ship concerning their not adequately notifying people that the ship time and the time in Kusadasi Turkey would be different. It was listed in small print in the daily as a “travel tip.” If it hadn’t been for a member of our small travel group noticing this issue, most of us would have been an hour late for the private excursion. I’m not sure if the ship didn’t care about those not going on their ship excursions, but the importance of this detail should have been clearly communicated. Perhaps NCL was just reinforcing their preference for passengers to take ship excursions. Ports of Call Our itinerary was absolutely wonderful. We chose to use private excursions or just walk around a few ports ourselves rather than use large ship excursions. The companies we chose were really great and highly recommended. It is so much preferable to go with a tour company that you can ask questions of beforehand by email. The guides were always waiting outside the ship as they promised. The smaller vans can get in and out of traffic better than the large buses, and you don’t have to wait for the always late for the types who are problems on almost every ship excursion. So much better to travel in a van with seven to eighteen people rather than 55-65 people on a large bus. I have no idea how the tour guides kept their groups together, especially in places like the narrow streets of Jerusalem. Also, those number stickers the tour groups must wear are like flashing red lights for pickpockets. Naples, Italy A few of us went to Pompeii by using a City Sightseeing Bus (HOHO) designated just for Pompeii. The specially designated bus met us at their center drop off point, which was an easy walk from the ship. We had purchased our vouchers before we left the states, and it was a great, quick way to get to Pompeii. The cost was $15.00 pp round trip. The drop off point in Pompeii was at the entrance near the tourism office and you purchase the single ticket entry to Pompeii. We used Rick Steves audio guides supplemented by his written walking tour instructions. Easy peasy! The map given at the entry site is a bit too complicated. The Pompeii site is, of course, wonderful to see, especially with the free Rick Steve guides. The ride back was equally easy, and we walked around the commercial center for a while. Athens and Corinth One of the CC members found a full day trip split between Athens and Corinth. Our driver who gave us some background information didn’t enter the sites with us, and in retrospect, it would have been better to have a tour with a guide. Corinth, an hour away, was an excellent choice. We toured the ancient ruins of Corinth and the museum, viewed the remarkable Corinthian Canal. It is amazing to think that the ancients dragged ship over this land before it was turned into a canal in the 1800s. The most special time was a stop at the ancient pier of Conchae were the Apostle Paul, Aquila, and Priscilla left Corinth for Ephesus. We were the only ones there, and it seemed so authentic. The hour drive to Athens was marred by the traffic coming to a standstill in the downtown area. It seems some group wanted to do a spontaneous protest, so the streets were gridlocked on the way to the Acropolis. It was nice with a smaller van as the driver could take some side streets. One thing that strikes visitors is an incredibly large amount of graffiti in Athens. It is quite a tragedy, although some people view some of the vandals as street artists. No building, private or public, is safe from the graffiti, and they even paint on ancient ruins. Most is done by vandals as gang tags or to support sports teams. Despite being seniors, we were in good enough shape to walk to the top, but it was quite cold and windy. That might be a surprise to those who go during the summer! Of course, it was spectacular, but watch out for those very slippery large rocks. We went to Mars Hill, which is where the Apostle Paul spoke to groups who wanted to learn about the gospel. Because of the previous traffic issues, we did not get to go to a few other, more minor areas. Kusadasi, Turkey Before our trip, I have to admit to being a bit concerned about our safety in Turkey. We hired a great company Magic Steps Tours for their “Enjoy Roman Ephesus and Its Christian Heritage” tour at 55 Euro per person. That included a full day and a delightful buffet lunch at a Turkish restaurant. All tickets were included. We had a great guide name Ugar Duman who met us promptly at the terminal. We went first to the House of the Virgin Mary, where tradition says Mary went to live after Jesus died. Then, we spent several hours at the ruins of ancient Ephesus and the Terrace Step Houses. After that, we went to the Basilica of St. John, which is an amazing ruin with a baptismal area with steps for full emersion. Friends who went on the ship excursions usually saw just the main ruins but just walked or drove past the Terrace Steps and Basilica and didn’t go to the House of the Virgin Mary. We got it all on this tour! Excellent guide! Lindos, Rhodes, Greece The city of Lindos is spectacular and an easy walking port. After exiting the ship, just follow the wall to either the Virgin Mary Gate or the Marina Gate to enter, and the Grand Master’s Palace is an easy walk. Tom’s Port Guides has a detailed guide on how to walk the highlights. We went to the Palace and the wonderful archeological museum, which was an ancient Hospital for the Knights of St. John. As a Christian, this town gave me a great appreciation for the Crusaders. While not always perfect, they did save most of Europe from the Muslims/Ottoman Invasions. There are many delightful shops and restaurants to enjoy. The cobblestones on the Street of the Knights are a challenge. Limassol, Cyprus We had another wonderful, private tour with Spanos Bus Tours for 38 Euros, pp. It included: Kolossi Castle (Foto stop), Kurion Archaeological site, Paphos UNESCO Tour (European Capital of Culture 2017), Petra tou Romiou - Aphrodite's Birth Place Rock, Santa Solomoni Catacomb, Ayia Kyriaki church and Saint Paul Pillar, Paphos UNESCO Archaeological Park, House of Dionysos Mosaics, and free time in old Harbor and Medieval Castle (restaurants, souvenir shops, cafeterias) Another great day by a knowledgeable guide. Ashdod, Israel I arranged a private excursion for a group of eighteen cruise critics with Guided Tours Israel. They are a very highly rated company that communicated very promptly and at a very reasonable price. Most of their tours are $99 per day per person. We had to endure a rainy day, although the sun came out as we entered Bethlehem with our tour guide Yanothan, a very accomplished historian and guide. At first, the checkpoint was closed, but our driver called around to find an open one. Bethlehem is in a Palestinian controlled area, so we were turned over to Lahdo, a pleasant Armenian Christian from Palestine. The church in Bethlehem and the surrounding areas are very crowded and resemble nothing what the area looked like 2,000 years ago. The line to the crypt was very long, and we didn’t have the time or inclination to wait. The tour in Jerusalem wasn’t quite what I had hoped for as the city is tense and intense. Even the Via Dolorosa, the path where Jesus walked, didn’t seem real because the ancient path is below the modern-day streets. The exact path is more of a tradition rather than fact, and some stories related to the stations of the cross are not found in the Bible. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is under the custody of three Christian groups: the Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Roman Catholic denominations. They share custody of the church, where tensions often run high over control of its various sectors. Centuries ago, the imposing iron key to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, was entrusted to two Muslim families. The arrangement dates back to the time of Saladin, the Muslim conqueror who seized the holy city from the Crusaders in 1187. He wanted to exert the Muslim’s control over the church. We also visited the following sites: Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Mount Zion, Room of the Last Supper, Jaffa Gate, Western Wall, Arab Souk, and the Christian and Jewish Quarters. Haifa, Israel Our second day was much more enjoyable as the weather was clear and sunny and we were in the countryside. We visited Nazareth and the famous Basilica of the Annunciation, Jordan River, Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, Tabgha (site of the miracle of the multiplication of the fish and loaves and the Mount of Beatitudes. We stopped at St. Peter’s Restaurant for lunch (not included in the tour price.) Also, we stopped at a Kibbutz and their store, which offered better prices than we had seen anywhere else. The third day out of Haifa was customized and not part of GTI’s usual offerings. It ended up being a great choice considering the trip to the Dead Sea, and Massada was a very long one, and it was a bit cold for swimming in the Dead Sea. Our first stop was the Roman Caesarea (Maritima) on the west coast between Haifa and Tel Aviv. We visited the Roman ruins and the best-preserved Roman theater in the land of Israel. We then went to the top of Mount Carmel in Haifa to view the Baha'i Gardens and the Haifa Bay. Because we had a bit of time, we made a stop at the aqueducts on the coast. Stunning! Next, we drove to the old Crusader port town of Acre for a visit to the Crusader Fortress. That was a real highlight, and we greatly enjoyed our time in the town. We had lunch at a simple restaurant and were given many bowls of traditional foods to sample with our meal. We were given far more than we could eat, and it was at a modest price. We found a shofar at the silver and metal works store. The last two days in Israel were quite wonderful, and I wish that Jerusalem had been a better experience. The tensions and sellers in the street added to the negative atmosphere, and I doubt it would have been much better on a sunny day. BTW, if you are an American and asked where you are from while roaming through Jerusalem, tell them you are a Canadian, especially if you are buying something. They will quote a higher price for Americans. There are some sour-looking types who seem to guard areas and ask tourists these questions. Crete We were supposed to take a ship excursion to Crete, but the ship canceled it for a good reason: there was a “Medicane” (Hurricane like conditions in the Mediterranean) brewing near the Straight of Messina and Italy, and we had to go through it. The captain needed to slow the ship’s speed while we went through the worst. Wow, was he right about his concerns! The ship and passengers handled the storm well, but at times all the outside decks were totally closed as were the buffet and elevators for a while. It as wild, but most handled it fine. Whenever a really wild motion was observed, the passengers all vocalized together- “Whoa!” The ones who didn’t too well were probably in their cabins, but it wasn’t noticeable. The evening production show was canceled for the performers’ safety. Most crew members said this storm was the worst they had every experienced onboard a ship. Lucky us. Debarkation The exit process on the final day was a snap. We chose to self-disembark, and it took about ten minutes with no processing needed. We stayed an extra day because we wanted to see Ostia Antica and are so glad we did! I have to say it is better than Pompeii’s ruins! We booked a Habicab shuttle, and the driver agreed to take us directly to the hotel after he dropped off his other passengers at the airport. We stayed at the Fly Deco Hotel in Ostia, which is right across from the beach. What a lovely town! It was all decorated for Christmas and we enjoyed walking in the lighted square that evening which was filled with activity. The Hotel was wonderful: new, stylish, great service, comfortable beds and pillow, and a wonderful free breakfast. I never say a honeycomb at a buffet before. Highly recommended. We were given our room early and stored our bags so that we could venture to Ostia Antica. Rick Steves strongly recommends this wonderful, massive ruin. We walked about eight minutes to the train station at Lido Central (just use Google Maps) and then purchase a ticket to go in the direction back to Rome. The stop for Ostia Antica is just two stops away. The RT tickets for two were just six Euros. Once off, just follow the footbridge over the highway, and the signage down the path is easy to follow. The cost of entry is twelve Euros per person. We used Rick Steve’s audio guide and his book tour to find our way around. All the signs are in Italian and English. It was like we had the place to ourselves because it is so large. We didn’t venture to the most westerly ruins and spent the whole day there. We had lunch at the café and enjoyed the wonderful museum and the gift shop. Be sure to purchase inexpensive books with overlays so you can visualize what Ostia Antica was like back then. It is so exciting that these areas of Europe continue to be excavated and more ruins are continually being found. The sun was shining, and it was a comfortable, glorious day in mid-December! I highly recommend that instead of spending your final cruise day at an airport hotel where there are few alternatives that you stay in Ostia which is quite close to the airport anyway! For ten Euro pp, the hotel driver took us the next morning to the airport. It was an easy 20-minute ride, and we arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare. In summary, we were very pleased with this cruise. It had a great itinerary and was a super value. While a bit dated, it is good to know that a nice ship will soon be made much better when it goes into dry dock. My last NCL cruise on the Jade was generally disappointing and might have been my last, but the Spirit renewed my enthusiasm for Norwegian Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise because of the number of days, sea days and destinations. We prefer cruises with minimal sea days. The ports and shore excursions were great. NCL has finally begun to use personal audio devices to hear the tour ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the number of days, sea days and destinations. We prefer cruises with minimal sea days. The ports and shore excursions were great. NCL has finally begun to use personal audio devices to hear the tour guide with larger groups. The main dining room & buffet were average to fair. Sometimes there was a wait in the dining room to get coffee refills, etc. and the food was sometimes hot, sometimes warm, and unfortunately sometimes cold. The selections in the buffet and dining room were plentiful for soups, salads, entrees and desserts. The specialty restaurants were great, except for the Teppanyaki which was the worst I've ever had on shore or on a cruise. Steward for our room was superb and very friendly. He changes our towels sometimes more than once a day and our bed was always made up. We did hit a storm and had one port missed, but that wasn't NCL's fault. Can't blame them for bad weather. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Food poor. either overcooked or meat too tough. taste so so. hot food at raffles always not hot, just luke warm. dining food not interesting, and boring, sometimes may take long time just waiting for food. the best food was in blue ... Read More
Food poor. either overcooked or meat too tough. taste so so. hot food at raffles always not hot, just luke warm. dining food not interesting, and boring, sometimes may take long time just waiting for food. the best food was in blue lagoon chicken wings, but the service was very slow, waiters always seemed not in good mood, actually they were too busy sometimes, need more waiters. Cancel a port under good weather. they may need a more accurate weather forecast system. They forecasted and knew that day was a rough day. why did they still arrange the big performance show Elements on that day? of course, it got cancelled, dangerous for the dancers. they need more signs for embarkation, sometimes may need to go around and around to find out the way. room was clean, but just the tap water of the sink in the bathroom got yellow sometimes and we need to let it run for a while until it's clean again. and the flush button of the toilet sometimes was not working. we need to wait and tried and tried again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This ship was Recommended by our sister in law who had previously sailed on the Spirit. We found the cruise to be extremely well organized from start to finish. We were kept very well informed of any and all changes that were made due ... Read More
This ship was Recommended by our sister in law who had previously sailed on the Spirit. We found the cruise to be extremely well organized from start to finish. We were kept very well informed of any and all changes that were made due to weather. Embarkation and disembarkation went extremely well. Couldn't ask for better. We found the staff to be extremely courteous, polite, friendly, and engaging. We did not eat at the buffet. However, we found all the restaurants and specialty restaurants to be very satisfying. Not out of this world, but very satisfying. All of the Tours were amazing, except for the Hop On / Hop Off Malta. There was very little information provided to us during this tour. Norwegian explained that it is not their tour and had no control over the content. If that's the case, we personally don't believe they should be offering to sell it if it's sub standard. It ruined our day in Malta. We had an amazing trip, which in our view was by and large due to the staff on board. They simply couldn't do enough for us. Our only complaint was the flights. Norwegian booked our flights as part of the package. Apparently our cruise booking was a promotion and as such we were not allowed to upgrade our seats on the Air Alitalia flight from JFK to Rome and back. This was NOT MADE CLEAR TO US WHEN BOOKING, otherwise we would have booked our own flights. This was a major aggravation and very disappointing. If his is the rule, this should be made very clear to customers when booking !! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose this cruise because it was the end of the year and there were limited options. The port each day itinerary was fantastic and overall value for money was excellent. However the ship was dated, the staff were rude and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was the end of the year and there were limited options. The port each day itinerary was fantastic and overall value for money was excellent. However the ship was dated, the staff were rude and miserable at times, the entertainment was dreadful unless you were 70 years plus. The food choices were chips with everything, particularly at lunchtime. The cabin was very small and dated. Furniture table was broken. Bedside drawers were places sideways as not enough space which meant you couldn't use the drawer ! Did I have a good time? Yes it was a fantastic holiday, I met lots of people , saw so much of Europe in a short time and really enjoyed myself. Would I recommend this ship or cruise line ? No, I had higher expectations that the ship would cater for all tastes in term of food, bars, shows. Would I go on this exact holiday again. Yes I would, I don't think better value for money would exist on another holiday. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Decide to go on this cruise at the suggestion of friends who were booking it. The ports of call were very good and the time in each port, except a few, was long enough to see the sights. The cruise staff were friendly and delivered ... Read More
Decide to go on this cruise at the suggestion of friends who were booking it. The ports of call were very good and the time in each port, except a few, was long enough to see the sights. The cruise staff were friendly and delivered superior service. The food selection was substandard as was the quality. The buffet often duplicated dishes from night to night and even the same night at different stations. The Teppanyaki and Cagney's Steakhouse were the two best, but you have to pay extra as they are "Specialty" restaurants. This ship is due for a refurbishing in early 2020 and I can see why. We booked one of the larger staterooms with a balcony, but there was hardly any storage space for clothes. They also did not seem to have sheets large enough to cover the twin beds pushed together to make one bed, as ours was consistently untucked at both sides and bottom of the bed. The shows we attended were OK and nothing to write home about. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
You'll see from my ratings that many of the ship ratings are ok. However, the Captain is incompetent along with some of his team. If you read the news, there were near riots on the Spirit in October. We were on the Spirit starting ... Read More
You'll see from my ratings that many of the ship ratings are ok. However, the Captain is incompetent along with some of his team. If you read the news, there were near riots on the Spirit in October. We were on the Spirit starting November 7th. Some of the same poor decision making, lack of communication, and poor seamanship plagued our cruise as well. First, the official Italian tide forecasts for Venice called for near record flooding TWO days before we were due to go there. It clearly stated that there would be no bus service, massive flooding, etc. No way to get from the Port to town, plus they clearly didnt need waves from a cruise ship. So what did they do....nothing, sailed almost to Venice to be told you can't dock..had no back up plan. Eventually, we sailed all the way back to Ravenna. This decision was obvious 2 days before. We could have planned for it, sailed to it and perhaps circled back to one other missed port. The worst two items though were totally controllable. There was a strong, near hurricane force rain band clearly marked on my phone radar. Had 2 hours of warning. The Captain didn't bother to do anything about it. Instead of turning into it, he let it hit a 12 story ship broadside. Ship listed 15 deg to starboard, and nearly everyone's, except ours, plates, drinks, etc hit the deck. People were screaming, etc. What a mess. The last item though, was just plain unforgiveable as it was so simple to address. The cruise staff told us that the best part of the trip was to sail into Kotor between the mountains. We were due to sail in at noon. Because of the schedule changes, the Captain decide to sail in at 630 am and leave at 530 pm...all in the dark. We were scheduled for 6 hours...he gave us 12...and we missed one of the best parts of the trip...total disregard for the passengers. There were several other issues with time changes, no port talks, etc. that just show this ship is poorly managed. The overall ship condition, lower staff, dining staff, etc. were very good. Too bad their management isn't at the same level of service. I would NOT go on this ship until the captain has been replaced. On the plus side, the Cabin was clean, and up to date. No signs of wear and tear. The mattress was comfortable. Like most of the older NCL ships, IF YOU DON"T BRING a European converter/plug, you probably won't have enough outlets to charge your electronics. A simple multi converter from Amazon does the trick. The overall ship condition was also in good shape. Cannot tell it is an older ship. Though we missed the "bed animals" which NCL discontinued due to "climate change", over all room cabin service was great. Our steward was really low key and didn't bother us, but he knew when we were out of the room, and took care of things. Main dining was ok. Highly recommend the Garden Room vs. the other main dining room. Smaller, better service, BUT much less motion in rough seas which we had nearly every day. Food wise was ok. Nothing bad, but nothing great either. Next to the issues with the cruise, the biggest disappointment was the Buffet. Breakfast was ok, but lunch was poor and dinner not any better. Probably the worse buffet food that we have had on any cruise. "cardboard pizza", limited selections, and would run out of the main carving entree. Desserts though were usually excellent! Specialty dining was also not what it used to be. There was nothing worthwhile on the Italian menu. Le Bistro was ok, as was Cagneys. Used to be able to get lobster, but not any more. Steaks were ok. Had a 3 dinner package which was enough with the limited choices. Mixed bag on shore excursions and shore excursion staff. The staff did a pretty amazing job adjusting schedules, adding new tours etc. due to the screwed up port schedule. However, they had one short cruise port presentation on the first 4 ports, and though they said they would have another,they never did. We would have changed at least one tour had they had a presentation. As far as the tours went, the Island of Delos, a tour from Mykonos was by far the highlight of the trip. The ruins are amazing which warrants its rating as the top Unesco sight in Europe. Through in the 250 friendly cats as a bonus. Messina with Taormina and Mt Etna would be the second highlight,but dress for it...65 deg to start, 25 deg on Mt Etna. Kotor, Dubronik, Pompeii, and Florence would round out the rest. Not impressed at all with Santorini or Corfu. All in all, if NCL addresses the issues at the top, this would be a great cruise due to the number of stops you are supposed to get to, and the quality of those stops. It is not a relaxing cruise as many of the tours leave early in the am and can last 9 hours, but if you want to take a lot of stops off of your bucket list on one cruise, it is a great trip. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I've given it some serious thought and a few weeks to cool down, but I still feel this way two weeks after disembarking, so here we go: Excursions: Most of our very expensive excursions were completely ruined by older people who ... Read More
I've given it some serious thought and a few weeks to cool down, but I still feel this way two weeks after disembarking, so here we go: Excursions: Most of our very expensive excursions were completely ruined by older people who were clearly mobility challenged and should not have been allowed on the buses for the activity levels described. Our Athens excursion did not include 1/3 of the promised tour because the city was blocked off for an event - we received no notice and no compensation for this reduction. Additionally, the Pompeii excursion was very clearly listed as challenging with no mobility impaired persons allowed and yet there were no less than SIX people with canes on the tour. We got to see about 2 acres of Pompeii before an old lady, who had been complaining about the difficulty of the terrain ad nauseum, fell in the road and had to be helped back out. Why are these clearly mobility impaired people allowed on challenging level excursions? Our money was basically stolen from us to support the needs of these other people. We at no point received the excursions we had paid for because of constant issues with mobility impaired persons. As far as other ports, missing Argostoli & Venice was a bummer, but not the fault of NCL. We very much enjoyed Ravenna other than the bus snafu at the end where we had to wait an hour and a half for the shuttle back to port. Food: The food in the specialty restaurants was fine - I'd say Outback Steakhouse quality, so not really a value for what I was expecting. Le Bistro was good, Cagney's was good, but had a super odd order of operations where you didn't get a drink until like 20 minutes in. La Trattoria was Fazoli's quality pasta and my chicken entree was so overcooked it was completely inedible. The dining rooms were, frankly, disgusting and the menu choices were awful. Once in Garden I was served a baked ziti dish, which for some reason contained raw carrots???? We kept finding very weird items in the food. There was no time onboard where any salad dressing tasted as it should have and all of them seemed to contain sugar for some reason?? It was as if no one in the entire kitchen staff had ever tasted what any of the dishes were actually supposed to be like. Also, in Garden we were given 2 salt shakers instead of a salt & pepper twice - the second time, after we waited about 15 minutes trying to get the attention of someone, my husband got up and walked to an unoccupied table to retrieve pepper at which point a staff member YELLED AT HIM. I guess that was the only way to get their attention. Outside of our specialty credits, we began to eat only at Blue Lagoon and the buffet because of bad experiences in both dining rooms. The choices for the buffet were bizarre, but occasionally palatable. Blue Lagoon was completely hit or miss. Our final meal there, they gave our food away to the table next to us who had just sat down and then didn't notice for a half hour, at which point instead of asking us what we had ordered they just started bringing random items to our table that we refused. When I got frustrated and repeated our order to them, they became very rude thereafter. When correct food was finally delivered to us, the waiter asked in a an angry tone if we needed anything else and I said no at which point he looked at me and said, "GOOD!" and then walked off in a huff. They also seemed to cook a big batch of fries and then double fry them in order to rewarm them when they were ordered, which made them like bricks. Several times we ordered something only to find that they had fried it in the same oil as the fish and it tasted gross. We ate at Shoguns once - I say ate, but really we got food that was so inedible that we got up from the table and went to Blue Lagoon. Our cabin steward was wonderful and much of the bar staff was lovely, specifically everyone at Champagne Charlie's (Christina, Timmy, Ferdinando, etc.) They really made our cruise bearable by being so wonderful and going out of their way to provide the best service on the ship. I think I would have totally lost it if not for them. Speaking of bar staff - when you advertise a whiskey tasting, it should not contain FIVE VERSIONS OF JACK DANIELS. What the heck?? Who even wants that?? If I wanted 5 shots of Jack Daniels for $20, then I'd go back to college. Whose idea was this? It was like there was no oversight of anything from food to beverage. Half the beer taps were broken and the ones that weren’t only served three very odd beers. If you were going to choose one light beer to put on tap, then why on God’s green earth would it be Heineken?! Entertainment: We went to see one show, World Beat, the performers were all very talented, but we found to content of the show to be racist and offensive. For the fan dance, they literally chose the only white woman in the cast to perform it. So weird. It felt like we were somehow trapped in 1975 - the only music options were easy listening and jazz hits. Activities were things like bingo and weird trivia topics? I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone. Ship Condition: As to the condition of the ship? Whoo boy. It really needs that retrofit. Our deck smelled constantly of sewage. Our entire bathroom reeked for most of the journey and the hallway smell was nauseating. The elevators were at NO POINT usable because everyone on the ship was 90, apparently, and incapable of walking up a flight of stairs. The ship should have been put to dry dock months, if not years, ago. NCL had no right to charge money for this as absolutely nothing lived up to advertisement. I would have rather ridden a bus to our destinations. We were just... I can't even tell you how disappointed I was that we spent this kind of money on this cruise. We saved for a long time for this trip and it was utterly ruined for us. I will never sail with or spend money on Norwegian again and I have canceled the one future cruise deposit I had placed before sailing. My entire family was planning to sail a similar itinerary in June across 10 cabins for the graduation of my younger sister and have decided to cancel and go with another cruise line based on our experience. I hope something in this can be helpful, but mostly I feel like we at least deserved to have opinions be heard for how much money we paid and how little we got for it. I didn’t even bother to include here the difficulties we had initially dealing with phone CS and our flights.This was just an all-around bad experience from book to disembark. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose this cruise because it deported from Rome Italy. We cruise November 7 -21 and travelled to Greece island, Santorini,Athens,Mykonos,Dubrovnik Croatia ,missing Venice for the flood. Going to Ravenna italy. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it deported from Rome Italy. We cruise November 7 -21 and travelled to Greece island, Santorini,Athens,Mykonos,Dubrovnik Croatia ,missing Venice for the flood. Going to Ravenna italy. Kotor,Montenegro,Corfu Greece Messina Italy,Naples Italy,Livorno Italy.i was so good to have lots options to choose from lots of different lounges and restaurant. The crew has to be the friendliest ever.The cabin was comfortable.Our cabin steward was very thorough on kept our cabin spotless. Breakfast was very good,dining experience was so good we had flavorful and mouthwatering dish white of quality wines selection. We enjoyed the very talented live band,we also enjoyed Stardust theater we had the best nights. The port and shore excursion was very good for the all the port we have been very professional and organize crew.Le Bistro specialty restaurant was so good we had the best French food and the best assistant metrodee. The best cruise ship. Thanks for the great time Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Norwegian Spirit Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.8
Dining 4.5 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.6
Family 3.5 3.6
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.7
Enrichment 2.0 3.2
Service 5.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates N/A 4.0

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