1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
I am a solo traveler, mid 50s female, experienced cruiser and past crew member. I choose this cruise due to the very port intensive itinerary, and they were amazing. Casablanca was replaced with Tangiers, supposedly due to ... Read More
I am a solo traveler, mid 50s female, experienced cruiser and past crew member. I choose this cruise due to the very port intensive itinerary, and they were amazing. Casablanca was replaced with Tangiers, supposedly due to winds...however, this was announced five days in advance, and was again for the next cruise..so I don't know. Tangiers was amazing, loved it. Funchal was skipped due to high winds, and that was very apparent. I was dissapointed, but couldn't be helped. The remaining ports were all wonderful, interesting and all excursions were well organized. I took an NCL excursion at every port, including disembarkation in Barcelona, all were well worth it. Highly recommend this itinerary. The ship is older, but well maintained. I had an inside cabin, nice. No complaints. Exceptional service throughout, some of the best ever on a cruise. However, this was the quietest, and almost to the point of boring cruise I have taken. Very few activities, and most of those were extra money. No deck activities after 6 pm, ever. The pool deck closed up, lights off and chairs put away by 7 pm every night. Late night food virtually on existent. All food at room service now is $7.99 so obviously that was the goal, if your hungry past 11 pm..you pay. Food was ok. MDR was very good, great service, Buffet was horrible, almost inedible. You can always find a salad, or ice cream..you won't starve, but you most likely will not find a seat. Is is an issue being that they don't open either MDR during port days, and most are early all on boards. I didn't visit any pay venues this time, I'm not buying the new ala cart menus. Incredible entertainment, (NCL has it here), slow bar service (not enough servers), I really miss the thermal spa in these smaller ships. I had the trip of my life...due to the outstanding ports, even with very bad weather the whole 10'days. The ship is pretty and in fine condition...needs better activities. I highly recommend this itinerary. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
IT didn’t actually snow in Tangier. But with trees ferociously bent in the howling wind and people scurrying back to the ship within minutes, sometimes seconds, of disembarking it made us wonder what on earth the weather was like ... Read More
IT didn’t actually snow in Tangier. But with trees ferociously bent in the howling wind and people scurrying back to the ship within minutes, sometimes seconds, of disembarking it made us wonder what on earth the weather was like in Casablanca. After all the Norwegian Cruise Line Spirit team had made a late, late decision to give the scheduled stop of Casablanca a miss “because of adverse weather conditions”. So, in theory, it was “Goodbye Rick’s Bar” and “Hello Kasbah”. In theory, that was. In the event, a large number of those passengers not on the new, rapidly conceived excursions made an abrupt about turn within a few minutes of leaving the port area, giving the hastily-gathered market stalls a miss. Those who did venture a little further found the large doors of the imposing mosque firmly closed for the Friday Sabbath. In between Tangier and Funchal, Madeira, our second cancellation, we had five days of DIY. The maintenance boys really got stuck in and we collected a total of four “Wet Paint” signs from our balcony. Don’t believe me? I’ve still got them to put on my garden gate. It’s waste not or want not in Yorkshire. Inside, the pipe cleaners, sorry … potable engineers, did their bit, switching off the water occasionally and tapping their way around the ship. And so we awoke at 8am on January 30 to watch the spectacular entrance into Funchal harbour, only to see us zooming past the apparently sun-drenched island of Madeira. The explanation from Captain Peter was that the ship occupying our berth, probably one of the Aida vessels, was unable to leave because of the heavy seas and strong winds. It seemed an appropriately wise decision and we turned half left and headed for Malaga with an extra day to complete the journey. Two cancellations on a ten-night, six-stop cruise was an unwanted record for us. As for the rest, we had a half-decent day in Las Palmas, Canary Islands (January 28) where the sun broke through in the afternoon. Another wet day in Santa Cruz, Tenerife (January 29) where we left the outgoing shuttle and caught the next one back. Fair weather in Malaga (February 1) which stayed with us for the trip to Gibraltar. A thoroughly wretched visit to Alicante (February 2) where it ripped it down most of the day, preventing softies like us from even leaving the ship. Finally, a decent day in Barcelona for disembarkation (February 3). Still, we enjoyed plenty of smiles from surreptitious smokers and apparent invalids who suddenly overcame their problems. And the gentleman getting conned in a café in Gibraltar. Having handed over gleaming new £1 UK coins earlier for coffee, he returned for lunch and paid with a note. He only discovered on returning home the coins he received in change were Maltese £1 coins in the old round pound type. Anybody want them? Final thoughts: Small cabins, particularly the balconies. Can only remember the late Ocean Village having a smaller one. Exceptionally comfortable mattresses and good room service, though. The wretched weather and rough, rocking and rolling seas didn’t ruin the cruise by any means. The staff worked hard to make up for it and most were unfailingly polite, with a special mention for the bars and reception. Entertainment was a very good cruise standard, especially with such a large number of nationalities on board. There was a lack of information and maps regarding the places we were to visit (or not, as it turned out) in the daily Freestyle bulletin. All inclusive drinks a very sensible plan, considering the price of a bottle of beer. Would be interesting to know what percentage of the 2,000 punters didn’t take advantage of it. And how many actually drank the two litres of water each day. Obviously a fine weather allowance. Embarkation and particularly disembarkation very smooth and slick. The daftest thing of all! Found two pairs of unworn shorts at the bottom of my case after arriving home. Still, they won’t need ironing for next month’s cruise. Oh yes, and a pair of sandals. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
Last December 2016 we sailed the Spirit. During the cruise we had concerns which was not addressed on the ship...missed ports charges not refunded, bad bed, cabin ...etc but NCL HO had offered OBC if we would give them a second chance. ... Read More
Last December 2016 we sailed the Spirit. During the cruise we had concerns which was not addressed on the ship...missed ports charges not refunded, bad bed, cabin ...etc but NCL HO had offered OBC if we would give them a second chance. We wanted to get away in January and decided to give NCL another chance. When we booked a guaranteed inside cabin, NCL assigned the cabin 2 days after booking which was a pleasant surprise to be on deck 10 mid ship. We found usually guaranteed inside are assigned prior to sailing and the cabin in the lower deck aft or forward. When we were offered a chance to upgrade we turned it down because we liked where our cabin was. What we experienced was the embarkation process was one of the best we have experienced ( 18 prior cruises) unlike the last time we were left in the dark at the port alone. The crew was very friendly and seem genuine welcoming as compared to frazzled and stressed on our prior NCL cruise. As the cruise progressed we noticed a lot of trays of dishes were dropped. Could the ratio of passengers to crew be higher than it should? Could it be overworked and tired staff feeling the effects of being overworked due to missing and changing of 2 ports that affected their scheduled day off or extra work? The Blue Lagoon was our favourite grazing place as the food was cooked fresh. At Raffles still had not improved since the last cruise as there was no change of menu items and the food was a combination of overcooked, dry, mushy, mangled and hard. The food at the Windows and Garden was much more enjoyable. One of the disappointments was no rack of lamb, steak and lobster, shrimp cocktail and other items included on other cruise lines but only available on NCL at the speciality dining for extra cost. We gave it a go and found the food to be nice but not worth the price when others include the items as part of the regular menu. Be aware that VAT is charged on everything whether the ship is in port or out to sea. Other cruise companies do not charge VAT once out of port. I wonder if NCL keeps the VAT if cruisers do not make a VAT refund claim. The Spirit missed Casablanca due to high winds as communicated by the captain and instead we docked in Tangiers. Missed Rick's cafe...Here's looking at you. We did the NCL shore excursion as NCL did not give ample notice of the change in port and did not allow free internet access to change plans for Casablanca. The shore excursion was well organized, enjoyable and informative. Being a Friday, not a lot of shops were open except the NCL sponsor Artisan craft market. The other port we missed was Funchal. Because there was a ship in our port berth we missed the port. The good news is that NCL refunded the port charges of $7 but as far as we experience this amount seems to small for a popular port. Unlike other cruise companies, did not allow free internet access to change any plans we may have made or offer any OBC for the inconvenience...so much for customer service. We found that the staff information access is so compartmentalized that whenever we ask a questions we were directed to someone else or see information at the port. The Spirit has very little public space so there was very little activities and all the gathering places were very busy on sea days. The cruise director was much more interesting than on our prior cruise. He did say if you didn't enjoy the cruise rate it EXCELLLENT since you aren't coming back anyways. If you were to add in all the cost of VAT, speciality dining, no coffee card, extra cost of last minute shore excursions, and the higher cost of items at the shops, NCL may be more expensive that the other choices. Well the over all experience on the ship was ok. If it was not for the itinerary NCL would not be our first choice. Would we cruise NCL again? Yes if the itinerary and price is right. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
Barcelona to The Canaries and back. "Truth in Advertising" confession. I'm a big fan of NCL and also a fan of smaller ships. The Spirit and The Canaries itinerary were wonderful. Tho the itinerary had some weather ... Read More
Barcelona to The Canaries and back. "Truth in Advertising" confession. I'm a big fan of NCL and also a fan of smaller ships. The Spirit and The Canaries itinerary were wonderful. Tho the itinerary had some weather glitches, I am about to say that the Spirit is my favourite NCL ship so far (and it is my fifth one. Others include the Sun, the Star, the Jade, and the Epic.) With the exception of missing an O'Sheghan's, the Spirit met or exceeded every expectation. I had most recently sailed Transatlantic on the Epic (too big, too noisy) and was looking forward to a smaller ship and better experience. I was very happy with everything on the ship itself. The cruise directors were energised without being so over-the-top as they often can be. Both main dining rooms were equally attractive. As so many other reviewers have commented here and elsewhere, the crew is exceptional. The spa is a bit lacking compared to the other ships. It doesn't have the Thermal Spa membership option but does have steam and dry saunas gratis. And the fitness centre was never too busy. The forward facing Galaxy of the Stars is a great venue and the atrium is a wonderful place to hangout, with or without the musical offerings. I had an oceanview, deck 8 forward, and was surprised and very happy with the cabin size. I also got a look in an inside cabin and, unlike other ships I've been on, the inside cabin was the same size as the oceanview. One of the positives (and one of the reasons i like the Sun so much): The Spirit has a very large outdoor eating and casual area off Raffles, the buffet. The outdoor area is three decks high, aft-facing. A big, big plus on a sunny cruise. And Raffles straddles the whole ship with windows both port and starboard. Humorously, when compared to the Epic, what would have been halfway from bow to stern on the Epic was the whole length of the ship on the Spirit - or so it felt. And three banks of stairs and lifts/elevators. It isn't an exaggeration to say that, half the time, I had a lift all to myself. While the weather on this cruise was less than ideal, I liked the itinerary and the ship so much I am considering taking the same cruise again both for the ship experience and to see the two ports we missed from the original itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
Not to many places to relax and read etc. Unfortunatley the weather was poor, so we missed Maidera altogether, high winds and Casablanca was cancelled into Tangier instead. Cabins were on the small side with the narrowist balcony ... Read More
Not to many places to relax and read etc. Unfortunatley the weather was poor, so we missed Maidera altogether, high winds and Casablanca was cancelled into Tangier instead. Cabins were on the small side with the narrowist balcony ever! Most people it seemed were on a drinks package, so they were getting louder and 'redder' in the face as the days wore on!!! We booked the whole day tour to Grenada, 9hrs, which was excellent, the guide was really good and had a very nice way about him...but be prepared it gets very cold there in winter, as so near the Sierra Nevada mountains. The food was good and plentiful, although no 'lobster' night, so corners had been cut. We were considering doing a transatlantic with them but have changed our minds and will probably go with Celebrity.( plus i've read the cabin set up on the Epic is very wierd with the sink in the cabin, not behind a closed door!) The quizzes were average , often repeating questions we've heard previously, although its a social way of mixing with others. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We chose this cruise to visit the Casablanca, the Canary Islands and the Alhambra. Before the cruise we spent 2 1/2 unique days in Barcelona, a fascinating city even though one of our bags was stolen in Placa Espanya. We highly ... Read More
We chose this cruise to visit the Casablanca, the Canary Islands and the Alhambra. Before the cruise we spent 2 1/2 unique days in Barcelona, a fascinating city even though one of our bags was stolen in Placa Espanya. We highly recommend saving money and enjoying being part of a small group by booking shore excursions with Cruising Excursions and other non-NCL companies. They were professions, thorough and made sure we were back at the ship in plenty of time. We booked an excursion at every port on the cruise. Positive NCL Comments 1) Agent who checked us in was very good. He was able to get us checked in even though we didn’t have their pre-printed bag tags or boarding passes, because of the stolen bag. He was professional and very knowledgeable and very helpful. 2) Our room steward was excellent. He kept the room clean, the bathroom supplied with fresh towels, ice in the container, and made cute towel animals. He was very personable, and very efficient. 3) The young lady who cut my wife's hair in the on-board salon was also very good. She, too, was personable, caring, and very good at her job. 4) The staff in the Raffles Cafeteria was good. They kept things clean; they kept the food trays full; and some of them got to know our faces. They did all this while keeping a low profile and working efficiently. Negative NCL Issues 1) The NCL “drill sergeant” who conducted the safety training should be sent back to the Army! She went way beyond what was needed in ordering us to line up for hear the presentation. She needs to be reminded that you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar. Yelling at adults to stay in line was out of line. None of us where fresh Army recruits requiring a too strong hand and voice. That was our first real impression of what NCL life would be. It was not pleasant and made us wonder if every employee on the ship would be like her. Her attitude gave us an extremely negative first impression of Norwegian Cruise Lines. 2) We had been spoiled by the impressive operating philosophy at Viking Cruises. On our cruise less than one year ago, Viking provided free unlimited internet (NCL Charged $400), free Cola, except at the bars (NCL charges $3.50 per can). We quickly tired of all the NCL extra cost "Packages" that they kept pushing on us. 3) The employees, in what we guess was the ship’s store, were generally unconcerned with customer service. They were short and argumentative. From the outside, the ship’s store looks like it only sells expensive perfume and Gucci bags. There is no clue that the store contains necessities like a tooth brush, shampoo, deodorant or candy bars. A small sign in one window stating that basic necessities were available in the store, would have been very helpful. Only one sign identified, but that was covered up by an advertisement. When we suggested this to one employee she replied that what we were recommending would require completely rebuilding the ship. 4) Toward the end of the cruise, in one of the display areas near the ship’s store, an undated sign appeared reading: “T-shirts. 2 for $20” To us it looked like they were available in the store immediately. When we asked we were told, "No, the shirts would not be available for another two days." When asking how we would know that, we got a look like we were total idiots. With the answer "We’ve always done it that way." One clerk said they always put the sign up two days ahead of the sale, as if we should have known. Where is that communicated? This was our first cruise with NCL ! 5) The night the shirts were set up for sale, one page of the daily paper said 7:30 PM, the other inconsistently said 8:00PM. We went down at 7:30 and waited. When two tables were set up we went over at started to look at them. We were scolded by the store manager as if we were small children! “Don’t touch those shirts! Don’t get near them! Don’t touch!” (The drill sergeant attitude again.) A polite, calm: “please wait until we have all the tables up” would have accomplished the same thing without leaving a bad taste. 6) Our impression of the NCL policy is to add additional charges at every opportunity with a typical attitude of “That’s the way it is.” We will not travel with NCL again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
We chose this cruise primarily on price and secondly for its itinerary. This was our 6 th NCL cruise and our first in an inside cabin. We had a fully inclusive package. As Gold members with a drinks package we had 40 large bottles of water ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily on price and secondly for its itinerary. This was our 6 th NCL cruise and our first in an inside cabin. We had a fully inclusive package. As Gold members with a drinks package we had 40 large bottles of water in our room. In such a small cabin I don’t think we need them all in one go. We didn’t drink our comp bottle of sparkling wine partly because we had no balcony and frankly there are far nicer wines available by the glass.We offered it to our Room Adsistant who declined as she said it wasn’t very nice. Positives Excellent value for money Food and service in the Speciality Restaurants was excellent The quality of our drinks was first class. Some good wines by the glass , premium brands in mixed drinks and cocktails and large measures Ship is well maintained and looks good in the public areas for her age . She has a pretty theatre and central space in the Atrium Entertainment was good Excellent service everywhere with exception of Windows and the Garden Room Easy embarkation and disembarking Issue with noisy neighbors dealt with effectively the following day Negatives Noise issues in our cabin ( banging wardrobe door and loud vibrations when docking usually very early in the morning) The first night we had no sleep from noisy neighbors, called security about 2am but continued until 6 am. Slow service in the main restaurants had to leave one morning without breakfast Strong odour in the corridor outside of our room appears carpet has been wet and dried out. Needs air fresheners in the past corridor . Saw drips in several places in the corridor room assistant said it always happens they can’t find cause. Bathroom tiles were old and worn. Hairdryer very old and not effective. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
This was our first time on the NCL Spirit and our 9th NCL cruise overall. It is the smallest ship in the fleet and is about 20 years old. It's been refurbished periodically. The ship is elegant, lots of wood and art. It's not a glitzy ... Read More
This was our first time on the NCL Spirit and our 9th NCL cruise overall. It is the smallest ship in the fleet and is about 20 years old. It's been refurbished periodically. The ship is elegant, lots of wood and art. It's not a glitzy ship, no bright colors. The atrium has three glass elevators. There were about 2000 guests. Weather was in the 50s and 60s (F), no rain. The two main dining rooms serve the same menu. Windows dining room has a high ceiling and large windows facing aft. The Garden dining room has lower ceilings and a more intimate feel. The food and service were very good. We love the freestyle concept and show up whenever we want to eat, getting a table for the two of us, or more if we feel like sharing a table. There is no requirement to share a table, and no requirement to be at dinner at any seating time. No dress code either, except for no shorts in Windows at night. The menus have classic options available daily (steak, fish, chicken, lasagna) and varying options daily: different fish, beef, pork and chicken. There is a lot to choose from, and the salads and soups are really good. Of course dessert is always great, and there is fresh fruit available too The buffet is best for a quick meal and there are a ton of choices. The Indian selections are really tasty, plus lots of sandwiches, hot carving station, fresh fruit, desserts, etc. The buffet is open 24/7. We ate in two specialty restaurants. Le Bistro is the French restaurant and it has the best service. The food was awesome: we had lamb chops one night and I had the beef filet another night. There is escargot, great onion soup, amazing desserts. Le Bistro was totally a highlight. We also ate in Trattoria, the Italian restaurant. It is more casual comfort food. We had the chicken parmesan and tiramisu for dessert. Very good. My husband and I enjoy ballroom dancing and there was a live band to dance to every night in the Galaxy, a large room with a good sized dance floor. The bands varied, sometimes it was the Spirit show band, a pop/rock band or a duo. All very good. The entertainment was good quality: song/dance by the NCL cast, Elements show that has been on most of the cruises, hypnotist, etc. The gym was sufficient and there were classes everyday, some were free, some were a charge. The shore excursions we booked through NCL were ok. I am not a fan of the busload tourism style but it was not easy to find other options on this Canary Islands itinerary. We like to do non-ship tours and were able to do that only for one port. The port we liked best was Madeira, and the tour was good. At the Malaga stop we went to Gibraltar and that was very interesting (small monkeys roam free, there is a cave) and a small city at the foot of the rock. The Casablanca stop was my least favorite. The tour was not great (city overview and mosque). The guide did not build in stops for bathroom, food or water--in six hours. We did stop at a store, not the market, and it was expensive and had the feel of a tourist trap. We would go on this itinerary again and we would go on the Spirit again. It had a really nice feel to it and everything was very convenient. The crew was excellent, from the captain on down. Seemed to be well run and there is obviously pride in the crew for their ship. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We flew in the day before and stayed at the Avenida Palace hotel which was a great central location just one block from Catalonia square. We got the bus to the square from the airport and just walked our bags to the hotel. They stored them ... Read More
We flew in the day before and stayed at the Avenida Palace hotel which was a great central location just one block from Catalonia square. We got the bus to the square from the airport and just walked our bags to the hotel. They stored them for us as our room was not quite ready so we went off for lunch. When we got back they had upgraded us to a suite which was a great treat. The next day we stepped outside the hotel and realised the taxi station was right to the side of the hotel, so we took a cab to port. Arrived at the ship by 11am expecting a long queue and wait to board, however we were inside and settled by 11.15am. We went to get a drink to start our holiday and were immediately informed that there would be a 10% charge on all drinks taken in any Spanish port plus any time sailing within a 5 miles area off the coast of Spain. We were last on this ship in Sept 2017 and there was no tax that time! We ate breakfast a few times in Windows MDR, service was excellent but sometimes slow due to lack of staff - I think most guests ate in the buffet so perhaps staff were sent there. We bought the 3 speciality dining package so ate 2 times in Cagneys steakhouse and once in the Italian Trattioria. Both times in Cagneys the food was excellent, staff helpful, and the Italian was very good. We felt the food had improved in every area since our last trip when we felt everything was heavily salted. The Asian shogun has a small menu, but enough to choose and again food had improved since our visit a few months ago. We ate a few evenings in the Garden Room, the smaller MDR and were always seated in one area and were well looked after by the lovely Natalia. The buffet as usual was enormous with lots of lovely dishes, a different roast carvers every day - I would have liked to have seen proper roast potatoes, some fresh carrots, and possibly Yorkshire puddings and gravy on the roast beef days, as the veggies always seemed to be broccoli and cauliflower. The chef was standing by the offer fresh stir fry, so you could pick your own veggies for that. Also nice to see some curry dishes which were delicious and scones and jam, cream for cream teas on the afternoon. We spent most evenings in The Galaxy of the stars bar and lounge. Most nights something was going on followed by the house band - okayish, but sadly all the entertainment ended early just as people were starting to dance and relax, they would move DJ and music etc to Maharanis nightclub which is always quiet and such a dark dull place, we just turned right around and went back to the Galaxy until 1am ish. The bar staff here were such a bunch of great guys, juggling, cocktail making and generally very entertaining. Ports- Barcelona, well what can I say. You have to stay here a couple of days before cruise at least. Hop on off bus to see the sights, trip inside sagrida familiar, Gaudi Park Guell, the cable car, magic fountain light show, las Ramblas, the fabulous food market etc. Lots to see and do. Sea Day- lots of things to do, dance classes, movie in the theatre, read, library, spa. We also had a meet and greet which was a nice way to meet some new people from around the world, exchange ideas for trips etc. NCL provided us with refreshments, pastries and several senior crew came to introduce themselves and have a chat. Casablanca - ummm! We pre booked a private excursion. I would not attempt to go out into the city alone, it’s a long walk off the ship out of port. Our guided tour took us to the beautiful mosque, both inside and out. We then went to see the palace, the habous district, the food market and the Catholic Church. We were walked along the streets with our guide, with armed police and soldiers never letting us out of their sight, the guide asking police if we could enter certain streets. Some of our group wanted to visit Ricks cafe from the movie Casablanca and were most upset to learn that the movie was made totally in Hollywood and that a French lady had actually opened a cafe to look like the one in the movie. We returned to ship one hour earlier than planned. Gran Canaria - great day spent wandering a couple of blocks back from the ship through the old fisherman district and to a large beach. There were sand carvings to look at and we learned about the resident snakes that live on the beach there. We walked back to the ship via an old tiny castle. Tenerife- we had visited Tenerife 3 times before but not Santa Cruz. We walked to see the large Botanical Garden which was high up with some wonderful flowers, plants etc from around the world. Lots of huge butterflies too. There were some lovely points to stop and take photos. Also just before a magnificent building looks like the opera house in Sydney with some great views on the top of the stairs and some great paintings on the volcanic rocks by the sea of famous people in the music business. We walked back into the local market and had the most amazing organic ice cream. Madeira - walked off the ship by 08.30 to see someone selling hop on hop off bus tickets. This also provided a small shuttle bus to get to the big red bus. The driver of the little bus took us straight to get the cable car, it was just before 9am and we beat the ncl bus excursions by about 5 mins so we’re on the 2nd cable car of the day. We went up to Monte, then decided to miss the gardens, got straight into a wicker toboggan. Hilarious ride and a must. This takes you halfway down, to a shop and cafe plus buy your photo that was taken flying down the hill in the toboggan. We decided to walk the remainder rather than wait for the bus. It was a tough walk but we saw lots of quaint houses and flowers galore in the streets. At the bottom we got the bus trip red route and it was great to see further out of town. We got back and went to town, saw the market, and climbed to the lovely gardens at the side of the ship. Malaga - we hopped onto the train to visit Fuengirola along the coast as had been to Malaga a lot of times in the past. Alicante - we met family living here and just went up the castle to take in the views which were amazing and spend the day catching up over a few drinks on the seafront. All in all a great cruise for us. The sea was not as choppy as we thought it would be. The ship is old, but she’s a great ship and full of character. The staff were all absolutely amazing. Washy washy were everywhere, and we saw no sign of any dirt. The staff seemed to be very happy in their jobs despite some challenging guests. I think out of the 3 times we have been on the Spirit in the last 5 years this was our best trip yet. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
NORWEGIAN SPIRIT 10-DAY SPAIN AND MOROCCO JANUARY 4 TO 14, 2018 We have taken over 30 cruises on various cruise lines, the majority of them with Norwegian Cruise Line. We choose NCL because we like their freestyle approach since ... Read More
NORWEGIAN SPIRIT 10-DAY SPAIN AND MOROCCO JANUARY 4 TO 14, 2018 We have taken over 30 cruises on various cruise lines, the majority of them with Norwegian Cruise Line. We choose NCL because we like their freestyle approach since it means we don’t have to carry suits and ties for formal evenings. It also means that we are free to dine at the time of our choice and we can have a table for two or share with others if we choose to do so. The other cruise lines offer similar, but cannot deliver as easily as NCL because a freestyle approach is difficult for them to manage as they prefer two fixed services where guests always have the same table and the same wait-staff. The ship Norwegian Spirit is the smallest and oldest ship in the NCL fleet. The ship was originally part of Star Cruises and operated under the name Star Leo. It was a gift from the then CEO of Star Cruises to his wife and served its early years on itineraries in Asia. This explains the decor. On boarding the ship, we saw life-size terra cotta warriors and gold dragons as well as oriental panels in black or gold with flower motifs. Until we learned its history, we thought Norwegian Spirit had been decorated in Asian fashion because it was scheduled to go to Asia. Not so, and in my opinion the ship should be dry-docked to have its decor and carpetting updated to something more modern and much more neutral. The stateroom We had a balcony stateroom (11630) with one of the smallest balconies I have ever seen on a ship. It was impossible to sit comfortably to watch the sea sail by. The chairs had to be placed to face each other, which meant turning your head to look out at the sea. This was not very comfortable. The room was smaller than we expected. It was decorated well enough. The bed was comfortable and we had a sofa. There was a table with one chair opposite the sofa. The table was held a tray containing a small coffee maker, 2 cups and a supply of coffee and tea, sugar and powder creamers. The table was too crowded by the tray to be used for writing or any other function. Instead, it became extra storage space for wallets, watches and coins. I suppose the original function of this furnitre was a make-up table. There was also one night table on which the phone, which took up most of the table space, was placed. A drawer and a shelf in the night table housed my book, tablet, and mobile phone. There was a shelf unit containing a mini-bar and another with a flat screen TV in a wall-unit type furniture. Between the two is where the ice bucket was placed, and the heat from the mini-bar melted most of the ice. The unit also contained 4 small drawers that did not hold much. We used them to store small items of clothing like socks and underwear. The closet had an adequate supply of hangers and had 5 shelves which were rather awkward to access. It had sliding doors which often became stuck and would not open or close. It was a challenging job to move them. I gave up and asked our stateroom attendant to fix it. The doors were held closed by magents, but in rough seas, teh doors simply slid open and closed while we tried to get clothes out. Our neighbours, who must have been partying all night, surely did not know to close the doors correctly because their closet doors slid back and forth all night. Quite annoying. The bathroom was a self-contained unit with separate shower unit and toilet unit on each side of the sink. Our stateroom attendant maade sure it was well-stocked with shower gel, hand soap and conditioning shampoo. The floors were non-slip yellow tile and the walls were tiled. It was nice, but dated. It could have used a modern touch. We had fresh towels every day. Dining We had several dining options, but we had most of our meals in Windows, one of the complimentary restaurants. On ports days, Windows was closed for lunch so we went to Raffles, the buffet restaurant. The food in each of these venues was well-prepared and tasty. There were always sufficient choices, even for a choosy eater like me. We have reached the Platinum Plus Latitudes Rewards level. This awarded us two complimentary dinners for two at the specialty restaurants with a main meal that cost up to $20US; if the main you choose if more expensive the upcharge is charged to your onboard account. The first ticket allowed us to dine at Le Bistro or Cagney’s and to have a bottle of wine with the meal. The second ticket permitted us to dine at La Trattoria or Moderno Churrascaria (but Moderno does not exist on the Spirit). We chose Le Bistro and La Trattoria. Everything we ordered at Le Bistro was excellent, and the service was top-notch. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same of La Trattoria. I ordered the penne appetizer. The pasta was overcooked, to the point of falling apart. The sauce was too salt, even though I had requested no salt through my special diet order. While the appetizer was too hot, the main was too cold. But the bread and the coffee were perfect! Service was adequate. We were quite surprised at the limitations on the specialty restaurants awarded to Platinum Plus members. On previous sailings with Norwegian, we had a wider choice of specialty restaurants. We could go to any of the restaurants for our meal and order any main on the menu, and any item with an extra charge was posted to our stateroom account. With each retaurant we had a bottle of wine from the complimentary selection. We found the change from this practice to be rather restrictive. I do not care for Cagney’s; it is a steakhouse. Moderno serves meat dishes mainly, and as I do not eat any red meats both of these venues are out if the question for me. Besides, my partner and I both like Le Bistro for the food and the atmosphere. You do not have to have a Latitudes status to try the specialtyrestaurants. The are open to all guests and willincur a charge per person that is charged to your onboard account. You can also reserve them through your MyNCL account or wait till you are on board to do so. You may purchase the Ultimate Dining Package (UDP) when you book your cruise. The UDP allows you to dine at a specific number of restaurants during the length of your cruise, and the number is determined by the length of your cruise. If you enjoy alcoholic beverage or sodas, you can also purchase the Ultimate Beverage Package (UBP) or the Ultimate Soda Package (USP). These packages allow to enjoy the drinks of your choice, served one at a time per person, at any venue where alcohol or sodas are served. We have never purchased either of these packages because we do not drink enough of either one to say itis a benefit. Those people we know who enjoy imbibing during vacation have told us it a real benefit for them. Since you cannot purchase alcohol on shore to bring onto the ship for your personal consumption, and now you can no longer bring sodas back on board, these packages seem to be the best way to enjoy your favourite drinks. NCL has even cracked down on passengers bringing back bottles of water from shore purchases. Not knowing the regulation about water (we knew about alcohol and sodas), we purchase bottles on shore. They were taken from us, even though we had drunk from them, and thrown into the trash. Instead, NCL wants you to purchase 1-liter bottles of water on board at a cost of about $4US per bottle. I absolutely refuse to pay this outrageous amount when I can buy a 2-liter bottle for less than 1 euro in some places. This is a wholely ridiculous practice. I understand about alcohol and soda, but water? It’s insane. Latitude Rewards When we first qualified for any Latitudes Rewards, one of the things we enjoyed was the free laundry service added to our level. It is a small thing, but it is important. Originally, we were told we could send laundry as often as we liked and that meant we could bring fewer clothes which translated into carrying a smaller suitcase. Now, we are permitted one bag per Platinum Plus member and only once during the cruise. This means carrying a few more clothes in a larger suitcase, and timing the wash so that it is done near the end of the cruise so that we have clean clothes to take home or for our stay in the city after disembarkation. Things have changed at NCL. It seems like NCL has cut back on its rewards programmes to loyal guests, and that makes the company appear cheap to me. Gone are the days when a box of Godiva chocolates containing 8 pieces was part of the rewards. That was cut to a box half the size, and now it has disappeared altogether. These were nice gestures from the company to welcome loyal guests back onboard another cruise, and it is sad that they have been stopped. We will consider NCL as an option for a future cruise, but they may not be the final choice. The staff are the main reason we return. They are wonderful, friendly and hard-working people. Other considerations, such as itinerary and costs, will go into the mix. And if we cannot have freestyle on another line, there is always the buffet for our meals. Read Less
Norwegian Spirit Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.8
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 5.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.6
Family 4.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.7
Enrichment 2.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.0

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