Norwegian Spirit Venice to Barcelona: Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review by icini

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Norwegian Spirit Venice to Barcelona

Sail Date: September 2012
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Venice
We are a husband and wife both very active and still working. The trip was in celebration of my 65th birthday. We flew independently from Gatwick a day early and spent a full day in Venice before joining the ship. Embarkation was quite easy and our bags were in our stateroom within an hour. It was an inside room, clean and perfectly adequate with a good bathroom. The bed was the best I've had on holiday in years. The cabin steward was helpful and polite.
The ship was rather old but well looked after and clean and tidy at all times. Public rooms were good and there was enough space to avoid overcrowding most of the time. Children would have been well catered for though there were few of them on board.

Food was adequate, but only just. Quality in the main self service restaurant was ok but variety was limited. The two main free restaurants, Windows and Garden room, were nice with attentive staff, perhaps too attentive. Unfortunately the menu was rather limited, more or More less the same in both places and changed very little from day to day. No doubt this was to encourage guests to use the alternative venues which had an extra cover charge. I think this is cheating.

We were unhappy with the expensive extra service charge added daily to our onboard account, it's nearly impossible to avoid it. I do understand this ship is mainly for American guests and that they have a different tipping culture. For UK clients however it is simply a rip off. Norwegian need to pay staff properly and include the cost in headline pricing. The staff are good, but no better than in other ships where such charges are included, Thomson for example. This is Ryanair type stuff.
The captain gave a sort of report every evening, which was both informative and amusing.
Entertainment was usual cruise standard, just about passable. The Flamenco show was a good example, nothing like the real thing, more like Madrid variety TV than Andalusian passion.

Shore trips were quite good but overpriced, a very few people did take advantage of the mandatory shopping stops but I do dislike having lost time at historical sites so someone can buy a carpet.
Disembarkation at Barcelona. There were very long lines waiting for a taxi, it was raining hard so perhaps this was unusual. We know this city well and it was no problem at all for us but it may be a bit hard for anyone with a late flight, lumbered with cases etc. (Google: "Locker Barcelona" for help with this).

I may seem rather critical about this cruise but we did enjoy it. The ports of call were perfect, ship and staff just fine, basic price was good value and we met some very nice people, including a younger Venezuelan couple who quickly became good friends. It was fun. My only real complaint is the great lengths Norwegian go to in order to extract as much extra cash as possible, all cruise lines do so but this was over the top. Less

Published 09/23/12
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Port and Shore Excursions

Grand Bazaar

Great place. No guide provided for Bazaar and easy to get lost.

Underground Cistern

Tour was fine but rushed. Will have to return. An amazing city, much cleaner than I expected. Very easy to get lost in Bazaar.

Just wonderful. Will need to return for long weekend. Waterbus is best way of moving round. If you overnight in hotel before joining ship make sure you know how to get into town center before leaving home. Eat and drink in side streets.
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