I read A LOT of reviews about NCL and The Spirit before we cruised, and found the most helpful reviews were those which highlighted the best and worst of their experience. Therefore, I will summarize my experience using the same rating categories on Cruise Critic with the hope this review will help you have a great cruise... just like the one we just came home from! I'll also highlight those things I found very special and would recommend.
EMBARKATION: It could not have been much easier (unless they just let us walk on the ship). HINT: We did arrive fairly early before any lines may have formed. We arrived at the SEA-TAC airport about 9:30 a.m. We asked an NCL sign-holder where to find the buses where we could buy our own ticket (and not have to pay more by booking through NCL). We found the desk for this bus inside the building near the door next to the #1 luggage pick-up station. You can buy a Gray-Line one-way ticket to Pier 66 at Bell Street for $12 p/p. After you get your ticket, be sure you ask around and get the right bus line to stand in, because we stood in the wrong line at first. The bus came about 10 and we arrived at the pier about 10:45 a.m. We went straight through the lines to get our boarding pass... and then about 11:30 a.m. they started letting people board. By about noon, we were on the ship and soon after in our room. Lunch was available at the Raffles buffet and at the beautiful Windows restaurant. HINT: Go to Windows, it was not busy and the service and food are great! I enjoyed the skirt-steak.
PUBLIC ROOMS: This was our 5th cruise, and our 5th cruise line, and The Spirit is the most beautiful and clean ship we have enjoyed. I liked it better than the Disney Magic which is also a beautiful ship. The Windows restaurant had a great atmosphere: Grand and lavish. The Garden restaurant is beautiful and elegant. The lobby is expansive and impressive. The smaller restaurants are intimate and detailed well (we tried the Teppanyaki and Le Bistro). The 24 hour snack bar (Blue Lagoon is small and a LOT of foot traffic has to walk through the small dining room). The Galaxy of the Stars is a nice place to view the cruise from the front (forward) of the ship. The Kids Club in the back (aft) of the ship looked great. I think our kids would have loved it (if they had been with us). I enjoyed the library and game room. The pool area is really beautiful and if you get good weather, you will enjoy the deck. Though our ship was full (I was told there were over 2,000 people on board with another 950 crew -- the ship did not seem crowded or packed.)