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My wife and I were first time cruisers. We sailed in mid-July from Seattle to Alaska. Overall we had a great time and enjoyed our trip. One of the highlights was sitting the hot tub on the pool deck, sipping margaritas and watching ice flows go by in Tracy Arm Fjord. Was that cool or what? The biggest bummer was listening to seasoned cruisers who were accustomed to the way other lines did things. Probably their biggest complaint was Freestyle dining. More about that later. Since we had no frame of reference, it seemed fine to us. We were sorry to see our week on with NCL end. EMBARKATION - Fairly orderly but quite slow. Another couple arrived around noon and zipped right on the ship. We followed instructions and showed up at 1pm and waited an hour to get onboard. The non-Latitudes lines where kind of like waiting for a ride a Disney World. PUBLIC AREAS - Very nice!!! The ship is very attractive. The only area we didn't care for was the casino. That's because we're non-smokers and we were forced to be second hand smokers to spend any length of time in there. Every other area of the ship was great. CABIN - We had a balcony cabin. It was definitely the way to go to Alaska since there is so much to see all of the time. Because of jet lag we woke up at 5am on the first morning, but since we were passing Campbell River, BC it was not a bad thing. It's amazing to see how close the ship passes to shore in the inside passage. Cabin was comfortable and we had enough closet, drawer and cubby hole space. Bathroom was larger and nicer than most ships I'm told. I guess it will be the standard against which we'll measure all other cruise. FITNESS & RECREATION - The gym was limited to a few bikes, treadmills and stair steppers as well as free weights. I would have also preferred an elliptical machine or two. Walking track, basketball court and golf cages were good. VALUE FOR PRICE - It seemed reasonable when compared to other cruise lines we investigated. The automatic tipping was fine, since it's at least what we would have given. I didn't sense any drop in service because of it. The only thing about value is that NCL seemed a bit like Disney World in their effort to drain dollars from your account. Just about everything seemed a bit overpriced including drinks, bingo and the incessant promotion of "crackits". DINING - Generally pretty good. We mostly ate in Windows and a few times in Raffles. My only observations are that Freestyle dining might at times be more like free-for-all dining. The serving staff lacked much personality, except for Christina Hemek, who was really great and helpful. The waiters were generally good, though a few were a bit over the top. One even asked us to give him a good rating on the comment cards. I might have, if he had been better than some of the others. The Maitre d', was quite attentive. We quickly learned that sitting near the windows meant there wouldn't be much conversation at larger tables due to engine or propeller noise and vibration. Since we were on an Alaska cruise, more Alaska fare seemed in order but missing. Salmon one night, but never any halibut or king crab legs. Raffles was usually crowded and not well managed in terms of directing guests. Also it closed at 11:30pm, so late night snacks were limited. Many desserts in Raffles lacked flavor, though they looked good. ENTERTAINMENT - The shows were excellent. The NCL players and band were very entertaining. The individual acts were less so. The comedian was not my cup of tea. and the magician was so-so. The singer on Thursday night was okay but a bit full of herself. The theatre was very nice. The Chocoholic event was awesome. We had to got to Raffles afterward to get milk to offset the chocolate. SERVICE – Our cabin stewards, Luis and Umbo, could not have been more attentive. They were great. When my large suitcase did not fit under the bed, they cheerfully stored it in their locker and returned it on Friday. Service everywhere else was pleasant. SHORE EXCURSION – We did the Misty Fjord boat in Ketchikan, deluxe glacier and city tour in Juneau and White Pass RR in Skagway. These were all great experiences. If you do the White Pass RR, stand on the platform to take pictures. I did ask the White Pass folks how much a ticket costs and found it was $10 cheaper than what NCL charged (see above about value and being like Disney World). Prince Rupert was a downer. Not much to do there that we hadn’t already done better in Alaska. We took a $1 bus trip where the head of the Chamber of Commerce gave the guided tour talk. Great value but not much to see. Seems like the Spirit could have gone to Sitka or somewhere better than PR. OVERALL – Even though a few things could have been done better, we really enjoyed this cruise and the Spirit. We’re thinking of taking another cruise next year to the Caribbean. Since we don’t want to travel to NY, I guess it won’t be on the Spirit. I hope it is as enjoyable as our Alaska trip was.

Norwegian Spirit - Alaska

Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review by metsfan

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2005
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony
My wife and I were first time cruisers. We sailed in mid-July from Seattle to Alaska. Overall we had a great time and enjoyed our trip. One of the highlights was sitting the hot tub on the pool deck, sipping margaritas and watching ice flows go by in Tracy Arm Fjord. Was that cool or what? The biggest bummer was listening to seasoned cruisers who were accustomed to the way other lines did things. Probably their biggest complaint was Freestyle dining. More about that later. Since we had no frame of reference, it seemed fine to us. We were sorry to see our week on with NCL end.
EMBARKATION - Fairly orderly but quite slow. Another couple arrived around noon and zipped right on the ship. We followed instructions and showed up at 1pm and waited an hour to get onboard. The non-Latitudes lines where kind of like waiting for a ride a Disney World.
PUBLIC AREAS - Very nice!!! The ship is very attractive. The only area we didn't care for was the casino. That's because we're non-smokers and we were forced to be second hand smokers to spend any length of time in there. Every other area of the ship was great.
CABIN - We had a balcony cabin. It was definitely the way to go to Alaska since there is so much to see all of the time. Because of jet lag we woke up at 5am on the first morning, but since we were passing Campbell River, BC it was not a bad thing. It's amazing to see how close the ship passes to shore in the inside passage. Cabin was comfortable and we had enough closet, drawer and cubby hole space. Bathroom was larger and nicer than most ships I'm told. I guess it will be the standard against which we'll measure all other cruise.
FITNESS & RECREATION - The gym was limited to a few bikes, treadmills and stair steppers as well as free weights. I would have also preferred an elliptical machine or two. Walking track, basketball court and golf cages were good.
VALUE FOR PRICE - It seemed reasonable when compared to other cruise lines we investigated. The automatic tipping was fine, since it's at least what we would have given. I didn't sense any drop in service because of it. The only thing about value is that NCL seemed a bit like Disney World in their effort to drain dollars from your account. Just about everything seemed a bit overpriced including drinks, bingo and the incessant promotion of "crackits".
DINING - Generally pretty good. We mostly ate in Windows and a few times in Raffles. My only observations are that Freestyle dining might at times be more like free-for-all dining. The serving staff lacked much personality, except for Christina Hemek, who was really great and helpful. The waiters were generally good, though a few were a bit over the top. One even asked us to give him a good rating on the comment cards. I might have, if he had been better than some of the others. The Maitre d', was quite attentive. We quickly learned that sitting near the windows meant there wouldn't be much conversation at larger tables due to engine or propeller noise and vibration. Since we were on an Alaska cruise, more Alaska fare seemed in order but missing. Salmon one night, but never any halibut or king crab legs. Raffles was usually crowded and not well managed in terms of directing guests. Also it closed at 11:30pm, so late night snacks were limited. Many desserts in Raffles lacked flavor, though they looked good.
ENTERTAINMENT - The shows were excellent. The NCL players and band were very entertaining. The individual acts were less so. The comedian was not my cup of tea. and the magician was so-so. The singer on Thursday night was okay but a bit full of herself. The theatre was very nice. The Chocoholic event was awesome. We had to got to Raffles afterward to get milk to offset the chocolate.
SERVICE – Our cabin stewards, Luis and Umbo, could not have been more attentive. They were great. When my large suitcase did not fit under the bed, they cheerfully stored it in their locker and returned it on Friday. Service everywhere else was pleasant.
SHORE EXCURSION – We did the Misty Fjord boat in Ketchikan, deluxe glacier and city tour in Juneau and White Pass RR in Skagway. These were all great experiences. If you do the White Pass RR, stand on the platform to take pictures. I did ask the White Pass folks how much a ticket costs and found it was $10 cheaper than what NCL charged (see above about value and being like Disney World). Prince Rupert was a downer. Not much to do there that we hadn’t already done better in Alaska. We took a $1 bus trip where the head of the Chamber of Commerce gave the guided tour talk. Great value but not much to see. Seems like the Spirit could have gone to Sitka or somewhere better than PR.
OVERALL – Even though a few things could have been done better, we really enjoyed this cruise and the Spirit. We’re thinking of taking another cruise next year to the Caribbean. Since we don’t want to travel to NY, I guess it won’t be on the Spirit. I hope it is as enjoyable as our Alaska trip was.
metsfan’s Full Rating Summary
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Dining
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