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This was my first cruise experience and it exceeded all expectations in so many respects. The Norwegian Spirit is an exceptionally lovely ship and it is quite easy to become attached to the vessel and its staff fairly quickly. Now with a few days back home in port and cruise behind me, I find myself smiling fondly when I think of the experience. Embarkation: I understand that this process (as well as debarkation) is dreaded by many. I found it remarkably painless considering how many people needed to be moved onto the ship. I was definitely in a "vacation mode" when I left my residence and was determined not to let anything spoil the experience. From the moment we were left at the cruise terminal by a friend, the NCL staff were courteous and helpful throughout the embarkation process. We arrived within the first half hour of embarkation and were quickly settled into our cabin where we observed the rest of the process. It was fun to watch the comings and goings from our own home city as the Spirit prepared to sail! Debarkation was also well organized and fairly painless. We also waited on the balcony of our cabin to see passengers come off the ship and great quantities of provisions loaded onto the Spirit in preparation for sailing again later that day. We heard one passenger complaining about the debarkation process and frankly, couldn't understand why. Public rooms: Everything was simply lovely. I especially enjoyed the Asian motif of this vessel. It is bright, well appointed and attractive. The Galaxy of the Stars was a nice place to sit and relax -- even without an alcoholic beverage. The Asian restaurants were quite good. Henry's Pub was a quaint, cozy and intimate British pub and we enjoyed an Irish sing-along one evening. Fitness and Recreation: My only disappointment was with the gym facility. The free weights and weight machines were adequate, but the cardio equipment seemed a little lacking. I found myself wishing there were at least a few elliptical machines. It was important for me to be able to work out regularly during the cruise given the huge caloric intake over the span of the week. I can't imagine that I am alone in this criticism. I heard some others wishing there were more cardio machines. With regard to other recreational options, we did not take advantage of the various lectures available. The lecturer/expert who did provide some commentary during the cruise up Tracy Arm to the glacier was very enjoyable and knowledgeable. Cabin: I was pleasantly surprised by the cabin. We had a balcony cabin and it was very comfortable. We had heard complaints about the bed, but we found it quite comfortable. The bathroom was large and the shower was quite comfortable as well and well sized. The electrical outlets also proved more than adequate. I had been a little concerned about this given the number of electrical devices we toted along. Everything worked well and we did not need the converted I had purchased. I highly recommend the balcony cabin -- it made the trip so enjoyable. The hairdryer worked fine for me given my hairstyle. I was happy not to have to bring an extra eclectic device with me. I can see that this dryer is not going to be workable for many women however with longer hair than mine. Value for Price: I have absolutely no criticism here. It was worth every penny. Dining: We enjoyed the freestyle cruising style and concept immensely. Schlepping long evening wear simply does not suit my preferences and tastes. I had understood that certain restaurant venues would be entirely formal while others would be "freestyle", but this was not the case. I was surprised. In fact, the staff seemed to be somewhat lax in enforcing the dress code. The food was quite good and I had no complaints. During the entire week, I had one chicken entree at dinner in Windows that I thought was a little bland, but, honestly, it is barely worth mentioning. The staff were delightful and cordial without exception. Eating at Raffles was sometimes chaotic and left us feeling a tad bit frazzled. I understand the problem given the history of the ship and the layout of the kitchen. I hope this can be remedied. That said, really, I have no complaints given the large number of guests that need to be served at the same time. The chocoholic buffet was spectacular. We attended the viewing and took photos, but elected to forgo the goodies after having had a large lunch with rich desserts just prior to the start of the buffet. I was sorely tempted but got out of line after hearing it would take 25 minutes to get to the tables heavy with every kind of chocolate confection imaginable. It was entertainment enough to witness the number of passengers balancing little plates heaped with 5 and 6 chocolate delicacies as they made their way to the promenade chaise lounges. Service: Again, I thought it was exceptional. We enjoyed chatting with the international staff. I have heard complaints about the towel folding being tired, trite and old. I found it delightful and charming to come "home" to a new little critter every evening knowing that one of the staff had personally crafted the animal to add a little whimsy and fun for each guest. Entertainment: We did not take in any shows, but did watch parts of movies a couple of times in the Picture House. On our first night, we wandered around the ship between 3:00 and 4:00 a.m. and were interested in finding out just who would be up at that hour. Indeed, there were other folks wandering as well! And a very pleasant young woman in the Grand Centrum reception desk gave us the correct time when we thought it was about time for breakfast! So much for setting the time back accurately! Shore Excursions: Kayaking was very enjoyable. We would have liked much more time at Mendenhall Glacier, but perhaps that requires another trip. The train trip to White Pass was very enjoyable. All in all, I have few complaints about the excursions. A highlight of the cruise was the trip up Tracy Arm. It was like being in another world. Unbelievable. I heard some complaints about the ship not going closer to the glacier, but this is understandable given the size of the ship and the narrowness of the passage. I am certain that the crew made their decision based on safety concerns. So, another trip to the Sawyer Glacier is a must. Without a doubt, I would recommend this cruise. I know the Spirit is headed for the east coast. She is such a lovely ship and I recommend sailing her as well. With regard to NCL, I would definitely sail NCL again and look forward to the possibility of sailing on one of NCL's other vessels.

Norwegian Spirit - Alaska

Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review by Levanah

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2005
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony
This was my first cruise experience and it exceeded all expectations in so many respects. The Norwegian Spirit is an exceptionally lovely ship and it is quite easy to become attached to the vessel and its staff fairly quickly. Now with a few days back home in port and cruise behind me, I find myself smiling fondly when I think of the experience.
Embarkation: I understand that this process (as well as debarkation) is dreaded by many. I found it remarkably painless considering how many people needed to be moved onto the ship. I was definitely in a "vacation mode" when I left my residence and was determined not to let anything spoil the experience. From the moment we were left at the cruise terminal by a friend, the NCL staff were courteous and helpful throughout the embarkation process. We arrived within the first half hour of embarkation and were quickly settled into our cabin where we observed the rest of the process. It was fun to watch the comings and goings from our own home city as the Spirit prepared to sail! Debarkation was also well organized and fairly painless. We also waited on the balcony of our cabin to see passengers come off the ship and great quantities of provisions loaded onto the Spirit in preparation for sailing again later that day. We heard one passenger complaining about the debarkation process and frankly, couldn't understand why.
Public rooms: Everything was simply lovely. I especially enjoyed the Asian motif of this vessel. It is bright, well appointed and attractive. The Galaxy of the Stars was a nice place to sit and relax -- even without an alcoholic beverage. The Asian restaurants were quite good. Henry's Pub was a quaint, cozy and intimate British pub and we enjoyed an Irish sing-along one evening.
Fitness and Recreation: My only disappointment was with the gym facility. The free weights and weight machines were adequate, but the cardio equipment seemed a little lacking. I found myself wishing there were at least a few elliptical machines. It was important for me to be able to work out regularly during the cruise given the huge caloric intake over the span of the week. I can't imagine that I am alone in this criticism. I heard some others wishing there were more cardio machines.
With regard to other recreational options, we did not take advantage of the various lectures available. The lecturer/expert who did provide some commentary during the cruise up Tracy Arm to the glacier was very enjoyable and knowledgeable.
Cabin: I was pleasantly surprised by the cabin. We had a balcony cabin and it was very comfortable. We had heard complaints about the bed, but we found it quite comfortable. The bathroom was large and the shower was quite comfortable as well and well sized. The electrical outlets also proved more than adequate. I had been a little concerned about this given the number of electrical devices we toted along. Everything worked well and we did not need the converted I had purchased. I highly recommend the balcony cabin -- it made the trip so enjoyable. The hairdryer worked fine for me given my hairstyle. I was happy not to have to bring an extra eclectic device with me. I can see that this dryer is not going to be workable for many women however with longer hair than mine.
Value for Price: I have absolutely no criticism here. It was worth every penny.
Dining: We enjoyed the freestyle cruising style and concept immensely. Schlepping long evening wear simply does not suit my preferences and tastes. I had understood that certain restaurant venues would be entirely formal while others would be "freestyle", but this was not the case. I was surprised. In fact, the staff seemed to be somewhat lax in enforcing the dress code. The food was quite good and I had no complaints. During the entire week, I had one chicken entree at dinner in Windows that I thought was a little bland, but, honestly, it is barely worth mentioning. The staff were delightful and cordial without exception. Eating at Raffles was sometimes chaotic and left us feeling a tad bit frazzled. I understand the problem given the history of the ship and the layout of the kitchen. I hope this can be remedied. That said, really, I have no complaints given the large number of guests that need to be served at the same time. The chocoholic buffet was spectacular. We attended the viewing and took photos, but elected to forgo the goodies after having had a large lunch with rich desserts just prior to the start of the buffet. I was sorely tempted but got out of line after hearing it would take 25 minutes to get to the tables heavy with every kind of chocolate confection imaginable. It was entertainment enough to witness the number of passengers balancing little plates heaped with 5 and 6 chocolate delicacies as they made their way to the promenade chaise lounges.
Service: Again, I thought it was exceptional. We enjoyed chatting with the international staff. I have heard complaints about the towel folding being tired, trite and old. I found it delightful and charming to come "home" to a new little critter every evening knowing that one of the staff had personally crafted the animal to add a little whimsy and fun for each guest.
Entertainment: We did not take in any shows, but did watch parts of movies a couple of times in the Picture House. On our first night, we wandered around the ship between 3:00 and 4:00 a.m. and were interested in finding out just who would be up at that hour. Indeed, there were other folks wandering as well! And a very pleasant young woman in the Grand Centrum reception desk gave us the correct time when we thought it was about time for breakfast! So much for setting the time back accurately!
Shore Excursions: Kayaking was very enjoyable. We would have liked much more time at Mendenhall Glacier, but perhaps that requires another trip. The train trip to White Pass was very enjoyable. All in all, I have few complaints about the excursions.
A highlight of the cruise was the trip up Tracy Arm. It was like being in another world. Unbelievable. I heard some complaints about the ship not going closer to the glacier, but this is understandable given the size of the ship and the narrowness of the passage. I am certain that the crew made their decision based on safety concerns. So, another trip to the Sawyer Glacier is a must.
Without a doubt, I would recommend this cruise. I know the Spirit is headed for the east coast. She is such a lovely ship and I recommend sailing her as well. With regard to NCL, I would definitely sail NCL again and look forward to the possibility of sailing on one of NCL's other vessels.
Levanah’s Full Rating Summary
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Rates
Service
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