Norwegian Spirit - Eastern Mediterranean: Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review by lyndaedris

Norwegian Spirit 3
Member Since 2004
126 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

Norwegian Spirit - Eastern Mediterranean

Sail Date: January 2006
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: New York (Manhattan)
Jan. 29, 2006 -- This was our first cruise on NCL. I will divide this review into + and -. Before I do that, however, I would like to say in spite of everything we finally ended up having a nice time.

The Embarkation and Debarkation was the Fastest I have ever had!!! But we carried our 1 suitcase and backpack each on ship and off ship. It took 10 minutes to board and 10 minutes to get off. Then it took 1 hour and 20 minutes to get a cab waiting on the never-ending line. (more about this later.)

The shower was the biggest I have ever had on any of my 10 cruises. It had sliding glass doors and you could actually move around in it. My husband felt the same although he couldnt exactly remember all the showers in his 30 cruises.

The jogging track was separated from the lounges by a Plexiglas divider. This was terrific, as you didnt have to zig zag around the lounges just around the people who walk ¾ abreast on the jogging/walking track. But we are use to More the people and we are fine with that. We are always polite and say on your left etc. The gym was open 48 hours. The library was lovely along with the Internet cafe.

Windows dining room was just terrific. So was the Garden Room but smaller. We liked the more open feeling of the Windows dining room

They had 2 lap pools in the gym, which were really nice if you wanted to exercise by swimming against the current. The womans Steam and Sauna room was large and nicely appointed. The ship was very clean. Everyone was always cleaning.

99% of the employees on the ship that we came into contact with were polite and very helpful. They always had a smile and a good morning etc.

The Galaxy of the Stars room where the Martini Bar was beautiful. It was totally surrounded by glass and it was SMOKE FREE!!!!!!!!!! Here again there was a Plexiglas divider separating the dance/bar area and all the lovely seating available to just look out at the ocean and relax. It wasnt always quiet because they held bingo there and other activities but non-the less we liked it very much. Jose and Colbert were great waiters and we stuck with them the whole cruise! Our room Steward/ess Joseph and Nannette were also terrific.

BEST DEAL: The best deal of the WHOLE cruise is the $78 Honeymoon/Anniv. Package! For $78 you get, a bottle of champagne (cold) and chocolate dipped strawberries in your room upon arrival. Dinner at Le Bistro (awesome!) and a bottle of wine for $22 if you want to upgrade you just pay the cost over $22. An anniv party with champagne and delicious cake (you dont have to go) Hors d'oeuvres in your room like ½ way thru the cruise, a free 5x7 picture. You cant beat that! No, you dont have to be on your honeymoon or have it be you Anniv. either.

The lighting in the bathroom was almost non-existent. I called maintenance and they sent some one up in about 2 hours, which was fine. They couldnt put in a stronger bulb so what he did was to take off the plastic cover leaving the bulb exposed and bingo we had more light than in the cabin itself. The cabin itself was also rather dark. The toilet got clogged 3x, didnt overflow, and they had it fixed within about 15 minutes each time which we thought was great!

You can go to the front desk and ask to see the whole week's menus for the 2 dining rooms (the same) also for the pay restaurants and for Tratoris (they alternate 2 menus).

Now for the MINUSES

Usually when we board we meet our cabin steward/ess immediately. They are there and introduce themselves. Well 3 days later I finally found out who they were by going up and asking the 3 people that were working in our hallway. Once, I found Joseph and Nannette, they were absolutely wonderful the whole trip. Whatever we asked them for, Nannette always managed to get for us. For example we had read on the threads again that the mattresses were hard. My husband has problems sleeping on a hard mattress. We read to ask for one of the foam mattresses to go on top. It was there by that night with no problem. Also asked for a wine ice bucket to keep our water bottles in. The ice bucket they give you couldnt fit a small bottle in.

ROUGH SEAS:The first and second nights at sea were very rough, and the waves were only 12 feet!!! As per the Captain. Well the way we were tossed around you would have thought we were in the 30ft waves we had just gone through in Nov. crossing the Atlantic. There were barf bags everywhere on the ship and I do mean everywhere. In the dining rooms, bathrooms, hallways, rooms, just everywhere. People were going up to the desk to get seasick pills. My husband has never gotten seasick in his whole life (65) and he was on this trip. I made it through (I knew women were the stronger sex!). Not only that but the ship creaked and groaned so much at night you would have thought it was going to break in half. One night, there was this LOUD BANG, if woke me right up. I thought this is it, get the life preservers on. I have no idea where it came from. I do know the people in the bow of the boat were dying. I think the Capt. needs to ask for better ballasts and stabilizers for his Christmas present. This is too small a ship to go thru these kinds of storms. They even closed off deck 7 two nights in a row because of the winds.

FREE STYLE DINING: We are not that fussy about our food. If we dont have to cook it is terrific. The first 3 nights of free style dining was horrible. The first night we never even got a glass of water, let alone asked if we would like more. We had to ask for some bread and then was never asked again. Our waiter/waitress asked us what we would like for dinner, we replied, and then when it came it was plopped in front of us and off they went. Nothing else for the rest of the dinner. This went on 2 more nights. On the second night we wanted to eat at 6:30 got to the dining room about 6:15 and got a beeperand was told we would have a to wait probably 30 minutes. Well shucks, I could have that at the Outback or Applebees plus get better service and food to boot. Ok we took the beeper and went for a drink. Sure enough in almost 30 minutes the thing buzzed and the red lights were flashing away. Off to Windows we go and guess what, the same service as the night before only in a different area! Now I am just a bit perturbed! On night 3 the same darn thing. FINALLY!!!!!!! On night 4 we got very lucky and ended up in Jose and Colberts station. These two men were terrific! And to add a plus, they actually spoke with us. I had read somewhere in the threads to make reservations. I thought the person meant for the other restaurants. Then I overheard someone making reservations for Windows. So, that is exactly what we did for every night thereafter we made reservations for 6:30. When we got there we requested Joses station. One time they were full and were going to put us somewhere else. I said NO, that I was not going to go through what we went through the first 3 nights again. Jose just happened to go by and he opened an empty table up for us and took us right away. Thereafter, we told Jose/Colbert that we would be in their station at 6:30 unless we told them otherwise we would be there at 6:30. Never had a problem after that. . The food on this cruise left very much to be desired. It was so bland, it was blah! My husband who is a vegetarian and just so not fussy said most of his food was dried out. The selections were not very good as well. I am use to having the best meal of the cruise during formal night. Well, formal nights food was awful. The best meal of the whole cruise was the Capt. Dinner. It was lobster and Chateaubriand. I must honestly say it was superb. I had one of each to make up for all the other terrible food. I did find out that you could order anything you wanted, within reason, of course and if the chef could he would prepare it for you. I ended up having the alternate of Salmon most of the time as it was really good, juicy and very flaky. I had spoken to quite a few people so many others joined my opinion of the food. It was as though they lowered the quality of the food so you would go and spend money in the other restaurant Every night before dinner we had a drink in Champagnes Charlies. All other cruises we have been on have at least had peanuts on the table. Nothing on these. Finally on the 5/6 night, not sure which, I asked if they had any peanuts. Our waitress said, oh sure and brought us a small bottle full of snack nuts etc.


GRATUITIES: WOW, We have NO problem of tipping the people that take care of us on our cruise. In fact, we tip them generously. Our problem on this ship is that they automatically deducted each day $10 from your shipboard account to pay for the gratuities. Total for a 10 day cruise $110. My problem with this is that I am tipping people that never had any contact with me, that gave me lousy service in the dining room etc. Went to the Main Desk and complained. Told them that I wanted to pay my tips in cash. They didnt like this idea. I told them that I didnt authorize them to deduct this money from my account(it was in the very very fine print). Other cruises you have a choice. I had to sign a paper stating that I was going to pay $110 in tips at the end of the trip!!!!!!! Then I had to go back the day before the cruise ended again to get the gratuities taken off of my account. What a hassle. I paid my head steward/stewardess, head waiter/assistant waiter, and the two bar waitresses that waited on us. I divided it up as I would have on RCCL plus extra for each one. I was informed rather nastily that this was going to be the mandatory tipping procedure in the very near future and that if I wanted to sail on NCL, I would not have a choice She was the only person on the whole cruise that was not polite and courteous, and helpful. From speaking with many of the service people on the ship, they make less now with NCL tipping policy than they did when you tipped them directly. I dont think this is quite fair as they get paid little, and work long, hard, tedious hours. Made reservations in the Trattoria Italian restaurant. The fence off the back park of Raffles at night and make it into and Italian restaurant. It is free and it is a good thing. They need to teach the cook how to cook Italian! Raffles was the standard buffet. HOWEVER, there is one station that makes stir fry. You pick out what you want and he stir-fries it for you. It was delicious. I had stir-fried veggies almost every day!

I think it was the 3rd day of the cruise we were in Raffles for breakfast. It was disaster! There was one poor girl for the whole side of the buffet. The tables, chairs, and even the floor were piled high with trays and dishes. I have never had that happen in all my cruises. Raffles isnt big enough to fit every one to begin with let alone not having any room because the dirty dishes were piles sky high! Then there were the coffee machines. There was regular at one end of the buffet and decaf at the other end of the buffet. One set on each side if /Raffles. At the regular coffee there was skim milk/milk at the other end was the ½ and ½. So after you filled your coffee up you had to make your way thru all the people to the other end and put in your ½ and ½. It took me 2 days (little slow in my old age) to put the ½ and ½ in a glass and then go fill up with regular coffee. Then the regular coffee machine broke on the one side on day 5 and NEVER got fixed. Now you had to go all the way to the other side, go thru the same routine and then make you way all the way back to the other side to sit down. Sometimes you just cant sit on the side you want to. It was always a mad rush for a seat anywhere!

It is our opinion that the drinks were more expensive than on any of the other ships we have been on. Drink of the day was $7.95 on other ships it is $5.95 It cost $3.95 to set up and Internet account and 75 cents/minute. Now all Internets are slow on all ships. However, we just did a TA on RCCL in Nov. No charge for setting up and account and 50 cents/minute. The same for Carnival unless they changed since we were on it in August. If you can, bring a few of your own store hangers and leave them there. The closets are short on hangers.

There really wasnt an atrium per say. Just a large double staircase, which was quite nice. The had a group by the name of Tres Amigos play there almost every night and they played nice dance music. However, there were only about 5 tables for 4 and 3 couches that sat 3 and 2 chairs. There was never enough room for everyone to sit and enjoy, you had to stand. Or go up to Champagne Charlies to listen. But if you wanted to dance you had to come all the way down the staircase and then up again. It was plenty big enough to put in more tables and chairs. I have no idea why they didnt do this. The area where the chairs and tables were was very small and you could smoke. If you dont smoke or dont like to sit by smokers you were definitely out of luck for a seat! The Shanghai Bar was smoke free. But, what an awful bar. Very tiny (which would have been fine) but TVs all along the wall. It was like a sports bar, and the seats were all in the straight line across the side of the ship. Had absolutely no atmosphere whatsoever.

The entertainment was awful!!! My husband was so excited because he remembered NCL when they use to produce almost Broadway like shows. Not this ship.

If you needed something done or needed your room steward, you always had to call the operator, give her your message and then she would call whomever was necessary and then call you back. I wanted to know who was the head steward/ess and who was the assistant. I called the operator and asked for housekeeping, sorry, I cant connect you says the operator.  You need to tell me your problem and I will call you back. I tell her my question. She calls me back and gives me the head of housekeeping. No, I said I want to know whether Joseph/Nannette for room 5061 is the head steward/ess not the name of housekeeping. She calls back and finally gives me the answer I needed. It just seems to me to be such a waist of time. I have never had to do this before on any of my cruises. All I can say is it was an experience. When we finally got all the kinks out, and got rid of our frustrations that were with us from day one, we really enjoyed ourselves.

The ports, most of we had been to so we stayed on board and just enjoyed the peace and quiet. The last 3 ports I had never been to so we did take excursions. Mandoo on Grenada, who was awesome, Beno on Domica who was terrific, and a ship excursion to the baths which was worth every penny being we had such time constraints and couldnt book privately. The secret to this ship is to 1: make reservations for dinner in the main dining room 2: what you dont see ask for 3. go inside bottom deck middle for a room if you travel in January during storm season. We rocked but not as bad as everyone on the upper floors. 4. Ear plugs for the creaking and groaning of the ship

DEBARKATION: If you carry on your luggage and want to carry it off, you can do that and get off much quicker. However, they state many times that they WILL NOT help you in anyway with your bags. You are on your own. I can understand perfectly them not helping. They have nine million other things to be doing beside carrying your bag. However, if you can manage it do it. We were off the ship in 10 minutes. However if you are landing during RUSH hour during the week, here is my advice. The taxi line was never ending. It took us 1 hour and 20 minutes to get a cab waiting on that line. Just before you leave the terminal on the left there is a big elevator. Take it down to the first floor, leave the elevator and go out onto the street. Cross the street and hail you own cab! Our taxi driver told us that no one wanted to go there during rush hour because it took them ½ just to go around and get on the ramp up to the taxi stand, let alone the time it took to get their fare to where they want to go. I asked if we should have gone downstairs and gotten our own cab and he said that would be a much smarter thing to do. Now I am not saying you wont have to wait there also but I dont think for over an hour. I was going to do it this next cruise on the Noordam March 15 but then I realized we dock on a Sat. so that is that. Maybe someone else can post something on this.

Will we ever go on NCL again. I dont know. People who had sailed on the Dawn and were very unhappy on this ship, said the Dawn was sooooo much better. We will have to think awhile before we make a final decision about NCL. ONE ROTTEN APPLE DOESNT SPOIL THE WHOLE BASKET. But, yes, we probably will if only for the stated metaphor. Less

Published 04/01/06

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