NCL (Never Cruise that Line again): Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review by Australia2

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NCL (Never Cruise that Line again)

Sail Date: September 2013
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Venice
Why does a person go on a cruise in the eastern Mediterranean? - Great art, great architecture (past and present) such as:

Treasures of the New Acropolis Museum

Uffizi gallery with the best Florentine art

Accademia with Michelangelo's David and other great sculpture

Bernini's jewel of a church at Quirinale

Vatican Museum, perhaps the best museum win the world

Sistine Chapel, with the wonderful ceiling

St. Peters square, and the basilica, the greatest church in the world

Galileo's science museum


Boboli Gardens

Oh, did I mention that not one of these could be seen with the itinerary NCL provided (#9 perhaps with special scheduling)? All were denied to the passengers of the Spirit. And yet, with only one day change in the schedule, all would have been possible.

So perhaps "caveat emptor" applies. Maybe I should have been responsible for checking availability according to More their schedule. But on the other hand, you can't check everything. For example, I assume that there is a boat and that it is safe, that there is food and that it is safe. Surely it should be understood that if they deliver me to Rome, Florence, Athens, and Naples, that it would be scheduled so that the great treasures of these cities would not be closed.

NCL made up for some of this by two great strengths of the company. Serving staff are excellent and actually seem to enjoy their jobs. Also, the policy of "it's your choice" is much better that the regimentation of some other suppliers.

However, they fell down on another point, and that is cleanliness of the room. Sure there were fresh linens and superficial wiping, but did you check under the bed, behind the settee, the ledges, the mirror above the desk, etc. The dust accumulation and debris behind the settee was enough to suggest that it hadn't been cleaned for months.That's not a problem for everyone, but I talked to person who had a severe sinus attack, as I did, and old dust can surely cause that.

Where they finally lost my business forever was on debarking. They have transfer service available, but when I asked for times, they said leaving at 7:45 only. When I pointed out that my flight left at 1:15, they suggested that I spend the five hours waiting at the terminal. When I mentioned that it would be in addition to the 22 hours to return to my home (which grew to 32 after KLM had a delay and missed connection), they indicated that was my problem. I then decided to make my own transfer and asked for the lime green luggage tags, for the latest dock pickup. I was told they weren't available, and the latest I could have was also 7:45. For the journey my wife and I had two cases of 45 lb each, plus two carry-ons of 18 lb, which is not unreasonable for the two-week-plus travel. No help was available, so my wife (who is 95 lb and nearly 70 years old) and I ended up hauling those four cases down what seemed like a mile of ramps. Thanks NCL

When I checked port schedules for the problem ports, I noted that NCL was the ONLY major cruise line to schedule dockings at these inappropriate times.

So my final advice is to take another cruise line - ANY OTHER Less

Published 10/11/13

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