NCL Spirit - New England Cruise Oct 21 to Oct 27, 2007
My friend Betty and I took this cruise. It was my second NCL, and her first NCL, we've both cruised before. My only other NCL cruise was on the Majesty out of Charleston and while I enjoyed myself with my family, the cruise ship and other things just did not impress me. So I've been hesitant to book another NCL until now. The New England destination is just what we wanted, it was out of New York which meant no flying, and the price was right, so we said, what the heck! And I'm very glad we did.
The NCL Spirit was wonderful. The ship is beautiful, and well maintained. The Asian influences are tasteful. Because of this cruise, I will definitely book another NCL cruise. I read these message boards before we left and was a little worried because there seemed to be many more negative reviews than positive. People gave poor ratings to the food, the beds. Reviews said the ship condition was poor and the staff was grumpy. I am happy to report that none of these things were true for us. We felt the food was pretty darned good in most cases, and on formal night we both ordered 2 lobster tails. We asked about the 2nd one when they only brought out one each at first (and panicked because God forbid we don't get our TWO lobster tails like we didn't already have enough food...hahaha), they said, we'll bring them out when you're done with your first one, we don't want it to get cold."
The beds may have been "foam pads" on a hard surface but they were pretty comfortable, and the cabin steward gave us egg crates when we asked. But we slept the first night without them and were comfortable. The cabins were standard for inside, but the bathroom was a little larger than other cruises I've been on. The shower had 2 shower doors instead of a curtain so there was no curtain to blow around and stick to your butt, and no wet floor. We were on the 9th deck and barely felt the ship moving. Usually we get a 3rd deck cabin so it's low and we don't feel the motion, but being on the 9th deck didn't matter. The ship was very stable.
The staff was very pleasant with the exception of the 2 female bartenders in the Maharini room who people had to beg to get attention. In fact not only did all staff greet you, on several occasions I noticed staff members who actually waited, looking at you to say hello as you approached. Very, very friendly and accommodating. I want to say a special thanks to the 2 bartenders on the back deck for their great service and conversation. One whose name I believe was Totanto. The back deck, by the way is great, and the view from there, going out of Boston was just beautiful at sunset.
I really like the layout of the ship, lots of little private cozy spaces and comfortable seating. On the last day, the Martha's Vineyard port, I decided to stay on the ship. The rough seas and long lines for tenders kind of sealed the deal for me so I grabbed my book and headed to a corner table spot by the bar with the pastries in the main lobby, near the water fountains. The bartender greeted me and I said "I've been wanting to check out this spot since I got on the ship." He smiled and said, "Then I won't bother you, but is there something I can get you?" As I said yes and headed to the bar he said, go sit down, I'll be right over for your order." He came out from behind the bar, took my order, and left me alone. It was so wonderful and relaxing.
Since we both were celebrating birthdays, we got a $79.00 package that is billed as a honeymoon/anniversary/romance package. I found out about this by reading these boards and it is well worth the cost. For 79.00 (for the whole package) you get champagne and very good and fresh chocolate covered strawberries on arrival; canapEs delivered to your room one night; a "romance" party with others who purchased the package that includes champagne and cake; and dinner in LeBistro, the French Specialty Restaurant with a bottle of wine, and one free picture of your choice. It was a great value. We met some nice people, and Alice, if you read this by any chance, email me if you like. We never got a chance to exchange emails....firstname.lastname@example.org.
Getting to the pier from Penn Station in New York was a breeze and cost about $8.00 and was about a 20 minute ride. Embarkation was smooth and quick. We did the Freestyle Disembarking and it was great being able to get off when ever you wanted. Many others did the same thing. It was organized once outside and waiting for a cab. Pier staff helped you get cabs, etc. The whole transportation, from Philly to New York and back was pretty smooth. Just a bit of warning...the ramp from the ship to the pier when leaving was very steep. Not only did you roll your luggage in front of you instead of behind you for fear of the bag running you over, I was aware of those behind me...if there was any run-away luggage it would knock down those in its path like a bowling bowl!
Halifax was interesting. We did a hop on hop off tour that was expensive we thought (45.00) but very informative. But if I ever get there again I would rent a car and get out of the city like others did. Bar Harbor was just beautiful, and we got very lucky that the leaves were at their peak color since they are usually gone by mid-October. We took the Acadia National Park tour for $25.00 and was for 2 ½ hours. You get the tix at Tesla's restaurant right on Main Street. I know there are other tours but I don't know the prices since we decided to do that after we had our lobster lunch (see a pattern here?). The tour guide was great and full of lots of information. We stopped along the way several times.
In Boston we took public transportation for $4.00 roundtrip per person (as opposed to 13.00 trolley ride from pier) to Fenuell Hall and Quincy market and had a delicious lunch at Durkin Park, on the second floor...delicious and fresh oysters and clams on a half shell and of course, Boston Clam Chowder. Martha's Vineyard was the last stop but as I said earlier, I didn't get off the ship, though my friend Betty got some shopping done there.
Entertainment - We didn't do too many shows. Second City was average, and the young comedian guy was just bad. The "Radio Show" was great...good music and creative choreography. One night in the Galaxy Room, after the "Beat the Geeks" trivia game/show, the ship's band came on. It was several talented elderly gentleman musicians in the band and the lead singer was Asian, and did the best Frank Sinatra! He was amazing.
The only small negatives I have are: weak tasting coffee; very limited breakfast room service menu (no smoked salmon, no eggs/bacon, etc.); canapEs that were delivered to our room as part of a package we bought weren't very good; beds a little narrow but comfortable; no TRAYS in the buffet, this is actually a little pet peeve of mine......as with some others I've noticed on this message board....; Blue Lagoon - we tried this one late night, not very good food here in my opinion, wonton soup had no taste, buffalo wings almost tasteless, one of our dining partners had the stir-fry noodles and said they were good.
Anyhow, that's it. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. Thanks everyone from here for sharing, and I'm glad to do my part.