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Norwegian Spirit Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
2032 reviews
38 Awards

Get Suite on Spirit!

Review for Norwegian Spirit to the Eastern Caribbean
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heathergug
First Time Cruiser • Age 40s

Rating by category

Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
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Cabin

Additional details

Sail Date: Jun 2008
Cabin: Penthouse with Large Balcony
Traveled with children

Let me start off by admitting that I may have had an abnormal experience on the Spirit because of the fact that I booked a suite. But I must tell you that if you can afford to do the same, I highly recommend it. It will cost you roughly $5,300 but it is worth every penny and then some. I believe i had a completely unique experience on this cruise because of it. That being said, I cruised with a group of 60 people, most of which were not staying in suites and the majority of them were still pleased with their cruising experience. I read a ton of reviews after I had chosen this ship for our large group and I have to say that I was totally panicked. Once on board though, I found I disagreed with a lot of the complaints that others had voiced. This was my fourth cruise; previous ones were on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Carnival. I happen to love the food and service on Celebrity and the ship amenities on Royal Caribbean. No major complaints about Carnival - just not my cup of tea. I found the Spirit to be very similar in size to the Celebrity ships which caused a lot of people to be seasick. Our first full day out at sea people were puking all over the place. If you get seasick easily, this is not the right sized ship for you. I did think it was the perfect size for our large group because it was very easy to find members of your party at all times. I think if we had gone with a larger RCI-sized ship we would have spent a lot of the week looking for one another. I found the boat to be quite elegant, not overbearing, clean, well-maintained. I did notice a few dirty glasses toward the end of the week in the elevator longer than they should have been there but that was about it.I liked the understated, classy Asian decor. EMBARKATION- Stress-free. Because we had a suite we were directed to a special line and were even allowed to bring some of our immediate family members not staying in suites along with us. Check-in went very smoothly and quickly and then we were escorted to the VIP lounge where we first met our personal Concierge, Humberto. There were snacks and refreshments available for us here. After most of our party was checked in we were escorted onto the ship and to our rooms by one of the butlers of our suite. Very nice touch. Complimentary Champagne and Mimosas were handed to us - and everyone who was boarding. THE SUITE- Once we entered our cabin were we floored. I have stayed in a suite on Celebrity and a mini-suite on Carnival and neither even came close to this one. It was huge! It had a dining table and bar area, a seating/tv area with a dvd player and then a separate bedroom/bathroom area that was closed off with sliding mirrored doors. The bedroom area which allowed for more privacy with dividing curtains, had a very comfortable king-sized bed, tv, and drawer space. The closet area was adequate. There was a make-up vanity, a second vanity with double sinks, a separate water closet with a stained glass door, a nice sized whirlpool bathtub with a window overlooking the ocean and a second window that opened onto the balcony.The balcony was my only complaint - much smaller than the other ships I have been on but I would would prefer the extra space in my room anyway. My absolute favorite feature was the floor to ceiling window in the shower. My favorite part of the day was coming home each late afternoon and looking out at the sun setting over the ocean as I washed my cares away. Again, worth the price of admission right there. DINNERS- Being a large group we had pre-arranged for some of our meals to be all together so again our experience was a bit unique. The first night though we did get a taste of what it would be like for a normal sized family to be cruising and it wasn't too pleasant. WE were given a welcome aboard cocktail party in Maharani's Lounge for our group. Once that was over we decided that most of us would try the main dining room - The Garden. What a nightmare! The dining room is right off of the staircase which is really poor planning considering so many people have nowhere else to stand but on the stairs as they are waiting a long time for their table to be ready. Some people in our party were told there would be a 15-20 minute wait and ended up waiting over 40 minutes until they complained so much they were finally seated. As we were a party of 16 trying to be seated together they just put us down for an 8:30 reservation which was approximately a 40 minute wait. I may not have minded if we weren't with several young children. Our concierge walked by and noticed us waiting and immediately took action. We were seated within minutes - again, VIP treatment. There were a lot of unhappy people waiting, though. They should have been more honest or accurate and told people immediately that the wait was going to be long. The worst part was that the food once you got in was really not that great. I probably had my worst meal that night. I was very happy after that experience that we had made arrangement for several other nights and I had decided then to make reservations for any free nights we had left. That was the first and last meal I had in the Garden Room and the last one I waited for as well. We had three group dinners, including formal night, in Windows which was very elegant. There were some people in our party that were turned away for wearing shorts yet we saw people in Windows that had clearly been overlooked wearing bathing suit cover-ups. Most people were well-dressed though. I thought the food was better in Windows and I enjoyed the atmosphere as well. SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS- About 18 of us had dinner in SHogun. Some of us ordered off of the Asian Fusion menu while others ordered Sushi. They warned us when we first sat down that the sushi would take an hour which for an already late dinner did not make a lot of people happy. They did try to compensate by bringing out tons of extra food above and beyond what we had ordered. In fact, by the time the sushi arrived we were full. The food was good and you could eat as much as you'd like for $15 which I thought was a good deal. We definitely ate more than our money's worth that night. About 40 of us had pre-booked and pre-paid for Cagney's Steakhouse and that turned out to be an excellent meal. There were a few people that were very unhappy with their meals. I found a lot of the restaurants to be inconsistent - with some meals being excellent and others horrible. * Just a side note - if you are celebrating a birthday or anniversary let the cruise line know ahead of time and you will receive a card in your cabin giving you a complimentary cake at the restaurant of your choice. The wait staff really go out of their way to sing to you and make it very special. Nice touch. About 17 people from our party ate in Le Bistro and most thought it was their favorite meal. Don't be intimidated if you are not a fan of French food - there were a lot of basic options for the entrees. Our waiters were a lot of fun there and made the evening for us. The restaurant was very elegant - not for little kids. I did not try the Italian restaurant but a lot of our party did. Being Italian and from NY, they were skeptical but pleasantly surprised. Most of them had very good things to say. I did not think the buffet was as bad as a lot of the reviews made it sound. Of course, I really only had two or three meals there. Another one of the perks of having a suite was that you were allowed to eat breakfast and lunch in Cagney's. The food and service were great. Another reason to spring for the suite! Still, the buffet seemed adequate. Never had trouble finding a table. Room service was a great way to go. I had breakfast in my room several mornings and would often order an afternoon meal for my daughter of macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese, cheese burger, things of the sort. By The way - another suite perk - fresh fruit delivered to your room daily and a card that you filled out each day with 6 or 7 options of snacks that would be delivered either at 5:00 as a pre-dinner snack or 10:00 as a late night snack. I had chocolate covered strawberries and brownies waiting for me every night when I got back to the room. I forgot to mention that there was a bottle of champagne and fresh flowers in our room when we arrived. Are you booking that suite yet? We had lunch in the Blue Lagoon - greasy bar food. I thought it was pretty good but some people in our party refused to go back there. This was the area where the teenagers hung out and drank every night. Windows for breakfast was nothing special but I did take the advise of other cruise critics and went straight there for lunch on the fist day. Very good meal and it was empty. I think that is about it for the food. I wasn't overwhelmed by any of it. There were a few meals I really enjoyed. I had very few real complaints though and I ate a lot during this week. I think it is a ploy on the part of NCL to serve sub-par food in their main dining rooms in an effort to get you to pay for the Specialty restaurants. That bothered me a bit. I did think the fact that you could order as much as you wanted off of the menu in those restaurants did make it worth it. We got to sample a lot of the food. My overall experience was positive. I thought the ship was lacking in activities, especially on days in port. I know this is the norm for cruise lines but they seemed to have nothing going on all day, even once we were back at sea. I overheard someone saying that the cruise director told them that this is supposed to be a serene ship so they do not have the typical poolside games and activities. That didn't bother me so much but I would have like there to be more things to do that you did not have to pay an additional fee for. A lot of us did the wine, margarita, martini and beer tastings but they were $15 each. Bingo was expensive as well. You could opt for your basic bingo which was $29 or you could spend $89 for all sorts of goodies. The final bingo games could cost you up to $129 - absurd. Forget about buying pictures in the gallery. Wait for the deals throughout the week - buy three, get two free. Everything was way overpriced. Or just take your own pictures and don't even worry about how expensive the ship's are. I thought the staff was EXTREMELY friendly - and not just the people who were assigned to take care of us. Several staff members around the boat knew my daughters by name. Everyone smiled and greeted you as you walked down the halls. I have no complaints as far as that is concerned. THE PORTS- Puerto Rico - a whole group of us got off the ship (through a secret exit, cutting everyone else because we were VIP) and headed straight to the Coach outlet and some other stores. Pathetic, I know, but there were some really good deals. Some of us stayed in PR for dinner, which was really nice. We ate in the Sheraton hotel and Casino right near where the boat was docked. The restaurant was called Palio ( there is one in NYC) and the food was excellent. WE walked around for a while afterwards since the boat did not leave til late. Tortola was beautiful. We took an open-air bus up and down a very scary ride to Cane beach. The water was beautiful, nice day had by all. Samana was very disappointing in that the ship is docking (or not - we had to tender) basically near nothing. The nearest beach is a 40 minute cab ride away and apparently the natives harass you and overcharge you. the only thing and best thing to do was the Cayo Levantado excursion through the cruise line. I heard that the island was beautiful. without pre-arranged plans there was not very much to do once you got off of the ship. That was a perfect day to sit by the pool since no one was around.My own children were too young to use the camp facilities but my nieces and nephew were there every day and loved it. They had a talent show at the end of the week, a pajama party, they took them to see the shows, they paraded around the boat as pirates, they were spies one night, they sang songs, played Wii, storytime, etc. The kids were sad to leave their counselors at the end of the week which is a good sign. For kids under two there is a conference room hidden on Deck 8 behind the photo gallery that has toys and things for the babies to play with. Not a lot of people knew about it, but I found it to come in handy many times when my kids just needed a little space of their own. You can pretty much just come and go as you please, allowing for early morning and late-night playtime.

Some of the other amenities we used - a lot of our family members used the gym and seemed to have no complaints. Myself and a few others went to the spa and it was very nice. Make sure you ask the price of any services you are signing up for ahead of time as one woman got a pedicure for $77!! Our family, along with many others, used the card room to play to provide some activity for ourselves when there wasn't much else going on. We never really found there to be a problem finding lounge chairs by the pool, although we were early risers. Almost all of us won money in the casino or at Bingo so we really couldn't complain about that. The best drink deals were definitely on the beers. Other cocktails could get a little pricey. The lounge/club connected to the casino was decorated very nicely but was mostly inhabited by teenagers and one night we were there a fight broke out. The White Party had a good turn out and was a lot of fun. One of the most enjoyable activities was the Quest game show amongst the cruisers on the last night. If you have at least 7 or 8 people in your party you should definitely play. It was a lot of fun. One of the biggest disappointments was the chocoholics buffet. People were waiting on line to get in and getting rowdy and once you got in, it was a huge disappointment. For something that had so much potential, it went terribly wrong. There were a lot of nice quiet spots to be found around the ship, especially in the front part of Galaxy of the Stars. I liked to go there early in the morning and look out at the water while others were doing an early morning stretch class in there. Very peaceful. Again, I have to say it turned out to be a positive experience for most of us - and some of our group can be hard to please. I think you have to go in there with right frame of mind - remember that you are on vacation. If you are looking for things to complain about, they will surely come your way. If you go in knowing how lucky you are to be relaxing under the sun on a cruise ship with loved ones - and not in so many other less fortunate predicaments, then you are bound to have an enjoyable time. (but try to spring for the suite!)

Cabin Review

Penthouse with Large Balcony

Cabin SF

Beautiful room, small balcony, lots of living space, adequate storage, great bathroom.

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