We have taken cruises with NCL before, travelling twice on the Jade and once on the Star so we were looking forward to not only another cruise but a new ship.
We had read good reviews about the Spirit on Cruise Critic as well.
We boarded in Malaga (after enjoying 2 days there revisiting our old haunts as we used to live there) after taking a taxi which dropped us right at the entrance to the terminal.
Immediately, a porter was there to take our cases and point us in the right direction.
The check in process was simple and quick (most people would be boarding in Barcelona 48 hours later) and there were no queues at all.
We checked in and were on the boat within 10 minutes.
Our cabin, 9071, was ready for us and our steward, Dominic came to introduce himself. He was such a credit to NCL throughout our 10 day cruise. The room was always immaculate and our 4 year old always loved seeing what towel animal Dominic had made him.
Our first day was a day at sea which was a nice start and gave us a chance to explore the ship.
Our son has always gone tot he kids club but has never stayed that long. This time, it was a different matter. He was a bit worried at first but when we went back a few hours later to see if he was ok and if he wanted to come out, he said he wanted to stay!! The kids club staff were amazing with him (especially Honeybee, his favourite) They really looked after him and he couldnt wait to go to the kids club every day. If you have young children and you are worried about this, dont be. They will love this. Our sons only complaint was it closed at 10.30pm and he wanted to stay longer :-)
We tried the Garden restaurant and the Windows restaurant and in both, the service and food was excellent. The steaks are huge and were always cooked to perfection as we requested.
We used Raffles a few times as well for lunches, snacks and hot drinks in the evening and we never found anything wrong with the staff, the food or the cleanliness.
I even managed to leave a bag with two t-shirts i had purchased from the gift shop there and someone handed it in to the Guest Services desk for which i was extremely grateful.
We met Armando da Silva the Hotel Director of the ship. He must be complimented in not only the job that he does but the fact that at a number of gatherings where we met, he took time to come over and speak to us. Even on our last day, he arranged for a small case we had to be stored in his office for us until we were ready to leave the ship. He could not do enough to help and we heard other passengers saying the same thing about him.
Our son was able to visit the bridge of the ship where he got to meet the Captain and sit in the Captains chair which he absolutely loved. The Captain was seen by us many times around the ship and was always very friendly and made time for people who spoke to him.
As our cruise was well underway, we looked forward to our first stop which is one of our favourite cities in the world, Barcelona. Disembarkation was simple and quick, with no queuing to get off the ship. We got straight onto a free shuttle bus which dropped us at the bottom of La Ramblas. We took the metro to the Sagrada Familia as it was shrouded in sheets last time we visited. If you book ahead you can take the lift up one of the towers. There are a few 'balconies' that you can step out onto for a great selfie and the way down is totally up to you. You can move from tower to tower as you descend.
Back on the shuttle bus and back onto the ship was as painless and getting off.
The next stop was Casablanca. All of the reviews we read said it wasnt worth getting off here and we are going to say exactly the same. To us, and please remember this is only our personal opinion, is dirty and noisy and has the worst traffic laws we have seen.
None of us enjoyed it and after seeing the Hassan Mosque, we could not wait to be back on the boat. We will never visit Casablanca again.
The next stop was Funchal in Madeira. What a difference this was to our last stop.
A beautiful town and our main reason for stopping here was to take the toboggan ride down the hill. This costs 30 euros per toboggan (they seat a maximum of 3 people so we took two of them) and it was great fun. My son was laughing all the way down.
At the bottom of the ride you can buy photos which are taken on the way down for 10 euros each. If you say no, the just walk away.No heavy pressure selling here.
You are asked by numerous taxi drivers if you want a taxi back down into the town though. They told us it was over 6km and the fair was 20 euros. As we walked away, the price dropped to 15 euros but we still walked anyway. It was a 30 minute walk down hill which told us it was not 6km!!
The next stop was Tenerife and we hired a minibus with another family we had met on Cruise Critic. If you do this, remember to ask when booking the minibus if they are allowed to drive up to the ship or if they have to park outside the port. Ours had to park outside and use the free shuttle bus to come and find us.
Loro Parque is an amazing place. It is one of the cleanest zoos we have visited. My wife used the phrase 'the animals even look happy' and we all had to agree.
The dolphin show has to be seen, its amazing.
Our final stop was Lanzarote and for this, we booked our first excursion with NCL. We have to say, it was fantastic. We booked the 'Easy Lanzarote' tour. The coach was waiting for us as we left the ship. The tour guide and driver were both brilliant. Very informative and friendly but without going on and on just for the sake of it. We can totally recommend this tour.
All in all, this was an amazing cruise, made amazing by the staff of the NCL spirit. Our thanks have to go out to the Captain, Armando and Dominic. You are all a credit to NCL and you helped make our holiday very memorable.
If anyone is going on the Spirit anytime soon and wants to ask anything, please contact us and we will do our best to help answer any questions. Otherwise, look forward to your cruise, you are going to love it :-)
Cabin 9071 is a well located inside cabin. Its a standard layout and is adequate for a family of 4. It can be a bit cramped when you are all getting up in the morning trying to get ready but this goes for all cabins of the same size. We had a couple of nights where the sea was a little rougher and the wardrobe door kept sliding backwards and forwards but stuffing a dressing gown next to it stopped that. Other than footfall outside the cabin, it is a very quiet location. You dont even hear the ship when it is docking. If you are lucky enough to have Dominic as a steward, you will not be disappointed by this cabin.