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Overall, we had a great time on this cruise (our first, ever!) There were a few annoyances, however - charging $5.50 US for a litre of water is over the top ridiculous, and you're not allowed to bring it back if you don't finish it! If one has booked their excursions (which are also very expensive) through NCL, water should be given to you for free. It's water. Drinks were also very expensive - most glasses of wine were $10 US, and beer $6.50 or so. The gratis restaurants were pretty good, with The Garden having better quality food than Windows. The buffet is acceptable, especially for breakfast. Shogun has great appetizers, though they seem to be masters at drying out chicken. My husband said the seafood soup was delicious. We ate at La Trattoria, which came with the romance package, for our anniversary. The food wasn't obviously Italian, and the room was partially open to the buffet, so had all that noise coming through, which didn't make it seem as special. The steak was ridiculously large (14 or 16 oz, can't remember), and the two of us couldn't finish it - what a waste. Food was good, though. They had the laundry special - $20 US for one bag (which wasn't very big). Not that great of a special, but the clothes were clean and not ruined. Champagne Charlie's was great fun, as was Galaxy of the Stars. The ports were definitely the main draw of this cruise, however - it was exhausting and amazing! The ship is definitely in need of it's January, $40M overhaul. Staff were great. "Washy, washy" will remain with us for the rest of our lives, I think... ;) Wonderful shows at the Stardust Theatre as well.

First Cruise, Ever - Great time!

Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review by jhk515

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2016
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Oceanview Picture Window
Overall, we had a great time on this cruise (our first, ever!) There were a few annoyances, however - charging $5.50 US for a litre of water is over the top ridiculous, and you're not allowed to bring it back if you don't finish it! If one has booked their excursions (which are also very expensive) through NCL, water should be given to you for free. It's water. Drinks were also very expensive - most glasses of wine were $10 US, and beer $6.50 or so. The gratis restaurants were pretty good, with The Garden having better quality food than Windows. The buffet is acceptable, especially for breakfast. Shogun has great appetizers, though they seem to be masters at drying out chicken. My husband said the seafood soup was delicious. We ate at La Trattoria, which came with the romance package, for our anniversary. The food wasn't obviously Italian, and the room was partially open to the buffet, so had all that noise coming through, which didn't make it seem as special. The steak was ridiculously large (14 or 16 oz, can't remember), and the two of us couldn't finish it - what a waste. Food was good, though. They had the laundry special - $20 US for one bag (which wasn't very big). Not that great of a special, but the clothes were clean and not ruined. Champagne Charlie's was great fun, as was Galaxy of the Stars. The ports were definitely the main draw of this cruise, however - it was exhausting and amazing! The ship is definitely in need of it's January, $40M overhaul. Staff were great. "Washy, washy" will remain with us for the rest of our lives, I think... ;) Wonderful shows at the Stardust Theatre as well.
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Cabin Review

Oceanview Picture Window
Cabin OA 8018
It was OK. Basic, but great to have that window. The toilet sounded just like an airplane one, but a few times louder.
Deck 9 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Athens (Piraeus)
    Used cruisingexcursions.com, which were every bit as good as the excursions through NCL, and they guarantee to get you back to the ship on time. One issue was that they constantly waited for late people rather than providing an emergency phone number and carrying on with the tour for the rest of us. There are always those couple of people that do this to everyone else, unfortunately. Meeting the tour is off the ship rather than on, of course, but it was very easy to find.
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  • Private Tour
    Excellent tour, with a knowledgeable, funny tour guide.
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  • Dubrovnik
    We completely lucked out with this tour! Turns out, the village farm they took us to belonged to the tour guide's family. She showed us the old olive oil press, there were 2 musicians who played for us during our "snack" (customized to songs representing the country that each of us was from - "The Good Old Hockey Game" for us Canadians, lol!) There was bread, local proscuitto (not anywhere near as salty as we get back home), cheese, fresh olives, pickles, and free-flowing local red wine. When a decanter of wine ran out, they brought another one. Everyone had a great time. We, unfortunately, got caught in a traffic jam (inside a tunnel for at least 1/2 an hour) on the way back to the old town, but there was apparently an accident, so nothing could be done. We still had time in the old town behind the city walls, though, and it was another amazing ancient city. All the way through this cruise, we had the most amazing gelato! The Europeans know how to make this so it's not super-heavy and super-sweet like we get in North America.
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  • Florence & Pisa Tour
    NCL checks out tour operators quite thoroughly. Busses, drivers and tour guides are all very good. Emergency numbers are provided in case you get lost or separated from the group.
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  • Kotor
    OMG, the views of Kotor and the bay, as they drove us up the mountain to about 4,000 feet (around 25 hairpin turns on a single lane road with two-way traffic) were amazing and terrifying at the same time! Apparently the bus drivers had to have a certain amount of hours of driving on it before they're licensed and our driver was very good, so that helped me feel a little better about it. The stop in the village was very quaint, though the snack of homemade bread, ham and cheese was VERY dry and hard to swallow - I couldn't eat one of the bread slices. The cheese was a mix of goat and cow cheese and was delicious, as was the local wine they gave us (though it was strange drinking wine mid-morning). You could choose pop or water instead of you preferred. The old city of Kotor inside the walls was fascinating, as were the wild cats inside. We had to tender in again, though with 2 of the ship's own tenders as well as 2 local ones.
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  • Mykonos
    Half day tour, which was good, but things to do here are very limited. A tour really isn't necessary. The reason we chose to do one is that you learn things from your tour guide that you otherwise wouldn't know about a place. We had to tender to and from the ship (no extra charge) with private local tenders.
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  • Naples
    Also booked through cruisingexcursions.com. Major disappointment on this one was that they didn't include the tickets for Pompeii, so we had to stand in line for 45-60 mins, which cut down on the amount of time we had inside the ruins. Everyone was most upset about this. All the other points mentioned for this private tour company apply, though.
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  • Rome (Civitavecchia)
    Great tour! Exhausting, long day, but amazing things. Unfortunately, it was VERY crowded at the Vatican Museum, St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel - shoulder to shoulder, and no stopping, as they try to push through as many people as possible. (Don't know what would happen in an emergency!) Skip the line access is a must for these locations as the lineups were 6-8 people wide and went on for blocks - it would take hours to get in, otherwise. The Colusseum and Pantheon were also very crowded. Trevi Fountain was being cleaned when we were there, unfortunately. An amazing tour, but VERY expensive at $400 US/person and not even a bottle of water included.
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  • Toulon
    Didn't take a tour/excursion here, as it's a very small place. As my husband ended up hurting himself the night before, he didn't come with me, so I just did the market, which is very large, and was fun. It's good to know a few words of French when dealing with the vendors, though most of them have some basic English - my High School French kept alluding me.
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  • Venice
    We stayed a couple of days longer, so did the St. Mark's at Night tour with NCL, and some others on our own later. They only allowed NCL passengers on this tour into the basilica, and they allowed us to take as many non-flash pics as we wanted (normally, you're not allowed to). They sat us in the pitch-black church and slowly brought up the lights - it was absolutely amazing! Then they took us into the crypts, where people aren't normally allowed to go, as well. It was a great tour.

    We did a couple of walking tours the next two days, with different themes, Murano and Burano and a gondola ride, arranged privately through localvenicetours.com. The gondola ride was somewhat disappointing as they put 6 people in one gondola and we had one woman on ours who wouldn't stop talking, which spoiled some of it for the rest of us. The Murano tour took us to THE most expensive Murano factory ever, which claimed to not sell online or in Venice stores (don't believe that for a minute, as they'd never survive), and the staff followed you around inside the store. Interesting glass blowing demonstration, if you've never seen it before. The Burano shop very briefly demonstrated the process and proceeded to try to sell you the lace, as well. The tour guides were great, though, and did warn us about the pressure sales attempts.
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