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This was our 4the cruise, all on NCL and all out of Boston. We love the convenience of being able to drive to the port and being "instantly" on vacation for a full week. The overall cost is reduced with no airfare/hotel fees and we find it to be a great value vacation overall.   Embarkation   This was the most organized embarkation so far. I was dropped with the luggage while my husband went to park in the garage ($105 for the week) at 11:30. When he returned we got into the line to drop off luggage (we had 2 bags each). You must have NCL tags on your luggage. After this, we got in the security line which used to be upstairs at Black Falcon Pier after check in. I found this much better. After security it was into the check in line - blue for regular passengers, pink for Latitudes. Latitudes Gold members were all the way to the end with virtually no line. We got in the Latitudes line which was equally as long as the regular line and reached the ticket agent at roughly the same time. We did have the computer go down as they were getting ready to take our pictures. The manager came over was completely apologetic and we had to wait a bit longer until the computer came back up. I felt they handled the situation very professionally. Once we had our card keys we went upstairs. They had the photo package ($119 for the week) being offered and the photographer waiting just as you went on board. Once on board at the Atrium the Champagne or juice was ready to greet you. The dining reservation desk was to your right so you can immediately make your Specialty Restaurant reservations, which is convenient. We were on board at 12:30. NOTE: In the past we have been called to our luggage as we generally bring a dozen bottles of water with us. This time we did not get called.   Ship Layout   The Atrium in the Spirit is quite lovely. I enjoyed watching the glass elevators going up and down, listening to the piano player on the grand staircase or grabbing a coffee at the cafe. It is a great people watching spot. Having said that, I was always aware when using the mid ship elevators to face forward to the glass.  Trust me on this one. On the same deck as the atrium are lots of great spots - Henry's Pub, Blue Lagoon food court, Shanghai bar, the Casino, Maharini's, Reception, the Promenade walking deck (took us roughly 5 minutes per lap). The stage level entrance of the Stardust theater was also on this level.   Up to the Tivoli pool, where Port Side Casino is offered on sea days, it was very nicely laid out and appealing. Raffles buffet is on this deck with the Raffles bar and al fresco seating aft. Up to deck 13 from here is the Bier Garten which was one of my favorite places on the ship. It was never too windy under the tent and the service here was always exceptional. It's a nice spot to grab a burger, hotdog, sausage or pretzel in mid-afternoon. There was also a Teen Disco forward, a jogging track (clock wise please!) and golf driving nets and a basketball court.   There were 3 sets of 3 elevators each - forward, midship and aft. Since we were situated on Deck 9 we used the stairs a lot to get up to the pool or down to the dining rooms but didn't have a problem getting one when needed. Of course, after shows got out and at disembarkation there was a lot of congestion at the elevators.   Overall, it is a lovely ship. It is well laid out, easy to get around, not chopped up and it never felt overly congested. There seemed to be plenty of room for everyone.   Cabin   Our first balcony! We have always had outside cabins and this was the same as the outside cabins size wise but having the balcony was nice I must admit. I did love the bathroom layout with no shower curtain and pocket doors for the commode and shower. The shelf under the sink and glass shelves on the corners of the mirror held all our toiletries which was nice and convenient. We unpacked all the contents of our 2 bags and everything fit in the 4 drawers under the TV, the shelves in the closet and the on the closet hangers provided. There were 2 robes hanging in the closet and I loved them. They are the same robes that are used in the spa and you can purchase them if you desire. We stored our bags under the bed with no problems. There is a coffee maker in the room but we chose room service coffee instead. There are room service cards in the information book on the desk and you hang your card on the doorknob by 4 AM. They also call first when the server is on the way. The balcony has 2 chairs (they do not recline) and a little table. We were on starboard side which provided sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon. The view in Bermuda was out across the harbor as opposed to looking at the Dockyard.  Our room stewards were fabulous - Charles and another very pleasant young man who was always smiling and helpful. We LOVED the towel animals that greeted us on our bed every evening and the mints on our pillows.  There are 2 movie channels that run first run movies 24 hours a day (Slumdog Millionaire etc). The weather was great so we never resorted to watching movies but it is a nice feature. NOTE: We did always tip the server who brought coffee/breakfast as well as our 2 room stewards. Clearly this is optional but they work hard on board for 10 months out of the year. They look forward to making phone calls home and I looked at the tips as giving them the opportunity to call home or have a beer on us while in port.   FYI - We did snoop in the suites and mini-suites the day of departure. They are really nice, well laid out, flat screen TV's, one or 2 balconies with lounge chairs, spa tubs, fridges, bars, concierge service. Very luxurious. If I ever get a chance to upgrade, I'm all over it!   Dining   Upon embarkation, we went immediately to the Windows dining room. We were seated on Port side and could watch the palettes of food and stores being delivered, inspected and put aboard.  Samuel was the first server we met and he was from St. Lucia. He was helpful, answering all our questions, and gave us a great first impression of the ship staff. For lunch, we both had tilapia and it was very good.   For dinner we went to Gardens. Again we were seated at a table for 2 in a window. Our server was Lawry who brought us an extra dessert as he didn't want us to miss out on the custard filled delight. I had leg of lamb which was very good and my husband had mahi mahi. Gardens has more of a closed in feel as it is U shaped but it was very pleasant and more spacious than it appears. Also, I found out after the fact that Gardens was opened for balcony passengers for breakfast and wish I had known that while we were on board.   Breakfast in Windows day 2 and I was in heaven with Eggs Benedict with Salmon and capers. Servers always brought a basket of muffins, pastry, croissants and rolls and fresh coffee upon arrival. Menu was plentiful. We ate breakfast in Windows the last 2 days as well and both of us went with the oatmeal which is cooked the old fashioned way and really delicious with brown sugar and raisins.   Le Bistro was our dining option for Saturday night. I wish I had paid more attention at the Reservation Desk as I would have loved to have attended the candlelight dinner in the art gallery. The fee was $65 per person including wine. I never heard about it until afterwards. Oh well - I guess you can't do everything! Regardless, Le Bistro didn't disappoint.  We were not seated at a window which faced the promenade but that hardly mattered.  Cesar was our server and he was excellent. Kelly greeted us pleasantly on arrival. We both chose the tenderloin which as cooked to perfection and we enjoyed eating the mussels and scallops appetizers and asparagus and frieze salads. A bottle of Cline Zinfandel went well and it was a very relaxed and enjoyable dinner.   While in port we ate in Windows and always got seated at or near one of the aft windows for sunset. We ate a lot of truly delectable meals. I loved the chilled avocado and tomatillo soup. Another starter that we both loved was the marinated artichoke hearts that came with proscuiito bruchetta. When we told our server that it was the best dish flavor wise we'd tasted yet, he offered to bring us another! I did have the Surf and more Surf one night which consisted of lobster tail, scallops and another white fish. Very good. Honestly - in the dining rooms there wasn't one meal that wasn't very good.   Raffles we ate at sparingly, mainly for lunch. They make a great Caesar salad to order in front of you. We also had chicken salad pockets and you should request 2 scoops which they will give you. The pizza was okay. Our favorite aspect was the soft serve ice cream. It is at the mid point and has a server. Flavors change daily.   Again - we liked the pretzels and offerings at the bier garden. Burgers, dogs, sausage, sauerkraut, cole slaw and fries. One day we did hit the pool side buffet of burgers and dogs and a jambalaya. It was good but not great. There are a lot of people there and a lot of standing around waiting.   The last night of the cruise we went to the 6:30 seating at Teppanyaki. It was a nice change of pace and a really delectable meal. We did have a toddler there and the chef, Joel, made a point of entertaining him by catching eggs in his chef hat.  It was fun watching him make the fried rice. He did verify everyone's order before cooking and it was all very delicious. I had the seafood - scallops and calamari and my husband had the tenderloin. It was awesome. The soup was great and the snap peas were very good too. This made me wish we had tried out the sushi bar and Shogun. Maybe next year.   Overall - we think the food in the dining rooms is very good. The coffee is never piping hot though. The cappuccino was hotter and a nice feature in the dining room (hot chocolate is available as well). The specialty dining is excellent but not necessary if you don't want to spend the extra money on dining. The food choices and options in the dining rooms are very good, not foods I would cook on a regular basis, and are presented in a very appealing way. The service is top notch. The buffets are there and have plenty of options as well but I'm not a huge fan of buffets anywhere.  So - when it comes to complaints about the food, I am totally confused. We were never disappointed and never sent anything back.   Casino   It never felt over crowded. This was the most smokey part of the ship. We watched craps and roulette but chose not to play. They did have Texas Hold'em tournaments and as mentioned earlier black jack by the pool on sea days. I got lucky on Texas Tea and Turtle Treasure slots. It was a nice way to spend a half an hour here or there. Due to the amount of smoking I never wanted to spend too much time there. It does have a low ceiling so it always had a haze.   Bingo was a big draw and the announcements for the bingo games always ended with a "Woo!" which by the end of the week, everyone was joining in with. There were also raffles and snap tickets, which were sold prior to most of the shows in the Stardust, so certainly there is plenty of opportunity for all kinds of gambling.   Entertainment   This was the best entertainment for us so far. We went to the Not So Newlywed Game for the 3rd time. It never fails to be hilarious. Paul Scally the cruise director was sharp witted and added to the entertainment value. We loved the Home Free accapella group, Second City was really good, the magic show was good fun and On the Radio was much better than our past experiences. Joy around the pool always set a great atmosphere. We also had the Dixie land jazz band in the bier garden one day where the clarinet player held a note for what felt like 2 minutes! He got a big round of applause. The piano players and singers in Champagne Charlies were good as well.   We did go to the White Hot Party. It was fun seeing everyone on the dance floor with glow sticks and the purple lights on the white outfits. The on board dance troupe did a great job too. Music was from all over the recent decades so there's bound to be a song you know and like. Definitely bring a white outfit to wear and get your picture taken with the angels.   We also went to the pool side dance party but missed the 70's disco party. There just isn't enough time to do everything!   Bermuda   One of the great draws to this cruise is the island of Bermuda. It is so very pretty and mostly safe. Being at the Dockyards is a nice change from St George and the new Heritage Wharf is excellent. You only need your room key and a picture ID so you can leave your Passport on the ship.   We arrived on a Sunday morning. You go past St. David's Island and town cut where the Majesty enters to dock at St George. You go past St Catherine's Fort and follow the island over to Dockyards. It was fun sitting on the balcony as we docked. We stayed on board for lunch to avoid the rush to disembark. When we did disembark, we went straight to the octagon shaped tourist information center and purchased our 3 day bus/ferry pass for $28 each - cash only! What a great value. If you have issues walking, there is a trolley train that picks you up at the pier and you can rent a Segway for exploring the dockyards. Also, if you are physically challenged in any way, it would be better to book the excursions or take taxi's which are plentiful. If you are able bodied, the busses and ferries are not a problem.   While we knew most shops in Hamilton would be closed, we chose to take the ferry over and roam around. It was kind of nice to be in Bermuda's major city on a quiet day. The restaurants were all open and a few shops. We walked up to Fort Hamilton and really enjoyed the views and exploring this fort. There was also a moat you could walk as well. The ferry ride to and from gave us a chance to look at some spectacular homes along the water.   The Dockyards has improved since our last visit in 2004 (where we were in the Frog and Onion Pub when the Red Sox won the world series!). There are more dining options now and the Snorkel Park and Hammerheads (bar and beach rental) has been added. For first timers, it is probably best to stay in Dockyards on Sunday since the shops in the clock tower mall are open.   Monday we took the bus up to Gibbs Hill lighthouse. The lines for the busses and ferries were considerably longer as the Grandeur of the Seas docked behind the Spirit. We rang the bell to get off near the Henry the VIII pub and walked up the hill. The lighthouse costs $2.50 per person to walk the 185 steps to the top. The views of the island are absolutely stellar. At each landing are wall plaques that provide a lot of history of the lighthouse and Bermuda. We met a young Bermudian there who gave us lot of information and pointed out a beautiful bluebird and also provided the name of the bird we heard constantly  - the kiskerkee.   From the lighthouse we chose to walk to Horseshoe beach. This is a beautiful beach and really shouldn't be missed. It has a large bath house and a chair/umbrella rental as well as a snack bar. You can walk the distance of Horseshoe and over to the other beach area's. A park runs along the hill beside the beach which has trails that we did not explore. The water and sand are absolutely lovely. We saw lots of red people so be sure to bring lots of sunscreen. There is a van that offers a ride to the top of the hill for $2. Nearby is the Southampton Princess resort which has a nice golf course and may be explored. I heard reports of fine dining here and a nice spa visit as well.   We spent one day in St George. It really is a charming village with quaint shops. We chose to walk to the beach at St Catherine's where we were sad to find the beach bar and cabana gone. The old defunct hotel on the hill has been torn down as well. The Royal St George golf course is also closed. It will be interesting to see how this area becomes redeveloped. We stopped at Tobacco Bay on our way back, after considering Blackbeards for lunch and deciding to head into town. We took some back alleys starting at the Unfinished Church and ended up along the waterfront. Eventually we took the ferry back to Dockyards and said farewell to St George and the Norwegian Majesty which was docked there. It is the Majesty's swan song as she is being retired in the fall. We were married on her in 2003 so it was nice for us to see her one last time.   We awoke Wednesday morning early to watch us leave port and head back to Boston. We enjoyed sitting on the balcony and watch the Norwegian Dawn pass us as we left. It also gave us a chance to see the island one last time. It was also enjoyable for us as the pilot departed the ship on starboard side. I also saw the "flying fish" that get airborne as they get out of the way of the ship. Watch along the water line and you'll be sure to see them!   Spa   I did book a full 75 minute hot stone massage and scalp treatment. The pricing is comparable to spas in the Boston area. The lockers were reasonable in size and the shower area was well stocked and serviced. I have been to the highly rated Top Notch spa in Stowe Vermont and found the services to be on par with them. I was very pleased with the service and wish I had used the gym and spa more to be honest.   Ship Personnel   We were fortunate to attend the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet in Henry's Pub our first morning at sea.  There was not a big turn out which provided us lots of face time with the senior staff. In attendance were Frank who was 3rd in command, the cruise director, Paul Scally from the UK, Ralph from Jamaica who ran housekeeping, Bernard from Austria in charge of food and beverages, Peter the executive chef from Germany, and Anita from Columbia who ran reception. They gave us a nice breakfast buffet and we got all our questions answered. Ralph was especially informative and had served on many of the present and past ships. Peter was especially outgoing. He has also served on many ships and on land as well. He is very involved in all the food prep and as he put it "does lots of tasting". We also observed him inspecting the incoming stores the day of departure and he picked out food from each palette. We could tell he was not happy with the broccoli! So - he was working very hard to ensure top quality food is brought on board which was nice to see. Bernard was also seen out and about the ship a lot as was Frank. All of them were part of the last show, the International show where members of the staff provided the entertainment and then sang the Norwegian Way song.   Again - we were always greeted with a smile, found the staff to be informative and engaging. Cheriza, the hostess in the Windows dining room, always greeted me with "Miss Ann". Charles was always smiling when we went in and out of our cabin. The food and beverage servers were always pleasant and not overbearing. The Spirit staff was great all around.   Disembarkation   While Paul Scally ran a great information session on disembarkation and provided information in the Freestyle Daily, this was the one problematic area. Everyone that purchases goods to be declared is supposed to go to the Stardust Theater around 8 AM. We listened over and over to the same names being called there. Thus, customs delayed disembarkation. By then, there was a significant line to disembark.   You can choose to take your luggage off with you and disembark whenever you want. Since we each had 2 bags we chose to put out luggage outside our room the night before (by 2 AM). We had breakfast in Windows which does reduce the number of offerings this day but there is still plenty to eat - eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns etc. We had green tags which was supposed to disembark at 9:45. Due to the delay, it was more like 10:45 and we stood in line with a lot of grumbling and grouchy people. In retrospect, I think I would plan to just sit back and relax and wait for the last disembarkation call and avoid the crowds and rush.   Favorite Things   If you are a Latitudes Member, don't miss the Latitudes party. Free cocktails or wine are offered as are passed hors d'eorves. The captain and senior staff are there to greet you and a band provides background music. There were many free raffles as well (make sure you bring your invite letter with you to enter the drawing).   We found the aft area a great place to lounge out of the sun, as long as you don't mind the kids since this is where the kids pool and hot tub is located. There is also aft seating for Raffles and it is set up in a terraced fashion. This is where I figured out that the ashtrays were on the port side and it was smokefree on starboard side. Other favorite areas were the Atrium for people watching, and the Bier Garden for burgers and a helmet of beer (buy 5 get the 6the one free!).  We loved room service for breakfast on the balcony. We loved our towel animals and mints on our pillow. Overall - I loved the cruise for a vacation. We didn't work, clean or cook and were treated great by the entire staff.   Overall - we had a great time and were lucky to have great weather as well. I highly recommend the Norwegian Spirit for a worry free, fabulous vacation.

Beautiful Boston to Bermuda on the Spirit

Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review by MsAnnMcD

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2009
  • Destination: Bermuda
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
This was our 4the cruise, all on NCL and all out of Boston. We love the convenience of being able to drive to the port and being "instantly" on vacation for a full week. The overall cost is reduced with no airfare/hotel fees and we find it to be a great value vacation overall.
 
Embarkation
 
This was the most organized embarkation so far. I was dropped with the luggage while my husband went to park in the garage ($105 for the week) at 11:30. When he returned we got into the line to drop off luggage (we had 2 bags each). You must have NCL tags on your luggage. After this, we got in the security line which used to be upstairs at Black Falcon Pier after check in. I found this much better. After security it was into the check in line - blue for regular passengers, pink for Latitudes. Latitudes Gold members were all the way to the end with virtually no line. We got in the Latitudes line which was equally as long as the regular line and reached the ticket agent at roughly the same time. We did have the computer go down as they were getting ready to take our pictures. The manager came over was completely apologetic and we had to wait a bit longer until the computer came back up. I felt they handled the situation very professionally. Once we had our card keys we went upstairs. They had the photo package ($119 for the week) being offered and the photographer waiting just as you went on board. Once on board at the Atrium the Champagne or juice was ready to greet you. The dining reservation desk was to your right so you can immediately make your Specialty Restaurant reservations, which is convenient. We were on board at 12:30. NOTE: In the past we have been called to our luggage as we generally bring a dozen bottles of water with us. This time we did not get called.
 
Ship Layout
 
The Atrium in the Spirit is quite lovely. I enjoyed watching the glass elevators going up and down, listening to the piano player on the grand staircase or grabbing a coffee at the cafe. It is a great people watching spot. Having said that, I was always aware when using the mid ship elevators to face forward to the glass.  Trust me on this one. On the same deck as the atrium are lots of great spots - Henry's Pub, Blue Lagoon food court, Shanghai bar, the Casino, Maharini's, Reception, the Promenade walking deck (took us roughly 5 minutes per lap). The stage level entrance of the Stardust theater was also on this level.
 
Up to the Tivoli pool, where Port Side Casino is offered on sea days, it was very nicely laid out and appealing. Raffles buffet is on this deck with the Raffles bar and al fresco seating aft. Up to deck 13 from here is the Bier Garten which was one of my favorite places on the ship. It was never too windy under the tent and the service here was always exceptional. It's a nice spot to grab a burger, hotdog, sausage or pretzel in mid-afternoon. There was also a Teen Disco forward, a jogging track (clock wise please!) and golf driving nets and a basketball court.
 
There were 3 sets of 3 elevators each - forward, midship and aft. Since we were situated on Deck 9 we used the stairs a lot to get up to the pool or down to the dining rooms but didn't have a problem getting one when needed. Of course, after shows got out and at disembarkation there was a lot of congestion at the elevators.
 
Overall, it is a lovely ship. It is well laid out, easy to get around, not chopped up and it never felt overly congested. There seemed to be plenty of room for everyone.
 
Cabin
 
Our first balcony! We have always had outside cabins and this was the same as the outside cabins size wise but having the balcony was nice I must admit. I did love the bathroom layout with no shower curtain and pocket doors for the commode and shower. The shelf under the sink and glass shelves on the corners of the mirror held all our toiletries which was nice and convenient. We unpacked all the contents of our 2 bags and everything fit in the 4 drawers under the TV, the shelves in the closet and the on the closet hangers provided. There were 2 robes hanging in the closet and I loved them. They are the same robes that are used in the spa and you can purchase them if you desire. We stored our bags under the bed with no problems. There is a coffee maker in the room but we chose room service coffee instead. There are room service cards in the information book on the desk and you hang your card on the doorknob by 4 AM. They also call first when the server is on the way. The balcony has 2 chairs (they do not recline) and a little table. We were on starboard side which provided sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon. The view in Bermuda was out across the harbor as opposed to looking at the Dockyard.  Our room stewards were fabulous - Charles and another very pleasant young man who was always smiling and helpful. We LOVED the towel animals that greeted us on our bed every evening and the mints on our pillows.  There are 2 movie channels that run first run movies 24 hours a day (Slumdog Millionaire etc). The weather was great so we never resorted to watching movies but it is a nice feature. NOTE: We did always tip the server who brought coffee/breakfast as well as our 2 room stewards. Clearly this is optional but they work hard on board for 10 months out of the year. They look forward to making phone calls home and I looked at the tips as giving them the opportunity to call home or have a beer on us while in port.
 
FYI - We did snoop in the suites and mini-suites the day of departure. They are really nice, well laid out, flat screen TV's, one or 2 balconies with lounge chairs, spa tubs, fridges, bars, concierge service. Very luxurious. If I ever get a chance to upgrade, I'm all over it!
 
Dining
 
Upon embarkation, we went immediately to the Windows dining room. We were seated on Port side and could watch the palettes of food and stores being delivered, inspected and put aboard.  Samuel was the first server we met and he was from St. Lucia. He was helpful, answering all our questions, and gave us a great first impression of the ship staff. For lunch, we both had tilapia and it was very good.
 
For dinner we went to Gardens. Again we were seated at a table for 2 in a window. Our server was Lawry who brought us an extra dessert as he didn't want us to miss out on the custard filled delight. I had leg of lamb which was very good and my husband had mahi mahi. Gardens has more of a closed in feel as it is U shaped but it was very pleasant and more spacious than it appears. Also, I found out after the fact that Gardens was opened for balcony passengers for breakfast and wish I had known that while we were on board.
 
Breakfast in Windows day 2 and I was in heaven with Eggs Benedict with Salmon and capers. Servers always brought a basket of muffins, pastry, croissants and rolls and fresh coffee upon arrival. Menu was plentiful. We ate breakfast in Windows the last 2 days as well and both of us went with the oatmeal which is cooked the old fashioned way and really delicious with brown sugar and raisins.
 
Le Bistro was our dining option for Saturday night. I wish I had paid more attention at the Reservation Desk as I would have loved to have attended the candlelight dinner in the art gallery. The fee was $65 per person including wine. I never heard about it until afterwards. Oh well - I guess you can't do everything! Regardless, Le Bistro didn't disappoint.  We were not seated at a window which faced the promenade but that hardly mattered.  Cesar was our server and he was excellent. Kelly greeted us pleasantly on arrival. We both chose the tenderloin which as cooked to perfection and we enjoyed eating the mussels and scallops appetizers and asparagus and frieze salads. A bottle of Cline Zinfandel went well and it was a very relaxed and enjoyable dinner.
 
While in port we ate in Windows and always got seated at or near one of the aft windows for sunset. We ate a lot of truly delectable meals. I loved the chilled avocado and tomatillo soup. Another starter that we both loved was the marinated artichoke hearts that came with proscuiito bruchetta. When we told our server that it was the best dish flavor wise we'd tasted yet, he offered to bring us another! I did have the Surf and more Surf one night which consisted of lobster tail, scallops and another white fish. Very good. Honestly - in the dining rooms there wasn't one meal that wasn't very good.
 
Raffles we ate at sparingly, mainly for lunch. They make a great Caesar salad to order in front of you. We also had chicken salad pockets and you should request 2 scoops which they will give you. The pizza was okay. Our favorite aspect was the soft serve ice cream. It is at the mid point and has a server. Flavors change daily.
 
Again - we liked the pretzels and offerings at the bier garden. Burgers, dogs, sausage, sauerkraut, cole slaw and fries. One day we did hit the pool side buffet of burgers and dogs and a jambalaya. It was good but not great. There are a lot of people there and a lot of standing around waiting.
 
The last night of the cruise we went to the 6:30 seating at Teppanyaki. It was a nice change of pace and a really delectable meal. We did have a toddler there and the chef, Joel, made a point of entertaining him by catching eggs in his chef hat.  It was fun watching him make the fried rice. He did verify everyone's order before cooking and it was all very delicious. I had the seafood - scallops and calamari and my husband had the tenderloin. It was awesome. The soup was great and the snap peas were very good too. This made me wish we had tried out the sushi bar and Shogun. Maybe next year.
 
Overall - we think the food in the dining rooms is very good. The coffee is never piping hot though. The cappuccino was hotter and a nice feature in the dining room (hot chocolate is available as well). The specialty dining is excellent but not necessary if you don't want to spend the extra money on dining. The food choices and options in the dining rooms are very good, not foods I would cook on a regular basis, and are presented in a very appealing way. The service is top notch. The buffets are there and have plenty of options as well but I'm not a huge fan of buffets anywhere.  So - when it comes to complaints about the food, I am totally confused. We were never disappointed and never sent anything back.
 
Casino
 
It never felt over crowded. This was the most smokey part of the ship. We watched craps and roulette but chose not to play. They did have Texas Hold'em tournaments and as mentioned earlier black jack by the pool on sea days. I got lucky on Texas Tea and Turtle Treasure slots. It was a nice way to spend a half an hour here or there. Due to the amount of smoking I never wanted to spend too much time there. It does have a low ceiling so it always had a haze.
 
Bingo was a big draw and the announcements for the bingo games always ended with a "Woo!" which by the end of the week, everyone was joining in with. There were also raffles and snap tickets, which were sold prior to most of the shows in the Stardust, so certainly there is plenty of opportunity for all kinds of gambling.
 
Entertainment
 
This was the best entertainment for us so far. We went to the Not So Newlywed Game for the 3rd time. It never fails to be hilarious. Paul Scally the cruise director was sharp witted and added to the entertainment value. We loved the Home Free accapella group, Second City was really good, the magic show was good fun and On the Radio was much better than our past experiences. Joy around the pool always set a great atmosphere. We also had the Dixie land jazz band in the bier garden one day where the clarinet player held a note for what felt like 2 minutes! He got a big round of applause. The piano players and singers in Champagne Charlies were good as well.
 
We did go to the White Hot Party. It was fun seeing everyone on the dance floor with glow sticks and the purple lights on the white outfits. The on board dance troupe did a great job too. Music was from all over the recent decades so there's bound to be a song you know and like. Definitely bring a white outfit to wear and get your picture taken with the angels.
 
We also went to the pool side dance party but missed the 70's disco party. There just isn't enough time to do everything!
 
Bermuda
 
One of the great draws to this cruise is the island of Bermuda. It is so very pretty and mostly safe. Being at the Dockyards is a nice change from St George and the new Heritage Wharf is excellent. You only need your room key and a picture ID so you can leave your Passport on the ship.
 
We arrived on a Sunday morning. You go past St. David's Island and town cut where the Majesty enters to dock at St George. You go past St Catherine's Fort and follow the island over to Dockyards. It was fun sitting on the balcony as we docked. We stayed on board for lunch to avoid the rush to disembark. When we did disembark, we went straight to the octagon shaped tourist information center and purchased our 3 day bus/ferry pass for $28 each - cash only! What a great value. If you have issues walking, there is a trolley train that picks you up at the pier and you can rent a Segway for exploring the dockyards. Also, if you are physically challenged in any way, it would be better to book the excursions or take taxi's which are plentiful. If you are able bodied, the busses and ferries are not a problem.
 
While we knew most shops in Hamilton would be closed, we chose to take the ferry over and roam around. It was kind of nice to be in Bermuda's major city on a quiet day. The restaurants were all open and a few shops. We walked up to Fort Hamilton and really enjoyed the views and exploring this fort. There was also a moat you could walk as well. The ferry ride to and from gave us a chance to look at some spectacular homes along the water.
 
The Dockyards has improved since our last visit in 2004 (where we were in the Frog and Onion Pub when the Red Sox won the world series!). There are more dining options now and the Snorkel Park and Hammerheads (bar and beach rental) has been added. For first timers, it is probably best to stay in Dockyards on Sunday since the shops in the clock tower mall are open.
 
Monday we took the bus up to Gibbs Hill lighthouse. The lines for the busses and ferries were considerably longer as the Grandeur of the Seas docked behind the Spirit. We rang the bell to get off near the Henry the VIII pub and walked up the hill. The lighthouse costs $2.50 per person to walk the 185 steps to the top. The views of the island are absolutely stellar. At each landing are wall plaques that provide a lot of history of the lighthouse and Bermuda. We met a young Bermudian there who gave us lot of information and pointed out a beautiful bluebird and also provided the name of the bird we heard constantly  - the kiskerkee.
 
From the lighthouse we chose to walk to Horseshoe beach. This is a beautiful beach and really shouldn't be missed. It has a large bath house and a chair/umbrella rental as well as a snack bar. You can walk the distance of Horseshoe and over to the other beach area's. A park runs along the hill beside the beach which has trails that we did not explore. The water and sand are absolutely lovely. We saw lots of red people so be sure to bring lots of sunscreen. There is a van that offers a ride to the top of the hill for $2. Nearby is the Southampton Princess resort which has a nice golf course and may be explored. I heard reports of fine dining here and a nice spa visit as well.
 
We spent one day in St George. It really is a charming village with quaint shops. We chose to walk to the beach at St Catherine's where we were sad to find the beach bar and cabana gone. The old defunct hotel on the hill has been torn down as well. The Royal St George golf course is also closed. It will be interesting to see how this area becomes redeveloped. We stopped at Tobacco Bay on our way back, after considering Blackbeards for lunch and deciding to head into town. We took some back alleys starting at the Unfinished Church and ended up along the waterfront. Eventually we took the ferry back to Dockyards and said farewell to St George and the Norwegian Majesty which was docked there. It is the Majesty's swan song as she is being retired in the fall. We were married on her in 2003 so it was nice for us to see her one last time.
 
We awoke Wednesday morning early to watch us leave port and head back to Boston. We enjoyed sitting on the balcony and watch the Norwegian Dawn pass us as we left. It also gave us a chance to see the island one last time. It was also enjoyable for us as the pilot departed the ship on starboard side. I also saw the "flying fish" that get airborne as they get out of the way of the ship. Watch along the water line and you'll be sure to see them!
 
Spa
 
I did book a full 75 minute hot stone massage and scalp treatment. The pricing is comparable to spas in the Boston area. The lockers were reasonable in size and the shower area was well stocked and serviced. I have been to the highly rated Top Notch spa in Stowe Vermont and found the services to be on par with them. I was very pleased with the service and wish I had used the gym and spa more to be honest.
 
Ship Personnel
 
We were fortunate to attend the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet in Henry's Pub our first morning at sea.  There was not a big turn out which provided us lots of face time with the senior staff. In attendance were Frank who was 3rd in command, the cruise director, Paul Scally from the UK, Ralph from Jamaica who ran housekeeping, Bernard from Austria in charge of food and beverages, Peter the executive chef from Germany, and Anita from Columbia who ran reception. They gave us a nice breakfast buffet and we got all our questions answered. Ralph was especially informative and had served on many of the present and past ships. Peter was especially outgoing. He has also served on many ships and on land as well. He is very involved in all the food prep and as he put it "does lots of tasting". We also observed him inspecting the incoming stores the day of departure and he picked out food from each palette. We could tell he was not happy with the broccoli! So - he was working very hard to ensure top quality food is brought on board which was nice to see. Bernard was also seen out and about the ship a lot as was Frank. All of them were part of the last show, the International show where members of the staff provided the entertainment and then sang the Norwegian Way song.
 
Again - we were always greeted with a smile, found the staff to be informative and engaging. Cheriza, the hostess in the Windows dining room, always greeted me with "Miss Ann". Charles was always smiling when we went in and out of our cabin. The food and beverage servers were always pleasant and not overbearing. The Spirit staff was great all around.
 
Disembarkation
 
While Paul Scally ran a great information session on disembarkation and provided information in the Freestyle Daily, this was the one problematic area. Everyone that purchases goods to be declared is supposed to go to the Stardust Theater around 8 AM. We listened over and over to the same names being called there. Thus, customs delayed disembarkation. By then, there was a significant line to disembark.
 
You can choose to take your luggage off with you and disembark whenever you want. Since we each had 2 bags we chose to put out luggage outside our room the night before (by 2 AM). We had breakfast in Windows which does reduce the number of offerings this day but there is still plenty to eat - eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns etc. We had green tags which was supposed to disembark at 9:45. Due to the delay, it was more like 10:45 and we stood in line with a lot of grumbling and grouchy people. In retrospect, I think I would plan to just sit back and relax and wait for the last disembarkation call and avoid the crowds and rush.
 
Favorite Things
 
If you are a Latitudes Member, don't miss the Latitudes party. Free cocktails or wine are offered as are passed hors d'eorves. The captain and senior staff are there to greet you and a band provides background music. There were many free raffles as well (make sure you bring your invite letter with you to enter the drawing).
 
We found the aft area a great place to lounge out of the sun, as long as you don't mind the kids since this is where the kids pool and hot tub is located. There is also aft seating for Raffles and it is set up in a terraced fashion. This is where I figured out that the ashtrays were on the port side and it was smokefree on starboard side. Other favorite areas were the Atrium for people watching, and the Bier Garden for burgers and a helmet of beer (buy 5 get the 6the one free!).  We loved room service for breakfast on the balcony. We loved our towel animals and mints on our pillow. Overall - I loved the cruise for a vacation. We didn't work, clean or cook and were treated great by the entire staff.
 
Overall - we had a great time and were lucky to have great weather as well. I highly recommend the Norwegian Spirit for a worry free, fabulous vacation.
MsAnnMcD’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BD 9006
9006 was forward and quiet. No noise from adjoining cabins or cabins above or below. The motion up front was not a problem. There was plenty of room for 4 pieces of luggage under the bed and we were able to stow all our belongings in the space provided. I found this a nice spot for getting around the ship as it was a few flights up for the pool an a few flights down for the atrium and dining. We were very happy with our choice of cabin and thought it was a good value.
Deck 9 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins