Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review by sarahbeth722
- Sail Date: February 2017
- Destination: Europe
- Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Inside
The reservation process was essentially painless, we thought we were getting off to a good start. Once we arrived in Barcelona and tried to find the cruise terminal, we saw that it would either be about a 40 minute walk with our luggage over an incredibly steep highway bridge to get to our particular ship, or pay for a taxi which we begrudgingly did. At the terminal, we were harassed slightly for not having paper copies of our reservation in hand and were told to step aside until I could present our reservation number on my phone and the guard could bring himself to actually look at what I was showing him. Past that point, embarkation was smooth and our bags made it to our room. For the rest of the review of the cabin, see below.
Dining! What fun (sarcasm). As we were only able to go on the cruise because of the advertised price of $500/person, we couldn't splurge to go to the restaurants to pay for steak dinners every night. We've been on other cruises with other lines where the food in the buffet area and the main dining rooms have been more that satisfactory- just about everything on Norwegian about killed us. Not only did the food taste cheap and not like real food and was cold, my fiance and I both had food poisoning just about every night. Our only saving grace was to find food ashore and sneak it back on board as to not get sick from the food being served to us. When we had days at sea, our only solace were the rolls and crackers that we knew were safe.
When we ate at the dining halls, the woman who would seat us was the only genuinely happy person to greet us and pay attention to us. Once we were seated in the dining hall, we would be ignored by the wait staff. I am 25 and my fiance is 30 so it would be safe to say that we are some of the younger folks on the ship- we were dressed in nice slacks and shirts and tried to smile and be friendly with the staff, but we were in turn either ignored when an older couple or group was seated next to us or were just given very disingenuous service.
I also had an experience at one of the bars on board- I attempted to order a beer during afternoon trivia. It took about 10 minutes for the bartender to look my way and I ordered my beer and he repeated the order back to me. He then went to the other side of the bar to take the orders of about 8 other people after me (all of them mixed drinks for people middle-aged or older). I went to back to my fiance no longer wanting the beer as I was waiting more than 15 minutes to pay $9 for a Dos Equis (a $4 in the US). The bartender then got out the beer and was about to open it when he made eye contact with me finally and I told him no and said loudly that he had ignored me. A man next to me even said it was ridiculous to him that I had not been taken care of and that no apology was given., so it wasn't just me noticing that I was a second class citizen in their eyes.
The saving grace of this trip were the ports of call. Just about every port (except Messina) was wonderful. If it weren't for the aquarium pretty close to the port in Valencia, the town was a bit run down. I'm sure the excursions offered by the company were great but again, we didn't have the means to go on many of them. Malta was AMAZING, as was Palma Mallorca- very nice surprises.
Messina was just a bad choice. I can understand folks wanting to see the countryside, but with excursions starting around $80/person, there was no way we could do it and we didn't have much interest, so we tried wandering around to see the local flair. Bad idea. The locals seemed pretty peeved to have tourists in their town and it was also very dirty.
We were disappointed in our shore excursion in Pompei. We signed up for what we thought was a shuttle to and entrance into Pompei itself and preordered before the cruise. When we received our tickets on the ship the night before, it was only until we saw the words printed on the tickets that the entry fee was separate from the shuttle and we had only paid for a shuttle. And once we got to Pompei, we were informed that the Prime Minister would be arriving later that day so the place had to be emptied without refund or discount (not the fault of Norwegian on this part but still a ridiculous experience).
The hot tubs were a nice escape after long days of walking and exploring until the middle of the cruise, when they decided to close two of them to repaint...? It just seemed like weird timing and the paint fumes along with the exhaust from the ship were in the vents and we could smell it in our cabin, 3 floors down and in the interior of the ship.
There were also a couple of tournaments in the casino on the last day at sea- smoking is allowed in the casino, therefore the strong, pungent odor of cigarette and cigar smoke filled our cabin and the rest of the ship as well.
And finally, DAILY SERVICE CHARGE. Daily service charge is usually something I am more than happy with paying, the staff on cruise ships have been some of the nicest and most welcoming people I have come into contact with... on other lines. This ship's crew with the exception of about 4 individuals were all surly, never smiled at us, and never seemed happy to be there. The vibes were overwhelmingly negative on that ship. We were so happy to be leaving the ship and then we received that final bill on the last morning. We thought we were paying $500/person for a wonderful experience, and nowhere did it say how much we would be paying on top of that. We paid an additional $13.50 per person per day, so they charged us an additional $325 or so.
I have never been so disappointed in an experience in my life. I love to travel, and I used to love cruising. If we do ever end up cruising again, I can assure you it will never be with Norwegian. I'm sure that if you pay for an exclusive balcony room with every amenity, you will be catered to hand over foot.
250,000+ people have entered their email
I was traveling with my fiance, and when we first arrived on the ship there were two twin beds in the room. I have encountered this before on a cruise and it's usually not an issue for them to push the beds together and give us larger sheets. We had to request for the beds to be put together THREE times before anything was done. And I believed that our cabin attendant was reprimanded because he never introduced himself or smiled at us when we came by. Another lovely way to start the day, being stared down by a person about to clean your room. (We left the Do Not Disturb sign in our door most of the cruise because this man was incredibly off-putting)
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
BarcelonaWe had a day before and after the cruise in Barcelona and loved it. We explored by ourselves and loved the Sagrada Familia!View All 2,261 Barcelona Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Barcelona Cruise Port Review
Florence (Livorno)Florence was great, but getting to the train station in Livorno was a bit of a hassle. We paid for a shuttle to get to what we thought would be the train station, but it just took us away from the cruise port to a random parking lot where we could either A) pay for a taxi, B) pay for another shuttle, or C) walk 10 minutes to the train station. Just weird. But Florence was excellent- I just wish we had more time there!View All 1,100 Florence (Livorno) Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Florence (Livorno) Cruise Port Review
Malta (Valletta)If I could rate this port higher than excellent, I would. I fell in love with this country and would gladly vacation here again if I could. I don't even think an excursion is necessary- we booked a hop-on hop-off tour to see around the main island, but we enjoyed just exploring the capital city.View All 618 Malta (Valletta) Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Malta (Valletta) Cruise Port Review
Monaco (Monte Carlo)This port of call was another surprise- we were supposed to stop in Marseille but were unable to due to bad weather. Monaco is absolutely breathtaking, and we took the 1euro bus into Nice for the morning and enjoyed it. The scenic views are absolutely worth it.View All 492 Monaco (Monte Carlo) Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Monaco (Monte Carlo) Cruise Port Review
NaplesWe booked the "Pompei on Your Own" excursion, under the impression that we were purchasing a ride on the shuttle to Pompei as well as entry into the site. the way it was advertised was a bit misleading, as we had to pay for entry once we arrived- we just paid for a shuttle that would allow us to be at Pompei for about 2 hours (not nearly enough time).View All 13,326 Naples Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Naples Cruise Port Review
Palma de Mallorca (Majorca)Another day of wandering with no expectations- we had no idea what was on the island and we just happened to wander in the direction of the cathedral. It was a wonderful and much welcomed surprise!View All 844 Palma de Mallorca (Majorca) Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Palma de Mallorca (Majorca) Cruise Port Review
Rome (Civitavecchia)Civitavecchia was another interesting experience- all passengers had to board a mandatory shuttle to take them closer to the train station away from the port. Other than that, we didn't spend much time there as we were on the earliest possible train to Rome which was spectacular. Again, just wish we had more time there!View All 2,201 Rome (Civitavecchia) Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Rome (Civitavecchia) Cruise Port Review
Taormina (Messina)This was probably the worst possible choice in a port that I have ever seen. If you didn't go to the countryside (which we didn't but I'm sure was quite lovely), you were left to explore a dirty and extremely unpleasant town where the restaurants close at lunch time so that the employees can have lunch. And when you did find a cafe that stayed open, the baristas and waiters did nothing to stop vendors from constantly approaching your table trying to sell cheap scarves and other kitsch. The whole day was just ridiculous.View All 415 Taormina (Messina) Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Taormina (Messina) Cruise Port Review
ValenciaThe largest aquarium in Europe was wonderful! The rest of the nearby town looked pretty run down.View All 299 Valencia Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Valencia Cruise Port Review