1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Norwegian Spirit
We chose to sail with NCL after doing some research and wanting a cruise line that was not going to be a formal affair and we certainly got that with NCL. You could essentially wear what you liked, which made for a lovely informal atmosphere on board the ship. As first time cruisers this very much took off the concern about what to pack and wear, especially in the evenings. Yes, the ship is the oldest in the NCL fleet, but we had no qualms or disappointments as we had nothing to compare the Spirit with. To us, it had all of the amenities on board we could have wished for. We had an inside cabin at the rear of the ship - 11665. For us, it had everything we needed. It was well located - we just had to walk out the doors and we were in the restaurant area. It was fairly quiet too - yes, there was a bit of noise and vibrations at time, but nothing major and as a base to sleep and shower we had no complaints. It was clean, tidy and each evening we came back to a towel made in the shape of animal. The room steward - Nono - was very polite and nothing was too much trouble. As first time cruisers, we weren't 100% sure how the freestyle dining worked. However, most evenings - providing we timed it correctly to miss the peak time when the 7.30pm show finished - we didn't have too much of a problem in getting a table. However, we feel NCL need to make it clear that freestyle dining also means you can book tables at all of the restaurants, including the complimentary ones. We tried several days in a row to get a table at Shogun, only to be disappointed each time as it was fully booked. Shogun - we finally managed to get a table for a 9.30pm sitting. Given that this restaurant is small, we felt that having young children in the restaurant at this time was not fair on other guests who were hoping for a quiet meal. We were seated and to our misfortune there was a large family in who proceeded to take over the entire restaurant and whilst we were having our starters, we had the bottom of the father literarlly wedged on our table whilst helping his baby daughter to walk up and down the restaurant. Before our main course arrived, we asked to be moved and were found another table in a quieter area. We just ate each evening in Windows or Gardens and we had no issues with the food and found the menus to have a good selection. The serving staff were always extremely polite and attentive. We did hear several guests complain about the quality of the food but we had no cause for complaints. Now for some negatives! Kids - we were a couple celebrating our first wedding anniversary and whilst we looked at adults only cruises, we booked this particular cruise as thought that as there were designated kids areas on the ship, our peace and quiet wouldn't be shattered with screaming children. How wrong we were. Unfortunately there is nobody overseeing the adults pool area - on several occasions whilst trying to enjoy a swim, there were several children jumping in and out of the pool, playing on an inflatable and I witnessed one child coming into the pool to have a wee. I quickly got out at that point. We feel NCL should make the pool area ADULTS only and children below the age of 10 should be restricted to the children's pools. This will ensure the enjoyment for adult guests who haven't paid ££££ to not be able to use a swimming pool and have to sit and listen to somebody elses kids screaming! Entertainment - to us, this was the biggest area that let the Spirit down. Prism - this band seriously needs to go! They're dreadful. They're lacklustre, inaudible and have zero energy. We went along to a so called 50s and 60s evening, only for no 50s / 60s music to be played. Yet again, the evening ended up being turned into Latin America style music, which myself and my husband hate. Most times you couldn't even hear what the singers were singing, the wrong words were used etc. Just a shame that they seemed to be the resident band in the prime location of Galaxy of the Stars each evening. The theatre shows were not West End / Broadway standard as is boasted in NCL's brochure. In fact, the 2 shows we enjoyed the most were the Fly Boys, who were absolutely fantastic. It was nice to be able to listen to a group who could a) sing and b) knew how to get the audience going. The other shows were lacking and the so called quality of the singers were not great either. We went to World Beat - well World Beat went all around the world, apart from missing out England, which boasts some of the greatest musicians. We felt there should have been swinging 60s London included to have made it more inclusive for British guests. Everything is tailored very much to the American audience and at times we found some of it over the top. The grand finale show was a prime example. It wasn't a brilliant show and then virtually ever member of staff got on stage for a round of applause. It just seemed to go on forever! Shore excursions - prior to sailing, we had already lodged a complaint with NCL as we were not able to book a tour of Rome on the final day. Essentially this would have meant we would have been dropped at the airport for 9am with a flight in the evening, which we found unacceptable. No provision seemed to have been made for this tour for those guests who had booked late. We ended up booking our own tour with an external company - Cruise Excursions - and it ended up being better as we were dropped off at the airport at 4pm. We met another couple on our flight who had booked through NCL and had been dropped off at 2pm because other people in the party had had an early flight! We only booked 1 excursion to Olympia. We found NCL's trips to be really expensive. Most of the time we just did the hop on / hop off tour buses to see the areas we stopped at. We enjoyed all of the ports, apart from Koper. Absolutely nothing there. So if you find yourself there, you may wish to consider booking a trip. We had wandered around in 20 minutes and spent the rest of the day on the ship. We also found NCL were lacking in information about the port stops - just one board on the entire ship telling you about what there was to do, which we didn't find very helpful. Also, there was confusion as to whether you needed passports when you got off - some stops you did, others you didn't. Unfortunately Dave, Cruise Director, was so busy promoting the shows over the tannoy, he failed to give relevant port information. We found all of the staff extremely courteous and helpful, apart from one, who was a member of the Cruise Entertainment team. He was rude, obnoxious and only interested in flirting with the young female guests. We will be lodging a complaint separately with NCL with regards to his behaviour as found he was unacceptable every evening. Special mention has to go to the Atis - think that was his name - Croatian Entertainment guy. Full of life. Inclusive. Friendly, happy and nothing ever too much trouble for him. He took time out for everybody and worked like a trojan.

Great first cruise, but tired entertainment and no kid restrictions

Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review by MrsJones76

20 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We chose to sail with NCL after doing some research and wanting a cruise line that was not going to be a formal affair and we certainly got that with NCL. You could essentially wear what you liked, which made for a lovely informal atmosphere on board the ship. As first time cruisers this very much took off the concern about what to pack and wear, especially in the evenings.

Yes, the ship is the oldest in the NCL fleet, but we had no qualms or disappointments as we had nothing to compare the Spirit with. To us, it had all of the amenities on board we could have wished for.

We had an inside cabin at the rear of the ship - 11665. For us, it had everything we needed. It was well located - we just had to walk out the doors and we were in the restaurant area. It was fairly quiet too - yes, there was a bit of noise and vibrations at time, but nothing major and as a base to sleep and shower we had no complaints. It was clean, tidy and each evening we came back to a towel made in the shape of animal. The room steward - Nono - was very polite and nothing was too much trouble.

As first time cruisers, we weren't 100% sure how the freestyle dining worked. However, most evenings - providing we timed it correctly to miss the peak time when the 7.30pm show finished - we didn't have too much of a problem in getting a table. However, we feel NCL need to make it clear that freestyle dining also means you can book tables at all of the restaurants, including the complimentary ones. We tried several days in a row to get a table at Shogun, only to be disappointed each time as it was fully booked.

Shogun - we finally managed to get a table for a 9.30pm sitting. Given that this restaurant is small, we felt that having young children in the restaurant at this time was not fair on other guests who were hoping for a quiet meal. We were seated and to our misfortune there was a large family in who proceeded to take over the entire restaurant and whilst we were having our starters, we had the bottom of the father literarlly wedged on our table whilst helping his baby daughter to walk up and down the restaurant. Before our main course arrived, we asked to be moved and were found another table in a quieter area.

We just ate each evening in Windows or Gardens and we had no issues with the food and found the menus to have a good selection. The serving staff were always extremely polite and attentive. We did hear several guests complain about the quality of the food but we had no cause for complaints.

Now for some negatives!

Kids - we were a couple celebrating our first wedding anniversary and whilst we looked at adults only cruises, we booked this particular cruise as thought that as there were designated kids areas on the ship, our peace and quiet wouldn't be shattered with screaming children. How wrong we were. Unfortunately there is nobody overseeing the adults pool area - on several occasions whilst trying to enjoy a swim, there were several children jumping in and out of the pool, playing on an inflatable and I witnessed one child coming into the pool to have a wee. I quickly got out at that point. We feel NCL should make the pool area ADULTS only and children below the age of 10 should be restricted to the children's pools. This will ensure the enjoyment for adult guests who haven't paid ££££ to not be able to use a swimming pool and have to sit and listen to somebody elses kids screaming!

Entertainment - to us, this was the biggest area that let the Spirit down.

Prism - this band seriously needs to go! They're dreadful. They're lacklustre, inaudible and have zero energy. We went along to a so called 50s and 60s evening, only for no 50s / 60s music to be played. Yet again, the evening ended up being turned into Latin America style music, which myself and my husband hate. Most times you couldn't even hear what the singers were singing, the wrong words were used etc. Just a shame that they seemed to be the resident band in the prime location of Galaxy of the Stars each evening.

The theatre shows were not West End / Broadway standard as is boasted in NCL's brochure. In fact, the 2 shows we enjoyed the most were the Fly Boys, who were absolutely fantastic. It was nice to be able to listen to a group who could a) sing and b) knew how to get the audience going. The other shows were lacking and the so called quality of the singers were not great either. We went to World Beat - well World Beat went all around the world, apart from missing out England, which boasts some of the greatest musicians. We felt there should have been swinging 60s London included to have made it more inclusive for British guests.

Everything is tailored very much to the American audience and at times we found some of it over the top. The grand finale show was a prime example. It wasn't a brilliant show and then virtually ever member of staff got on stage for a round of applause. It just seemed to go on forever!

Shore excursions - prior to sailing, we had already lodged a complaint with NCL as we were not able to book a tour of Rome on the final day. Essentially this would have meant we would have been dropped at the airport for 9am with a flight in the evening, which we found unacceptable. No provision seemed to have been made for this tour for those guests who had booked late. We ended up booking our own tour with an external company - Cruise Excursions - and it ended up being better as we were dropped off at the airport at 4pm. We met another couple on our flight who had booked through NCL and had been dropped off at 2pm because other people in the party had had an early flight!

We only booked 1 excursion to Olympia. We found NCL's trips to be really expensive. Most of the time we just did the hop on / hop off tour buses to see the areas we stopped at.

We enjoyed all of the ports, apart from Koper. Absolutely nothing there. So if you find yourself there, you may wish to consider booking a trip. We had wandered around in 20 minutes and spent the rest of the day on the ship.

We also found NCL were lacking in information about the port stops - just one board on the entire ship telling you about what there was to do, which we didn't find very helpful. Also, there was confusion as to whether you needed passports when you got off - some stops you did, others you didn't. Unfortunately Dave, Cruise Director, was so busy promoting the shows over the tannoy, he failed to give relevant port information.

We found all of the staff extremely courteous and helpful, apart from one, who was a member of the Cruise Entertainment team. He was rude, obnoxious and only interested in flirting with the young female guests. We will be lodging a complaint separately with NCL with regards to his behaviour as found he was unacceptable every evening.

Special mention has to go to the Atis - think that was his name - Croatian Entertainment guy. Full of life. Inclusive. Friendly, happy and nothing ever too much trouble for him. He took time out for everybody and worked like a trojan.
MrsJones76’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Norwegian Spirit price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Inside
Cabin IX 11665
Big enough for two. Some noise, but to be expected - namely vibration sounds. Clean and very comfortable beds.
Deck 4 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews