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We have cruised with NCL since the days of the SS Norway and generally appreciate the casual freestyle cruising. Our expectations for service are not excessive, as we have sailed almost 150 days with NCL and have experienced their service levels - generally clean and efficient, but not five star. This time, however we found the service on our 11 day cruise to be greatly diminished from our past experiences (even from our previous travel on the Spirit). The Windows dining experience was at times horrendous, with waits of up to 45 minutes (while sitting at our reserved table) to even get our order taken. The supervisory staff stood nearby, the room was almost empty, but we had to ask for help at every turn. Sometimes, our waiter wasn't scheduled to be there until 6, but we had been seated in his section with a 5:30 reservation!!! A "Dear Carlos" note to the Hotel Director resulted in beffer service, but having to even ask seems so unacceptable. Our room steward was replaced after 3 days, and then that service improved significantly (we didn't complain about that so obviously others were on top of this). Service in the Casino (executive host never left the desk) and the photo gallery (manager was unknowledgable and made us feel that to buy $200 of photos was an imposition) was mediocre at best. Seems like NCL is now really "nickeling" people more than they used to. Latitudes recognitions are diminished and rigid. Food is more predictable, and menus seem less imaginative. Even Teppanyaki seemed to be a routine going through the motions, rather than a unique entertainment/eating opportunity. I want to emphasize that I think the service short comings are generally due to staffing and management, not due to staff that are poorly trained or not trying. Except for our initial room steward, we found all of the working staff to be personable and service oriented; the problem is clearly a management problem which makes the issue more basic to the NCL culture. On the positive side, there were examples of great service and going beyond just what was required as well, and we recognized those with "vacation hero" cards and added tips. The ports were generally great, though the extraordinary heat limited our touring. We took a tour to the Olympic Stadium site which was offered by the ship, and very good (but of course you could get one cheaper by arranging in advance); however, it was convenient, well organized, and we enjoyed not having to plan in advance. While an older ship, it is comfortable and in reasonably good condition....certainly not a reason to avoid it. It is a comfortable size as well. Embarkation and Disembarkation were fast and easy....we were on shore before 7am!! The cabin (balcony BA) was skimpy on storage (obviously this is limited by the original design). Even a shelf above the bed would be helpful to add some space . While the entertainment was typical for this size ship, the performers brought onto the ship were a nice variety, and above the average. A violinist was a special surprise, as I expected little and found her to be extremely entertaining. An Italian singer and some acrobats were also very good. The production performers were adequate.

Long time NCL cruiser disappointed this time

Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review by actcleath

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2017
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
We have cruised with NCL since the days of the SS Norway and generally appreciate the casual freestyle cruising. Our expectations for service are not excessive, as we have sailed almost 150 days with NCL and have experienced their service levels - generally clean and efficient, but not five star. This time, however we found the service on our 11 day cruise to be greatly diminished from our past experiences (even from our previous travel on the Spirit). The Windows dining experience was at times horrendous, with waits of up to 45 minutes (while sitting at our reserved table) to even get our order taken. The supervisory staff stood nearby, the room was almost empty, but we had to ask for help at every turn. Sometimes, our waiter wasn't scheduled to be there until 6, but we had been seated in his section with a 5:30 reservation!!! A "Dear Carlos" note to the Hotel Director resulted in beffer service, but having to even ask seems so unacceptable. Our room steward was replaced after 3 days, and then that service improved significantly (we didn't complain about that so obviously others were on top of this). Service in the Casino (executive host never left the desk) and the photo gallery (manager was unknowledgable and made us feel that to buy $200 of photos was an imposition) was mediocre at best. Seems like NCL is now really "nickeling" people more than they used to. Latitudes recognitions are diminished and rigid. Food is more predictable, and menus seem less imaginative. Even Teppanyaki seemed to be a routine going through the motions, rather than a unique entertainment/eating opportunity.

I want to emphasize that I think the service short comings are generally due to staffing and management, not due to staff that are poorly trained or not trying. Except for our initial room steward, we found all of the working staff to be personable and service oriented; the problem is clearly a management problem which makes the issue more basic to the NCL culture.

On the positive side, there were examples of great service and going beyond just what was required as well, and we recognized those with "vacation hero" cards and added tips. The ports were generally great, though the extraordinary heat limited our touring. We took a tour to the Olympic Stadium site which was offered by the ship, and very good (but of course you could get one cheaper by arranging in advance); however, it was convenient, well organized, and we enjoyed not having to plan in advance. While an older ship, it is comfortable and in reasonably good condition....certainly not a reason to avoid it. It is a comfortable size as well. Embarkation and Disembarkation were fast and easy....we were on shore before 7am!!

The cabin (balcony BA) was skimpy on storage (obviously this is limited by the original design). Even a shelf above the bed would be helpful to add some space . While the entertainment was typical for this size ship, the performers brought onto the ship were a nice variety, and above the average. A violinist was a special surprise, as I expected little and found her to be extremely entertaining. An Italian singer and some acrobats were also very good. The production performers were adequate.
actcleath’s Full Rating Summary
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