Great cruise but...: Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review by golfprocaddy

Norwegian Spirit 4
Member Since 2010

Overall Member Rating

Great cruise but...

Sail Date: January 2010
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
Embarkation: New Orleans
The great experience we were expecting, did not quite live up to past cruises. Let me first say that the staff aboard the Spirit for the most part is great, especially the front desk, the Captains staff, the Buffet staff and the room stewards, however when it came to the staff and the food at Windows and the Garden room it was like a night and day difference. My wife and I have been fans of "freestyle cruising" up until this cruise, but now we see some of the pitfalls of "freestyle cruising" that many other reviewers here have pointed out.

The food and more importantly the service in the 2 main dining rooms leave a lot to be desired, it got to the point that after about day 5 we started to eat all our meals in the buffet. I think we only came across one smiling face in all of our meals at either Windows or the Garden room, and for the most part the wait staff seemed like they were just going through the motions and very disinterested in giving great service. The food in the More main dining rooms was slightly better than the wait staff, but then again that is not saying much. The way they seemed to push the wine list made me think that the wait staff was not being paid by NCL, but rather just working for the embedded tips off the liquor sales, so we ordered wine a couple nights to see if that would get us any better or more pleasant service but it didn't seem to make a difference.

As far as the shows go the Second city shows were great, the acrobat show was very impressive, the magician was pretty good, heck even the cruise director (Paul Scally) had a very memorable show, the production shows were just OK nothing to write home about. The Spirit is definitely an aging ship but I think that some of the previous reviews about it being dirty may be a bit overblown, we found the ships appearance to be quite acceptable, in fact there always seemed to be someone doing some painting or refurbishing. We did notice a little more aggressive selling of drinks, upscale restaurants, special services, shore excursions ect., than we noticed on previous NCL cruises and that was a bit of a turnoff, but that may be par for the course for the cruise industry these days?

All in all it was an enjoyable cruise, however I think we will take a break from NCL and try Royal Caribbean, Princess or Carnival the next couple of times out! When we do get back to considering NCL again I think that I will just add in the surcharge for 7 nights in the premium restuarants and then compare the price for value vs. the rest of the cruise lines. Less

Published 02/03/10

Cabin review:

Port and Shore Excursions

I would have given Belize a 5 star rating if you didn't have such a long tender ride to port. We opted for the NCL Lamani tour because NCL shore excursions got off the ship first, but in reality we could have booked the same tour with a local operator for $20 less/pp and got it in, but there wouldn't be any time left to check out the shops. The tour was incredible, the guide was very informative, the boat ride up the river was exhilarating and the Mayan ruins were everything we expected and then some, even the included lunch was pretty good!

We had one of our most memorable shore excursions here in Costa Maya, it was through Native Choice tours and I highly recommend them. We went to Dzibanche Mayan ruins and even though it was a 2 hour ride to the site it was well worth it, we saw a family of howler monkeys and were able to climb all of the ruins but one, we got some fantastic photos and videos. NCL had this tour for $20 more than Native choice, but I am glad we took a chance on Native Choice because they were great, the mini van could have used some new shocks but the A/C blew ice cold!

Read 1766 Costa Maya Reviews

Cozumel has a wide variety of shopping and has much to offer for the snorkelers and divers out there. We were tempted to take the Tulum tour, but were told by others that by the time you take the ferry to the mainland and get down to Tulum the tour only winds up spending about an hour at the ruins so we opted to check out Chankanab national park. Chankanab turned out to be quite the tourist trap, if you are really into snorkeling then this could be a great place to spend the day but apparently there are much nicer beaches to relax and unwind on. BTW if you do decide to go to Chankanaab just take a taxi there($10)and pay the admission($14 with the $2 off internet coupon) and the day will cost $24 instead of the $59 that NCL charges for this tour.

Read 5490 Cozumel Reviews

This port is actually Santo Tomas not St. Thomas, but the drop down didn't have Guatemala as a choice. The port itself is basically a commercial port with a large warehouse for cruise passengers that has many shore excursion desks, hundreds of vendors, a musical and dance stage, concession booths, phone call booths and an internet cafe. We had heard that there were multiple tour operators selling tours at this port once you get off the ship so we opted to wait and see what the weather was like when we docked before purchasing a tour. The weather turned out to be very cloudy with a 50% chance of thunderstorms so due to the weather and also the dicey situation with the unstable government here we decided to just do some shopping at the port and relax aboard ship. The shopping here may have been the best among all the ports of call and the people were genuinely friendly, the countryside around the port is absolutely beautiful. Guatemala will become a fantastic tourist destination once they deal with the instability of the government.

Read 4002 St. Thomas Reviews

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