Cheap Cruise? Don't count on it!: Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review by ihatechicago

Norwegian Spirit 2
Member Since 2010

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Cheap Cruise? Don't count on it!

Sail Date: February 2010
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: New Orleans
The best thing about this cruise is the port of origin. New Orleans is one of the greatest vacation cities in the country. If you take this cruise plan a few days on either end to vacation here, you won't be disappointed. We stayed at Harrahs on Saturday and rolled our bags down the scenic Fulton St. approx a mile to the port.

We got to the port around 1pm and their were no crowds at all. We were on the ship in about 15 minutes, no hassles at all. The rooms weren't ready till 2 so we went up to Raffles and had a snack and some iced tea. The drinks on the ship were ridiculous,specials and mixed drinks were 9-10 dollars each with tip. My wife and I are not big drinkers so we didn't get taken by this. The only complimentary drinks they had in the afternoon was the iced tea.The glasses were very small, you needed to grab 2 with every meal. On all other cruises I've been on they also had lemonade, I was disappointed they had none. At 2pm the rooms were ready. We had a balcony More stateroom. The rooms were much smaller and the bathroom was very small. The balcony was decent sized with 2 chairs and a small table. The room steward was hardly ever seen and the ice was always melted when we got back to our room. We learned to grab a few glasses of ice and bring it back to our rooms for the pepsi and water we had.

The food on the ship was pretty decent. We had an omelette most mornings from Raffles. Made to order and quite good. I'm not a fan of breakfast buffets but this wasn't bad. The lunch buffet however was total garbage everyday. For an Asian ship they had nothing I recognized or that looked appetizing by the Asian food at all. I was looking for some simple sweet n sour chicken or beef n broccoli. No egg rolls or crab rangoon. We learned to eat lunch at the Blue Lagoon. A simple small place that had burgers,chicken sandwiches, wings, and really good chef salads. You could eat there or take it to go. We got lunch and took it to our balcony.We ate dinner every night except one at Windows. Despite what I had read on previous reviews the food was very good, including lobster night. The service was the best I've ever had on a cruise.We had a girl named Chona who took great care of us, I would highly recommend her if you go. We tried Cagneys one night. The food was decent but not worth the $35 up charge for steak and lobster. I felt that the service was very bad for this restaurant. The staff catered to some loud mouthed group there and paid little attention to us. We were happy to get back to Windows the next day. I always look forward to a poolside BBQ but they scheduled it on our last sea day as we were heading back into the freezing weather. Because of the cold and wind they cancelled it. That was bad planning on their part, would have been nice to have it after we leave a port in 80 degree weather.

The shows were a letdown. This boat had a shortage of talent. The second city was good and the magician was OK, all crew shows were lame. The last show elements couldn't get a seat at either show so don't really know how it was. The casino was the lowest paying,worst odds I've ever experienced. There is no regulation and they can pay or in this case NOT PAY whatever they want. Video Poker machines had payout scales somewhere in the 80% range but they weren't even playing close to that. The slot club was also bad. They raved about it but basically if you put 25,000 dollars thru the machines you got $25 on board credit to one of they're overpriced services or $12.50 comp in the gift shop. Total ripoff! They did give you free drinks in the casino if you played allot. Since the drinks were free however, the servers were slow and appeared unhappy and even rude because they weren't getting the 17% tip for serving you.

This is not a cruise line that I plan to travel on again even though the trip was a freebee from Harrahs. The constant sell tactics were a harassment and not a vacation. I felt like I was trapped and they knew it. Very pushy and annoying. I think I'll stick with Carnival, they offer free or greatly reduced prices on cruises for the gamblers. Less

Published 02/24/10

Cabin review: BD9026 Balcony

Small room,very small bathroom and shower. The balcony is a must, decent sized.

Read All Balcony (BD) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

This port is a tourist trap. Everything was very expensive and it was really crowded. We ate at the Wet Lizard which was recommended by our cruise director and the portions were small and not that good but the prices were high. The prettiest part of Belize however was the port area. They offered a city tour inside the port for $35 in a van that holds 9-12 people. We went outside the gate and were immediately approached by local tour guides with goverment tour ID's around their neck offering private city tours for $20. We took this tour and basically got in this guys private minivan and he took us around the town explaining all the neighborhoods and tourist attractions.The city of Belize is very rundown and poor. There are no beaches for miles here. I was not impressed with this city at all. He did take us to a shop in town where we bought a couple of shirts much cheaper than at the dock.

Having been to Costa Maya before we knew that there wasn't much there. We took the $3 bus to town, got off at the second stop not Tequila Beach. This stop is the beach end with several options.You walk down the beach and several people stop you and show you there menus with prices. Pick the one you like, they seat you at a table on the beach and it yours for the day. We tried a place called El Faro. The drinks were cold, the food was great,and the service was great.I got a massage upstairs for $20, wasn't the best I've had but it beat paying $100+ on the ship. It was for an hour. You can also get a beach massage if you want but I don't do sun well so I chose the shade. The only thing I didn't like was when the bill came they added $5 for tax. I laughed and said there's no tax in Mexico. I gave him the money with a nice a tip, he earned it.Any taxi at the beach will take you back for $2 a person. Getting back on the boat was a breeze, just show your card, didn't even need an ID.

Read 1761 Costa Maya Reviews

I've been to Cozumel 4 times and still love it. Despite the constant selling tactics and despite Diamonds International taking over this is still a nice place. If you can, get off the main street and stray a little to the flea markets right behind the main strip. The deals are good and the people are very friendly. Never a fear of being mugged here. Many good restaurants to eat here also. I didn't do a tour here this time but this is the place for snorkeling.

Read 5470 Cozumel Reviews

THIS IS GUATEMALA,it wasn't listed in the options. There are a lot of warnings about travelling alone here. So take a tour. The cruise ship offered tours and we thought the prices were to high.When you get off the ship and go into there little port there they have plenty of tour guides offering the same tours that the ship offers. We took a 4-5 hour Rio Dulce river cruise with a tour of Livingston and it was beautiful. The tour guides English wasn't the best but the scenery was great.It cost us $30 per person and was worth every penny. The boat stopped for a break at a hot spring. They served beer or soda there then we went to Livingston for a short walking tour and then a restaurant in town for lunch and a cultural dance show.I would highly recommend this tour. Back at the port they had a nice selection of goods that were different from the typical Mexico wares and the prices were pretty cheap. We bought some Guatemalan coffee for $5 a lb and it was very good.

As I opened with, the best vacation spot in America. The best food, the best music, the best drinks, and the friendliest people in America. Make sure you spend some time here, check out a festival if you can and go to K-Pauls, the best restaurant in the world period!

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