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This was one of the worst cruises I have been on. It wasn’t awful, and we mostly still enjoyed our vacation, and there are some things that this ship was very good at. However, everyone in my family had GI issues that caused them to miss activities, and one person was up all night with vomiting and diarrhea. We did not eat off the ship, and it was not norovirus, so I believe it was from the food on the buffet not being hot. Embarkation was quick and easy and the luggage arrived quickly. The cabin had very few drawers and the balcony seemed smaller than normal. The AC worked well until the last day when they kept turning the system on and off. There was a lot of noise in the cabin from the pool deck above us, and it woke us up most mornings around 4 and again around 6 when the crew worked up there. We were told that our balcony would be inaccessible in port because it would be washed, we had no water one day for 4 hours while they maintained the potable water system, and several days workmen came into our cabin to scrape and paint on the balcony. They never cleaned up after themselves, so we tracked paint chips into the cabin and the steward would vacuum the room but not the balcony. There were sometimes paint fumes when we came back to the cabin. I realize they have to maintain the ship but this seemed like a lot of restrictions on our ability to use our cabin for a single cruise. The voice mail system never worked. The bed was comfortable and there was a lot of storage space under it for suitcases. The ice tongs in the cabin were filthy. There were dark chunks of dust coming out of the vent in our ceiling and getting all over the white duvet so it seemed like they were not using filters. Our steward did a good job for the most part but we always put out the sign in the morning and he wouldn’t come for 4 or 5 or 6 hours. The stewards on this ship were also maybe the most unhappy bunch I’ve ever seen on a ship. No smiles or warm greetings in the hall, they just seemed miserable. The waiters seemed pretty stressed out, too. If you moved out of the way to yield to crew carrying something heavy, there was never a thank you or any acknowledgement at all. Everywhere except the buffet, the food was very good but it often wasn’t hot and the service was not very good. We often waited close to half an hour for anyone to take our orders and then waited another 20 minutes or so for appetizers. When the waiters say “thank you for your patience” and “it’ll just be a few more minutes” over and over during a single meal, you need more help in the kitchen or more servers or both. The greetings at the restaurants weren’t very warm either except at Cagney’s, where the hostess was on the ball and had studied passenger photos so she could call people by name when they showed up for their reservation. In Shogun, the manager acted like we were inconveniencing him by showing up at his restaurant. He later came by and noted that we were just having water and hadn’t ordered any drinks and he made a face. Waiters forget to bring coffee after you’ve ordered it. I saw waiters carrying water pitchers with their hands on the spouts. Seems like the crew needs a refresher course in food safety. The buffet was one of the worst we’ve experienced. We were told that there is no dedicated kitchen for the buffet and that all the food has to be brought in an elevator from 6 decks away. None of the food was ever hot unless it was prepared in front of you (like the omelets or stir fry). I can’t believe this ship could pass a surprise health inspection. Also, a lot of the food was not very good. It looked good, and you’d put it on your plate and get it back to the table, and then the trouble would start. Almost all of the pieces of meat and chicken I took were too dry and tough to cut or chew. The “steamed” vegetables were nearly raw. The ice cream was always melted. The soft serve ice cream was always a liquid. They ran out of lemonade several days before the end of the cruise. The buffet is also not big enough for the number of passengers. Even during off peak times, if several buses came back at the same time, the buffet was wall to wall people and you had to circle to find a seat. Omelets are made from powdered eggs. Once when I asked for ice cream the woman took a bowl sitting next to her, poured something out of it, and was going to put my ice cream in it until I objected. The app was useful but didn’t always work. I was impressed that the perks we got when we booked (shore excursion credits and free dinners in specialty restaurants) were properly applied to our cabin account without having to go to the front desk. I think the NCL business model must be to sell the base fare at a reasonable price and then try to force you to pay exorbitant prices for everything once you get on board. This results in a hassle when you come back on the ship because they don’t want you bringing bottled water or sodas onboard. We often had our stuff x-rayed in the terminal building and then again on the ship, where they gave you a hard time if they saw your half empty water bottle. It seems to me there is no security issue here – there was more smoking on this ship than I’ve seen in years and lit cigarettes seem like a much bigger threat – it all just smacked at trying to get you to throw out your water bottle so they could sell you another one. Drinks were expensive (some were $13 and sodas were $4) and laundry (there was no self-service laundry) was ridiculous at $9 for a pair of pants. All of the music acts except for the piano player were excellent. Most of the shows were excellent too. Don’t miss the production show Elements, which was one of the best I’ve seen, but you’ll have to go very early to get a seat. Shore excursions were well run but they pack the buses full. This led to some tours leaving late while the guides went to talk to the ship people about why the group was so big. It’s also a problem when there’s a problem on the bus. One bus was dripping water on people in the back. Two people were able to move but there were no other open seats so I assume that other people got wet. I didn’t love or hate the ship. The tiered seating areas on the stern were very nice and Galaxy lounge has great views. The theater is backwards from on most ships (you enter from the sides of the stage and then go upstairs), but this cut down on the number of people coming in late. The seating in the theater was awful though. The seats are very low to the ground and very close together – once you’re seated no one can walk in front of you – and there are no side aisles. The seats go all the way to the walls except for a few places where small people can squeeze by on the ends. The coffee bar was very good but expensive. Disembarkation was quick and easy. All in all, I won’t be back on an NCL cruise anytime soon.

One of the worst cruises we've been on

Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review by pirasea

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
This was one of the worst cruises I have been on. It wasn’t awful, and we mostly still enjoyed our vacation, and there are some things that this ship was very good at. However, everyone in my family had GI issues that caused them to miss activities, and one person was up all night with vomiting and diarrhea. We did not eat off the ship, and it was not norovirus, so I believe it was from the food on the buffet not being hot.

Embarkation was quick and easy and the luggage arrived quickly. The cabin had very few drawers and the balcony seemed smaller than normal. The AC worked well until the last day when they kept turning the system on and off. There was a lot of noise in the cabin from the pool deck above us, and it woke us up most mornings around 4 and again around 6 when the crew worked up there. We were told that our balcony would be inaccessible in port because it would be washed, we had no water one day for 4 hours while they maintained the potable water system, and several days workmen came into our cabin to scrape and paint on the balcony. They never cleaned up after themselves, so we tracked paint chips into the cabin and the steward would vacuum the room but not the balcony. There were sometimes paint fumes when we came back to the cabin. I realize they have to maintain the ship but this seemed like a lot of restrictions on our ability to use our cabin for a single cruise. The voice mail system never worked. The bed was comfortable and there was a lot of storage space under it for suitcases. The ice tongs in the cabin were filthy. There were dark chunks of dust coming out of the vent in our ceiling and getting all over the white duvet so it seemed like they were not using filters.

Our steward did a good job for the most part but we always put out the sign in the morning and he wouldn’t come for 4 or 5 or 6 hours. The stewards on this ship were also maybe the most unhappy bunch I’ve ever seen on a ship. No smiles or warm greetings in the hall, they just seemed miserable. The waiters seemed pretty stressed out, too. If you moved out of the way to yield to crew carrying something heavy, there was never a thank you or any acknowledgement at all.

Everywhere except the buffet, the food was very good but it often wasn’t hot and the service was not very good. We often waited close to half an hour for anyone to take our orders and then waited another 20 minutes or so for appetizers. When the waiters say “thank you for your patience” and “it’ll just be a few more minutes” over and over during a single meal, you need more help in the kitchen or more servers or both. The greetings at the restaurants weren’t very warm either except at Cagney’s, where the hostess was on the ball and had studied passenger photos so she could call people by name when they showed up for their reservation. In Shogun, the manager acted like we were inconveniencing him by showing up at his restaurant. He later came by and noted that we were just having water and hadn’t ordered any drinks and he made a face. Waiters forget to bring coffee after you’ve ordered it. I saw waiters carrying water pitchers with their hands on the spouts. Seems like the crew needs a refresher course in food safety.

The buffet was one of the worst we’ve experienced. We were told that there is no dedicated kitchen for the buffet and that all the food has to be brought in an elevator from 6 decks away. None of the food was ever hot unless it was prepared in front of you (like the omelets or stir fry). I can’t believe this ship could pass a surprise health inspection. Also, a lot of the food was not very good. It looked good, and you’d put it on your plate and get it back to the table, and then the trouble would start. Almost all of the pieces of meat and chicken I took were too dry and tough to cut or chew. The “steamed” vegetables were nearly raw. The ice cream was always melted. The soft serve ice cream was always a liquid. They ran out of lemonade several days before the end of the cruise. The buffet is also not big enough for the number of passengers. Even during off peak times, if several buses came back at the same time, the buffet was wall to wall people and you had to circle to find a seat. Omelets are made from powdered eggs. Once when I asked for ice cream the woman took a bowl sitting next to her, poured something out of it, and was going to put my ice cream in it until I objected.

The app was useful but didn’t always work. I was impressed that the perks we got when we booked (shore excursion credits and free dinners in specialty restaurants) were properly applied to our cabin account without having to go to the front desk.

I think the NCL business model must be to sell the base fare at a reasonable price and then try to force you to pay exorbitant prices for everything once you get on board. This results in a hassle when you come back on the ship because they don’t want you bringing bottled water or sodas onboard. We often had our stuff x-rayed in the terminal building and then again on the ship, where they gave you a hard time if they saw your half empty water bottle. It seems to me there is no security issue here – there was more smoking on this ship than I’ve seen in years and lit cigarettes seem like a much bigger threat – it all just smacked at trying to get you to throw out your water bottle so they could sell you another one. Drinks were expensive (some were $13 and sodas were $4) and laundry (there was no self-service laundry) was ridiculous at $9 for a pair of pants.

All of the music acts except for the piano player were excellent. Most of the shows were excellent too. Don’t miss the production show Elements, which was one of the best I’ve seen, but you’ll have to go very early to get a seat.

Shore excursions were well run but they pack the buses full. This led to some tours leaving late while the guides went to talk to the ship people about why the group was so big. It’s also a problem when there’s a problem on the bus. One bus was dripping water on people in the back. Two people were able to move but there were no other open seats so I assume that other people got wet.

I didn’t love or hate the ship. The tiered seating areas on the stern were very nice and Galaxy lounge has great views. The theater is backwards from on most ships (you enter from the sides of the stage and then go upstairs), but this cut down on the number of people coming in late. The seating in the theater was awful though. The seats are very low to the ground and very close together – once you’re seated no one can walk in front of you – and there are no side aisles. The seats go all the way to the walls except for a few places where small people can squeeze by on the ends. The coffee bar was very good but expensive.

Disembarkation was quick and easy. All in all, I won’t be back on an NCL cruise anytime soon.
pirasea’s Full Rating Summary
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