• Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Log In
Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
2,145 Reviews

NCL ~ Fair to Good; Aims for a Disney Experience but Falls Short

Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review by ehiraoka

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Dec 2018
  • Destination: the Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Inside

Fair to very good, overall. Beverage package, shore excursions, internet, photo & other merchandising rather overpriced and not a good value proposition for this traveler. It really depends on one's personal experience and frame of reference. For example, I live in San Francisco, Hawaii, Las Vegas & Florida ~ all tourist destinations with similar features/amenities/goods & services for visitors who want an unforgettable/great experience. NCL does well but could do better.

Very poor internet service, a rip-off in packages offered, with details for the non-techie not explained clearly in advance. Slow service, special apps, what's available near land vs. at sea, etc.

Beverage package isn't a good value for non-drinkers. Water and soft drinks are overpriced & it's unfair that travelers can't bring some of this onboard. Other vendors allow this. Corkage is high and unevenly charged.

Food is great in complimentary restaurants! Food is good to very good, especially compared with SF, Vegas & Hawaii where costs are equally high or higher.

Spa services are overpriced and not a good value for average travelers. $100 after discounts for treatments which are fair to good ~ okay but not great, especially for the budget conscious who still want to try and/or experience (a) pampering experience(s). Health & wellness category is saturated so customers need good reasons to use your products & services and this sometimes, not always, clearly explained. Staff does their best at/with what they're working with.

TV programming & daily activities pamphlets are great! Very good merchandising/promotion of products and services. Staff & crew are charming, attractive, generally service minded & professional but overall service is uneven so the mandatory 20% gratuity charge is not appreciated, especially considering that tips are shared with back of the house & others. Prefer tipping based on service with higher performance being rewarded more, understandably.

Gaming was generally good. The casino was good at taking money (at night but not in the day during this experience) but not a good value proposition compared to Vegas, which offers better/more amenities for players. Some of the casino hosts/service providers were great but some could definitely do better, perhaps due to lack of sleep or other issues. Had a few jackpots that thrilled me but did better in port casinos which gave better play for a value added experience.

The selection of shore excursions was rather impressive but not a good overall value compared with other tour vendors/nearby options & the cruiseline fails to mention the close proximity to activities available at no additional cost. Well coordinated but some of the guides were uneven in performance. Some were fair. Some were very good to excellent.

Shows were okay to very good. Earlier performances were too crowded with seats reserved by travelers despite specific NCL guides to NOT do this. Very good considering this is a complimentary option without Las Vegas production costs. Performers were good to great. Programming was great and shows were well-done given its limitations. Example: the second to last & last shows are Cirque du Soleil-like without the $250 price tag. Exceptional!! The last show with cast & crew was very well done in providing a marketing opportunity for NCL to promote good word-of-mouth & social media sharing as well as a chance for tourists to get a complimentary photo opp.

The photo sold by NCL are a rip off, especially in this day & age where everyone has a cellphone and/or photo equipment so what's provided is cheesy/gimmicky/overpriced to me.

Excellent high end/low end product merchandising (watches,diamonds, jewelry, etc.) & atrium sale promotions provide the something for everyone opportunity is very well done!

Art "auctions" are especially deceptive. Very well orchestrated/promoted but items are not what is represented to customers. Items 15 & 16 under terms & conditions is confusing/misleading, buried in fineprint. Not fair or honest but I understand this as others have tried/are doing this too. Workers do an excellent job to promote the pieces but had some to good understanding of what they were talking about. Auctioneer is very charming and clever!

It's clear that some NCL staffers were very good & enjoyed providing excellent customer service. Others were not. NCL upsells/cross-sells/merchandises & generally promotes well & effectively. A great experience for the naive inexperienced traveler looking for a once in a lifetime experience may enjoy but overpay when looking at overall cost to value compared with other vendors in this industry but I think NCL is doing very well at what it offers. However, given the generally okay/poor economy as well as the other travel/vacation options available, this was not GREAT to EXCELLENT for this traveler.

Still, overall, had a very good time! Will share about this experience to compare notes with other fellow travlers but will not with others who are looking for a better value and will recommend other options/vendors to spend their precious time & dollars on.

Hope that this is helpful and that I have a better experience the next time I choose NCL. THANK YOU for the opportunity to provide feedback as customers have too many options in this day & age and best in class experiences are always desired but not guaranteed or received and depends on how much one wants to pay and/or is used to spending for products & services. It depends on what one knows/has experienced (frame of reference). As someone living primarily in San Francisco, NCL provided a GREAT experience and good value. Prices are lower in Europe so the specialty restaurants were a special treat for the price (Le Bistro wasn't very good) but the complimentary dining options are wonderful & well done for the average traveler. Absolutely great & an unforgettable experience for many if not most. Drink specials and happy hour promotions in the bars could be better.

There was too much pushing of frequent traveler programs & not a good value (for me) but generally all bigger players in many industries are doing the same or similar.

The towel animals were a delight. Selling a DVD about it is not.

No coffee machine in room or ice machines to get more than what's provided. No iron in room. Room amenities were good. ServiBar was not cold enough. Laundry service is overpriced but cleverly timed.

A wonderful getaway, chance to unplug and relax & will definitely do this again!

ehiraoka's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Sign Up for Price Drop Alerts
Get tomorrow's price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Cabin Review

Cabin IX 10081

See above.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


Guide was excellent and well informed. English language skills were very good. Hit highlights as described with enough time for each. Loved it!

Previous ReviewNext Review
1 Reviews Written
2 Helpful Votes
Never Miss a Deal!
Subscribe and Save
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

More Norwegian Spirit Reviews

Want to cruise smarter?
Get expert advice, insider tips and more.
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.