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We booked this purely on price - end of. Some of the ports on the itinerary we've been to before, we rarely travel in Europe now but the price was incredible, even when we added in the beverage package etc. Truly superb value for a great port intensive - mainly spanish - 12 days. Embarkation at Barcelona is an absolute breeze, a really well organised port with a line outside as it might benefit from being slightly bigger pre-check in. Bag drop was effortless and I forgot to affix tags, so the chap just did it for me, easy and friendly. Being a small ship, the layout is unusual (when I say small ship, at 2000 pax guest capacity this was the first "Big Ship" to operate around Asia as the Superstar Leo, theres a little bit of an Asian feel and theme to it, the Handrails are lower than normal in some areas, the deck beds are slightly shorter apparently and in the restaurants, the tables and chairs are clearly spaced for the asian market with some very tight spaces for fat old westerners, like me. Certainly in the Shanghai Bar, the stools and tables are so close together that they border on being uncomfortable and this is the liveliest bar because it's basically a corridor. All the bars are well stocked and well staffed The buffet area is not the best layout, it's the little things like plates and bowls not being where you are most likely to need them and the coffee stations having milk at the wrong end causing numerous small gridlocks. The Galaxy lounge is comfortable an spacious, Henry's pub is cosy and offers a good atmosphere and Champagne Charlies in the evenings becomes a piano bar. All in all it's a lovely little ship but it does feel small, you certainly feel the water more in rough seas and pretty much all of the access is on one side of the ship. Food options were excellent and the meal variations were notable. Negatives... Row after row after row of EMPTY photograph shelves, some of them populated with photos that NO-ONE would buy, out of focus and taken at a distance with poses in mid yawn, closed eyes and in one case mid-sneeze. You know, if NCL are going to continue with the "freestlye" cruising, they need to accept that some people aren't dressing up for dinner and some people won't be posing for photographs, they also need to realise that now we are 10 years into quality digital photography and 3 years into superb phone selfies, fewer and fewer people will pay $25 for a single photograph, actually $30 with the "gratuity". Most of them go in the bin, at $5 each I suspect they would have taken more money and caused less pollution. All the onboard shops were ghost towns, overpriced tourist tat, grossly overpriced watches. Didn't bother us too much, we bought a lanyard and a fridge magnet, but seriously, $30 for t shirt, $12 for a plastic fridge magnet. You don't need to buy them of course, and pretty much no-one does, but the shops need staffing and the prices will get higher, same in the Casino with table after table standing staffed but empty with a $10 minimum bet across the board. How many people would have ventured in with some $5 tables, even $2 tables early in the day? But the one thing, the only thing that annoyed me on this otherwise excellent cruise, even more that the $15 per person 2km bus ride into Casablanca (I kid you not) was that from day 6, Dave the cruise director would be on the tannoy telling us that "the cruise is coming to an end soon, better buy this, or that" Seriously? Barely halfway in and I'm being reminded that it's all about to end. What do they do on a 4 day break? Tell you as it leaves port? Of course with budget cruises, they have to make it up somewhere and on-ship sales are important, but the constant plugging of overpriced goods and services, really let NCL down and with a little more thought, they could really make it pay, by dropping prices.

A great small ship with a good layout and excellent service with 1 annoyance

Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review by mervous

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2019
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Inside
We booked this purely on price - end of. Some of the ports on the itinerary we've been to before, we rarely travel in Europe now but the price was incredible, even when we added in the beverage package etc. Truly superb value for a great port intensive - mainly spanish - 12 days.

Embarkation at Barcelona is an absolute breeze, a really well organised port with a line outside as it might benefit from being slightly bigger pre-check in. Bag drop was effortless and I forgot to affix tags, so the chap just did it for me, easy and friendly.

Being a small ship, the layout is unusual (when I say small ship, at 2000 pax guest capacity this was the first "Big Ship" to operate around Asia as the Superstar Leo, theres a little bit of an Asian feel and theme to it, the Handrails are lower than normal in some areas, the deck beds are slightly shorter apparently and in the restaurants, the tables and chairs are clearly spaced for the asian market with some very tight spaces for fat old westerners, like me. Certainly in the Shanghai Bar, the stools and tables are so close together that they border on being uncomfortable and this is the liveliest bar because it's basically a corridor.

All the bars are well stocked and well staffed The buffet area is not the best layout, it's the little things like plates and bowls not being where you are most likely to need them and the coffee stations having milk at the wrong end causing numerous small gridlocks.

The Galaxy lounge is comfortable an spacious, Henry's pub is cosy and offers a good atmosphere and Champagne Charlies in the evenings becomes a piano bar.

All in all it's a lovely little ship but it does feel small, you certainly feel the water more in rough seas and pretty much all of the access is on one side of the ship.

Food options were excellent and the meal variations were notable.

Negatives...

Row after row after row of EMPTY photograph shelves, some of them populated with photos that NO-ONE would buy, out of focus and taken at a distance with poses in mid yawn, closed eyes and in one case mid-sneeze. You know, if NCL are going to continue with the "freestlye" cruising, they need to accept that some people aren't dressing up for dinner and some people won't be posing for photographs, they also need to realise that now we are 10 years into quality digital photography and 3 years into superb phone selfies, fewer and fewer people will pay $25 for a single photograph, actually $30 with the "gratuity". Most of them go in the bin, at $5 each I suspect they would have taken more money and caused less pollution.

All the onboard shops were ghost towns, overpriced tourist tat, grossly overpriced watches. Didn't bother us too much, we bought a lanyard and a fridge magnet, but seriously, $30 for t shirt, $12 for a plastic fridge magnet. You don't need to buy them of course, and pretty much no-one does, but the shops need staffing and the prices will get higher, same in the Casino with table after table standing staffed but empty with a $10 minimum bet across the board. How many people would have ventured in with some $5 tables, even $2 tables early in the day?

But the one thing, the only thing that annoyed me on this otherwise excellent cruise, even more that the $15 per person 2km bus ride into Casablanca (I kid you not) was that from day 6, Dave the cruise director would be on the tannoy telling us that "the cruise is coming to an end soon, better buy this, or that" Seriously? Barely halfway in and I'm being reminded that it's all about to end. What do they do on a 4 day break? Tell you as it leaves port?

Of course with budget cruises, they have to make it up somewhere and on-ship sales are important, but the constant plugging of overpriced goods and services, really let NCL down and with a little more thought, they could really make it pay, by dropping prices.
mervous’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Inside
Cabin ID 8513
Small but well laid out, might have been better without a bunk bed fixed to the wall to bang my head on.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins