Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review by Richard D
- Sail Date: April 2019
- Destination: Mediterranean
- Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony
Wife and I picked up a virus on Day 3. Nothing serious, but kept us operating at about 50% strength the entire cruise. We didn't let it get us down. Lots of other passengers seemed to have the same thing. Coughing, aches, runny noses, etc. No fever. We had it up until the day we dis-embarked.
Raffles buffet is the only buffet on board, so it was always packed and finding a table was difficult at times. Lots of pushing and shoving. Felt very crowded. The food started out very tasty, but degenerated as the cruise progressed. Steamed vegetables were not cooked long enough. All the carved beef items were too tough to eat. I expected a lot of salmon on this cruise, but found very little. The breads, pastries and especially the cookies were not fresh. Curries, fried chicken tenders, pastas, fruits, ice creams and salad offerings were the best. Breakfast was okay, but it became so crowded we stopped going there and ate in our cabin.
The main dining rooms (Windows and Garden) were just average with average service. Very few at there in the mornings. We only ate at these venues a couple of times. They weren't much better, if any, than Raffles.
The best dining was to be found at Cagney's. We went there three times, and had outstanding experiences every time. La Trattoria was just a closed off portion of Raffles in the evening. Nothing special. Not the Italian offerings we expected.
The ship had a Chinese decor which made no sense for a Mediterranean Sea cruise. I suppose it did/does cruises in the Orient at times. It is a small, older, re-furbished craft. We experienced annoying engine room vibration the entire trip. Loud noise from the basketball court transmitted into our cabin. Walls were paper thin. Very loud maintenance above was performed at 3:00 a.m. two mornings. Very unruly children next door staying in a cabin apart from their parents. The ship has quite a bit of motion as well, so we never slept very well. I was really surprised at the large amount of children on board for a cruise at this time of year.
Cabin service was very good, but not overly friendly. I think the new tip sharing concept (paid up front prior to sailing) has diminished the will of the cabin stewards to perform at their best.
Chania (Crete) was a waste of time. Our excursion group was shouted at by several residents at a local park. No one in the City smiles. There seems to be an air of overall discontent and bad attitude toward tourists. This stop should be omitted, and more time added in Sicily or one additional Sea Day added. (There is only one Sea Day on this cruise, and we walked over 100 miles throughout all the ports and excursions; very exhausting).
Three Cities and a Boat ride in Malta was a joke. We arrived an hour late, due to another ship leaving late and delaying our docking. There really weren't three separate cities to visit as expected. It was a point where three municipalities came together at the marina. Following a boring boat ride in a wet, small (6 person) wooden boat with a hand tilled outboard motor (that stopped and had to be re-started twice by a captain that chain smoked in our faces the entire time), we were taken to a port town that had just completed a local festival. Everyone was playing a form or outdoor Keno/Bingo, and there was trash and food underfoot everywhere. The whole place stunk, and the only restroom had no toilet paper. All shops were already closed. We and several others asked for a refund, but were only given 25 percent off. Total waste of time and money.
We had taken 4 cruises on Norwegian over ten years ago prior to their buyout by the Indonesian government. Things have really gone downhill since that time. I am thinking it's just the norm these days on the "value" oriented cruise lines. They would not even give us credit on our Latitudes account for the previous cruises we had taken on Norwegian, as they occurred more than ten years ago.
Very small and crowded exercise room. Only one swimming pool and a couple of hot tubs. Nice kids area at the back of the ship, and several golf practice nets. We did not try the spa this trip, as there were not enough Sea Days.
The tiny TV set in our balcony cabin was a joke. There was only one English speaking movie channel that had some good, recent movies showing. BBC was the only other English speaking channel. No movie theater on board. Balconies are VERY small on this ship. Very limited on-board shopping venues. We will never sail on another of Norwegians older ships.
I would give high marks for Cagney's, the itinerary, great weather this time of year and the cruise staff and entertainers. Akrotiri (Santorini) and Sorrento (Sicily) excursions were the best. Other than that, we just had another average cruise experience. Perfect time of year to go, weather wise!
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