1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Norwegian Spirit
I'd heard that NCL was similar in quality of food and service as Celebrity, but I quickly found this not to be true. The timing was right and I wanted to visit Iceland and Norway, so I booked a guaranteed outside cabin. Southampton was not easy to get to from Scotland by public transport, and it wasn't my first choice for starting a cruise, now I've done it once, I'll avoid it in future. Embarkation was smooth for me, I did need a wheelchair to avoid standing in line, something which has become a challenge for me. The staff were really kind and helpful, so I was feeling very positive about the cruise. I enjoyed a nice lunch with wine in Windows, but I never saw this pair of waiters again. It was freestyle dining, so you could sit with different people every day. That was a nice touch, but the dishes on the menu were repeated almost every day. The flavours weren't strong and there were some odd combinations. If you like bland food, a rib eye steak option and bruschetta every day for dinner, then Windows or Garden are the place to be, but some of the desserts were very sweet and also lacking in flavour. I also like vegetarian food from time to time, but the dishes I chose were usually overcooked and not balanced. The vegetable sides were usually good, but my prime rib, although huge, was undercooked and cold and I needed horseradish to bring out the light flavour. I found out that the food is sourced from USA for this European cruise, so I guess the meat and fish were frozen. I missed the wonderful range of fresh berries, but I can recommend the pineapple and melon in Raffles! My cabin was close to the elevators and I had a direct line to Raffles, the buffet where I went for most breakfasts and lunches. I had to walk to the next set of lifts, go up 2 floors, then walk back and down 1 flight if stairs to reach Windows, so I didn't want to go to Windows often (I had the option to call for a wheelchair, but I was trying to get fitter without exhausting myself). I did try a speciality restaurant, Shogun. I was told the sushi was good - it was certainly a big portion! I'd been warned about the menu already, so selected the orange beef which was chewy and I couldn't taste or see any orange. The TV didn't always work in my cabin, I had problems with the WC too, but the shower was lovely. The bedroom was big for one person and it was kept clean by my steward, but I missed the cute towelling animals I'd seen on other cruises every night before bed. Spa usually a highlight, but disappointing on this ship, but I did appreciate the facial and the hot stones massage! The entertainment scheduling was bad, with most of the 'best' shows scheduled on days when we were late leaving port, so if you wanted to eat first, you missed the show. Being a morning person, I cannot comment on the late night entertainment. Some of the shows were fantastic, others mediocre. Something for most tastes and all family shows. I attended a Martini tasting which was excellent and a few of us guests wondered if this was the main focus of the cruise - alcohol - I did buy a basic drinks package, and enjoyed a few cocktails - the bar staff were always chatty, no matter which bar; my favourite was the Cafe because she was generous with the nutmeg on my Painkiller! I didn't visit the casino, but it seemed adequate. We only had 1 day suitable for swimming, (most days fine, but we did cruise north, so it wasnt warm enough for me) and I went for a look after the shore excursion. Of course, it was packed, so I missed out. Others enjoyed the pool regularly, or huddled close by in thick sweaters and coats on the colder days. We were very lucky with the weather on most of our shore excursions. It rained in Belfast, but the trip to the Antrim coast and Giants Causeway was beautiful and the rain did stop a few times. I also enjoyed Blarney Castle, but regret not spending some time in Cobh, so I will go back again. I had to pace myself due to recent illness, so I didn't take excursions every day. NCL does charge a lot for the excursions, but the guides are good and on one, we got a Gaelic coffee, on the Golden Circle tour, we got soup and salmon - I can recommend this beautiful tour with so much geology and history, but I'd advise to search for a local tour, it may be better value. I liked Njordfjord, but others didn't. It's a new cruise stop, so not too touristy compared to Geiranger. I enjoyed my walk to the replica Viking Ship. The views at both Norway locations are outstanding! I have a great video of the geyser! For Amsterdam, the journey by local bus and train was almost an hour in each direction. There were tours available either by bus or canal. For Bruges, the port is another ferry port, so very busy and quite a distance by public transport - I was tired that day, and the weather was overcast, so I stayed on board, along with a few people, but the entertainment offered didn't appeal to me so I read another book. I was travelling alone and joined the Solo group. It was quite well attended, and we were invited to join activities other than eating together. You could join in as much as you wanted. It was fun to meet people from other countries. I was surprised at how many countries we represented. Spanish is always helpful on a cruise, especially with the staff, but a lot of passengers also spoke that language and we had different European countries represented as well as Australians and Americans. I'd visit these areas again, but not with NCL. Spirit is being refurbished in January 2020, but until their staff are better trained, I wont be joining a NCL cruise. Most of the staff I met were new. I met one person who'd been with other cruise lines and had 10 years+ experience compared with most of the others with 1-3 months on their first cruise ship. His customer service was excellent, but some of the staff ignored you or pushed past to get into the elevators. I was not the only one disappointed in the food and service. I also know that other passengers enjoyed the cruise a lot more than me, and they will go back. Different people with different tastes - this one just didn't suit me. I also missed the formal nights. I'd been told there was a white party, so I had packed accordingly, but it was only on once, and began during the second show, a late night event, so I could have saved the space in my bag!

Lovely places to visit, great cruisers, but poor food and service

Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review by Ciao123

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2019
  • Destination: Baltic Sea
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Oceanview Picture Window
I'd heard that NCL was similar in quality of food and service as Celebrity, but I quickly found this not to be true.

The timing was right and I wanted to visit Iceland and Norway, so I booked a guaranteed outside cabin.

Southampton was not easy to get to from Scotland by public transport, and it wasn't my first choice for starting a cruise, now I've done it once, I'll avoid it in future.

Embarkation was smooth for me, I did need a wheelchair to avoid standing in line, something which has become a challenge for me. The staff were really kind and helpful, so I was feeling very positive about the cruise.

I enjoyed a nice lunch with wine in Windows, but I never saw this pair of waiters again. It was freestyle dining, so you could sit with different people every day. That was a nice touch, but the dishes on the menu were repeated almost every day. The flavours weren't strong and there were some odd combinations. If you like bland food, a rib eye steak option and bruschetta every day for dinner, then Windows or Garden are the place to be, but some of the desserts were very sweet and also lacking in flavour. I also like vegetarian food from time to time, but the dishes I chose were usually overcooked and not balanced. The vegetable sides were usually good, but my prime rib, although huge, was undercooked and cold and I needed horseradish to bring out the light flavour. I found out that the food is sourced from USA for this European cruise, so I guess the meat and fish were frozen. I missed the wonderful range of fresh berries, but I can recommend the pineapple and melon in Raffles!

My cabin was close to the elevators and I had a direct line to Raffles, the buffet where I went for most breakfasts and lunches. I had to walk to the next set of lifts, go up 2 floors, then walk back and down 1 flight if stairs to reach Windows, so I didn't want to go to Windows often (I had the option to call for a wheelchair, but I was trying to get fitter without exhausting myself).

I did try a speciality restaurant, Shogun. I was told the sushi was good - it was certainly a big portion! I'd been warned about the menu already, so selected the orange beef which was chewy and I couldn't taste or see any orange.

The TV didn't always work in my cabin, I had problems with the WC too, but the shower was lovely. The bedroom was big for one person and it was kept clean by my steward, but I missed the cute towelling animals I'd seen on other cruises every night before bed.

Spa usually a highlight, but disappointing on this ship, but I did appreciate the facial and the hot stones massage!

The entertainment scheduling was bad, with most of the 'best' shows scheduled on days when we were late leaving port, so if you wanted to eat first, you missed the show. Being a morning person, I cannot comment on the late night entertainment.

Some of the shows were fantastic, others mediocre. Something for most tastes and all family shows.

I attended a Martini tasting which was excellent and a few of us guests wondered if this was the main focus of the cruise - alcohol - I did buy a basic drinks package, and enjoyed a few cocktails - the bar staff were always chatty, no matter which bar; my favourite was the Cafe because she was generous with the nutmeg on my Painkiller!

I didn't visit the casino, but it seemed adequate.

We only had 1 day suitable for swimming, (most days fine, but we did cruise north, so it wasnt warm enough for me) and I went for a look after the shore excursion. Of course, it was packed, so I missed out. Others enjoyed the pool regularly, or huddled close by in thick sweaters and coats on the colder days.

We were very lucky with the weather on most of our shore excursions. It rained in Belfast, but the trip to the Antrim coast and Giants Causeway was beautiful and the rain did stop a few times. I also enjoyed Blarney Castle, but regret not spending some time in Cobh, so I will go back again. I had to pace myself due to recent illness, so I didn't take excursions every day. NCL does charge a lot for the excursions, but the guides are good and on one, we got a Gaelic coffee, on the Golden Circle tour, we got soup and salmon - I can recommend this beautiful tour with so much geology and history, but I'd advise to search for a local tour, it may be better value. I liked Njordfjord, but others didn't. It's a new cruise stop, so not too touristy compared to Geiranger. I enjoyed my walk to the replica Viking Ship. The views at both Norway locations are outstanding! I have a great video of the geyser!

For Amsterdam, the journey by local bus and train was almost an hour in each direction. There were tours available either by bus or canal. For Bruges, the port is another ferry port, so very busy and quite a distance by public transport - I was tired that day, and the weather was overcast, so I stayed on board, along with a few people, but the entertainment offered didn't appeal to me so I read another book.

I was travelling alone and joined the Solo group. It was quite well attended, and we were invited to join activities other than eating together. You could join in as much as you wanted. It was fun to meet people from other countries.

I was surprised at how many countries we represented. Spanish is always helpful on a cruise, especially with the staff, but a lot of passengers also spoke that language and we had different European countries represented as well as Australians and Americans.

I'd visit these areas again, but not with NCL. Spirit is being refurbished in January 2020, but until their staff are better trained, I wont be joining a NCL cruise. Most of the staff I met were new. I met one person who'd been with other cruise lines and had 10 years+ experience compared with most of the others with 1-3 months on their first cruise ship. His customer service was excellent, but some of the staff ignored you or pushed past to get into the elevators. I was not the only one disappointed in the food and service. I also know that other passengers enjoyed the cruise a lot more than me, and they will go back. Different people with different tastes - this one just didn't suit me.

I also missed the formal nights. I'd been told there was a white party, so I had packed accordingly, but it was only on once, and began during the second show, a late night event, so I could have saved the space in my bag!
Ciao123’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Norwegian Spirit price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Oceanview Picture Window
Cabin OB 5606
Clean and bright. A few luggage marks. Plenty of hangers. Small TV with a loose plug. Plumbing issues, mainly the toilet which stopped twice. Fixed fairly quickly. US plugs. Spacious shower. Banged my head a few times between the WC and sink.
Deck 6 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins