Norwegian Spirit - Western Caribbean: Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review by Brandon Hoffman

Norwegian Spirit 5
Brandon Hoffman

Overall Member Rating

Norwegian Spirit - Western Caribbean

Sail Date: January 2005
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Miami
I headed out on this cruise not exactly knowing what to expect after reading the reviews here at Cruise Critic. Here are my feelings on the cruise:

Embarkation: Very organized. We arrived 1 hour before they told us to. First you wait on a short line to sign in and provide your credit card information for on ship charges. You are then moved to another room where you wait for a short period for your room keys. You then proceed to a waiting area with seats where we waited approximately 5-10 minutes to be processed through security and were allowed right onto the boat. Embarkation took less then an hour which I find to be quite acceptable.

Activities & Entertainment: Activities were quite varied. Some of the activities we attended and enjoyed were the legal seminars, ice carving, sushi preparation and tasting, up close magic and much more. Every day you are provided with a comprehensive list of all events going on. Everything was organized well. More The entertainment was far above average, The crew shows were great and the crew was very talented. The Magician was fantastic and hilarious. The comedian was really bad the first night and a bit better the second show. Ricky the cruise director was very entertaining and fit the job perfectly. His television show on the cruise TV channel describing the days events was very silly but worth watching. One complaint I had was that as a 22 year old there was no music appropriate for my age group in any of the discos. They played NO hip hop or modern dance music, just '70s Bar Mitzvah style music and ethnic tunes.

Excursions & Destinations: The cruise was supposed to be 2 stops, which were Grand Cayman and Honduras. Since there is no dock at Grand Cayman and the cruise had to be tendered, the bad weather and wind won and the cruise diverted to Cozumel, Mexico. Within 1 hour of the diversion, the excursion desk had a whole new list of excursions and were very organized in registering people for new excursions. We took the ATV Jungle Kayaking and Snorkeling excursion for $150 for a couple. The excursion was fun and ATVing was great but due to the wind they cancelled the Snorkeling and Kayaking parts. I felt $150 was too high for just an ATV trip and that we didn't get everything we paid for. I complained to the excursion desk with a few other couples and felt as if I were being blown off. It took around 5 trips to the shore excursion desk to receive any kind of resolution. Every time they just said they are e-mailing the tour group. I really felt it was inappropriate and amateur that we had to know that they were arguing with the tour company about getting a refund. We booked the excursion through Norwegian and hence Norwegian should have instantly taken care of us. After 5 trips to the excursion desk, the last day they gave us a 30% discount, which was nice but should have been taken care of more easily.

The second stop was Honduras where we chose not to take an excursion. That was a huge mistake. Honduras is the WORST PLACE I HAVE EVER BEEN TO. You dock in a fenced off area with security guards wearing tank tops and shorts with a Glock tucked into the back of their shorts gangster style to keep the locals away from the boat. Norwegian tells you to make a right on the street the boat is docked on and there is supposed to be great shopping and a nice town. The first thing you are confronted by is extremely aggressive cab drivers basically threatening you that you better take a ride with them. Then you walk outside the fenced in area and are bombarded by tour guides telling you it's their job to take you around the island. When you say no thanks they say "We don't need your thanks we need your money." After that little kids follow you around, grabbing onto your pants demanding a dollar while they scream at you on the sides of the streets to come in their store. I was offered drugs about 10 times in 15 minutes. I picked up a rock just because I felt so unsafe and wanted something to defend myself just in case. I was so disgusted by this experience we got back on the boat within 15 minutes and spent the rest of the day on the boat. At the end of the day we heard many reports of people being mugged on the streets and in taxis at gunpoint. I even personally saw someone at the shore excursion desk with a police report regarding being mugged. My guess is that NCL docks at this point because it costs about 50 cents since no other company would want to dock at such a dump. If you go to this island on your cruise bring protection, very little money and go on an NCL excursion!

Food and Service: The food on this cruise was great. We ate at Windows, The Garden Room, Bier Garden and Raffles. All were above acceptable and Windows and The Garden room were very classy. The food at both was top class. On lobster night they even offer to take the lobster out of the shell for you. The menu varied widely and the theme nights were nice (Mediterranean theme, Italian theme, etc.) The service was better some nights then others but we were done with dinner in less the 2 hours every night and lunch was served in less then an hour. We had no problem being seated and never waited even 1 minute to sit down at any time we went, any night. Half the time we were seated at a 2 person table right by the window so we could look out on the ocean and half the time we sat with others. Everyone was very friendly. You could order as much as you would like and the waiters were very attentive to your needs.

The maid service was FANTASTIC. Our lady was superb and was always looking to make our time as enjoyable as possible. She stayed out of our way and was constantly in the hall to greet us when we came in and out of the room. She even left mints on our pillows every night.

The room was small but comparable to any other room I've been in at a cruise. The bathroom was great and the shower was even better. Nice and spacious and the water pressure was fabulous. The bed was on the hard side but I must have enjoyed it since I slept like a baby.

Auto tipping was reasonable and a nice feature that saved us the headache of figuring out what to tip each person who helped us through the cruise.

Disembarkation was smooth and we were allowed to just wait in our room until our color group was called. We relaxed and watched TV until our color was called and then got right off the boat with no problems.

Overall I loved the cruise and would cruise with NCL again. The Spirit was beautiful inside and out. The service was very good and the food outstanding. The price didn't break the bank and I would recommend the Norwegian Spirit to anyone. If you can skip Honduras, I would suggest it as well!

Happy Cruising Less

Published 03/14/05

Cabin review: IE5065 Mid-Ship Inside

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Brandon Hoffman
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