Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review by Witling
- Sail Date: February 2012
- Destination: Western Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony
I was traveling with my wife. We're not gourmets or 5-star types so it doesn't take much to please us. I've been to many Latin American countries and my wife is from Colombia so the language and living conditions we saw of the locals were no surprise to us.
The ship can be a little confusing to get from one place to another but there are maps located at each stairway. Sometimes it's easier to get from one end to the other by staying on levels 4, 5, 9, 10 or 11 then going up or down as needed.
Our "Casinos at Sea" cards were waiting for us in the room. Of course both had to be replaced in the casino since neither worked. We also had our free drink cards attached but I never noticed anyone paying for drinks in the casino so I'm not sure that was such a big perk.
The point system is so bad you would have to make some substantial wagers over the length of the cruise to make any dent in your bill. Together we each played about 12 hours at quarter video poker and I played at least 10 hours of $25 per hand blackjack and ended up with around 1100 points. That would have gotten me about $11 off my bill if I had bothered to even look into it.
Here are the highlights:
1. Everything went as planned. We had great weather and calm seas from the first sea day on and made all of our port calls. Getting on and off the ship at Embarkation, ports and debarkation was painless. Just be patient.
2. Met a great group of people from our Roll Call. Special thanks to cmitch9999 for her work online and on board. People often take for granted all of the behind the scenes activities that go on when traveling. Some get paid for their work but she did this just so everyone could enjoy their cruise a little bit more.
3. Spirit is a nice ship. It doesn't have all the latest and greatest extras as some of the other ships but there is something for everyone and everyone is very friendly and helpful.
4. The food in the buffet was good. The food in the Windows and Garden dining rooms were also good. The one night we tried one of the specialty restaurants was at Cagney's. The room is nice and the wait staff attentive but we paid $20 each ($5 discount to generate business) and got basically the same meal we could get at the other two main dining rooms.
5. The room (balcony 10636, aft, port side) was "tidy" but we don't require much space. The balcony was about 3 feet wide but still enjoyable, especially with a cup of coffee in the morning. The rooms were surprisingly quiet. I never even heard the toilets flush in the adjoining rooms.
6. We saw each show except the final night and they were all entertaining and just the right length (45 minutes).
Jorgos (illusionist, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3a1F7_0cISo)
and the Duo Acrobatics (husband & wife team) were outstanding.
Tip: Enter on Level 8 (balcony) and go down the aisles from the back (top).
7. We missed the White Hot night but heard there were about 100 people there and they had a good time.
8. We also missed the Chocolate Night (too busy in the casino).
9. The casino was smaller than I thought from the photos and it got a little warm but the smoke was never a major factor (and I hate smoke). They have a nice table of snacks from 11-1AM each night.
10. The video poker pay schedules aren't the best on the lower-rated hands but the higher jackpots follow the norm. I managed to hit a Royal and 4 Aces (no kicker) plus a number of other 4-of-a-kinds playing Dbl Dbl Bonus and 4 deuces playing Deuces Wild.
11. The Blackjack has typical Vegas rules (H17, DAS, DoA, no RSA, etc) using 8 decks. Avoid play for under $25 per hand or they will be using CSM machines. Single deck pays 6-5 for a blackjack. I don't recall seeing anyone playing on that table. Dealers and pit critters were friendly and I managed to walk with a profit.
12. I specifically selected this travel date (Feb 26-March 4) to avoid Spring Break. Thus we only saw about 10 kids under the age of 15 and they were always with adults. Saw no rowdy teens or "hip hop" types. I would put the average age of the cruisers at about 62.
The only negative to the trip was when I got very ill (you don't want to know the details). I have no idea where or what I got but it didn't affect my petite wife and we ate and drank basically the same things throughout the cruise. I tried to be conscientious in washing my hands and what I touched.
The ship works very hard to prevent illness with hand sanitizer machines all over and having someone standing by to spray your hands before entering the buffet and the two main dining rooms.
So even with the illness it was a great trip.
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Belize CityDon't let my rating discourage you as we did NOT take an excursion. I wasn't even planning on going into town but my wife wanted to go and since this was her first cruise and the weather was great I agreed to go.View All 2,217 Belize City Cruise Port Reviews
We just hopped on one of the tenders after the rush had subsided and took the 15 minute right to town. We walked around and a street tout (formerly lived in California) attached himself to us. He said there is a lot of poverty and drugs and no jobs. He eventually guided us to the little museum I gave him $5 and thanked him. Save the $10 on the museum.
We then walked back to the port, the wife bought a purse (knock-off Coach, $20) and had a drink at one of the bars before heading back to the ship.
Unless you have made plans for an excursion you may as well enjoy the quiet time on the ship.
View Cruise Critic's Belize City Cruise Port Review
Costa MayaI had been to Costa Maya in 2004. The main port area is basically the same and if you're not looking for more than a few shops, a couple bars, a big pool (2.5 ft deep) and a small beach it will serve your purposes.View All 1,903 Costa Maya Cruise Port Reviews
Fortunately we found out about the Tropicante bar from our Roll Call and emailed Steve (the owner from Texas) to get in on the beach chairs and umbrellas. We had about 15 people from the ship there and had a nice relaxing day. The bar is along the malecon in the village of Mahahual. It's about 10 minutes by taxi. All you pay for is the food and drinks you order. The guys taking orders are always nearby. I recommend the fish tacos, yummy. When you email Steve he'll give you the info on taxis, etc.
View Cruise Critic's Costa Maya Cruise Port Review
CozumelI have been to Cozumel before so I knew what to expect. One of the guys on our Roll Call had estimated there would be 8 or 9 cruise ships and approximately 21,000 people in port the day we arrived.View All 5,718 Cozumel Cruise Port Reviews
Some of the members of our Roll Call did the Bar Hop tour by bus which goes from the port to the east side of the island and stopped at 4 bars along the shore.
When we tried to get on the tour (3 days before sailing) it was all booked up so I decided to just rent a car. The only drawback was when I found out the Avis office is located the the "other" pier (International). The Spirit docked across the road from Plaza Punta Langosta mall. No problem. Just a 10 minute ride by taxi for $7. One of the Avis guys took us back to the ship after we turned the car in.
There is only one road that goes to the east side (Benito Juarez) that meets up with Rafael Melgar that loops back to the city and the International Pier where we turned in the car.
There is a Pemex gas station right across the street from the Avis building so that was easy. They even fill up the car for you and take US dollars.
We had a small Dodge with automatic transmission and A/C. The car was only $30 for the day but I elected full coverage for another $45. Even though I am an Avis Wizard member and was using my AMEX card I wasn't taking any chances.
We stopped at Punta Morena bar on the east side and enjoyed a couple large, cold daiquiris and some chips and salsa.
We then by-passed Coconuts and headed to the third stop. We then ran into the group we were looking for. Unfortunately they were just leaving on the bus so we followed them to Rasta's.
We all enjoyed margaritas and coconut shrimp. They had to leave on the bus but we stayed for another 30 minutes or so before heading back to town. A nice way to spend the day and we got to see a different side of Cozumel away from the traffic and crowds.
View Cruise Critic's Cozumel Cruise Port Review
RoatanRoatan was the one port I was especially looking forward to seeing. The ship docks on the south side of the island (Coxen Hole) but the beaches are all on the north side. Thus you have to find transportation.View All 2,529 Roatan Cruise Port Reviews
We had booked the Zip & Dip tour with Southshore Zipline. Directions to their little kiosk is on their website and included in the email they will send to you. It's a short walk from the ship.
I had done a zip line in Costa Rica but this was my wife's first real outdoor adventure. We were teamed up with a lady from Chicago and her 24 yr old daughter. It was also their first time on a zip line so they were all apprehensive. They did great. The guides were helpful and fun.
After the zip line the driver took us to West End Beach where we were free to sun, swim, eat and relax for as long as we wanted just so we got back to the ship by 4:30. It was a great day.
View Cruise Critic's Roatan Cruise Port Review