Background: On this sailing were myself, DH and adult DD. DH and I have sailed 19 times on NCL, twice on HAL. This was DD's 3rd NCL cruise. We prefer, among so many other things about NCL, the laid back atmosphere and relaxed dress ... Read More
Background: On this sailing were myself, DH and adult DD. DH and I have sailed 19 times on NCL, twice on HAL. This was DD's 3rd NCL cruise. We prefer, among so many other things about NCL, the laid back atmosphere and relaxed dress code, freestyle dining and variety of restaurants, as well as the entertainment and the wonderful staff and crew on board; obviously NCL is our cruise line of choice. In addition this was our 12th cruise to Bermuda (on various NCL ships) - we've cruised to Bermuda at this time every year for the past several years to celebrate our anniversary.
Embarkation: Easy as pie. Arrived by car to the cruise port at 11 a.m.; DH dropped off myself and DD with our luggage while he parked the car. By the time he walked back to meet us we were going in the door to the terminal building. After going through security we went immediately to the suites check-in line, upstairs to meet Bruce, our concierge, and were escorted to our cabin before 11:30 (which was not quite ready, however we were able to drop off our carry-on bags).
Cabin/Suite perks: We had originally booked a BD balcony (the extra-large one all the way aft on deck 10 port side) a year ago (and had sailed in that cabin last year), and added DD to our cabin about a month or so before the cruise; we knew we'd have plenty of room for the three of us. However, two or three weeks before the cruise we decided to call for an upgrade to allow more privacy and space, so we upgraded to Virgo suite #10018, an AC suite starboard side on deck 10.
The suite was beautiful and we had plenty of room for the three of us, with DD on a roll-away (instead of the pull-out couch - much more comfortable!) in the living area, which was stored behind the balcony curtain. We could still walk by the roll-away to get to the balcony, which was small for three people, as are all the balconies on this ship so this was not unexpected.
There were two padded resin wicker chairs, a small table and a bench seat on the balcony - if there had been regular chairs (and they got rid of the bench) there may have been a little more room; even so we spent lots of time out there (and those chairs were quite comfortable)!
The suite had flat-screen TV's in the living area and master bedroom (in a cabinet at the end of the bed), as well as a DVD player and movie list in the living area - which DD loved because she likes to fall asleep with the TV on and it didn't disturb us in the least. The living area contained a couch that was pretty comfortable, two chairs, a coffee table, the TV on a stand with lots of storage, and a pole lamp that turned on via a switch on the floor.
There was plenty of storage in both the main cabin area and bedroom for all our belongings. We loved the Lavazza coffee machine, and enjoyed an espresso every morning as well as one to kick-start us before dinner!
Loved the bathroom (though DD was the only one who used the Jacuzzi tub), with its luxurious towels and bathrobes (and slippers that we never used) and Elemis products (though I still brought a bar of my L'Occitane soap :-)). The cabin has two safes in the closet, which we utilized. All our luggage fit under the bed in the MBR. There was no 110 outlet at the dressing table (there was an outlet that I could plug in the 220 blow dryer I brought with me even though there was a sticker above it that said "no blow dryers" - I checked with Naveen, and he said I could use it - and another outlet, with a different type of plug), so we had to use the 110 outlet at the dining area to plug our flat iron in. I suppose we could have asked for a converter, but this worked out fine.
There were menus to all the specialty restaurants in a cabinet near the dining table (which seats four people, though it would be a little tight) and we had two bottles of wine (a white and a red) and a bottle of champagne, as well as two fruit baskets, when we arrived. There were plenty of various types of glasses and cups on the shelves and in the cabinets (note: the top of the coffee machine warms the cups!) and a fridge that is not pre-stocked.
Our cabin was wonderfully taken care of by Jeannette, our terrific room stewardess, and Naveen, our butler. A variety of snacks were delivered to our suite every afternoon around 4-5 PM which we would sometimes supplement with cheese, crackers, pretzel bread and other goodies from the buffet to enjoy while we were getting ready for dinner every night which, with three of us, took at least and hour and a half!
We didn't have any meals in our suite, preferring to enjoy the ship - and Cagney's for breakfast and an occasional lunch - so we rarely availed ourselves of the services of our butler, though he did assist with the cabin, coffee maker, etc. We did keep Bruce, our wonderful concierge, busy making reservations, saving seats in the theatre, bringing us in to the chocolate buffet before everyone else, and "sneaking" us off the ship ahead of the crowds as soon as we were cleared in Bermuda. Bruce was everywhere, always making sure his guests were taken care of, and is a really great concierge!
The ship: The Spirit is my favorite ship in NCL's fleet - I love the dEcor and size of this ship, though it does have a few shortcomings, such as the small main pool, which during the first half of the cruise wasn't too crowded, but once we left Bermuda it seemed all the families wanted to be there instead of at the kids' pool aft, and the aforementioned tiny balconies. I guess if I had to comment negatively about anything that would be about it! As far as I was concerned the ship is beautifully maintained, and crew were constantly cleaning, scrubbing, and making repairs. I love the atrium on this ship, with the beautiful carpet, staircases, glass elevators and fountains. It's just a very beautiful ship, and I am sad that it will not be sailing out of Boston next year.
We had moderate seas our first evening and part of the first sea day, and it was raining as we left Boston, but it soon cleared on Saturday and we enjoyed the pool deck.
Restaurants/dining/food: we did not have one dinner in the main dining room this trip, opting to dine in LaTratorria, Shogun, LeBistro and Cagney's (four times!!). Being platinum latitudes members, we each had a complimentary dinner for two/bottle of wine - we used one in LeBistro (for our anniversary - it's tradition!), and the other in Cagney's, where we paid the difference in the cover charge. One night while we were in port we dined "al fresco" at Cagney's - if they offer this while you're on board, I highly recommend it! We had a reservation at around 7:45, so we enjoyed the sunset, and then a beautiful moonlit night. There were (fake) potted plants/trees set up in a rectangle on the promenade deck outside of Cagney's with beautifully set tables (not too many - maybe they only set out as many as needed based on reservations?) and there actually weren't many people walking on the deck while we ate - either that or we were having such a great time we didn't notice them! It was a fantastic evening with incredible food, great wine and wonderful dinner companions (you know who you are ;-)). We enjoyed all our dinners in each of the aforementioned specialty restaurants. We of course went to Cagney's every morning for breakfast, and lunch on embarkation day only - we don't typically eat lunch.
Entertainment/shows/activities: We went to two of the production shows - On Broadway and Elements, and both were very well done. We spent many evenings in Champagne Charlie's listening to Arvin and Emily - they're just wonderful! We went to karaoke one night in Henry's - the place was mobbed! DD got up and sang and of course was excellent :-) - unfortunately that was the last evening that karaoke was offered, or we'd have gone again. I attended the second martini clinic (Gede, we love you!) and DD joined me at the last one. We had a blast! We did a LOT of relaxing - at the Bier Garden, on the pool deck, and in our cabin, and most evenings we were fast asleep by midnight!
Bermuda: Aah, our favorite place! DD would have loved to drag us all over the island squeezing in every last bit of touring she could, but we just wanted to take it slow and easy. On Sunday we were among the first to disembark, hopped in a cab (crazy, I know, but DH wanted to beat the crowds) and were at Horseshoe Bay before noon. It was a beautiful day, but windy, so it was hard to keep the umbrella in the sand! We spent several hours at the beach, and then hopped in another cab back to the Dockyard. We went to the Frog & Onion (our hangout for the next three days) for some of their great brew and pub food. On Monday DD spent the afternoon with friends off the ship; DH and I wandered around the dockyard a bit, stopped at the Frog & Onion (again), and then spent the rest of the day relaxing on the ship. Tuesday morning we were off the ship early and caught the first ferry to St. George's, where we spent a few hours wandering around, visited the perfume factory, and then caught the ferry back to the dockyard. DH wanted to go back to the ship (after another stop at the Frog & Onion), and we wanted to go to Hamilton, so DD and I hopped on the ferry and shopped in Hamilton for an hour or so, arriving back at the dockyard by ferry with an hour and a half to spare.
Back to reality: We stayed up VERY late on Thursday night, and awoke WAAY too early. We were eating breakfast in Cagney's by around 7:30, and were to meet Bruce in Henry's pub at 9:45 (I believe - that last day is pretty hazy...). Bruce escorted us off the ship and right to our luggage - and found us a porter while DH went to get the car! I can't recall what time we got home, but I'm pretty sure it was well before noon (and we're about an hour away).
It was a GREAT cruise, and we can't wait to go back! Read Less