27 Norwegian Spirit Cruises for the Disabled Cruise Reviews

My mum wanted to see the northern lights before she dies, so we booked this cruise fom Southampton (side note: my Grandad helped build this dock !) The embarkation from this port was so easy and smooth. I've been on the Spirit ... Read More
My mum wanted to see the northern lights before she dies, so we booked this cruise fom Southampton (side note: my Grandad helped build this dock !) The embarkation from this port was so easy and smooth. I've been on the Spirit before so it was nice to show my mum around. The cabin was spacious, on deck 10, easy to get to everything and we were quite happy there. Due to the weather our itinerary was changed but we still thoroughly enjoyed our cruise and the cruise director did a fantastic job re-doing our new changes on the fly ! Unexpected sea days and new stops were quite exciting to me. If there was one thing I could say that could be improved, it would be that I wish that they could arrange more handicap buses for those people in wheelchairs, as my mum coudn't get on any of the excursions in Norway as their buses had no wheelchair lifts and the steps were too big for her. The food, as usual, was amazing. Entertainment was great, and the staff, as always, out do themselves. I like Norwegian and have already booked my next cruise in March!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Embarkation went very smoothly. Found the ship very disabled friendly, was nowhere my partner couldn’t go ( he’s a full time wheelchair user) We booked a disabled inner porthole cabin 4498. What can I say, it was massive, wetroom was ... Read More
Embarkation went very smoothly. Found the ship very disabled friendly, was nowhere my partner couldn’t go ( he’s a full time wheelchair user) We booked a disabled inner porthole cabin 4498. What can I say, it was massive, wetroom was large all very wheelchair friendly. It was near the lifts too, perfect!! Dining.. tried the Italian restaurant (paid extra) for our friends 60th birthday.. was disappointed with the food. The food in the Windows main dining room was really nice.. only one complaint.. some of the staff need to be trained better!! They were taking away some of our starter plates while someone was still eating.. bad etiquette!! We ate in the Shogun restaurant.. was lovely too. Entertainment.. found it so so.. the house band was very good listened to them a lot. Service on board was fantastic.. didn’t wait any length of time for drinks etc.. we thought our wine Steward Paula was excellent, such a happy friendly girl. Our room steward Neil was great. Enjoyed the towel art on our bed most nights Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Review NCL Spirit, Mediterranean Cruise We are experienced cruisers and land trippers both. We’ve been on about 40 cruises to the Caribbean, Baltic, Mediterranean, Asia, Panama Canal, Mexico, etc. So we have a decent background for ... Read More
Review NCL Spirit, Mediterranean Cruise We are experienced cruisers and land trippers both. We’ve been on about 40 cruises to the Caribbean, Baltic, Mediterranean, Asia, Panama Canal, Mexico, etc. So we have a decent background for comparison. We chose the October/November cruise with NCL largely because it went to several ports we had not sailed to do far: Dubrovnik, Koper, Corfu, and Split. I would say, aside from Corfu, that only Dubrovnik turned out to be of interest. We took the cruise pre-package which included two nights at the Crowne Plaza St. Peter’s as well as breakfast and transportation to the port. The hotel was fine. It was clean; the room was of reasonable size; the food was good in the restaurants– which was a good thing because there isn’t much around the Crowne Plaza in terms of shopping or restaurants. You can go into Rome but after a long day, you hardly feel like doing that. The hotel also has attractive grounds, outside eating, decent wi-fi, and a pool, which we did not use. I would say the outside of the hotel buildings definitely needed an update, but the Europeans have a greater tolerance for decay than we do. There is a shuttle bus for which you pay a nominal fee but be aware that it runs to different places at different times of the day. So you might have to get a cab back, which cost something like 12 euros. We did not use the shuttle as we were ready to go to the Vatican about an hour before the next shuttle was going to run. Transportation to the pier was quick and easy. On Sunday morning, it took just an hour to get there, though we had to wait about 20 minutes for our bus to be allowed up to the entry area. The area is not large, and they limit the number of buses that can enter, which was not a big deal. We got there about 1 and were able to get into our cabin immediately. The buffet generally had some tasty things on it. Most were at least lukewarm, which is an improvement over most buffets. We never had a hard time finding seating at the buffet or a cleared table. As far as other venues went, we wholeheartedly approve of NCL’s policy of having one restaurant in which you could eat very casually dressed and yet have the full dining experience rather than eating dinner in the buffet and the second restaurant for those who wished to dress up a little. This is a great idea! Most often the food in the dining room was better than average. Cagney’s, however, had wonderful meals. Our steaks were huge and tender and just great, especially since the dinner was free. NCL has the absolute best perks for platinum members. The Italian restaurant had good food though we did not find it as excellent was Cagney’s. Steak or spaghetti.... Is there a choice there? Our balcony cabin was very small. I wished we had had the choice of a mini-suite. Not a lot of room in the closet. Tiny drawers. Hardly room for my folding wheelchair. It was always in the way. Comfortable bed though. Plenty of hot water and pressure. AC worked well. Some people complain about the fish tiles. We thought they were cute. We did not attend more than one of the shows. We have seen them before. Nothing inspiring. I wish they’d had MUTS. Not much in-room entertainment worth mentioning. Internet worked fine most of the time. One great thing about this ship is that it was small enough so that I could walk everywhere despite my disability. We booked a cabin at the midship elevators and I could just hop on and go straight to the restaurants and just a short distance to the shops and theater. That was wonderful. I never needed my wheelchair on the ship. Ports: Dubrovnik: I liked this port but I guess I expected more. It was attractive but mostly it was just a very attractive shopping mall full of small shops with pretty much the same overpriced junk in them. That was a bit disappointing. I did enjoy the small market and the streets were not hard to manage with the wheelchair. Before we had gone into the city, we took the Cabrio excursion which took us out into the beautiful countryside and to some wonderful viewing areas. Venice: What’s not to like? We have been here several times and simply revisited some areas we like best. This is a hard port for the disabled though in terms of bridges. In a space of four hours, we crossed about 30 and most I had to walk over. Split: The main attraction is Diocletian’s Palace. It was a nice though brief stop. Hard to get around with a wheelchair. Many steps. You have steps to navigate to get to the public toilet as well. Surprisingly not a lot of good shops. A row of junk in tents on the way to the palace and a nice market. But since you can’t bring fruit or flowers or drinks or food onto the ship, a waste. Koper: Do take an excursion. There is nothing here to see. We were driven to Piran by a cab driver who waited two hours and took us back. Nice town to see and a wonderful shop just behind the square full of hand made items. Well worth the trip alone. An absolutely filthy public restroom and a small grocery store just off the square. Pleasant walk along the sea. Very, very difficult port to manage in a wheelchair. Very steep streets and many broken up and difficult to move along. Corfu: This is another place you want to take an excursion. Corfu is full of junky little stores and is not attractive at all. We took a tour with Corfu Taxi and loved it. I always enjoy getting out into the countryside and seeing real people going about their real lives. Katakolon: We had been here before and had done the Olympia thing. I hired a guide to take us around the area on a very nice drive, to a local olive oil manufacturing site, the monastery, and Klio’s honey farm which was great. Plenty of shops to explore at the port but much the same thing over and over. Malta: Because we had a short stop, we took the ship’s Scenic Malta excursion. Not really scenic until the last hour of a four hour excursion. Otherwise it was a tour of Malta’s most trafficked areas. Stopped at a market at Marsaloxx that was rather useless. We were delayed by a full hour due to the refusal of six people to get back on time. Intentionally late. They had argued with the guide about when they should be back. We enjoyed revisiting Rome after the cruise and then spent a week in Florence. Great trip. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We sailed on the Nowegian Spirit in October 2018. It was a great time of year and the crowds were light on our stops around the Mediterranean. I chose the cruise because of the itinerary and our stops did not disappoint. However the cruise ... Read More
We sailed on the Nowegian Spirit in October 2018. It was a great time of year and the crowds were light on our stops around the Mediterranean. I chose the cruise because of the itinerary and our stops did not disappoint. However the cruise ship itself was an entire mess and not catered to younger couples at all. By avoiding bingo, the bad shows, and the casino we were left to the pool (which they drained during the cruise), drinks, bad food, and a fitness center that had out of order signs on half of the equipment. So let’s talk about this food. We utilized the buffet, main dining rooms, and specialty dining restaurants. The best food we had on the cruise was from the sushi restaurant, it’s hard to mess up Asian food. The worst food came from the main dining rooms and the buffet. We were served cold or old food, it definitely did not exemplify the fine dining that you’re supposed to experience on a cruise ship. Same thing with the specialty dining restaurants, although the service was so much better the food still lacked flavor and in Cagney’s their “best restaurant” the steak was great but all of the sides came out cold. A couple of days at sea they did have a grill buffet by the pool and that was nice along with the Latin band. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
My friend and I hadn`t seen each other in 30 years..and we wanted to knock off some similar things on our bucket list..meaning Italy and Greece!! This was a cruise we`ll never forget!! I was a little leery about the ship..I had ... Read More
My friend and I hadn`t seen each other in 30 years..and we wanted to knock off some similar things on our bucket list..meaning Italy and Greece!! This was a cruise we`ll never forget!! I was a little leery about the ship..I had previously travelled on Royal Carribbean..but when I approached the Spirit I had that feeling in my heart that this was going to be the one!! So organized with the embarking!! In all the cruises I`ve been on this one was the most organized!! From arrival to embarkation I didn`t even have time to finish my cappuccino!! Staff was so friendly and welcoming..Making our way to our cabin was a breeze..Beautiful ship!! We had a balcony which was larger than we thought..the room was spacious..plenty of room for the 2 of us..we never felt cramped!! Our cabin steward Edgar,,the best..made us feel so welcome!!! Bottle of champagne..it was wonderful!!! Dining..I cannot say enough about it..Every restaurant was excellent..food was done to perfection..I was leery about ordering the steak...it melted in my mouth!!! Buffett always different and always top notch..very hard to choose between sit downs and buffett.food was that good!!! Entertainment for everyone!! The staff of the Spirit went above and beyond to make our stay the best ever!! The ports were amazing!! Each one better than the next..so many countries in so little time..Pulling into harbours..breathtaking!!! The casino at night after the fabulous shows was so much fun..my friend won 1300.00 and I won 500.00..be careful though..its downhill after that..but you have so much fun while losing!! Thankyou Marcko and the rest of the casino staff for all the laughs and comraderie!! I`m a very picky person..and when I read some of the reviews..I was alittle worried..but Norweigan Spirit you exceeded all my expectations and more!! You may be the oldest of the fleet..but you`re definately the best!!! I would recommend this ship to the fussiest..critical person..You won`t regret it!! Thanks David for the fabulous activities..Oh ya and did I mention I danced the night away with the Beatles?? If you go make sure you check out the band..young or old..you`ll love it!!! So much fun!!! Thankyou Norweigan for making our reunion so very enjoyable..We will be back!!! Wish we had found you 30 years earlier!! You`re the best!! Thankyou for all the memories!!! By the way...how do the servers keep track of all the names..even before we present our room card??? You guys are the best!! Thankyou!!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
it seems that there are almost as many experiences of the same vacation as there are passengers. We all come with our own expectations and our own idea of value for money. We chose the Norwegian Spirit because of the excellent itinerary ... Read More
it seems that there are almost as many experiences of the same vacation as there are passengers. We all come with our own expectations and our own idea of value for money. We chose the Norwegian Spirit because of the excellent itinerary and good pricing and even when the itinerary was changed and we did not get to visit the Canary Islands and Madeira due to rough seas in the Atlantic, we were able to overcome our initial disappointment and still have a fabulous trip. We travelled Feb 23 to Mar 5. It is true that this ship is a little more dated but there were things we did love about it, all the woodwork and the Asian finishes, the excellent, friendly and attentive staff - some of the best we have ever experienced. We enjoyed our pre-dinner drinks at Champagne Charlie's and the excellent musicians who serenaded us each evening. Excellent dinners at Cagney's, casual fare at the Blue Lagoon and really good Whisky Sours at the Shanghai Bar - made with Crown Royal. We found the Buffet quite good too... especially on those days when it was warm enough to sit outside and enjoy the sea air. We also enjoyed the smaller complimentary Garden Restaurant and Shogun . We really liked the vibe of the whole ship and it attracted a nice mix of fellow passengers. We had a really nice spot, a suite on the 10th deck with a whirlpool tub and shower that both looked out over the ocean. This is one of the few NCL ships that has this smaller suite with this amazing and spectacular feature. We did have a butler and a personal concierge so I realize we had lots of perks. We were very well treated, including our son who is on the autism spectrum. He requires a special diet and this was handled seamlessly for him. We enjoyed the tours - they were well organized. I think though, that we would also have enjoyed ourselves even in less fancy accommodations cause we were just so pleased to be able to afford the time and the adventure - We saw lots of Spain and Morocco due to the amended itinerary and everyday there was a new Suduko and quick crossword on offer in the library! Memorable wonderful time - We met quite a few fellow cruisers who had been on this ship multiple times. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We wanted to visit the Canarys and Funchal without packing and unpacking several times. We are three in the cabin - parents and a college student. I could not be more disappointed. We thought being aboard ship for Christmas and New ... Read More
We wanted to visit the Canarys and Funchal without packing and unpacking several times. We are three in the cabin - parents and a college student. I could not be more disappointed. We thought being aboard ship for Christmas and New Years would be festive and fun and it was nothing like that. I understand you must appeal to the older folks who take this cruise but from food to music and port call timeframes, everything that could go wrong went wrong. Port Calls: This captain wanted to save as much as possible when it comes to time in port - leaving us with little to none to really see the islands. We pulled in early enough - when nothing was open on the island, not even a coffee shop - and we'd leave often at 3:30 p.m.! With no shipboard entertainment to keep you busy, why would you want people on board? Just to buy expensive drinks I guess. All of the islands were nice enough - Maderia being teh best but Casablanca??? Don't even get off the ship. The ship is bad - Casablanca is worse! Entertainment: The band "Souled Out" was not bad. Their chemistry though is not there. Seems the lead guy can't stand the lead gal from where we were sitting. They do one hour sets then leave for an hour. There is NOTHING going on for that hour. A DJ doesn't spin any music to dance. The staff don't come and do something fun. Nothing. So let's say you are enjoying the music - then there's a huge break with nothing to do!! I really was stunned by this. I've cruised before and a lot can be forgiven when you have entertainment you enjoy. This was the most board I've ever been on a ship. The music was appealing to ballroom dancers and they danced. Taking the entire dance floor so none of us non professionals could get a spot. Fun to watch but maybe at 10 p.m. you'd switch to something people under 80 would enjoy as well. PS the older folks enjoyed the popular tunes as much as the old stuff so why not appeal to everyone?? Entertainment 2: The teenagers (under 18) get the nice front of the ship spot for a disco but I think there were maybe 20 of them total on the ship. Prime real estate for kids with nothing for any of the paying passengers between 18 and 75 years old. There is a second "disco" but they let karaoke have that spot until 11 p.m. every night then spin dance tunes after that. You have to pass through the smoke gauntlet from hell to get to this disco (the casino) to get there. On New Years Eve this was the only place that had any entertainment after 12:30 p.m. YES, they closed the Galaxy that seats a few hundred at 12:30 p.m. on NEW YEARS EVE!!! It was unbelievable. Entertainment 3: The shows were fine. The dance crew is great and the lead singers are very good. They had a British lady for a couple nights that was great as well. (Michele) The magician is awful and the music so loud during his performances that I'm sure the old folks just removed their hearing aids. They should let the singers and dancers own that place and get rid of all the rest of the glitz and glam. Everyone likes quality singing - show tunes etc. Entertainment Staff: Jacky and Eliose were great and you can see they are working hard against all odds (and their apparent boss Dave the Cruise Director) to help build an environment where people can have some fun. But they must figure a way to bring the entertainment to the people. This group needs an overhaul. $50 to play Bingo is just not reasonable when you only win $150 and you're nickled and died on every thing else. Ship Excursions: Don't do it!! Waste of money and they don't know what goes on on their own excursions. Whale watching we did with them and we asked if their was swimming off the boat (we'd read that in a review) but it's December so we asked. "NO, it's way too cold they won't do that." We sat for 45 minutes while everyone from the other cruise boats donned their suits and jumped into the waters of the Canary Islands. Not fun. Advice: get off the boat, walk a bit up the pier and get a cab driver who will take you all over the islands for about $100 and get you back on time. Totally worth it!! Food: The sushi was great but you were paying for it. The buffet, yuck except for breakfast. Hard to ruin breakfast I guess. Too salty, too mushy, again, food for 80 years olds I guess. Drinks: I get it, we need to pay for drinks and the inclusive plan was not worth it for us - we don't drink enough - so I pay $16.00 for a drink once you had the gratuity, ok, but at least learn how to make a drink!! Every bartender in that place needs retraining. The amount of sour mix used in every drink will give you indigestion. They can't even get a gin and tonic right. Awful. Rooms: It's an old ship so I was not expecting anything grand, and it was fine. Beds are a bit hard but service staff were a bright light in a ship that seemed like no one else enjoyed their jobs. Our cabin girl, Nina, was so nice and polite. We loved her and appreciated how hard she worked. Leading up to the cabins though, it smells - and bad. Also deck 6 is below the casino where people apparently move furniture all night long. Sleep was impossible on many nights. Smoking: This ship is in Europe where there are many smokers and this ship is all theirs. They own the outdoor areas beside the pools - seems like that would be ok but the glass windows keeps the smoke from dissipating and each day we much walk through the cloud of smoke from hell to get to dinner. The casino doors are left propped open so all the smoke from there pours into the hallways and the elevators where everyone must go to get to the bedroom floors is so smokey that people were fanning the smokey smell away. My allergies were going crazy and by the time we left the ship I swear I second hand smoked a pack a day. There needs to be a limit. They have every right to smoke, but the rest of us should have an area we can breathe fresh air and not on the top of the ship in 30 mile hour winds. You can see from this that the ship totally lacks everything you'd expect from a cruise. It's a very sad situation and we spent $5,000 to have one of the worst vacations we've ever had. My advice - choose a different cruise line because Norwegian has gone down hill and fast. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We had a day in Barcelona the day before our cruise. We transferred the next morning to our ship in the port of Barcelona. The embarkation was smooth, though very busy. The ship itself was OK, our cabin was on deck 6 forward on the port ... Read More
We had a day in Barcelona the day before our cruise. We transferred the next morning to our ship in the port of Barcelona. The embarkation was smooth, though very busy. The ship itself was OK, our cabin was on deck 6 forward on the port side, only downside was as the Spirit is an old ship, we are unsure? we felt every manoeuvre when docking as the bow thrusters shook the whole ship from top to bottom. No need for an alarm call!! Also for nearly 48 hours on our way back up the med, the ship encountered storms and again we felt every single wave and made us feel exceptionally sick, my wife was in the cabin for nearly two days, we where not even allowed to go out on deck, that's how bad it was. Hard to believe that with all the state of the art equipment in the Bridge the Captain couldn't navigate around the storms. We also had a constant banging all night for 2/3 nights, loads of people reported it and nothing was done, and nothing was apparently found we where told by guest services, upon getting on and off the boat directly above us was the lifeboats, its as if one was loose banging all night long, funny how once or twice when docked the gangway was partially closed and the crew where working on them/ Food was excellent, entertainment mediocre, the cruise director's accomplice was hard to understand most of the time, Our Steward was fantastic, excursions very extortionate, we did not do one, we did our own. At some ports there was free shuttles, others not, I think Norwegian should tell people, we found out only when we got off the ship. As for Morocco why? another port please, sorry we found it dirty in the middle of a shipping port and every one who went ashore was back within 30 minutes and didn't have a good word to say about it, sorry to say but its what we overhead, we didn't bother after all the comments we heard. Women said they where harassed as soon as they got out of the port, one said she estimated 40 men hassling her, and wanting money for maps, maps that where no good as there was no street's named to go along with the map. One lady asked for a toilet and when she went through a door she was pointed to, found a pit and and two handles to hold onto, Norwegian should really really think of another port, why not Gibraltar, we went past it twice!! The Captain tried but alas again with a foreign accent was hard to understand at the best of times, the annoying bing bong and then trying to understand him and any messages above all the noise on deck and in raffles restaurant, we where unable to distinguish what was being said by any one. All the ports we visited where fantastic except the one mentioned, the last two Malaga and Alicante where freezing, we didn't do much in either due to the cold, but none the less, we enjoyed the time aboard. One thing I didn't agree with, was the apparent drive by Norwegian to extort money, 6 x 1 ltr bottles water, being Diabetic I like a drink handy when in the cabin or going ashore, but i refuse to pay $14.95 that's just sheer extortion, You where not allowed to bring any liquids especially water on board, so we bought a flask, and got the waiter or barman to fill it up, I cant believe the first port we went to and I bought a 2 ltr bottle for less that one euro, shame on you Norwegian. Also they dont tell you until you are in a "Spanish" port, when docked and you want a drink, on your all inclusive package, they levy a "Spanish" tax on you, its not much on two drinks was about just over $1.00 but when you utilise your all inclusive drinks packages we paid nearly $100.00 when we disembarked, we are not big drinkers, but there where people that where, I dread to have seen their bills. We where told we could claim this back many did, also the gratuities, we paid up front before we left as we where led to believe we had to by our tour operator, not so. We where told by loads of people on board to tip as you see appropriate, and we agreed, tipping as we went to people who deserved it and went above and beyond, we are also in the process of trying to recover this as lots of others have. All in all a superb cruise but little niggly bits as mentioned above, stick in your throat a little. One thing that did upset my wife, she forgot her cardigan when we left the Galaxy of the stars one night, she went straight back and it had gone, she enquired at lost property many times, alas some one had made of with it, unbelievable for such a cheap item. One lady lost her Ipad on board and that was handed in straight away... people are weird some times. Also the internet package on board, intermittent at best we where told by loads who had paid $30.00 per day, some said they where unable to use it, can this all be linked to the age of this ship?? she is over 19 years old and was owned by another company prior to Norwegian, We also had the four speciality dining, we tried Tepanyaki (excuse spelling), WOW fantastic, could not fault it, we tried the Italian and was not that impressed, its rather small and not a very good menu, but others seemed to like it. The best of all was Cagney's Steak House, we went twice, I dont think I will ever have a steak like that ever again, it was the best we have ever had, succulent juicy and really tasty, they know how to do steak and all the trimmings, we went on our anniversary and was sung to and given a cake, sounds silly but it was really sweet, my wife and i enjoyed it and cant thank them enough. The MAITRE'D Ryan Dsouza was second to none in chatting to us and keeping us updated on our food as it was cooked to perfection, and the lady who seated us on both occasions, Alleen Sikat, and all the staff in Cagneys whose names we didn't manage to get. We would go again but maybe on a different cruise to avoid storms, or in the summer to avoid these and if we went on the Spirit at the back or maybe an inner cabin, to avoid the wake up call of the bow thrusters. For what we paid we got a good deal, the cruise for two, unlimited drinks, and 4 speciality meal package, and flights with BA, and a night in Barcelona, no transfers though, these where easily obtained on line, a lot cheaper as well, when our company we booked through called at last minute and offered them for £250.00, we got online for £60.00. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
I only chose to do this cruise last minute because of the great deal I got but wow it was great to be back on this lovely ship. She is small to medium size, only 2000 passengers, which makes it large enough for you to have space when ... Read More
I only chose to do this cruise last minute because of the great deal I got but wow it was great to be back on this lovely ship. She is small to medium size, only 2000 passengers, which makes it large enough for you to have space when you want but small enough for you to feel the intimacy. She is also one of the better looking of the Norwegian ships. My cabin, a balcony, was adequate though I would not want to try and fit 3 people into it and as usual the bathroom area was tight. What was usual about this trip was even though it was mid November it was warm and sunny enough for me to use the balcony which was small and only had seats. Food was great thoughout the ship and I used all venues except sushi. My only complaint was windows as this venue is directly below the theatre and if the production is on while your seated it is very hard to have a conversation with people around your table. NCL do a great job with their solo travellers, one of the major reasons I use them, and this cruise was no different. We had a lovely group and our host was friendly and helpful. My only real down side was that some of the ports are so large that when I look out I am daunted by the length of the walk to get to the buses/taxis especially now that I am getting older and my mobility is lessening. I wish sometimes they would provide those little buggies you see at some airports. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
I saw an advert for the cruise of the the Eastern Mediterranean, which reminded me of the days spent in this area with the Royal Navy, many years ago. The embarkation and disembarkation was so easy, compared with other cruise lines we ... Read More
I saw an advert for the cruise of the the Eastern Mediterranean, which reminded me of the days spent in this area with the Royal Navy, many years ago. The embarkation and disembarkation was so easy, compared with other cruise lines we had traveled with in the past. There were two places where the ship could not go alongside, they did NOT mess about with Tenders, in both places they had hired large boats, that went back and fro, from the ship all day. These boats could hold about 200 people at a time, it made going ashore the easiest I have ever seen. For its age, the Norwegian Spirit was in excellent condition. The Captain and Crew were all so friendly and mixed with the passengers. Frequently on other ships, you never even see the Captain. We had a Balcony stateroom plenty of room, the Toilet / Shower, was larger than most, The Windows Dining Room is fantastic, Huge Windows that look out of the stern of the ship. The entertainment was on every night, two performances, very good shows. The service was excellent, they could not do enough for you, always so helpful. The places we went were all so beautiful and historical, Rome, Santorini, Rhodes, Athens, Chania, Valletta, Naples. It was hard to get your head around all this in 10 days. Highly recommend this Cruise. Everything was wonderful, including the food and drinks Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We chose this cruise because we were looking for a family friendly, casual, easy cruise experience. The vibe was there. The ship is older, you can over look that as it is clean and well maintained. What was missing from the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were looking for a family friendly, casual, easy cruise experience. The vibe was there. The ship is older, you can over look that as it is clean and well maintained. What was missing from the cruise experience was the "extra mile". As a newbie to the cruise scene I expected that NCL would go above and beyond to meet my expectations of the cruise. They didn't. I had a good time. Food was ok. Shows were good. But for me NCL did not go above and beyond and push the stars from 3 to 4. It was good, just OK. Not great, spectacular, wonderful. I want to say those words for NCL I really do. I just can't. They didn't get it right. We only did one excursion with the ship. It was a bus trip to Valledmosa. It well worth the time and money, beautiful scenery. We used private tours in Le Spezia (Florence/Pisa). Available in the cruise terminal. Taxi driver to the sites with free time and you pay when you return to port. We used Smart Cruise Tours (Able Tours)for Naples we saw Pompei (guided tour1.5 hours), Amalfi Coast Sorrento and Positano. Our driver was full of information, history and facts. He was very interesting to listen to as we drove. Many ports we walked off the ship and we took a hop on hop site seeing bus. We took a green bus tour in Marseille. It was an open top (green coloured 30 passenger one level bus) just beyond the train and City hop on hop off. You do pay a bit more but you get what you pay for. They actually stopped the bus to allow passengers a good view and photo ops. Very good tour Norwegian has some 'Customer Service' lessons to learn and maybe they will in the future, but not for this cruise. We will try again on other ships, perhaps other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
This was our 1st cruise with NCL, the actual cruise and destinations were superb , however the actual ship had its problems. Our room was on deck 11, 11629, directly underneath Raffles buffet, there was some noise during the day as you ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise with NCL, the actual cruise and destinations were superb , however the actual ship had its problems. Our room was on deck 11, 11629, directly underneath Raffles buffet, there was some noise during the day as you would expect, this continued right through the night even though the restaurant was closed. It sounded like a hot water boiler had been left on, coming up to temperature and switching on and off all night. We did complain but there were no suitable bedrooms available, to move us to, so had to put up with it. They must have received complaints before because we like a drink at night and still woke us up. Our only other gripe was the poor quality of entertainment apart from 3 production shows over a 2 week cruise and an illusion show. The rest were sub standard, esp a so called circus, which featured two amateur artists and hula hoops. The band Prism in the Galaxy of the stars room sounded jaded, like they were due a rest, you could hardly here the vocals at times. Well below the show quality of other lines. On a plus note, I must mention the high quality of food in the Windows / Garden restaurants, was no need to pay extra for the specialist dining rooms. I must also praise all the staff for their excellent service and friendliness. I would try NCL again but on one of their larger ships, where we have been told the entertainment is superb, shame they dont give the Spirit the same treatment. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Of our numerous cruise experiences, this was our fourth one with NCL and ranks in fourth place of our NCL experiences. This was our third time on the NCL Spirit. This time we saw signs of the need to update and refurbish. Carpet is ... Read More
Of our numerous cruise experiences, this was our fourth one with NCL and ranks in fourth place of our NCL experiences. This was our third time on the NCL Spirit. This time we saw signs of the need to update and refurbish. Carpet is spotted and stained and coming apart at seams in places. Attention to detail for the passenger was lacking in many regards; especially for persons with disabilities. Miscommunication and bad information was provided several times by impatient NCL employees. The detail of providing for an outstanding cruise experience just did not exist in the same way as we have experienced previously on NCL. In speaking with other passengers with disabilities, we discovered this theme repeating among many of them. There was limited assistance and sometimes none for embarking and disembarking the ship. Sometimes when the elevators were closed for disembarking purposes we had to walk extensively out of the way to another elevator series. We followed NCL instructions for getting assistance to disembark at the final port but never received assistance. In order to meet our connection time, we hobbled of the ship among the last passengers to leave the ship. We nearly missed our connection because of incorrect information provided by a young NCL officer who was rude and impatient with people with special needs. He blamed the problem on NCL not providing him with sufficient personnel and wheel chairs and took no ownership of resolving the problem. Internet access was an expensive joke. When you sign up for wireless service they don't tell you until afterwards that it does not work well in cabins because of "all the walls." You need to be in public space which is not necessarily convenient depending on what you need to accomplish on the internet for business purposes. I am still addressing ship phone charges for times when our cell phones were not connected. The ports were great. We had a great time in spite of the NCL disappointments. It will be awhile before we book again on NCL. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Tour Meditteranean : Norwegian Spirit needs to be totally refurbished! Worst food ever, I have taken over 10 cruises and have never seen additional charges for dinner entrees in the main dining room! The Spirit served two Italian entrees ... Read More
Tour Meditteranean : Norwegian Spirit needs to be totally refurbished! Worst food ever, I have taken over 10 cruises and have never seen additional charges for dinner entrees in the main dining room! The Spirit served two Italian entrees & both were so horrible, we sent them back. Entrees included Jamaican, Indian, Oriental and Cajun while sailing around Spain & Italy - WHY?, If your cabin was Midship or forward, you had to go two decks up to walk to the other end then down two decks to get to the main dining room which was Directly Over The Engines Causing you to shake during dinner & cause sea sickness! Disembarking in port was totally impossible if you were in a wheelchair or walker. You could pay for bottled water to take into ports, but you were not allowed to bring the same bottle back onboard. Ice was a premium commodity onboard. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
The NCL staff are great and it is hard work dealing with people who have drinks packages and a sense of entitlement. If you see the photos of the management, there are very few women. I like to spend my money with organisations that ... Read More
The NCL staff are great and it is hard work dealing with people who have drinks packages and a sense of entitlement. If you see the photos of the management, there are very few women. I like to spend my money with organisations that supports women (my mechanic is a woman) since we are 51% of the population. When rooms were allocated, we both got rooms with pillars in the middle so that we could only use a single bed. My mother is almost 80 and it was a miracle that she didn't bang her head and knock herself out going to the bathroom at night. I dreaded going to bed at night and never had a full nights sleep. There was nothing between the sheet and the mattress so that when I tossed at night the sheets ended up by the wall. The food was great. We dined at Windows frequently because the chaos of the buffet didn't suit my mothers poor vision. The staff there frequently had to deal with unreasonable customers demanding a window table, even when it was pitch dark outside!!! There was an abundance of fruit and the chocolate muffins had a secret ingredient making them the best I've ever tasted. I went to the show ever night and the best night was singing and dancing from the 60s and 70s. The singers in '4Ever' were big hits with the ladies and were smart to leave the ship quickly! One night was singing and dancing that was supposed to be from a variety of countries but was the closest thing to Disney's 'Its a Small World - the Musical' with even less authenticity (full of 50's racial stereotypes). Between that and the last night's drama filled marathon, it is clear that the director has very little respect for the intellectual capacity of people who take cruises. There was confusion about whether the magician was supposed to be funny. The ventriloquist was good but the 1950s wanted their jokes back. The best part of our cruise was the day trips - all the great locations. Like most of the people on the ship, we planned our own days well in advance, taking local trains and busses. I typically planned alternatives in case my mother wanted a quiet day. The most outstanding excursion was with romeoandjuliet.hr who gave us an amazing day at Plitvice Lakes in Zadar, Croatia. Most of our fellow cruisers wandered about the town in the rain. None of the trips offered by NCL compared to this offering. Our guide even had time to take us to the Sea Organ and Old Town at sunset (the best time to enjoy it). The concern for hygiene was commendable and given the thousands of people on the ship, the possibility for infection was diligently fought by the crew. It is entirely possible to spend almost nothing on the ship and during my 11 days my bill was less than $100 for wine at dinner and shuttles from the port to the town. We may do another NCL cruise in the future, because they are the cruise line that respects single cruisers most. However I wonder, when rooms were allocated on this cruise, did any couple have a room like the ones we got? Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I chose this cruise because of the destinations we visited. Tip- It is better to do the excursions on your own as the prices for the excursions from NCL can only be described as extortionate. It is quite easy to come off the ship and ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the destinations we visited. Tip- It is better to do the excursions on your own as the prices for the excursions from NCL can only be described as extortionate. It is quite easy to come off the ship and get a taxi- much cheaper, Good points Very clean Lovely helpful staff Good food Lots of help given when assistance is needed. Bad points Very expensive- water is 5.5 dollars a bottle and you can't bring any on the ship as it is taken off you . It has to be bought from them. There are several restaurants- but only 4 main restaurants that are complimentary. Two of these have exactly the same menu- what a con! NCL are constantly bombarding you to buy things! Cabins were clean but a bit dated Anything you choose to do when it comes to entertainment seems to have a price tag attached,so when on board you spend- even though we are led to believe it is all inclusive. The layout of the ship is terrible because you often need to go down in the lift a couple of floors and then walk to another area of the ship to get another lift to complete your journey. Not enough sun beds or enough quiet areas away from the loud music and loads of kids! Travelling with my mum who is disabled and there was nowhere quiet for her to sit near a pool. Entertainment(the shows) were very professional with lovely costumes, but so boring and repetitive! The whole thing can only be descried : ' VERY expensive- Overall It was like a three star Butlins!' Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
My first cruise, but my family have now been on several and this was the first type of "freestyle" cruising that they had been on. they have travelled on Holland America, Cunard princess and Costa - and as this as an all ... Read More
My first cruise, but my family have now been on several and this was the first type of "freestyle" cruising that they had been on. they have travelled on Holland America, Cunard princess and Costa - and as this as an all inclusive deal, it couldn't go wrong I cant go into loads of words, as mostly the following sums it up. Excellent, great staff, great food, lovely ship, great destinations, and I want to go back! we were a party of 5 ranging from me (the baby at 47) to 90 and we were treated like Royalty. Nothing was every too much trouble and the rooms (outside with balconies) were very nice. we decided to have 2 nights in Venice before we left (well worth it) and then a last night in Barcelona. everything was smooth and no hiccups :) all in all an excellent first taster and would certainly book again with NCL as the staff were amazing Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
What was going to be a birthday cruise turned into a nightmare. It started when I purchased internet minutes. I also had a internet promo. Customer service said it was not on record. I had the receipt from my edicts which they took. ... Read More
What was going to be a birthday cruise turned into a nightmare. It started when I purchased internet minutes. I also had a internet promo. Customer service said it was not on record. I had the receipt from my edicts which they took. It when back and forth until I gave up. Now they are not giving me my latitudes cruise credit...I am a disabled veteran and the stress they put me through was enough to really ruin. This was my seventh cruise with NCL. The misinformation customer service gave me was lies. They told me it was up to the Internet manager. He said he needed customer service to email him. He called them and said not to give me the minutes. I gave up. That night I got a call saying that they emailed me that the promo was not good. Another lie. I was so stressed not about the internet minutes, but the disrespect they gave to me. They told me no one on the ship could help. Again I can't believe it. My room was old and it showed. Even the lamp shade was torn. Let me tell you it was not worth it. I had to ask for everything even ice. Do not sail on NCL. I don't want you to go through what I did. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
What was going to be a birthday cruise turned into a nightmare. It started when I purchased internet minutes. I also had a internet promo. Customer service said it was not on record. I had the receipt from my edicts which they took. ... Read More
What was going to be a birthday cruise turned into a nightmare. It started when I purchased internet minutes. I also had a internet promo. Customer service said it was not on record. I had the receipt from my edicts which they took. It when back and forth until I gave up. Now they are not giving me my latitudes cruise credit...I am a disabled veteran and the stress they put me through was enough to really ruin. This was my seventh cruise with NCL. The misinformation customer service gave me was lies. They told me it was up to the Internet manager. He said he needed customer service to email him. He called them and said not to give me the minutes. I gave up. That night I got a call saying that they emailed me that the promo was not good. Another lie. I was so stressed not about the internet minutes, but the disrespect they gave to me. They told me no one on the ship could help. Again I can't believe it. My room was old and it showed. Even the lamp shade was torn. Let me tell you it was not worth it. I had to ask for everything even ice. Do not sail on NCL. I don't want you to go through what I did. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Wow - where to begin. I was so excited for this cruise, it was such a great itinerary too. The embarkation was great, the people so nice and friendly. Beware getting to the dock can be a challenge unless in a taxi - we rode over on the ... Read More
Wow - where to begin. I was so excited for this cruise, it was such a great itinerary too. The embarkation was great, the people so nice and friendly. Beware getting to the dock can be a challenge unless in a taxi - we rode over on the people mover from Piazzle Roma since our hotel was right there and its quite a walk with all you luggage from the station. Venice was amazing, especially in Oct. Let me get the bad out first - THE FOOD WAS COLD - almost all of the time, no matter where we ate - the food was either cold or close to it. The food was not colorful or exciting ion any way. The buffet was the same. They pared really bad choices together. I ate mostly english muffins with peanut butter and jelly on them for breakfast. I tried the various egg dishes - but mostly they were cold. Even toast they make ahead of time so it was either hard or cold. They tried so hard to give you so many choices that nothing went together. Many items in the buffet were varying shades of green or brown and not tasty. The veggies were mushy all of the time and the salad bar items were strange. I can always find a salad, but even some of the dressing were in Kraft bottles which was nasty. The dining rooms would let our desserts sit on tables next to us while we ate dinner - so they were either cold of melted. The best thing i had was the soups and appetizers. They had started a new menu and it had no theme too it ever. The main menu had 2 lasagnas on it every nite. the dining experience was just strange. One nite i just asked them to bring me anything as long as it was hot - so they brought me old corn on the cob - you know the kind that is almost orange and the kernels were separating. The worst part was the staff had no idea it was bad - they kept asking what was wrong with it, we had to explain. I am not a picky eater and have loved every cruise. I am not a food hog either - but i lost 4 lbs on this cruise. my biggest decision on a cruise is which restaurant to eat at, because they are all fabulous, this cruise i skipped so many meals that i ran into town each port looking for yummy food. I am so sad about this as i have another NCL cruise booked and really don't want to go, hoping the Jewel will be better. One another subject was my room. No huge show stopping complaints, you can read below. Mainly the smell of mold was so bad that i used the public ones when i could. The entertainment was just ok, too many things all at the same time and not enough variety, our favorite was the crew show - which had a cross dressing lip singer - that was hilarious. The great was the service of the staff - they were so upbeat and friendly and i really enjoyed my time with them. I danced with the crew while we were in Naples - we had a dockside dance party and it was so fun. I only booked 2 excursions with the ship and they were ok, the only complaint was Istanbul - Carpet demonstrations are horrible and not everyone can afford a 4,000 dollar carpet - so wasted a hour of our time and no shopping time was left. My other tours i booked on Viator and they were great, we loved the Almalfi coast tour through them - Theresa is the best tour guide ever, really a must see. We really enjoyed Kusadasi and Mykonos...ooh the food was amazing there. My favorite was Barcelona, we spent 3 days after we docked and that made up for all the bad food and entertainment. If you can stay, use short stay apartments - clean and nice, we loved it. All in all the trip was good but the ship was old and raggity in my opinion, it needs a mold lift while having a face lift and would have been fine if the food would have been good. We paid full price and still cannot think of how bad the food was. Its really hard to believe, even now. I hope this helps others, the itinerary is great except Toulon, the people were rude and we ended up back at the ship quickly - decided to save our money to spend in Barcelona. We had a great day in Florence - rode the bus into town and explored on our own - was so fun!! Have a great trip, wherever you are going!!   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Background.We met a lovely couple from the USA 2 years previously on a Baltics cruise and kept in touch.When they told us they had booked this cruise we decided to tag along.Husband has walking difficulties so spent nearly a year ... Read More
Background.We met a lovely couple from the USA 2 years previously on a Baltics cruise and kept in touch.When they told us they had booked this cruise we decided to tag along.Husband has walking difficulties so spent nearly a year researching private tours on cruise critic to make life easier for him[Well that's my story and I'm sticking to it even though he thinks it's a case of OCPD[obsessive cruise planning disorder] We spent 2 days pre cruise in Venice itself and chose Hotel Santa Chiara for its central location in P Roma with no bridges to cross with luggage and has a small elevator.Transport from the airport was a simple 30 minute transfer on the no1 express ATVO bus-7 euros. The hotel is lovely with marble floors high ceilings with chandeliers.There is a 2 night minimum stay-first night 159 euros 2nd 179 with local tourist tax of 6 euros per night payable in cash The hotel is also right by the Vaparetto stop to get down to St Marks via the grand canal.Individual trips are 7 euros-we got a 36 hour pass for 25 euros. EMBARKATION We took the 1 euro people mover monorail from P Roma to the port.However this is a total waste of time as depending upon where your ship is docked you are still in for a very long walk with your luggage.Disabled elderly or young children will struggle as will able bodied in rain or hot weather. We checked in lunchtime and many people took the chance to go back out into Venice without luggage as sailaway was not till 1am [note that was a complete non event-a few people braved the cool windy night to stay up but all bars were closed and took ages to get to pass St Marks lit up at night] THE SHIP It is the oldest ship in the fleet [14 years] but had a refurbishment last year.I liked it-it was very pretty and small enough to be sure of bumping into someone you knew. The most frequented bars for us were Henrys Pub and Champagne Charlies Henrys pub was a small enclosed area which hosted both live music with singing guitarist and then karaoke several nights Champagne Charlies was a more open area overlooking the atrium which also hosted live music and was also the area where if you sat there someone you knew was bound to pass by Drinks-the wine package worked out better value than buying by the glass.Beer there were several bottles beers on offer-buy 5 get 1 free.Heinekin and Bass were available on draught. MEET AND GREET I co ordinated this and had a whale of a time doing so Our roll call attracted 60 interested people so the ship moved the venue from the smaller venue of Nenrys pub to Shogun Asian restaurant.That was done in time to inform people before the cruise via the roll call.Unfortunately on reaching our cabin there was a letter informing that the meet and greet had been moved forwards 24 hours!!! TIP Get cabin numbers when compiling the meet and greet list-without half the people on the list providing these the meet and greet would have been a disaster! As it happened 24 people turned up and after the initial awkward greetings turned out to be a really social event.We were supposed to meet from 10-11 but were still going at 12[despite NCL calling a catch up muster drill at 10-30 which several people had to leave to attend[we were still going when they returned!] several of us returned to the same venue the next day[at the original meet time ]and met up with a further 10 people we hadnt been able to contact as didnt have their cabin numbers TOURS we booked private tours in minivans in most ports and filled with people from the roll call-they were Athens-Greek taxi,also known as Athens by taxi run by Paul Kalomiris Izmir[ephesus] and Istanbul-KSG tours run by Kagan Kosagan Naples/Rome/Livorno-rome-car-tours or Rudys touring [as known on trip advisor] DISEMBARKATION dont bother with "easy off" disembarkation where you carry your own luggage off]unless you want to be off the ship at crack of dawn Around 9 am everyone else has the same idea and the elevators are full.It's also a long hike down to the end of the terminal with luggage. There are port buses costing 2 euros taking from pier to port gates but they run very infrequently and it's a scrum to get on. The taxi line may look long but it moves quickly.It cost 4 of us 18 euros total to get from port to city centre and 8 euros of that was the charge for 4 cases of luggage Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
(Very....very....very....Long....grab a coffee mug) If you are not interested in the human component of a cruise review...this wont be of enjoyment to you.... Our Background... Widow, Early 40's, a foodie. Semi-retired ... Read More
(Very....very....very....Long....grab a coffee mug) If you are not interested in the human component of a cruise review...this wont be of enjoyment to you.... Our Background... Widow, Early 40's, a foodie. Semi-retired Customs Analyst My child almost 10, diagnosed with Angelman's syndrome (www.angelman.org ) a rare genetic disorder under the umbrella of Autism, she is non-verbal and with different mobility abilities than your typical 10 year old. I prepared a pamphlet prior to our trip to give it to the people we meet.......so they have an idea of who she is and not just her differences.... ( https://skydrive.live.com/view.aspx?...6561be750afbb9) We choose the Spirit on the basis that it was extremely cheap to get to Europe by comparison to fly out of Toronto and the option of "Freestyle" cruising. For other than fun reasons we needed to be in Europe in May....and the Spirit journey was giving me time to make life decisions while at sea and away from my normal environment.....also it was saving us lots of money. This review is focused on the great time we had, specifically because of the wonderful individuals to whom we were complete strangers and then became great friends.....after the loss of my husband and having a differently able child...I learned that the cliche of "Love as you have never been hurt before, dance as if nobody is watching and live each day as your last" is not really just a saying.... We booked mid-Nov 2011 and from the booking moment NCL was getting 10 out of 10 with me, we cruised before with my late husband, first time with NCL....I was offered a HC room 11129,,( I wanted a lower deck, to prevent bad nights if the seas got rough crossing the Atlantic, that was my only concern as there was not an HC cabin on the lower decks) .....before the last cabin payment was due, the fare dropped twice and so did my balance. Few weeks before departure a group of cabins were cancelled and my consultant called me immediately to let me know,,, even when it wasn't HC (bathroom was just a regular bathroom with a step up) was twice the space 283 sq...so, we switched as my child is able to walk short distances and stand., get in and out of places and so on. Cabin No 6535 We flew out of TO on Delta, great flight, took advantage of the Delta Lounge, allowing my child to play and relax while taking connecting flights,,and me having some munchies and complementary wine. We booked the Days Inn by the airport in NOLA, the shuttle came to get us about 10 minutes from our arrival to the waiting area and had a good night sleep, place was clean and comfortable. I requested first floor room and was very close to the entrance. When I arrived at the hotel, I had an email from NCL asking me to be at the terminal by 11 am with contact names of individuals who were to assist me with the embarkation. We slept in, had the complementary breakfast next door at Denny's where I met some of the fellow CC's members from the RC. We got ready and waited for our cab,,, had to wait a little longer for a van, since I had few extra bags and my daughter's WC took a bit of space. When we met was like we knew each other for a life time already....we have been chatting up a storm since Nov to April. We arrived at the terminal and were greeted by the Special Assistance crew,,,,,so delightful,, no lines,, just dropped our bags and kept walking, dropped my wine and champagne, got my stickers and went to the registration counter,,,without a single line,, we were on board. Walked straight to the Windows restaurant, gave my bottles to the waiter to store and chill and went to register my child at the children's place.....what a great bunch of people,,,they WERE expecting us...they had that brochure I created that gave details of my child's condition and sent it to my PCC prior to our departure........Not the norm, but they even offer to keep her if I was interested on the sail away party, we saw the magnificent kids area, all glass in one side to see the sea, lots of divisions and padded areas, arts and craft station, extra clean bathrooms, nice lounge with a large plasma TV,,, just a fun looking environment. We went to see around the ship,,,later returned to Windows and had lunch,,,by then they brought one of my white wine bottles chilled in a bucket and we had a fantastic lunch, my daughter had the short pasta with meat sauce and I had the fried calamari....more than I can have for lunch, fresh and delish and that became our standard...brunch at Windows while we were at sea. After lunch,,walked by our room,, which was ready, I had ordered a bar set up for tequila, Vodka, and Rum which was there, and a bucket with a bottle of wine compliments of my PCC. A fridge was placed under the table for my daughter's liquid meds that needed refrigeration, the Spirit doesn't have fridges. We dropped our carry-on and went to meet with the other people that were to be my new friends and 14 days on the water community. We then got ready for the drill,,,that was quick, easy and well organized. We were tired and after few introductions, went to our room, two of my suitcases were there already, but one was held at the naughty room, at 6 I went to collect the bag,,,, I had 3 bottles of my child's medication,, so they held that suitcase,,,I show them the liquids inside the stored cooler and they didn't bother to open the bottles.,,,walked around for a bit and by the time we got back to the room, the other suitcase was there. We agreed to have dinner, got ready quickly leaving a real disaster in our cases...dinner was awesome, new friends, and great food. A group of single friends traveling together...4 guys and a girl welcomed and embraced us as one of them from the moment we met, El, Geoffrey, Bill, Christoforo and Scott. Great people from all walks of life,,, I end up spending a great deal of time with them,,, and remain friends... Geoffrey was the guy my daughter fell in love with...the smiles and giggles were instant to the moment she saw him anywhere on the ship, he called her "My perfect girl". Scott a Flight Attendant ( http://www.penguinaroundtheworld.blogspot.ca ) was the guy responsible for our daily Happy hour get together, Bill.......the politically correct guy with good jokes under his sleeve.... came to visit me here in Toronto few months ago and don't want to jinx it, but hoping for another trip for some of us soon. That night we left to rest and like magic..my cabin attendant had put everything away........I was thankful and showed him my appreciation in a monetary manner at the end of our journey and made an effort to keep a tidy room so I can entertain in my cabin and share some drinks....some of the Carols can testify to that ( We had about 6 Carols). In the morning I had a quick breakfast and fed my child,,,our informal MM was at 10, I dropped my daughter at the centre and went to the meeting,,great meeting everybody and putting faces to the posts...then we went for lunch I had a great fresh Club Sandwich....nothing but laughs and getting to know everybody else...a wonderful experience. Picked up my child, fed her a great pasta lunch, she had also the Portobello stuffed, she paid full fare,, but ate every penny of it. After we went to the place which became our hang out..DECK 13....!!!!!!!! Great afternoon of drinks and laughs, I ordered a bucket of beer, but didn't drink that as there was a 2-1 that afternoon on a girly drink rum based and had two rounds shared with Bill. Hanging out with Dusty and Charleen....a terrific couple who are your new age Gypsies.. http://justmoderndaygypsies.blogspot.ca time just flew. We left the Deck 13 to get ready for another great dinner, lots of hugs, laughs and instant personal life story sharing...after dinner we saw the show, fun, fun,,, the WC seats on the first row, were being reserved for us,,,and all I can say is WAAAOOOO,,, I didn't need to ask for it,, they just held those two seats,,even if I came in late from the restaurant NCL abilitations at work. Tuesday 17th...we are in Miami, I had planned to go down to SoBe and beach the day with my girl, met two other solo cruisers and we took a cab down, had a great time at the beach, I know SoBe like the back of my hand...so walked down some cat ally after spending some great time at the beach and showed them where to get a real Cuban sandwich soooo big, they had to share, walked down the SoBe strip doing a little tour of the "rich and famous" and hot spots in Sobe... like Versace's old house. I took that opportunity and bought the rest of my wine,,,I estimated a bottle per day, between dinner n lunches.....got back to the ship, and got the stickers for all my bottles...my calculations on savings by bringing my outside purchased wine was over 200 dollars. One of the guys that went with me to the beach was an astronomer Gary an older gentleman who carried a box around giving "Free Sextant Lessons"........What a wonderful guy...full of life stories, and super funny innuendos....... he called me about a month ago when he was near Buffalo chasing Universe events, but couldn't make it to my town...we actually met the night before at the Marahini's Lounge and I welcomed him as I was welcomed earlier by other solo and couples... The other solo guy was Ray a retired private bank investor counselor-turned writer who was travelling to Spain to fly to Ibiza and fix his girlfriends mother's house. He wrote a piece on his blog about the trip and said the nicest things about my child..( http://raysbrain.com/adventure-spain-ibiza ) ....we still keep in touch. I also met a fantastic couple...Dave and Carol Covin...Carol is a writer and Dave a retired IT guy (I think) and a proud grandpa...this is Carol's blog, (http://www.networkedblogs.com/blog/new_grandmas_rock ).... we were together in SoBe sunbathing watching Gary buried himself in the sand while Ray flew a kite and played with my little girl.. Another solo cruiser was Kathy...she is a very warm and funny individual who would also hang out with us until the wee hours of the nigth.....we were feeling loved...everybody was just great. Note about your wine...it will follow you by request to any of the venues...regardless of the time...I shared bottle of champagne with some of my CC RC friends one nigth at the Blue Lagoon and that was after the Galaxy was closed....we sat down and I asked the waiter to bring us a bottle from my listing and he did...it took him some time to get it from the main cellar,,,,but he did. I was also able to request a couple of beers from the bucket I ordered on Deck 13 bar while I was in the Karaoke bar. Back from SoBe.....We didn't attend the deck party, went to rest and got ready for dinner. I shared my table with Charleen and Dusty and the rest was us solo cruisers......Another great night....my pictures will tell the story of our eating experience...that was lobster night....they weren't big,,,but after eating your first lobster...they walk around with more lobster in a tray in case you want more. After dinner and the show we just hanged out at the Blue Lagoon...just sharing good old stories, having so much fun that even ( Food and Beverage Director Ivo Belev) stopped to chat with us..... Too bad I wasn't able to get a kitchen tour. Our first sea day, was the official MM which I missed...late night the night before... After eating brunch...I went to take my child to the center...I still had my reservations leaving her as she wasn't familiar with them and I wasn't watching her..,but that day,,the head counselor waited for me to have a "talk" they wanted me to have fun, to enjoy my cruise and for my child to do the same, they gave me a beeper and told me that I only needed to get her to be fed,,,I was almost in tears when so much emphasis was put in the fact that they wanted me comfortable, they also offered me DVD's if I wanted to borrow them to play in my laptop from their library. At the end of the cruise I gave them 70 dollars to be pooled between them...really nothing for the wonderful job they did...but this was bringing my overall DSC to almost 400.. I calculate another 50 between the bag handlers and WC assistance......still nothing by comparison of services received......My child was there for few hours not every day...but never wanted to leave....getting all stiff on the floor...or hugging the girls....a loud way to communicate she was being well treated. I left the center and the Latitudes party was in place...as I walked by a lovely girl Lonie who was travelling with her parents John and (another) Carol asked me to join them,,,,nobody asked me for an invitation...and I just sat down with them a had a glass of champagne while listen to the cruise director thanking everybody for choosing NCL....glad they offered the drinks,,,,as she is just awful. As I was keeping my Eastern standard time,, and we were taking 1 hour off every day after the first sea day,,,this allowed us to stay up late, watch the shows and mingle...my daughter was one of 5 to 10 children on the ship.... the playground was never crowded,,,we slept in every day, so breakfast was skipped by her, I ran to the buffet in a couple of occasions and got some lox, half of a bagel and SC for my cabin to eat it while watched TV until she was ready to get up...then I will take her to Windows and she had brunch every day...after I will take her to the center at about 1pm, and I will go and be with my new friends, played trivia, mingled, sun tanned and laughed, few days I enjoyed the hot tubs, and so did my daugther...after the trivia I would pick her up to get ready for dinner. The spirit has children's pool with couple of water slides.....Pirate themed..when was temperature permitted, she went in the water....because we had 14 fabulous days of sun..but with chilly air in the Atlantic. Now...to the sea lazy days....there were three friends travelling together...with whom I got very close...Barb, Carol both retired educators and Jerry...God knows what he does........never asked him.....for the rest of the journey we spent a lot of time together...whenever we wanted company in Deck 13.....and I can say that those days just flew by...filled with laughter and good jokes.....inspired by the FS cruising we did what we wanted, when we wanted, with whom we wanted and there was always great choices of friends to spend time with....Carol and I are very chummy-chummy.. she also came to visit me in Toronto last July...another life time friend....the older sister I never had. Jerry and Barb touched my heart with kindness as we were all widows and had emotions to share...I call Jerry my favourite old man loving him like a Dad....we keep in touch on the phone these days. I shared few drinks with my friends and then went to pick up my child from the center and spent time at the pool and hot tub with her. That evening our table mates included Dave and Carol and after the show we went to the Galaxy of the stars for some shoeless dancing which I must admit,,my child really enjoyed...maybe not the typical and accepted place for a 10 year old,,,,but then after all she is NOT your typical 10 year old...and to end the nigth...back to Marahini's for more jokes and laughs.....and boy were there good laughs....even my daughter's Dora doll was in Marahinis!!!!!! Sleeping INNNNN ...YESS..AGAIN..this was one of those days when we got up around 1 and went to windows...and hanged out all day....Beautiful day on the open ocean.....we enjoyed it very much taking advantage of the pools Dinner was good as always...but tonite were were tired and after dinner watched AFV DVD I had....we girls needed a rest.! Another glorious day of sun and fun,,,which included Martini tasting and progressive trivia. This brings us to the nigth of the 20th..the eve of my b-day..after dinner and a little bit of mingle I went to my cabin,,,to decorate it and then to the Internet room to connect at mid-nite ES time with my older children....Carol Covin helped me with the decorations and after talking to my kids..off to a happy sleep!! The 21st is here...my B-day. Previously on the RC since I LOVE b-days I advertised my b-day and wanted as many people to sit in a big table with me......well I GOT my B-day wish...and also received the most beautiful gift I could....the gift of friendship,,,,and even a wonderful "B-day letter" with an inspirational wish that had me in tears at midnight..... Well,,,our journey continues with lots of fun...and after another day at sea of doing nothing at all.... time went by between trivia and Happy Hour...tonite is the White Hot Party.....and we did just that....with a full tummy of great food...we party the nigth away... Well today is a day of taking it easy and an early nigth as we are in Ponta Delgada in the morning,,,tonite we had beautiful sunset......as if the sky was coming down on lights......look for the pictures........ We got to Ponta Delgada and Lori one of the girls in our RC did a wonderful job making arrangements for a private tour with Pedro ...here is his contact info Pedro@azores-tours.com what a fantastic day...great sightseeing, the landscape in PD is phenomenal. We drove by the city of Villa Franca do Campo ...a town with more churches than we can count....also almost more cows than people....Villa Franca is a town very green with crops of sweet potatoes and corn, also oranges and pineapples (in greenhouses) for export. Grapes, bananas and cattle....and believe me LOTS of cattle. Our second stop was the Chapel of Our Lady of Peace an authentic Marian sanctuary constructed on a mount from where you can see the village and the volcanic hole,,,which is also a balnearium. The story says that a statue of Mary was discovered on the hillside where this chapel is now built. A priest brought it down to the church, and the next day, it had vanished. It was back at the same place on the hillside. Interpreting this as a sign from God that Mary wanted to be in this place, a chapel was erected there in her honor. Goosebumps in my arms as I climbed all the steps...worth the climb specially for the exercise challenge for my little girl. One more stop over panoramic views put us on the Calderas of Furnas lake.....remarkable to see nature do as it pleases and humans taking advantage to make delicious meals. After the stop in Povoa'ão.. we stopped for me to take my usual "directions sign picture" ........after....... a quick stop to have a drink from grotta,,a naturally Carbonated Spring water....they had it with a little spout to filled your own bottles and guess what the name of the Grotta was??? GROTTA DA CANADA.... I wanted to leave a Canadian flag right there..... The area had couple of dramatic accidents by tourists who trying to get pictures fell in the furnas and died of horrible burns....caution must be observed! He took us for lunch,,,including lots of bottles of vino verde, so much food that we couldn't finish it,,,,,after that happy lunch...one last look at the panoramic view of the lake,,,group pictures and off to the Tea factory...bought some tea and thennnnn to my favourite place...finally what I waited for years........the liquor factory....there I bought 3 bottles of Liquor of maracuja,, (passion fruit) only available in the Azores,,,one of the most delicious liquors I ever had.....and with that stop..we ended our great tour. We kind of planned our own tour...Pedro made stops which were not on schedule and was happy to do it....Lori did a great job in contacting him to add more people than originally planned....we end up with 2 Vans and a car......what a wonderful day!!! The nigth ended sharing with my table mates who went on different tours our experiences of the day....and sharing a bottle of my liquor which I was able to smuggled (Guilty as charged) with them. NCL kept two bottles until the end of the cruise. The next day was a day of not much activity...and our last formal night,,,,,this nigth we were to take the group picture...I took a million of pics trying to get my little girl to pose,,,,,to no avail.. That means we must take another cruise!!! Still grateful to Ray who took the ones I have and some funny videos. After the pics were taken....I enjoyed a nice sunset in the Aft Hot tub by the children's pool and ordered from the MDR the meal of the evening....ate very late and just relax......I had a hard day ahead of me tomorrow....the anniversary of my husband passing... The day we crossed by the Gibraltar rock the sun was shinning and we were able to see ALL the landmarks in the afternoon. My good friends did all they could that nigth to help my sore spirit bounce back,,,,,and THAT night we had the hardest laughs ever. The crew was introduced and did the Norwegian crew show which ended with the crew standing by the hall while we exit the Theater. The Hypnotists did a great show at the Galaxy of the Stars which it was hilarious, unfortunately...that was the same nigth of the chocolate Buffet,,held in the MDR...by the time I got there..it was over (bad NCL planning) Coincidentally...that nigth I walked into my cabin to find a Monkey shaped towel hanging from my ceiling.....ever sooo cute. The next two days were spent in denial,,,,not wanting to admit that the wonderful Spirit journey was almost over....but even when sadness was lurking,,,we still had fun,,,,with our usual Trivia playing, and even Karaoke night. Two days later we were in Barcelona,,,debarkation was again a breeze, the Special assistance crew did everything to make us feel very, very able to do all we needed to do. I didn't want to say Good-bye to my new friends and I didn't,,,as it is not Good-bye....but....Until we meet again. I suggested a girl's lunch.....and I end up missing it......that day my daughter just didn't want to get up... Our RC didn't schedule a gift exchange but I took some Canadian key chains and bottle openers as gifts to share. Other great points,,, the main dinning room will send your dinner from any evening to your cabin,,as I said we did that one night,, read the menu and ordered the dinner to be sent on the last order,,meaning just before they close the restaurants as I wanted to eat late....we arrived to the cabin and the room service was arriving,,just timed perfect. The shows.........Loved the new dancers,,,,such an energetic and dedicated group...who paid attention to my child to the point that one performance I had to hold her down so she wouldn't climb up the stage following them......so well trained by Nathan......just a fantastic job. I didn't have a chance to eat at the surcharge restaurants....which I know I will in my next cruise....but being a foodie and having a previous cruising experiences with Crystal ...didn't agree with the comments about NCL food being compared to chain restaurants.....I know it's not Michelin rated but not chain either... The service...the company we kept made every meal just great....none of the meals we had left a complaint in my taste buds......Its not either the case of ''you get what you paid for"......and if that was the case we ripped off NCL...then again....just my personal opinion. The waitresses team was very helpful, the would always bring my child's meal with my appetizer...so I was able to make sure she ate and then I enjoyed the rest of my meal at the same pace as the rest of the table. No real down points,,, by mistake I left my Internet logged in,,, and I am still arguing that charge,,,not really their fault, also the beeper I had for my child was accidentally packed in my handbag in my suitcases and they wanted big money for the device,,,needless to say.... at about 2 am the morning of debarkation, I produced the beeper with the help of the guys carrying the suitcases to the storage area. I wont deny it..like in every aspect of life...there are people than don't do what they are supposed to do like the Cruise director,,,she was a real rotten apple.....so I separated her from the rest of the wonderful people that treated us so well, the night of the crew presentation,,, I asked her why the kid's counselors were not participating....she looked at me as if I had 2 heads and said "They are not part of the presentation" in a very rude manner. Then the girl in the sales department....is a waste of NCL's salary.....so I filled the forms for my next cruises 250 deposits and put it in the box outside the sales office,,,,and got my credits for it without dealing with that airhead. Wouldn't allow individuals that don't like their jobs to ruin my good time. The Spirit is a wonderful ship,,,,the crew makes it that way...Greeting me by name as I entered every nigth the MDR was very nice. The Special Needs department is just fantastic....from the moment I got off my cab and they saw me with the WC....all assistance was OFFERED and provided without even me having to ask. Jose the SN coordinator told me that if I choose to eat at the buffet he had put a note,,so they will assist me with my tray and food selection while I push my daughter's WC and select our food...we ate twice in the buffet for breakfast and as I rolled in the greeter immediately said "Please wait here Ms. AJ.......let me get someone to assist you with your tray"....I liked the fact that they knew my name.... I know is very difficult to think of a relaxing-doing-nothing holiday with a child who has different abilities....I was reluctant to leave my child at the centre....Today I am 90% ready to book our next TA journey with NCL. I am looking into the Epic...Its a Nickelodeon ship...the less children on the ship,,,gives my child almost a 2-1 ratio of attention from the counselors. It can be done...they even offer after hour babysitting until 1:30 am so I could mingle at the piano bar or lounges for a per hour fee that I am afraid to say what I think of it so they don't increase it..... I am looking into a way to connect with the Solo travelers on the Epic so I would be able to have others in my position to share daily activities when a partner is needed like dance classes. I would book the Epic Studio to have access to the solo cruisers activities and lounge but too small for us. I am what I call myself a semi-solo cruiser with a little squirrel as a cabin mate. But that is not going to detour me from enjoying all the wonderful experiences we can have at sea with NCL....I met wonderful people....the RC was the key to success with excursions, happy hour, wonderful dinner and entrainment companions that left me wishing for more...... My child enjoyed this journey more than what my expectations would near and to me.........that alone is a reason to come back again and again to NCL. It was my first time in an inside cabin.....and I loved it......I was able to sleep in almost every day in a dark room.....with no idea of time.......and the FS cruising gave me the ability to eat when I wanted.....and do whatever wanted...when I wanted............and as the advertising reads......."or not". The NCL theme song still plays in my head......"Come with me let's go....cruise like a Norwegian" Notes I learned on how to give yourself "suite treatment" on an inside: - I picked up fresh fruits every day and kept them in my room in a little basket I brought from home - Ask for double or triple order of chips at Windows at lunch even if you don't have the club Sandwich....great for munching while watching TV in your cabin..just bring extra large Ziploc bags for storage(or small ones if you don't want to pig out) - Pick strawberries and pineapple skewers from the buffet..I am not fan of chocolate covered but that's also a choice and bring them to your cabin before dinner - Buy a 10 dollar flower arrangement on your embarkation day....once on board ask your room attendant for a vase. -If celebrating an anniversary or BD,,,bring your own decoration..10 dollars at Party Packagers can go very far and do a nicer job than what is charged by the cruise line. Saw one BD package and would have been disappointed to pay 25 bucks for it. - Bring your child's favourite snack....I had few containers of Gummy bears....by the end of my trip I was able to get some from my cabin attendant but I think that was because he saw I ran out of the ones I had and DONT FORGET to bring a Fabreeze plug-in.....your room will always smell nice. I know it would be nice to have all this done for you as a perk.....but when travelling on a budget....you will be glad you did the little "work" when you are enjoying your cabin....specially on a TA It took me too long to write this,,,,,,if there is any questions....I am happy to answer specially regarding different abilities. I met a lot more wonderful people of whom I don't have good pictures..like Frank & Elaine, Carol & Cliff, Mark & Lori, Marcel & Cheryl, Lucy and her husband, Peggy and her husband, Joan, Ozzy John, and even more people that I never got their names,,,like the lady who hand-crafted a stuffed bear with a crochet dress and bonnet for my daughter as a gift,,....shame on me At this time I just want to THANK EVERYONE on the wonderful time which you all contributed to make......The love and respect received for me was the ultimate experience. Here is a link of the pictures., including funny shots at the end..........for which I must thank Jerry and Ray for taking many pictures of us and sharing them with me by USB drive and CD when the trip was over, as I lost my good camera on my last connecting Delta flight into NOLA...... http://public.fotki.com/18012003/var...ips/ncl-sirit/ There are notes at the bottom of the pics (not all) with the dishes names and the people on them. In order to enhance my review....please read these much better and more detailed wonderful reviews of the ship and services from two of my cruise mates.. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1631934 http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1647307 AJ "Don't forget to Laugh...Love and Live TODAY.....for tomorrow is not promised" Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We began our vacation at the Drury Inn in New Orleans - a wonderful hotel which provided 2 meals per day, and a comfortable, quiet room. We were able to sight-see on Saturday - mostly the French Quarter. Sunday morning after breakfast, a ... Read More
We began our vacation at the Drury Inn in New Orleans - a wonderful hotel which provided 2 meals per day, and a comfortable, quiet room. We were able to sight-see on Saturday - mostly the French Quarter. Sunday morning after breakfast, a $7 pp cab ride had us at the pier, and we experienced the fastest embarkation ever! And when we boarded at noon, our stateroom was ready for us! We have sailed on the NCL Spirit previously, and wanted to experience her again before she heads to the Mediterranean. She did not let us down. Even with my hubby in a wheelchair, it was easy to get anywhere on the ship. We enjoyed the shows in the Stardust Theatre, with available wheelchair seating near the front, where it was easy to stow the wheelchair in the hallway. Do not miss "Elements", if you do not attend any other shows - it was fantastic. The food was fine wherever we went, hubby enjoys the Blue Lagoon for lunch. I liked the salad bar in Raffles. The crew was always happy and smiling, and very friendly. Budi, our room steward, did a fine job, and we loved all the towel animals.Captain Lars was most enjoyable - he has a wonderful sense of humour. The old maid sails so smoothly, and is in pretty good repair for her age. We thoroughly enjoyed our week. Back in New Orleans, we walked off with our luggage, and were back at the Drury Inn before 8:30. We spent the day with friends, taking in a carriage ride in the French Quarter, a children's parade for Mardi Gras, and the 9th Ward - still devastating to see. Now back home, we brought with us happy thoughts of the Spirit, her crew, and our cruise vacation. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Ok, let me preface this by saying this was my first cruise and my husband's second (his first on NCL). We both felt like the cruise was "ok" but not great, not terrible. If I had to choose a star rating, I'd say it was ... Read More
Ok, let me preface this by saying this was my first cruise and my husband's second (his first on NCL). We both felt like the cruise was "ok" but not great, not terrible. If I had to choose a star rating, I'd say it was 3 stars. Some parts were excellent, others were not. Ok the best parts: 1) Gerry, our room steward - he was amazing. I swear the man doesn't sleep and if I could have brought him home I would have! He even folded my husband's boxers. 2) Galaxy of the Stars - with house sparkling wine around $20/bottle, you can't go wrong. If you like sparkling wines. 3) the Adult entertainment - gameshows, trivia, etc. We won one night! So much fun (though the prize - a water bottle that didn't even have a free drink in it - sucked). 4) The buffet - I've read on here how some hate the buffet, we actually found it better than the Main Dining Room. Especially the Indian food - most of the crew is from Asia so if you like Asian I'd stick to that as much as possible. The chocolate desserts were less good, but there was unlimited ice cream which was good enough for us. 5) Bar service - if you were drinking they were always there to refill it. With another $6-10 drink, of course, but we expected that. The ok parts: 1) The entertainment on board other than what I mentioned 2) Bingo - it was a little pricey for what you got, in my opinion. Fun, but you shouldn't have to pay $40+ to play. Or they should have some free "just for fun" type of games as well. 3)Food at Bier Garden - buns were dry/stale and rest was just ok. Same with poolside buffet. 4) Their ability to accomodate moderately disabled passengers. They were great with wheelchair or scooters, but not so great with working with me on my mild disabilities (aka inability to stand for more than 5-10 minutes. 5) Birthday cakes - the cakes were a nice gesture but truly gross. 6) cabin size - we knew going in they were small, and in a balcony it definitely was. The bad: 1) Cost of drinks, especially beers. A beer in a plastic bottle should not be 5.50 or more. 3-4, sure, but 5.50??? They knew they had us trapped and took full advantage. 2) Service in the Main Dining Room - the first night it took us close to 3 hours to eat and because we ordered a bottle of wine, the waiter (who disappeared for 45 mins or so) had my husband's card so we couldn't leave. The second night, the waiter admitted he lost our order and waited 30 mins to come over and retake it. We ended up walking out after 2 hours when we had only had our main course. Then for breakfast they brought us food we didn't even order. We were too tired to fight with them so we just ate it and then called the maitre'd. We did not expect 5 star service but waiting 45 mins between courses is just absurd. For what it's worth, Deepak, the maitre'd did go above and beyond once we called him and reserved us the best table in the house and threw in complimentary wine. food and service greatly improved after that - but we are never ones to complain or send food back so for us to even do that should give you some idea of how slow it really was. 3) The casino - I would have gambled more but the smoke in there was unbearable and the nonsmoking area is a joke - it still reeks of smoke and all that is up there is slot machines. At least put one of those fun quarter ones and some video poker! 4) The bathrooms are showing lots of age - rust stains, dirty looking even though it was absolutely clean. They need re-tiling, or re-glazing desparately. 5) Constant nickel and diming. We knew to expect this but didn't realize exactly how much it would happen. Want a latte instead of a regular black coffee - that will be $3. Which would be fine, if the latte was decent. So instead we bought a pepsi pass and drank a ton of mountain dew to wake up. 6) The age range on the ship - which I know NCL has little to no control over - but we felt super young and we're in our 30s. Perhaps we just chose the wrong week to cruise and I have nothing against people in their 70s/80s but I was hoping to meet some more people our age on the ship and they were few and far between it seemed. 7) There was NOTHING going on during port days on the ship. Even the gift shop was closed during tender port days - so those of us who have disabilities that don't allow us on tenders were stuck to lay around reading by the pool. Bars were hardly even opened - I think one or two may have been but they were very inconvenient. Overall, I'd give NCL 3 stars...we might cruise it again, we might not. It would depend on the port itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Background:I am a 60 year old Registered Nurse who normally works 11 hour graveyard shifts at a large local medical center while my Other Half drives an 18 wheeler delivering all your favorite Boomer goodies to a very popular warehouse ... Read More
Background:I am a 60 year old Registered Nurse who normally works 11 hour graveyard shifts at a large local medical center while my Other Half drives an 18 wheeler delivering all your favorite Boomer goodies to a very popular warehouse shopping giant. We were seriously in need of a major vacation with lots of pampering needed for middle-aged, middle class service employees...could NCL meet our needs?We've previosly sailed a 4 day sampler on Carnival, out of Los Angeles, with DH more of an avowed landlubber and the ports less than inspired. When he backed out of our next cruise, a 7 day Seattle RT Inside Passage (Alaska) adventure on HAL, I was forced to go it alone...not a very comfortable option.It was an experience, to say the least, but now he was actually asking about a Western Caribbean cruise possibility, so I researched and booked it in one short week's time.Pre-Cruise and Embarkation/First Impressions:NCL's free style cruising seemed the best fit for a couple who don't like to dress up, and would rather play it by ear in terms of when and where to eat.New Orleans is an attractive port-a new destination for me, and the 4 ports and 2 sea days seemed a good mix. We flew out of Sacramento and spent 40 hours in NOLA prior to embarkation. The Hampton Inn Downtown/French Quarter was less than 2 blocks from Canal/Bourbon Street action, with full breakfast and right on the St. Charles street car line for convenient, low cost sightseeing.Our cruise was booked right in the middle of Jazz Fest, so room rates were higher than usual, but this time frame worked well for a childless couple who enjoy traveling in the shoulder months, avoiding Spring Break, et al. While the airport was crowded, the taxi down to Erato Street Cruise Terminal was easily obtained, a set rate per person from our centralized lodging. And as a mobility challenged cruiser, I was very glad to see we were dropped almost at the terminal doorstep.We dropped our bags with the porter at 11 a.m. and proceeded through the security screening. An elevator made this much easier as I was informed wheelchairs would not be available for 30 minutes. I'd contacted NCL Accessibility folk in advance, since short distances with a tripod cane are do-able but for embark and debark a WC assist was required.It took maybe 15 minutes to reach the point our cruise documents and credit card would gain us that magic room key, and when VIP/Penthouse status was mentioned, we were politely ushered into a separate waiting room for the first meeting with our concierge, Belle. Light refreshments were provided, but we were both too excited to partake. A wheel chair soon appeared and Belle led our smallish first group onto the ship at 11:30 a.m. We were greeted by cheering staff members, wide smiles intact, our first experience with the Happy Happy and Washy Washy folk, whose enthusiasm proved to be contagious. Allowed to drop off our carry ons, we then procceded to Cagney's Steakhouse, a suite/VIP passenger perk that would prove to be wonderful.Elsa attended us in a smallish, cool and attractive room. The huncheon menu wasn't large, but did give us a chance to try a (giant prawn) Shrimp Cocktail, Proscuitto and Asparagus, Strip Steak and Fettucini Alfredo along with Expresso Brownies and Macadamia Nut Ice Cream and an excellent Mixed Berry parfait. Service was instinctive and unobtrusive with smiles throughout.We spend an hour digesting our food and digesting the lovely Asian decor of the Spirit, a medium sized vessel with about 2,000 pax, double occupancy. The Grand Centrum is an airy gathering point, with Shorex, Customer Service, shops and bars closeby.Our penthouse suite was ready in the early afternoon, and 10 Forward would be our home away from home for the following week. 3 elevators forward, 3 midship and 3 aft did a credible job in whisking pax to their various destinations. I noticed the carpets were different colors in the 3 areas, to better help orient us about.Carpets, bright work, fixtures and railing all appeared to be in good order. As an RN, I was especially impressed by the immaculate condition of the ship, with Cruise Critic and other research providing information on CDC's 100 rating and NCL's determination to eliminate or at least severly curtail any contagion on board.Our penthouse suite was actually 2 regular balcony cabins combined, with one balcony being sacrificed for a whirlpool tub and large glass shower overlooking the sea. Looking at the upper decks from the piers, these areas appear darkened, supposedly one way glass but we opted to do just about all of our bathing at sea!The Aries Suite had red and gold carpeting, a small double sleeper sofa, 2 small cloth club chairs, 3 vinyl chairs with a card table sized dining table, an expresso maker, small refrigerator, 32" flat screen TV, king sized bed in its own curtained alcove, double marble topped sinks and separate enclosed toilet area with privacy glass. Double closet with 1 side full length, the other half length to accomodate 2 self-keyed room safes, a small CRT TV in the alcove and 5 drawers completed our suite.Our room steward, Benjamin, quickly introduced himself and never failed to say hello, offer up a smile, provide ice, fresh towels or tidy up at various times during each day. A few times DH was napping, and was later amazed to find all but the bed freshened up around him, with great care and consideration...do not wake the sleeping bear!We next met our butler,Maurice, who would prove to be invaluable, especially helpful furnishing MDR menus for our use in determining which nights we'd either eat in the MDR (we picked the Garden Room, being smaller and midship compared to the more formalized and lovely Windows, aft), or have meals delivered to our room. A copy of the specialty (supplemental/pay) restaurant menus were already in our cabin.Beginning May 1, the first day of our cruise, Spirit is trying a new, more streamlined/modern menu throughout, as well as lowering prices by $5 in all supplemental eateries, except the extremely popular Teppanyaki (Benihana type), which remains $25. We appreciated the electronic restaurant update boards, both in public areas and on cabin TV...very simple at at glance to determine the most popular venues and availabilites.Snagging our first Daily during embarkation, we brought highlighters to mark our favorite activites. Subsequent Dailies were delivered during evening turn down by Benjamin, but we were very pleased to see NCL has been listening to Cruice Critic comments/suggestions and has now also added a supplemental sheet with at-a-glance listing for entertainment, dining opportunities and activites.This is extremely convenient, and points up the importance NCL accords us, in helping to overall better the cruise experience.Our Meet & Greet took place in Henry's Pub, a good centralized location at deck 7 midship. About 2 dozen of the 3 dozen roll callers attended as did John O'Hara, the Hotel Director, Kyle CD and Food & Beverage Director, et al. Many had to return to their busy jobs but the first 3 remained for a good portion of the get together, introducing themselves and their backkgrounds and then a Q&A. Pastries, juice,coffee, et al were served, and a plan was set up for a brief recap meeting the last sea day of the cruise.We introduced ourselves, online handles and first names, putting faces to names via name tags and small Cruise Critic butons featuring our beautiful ship were passed out to all participants. I thought it was interesting that John requests one 'for training purposes', again reminded that NCL values our input, especially input that can be given via 'Dear John' letters, while on the cruise/ship, so that any problems or concerns can be rectified.Services and Activites:The first day at sea was leisrely, a trip to Maharajah's Casino for slot club signup and some donations were made. A decent selection of slots, video poker and blackjack/craps games were noted, though we only played the former. From my experiences in Las Vegas, the slots were 95-97% payout the first couple of days, then after that...Other than free rum punch during initial slot club sign up frenzy, no drinks were gratis without a hefty CAS level (around 2,500 points), something very surprising to me. As a diabetic, tolling 2 to 4 hours per session, I believe at least bottled water would be a worthwhile concession to consider in future, in terms of improved customer service.From morning till 'whenever' there were games, clubs, dancing, singing, bar hops and pub crawls plus daily specials on drinks and sometimes photography.We only made it to one show, Elements, but that was justly popular and we did rue the fact we'd missed the Russian acrobats individual show, the majority of the Second City venues and the crew show in particular.Luckily, there were rebroadcast of some of the sillier/funnier events such sock hop, White Party, Not So Newlywed/Newlywed Game (Kyle very hilarious as MC here), Western Dance party etc. And speaking of TV, we enjoyed a couple first run recent releases, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part I, as well as Cher and Christina Aquilera in Burlesque, in our down time kicking back and relaxing in our cabin.Suite Perks And Food, Glorious Food:Suite perks continued all week with complimentary snacks from HD, Captain, Master,Concierge: chocolate covered strawberries, delicious variety of fresh baked cookies, very tasty chocolate assortment, the usual assortment of canapes, and daily bowl of fresh fruit. Maurice, learning that we were on the hunt for the Raffles (buffet) only pretzel rolls, made it a point to deliver some one afternoon, otherwise learned our preferences for seedless grapes, strawberries and bananas and didn't need to be reminded.We chose to either eat breakfast in Cagney's, or on early port days, our butler delivered full breakfasts with bacon, sausage, ham, scrambled eggs, oatmeal, cold cereals, rolls, pastries, chocolate croissants (!), hot coffee, hot chocolate, sliced melon, juice (blend but pretty good), et al by 6:45 a.m.We also used our bublter services for 2 MDR meals, (prime rib and English strip loin nights), served in suite, when the stomach was willing but the middle aged bodies weren't. We did enjoy 2 special meals, the sumptuous 20 course/2 hour Taste of India and the hilarious but tasty Presumed Murdered Mystry luncheon served in Garden restaurant with comedy served up by ravo Second City troupe.Since we are both major Foodies, and i've spent so much time researching and planning...so many venues, so little tummy space...a rundown of the specialty restaurants is in order. We tried Cagney's Steakhouse, DH loving it so much we ate there twice for dinner. I do have some special dietary needs, and am happy to report the staff was most accomodating with these requests.There are always low calorie/low sugar options as well as the chance to have mains served without sauces or with them on the side. You may order more than one appetizer, soup or salad or desert, but in the specialty restaurants, a second entree will cost 1/2 the restaurant fee, which seems fair considering how much food you receive.We tried prime rib, ribeye, New York strip and Tbone steaks, as well as crab cakes, lobster bisque, French onion soup, clam chowder, chopped salad, Caesar salad, various rice and potato sides, vegetables and desserts including a very tasty apple crisp with Vanilla Bean ice cream (a la mode).The offering ranged from good to excellent...nothing mediocre or poor. The service was top notch, with Joseph and Hugo standing out as especially attentive. We liked the respect paid to the veggies, though some might find al dente a little too crisp for their liking!Le Bistro, the French restuarant was our first specialty restaurant, and the food is very rich, with lots of sauces, cream and butter as you might expect. Both the Onion and Mushroom soups were outstanding. Rare to medium rare lamb was not to be found, but the taste of my chops and presentation were very good. DH's pork loin with apples in Calvados sauce proved likewise tasty but the Big Guy gobbled it down in less than 2 minutes.We both adored the Chef's amuse-bouche, in this case a silken salmon pate served with crisp French bread rounds. Would love to see this as a regular ap, it was so wonderful. About this point, John O'Hara made his ongoing rounds to see if everything was to our liking. His solicuitous inquiry and warmth were genuine, and I also observed how much the staff welcmed his rounds.We also tried La Trattoria, a section of Raffles that is partioned off with curtains during the evening. Besides the lighting being extremely dim, (the term stygian comes immediately to mind), the service was again on par with what we had come to expect in the specialty restaurants. Joann made sure all was to our liking. The spaghetti carbonara was swoon-worthy and buttery, loaded with ham/pancetta, Romano cheese, egg yolks and cream.DH liked his pasta and Casaer salad while I devored a light and airly Tiramusu after having some room by sharing my rich entree and fresh mozzarella and tomato with basil and carpaccio apps. For $5 supplement, this was a very good value with an Olive Garden vibe, (if only the chain restaurants were half as attentive)!Our last specialty resturant, Shogun's was a bit of a gamble for the 6th night at sea, since I was planning to order sushi while Richard tried the Asian offerings. Exquisite, geisha-like service from Jasmine, set the tone. It was a leisurely meal with some wait for the 3 sushi rolls I'd ordered, but the flavor, appearance and overall vibe were excellent.Besides the ubiquitous California roll, a Godzilla roll, with cashews, mango, avocado and crab, was a standout. The Tempura roll with shrimp was fine, but I had no clue how huge each one of these rolls would be, and I was on sticky sushi rice overload halfway through! The yellow tail and ahi sashimi were very fresh and delicate...how do they do that this far into the cruise?DH enjoyed his noodle and rice dishes and also ordered some delicate potstickers, but not the steamed barbecued pork buns I'd wanted to try. A bottle of Beringer white zinfandel was a tasty addition to our repast and somehow there was room for these amazing banana caramel pancakes with coconut ice cream for dessert.We waddled and swayed around the Promenade deck, great to see a real teak wraparound promenade, and I could do a few hundred feet now and then. Other times wheelchair assist was a mere phone call away. The service is free of course, but the attendants were both gentle and kind, warranting tips for extra special service.Ports and Excursions:We only booked one shore excursion through NCL, for the Mexican cusine cooking class in Playa Mia near Cozumel. The start time was almost 2 hours after docking, and I'd love to see that moved up an hour so we'd have more shopping time at the end. Scary fast taxi ride to the beach resort, then open bar with free flowing beer, wine and mixed drinks. Our chef, Luis, was both funny and so helpful. We were actually able to eat the 3 course meal we created, though opted out of the 1 hour 'beach time' afterwards, with both very warm temps and humidity causing a small group of us to seek an early taxi back to the town.Luckily Cozumel's docking for Spirit was right at the main Punto Langosta pier, and pedicabs came all the way down the long pier for those of us with mobility issues or maybe just sore feet. Costa Maya our first stop,likewise had a very long pier, but they've got a people mover type shuttle that can transport a good sized group of pax about 2/3 of the way up and back. The created 'village' had inflated food/beverage and souvenir prices but they will barter a bit on the later.We researched then chose a Maya Chan Beach day, first transported by air conditioned bus. There are numerous speed bumps and some potholes making this short distance almost 30 minutes each way. The Gilligan's Island type funky resort itself was very welcoming and relaxing, with all inclusive bar, homemade luncheon and some floats/glass bottomed kayaks and other activites included. Since DH agreed to another cruise, I treated him to a half hour massage, which he loved. The price was very reasonable, and a tip was warranted. We also chose to tip Zach, Preston and Hugo for very fine service and pampering. To see Himself sitting out n a float chair, then staff trotting out tall and frosty beverages was a hoot. We made it back in plenty of time for an afternoon nap in our lovely chilled stateroom.Belize is a tendered port with Belize City itself a jumping off point for ship sponsered or independent excursions. We wanted to experience Caye Caulker, so booked with a local popular restaurant. Our booking/deposit was apparently lost, but they promised it would be refunded so I drowned my sorrows in fresh watermelon juice and conch fritters.Tip: about halfway down the pier is a very nice enclosed mall with wonderful AC, clean bathrooms and an excellent pharmacia. We liked this better than the one in Cozumel and I found several Rx medications in generic form, about half the US price, and still USP coded and with fresh exiration dates.The port of Coxen Hole was preffered over Mahogany Bay, another 'created' destination), and a good jumping off place for our Victor Bodden Best of Roatan tour. The pier isn't long and there are resting spots along the shopping arcade for those of us less spry individuals. The island is very lovely and lushly tropical. We enjoyed the drive itself as well as a stop at a popular West Bay beach, resort and another eatery.Prices for vanilla, Honduran coffee beans, woven/embroidered goods and carved mahogany were very competitive, plus the fact the weather cooperated with us the entire cruise, made for enjoyable explorations.Disembarkation:Like embarkation and lifeboat drill, NCL has this down to a science and all went smoothly. We met our concierge near Henry's Pub (7 midship), and a wheelchair whisked me from stateroom to gangway. A large stack of Style (compliment) cards was left with ship's staff, and extra special gratuity envelopes passed out to concierge, butler and room steward.Our bags with their distinctive VIP color coded tags were easily retrieved and Customs was, well customs. My $200 declaration apparently wasn't noteworthy so we were on our way via the prebooked Airport Shuttle by 9 a.m. Unfortunately the second segment of our flight was cancelled, making a total of 18 hours from Louis Armstrong Airport to home but even that was not enough to harsh our mellow.In Conclusion:I was so impressed with NCL's Free Style cruising concept and execution, the Spirit and her crew in particular, and our overall treatment that I decided to partake of their Cruise Rewards program. So rather than plunking down a $500 deposit, it took just half that with a guarantee that we'd cruise NCL again in the next 4 years. Coupled with a $100 now cruise credit, that was a no-brainer.Spirit will be going into a 2 week refurbishing dry dock this September, with sprucing up carpets, hard to get at balcony areas, brightwork and so on. She's a gorgeous gal with a bit of age on her, but we didn't notice any major wear.She'd developed a loyal following and can count us among them. Thanks for making this such an excellent adventure, well worth the money, and the stuff of dreams! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Norwegian Spirit Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.8
Dining 4.5 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.6
Family 3.5 3.6
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.7
Enrichment 2.0 3.2
Service 5.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates N/A 4.0

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