82 Norwegian Spirit First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

Myself and my husband were cruise virgins. We booked this to mark our 50th birthdays, so really wanted to celebrate this special occasion. Prior to our cruise I came across this website and read numerous reviews on the Spirit, some ... Read More
Myself and my husband were cruise virgins. We booked this to mark our 50th birthdays, so really wanted to celebrate this special occasion. Prior to our cruise I came across this website and read numerous reviews on the Spirit, some very bad, some very good! We decided that as this was our first time on a cruise, we would go with an open mind on what to expect! We were not disappointed. Yes the ship is getting old, but it was spotlessly clean and we noticed that the crew were constantly maintaining and cleaning during our stay. From the moment we arrived at Port Canaveral to check in, we were made to feel very welcome. The staff were an absolute credit to the cruise line. The atmosphere on board amongst fellow cruiser's was very relaxed and sociable, from the Spring Breakers to the retired we felt that all mixed really well. In terms of entertainment on board, we felt that all genres were catered for. We really enjoyed Champagne Charlie's, the pianist Barry had us laughing all night long! A special mention must be made to 'Lester' the head barman at Henry's Bar. He was so attentive to all his customers not just ourselves, this was noticed by myself more so due to the fact I am in the industry myself and am very critical of the service received! The dining experience was 9 out of 10, the only disappointing meal we encountered was when we dined in the Garden Room, the service was excellent but the food rather bland and tasted very mass produced. The speciality restaurants were superb and in particular I must recommend Cagney's Steak Grill, the food was delicious and service superb. At this point I must point out the service supplied by Enriquo (Rico) a waiter at Cagney's who went out of his way to give us tips on how to make the most out of our time aboard! Excursions; Costa Maya Mexico Booked with an independent tour operator, Native Choice. Chose to do the Maya reality tour which involved a trip to the ruins, then a lunch in a Mayan village learning to cook Tortillas. A really lovely tour in a relaxed manner, the tour guide was very informative and flexible, arranged the tour to avoid the crowds. Georgetown Grand Cayman Chose The Trolley Roger Tour, booked through the cruise line! This was absolute disorganised chaos! Got ashore and waited for an hour, to be told that they were still waiting for another 20 people before they started the tour. We informed the guide that we would go get a drink in a nearby bar whilst waiting, she informed us she would come and get us when ready. We had our drink and went back to the meeting point only to be told that the tour had left without us!! Was informed that we could go on another in hours time, this we declined as we were fed up of waiting. This left a really sour note on the cruise for myself as this was an island I was really looking forward to. Ochos Rios Jamaica Booked through an independent tour guide Karandas Tours. Chose to do the river tubing, Dunns River climb and the Cool Running's bob sled. Had an absolute ball, from the moment our guide collected us to the time he dropped us off. Nothing was too much trouble and we got to see parts of the island that other tours do not venture to. Highly recommend this! Grand Stirrup Cay The cruise lines private island, absolutely beautiful, went jet skiing which was brilliant, then relaxed on the pristine beaches. A lovely way to end a cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This is a nice ship, with comfortable amenities. The staterooms are ample. Food quality is good, but not excellent. They do have specialty restaurants, but these are had at substantial cost. The shows were good. What I don't care ... Read More
This is a nice ship, with comfortable amenities. The staterooms are ample. Food quality is good, but not excellent. They do have specialty restaurants, but these are had at substantial cost. The shows were good. What I don't care for with this cruise is the Freestyle type cruising, which means no organization as to when you eat or who serves you throughout the ship. I prefer more traditional cruising, so that my meals are at a planned time, and I have the same restaurant wait staff at each meal who know me and provide what I want without having to ask. Also, this ship has pre-pay for the tips. What that leads to is service and staff who don't have to work for their tips, so the pampering efforts are significantly decreased. The service is good, but "good" isn't good enough for a cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We were on our first ever cruise and we were not dissapointed! We travelled from North Yorkshire in England to Orlando, stayed in Timeshare at legacy vacation club (which we would highly recommend and is available for non timeshare owners ... Read More
We were on our first ever cruise and we were not dissapointed! We travelled from North Yorkshire in England to Orlando, stayed in Timeshare at legacy vacation club (which we would highly recommend and is available for non timeshare owners too) for a week. We joined the cruise at Port Canavaral which was easy to find and had some amenities/restaurants nearby in case you arrive early. The Spirit looked resplendent, all shiny white in the sun which was a great start we thought! We tried everything once whilst on board apart from some of the restaurants. The shows were great and we thoroughly enjoyed them all - apart from the magician whom to be truthful shocked us at how sexist and masoginistic he appeared in this day and age - maybe that's just being British but we don't think so to be honest. The singers, dancers and staff show were fabulous, hard working and very talented. Our balcony cabin was ok but not wonderful. The initial problems we encountered were sorted immediately however. The shore excursions were fab but the private island was EXCEPTIONAL! We wanted to stay there for a week at least! It would have been lovely to have had an evening there under the stars and all lit up for a party night we thought. We liked Mexico and had a lovely time shopping and at a beach bar. We did not like Jamaica and were back on board within the hour. However, Grand Cayman was so lovely we've booked a week there this year! The thing we remember most was the exceptional high standards of hygiene around the food - even on the private island - we were very very impressed and have told everyone! We had the drinks package included and even though I am not much of a drinker I still liked the convenience of it and do not think of it in monetary terms as much as ease of use. I'm sure my husband drank our share by himself! The wonderful staff in the English style pub kept us well supplied with Guiness and superb service. We kept wondering why our wet towels were being folded into animal shapes even though they were wet through and used...we didn't realise that if we didn't throw them in the bottom of the shower the staff would not apply common sense! Got it now though! We loved the barbeques on deck which we thought were just what a cruise should be like. Disembarkation was easy and efficient. We took our own bags off as is common in England when using ferry services to Europe so was first nature to us. Just a note to say that though the head office think they can cater for special diets (I really cant have dairy and its not a fad but makes me very ill) the staff on board have no clue whatsoever! Not even the diet adviser who still after a week was saying things like you can have that off the menu no problem - they only use cream not milk or I thought you could have it because its plain yoghurt and so on and so on! There were zero deserts for me either by the way and I did get a bit fed up with the same melon/ chopped fruit for desert each night. Like I said when my husband was getting very mad about this - I didn't go on the cruise for the food I went for the places! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Food was lukewarm most days in Raffles Court, especially breakfast. Shortages and outages were the norm. It was some better in the other "complimentary" restuarants but not much. At Cagneys (Specialty Restaurant) we ordered ... Read More
Food was lukewarm most days in Raffles Court, especially breakfast. Shortages and outages were the norm. It was some better in the other "complimentary" restuarants but not much. At Cagneys (Specialty Restaurant) we ordered stakes and I can do about as well at Golden Corral. When I tried on three ocassions to speak to the guy in charge there he would grab his phone when approached and get on it. Don't think he wants to answer for conditions. The Housekeeping staff was excellent. The ship itself is very nice though one fellow was complaining about maintenance. Embarkation and Disembarkation made one wonder if this was the first time the ships crew had experienced it. BarBQue held on the 12th floor Tivoli pool and the fellow in front of me told the staff he had stood in line in Army mess halls and eaten better with less confusion. Talking to folks in different lines on the ship and asking" How is your cruise" almost always got remarks like mine above. It was like a Virus of discontent. One Chinese lady told me "I got social media " after she complained while in the elevators. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This was our first cruise and we were very excited to finally go on one. We embarked and thats where the excitement ended. We were charged a daily service charge, but never received any service. It was very disappointing to sit at the ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we were very excited to finally go on one. We embarked and thats where the excitement ended. We were charged a daily service charge, but never received any service. It was very disappointing to sit at the Raffles restaurant and never get any acknowledgement from any of the staff. I had to walk outside and stand in the bar line just to get a Pepsi that i am paying for with the drink package. The ship only has one pool for adults, and is crammed all the time. When we arrived in Ocho Rios, we were docked at what looked like some type of commercial abandoned mill. we had to pay 20 bucks just to get onto a shuttle to go to town which was 2 miles away. there was another NCL ship at the main dock, but they didnt have to pay any shuttle charges do to the fact they could just walk into town. No discounts, no refunds, no service! The guest service desk employees had no personality, and didnt smile and greet anyone. It seemed to me that if you had an issue, you were bugging them. We are very disappointed in our cruise experience. Food quality, service, smell of sewer, lack of customer service, and they way you are treated are the reasons we will not book on NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This cruise was the very first cruise that both my husband and I, both in our 50s, have taken, and while it wasn’t perfect, it certainly met our expectations. We arranged to use NCL’s shuttle service from Orlando airport and we ... Read More
This cruise was the very first cruise that both my husband and I, both in our 50s, have taken, and while it wasn’t perfect, it certainly met our expectations. We arranged to use NCL’s shuttle service from Orlando airport and we were on the bus by 12:00 PM and en route to the port. We arrived by 1:00 PM and that is when everything came to a halt. We stood in line for security and check-in until after 3:00 PM. By the time we stepped foot on the ship, we immediately had to report to our muster station for the emergency drill. This put a little bit of a damper on our first day, but we were finally on the ship! The Spirit is the smallest in NCL’s lineup and it was rather beautiful. None of the public spaces ever felt too crowded, which was surprising as we were sailing over a holiday week, so it was a sold out ship. We both found the ship to be extremely clean and well maintained. There were occasions where a washroom was out of order, but none of them lasted the entire cruise, so maintenance kept up on the repairs. There were numerous spills in the buffet, as we had rough seas for our last two days, which happened to be sea days, and they were cleaned up almost immediately. Our cabin steward was wonderful. He always had a smile and a pleasant tone when we spoke to him. Our room was kept clean, towels were refreshed as needed, and he left us a towel animal for 6 of the nights, which were appreciated since this was a first cruise for us. We found the buffet to be okay. My husband enjoyed their burgers while I enjoyed the daily stir-fry. Of course the buffet is where I went for breakfast as I usually woke up hours before my husband. We enjoyed the dinners we had at Windows for the most part, though the one time my husband had the lasagna, the cheese was hard. Our dinner at Le Bistro was okay, though my husband ordered the upcharge of lobster tail, which he said was overdone as it was chewy. We also had dinner at Cagney’s and while good, I wasn’t blown away by it. I asked for a cup of coffee with my dessert, but I never received it. By the time I was done with the dessert, I knew the coffee wasn’t coming, so just didn’t bother asking for it again. The biggest disappointment we had on the ship was from Blue Lagoon. Not so much with the food, but with the service. It was certainly the only place on the ship where we found service to be lacking. My husband was forgotten there twice. His order was taken and after a half hour he was asked for his order again. The customer service we received from the everyone else on the ship was outstanding. Since we were using NCL’s shuttle service back to Orlando Airport, we were given the “green” disembarkment category, which was estimated to occur at 9:45 AM. We were told to stay in the public areas for the announcements on the TV screens, but we were sitting outside at Raffle’s bar and they never once had announcements on those TV’s. We started heading down to deck 7 at around 9:30 and discovered that our category had already been called. We were through customs pretty quickly and were on the bus in no time. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Cabin - excellent, with large window, large bed and excellent shower. Excellent steward service. Very good variable heating. Food - excellent choices in several different restaurants. No problems with quality of food. The speciality ... Read More
Cabin - excellent, with large window, large bed and excellent shower. Excellent steward service. Very good variable heating. Food - excellent choices in several different restaurants. No problems with quality of food. The speciality restaurants were about £23 extra per person, and did not appear to be well supported at this additional cost. Entertainment - wide variety of onboard entertainment in pub, cocktail bar, lounge and theatre - all very professional. Swimming Pool - nice pool, but it was closed quite often during passage due to swell - even when the weather was not rough. The hot tubs were still open Weather during our November trip - cross Atlantic via Madiera - excellent. Sun beds - despite there being a "no reserve" policy - you had to be up by 6.30am to obtain one. Costs on board - thank goodness we had the drinks package, although very expensive. Alcoholic drinks otherwise averaged about a tenner. Between my wife and myself, we did not benefit from the drinks package. 18% tip is added to everything. Electrics - 2 pin wall socket - take a multi extension lead. Ports of call - Carribbean - 4 islands - all much the same really - very nice and interesting. We were recommended by onboard jewellery expert to purchase watches and jewellery from various named shops. Duty free. We did this - $6,000 diamond ring, valued on return at half that. $5,500 Breitling watch - available in the UK at 60% of price paid. My fault - I should have investigated - you live and learn........you have been warned. Queues - anything connected with USA - disembarkation/entry and onboard visa checking (despite correct UK docs) - expect minimum of 2 hours queues. Transfers - these were arranged separately by the travel agent and were nothing to do with the cruise line. Our Hotel in Barcelona was almost within sight of the ship, yet the coach took us all over the city, taking 2 hours to reach the ship. We should have been advised of this at the outset, to allow us the choice of making alternative arrangements. At the US end, we were collected at the correct time, put in a minibus, and locked in (6 persons) with the engine running whilst the driver said he was off to get more passengers. After 1 hour 10 minutes, and some panic, we attracted the attention of a security guard, who let us out. We had to use another minibus to take us to the airport. Be warned, at the airport, there is no left luggage facility, and we had to book our luggage into the Wyatt Hotel, so that we could take a trip to Orlando. A hundred bucks to park our suitcases for 6 hours. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Our first cruise and we really enjoyed it the staff was always smiling and helpful The food was good and a good variety,the theatre acts was very good. There was plenty of sun beds even though some people did put towels on for hours and ... Read More
Our first cruise and we really enjoyed it the staff was always smiling and helpful The food was good and a good variety,the theatre acts was very good. There was plenty of sun beds even though some people did put towels on for hours and not use them. If you are put off by the gratuities don't worry we saw lots of people on our last day telling customer service they did not want too pay there was no problem...also the drinks packages for children don't bother its all there in the restaurants free anytime.... alcohol is very dear unless you drink like a fish don't the buy package buy it by the bottle there it works out cheaper in the long run. we did our own excursions saved a lot of money and saw the same things and more Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This was my first ever cruise and i have to say it was a fantastic experience. Firstly the check in went very fast and all the staff at the docks where very helpful and polite. After receiving our room cards we boarded the vessel and was ... Read More
This was my first ever cruise and i have to say it was a fantastic experience. Firstly the check in went very fast and all the staff at the docks where very helpful and polite. After receiving our room cards we boarded the vessel and was greeted by a stunning atrium on deck 7. We decided to head straight to our room and so we could drop our carry on bags off and then go on a tour of the ship. This is where we met our porter named Tommy. He was brilliant and really made us feel at special, and the towel animals he put in our room every night kept our 8 year daughter very amused,especially when he would hide them for her to find. The room we had booked was a forward balcony cabin , number 9030. It was plenty big enough for the 3 of us. The shower and wash room was surprisingly spacious as well as the balcony,which had great privacy from the neighbouring cabins. Food on board was some of the best i've ever tasted, with the exception of the Italian themed 'specialty' dinning. The food there was over cooked and lacking any flavour, which is really disappointing seeing as all the other food onboard was amazing. And while i have this opportunity can i strongly recommend carney's steak house. The steak i had there was one of the best i've ever tasted , if not the best . Anyone who doesn't want to pay for specialty dinning and is happy to eat at the complimentary dinning areas then you won't be disappointed either , the windows restaurant has a great classy feel to it with top quality food, we visited this dinning room on multiple occasions and requested the same waitress, Gloria, each time because of how she made our daughter laugh and her service was perfect. the onboard BBQ's where a fun place to be and some of the food they served looked to good to eat , especially their paella. Now for the shore excursions. Having only booked 3 on this cruise i can't speak for them all but the ones i went on were well worth it. We visited rome, naples and Istanbul. These 3 where all long days and lots of walking but our tour guides where very knowledgable and kept us interested. Some of the ports, for example Athens we got on the red sight seeing bus, visited the sights our selves and saw most of the tourist sites for a fraction of the cost of a NCL excursion, we were latter told by friends on the ship that they had done a excursion through NCL and they were very disappointed with the experience .(this is only relevant to Athens, i have no input on other ports or NCL excursions). Whilst onboard we had a variety of entertainment throughout the day, but i was under the impression it was aimed at a more mature crowd, however it was still really good. The night time shows where good enough to entertain you but sometime made me think of a holiday park show. For our eight yearly daughter there was the kids club located on deck 10, and can i say if she didn't need food or bed we wouldn't have got her out of there. The staff in there where amazing and i felt my daughter was 100% safe there care, they put on a circus show one day which was very fun to watch for the parents but after the show and rest of the holiday other guests where coming up to us to tell our daughter well done. I would highly recommend NCL to anyone and would like to thank them for making my family holiday one to remember. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
After cruising the Eastern Mediterranean on the NCL Jade in December 2013, I couldn’t wait to do another Mediterranean cruise. Since the Jade was redeployed to Houston for the fall of 2015, I had to choose between the Spirit in October ... Read More
After cruising the Eastern Mediterranean on the NCL Jade in December 2013, I couldn’t wait to do another Mediterranean cruise. Since the Jade was redeployed to Houston for the fall of 2015, I had to choose between the Spirit in October and the Epic in December. With 10 ports in 12 days v. only five port stops on the Epic, we chose the Spirit, although the Epic was a better per day value. The first part of this review will focus on the ship and the second part on the ports. THE SPIRIT Reviews suggested that the Spirit was old and tired but we found that it was in good shape with a more traditional, old world feel. The atrium, glass elevators and Asian details make it a unique NCL ship. The bridge viewing room, which can be accessed through a staircase in Galaxy Bar, is very interesting with souvenir gifts from the various ports of call. Most appealing were the lion’s head from Malaysia and sculptures from Thailand (a glass ship) and India (a mini Taj Mahal). We first visited this area on our Behind the Scenes Tour for Platinum members where we met one of the female second officers but anyone can visit on his/her own. DINING We had the UDP as a booking perk and for the first time ever, LeBistro and Cagney’s were always filled to capacity with many large groups even at the earliest dining times. The hostess told us that they did try to accommodate individuals who didn’t book ahead but that most of the reservations were made in advance. The best meal of the cruise was the filet of beef at LeBistro with crème brulee for dessert. At Cagney’s, order your meat rarer than you’d like; my medium filet was well done; I knew better when we went there a second time. Shogun, the Asian fusion restaurant, is now free, and when we went at 6:00 p.m. (opening time most nights), it was not crowded. The menu has been “downgraded” with fewer choices and “premium” entrees like Szechuan lamb and lobster have been eliminated. It’s not like it used to be but it is fine for a complimentary option. We also ate in the Italian restaurant where the grilled shrimp and tiramisu were good but not worth a $20 charge. We were lucky to be chosen to dine with a ship officer and very much enjoyed our evening with Silvio, the Cruise Consultant. He was a very warm and engaging host. Do enter that raffle; we always put our names in but have only been chosen twice (the other time was when I hosted the Meet & Greet). At that dinner in the Windows Dining Room, we were treated to wine and cappuccino but the food was, in a word, awful—presented well but cold and not flavorful. If I weren’t with Silvio, I would have given it back. On two evenings when we had big meals in port, we stopped at the buffet for a light bite and the selections were varied and much better tasting than the dining room. Carlos Bakery does not have a place on the Spirit (in Europe) and there were excellent, free pound cakes available at the Atrium Cafe. You can bring your cake to the Blue Lagoon, a few steps away, where drip coffee is always available. Note that on port days, the breakfast buffet is quite frenetic. We got to meet fellow cruisers since sharing tables is a necessity--that was a plus on this cruise. On some mornings, we opted to go to the Blue Lagoon for a continental breakfast—it was quiet and a better option than room service. OUR ROOM When we first booked in February 2015, we chose an oceanview cabin and two perks-the UDP (dining plan) and UBP (beverage plan). I thought the price was high so, when one perk was offered for any cabin in July, we switched to an interior cabin and one perk. We had to pay the 18% gratuity on the dining package and give up the free beverages but saved $1200 which more than covered all shore excursions, taxis, admissions, etc. Since the Spirit is a one-of-a-kind ship, our cabin, Room 5035, was also unique at 200 sq. feet (double-sized room). It had better lighting than I remembered and a small chair-and-a half that became a shelf for our menagerie of towel animals. Gede, our room steward, was very helpful in getting us an adapter for our electronics, bar soap and replacement cushions for the chair and chair-and-a half. There was plenty of room for storage. As a Platinum perk, we each got one free bag of laundry on any day. (The laundry special at $19.99 was offered once.) ACTIVITIES I’m one who takes advantage of the activities on board so here is my assessment. My husband enjoyed the gym—the equipment is new and in good condition and best of all, never crowded. NCL has really cut down on the activities for sea days. Do you consider “Tongue and Pulse Analysis” or “Check Out Library Books” an activity. Gone are the food presentations, vegetable carvings, pastry demonstrations—replaced by a comedy cake-making presentation between the cruise director and the pastry chef. There are fewer trivia competitions, arts and crafts projects, lectures, etc. We did win enough trivias to combine our points for a t-shirt (30 points) but a beer can cozy “cost” 20 points—a prize that used to be a give-away for winning one game! The Cruise Staff did a very good job with origami but only one session was on a sea day. Go see the Crew Show; it is always a fun activity. On the second sea day, the feature presentation was an engineering talk by one of the officers. It was a bad weather day and the Galaxy Bar was filled to capacity—an audience in the hundreds. The officer was not a public speaker and I truly felt for him. He lost the crowd after 30 seconds. Everyone was polite but this was not fair to the officer or guests; a second officer should have been there to assist. There were no speakers on any of the ports or on any topics of interest to the guests. I know cruise lines are looking at the bottom line but most guests would pay a few dollars more to cover the room costs and compensation for guest speakers. The cruise director, Jill, was always around, very professional and very good at her job. Our Meet & Greet, masterfully hosted by Judi, was held after our first five ports. The guest services coordinator really amped up the buffet with fruit and sandwiches in addition to the usual coffee and pastries. The hotel director, Armando, answered questions. I don’t recall any cards with officers’ phone numbers like in the past but there was a suggestion box in the atrium. If you’re on your first or umpteenth cruise, the Meet & Greet is a great chance to meet other cruisers and spend time on a sea day. ENTERTAINMENT NCL excels in evening entertainment. The shows were entertaining and appealed to an audience from all over the world with an emphasis on song and dance. Elements, the acrobatics show, is always well done and enjoyable no matter how many times we have seen it. The participatory game shows were a lot of fun to watch, too. GUEST SERVICES The staff at Guest Services is very polite but you must be insistent on follow-through. Our UDP (dining package) was not stamped on our cruise card and we immediately asked guest services. Apparently, we were not in the system. Luckily, I had all my paperwork and amenity confirmation with me. Even so, it took three days to straighten out. The desk promised to call us but never did; we avoided paying and asking for reimbursement by using our Platinum dinner coupons. Likewise, at the end of the cruise, we inquired about a planned strike at the Venice airport. The strike was canceled a day before; we found out by checking the Internet in Venice. PORTS The main attraction of this cruise is the itinerary-10 ports in 12 days. Our plan was “Mediterranean Lite,” no eight or nine hour excursions. Everyone has different opinions about this but if you attempt to “see it all,” you run the risk of that classic movie title, “If It’s Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium.” Since I’m a slow walker, I’ll point out any mobility challenges; keep in mind that the streets in the Mediterranean countries are cobblestone. BARCELONA We flew into Barcelona non-stop from JFK in New York City and arrived at our lovely hotel, L’Avenida Palace, around 10:30 a.m. We had a sleepless night and were in no position to go sight-seeing. Luckily, a room was ready about noon. Yay! In the afternoon, we walked around the corner to the fashionable Passaig de Gracia, home to the finest shops and the Street of Discord, the site of some of Barcelona’s architectural marvels. Next door to Casa Battlo, one of the Gaudi houses, is the Casa Amattler, a lovely mansion and now museum of a wealthy man who made his fortune in chocolates. It was well worth 12 euros each to tour of the private quarters to see the glass and art collections of Amattler and to see the uniquely decorated rooms. The docent was so enthusiastic and interested in sharing the secrets of this special house. The ground floor café and chocolate shop were worth a stop as well. Our hotel was around the corner from the well-regarded tapas restaurant, Ciudad Condal. There were no lines when we went in the early evening and the food was good and reasonably priced. The waitresses, who spoke perfect English, helped with ordering. The morning of boarding, we took time to visit Gaudi’s La Pedrera (Casa Mila), within walking distance of the hotel. It certainly was “different” walking on the roof with all the weird structures. We had no trouble or lines embarking the Spirit in Barcelona at around 1:30 p.m. The taxi from our hotel was about 20 euros with tip. Walking tip: There is a flight of stairs at Casa Amattler but there are hand rails. At La Pedrera, be careful on the roof. There are many steps and although entry is limited, watch out for guests with backpacks who aren’t looking when they take photographs. At La Pedrera, there is an elevator to the attic rooms under the roof. TOULON If it’s Tuesday, it’s market day in Toulon, a Naval port near Marseilles. Home to a diverse population, the streets in the commercial area were filled with stalls selling flowers, produce and herbs. There were also stands with fish, cured meats, linens and clothing. The market appealed to the senses and was worthy of lots of photographs but the level of sanitation was a turn-off. We tried to use wi-fi at some of the cafes but it was “down.” The highly rated Naval Museum was closed on Tuesdays. Tip: Take a private tour or ship excursion in this port. LIVORNO At this port, you must pay for a shuttle to get to the gate (five euros) or train station ($15 to NCL). Since there isn’t much to do in Livorno and since we have been to Florence on our own, we opted for a shore excursion here, a half-day to Pisa. The tour included a trolley from the parking lot to the Field of Miracles, a long walk. We have been to Pisa before but love the area around the Leaning Tower. NCL handled the shore excursions for the morning in an organized and professional manner and we were at the site well before 10:00 a.m. Our guide, Irene, spoke perfect conversational English, had a great sense of humor and told us many anecdotes on the bus and at the site. Who knew that Pinocchio was named for pine nuts or that there is Islamic influence in the architecture at Pisa. In any event, after our first guided tour of the square we had the option of a second guided tour or a walk on our own until meeting time at a café at 12:20 p.m. We opted to be on our own, and visited the church. We didn’t have the timed tickets, but the guard let us in. By the time we stepped outside, the thunderstorm was just starting. Don’t worry, vendors have umbrella and ponchos if you need them! Never was I happier that I had an NCL tour. We had a lovely shelter with free wi-fi, clean facilities, food, etc., to wait out the torrential rains. After 12:30 p.m., when the rains let up a bit, the trolley came to escort us to our bus. The day was great in spite of heavy rain and the pricey tour was worth every penny. Many passengers who did Pisa on their own got soaked to the bone; even those on private tours got soaked. Strange as it seems, Florence did not have much rain. The Port of Livorno had free wi-fi. Walking tip: This is a good excursion if you can’t walk long distances. You do have to get up on the metal step of the trolley which is slippery when wet; ask for help if you need it. CIVITAVECCHIA We have been to Rome and I searched forever for an excursion here. I did find a great one—a cooking class in Civitavecchia with Federico, the chef at Aqua Ristorante. I posted on our Roll Call and two couples joined us. Federico met us at the gate. Of course, nothing is easy. There were five ships in port, our arrival was delayed, and shuttles (free) had to bring us to the gate. In the morning, there was one shuttle for our ship!! So, allow extra time. Federico drove us to the restaurant where we made tiramisu, Bolognese sauce with gnocchi, and beef saltimbocca. It was a great day and the recipes can all be replicated at home. We were driven back to the port after our delicious lunch and by then, there were numerous shuttles to the ships. The lesson and meal were well worth the cost-70 euros per person. NAPLES I decided after much research that Herculaneum would be doable for a slow walker. If you like ancient history and mythology, like I do, it is a great choice; if not, there is much to do in Naples or the Amalfi coast. For the first time ever, we met up with another couple in the taxi area and shared the cost of a taxi to Herculaneum. With bargaining, the cost was 100 euros for the cab with a two-hour waiting time. You need an audio guide, handbook or guide to appreciate this site. It was great weather for touring; in summer, it would be very hot. It was amazing to see all the houses, villas, bath-houses and taverns that survived the 79 A.D. eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Two hours was not enough time to see everything. Walking tip: There are many high steps here so if you are with a companion, it is doable. There are some spots, including the bath-house, where you can sit. MYKONOS Our first time in Mykonos and we were impressed. Beautiful island, lovely landscape, shops that catered to the rich and famous. We docked at the new port and were shuttled to the town (no waiting). If you want hand-crafted jewelry, bring money or just window shop. Lots of choices, no pushy merchants, many cafes, shops, etc. We happened upon a wonderful bakery that had all kinds of pies, sweet and savory. We tried the spinach pie, spanakopita, made without cheese. Delicious! Sailaway from the ship at 3:00 p.m. was lovely. Walking tip: Be careful here. There are many steps without rails and large cobblestones. There are no sidewalks and we even had to walk on the sand in one stretch. ISTANBUL On last year’s visit to Topkapi, we did not see the harem, so that was our first stop. All admissions were in Turkish lira (now 35 cents to the U.S. dollar). At 45TL for Topkapi and the harem, it is a bit steep for the Turkish visitors, I think. I did enjoy touring the harem (a vast area) very much. There weren’t many visitors at 9:30 a.m., there was great signage and the history was pretty amazing as were the rooms. By the time we needed a snack around noon, the café was just outside the gate and we could not return. Hand stamps needed here. One diet soda and ice cream cost seven euros—pretty pricey. We did enjoy seeing the school groups visiting and the call to prayer at 1:00 p.m. On the way to the taxi stand, we passed Hagia Sophia, which is open Mondays during the tourist season. All I remember from last year was getting lost so we went back—no lines. The site has a very interesting history and dome but it is now under construction. Most of the tourists were playing with the cats inside. I know it is the number one attraction but I was disappointed. Negotiate your fare before you get in a taxi. On our trip to Topkapi, we said 10 and the driver thought TL (about three euros) and we thought euros. He tried to give us back money but we let him keep the 10 euros---a very happy driver. On the way back, the driver did not know the port entrance, and stopped twice before finding the right place. There is construction near the port so make sure you are at the port before paying. My husband was very concerned about security issues in Turkey given the refugee crisis and unrest in Ankara. He did ask at the Meet & Greet and felt that his concerns were treated in a dismissive manner. Thankfully, we had no security issues on our trip. Walking tip: The restrooms at Topkapi were down a few steps with no rail and there are some high steps in the harem section. There is a lot of walking on level ground. I found it doable but some other guests found it too much. KUSADASI Having visited Ephesus (a must-see) twice, I wanted to do something different. I found Yucel Bor, a driver who was also a “guide,” who took us on a course I plotted- real baklava from a bakery; Sirence, a nearby village; and St. John’s Basilica. He spoke perfect English, loved what he did, cared about his children’s education, and was a good driver. He walked with us through Sirence, negotiated my bakery purchase, and made the three hours very enjoyable. The price of 80 euros was per cab and very reasonable. Walking tip: Although hilly, the main areas of Sirence are not difficult to negotiate. ATHENS This was our third visit and as one who loves Greek mythology and history, I always find things to appreciate. We took a taxi to the Plaka as our first stop because rain was predicted for the afternoon (never happened). It was our first visit to this well-known area of shops, cafes, etc. The taxi driver told us to watch our wallets but we had no problem—it was a Wednesday morning without many pedestrians. I did find a bakery to try the spanakopita. I hoped to find baklava, too, but there wasn’t any at that shop. I had no idea that spanakopita would be found in a bakery but live and learn. We then went to the new Acropolis Museum for a return trip. This is a world-class museum and the excavations are on view through windows on the floor. If you stop in the outdoor café, there is a view of the Acropolis. Walking tip: The museum is fully accessible indoors and out. Most of the Plaka is closed to traffic so it is easy to negotiate. VENICE The sail in to Venice and the trip via water shuttle from the port to the Grand Canal area ($20 per person) provide the best and most magical views of Venice. We haven’t been to Venice since 1969 and the beauty is still there, but mostly from afar. You can’t experience Venice without visiting St. Mark’s Square and seeing the magnificent artwork, architecture, etc. However, with four cruise ships in port and at least two river cruises, the main areas were flooded with people. No wonder they want to reduce the number of cruise ships. However, Accessible Venice has constructed ramps along the stairways of the Grand Canal making it easy to negotiate. We did stop at a café for cappuccino, people-watching and free wi-fi. Walking tip: The walk from the shuttle to the ship is pretty long and would be hard to see at night (we had an over-night here). We also purchased vouchers to the airport for $30 each. I think it is hard to negotiate suitcases to get to transit or a hotel. If we were staying, I would have pre-booked a taxi. All in all, two weeks full of adventure. It took me another two weeks to put this review together! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
What an experience...crew, staff, entertainment, food, fellow passengers all A One.. we took part in the Chefs Table, and bought the ultimate Food and Drink packages...highly recommend. We flew out of Toronto to Venice where we met the ... Read More
What an experience...crew, staff, entertainment, food, fellow passengers all A One.. we took part in the Chefs Table, and bought the ultimate Food and Drink packages...highly recommend. We flew out of Toronto to Venice where we met the Norwegian Spirit..we had a suite and adjoining balcony room. On shore check in was smooth as silk..well organized and as we were Priority we met our Consierge, Omar and assistant Lovely..a nice cild beverage then onboard..the suite and room were perfect with the shared common area with flat screen TV sofa coffee espresso maker and daily treats.. had time to sight see and have a fabulous dinner then of bang on time..The Spirit ran like a Swiss watch. the meals were excellent with variety and quality..the Chefs table was an experience! i took part in the karaoke contest while my niece and her son enjoyed the casino..she won the slot contest!! Got to meet several of the entertainers first hand and they are just an extension of the PR team..spectacular..Patricia Watson, piano and vocals, was kibd enough to have me join her for a number or two almosr every night in Champagne Charlies or HenrysPub..the Beatles tribute band, were uncanny and personable. Two youngsters who stepped in and helped me find some Robitussin while in port, Lauren and Josh...these two are ALSO entertainers not staff per se. Our consierge and butler and room attendants all superlative.. HIGHLY recommend this smaller more intimate sized ship...The Spirit is aptly named. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Our first cruise. We were not sure what to expect, but was 100% spoilt. The itinerary was excellent. We did 5 ports on our own and 5 boat excursions. It is definitely the best option and worth the extra if at all. Tour guides are very ... Read More
Our first cruise. We were not sure what to expect, but was 100% spoilt. The itinerary was excellent. We did 5 ports on our own and 5 boat excursions. It is definitely the best option and worth the extra if at all. Tour guides are very well informed and very professional. organisation on and of the ship is brilliant. Our stateroom was on the 6th floor. Cleaned twice a day. Well equipped. Bath room was surprisingly spacious. Food was amazing. Good options and big variety. Service of staff was friendly and you were always treated with genuine warmth. Entertainment, was also enjoyable. Something for everyone. We will definitely advise anyone who want to see Europe and so much more to go on this amazing games cruise and ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
My 1st Cruise well what can I say Amazing, From stepping on the ship I fell in love with it, The welcome was Excellent everyone so friendly. The cabin was so clean and not a bad size for me and my sister we were in 6018 very nice. The ... Read More
My 1st Cruise well what can I say Amazing, From stepping on the ship I fell in love with it, The welcome was Excellent everyone so friendly. The cabin was so clean and not a bad size for me and my sister we were in 6018 very nice. The food was great something for everyone nice Restaurants it was a Freestyle cruise it was wonderful. The pool area is great and the kids pool area so cool, and lots of bars to get cold drinks. The Staff are Outstanding helpful and smile all the time Bartenders, Wait staff, Buffet servers, Cabin stewards, Hostess, Officers, Cruise staff, And the Captain Mr Roger Gustavsen all so sweet. I and my sister won't to say a big Thank you to the Hotel Director Mr Armando Da Silva what a charming man he made our cruise so special we will never forget him. The Entertainment staff were great always made you laugh thank you, and not forgetting the Hotwire Band Amazing. So a big Thank you to everybody we will never forget this cruise I will recommend NCL to all my family and friends. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
First, we cannot emphasis enough that this was a fantastic cruise and would go again at the drop of a hat. But i will make some comments that may be of interest to others. 1. Passengers have to be back on ship 30mins before departure - ... Read More
First, we cannot emphasis enough that this was a fantastic cruise and would go again at the drop of a hat. But i will make some comments that may be of interest to others. 1. Passengers have to be back on ship 30mins before departure - not 2 hours that has been suggested . This is important information in planning excursions. 2. The port of Livorno has no "walk off port". You have to take a shuttle bus that costs $15 per person, very naughty as this makes the cheap train to Pisa very expensive! (Taxis cost 150 Euro!) 3. All the drinks are branded, if you are on the ultimate drinks package you are in for a great time - not one drink every exceeded the $11 cut off :) 4.Pre book your excursions from home in plenty of time, you will save a lots. Check out trip adviser. 5.You can waive the service charge a day before the cruise ends. Personally its to much for a big family. 6.We booked our meals times before the trip, but this was not necessary. 7.Don't use the casino as the holiday may cost you a lot more than you hoped - especially after a session! 8. You can stop your kids using their room key card as a credit card at guest services. BUT you cannot stop them racking up huge bills (unless you tell them) in the arcade. Note: If you loose the key card and don't report it, anyone can rack up $100's of dollars on your bill, and you will have to pay it! - be warned!! Enjoy your Cruise! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Overall ship condition = 7/10 -- decore should be changed - Asian theme seemed cheezy to me -- small items such as rust in shower (cabin 5002) could be addressed Pool = 1/10 == not near enough room / lounge chairs === policy of saving ... Read More
Overall ship condition = 7/10 -- decore should be changed - Asian theme seemed cheezy to me -- small items such as rust in shower (cabin 5002) could be addressed Pool = 1/10 == not near enough room / lounge chairs === policy of saving chairs needs to be addressed / red stickers policy NOT communicated to passengers and enforced -- saw actual confrontations between passengers over lounge chairs = rediculous!! Crew - 10/10 = always professional & happy Passengers = 2/10 -- many extremely rude - no fault of Norwegian -- Bars = 8/10 = quick and professional service - did not like how had to sign for each drink - also limited to 2 - should have possible wrist bands etc when having the drink plan - more like an all inclusive resort Food = 7/10 = All restaurants = very good in the taste category - Buffet = way too crowded - food items (esepcially breakfast sauage) cool to cold === most items really need to be kept warmer !!!!!! It was also obvious that most items were pre-cooked = then reheated (not enough) Restaurants = all good 10/10 === but clothes restrictions should be enforced - I don't believe a wife beaters and flip flops are appropriate for fine dinning Excursions = 8/10 = a bit expensive -- run efficiently -- did waste too much time departing = should start earlier in order to leave the ship ASAP When lunch was provided = it comsumed way too much of the excursions alotted time. Also = believe the excursions were organized based on pre-booked orders not allowing those you wished to book once on the ship to book certain excursions that were "sold out" = how can they be sold out when the ship just left port?? There should be a plan for possible additional excursions if "on-ship" requests meet a certain number BIGGEST COMPLAINT !!!! == We docked in Istanbul on a Friday = Norwegian is well aware of the issues concerning the entrance to Mosque on Friday mornings yet our 1st stop Friday morning was to a Mosque (also NOT the Blue Mosque as advertised !!!!) which we were denied access!!!!!!!!! The excursion personal did rebate me $37.50 which I did appreaciate but this is hardly enough compensation -- I was extremely upset - Both the excursion company & Norwegian both knew of the issue and frankly didn't care as far as I am concerned - they both simply could of reorganized the excursion to vist the Blue Most after 2:30pm from what I understand which they simple didn't bother -- I traveled 1/2 way across the earth to visit these particular places and after paying for an very expensive excursion through Norwegian - I was denied what I paid for and what was a big part of the reason for booking this cruise in the 1st place Shows =9/10 Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
This cruise was a birthday present for my husband and we billed it to ourselves as a "trip of a lifetime". I thought 12 days was a little long to be onboard, but with stops in different ports it didn't feel claustrophobic at ... Read More
This cruise was a birthday present for my husband and we billed it to ourselves as a "trip of a lifetime". I thought 12 days was a little long to be onboard, but with stops in different ports it didn't feel claustrophobic at all. Embarkation in Venice was a breeze, and after a quick shower we left to tour Venice. I wish I would have arrived a day earlier to spend more time in the city. Something to remember. Then 2 days at sea to recover from jet lag. We then took tours in every port and the only days we ran into problems leaving the ship was in Rome when we arrived and everyone was trying to get off at the same time. We took 3 NCL shore excursions and thought it was very well organized by having everyone arrive first to the theater to get that many people off the ship and onto the buses. We had the upgraded dining package so ate at some of the specialty restaurants. Le Bistro was my favorite. I didn't think Raffles gave you enough of a choice for a 2 week cruise. The food was the same every day. Breakfast should start a little earlier especially when everyone is seeking to eat before they leave for an excursion. It could be very congested and lack of tables. The waiters were very courteous and accommodating. The shows were good. I especially liked the Broadway cabaret show in the Galaxy of the Stars. Coming from NY, I see a lot of shows and thought the cast performed the numbers well. I also enjoyed the very short 4th of July show, and especially the singing of the National Anthem. On At Sea days you would have to get up and get lounge chairs around the pool by 7, when the towels were distributed. Internet service was spotty when in port and would spin and waste minutes. At sea was much better. Still expensive though. Disembarkation was a breeze, and we took a cab to a hotel in Barcelona, since we were staying an extra day to get to see some of the city. I would recommend this cruise if you wanted a smorgasbord of seeing different cities and then seeing if there was one you would like to go back to explore further. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
The itinerary for this cruise was excellent. Barcelona, Florence, Rome, Greece, Venice and others. The ship floor plan was an issue as the kids room on the 10th floor caused a lot of noise for those of us on the 9th. Others complained of ... Read More
The itinerary for this cruise was excellent. Barcelona, Florence, Rome, Greece, Venice and others. The ship floor plan was an issue as the kids room on the 10th floor caused a lot of noise for those of us on the 9th. Others complained of the same issue with respect to the nightclub. So a word of advice, ask about what is above you when booking your cabin!!!!! Norwegian knows about this issue since the ship is older but can't or won't do anything about it. Walls were also very thin between the cabins. Since this was our first cruise we did not know what to expect but overall felt good about it. Other guests we talked to said the buffet food was not as good as other lines. While food was available around the clock it was reduced and limited after around 9:00 p.m. Staff is friendly and tries very hard and nightly entertainment was quite good. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
This was our first cruise but it will certainly not be our last with NCL. We were not certain what to expect, however from the moment we embarked to the last day of our Grand Mediterranean Cruise it was amazing. We must thank the entire ... Read More
This was our first cruise but it will certainly not be our last with NCL. We were not certain what to expect, however from the moment we embarked to the last day of our Grand Mediterranean Cruise it was amazing. We must thank the entire staff of the Norwegian Spirit especially Karin our Concierge, Mary Jane our Butler and Dennis our Cabin Steward. These three were like ninjas; always lurking in the background to attend to our needs. It was quite refreshing to see that great service still exists and great service without any strings. The food was great especially at Cagney's. The Cagney's staff can work at any 5 Star Restaurant in the world (we know since we are in the F&B Business). Every member of the Cagney's team seemed genuinely happy to be doing their jobs. They were attentive, knowledgable and graceful. The other specialty restaurants were also good however the Asian Restaurant Shogun, needs a bit of help with some "authenticity" and the meals there were a bit bland. The entertainment we attended (shows) were very good and the final "farewell show" was terrific. In closing, while the Spirit might not be the newest and largest and fanciest ship on the seas, she is clean and her entire staff are top notch. We will certainly look to sailing on the Spirit again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
My wife and I loved the itinerary for this cruise - it was amazing to see Ephesus, Athens, and others. We took a Segway tour in Athens (our highlight - definitely recommend it to anyone) - we loved it so much we booked another in ... Read More
My wife and I loved the itinerary for this cruise - it was amazing to see Ephesus, Athens, and others. We took a Segway tour in Athens (our highlight - definitely recommend it to anyone) - we loved it so much we booked another in Barcelona. The cruise ship on the other hand was a huge disappointment. The staff was very friendly, but that's about all it had going for it. - I felt like a wet towel being rung out ... we were nickel and dimed for everything (20eu for laundry, 20eu for a single game of bingo, 13eu for a single glass of wine, 1eu for 1 minute of internet, etc.). The public bus we took to Pisa had free wifi. This big fancy floating hotel charged 1eu per minute. It did not feel at all like an all-inclusive stay. - the tech on the ship was extremely dated. Our cheap economy flights had a huge collection of movies you can stream to the lcd screen on our airline seats. I expected a big fancy floating hotel to have something similar. Nope. Every night the TV in our room played Grease and Field of Dreams on a repeating loop. - My daughter's elementary school has a digital tabletop (an ipad the size of a coffee table) for group learning and gameplay. There is a game's room onboard the ship that I expected to have at least two of these. Again, nope for the floating hotel. I expected the games room to have at least 50+ games. Nope - it had Monopoly and Checkers (I think I saw a deck of cards in there too), but that's it. No full time staff there to teach people a game or two as you would see in a typical game room. - Entertainment consisted of karaoke and bingo, karaoke and bingo, etc. Since we aren't into either, we just found a nice place to read books every night. - Shore excursions were waaaaay overpriced. Book through 3rd parties instead, we did. IE. a trip to Pisa cost 180eu each, we paid 15eu by going through 3rd party. This was our first cruise - it's highly unlikely we'll go with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
At first we were reluctant to book such a long cruise in such faraway lands, but we are so glad we did! I must say that what really made this trip a breeze was purchasing and reading the book "Rick Steves' Mediterranean Cruise ... Read More
At first we were reluctant to book such a long cruise in such faraway lands, but we are so glad we did! I must say that what really made this trip a breeze was purchasing and reading the book "Rick Steves' Mediterranean Cruise Ports" prior to departure, and having it on the cruise. This book seems custom made just for this particular sailing, and is a MUST read! Here was how we did our trip: It all starts in Venice, Italy, where the central square (Piazzale Roma) is a short bus ride away from the Marco Polo airport in which we landed. Once at Piazzale Roma, there is a "People Mover" that whisks you from this central plaza to the cruise ship in 5 minutes. We got to the cruise ship and dropped off our bags, then took the People Mover back to Piazzale Roma, where we boarded the slower Vaporetto #1 for a low-cost cruise of the Grand Canal and introduction to the beauty of Venice. We then explored Venice on our own, checking out several amazing churches and buildings (including the famed St. Marks). We didn't take a gondola ride choosing instead for the way cheaper Traghetto ride across the canal. We had a truly awesome experience and loved Venice! The next two days are spent at sea, which was actually nice as you are able to familiarize yourself with the ship and get some R&R. We spent one day just lounging in the pool with fruity drinks in hand. Next stop was Athens, Greece. We did this our own taking the local bus to the Ancient sites and the Acropolis. I do not believe you need an excursion to do this, as we saw everything we wanted and even had an awesome chicken souvlaki lunch at a restaurant before heading back the ship. The hard part is finding the public bus line needed. Just leave the cruise port and walk left until street ends, then walk up one block and make sure to cross the street to get to the bus stop that is heading the right direction. The Parthenon and its views will leave you breathless. Then came Ephesus, Turkey. We paid for an excursion here which was well worth it. It took us up to the House of the Virgin Mary (where we had a miraculous experience), then to the captivating ruins of Ancient Ephesus. Next was Istanbul, Turkey. A very different and worldly experience. We easily did this on our own just following the tracks of the Tramway to the historic square which includes Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and the not-to-be-missed Underground Cistern. We then walked to the Grand Bizarre and from there we hiked back to the ship. Then came Mykonos, Greece... a fanciful little island filled with 400 tiny churches, a few windmills, and some very nice people. Here we rented a car for 35 Euros (much better in my opinion than an ATV), and purposefully got lost visiting random beaches and passing old Yia Yia's tendering their gardens. it was a beautiful day. Following Mykonos was a chill at-sea day, which was a nice break from all the walking around and a nice mental break from all the historic and fascinating experiences we just had. A mental and physical re-charge! The next stop was Naples, Italy... a quite honestly underwhelming seedy port town filled with graffiti and low-income residences. We took an easy train ride (as explained in Rick Steves' book) to the ancient, almost forgotten town of Pompeii, where you learn that people 2000 years ago didn't live much differently than we do today. The pizza in Naples is not to be missed! For the next port, Rome, we took a highly anticipated excursion to the Vatican via NCL. It was $250 per person... but boy was it worth it! The tour started a bit drab, but we finally hit the historic sites like the wonderful Colosseum and Forum. We then had an authentic Italian lunch, complete with wine, at a quaint restaurant. Then came the most mind-blowing and altering experience... the amazement of the Vatican. Words cannot express the beauty of the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peters, so I wont even try. You definitely need an excursion to experience this, as otherwise the line to get in was several blocks long, and our tour guide's emotional explanations set the stage for a truly breathtaking experience. The next morning, we woke up to Livorno, where Pisa (and its truly better-then-expected Leaning Tower) are a very short and easy train ride. We also did a spin tour of Florence (another 1 hour, 20 min train ride from Pisa). Florence was beauty beyond words (especially the Duomo, which pictures cannot do justice), but trying to fit both Pisa and Florence in one day proved to be a rather difficult if not fun adventure that warrants a long fascinating explanation we don't have time for. We almost missed the boat, but it was a day I will never forget! We next docked in Toulon, France. Despite what people (including Rick Steves) may say, I don't thick you need an excursion here at all. It is such a cute town full of life and amazing things to see you will not be bored! A short walk from the cruise ship, we took the tiny tourist train around town, stopping at a beautiful (topless) beach where you can get some sun, and learn several WWII facts. We also walked around on our own, checking out the shopping area and went inside the absolutely beautiful and recommended Toulon Cathedral. Our final destination was Barcelona, Spain. It was rather cold and rainy here, but we simply jumped on the Hop On, Hop Off bus and got a spin tour of this amazing city. The architecture of Gaudi here is inspiring... but nothing beats the Sagrada Familia church. We stayed one night in a hotel before heading home, which offered us the ability to soak in the day walking up and down Las Ramblas eating tapas and drinking wine. A beautiful end to even more beautiful trip. If you are on the fence about booking this cruise, I say JUST DO IT now! You will never regret it, and you will never forget the memories of places and people that will be imprinted in your mind for the rest of your life. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
I've been traveling for most of my life and this was the first time I'd ever been on a cruise. It was legitly the best experience of my life. It felt like a home! All the employees on Norweigan spirit were fantastic! They looked ... Read More
I've been traveling for most of my life and this was the first time I'd ever been on a cruise. It was legitly the best experience of my life. It felt like a home! All the employees on Norweigan spirit were fantastic! They looked out for us and really made sure we had an awesome vacation. The food in the specialty restaurants was by far the best, cagneys steak house was the best place to get a steak, even better then the steak houses at home! Ultimate dining packages are a definite must! Everything on the ship was fantastic. Book a balcony room and you will not be disappointed! I recommend Norweigan cruise lines to everyone and look forward to my next cruise in the spring :) Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
My wife and I just completed our cruise to celebrate our 30th anniversary and overall it was a good trip, marred only by our interaction with guest services. This was my first cruise of any kind and even though I'm now a fan of ... Read More
My wife and I just completed our cruise to celebrate our 30th anniversary and overall it was a good trip, marred only by our interaction with guest services. This was my first cruise of any kind and even though I'm now a fan of cruising, I won't be using NCL in the future. Cabins were okay and I'm glad we had a balcony otherwise the days at sea would have been even more mind numbing and the cabin steward was great, Food was all over the place. The Raffles buffet was inconsistent in quality and could use some more variety. The executive chef is Indian so he loves to serve curry. Most of it was good, but the beef was tough and I would have liked to see some more Asian food beyond Indian. We dined regularly at Windows and the food was pretty good. The portions are a bit small, but we just ordered and extra entree if we were really hungry and the desserts were good, especially the warm chocolate volcano which I had twice. On the other hand the apple pie a-la-mode was disappointing as I prefer a lattice crust. Buffalo Wings in the Blue lagoon were worth it and can be ordered 24/7 which is great and you can find desserts almost any time of day. The entertainment was pretty good overall and the cruise staff was very energetic when it came to activities. If you want to stay connected it will cost you about $20 a day for unlimited internet or you can buy a package of minutes hat costs 50 to 75 a minute plus a $3.95 activation charge. Plus it's via satellite and slow, so you'll burn up your minutes fast. I know a lot of passengers complained about the cost of the soft drinks and booze, but since I don't drink either, I didn't get gouged. Excursions weer fun though a bit expensive and after the first couple the crew wasn't as helpful in guiding us off the ship. if you are flying into Venice spend a few extra dollars and get a van/taxi to the ship as everything else drops you off quite a distance away which is tough with a lot of luggage. Also get your currency before you board as NCL charges $10 for every currency exchange transaction. What made the trip less than great was the reaction of guest services after our cabin partially flooded after a pipe burst. The reaction was that it was an unforeseen event and that there was little they could or would do. I was offered an upgraded dinner and a bottle of wine which I found unsatisfactory. Plus I had to approach them rather then them coming to us to apologize for the inconvenience of not being able to use our cabin while the carpet dried. I spoke to an assistant manager on the last day and she offered a $50 on board credit which I took, though I still wasn't happy. It's not the money but the attitude that bothers me. I'd rather pay a little more on another cruise line than deal with people who have little or no sympathy for legitimate complaints. I enjoyed my experience overall, but I wonder what a better cruise line would offer. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
As first time cruisers we loved this cruise. This cruise is well organised with a wonderful itinerary. Staff were very friendly, helpful & cleanliness was very important. • Raffles Court: (deck 12 aft) Breakfast usually stays the ... Read More
As first time cruisers we loved this cruise. This cruise is well organised with a wonderful itinerary. Staff were very friendly, helpful & cleanliness was very important. • Raffles Court: (deck 12 aft) Breakfast usually stays the same, with croissants, cereals, vegetables, fruits, made to order eggs, waffles, bacon, you name it. Raffles also has milk in cartons, cereal in boxes, fruit, and single serving yogurt. A great self-serve soft serve machine with chocolate and vanilla flavors. Unfortunately it broke! Crepes are served fresh and hot after about 5 at Raffles. Food can be brought back to your room; leave the plates outside for your steward to bring back. Raffles opens early. This is especially important on days where the port is far away from the destination (Rome). • Blue Lagoon Café [on deck 7 ] Get free tea or coffee anytime of the day or night • Cafe 49: The pastries are complimentary. Regular coffee is complimentary but specialty coffee like espresso, cappuccino, etc. have an additional charge. • Drinks: Coffee, tea (iced or hot), milk, flavoured water (usually lemonade and another fruity flavor) and plain water are free. With extra cost, soda, beer, wine and mixed drinks. • Henry’s pup deck 7: Food is complimentary, alcohol is not. You always pay for alcohol on board. Beer, wine and mixed drinks always have a charge. • Windows and The Garden: free dining rooms. We enjoyed eating dinner in the two main dining rooms. The food was tasteful & the steak here was excellent!! • Galaxy of the Stars Observation Lounge: We enjoyed the sunset while the ship departed from the ports. Loved the scenery. • Hot tub for yourself on port days, after a excursion for sore mucles! Excursions: Usually by ourelves always using Rick Steve’s book “Mediterranean Cruise Ports” Booked tours: Can’t be Missed tours [CBM] & Ephesus Shuttle - both excellent. Apps: Ulmon - city to city OFFLINE map. Worked perfectly. Strongly advised! Sat 25 Barcelona, Spain ---- 7:00 pm Self: Aerobus €11.80 for 2 from airport to Bird House, 2nd stop. Very good located. Walkable to Ramblas. Followed Rick Steve’s Walking tours. Sun 26 Toulon, France. NB! [Always Starboard side for scenery!] a Walk- off port 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Self: Old market & “Step by Step walking tour” at Tourist Information. [Iron markers on pavement]. Because we used Ulmon offline maps, it was never necessary to stand in line for a map at tourist information offices! Mon 27 Pisa (Livorno), Italy. A shuttle bus from ship €5 pp to Piazzo del Municipio 8:00 am - 7:00 pm Self: Pisa by train €5 pp return. Very easy! Followed Rick Steve’s Walking tour & “Self-guided walks” at TI kiosk on Piazzo del Municipio. Tue 28 Rome (Civitavecchia). Ship shuttle bus €0.80c pp 8:00 am - 7:00 pm [CBM- 9-9:30 Infront of train station] Booked Can’t be missed tours – Jon at www.cantbemissedtours.com €69 pp tour & €21.50 pp for Sistine Chapel. Excellent tour! Much cheaper than other tours! An good organised walking tour. Wed 29 Naples, Italy walk off 8:00 am - 7:00 pm [CBM outside main entrance ] Booked CBM Amalfi Coast, Positano, Sorrento & Pompeii [sit righthand side of bus for scenery!] €65 pp + €11 pp [Pompeii - entrance fee] Excellent tour! Much cheaper than other tours! Thu At Sea ---- ---- 0 Fri 1 May Mykonos, Greece free shuttle from ship 7:00 am - 3:00 pm Self: Using Rick’s book. Sat 2 Istanbul, Turkey [Portside!!Left side for scenery] Walk-off port 9:00 am - 6:00 pm Self: Using Rick’s book & Ulmon Map App for iphone. VERY GOOD! Cannot do without this App! Sun 3 Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey Walk-off port 1:00 pm - 8:00 pm Ephesus shuttle tour. Ephesus, Terrace Houses & Temple of Artemis $78 for 2 people. suzan@curiotravel.com. Excellent tour! Much cheaper than other tours! Mon 4 Athens (Piraeus), Ship dock at terminal E11 8:00 am - 6:00 pm Self: Port Zea Tue At Sea ---- ---- 0 Wed 6 Venice, NB! Starboard side for scenery! a Walk - off port 2:00 pm ---- Self: Using Rick’s book & Free Walking tour at 4:45: Campo San Geremia. It is a 2 min walk from the train station.1. Exit the train station and turn left on the main street (Rio Terra Lista di Spagna).2. Follow it for a minute and you will see a square on your right. Thu 7 Venice Antony Palace Hotel **** Marcon Excellent price & near airport! 9:00 am Hotel Shuttel €7 pp from Piazzale Roma near the port or Hotel is close to Gaggio Porta Est railway station (only 400 mt, 5- 10 minutes walking) with departures every hour to Venice €2.50 each way, tickets can be bought at the hotel reception in advance Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
My husband and I chose the Canary Island Cruise because I wanted to visit Casablanca and I'm so pleased we did. We were made to feel very welcome by the Checking in staff even before we had got on board. Our luggage was taken off ... Read More
My husband and I chose the Canary Island Cruise because I wanted to visit Casablanca and I'm so pleased we did. We were made to feel very welcome by the Checking in staff even before we had got on board. Our luggage was taken off us and delivered to our 'Stateroom'. We had opted for an inside cabin as we didn't plan on spending much time in it except to sleep. It was checked twice daily. No tea making facilities but we could get tea/coffee at any time of the day 24/7. There was a wide range of 'complimentary' dining and we didn't feel we needed the 'ultimate dining or drinks package although we would have been better off with the 'Wine' one as a bottle lasted us for 2 evenings. For breakfast and lunch we chose the Buffet and on entering the dining area our hands were sprayed by the 'washy,washy-happy, happy' staff. Every morning 2 waiters came round with the 'Chefs Suprise'. In the evening we chose the Garden Restaurant and had relaxed waiter service by excellent staff. On my hubands birthday he was presented with a birthday cake and sung to by our waiter and the restaurant manager. Food was sublime and such choices! Again meals were available 24/7. We did not choose any excursions- prefering to do our 'own thing' in Port. There was so much entertainment whilst on board we were spoilt for choice. An Illusionist, aerial acrobatics, musical shows and new cinema releases in the afternoons. On disembarkation morning we had an early breakfast before leaving. Staff were out ready to say farewell and there were plenty of taxis availble to take us to the airport. This was a very friendly- family oriented, cruise on which we didn't feel out of place. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was our first cruise experience. Generally we enjoyed it. The staff were friendly and courteous and our Cabin Steward looked after us very well. For the most part we avoided Raffles - which was chaotic and noisy. The Windows ... Read More
This was our first cruise experience. Generally we enjoyed it. The staff were friendly and courteous and our Cabin Steward looked after us very well. For the most part we avoided Raffles - which was chaotic and noisy. The Windows restaurant was excellent and we also enjoyed the specialty restaurants. Shore excursion organisation was also very good. We had a Balcony Stateroom which we felt was clean but with tired decor and furnishings. It was also smaller than we expected. We joined the cruise at Malaga, which was not the main embarkation point - it took four hours for one of our suitcases to get to our cabin The Library on board was too small for the the numbers seeking to use it and there was a distinct lack of quiet lounges where you could go to read or just talk. There was an obsession with loud music in the common areas which was intrusive and to a degree spoiled the overall ambiance and experience for us. Music from the Galaxy lounge also intruded into the library! Although we enjoyed aspects of the cruise, there was an over concentration on loud activities at the expense of those who might prefer a quieter experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
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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