9 Norwegian Spirit Gay & Lesbian Cruise Reviews

We have cruised with this cruise line several times. We had always had a good experience but since our last cruise I am a vegetarian and can only comment on the lack of vegetarian options are atrocious Lack lustre curry stir fried ... Read More
We have cruised with this cruise line several times. We had always had a good experience but since our last cruise I am a vegetarian and can only comment on the lack of vegetarian options are atrocious Lack lustre curry stir fried vegetables fried rice , or salad were the only option for meals and so the only meal worth looking forward to was breakfast There are no vegan options either. We met really lovely people, entertained by the Acoustic Soul brothers excellent!! And the piano virtuoso Ian West who tinkled the ivories like a legend. Some of the stops were by tender and can be slightly precarious for older persons however the staff were always helpful, some of the stops had very steep slopes so looking at the shore excursions need to be considered before booking The ship itself had a good variety of entertainment great swimming pool and cheerful staff. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Amazing cruise... 14 days ONE way Barcelona to Venice. You can not beat the itinerary - it is very cool and a very good value for how many stops. Not many cruise ships go to France, Italy, 2 stops in Greece, 2 stops in Turkey, Croatia ... Read More
Amazing cruise... 14 days ONE way Barcelona to Venice. You can not beat the itinerary - it is very cool and a very good value for how many stops. Not many cruise ships go to France, Italy, 2 stops in Greece, 2 stops in Turkey, Croatia and Montenegro and end in Venice! Is this ship or NCL perfect? Of course not - but I knew this going into the cruise. You really need to look at what you paid vs. how many days and how many stops and factor this into consideration. My cabin was two interior rooms on deck 6... Nice rooms although as an older ship the bathrooms smelled like sewer really bad, particularly in the morning. My room steward tried his best, but after a while I sensed he just gave up - gotta love mandatory tips these days, service only goes so far. Dining is hit or miss. The buffet had some very good moments. The Indian food was superb as the main chef is Indian. The seafood was good - really had no issues with the buffet at all. The Italian restaurant is not great, most items on the buffet are better although the manager was a great guy. The french restaurant was pretty bad as well - not terrible, but not great. Cagneys steak house, again not memorable - really needs work. Hibachi was VERY good however YOU MUST reserve BEFORE the cruise as they only have ONE table - I repeat YOU MUST reserve ONLINE before the cruise or you will NOT do Hibachi unless someone cancels. A few dining tips... Children can eat off of the kids menu at ANY specialty restaurant for FREE. This is common, so do not worry about taking the kids to Cagneys steak house it is not a problem. Entertainment is pretty poor on the ship except CRIPTON the illusionist - this guy is amazing and a real treat to have on board the ship. Very nice guy ass well! The theater is way too small and you must arrive A MINIMUM of 30 minutes prior or you will NOT see any shows, we were turned away 4 times - finally gave up on the shows, the theater is just ridiculous. Casino like all NCL is the BEST at sea - live poker (if you can get at least 4 players), black jack , slot and poker tournaments - great casino staff, good people. If you like gaming NCL is better than ANY ship at sea - I stand by this statement! No issues embarking / debarking is easy and fast. Shore excursions are very organized no and pricing is fair except in Rome it is inflated a bit... Shopping on the ship is almost non existent, the ship store is depressing... Photos are good, you can save at least 50% by pre paying ONLINE and buying photo packages. Internet on the ship is pretty good but like all ships at times and some locations it is spotty. NCL has an UNLIMITED package you can buy online and you should. It is well worth the money considering the length of the cruise. Kids camp is just OK typical NCL - staff was sufficient. Spa was ok, nothing spectacular small and they provide NO disposable shoes - so bring slippers unless you want to catch a foot fungus. Watch your spa bill it is usually wrong as they do give discounts on your first, second and third visit but only on select services - be sure to inquire in advance never assume a discount applies. Overall the ship is older, but never too crowded which is nice. Could use a few more amenities but like I said you have to factor in the cost paid as well. I think I will return on this same cruise next year again because the value of price paid to what I received was really good. Enjoy! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Whilst this was my 15th (8th with NCL) cruise it was my first on one of NCLs small ships after having sailed on Epic, Breakaway and Getaway and RCCL ships like Independence of the seas, all of which are double Spirit's size I was ... Read More
Whilst this was my 15th (8th with NCL) cruise it was my first on one of NCLs small ships after having sailed on Epic, Breakaway and Getaway and RCCL ships like Independence of the seas, all of which are double Spirit's size I was slightly worried about going back to a small ship. However I loved the ship layout and the crew were probably amongst the best on any cruise I've done. Whilst the weather was a bit poor with some cold days and winds that caused some movement (again so used to the larger ships that hardly move) it was very enjoyable. The cabin was looking a bit tired, and some things like the toilet flush were a bit temperamental the bed/mattress seemed new. I missed the interactive TV feature to check onboard account etc and of course no iconcierge app for booking restaurants. The theatre is weird entering by the stage, so also a lot harder to sneak out mid performance!! Loved the wrap-around promenade deck and so plenty of sea views. The Raffles buffet was always great for breakfast with plenty of "overspill" tables on the terrace which was very useful. Ate at Cagneys one night. Food was good but service was slow. 2hrs from seated to dessert. Teppenyaki was better service but only one table so books up fast. But for me the crew, especially the bar staff in the Biergarten and Henry's made it really enjoyable. From Barcelona the embarkation and disembarkation are always simple and efficient. I'd definitely consider her again for a future cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
First of all, I live in New Orleans, where the Spirit sailed from, so it was just a cab ride to the pier. Embarkation was very easy. There was plenty of time to get familiar with the ship, and have a nice lunch in the Windows dining ... Read More
First of all, I live in New Orleans, where the Spirit sailed from, so it was just a cab ride to the pier. Embarkation was very easy. There was plenty of time to get familiar with the ship, and have a nice lunch in the Windows dining room, before the muster drill and sailing. The sailing was beautiful as we wove our way down the Mississippi. I was sailing with the "Aquafest" group - gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered. We accounted for about 30% of the passengers on board, and had a great time. NCL was wonderful in accommodating our functions and events. Our cabin was great, clean, a little tight - but I do not spend much time in it. We ate only one dinner in the Windows main dining room, the first night, and it was pleasant and good. I know the complaints are legion about how NCL pushes the specialty restaurants and sticks the dining room with a single menu, but I for one am game for the specialty dining. We ate at Le Bistro two nights - and it's still our favorite. (The mushroom soup there is such a treat!) We ate at Cagney's twice. It is much better than the Cagney's on the Dawn. Great steaks! We ate at Shogun one night and enjoyed the Asian flavors there. All good, and all worth it. All staffed with a great crew. . . . BUT . . . La Trattoria is a big disappointment, especially if you enjoy wine with your meal. Fortunately the up charge is marginal. Except for the carafes of Chianti, the staff is totally confused about the wines on the menu (not those on the wine list - those actually on the menu) - and it takes them a long time to get you a drink. I think they have to go to a remote bar to obtain them. The Americano cocktail, also on the menu, was, in fact, very good, and one of the best drinks I had on board. Otherwise, order something with red sauce and go for the Chianti - I think it was being kept nearby . . . Moreover, I later realized this venue is merely a sectioned off portion of the Raffles Court buffet. Nothing special at all. My only other "bitch gripe" is the Broadway style production show. The singers and dancers all did a great job, let there be no mistake. But, where was the band? Where were the musicians? Is this professional karaoke? Music in Champagne Charlies at cocktail time is wonderful. I forget their name, but the male/female duo were absolutely beautiful. Especially stirring was their rendition of "My Heart Will Go On" - but hearing it on board a ship was a little bit creepy! It was Hallowe'en, after all. Also, Benny Martini in the same lounge is not to be missed. The pool deck was great. Four spas around the pool. Pool is pretty good size! I enjoyed doing laps in it first thing in the morning. Friendly staff at the pool. On sea days they set up the grill for great burgers, but even better is the wonderful paella they put out at the same time and place. Great Caribbean beats from the pool band. Some sceney see and be seen people watching. All fun! We only did one NCL shore excursion - a "catamaran" snorkel/beach afternoon in Belize. The catamaran was more like a shuttle - no sail, and no rope net to lay on and watch the sea fly by underneath. The staff was nice and attentive, however. And the reef was beautiful. Great snorkeling. A lot of people crammed on board - but still a great time. Unfortunately one of the participants had a bad reaction to a sting from one of the small jellyfish in the water, and we had to end the snorkeling early to swing by the ship. The ship had medical staff on the catamaran as soon as we arrived. We had the opportunity to get back on the ship there, which we did, being more interested in the snorkeling than the beach. NCL credited us 25% of the excursion price - on their own volition. They had not heard any complaints from us, at least. Not as great as what NCL put together in 2010 in Barbados, but still a fun time. I would do it again. Our other shore excursions were beach parties put together by Aquafest, and they were great. I call Costa Maya "The Magic Mayan Kingdom" - if you've never been there, and your cruise is porting there, plan on doing an excursion. The Costa Maya Compound is one flat soda. In Cozumel we just shopped. Los Cinques Soles is the best place there for shopping/eating/margaritas. No high pressure sales tactics! Nice stuff! I'm sailing with Aquafest and NCL Hallowe'en 2012! We booked that baby on board. 11 nights out of Miami. Norwegian Sun. Can't wait! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
To see the cruise through my eyes you have to understand a little about me. With this in mind, I'm a 29 year old male who sailed on the Norwegian Spirit from 8/28/11 through 9/6/11 and yes the end date of the cruise was a Tuesday ... Read More
To see the cruise through my eyes you have to understand a little about me. With this in mind, I'm a 29 year old male who sailed on the Norwegian Spirit from 8/28/11 through 9/6/11 and yes the end date of the cruise was a Tuesday morning. This was my 22nd cruise overall and my 12th with Norwegian Cruise Line. This was also my third time on the Norwegian Spirit. Other cruise lines I've cruised on include Celebrity (x4), Princess (x5), Royal Caribbean (x1) and once on Carnival. This cruise was meant to be a relaxing vacation and as such there are not a lot of shore excursions. Pre-Cruise Stay: NEW ORLEANS DAUPHINE HOTEL - Dauphine St, French Quarter It is a very well appointed hotel room with double beds and nice marble in the bathroom. Location is one street north of Bourbon so the location was supposed to be quieter. The hotel offers a complimentary beverage at check-in and complimentary continental breakfast in the morning. I would recommend this hotel as it is extremely clean and the location is right. The only drawback I caution you against is where your room is located within the hotel. We stayed in the courtyard of the carriage house and it was just above where the valet parking was. At 3-4AM on Saturday morning someone's car alarm went off and sounded like a megaphone in there. It kept going off for an hour before it finally stopped and I passed back out. The front desk of the hotel wasn't picking up when I called about it but it did eventually stop. NEW ORLEANS This was my first time to New Orleans and this was part of the reason for booking this cruise. I wanted to experience the city, specifically the French Quarter and the infamous Bourbon St. Upon arrival to New Orleans and just after checking into our hotel, we headed to Walgreens on Canal St. On our way down there we walked over to Bourbon St to take it in before heading down Dauphine. We heard pops and thought it was fireworks or something related. We had no clue and crossed Canal into Walgreens. When we came out there was police tape encasing the entire block where we were and the pops were actually gunfire! Welcome to New Orleans: A guy is shot in the groin for trying to get with his shooter's girl. It made the news that night and we saw the story. This didn't make me feel safe at all. We at the Chartres House Cafe and I had what would be my first Jambalaya of the trip. Turns out I'd eat it noon and night for the next two days until boarding the Spirit as it was the only other menu option available in most restaurants in New Orleans that didn't have seafood in it. I couldn't wait for NCL's great food! On Saturday, our full day in NOLA, we strolled around and took a self-guided walking tour of the French Quarter. You could spend a whole day in Jackson Square in all the museums right there and we pretty much did just that. Make sure you see the exhibit on Hurricanes in the building to the right of the cathedral. It's well worth the money and very moving, especially in the last room with the video. We bought the museum combination pass for all of them so after hitting all the museums including the race exhibit at the US Mint we were tired. We jumped on the trolley and headed out to the Garden District. We took the trolley to the end of the line and then rode it back to Canal St. We had dinner in the diner diagonally across from the hotel and returned back to the hotel. DAY 1: NEW ORLEANS & EMBARKATION We headed over to the pier and arrived around 11:30AM. Our bags were taken quickly and we were inside and through security very fast. Check in was a breeze since I am a Gold Latitudes member, the line on this cruise was non-existent! From arrival until the time we boarded the ship was just under a half hour. It couldn't have been any faster and it flowed nicely. Bravo to New Orleans shoreside operations! After a leisurely lunch, the rooms were already available for occupancy. The announcement came just after 1PM. We headed up to our stateroom to drop off the bags and to get somewhat settled in. I was in dire need to take a disco nap. CABIN 9026 - BALCONY (Starboard Side) This is a standard balcony accommodation with two beds and a sofa by the balcony. Our room was in pristine order. Everything worked as it should have and it didn't have any visible signs of wear and tear. There was some minor rust on the balcony but I'm sure that'll be addressed in dry dock in three weeks time. I love the ability of NCL's showers to remove the shower head so as a tall guy I can actually reach my head with it. NCL has the best shower setup of any ship in any fleet I've sailed on! PUBLIC SPACES: As I mentioned before, I've sailed on the Norwegian Spirit twice before (once in 2009 and again in 2010 to Bermuda). Year over year I couldn't find anything wrong with her. The carpeting and all public areas are very well kept. If it were not for some changes to her underside, I'd really say the Spirit didn't need her upcoming dry dock. Tidbits of information from higher ups onboard the Spirit stated some changes passengers will see post-drydock include the introduction of a galley and action stations to the Raffles Buffet and flat screen TVs in each of the staterooms. This will only serve to enhance the guest experience on what is already the most beautiful ship in NCL's fleet. Her Asian dEcor I fell in love with on the first cruise and it's so intricate, you can clearly see that Star Cruises spent a lot of money building this ship and it's an absolute gem in the Norwegian fleet. I love the Spirit's dEcor! FELLOW CRUISERS: About 90% of the cruisers were from the TX, LA, AK, MI area and as a result the entertainment onboard slanted towards a lot of Country music and hoe-downs and related country matters. It seemed like every night there was something country going on aboard the ship. If you like this sort of stuff then you've found your ship! After the lifeboat drill it was back to the cabin to change and get ready for dinner and watch the sail away from our balcony. I thought the Charles River in Boston had dirty water, it was nothing compared to what the Mississippi River has! We turned around right at the bridge and started to head down the river. We requested a window seat in Windows Main Dining Room and met the fantastic server team of Edzel Aberia (Senior Waiter) and Rowena Jomawan (Junior Waitress). Both were so friendly during the dinner service and really made such a warm welcome back aboard we stuck with them for the rest of the trip for the most part. Some familiar dining room faces were also there from the last cruise including Kwasi from St. Lucia who came over and said hello. After dinner we had some time to waste before the "Welcome Aboard Show" and it left an opportunity to go up on deck and watch the sunset over the MI river. We stayed up by the helicopter pad sitting on stacked chairs until well after sunset before heading to the show. The dusk seemed to last forever as the land to the West of NOLA is largely flat and allowed it to last seemingly forever. SPOTLIGHT SHOWTIME: "Welcome Aboard Show" featuring the Norwegian Spirit production cast, illusionist Fabien Solaz, Jose & Patti and Comedian Sam Griesbaum. It was a sampling of the entertainment for the entire cruise. The production cast had changed from the previous year but the routine was the same for the opening show. Good to watch. The stand outs were Jose & Patti. This incredibly talented duo has a loyal following on Cruise Critic and I didn't know why. Now I do, they're incredible! They sing just about any song and do it very very well. The comedian Sam Griesbaum was not funny and I don't know where they got him from. Stayed up on the balcony and watched the river go by while waiting for a good time to head down to the disco to give DJ Vibe a CD of music for White Hot Party later in the cruise. I didn't stick around too long in the disco and headed to bed early. DAY 2: SEA DAY After sleeping in later than normal, it was off to the Cruise Critic Meet & Greet in Henry's Pub. For the people who showed up, it paid off as they got to meet the manager of every department onboard and the Captain! Thanks to Klaus Lugmaier who is actually the Director of Hotel Operations for NCL's entire fleet for taking the lead on the introductions and taking the time to talk to us. As the host for this event, I was honored that he shared some of the details of what was going to happen to my beloved ship in dry dock. The one person I recognized year over year was Chef Hans-Peter who instantly came over and greeted me warmly back to the Norwegian Spirit. After a small request for a recipe for a friend, Chef Hans-Peter had to return to his duties. He did stop my mom who was being a wall flower and said a very warm welcome back to her as well. Peter really made this cruise incredible for mom and me (as you'll see by continuing to read). Special shout out to Raquel "Kelly" Nunez for setting up the meet and greet and making sure it went smoothly. She was so nice throughout the voyage. We headed up to Raffles Court for a quick lunch before the Latitudes Party in the Galaxy of the Stars. Out of all the Latitudes meetings I've been to with all the Latitudes tiers, this one was the least attended. Usually Galaxy of the Stars is overflowing with people and is standing room only when the Spirit sails from Boston. This cruise was so much different. The Gold and Platinum Latitudes didn't have a separate gathering either this trip because there were so few of us onboard. The Captain came by and said a nice greeting and introduced the senior management team. Afterward it was back for a quick disco nap and to get ready for dinner and the show. Tonight we requested the aft window section and since I found Edzel in the buffet in the morning I had asked for his section, he didn't start until later though so it left us with a mix of waiters and waitresses which was dizzying. All of them were nice but we had far too many to remember any of their names! This night we met an incredible Assistant Maitre' D named Shridhar Dhuri or simply "Dhuri" who asked us what we liked each night and about our special request for food. Dhuri set everything up for us that it was handled so nicely. We would contact him for the time we'd be arriving into the Windows Dining room and he always had a table for us. He always checked in multiple times during the dinner service to see how the day went and how the food was. SPOTLIGHT SHOWTIME: "On Broadway" New with this dance troupe was the musical "Jersey Boys" from the last time I saw this production. What a fantastic way to kick off one of my favorite NCL productions. Any production which pays tribute to good Broadway shows always gets rave reviews from me. Other productions touched upon in this show included Mamma Mia, Wicked and Movin' Out. Definitely a show to catch! After the show and Friends of Dorothy it was time to change for the disco. I stuck around for a bit and danced for a little while before retiring. DAY 3: COSTA MAYA, MEXICO Today was a day about getting to the beach you can see from the ship and just relaxing. With some haggling with one of two vendors for golf carts behind the port shopping area, we were off in a golf cart to the beach. I'd done this last year on Spring Break and it's the easiest and most convenient way to go back and forth and do whatever in Costa Maya. Taxis are affordable but the beach is long so the golf cart helps get you around. I made it over to the resort area I love most and it's so far away from the rest of them that it's really hidden and really nice. It was a nice relaxing day at the beach for mom and me. Back on the ship it was time to get ready for dinner in Windows restaurant with the talented server team of Edzel and Rowena with everything set in place by Dhuri. Sunshine, the Hostess for Windows, made sure we were seated in the right section and right by a window. I couldn't have asked for better service all the way around. SPOTLIGHT SHOWTIME: "Duo Acobatique" Maria and Dmitri were on the ship the last time I was onboard but the show had changed. It was less centered on acrobatics and more on dance and this time it incorporated a number from their son who is an aspiring acrobat at the young age of five. If you like Cirque style shows then this one is not to be missed! GAME SHOW: "Battle of the Sexes" Usually every cruise I try and hit at least a few of these which are alternatives or between the major production shows. This battle of the sexes was pretty weak. The guy's team won but the energy from the Cruise Director's staff was lacking to get participants involved. Finally people on each side wound up pulling audience members into it. It was a fun game show but not the energy that I've seen before. After a brief stop by Friends of Dorothy it was off to the disco for 10PM and hanging out with West (Bartender) and new friends at Maharini's Bar. The disco really didn't pick up this night either so it was a fairly early night for sleep. DAY 4: ROATAN, HONDURAS I've been to Roatan several times. Going ashore means going to shops at the pier area and the grocery store down the street and heading back to the ship. This port also allows for fantastic pictures of the cruise ship using natural island flora. Keep this in mind if you're a good photographer with a good eye for setting up shots. Since I had mom with me I stayed around the port area and didn't go to the other side of the island where the nice beaches are. Instead, I headed back on the ship and used the fitness center which was empty. SPECIALTY RESTAURANT: Cagney's Steakhouse My favorite specialty restaurant on any NCL ship is the steakhouse. I had the succulent jumbo shrimp cocktail with a specialty soup and then a very large cut of steak that the Executive Chef Hans-Peter recommended for me. It was huge and it was cooked to order. Dessert was a special eggplant ice cream which is a special creation of Chef Peter. I cannot say enough about Chef Peter. The whole cruise he took very good care of mom and I and his culinary creations are darn good! SPOTLIGHT SHOWTIME: "Soul Rockin' Nights" This is the least favorite of the NCL productions on the Norwegian Spirit as I'm not a fan of rock music. However, mom found it to be the best show of the three. It depends on your perspective of the genre of rock music as to whether or not you'll like it but the performers were not bad. It is a one show only deal so if you miss the 7:15PM show then you're out of luck as it's not repeated at 9:15PM like the rest of the shows are. I had an issue with my keycard not working so I headed down to the Guest Relations desk for a replacement and mom took in the show of Jose & Patti at Champagne Charlie's. Jose & Patti would perform here nearly every night of the cruise and no matter what decade of songs they were singing, they were always enjoyable and spot on. This was a hidden gem on the ship so if you happen to see this duo on the FreeStyle Daily - make sure you stop by and see them! I stayed after I got the keycard situation worked out before heading to Motown night in Maharini's. It was fun and I made some new friends that night who liked to dance (finally)!! DAY 5: BELIZE CITY, BELIZE I had a nice leisurely breakfast on the balcony with mom watching all the tender boats fill up and zip off to shore. By the time we needed to go for the shore excursion, it was open tenders and most of the ship was already off. As we were leaving the ship, two contractors from Rolls Royce boarded. I found out later they were there in preparation for the upcoming drydock and to get everything in place for it. NCL SHORE EXCURSION: Calypso Train Tour: This one hour narrated tour of Belize includes complimentary water and plantain banana chips. It gives you the highlights of both the rich and poor sides of Belize City and a history of the country's independence from Britain. It takes you by several sights and it well worth the money. Just make sure you hold onto your belongings carefully as the roads in Belize need some repaving you bounce around a bit and things can fall off the trolley. There are step stools available for people with mobility issues (such as arthritic knees) and the tour operator provides assistance for those needing it. An easy tour for a decent price and gives you an introduction to Belize. I had been to this port four times but never took this tour. If you're an adventure person then definitely do the cave tubing tour! After the train tour but before heading back I had the customary lunch and Belikin Beer at the Wet Lizard above one of the terminal buildings. The Wet Lizard is usually bustling with activity but the Spirit was the only ship in port that day so it was fairly dead. Still nice to have lunch shore-side and watch the tenders come and go. Afterward it was back to the ship for a disco nap for the much anticipated dance night of the cruise… the White HOT Party! STARDUST SHOWTIME: "The Second City" After dinner in Windows with the fantastic duo of Edzel and Rowena, it was time for some comedy. I've seen the Second City show on many ships and while it's called somewhat improv, some of it is not really as it is the same thing heard over and over again on every NCL cruise that has a cast of Second City on it. I would like to say they're good but if you hear them repeatedly by cruising frequently, well they're just downright boring. I would recommend them if you haven't seen their act before though because it is funny if you haven't seen it before! GAME SHOW: "Newlywed, Not So Newlywed" Trying to get the oldest couple to join the show was a very hard trick to pull off and took quite a while. The Cruise Director was introduced before the other two couples were picked from the ticketing system. The game show seemed disorganized this time around. I don't know if the Cruise Director's staff was just tired or what was going on. Once everything got going, some of the responses were just downright jaw dropping - especially from the older couple and it made up for the slow start. This is definitely a good game show if you get the right couples involved. DISCO NIGHT: NCL's Signature White Hot Party The start of the party is in Galaxy of the Stars with ice sculptures and cruise staff with angel wings donning white attire. Drinks are served in twinkling bottom drink glasses. The production dancers come up and do a number and stay for the line dance songs (eg electric slide, etc) and then the dance floor opens for regular music. The party continued after hours downstairs in Maharini's Lounge where there was plenty of conversation to be had. The only member of the cruise staff who was out and I actually talked to at length was Johnnie who had just come in Belize and wasn't supposed to start until next cruise as Assistant Cruise Director. Nice guy and I had a nice conversation with him. Returned to the cabin after having an after hours snack at Blue Lagoon around 4AM. DAY 6: COZUMEL, MEXICO I don't know why the White Hot Party doesn't have a sea day after it because I definitely needed a sea day after it! We arrived in Cozumel and tied up. I had breakfast on the balcony and we left for the shore excursion. NCL SHORE EXCURSION: Cozumel Semi-Sub Tour: From the Punta Langosta pier in downtown we took a taxi to the Royal Caribbean pier. After boarding the semi-sub we were brought down immediately to the glass bottom where we stayed until the ship was docked again. The view is of a coral reef which was largely destroyed in 2005 when Hurricane Wilma pummeled the small Mexican island. (I remember this Hurricane well as I took a cruise out of Fort Lauderdale when Wilma was coming straight for Florida.) There is only some 300 feet of what was once over 1,000 feet long coral reef. We circled it quite a number of times and fish showed up to show off their stuff and then we circled back. It's a neat little excursion and I would recommend it. Caution for those with mobility issues as you do have to go down a set of stairs into the sub and for those with claustrophobia issues as the door to the top is closed at all times and you are in the bottom part for the entire time during the tour (unless you're getting sea sick and then you go topside). Back to the ship for lunch and some shopping at the mall across from the Punta Langosta pier and then into Carlos N Charlie's for a yard drink. Now that Senor Frogs has a half location up by the Carnival and Royal Caribbean piers, this place was not hopping as it usually does. I got a yard, consumed about one quarter of it and then headed back to the ship for a nap before watching cast off. It never fails that people in this port invariably miss the ship or there is a list of names announced and this cruise was no different. We had actually untied all the ropes and were starting to thrust away from the pier when I spotted two runners coming down the escalator. We did thrust back to the pier and pick them up and later on I'm sure they were quite thankful we did. SPOTLIGHT SHOWTIME: "Jose & Patti" Throughout the cruise mom and I would stop by this duo and hear their vocal talents and plethora of songs. They never disappointed the whole trip and tonight they were no different during their early show. SPOTLIGHT SHOWTIME: "Elements" This show is a combination of Cirque-style aerials, acrobatics and dance with no vocal components. It is the best show in the NCL fleet in my opinion. I love it each time I see it and we caught the second show. Stay tuned at the end of the show for the Norwegian Way/Wave where a selection of talented crew and the senior officers come out to pay tribute and say goodbye to the guests. The whole show from start to finish is just great. SPECIALTY NIGHT: "NCL's Signature Chocoholic Buffet" On the Norwegian Spirit, the Chocoholic Buffet is held in the Windows Restaurant aft on Deck 6. It's a nice spread of chocolate goodies with elaborate amounts of ice sculptures and decorations made of chocolate. If you like chocolate at all or even just a wee bit, you've got to get to this event! It was immediately following the second show of Elements. We returned to the stateroom where I sat and waited for the midnight Ship-N-Males performance in Maharini's Lounge. I ended up falling asleep and missing the whole thing. BUMMER! DAY 7: SEA DAY I woke up in the morning and the ship was rocking and rolling a little bit. The wind outside was howling and I wondered where this bad weather had come from since we had good weather the entire trip up until now. We left the cabin to go to Guest Relations and do some other errands on the ship so the cabin steward could make up the place and when we returned we found a towel animal of a monkey hanging off our air conditioning vent. While down at Guest Relations there was a map of Tropical Storm Lee showing it going into LA just West of New Orleans. We heard another guest ask if the MS River had been closed and wondered just how bad this was. At approximately 10AM the Captain came on the public address system and announced we were not heading back to New Orleans until Monday because the river had been closed by the US Coast Guard and that further information would be available after 11AM. Seizing the Day Activity: “How to Run a Floating Hotel” A slideshow of what the ship consumes in food, fuel and other things was presented before the floor was opened up to the Captain Kenneth Harstrom, Hotel Director Klaus Lugmaier and Chief Engineer Ioannis Karloutsos. Surprisingly a lot of the questions didn’t have to do with the weather outside and our delayed arrival. This is where I learned why the Rolls Royce people had signed on in Belize. Questions ranged from intriguing to downright silly but the three of them answered them as best they could. They had to leave to attend a conference call with Miami NCL to figure out how to proceed. Another announcement was made around noon letting us know that satellite calls and internet would be free until the ship docked in New Orleans for people to re-do their travel arrangements and that our arrival was expected around 4PM on Monday. This sent a frenzy of people to Guest Relations but the senior management onboard was out in full force to answer questions for everyone and security was present to keep the crowds under control. After getting the flight re-arranged quickly with Southwest who said the airport was closed anyway, it was back to the vacation. We booked a Tuesday flight home as there were no flights late enough on Monday to fit the “planned arrival” time. Seizing the Day Activity: “International Crew Talent Show” Your stateroom stewards, laundry department folks, waiters and waitresses and the rest of the crew work so hard and tirelessly to take care of you, the least a cruiser can do is cheer them on when they have some other talent besides what they’re doing on the ship. Complete with the Tinikling native dance of the Philippines and a hip-hop troop from the same place and a few good singers, this show doesn’t disappoint and was a great sea day activity. Back to change and get ready for dinner in Windows with the fantastic service of Edzel with Dhuri stopping by every now and again to see how things were going before… SPOTLIGHT SHOWTIME: “Farewell Variety: Fabien Solaz & Sam Griesbaum” Since we had another day on the ship, the entertainment line up got shuffled a bit and the 7:15PM show was changed to mirror the 9:15PM show with the comedian and the magician. The magician was great but the comedian was not very funny. GAME SHOW: Adult Quest Mania No matter what the cruise staff comes up with for items, it’s always interesting to watch. I never spoil the ending but lets just say most people prefer if pictures were not taken but I always tell people I never join the team because I’ve seen it too many times and well the saying: “What happens on the ship stays on the ship!” is a lie! Down to the disco for a short bit before attending “Tease: A Night of Burlesque” in the Galaxy of the Stars. It was a nice production by both male and mostly female production dancers with the singers getting in on the action as well. Went back down to the disco until 2AM and then headed to bed. DAY 8: SEA DAY – SUNDAY A leisurely morning of getting up on the ship and going around before heading to a… Seizing the Day Activity: “Culinary Demonstration” This activity was created and thought up by Executive Chef Hans-Peter the previous day when they found out the ship would spend an extra full day at sea. Chef Peter had four tables set up, one as a fruit carving station, another as a vodka pasta sauce station, hot cucumber soup station and finally a bakery station where the person was making roses and showing the audience how to do so. It was a nice event and the audience got to sample the cucumber soup and the vodka sauce with penne. Audience members were also given the recipes which was a nice added bonus. After finishing lunch, there wasn’t much going on around the ship so I took the time to walk the Promenade Deck and do a work out. I thought the gym would be insanely crowded but it turned out not to be nearly empty. The gym has a small free weight area, upper body and one abdominal machine. The cardio deck consists most of treadmills with four bikes and four elliptical machines and one stair step machine. Upon return to the stateroom I found a note on the door from the Captain indicating the ship would not be at the berth in New Orleans on Monday and that he was going to try and embark the pilot on Monday morning and if successful we’d be alongside later on Monday evening and NCL was going to allow passengers to stay onboard and disembark on Tuesday – if needed. Dinner tonight was in the Windows Dining Room with Edzel and Rowena so we could say goodbye and tip them extra for their excellent service throughout the entire cruise. Special requests were nailed down by the third night and you didn’t even have to ask anymore, they just brought it with the appropriate course. After dinner mom attended the “Liars Club” while I called the hotel shoreside booked for Monday night and cancelled. Mom said the Liars Club was ok. SPOTLIGHT SHOWTIME: “An Evening of Enchantment” Jose & Patti was the main draw for attending this one time only 9:15PM show. Other singers included production cast members Lisa Quibell (from New Orleans), Michael Seward and Chase Kamata. It was a great show and is generally a one-show only on the last night of a regular seven day voyage. Be sure you catch it! Out to the disco briefly since the ship was moving a bit too much, it was too dangerous (in my opinion) to be that far forward and try to dance so I turned in early that night. DAY 9: SEA/RIVER DAY I woke up around 8AM to the ship rocking and rolling and going 6 – 7 knots in a very small circle with old oil platforms all around us. I had no clue what was going on other than the ship was really moving and it was dangerous to walk unless you pretended like you had ataxia. I made it around the ship to pick up my breakfast and back to sit inside the cabin to attempt to eat on the balcony. Out of no where, the Carnival Triumph showed up and they had first berthing rights. A pilot boat approached her and she headed for the mouth of the river which was at our bow. We knew we’d at least get into the river and sure enough a pilot boat came out for us and we watched on the starboard side the pilot and a US Coast Guard official come aboard the Promenade Deck (as the waves were too high to embark them on any lower deck) and into the river we went. Seizing the Day Activity: “Chef Peter’s Cook Off” Again Chef Peter stepped up to the plate and offered guests another culinary show but this time, he picked out passengers to cook up Hungarian goulash or at least whoever came close to it would win a free dinner for two in the specialty restaurant of their choice. After a minor technical glitch with the power, the competition was off and the second team got the judges panel vote (which was also made up of passengers) but the closest to the Hungarian goulash actually turned out to be the third team. Both of them got specialty restaurant dinner reservations! After a leisurely lunch, I saw that there was shipboard scavenger hunt (and not the Quest kind either) and decided to partake. It was fun running around the ship for a half hour trying to find everything. Thanks to Raquel “Kelly”, Group Service Coordinator for her letting me borrow her raincoat for the scavenger hunt. We didn’t win it but it was fun running around to all the crew that mom and I made friends with seeking out the items or getting them from our cabin. The conclusion of this event coincided with NCL’s Complimentary Rum Punch. Yes, you read that right! For one hour on Day 9 of the voyage NCL gave out free rum punch at every bar on the ship. It was a very nice gesture of NCL to do. Mom had a cup but as an avid Grey Goose vodka fan I didn’t. SPECIALTY RESTAURANT: NCL’s Signature Le Bistro Restaurant The food was great and it turns out with so many cruises we knew the Maitre’ D of this restaurant from the Norwegian Jewel. Chef Peter stopped by the table personally to wish us a safe journey home and we thanked him for all the special requests he did for us all week. He made sure our dinner was fantastic for the last night onboard. I had the escargot, a steak dish and crème brulee for dessert. It was a very nice way to spend the last night onboard in the anchorage space some 13 nautical miles south of the New Orleans pier. After taking a picture on the Promenade Deck of a sun that was trying to set given all the clouds from Tropical Storm Lee, we headed to the… SPOTLIGHT SHOWTIME: “Farewell Variety Showtime: Take 2” Back by popular demand the Norwegian Spirit singers, dancers, acrobatic duo of Maria and Dmitri, Kyle Dodson (Cruise Director), Jose & Patti and the comedian Sam put together another show to entertain the guests. The show flowed nicely and Jose & Patti again stood out amongst the performances. It was a nice evening show to end the cruise on. It was time to head back to the stateroom and start packing all over again and put the bags out before heading to the disco one last time. Carnival took longer than expected and we were still at anchor well past the time the Captain had originally said. He came on and told the guests that it wasn’t expected to be until after midnight that we’d tie up. I headed to bed around midnight and we still were not moving. At 2:20AM hooting and hollering very loud from the Carnival ship as it went past us down the river made it so there is no way anyone on the Starboard side of the Spirit could have slept through it! DAY 10: DISEMBARKATION – New Orleans – Tuesday, September 6, 2011 Most of the passengers opted for the easy walk-off program and actually started to disembark the ship at 3AM when we were alongside. Our ship had already cleared the non-US citizens on Monday while we were anchored in the river so by the time we got up at 6AM with a wake-up call from Guest Relations; the ship was pretty much a ghost town. After having a sit down breakfast, it was off to the room to pack up and listen for the bag tags. Instead of calling them by color individually, they said all bag tags may disembark. There were so few of us it didn’t matter what color you used, they just wanted us off the ship. 8AM we were shoreside and by 8:30AM we were at the airport thanks to a quick driving taxi! OVERALL: This is the first cruise I’ve ever been on where the culinary/restaurant team has out done the cruise staff. I’m really not a foodie either. On this cruise Executive Chef Hans-Peter took very good care of mom and me from the moment he welcomed us back at the Cruise Critic gathering until the last dinner onboard. This guy is truly a wonderful person and NCL is blessed to have him! The dining room staff was excellent specifically the service from Edzel Aberia, Senior Waiter and his assistant Rowena. Shridhar Dhuri, Assistant Maitre’ D in Windows was also incredible in getting our table setup each night and holding it for us if we ran a little late along with having our favorite server team (Edzel & Rowena) wait on us – even if their section was across the restaurant. The hostess Sunshine was always so pleasant and her assistant Marciel was just as nice. My graduation dinner in Cagney’s was handled very nicely by the talented team of George de Torres and Lyss Torres Chura. Klaus Lugmaier, Director of Hotel Operations for all of NCL was the Hotel Director and every time he saw me out and about he would always check in with me to ask how things were. I did inquire about the placement of the White Hot Party with a port day the next day and he followed up and had the Cruise Director call me and explain why that was the case. Klaus means business and he’s another great asset to NCL! It was great meeting such an incredible man who worked tirelessly on the passenger’s behalf to try and keep us happy during what the crew called a “crisis.” (I didn’t see it as one but a bonus vacation!) Raquel “Kelly” Nunez was everywhere at the end of the cruise and she was always out and about trying to help the guests as much as possible – even taking time to lend me her jacket so I could use it for the scavenger hunt! These great people made the cruise for me and hats off to each and every one of them!! John D’Souza, Spirit’s Concierge, deserves a hat’s off for his help in making contact for a situation of a personal nature during the satellite crunch. We were able to make contact and get everything straightened out fairly quickly to allay any anxiety it may have caused my mom. I wish I could be more specific but he did an excellent job with his help in that situation. Thanks John! Having sailed on the Norwegian Spirit three times over, this trip is definitely the most unique of all three because the staff and crew bent over backwards, starved themselves (quite literally) and hardly slept to take care of the passengers over the last few days of the elongated cruise. It was a job well done and NCL handled it great (front desk staff all the way on up to corporate decisions). I’m proud to say I’m a loyal NCL cruiser now and I highly recommend the Norwegian Spirit to any cruiser considering this ship. If they can weather a storm at sea and handle it flawlessly and with such compassion for their guests, they can handle anything! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
I've read all of the other reviews of the Spirit and NCL--and its like we were on completely different ships/staff. We took this NCL Spirit cruise as part of the Mardi Gras BearCruiseUSA 2011 voyage. I will start with ... Read More
I've read all of the other reviews of the Spirit and NCL--and its like we were on completely different ships/staff. We took this NCL Spirit cruise as part of the Mardi Gras BearCruiseUSA 2011 voyage. I will start with the positives for each topic: 1) The Bear Cruise USA portion was fantastic. The organizers and fellow travelers were a pleasure. The ports and impromptu gatherings provided for many many lasting memories to be made. Getting on the ship was a breeze. 2) The "front line" staff of NCL seem to be the most friendly, hardest working, and eager to please staff on the seas. 3) The NCL Spirit is a beautiful ship. The size of it was just about perfect for a group of our size--you could get away when you wanted, and easily find each other when you wanted as well. 4) Cagney's was the perfect "last evening of the cruise" restaurant--great service, amazing steaks, and the Oysters Rockefeller is not to be missed. We left smiling. 5) Liquor prices were reasonable. We greatly enjoyed 2-for-1 martinis in Champagne Charlie's nightly. The professional entertainers there were extremely talented as well. Now for the negatives. As a rule, my husband and I have a good sense of humor about all of this. That said, I've worked most of my professional life in service industry jobs; all of these complaints are absolutely inexcusable. Not only does NCL know about the issues, but their senior management on the ship were downright apathetic and defensive about complaints raised. 1) If it were not for the memories our group made in the preceding 6 days, disembarkation would have ruined the cruise. An emergency medical evacuation delayed our arrival back into New Orleans significantly. NCL handled the resulting delay abysmally. NCL did not openly communicate what resources were available to find alternate travel plans nor did they provide accurate estimates when we would disembark. At disembarkation, we watched as guests pushed and shoved for 2 hours following the call for guests to (voluntarily) "carry your own luggage off the ship". We experienced similar serious delays on Princess last year disembarking in Puerto Rico, but the entire time Princess apologized profusely. At the end, we were thanking the Princess staff for their professionalism and hoping to return soon. NCL did not once use the words "I'm sorry" or "we apologize" in their announcements. Continually, we heard "We understand there have been delays and we thank you for your patience." That irks me most of all. A sincere apology is free. Note: there were several public areas where passengers were instructed to wait for disembarkation. The restroom facilities near these areas were in deplorable condition. No toilet paper or paper towels, evidence of previous guests, puddles on the floors, etc. 2) Although the front line staff is friendly and eager--they are either woefully understaffed or provided inadequate resources to complete their jobs. A perfect example: when we returned from shore in Roatan around 3:30pm, we wanted food. The buffet was offering only finger sandwiches(??), so we went to the Blue Lagoon. It appeared many others had this idea too. It was a madhouse. A server, Gemma, was incredible--she was balancing her duties at the adjacent bar with assisting servers deliver food in the Blue Lagoon. Still, even the best intentions and enthusiasm couldn't make up for only one restaurant being open, and running out of menu items. Each time we returned from port, it was as if NCL was downright surprised that people might be hungry after a long day of activities. The servers were helpless, and managers we talked to were unapologetic. 3) Such a beautiful ship should not have mildew/mold in the cabin showers and toilets that don't flush until 10 minutes after you press the button. We should have brought this to our cabin steward's attention. However, wasn't he the one cleaning the shower and the toilets? I'm sure he also noticed the stains on the fresh sheets he was putting on our bed. We didn't see him in the hallway to tell him, and we weren't going to go out of our way to complain about little issues that were merely another sign of what we knew: staff can only be enthusiastic and friendly for so long before frustration makes them stop trying. We understand the ship is the oldest in NCL's fleet. It is not showing the signs of age, it is showing the signs of neglect. 4) We strongly suggest you order 2 or even 3 entrees at the Windows dining room if you choose to dine there for dinner. At least 1 of them might be edible. Entire plates of food were terrible: often cold or just badly-prepared. We had gnocchi that were hard as ping pong balls. Pasta was always overcooked; sauces were bland. A tortilla soup had ONE strip of tortilla in the whole bowl, the rest was broth. I'm not making this up! Seafood tasted fishy (old). A table-mate described a vegetarian dish one night as "curry abuse". Breakfast was the only meal we would recommend eating in Windows, and even then it appeared just to be plated food from the buffet. We tried Shogun (for a charge), which we had loved on the NCL Gem last year, but it was a disappointment on the Spirit. Our group reservation for 12 was treated as an imposition. Although some food was tasty (spring rolls, shrimp, bbq spare-ribs), most was cold or flavorless (street noodles, mongolian braised beef). It was not worth the up-charge. The "floor show" was entertaining like a train-wreck. More on that in #5 below. 5) While liquor prices were reasonable, there was a huge problem with college-aged adults on spring break being over-served. NCL reportedly sold unlimited alcohol packages for $250 to several groups of college students. NCL then proceeded to continuously over-serve those guests to the detriment of other's enjoyment of their vacations. At Shogun, we watched as a college student slammed his fists against his table and yelled loudly. The young man then proceeded to drink until he was unable to keep his eyes open. Around the time he placed a linen napkin over his face and swayed back and forth in his chair, he was served a glass of white wine. Later, the individual was served a glass of sake before being unable to find the door to exit the restaurant. He was allowed to wander unescorted through the cruise-ship yelling at other passengers. In what way is NCL being a responsible vendor of alcohol? More than once, these college-aged students were seen sleeping in the hallways because they couldn't find their rooms. The ship ran out of Pina Colada mix on the second day of the cruise. They went on to run out of rail rum, rail vodka, Bud Light, Fosters, and Dos Equis to name a few. The NCL front-line staff profusely apologized; the managers shrugged and offered a more expensive beverage. Any time we brought up a concern about a clearly intoxicated guest being served additional alcohol, the front-line staff said they already knew about the problem and suggested we speak with a manager. When we spoke with a manager, they were quick with an excuse and continued serving the drunk guests. Eventually we stopped complaining to staff, and started sharing our poor experience with fellow guests--our experience was shared by many of them as well. Near the last day of the cruise, the ships executive staff were made available in an open meeting with guests. The management team's response to the overwhelming chorus of dissatisfied passengers was, "Well, it IS spring break." Well, it IS our money, and we will always choose your competitor in the future. NCL... you're now free to "Whatever." Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
About Me: I'm a 28 year old male who sailed with his 60 year old mother on the May 21, 2010 sailing of the Norwegian Spirit from Boston to Bermuda. This was my fourth NCL cruise this year sailing twice on the Norwegian Jewel and once ... Read More
About Me: I'm a 28 year old male who sailed with his 60 year old mother on the May 21, 2010 sailing of the Norwegian Spirit from Boston to Bermuda. This was my fourth NCL cruise this year sailing twice on the Norwegian Jewel and once on Norwegian Sky and my ninth NCL cruise overall. I've sailed on other cruise lines including with Princess (5x), Celebrity (3x), RCCL (1x) and Carnival (1x). I primarily cruise NCL these days switching completely from Princess as of January 2009. I prefer the FreeStyle concept and love NCL for their innovations they've brought to the cruise industry. With that said now here's my review... Embarkation: For Boston this process went VERY smoothly. This was my third time cruising out of Boston and the other two times had torturous embarkations with long lines for everything from getting the bags to checking in. This time it was not the case. We got rid of our bags promptly and walked inside the terminal and through security to the check in counter where there was a five minute wait and then it was our turn. Then it was right up the escalator and onto the ship after being greeted by Bruce (Concierge). Before we knew it we were having lunch! I don't know how NCL fixed this problem from the past two years but it was a very enjoyable embarkation! The Ship: The title of my review is inspired by her Oriental dEcor. Originally the SuperStar Leo she is now some 12 years old and in the public areas she's not showing her age at all. Everything looks brand new and is well polished and shiny. Her dry dock just over a year ago probably helped to keep her looking so fresh and new. Each of her specialty restaurants have incredible artwork - mostly Asian inspired (minus LeBistro and Windows). Our favorite dining room was Windows because you could see daylight no matter what part of the dining room you are in. Other public venues I enjoyed this trip included Cagney's Steakhouse, Le Bistro and Maharini's Nightclub. The gym onboard is not as well appointed as the Jewel class ships with less equipment available and squished together. This is due to the lack of aerobics studio so part of the gym serves as this space. The Stateroom: Our cabin was 11010 for this voyage. This was the only part of the entire ship where we thought she was showing her age. While not in a sad state of disrepair things were noticeably broken but easily fixed (for the most part). A handle on the nightstand drawer came loose and hung down. It was repaired by maintenance in 24 hours after it came loose. The bathroom tile needed re-grouting in the shower badly. I think since the bathrooms take the most abuse from passengers for a 12 year old ship it was in an ok shape. The carpeting in the stateroom had been recently replaced though as it had no spots showing wear and was stain free. Food: To our pleasant surprise one of the very few familiar faces onboard from last year was the Executive Chef Hans Peter. We knew we were in great hands in the culinary department when we saw him out and about the first night. He is very friendly and always seeking guest feedback about the food onboard. Love NCL's chilled soups and didn't miss any of the favorites this cruise! I've cruised so frequently with NCL to know their menus inside and out and refer to them by their dinner numbers. Dinner 5 is my least favorite of the entire menu series on NCL. We did venture to two specialty restaurants this cruise and it was to Cagney's Steakhouse whilst docked in Bermuda and the other time was to Le Bistro. The food in Cagney's was excellent. Le Bistro onboard the Spirit has an open kitchen and so the food is really fresh and hot! Love the escargot in Le Bistro and also on the Dinner 7 menu. Great work Peter! Fellow Passengers: The cruise from Boston always has such a mixed crowd and this cruise proved that you are as only as old as you act! I had a blast making friends of all ages this sailing. Bostonians don't seem to appreciate vocal house music as much so the disco wasn't as hopping as I would have liked but I understand a DJ has to play to their crowd and majority rules. Now here's what I did on a day-to-day basis so that you can gauge the cruise as seen through my age group's eyes: Day 1: Boston, MA - Embarkation - After boarding the Spirit we had a leisurely lunch. From there it was to the stateroom to drop off the bags which were ready just before 2PM. Hung out in the cabin for a while getting some of the carry-on stuff put away before watching the ship cast off from the balcony. Our cabin was on the starboard side and it had great sight lines to the bridge which is on the same deck. We watched the Captain pull away from the pier using the thrusters and such. It was neater than being up on deck. After they cleared out of that bridge wing we went upstairs to the Tivoli pool area and finished watching the ship back out and turn around. After freshening up really quickly and changing into the clothes which arrived at some point when we were up on deck we headed to dinner at Window's Restaurant. Dinner was excellent and then it was off to the one show only Paul Scally & Friends. It's a variety show where you get to see clips of what the entertainment will be throughout the vacation. Great way to kick off the cruise! For me it was off to Maharini's Nightclub to meet DJ Jasper and give him a CD for the White Hot Party. Since I was early to the club it was nice to actually get to talk with him and get to know him a little bit. I live for nightlife so it's good to get to know the DJ and their likes. DJ Jasper gauged his crowd and did very well during the rest of the cruise with playing to everyone's favorites. I'm sure the bar revenue numbers is proof positive that he knows what he's doing. Day 2: Sea Day - Sea days are designed to sleep in and that's what any late night owl would be doing. My day started around lunch time and was just a lazy day at sea. Did some power walking of the Promenade Deck and poked around the shops onboard before taking a PM disco nap. Dinner tonight was in Window's Restaurant and was flipped around. Usually the menus are sequential but on this trip we had Dinner 3 menu on the second night. Instead of having Beef Wellington we had the Prime Rib. No biggie. I like both menus and welcomed a change to the menu sequence! Next it was off to Stardust Showtime of "On Broadway." With the new cast that signed on some four weeks previous there was a change to this show from last year. Some of the musicals were taken out (most noticeably my favorite "Hairspray") and were replaced with a few numbers from "In The Heights" and "Movin' Out." The new cast was incredible both on-stage and off-stage. I loved the Mamma Mia numbers at the end and the cast really seemed to come alive during this part of the performance. Great show and not to be missed! Back to Maharini's after briefly checking out the 70's Groove Dance Party in Galaxy of the Stars for a night of dancing and chatter with new found friends. Day 3: Sea Day / Heritage Wharf, Bermuda - After a leisurely breakfast on the balcony and watching the Spirit approach Bermuda we hung out and watched the ship pull into its berth on the Promenade Deck. We actually arrived and cleared customs earlier than anticipated so we watched the people getting off the ship before having lunch in Windows. Once we knew everyone was off the ship and the mad rush was completed we leisurely went ashore and explored the shops in the dockyard and Clock Tower Mall. All the vendors are pretty much the same as they were in 2009. Nothing new to see there and the pharmacy remained a popular place to get Coca-Cola products (as NCL now sells Pepsi products exclusively). After walking around for a bit it was back to the ship to get ready for Cagney's Steakhouse and some al-fresco dining on the Promenade Deck. After checking several times about whether this event was still on because there was a slight breeze on deck, we showed up and were shown to a table inside. It was explained to us that it was simply too windy and it really was to dine outside. Things would have flown off the tables. This is a hidden gem to dine outside and watch the sunset and it's ONLY available on days when the ship is in port (Sunday and Monday nights) and there is good weather. Had a nice Porterhouse steak and ate it all myself to the surprise of Svetlana Kostunko, waitress and Rogeliza Nanad, hostess. Both were very attentive to our needs and Executive Chef Peter even stopped by for a few minutes to chat and make sure dinner was enjoyable and it was. Tonight's show was Duo Acrobatique starring Roberto & Dorota. This is a definite must-see show. They explain what they're doing and just how dangerous it really is so that you will appreciate their performance later in the week during Elements. Two show times given of 7:15 and 9:15PM. Galaxy of the Stars hosted the 50's & 60's Sock Hop while the disco was largely dead this night because Snorkel Park and Hammerheads on the other side of the dockyard was hosting their opening night party. I went in and checked it out. It's $5 for Spirit passengers and free for the Spirit crew. Drinks are slightly more expensive from what you'd pay onboard depending on what it is that you are drinking. The music was mostly reggae tunes and some hip hop. There were a few DJs spinning that night. Day 4: Bermuda - BERMUDA DAY - Since this is Bermuda's annual holiday celebration with parades and festive outdoor parties we went down to Hamilton to check it out. We were skeptical that the parade would even happen but the weather gods were on Bermuda's side and the really rainy weather and winds had largely died down for the 4 hour long parade. It's the longest parade I've ever attended! Bermudians really like their dance routines, most of which was to reggae or hip hop music. We were opposite the main viewing stage with all the public officials from the island including the Premier and his wife. Since it was a national holiday in Bermuda very few shops were open and those that were in Hamilton shut down at 1:30PM to catch the parade going down Front Street. After the parade mom and I headed back to the ship. After another great dinner in Window's Restaurant mom and I attended the show of the Second City comedy troupe. It was an ok entertainment option. The weather was no cooperative to have the deck party out on deck so it was relocated to Galaxy of the Stars. I lurked around that for a bit and it just seemed to lack energy so I went to bed early and skipped Maharini's completely. Day 5: Bermuda - St. George's - Since the weather was so windy there was no direct route to St. George's as the ferry was not running. As a result you had to take the fast ferry to Hamilton and then bus it up to St. George's. When we arrived in St. George's we set out to find the house with the printing press that we missed two year's ago on the walking tour. We found it and it was open. St. George's is so great that you can go up and down streets and discover things you didn't see before and old houses with historical significance. Sadly St. George's has gotten hit hard by the cruise ships pulling out. What was once a bustling shopping street just outside of Ordinance Island and off the town square is now just a dead zone. Most of the shops are closed now as are most of the restaurants that we recalled from a few years ago. The White Horse Tavern is still there though. We hopped on a bus to St. David's to check out the other lighthouse on the island. The only way to get to it is from St. George's by taking the St. David's route. The bus drops you at a stop just a few feet from the lighthouse. Unlike what most locals tell you this lighthouse is not open to the public. However, if you are a lighthouse aficionado like my mother is then just getting some pictures of it and seeing it in person is perfectly fine. After doing some last bit of shopping in Hamilton, including at A.S. Cooper Men's store which is the best line up of clothing for men I've seen on the island - especially for designer names, it was back to the ship for departure. The weather was still windy and rainy mess. We hurried down to the dining room and got a window seat in Window's Dining Room to watch cast off from the pier. Since the wind was blowing us back to the pier it was interesting that we shoved off and then slowly drifted back and then bounced off the pier. No damage to the ship other than rub marks from the bumpers when we returned to Boston and we finally got under way after turning around. This night the seas were quite rough due to the weather they were having on the island the last two days we were there. We caught the late show of Soul Rockin' Nights to go back to the cabin and finish watching our departure from Bermuda. The production cast did a great job of dealing with the ship's swaying this night. If you like the genre of Rock music then you'll love this show. It was mom's favorite and my least favorite of the three productions onboard (based on the music involved). The highlight of any NCL cruise for me is the White HOT Party and it was Tuesday night in Galaxy of the Stars. DJ Jaspar at the wheel and played a wide range of music for the premiere event up in Galaxy of the Stars. The night wasn't as hot as the one in March onboard the Norwegian Jewel with DJ Jean but it was an ok night. When the party moved to Maharini's Nightclub the music changed to more of a house beat, which is what a white party should be! Got to dance quite a bit this night and had a blast overall. Day 6: Sea Day – No need to start early as the White Party went very late into the early hours of the day. Got up and had brunch this day and floated around the ship a bit doing some more browsing of deals and walking the Promenade Deck. Afternoon show of magic with Chorgis was a good way to spend 45 minutes out relaxing. Nice to have options during sea days in the afternoon which also include having a main show in the theater! Off to dinner in LeBistro tonight with hot escargot. Very nice dinner service and the wait staff were very friendly and attentive. The open kitchen was a nice favorite although at our angle we couldn’t see it. We had a nice window seat overlooking the Promenade and the setting sun. Afterward it was off to show time with Paul Scally, Cruise Director, doing his comedy show. Glad there were some audience members who played along this trip. Two dwarfs who he joked about came up on stage from the audience and kicked his butt for the jokes. It was cute, definitely staged, but cute. Tonight was the Chocoholic Buffet in Window’s Restaurant. What a fabulous venue and what an incredible job done by the pastry chef onboard with the culinary presentation of chocolates. Doors were at 11PM and be sure to get there early to get your photos before all the food is gone! Next it was off to VIP All Access Evening in Maharini’s Nightclub. It was nice to see a NEW evening in the nightclub with suggested attire of red or black. This was also the fall back night where you regained the hour you lost earlier in the cruise. It was great to hang out with the crew friends I made onboard while waiting for the adult male revue of “Ship-N-Males” to begin. Women out there (and gay men)… be sure to check out this revue! It features the hunky Brock (Production Dancer), Eduardo (Guest Relations), Kwasi (Happy Happy Washy Washy Guy) & Paul Scally (Cruise Director). It’s an adult’s only revue and it’s well worth staying up to midnight for (even if you’re not a spring chicken). A great night for the nightclub onboard and it was definitely nice to spend the night here until 3:30AM. Day 7: Sea Day – Sleeping is the name of the game here. It’s a bit chilly outside so just hung around and had a late lunch and went to the International Crew Talent Show. This is a definite must attend. The crew work so hard for us and the least we can do is go and support them and cheer them on with their very good hidden talents. The show time was at 3PM in the Stardust Theater. Tonight was the lovely Dinner 7 menu with the escargot, chilled black cherry soup and beef tenderloin in Window’s Restaurant. Great dinner service and special thanks to Bruce for getting us in the dining room in record time considering we didn’t call him beforehand to set this up. Very nice last dinner onboard and I highly recommend this dinner as it is the best dining room menu on this night of the cruise! Next it was off to show time of “Elements.” It’s a new production to the Norwegian Spirit for this year’s Boston to Bermuda season. It’s a fire and ice Cirque-style show with acrobats Roberto & Darota. There is no signing in this production, just performance and dance numbers. If you’ve seen Cirque Bijoux produced by Jean Ann Ryan, this show goes a step further in the cirque style. The closing part of the show is just fantastic with the acrobats and dancers flying high and confetti raining down. A strong suggestion is to sit a few rows back to catch the full performance. Also, be sure to have an empty bladder before attending the shows as the aisles are used frequently by performers. People getting up and getting in their way just does not enhance the performance and is dangerous for everyone involved (passenger and cast member). This show is definitely a must-see event of the cruise! It was so good I saw it twice! After the “Elements” second show be sure to get up to the Galaxy of the Stars to participate in the always hilarious “Quest” game show. It’s an adult’s only show featuring a quest for items that are not easily found or produce-able but on your person. That’s all I’m saying! It’s always hilarious!! It was off to Maharini’s Nightclub for the farewell disco which featured a toga party. Most guests got into the spirit of the event and it made the last night onboard great. I called it quits fairly early knowing that disembarkation morning is always an early one. Left the disco at 1:30AM and it was still hopping. Thanked the DJ for the nice house sets he played throughout the cruise and off to bed I went. Day 8: Boston, MA – Disembarkation – Woke up at 7AM to find us already docked. Usually we’re still coming into the city at that point. Went back to bed until 8AM and got up and had some breakfast. Disembarkation was the smoothest I’ve ever seen it and all luggage tags were called by 10AM. A lot of folks did the Express Walk-Off with their own bags so there were very few that the porters had to handle. Since it is a Friday morning we opted to be the last group off to avoid rush hour in Boston as we were driving. Blue and Light Blue are the luggage tags which are the last ones off. Thanks to the nice send off by Scott of the Cruise Staff. Conclusion: Since we’ve done this itinerary before the ship was really the main attraction and her crew did not disappoint! The Oriental Lady rolled out the VIP red carpet for mom and I and it was a great cruise. I wish Mother Nature had cooperated quite a bit more for our port time in Bermuda because it dampened the fun ashore but we fully realize that sometimes you have a bad weather cruise. Just means you have to cruise more frequently or repeat the cruise again!! I would like to take a special moment to thank all these people for whom made this cruise so enjoyable for me: First and foremost a big thanks to Bruce Van Der Boon, Concierge Extraordinaire, who without his services this cruise would not have been nearly as smooth flowing as it was. Bruce was nearly always the first person to greet me in the morning for breakfast and was always hospitable no matter the request – no matter how late the request was prior to the time of wanting it. The incredible dining service team on this ship was so nice and so hospitable no matter the dining room. My two favorite hostesses were Rogeliza Nanad and Neysi Webster who no matter where mom or I would be on the ship would always come over and greet us with a big smile and warm welcome. Svetlana Kostunko in Cagney’s Steakhouse was incredible the entire trip. Thomas and Miguel Rodrigues in Window’s Restaurants remembered us by name days after we sat in their section. Quite impressive the level of service offered by the dining room crew! Annalyn Paz was the best bellperson we had for figuring out a recurrent room service need and scheduling times for it. That is really great customer service right there! Jeniffer Balisacan and Josue Echano were incredibly helpful and attentive stateroom stewards on Deck 11 forward. Josue took care of some problems including a backed up drain for us when maintenance had their hands full on embarkation night. Josue also found a large enough trash bag to wear as a poncho because the ones on shore didn’t fit my height and I was soaked from the waist down after going out for an hour. Very good work Josue! A trash bag might not have looked glamorous but it kept me dry and that’s what counted! A shout out to my favorite Maharini’s Nightclub staff of Irma (Waitress), Dewa Padma (Bar Waiter) and to Reynoldo and Pedro (Bartenders) who besides the DJ made Maharini’s a great place to hang out nearly every single night of the cruise! DJ Jaspar did an incredible job spinning house music where he could and any DJ who likes house music is an instant favorite of mine! Nice work DJ Jaspar! I mention all these people by name because they stood out and each earned themselves STYLE cards in their own right. The production cast members and cruise staff was incredible to hang around with as well and I thank them for their company and the memories! Thanks to Milka for setting up the onboard Meet & Greet for Cruise Critic and for taking care of a special task given to her with great care and speed! I am looking forward to my next cruise with NCL in the not too distant future! Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
I first would like start off with the good My partner and I booked this cruise through a travel agency Who specialized in a unique event called a Bear Cruise there were 200 gay men from all over the world who defined them selves as bears ... Read More
I first would like start off with the good My partner and I booked this cruise through a travel agency Who specialized in a unique event called a Bear Cruise there were 200 gay men from all over the world who defined them selves as bears or bear admirers and the staff on board the Spirit really went out of there way to accommodate and include us in all onboard activities. The embarking process out of New Orleans was smooth and quick. I liked the prepay soda plan and the bottled water package they offered on board. Our cabin was kept very clean and stocked throughout our voyage. The 2 for 1 Martini Nights in Champagne Charlies with the great lounge duo that entertained us every night was always a must do between 7-9.Cagneys steakhouse was world class and service was perfect.The Blue Lagoon Cafe had great wings! Now the Bad The freestyle experience in regular dining was horrible with the quality of food.Wrong Orders,Tasteless Food both at Windows and The Garden Room after the 3rd night We both had enough and resorted to the specialty restaurants of course Not FREE! In the Shogun Restaurant the Chinese food was good but when I asked the server for crispy noodles and hot mustard she looked at me like I was asking for a unreasonable request.No hot mustard in a Chinese Restaurant? ?Our ship was plagued with hundreds of young collage kids who got a 350$ all you can drink on the cruise special package.What were you thinking? Every Night I felt like I was on a college campus during frat night. Our first port was supposed to be Costa Maya but the captain declined to dock due to rough seas?Funny how other ships got to dock and of course still charged for that portion. Now the WORST Due to a medical emergency on our last day at sea We got delayed 8 hours to dock in New Orleans My partner and I had to pay 598$ to change our flight which was the last flight out of New Orleans at 7.35pm We were told we would dock at.5pm and if we chose to carry our own bags we could be the first group to disembark. We dragged our 4 big suitcases down to deck 7 at 2pm and stood there for 2.5 hours hundreds had converged on deck7 by then and at 430 we were all told to move to the exit by the casino as they were NOT using the mid doors .So now were were at the BACK of the line and all We got was sorry? We docked at 5 and guess where they started to disembark.The MID Doors and that was the only way off the ship We stood in line for another hour and a half till we got off the ship at 615pm customs was quick and thanks to a very fast cab driver we made it to our plane severely stressed out at 730 pm.Norwegian did nothing to help us with our travel home they did supply a whopping 6 laptops to help 2000 people rebook travel and I had to plead with the manager to waive our 30.00 Internet charge to rebook our flight. So if it's "Free"style your looking for bring along an extra 1000 for flight changes and decent food as of yet I have not got any sort of compensation or even an apology from this letter I sent to Norwegian Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Introduction: I'm a 27 year old male who sailed with his 59 year old mother onboard the Norwegian Spirit leaving Boston on May 15, 2009 and returning on May 22, 2009. I go on vacation to have fun as well as relax and this should ... Read More
Introduction: I'm a 27 year old male who sailed with his 59 year old mother onboard the Norwegian Spirit leaving Boston on May 15, 2009 and returning on May 22, 2009. I go on vacation to have fun as well as relax and this should shine through in my review.   Pre-Cruise Booking with NCL Direct: A few weeks prior to sailing there was a restructuring of prices and I figured it wouldn't be a bad thing to call up and see if I could surprise my mom for Mother's Day by moving us from an ocean view cabin to a balcony. The Arizona reservation agent was fantastic in his ability to help me out and had to confer with a supervisor in Miami named Michelle. Between the two agents I was able to make my Mother's Day present a reality and not lose anything! Yes it cost a little more but it was well worth the investment! All the while the service offered by the two never faltered. Nice work NCL!   Norwegian Spirit Cruise: Embarkation: I am familiar with what NCL has control over and what they don't. Unfortunately the shore-side operation this year like last year was lacking and this was not NCL's fault. The way the longshoreman take the luggage you will stand forever in a line outside the terminal and then move inside and move MUCH quicker and get on the ship. The NCL reps inside the terminal moved things right along. I have never seen a lazier bunch of porters and we again left late because the ship wasn't fully provisioned by the time by 4PM. We arrived at the terminal shortly after Noon and were not on the ship until 1:20PM. However, as I usually do I met people in line and it helped pass the time.   The Ship: Built as the SuperStar Leo for NCL's parent Star Cruises, this ship is a one-of-a-kind gem in the Norwegian fleet. Her Asian inspirations are everywhere and the attention to detail in all paintings - especially on Deck 7 aft and in the Garden Room (Deck 6 - Mid-ship Dining Room) are just breathtaking. Stunning in its ability to have an abundance of natural light aft is the Windows Restaurant. This restaurant was also the resort casual ("no jeans and shorts") restaurant.   The Maharajah's casino had low ceilings on the gaming floor so if you're 6'4" or taller be sure to mind your head as those little security globes become quite the obstacle course to dodge. Forward on Deck 7 is Maharini's Lounge with TV screens and a nice U-shaped bar. The loungers in this area are more like beds (although not quite so comfortable to lie on). Just forward of the lounge was Maharini's Nightclub. This was the nightly entertainment venue when it came to dance club music. Both the lounge and the nightclub were the best designed with dEcor that I've seen at sea. It's very dark but elegant.   While I didn't dine in any of the specialty restaurants on this cruise I did go into each one and thought the dEcor was up to par with the Asian influence. Cagney's Steakhouse and Shogun (Asian cuisine and sushi bar) were very elegantly decorated. Le Bistro shies away from the Asian influence but that makes sense considering it's a French bistro.   Overall the public areas of the Spirit were very well preserved given the ship's recent dry dock in late 2008. Worn carpeting was hard to come by in all public spaces and upholstery was freshened just about everywhere. The ship's beauty does not disappoint.   Food: Completely subjective experience for anyone. This cruise's food was like the past Norwegian cruises since the menu change. Executive Chef Hans Peter did a fantastic job with presentation of the food on each plate. Thanks to the Executive Chef we were able to have another helping of Blueberry Chilled Soup on another night outside of the original night it was offered. If you haven't tried Norwegian's cold soups you are missing out on a signature item that you can only find on NCL! All of the cold soups are great from Peach, Blueberry, and Strawberry to Chilled Melon. The only one I didn't like which seems new to me is the Avocado and Tomatillo chilled soup. Ick on this one but the waiter (Kelton "Fox") was happy to replace it with another menu item. Main entrees were exceptional in presentation and preparation including the Beef Wellington and Prime Rib. I was surprised to see Escargot on the menu on the last night in the main dining room as well. I thought most cruise lines had gotten rid of it of their main restaurant menus so it was a pleasant surprise to have it and I very well enjoyed it!   Service was exceptional all around minus some early snafus but nothing to be highly critical about. To address the exceptional service where it was due I am going to just run through the events of the cruise as they occurred:   Day 1 - Embarkation Day - Boston: Embarkation was a slow process. If you're Latitudes then make sure you make yourself known so you can move further down the line once the longshoremen outside take your luggage away (which is the bulk of the line). Once onboard we explored the beautiful Spirit after having lunch in Raffles, the buffet. The buffet is a straight buffet line and not the action station concept that you find on other NCL ships. As such the line was very confusing to get to items you wanted, even within the same section (for instance the salad station's order was a bit skewed so that in order to get to the lettuce you were in the middle of the station and had to go either left or right to get toppings such as tomatoes or carrots). I did miss the action stations on the newer NCL ships but this not really a bad thing about the Spirit - just something to recognize is there and to deal with. Lifeboat drill was a bit longer than usual since a technical difficulty stopped the recording mid-way during the announcement. So we were extra informed when the recording finally started again and ran to the end! No biggie! The Muster Station Y2 still had fun anyway!   Dinner was at the Garden Room the first night. We didn't feel like unpacking our clothes with the late embarkation and still weren't familiar with the ship and with reading the FreeStyle Daily and the policy about no jeans in Windows we headed to the Garden Room around 6PM. It took until 7:55PM to have the entire dinner service. I don't know what caused this mishap but space between courses was very lengthy. More so than we're accustomed to and some thought it was prudent to leave because the service was bad. Our waitress seemed overwhelmed. I'm not sure if she was new or what but we were in no rush since the Variety Show was at 9PM.   The Welcome Aboard Showtime is at 9PM and the Cruise Director Paul Scally doubles as a comedian during this opening act which thankfully included other acts like Home Free (an Acapella group which left the Spirit when we arrived back in Boston) and a beginning production by the singers and dancers. This is not to be missed. It gives you an entertainment preview of the entire cruise - including what is worth coming back to the ship to in Bermuda and what isn't. Maharini's Lounge at 10:30PM had the nightly Friends of Dorothy gathering and Maharini's Nightclub was the nightly 18 plus dance club onboard. During the first night I made it a point to seek out the DJ to provide him with music to play during the White Hot Party. My biggest hope was that the White Hot Party would live up to the reputation of the party from which NCL stole the concept from and I hoped this CD would help in that endeavor for me.   Day 2 - At Sea: Ordered room service which was delivered promptly - even when it was sped up because we got up earlier than expected. The convenience of having a stateroom close to mid-ship is that I could walk up the buffet and grab a plate of food from there and consume it with the additional sides ordered from room service and eat on the balcony (if it were warm enough too but this day the fog was still with us and there was a chill in the air). At 10AM we had the Cruise Critic gathering which was well attended by senior staff members onboard including the Hotel Director (Frank), Food & Beverage Director (from Austria... name escapes me at the moment), Executive Chef (Hans Peter) and Front Desk Office Manager (Amnita). I mentioned the CD to the Hotel Director Frank and he said he'd follow up with DJ Freddy. Frank was also very interested in hearing how our cruise was going so far and what we thought of the first night onboard. He took all of our feedback in stride - most of ours (mom and I) were positive comments minus the first night service but that was minor since we're not cooking and we're cleaning so waiting is not an issue! Remember - you're free to whatever!!!   That evening we dined in Windows Restaurant and had really great service provided by dining room staff. The maitre d' also stopped by our table to make sure everything was going smoothly which it was. This night our stateroom stewardess Meyrine (aka Nona) had made us our first towel animal of the cruise. Nona who services the deck 9 midship area of staterooms was fantastic in her service and very personable to us during the entire cruise. Excellent service provided by her and her assistant steward.   Showtime tonight was at 7:30PM and it was "On Broadway". The show consisted of great musical featuring numbers from Hairspray, Wicked and Mamma Mia. One singer's energy was clearly noticeable and when you see this show if she's still onboard you'll instantly recognize her talent if you know anything about singing and dancing. Jaylynn's voice is incredible. Best at sea I've ever had the opportunity to hear and this was cruise number 15 for me. I can only say a guest singer like Kimberly Locke had a better voice (but was not a regular on the cruise ship). Incredible show with tons of energy and not to be missed! Monte Carlo Night was also this night. Since this a promotion for casino to get the casino revenues up (as well as drink revenues), it was largely a bust for me since I don't gamble but since the disco was right next door it was easy enough to go up there and hang out.   Day 3 - At Sea / Bermuda @ 11AM - Woke up and did the walk a mile with the Fitness Instructor Johan from South Africa. Very nice and welcoming individual and he gave me and another fellow student onboard the low down on places to go ashore as we completed our walk and were heading down the channel into the Dockyard harbor. We arrived on-time and were cleared by officials to go ashore by 11AM. The masses were waiting everywhere to go ashore. We opted for lunch in Windows and waited out the rush. It was the first time we got an aft window seat. We were very excited and this spot was very nice. Service and food again were excellent. Since we didn't have anything booked until later we got off the ship and explored the area in the immediate vicinity of the dockyard to get our bearings.   Dined again in the Windows Restaurant for dinner and again had excellent service - this time provided by Kelton "Fox" from Nicaragua. He was the best waiter team we had onboard the ship although every other team performed well (with the exception of the first night). He also gave me tips on where the best happening nightlife was ashore. As a result I ventured ashore the first two nights we were there.   SHORE EXCURSION: Bermuda Triangle Night Glass Bottom Boat Ride - For $50 this tour was a rip off. It lasted less than 2 hours and we saw some coral and if you could see in the nearly pitch dark then you could make out the hull of a ship wreck. The sunset on the way over was the most picturesque part of the tour and the tour provider really didn't control that. I wouldn't recommend this tour to anyone.   Nightlife onboard the ship consisted of Comedy Showtime of Second City and the 70's Groove Dance Party with the cruise staff. I passed on both of them and went back to the ship after the night excursion and changed and went ashore to the Frog and Onion and met up with some new found crew and passenger friends I made onboard.   Day 4 - Bermuda - SHORE EXUCRSION - West End Highlights - This tour was fantastic for $55. You got a nearly private tour with a taxi driver taking you to the sights of the Western end of the island including a fort, a small church erected by servants to worship, the Somerset drawbridge (which you drive over) and to the scenic Gibb's Lighthouse. The entire tour took its leisurely time with no pressure coming from the driver on when to get back to the taxi. We moved at our own pace during the entire tour and we were given a quick stop in the Botanical Gardens before heading onward to Hamilton where we were dropped. The other option was to return to the ship via taxi. There were four people total in our taxi van. I highly recommend this tour because seeing all the West End highlights on your own with doing the bus would take all day with hopping on and off. Cost of climbing the lighthouse is $2.50.   We spent the remainder of the day in Hamilton seeing sights that were closed or not there during our 2008 Norwegian Dream cruise (which docked at Front Street in Hamilton). The Bermuda Historical Society re-opened the museum near the first post office on the island around the corner from Front Street. We hit that first and it closes by 2PM. Allow a good half hour to see everything if you can speed read. Next up we went on a journey down the other end of Front Street and nearly out of Hamilton to the BUEI - Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. Through the end of the time when cruise ships are there (late October) they have a Titanic exhibit which is spread through their regular exhibit. This place is fun for people of all ages from kids to adults. Hands on activities are good for the kids and adults alike and keep you from becoming bored. If you're a Titanic buff then you will not want to miss this exhibit. They even have some of the props from the movie with Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. This is a fairly new museum in Bermuda and well worth a visit! Admission is $12.50 for adults, $10 if you're 65 plus. It is a little bit of a walk down Front Street and diagonally across from a gas station on the outskirts of the City of Hamilton.   We returned to the ship for a later dinner and once again had Kelton as our waiter. Again a great dinner service provided by him and the food was great. Tonight's onboard entertainment featured a magician / comedian. We opted to skip this entertainment and instead lurked around until the Super Spirit Bermuda Deck Party. It seemed like a lot of people were ashore. This deck party had the lowest attendance of any deck party I've seen on any regular cruise. I went back and changed and ventured to the crew party ashore. All I can say is the crew knows how to party and I didn't get back onboard until 3:30AM. Great time ashore and had a great time with the crew.   Day 5 - Bermuda - Slept late and ventured ashore to do some last minute souvenir shopping in the Dockyard area. Mom and I returned to the ship to have a sit down lunch in the Blue Lagoon - a fast food style sit down restaurant. Found a nice cafe inside the pharmacy in the dockyard. They make Green Tea Lattes! I was in heaven since I was missing Starbucks! Went and got one for the late night that would soon follow.   Back onboard it was dinner in Windows with Kelton again. Fabulous food and fantastic service! Afterward we headed to the first show time of Home Free a cappella group in the Stardust Theater. These guys were very good. Then it was back to the room to finalize the wardrobe for the White Hot Party in Galaxy of the Stars!   Frank, the Hotel Director, came through with the music which was interlaced with the regular music line up they play during the White Hot Party. Thanks to Beverly on the cruise staff for giving me her wings for a short while and for the photo op! Frank made this night as close as to the way it should have been and the cruise staff helped in that endeavor. The party lasted until 1AM upstairs and then moved down to the after party in Maharini's Lounge and Nightclub. Passengers were out to have a great time on this evening and several new friends were made. We stayed up well beyond when the club closed at 4AM and headed off to the Blue Lagoon for a leisurely late dinner / breakfast service (Burgers, wings and fries). Got back up to the stateroom in time to wake mom up to watch the ship cast off at 6AM on...   Day 6 - At Sea - The ship was prompt in pulling out at 6AM. This is the first time that no announcements have been made onboard the ship for missing passengers. I don't know if it had to be due to the early hour or what but we left and navigated the channel. I fell asleep before getting a chance to see the Norwegian Dawn pass. I was informed by my crew friend at the Omelet station in Raffles that we did pass and you could clearly make her out. The rest of the day I slept and woke only for grazing (I mean eating). Ate at Windows that night and again had service by Kelton. I do highly recommend him. Tonight's entertainment was "On The Radio" - the second large scale production onboard. Great variations of music performances to music that you'd find on the radio - from Oldies and Country to Pop. Jaylynn once again shined during this performance. I wouldn't miss this show!   Later in the evening was Le Cabaret Glamour Party. This is something unique to the Norwegian Spirit so far and it's a cabaret style entertainment with a twist. There is a section called Ship 'N Dales at the end that women (or gay men) definitely don't want to miss. Everything is pretty skimpy all the way around and it's definitely NOT recommended for under 18 years old. Don't try to get them in either - proper ID is required. It seemed like a fantastic show from what I could see but the venue seems off. You can't really see most of what the dancers were doing because you're on the same line of sight as everyone in front of you so unless you're in the front row you can't see as much.   Day 7 - At Sea - Full Sea Day - Floated around the ship and shopped for souvenirs onboard and picked up the pictures I wanted. Bumped into the Hotel Director in the lobby and again he checked in to make sure everything was going great. He made mom and I feel very welcomed. He wanted to be sure this was our best cruise ever and through his crew and his efforts it certainly was right up there. Later in the evening after dining in Windows this final time (unfortunately Kelton didn't have a window section and wasn't anywhere close to where there was an open table) we had to sit somewhere else. During our dinner the ship slowed because we were going through a whale mating area east of Nantucket Island and Cape Cod. During this time we saw several fishing boats. Reality was calling and it was a reminder we were getting ready to dock in Boston tomorrow.   Two shows this night made our final evening onboard enjoyable including the Farewell Variety Show consisting of all acts onboard during the cruise minus Second City. It was an ok show but I'm happy we skipped the magician because his humor was not great and his acts were far too drawn out to keep people's attention (including my own). I was getting my camera ready for a part of the show that never materialized called Fountains. In between we enjoyed a special gift given by the Hotel Director while packing our luggage. It was a very nice touch at the end of the cruise and capped off a really memorable experience. Next up at 9:30PM was the International Crew Talent show. This cruise we didn't know anyone in the talent show but we still go to support the crew that work so hard for us. At the end of this show was the Norwegian Way with the presentation of all the higher ranking officials including the Captain and crew members from each department. It was nice to applaud everyone for their hard work. They get a much deserved standing ovation! Just wondering what happened to Fountains? I would much rather have had the Cruise Director spat on by his fellow staff members then listening to his old jokes. It would have been much more hilarious watching the Fountains performance. I do hope they bring it back on the Norwegian Spirit. Checked out the disco for a little while to say by to friends I made onboard and it was time for bed.   Day 8 - Boston - Debarkation: I woke up at 6AM and we were still navigating through Boston harbor. There was no need to get up fully at that point but we did anyway. Our luggage tags were Light Blue which was the second to last bag tag color to be called off the ship. We docked at 7AM and shortly thereafter we dined at Windows for our final sit down meal of the cruise. Service was impeccable and the menu was scaled back. Anything that took a lot of preparation was gone (noticeably the waffles). However, there was a pretty regular menu of items still to choose from including eggs, potatoes, oatmeal, grits, pancakes and French toast. We took our time dining since the ship hadn't cleared customs and the walk off passengers weren't off the ship yet. After breakfast we went up on deck to take a few more pictures with the Boston skyline in the background. The promenade deck was loaded with walk-off passengers. Luggage was everywhere and it was impossible to navigate so we went up to the pool deck which was nice and warm. We took our pictures and the ship was still not cleared by customs. Foreign guests didn't show up as they were supposed to and this delayed debarkation. People who owed tariffs because they exceeded the customs allowances were also MIA. The announcement for debarkation commencing wasn't made so the timing was a bit off. However, it wasn't until after 9:30AM when the first group of tags was called. We were the last group off when an announcement came over saying "All remaining passengers onboard please disembark the vessel." The time was 11:05AM. Once we cleared the terminal with our luggage it was nearly 11:30AM. This is the latest we've ever stayed onboard the cruise ship - ever! I didn't mind it at all though. We hung out in the cabin until 10:30AM on the balcony and let the stateroom attendant do her thing with the cabin (putting the beds back together). It was a very relaxing last morning and we "chilled" like the last morning brochure told us to do. We have no complaints about the disembarkation. When our time came we walked right off the ship and through customs and got our luggage and drove home. Cost of the garage for the week is $105 USD.   Conclusion: The Norwegian Spirit is the best ship for Boston to Bermuda. Thanks to the staff and crew specifically Nona (stateroom stewardess), Frank (Hotel Director), Beverly (Cruise Staff), Hans Peter (Executive Chef), Johan (Fitness Director), Sydney (Nurse) and the Maitre d' from India in the Windows dining room for making my NCL experience incredible! I highly recommend this cruise to anyone and if you see any of these people onboard - be sure to stop them and say hi to them for me! Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
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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