16 Norwegian Spirit Transatlantic Cruise Reviews

This was our first cruise on NCL, having cruised 11 times before on HAL, RCL, Carnival, and Premier. The embarkation port was an inexpensive 6-hour rental car drive. Boarding was smooth and we went straight to cabin 11660 located port ... Read More
This was our first cruise on NCL, having cruised 11 times before on HAL, RCL, Carnival, and Premier. The embarkation port was an inexpensive 6-hour rental car drive. Boarding was smooth and we went straight to cabin 11660 located port side aft just steps from the bar on Raffles Terrace, the hot tubs, the elevators, and the buffet at Raffles Court. The cabin was the perfect location for us as the only long walk was to the casino or for progressive trivia in the Galaxy of the Stars. We also had free Specialty Dining for 6 specialty restaurants. We dined in Cagney's (twice, great steaks but the second time the service was slow), Sushi (an extra $7 besides using one specialty dining - it was delicious and worth it), Teppanyaki (just as entertaining as the Japanese hibachi at home), Le Bistro (very good food and service, wish we had gone here twice instead of La Trattoria), and La Trattoria (a not very memorable sectioned off part of Raffles Terrace on port side aft). We took in a couple of Stardust Theater song and dance shows, World Beat and Soul Rockin' Nights. The singing dancers put on outstanding entertainment and were very talented. We skipped the magician, juggling and acrobatics, solo artists, hypnotist, and comedy variety western shows. Musical entertainment was great with Musicmaker Duo and Duo Royale they could be seen at different times of the day poolside, at Champagne Charlies in the atrium, or in the Galaxy of the Stars. Service from the cabin steward was top-notch with a clean room and bath, full ice bucket, and a towel animal waiting to pounce upon us each night. Service at the bars was fast and accurate with the UDP. Service at the restaurants, including the Windows and the Garden were just right. We ported in St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Funchal, and Barcelona. We did not take any cruise-provided excursions. We hired a taxi in St. Thomas and rented a car in St. Maarten - we had been to both islands before and knew what to expect. We made prior arrangements for a tour in Funchal which we thoroughly enjoyed, especially the Toboggan Sled. In Barcelona we purchased the hotel stay through NCL including hotel and airport transfers. The hotel transfer went smoothly with the bus waiting at the cruise terminal and later for the airport transfer the bus picked us up at the hotel front entrance. The MontBlanc hotel was comfortable and near a few good restaurants and a couple of blocks from shopping and the Metro. We enjoyed a Hop On Hop-Off Bus tour and took the Metro from Urquinaona to Sants Estacio then walked underground to the adjoining Barcelona Sants train station to take the hour-long bullet train to the medieval town of Girona for a day. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
The ship is showing her age and the furniture in the cabin including the carpet looked very tired, nothing like the picture on the web site sadly. The bed was very comfortable and a good size. The cabin steward was excellent, the shower ... Read More
The ship is showing her age and the furniture in the cabin including the carpet looked very tired, nothing like the picture on the web site sadly. The bed was very comfortable and a good size. The cabin steward was excellent, the shower toilet and wash area very good in size and plenty of towels. The food was good although the choice limited in the buffet restaurant.Coffee readily available from the machines but luke warm and often no milk available. Compared to Princess Cruise line I would say well behind in quality and choice. Dining in the main restaurants was good, but the service slow at times and a long wait between meals. Entertainment was not so good and poor at times, it seems as if they use the passengers to supply the entertainment with talent shows and fancy dress, surely this can't be right and was quite disappointed. The cruise Director seemed to focus everything on himself, please let someone else compare and allow your staff to get more involved you cant do everything. The crew were varied and depending where you went on the ship, so was the service, it seemed that some staff just did not want to talk to you at all, when ordering drinks not even a smile, but others were very very helpful. I was a little bewildered why St Thomas Island was talked about so much by excursion staff, yet very little about St Maarten, could this be that St Thomas had so many diamond shops and maybe some commission for them, and St Maarten hasn't? We were also told to take a taxi from the port at St Thomas as the town was to far to walk, not true a 10 minute walk and save yourself 8 dollars each way. I don't want to come across a moaning passenger who can't be pleased, these are my honest observations and my opinion I am sure others will disagree. The deck chairs were as available, as a service station at sea. Yet again towels on deck chairs. You know the routine, you have no chance unless you get up at 3 am. But sadly my biggest gripe, why do NCL choose to segregate passengers into groups. This system of putting passengers into certain groups. You may be confused? When you book a cruise you do not expect to be put into a certain class of people. By this I mean GOLD,SILVER,PLATINUM, it went on and on until it got to the unworthy who were then aloud to board. By this I mean the inside cabins passengers or first time cruiser. And to top it all, at the port before boarding unless you have a suite you are given complementary water with juice, but if you have a suite, you get tea coffee and nice seating. Come on NCL stop the class system and treat all passengers the same. If the those with suites want that sort of service,then in there stateroom is great. Surely its the non worthy, who have most of the cabins which keep the ship afloat without them your cruise line would fail. I am no snob, but I am also not unworthy. That's not the feeling I felt before sailing. I have been lucky to cruise several times, every cruise line is different and so are the expectations of anyone who chooses to book a cruise. It is never easy to please or to keep everyone happy. I could should if I choose afford the best cabin on any ship. I choose not too,but I do not wish to pay for a holiday where I am made to feel second class. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Just returned from our cruise was way above expectations, food amazing could not fault any restaurant ,even though we spend a lot of time in the buffett restaurant so much choice, staff were so lovely and friendly especially our cabin ... Read More
Just returned from our cruise was way above expectations, food amazing could not fault any restaurant ,even though we spend a lot of time in the buffett restaurant so much choice, staff were so lovely and friendly especially our cabin attendant Elmer amazing man always smiling and always time for a chat with us despite him being so busy , always had some towel animal waiting for us on our bed on our return to our room which made us smile .plenty of entertainment which was so good ,magician was brilliant and entertainment staff worked so hard with the shows etc, we visited st maartin and st thomas n loved every minute ,bingo prices a bit expensive but I was made a queen so had free bingo for the duration of our cruise :-)can't wait for another cruise next year with NCL . Thank you it was a pleasure cruising with yous. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Embarcation was a breeze as we had elected to arrive close to the time we could board and were able to leave our carry on bags in our cabin, which was already prepared. Spirit is a relatively small and older ship so if you are looking ... Read More
Embarcation was a breeze as we had elected to arrive close to the time we could board and were able to leave our carry on bags in our cabin, which was already prepared. Spirit is a relatively small and older ship so if you are looking for climbing walls and water slides you will be disappointed, we loved the promonade deck which was well used by walkers (4 laps=1.4 miles), the Atrium with its elegant staircase and the galaxy lounge with amazing views and some fun photo opportunities. Eating options were varied; the pool side BBQ often had some impressive offerings, salmon, clam chowder and Bouillabaisse were all highlights. The buffet was not huge but had a good range of salads, a carving station and a selection of hot dishes which I did not see repeated in our 14 day cruise but we did not eat in there every day. Breakfast in the buffet had all the usual including smoked salmon, seating could be an issue if the weather was really cold but there is a lot of outdoor seating which was our preference. The Main dining room was like a nice restaurant and with freestyle we could enjoy dinner for two at a time to suit us, portions were generous and our food was on the whole excellent. Staff could not have been more helpful. The cruise Director and his staff were very visible and with about 10 sea days to fill worked hard. We enjoyed a lecture series on Archaeology and couple of films but did not participate in the trivia/quiz/craft/bridge offerings. Shows were all enjoyable with the production show Elements not to be missed. With a small ship it was easy to get to know staff at our favourite bars and basically the whole crew were excellent, efficient and friendly. We did not need to take part in any excursions as all the ports were easily to get around. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Fine transatlantic cruise with a few blips along the way. Spirit is an older smaller ship which suits me fine and has many features fast disappearing on larger newer ships such as a wide teak wraparound promenade deck and a forward ... Read More
Fine transatlantic cruise with a few blips along the way. Spirit is an older smaller ship which suits me fine and has many features fast disappearing on larger newer ships such as a wide teak wraparound promenade deck and a forward observation lounge with large windows. Fine aft decks with plenty of seating for al fresco dining from the buffet. Good connection with the sea and the ship rides the waves well with the exception that at over 20 knots there is noticeable vibration aft which is disturbing in the main dining room. Compact but well laid out cabins with comfy beds. Good bathroom (for a ship) with excellent shower. My cabin steward kept everything neat and tidy. No complaints there. Ship full of hard drinking Brits on a package so the bars were full from morning to night. Most folks were good natured though and the staff tried hard to keep up with the incessant demand, The bartenders at Charlies Champagne Bar were standouts with honorable mention to those at the casino bar and the wait staff in the observation lounge. Henrys Pub a letdown with dour disinterested staff and an atmosphere to match. Dining rooms throughout were very crisply run with efficient and accurate service. Buffet breakfast a bit of a letdown with mediocre egg stations (everything overcooked) and inefficient toast making. Otherwise food quality and selection was pretty good although somewhat bland and under seasoned (curries excepted). Mussels in a Pernod cream were served in what appeared to be boiled milk with no hint of Pernod. Sweet and sour pork was moist and tender but neither sweet nor sour. Spicy Shezuan shrimp were good sized and perfectly cooked but not in any way spicy. And so it went. But the pastry chef was above average and breads and desserts were quite good. And kudos too for the fact that hot soups were hot and cold ones were cold. Regular coffee too was actually quite drinkable unlike the bilge on most cruise ships. Late night snacks at the Blue Lagoon also welcome with thumbs up for the wings and surprisingly good fish and chips. Entertainment standard shipboard stuff but the singers in the bars were above average. Usual run of other activities and most on board seemed to be having a good time. One pool was out of order -they claimed "rough seas" on a sign but the seas weren't rough and maintenance folks were welding things. Reasonable deck space. Usual chair hogs a nuisance which no cruise line seems to be able to cope with,. .Ship was clean and in good repair with some furniture needing a recover. For some reason though the big observation windows never seemed to get cleaned and were a bit ratty by the end. Had to use the medical staff for a foot infection. They were competent and effective. First rate care and service. Overall an enjoyable cruise and I would cruise NCL again. This was my first experience with them being a regular on Royal Caribbean and Holland America. With the right itinerary and price I would certainly do NCL again. If you want a big ship, resort style experience then Spirit isn't for you. But if you want a classic 'ship' experience with good connection to the sea and reasonable comforts, then it could be a great choice. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This NCL Spirit Cruise was chosen as our first cruise. We wanted to get from Guadalajara Mexico to Paris France without any prolonged flights. Based upon cost, convenience and enjoyment, a cruise seemed to be the best way to get to ... Read More
This NCL Spirit Cruise was chosen as our first cruise. We wanted to get from Guadalajara Mexico to Paris France without any prolonged flights. Based upon cost, convenience and enjoyment, a cruise seemed to be the best way to get to Europe. The NCL Spirit is a good ship,well and efficiently crewed. Our first experience by an large will result in more cruises, with NCL remaining at the top of our list for value and service. Of particular note were Assistant Maitre' D Maria Fe Dizon, Sous Chef Lobo and our cabin steward Marcus. Their courtesy, customer service abilities, and personality were excellent. There was only one negative note on the whole cruise; the assistant hotel manager, a commander from Australia. I went to him in the atrium to congratulate him on one of his employees and he was unaware of the employee or where she worked. His attitude was certainly not consistent with what I would expect a senior officers attitude to be. Other than that unfortunate experience we must congratulate NCL Spirit on a creating an atmosphere which will cause us to cruise. As a newbie, if anyone is aware of how I can get an email address for the Spirits Captain, I would like to more comprehensively enlighten him on my only negative experience. The food in all the restaurants was excellent, and the service was superb and efficient. the variety of entertainment made it impossible to do everything we wanted within each day. The entertainment staff were knowledgeable, talented, helpful and always had a smile on their faces. The shops on board were plentiful and the items for sale would fit any budget from high end to souvenirs, including items we may have forgotten to pack.....in our case we had to buy a small suitcase for additional items and this was very inexpensive. There were sales of some sort everyday, making it easy to purchasing a few Want to Have items The cabins were not large but very efficiently laid out for the space available (and we were not in there for much except sleeping. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Just returned home from a wonderful 14 day cruise on board Norwegian Spirit, from the Captain to the attendants the level of service was above what we expected, all food is off the highest quality available at any time. This was our ... Read More
Just returned home from a wonderful 14 day cruise on board Norwegian Spirit, from the Captain to the attendants the level of service was above what we expected, all food is off the highest quality available at any time. This was our first ever cruise and the attention to detail in the food, beverages and entertainment was off the highest standard, will definitely travel again with Norwegian Line. From the initial arrival on board where you are greeted by members of staff you immediately feel at ease and made to feel part of the party. The information received on arrival informed us of what would be happening that evening to welcome all on board at the arrival party. We left that afternoon on route to Virgin Islands and from then till we arrived at Barcelona the staff ensured a good time was had by all. All information was available at the main desk with the nightly paperwork arriving with all the following days activities, a lot of work was put in by the cruise director and his staff to ensure a good time was had by all. A full day at Funchal was the last port of call prior to disembarking at Barcelona. Everything for this holiday was taken care of by our cruise agent which was stress free from start to finish. My opinion would be to try this cruise line as I think you may be pleasantly surprised. If anyone feels they did not receive value for money on this ship they must have high expectations for how far they think money can go, excellent. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We were extremely disappointed with the cruise in general. It wasnt advertised as being trans Atlantic so we were at sea for 6 days , and we had no use of the pool for 9 days and there was no alternative activities or entertainment to ... Read More
We were extremely disappointed with the cruise in general. It wasnt advertised as being trans Atlantic so we were at sea for 6 days , and we had no use of the pool for 9 days and there was no alternative activities or entertainment to compensate for this. They also ran out of alcohol 4 days before the end of the cruise. The food in the upstairs buffet was excellent and the staff on board were helpful and very polite. The trips were enjoyable but not enough time was allowed to see enough of the islands. I have contacted your company on several occasions to voice my disappointment and nothing has been done to my satisfaction . I feel completely let down by the whole experience and would not travel or recommend the company in the future. Do not go with this company unless you want to be ripped off. You have been warned don't waste your money. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
I chose this holiday as my retirement present and wanted a cruise where I wouldn't be doing a lot but relaxing. Boy was that a mistake, I have never done so much on a cruise. I learnt to play bridge (although it was American rules), ... Read More
I chose this holiday as my retirement present and wanted a cruise where I wouldn't be doing a lot but relaxing. Boy was that a mistake, I have never done so much on a cruise. I learnt to play bridge (although it was American rules), how to do towel animals, how to carve food sculptures and also painting. I almost didn't have time for my favourite hobby, drinking, but only almost. Though I travelled solo I was in a balcony cabin and one downfall Norwegian do have is their cabins are not roomy. There was not enough room in the wardrobe to hide my second case to it spent it's time travelling about the room. I could see this as a problem if I had travelled with someone. Steward staff were really good and friendly and helped with all my requests Bar staff were great with me but I did see them under great pressure, long queues and few waiters, as there didn't seem to be enough of them at the pool side bars during the day. In the end after 3 days I went to see the Bursar about this and after quite a strong discussion in which I asked if the purpose was the fact the had given away so many packages were they trying to reduce the amount of alcohol 'sold' by making it harder to request. At this she realised what was being said by others and myself and got more servers for the rest of the trip. Do not let this put you off using Norwegian because as you see from my rating it was a very good trip but if you are in the same situation always complain on the ship otherwise they will not know what needs to be addressed. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We have been on 10 Cross Atlantic cruises. This is the worst of 5 on NCL. the Spirit is old and should be retired. Many things did not work. Entertainment was sub par. The staffing was too few to handle the population, but must say worked ... Read More
We have been on 10 Cross Atlantic cruises. This is the worst of 5 on NCL. the Spirit is old and should be retired. Many things did not work. Entertainment was sub par. The staffing was too few to handle the population, but must say worked very hard to keep up. Often ran out of various foods at breakfast and dinner ( no anchovies on Ceaser Salad )for the most part food was good. The gym was too small and workout area was restricted to paid classes. Sailing 16 days at sea and only got a chair by the pool ( seldom open ) one time.The only other time was after 3:30 pm. Rules never followed in any venue. Photo of saved chairs, brought to staff and service desk , nothing happened. Some people saved 2 sets of chairs at 6:30 am, 2 in sun 2 in shade, even had a foursome do 4 and 4. Our room steward had 14 to rooms to do on her own ( wonderful lady ) but also given projects to do at the same time. Our entire shower fixture needed to be replaced on 1st. day ( no hot water ) many others told me the same. Numerous deck chairs were broken and unavailable. All the multiple cruisers I have spoken to, all agree, “ They will never get on this ship again”. We are Latitudes Members, Sliver, now Gold, means nothing for price or service. Have never gotten an upgrade or any discounts. Bought this a year in advance. Everyone else got free stuff if they waited. I won't be doing that again. I Had planned to celebrate our 40th. anniversary  on the NCL Dawn to Bermuda, not happening. Oh, rules for dress in the dining room, don't bother. I may as well have been at the beach. Why have them, when no one ever enforces them? Plenty of other places to eat when dressed as one coming from the Gym. When any issues were addressed to appropriate staff, excuses always trumped results. Need I go on. STAY AWAY. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
I have always wanted to go on a cruise and went on NCLs Jade in April of 2015.Enjoyed it so much but a week was not long enough,so we decided to go on the Norwegian Spirit for the transatlantic from Barcelona to Cape Canaveral starting 5th ... Read More
I have always wanted to go on a cruise and went on NCLs Jade in April of 2015.Enjoyed it so much but a week was not long enough,so we decided to go on the Norwegian Spirit for the transatlantic from Barcelona to Cape Canaveral starting 5th nov..We were pretty worried about the weather ,but it was a really smooth sailing from day one. The ship is small compared to the newer ones but we were happy with all the amenities.Food was great...too much at times. Ports of call Madeira,St John'n,St Kitts,St Martins and St Thomas ..wow all fantastic. Our one complaint was our room stewardess.I always had to ask her for things that should have been done..ie leaving the daily news sheet ,toilet paper.small stuff but annoying to have to go look for her and ask. Would love to go again on any Ncl ship as I love the freestyle of eating.After a long day just to grab a bite to eat at the buffet was fine with us. We chose the outside cabin,which was ok.(.had the balcony on the Jade)The bed was under the window which meant climbing on the bed to see out,but over all just what we expected, Highly recommended. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Cabin - excellent, with large window, large bed and excellent shower. Excellent steward service. Very good variable heating. Food - excellent choices in several different restaurants. No problems with quality of food. The speciality ... Read More
Cabin - excellent, with large window, large bed and excellent shower. Excellent steward service. Very good variable heating. Food - excellent choices in several different restaurants. No problems with quality of food. The speciality restaurants were about £23 extra per person, and did not appear to be well supported at this additional cost. Entertainment - wide variety of onboard entertainment in pub, cocktail bar, lounge and theatre - all very professional. Swimming Pool - nice pool, but it was closed quite often during passage due to swell - even when the weather was not rough. The hot tubs were still open Weather during our November trip - cross Atlantic via Madiera - excellent. Sun beds - despite there being a "no reserve" policy - you had to be up by 6.30am to obtain one. Costs on board - thank goodness we had the drinks package, although very expensive. Alcoholic drinks otherwise averaged about a tenner. Between my wife and myself, we did not benefit from the drinks package. 18% tip is added to everything. Electrics - 2 pin wall socket - take a multi extension lead. Ports of call - Carribbean - 4 islands - all much the same really - very nice and interesting. We were recommended by onboard jewellery expert to purchase watches and jewellery from various named shops. Duty free. We did this - $6,000 diamond ring, valued on return at half that. $5,500 Breitling watch - available in the UK at 60% of price paid. My fault - I should have investigated - you live and learn........you have been warned. Queues - anything connected with USA - disembarkation/entry and onboard visa checking (despite correct UK docs) - expect minimum of 2 hours queues. Transfers - these were arranged separately by the travel agent and were nothing to do with the cruise line. Our Hotel in Barcelona was almost within sight of the ship, yet the coach took us all over the city, taking 2 hours to reach the ship. We should have been advised of this at the outset, to allow us the choice of making alternative arrangements. At the US end, we were collected at the correct time, put in a minibus, and locked in (6 persons) with the engine running whilst the driver said he was off to get more passengers. After 1 hour 10 minutes, and some panic, we attracted the attention of a security guard, who let us out. We had to use another minibus to take us to the airport. Be warned, at the airport, there is no left luggage facility, and we had to book our luggage into the Wyatt Hotel, so that we could take a trip to Orlando. A hundred bucks to park our suitcases for 6 hours. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Our first cruise and we really enjoyed it the staff was always smiling and helpful The food was good and a good variety,the theatre acts was very good. There was plenty of sun beds even though some people did put towels on for hours and ... Read More
Our first cruise and we really enjoyed it the staff was always smiling and helpful The food was good and a good variety,the theatre acts was very good. There was plenty of sun beds even though some people did put towels on for hours and not use them. If you are put off by the gratuities don't worry we saw lots of people on our last day telling customer service they did not want too pay there was no problem...also the drinks packages for children don't bother its all there in the restaurants free anytime.... alcohol is very dear unless you drink like a fish don't the buy package buy it by the bottle there it works out cheaper in the long run. we did our own excursions saved a lot of money and saw the same things and more Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Cruised on the Spirit from Venice to Athens, Ephesus, Istanbul, Mykonos, Naples, Rome, Pisa, Tulan, and then Barcelona. It then continued to Madiera, 6 days at sea, St. John, St. Kitts, St. Marteen, St. Thomas, and finally Port ... Read More
Cruised on the Spirit from Venice to Athens, Ephesus, Istanbul, Mykonos, Naples, Rome, Pisa, Tulan, and then Barcelona. It then continued to Madiera, 6 days at sea, St. John, St. Kitts, St. Marteen, St. Thomas, and finally Port Canaveral. We were most disappointed in the ship--very old and not in good shape. Lunch buffets were more often than not luke warm at best. Long cruise with no self-service laundry facilities. Catholic masses were held yet were not noted in the daily itinerary even after multiple cruisers requested. Pool activities were few and very boring. Evening entertainment was very good. The ships singers and dancers were excellent. Most brought on board entertainment was very good. Our cabin boy did a very good job. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
The food is wonderful, don't see why people opt to eat at the speciality restaurants as the food can't be any taster and for $30 plus 18% would not be worth it. They force you to pay 18% on anything you get, i.e. if you go up ... Read More
The food is wonderful, don't see why people opt to eat at the speciality restaurants as the food can't be any taster and for $30 plus 18% would not be worth it. They force you to pay 18% on anything you get, i.e. if you go up to the pool bar and get a draw beer, he will fill your glass and you have to pay an extra 18%--nickel dime you on everything. Only one lecture that was very good, Alan Scriber gave 8 different days on investments and the markets. In room TV had movies but few choices, re-run after re-run. From the time we left Bacelona the news stations were BBC and Skynew, no USA channels. Many quests complained about that but to no avail. The smoke smell coming for the casino was terrible and if filtered up in to the area leading to it. A couple of good shows, but the temperature in the stage area was very cold. No real information about the ports we were going to visit, on other cruises they give detailed information on what to see and do and history of the place we were to visit. He you just had to read and book a tour. People would get up early and place towels on lounge chairs hogging them for most of the day-sometimes for 2-3 hours before they used them. Internet service is expensive and very slow--sometimes 5 to 6 minutes to get on email. Have been on other NCL cruises which were much better than this ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
(Very....very....very....Long....grab a coffee mug) If you are not interested in the human component of a cruise review...this wont be of enjoyment to you.... Our Background... Widow, Early 40's, a foodie. Semi-retired ... Read More
(Very....very....very....Long....grab a coffee mug) If you are not interested in the human component of a cruise review...this wont be of enjoyment to you.... Our Background... Widow, Early 40's, a foodie. Semi-retired Customs Analyst My child almost 10, diagnosed with Angelman's syndrome (www.angelman.org ) a rare genetic disorder under the umbrella of Autism, she is non-verbal and with different mobility abilities than your typical 10 year old. I prepared a pamphlet prior to our trip to give it to the people we meet.......so they have an idea of who she is and not just her differences.... ( https://skydrive.live.com/view.aspx?...6561be750afbb9) We choose the Spirit on the basis that it was extremely cheap to get to Europe by comparison to fly out of Toronto and the option of "Freestyle" cruising. For other than fun reasons we needed to be in Europe in May....and the Spirit journey was giving me time to make life decisions while at sea and away from my normal environment.....also it was saving us lots of money. This review is focused on the great time we had, specifically because of the wonderful individuals to whom we were complete strangers and then became great friends.....after the loss of my husband and having a differently able child...I learned that the cliche of "Love as you have never been hurt before, dance as if nobody is watching and live each day as your last" is not really just a saying.... We booked mid-Nov 2011 and from the booking moment NCL was getting 10 out of 10 with me, we cruised before with my late husband, first time with NCL....I was offered a HC room 11129,,( I wanted a lower deck, to prevent bad nights if the seas got rough crossing the Atlantic, that was my only concern as there was not an HC cabin on the lower decks) .....before the last cabin payment was due, the fare dropped twice and so did my balance. Few weeks before departure a group of cabins were cancelled and my consultant called me immediately to let me know,,, even when it wasn't HC (bathroom was just a regular bathroom with a step up) was twice the space 283 sq...so, we switched as my child is able to walk short distances and stand., get in and out of places and so on. Cabin No 6535 We flew out of TO on Delta, great flight, took advantage of the Delta Lounge, allowing my child to play and relax while taking connecting flights,,and me having some munchies and complementary wine. We booked the Days Inn by the airport in NOLA, the shuttle came to get us about 10 minutes from our arrival to the waiting area and had a good night sleep, place was clean and comfortable. I requested first floor room and was very close to the entrance. When I arrived at the hotel, I had an email from NCL asking me to be at the terminal by 11 am with contact names of individuals who were to assist me with the embarkation. We slept in, had the complementary breakfast next door at Denny's where I met some of the fellow CC's members from the RC. We got ready and waited for our cab,,, had to wait a little longer for a van, since I had few extra bags and my daughter's WC took a bit of space. When we met was like we knew each other for a life time already....we have been chatting up a storm since Nov to April. We arrived at the terminal and were greeted by the Special Assistance crew,,,,,so delightful,, no lines,, just dropped our bags and kept walking, dropped my wine and champagne, got my stickers and went to the registration counter,,,without a single line,, we were on board. Walked straight to the Windows restaurant, gave my bottles to the waiter to store and chill and went to register my child at the children's place.....what a great bunch of people,,,they WERE expecting us...they had that brochure I created that gave details of my child's condition and sent it to my PCC prior to our departure........Not the norm, but they even offer to keep her if I was interested on the sail away party, we saw the magnificent kids area, all glass in one side to see the sea, lots of divisions and padded areas, arts and craft station, extra clean bathrooms, nice lounge with a large plasma TV,,, just a fun looking environment. We went to see around the ship,,,later returned to Windows and had lunch,,,by then they brought one of my white wine bottles chilled in a bucket and we had a fantastic lunch, my daughter had the short pasta with meat sauce and I had the fried calamari....more than I can have for lunch, fresh and delish and that became our standard...brunch at Windows while we were at sea. After lunch,,walked by our room,, which was ready, I had ordered a bar set up for tequila, Vodka, and Rum which was there, and a bucket with a bottle of wine compliments of my PCC. A fridge was placed under the table for my daughter's liquid meds that needed refrigeration, the Spirit doesn't have fridges. We dropped our carry-on and went to meet with the other people that were to be my new friends and 14 days on the water community. We then got ready for the drill,,,that was quick, easy and well organized. We were tired and after few introductions, went to our room, two of my suitcases were there already, but one was held at the naughty room, at 6 I went to collect the bag,,,, I had 3 bottles of my child's medication,, so they held that suitcase,,,I show them the liquids inside the stored cooler and they didn't bother to open the bottles.,,,walked around for a bit and by the time we got back to the room, the other suitcase was there. We agreed to have dinner, got ready quickly leaving a real disaster in our cases...dinner was awesome, new friends, and great food. A group of single friends traveling together...4 guys and a girl welcomed and embraced us as one of them from the moment we met, El, Geoffrey, Bill, Christoforo and Scott. Great people from all walks of life,,, I end up spending a great deal of time with them,,, and remain friends... Geoffrey was the guy my daughter fell in love with...the smiles and giggles were instant to the moment she saw him anywhere on the ship, he called her "My perfect girl". Scott a Flight Attendant ( http://www.penguinaroundtheworld.blogspot.ca ) was the guy responsible for our daily Happy hour get together, Bill.......the politically correct guy with good jokes under his sleeve.... came to visit me here in Toronto few months ago and don't want to jinx it, but hoping for another trip for some of us soon. That night we left to rest and like magic..my cabin attendant had put everything away........I was thankful and showed him my appreciation in a monetary manner at the end of our journey and made an effort to keep a tidy room so I can entertain in my cabin and share some drinks....some of the Carols can testify to that ( We had about 6 Carols). In the morning I had a quick breakfast and fed my child,,,our informal MM was at 10, I dropped my daughter at the centre and went to the meeting,,great meeting everybody and putting faces to the posts...then we went for lunch I had a great fresh Club Sandwich....nothing but laughs and getting to know everybody else...a wonderful experience. Picked up my child, fed her a great pasta lunch, she had also the Portobello stuffed, she paid full fare,, but ate every penny of it. After we went to the place which became our hang out..DECK 13....!!!!!!!! Great afternoon of drinks and laughs, I ordered a bucket of beer, but didn't drink that as there was a 2-1 that afternoon on a girly drink rum based and had two rounds shared with Bill. Hanging out with Dusty and Charleen....a terrific couple who are your new age Gypsies.. http://justmoderndaygypsies.blogspot.ca time just flew. We left the Deck 13 to get ready for another great dinner, lots of hugs, laughs and instant personal life story sharing...after dinner we saw the show, fun, fun,,, the WC seats on the first row, were being reserved for us,,,and all I can say is WAAAOOOO,,, I didn't need to ask for it,, they just held those two seats,,even if I came in late from the restaurant NCL abilitations at work. Tuesday 17th...we are in Miami, I had planned to go down to SoBe and beach the day with my girl, met two other solo cruisers and we took a cab down, had a great time at the beach, I know SoBe like the back of my hand...so walked down some cat ally after spending some great time at the beach and showed them where to get a real Cuban sandwich soooo big, they had to share, walked down the SoBe strip doing a little tour of the "rich and famous" and hot spots in Sobe... like Versace's old house. I took that opportunity and bought the rest of my wine,,,I estimated a bottle per day, between dinner n lunches.....got back to the ship, and got the stickers for all my bottles...my calculations on savings by bringing my outside purchased wine was over 200 dollars. One of the guys that went with me to the beach was an astronomer Gary an older gentleman who carried a box around giving "Free Sextant Lessons"........What a wonderful guy...full of life stories, and super funny innuendos....... he called me about a month ago when he was near Buffalo chasing Universe events, but couldn't make it to my town...we actually met the night before at the Marahini's Lounge and I welcomed him as I was welcomed earlier by other solo and couples... The other solo guy was Ray a retired private bank investor counselor-turned writer who was travelling to Spain to fly to Ibiza and fix his girlfriends mother's house. He wrote a piece on his blog about the trip and said the nicest things about my child..( http://raysbrain.com/adventure-spain-ibiza ) ....we still keep in touch. I also met a fantastic couple...Dave and Carol Covin...Carol is a writer and Dave a retired IT guy (I think) and a proud grandpa...this is Carol's blog, (http://www.networkedblogs.com/blog/new_grandmas_rock ).... we were together in SoBe sunbathing watching Gary buried himself in the sand while Ray flew a kite and played with my little girl.. Another solo cruiser was Kathy...she is a very warm and funny individual who would also hang out with us until the wee hours of the nigth.....we were feeling loved...everybody was just great. Note about your wine...it will follow you by request to any of the venues...regardless of the time...I shared bottle of champagne with some of my CC RC friends one nigth at the Blue Lagoon and that was after the Galaxy was closed....we sat down and I asked the waiter to bring us a bottle from my listing and he did...it took him some time to get it from the main cellar,,,,but he did. I was also able to request a couple of beers from the bucket I ordered on Deck 13 bar while I was in the Karaoke bar. Back from SoBe.....We didn't attend the deck party, went to rest and got ready for dinner. I shared my table with Charleen and Dusty and the rest was us solo cruisers......Another great night....my pictures will tell the story of our eating experience...that was lobster night....they weren't big,,,but after eating your first lobster...they walk around with more lobster in a tray in case you want more. After dinner and the show we just hanged out at the Blue Lagoon...just sharing good old stories, having so much fun that even ( Food and Beverage Director Ivo Belev) stopped to chat with us..... Too bad I wasn't able to get a kitchen tour. Our first sea day, was the official MM which I missed...late night the night before... After eating brunch...I went to take my child to the center...I still had my reservations leaving her as she wasn't familiar with them and I wasn't watching her..,but that day,,the head counselor waited for me to have a "talk" they wanted me to have fun, to enjoy my cruise and for my child to do the same, they gave me a beeper and told me that I only needed to get her to be fed,,,I was almost in tears when so much emphasis was put in the fact that they wanted me comfortable, they also offered me DVD's if I wanted to borrow them to play in my laptop from their library. At the end of the cruise I gave them 70 dollars to be pooled between them...really nothing for the wonderful job they did...but this was bringing my overall DSC to almost 400.. I calculate another 50 between the bag handlers and WC assistance......still nothing by comparison of services received......My child was there for few hours not every day...but never wanted to leave....getting all stiff on the floor...or hugging the girls....a loud way to communicate she was being well treated. I left the center and the Latitudes party was in place...as I walked by a lovely girl Lonie who was travelling with her parents John and (another) Carol asked me to join them,,,,nobody asked me for an invitation...and I just sat down with them a had a glass of champagne while listen to the cruise director thanking everybody for choosing NCL....glad they offered the drinks,,,,as she is just awful. As I was keeping my Eastern standard time,, and we were taking 1 hour off every day after the first sea day,,,this allowed us to stay up late, watch the shows and mingle...my daughter was one of 5 to 10 children on the ship.... the playground was never crowded,,,we slept in every day, so breakfast was skipped by her, I ran to the buffet in a couple of occasions and got some lox, half of a bagel and SC for my cabin to eat it while watched TV until she was ready to get up...then I will take her to Windows and she had brunch every day...after I will take her to the center at about 1pm, and I will go and be with my new friends, played trivia, mingled, sun tanned and laughed, few days I enjoyed the hot tubs, and so did my daugther...after the trivia I would pick her up to get ready for dinner. The spirit has children's pool with couple of water slides.....Pirate themed..when was temperature permitted, she went in the water....because we had 14 fabulous days of sun..but with chilly air in the Atlantic. Now...to the sea lazy days....there were three friends travelling together...with whom I got very close...Barb, Carol both retired educators and Jerry...God knows what he does........never asked him.....for the rest of the journey we spent a lot of time together...whenever we wanted company in Deck 13.....and I can say that those days just flew by...filled with laughter and good jokes.....inspired by the FS cruising we did what we wanted, when we wanted, with whom we wanted and there was always great choices of friends to spend time with....Carol and I are very chummy-chummy.. she also came to visit me in Toronto last July...another life time friend....the older sister I never had. Jerry and Barb touched my heart with kindness as we were all widows and had emotions to share...I call Jerry my favourite old man loving him like a Dad....we keep in touch on the phone these days. I shared few drinks with my friends and then went to pick up my child from the center and spent time at the pool and hot tub with her. That evening our table mates included Dave and Carol and after the show we went to the Galaxy of the stars for some shoeless dancing which I must admit,,my child really enjoyed...maybe not the typical and accepted place for a 10 year old,,,,but then after all she is NOT your typical 10 year old...and to end the nigth...back to Marahini's for more jokes and laughs.....and boy were there good laughs....even my daughter's Dora doll was in Marahinis!!!!!! Sleeping INNNNN ...YESS..AGAIN..this was one of those days when we got up around 1 and went to windows...and hanged out all day....Beautiful day on the open ocean.....we enjoyed it very much taking advantage of the pools Dinner was good as always...but tonite were were tired and after dinner watched AFV DVD I had....we girls needed a rest.! Another glorious day of sun and fun,,,which included Martini tasting and progressive trivia. This brings us to the nigth of the 20th..the eve of my b-day..after dinner and a little bit of mingle I went to my cabin,,,to decorate it and then to the Internet room to connect at mid-nite ES time with my older children....Carol Covin helped me with the decorations and after talking to my kids..off to a happy sleep!! The 21st is here...my B-day. Previously on the RC since I LOVE b-days I advertised my b-day and wanted as many people to sit in a big table with me......well I GOT my B-day wish...and also received the most beautiful gift I could....the gift of friendship,,,,and even a wonderful "B-day letter" with an inspirational wish that had me in tears at midnight..... Well,,,our journey continues with lots of fun...and after another day at sea of doing nothing at all.... time went by between trivia and Happy Hour...tonite is the White Hot Party.....and we did just that....with a full tummy of great food...we party the nigth away... Well today is a day of taking it easy and an early nigth as we are in Ponta Delgada in the morning,,,tonite we had beautiful sunset......as if the sky was coming down on lights......look for the pictures........ We got to Ponta Delgada and Lori one of the girls in our RC did a wonderful job making arrangements for a private tour with Pedro ...here is his contact info Pedro@azores-tours.com what a fantastic day...great sightseeing, the landscape in PD is phenomenal. We drove by the city of Villa Franca do Campo ...a town with more churches than we can count....also almost more cows than people....Villa Franca is a town very green with crops of sweet potatoes and corn, also oranges and pineapples (in greenhouses) for export. Grapes, bananas and cattle....and believe me LOTS of cattle. Our second stop was the Chapel of Our Lady of Peace an authentic Marian sanctuary constructed on a mount from where you can see the village and the volcanic hole,,,which is also a balnearium. The story says that a statue of Mary was discovered on the hillside where this chapel is now built. A priest brought it down to the church, and the next day, it had vanished. It was back at the same place on the hillside. Interpreting this as a sign from God that Mary wanted to be in this place, a chapel was erected there in her honor. Goosebumps in my arms as I climbed all the steps...worth the climb specially for the exercise challenge for my little girl. One more stop over panoramic views put us on the Calderas of Furnas lake.....remarkable to see nature do as it pleases and humans taking advantage to make delicious meals. After the stop in Povoa'ão.. we stopped for me to take my usual "directions sign picture" ........after....... a quick stop to have a drink from grotta,,a naturally Carbonated Spring water....they had it with a little spout to filled your own bottles and guess what the name of the Grotta was??? GROTTA DA CANADA.... I wanted to leave a Canadian flag right there..... The area had couple of dramatic accidents by tourists who trying to get pictures fell in the furnas and died of horrible burns....caution must be observed! He took us for lunch,,,including lots of bottles of vino verde, so much food that we couldn't finish it,,,,,after that happy lunch...one last look at the panoramic view of the lake,,,group pictures and off to the Tea factory...bought some tea and thennnnn to my favourite place...finally what I waited for years........the liquor factory....there I bought 3 bottles of Liquor of maracuja,, (passion fruit) only available in the Azores,,,one of the most delicious liquors I ever had.....and with that stop..we ended our great tour. We kind of planned our own tour...Pedro made stops which were not on schedule and was happy to do it....Lori did a great job in contacting him to add more people than originally planned....we end up with 2 Vans and a car......what a wonderful day!!! The nigth ended sharing with my table mates who went on different tours our experiences of the day....and sharing a bottle of my liquor which I was able to smuggled (Guilty as charged) with them. NCL kept two bottles until the end of the cruise. The next day was a day of not much activity...and our last formal night,,,,,this nigth we were to take the group picture...I took a million of pics trying to get my little girl to pose,,,,,to no avail.. That means we must take another cruise!!! Still grateful to Ray who took the ones I have and some funny videos. After the pics were taken....I enjoyed a nice sunset in the Aft Hot tub by the children's pool and ordered from the MDR the meal of the evening....ate very late and just relax......I had a hard day ahead of me tomorrow....the anniversary of my husband passing... The day we crossed by the Gibraltar rock the sun was shinning and we were able to see ALL the landmarks in the afternoon. My good friends did all they could that nigth to help my sore spirit bounce back,,,,,and THAT night we had the hardest laughs ever. The crew was introduced and did the Norwegian crew show which ended with the crew standing by the hall while we exit the Theater. The Hypnotists did a great show at the Galaxy of the Stars which it was hilarious, unfortunately...that was the same nigth of the chocolate Buffet,,held in the MDR...by the time I got there..it was over (bad NCL planning) Coincidentally...that nigth I walked into my cabin to find a Monkey shaped towel hanging from my ceiling.....ever sooo cute. The next two days were spent in denial,,,,not wanting to admit that the wonderful Spirit journey was almost over....but even when sadness was lurking,,,we still had fun,,,,with our usual Trivia playing, and even Karaoke night. Two days later we were in Barcelona,,,debarkation was again a breeze, the Special assistance crew did everything to make us feel very, very able to do all we needed to do. I didn't want to say Good-bye to my new friends and I didn't,,,as it is not Good-bye....but....Until we meet again. I suggested a girl's lunch.....and I end up missing it......that day my daughter just didn't want to get up... Our RC didn't schedule a gift exchange but I took some Canadian key chains and bottle openers as gifts to share. Other great points,,, the main dinning room will send your dinner from any evening to your cabin,,as I said we did that one night,, read the menu and ordered the dinner to be sent on the last order,,meaning just before they close the restaurants as I wanted to eat late....we arrived to the cabin and the room service was arriving,,just timed perfect. The shows.........Loved the new dancers,,,,such an energetic and dedicated group...who paid attention to my child to the point that one performance I had to hold her down so she wouldn't climb up the stage following them......so well trained by Nathan......just a fantastic job. I didn't have a chance to eat at the surcharge restaurants....which I know I will in my next cruise....but being a foodie and having a previous cruising experiences with Crystal ...didn't agree with the comments about NCL food being compared to chain restaurants.....I know it's not Michelin rated but not chain either... The service...the company we kept made every meal just great....none of the meals we had left a complaint in my taste buds......Its not either the case of ''you get what you paid for"......and if that was the case we ripped off NCL...then again....just my personal opinion. The waitresses team was very helpful, the would always bring my child's meal with my appetizer...so I was able to make sure she ate and then I enjoyed the rest of my meal at the same pace as the rest of the table. No real down points,,, by mistake I left my Internet logged in,,, and I am still arguing that charge,,,not really their fault, also the beeper I had for my child was accidentally packed in my handbag in my suitcases and they wanted big money for the device,,,needless to say.... at about 2 am the morning of debarkation, I produced the beeper with the help of the guys carrying the suitcases to the storage area. I wont deny it..like in every aspect of life...there are people than don't do what they are supposed to do like the Cruise director,,,she was a real rotten apple.....so I separated her from the rest of the wonderful people that treated us so well, the night of the crew presentation,,, I asked her why the kid's counselors were not participating....she looked at me as if I had 2 heads and said "They are not part of the presentation" in a very rude manner. Then the girl in the sales department....is a waste of NCL's salary.....so I filled the forms for my next cruises 250 deposits and put it in the box outside the sales office,,,,and got my credits for it without dealing with that airhead. Wouldn't allow individuals that don't like their jobs to ruin my good time. The Spirit is a wonderful ship,,,,the crew makes it that way...Greeting me by name as I entered every nigth the MDR was very nice. The Special Needs department is just fantastic....from the moment I got off my cab and they saw me with the WC....all assistance was OFFERED and provided without even me having to ask. Jose the SN coordinator told me that if I choose to eat at the buffet he had put a note,,so they will assist me with my tray and food selection while I push my daughter's WC and select our food...we ate twice in the buffet for breakfast and as I rolled in the greeter immediately said "Please wait here Ms. AJ.......let me get someone to assist you with your tray"....I liked the fact that they knew my name.... I know is very difficult to think of a relaxing-doing-nothing holiday with a child who has different abilities....I was reluctant to leave my child at the centre....Today I am 90% ready to book our next TA journey with NCL. I am looking into the Epic...Its a Nickelodeon ship...the less children on the ship,,,gives my child almost a 2-1 ratio of attention from the counselors. It can be done...they even offer after hour babysitting until 1:30 am so I could mingle at the piano bar or lounges for a per hour fee that I am afraid to say what I think of it so they don't increase it..... I am looking into a way to connect with the Solo travelers on the Epic so I would be able to have others in my position to share daily activities when a partner is needed like dance classes. I would book the Epic Studio to have access to the solo cruisers activities and lounge but too small for us. I am what I call myself a semi-solo cruiser with a little squirrel as a cabin mate. But that is not going to detour me from enjoying all the wonderful experiences we can have at sea with NCL....I met wonderful people....the RC was the key to success with excursions, happy hour, wonderful dinner and entrainment companions that left me wishing for more...... My child enjoyed this journey more than what my expectations would near and to me.........that alone is a reason to come back again and again to NCL. It was my first time in an inside cabin.....and I loved it......I was able to sleep in almost every day in a dark room.....with no idea of time.......and the FS cruising gave me the ability to eat when I wanted.....and do whatever wanted...when I wanted............and as the advertising reads......."or not". The NCL theme song still plays in my head......"Come with me let's go....cruise like a Norwegian" Notes I learned on how to give yourself "suite treatment" on an inside: - I picked up fresh fruits every day and kept them in my room in a little basket I brought from home - Ask for double or triple order of chips at Windows at lunch even if you don't have the club Sandwich....great for munching while watching TV in your cabin..just bring extra large Ziploc bags for storage(or small ones if you don't want to pig out) - Pick strawberries and pineapple skewers from the buffet..I am not fan of chocolate covered but that's also a choice and bring them to your cabin before dinner - Buy a 10 dollar flower arrangement on your embarkation day....once on board ask your room attendant for a vase. -If celebrating an anniversary or BD,,,bring your own decoration..10 dollars at Party Packagers can go very far and do a nicer job than what is charged by the cruise line. Saw one BD package and would have been disappointed to pay 25 bucks for it. - Bring your child's favourite snack....I had few containers of Gummy bears....by the end of my trip I was able to get some from my cabin attendant but I think that was because he saw I ran out of the ones I had and DONT FORGET to bring a Fabreeze plug-in.....your room will always smell nice. I know it would be nice to have all this done for you as a perk.....but when travelling on a budget....you will be glad you did the little "work" when you are enjoying your cabin....specially on a TA It took me too long to write this,,,,,,if there is any questions....I am happy to answer specially regarding different abilities. I met a lot more wonderful people of whom I don't have good pictures..like Frank & Elaine, Carol & Cliff, Mark & Lori, Marcel & Cheryl, Lucy and her husband, Peggy and her husband, Joan, Ozzy John, and even more people that I never got their names,,,like the lady who hand-crafted a stuffed bear with a crochet dress and bonnet for my daughter as a gift,,....shame on me At this time I just want to THANK EVERYONE on the wonderful time which you all contributed to make......The love and respect received for me was the ultimate experience. Here is a link of the pictures., including funny shots at the end..........for which I must thank Jerry and Ray for taking many pictures of us and sharing them with me by USB drive and CD when the trip was over, as I lost my good camera on my last connecting Delta flight into NOLA...... http://public.fotki.com/18012003/var...ips/ncl-sirit/ There are notes at the bottom of the pics (not all) with the dishes names and the people on them. In order to enhance my review....please read these much better and more detailed wonderful reviews of the ship and services from two of my cruise mates.. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1631934 http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1647307 AJ "Don't forget to Laugh...Love and Live TODAY.....for tomorrow is not promised" Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
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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