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10 Norwegian (NCL) Stockholm Cruise Reviews

"15-day cruise with one day at sea and 14 days at ports in 14 different countries bordering the Baltic Sea" was the reason we selected this cruise during mid August through early September of 2019. NCL chooses to not pay the port ... Read More
"15-day cruise with one day at sea and 14 days at ports in 14 different countries bordering the Baltic Sea" was the reason we selected this cruise during mid August through early September of 2019. NCL chooses to not pay the port fees for a convenient berth or mooring. Instead, at each of these 14 ports, the Norwegian Spirit pays the least amount of fee and in turn the Norwegian Spirit moors at a distant berth at each port. Under these circumstances, passengers who do not pay an exhoribant fee for a NCL shore excursion are stuck at the port berth. Like other passengers, we had to hire a local taxi or pay for a shuttle bus in order to get to a train station to then be transported to a nearby destination. At several ports, to get to the advertised destination we had to be very resourceful in figuring out combinations of transportation to take us to the advertised destination for that day. We used combinations of local shuttle bus, taxis, trains, trams and walking. The featured entertaining each evening in the theatre varied considering in quality. Four of the evening shows were excellent (e.g,, the four "Elements" was the best!). Unfortunately, most of the shows were of very poor quality. NCL found cheap "entertainers" for most shows and so we just skipped most evenings in the theatre. The inside cabin was extremely small and uncomfortable (think "prison cell"). Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
The Norwegian Spirit was our first Norwegian cruise. My husband and I usually cruise with Princess or Celebrity. When I saw this wonderful itinerary for the Baltic with so many ports, we decided to book it. When we arrived on the ... Read More
The Norwegian Spirit was our first Norwegian cruise. My husband and I usually cruise with Princess or Celebrity. When I saw this wonderful itinerary for the Baltic with so many ports, we decided to book it. When we arrived on the ship we were taken aback how dated it was. The decor, colors and public restrooms were all very very dated. The spa was decorated with Egyptian style decor. Having sailed on some of the newer ships, this is the worst ship we have ever been on. In speaking with the staff and other passengers, it is supposed to go into dry dock in January 2020. CABIN: We had a balcony room on the 10th floor and the main problem was the toilet not flushing, The bathroom was extremely dated and very tight. Having sliding doors on the shower and toilet area gives you less space. Our main problem with this room was the toilet not flushing. I had to call guest services no less than 6 times. The plumbing was a major issue. On a cruise that was a total of 16 days, the first 12 days we had to guess whether the toilet would flush or not! Finally they sent a plumber over to change a part. Then the toilet would not stop flushing for 3 or 4 times until it finally stopped. Very frustrating. The "balcony" was small and the floor was dirty. Staterooms are small on ships and other than the bathroom toilet fiasco, the room was average. BTW: trying to get a wake up call was impossible. They said it was not working. Trying to call someone about the toilet was also very frustrating because no one answers the phone. TELEVISION: Absolutely terrible. Norwegian Cruise advertisements constant on numerous stations. Cruise Directors usually have a show that updates everyone on upcoming and past activities. This cruise had the worst tv show by far. Plus the stations were limited or would scramble. Sometimes they had BBC, always had MSNBC and a few movies that were rotated in French, English and Spanish. On past cruises they have movies in the theater and on tv. Lots of choices for entertainment on board....not this cruise. I had to get on my phone at shore to see what was going on in the world. ENTERTAINMENT: We were not impressed with the entertainment on this cruise EXCEPT the Illusionist was excellent. The show Elements was really good though.It incorporated dancers and the Illusionist and acrobats who had previously performed. All the other entertainment was not up to par with other cruises we have been on. The singer at Henry's Pub was excellent. The live band in Galaxy and the Jazz band were all very good. The Theater shows at night were just ok other than the Illusionist. FOOD: The buffet was less than average based on other cruises. Very limited variety. The rice was always very dry. Meats over cooked and dry. Other cruises we would see a variety of cheeses and crackers, specialty items; designated area for pizza and burgers. The pizza looked like it was dry and just came out of a microwave. Breakfast was the same every single day. Poor variety and quality. We ate at all of the Specialty Restaurants and they were decent. Definitely Cagney's Steakhouse and Le Bistro were better choices than the dining rooms or the buffet. The Teppanyaki place was average. The prices for specialty dining are higher than on other cruises we have been on. If you are a foodie, you will be greatly disappointed. BARS: The bartender staff on this cruise was very attentive and it was always easy to order drinks. ACTIVITIES: This cruise had only one sea day and we were at a port nearly every day. Thus most people were too tired to get really involved in cruise activities. We went to the karaoke hour early on the cruise and there were 2 people. Bingo had to be cancelled several times because there were not enough people playing. The variety of "activities" was limited due to the port itinerary. SPA: I had a manicure/pedicure and was quoted $110. Once I got the bill I was told they made a mistake and it was actually $118. PLUS THEY CHARGE AN 18% AUTOMATIC GRATUITY on services. So I had to pay $138 for a mani/pedi. They also want to sell you products. The spa was really unattractive as well. I was not impressed with the prices, the service or the ambience of the spa. EXCURSIONS I wish they gave us more info in advance. Like you can pay for a shuttle to town at some ports. We bought excursions for every port. Some of the tour guides were excellent...some absolutely horrible. In Copenhagen we had a Guide whose native language was Spanish. No one could understand her. She really did not tell us anything about the area. That was a total waste of money. On several of the excursions we never were given time to shop or be on our own. Other cruisers told us they were frustrated with their excursions as well. LAUNDRY: There are no laundry facilities for the passengers on this ship. It is very expensive to have them do your laundry and it is charged by a per item fee. OVERALL: The Norwegian Spirit is an older ship in need of updating. Other cruisers told us they have been on many Norwegian cruises and the ships were great. Everyone basically agreed that we were not on this cruise for the ship. We were on it for the 15 day experience with one sea day to interesting ports. Overall experience for us was slightly below average. I would not cruise on the Norwegian Spirit again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
First, our impression of the ship. The ship is not the newest or largest so usually it did not have priority to tie up a the closest piers and we almost always had to take a shuttle.The entire ship is decorated in a Chinese style. Even ... Read More
First, our impression of the ship. The ship is not the newest or largest so usually it did not have priority to tie up a the closest piers and we almost always had to take a shuttle.The entire ship is decorated in a Chinese style. Even Cagney's steakhouse looks more like a Chinese restaurant than the Sushi Bar. La Trattoria is a section of the Raffles Buffet that is closed off in the evening and not very cozy. It appears as though Norwegian tried to adopt the ship to their style and include their restaurants. The Bier Garten consists of some picnic tables by the pool. The Blue Lagoon and Shanghai Bar are only some wide spaces on a main fore and aft passage. The Pub is nice, but small and crowded. Le Bistro is pleasant and Raffles works well. Rooms were up to par and very clean. The staff was very professional, helpful and friendly The fitness room was well equipped, clean, and quite empty. Dining at le Bistro, Cagney's Steakhouse and Teppanyaki was outstanding. The food was always delicious, properly prepared and served. I can't say enough good things about them. The Main Dining Rooms, not so much. They were very spotty. A good meal was a pleasant surprise. Examples were waiting over half an hour for an cold appetizer, fish being served lukewarm or dried out, a salad with cheese that had no cheese in it, a picatta dish with mystery white sauce on it with no capers or lemon seasoning, bananas foster with raw bananas. You get the idea. Although we were in port every day, the ship was out of things that were on the menu (fresh eggs, sorbet, baked potatoes) and not always for only one day. Salt and pepper shakers were missing from sections of Raffles Court. Small things, but that what you pay for and not up to Norwegian standards. Would I take this cruise again? Yes. Our reason for making this cruise was for the ports of call and they were terrific, but as expected, not long enough. Hope this helps you. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Research will tell you that Spirit was built in 1996 and updated in 2017. Don't be fooled...this is an old ship. Public spaces are very dated and balcony staterooms are painfully small. There were random odors around the ship, ... Read More
Research will tell you that Spirit was built in 1996 and updated in 2017. Don't be fooled...this is an old ship. Public spaces are very dated and balcony staterooms are painfully small. There were random odors around the ship, including (as reported by fellow cruisers) in some of the cabins. Our cabin had bedbugs. There are almost no places to enjoy a cocktail with a view of a window other than in one large lounge...and this same spot got quite old after a couple of days. Seating in the buffet is woefully undersized to support the pre-excursion breakfast rush. Food may have been the closest thing to a highlight. While the buffet was unimaginative and very average, the main dining room meals were perfectly passable and specialty dining options were quite good. A reasonably creditable wine list was tempered by a cranky beverage package. On board entertainment - again with some exceptions - could best be described as average, and in some cases was pretty weak. As a minor complaint, it helps if Trivia contests are hosted by people with a better command of the English language... There were more problems with NCL. The crew on Spirit - while there were many great exceptions - was, on average, uninformed, unfriendly and uncooperative. On board communications were less than clear, which mirrored a problem with confusion and inaccuracies on NCL's website. So my net....a 15 day cruise on Spirit was not necessarily a "bad" experience, it just was not nearly so "good" and exprience as we are familiar with on the two other lines that we know well. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
The itinerary was the main reason we choose this cruise. Never have been on a NCL ship before but have cruised many times Dining options were good, food was tasty and portions sizes were appropriate. Did not try the speciality ... Read More
The itinerary was the main reason we choose this cruise. Never have been on a NCL ship before but have cruised many times Dining options were good, food was tasty and portions sizes were appropriate. Did not try the speciality options. The room service was very good, our room was always clean and neat. The entertainment was pretty good, magicians and acrobats were very good. This is the first time I have had such poor communication from the cruise director. This was a two week cruise and she never once had any discussions about the ports, no written information, no video to watch on the in-room TV. ZERO information. We never knew if the city would be close by so we could walk or if we would need to take a bus or taxi. Most of the ports we docked a significant distance from the city, a 20-30 minute drive. Twice we had to pay to take a shuttle to the city - I have never had to do that on any previous cruise. Many of the passengers we spoke to on our cruise we surprised by the lack of communication. The only time I saw her was when the entertainment finished in the theater, she came out and thanked the performers. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Chose this cruise for the 13 country itinerary in 15 days, knowing it would not be the relaxing cruise that we usually take. Very smooth embarking and debarkation. We liked the sized of the ship. We never felt there were 2000 people on ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the 13 country itinerary in 15 days, knowing it would not be the relaxing cruise that we usually take. Very smooth embarking and debarkation. We liked the sized of the ship. We never felt there were 2000 people on board with the exception of a couple times at Raffles buffet. We were really expecting the worst of the SPirit as it is due to go for drydock in January. That being said, the ship far exceeded our low expectations. We kept commenting that it was so much nicer than we ever imaged. The ship appeared to be kept clean and rooms were decent. Certainly the staterooms will be nice after updates as bathrooms are outdated but clean is most important to us. The stateroom was decent for size just as photos show. It is always nice to have a small sofa to sit onwhich these rooms have. We have had smaller and larger but room was very adequate. Closet held ample clothing. Our room steward did a great job. His cart was normally parked next to our door which wasn't a problem. We had surprise animals every night! The dining room was extremely inconsistent from both time and quality standards. One day everything would come out quickly and hot and the next day food would be very cold and come in waves for the table.. The staff were always pleasant and tried to please but there must have been a problem somewhere in between. Raffles was a choice sometimes but at busy times tables in the buffet area would be hard to find but we would sit outside. The traffic flow seemed pretty non existent . La Bistro was the favorite of all 10 of us and was the Best food we had on board. Tempanyaki was 2nd. Very tender beef and nice dinner. Cagneys was big disappointment both in service and food. We had table of 6 and table of 4. No steak and lobster as on menu and shrimp was offered instead. No one LOVED their dinner that evening. Blue Lagoon was a quick and easy place to have a burger, salad etc after shore excursions or when you just want a quick easy meal. Quick service - same manager as La Bistro. He does a great job! We enjoyed the entertainment - both onboard group and guest entertainment. The violinist was entertaining as were most of them. Loved Henry's pub and the staff and also spent time in the outdoor beer garden. All the bars had a different specialty menu which was fun. Casino was way to smoky to ever visit. No nonsmoking day. I can't comment on entertainment other than evening shows as this was such a port intensive cruise we didn't take time to participate. One of the true disappointments were shore excursions. Most people we saw felt the same way but I am not seeing the negative reviews yet. It was a mess all leaving from the theater most days. The mad rush when 360 people are called for an excursion. We had a group of 10 and overall, the biggest disappointment was lack of sound enhancement for most tours. Most tours had 36 to 45 people and without sound enhancement the tour guide was pretty useless. Helsinki, Amsterdam, Gdansk and st Peterburg were the only cities we understand had the earbuds or amplifier. We had some tour guides in the other cities that could not be in control of such a large tour group in busy historical cities as well as not being able to project their voice. The tours were awfull! We put up with tours in some cities because of transportation and or boat tour which were excellent but the rest of the tour terrible. I had minimal need for shopping with the exception of an ornament. in some cities, there was no time alloted to even buy an ornament. The worst of all was 3 1/2 hour Rostock for $109. Most things in the city was closed. We rode the bus to the historic center hearing of some history and how everyone drinks too much beer and the guide Kai pretty much just walked, talking to one of the guests and would give a few facts every once in a while. The restaurants were opening but nothing else. We had over an hour free that day with nowhere to go. I would suggest finding alternatives to NCL such as small groups that guarantee getting back to ship. A small group would be of great value. I will be very selective of NCL tours in the future after this experience. Just hard to have 40 plus people trying to hear follow 1 guide. I would look forward to another cruise on the spirit especially after she goes through drydock Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise primarily for visa free Russia and the lovely city of St Petersburg - the other 13 ports were a bonus, but although we had been to all the countries before, we did get off at every one. First thing to note is that ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily for visa free Russia and the lovely city of St Petersburg - the other 13 ports were a bonus, but although we had been to all the countries before, we did get off at every one. First thing to note is that Stockholm hotels are expensive as are drinks in Swedish bars - save money at the 7/11 :) Plenty to see in this capital, but get to the Vasa museum very early or leave it late to avoid all the cruise parties. Easy to get to port on public transport, although we used an u ber for about a tenner from city center. Embarkation was a breeze and we were on board very quickly - note, do not queue outside if you already have your luggage labelled - just drop it off. We went straight to our room to drop our hand luggage and use safe and headed to the bar as room was still being made up. I think we were on board for 1pm. We asked to get our bed split too to make our inside cabin more functional - have no idea how 4 people will survive in it, but was fine for 2. Two cases fitted easily under one bed, plenty of hangers available, with adequate shelving and drawers. Small TV which we only used to watch the bow camera, lighting slightly dark, fixtures slightly rattly and walls thin. Noise was not really an issue and ear plugs blocked most noise. Bathroom was fine if a bit old and only complaint was shower drained slow, very slow. No windows made it easy to sleep as was pitch black, but hard to know what was going on in the morning. Also no phone signal in cabin :( Ship is old and small, but we were pleasantly surprised. Nightclub was mainly empty with a hardcore of about 10 of us there every night (Not that sort of cruise), very few kids which was great, Henry's bar was the most authentic bar and Stevan (Serbia) was a great barman, Champagne bar was ok, but most of our time was spent in the Galaxy on deck 12 - biggest room, best views and Klay was best barman on the boat. Entertainment team were good and ran 4 quizzes a day, fitness classes, sports, dance classes and participation shows - quite good fun. I am not really int the big shows so only went to one which was good enough. Didn't particularly like the auto-tuned pianist's singing (he was a great piano player), Melvin was good in the bar and Hotwire (Main Latino band) were great. We were off the ship everyday so didn't really use the pool/hot-tubs, etc. Pool was small and 4 tubs were smallish, but often available. Basketball court was available a lot as were the driving range. Food was good and we ate in the Garden most due to relaxed dress code. Rarely ate buffet other than breakfast and specialty restaurants were ok as we got a package, but would have been disappointed if we had paid for them. By saying this, I mean they were not that much better than the main dining rooms. In general I was really happy with food choice and drink choice. The only issue I had with the drink package was that bottled water was not included and this is purely a money making exercise by NCL. You could get 'tap' water in all restaurants and bars though. Staff were generally happy and helpful and good at their jobs. I would cruise on this boat again after its' refurb in January. I avoided all NCL's excursions due to them being twice the price of what you could get for yourselves. StP 2 day excursion being the case in point. Another big negative was the berths we docked at - we always seemed to have the worst berth compared to other cruise lines. This meant longer walks, paid for coaches, etc. Self disembarkation was really easy and we u bered to the railway station for a tenner So NCL - add water to the affordable drinks package, reduce price of excursions and dock at the better berths (I assume they cost more) and you may even get full marks from me. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
When I saw the itinerary for this cruise I had to book immediately: Stockholm, St. Petersburg (2 nights), Tallinn, Klaipeda, Gdynia, Riga, Oslo, Copenhagen, Brussels, Le Havre, Amsterdam, Helsinki, Southampton. The itinerary did not ... Read More
When I saw the itinerary for this cruise I had to book immediately: Stockholm, St. Petersburg (2 nights), Tallinn, Klaipeda, Gdynia, Riga, Oslo, Copenhagen, Brussels, Le Havre, Amsterdam, Helsinki, Southampton. The itinerary did not disappoint although a couple of NCL's excursions did, particularly the one in Tallinn. I had been on the Spirit before so I knew that the ship is older and some things need updating (It's going into dry dock for a major refurbishment in Feb. 2020.) However, I like this ship because it's small and easy to get around. I especially like the observation deck on 12. My balcony cabin was very nice and comfortable. This was my first cruise as a solo traveller and I must say I was initially apprehensive about what the experience would be like. There was no need to worry though. NCL hosts regular solo get- togethers and dinners. The other solo cruisers were delightful and I'm grateful to NCL for providing the opportunity to meet them. NCL's solos representative did a terrific job in making everyone feel welcome. (The complementary champagne and wine was very much appreciated also.) Now to discuss some of the things that could have been improved. First of all, the main dining room, Windows, has very slow service and the food quality uneven. Some of the entertainment (a female singer, a juggler, magician and acrobats) was not to my liking but that is mostly personal preference, of course. In the 15 days, I went to only 4 or 5 shows because many of the acts just didn't appeal to me. The negatives were not so great as to seriously impact my overall enjoyment of this cruise. I definitely plan on cruising with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We did the 15 day Baltic cruise from Stockholm to Southampton. The itinerary was great and the shore excursions excellent. We choose not to take the long bus/train rides into Berlin, Paris or Brussels but instead enjoyed exploring the ... Read More
We did the 15 day Baltic cruise from Stockholm to Southampton. The itinerary was great and the shore excursions excellent. We choose not to take the long bus/train rides into Berlin, Paris or Brussels but instead enjoyed exploring the smaller cities near the ports. The Norwegian Spirit is in need of refurbishing but we didn't spend much time on it. The food was mediocre but adequate. Unfortunately the dining availability did not match the excursions and sail away times. We came back late from excursions twice to find only a very small cafe open to get any food at all. Another issue was that the ship docked in many industrial port areas away from the nearest cities. There were cruise ships docked much closer to the ports but it seemed that we always were docked much farther away requiring shuttles and such. It also seemed that some of the entertainment was repeated or at least the blurbs about the shows were identical. We enjoyed one group and were looking forward to seeing them again but it was the same show. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
What i understand is that this cruise was the first complete Baltic sea cruise in two years and that Oslo was included. The area is new to me and I was very interested in seeing the cities. I travel alone and was a little disappointed ... Read More
What i understand is that this cruise was the first complete Baltic sea cruise in two years and that Oslo was included. The area is new to me and I was very interested in seeing the cities. I travel alone and was a little disappointed that NCL didn't have single cabins. The cruise was rather expensive, but I thought it might be worth it because of the excursions. I used the NCL internet site to determine my excursions When I got aboard, I was disappointed to find that the list of excursion was much larger with a lot more detail. The ship (which is common) had an older passenger clientel and the excursions were geared toward us. The German excursion was the most exhausting because of the six hour traveling to spend six hours to visit such a city. The food was average for ships. The buffet could have had a taster menu. The restaurants were nothing to write home about. The Italian restaurant was a rather disappointing place. No ambiance. The ship services were very good especially 'Guest Services' (Carol Macapagal) and my two favorite employees, the bartenders at Charlies (Boyana and Christine). Thank you. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
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