75 Norwegian Spirit Caribbean - Southern Cruise Reviews

This is a nice ship, with comfortable amenities. The staterooms are ample. Food quality is good, but not excellent. They do have specialty restaurants, but these are had at substantial cost. The shows were good. What I don't care ... Read More
This is a nice ship, with comfortable amenities. The staterooms are ample. Food quality is good, but not excellent. They do have specialty restaurants, but these are had at substantial cost. The shows were good. What I don't care for with this cruise is the Freestyle type cruising, which means no organization as to when you eat or who serves you throughout the ship. I prefer more traditional cruising, so that my meals are at a planned time, and I have the same restaurant wait staff at each meal who know me and provide what I want without having to ask. Also, this ship has pre-pay for the tips. What that leads to is service and staff who don't have to work for their tips, so the pampering efforts are significantly decreased. The service is good, but "good" isn't good enough for a cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
I think its time to take this Ship out of the cruise business, or use it for some other venue, not seven day cruises! It lacks in to many areas, food, entertainment, recreation. First, the food, the raffles buffet, is nothing more than a ... Read More
I think its time to take this Ship out of the cruise business, or use it for some other venue, not seven day cruises! It lacks in to many areas, food, entertainment, recreation. First, the food, the raffles buffet, is nothing more than a place to fill your belly, very mediocre, if not just bad, the breakfast menu was hard to swallow after a couple of days, definitely needs more variety. The gardens and window dining rooms are passable, however, I wouldn't write home about them! I find it odd that they both have the same menu each night! There seems to be a push to add more pay restaurants on these cruise ships, I believe, the all inclusive buffets and dining rooms will be phased out a little at a time, until there are no more! My first cruise, in the mid nineties (bigger ship,no less) had one pay restaurant. This little ship has 5, I believe. I guess, my personal, biggest complaint, there was no sports bar or for that matter, anyplace to catch the score of your favorite team. I've never been on a ship that didn't take advantage of all the sport nuts out there, I believe Spirit missed out on a big cash cow, by not having one! Behind the casino, in that mostly empty room would be perfect! The entertainment was very poor also, the magician was pathetic, the aerialists were received well, but if you had ever seen aerialists before, these two were very amateurish at best! Same with the comedian, and by the way, why did we not get to see him after the first night introduction, until the last two nights of trip? I guess he waits tables the rest of the week! And someone tell me why the bingo cost so much on these cruises?? Anybody playing 3 games for $69 needs to have their head examined, including my wife! Highway robbery, I tell you! I know it's a small ship, but the crew is young and inexperienced when it comes to extra curricular activities! I have a beef with the excursion people also! They do not have the customers in their best interests at all, they are just trying to fill ALL slots on every excursion, no matter if it's good or bad! I booked an excursion for 4 on St. Thomas to Magen's Beach and downtown shopping! $180.00 ! We saw people on the boat at the beach who claimed to have gotten a cab for $64.00 for 4 people round trip! That's all we got, was a cab ride too! Downtown is right across from the where the ship is docked! I informed the excursion folks of my displeasure, and asked for the difference between the $180 and $64 be refunded back to my account! No dice, they said 30% was the best they could do, I took the 30% , and went straight to the Spirit service desk and filed a complaint, this is the happy part of this story, two days later, I received a full refund! Norwegian needs to monitor the excursions a little more closely! Excursions on all cruises seem to be a roll of the dice, personally, I'll never do another! Now to mirror the other complaints in these other reviews, our room (outside balcony), was not kept up very well! Our room steward didn't clean (make bed, change towels, clean is too strong of a word) room until late (3-4) in the afternoon and turned the bed down after 9 every night! I know they only have 4 to 6 hours between cruises to do any heavy cleaning, but I've never been on a cruise ship that needs so much personal attention when it comes to cleaning! As I said earlier, this Ship probably needs to be taken out of the rotation!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Save your money..... Experienced the following on the cruise: 1. On the 1st evening we returned to our room after dinner to find a note stating that contraband had been found in our luggage and we would have to go to theater to meet with ... Read More
Save your money..... Experienced the following on the cruise: 1. On the 1st evening we returned to our room after dinner to find a note stating that contraband had been found in our luggage and we would have to go to theater to meet with security and retrieve our luggage. Immediately I know that it is for the wine that I had brought with me. I had full intentions on paying the corkage fee.... However, I wish that we would have been informed so that we didn't have to go through this process. After waiting for over an hour for our turn to meet with security and were able to return to our room with luggage in tote. 2. Returning to our room on the 2nd day we discovered that our electrical outlet was not working. I called down to guest services to report the issue and they said that they would send a housekeeping supervisor. After waiting 30 minutes I called back and inquired if someone would be coming soon because I needed to utilize the outlet to get ready for our dinner reservations. The agent at the desk said that the outlets do not accommodate European plugs and they do not offer convertors. Clearly by my voice you can tell that I am from the United States so there is very little chance that I am trying to plug in a European flat iron. After talking to the desk agent I am more than frustrated. I felt like I had to argue with her to get her to understand that the standard outlet is not functioning and we need someone to come fix it. Finally after the 2nd call and a wait of 50 minutes a gentleman from the maintenance came and was able to access the panel in the hallway to rectify the issue. 3. One of the evenings I had gotten up around 3:00am to utilize the restroom and upon flushing the commode it made a very loud noise. I certainly didn't think anything of it because they are loud to begin with. However, when washing my hand the water turned brown and some sort of black substance came up in the commode. I immediately went to the closest public restroom to wash my hands only to discover that the water in the restroom was also brown. I returned to my room and used the bottle of water available for purchase at the price of $4.50 to wash my hands. I called down to the desk to report the issue and got no answer. With the uncertainty of what I just had on my hands I thought I better just go to the desk. The gentleman at the desk said that they were changing filters in the filtration system and he thought that it was just rust. He said not to worry that we could start using the restroom in about 10-15 minutes. Well I certainly hope that it was rust. The thought of having waste come out of the sink is disgusting. Maybe in the future the guest should receive a notice this process is going to take place with a time frame. I can't imagine being in the shower during this time. 4. One of the mornings we woke to an announcement being made from the Captain. Apparently overnight the ship had faced some electrical difficulties and the generators had been used for back-up. I have never really felt unsafe on a NCL ship. However, I think with all of the paperwork and notes that are placed in your stateroom this was definitely an occasion that deserved a written explanation. I had asked several employees and they seemed like they didn't know what I was talking about or were not allowed to discuss the issue. 5. On our stop in Cozumel we had booked and paid in advance for a beach break shore excursion. The morning of we had set 2 wake up calls. One if we decide to eat breakfast and the other if we were going to skip breakfast and sleep in. Well we decided to skip the 1st call and sleep later. Unfortunately we never received the 2nd call and we missed our excursion. I called down to the desk and once again and received no answer. After getting ready we went to the desk and informed the Front Desk Supervisor what had happened. She said for us to wait one moment and she would return. She came back with a log and basically argued with us over the wake-up call and stated that we did acknowledge the 1st call so there wasn't much she could do except document it and pass the information on the shore excursion manager. She never apologized or seemed empathetic. I wasn't really expecting a refund, just the acknowledgement and an apology would have been just fine. Upon walking away from the desk a member of management asked if they could help me and finally I felt like someone truly cared. He immediately gave us an adjustment for the excursion and sent us champagne and strawberries. I have to say that he was one of the few employees that deserved the friendliest ship award that everyone had been talking about. 6. On the final day at sea the pool was closed for the entire day due to a child having an accident. On this particular ship there are only 2 pools. One clearly marked for adults and one for children. To prevent the adults not having a place to swim maybe the ADULT only policy should be enforced. 7. The last evening of our cruise we ordered room service. We waited over an hour and it never came. We finally went to bed. 8. Also, on the last evening we had another issue with the commode. It became stuck and was constantly flushing. We reported the issue and someone from the housekeeping team came and fixed the issue. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
My husband won this cruise and all we had to do was to pay port charges and tax, etc. He was a first time cruiser and I had cruised four times previously. We only had a few choices and elected to leave from New Orleans so that we could ... Read More
My husband won this cruise and all we had to do was to pay port charges and tax, etc. He was a first time cruiser and I had cruised four times previously. We only had a few choices and elected to leave from New Orleans so that we could experience the city. I was a little hesitating due to the security issues in Mexico and reading some of the reviews. I was pleasantly surprised as the ship and crew were excellent. We booked our own air and hotel and it was really easy to get to the port. We stayed one night at Marriott and cab fare was just $15 but it was so close to hotels that when we disembarked we walked with our luggage to the Harrah's hotel and did not need transportation. Ship The crew was friendly and accommodating. Our room was clean and spacious for two. I brought extra hangers and clothes pins which came in handy and highly recommend. The bathroom was adequate. While a balcony or window would have been nice, we did not need it. We bought a honeymoon package $135 (not recommended). It came with cheap champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries in room, dinner at French restaurant with wine, select picture and petit fours. In future, I would just buy as I go for better values. Cost Back 15 years ago, I did not pay for much when I cruised and felt that I was nickel and dimed for anything outside the dining room. The drink packages are expensive unless you drink a lot of soda not worth it. I brought my own bottle water which was good because a case will cost you $80+ on the ship. Cocktails were pricey and we were going to bring our own wine and pay the $15 corkage fee but when we got to New Orleans we did not find good choices. Next time, I will pack my own from California and bring on plane. Some people did get there alcohol through security without detection but others got caught. We enjoyed bingo but the starting packages were $30 and up so we only participated a few days. I did do the Deal or No Deal game once and won $40. Cost me $20 to play. The casino was loose on day one but then tightened up and I left my allotment behind. We did get free drinks though while playing so it was not a total waste. Food The buffet was standard but the lunch and dinner in both dining rooms were great. There is always something new on menu and we did not go hungry. The key lime pie was the best I ever had and was my favorite. The first night they served an entree with lobster which was very good as well but I longed for more and they never served the lobster again. We only dined at one specialty restaurant. It was the French restaurant. The food was good and it was special. I had the escargot and filet. I was not impressed with the free style dining though. While the cost was minimal, they charged more for extra entrees and considering they were charging in the first place I felt this was a rip-off. For people with unlimited funds or the finicky eater I am sure it is a value. Ports Due to the weather, we were not able to go to Costa Maya. Although I the really did not care for the reviews, I did want to explore so I was a little disappointed. If you booked a shore excursion through the cruise ship you were reimbursed but I wonder if the people that booked on their own were. I would recommend checking this out to avoid lost monies if your port is cancelled. Both excursions that I did through the cruise ship were great and well worth the extra. We went to Belize the next day and were disappointed that it was elections and considered a holiday. This shut down most of the city and since we were going to explore on our own and then hit the beach, we were discouraged. I felt the cruise line should have anticipated this and changed the ports. We found a last minute snorkel trip and had an hour to snorkel. The snorkeling was good but due to the water surge we were not able to get out to the reef and really see the sea life. Afterward we were to spend two hours at a private island/beach but when we got there, the staff was told to close down due to elections. They served us two beers before bringing us back to port. The resort was nice and I felt we missed out. Next we stopped at Rotan Islands and did the Dolphin Encounter through the cruise ship. I was a little apprehensive, so it was a meet and greet and if we ever get another opportunity we will go for the swim. We had the time of our lives though and I was really impressed and how well the dolphins were well taken care of and kept in their natural environment. The port itself was not much to get excited about and what little time we spend afterwards was more than enough. I recommend booking an excursion and getting away from it. Since I scuba dive and my husband does not, I booked a Discover Scuba with the cruise ship for Cozumel. He had the best experience and I highly recommend this excursion. We were no more than 25 feet deep and there was plenty to explore. The dive shop was equipped with good equipment and staff was professionally trained. After the dive we had time to go back to ship, change, have lunch and go out on town. Plenty of shopping restaurants and bars. Nice port if you do not want to do an excursion. I will say I did not like tendering and prefer to dock. The tendering takes time and I felt that I had to cut things short worrying we might miss our boat. I In the future, I will look for cruises that pull in and do not tender. All and all, it was a great ship and would recommend. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
My husband and daughter just returned from our first NCL cruise to Costa Maya, Roatan, Belize, and Cozumel. We have cruised before with Carnival and absolutely loved everything about it. This time, this particular trip was cheaper with ... Read More
My husband and daughter just returned from our first NCL cruise to Costa Maya, Roatan, Belize, and Cozumel. We have cruised before with Carnival and absolutely loved everything about it. This time, this particular trip was cheaper with Norweigan than with Carnival so we decided to go with Norweigan. What a huge mistake that was. Let me first start out by saying that we did have fun at most of our ports. Also, I did not want to publish this on a public website, but since Norweigan does not offer a way to email them privately, I have not other choice. I want them to know how I feel about their ship. We sailed on the Norweigan Spirit out of New Orleans. I will start by saying that on Carnival, the food was great, the size of the room was comfortable, the beds were great. All customers were treated great. The crew "knew" you by the time you were ready to go home. We made great friends on our cruise on Carnival. Norweigan not so. I had NO complaints about our Carnival cruise and after returning home yesterday, I sent them an email letting them know how much I appreciated everything they do.I will start from the first day. The food in the buffet was HORRIBLE! It was cold and or dry. The cold food was warm. I realize it was a busy day for the boat, but to have food like that was absolutely uncalled for. On Carnival, included in the buffet, you got tea, water, lemonade, and some sort of juice. Not on Norweigan. You get tea and water. The tea is so nasty. There was no doctoring it up to make it taste better. No juices and no lemonade. They did have lemons next to the water to make the lemonade but throughout the cruise, as much as my husband and mother tried, they could not get any juice out of the lemon slices. They were too dry. We spent the next few hours waiting on our rooms to be ready by touring the ship and learning our way around. Dinner on the first day was back in the buffet for some more dry and/or cold food. Day 2 was a full day at sea. I have to admit that the food in the buffet was better. Breakfast was excellent. Great scrambled eggs and french toast and waffles that are delicious. For breakfast you did have a choice of juices. Orange, apple, and a fruit cocktail. That afternoon we were treated to a BBQ where the mayonaisse and cole slaw sat out in the hot sun for hours at a time. No thank you. Almost all of the shows on board were great. They had a magician on board who did several shows. I'm not really into magicians so I was not impressed. They had a couple on board that did an acrobat routine. It was so great that it brought tears to my eyes. I would have liked to see them perform more. They had a commedian that was great the first time. After that, not so funny. The singers and dancers were great. However, the theater were the shows were leaves much to be desired. I am not a small skinny woman as a lot of other people on board. The theater has seating like a regular theater. The seats are very small and the rows are close together. It is very uncomfortable seating. To sit in the comfortable seats on the front row, you have to buy alcohol from the bar. No thank you! On Carnival it is bench seating and very comfortable. And you can sit on the front row without buying anything. Day 3 we were in Costa Maya. We went on a shore excursion of catamaran and snorkeling. We have done this before in the Bahamas and it was great. But this time was even better. We got to swim for about an hour or so. The captain of the catamaran even gave us free water, soft drinks, or beer when we came out of the water. It was wonderful and I would recommend this excursion for anyone. This day we ate dinner in the Windows dinning room. Food was pretty good. Day 4 we were in Roatan, Honduras. We went on the dolphin encounter. Again, another great excursion. If you do this excursion, bring money. They allow you to take pics with the dolphin that you can buy once you get back to shore. It was wonderful. Our tour guide was also very imformative. Telling us things not only about the island, but about the dolphins as well. Day 5 we were in Belize City, Belize. We deiced to do the cave tubing this day. I would not recommend it to anyone. It is a level 2 excursion. Again, I have tried to contact Norweigan directly about this but you can only call. No emails. We boarded a bus that was air conditioned so not too bad. Our tour guides Dorian told us about Belize as we were on the way. A one hour trip to where we were going. A very long and bumpy one hour trip. I actually started to feel car sick on the way there and I don't get car sick. Once we go to where we were going, we were allowed to change clothes, we were allowed to put stuff on the bus, we were given our tubes, helmets, and life jackets. We were told on the way that Belize has a law that says there has to be a ration of 8-1. So were were not going to be in one large group but we would be in several smaller groups. There were 37 people all together. Once we left, it was like all the tour guides were in a race to finish first. We were supposed to be told about plants in the rain forest. I was at the front of the group so I could hear most of what our tour guide was saying. Those at the back of the group heard nothing. She would start telling us about something then before the rest could catch up, she would be gone again. What was supposed to be a 45 minute hike through the rain forest turned out to be only 20 minutes. That's how fast we were going. When we got to the mouth of the cave, we had to link together. You better have strong neck muscles for this part. You can not lay back and relax. You have to be in a laid back position holding your head up the whole time. It doesn't take long though. What was supposed to be an hour and a half float through the cave was only about 30 minutes. Since we were all linked together, the back of the "train" would sway from side to side. This lady kept running us into the rocks. We would have to push off the side of the cave. Once we were out of the cave system we were told we would have a "free float." Meaning we would not be hooked together. We were rushed through that as well. We were told to not just float but paddle down this part. Our tour guide left us at this point. I didn't care. I was so mad I was just ready to leave. This too was supposed to last 30 minutes and was only about 5-7 minutes. I'm giving these times to show you how much we were rushed through this. I was so glad to get out of there and get away from everything. We were then brought to a buffet lunch. The food was good but remember, you are eating in a 3rd world country where there are no regulations on how your food is served. It is a resturatnt with no windows and a lot of flies. We went back to the bus for another 1 hour long trip back. I was so glad to be back on the ship. This shore excursion was the worst I have ever been on. The next day we were in Cozumel. Cozumel is a great place. Don't just shop inside the little shopping center. Go outside of that center. I recommend the horse and carriage tour. It is really cheap and you get to see the highlights. This is not an NCL excursion. We also ate at one of the little resturants on the strip. It was great. There are a lot of people linning the streets wanting you to buy things. They are actually in your face. Be careful.Ok, so the next day was a day at sea and it was ok. We were tired and played cards most of the day.Rooms - we had an inside room. There were 3 of us. The whole room is probably double the size of my closet in my bedroom. VERY small. They had the beds pushed together and a bunk bed for my daughter. If her bunkbed was down, the person on that side of the large bed could not see the small 13" 1990 TV. At least on Carnival we had a 19" flat screen. If we were all 3 in the room together, 2 had to be seated while the other was up doing what they had to do. Then that person sit down while the other would get up and so on. To get ready for dinner, I had to get dressed, leave the room, let my daughter get dressed, leave the room, then my husband. It was really an inconvenience.And our rooms were NOT clean. Sure they were neat. Picked up. But there was not a night that went by when they would come in and turn our beds down that there were hairs and lint on our sheets. One night there was even a big yellow (what looked like urine) stain on our comforter. They would "clean" the bathroom. There would be hairs in the sink. One thing I love is fresh, clean smelling, white towels. You won't get that on Norweigan. The towels smelled soured. On Carnival, every room has those nice soft white robes. Not on Norweigan. Those are reserved for the passengers that book suites. Another thing....On Carnival, there were quiet places to go if you didn't want to be around all the noise. On Norweigan, the only quiet place to go was your tiny matchbox cabin. The bed was so hard. I did not sleep well at all while I was gone. On Carnival, the bed was so comfortable, I wanted to bring it home with me. Crew - There were only about 2 crew members that I knew when I saw them and they knew me. I never saw our cabin stweard. On Carnival, I still talk to my cabin steward through emails. You will not get that personal touch with Norweigan. Norweigan also talks so much about alcohol. Really? We are not big drinkers especially not on the cruise. It's just too expensive. We felt like they were catering to those who drank and slept late. There was one activity that we loved. TV show tune trivia. One game lasted about 5 minutes. We really wished they would have had more of those. It was fun. But again, since it was not alcohol or gambling related it was not stressed. On Carnival, we were welcomed to sit outside at night. We loved doing that. Not on Norweigan. The beach chairs are not only picked up but they are tied down to discourage people from using them. As I mentioned earlier, my daughter and I had the coke cards. Really the only place for us to fill those cups was on deck 12. So if we were in the room on deck 5, we had to go all the way up to 12 to get our cups filled. Talk about an inconvenience. I think I have covered most of the bases in this post. I am sorry that Norweigan does not give people a chance to send this to them directly. I hope they will make changes so that they can improve their services. One more thing. Norweigan boasts of having 16 resturants. You have to pay extra for all but 3 of them. One is the buffet. The other 2 have the same menu. Not a lot of variety on board as far as food. 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Sail Date May 2011
Embarkation: Boston's new terminal is nice—the problems are before you get into the terminal—traffic flow was very bad with three cruise ships docked—there are no signs to show you where to drop luggage and find a ... Read More
Embarkation: Boston's new terminal is nice—the problems are before you get into the terminal—traffic flow was very bad with three cruise ships docked—there are no signs to show you where to drop luggage and find a porter---a real issue that needs to be addressed. Once inside everything went well and we were having lunch in Cagney's by noon. We arrived in Boston two days before embarkation and stayed at the Westin Waterfront Hotel. Was nice but to far from the center—I would not stay there again because of the location. But for two nights it was ok. Had a nice dim-sum lunch in China Town at the pearl restaurant—it was very good . There is a a new VIP lounge where all suite guests waited and other VIPs It was nice with new furniture etc. We were informed of GI onboard the Spiriit and given a choice not to board—since we have never had a bout with this on any cruise we boarded and had no symptoms thru out the cruise. Cabin: We were in a penthouse suite 9710—the suite is in need of a yard period— The inside showed a lot of wear on the furniture and carpets ( this it was our third Cruise on the Spirit in the last three years in a penthouse suite and could really see the wear) the balcony deck and railings really showed the wear. The love seat type coach was really in bad shape and could hardly be sat on—I called the Hotel Director which had it replaced after he looked at it and decided it was not good. He had replaced with a fairly new love seat. The shower showed wear with bad caulking and the curtains in the bedroom had to be fixed so that you could close them. It makes me wonder how much longer NCL will Keep the Spirit in their fleet. Public Spaces: All public spaces seemed to be very clean and maintained well. I did notice a lot of wear in Henry's Pub and condensation build up in the windows of the forward observation lounge. I did not see any mildew in the forward observation lounge. Outside on the decks work was underway with the life boats maintenance and other deck work—I also saw the crew painting the buccaneer pool for the kids back aft---there were very few children on this cruise. Overall IMOP the Spirit needs a good yard period. Food/Service: The menus in the MDR were the same as our last two cruises on the Spirit—it is time for NCL to change them. The food in the MDR was good but nothing special. The soufflEs were very good and our favorite when offered. Lobster was prepared just right—they were small but you could have as many as you want on request. We only ate in Windows for dinner. No shorts were allowed in windows. I found the steak on the everyday menu to be very good and prepared as ordered—a good option with the lobster on lobster night (they were two lobster nights on this fifteen day cruise). I had the Beef Wellington on one lobster night—it was ok nothing spectacular. The presentation of all dinners was excellent and sometimes out did the flavor of the meal. The appetizers were really excellent on the menus with a good variety. I did notice that the NCL wine prices seemed to be higher than our last cruise---I think bringing some good $10-15 bottles of wine and paying the corkage is the least expensive way to go. We did not eat in the other dining room as we prefer the ambiance of Windows. Service in Windows was good and quick on some days and bad and slow on other days. If you get a waiter/waitress you like try to get them on all days if you can—that way you can predict your service from day to day. Specialty restaurants: since we were in a suite we had breakfast and lunch almost every day at Cagney's. The service was fantastic here. The only comment is the lunch menu is getting sort of old and needs an update. We did order some things that were not on the menu and they were delivered with out question. We had dinner at Cagney's, Shoguns, Le Bistro, and Teppenaki (sp?). The service in all specialty restaurants was excellent . The food was very good—the raspberry cream brulee In Cagney's was a disappointment---Executive Chef Neal told me corporate had changed the reciepe---well it was not very good—we were really disappointed in this. Our favorite restaurant was Shoguns—it was excellent and seemed to be busy every night. No two for ones on this cruise but in port days there was a 20% discount on all specialty restaurants. Bufett--- we only had a quick mid afternoon lunch on one port day at the bufett—NCL Buffets are not my favorite—so we do not eat there—I did check them at lunch and the food seemed very cafeteria style with not much variety day to day. The breakfast buffet was very, very crowded and did not look very pleasant--- I recommended eating breakfast in windows. The Blue Lagoon does not have breakfast anymore—why the can not have it is still under debate and the Hotel Director told me it was under review again. Service was good. Blue Lagoon---same old menu nothing new---again an update is needed—no meat loaf like on other ships. Fish and chips when we had them we greasy. Hamburgers and chili dogs were good. Chicken wings were average—standard bar type wings. The won ton soup is good -we always ask for four won tons. On this cruise the Blue lagoon never seemed to crowded. We did sample the oysters on the half shell -they were reasonable in price and very good---we had a party in our suite with about twenty people and had chicken wings and oysters delivered from the Blue lagoon—NCL also made some lumpia for the party anice surprise from our butler. Service in the Blue lagoon was excellent and the servers were very cheerful. Entertainment: the entertainment was very good on this cruise with wide variety of shows--including Elements--which was outstanding. The male singer ( name??) was excellent. Comedians, magicians, juggler all good. Karioke was offered thru out the cruise with a contest for passengers. Quest, not so newly wed games and more games for cruisers were offered. No afternoon trivia and crafts were only offered at 9 am in the morning on sea days. the cruise directors staff was short handed this cruise--- the cruise director Kyle was new and barely visible thru out the cruise unlike a Paul Scully who seemed to be everywhere on the last Spirit cruise. We had a very large cruise critic roll roll and had a version of the OLympic games (towel folding, basketball relay etc., a poker, and a social with NCL furnished champagne) music was basic cruise line music with two filipino pop groups, a male guitarist/singer in Henry's pub, and the Spirit ships big band. The white hot party was conducted along with a Halloween party. Just a note because of the GI there was no chocolate buffet which is not very rationale since the buffet was opened for breakfast, lunch, and dinner--maybe it was because the extreme cleaning that when on every night in the buifet---also a big disappointment eas that the Bier Garten grill was never opened but once because of the GI---?????? Casino seemed to be quite busy compared to my last two cruises---slots were tight from what I was told--I play table games and did fairly well, although there was never any craps action. Service: Just note that the service thru out the cruise was mostly exceptional with just a few exceptions at dinner in Windows MDR. Our butler Maurice was outstanding and the concierge Bella did a good job. debarkation: not real good because there were not enough agents in passport control--and the luggage was not getting staged very quickly by the dock workers. We had a great cruise---the Spirit remains my favorite NCL ship and Frank Hasenwinkle my favorite NCL Hotel Director. We did not use any of the NCL shore excursions. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Getting on and off the ship was smooth, the weather was great, no bad storms. Food is fair. Cabin OK needs a good cleaning and rust in bathroom.TV bad, but being changed out to flat screens this week. Did not like the comps in the ... Read More
Getting on and off the ship was smooth, the weather was great, no bad storms. Food is fair. Cabin OK needs a good cleaning and rust in bathroom.TV bad, but being changed out to flat screens this week. Did not like the comps in the casino, NONE. Bought in $1000.00 a day on the crap table but not even a drink was comped. I don't like the prepaid tip, the staff doesn't seem to go the extra yard. Would like to have the same waiter each evening, each night somthing simple got screwed up(cofee,wine list,etc.) Drinks are over priced. Would I cruise on this ship again, probaly Yes, It is OK but nothing to write home about. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
One day on the elevator, someone got on and said, "if you're not having a good time, you have no one to blame but yourself." He was absolutely right. A perfect cruise? No, and there were some glitches and minor complaints, ... Read More
One day on the elevator, someone got on and said, "if you're not having a good time, you have no one to blame but yourself." He was absolutely right. A perfect cruise? No, and there were some glitches and minor complaints, but we had a great time. This was our 7th cruise, but our first on NCL. Previously we've been on Holland America and Cunard. We booked with a Travel Agent as part of a larger group, and were attracted by price, time of year, itinerary and even a chance to try "Free-style". After booking, we were soon part of the "Beads to Beans" roll call, which enhanced our cruise experience. We flew in to New Orleans on the day of the cruise, and our TA had buses ready to take us to the ship. We had a very good experience with this Agency, and they arranged a couple of cocktail parties and some more informal get-togethers while on board. The Tour Director was always available. Embarkation was easy, as our TA had arranged for the 100 or so of us to go right in. Once on board we found our way to Raffles Court, (the buffet) for a quick lunch. Afterwards we went to our cabin. The muster drill was the first time we didn't have to wear life jackets -- probably a good thing, as poorly tied jackets are a hazard when walking to the assembly area. J Our luggage was outside the room by the time we returned. OK, the cabin was small. We adjusted, doing a kind of dance around each other when going in different directions. There was a TV, but not a flat screen and no DVD player. Not a big deal. I found room under the bed for most of our cases, keeping one out under the desk. There was a coffee maker we used once. We have sometimes used room service for breakfast on other cruises, but the table was too small for two people, so we ate in Windows every morning. I used the small balcony sometimes, my wife not too often. The keypad on the safe had some worn numbers, and someone had used Magic Marker to compensate, but the safe worked just fine. There was adequate storage and closet space. As for the shower--see "glitches". The first sea day was the CC Meet and Greet. What a great group! There must have been 150 of us, we had a gift exchange, refreshments were provided by the ship and several of the Officers including Captain Evans Hoyt attended. We didn't do the CC poker crawl, but did the "Slots of Fun" in the Casino. I managed to get to some of the 5 PM get-togethers, as well as some of the games playing in the afternoon. The food was generally good to very good. My wife is a seafood lover, and enjoyed every time she tried it. One time it was lobster and shrimp cooked by the pool. I thought they did well with beef, the desserts had a light touch and the coffee was very good. We were disappointed in the Italian dishes. We ate in La Trattoria one night. Every afternoon they close off part of the buffet and set up an Italian restaurant, and it works. The staff was very friendly and the service very good. We both ordered different pasta dishes with different sauces. The sauces were quite good, the pasta average. One night in Windows I ordered the tortellini, and it was chewy, not "al dente". Another night my wife ordered the eggplant, and all there was was one piece of eggplant. No pasta as a side dish. She asked for a second order, and the server seemed to understand why. The last night of the cruise we tried the Asian Fusion restaurant, and were quite happy with the food, service and ambiance. The staff was generally friendly and usually efficient. Our stewards were Joel and Ariel (might have misspelled his name), and they worked hard. The officers were visible, especially the Captain. We liked the flexibility of choosing when to eat, but missed knowing the same waiters every night. And who could forget "Happy, happy, washy, washy" as you entered Raffles? We applied for the "meet the officers dinner", and were invited. A number of people from our M&G were there as well. We had champagne in the Art Gallery, then wine was served with dinner in Windows. We and two other couples were seated with the Shore Exchange Director and his assistant (Garret(?) and Lisa). We learned how they had come to be on the Spirit, and discussed enrichment programs on board ships as well as several other facets of cruising. We must have had a good time, as our table was the last to leave. The ship is quite attractive, although there were a few places that could have used some paint, but I noticed they were constantly working on her whenever we were in port. The atrium is beautiful, although crowded with shopping tables on sea days. The theater is very well laid out, with fewer sight obstructions than I've seen on other ships. There are these small public places, such as Henry's Pub, that seem a bit quirky but can also be charming. We didn't use the Library or the Internet section. The pool was often crowded due to the beautiful weather, but we always found a seat. It is not covered, and was empty the one day it rained. We discovered Raffle's Terrace at the aft of the ship. It actually is several layers between Decks 10 and 12. The CC'ers met there a few times, as there are covered areas as well as sunny areas. The kid's pool is on deck 10, but there is also a hot tub that we used a few times. I got a massage at the Spa, and tried the treadmill once, but preferred the Promenade Deck for walking. The entertainment was the best we've seen in our seven cruises. We didn't see everything offered, but as an example, one night we saw a comedian in Galaxy of the Stars, then went to the theater for the "Elements" show (outstanding), then back to overlook the atrium where we listened to a musical concert including the Pax's favorite, Arvin and Emily, violinist Jane Hunt and the house band, Fusion Wave. All in one night. Another highlight was a troupe from Second City, who put on several shows. On sea days there was always a lot to do. I did some trivia, some putting and some basketball. My wife enjoyed port shopping lectures and a chef's lecture. We also saw some matinee shows in the theater. In fact, we couldn't do everything that we wanted to. PORTS: Costa de Maya, Mexico. We had an early afternoon tour, so we disembarked after lunch. The cruise area part of the port was attractive and well laid out, but we only had time to get in line for an air-conditioned bus to ride to the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins. We drove through a hot, somewhat desert-like and impoverished area for about an hour with the only excitement being a Mexican Army checkpoint. We had an excellent tour guide who gave us a lot of information on the area. The ruins were in a more jungle like part, and several buildings had been discovered underneath the flora. The primary attraction is a large pyramid, not as impressive as those often seen on postcards, but certainly high enough when you climb it, only to discover there are more areas to climb once you think you're "on top"! The flora was certainly different than at home. One of the things we saw was a sapodilla tree, used in the manufacture of chewing gum. ("Chicle" is the sap of the tree. That native word is the origin of "Chiclets" as a brand of chewing gum). The tour took a little more than two hours, and when added to the round-trip time, that would put us back at the pier after the last call for boarding. Our guide assured our group that they wouldn't abandon seven bus loads of passengers. (Think what the casino and bar managers would say! J ) We boarded the ship about 15 minutes before the scheduled sail away. Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala Another long bus ride to see more Mayan ruins, but well worth it. The town was more populated than Costa de Maya, and the vegetation much more lush. An occasional horse would wander by while we were in town. The ride to the ruins was an experience. The area was much more tropical and lush than Costa de Maya, and a lot more populous. We drove on a two-lane highway crowded with many trucks, mostly from fruit companies. Our bus passed several of these trucks, it was better not to look. There was a wide, paved area next to the road on each side, and on the way back there were several school children walking home while traffic whizzed by at about 60 miles per hour. Our destination was the Quirigua Ruins and Jade Museum. This ancient Mayan city is near the Motagua river, and once controlled trade along the river. The primary feature is several well preserved stelae covered with glyphs. There was also a higher mound (more climbing) where the nobles had lived. There was a small shopping are. My wife explored the Jade Museum, and thought it was nice. On the return trip we stopped at a restaurant for a fruit drink, and you could obviously make other purchases. There was also a small nature trail. Our guide was excellent. His Grandparents had come from Spain, but his Mother was Mayan. He was able to connect the various cultures of the country for us, as well as talk about its recent history. Aruba We took the "Best of Aruba" tour offered through NCL. Several people had described Aruba to us over the years, and it was as advertised. Very friendly. Beautiful , somewhat dry and its famous "divi-divi" trees bent from the prevailing winds. We saw the attractive Capitol of Oranjestad, areas where the locals live, the Aloe factory, the Hotel district, the lighthouse and the "wild" part of the Island where no development is permitted. We left the tour once back in Oranjestad, and did some shopping before returning to the ship. Curacao The Spirit visited on a Sunday, and most of the shops were only open for a couple of hours. Such is life on a Repositioning cruise. Our excursion was in the PM, but we got off just after 9 AM to explore. We discovered the pontoon bridge which connects both sides of the inlet in Willelmstad. I was crossing it when the bells rang and the gates began to close. I made it to the other side and was on shore when it began to move sideways to open the channel for some large tug boats. There is a free ferry which operates between the two sides when the bridge is open, but it showed no signs of moving. In the meantime, my wife was on the other side, watching frantic tourists realizing they were trapped on the bridge! An enterprising vendor stood next to the gate, offering to sell them water or soda. Very soon after the bridge shut and re-opened. After we did some shopping. Our afternoon excursion was a bit disappointing, it was a very touristy, Disneyesque "trolley train" First they took us by taxis across a very high bridge that connects the two sides, then dropped us off for the trolley. We did get a decent tour of the city, and the highlight for me was when we passed a family group eating their Sunday meal outside. Everyone in the family waved to us, and two young children ran up to us with big smiles on their faces. The trolley dropped us back where we had picked it up. It was near the pontoon bridge, but we were tired and chose to take a waiting bus back to the ship. Bermuda We did this on our own, as we've spent some time here before. We weren't aware of any problems with the ship being delayed, as we planned to go in after 9 AM. We were surprised to find the 700 passenger ferry was still available when we went to disembark. Once onshore we bought bus passes, and headed off to St. George. Riding a bus in Bermuda is an experience as everyone is so friendly. There were other cruise passengers on the bus, (they might have been from another ship), and when we stopped in St. George the bus driver told us all where to catch the return bus and which numbers to get on, and then said, "Now, everyone repeat that." We saw a bit of a public celebration, wandered through some shops, then caught the bus back for Hamilton. Part of the way back we got off at the Swizzle Inn. This is a famous local landmark and right up the hill from a resort we'd stayed at previously. It was a beautiful day in a beautiful country, and we ate lunch on the outside, upper deck. Then we caught a bus for Hamilton, and did some more shopping in the city. Then we were in the long, long, line for the ferry. It must have taken some two hours from entering the line until we were back in our cabin. But we stayed on the top deck of the ferry enjoying the weather while waiting for hundreds of others to file off the boat. "Glitches" -- just two. 1) The night before Aruba we were told that the tiles in our shower needed replacing, and would we call the front desk to OK for the next morning. We called and agreed. We left early the next morning, but when we returned from our excursion in mid- afternoon, there was a note on the door informing us that the tiles needed fixing, and could we call the front office?! We did, and someone said "we'll investigate this". I simply replied please fix it, we'll be out of the cabin by 9 AM to go into Curacao. The tile guy was there about 8:40 the next morning. I also talked to the room steward who had identified the tile problem, and explained what had happened. 2) The ship offered a $24.95 laundry special for everything you could stuff into a bag, over a specific six day period. We did so. The day after the laundry was returned (they did a great job), I did a mid-cruise check of the bill, and found they had charged us the regular prices for the laundry. I notified the front desk, in person. After not hearing anything, I checked the bill again a couple of days later, no change in the price. Another "investigation"! This time our assistant room steward was involved, fortunately he seemed to know to get things done, and the bill was corrected. So we had to give the front desk important messages twice in each instance before any action was taken. But then we'd turn on CNN and see what was happening in Europe with the volcano, and our problems seemed rather trivial by comparison. Disembarkation was easy. We met our TA in the Casino about 9:30, and we all headed off about 10. We were waived through customs, got our luggage and headed for the buses. In Summary; we had a great time. The weather cooperated, the CC group was great, our travel group was fun, we enjoyed the itinerary, the entertainment was outstanding, the food generally good to very good and there was always something to do on sea days. A couple of glitches and small cabin size were only minor irritations. We liked the flexibility of "Freestyle" dining. We would sail NCL again. We would sail the Spirit again with the right itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Embarkation Day: We flew to NOLA the day of the cruise. Our flight arrived by 12:30. We had prearranged for Airport Shuttle New Orleans to pick us up, and we were transported to the pier quickly and efficiently. Since we had a suite, we ... Read More
Embarkation Day: We flew to NOLA the day of the cruise. Our flight arrived by 12:30. We had prearranged for Airport Shuttle New Orleans to pick us up, and we were transported to the pier quickly and efficiently. Since we had a suite, we had a rapid check-in and our wait to board was nonexistent. In the VIP Lounge, we met Bruce Van Der Boon, our Concierge. He introduced us to our butler, Naveen and we were escorted to our suite. Since we wanted to have lunch at Cagney's, Naveen gave us a mini-briefing of our amenities and we rushed to lunch. After lunch we looked over the ship and went back to our stateroom and settled in. Muster drill was soon announced and we were two of many standing on the Promenade deck trying to hear what the crew was telling us. Life jackets are no longer required for the drill. Our luggage was delivered shortly after the drill and we partially unpacked before attending the first of four Cruise Critic gatherings. We had just one cabin steward (Mariano) but he was very visible, friendly, helpful, efficent and hard-working. Many times, while walking the aisles, the other stewards would greet us with a friendly "hello". Our Stateroom: We had an AB suite. It was nicely sized with a living area containing a fold-out couch, chair, coffee table and two end tables. An artificial tree stood in a corner and we decorated it with numerous Mardi Gras beads and tinkets. We had a small dining/gaming table with 4 chairs by the picture windows. Since this was a forward suite, we had a hinged door leading to a water-tight door to the balcony. We also had a nice size bar, with an assortment of glasses and a Lavazza expresso maker. The refrigerator was empty. An entire wall of the living area was taken up by an entertainment center with several drawers, a nice LG flat screen TV, and a DVD player. Since this ship was meant for the Asian market, NCL provided a power converter. This heavy, ugly box was on the floor in front of the entertainment center. There was one 110 outlet by the bar. A support beam in our living area visually cut the room in half. On Embarkation day, we received two fruit baskets which were replenished as needed. We also had a fresh floral display - but by day 12 it was a little sad looking. We received two bottles of champagne (one as a suite guest and the other as a Latitudes guest). During the cruise, we were able to exchange these for two bottles of wine. Also, as a suite guest, we received daily afternoon snacks - both savory and sweet. Guests are not able to make a choice, though, so some of these treats did not appeal to us. As I mentioned, our suite was a forward facing corner unit and we had two balconies. While the forward balcony was virtually useless while underway (high winds) the small side balcony was useable. Even then, when opening the sliding door, the drapes would be sucked outside. My husband did not want me to go on the balcony as he felt it was dangerous. The bedroom was separate from the living area. It held a very comfortable queen size bed (4 pillows and feather comforter) dressed in NCL white, 2 night stands, 4 built-in drawers, a flat screen TV and a small mirrored closet (with 2 safes). Our luggage was stored under the bed. The bath had a double sink vanity (with cabinet storage under the sinks), nice size shower with bench, toilet area, a make-up vanity and chair, and a whirlpool tub. We also had a powder room, adjacent to the cabin's entry. The bath and powder room were stocked with Elemis products: bar soap, bath and shower gel, shampoo and conditioner and lotion. We also had two loofahs labeled "Frances Denney" and a shower cap. While I'm on the bathroom subject, the hair dryers on the Spirit are European-style wall-mounted units. I did not use it, but my husband did and found it to be adequate. We did have an issue with a non-draining shower (as in flood) but it was repaired within minutes of placing a phone call. If I had to fault anything, it would be the tile in the main bath. The tiny glass tiles in the main bath were originally placed in a rose pattern (which is repeated on the glass doors of the toilet area) but over the years they have been replaced in a random fashion. Several times during our cruise, the tiles would pop off, leaving a small dent in the floor. This was the second AB suite we've had on NCL ships. The first was on the Star. That AB suite had a separate children's bedroom and full bath, closet, etc. This AB was smaller. We thought the forward balcony would be similar to the AC balcony we had on the Pearl. That balcony was huge - this forward balcony only held 2 chairs and a tiny table. While we loved our room, we would not book it again. Gatherings: We had a huge Cruise Critic roll call. Since this was a repositioning cruise from New Orleans to Boston, several months ago the theme of "Beads (Mardi Gras) to Beans (Boston baked) - Free Spirit Cruisers" developed. Several of us ordered t-shirts from VistaPrint.com and it was great to wear them for our official Meet and Greet. This was held in the Garden main dining room. It was fun putting names with faces. Of the 175 on the roll call, 150 attended the M&G. The Captain, Hotel Director, Cruise Director, the Food and Beverage Manager and other NCL staff attended the M&G. NCL provided beverages and pastries. The hotel director advised us if we had any problems or questions on the cruise, to contact him or his staff. They do not want negative feedback - they want to correct problems if and when they happen. Other gatherings arranged through Cruise Critic included a poker crawl, slot pull and daily meetings at the Biergarten. All I can say, if you're on a cruise, check to see if there is a roll call. If there isn't one, start one! Many times other passengers would ask how to get a shirt, cap or tote bag like ours. It's too bad they hadn't heard about Cruise Critic. For those that say there was nothing to do, they too should have joined our on-line group. Food and Drink: We ate in the main dining room and several of the specialty restaurants. We enjoyed breakfast and lunch in Cagney's. While they had the same breakfast menu daily, the lunch menu varied. Bruce made his presence known, asking if he could assist with any reservations for that evening. We had lunch once in the Raffles buffet. Our evening meals were in La Tratorria, Shogun, LeBistro, both dining rooms (Windows and The Garden), Blue Lagoon and Raffles. The beef tenderloin I enjoyed at LeBistro is my favorite entrEe - although the swordfish and shrimp skewers in the main dining room came in a close second. The desert crepes made to order every evening in Raffles were excellent. The chocolate buffet was held one evening and Bruce offered to escort us early, but since we'd been to many of these, we opted not to attend. We were among those chosen to have Dinner with an Officer. We met as a large group in the Art Gallery and from there we were escorted to the Windows Dining Room by our hosts - the Food and Beverage Manager and the Guest Services Coordinator. Our table of 10 had a lovely meal with our choice of wine. There was no cost for this enjoyable evening. Another event (which we did not attend) was the Enchanted Dinner - at $65 per person it was priced a little too steep for us, but those that attended, felt it was a good value. One evening, we decided to have breakfast the next day in our suite. Our butler, Naveen, called minutes before arriving, setting the table and bringing our breakfast choices. It was good to have this when we needed to leave early for a short excursion. Entertainment: Norwegian Cruise Line has its own dance company on the Spirit. They had three shows over the 12 day cruise - with Elements surpassing any show we've seen on any ship. Their energy is amazing. Also, do not miss the show on the final night. We haven't laughed that hard in a long, long time. Even the crew talent show was excellent. As suite guests, Bruce made sure we had reserved seats each evening. Paul Scully was the CD on this cruise and did a great job. He was very visible and assembled a variety of talent for cruise. The casino seemed even more smoky and noisier than on other ships. Someone on our rollcall organized a slot pull and for $12 we each got 4 tries at a $1 machine. Unfortunately, we did not come out ahead, but we didn't lose everything either. I found the slot area up the short flight of stairs less crowded. Martini classes were offered every sea day but they somehow did not fit into our schedule. Champagne Charlies also offered 2 for 1 martinis every evening from 5-7pm. In Raffles, a beverage cart advertised 2 for 1 drinks every night until 9 pm. Other NCLU offerings were for beer and mojito tastings, close-up magic, towel folding classes, etc. Cruise staff organized pool games, the ever-popular Bingo, and nightly gameshow-type entertainment. Art auctions took place on sea days, too. The White Hot Party was loads of fun! Neither my husband nor I are into dancing, but it was a great time - so many people - many of them in white - dancing and having fun. The library and internet area are housed in the same area. After reading my book, I donated it to them. The library is staffed daily, so you can check out books. There is a drop box for returns. Paperbacks area not monitored and can be taken and returned at any time. Internet is expensive, but we learned our lesson the hard way. We have a Verizon broadband USB which my husband used for 5 minutes to check his email while we were docked in Arruba. We were charged over $170 for those 5 minutes! Another option (besides purchasing the internet package on board the ship) is to look for internet cafes while in a port. Arruba also had an internet service called arruba.net. A fellow passenger said she signed on for $10 for the entire day. If only we had known. We had the opportunity to take the Behind the Scenes tour. This 2+ hour tour went backstage, through the food prep areas of the ship, stopping at environmental and laundry before ending up in the Bridge Viewing Room with a private talk with our Captain Evans Hoyt. We had a similar tour of the Star, and look forward to more tours in our future. Onboard Shopping: Everything from a candy bar, clothing, cold medicine, to inexpensive (or expensive) jewelry is available on the Spirit. Also available on-board the ship, are the Freestyle Cruise Rewards certificates. There has been a change since last year. Although they are still $250 (good for the entire deposit of an upcoming cruise AND $100 On Board Credit on your current cruise) the must be used for cruises of 6 days or longer. Still a good value if you plan to cruise within the next 4 years. Laundry: A laundry special was offered several times during the cruise. For $24.95 everything everything you could put in a paper laundry bag was returned nicely folded. As Platinum Latitudes members, we had our laundry done at no charge. The laundry was picked by the room steward and returned the next day. Premium laundry service was also available as was pressing and dry cleaning. Ports of Call: We enjoyed stops in Costa Maya, Mexico, Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala, Arruba, Caricau, and Hamilton, Bermuda. We did our own "thing" in Arruba and Caricau but had activities scheduled in the other ports. More details in the "Ports of Call" section. The Weather: It seemed as though we had a head wind the entire cruise. Since it was so windy, we couldn't use our front balcony. If I wanted to catch some sun, I went to the pool deck or back to the children's pool aft. We had warm weather and sunny days until we reached Bermuda, where it was in the mid-60's. Disembarkation: We had VIP departure off the ship and it was very easy. We had breakfast in Cagney's and continued to enjoy our suite until 9:15 when we met the other VIPs in one of the lounges. Bruce accompanied us through the lines off the ship. We walked right over to our luggage (held in the VIP area). Customs was non-existent. We walked right up to the FREE airport bus and were to the airport in a matter of minutes. Boston Logan airport was well organized and we had plenty of time for our flight connections. To Summarize: The Spirit is a beautiful ship and the food and crew are wonderful. She is an older ship, and there is some slight wear and tear but not as much as some have written about. (Some windows need replacing as the seals have broken.) It's the crew, though, that gives this ship its luster! Everyone from the maintenance men, to the housekeeping staff, to the wait staff, to the Captain and his crew, was very friendly and welcoming. NCL has done it again. We had already booked a 21 day cruise for October but I couldn't wait - I booked a summer cruise once we were back home! Costa Maya, Mexico - We did the Maya Chan Beach Resort.  An excellent value for an all-you-can-eat-and-drink venue.  Lots of water toys, bike tours, etc.  Price included transportation to and from the port.  It was nice to prepay using PayPal, too.Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala - We went on Javier's Rio Dulce tour.  It was a real eye-opener for those of us who take our lives for granted. Seeing the mothers picking up their children from school using a dugout canoe was one thing that stuck in my husband's mind.  Part of our tour was a humanitarian stop at the Lagunita Salvador Village.  Each of us took supplies for the school children and it was heart warming to feel their gratitude.Oranjestad, Aruba and Willemstad, Curacao - We were on our own for these ports.  We wandered the streets, popping in and out of shops.  Both ports had beautiful architecture and friendly people.  We'd go back again.Hamilton, Bermuda - This was our first time to Bermuda so we were really looking forward to this port.  We had prearranged for a tour and had VIP tender tickets for our group of 6.  We were some of the first people on the tender.  Unfortunately, we had to wait for 694 more passengers to fill the tender!  It took forever to fill this boat - nearly an hour and a half!  Our guide was still waiting for us; I don't know if this was a good thing or a bad thing.  She didn't seem at all prepared, didn't know the answers to our questions, used an antique speaker system (which may have worked OK but she drove with her window down), and fed us leftovers for a picnic lunch.  We did see some lovely areas but the traffic was a mess.  We were strapped for time and didn't get to shop at all since the line to get back on the ship stretched for nearly a block.  Once back on the tender, we had to wait for all 700 people before it left for the ship.  It was a horrible tender experience and, hopefully, won't happen again. 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Sail Date April 2010
We were going to NOLA for the French Quarter Festival and decided to take this cruise since we hadn't been to Guatemala or Bermuda. We enjoyed the weather and we enjoyed Guatemala and Bermuda. The ship was lovely however our outside ... Read More
We were going to NOLA for the French Quarter Festival and decided to take this cruise since we hadn't been to Guatemala or Bermuda. We enjoyed the weather and we enjoyed Guatemala and Bermuda. The ship was lovely however our outside stateroom was in need of updating and repair. The cleaning was not up to par and the stewards were always late. The main dining room had the rudest servers except for one and the chocolate buffet was picked up early. What a disappointment. The pool area was crowded and smelled of food being grilled half the day. We met several nice people and we met some of the rudest people I have ever encountered. I complained about the dining staff. We ate in Garden and I recommend that you eat there early on so you can judge the difference for yourself as Garden was far better. The Raffles buffet was the same thing all the time. There number of restaurants with an up charge was unbelievable as well as the the fact that they pushed the sale of tickets called crackers at every event even prior to the evening shows. The shows were the worst we have ever seen and we finally decided not to go to anymore of them as we thought it was a waste of time. The best entertainment was a duo called Emily and Arvin and the other passengers. All in all we have decided that the caliber of this cruise line just doesn't work for us anymore as we have higher expectations. We were glad this wasn't our first cruise because it would have been our last. Since we have been on other lines we will go with a higher quality and service line next time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
The most recent reviews of the Spirit NO to Boston are so different from what we experienced that I can't help but wonder if we were on the same boat! This was our second trip on the Spirit and it was even better than the first. ... Read More
The most recent reviews of the Spirit NO to Boston are so different from what we experienced that I can't help but wonder if we were on the same boat! This was our second trip on the Spirit and it was even better than the first. When we got to our inside cabin we found the beds together which - in a small cabin - really cuts back on space to move around. So we waylaid our steward and asked that he please separate our beds when he had time (that day or the next, knowing how busy they are on day one) and, also, that he please make up our room in the morning as we are definitely afternoon nappers. (I felt a tip was in order). When we got back to our cabin between dinner and the evening show, it had been taken care of. Our room was done every morning while we were at breakfast for the entire cruise and I have nothing but praise for the service from our cabin stewards! On to the food. I would rate it very good but for a very few exceptions and when you consider the number of meals had on a 12 day cruise, I think that is a very good record. Service, too, was actually very good. I have to mention one occurrence that is a first for us in our 19 cruises. My husband was brought the wrong order in Windows one day at lunch and very politely told the waitress so. She then informed him that HE was wrong and that that's what he ordered. He again said it wasn't but that it was okay and he'd keep it. And she again told him that it WAS after-all, what he'd ordered. I still shake my head thinking about it. Another time the waitress was as slow as molasses and was always seen off in another area talking to coworkers. Luckily I can't be flamed in this setting for the following observation but - as a rule - we've found that men are usually better servers than women. JMHO We enjoyed all the entertainment and thought there was a good verity. So kudos to Paul who (I think) is responsible for putting it all together and seemed like a very nice 'bloke'! We saw ALL the shows in the Stardust Theater and spent quite a few early evenings (before dinner and the show) enjoying the wonderful music of Arvin and Emily while taking advantage of the of the 5-7 2-for-1 martinis in Champagne Charlies. Now on to the ports............................ Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Let me first say the cruise was a very nice time, (they always are), however I must say Norweigan Cruise Line has finally disappointed me. I have been on many cruises and the last 4 have been on NCL because I love the freestyle cruising. ... Read More
Let me first say the cruise was a very nice time, (they always are), however I must say Norweigan Cruise Line has finally disappointed me. I have been on many cruises and the last 4 have been on NCL because I love the freestyle cruising. It is beginning to feel more like a carnival herd of cattle mentality instead of a cruise line where the employees actually care about their jobs. I am going to hit on the points you might be interested in the order that they happenned. First off embarkation in New Orleans was wonderful and easy, we got right on the ship and it was the same way in Boston getting off the ship, easy and organized, so on that point an A is given. The ship itself is very tastefully decorated and I think it is a perfect size for a cruise, not too small or too large. Once we got on board the onslaught of bar servers began, they are constantly harranging you for a $5 beer or a $9 mixed drink, this is the one thing they never fail in doing, they never ever miss a chance to sell you a drink or an overpriced scratch off pull tab ticket. But I guess they have to try to make some money, but I think its way too much. When I got to my room I was surprised to see how Weathered it was. The room was excatly what I expected as far as size as amenities since I checked it online an have been on NCL before, so that was fine. But the condition of my room was Awful. The shower was not cleaned to anyones standard. Mold in the shower floor area and grout were all over the shower, it was obviously not kept up the last year or so, the shower door would only close for a body builder (lucky none of the 70yr olds on board got this room). Then when I went to wash my hands in the sink I found out the handle in the bathroom was broken and you could not get any cold water, so every time you went to wash your hands for the next two weeks you had to quickly put you hands under the faucet or else lose one layer of skin. The room steward also did a very poor job, a very nice fellow but he never had the room cleaned before 1pm and half of the days never had the beds turned down. He really didnt seem to care one bit about the room, its condition or whatever, just in a hurry to get done. NCL has dumped 36 rooms on these teams to clean each day, so obviously they are just pulling in some of the $12 money they force you to pay for substandard service. I guarantee you that a room steward who had to be tipped by you would not do his job this way. Ill forward to food. Main dining room was wonderful, food quality was nice but choices were just average. Waiters were only fair and once again seemed to know they were already tipped when waiting on you. We had two nights were service was awful and had to complain to Maitre D. No reason to sit at a table for 15/20 minutes on a cruise ship before being addressed by someone with at least water and bread. I would say they seemed just disinterested in you. Raffles is Raffles...its a buffet, you get what you get at a buffet. I am not sure why people complain about a buffet being a buffet. It was acceptable. Entertainment on board was good. Paul Scally was a good Cruise Director and other than the horrible singing of the two main male leads in there broadway shows it was a good selection of entertainer. Shore excursions were average, the excursion desk is poor at giving you any insight into excursions, these people have never been on any of the activities so dont expect them to sell you anything except what the ship wants them too. Generally I thought they did a lousy job. The tender in Bermuda was the WORST situation I have seen in 20 yrs of cruising. The ship got in 1hr late and then proceeded to use a Ferry style boat and cram on 700 people onto a boat and go over to shore. It too over 1 hr to get there and over 1.5 hrs to get back. NCL ruined the whole day in Bermuda and made many people miss or be unable to complete their excursion and they did NOTHING to address this issue. They just smiled and sold more drinks that night. To sum this up Id just like to say I think NCL has lost the idea that the customer is special and is the main priority of a cruise ship. Many times I went on NCL in the past and felt like they actually cared about me or my business and I did not get that feeling this time. I think I am going to have to consider another Cruise line next time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
On Jan. 31 we left the beautiful and wild port of New Orleans to board the Norwegian Spirit which appeared lovely in port. Found many things different than advertised, no one greeted us with champagne, in fact, most of the personnel does ... Read More
On Jan. 31 we left the beautiful and wild port of New Orleans to board the Norwegian Spirit which appeared lovely in port. Found many things different than advertised, no one greeted us with champagne, in fact, most of the personnel does not speak when you pass them. I have cruised 14 times on other lines and found this unusual. Some hallways were elegant, some like school corridors. Raffles provided good eggs to order and lunches were good but ordinary. Dinner at Windows was barely palatable, no taste, limited selection. lobster overcooked. Galaxy was a nice room and the piano bar very enjoyable with the exception of Buster Freeze who left us cold (no pun intended)who was a guy who was a legend in his own mind with minimal talent. accidentally caught part of his act in Henry's Pub and had to leave or blow my brains out. If I gave him a basket he still couldn't carry a tune and his vulgarity was that of a 13 yr. old. The female singer was excellent. Cabins were so small, no storage and bathrooms divided into shower stall, commode area and sink area. If you closed the glass door to the commode you felt like you were in a test tube. Balconies were tiny and filthy. Room steward was belligerent about requests for an egg crate mattress pad (advertised by NCL) but must have realized I would go over his head and obliged. Casino was fun but time was limited if you wanted to continue breathing due to so much smoke and so little ventilation. Lots of "buy this, buy that" from all personnel. BREAKDOWNS R US should be NCL logo. Evening shows cancelled due to light bar falling; pool closed due to glass breaking and falling in pool; walking track closed partially due to scaffolding and painting going on; public rest rooms out of order constantly, windows breaking in library...how come? No, I won't be sailing with NCL again, the saving grace was that I was with people whom I enjoy and tried to put all of these shortcomings out of my mind. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Just wanted to check in with our thoughts on the cruise. We tend to look on the bright side of things so minor mishaps or problems dont bother us. We also love NCL (this was our 5th cruise with them), so we are definite cheerleaders for ... Read More
Just wanted to check in with our thoughts on the cruise. We tend to look on the bright side of things so minor mishaps or problems dont bother us. We also love NCL (this was our 5th cruise with them), so we are definite cheerleaders for them. Spent 3 days in New Orleans at the end of the cruise and had a great time. Met up with Bud and Pat, Jim and Val at Mulates and had a good time. Did the WWII museum, Bourbon St. St. Louis cemetery, Jackson square, French Market, Streetcars, Garden district, Cafe du Monde and walked our legs off. Saw Jim and Val again strolling through Jackson Square, didn't meet them until after the cruise. Thinking way back, Boston was a lot of fun, wish we had more time there. Embarkation was pretty fast, on board by 11:30, I think. We love the at sea days, so the first 2 days were great. A little cool the first day so we had the pool pretty much to ourselves. Visited Dee and Tom in their cabin to pick up our t-shirts, thanks again. And met up with Nick and Julie, Bud and Pat and some others at the Meet and Greet. Samana, we just walked into town, having done Cayo Levantado last time and not wanting to spend $50 each to go to a beach, had a drink and just people-watched. Felt completely safe, even thought we had been warned it was dangerous. St. Thomas, we took a cab to Emerald beach near the airport since we had done Megans Bay and St. John on previous trips. Emerald beach was beautiful, quiet, no vendors on the beach, only about 20 people all day, rented chairs at a Best Western and had a great time. We would probably go back to St. Thomas and use this hotel as a base to visit the other beaches on the island. Met some crew members from the Carnival ship that went there too. Antigua, had booked a Segway tour with Marianne and Chris (Gardener718). This looked a little adventurous for us but we had a blast, once we got the hang of it. The tour guides were great, very patient, and the beach we ended up at was a nice treat on a hot day. Antigua Segway was the company and we highly recommend them. Had a couple of cheap beers (4 for $6) at a little local bar after the tour. Barbados, we had a tour booked with Scenic Barbados Tours. A little hard to find outside the terminal but we had Sanjay and a mini van give us a tour of the island and drop us at Carlisle beach. Met up with Ron and Cheryl (rong2789) from the Spirit and had a great time. They wanted snorkelling and we wanted swimming so Sanjay compromised with Carlisle. When we got there we realized we forgot the sunscreen so I went looking for some, forgetting my sandals. Walked up and down streets for 20 minutes until I found a scuba shop that sold it. I should have asked someone on the beach to share theirs, there were lots of striped NCL towels there. Enjoyed our tour and the beach. The beach had the clearest water we've ever seen. When we got back Sanjay insisted we had already paid by MasterCard, I didn't think so but didn't argue. When we got home there are 5 emails asking me nicely why I didn't pay. I sent him my MasterCard number today. Another great Sea day with the Latitudes meet and the Anniversary party. Met up with Jim and Judy (Kirdo) again and had a good time. Curacao, we had our only NCL shore excursion, a semi-submersible tour and stop at the liquer factory. Took us to the Hilton resort (beautiful) and we took the tour, about an hour underwater (well about 6 feet under) and saw lots of fish, coral and even an octopus and sea urchins. It was kind of like snorkelling for people who don't want to get wet lol. Then when the boat surfaced and we had to get off it poured rain. We only had a short walk to the hotel lobby but everyone got soaked. Bus ride was nice and informative, liquor factory was ok (small free samples) and then we walked around the streets, got a cheap beer, mailed some postcards, crossed the swinging bridge, got caught in another downpour and returned to ship. Aruba, we just crossed the street to the bus stop and took a bus to Eagle Beach ($1.30) and spent the day in the shade of a palapa and in the beautiful blue water. No vendors harassing us on the beach is a bonus. Had a beer each at the beach bar $5 each for 8 ounce cans lol. Just as we were leaving we noticed 3 topless young women 20 yards away. Just added to the beautiful day lol. Took the bus back to the ship. As we were finishing dinner in Windows tonight we saw 2 dolphins right outside our window jumping waves. Saw them 4 times and went up to promenade deck to watch but they were gone. Only time in 11 cruises we've seen dolphins. 2 more great at Sea days spent by the pool relaxing. Guatemala, We just went ashore to the little market they have there. Met up with Gus and gave him some school supplies we had brought but we didn't take the tour. Toyed with the idea of walking into town but decided against it. Didn't hear until a few days later about our ship-mate being shot and killed, so sad. Nice to see the vendors and cabbies on the pier waving goodbye, they do appreciate our generosity in visiting them. Belize, lined up early to get tender tickets and were on the first tender ashore with Ron and Cheryl but didn't get there until 10:15 and our independent tour Coral Breezes had left without us. Signed on with Fab Tours who took us to another spot for snorkelling and swimming. When we got to the beach we could see a storm in the distance and it was raining hard but we waited it out and had a great time snorkelling. We saw lots of fish, beautiful colourful coral and Debbie saw two rays. The boat ride to the snorkelling site was a little rough but lots of fun. Had a beer at the Wet Lizard looking for our original tour guide but he wasn't around. When we got home I emailed him and he is refunding our deposit so it turned out to be a great day after the terrible start with the tendering problems. Costa Maya, we met up with Native Choice tours that we had booked independently and went to the pyramids at Chacchoben. Very informative guides and a great tour. One thing struck me, the guides struggled with basic English yet were quite comfortable with words like coagulate and antidote (discussing medicinal properties of plants) which most of us trip over lol. We were going to go to Mahajual on the way back but once again the rains came so we went back to the ship. One note here about the older demographic on our ship--when we were walking on the pier we noticed 2 young women from the HAL ship so drunk, one of them had to be put in a wheelchair. We didn't notice anyone on our ship or in any ports getting that out of control. One more at sea day to relax in the hot tub (pool was closed due to rough weather) and tie up some loose ends (buy souvenirs, photos, pack). Disembarkation took about an hour. Customs blamed it on the number of foreigners (250 in a group from Europe), but when we got to the customs agent they just waved us through without checking our passports (and we are foreigners, British and Canadian). The bigger problem was the lack of organization to get a taxi. Eventually got one to our hotel and our cruise was over. Some general notes on the cruise. Weather was great until last 3 days and then the ship was rocking but never felt seasick. Deb loved a particular salmon dish on the menu and met up with the executive sous chef at a lecture to get the recipe. He printed out the recipe and sent it to our cabin. Great cabin stewards who always kept our ice buckets filled. Paul Scully was a lot of fun. All the officers were very visible on the ship, even the Captain was in the line at Raffles with us one lunchtime. The shows were all good, the comedian James Stevens III was great (he sat with us in Blue Lagoon after the show for half an hour, really nice guy), Elements was great. We won a Ginger and Lime scrub and massage at the spa so Deb enjoyed that. We had burgers at the BierGarten twice and they were undercooked both times--I wonder if Noro wasn't so much a problem as undercooked meat? We started ordering room service coffee and pasties half way through and that was the best coffee we had the whole trip. We started buying soda or bottled water in the ports before coming back to the ship just to cut down our shipboard expenses (wish we could have brought beer aboard). Ate at Le Bistro twice, excellent both times, the crepes suzette are incredible. All in all we thought it was a great cruise. Everyone we met from CC and elsewhere were friendly, helpful and positive people. Hugh and Monika, Ron and Cheryl, Marianne and Chris, Bud and Pat, Nick and Julie, Dee and Tom, Jim and Judy, Ken and Frances and everyone else we met, thanks for making this a great cruise. Hope to meet some of you again on the high seas. Debbie and Tony Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
Executive Summary I've cruised with NCL 13 times, and I may not go back. I base this on these observations, which will be detailed in later sections of this review: 1) Quality of service is much worse than when I started cruising ... Read More
Executive Summary I've cruised with NCL 13 times, and I may not go back. I base this on these observations, which will be detailed in later sections of this review: 1) Quality of service is much worse than when I started cruising with NCL in 2003. 2) Nickel and diming by NCL has gone to an all time high. 3) As the customer, I am always wrong. 4) You are free to, wait wherever, for whatever. As a past cheerleader for NCL, I recommended that many of my family, social and business contacts travel with NCL. I can't do this anymore. If you want to tell me I am wrong, or want to live in the bubble where nothing is wrong, then read no further. You won't like what you read. Overview For this cruise, I traveled with my Mom and Dad, my wife, and my four boys. All of us, with the exception of my mom, have cruised before with NCL. We chose this itinerary after having a positive experience on the NCL Spirit repo from New York to New Orleans last fall. We enjoy long cruises, with a good mix of sea days and port days. Embarkation The terminal and the staff at the Boston terminal were great. In general, we had a great experience in Boston. The TSA experience was fairly tolerable, and I felt their personnel were friendly and helpful, given their job. My only complaint was that we were not allowed to use the "Latitudes Gold" check in line (much shorter), because I was "traveling with people that weren't gold". If my entire family, whom I'm paying for, has to obtain "Gold" status to experience benefits, well, I guess we won't make Gold, or Platinum, for that matter. So, we all had to wait in the regular Latitudes line. Cabins We reserved cabins 10127 and 10129. We were extremely happy with the rooms themselves. We chose these rooms because of their proximity to the Kids Crew room, and based on their proximity to the aft and mid-ship stairs and elevators. We found shoes, and other items in our room when we arrived, making us wonder how much time was spent in cleaning our rooms. We had four people in each of these cabins, and we felt that the layout was adequate and met our expectations. The clothes line in the shower was broken, so this limited our self service laundry options in the room. There were nights when the cabin would not get cool enough, but we had packed a fan based on our previous experiences. It's unfortunate that we have to pack our own fan, but have been told that 70 degrees is an acceptable room temperature in the past, so we must be wrong, and it must be so. We didn't like walking down our hallway because our clothing smelled like smoke from all the smoking cabins. Dining Our first night in the Windows dining room was our lone pleasant experience in Windows. Mr. Palmer, raised on a farm in Jamaica, was very attentive, and we had our food and dessert within 1.5 hours. We enjoyed talking with Mr. Palmer, and he was always pleasant when we encountered him on the ship. We tried Windows the next two nights, and in both cases, it took over two hours to receive our food and dessert. We ultimately had to give up on the Windows dining room, because it simply took too long to get food and dessert with our children. Next, we tried the Garden Room, as we had heard that service was much better there. It took over two hours to get our food, and I simply gave up waiting for dessert and walked out. By this point, we had instituted "elevator service", and were taking turns in the room with our two year old, because he couldn't tolerate a two hour meal. At this point, we resigned ourselves to eating at Raffles, and at Blue Lagoon. Raffles was extremely crowded, and extremely frustrating, because they had to implement "silver plate" service due to Norovirus (or other flu), on the ship. With 8 of us, we didn't want to spend $100 or more per day on food, just so we didn't have to wait. So, we took to eating at the "trough" (Raffles), and Blue Lagoon. We enjoyed the Blue Lagoon more, and by the end of the first week, we did most of our eating there. We ate at La Trotteria, Cagney's (Twice), experienced a "Taste of India" meal, but limited our "paid" dining because of the cost. As in the past, the service was always good in the pay venues. It was extremely frustrating to pass empty, or near empty, pay dining venues, to go wait in line to get free food. In the past, NCL would occasionally offer 1/2 price specials, for early diners, in an attempt to boost the number of people using the pay dining venues. In this case, they did not offer this. Instead, they sent staff out to stand outside the free venues to take reservations for the pay restaurants, while the frustrations of the free venues were fresh in the minds of the passengers. To me, this is the cruise ship equivalent of ambulance chasing. I'd say that they were trying to rub salt in the wounds of all of us free loaders, but it would have taken the crew too long to open up all the little salt packets we had to beg for. With NCL, you are free to wait wherever, to whatever, unless you want to pay to not wait. Public Rooms Hot, hot, hot, hot, hot. Apparently, when Norovirus (or other flu), is on the ship, they shut off ventilation in many of the public rooms. The grand centrum, was usually at a pleasant temperature, but most of the other venues were not. My children and I sweat through clothing sitting in Henry's Pub, Blue Lagoon, and the Galaxy of the Stars. We went through laundry at twice the rate this year, compared to last, because the public rooms were so hot. Many of the passengers were complaining about the temperature, so it wasn't just us. The public restrooms were usually dirty, and messy, and whenever possible, we usually retreated to our cabins to use the restroom. When this wasn't an option, we had to clean up before and after using the restrooms. We were told that this was because the virus or flu was on the ship, but it was frustrating as a passenger. Everywhere you walked on the ship, you were being sprayed, and told to sanitize, and then you had to deal with the filth. Laundry Don't know what genius made the decision to remove all the public (I don't think we are guests anymore) laundry facilities from the ship, but it lead to much frustration on the ship. We knew about the removal of laundry facilities before we got on the ship, and we planned accordingly, but we hadn't planned on sitting around the public rooms of the ship sweating through our clothing. They did run the "laundry special" one time on the 16 day cruise, but that wasn't enough. I can't judge NCL's motives, but their actions make me question them. Is this just another attempt to nickel and dime the passengers to death, or just another attempt to point out the benefits of being Latitudes Platinum, and getting free laundry service? One of our fellow passengers tried to take his laundry off, in port, to get it done, and was told he could not because it would be classified as "debarkation". This behavior really makes you question motives. Entertainment We thought the comedies, magicians, hypnotists, dancers, and other entertainers were top notch. We also like Cruise Director Paul Scally, as he was highly visible on the ship, and very affable. We did not like most of the rest of the cruise director staff. My family has enjoyed trivia, on past cruises, and we find it frustrating when you can't understand the staff that read the trivia questions. If NCL wants to cut costs by using people with limited English language skills, as their cruise director staff, then just hand out pages with the trivia questions pre-printed. It was just too frustrating with everyone looking at everyone else, and saying "what did he / she say?". By the end of the cruise, we just gave up and quit going. Any public venue, hosted by the cruise director's staff, was frustrating because they all felt they were way more funny, than they actually were. So, a lot of time was wasted, and we had to listen to them babble on endlessly to impress us. I really liked Paul Scally because he didn't waste a lot of our time doing this. My kids used to like getting all the trinkets, cards, key chains, etc. when we won trivia, but now, you get bingo cards and certificates. Cheap, cheap, cheap. The constant sales pitches for all the "paid" events over the loud speakers gets really annoying. Most of us can read, and those of us that can't, can find someone to read the Freestyle Daily to us. Don't torture the rest of us with all the continual harping on the loud speakers. Spa & Fitness Used it a lot last year; not this year. No need to go to the spa to work up a sweat. You were free to sweat wherever you wanted on the ship. Family & Children The kid's crew staff was excellent, as it was last year. My 9 year old and 11 year old boys really enjoyed it. My two year old did not, but he really wants to be with "daddy" most of the time. Shore Excursions We did the "Beach Break" in Belize, and were satisfied with it. We really enjoyed Bannister Island again, although we wish they would bring back the trampoline. My kids enjoyed it last year, their website still advertises it (http://www.bannisterisland.com/activities.shtml), but it wasn't there. As disappointed as I was with NCL on this cruise, I don't blame them for the bad weather we had for the last hour. Service Simply stated: If you pay for service, you'll get it. If you don't pay extra, for good service, you got bad service. We all noticed a large dip in the quality of service from this cruise and a year ago. Last year, we had to pay $10 per day for adults, and $5 per day for our kids. This year, it was $12 per person per day, for everyone but our 2 year old son. The service was much worse this year, with a few noticeable exceptions. I can't quite determine the cause. Has NCL removed incentive by having such high standard daily tipping? Was the ship understaffed to handle the virus problem on the ship? Bar service was good in the Blue Lagoon, and at Henry's Pub for us, and non-existent every where else for us. Had to wait 15 minutes for soft drinks in all the other bars on a daily basis, and usually just gave up. Service was good in the pay restaurant venues; poor in all the free venues, except for the Blue Lagoon. Medical Services This was a large part of our experience on this cruise, and our biggest disappointment. 5 out of the 8 of us got sick. Our thirteen year old son was first. He vomited all over the cabin on the 3rd night on the ship, at 3:00 AM, and our fun cruise began. As instructed by the captain, we reported dutifully to the medical center, because he had flu like symptoms. We dealt with a ship doctor who was pleasant, and informative. The preliminary diagnosis was Norovirus (no means to confirm it without lab testing), and he was quarantined until he had no flu like symptoms for 24 hours. The hourly lectures began, every time we called to report in his latest symptoms. Sanitize, wash your hands, etc. Our family does this regularly anyway, and is very aware of how little the sanitizing liquid really effects the virus, so the constant harping got old quick. Because the doctor was concerned that our 2 year old son might get it, they placed our 13 year old son, and me as his caregiver, in a new cabin. Ultimately, he was isolated for 3.5 days, but it was already too late. Two nights later, our 2 year old son puked all over his bed. Once again, we reported to the medical center. This time, the night duty nurse told us that he did not have Norovirus, because he puked before he had diarrhea. We questioned this, because our family never gets sick, and we never get the flu. The night nurse insisted we were wrong, and we were NOT required to isolate or quarantine him. At this point, we were really questioning the cruise line's motives. Having some experience with infection control studies in my employment past, we decided too isolate him anyway. Being one of three children under the age of 5 on the ship, he was extremely popular with the service staff, who liked to high five him and hug him, so we wanted did this to limit their exposure, and limit exposure to the other passengers. He experienced diarrhea and vomiting for four days, and then three more days later in the cruise. 2 nights later, my nine year old son puked in the night, so once again, we reported to the medical center. Once again, the night nurse told us it wasn't Norovirus because he puked before he had diarrhea. So, one again, we technically did not have to isolate him. We moved him from the other cabin to the "sick cabin", and isolated him for three days with his 2 year old brother. At this time, I wasn't getting any sleep and decided to try to complain about the fact that the cruise line did not want to report these incidents to the CDC. I was told by the reception desk, that I had to complain to the medical center. I told them this wasn't expectable; I did not want to make poor circumstances worse. I was told that their manager would call me, and handle my complaint. The manager called 7 days later; I didn't bother to call them back. Apparently, customer service isn't important to them, so why give them my time. The next night, my wife had vomiting and diarrhea, in the incorrect order, and was told she probably did not have Norovirus. We quarantined her in our "sick cabin" for 3.5 days with the other two boys, while I played the part of nurse / servant. Two nights later, our 11 year old son joined them. He made the mistake of puking while sitting on the toilet with diarrhea, and this seemed to confuse the staff. While they didn't think he had Norovirus, they told me to collect a stool sample, and told us we should isolate him. Duh...Ultimately, on our 16 night cruise, we spent 4 days where none of us were sick. NCL's response was to give us a $400 onboard credit, which made it all better. After not hearing back from the reception management staff, I went to the lady selling future cruises on the ship and told her I wouldn't cruise NCL again, and explained why. She told me that the CDC, and the news media, always over report problems with norovirus, and it was all blown way out of proportion. Since 62.5% of my cruising party got sick, and we never get sick at home, I told her I felt the cruise line was intentionally minimizing the problem, to avoid panic and minimalize financial losses. After I left, she had one of the ship's officers call me. I sat down with him, and explained my frustrations. While he did improve the quality of the room service we received, the rest of my recommendations probably fell on deaf ears. Norovirus Recommendations 1) Tell the truth. Most of us are adults, and act accordingly. While sanitizing constantly, can reduce risk for transferring germs and bacteria, it won't kill the virus. Minimizing the problem, through misinformation, or over selling the benefits of sanitization, leads to even more risky behavior by passengers and staff. People will behave better, if they are a little more scared. 2) I don't blame the cruise line for spreading the virus, so don't blame the passengers. Constantly harping at us, every time we call the medical center that we need to sanitize more does no good. We actually ran out soap 7 times in our cabins, and two of these times occurred BEFORE any of us got sick. Having gotten Norovirus two years ago, on the Pride of Hawaii, when 27 percent of the passengers got it or some other mystery virus, we have been extremely cautious when cruising. The reality is; by the time everyone knows there is a problem on the ship, it's too late. The virus is going to run its course; and it will be passed around. 3) Instruct the staff not to touch the passengers. My two year old was passed around from staff member to staff member, because he's cute, and they miss their families, but he spent 7 days sick because of it. Who know how many people he passed along his flu too (not that he had it). 4) The passengers were continually told to sanitize, sanitize, sanitize. Then, crew staff would pass around bingo cards, brochures, etc. without sanitizing. Trivia staff insisted that we were all going to cheat, and insisted that we needed to pass around our papers to make sure we weren't cheating to win the non-existent prizes. Be consistent; don't pass anything around. 5) Hey, shit happens. I know that. But any idiot knows that it doesn't have to happen first, before puking, in order for it to be the norovirus. We all have access to information. 6) Offer latex gloves to passengers that want them. Sanitizing me when I walk in a room means nothing. Sitting down at infrequently sanitized tables, using unsanitzed menus, touching the chairs and furniture that have not been cleaned, after sanitizing, is a complete waste of time. When my food arrives, let me sanitize and put on latex gloves, and then eat and drink. At that point, I'll take my chances. Disembarkation In the past, the TSA staff in New Orleans has always been the worst, and has been gruff and impossible to deal with. This time, they were actually the least painful part of the process. Like the rest of the cruise, people who are willing to pay extra, in this case, take NCL tours in New Orleans, get preferential treatment and can get off the ship and pick up their luggage and go through US customs. The rest of us, have to wait for the Magic Luggage fairy to make sure our luggage magically appears downstairs before we get off the ship. The NCL staff on the ship, during the debarkation process, went to great lengths telling us non paying passengers that we were evil for trying to slip off the ship early, because none of our luggage was available yet. Then, they let all the NCL Tour passengers through (sans luggage), and made all of us wait. We get the message; pay off NCL, and you can do whatever. Otherwise, you wait. Non-Executive Summary My only hope is that the rest of the fleet hasn't gotten this bad. I'm not sure I want to waste more money, trying to determine if the rest of the fleet is still ok. I think NCL is heading in the wrong direction. Besides the obvious problems with our family being sick on the cruise, the level of service really makes us question using this cruise line again. I feel like I got a $2000 vacation for $7000, and I don't plan on repeating my mistake. NCL will lose much more, in future business, through word of mouth, unless they improve service some how. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
Pre-cruise We hit a few bumps early on with delayed flights and our pre-paid hotel room at the Sheraton being overbooked.  They ended up taking us to another Sheraton by the airport and comping our two nights.  We really loved the ... Read More
Pre-cruise We hit a few bumps early on with delayed flights and our pre-paid hotel room at the Sheraton being overbooked.  They ended up taking us to another Sheraton by the airport and comping our two nights.  We really loved the French Quarter Festival and would return to New Orleans just to enjoy the music!  Our ride to the port was much more entertaining than expected.  Our driver (and tour guide) was hilarious!! Embarkation We arrived at the port around 11:30 and were on board in about an hour drinking a glass of champagne!  Pretty smooth overall, but too many people forming lines instead of waiting in the designated areas for their boarding group. Room/Stewards We had a balcony room on deck 11.  We like the location (aft) because we like grabbing some fruit and cereal for breakfast or a salad for lunch at Raffles and eating on our balcony.  The room was a decent size, good storage and a nice size bathroom.  Our cabin stewards were great!  They always greeted us and asked about our day or the previous night.  In fact, all the stewards on deck 11 were always very friendly and made a point to say hello when we travelled forward or aft. Dinner We had planned to have dinner about half in the Specialty restaurants and half in the main dining rooms.  Unfortunately, we enjoyed Le Bistro so much on the first night that we ended up eating there six nights alone!  We can't say enough about the food and staff there!  They were the best team we've had at any restaurant, cruise or otherwise!  We also ate at most (if not all) of the other specialty restaurants:  Cagney's, Teppanyaki, Shogun, Sushi and La Trattoria.  The food and service were always good, just not quite as good as Le Bistro. Costa Maya We spent the day at a small resort, Maya Luna.  We caught some great rays, had a wonderful lunch and a great massage on the beach.  Carolien and her staff were fantastic!  We'd love to return for a longer visit!! Guatemala We took the Rio Dulce Canyon tour with Happy Fish.  A few people were late, but they kept us comfortable with some 10 AM beer!  The weather was a little spotty (light rain), but we had a nice time.  The tour guide was very nice and informative.  We enjoyed the various stops in the villages and the young kids (five or six year olds) paddling around in the their little canoes!  It was really a beautiful area!! Belize We took the ATV and Cave Tubing tour with a number of cruise critic members.  My wife was not too excited about the ATV portion of the tour (had to push her off the bus), but she loved it!  One of her favorite parts of the cruise.  The cave tubing was a blast too!  Butts Up!!  The caves were great and then it rained in buckets when we got out of the caves.  It was amazing floating down the river in the jungle with a shower blast of warm raining coming down on us!! Curacao After a late night of partying and dancing, we decided to take it easy in Curacao.  We started with relaxing morning on the ship and then walked around town a bit.  Definitely another port we'd like to spend some more time at.  It would be nice to be there when a few more shops are open. Bermuda We took it easy at this port too.  We hit one of the local beaches and walked around the fort area.  We did enjoy a number of the shops especially the one that had the glass blowers and rum cake!! Spa/Recreation Center We hit the gym every sea day and thought the equipment (both cardio and weights) were great!  My wife enjoyed a few treatments in the spa and especially liked the seaweed wrap and massage (Barbara was awesome!).  Although the men's spa setup was bizarre, I still enjoyed the sauna and steam after my workouts! Night Life The disco by the casino was always a blast.  We've been on some cruises where it is completely asleep after midnight, but there were always people (crew and cruisers) there every night.  We closed it down a few nights with Rob, Diane and the Lake Tapps boys. Debarkation We stayed in our cabin as long as possible listening to the Caaannnadddiiaan announcements from Paul the cruise director.  We felt bad for those in a hurry to get off the ship, but we had a late afternoon flight so were in no hurry.  We finished off with a bottle of champagne in Raffles and were some of the last to leave the ship. Final Thoughts We loved the trip so much that we might take it again next year.  We do enjoy our sea days so like the mix of port and sea days that this cruise offered. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
NCL Spirit   4/19/09 - 5/1/09 WE MISSED THE BOAT My poor wife's back was too badly wrenched to permit boarding our scheduled flight from Dayton to New Orleans on April nineteenth.   This situation required significant ... Read More
NCL Spirit   4/19/09 - 5/1/09 WE MISSED THE BOAT My poor wife's back was too badly wrenched to permit boarding our scheduled flight from Dayton to New Orleans on April nineteenth.   This situation required significant remedial planning to catch up the NCL Spirit.   The best port to fly into was Belize (BZE)    This is a small airport but is serviced by American Airlines 737's from Miami.   The flight departed Cincinnati and arrived at 1:20 PM local time on April twenty second.   We took a taxi to the port for $25 US.   Using the internet we had researched the ground transportation options and decided the taxi was the best choice.   We checked inside the airport, with the dispatcher and with the driver about the fare.   Surprisingly and very pleasantly, getting through local security and onto the tender servicing the ship was a smooth procedure, even quicker than the usual check in at the normal departure point.   My bride had telephoned NCL on the nineteenth and spoke with a knowledgeable     representative who created a three way call with an on board representative, so Spirit knew of our situation and was expecting us.   The tickets we had booked originally on American Airlines were forfeited.   For cruisers who may have had apprehensions about missing the boat be consoled that the situation can be dealt with but the remedy requires that an experienced traveler be involved and its not easy, cheap or within everyone's comfort zone.   Since this was a twelve day cruise we could miss the first four days and still have enough time remaining to justify the additional airfare expense.   We don't use travel insurance but may in the future. The Spirit is one of NCL's oldest ships but is nicely maintained and a smooth sailor.   We encountered force six winds and waves of seven to eight feet with no significant problems for us with motion sickness or mobility.   There were the usual jokes among passengers that some people were walking drunkenly when it was just the ship's movements. Our inside cabin on deck six was the smallest we've ever had after fifteen cruises and our dinner mates felt some fixtures were designed for an Asian clientele since this ship was first built and operated by Star lines.   By this they meant things were smaller.   The cabins do show some age and wear in the shower tiles, room carpeting and the closets.  The closets must be securely latched shut or they will open and close on their own during the night.   The cabins were not adequately sound proofed and conversations, televisions and drawers opening and closing could be clearly heard.   Several times I was awakened at night wondering who was walking about in our cabin when the noise was from next door.   Thankfully we had considerate and quiet neighbors. The food in the main dining rooms was good with a few excellent dishes but just as many below average ones.   We didn't use the specialty restaurants but some people who did felt that food and service there was what was standard in main dining rooms on cruises years ago.   Raffles buffet was better than average and featured a soft ice cream machine and some hand dipped ice cream as well.   There were no significant issues with seating at Raffles but we had to ask to share tables with strangers several times. Entertainment was uneven.   The magician, ventriloquist and the production company were very good. The ship has a very poor public speaker system for general announcements and this became an issue during disembarkation in Boston.   Passengers we asked all said that they heard virtually no announcements in their cabins and several important announcements regarding leaving the ship were garbled and unintelligible.   Several Canadians went through the required immigration process earlier in the morning of the last day but the computers did not "upload" their data.   They did not hear/understand the announcements of their names to recheck and didn't realize that they were responsible for holding up the departures of an entire ship for over one hour.   We missed several of the ports early in the cruise but Belize was quite foreign and rather third world-ish.   Curacao was nice and rather quaint but on the day of our visit, Sunday, the town was practically closed down.   Bermuda is a beautiful and fun port.   It's very expensive however.   A cruise ship is definitely a good way to visit there.    Use the ship as your hotel and employ the excellent public transit system to see the island.   Look into daily or weekly passes which permit travel on the busses and ferries.   The bus travels along the coast and one can get off at a beach or other point of interest for a while then re-board and continue to the next stop or return to the ship. This was a repositioning cruise so it will not be repeated until next season.   There were five ports and seven days at sea.   While there were sufficient activities during at sea days we enjoy visiting ports and felt a bit confined and crowded on board for these periods. My wife insists that I comment on the excellent performance of the cruise director Paul and his staff.   They were very friendly and approachable but kept activities under control.   Paul recognized us from our participation in the morning walk a mile program and even pulled us aside during our departure to state that he would miss our walks.       Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
This is our second cruise with NCL.  We were disappointed with the reception at the airport and the handling of the luggage.  The NCL staff was hard to find.  The Lone Female bus driver had to load all of the luggage by herself.  No ... Read More
This is our second cruise with NCL.  We were disappointed with the reception at the airport and the handling of the luggage.  The NCL staff was hard to find.  The Lone Female bus driver had to load all of the luggage by herself.  No porters to assist her.  The Female Driver, however was a joy to visit with, once she got her wind back.  We were expecting to be met at the luggage area by someone from NCL, but unfortunately we had to go seek them out, carrying our luggage.  The trip to the ship was nice but next time we will take a taxi from the airport.  This would allow us to get some water and sodas before we get on the vessel.Our room was comfortable although I found medicine pills, shoes and glasses on the floor under the beds.  Our room staff was always helpful, honest, efficient and friendly.Our first night we dined in Windows, what a horror.  Never offered a wine list or cocktail.  We were served water and even that ran out.  The meal was good but service was horrible.  We did not go back!Other people had the same bad or worse experiences at The Windows.Our other common dinner meals were at the Garden Room,  "What a Joy!"  Service was great as was the food.  We enjoyed the Asian Fusion Specialty Restaurants on three other nights.  The Staff in the Specialty Restaurants were great, always making sure everything was enjoyable and that we were happy.  Breakfasts and lunches were in the buffet area where the food was ample and good. The only thing I could not figure out was why they did not have caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee in the same area.  You had to go looking for which one you wanted at the other end of the serving area. The Kids Crew staff did a good job entertaining our son, God Bless them for that, sorry about your toes guys. The Photographers did a nice job of capturing the fun we were having, making the picture packet a good value.DO NOT EVEN ATTEMPT TO GET THE FREE GOLD CHARMS THEY ADVERTISE YOU WILL RECEIVE IF YOU GO TO A CERTAIN LOCATION ON THE SHIP.  THEY ARRIVE LATE MAKING YOU WAIT AND DO NOT PROVIDE WHAT THEY PROMISE.  YOU WILL LEAVE FURIOUS!!  All they will say is it is not their fault.The medical staff was great no price gouging here!  I developed an inner ear infection which they took care of with no problem. Although some things did not go as planned or as we would have liked.  We are still planning on using NCL again.  We feel we get the most for our money.  Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
Great departure date allowed us to spend a couple of days enjoying the music festival in New Orleans which started on Friday and ship left Sunday. Embarkation was very smooth and fast.Glad to see that the Asian art was kept after the ... Read More
Great departure date allowed us to spend a couple of days enjoying the music festival in New Orleans which started on Friday and ship left Sunday. Embarkation was very smooth and fast.Glad to see that the Asian art was kept after the ship's overall last Fall. Stateroom ( balcony ) was comfortable....mattresses were new ! Food : Raffles ( self serve) had quite a variety from fish to pasta and meat. Something new everyday and if one didn't like fish there was plenty of meat & pasta etc.. Dessert at Raffles was boring....not much change from one day to the next and it would be nice to have a few more cookies available there instead as having to go to the area near the Raffles bar ( aft ). Mostly we had fruit for dessert. Also there were never any cookies at the Blue Lagoon 24 hour restaurant, just slices of cake.We had dinner at the Bistro..very nice dinner; also at the Garden & the Windows restaurants. Except for one night when we asked for medium well cooked meat and we were given what I would call rare ( a lot of blood ) all other meals were good. The waiter asked if we would like to order something else but we declined. Just couldn't be bother waiting for another entree because we wanted to make it to the show. "Open areas "We particularly like the aft part of the ship as it has three levels ( from deck 12 to deck 9 ) where one can sit under the sun or in the shade and it is quite there. The only activities going on there are ping pong ( deck 11 aft ), the children's pool ( really not that noisy except perhaps for a couple of hours a day when the kids come ). In deck 9, besides the kids' pool there is a whirlpool so we used that one several times. Staff was great. Literally we did not find anyone who wasn't pleasant. Several of the ship's officers came to our meet & greet meeting. From that day on, every time they passed us they stopped to say hello. Actually a couple of times they actually sat down with us and just chatted. Entertainment : Shows were good. We went to every one except one night when they had Second City.Games: it would be nice if they could come up with at least one new game. It seems that every cruise line has the Newlywed not so newlywed show. It was actually quite hilarious because some of the participants did not quite understand the Cruise Director Paul who has quite a "thick" British accent. The audience ended up "translating" some of the questions which made the game show a lot funnier.  Disembarkation : Due to 5 non US people not clearing US Immigration on time, ( they were paged so many times we lost count !!!) the disembarkation was held for quite a while as no one was allowed off the ship by US Immigration/Customs until they were cleared. Some people who had early flight departures did not make it on time and it caused quite a bit of chaos when finally everyone was able to disembark. Although the disembarkation was by color, I was a bit messy. We were supposed to disembark at 09:15 and we didn't until 10:30. By the time we got our bags was almost 11:00. Must say I was impressed by everyone's Customer Service on both this vessel. On previous cruises ( NCL or other cruise lines we always seem to "find" one or two members of staff who aren't as friendly. On this cruise we did not encounter that !  We enjoyed the cruise and itinerary and are looking of doing this same repo cruise next year ( they are changing the itinerary a bit).  Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
We are in our mid 60's and this was our 7th cruise, second on NCL. Enjoy train travel so we Amtraked from Indiana to Newark, NJ. Spent the night at the Fairfield Inn. Nice clean room for under $130. Hot breakfast included. Saved ... Read More
We are in our mid 60's and this was our 7th cruise, second on NCL. Enjoy train travel so we Amtraked from Indiana to Newark, NJ. Spent the night at the Fairfield Inn. Nice clean room for under $130. Hot breakfast included. Saved a bundle by not staying in NYC. Carmel Limo delivered us to the Spirit at 11:30 and we were on board a few minutes after noon. We were greeted by members of the crew and were offered a glass of champagne. We went to our cabin to drop off the carry on's. The cabin was ready and we programmed the safe and headed to Windows for lunch. Raffles was also available as well as Cagney's for suite passengers. The NCL Spirit is ten year old and is starting to show her age with a little rust here and there, carpet in a few places that needed to be replaced and my biggest grip was some of the windows in the public areas had moisture between the glass that has either fogged or discolored them. She went into dry dock following our cruise for three weeks having an engine replaced and I hope they will take care of the rust, carpet and windows. We found the ship to be very easy to get around. It has three sets of passenger elevators and never had to wait long to get from one deck to another. The air conditioning throughout the ship was excellent. Our cabin was just right. Plenty of room in the closet to hang 13 days of duds for two. Nice shelf above the hangers and five open shelves on the side of the closet. Another cubby hole below the TV and 5 drawers below that. Brand new mattress and plenty of room under to hide all the luggage that arrived before 2pm. Nice little desk and a small couch that turn into a twin size bed. No refrigerator. But could get one if requested. The bathroom is divided into three areas with sliding glass doors. Liquid soap by the sink and shower, shampoo/conditioner and body lotion all by Elemis. The shower was large enough for a fat man. Here is a hint on shower operation. It turns on and off on the left, set the temp on the right. For the balance of the cruise only use the left. Look up and there's the cloths line. The balcony was as expected, two comfortable chairs and a small table. Let me take a few moments to tell you about dining. Our first lunch was at Windows. We were joined by another CC member and all had very tasty entrees. We had breakfast most mornings here. The menu is not that extensive, but has all the basics. They set up a buffet for fruit, cheese, rolls, cereal and jams. A couple of times they under cooked fried eggs and omelets. When that happened we just went up to Raffles. Most of the time when there we ate outside overlooking the stern and the kids waterslide and pool. Our CC group of thirty, had dinner at Windows three times. The Maitre d, Edgar, set aside three tables for us and we enjoyed the special service they gave us. One of our group required a special diet and Edgar made sure his meals were special. One of the nights we had lobster. A little on the stingy side, only gave us one-half of a tail. I asked for a second and had it in no time at all. We also took a glass of wine, from our cabin, with us to dinner quite often. Raffles, three eggs stations, three fruit stations, four coffee (great coffee), tea, juice stations, bacon, sausage, hot toast, pan cakes, hash browns, fried potatoes, waffles, bangers, biscuits (hard like hockey pucks) & gravy, a large variety of sweat rolls and things like herring, salmon, kippers etc. To have breakfast here was a little hectic, but once everyone got use to the variety, locations and discovered they were not going to run out of food, things calmed down. It sure would be nice of the folks that come to the buffet would learn to use the hand sanitizer, not to use their hands to pick up food, lick their fingers, cough, think they are the only ones in the area and be considerate of others. We found ship to extremely clean. No Nero virus on our cruise. Dinner at Cagney's twice. The Maitre d, Roman is one of the reasons our cruise was so special. He treated us like old friends. We would see him in Windows or Raffles in the morning and he would go out of his way to make us feel welcome. He would carry my wife's plate for her, he would seat us, he would make sure ever thing was just the way it should be and he always called us by name. My wife called him Romeo. He told her that Romeo was his twin that worked during the day and wore a white uniform. At night, Roman wore black in Cagney's. Make sure to have the shrimp cocktail, they are as large as the ½ lobster tails we had at Windows. The food at Cagney's was very good, and our server Bethel was outstanding. The chef, Dante came to our table the last night of the cruise and told us he had seen us at Le Bistro the night before. He then went over to Le Bistro and got their chief, Robert and brought him over to see that we did not always eat at Le Bistro. What a pleasure to have Dante, Bethel and Roman to make our meals at Cagney's extra special. We also had dinner at Le Bistro twice. Don't tell Roman, but the filets were better than Cagney's. The wait staff here are great and on our second visit they remembered our names and what we had last time for dinner and drinks. I was kidding them about that great Jamaican coffee and asked for it with desert. Our waiter brought us a couple of small wine glasses of 151 rum with a teaspoon of coffee, whip cream, grenadine and sugar on the rim (don't get a flame close to this drink and thank God they were small glasses). I asked for it and they made it special for us. I really don't know if the is a after-dinner drink call "Jamaican Coffee", but there is now. Here you can see the galley staff preparing the meals. The Chef Tourmant is Robert. He spent as much time with us as he did running the galley. What great dinners we had at Le Bistro. Thank you Robert. The Garden has the same menu as Windows. It is a smaller room and only open for dinner. If you go here ask to be seated in Orlando's section. He and his assistant, Abhay are the very best of the wait staff in these two restaurants. You will also find them in the morning at Windows or Raffles. Abhay is 22 and from India, he is the hardest worker with the biggest smile on the ship. He really charmed my wife. She wanted to take him home. That would have been O.K. with me, but they wouldn't let me take his place and work for Orlando. Our CC group also had dinner here the last night at sea. We had lunch a few times at the Bier Garten. Make your own burgers, hot dogs, German sausage, sauerkraut, potato salad, coleslaw, pickles, cheese and fry's. This can all be washed down with a Helmet of Beer. Six Heineken $25.80. They also had Bud Light on special, buy 5 get 2 free. Lots of choices of beer. Did Henry's Pub a few times and enjoyed the Fish and Chips, popcorn, pretzels. Wife said the wings were boring. We did not eat at any of the Oriental restaurants or the Blue Lagoon, but heard the food was good and fun places to eat. Casino has a load of "One Arm Bandits" Craps, Roulette, Black Jack and Poker. Wife said the machines were tight. I only play craps and roulette. Watched "0" come up four times in a row. Needless to say, I was not wise enough to put any money on that non-number. Get a new "Players Card" and the give a $20 for $10 slot play, there is a $5 match play in the coupon book and a few other deals. We went to a couple of great shows, the Magician and the Hypnotist. Heard from others that some of the shows we missed were very good also. Loads of activities such as BINGO and Trivia. Bands and groups playing everywhere. We arranged our own shore excursions with other CC members.. Did Godfrey in St. Thomas, half day with Aruba Fantasy tours, Lamanai Mayan ruins in Belize, Cozumel Beach Break, and in Roatan, Fins and Flippers, our favorite. When arrived in New Orleans and NCL did a great job getting us off the ship, U.S. Customs did a lousy job clearing everyone. It took over one hour from the end of the gang plank to the customs desk. You would think, when customs knows 3000 people are going to come ashore starting at 8am they would have more then eight stations to handle the crowd. Good thing we didn't have to catch our train, back to Indiana, till 1:45pm. We were pleased with NCL and The Spirit. Would take this ship again and highly recommend the cabin, food, entertainment, activities and especially crew. Coasty Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
When we checked in our room we found it dirty. There was hair on the floor, the bathroom glass was dirty and not cleaned properly and the sliding glass doors to the balcony had handprints on it. Also, there was mold in the shower. We ... Read More
When we checked in our room we found it dirty. There was hair on the floor, the bathroom glass was dirty and not cleaned properly and the sliding glass doors to the balcony had handprints on it. Also, there was mold in the shower. We complained and everything was corrected except the mold. They said that they were out of bleach. We did not meet our steward until the fifth day and that was by accident. He never introduced himself. Every afternoon/evening we had to call for ice. We selected our excursions two weeks prior to the trip. At 5:00 PM on the third day we were called to notify us that our excursion for the next morning had been cancelled and they gave us two hours to select another from what was left over. We had to do this during dinner. There are many signs that say all excursions leave rain or shine yet they cancelled us. I feel since they booked the excursion with us they should keep the commitment on their end regardless whether they have enough booking; and of course they should have given us more notice. I met another passenger who was cancelled on another excursion the morning of it and he could not book another. The Teppanyaki Room only seats ten people and there are only three seatings per evening. The "Rules" are that you cannot make reservations prior to 7:00 AM of the day before. We tried for three days and could not get reservations. So on the morning of the fourth day I got up and went down to the reservation desk at 6:45 AM. I was first in line. The reservation person arrived at 6:55 AM and opened her computer. I asked for the 7:30 PM seating for the next day. There was a clock above her and it was about 6:58 AM at this point. She told me that that time slot was already taken. I asked how that was possible since I was first in line. She told me that you can also call and that there were two telephone lines that were taking reservations. I asked still how it was possible since the "Rule" was not before 7:00 AM and she went into her computer at 6:58 AM. She started to give me the run-around. I asked for her supervisor. When he arrived he gave me the sams BS. I feel that they are either not following their own rules or someone is showing favoritism to others. Generally the food and service was ok at best. They first stop after being at sea for over one and one half days was Roatan, Honduras. The ship arrived at 3:00 PM and was scheduled to leave at 8:00 PM. Because of the short amount of time at port we decided not to go on an excursion and instead go into town. What a mistake that was. As soon as we stepped off the ship we were in the middle of abject poverty. It was the worst place I have ever been in. The place smelled and little children were following us begging us for money. We lasted for only one hour and returned to the ship. Why they would take us to a place like this is beyond belief. Every passenger we spoke with was very disappointed with the trip. We will never travel with Norwegian Cruise Line again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
This review written by Linda. We (Jon and Linda) arrived at the ship from our hotel in Newark about 9:30 a.m and were directed to the back of the room with other suite passengers. Embarkation was delayed because there was a wedding on ... Read More
This review written by Linda. We (Jon and Linda) arrived at the ship from our hotel in Newark about 9:30 a.m and were directed to the back of the room with other suite passengers. Embarkation was delayed because there was a wedding on board. Staff was very cordial and we were the first to board when allowed. The Spirit is absolutely gorgeous - very Asian dEcor, subtle, unlike the colors and modern art on the NCL Jewel. The bar set up ordered a week before we sailed was here when we arrived. Our room was perfect and we'd book it again in a minute. It was our favorite room on any ship. Dead center aft - penthouse 9212. It's the smallest of the aft penthouses, but with plenty of room. The living room is very similar to the penthouses on the Jewel. Comfy, stuffed-type couch and two barrel-shaped chairs, with a dining table and four chairs. No fancy coffee maker like in newer NCL suites, but there is a 4-cup Mr. Coffee. Bedroom area with great heavy black-out drapes. Bathroom with a separate make-up counter, chair and lights. Very nice. Two sinks, huge whirlpool tub (WARNING: do not put bath gel in the whirlpool - bubbles all over the bathroom!!). Window over the tub and full length window in the shower. There are shades. The shower has good water pressure and plenty of hot water. The balcony is very large and has two comfortable wicker arm chairs with cushions and a small table. Only the suites on Spirit have fridges. We cruise because we like to be on the ship, therefore we don't do planned excursions and often stay on the ship in port, so there'll be no comments on the ports we visited. Our stateroom attendants were Milton from Jamaica and Jane from the Philippines. Both were terrific. All the staff we encountered were very friendly and hard working. I don't agree with some reviewers that Norwegian staff don't work hard or aren't friendly because they know they'll get their tips anyway. We've experienced just the opposite. Saturday night was quite interesting. Hurricane Noel was making her way up the US east coast. Holy moly did we rock and roll. There were barf bags everywhere in elevators and in hallways. We were fine and slept like babies. The engines below us vibrated a bit - not at all bothersome during the day, like a vibrating bed at night. Lulled us to sleep. Spent a lot of time watching the wake of the ship from our balcony -talking, reading, drinking coffee and relaxing. Our butlers were Lucky and Gary. They share "buttling" for all of the 18 suites on the Spirit (five aft and the rest forward). Both were very nice, professional and hard working. They took good care of us. The concierge, Monica, was fantastic. She went "above and beyond" to make and keep us happy. Had breakfast in the buffet several mornings. Serve yourself the first two days, then staff serving everything including juice, coffee, milk, etc. There was apparently some sickness on the ship and we didn't mind the staff service if it meant that more people would not get sick. The scrambled eggs were horrible, either they were soppy wet or dry and tasteless. The omelet station was great as we are early risers and there was seldom a line. Bacon mostly undercooked and the sausage had a funny taste. During most of the last week there was no cut up fruit or apples or bananas on the buffet. If one asked someone would go in back to get some. We went to the dining room for breakfast several days and the food and service was excellent. There was no soft bread or buns (like hamburger buns) in the buffet at lunchtime, only hard crusty bread. Sometimes they had pita but not always. I asked if I could have some bread like they have for toast in the morning and was told no. Except for large sheet cakes that they serve every day in the buffet (different flavors of cake and icing) the others all seemed to be made of some kind of Jell-O-y stuff on dry cake. They made several versions that look different but most taste similar. However, they were beautifully decorated with little swirls of chocolate or strawberry sauce. The ice cream was excellent. Went to the martini tasting twice. $15 person and we had tastes (quite a bit in the glass) of six martinis. It took until Friday (we sailed on Saturday) for Deborah from the IT Department to figure out where our suite's internet connection was. Turns out it was behind a large credenza in the living room. Went to the Windows dining room several nights and to the Garden dining room twice. Great service but food on this ship was overall very disappointing. The portions were incredibly small and much of it was tasteless. We ended up ordering grilled chicken breast and baked potato most nights. Tried the strip steak one night and it was thin and tough. On lobster night we had a table for 10 in Windows. Two tails apiece and they were good. The many reviews about NCL food going downhill seem to be true. We were on the Jewel three times - twice in 2005 and again in November 2006, and the food was much better. As experienced cruisers (19 for DH and 9 for me) we feel that corners are being cut. Some folks said the food was terrific, but many more who cruise a lot said it was awful. The quality was not even close to what we've had on the Jewel, on Celebrity or Royal Caribbean. Presentation, however, was beautiful and the service was outstanding. Our Cruise Critic group had a free cocktail party with the ship's staff and it was terrific. Very nice of NCL to sponsor it. It was a surprise as we had never heard of a ship giving a CC party before with free alcoholic drinks and wine. All the common areas of the ship are beautiful and clean. Intricately designed carpets and beautiful polished wood. The size of the ship was very nice. It was full for this cruise and there were about 2,200 on board with an average age about 45-50 (my guess). Very few kids as this was a two-week cruise. We went to the casino a couple of times and had fun. It's fairly small. We just learned about the proposed changes to NCL, particularly upgraded food. It sounds encouraging and we will sail NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2007
This is our experience on our 15 days cruise with Norwegian Spirit. I was expecting a wonderful vacation and it was total disappointment. Please read all the review on this ship before booking. We didn't read before booking and we ... Read More
This is our experience on our 15 days cruise with Norwegian Spirit. I was expecting a wonderful vacation and it was total disappointment. Please read all the review on this ship before booking. We didn't read before booking and we regret that we didn't take the time to see other reviews. Whoever is rating this a 5 star cruise are people with lack of experience on cruise ships or they must work for norwegian. Food: As bad as the sit down dinner was, the buffet was even worse. This was a total disappointment since we were stuck on this cruise for 15 DAYS. The buffet NEVER changed for breakfast/lunch/dinner - same location of the same things everyday. I have been on cruises where the breakfast buffet remains the same daily but never on a cruise where the lunch and dinner buffets are always the same with very inexpensive low quality selections. It was scary to eat because you didn't know if it was the left over from the previous day. The safest thing that there was for us to eat was cereal in a box. That is what my family of four ate for breakfast. At least we knew we were eating something fresh. I mean NOTHING changed, but there is an omelets station. The fruit was the low point - just terrible: apples, bananas, oranges - whole; cut up pineapple, melon, and really disgusting watermelon EVERY SINGLE DAY. We would complain and nobody really cared. There were coffee and juice machines that broke down. At times it was hard to find workers to help with things such as finding cups that were not replaced on time so that you could get coffee. At the beginning of the cruise we were allowed to serve our own breakfast/lunch and dinner at Raffles. Then all the sudden, as they started to run out of food they had changed they policy that you were not allowed to serve yourself at all. If you grabbed a cup or serving spoon to serve yourself , a staff member would actually grab it out of you hands and have an "attitude" about you wanted to serve yourself. There were time you had to wait 10 to 15 minutes for a cup of coffee or juice in the morning because we had to wait for a staff member to serve you. The real thing that really topped it off for me was they started to run out of skim milk, Bananas and cereal. I have never heard a cruise ship to run out of food. Twice there was no regular coffee but plenty of alcohol to sell at breakfast,lunch and dinner. Freestyle Dining - Some of the places listed in the restaurant directory in NCL's brochures, such as the Bier Garten and Henry's Pub, do not serve food all the time. Bier Garten food is always cold and the hamburgers were sitting hot water till you ask for one then it goes on a frying pan! The only way to get the service one would expect and the meal you deserve is if you make reservations for one of the following restaurants Cagney's, Le Bistro, and Shogun. But wait - these restaurants are all an additional charged and if you wanted a second entree expect to pay additional $20.00! So, after paying for your ticket, the only way to get any type of top-notch service is to pay again. Cabin: Plenty of room for us but OUR room reeked of sewage. We thought we requested a room for four passenger's but our SON slept on a pull cart on the FLOOR. ENTERTAINMENT: the entertainment is terrible, a complete joke; There was only 3 acts that good - New Jersey Dance Group, Acrobat Family from Australia and Ken Groves the Ventriloquist. Reminder we were on this ship for 15 days. Most night we ate and went to bed early because of lack of entertainment. KIDS CLUB: Excellent. My 6 and 10 yr. old had fun. However, there were not a lot of activities for older children to do when camp was closed on shore days. Camp didn't open until 7pm. So they were running around the ship (pressing all the buttons in the elevators for fun. The only positive comment I can make is that the disembarkation system when we arrived back in New Orleans was well organized and extremely efficient. The port itineraries were EXCELLENT. The ship was kept clean and most of the people were very friendly at times. PS: I actually feel bad for the staff because management left them to take the heat from complaints regarding food, drinks and lack-off everything. Read Less
Sail Date November 2007
NCL Spirit was perfect in so many ways, especially for first time cruise. My wife and i flew from Manchester Uk to New York and spent 4 days in the Crown Plaza Midtown. My poor size nine feet became size 12's and i have never walked ... Read More
NCL Spirit was perfect in so many ways, especially for first time cruise. My wife and i flew from Manchester Uk to New York and spent 4 days in the Crown Plaza Midtown. My poor size nine feet became size 12's and i have never walked so far in my life. Last but not least, i felt safer in the big apple than i do back home in Liverpool or Manchester! Our cruise began some what negative, having been dropped off at the pier we were told that the ship had docked late. We were herded into various partitions and boarding became a nightmare. Im 45 and quite fit, how the disabled and people with children managed is beyond me. When we finally got within inches of the ship they insisted on taking our photos. Not such a good idea considering i looked like a Bull dog chewing a wasp. I smiled through gritted teeth. Once on board and in our room we were ready to instantly forgive and forget NCL's late arrival hiccup. Here was a clean, fresh, well decorated cabin with a good size bathroom. We were on deck 11 by means of an upgrade and the balcony view made it worth every penny. Plenty of clothes hangers and space, but no cases, they were to be delivered later. Having picked up a few tips of Cruise Critic members, we decided to go and pre book our restaurants and meal times. We also went to enquire as to what had happened to our Bon Voyage wine and decorations. We then took the time to explore the ship and was totally impressed by its cleanliness and decor. By the time we had returned to our cabin we were greeted by our bon voyage gifts that we had pre ordered. (better late than never). The life boat drill was soon underway and took about 40 minutes to complete or 5 minutes for those people who thought 'so whats the hurry its just a drill?' This left the likes of me and the wife pinned to the side of the ship while those infront of us squashed us into submission like a mass tag wrestling team. We ate in Windows the first night and was indeed sat opposite the giant window at the back of the venue. Delightful meal and this turned out to be the case wherever we dined. Gardens and cagneys seemed to be slightly more to our liking and the food was always excellent. The crew and service throughout the ship was truly first class. Midway through the cruise we were lucky enough to be chosen to dine with the Captain. My wife and I were joined by an elderly gentleman from Norway and a very nice lady from south Wales. This was a splendid evening and the Captain was an excellent and entertaining host. The islands were somewhat similar in style and culture but welcoming all the same. We had decided to make this very much a beach holiday and made our own way from the ship by taxi to the nearest or best beach on offer. These beaches consisted of , Megans bay, Dickinsons beach, Blue monkey beach. On one occasion we were asked if a group of us would share a taxi to Blue Monkey beach. Our driver 'Nick,' guided us to where he was parked, which was out of sight of the normal parking area. Like lambs to the slaughter 4 French Canadians, 2 Americans and 2 Brits jumped into the back of what can only be described as a green painted cattle truck. We bounced and laughed and held on for life as we careered down the treacherous Dominica roads. For emergencies there was a bicycle horn tied to the inside of the roof, to be used to grab the attention of the driver! Other high points; loved it when i learnt the rules to the roulette wheel and gambled a dollar at a time (hey big spender) my heart in my mouth. Yet some people were putting 25 dollar chips on nearly every number, the point is have a go and just enjoy. Other highlights included, leaving New York and having a Caribbean party on deck, cold but great. The shows in the theatre were good and entertainment was plentiful throughout the ship. favorite places was Henrys bar were karaoke took place most nights and the Galaxy of the stars always had good dancing music and singers. We used the internet daily to keep in touch with family back home. All in all The Norwegian Spirit and its free style dining was first class! Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
This was our first cruise on Norwegian - our previous cruise was on Celebrity. To avoid weather related problems getting to N.Y.C. in winter, we stayed at the Mid-town Holiday inn the night before embarkation. The Holiday Inn is quite ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Norwegian - our previous cruise was on Celebrity. To avoid weather related problems getting to N.Y.C. in winter, we stayed at the Mid-town Holiday inn the night before embarkation. The Holiday Inn is quite close to the pier, and I believe it was cheaper to book the hotel on line directly from Holiday Inn, & take a cab to the pier (which we did) rather than book the same Holiday Inn through Norwegian and get to the pier via pre-arranged van service from Norwegian. Embarkation was a breeze. We got to the pier at 11:45 a.m. and were on board in a very short period of time. In your rush to get on board, don't forget to remember exactly where you boarded. If you choose express disembarkation, you will likely disembark at the same spot where you got on, and thus be able to get in line to disembark early - i.e. long before they announce the point of disembarkation. As we got on board early, our cabins were not ready until approximately 3:30 p.m. But, that gave us time to eat and explore the ship. Our luggage did not arrive until after 6:00 p.m., so be sure to bring any necessities with you when you embark. Our cabin was an adequate size, but the balcony was rather small. On our last cruise (Celebrity) we spent a great deal of time on the balcony. On our Norwegian cruise, we did not utilize the balcony very often because it was a bit cramped, and since there was a large glass panel on the balcony, which was a haze of sea salt, it greatly impeded our viewing pleasure. There was no fridge in the room, which surprised me. As we kept quite a few soft drinks on hand (which we had to constantly traipse to one of the bars to purchase, as our cabin was not stocked with drinks in a fridge), and getting ice in the room when you needed to chill your soft drink was like pulling teeth (which resulted in yet more trips to the bar to fill the ice bucket), I think this was the main issue which made me realize "you get what you pay for," at least as far as on-board service goes. Our cabin attendants kept our room very tidy and clean. They were friendly and courteous at all times, but were not at our beck and call constantly, as our DIVINE cabin attendants on Celebrity were. If you have a low threshold of boredom, I suggest that you take a Caribbean cruise from a port in Florida, NOT from New York. The two and a half days at sea each way were excruciating - at least for me. I don't play bingo, I don't spend much playing slot machines, and one can only take so many classes on napkin folding etc. before going totally mad! On the other hand, most of the other passengers I spoke with (many of whom who had taken the exact same cruise several times!) found the sea days "relaxing." I love to read, but I can do that at home for free, so the extra days at sea were torture for me. We ate lunch at the buffet every day. The food was good, but not great. The buffet desserts were very disappointing - seemed like desserts that would be served in cheap cafeteria. In addition to eating at Windows and the Garden Room (? - the other main dining room), we tried Cagney's, Shogun, Le Bistro and the Trattoria. Frankly, except for the change of dining venue, I don't think it was worth the extra money to dine in the specialty restaurants, with the exception of the wonderful Bananas Foster we had at Cagney's. My meal at Le Bistro was so tasteless that if I'd been blindfolded, I doubt I could have told you what I was eating! On the whole, service on board was efficient, but perfunctory. We only had two waitstaff members who were outstanding - the rest seemed to just being doing their jobs. However, "free-style" dining is GREAT compared to assigned seating times, as you are never rushed! On Celebrity I always felt like eating was a contest to see if you finished one course before the next arrived - dining was a much more relaxing experience on Norwegian. Our shore excursions were generally quite good. I realize it can be cheaper to make arrangements with the locals at the pier when you get to each port, but I felt more comfortable knowing that the ship could not leave without me if I was on a shore excursion booked on board. The BEST shore trip was the Jolly Roger Pirate Cruise on Barbados. I LOVED it!!! Free drinks, an hour and a half on the beach, then lunch on the Jolly Roger, and as a glorious unexpected bonus, time for snorkeling after lunch. It really was a fabulous shore trip(and most of us were "old and fat," so don't think you have to be a thin twenty year old to enjoy the Jolly Roger!). Our second best shore trip was the snorkeling trip at the Baths on Virgin Gorda. Very enjoyable. We didn't go to many of the theatre shows after dinner, but the ones we did see varied in entertainment value. The comedian was awful, the production numbers were average, and I don't feel that I missed much on the nights I went to bed early. We opted for early disembarkation as we had to catch a 9:30 a.m. bus to get home. Since we knew where we had embarked, we got in line early, and were amongst the first people off of the ship. Disembarkation could not have been easier, and since we had to carry our own luggage, we didn't have spend a lot of time milling about with other people trying to find our luggage on the pier. I'm not sure if I would take another Norwegian cruise. I missed the level of service I experienced on Celebrity, but on the other hand, I preferred the less formal atmosphere on Norwegian. Norwegian does not have computers for word processing on board, which I really would have appreciated during the days at sea. Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
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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