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Norwegian Spirit Review

Norwegian Spirit
Norwegian Spirit

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Norwegian Spirit
4.0 / 5.0 Cruise Critic Editor Rating
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Lively ship that's been continually updated and refreshed.


Activities on smaller ship more limited than on line's larger vessels.

Bottom Line

Excellent value for the high quality of food, service and itineraries


Passengers 2,016
Crew 975
Passenger to Crew 2.07:1
Launched 1998
Shore Excursions 389
Tiana Templeman
Cruise Critic Contributor

Norwegian Spirit Overview

The 2,016-passenger Norwegian Spirit debuted in 1998 so you won't find a rock climbing wall, bowling alley or some of the other whizbang features offered by the line's bigger, newer ships, but enjoyment doesn't always have to come in an ultramodern package. Given this ship is only used for port intensive itineraries, even active cruisers are unlikely to miss the bells and whistles.

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Though Norwegian Spirit is one of the line's oldest ships, it has been well looked after with thoughtful and regular refurbishments. Staircases have wood and iron railings, the soaring atrium has glass elevators and the color palette is more mellow than over-the-top (no neon tones as on some newer Norwegian Cruise Line vessels). Its smaller size and traditional features make it a good choice for cruise travelers who want to feel like they're onboard an oceangoing vessel rather than a huge theme park at sea.

While Norwegian Spirit is in excellent condition, the ship does show its age in certain areas, largely due to outdated decor. Some of the ship's original Asia-inspired design details -- think plenty of burnished gold and warrior statues guarding the restaurants -- from its days as Malaysia-based Star Cruises' SuperStar Leo are looking out of date. So too are the cabins, which are beautifully maintained but decked out in '90s hues with pastel bathroom tiles that are so behind the times, they'll likely be in back in fashion again soon.

That said, you're unlikely to notice these things (even those terrible fish and shell tiles in the bathroom) after a few days. Food is impressive across all dining venues, not just those with a surcharge, and itineraries feature perks that are not always offered on other big ships in Europe. On our cruise, an overnight stay in Venice and late departure from Valetta in Malta were notable highlights.

We found Norwegian Spirit to be one of the happiest cruise ships we've sailed, filled with contented passengers and a smiling, engaged and enthusiastic crew who can't do enough for them. It's almost as if the crew try that little bit harder to make up for the fact that Spirit is a slightly older ship. But while Spirit is not the newest vessel in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet, this welcoming ship goes to show that good things can come in small packages.

Fellow Passengers

The majority of passengers on Norwegian Spirit are from North America. The rest are a mixture of people from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. The shipboard crowd ranges from toddlers to seniors, with many in the middle range. Norwegian Cruise Line's "Freestyle Cruising" concept appeals to a casual and unpretentious clientele, and the overall cruise-ship vibe is convivial, young and fun. Family groups choose this ship for the hundreds of connecting staterooms, although the somewhat dated children's facilities may not suit those with under 12s who expect the latest in children's shipboard entertainment. Teens who enjoy exploring onshore with their parents during the day and hanging out onboard with new-found friends in the evening should have a ball.

Norwegian Spirit Dress Code

Overall, the onboard vibe is casual and relaxed. Shorts are allowed in The Garden Room dining room after 5 p.m. while the Windows dining room is reserved for those who want to dress up a little at night, but it's not a formal ship. In the evening, women favor closed-toe shoes or smart sandals, knee-length dresses, pants and blouses, while men don collared shirts and khakis. Norwegian ships don't have formal nights, but each sailing offers at least one "Dress Up or Not Night," on which passengers can dress up if they want to.

Norwegian Spirit Gratuity

Passengers are automatically billed $14.99 per person, per day in all cabin categories up to and including a mini-suite. Suite guests are charged $17.99 per person, per day. Passengers can prepay the charge or pay while onboard. An 18 percent gratuity is automatically added to bar drinks, spa services and all specialty and entertainment dining. For passengers using butler and concierge services, Norwegian recommends a tip "commensurate with the services rendered." The onboard currency is the U.S. dollar.

Norwegian Spirit Awards

Cruisers’ Choice Awards

2014 Best Overall
2014 Best for Embarkation
2014 Best for Fitness
2014 Best for Service
2014 Best for Shore Excursions
2014 Best for Value
2013 Best Overall
2013 Best for Dining
2013 Best for Embarkation
2013 Best for Fitness
2013 Best for Public Rooms
2013 Best for Service
2013 Best for Shore Excursions
2013 Best for Value

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Norwegian Spirit Member Reviews

Norwegian Spirit
Sail Date: Sep 2019
Norwegian Spirit - “Iceland and Mystical Fjords “ - Sept 2019. Accompanied by my wife and son....Read More
Norwegian Spirit
Sail Date: Sep 2019
I have just disembarked from this Norwegian Spirit cruise that started in Southampton on 27th September and was supposed to call at Ijmuiden for Amsterdam then on to Bergen, Flam and Geiranger in Norway...Read More
Norwegian Spirit
Sail Date: Apr 2019
After reading other reviews of cruises on this ship, we were a bit worried about sailing on the Norwegian Spirit. In my opinion, the staterooms are the ones that need a bit more updating....Read More
Norwegian Spirit
Sail Date: Jun 2019
It is a shame that Norwegian only does this trip a couple of times a year, but if it meets your timetable I would strongly recommend both the itinerary and Norwegian Spirit....Read More

Norwegian Cruise Line Fleet