You'll see from my ratings that many of the ship ratings are ok. However, the Captain is incompetent along with some of his team. If you read the news, there were near riots on the Spirit in October. We were on the Spirit starting ... Read More
You'll see from my ratings that many of the ship ratings are ok. However, the Captain is incompetent along with some of his team. If you read the news, there were near riots on the Spirit in October. We were on the Spirit starting November 7th. Some of the same poor decision making, lack of communication, and poor seamanship plagued our cruise as well. First, the official Italian tide forecasts for Venice called for near record flooding TWO days before we were due to go there. It clearly stated that there would be no bus service, massive flooding, etc. No way to get from the Port to town, plus they clearly didnt need waves from a cruise ship. So what did they do....nothing, sailed almost to Venice to be told you can't dock..had no back up plan. Eventually, we sailed all the way back to Ravenna. This decision was obvious 2 days before. We could have planned for it, sailed to it and perhaps circled back to one other missed port. The worst two items though were totally controllable. There was a strong, near hurricane force rain band clearly marked on my phone radar. Had 2 hours of warning. The Captain didn't bother to do anything about it. Instead of turning into it, he let it hit a 12 story ship broadside. Ship listed 15 deg to starboard, and nearly everyone's, except ours, plates, drinks, etc hit the deck. People were screaming, etc. What a mess. The last item though, was just plain unforgiveable as it was so simple to address. The cruise staff told us that the best part of the trip was to sail into Kotor between the mountains. We were due to sail in at noon. Because of the schedule changes, the Captain decide to sail in at 630 am and leave at 530 pm...all in the dark. We were scheduled for 6 hours...he gave us 12...and we missed one of the best parts of the trip...total disregard for the passengers. There were several other issues with time changes, no port talks, etc. that just show this ship is poorly managed.
The overall ship condition, lower staff, dining staff, etc. were very good. Too bad their management isn't at the same level of service. I would NOT go on this ship until the captain has been replaced.
On the plus side, the Cabin was clean, and up to date. No signs of wear and tear. The mattress was comfortable. Like most of the older NCL ships, IF YOU DON"T BRING a European converter/plug, you probably won't have enough outlets to charge your electronics. A simple multi converter from Amazon does the trick.
The overall ship condition was also in good shape. Cannot tell it is an older ship.
Though we missed the "bed animals" which NCL discontinued due to "climate change", over all room cabin service was great. Our steward was really low key and didn't bother us, but he knew when we were out of the room, and took care of things.
Main dining was ok. Highly recommend the Garden Room vs. the other main dining room. Smaller, better service, BUT much less motion in rough seas which we had nearly every day. Food wise was ok. Nothing bad, but nothing great either.
Next to the issues with the cruise, the biggest disappointment was the Buffet. Breakfast was ok, but lunch was poor and dinner not any better. Probably the worse buffet food that we have had on any cruise. "cardboard pizza", limited selections, and would run out of the main carving entree. Desserts though were usually excellent!
Specialty dining was also not what it used to be. There was nothing worthwhile on the Italian menu. Le Bistro was ok, as was Cagneys. Used to be able to get lobster, but not any more. Steaks were ok. Had a 3 dinner package which was enough with the limited choices.
Mixed bag on shore excursions and shore excursion staff. The staff did a pretty amazing job adjusting schedules, adding new tours etc. due to the screwed up port schedule. However, they had one short cruise port presentation on the first 4 ports, and though they said they would have another,they never did. We would have changed at least one tour had they had a presentation. As far as the tours went, the Island of Delos, a tour from Mykonos was by far the highlight of the trip. The ruins are amazing which warrants its rating as the top Unesco sight in Europe. Through in the 250 friendly cats as a bonus. Messina with Taormina and Mt Etna would be the second highlight,but dress for it...65 deg to start, 25 deg on Mt Etna. Kotor, Dubronik, Pompeii, and Florence would round out the rest. Not impressed at all with Santorini or Corfu.
All in all, if NCL addresses the issues at the top, this would be a great cruise due to the number of stops you are supposed to get to, and the quality of those stops. It is not a relaxing cruise as many of the tours leave early in the am and can last 9 hours, but if you want to take a lot of stops off of your bucket list on one cruise, it is a great trip. Read Less