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  #1  
Old February 2nd, 2005, 06:10 PM
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1kycat 1kycat is offline
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Default Our 9 night Spirit Experience Jan 21-30

In a nutshell, we loved this cruise. The ship, the food, the staff, and the ports were just wonderful. For any who are going soon….You’ll love it! I’m jealous.

We had just fabulous weather. I heard a rumor that it sprinkled for a few minutes on our last day…but I cannot confirm it.

We got many different answers as to how many were on board….but the majority reported that we had about 2000 (including crew) as opposed to the 2700 in the weeks before. Lounge chairs were easily found.

Any negatives mentioned were pretty inconsequential, but are mentioned so that perhaps others can avoid them.

Embarking:

We arrived at terminal 10 shortly after 11am. There looked to be 30 or 40 people behind the counters of the large room, with no wait. After we entered the next room, we received our key cards and were seated in rows. We then were excused by rows onto the ship…so you can speed up your boarding by sitting in the right row. The first group was invited on board at around 11:45 am and it took less then 5 min until we were on the ship.

Cabin:

We were in cabin 11120, which is on the starboard side. The cabin has been described in detail already…so just some observations: We couldn’t have lived without our hanging shoe organizer. We hung it from the bathroom door…and it held just about everything that we needed to have handy.

Unlike others, my wife and daughter, who both have long hair found the hairdryer to be very sufficient.

All of our luggage and much more fit nicely under the bed, although more shelves and drawers would be nice.

The one thing I wished we had taken was a digital alarm clock that could be seen at night. I missed rolling over and being able to see what time it is.

We felt that we were extremely lucky to have chosen the starboard side. We had 90% of the sun. We passed nearly all of the islands on that side. All gang ways were starboard, which we enjoyed watching. Even the view coming back into Miami was pretty special.

The only thing wrong with our room was that the catches on the closet doors were broken and I didn’t realize it until later in the week. I guess I thought that all of the closet door on the ship slammed back and forth when the boat rocked! J

Our cabin steward Ricardo was extremely accommodating and proficient.

The Kids Club

Awesome. We even started using it for disciplinary purposes. Taking minutes away from it if our daughter misbehaved got her attention immediately.
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  #2  
Old February 2nd, 2005, 06:11 PM
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Food

We found the food in Raffles sufficient. No real complaints except for the layout, which will be tinkered with soon. We mostly enjoyed the convenience and privacy of room service in the morning.

Our favorite lunch was fish and chips at Henry’s pub (twice during the week). There are very few seats in the pub, so once we ate outside, and once we got some “to go” orders. I thought that the stir fry at Blue Lagoon was very good. Other than that, our lunches were had the Raffles terrace…where there was always a wide array of barbecue and cold cuts.

During our cruise, they offered 2 for 1 at all of the 5:30 and 6:00 seatings in all of the specialty restaurants except for Maxim’s and the Teppanyaki part of Shogun’s. We didn’t take advantage of this but was able to eat in all of the restaurants except for La Trattoria.

Our worst experience was at Teppanyaki…but can in part be blamed on our choice of dinner. The chef pointed out that according to new health regulations on the ship, they no longer could keep lobsters in holding tanks…and if a lobster was not alive, then it simply would not be served. Hence, he said that lobster could probably only be served for the first couple of days of the cruise. I don’t know how true this is…because I had lobster well into the week…and it was great. Anyway…back to Teppanyaki. We ordered the lobster. It was cooked whole (still moving) on the grill in front of us…and turned out to be full of (green) eggs. The chef said that this would only enhance the flavor. It was hard to look at and even harder to eat. He was a really nice guy…but even I was embarrassed at all of the tricks he tried with his knives and spatula that failed miserably. Other than that...J The other food and staff were great.

The experience at the Bistro and Maxim’s were just fabulous. I may have had the best meal I have ever had at Maxims. Shrimp cocktail, 4 huge lobster tails, and a cut of filet mignon.

We ate at both Windows and the Garden Room…and very much preferred the smaller Garden Room. It didn’t seem as frantic. I think that it was because we could only see 10-15 waiters scurrying about instead of 50-60. The food and staff were superb. Try the cold soups.

Ask to be seated in Linda and Sheila’s section for excellent service.
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  #3  
Old February 2nd, 2005, 06:12 PM
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Staff

We just thought that they were incredible. Most everyone on the ship would always greet you and share a smile. The few that didn’t smile…you could tell were very much concentrating on their job.

Entertainment

My wife and daughter seemed to enjoy the shows. I on the other hand felt that they were below par. To each his own.

Alcohol:

Before our trip I bought quite a few 4 oz plastic spray bottles off of Ebay. These were filled and spread about our luggage and all made it to our cabin safely. When you unscrew the cap and pour…they even come with a built in stir stick. They worked great! It was though…just for the cabin/balcony use. I thought that the drinks on the ship were priced very similar to any bar.

On Barbados I bought 4 liters of Rum. I carried them in normal…almost translucent grocery bags. When we entered the ship (about an hour early of last entry) I told the attendant at the X-ray machine that there was alcohol inside. He repeated it to confirm, but said nothing else. I walked through the metal detector and picked up my packages and we were off to our room. We never opened those bottles on the ship…but I thought that it was interesting. They had sign posted that went something like: “Crew: All Alcohol must be taken and held….” The crew just didn’t seem too interested in it.

On Antigua…I got off the ship pretty early…did a quick jog around town and looked around…and then back to the ship to gather the family. When I entered the ship(well after 8:00 am)…there was no security at all except a card scan. I couldn’t help but think that then would be an excellent opportunity as well if you so desired.

Those who do get their bottles taken can pick them up on the last night in a room, just off sunset boulevard on deck 8. I peeked in and saw relatively few (for so many people).
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  #4  
Old February 2nd, 2005, 06:13 PM
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Ports

We liked all of the ports that we visited and did not have a bad experience. But here are some of the details:



Barbados

We had reserved a car a head of time from “Stoutes” who has an office right there at the terminal. They responded quickly to emails and were proficient at the counter. It think that everyone should experience driving the round-abouts with the steering wheel on the right side of the car, while driving on the left. We visited some friends on the Island, Harrison’s caves, and a grocery store for rum and supplies. Cost of rental (luxury 4 dr with ac, incl gas, insurance, and driver license) $84



Grenada

We got off the ship bright and early and headed straight for the careenage by way of the Sendall tunnel. Personally, I would not do that again. It was a one lane tunnel with no sidewalks. And it almost seemed like a game to the Grenadian drivers to aim straight for you until the last moment. The locals walking in front of us…didn’t seem to worry…but I was. J

We walked up and around town and shopped for over an hour. Then later hired a van to take us to see some sites (including Annandale falls) and then to drop us at the “Aquarium” restaurant on Pink Gin beach. The setting at the Aquarium was just beautiful. The food and drinks were good. They have approx. 10 beach chairs that can be used for free. We were too late for those…but it turned out to be a blessing…as we walked down the beach a short ways and had the island all to ourselves. There was only 1 vendor here(close to the bar), who never approached us, and seemed more interested in drinking and socializing.

Cost: Island tour and drop off at Pink Gin: $35

Return to ship $15



Note: Some of the men recruiting you for taxi rides will pass you along to another driver. So if you are hoping that the person you are talking to will be your driver…ask to be sure.



St. Lucia

The first time you will see this island is on the way to Barbados at about 7:30-8:00 on Sunday morning. You can see the Pitons from afar, but the largest mountain you will see is the highest on the island: Mount Gimie

We sailed by the Pitons very early on Wed. morning. But it would have to be a clear night with perhaps a full moon, to really enjoy it.

After tendering…we took the ships excursion: “Land and Sea to Fond Doux”. It is a long tour, but I would definitely recommend it (at least once)



Antigua

We chose to go with Eli’s “Antigua Adventure”. This tour gets rave reviews…and they are well deserved. The only negative is not being able to see more of the interior of the island.



Tortola

We had reserved a spot on the “Virgin Gorda highlights” tour through the ship. A few days into the cruise we noticed another tour that was not included in our previous information. It was a tour entitled “Virgin Gorda sail and snorkel”. The difference was that this boat picked us up at the ship and the boat then dropped you directly at the Baths. This sounded much better…so we switched. Everything was going great until we reached the Baths and they reported that the swells were too large for us go ashore. This was a major disappointment for us, as we wanted to our daughter to see the Baths. But they made the best of it. We headed for Norman island and the “Indians” for excellent snorkeling and then a beach stop on Peter island. It turned out to be another great, albeit short day. I think we had plenty of time to stay longer here….as we took the ‘long’ way home (up the coast of Cuba) and could have easily been to Miami by 4 am (we were about 150 miles away from Miami at 10 pm Sat. night)
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  #5  
Old February 2nd, 2005, 06:13 PM
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1kycat 1kycat is offline
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Disembarking

This went fairly smooth. Those who are International guest are invited to the Moulin Rouge by deck order beginning at 11:00 am to be cleared by customs and get their passports returned. My wife is Canadian…so she was included in this group. The first ones (US citizens only) started off the ship just before noon. We stayed in the cabin until the first international guest off the ship were allowed (it was about the fifth group announced). We were off the ship at around 12:40. As we waited on the balcony, it was quite noisy outside. It turns out that one of the RCL ships next to us was being evacuated due to a an abnormal bag that they found…which later turned out to be nothing (I’m glad we weren’t part of that)



Miami

We stayed at the Hyatt downtown pre-cruise. Nice enough. No real view of the port and the ships. Take advantage of the MetroMover to go to Bayside or for a free tour of downtown. Walgreens was only a couple of blocks away for last minute shopping.

We stayed at the Palms resort in South Beach on our return. Hotel, pool, and beach were very nice. I would recommend a walk to the Lincoln St. mall for dinner.

I would stay in both hotels again.



I would be glad to help answer any questions if you have them.
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  #6  
Old February 2nd, 2005, 06:50 PM
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Elaine515 Elaine515 is offline
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Smile

Thank you thank you thank you... I was waiting for one of you to post a review and yours was great.

It seems as through the earlier poor reviews have been worked out and everything is now running smoothly....

Did your group have a "meet & greet", and if yes, where and when? How did it turn out? Also, how old is your daughter?

I'm glad that the ship wasn't full and it was easy to find a lounge chair. I'm cruising March 18th (Spring Break) so don't really expect it to be that easy!! I'm certainly hoping that getting reservations into the Specialty Restaurants will be easy enough...


Did you hear/speak with anyone who did take the Virgin Gorda highlights tour? Thats the one we're looking into. Also, exactly what did you do with
Eli’s “Antigua Adventure in Antigua?

Thanks again for the great review...

Elaine

CELEBRATION 11/93
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IMAGINATION 10/95
SENSATION 10/96
FASCINATION 10/97
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ECSTASY 2/00
CARNIVAL DESTINY 10/00
CARNIVAL SPIRIT 12/01
NCL Sun 8/02
CARNIVAL SPIRIT 3/03
CARNIVAL TRIUMPH 3/04
...Next up! NCL Spirit 3/18/05
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03/18/2012 Carnival Glory Western Caribbean
08/08/2011 Carnival Destiny Eastern Caribbean
03/27/2010 Carnival Freedom Eastern Caribbean
06/13/2009 Carnival Liberty Western Caribbean
03/29/2009 Carnival Valor Western Caribbean
07/14/2008 Carnival Paradise Baja Mexico Los Angeles
04/06/2008 Carnival Victory Western Caribbean
03/31/2007 Carnival Liberty Eastern Caribbean
07/10/2006 Carnival Fascination Key West & Cozumel
03/19/2006 Costa Magica
09/02/2005 Carnival Fascination Bahamas
03/18/2005 NCL Spirit Southern
03/20/2004 Carnival Triumph Western
03/16/2003 Carnival Spirit Exotic W. Caribbean
08/08/2002 NCL Sun
12/21/2001 Carnival Spirit Southern Caribbean
10/15/2000 Carnival Destiny Southern Caribbean
1/31/2000 Carnival Ecstasy Western Caribbean
10/17/1999 Carnival Destiny Western Caribbean
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10/18/1997 Carnival Fascination Southern Caribbean
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  #7  
Old February 2nd, 2005, 07:17 PM
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1kycat 1kycat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elaine515
Did your group have a "meet & greet", and if yes, where and when? How did it turn out? Also, how old is your daughter?
We had a meeting planned at the Bier Garten…but I’m afraid my daughter’s (who is 6) orientation at the Kid’s club came first…and we didn’t get away in time. My apologies to those who went.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elaine515
I'm glad that the ship wasn't full and it was easy to find a lounge chair. I'm cruising March 18th (Spring Break) so don't really expect it to be that easy!! I'm certainly hoping that getting reservations into the Specialty Restaurants will be easy enough...
If you can’t find an open chair…find the stack of chairs near the stairs…and put your chairs down wherever you want. That’s what I saw people do. Don’t forget that you can make reservations for the restaurants at 8 am for the following night
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elaine515
Did you hear/speak with anyone who did take the Virgin Gorda highlights tour? Thats the one we're looking into.
No…I didn’t speak to anyone who went on that tour…although I did see pictures on the wall of the ones who went. So I know that THEY made it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elaine515
Also, exactly what did you do with Eli’s “Antigua Adventure in Antigua?
Have a look here first: http://www.adventureantigua.com/tour.html

And if you have any further questions…let me know.

You’ll have a great time!
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  #8  
Old February 2nd, 2005, 07:27 PM
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Elaine515 Elaine515 is offline
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what time was the "meet & greet" scheduled to take place? i'm trying to arrange it so that something just like the kids orientation doesnt get in the way... do you think saturday at 12 noon is a good time for a "meet & greet"?
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Waited and waited for the New Loyalty Program to come out and still waiting for the BRILLIANT Loyalty Program to really come out!!!

Up Next.....
11/06/2014 Carnival Victory, Nassau & Freeport

Already Sailed...
06/06/2014 Carnival Ecstasy Nassau, Bahamas
02/01/2014 Carnival Liberty Eastern Caribbean
08/11/2013 Carnival Breeze Eastern Caribbean
01/13/2013 Carnival Breeze Eastern Caribbean
09/28/2012 Carnival Imagination Nassau, Bahamas
03/18/2012 Carnival Glory Western Caribbean
08/08/2011 Carnival Destiny Eastern Caribbean
03/27/2010 Carnival Freedom Eastern Caribbean
06/13/2009 Carnival Liberty Western Caribbean
03/29/2009 Carnival Valor Western Caribbean
07/14/2008 Carnival Paradise Baja Mexico Los Angeles
04/06/2008 Carnival Victory Western Caribbean
03/31/2007 Carnival Liberty Eastern Caribbean
07/10/2006 Carnival Fascination Key West & Cozumel
03/19/2006 Costa Magica
09/02/2005 Carnival Fascination Bahamas
03/18/2005 NCL Spirit Southern
03/20/2004 Carnival Triumph Western
03/16/2003 Carnival Spirit Exotic W. Caribbean
08/08/2002 NCL Sun
12/21/2001 Carnival Spirit Southern Caribbean
10/15/2000 Carnival Destiny Southern Caribbean
1/31/2000 Carnival Ecstasy Western Caribbean
10/17/1999 Carnival Destiny Western Caribbean
10/98 RCCL Grandeur of the Seas
10/18/1997 Carnival Fascination Southern Caribbean
10/6/1996 Carnival Sensation Western Caribbean
10/7/1995 Carnival Imagination Western Caribbean
10/10/1994 Dolphin IV
11/6/1993 Carnival Celebration
11/1/1986 Carnival Carnivale

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  #9  
Old February 2nd, 2005, 08:41 PM
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1kycat 1kycat is offline
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That's tough to say...
But I think that ours was acutally set at a good time (right after the muster drill at 5:30[?]). The orientation started at 4:00...so we just didn't schedule our day right.

Everybody is on so many different kinds of schedules....but everyone has to go to the muster drill.
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  #10  
Old February 2nd, 2005, 09:39 PM
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Mbee119394 Mbee119394 is offline
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I was on the JAn 7th sailing and have to agree with the comment about linda and sheila. They were great. I hope NCL reads these compliments and promotes them. They were truely spectacular.
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  #11  
Old February 2nd, 2005, 10:22 PM
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They truly were a delight. Sheila has a 6 yr old daughter back at home that she is away from 10 months of the year...and she became very close with my daughter...even giving her a gift on the last night. We have thier email addresses if anyone would like them.
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  #12  
Old February 2nd, 2005, 11:00 PM
Twaincruisers Twaincruisers is offline
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We were on the Spirit in Nov and would second the recommendation on the
Land and Sea to Fond Doux. While it is long and we are not beach/snorkel people, it was great. We got to see the Pitons, a walk-in volacano and a couple of plantations. Marigot Bay could be one of our favorite spots, especially if we could afford the place that had just sold for 1.5 million dollars! We also enjoyed Antigua, although we did not go to the Dockyards in Nov, since we had been there earlier in the year. For a good place to eat go to Hemingways which is at the end of the mall, just walk straight done the mall from the ships, until you get to the first cross street. Hemingways is across the street...go upstairs and order flying fish. We spent most of our time on the cruise in the Galaxy and the Bier Garten.
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  #13  
Old February 4th, 2005, 09:51 PM
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Here is a small photo album in case any one is interested:

http://community.webshots.com/user/jbrown4200
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