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  #1  
Old August 21st, 2004, 09:21 PM
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snoopy_leogirl snoopy_leogirl is offline
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Default Spirit review, part 3

July 28 – Fifth Day of cruise – Skagway
My number one complaint about Skagway’s weather was that it was wayyy too windy! The wind made it even more cold so we were really chilly. When we got off the ship, we spent some time shopping on Broadway which was unbelievably bustling with people…since there were 5 ships in port, there were over a whopping 10,000 people in town. Ships were: us (of course), NCL Star, Island Princess, Serenade of the Seas and Spirit of 98’ (a small one). The Alaskan T-Shirt Company was packed with people. We walked as far as Del Sol, not further since we were scheduled for an excursion. We went to Starbucks and grabbed some sandwiches (egg salad, turkey club, and veggie hummus). All were excellent. We then boarded the White Pass and Yukon Route Rail Road Train at 1:20 or so. At first, the train was completely empty but when we started off, I noticed the whole train was completely full and we were in the NCL cars. Our narrator Tobey was great. I think its best to sit on the left side of the train at first when going up so you can take in all the scenery at first. Coming down was a bit more boring and I almost fell asleep for a short while. Whoops. As soon as we got off, we went straight to the ship and got back on board. The boarding process was a bit too slow and since I mentioned it was way to windy, which made it even worse.

July 29 - Sixth Day of cruise – Prince Rupert, British Columbia
This is the first day in a while that we got to wake up a bit later. I actually decided to take things slow and get dressed late and skipped breakfast and went straight to lunch. I had barbecued chicken and a hot dog with warm barbecue sauce which was delicious. Yummy! I was watching us dock (safely) at PR and it was kind of nice. There was a park with so many kids playing and as we were coming to a stop, all the kids lined up at the fence to see the ship. We first went to downtown PR and visited Safe Way Supermarket. We picked up a few things here: magazines, junk food etc and we took a small walk around the downtown area. Prince Rupert is a very small town with very few (visible) people. We went to Zorbas Taverna Restaurant for a late afternoon snack. We ate the Indian Cuisine which was pretty good. We then went onto a public city bus which drove us around a residential area for a while through Prince Rupert Blvd (a very nice residential area). The homes were all pretty small but looked very nice. I think that that overall, Prince Rupert is a nice place but it needs to develop its tourism product offering if they expect more ships to call there. After downtown, we took the shuttle to Cow Bay. We stopped by a few shops in the area and grabbed a magnet, a few other things and before we knew it, we were already back on board. It was Mexican cuisine night at Raffles so we ate there and then went to the Mahjong room (The Card Room was FULL) to play a few hands of Rummy.

July 30 - Seventh Day of cruise – At Sea
Is it already the last day? Wow…what a quick week! I wish it lasted a bit longer. The time that we spent on the cruise went by so fast. I went to play Bingo in the morning at Galaxy of the Stars. I lost the big jackpot by 2 numbers. Uggh. We ate lunch at the Raffles Terrace which was yummy. I had the barbecued chicken and hot dog (again!)
Later, I went to the movie theater and saw The Prince and Me while the rest of my family was at the hut tub. The movie was good and full! There were so many people sitting on the floor. Later on, my sister, my cousin and I went to play ping pong, we read magazines, we took a walk and then I went to the Mandara Salon to blow-dry my hair. While I was doing my hair, my family was at Raffles having their afternoon tea and they all spotted whales jumping around. They even got one picture where a whale is on his way back into the water and they clicked a picture and got his tail which was visible in the picture. Later on, we got ready for dinner and before we actually went to dinner, we got dressed up a bit to take our professional pictures. We went to Shogun’s for dinner. It was so good! The place had a great atmosphere and ambiance and the waitresses were dressed in traditional Japanese kimono dresses. I had the hot and sour soup, the tofu with green Thai curry sauce with rice. For dessert I had the coconut ice-cream which was delicious. My sister had the sushi (California rolls) and said that they were really good. After dinner, we went to purchase our cruise pictures at the photo gallery. We went back to the cabin to call it a night and pack. We packed, and put out our luggage and it was lights out.


July 31 – Debarkation Day (back to Seattle)
We’re back already to Seattle. We woke up, had breakfast, went around walking for a while. Waited for our tag to be called (Lime Green) and got off. We cleared customs and picked up the luggage down at the terminal and went straight to Holiday Inn on Dexter Avenue in Seattle. The location of our hotel was great (we were like a 4 minute drive away from the Space Needle).
I’ll stop here since this is where my cruise journey ended. But listed below is some of the stuff that we did in Seattle and Vancouver B.C. if anyone is interested. Also listed below are a few final remarks about NCL and the Spirit ship.

Overall Comments:
*The ship was always clean, I think that the staff did an outstanding job maintaining it. No complaints here at all!
*We had interior cabins. I think that they can easily accommodate 3 people comfortably. More than 3 people might be a bit too tight. Even though the cabin first felt a bit small, eventually it felt spacious enough for us.
*Bingo was fun even though we lost. Jimmy and Ferdi (not sure how to spell his name) were the Bingo hosts and a part of the cruise director staff. They were quite comical and provided entertainment along with simply calling numbers.
*I have only heard wonderful things about the kids program. My little cousin (7 years old) first hesitated to try it out but eventually we convinced her to go and she absolutely loved it! At many times, she didn’t even want to come back to the cabin. She always wanted to be at the kids program with the new friends she made. She was so happy there.
*There were three gentlemen at Raffles that treated us wonderfully since we had special meal requests all the time. They even requested that the chefs bake us some eggless cookies and cakes. I suggest that if you ever have a problem, see them and they will try their best to help you out. Their names: Manoel, Stan, and Mario. Raffles can use some improvement for sure. Their food was not as bad as I thought it would be but it can use some help. Breakfast at Raffles was always good though. Desserts were good and they had a choice of sugarless cakes and puddings all the time. The other problem at Raffles is that often, the food is just lukewarm and by the time you get out of line and sit down to eat, the food becomes cold. Eek. The barbecued food at the Raffles Terrace was always hot though! Yummy!
*At the Bingo tournaments, they had these long strip cards called Krack-its. We bought them a few times but seriously, they were a HUGE waste of money and time for me. You can supposedly win up to $100 per card but we never won.
*Service overall has been flawless. I felt that everywhere we went, we were always treated like royalty and we had no complaints in the service department at all. Good job NCL!
*A main complaint of mine was with the amount of time it would take us to get back onto the ship. Almost every time when we would board back onto the ship, we would often wait in line from anywhere between 50 minutes to 1 hour (in Ketchikan)! The only place where it took us only 2 minutes to get back on, was in Prince Rupert.
*The shore excursion that we did in Juneau (Misty Fjords Seaplane) the planning part for this excursion was a mess and I think that NCL needs to improve here.
*The captain did an excellent job with the sailing. Even though the water was rough many times, he still managed to maintain tranquility of some kind and he did a great job especially through Sawyer Glacier (maneuvering carefully through ice chunks and narrow passages).

Seattle:
-Space Needle
-Seattle Aquarium
-North Gate Mall
-IMAX Theater

Vancouver:
-While we were in Vancouver, we took a day trip to Whistler which was a great trip.
-Grouse Mountain
-Capilano Suspension Bridge
-Downtown
-Metrotown (Metropolis) at Burnaby
-North Vancouver
-Science Center

If anyone has any questions, send me a message and I will try my best to help.
Happy Cruisin’
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Norwegian Spirit (Alaska) - July 2004
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  #2  
Old August 21st, 2004, 11:58 PM
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cruise pup cruise pup is offline
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Wow, what a wonderful review. I have 3 weeks til my Alaska cruise on Spirit and I cannot wait! I bought some pooping bear and moose key chains on my last cruise there, so I know exactly what you meant. They are really funny.

I noticed that you live on St. Maarten. I will be there in November and December for 2 cruises. I have a question. I want to snorkel on Pinel Island. Do you know if I will have a problem getting there on my own from Philipsburg? A few years ago when I was there it was miserable trying to get a taxi to Marigot because there were only 2 of us and the taxi drivers wanted to fill up a van. They only wanted to go to Orient Beach because they knew they could fill a van easily. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Again, terrific review.
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Carnival: Dream, Splendor(2), Conquest, Victory (4), Liberty, Freedom (2), Glory (2), Miracle(2), Holiday, Valor, Triumph (3). Total: 20 cruises
NCL: Norway, Leeward (2), Star (3), Sun, Jewel (3), Gem, Spirit (2), Epic, Dawn. Total: 15 cruises
Celebrity: Zenith, Galaxy, Century (2), Mercury, Millennium (4), Constellation (2), Summit(2). Total: 13 cruises
RCCL: Brilliance (2), Vision (2), Enchantment (4), Voyager (2), Liberty (2), Navigator (2), Explorer (2), Majesty, Monarch(2), Jewel, Mariner, Independence, Legend, Grandeur. Total: 24 cruises
Princess: Grand (2), Caribbean (2), Crown (2), Diamond, Dawn. Total: 8 cruises
Cunard: QM2 (4). Total: 4 cruises
Renaissance: R2. Total: 1 cruise
Holland-America: Maasdam, Zaandam, Zuiderdam, Eurodam, Rotterdam. Total: 5 cruises
MSC-Divina
Grand Total: 91 cruises
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  #3  
Old August 22nd, 2004, 03:51 AM
lara2u lara2u is offline
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Thank you for the very complete review of your Alaska Spirt cruise. I'm glad you & your family had a wonderful 3 week vacation! We leave next Saturday & I'll be sure to pack better rain coats for those long waits to reboard. Of course, we are from the NW & are used to the rain! LOL

All your tips will come in handy.......thanks again!
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  #4  
Old August 22nd, 2004, 08:18 AM
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Lib0007 Lib0007 is offline
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Thanks for the great review, Snoopy. Sounds like you picked a great cruise for your first one.

I was happy to hear that you had good things to say about the food, even the buffet. I would be interested in hearing more about the kids program that your cousin was in, if you have any idea of what types of things they did, etc. And how did she like the kids pool - is it geared for kids about her age or much younger? We will be traveling in November with our five year old so I am trying to find out as much as I can about the Spirit's kids program.

You mentioned ping-pong in the amphitheatre area - what else is here and what is the amphitheatre used for?

Thanks again for your detailed comments.
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Old August 22nd, 2004, 09:46 AM
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Laura4cruise Laura4cruise is offline
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Great review! I think it's very informative and helpful for future Spirit cruisers.
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  #6  
Old August 26th, 2004, 09:56 PM
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snoopy_leogirl snoopy_leogirl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cruise pup
Wow, what a wonderful review. I have 3 weeks til my Alaska cruise on Spirit and I cannot wait! I bought some pooping bear and moose key chains on my last cruise there, so I know exactly what you meant. They are really funny.

I noticed that you live on St. Maarten. I will be there in November and December for 2 cruises. I have a question. I want to snorkel on Pinel Island. Do you know if I will have a problem getting there on my own from Philipsburg? A few years ago when I was there it was miserable trying to get a taxi to Marigot because there were only 2 of us and the taxi drivers wanted to fill up a van. They only wanted to go to Orient Beach because they knew they could fill a van easily. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Again, terrific review.
Getting to Pinel Island can be a bit of a problem because you are right, lots of taxi's want to fill up before they drive out that far. Obviously, you will be taking a taxi to the french side (grand case) and then taking a boat to pinel. I think you should try your best to look for a small taxi to take you there. Or, you can take a bus from philipsburg to the french side and then take a taxi to the boats that go to pinel. I have heard of some tourists having problems getting that far but I hope you get through. Good luck!
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  #7  
Old August 26th, 2004, 10:09 PM
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snoopy_leogirl snoopy_leogirl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lib0007
Thanks for the great review, Snoopy. Sounds like you picked a great cruise for your first one.

I was happy to hear that you had good things to say about the food, even the buffet. I would be interested in hearing more about the kids program that your cousin was in, if you have any idea of what types of things they did, etc. And how did she like the kids pool - is it geared for kids about her age or much younger? We will be traveling in November with our five year old so I am trying to find out as much as I can about the Spirit's kids program.

You mentioned ping-pong in the amphitheatre area - what else is here and what is the amphitheatre used for?

Thanks again for your detailed comments.
The kids pool is for kids of practically all ages. Its a pretty shallow pool, I think about 3 feet or so?!? Its a nicely created pool with a whole theme and water spouts that the kids love to stand under to get wet, several places to climb on and a small water slide. The water is pretty warm so you will be fine, you won't freeze. I believe there is another pool there that is even shallower for the babies. I brought home some info on the kids programs for all ages so I will post that up for you tomorrow since its quite a bit of info, the activities vary based on the ages of the kids but for ages 7-9, there were lots of workout activities, exploring activities and treasure hunts, pyjama parties etc. The amphitheater is basically an outdoor deck that starts at deck 10 and goes up to deck 12. Each deck is layered so its pretty to look at. Deck 10 has the kids pools, a hot tub, and lots of seating for parents is available on each deck. There's ping pong on deck 11. Deck 12 is the Raffles Buffet terrace and it has the best ariel view of all the decks below. Its basically the aft of the ship that not only has a nice view but most people laze around and read while sipping cocktails, some sleep on the lounge chairs and some just play around.
Hope this helps and I will post more info on the kids programs.
Glad to be of help for everyone that reads this review.
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  #8  
Old August 27th, 2004, 01:11 PM
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snoopy_leogirl snoopy_leogirl is offline
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Okay, here is more information on the Kids Program determined by the age group that the child is in. One more thing, I guess that the program is subject to change depending on where the ship is cruising because our forms say "Alaskan Run". Maybe they are slightly different when the ship sails the Caribbean. Also, these are just a few of the things listed. Actually, there are more things on the form. Some rules: All kids must sign in with a parent and sign out with a parent too. They then wear bracelets with their name on it while they are taking part in the program. The ladies that work with the kids at the program are mainly from Canada and are very nice with the kids. I think that most kids will surely enjoy the program as my cousin would never want to leave Charlie's Center. She was always there and was always excited to go and play with the kids her age. She even made a few friends that were attached to her by the hip.

Ages 2-5:
Family Scavenger Hunt
Crafts
Silly Sing Along
Teddy Bear Picnic
Prince and Princess Night
Alien Creation
Pirate Pandemonium
Face Painting
Coloring
Treasure Hunt
Alaskan Adventure
Birthday Bash
Lego Mania
Blues Clue Night
Cupcake Decorating

Ages 6-9:
Balloon Ball Bonanza
Secret Agent Night
Pizza Making
Pirate Night
Magic Mayhem
Alaskan Adventure
Survivor Night
Sneaky Bingo
Sports Night
Kids Crew Talent Show Performance
Pajama Party

Tweens (10-12 year olds):
Entertainment Night
Pizza Making
Mystery Night
Drama Afternoon
Hang Out in Teen Club
Sports Night
Crafty Morning
Junior Jeopardy
Pajama Party
Kids Crew Talent Show Performance

Teens (13-17 year olds):
Babe and Hunk Hunt
Teen Social
Photo Hunt
Battle of the Sexes
Playstation Challenge
Teen Disco
Teen VIP Dinner
Teen Hot Tub Party
Teen Karaoke
Matrix Hunt
Teen Passport Party
Farewell Frat Party
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  #9  
Old August 27th, 2004, 04:42 PM
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Thanks for the info on Pinel Island. I'm actually going to be in St. Maarten in November and December so I decided to take a sailing excursion on the Lord Sheffield which leaves right near the cruise ship dock. I'll walk over to the taxi area see what the story is and plan accordingly for December. I can always take the tour to Pinel Island from the ship in December.
__________________
Carnival: Dream, Splendor(2), Conquest, Victory (4), Liberty, Freedom (2), Glory (2), Miracle(2), Holiday, Valor, Triumph (3). Total: 20 cruises
NCL: Norway, Leeward (2), Star (3), Sun, Jewel (3), Gem, Spirit (2), Epic, Dawn. Total: 15 cruises
Celebrity: Zenith, Galaxy, Century (2), Mercury, Millennium (4), Constellation (2), Summit(2). Total: 13 cruises
RCCL: Brilliance (2), Vision (2), Enchantment (4), Voyager (2), Liberty (2), Navigator (2), Explorer (2), Majesty, Monarch(2), Jewel, Mariner, Independence, Legend, Grandeur. Total: 24 cruises
Princess: Grand (2), Caribbean (2), Crown (2), Diamond, Dawn. Total: 8 cruises
Cunard: QM2 (4). Total: 4 cruises
Renaissance: R2. Total: 1 cruise
Holland-America: Maasdam, Zaandam, Zuiderdam, Eurodam, Rotterdam. Total: 5 cruises
MSC-Divina
Grand Total: 91 cruises
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  #10  
Old August 27th, 2004, 08:22 PM
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Thank you so much for the kids program info. I can already tell that my son will love it. We will be coming down your way in November (Southern itinerary).

Thanks again for taking the time to post the details.
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RCL Oasis of the Seas
RCL Freedom of the Seas
RCL Enchantment of the Seas
Carnival Dream
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Carnival Glory
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NCL Dawn
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