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  1. I'm looking at a cruise from Tokyo on the Norwegian Spirit. I love the ports! However, I'm looking at the Sailaway inside, but on this ship it states that there is only one room assigned as a Sailaway Inside, specifically #4493? I haven't seen this on any of the other Norwegian ships. I can't find a review of this room, but my instinct says there's probably something wrong with the room if it's the only one. Am I missing something? Has anyone stayed in this room?
  2. Our very first time on Norwegian! We are two (likely former!) Royal Caribbean guys. 8 cruises with RC and while we enjoyed each trip on them, we needed a change. Everything was starting the feel and look the same on RC, if that makes any sense. We took a 2 year hiatus from cruising and did land trips. We had been hearing so many great things about Norwegian from family and friends that when we decided a cruise was in order for this year, we booked the 9/1 sailing out of NYC on Escape .. a 7 day to Bermuda. Yes .. hurricane season. I'm not doing this as a full trip report .. just gonna jump around randomly and mention our thoughts and experiences .. with a few pix thrown in. We were booked in Cabin 10112 .. Deck 10 port side .. .WAY forward .. like 4 cabins from the front. I knew it would mean more motion if the seas got rocky once we hit the hurricane (which i was sure we would), but the worst part was the lonnnnnnnng walk. Everything is far away from this area of the ship .. the elevators, the bars, the stairwells .. everything. Next time i'll definitely be sure we do a mid-ship or a cabin more toward the rear, as it seems like most everything is back that way. Thought it was weird .. we never once saw our cabin steward. Everything got done .. and the cabin was spotless each day .. but it was odd not to have met the cabin steward even once. Dinner first night was at O'Sheehans. Sorry, but this place SUCKS! My hub insisted we try it twice more during the week for lunch and it was awful. The service was so bad .. apps forgotten about .. or brought out well after the main course The first night, they had a Prime Rib special. It was the worst, nastiest leftover roast (probably from days before) ... even the baked potatoes they served were old and reheated. You can always tell when beef or potatoes are re-heats ... and this measly, gristly portion was shoe leather. Ditsy servers, crowded and everyone around us unhappy with what they were getting.. after 2 more misses there, I said "thats enough". It sucked. Even the wings were horrible and how do you mess up wings ?? But thankfully all the other food venues we tried were the complete opposite. Dinner at Moderno, the Brasilian churrascaria the next night. impressed, but not wow-ed Loved the salad bar and the variety of the meats they came around slicing up for you. But the chicken was kinda dry and way over-garlicked and it seemed to take a while for the Filipino gaucho boys (which we kinda got a chuckle out of) to make the rounds. One of them got a little testy when i asked if he had a more medium portion of the rare beef roast .. i heard a definite sigh .. LOL. Maybe we were just not really int he mood that night. Just be hungry enough when you come here .. its not a light meal! La Cucina also great .. service was terrific .. pasta dishes incredible (the pizza was kinda "Meh" and arrived cool), but the server, the wine, the view .. it was tough not to enjoy the experience. Bayamo was probably my favorite of the 3 specialty restaurants. Hub got the Shrimp Cocktail (4-enormous- fresh delicious shrimps) and I got the crabcake. Absolutely delicious. We both got the Lobster Tail and Filet. They make it clear (in the nicest way possible, of course) that if you're using a meal package you can get a max of four courses ... including dessert. Which is still plenty. The dessert I had that night was a chocolate mousse cake topped w/ganache and salted popcorn. Don't miss it if you go! We were also very pleasantly surprised the nights we ate in the main dining rooms. Savor and Taste. We couldnt get into the Manhattan Room the night we wanted to because of a private function, but we loved the service and meals in Savor and Taste. This is where NCL really kills RCCL... the MDR food. RC has become very mediocre the past several years in the MDR ... harried, frazzled, overworked servers ... repetitious menus, lukewarm food .. of not great quality. And the high pressure from the servers for good reviews .. that was REAL strong the last 2 or 3 times we were on RC. NCL's dining room teams couldn't have been better. So friendly, couldn't do enough to make their guests happy .. and the food was so good that we wouldn't probably bother with the specialty restaurants next time. We asked the server teams in these 2 free dining rooms for the comment cards they turn in so we could fill them out for them. These women were that good. TingTing Li, Sheila and Minerva .. amazing service! Even the buffet up on Deck 16 was a huge improvement over the RC Windjammer. Quality was amazing and we never had a problem finding a table. The best kept secret, however was that Margaritaville serves breakfast free! I'd never pay the $15 cover charge they want for a stupid burger at other times of day .. but the breakfast buffet in there is fantastic. Almost all the options of the main buffet (ncluding THE best French Toast i've ever had .. anywhere .. buttery, custardy, crispy.. it was amazing!!).. sausages, hash browns, fruits, pastries, cereals, breakfast sandwiches .. and best of all .. cooked to order eggs and omelets! Hardly anyone seemed to know about this spot for breakfast, but we ate here literally every AM. Highly recommend it .. quiet, amazing food and a beautiful view. I started a little drama on here a few weeks back before the cruise asking in another topic what the smuggling climate (Rum Runner flasks) was like on NCL and if bringing your own wine on board (the usual 2 bottles) was allowed. Well, you'd think I kicked a sick kitten down a flight of stairs with some of the responses I got on here! I got told off by everyone! Listen .. I just like to have a little extra in the room for a cocktail without having to go to a bar. We did get the standard bar package and it was great. There are bars i swear every 20 feet on this ship! We never waited once all week .. even on the sea days. These are some hard working bartenders. Basic package even covered Grey Goose . so for us, no need for any package higher than what we got. Decided against the Rum Runner flask (because I couldn't find it the morning we were leaving!) … but took 2 bottles of wine with me instead .. in my carry-on .. fully intending and willing to pay the $15 per bottle "corkage" charge. We got dropped off … and apparently at the curb, I had put my carry on down too hard .. because as we had just gotten in the line for security inside the pier .. I smelled wine. I looked down and saw red wine pouring down my leg, onto my new white sneakers … so I ran outside so as not to destroy their carpet … and discovered both bottles had cracked and dumped their contents into my carry on! Everything in that duffel was swimming in red wine. Cruise documents soaked and dyed purple … my Kindle destroyed. So I dumped the entire duffelbag .. broken bottles and all right into the trash outside at the curb. I'll bet if you go there today, you'll still see a wine stain right there in the pavement! I actually never saw where they nab you and make you pay the corkage fee .. but by then I was still steaming over the mess I made, so I prob. just didn't notice. I had that stale nasty wine smell stuck in my nose all afternoon from that point on and I'm sure anyone who came near me thought i was a damn win-o! Got on board by 11:30 and started exploring. This is a huge ship, but very easy to learn. Our cabins were ready at about 1:30 and luggage was delivered by 6:00. No complaints there. We were told to go immediately to Headliners Comedy club to score spots in The Vibe (a more private deck area), but it was already sold out. Loved the Spice H20 area at the back on Deck 17. Hub found it because its one of the places he was allowed to smoke, but its such a cool tranquil (no kids or loud music) atmosphere back there. But the best feature of Spice H20 was the Water Grotto! A wind-y cave structure with gentle waterfalls and mist coming down from overhead .. u can splash around in there or sit on the sides on the "rocks". Loved this place .. perfect place to cool off without going to the madness of the pool area. Bermuda was blazing, blazing, nasty hot. We got off at 9AM on that first day and it already had to be 90. Love the island and love that big groovy pink catamaran ferry NCL runs for free over to St George's a few times a day from right next to the ship. Its a very nice 45 minute ride over to the other side of the island. Here's a tip: get on the pink ferry and go right upstairs. The lower boarding deck is crammed with small coach airplane seats .. hundreds of them squashed in down there like 25 abreast ... about as comfortable and tight as a Spirit Airlines plane! But ... upstairs is a very comfy "first class" cabin. No charge, you just have to know to come up here. Huge 2x2x2 first class sized seats and a fraction of the people .. definitely head upstairs! We even saw a couple "make use of" one of the bathrooms up there (if you know what i mean) .. they were a little obvious about it too ... Euwwwww! Lol We did the Clearwater Beach shore excursion package (kinda rip off at $125 each) but was still a nice day overall. Clearwater beach is OK .. very rocky, though. Cool thing is its right at the end of the runway so if yo;re an aviation geek like me, its fun seeing the planes coming in directly across from you (though not quite as close as Maho Beach in St. Maarten). This package included a little lunch and some VERRRRY tasty rum swizzles .. and not just one either .. the guys serving just kept pouring! This beach and he one next to it (Turtle Bay i think) were ok but a little dirty and the chickens running around and actual turtles IN the water with you kinda wigged me out a little bit (as a city boy). Horseshoe Bay Beach is still my favorite on Bermuda and next time we'd just take the bus or a taxi there ourselves for a day. That place is perfection. One thing I noticed coming up each day on our Room Charges were $15+$15 Service Charges. I thought I had pre-paid the tips, but this being our first booking on NCL, maybe I goofed. But be aware .. thats another $210 by the end of the week. This may sound dumb, but for next time, is it possible to pre-pay those ahead? Or is it only onboard? By this point, many of us were kinda wondering about this huge slow-moving hurricane that we knew was gonna be crossing our path somehow coming home. There were no announcements at all until that first evening in Bermuda. Captain Pete (or was it Paul?) said that it was definitely changing course and would be a factor for us on the way back. They decided the best thing was for us to leave Bermuda as normal on Friday at 3PM but we would head due west right toward North Carolina .. and then turn north and follow the coast up to NYC .. and follow behind the hurricane. This would mean a 7 hour delay getting into NYC on Sunday 9/8 .. docking at 2PM instead of 7AM. Fine with us! They offered free internet to to everyone and assisted however they could with re-booking flights for anyone who needed it. I got the impression that most of the pax were a local NY/NJ/CT/PA crowd and everyone took it well. Speaking of the WiFi package .. I heard people grumbling that it sucked and had poor connectivity. We felt a bit of motion those last 2 days/nights and the barf bag containers were out .. but it wasn't bad at all. The size of this ship i think helped as far as the seas not feeling so rough. We even had a little drama on the way out. On the first night around 11PM, we heard the racket of a helicopter hovering around outside out balcony! Then the Captain came on and said someone was too ill to remain onboard and as being evacuated back to shore via Coast Guard helicopter. They changed out course to head back toward Jersey shore and they plucked this poor person off the bow and right up into the helicopter. I could only hope that person was unconscious at the time, becaue I can't imagine how scary that would be ... getting dragged by a cable in a basket off a ship .. at night! The bill they will probably receive will be even more terrifying later. Before we knew it, it was over and we were back to reality. Reality being .. disembarkation. This is always a yuge mess regardless of whatever ship you're on. Everybody who was laughing and cocktailing with you .. chatting and being friendly with you, making room for you on and off the elevators, etc. were back to themselves .. ready to stab you and push u down a flight of stairs. This disembarkation was pretty poorly handled. We were in the green group (go and get your tags 2 days before you arrive backhome .. they don't tell you this!) .. but there were yellow and orange and purple tagged people trying to get ahead ... the meek little crew members were no match for some of this NY crowd .. people were swinging and yelling and acting like animals and this was a bad final impression. But kinda typical! My only other gripe: PEPSI products. Gross! Pepsi takes like medicine .. i SO missed my Diet Coke all week .. LOL! Sorry for the random nature of this little travelog I did. Suffice it to say, we absolutely loved the ship. Its beautiful, only 4 years old, smells new even! We will be back on NCL for sure. So impressed with everything (except O'Sheehans!!!).
  3. We have friends who will be on the Spirit in a few weeks. It's their first time on NCL. I've been able to answer most of their questions, but they asked about current entertainment. If you've been on the Spirit in the past month or so, who were the guest entertainers and which shows are currently offered? Elements?
  4. Our cruise: Sat 17-Aug 5 pm SHIP DEPARTS STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN Sun 18-Aug 10 am - 7 pm HELSINKI, FINLAND Mon 19-Aug 7 am Tue 20-Aug 7 pm ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIAN FEDERATION Wed 21-Aug 7 am - 4 pm TALLINN, ESTONIA Thu 22-Aug 9 am - 5 pm RIGA, LATVIA Fri 23-Aug 8 am - 5 pm KLAIPEDA, LITHUANIA Sat 24-Aug 7 am - 3 pm GDYNIA (GDANSK), POLAND Sun 25-Aug 7 am - 9 pm ROSTOCK, GERMANY Mon 26-Aug 11 am - 8 pm COPENHAGEN, DENMARK Tue 27-Aug 12 pm - 11:59 pm OSLO, NORWAY Wed 28-Aug AT SEA Thu 29-Aug 7 am - 7 pm AMSTERDAM (IJMUIDEN), NETHERLANDS Fri 30-Aug 7 am - 6 pm ZEEBRUGGE (BRUSSELS/BRUGGE), BELGIUM Sat 31-Aug 7 am - 7 pm LE HAVRE (PARIS), FRANCE Sun 01-Sep 5 am SHIP ARRIVES AT SOUTHAMPTON (LONDON), GREAT BRITAIN I was travelling with my 22-year-old daughter and my 14-year-old son. We flew out of Toronto Pearson (YYZ) and connected through Heathrow. We were worried about our connection as we had only 1 hr between flights, but our first flight (British Airways) was actually 1/2 hour early and we didn't have to go through immigration in Heathrow. (We did that in Stockholm.) The flights themselves were fine. Average coach flights. At least we had 1 piece of luggage included. In Stockholm, we took the Arlanda Express to the city centre. This was very easy. Really, if you have a central hotel, don't bother with a taxi. We bought the tickets online before we left (since they're discounted if you buy in advance), and they gave me a verification code that I just showed to the ticket-checker on the train. Our hotel was named the Central Hotel and it was pretty much across the street from the Arlanda Express/Central Station. We could walk to Gamla Stan (the Old Town) and take the tram to Djurgarden (where many of the museums we wanted to see are located). Breakfast (a buffet with ample choice) was included. We selected this hotel because it could accommodate 3 people in one room (2 twin beds and a fold out). It was nice and quiet despite its central location and I'd happily stay there again. We arrived mid-afternoon and just strolled into Gamla Stan for the late afternoon/early evening to try to reset our body clocks but we went to bed early and therefore woke up at 5 am. . . . So we went to the Central Station and did a self-guided subway art tour. (Google "Stockholm subway art tour" for recommendations/directions.) Since we'd also bought transit passes for the day, after breakfast, we took the tram to Djurgarden and visited the Vasa Museum (at opening), the ABBA Museum (slightly after opening and it was already quite crowded), and Skansen -- less for the folk museum and more for the Nordic animals zoo. (We especially enjoyed watching their wolverines.) We then went to the ICEBAR at the Hotel C (across from the station) for drinks, followed by dinner in the attached hotel restaurant. The ICEBAR was a lot of fun. (Drinking mixed vodka drinks from a glass made of ice!) The dinner was only okay. At the ICEBAR we actually met up with others from our cruise whom I'd met via the Cruise Critic Roll Call and our cruise Facebook group! The next morning we visited the royal palace, the best part of which was the Armory -- which is actually more clothes and carriages than weapons. Note that we actually paid the admission to all the places we visited individually rather than buying the Stockholm Card since for the short time that we were there, the card would not have paid for itself (especially since my daughter as a student often qualified for discounts). I would highly recommend Stockholm as a place to start or end the cruise. There's a lot to see -- we hardly exhausted the city, and there's even more beyond (like Drottningholm). Also, if your cruise visits Stockholm for the day, you're either in port at Nynashamn (some distance from the city) or your time is cut short by the slow sail in and sail out through the Stockholm archipelago -- which is very pretty (I enjoyed watching it on the sail out), but I didn't feel I needed to see it twice. To get to the cruise port, we simply took one of the many taxis near the Central Station -- not cheap, but very easy. NCL embarkation was very quick. (We were there around 1 pm.) Okay, the ship itself (Norwegian Spirit) is not shiny and new. Occasionally we'd notice minor wear and tear (e.g. a chip on the edge of our sink in the bathroom). But the staff did an excellent job of keeping everything functional and clean. We had no complaints. Okay, one complaint: the walls are pretty thin, and our room, Forward on Deck 5, did vibrate noticeably when the ship was pulling in and out of port, but neither interrupted our sleep. Sometimes communication from NCL and the ship wasn't the best -- for example, they changed our Helsinki port times a week before we left, but only about half of us got the email. The rest found out at embarkation. In Oslo, the dock they'd posted on their information board was not the same as that on the Oslo port website (and the Oslo port website was right). Etc. But since I'm an obsessive researcher and always overly prepped anyway, this didn't bother me. Entertainment was fine. We saw a few of the shows -- magician, juggler, acrobat, violinist, etc. (It was never a problem getting seats in the theatre. Turn up on time because you can't walk in the doors on Deck 7 after the show starts.) We turned up to most of the sunset or pub trivias in the afternoon and evening (and won a few times!). We were rarely out or even out of bed after 9 or 10 pm as we had early mornings and busy days, and most other cruisers we spoke to seemed to be doing the same! The food was fine -- typical cruise line food. We didn't bother the specialty restaurants. Mostly we ate in the more-casual Garden restaurant as they didn't mind my teenage son wearing shorts. We ate in Shogun (the Asian restaurant that's included) twice and the buffet for breakfast and the occasional dinner. Breakfast at the buffet was a bit of a madhouse in the morning -- everybody was eager to disembark ASAP in the mornings -- but we always managed to find seating, if not inside then outside on the terrace. And we could sit out on the terrace because we had amazing weather -- we didn't get rained on once! It was a bit hot (around 27C) the few days we spent in Germany, Denmark, and Norway but most days were around 21C. Even with the occasional hot day, cruising the Baltic in peak summer is definitely more pleasant than cruising the Mediterranean in summer! (We cruised the Med last year and just *melted*). Ports: Since my son and I had been to Helsinki before and visited the usual highlights (Market Square, the Church in the Rock, etc.), we decided to get out of the city and visit the Nuuksio National Park, which is less than an hour from the cruise port. We booked a tour with Feel the Nature, who picked us up outside the cruise terminal and took us on a guided hike. We picked wild berries (blueberries, lingonberries, and bogberries), did some bird spotting (the marsh tits were adorable), and had a snack break consisting of some traditional Finnish savoury and sweet pastries and some coffee or juice. We then went to meet their local reindeer and feed them some lichen. (There was also the Haltia Nature Centre right nearby, which we could have visited if we hadn't wanted to hike or if the weather had been miserable.) My teenage son especially enjoyed this day. (If we hadn't gone to Nuuksio, we probably would have independently taken the ferry to Suomenlinna and then visited the public Loyly sauna for another very Finnish experience.) Note that the cruise port is not convenient to the city center. Our next port was St. Petersburg, which is usually the highlight of any Baltic cruise and definitely needs at least 2 days. The first day, there may be a slight delay with Russian immigration. (This is the only port where we had to go through immigration.) Last time we went to St. Petersburg, on the Regal Princess, it took us about 40 minutes in line at immigration. This year, the authorities were allowing ship's tours off first and independent operators were only allowed into the port at 8:30 am. We were allowed off the ship shortly before 8:30 am and had *no* lines at immigration and were through in minutes. I don't know if this was because they'd staggered the groups or because the Spirit was just a smaller ship, but we appreciated it! Note that you are not allowed off the ship without a ship tour, a Russian visa (which can take months to obtain), OR a tour with one of the many independent tour operators that offer visa-free tours (always the best option). Last time we booked a small-group tour with SPB Tours (max 16 people) and very much enjoyed it. SPB Tours, Alla Tours, and TJ Travel are the 3 biggest tour operators in the region. Ulko Tours is another one you'll see everywhere. They're based out of St. Petersburg but offer flat-rate tours in the other ports too (such as the one we took in Helsinki last time). Their St. Petersburg tours are reliably very good; their tours in other ports are more variable in quality. This time we decided we wanted a private tour since we wanted to have control over our itinerary and switch out some sights for others. I had the best response from Red Sun Tours: since they're a smaller company, the owner Elena emailed me back directly and demonstrated that she'd actually read my email by offering me a couple of different customized sample itineraries. We were able to visit favourites from our last visit like the Peterhof fountains but also trade out the always-crowded Catherine Palace for the Grand Maket Russia (which was so cute), the Peter and Paul Fortress for the Soviet Arcade Games Museum (which gave you 15 kopek coins and let you actually play the games), etc. We were also able to request a lunch at a Georgian restaurant since I'd never tried Georgian food before. If people have the budget, I *strongly* recommend setting up a private tour in St. Petersburg -- or maybe forming a small group with others on their Cruise Critic Roll Call, but the smaller the group, the easier it is to bypass the lines. And the more personal the experience: other people who were on small group tours with the larger companies were given audioguides in the Faberge Museum; our private guide gave us our own tour. Even if doing a small-group tour instead of a private tour, I would recommend going with one of the smaller operators like Red Sun Tours for a more personal experience (their small groups are 8 people instead of 16 people). They may not offer tours in other ports -- but you can still book tours with SPB, Alla, etc., and there are other tour operators in those ports anyway. For example, in Tallin, Estonia, we had an excellent tour with Traveller Tours. Our guide met us at the port and then took us on a walking tour of the Old Town (which is an easy walk from the port), followed by a bike tour of some of the modern Tallinn districts like Kalamaja. I really enjoyed this tour, both the old and modern Tallinn, and would recommend this company. (The tour was also cheap! 105 Euros for a 4-hour tour for 3 people.) One thing that I would recommend to visitors to Tallinn is to get off the ship and into the Old Town ASAP. When we did our walking tour starting at 8 am, the streets were mostly empty. When we hopped on our bikes and pedaled away around 10 am, we were noticing that it was starting to get crowded, and when we came back to drop off the bikes around noon, it was packed! Fortunately, we had an afternoon activity planned that took us outside the Old Town again: about 15 minutes walk from the Town Hall is the Rotermann district and the Kalev shop where we participated in a chocolate truffle making workshop! I'd set this up by emailing the shop directly and recruiting participants on our Cruise Critic Roll Call and Facebook group. The shop also offers marzipan-painting workshops, but I much prefer the taste of chocolate! Estonian chocolate is very good and very reasonably priced. It was only about a 20 minute walk back to the ship from the shop. Next we were in Riga, Latvia. It's a beautiful city, but my son did not want to spent the day looking at Art Nouveau architecture so I booked a tour that included a visit to Gauja National Park and the medieval castles of Turaida and Sigulda (along with Gutman's cave) before finishing in the city with a walk down one of the most beautiful streets for Art Nouveau architecture (my son could tolerate a street of it) and a walking tour of the old town. The castles were okay. I wouldn't say that they were a must-see and they're a bit of a drive, but my son was happy to get away into the green space. We shared this tour with a couple I'd met on Facebook and I booked it with Nordic Experience. They are a tour company that offers tours in ports all around the Baltic *except* for St. Petersburg. Two things I appreciated about them was that (a) I had good communication with them in advance and they were willing to customize our itineraries (modifying the sample itineraries on their website) and (b) they were able to invoice people for credit card payment in advance. (No worrying about collecting money from other members of the group or worries about no-shows.) Their guides were also very good with excellent English, and -- most importantly for cruisers -- they were excellent at keeping the groups on schedule and delivering us back to the port exactly on time. Note that unless you want to go out of the city as we did, you can walk to pretty much everywhere from the port dock. Klaipeda, Lithuania doesn't really have much cruise infrastructure. They weren't letting private tour operators into the port and we had to take a shuttle bus into and from the Old Town -- which was a PITA as we were meeting a private operator as we were heading to the Curonian Spit (accessible by ferry). We'd booked the tour with Ulko Tours (the St. Petersburg company), and it was just okay. If I were to book it again, I probably would have gone with Nordic Experience here too even though they were more expensive. The attractions on the Curonian Spit are the Hill of Witches with its wooden folk sculptures (get there early before all the crowds -- the one plus to our tour was that we were there first), the small Amber Museum and Gallery in Nida, and the dunes of Nida, which were . . . a lot of sand. Wow, it's hard to walk on sand. There were also cormorants and herons and swans and other bird colonies around. We then got a quick overview of Klaipeda's tiny Old Town. Overall, I'd say that this port is okay but hardly a must-do in any cruise itinerary. Gdansk, Poland is a must-do. It's Old Town is beautiful -- rebuilt after the WWII devastation -- and it's got many interesting things to see nearby. We visited Stutthof Concentration Camp (very affecting). Others loved Malbork Castle, et al. Of course everyone also stops at the Solidarity shipyard. We toured with Nordic Experience again here. Since so many people wanted to see Stutthof, we wound up with a group of 13 people! (We had a mini-bus.) Note that this is one port where you want to plan your transportation. Gdynia is a fair distance from Gdansk and the traffic is terrible. We did not go to Berlin from Rostock. Though the cruise lines try to sell this as the port for Berlin, the city is a 2.5-3 hour drive from the port. The ship tours took the train, which was *not* better as the train was not air-conditioned and Berlin was hot that day. Last time we were in port here, we took a tour that went to Warnemunde, Rostock, and Schwerin (look up the Friends of Dave tour). This time, we went to the Rostock Zoo and the Marine Science Center for their Seal Encounter (which was awesome). It was just a fun day. Couple things to note here: Warnemunde and Rostock are different ports. Warnemunde is the convenient port, right by the seaside town and the train station. Rostock is the industrial port that's a PITA to get to and from, especially on a Sunday when the public bus only runs once an hour. The taxis in the port are looking for fares to Berlin. The ship was running shuttles to Rostock, but there was a long line for it. Know the timing of the public buses or be really persuasive with the taxi drivers! Also, although the Marine Science Center is technically in Rostock, it's just across the river from Warnemunde and you can take the cheap (and continuously running, even on a Sunday) public transit ferry across. In Copenhagen, we took the public bus (buy a ticket before you get on) to the Rosenborg Castle, which was way too crowded. You could buy a timed ticket online, but we were really only interested in the Treasury and we'd seen it before anyway, so we bailed and went to Amalienborg instead (no lines whatsoever). We ate hot dogs along the canal in Nyhavn and took a canal cruise, walked past the Gefion fountain and the Little Mermaid, and went back to the ship as it was too hot for us and all the air-conditioned museums are closed on Mondays! (Also, Duncan and I had spent several days there before and we were all feeling a little tired by now.) Heading back to the ship before the all-aboard time was not a bad idea as we were in port at Oceankaj and the buses back -- both the public bus and the Hop On Hop Off -- were packed and turning people away in the last hour before all aboard (some people barely made it back). Oslo has a beautiful sail in along the Oslo fjord. Here, we bought the Oslo Pass that included public transit and walked from the dock to the public ferry to the Bygdoy Museums (air conditioned and not closed!): the Fram, the Kon-Tiki, and the Viking Ship Museums, all very different and very good. If we'd had more time, we probably would have also visited the Open Air Folk Museum, which some of our fellow cruisers really enjoyed, but we wanted to meet up with some friends of ours. We had dinner with them and an evening stroll through the Vigeland Sculpture Park. (Some people were annoyed that our port times were noon to midnight, but we appreciated the evening to meet up with friends!) Amsterdam has a lot to see, and inconveniently we were in port in IJmuiden, which is some distance from the actual city. Public transit into the city would have involved a bus and two trains. We could have booked a private car transfer, but we decided if we were doing that, we might as well book a tour, and again, we booked with Nordic Experience (one of the few companies willing to pick up in IJmuiden). I customized our itinerary to include the Van Gogh Museum (and our guide gave us an excellent guided tour), a canal tour (which was okay), and a visit to Zaanse Schans and its windmills (clog making! cheese! etc.) I will have to go back to Amsterdam sometime to see more of it -- like the Red Light district, which I couldn't visit very well with my 14-year-old son. From Zeebrugge, most cruisers went to Bruges and loved it, but we did a trip to Flanders and WWI sites -- my son's vote, and since I was dragging him to Giverny and Rouen in Normandy instead of the WWII landing beaches, I caved here. It was an enjoyable day. I especially enjoyed the Passchendaele Museum (although maybe "enjoyed" isn't the right word here) and I appreciated the Canadian memorials, but what was most surprising to me is that farmers are still finding debris from WWI in their fields -- unexploded shells, et al. WWI still scars the landscape. So last time from Le Havre, my daughter and I visited the landing beaches and Bayeux with Overlord Tours. This time we visited the gardens at Giverny -- very crowded but very beautiful -- and the city of Rouen. The cathedral, medieval buildings, astronomical clock, etc. make for a scenic walk, but we were also interested in Joan of Arc and ducked into the "Historial" where they tell the story of Joan of Arc in an audiovisual presentation projected on the walls of the rooms of the old palace (the old crypt and kitchens and tower rooms, etc.). We had audioguides translating the French for us, and I noticed we were the only non-French-speakers in there! Disembarkation in Southampton was trivial (we'd been through an immigration check on the sea day on the ship). Smiths for Airports met us at the port and there was no traffic on a Sunday so we were back to Gatwick with time to spare. Many of the planes out of Gatwick were delayed for some reason, so our plane was a little late back, but since we weren't connecting this time, no worries! All in all, it was a fabulous cruise and I'm so happy I booked it. I was a little nervous about sailing on the Spirit as I'd heard some negative reviews of it, but I found everything about it perfectly adequate, especially for such a port-intensive itinerary. And the fellow cruisers we met aboard were wonderful. (If you're reading this review, hi!) If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I'll try to add some photos if I can get CC to show them.
  5. I depends where your last port is, if you enter Singapore from Malaysia by land sea or air (even transiting) you can't take any alcohol into Singapore. This only applies if you last port before entry was Malaysia, other countries are the normal 1L spirit per person. I have no idea why this rule exists but believe me they were well clued up that our ship had just come from Malaysia and they had bottles of that cheep fizz lined up in rows next to the inspection area. I know you did not ask but cigarettes are banned wherever you come from, you can have one open pack maximum, if you want to keep anything above one pack its a US$10 per pack tax to pay, in our case it was hand them over or pay $200 tax.
  6. Hello Cruisers! We recently returned from a 12 day NCL cruise to Norway on the Spirit. We had an amazing time in such a beautiful country. I'm going to give you a detailed trip report. I have dozens of pictures, menus, food porn and more. I go into a lot of detail in my reviews. Some people like all the details, while others think I am too nitpicky. I don't consider myself either a cheerleader or a critic of any cruise line. I'm just sharing my observations which may or may not be relevant for you. I hope you'll find some useful information here. This was our seventh cruise. We have cruised with Carnival four times, once with Celebrity, and once in Tahiti on the Paul Gauguin. We looked forward to trying NCL to see how it compared to the other lines, particularly Carnival since that is the one we had the most experience with. I'll make some observations about how I think they compared. We started planning this trip many months in advance. We booked the trip in August 2018. We soon joined our roll call where we had an exceptionally good leader. John created a spreadsheet where he kept track of all the people who joined the roll call along with all the excursions we were planning. This roll call really enhanced our trip so much and we were very grateful to John for all the work he put into making it happen. I am a big planner, so I spent the next months making plans for our time pre and post cruise in London. We booked air travel, hotels, and transfers. We purchased travel insurance. Excursion planning was a big deal. I'll spend a lot of time talking about this here. Our roll call was very helpful with this and we planned a number of excursions with our fellow cruise critic members. At the time we booked our cruise, and for several months after, NCL did not have any excursions listed for our cruise. When they did finally list some excursions, we found the prices to be extremely high. We did not book any excursions through NCL. We had a $50 per port excursion credit included as one of our perks but even with that credit, the NCL excursions were exorbitantly priced and we did better making our own plans.
  7. My cousin is currently stationed in Japan and wants us to join him on the Norwegian Spirit for an 8 Night Asian cruise out of Tokyo in May of next year. My concern is that his only previous experience was on the Bliss out of Alaska and that not only will this cruise not be exactly what we want , but him also. Has anyone been on Spirit since the refurbish in 2017? We it just a soft good refresh. I remember that Norwegian did a huge facelift on Joy before bringing it to North America, swapping out venues that were specifically designed for the Asian market and refitting them with things that were supposed to appeal to North Americans. Any feedback is appreciated.
  8. @SpainAlien Suggestion for email; www.mail2web.com. It's way faster than Comcast or Verizon for web-based email! It was suggested by the NCL Internet manager when we were aboard Spirit (talk about coincidence!!) many years ago when I was struggling to connect to my Comcast email via the web. Hope you have a great cruise! Haven't been on Spirit since they moved her to Europe years ago; really liked Spirit when she was based out of NYC many years ago!
  9. Depends on the ship. On the Spirit 90% was on hangers. The rest folded. On the Epic everything was folded and the missed up a tee shirt belong to my husband. On the Spirit there was no proble with anything laundering any of our clothes. By the way the Epic never acknowledged they ruined the shirt. They folded it and mixed it in with the others. I guess they thought we would not notice.
  10. Loved the Wind - that was our first NCL Cruise, during her final season in Hawaii... For NCL - We've been on the Wind, Dawn, Jade, Epic, Spirit & Jewel... We've enjoyed every cruise Our least favorite is easy -- the Dawn, many years ago - mainly food & service issues. Through joining Cruise Critic, we learned to upgrade to what was then Ultimate Dining (unlimited) & that really made all the difference. Our Favorite is much tougher: Wind - our first NCL ship - Hawaii to Fanning Island & our Honeymoon - missed the ship on boarding day, caught up on the Big Island - that's another story... Not a great start - but a Great Trip! Jade - Booked for Itinerary (Eastern Med, Turkey & Egypt) - However, the day b/4 Egypt, we did the 180 & headed to Istanbul, start of the Arab Spring Uprising. Startling to say the least to plan for 80F weather & get off the ship to cold & snowing 🙂 All & all - still a great trip & memories... Epic - booked as a side to side over Thanksgiving Holidays (Western Caribbean). Started on the Princess Regal (Eastern Caribbean) & 2nd week on the Epic. Lots of fun - for us the Ultimate Dining & Beverage packages were new. I classify the Epic as a Floating Las Vegas - we did notice that we spent less time outdoors than normal. Spirit - again booked for the itinerary - Fantastic Service & Crew!!! Jewel - itinerary (Transpacific - Vancouver to Yokohama) - Absolutely Amazing Cruise Critic Group & most FUN cruise ever!!! I believe @ this time it's a tie between the Spirit & the Jewel for favorite ship (not cruise - ship). We are departing on the Getaway in just over 30 days. As a rule we enjoy the mid-size ships - but you never know... The Waterfront looks amazing 🙂
  11. We got $100 each on our Spirit Baltic cruise but our friends who joined us did not. I didn’t know why and didn’t want to ask for fear of losing it 😀. I have lost it before 😩 as they said it was a mistake.
  12. So, we are booked on the Spirit at Christmas this year on a cruise just before a dry dock. The cruise has been reduced from 12 to 11 days. I was half expecting something like this to happen, and don't have a problem with it. They offered us the choice of them booking us a hotel for the lost night or some OBC to cover it. Also the cruise fare will be pro-rated based on the revised itinerary. Quite fair I thought. Anyway, a few weeks ago my fare was revised and after a bit of messing around due to a rogue charge appearing, I found that our cruise has gone down a total of £45 (£15 each) My original fare per person was £1,465 and is now £1450. I'm sure that even those people with a very basic understanding of maths would agree that this isn't a correct pro-rating of the fare to take account of losing one day in 12. Anyway, I have been chasing up NCL for the past few weeks and finally made some progress in the last couple of days. I spoke to someone this morning who was going to look into it for me and come back. I've just received an email (sent, it seems, as the last thing she did before going on annual leave) saying that the calculation is correct. I have to say that previously I have always had pretty good dealings with NCL's shore based teams (although I read many comments on here that suggest others haven't), so this is quite a new one on me. Any suggestions as to where I go from here? I have copied Vivian Ewart in on a couple of my chasing emails, although I haven't received anything back that is clearly from her team (although they may have been responsible for someone actually replying to my original email). I have emailed by PCC (copying in Vivian) to say that I am not happy with the response I got and left a message on his answerphone. Any other ideas?
  13. DW and I have stayed in a sideways cabin on another NCL ship. We liked the layout which had the bathroom and bed on opposite sides of the entry door. I was able to verify a different inside cabin on the Star which had a similar layout. I don't know what might be next to those specific cabins. Enjoy your cruise, we just recently finished a British Isles cruise on the Spirit.
  14. We are just off a 14 night cruise on the Spirit and there were theme nights in the Buffet every day....and along with the theme food, they had a section of other foods, so no one was disappointed. Actually their buffet was very good. We didn't eat at O'Sheehans.
  15. It is way beyond time that I updated my previous guide to booking speciality restaurants when you have the SDP or latitudes platinum (or above) meals. I previously wrote a guide back in 2016, and it was quickly out of date due to the changes to the latitudes program introduced in February 2017. I did update the guide in the comments section, but it can be a bit confusing. Hopefully this updated version will be clearer. Under the new rules, if there is at least one person in a room who is Platinum, Platinum Plus or Ambassador level then a voucher is received which gives two meals for two people. One is for a meal for two plus a bottle of wine in either Cagneys or Le Bistro and another meal for two in either La Cucina or Moderno. If there are more than two people at the required level in the room then an additional voucher will be received, so that at each person gets two meals. At least one of the people who have qualified for the voucher must go to the meal, so you can’t officially give your voucher away, but one person can take someone else. For example, I have on occasion used a voucher with my son (who has no status) rather than my wife. The selection is slightly different on some ships. The Spirit doesn’t have Moderno, and therefore the second meal can only be used in La Trattoria (the Spirit’s version of La Cucina). The Bliss is also missing Moderno, and the voucher can be used in either Q or Los Lobos as well as La Cucina. Bookings for restaurants open up online 120 days out (130 if in a suite). Whilst you can prebook MDR’s, I have never seen the reason to do so and this guide is specifically for the speciality restaurants. Note that you can prebook your latitudes meals online before boarding, despite what some NCL reps have told people. They are booked in exactly the same way as any other bookings. You can also book meals that you intend to pay for with a SDP which you haven’t yet purchased (maybe because you want to use OBC to buy the package) If you have no dining package at the time of booking then you are required to pay for the meal when booking. However, for those restaurants which are a la carte, the prepayment required is zero (they don’t know how much you will spend). The introduction of Moderno as a option for the latitudes meal complicates things somewhat, as this restaurant has a fixed charge. Therefore, the system will charge you the cover charge when you try to book (assuming you don’t have the dining package - I will cover that later). Whilst I haven’t done this, I believe that they refund the charge as OBC when onboard if you use your latitudes meal after prepaying. This may be a problem if you already have lots of OBC or aren’t planning on spending much onboard. In this case, I would wait until boarding to book Moderno, but do it soon after boarding to get the most choice of times. Obviously, if you don’t have the latitudes meals and just intend to pay the Moderno cover charge then this is less of a problem. A question which is often asked is how you make bookings for meals if you intend to eat with friends who are staying in other cabins. Some people have gone to the effort of linking bookings in order to be able to do this, but it is not necessary. When you make a booking you just state the number of people, but don’t have to say who they are. You can book for more people than you have in your room. You can make a booking for yourselves and your friends in a different cabin easily, although if it is somewhere with a cover charge then you will be charged for everyone in the booking. If you have the dining package then the system will be aware that you do. Therefore, someone with a three meal SDP will not get charged when booking for the first three meals they book, even if there is a cover charge. This is very useful, but you do need to be a little careful to book things in the correct order. One thing to note here is that the system assumes that if the person who is making the booking has a SDP credit for the meal then so does everyone they are booking for. So, if we take the example where you are booking for yourself and friends in another room, no payment will be required when booking, regardless of whether your friends have the package or not. For this reason, make sure that the booking is done by someone with the SDP if possible. Anyone without the package will be charged onboard after the meal. Things get a little more complicated when you book more meals than you have the SDP for. This could be because you decide to have 4 meals but only got the 3 meal promo for example. Perhaps the most common cause of this would be when you have platinum meal vouchers as well as the SDP. In these situations, it is important to remember a couple of things. Firstly, the system knows you have the dining package but it doesn’t know about any platinum vouchers you may be entitled to. Secondly, whilst the system assumes the first meals you book will be covered by the SDP, this isn’t the case onboard, so you can use your SDP, platinum voucher or charge to your account as you wish. You tell the staff at the restaurant at the time. Why is this important? Well, you need to book restaurants in the correct order to make sure that you don’t end up paying in advance for a meal which you shouldn’t be charged for. For example, you have a three meal SDP but want to book five meals. The meals (in the order that you want to have them) are Cagneys, Le Bistro, Moderno, La Cucina and Teppenyaki. This may be because you plan to use a platinum vouchers for two of the meals or that you only have a three meal plan and intend to pay for two others. Even if you will be paying for the extra meal it is often helpful to avoid prepaying (for example if you have OBC to use for it). If you go online and book those meals in the order you intend to eat them then the system will assume that the first three are covered by the SDP and won’t charge you for them. The last one you book (Teppenyaki) will be charged for as you have no credits left. You will have to get your credit card out. However, if you book Moderno and Teppenyaki first then the system will assume that you will be using a SDP credit for them and the fourth and fifth ones you book (for example La Cucina and Le Bistro) will be the ones that are chargeable. The payment required in advance for those restaurants is zero, so your credit card stays in your pocket. When you get onboard, you can allocate the SDP credits how you wish, so the fact that the system assumed that you would use a SDP credit in Moderno or Teppenyaki doesn’t mean that you have to do so. There is an added complication on some of the smaller ships, such as the Spirit, in that Teppenyaki doesn’t open up for online booking. In this case, you will have to wait until boarding in order to be able to book. If Teppenyaki isn’t available on these smaller ships (with limited spaces in Teppenyaki) then it doesn’t mean that it is sold out, but that it was never opened up for online bookings. Another complication are the restaurants which have an uncharge or discount if you use the SDP. For example, Ocean Blue and Bayamo are usually a la carte, but you can use a SDP credit and pay a surcharge of $10 rather than the a la carte cost. Alternatively, if used at the dinner show then you are charged a reduced cover charge. I am no expert on these, having never been to Ocean Blue or Bayamo, and only using the SDP for Cirque once many years ago however, this is my recommendation. In Ocean Blue/Bayamo, I would book other restaurants first (assuming that you are booking more restaurants than you have credits for). In that case there will be no upfront charge to pay as the system will assume that will be paying the a la carte prices. You can then pay the upcharge and use a SDP credit onboard. For Cirque, you first need to decide whether you are going to use the SDP for this. There are differing opinions as to whether it is worth it or not. If you plan to use the SDP then book it first so you just pay the smaller charge. Otherwise, I’m not sure when would be best to book it. Perhaps others have better advice on this. I would be worried about any complications onboard if I was to book it first and then not use the SDP, so would probably book it last and pay the full amount. I may be wrong on that though. Finally, a word on which meals it is best to use the latitudes meals on and which to use the SDP. There is no definitive answer to this, as it depends on what you will order. However, there are some things to take into account. The latitudes meals are more restricted than the SDP. You are limited to one appetiser, one entree and a dessert. There is also a limit of $20 on the value of the entree (you pay the difference). The SDP is just limited to one entree (and some specific items in Ocean Blue are also excluded I believe), even though some staff members try to suggest other limits. The $20 limit can be quite restrictive in Cagneys, so you may get better value in Le Bistro. However, I enjoy the soup and a starter in Le Bistro, so often use my latitudes meal in Carneys instead. It is largely personal opinion. It is worth looking at the menus to get an idea what you are likely to spend before deciding. Hopefully that clears up some of the confusion regarding these bookings. The various options can make things quite complicated, especially with the restaurants with upcharges. I will almost certainly have missed some variations, so feel free to ask questions below and I’m sure that people will have answers and suggestions.
  16. I'm looking for pictures of cabins 8007 & 8507. I've booked these cabins for April and it looks as if these rooms might be a little larger than other inside cabins.:) Does anyone have any pictures? Has anyone stayed in these cabins?
  17. Okay, some final thoughts, just to kind of wrap my head around things.... About the cruise: This was our first time ever to Hawaii (hopefully not the last!) and we both agree this was the BEST introduction we could have asked for. Thanks to the itinerary being overnight on multiple islands, we had so much more time ashore and flexibility in activities than we would have otherwise. The only other way to see all the islands would be to waste time waiting in airports to island-hop--and it really would be such a waste!! I'm very glad we took two days ahead of the cruise--on purpose--to get over the jet lag and be ready to go for the main event (the cruise). Same with the additional night afterwards--we really needed it. That said, this ship is NOT the best introduction for a cruiser new to NCL. It doesn't give off a very good impression compared to their other ships--not as many activities, big shows, etc--but honestly it doesn't HAVE to. I think most people don't do any of that stuff on this cruise anyways--they are too busy being out exploring. All in all, the star of the cruise is not the cruise facilities, shopping, entertainment, dining, etc--it is the destination. Period. I would do this cruise again in a heartbeat. I did notice, however, that NCL has gotten more expensive and includes less and less in their cruise fare--even compared to 2016, when we first cruised with them. We still have two Cruise Next certificates to use up, but after that, we will likely be trying a competitor. About Hawaii: Wow. Truly paradise on earth. Not only is the climate ideal (average high year-round is 85F, average water temp 80F) and the scenery dramatic and gorgeous. Not only are there tons of different and varied outdoor activities. Not only are there so many different climates, ecological niches, flora and fauna. But...the CULTURE. I was surprised by how much Asian influence there was (though I probably shouldn't have been!). The buses in Waikiki,, for example, had both English and Japanese translations on their displays. Restaurant menus have English/Japanese/Chinese/Korean. If you like sushi, ramen, Korean barbecue, Chinese food you will be in HEAVEN here. As previously touched on, Hawaiians are SO NICE. Truly. It is a pleasure to be around them and learn from them. The "Aloha spirit" isn't just a marketing slogan--it is a real thing. No wonder violent crime is almost non-existent. They say that each island has its own personality, and whoever "they" are, they are right! Oahu is the most populated and the most similar to urban/suburban mainland cities. Lots of culture and never-ending activities. The Big Island is more rural and agricultural, with less expensive housing prices and in the shadows of active volcanoes. Kauai is kind of like wilderness except for the coastlines--even more sparsely populated, wild and wonderful. Maui...oh Maui...I think Maui is my love. 🙂 So many different types of geography on the island (mountain, volcanic rock, lush rainforest, dramatic seacliffs) with tremendous beauty and still....so many things to do that we didn't even begin to touch on. However, Maui is also the most expensive... I really finally get why people say Hawaii gets in their blood, or that once they have been, they dream of going back. I considered that people might say those things because they wanted to sound cool, or worldly, or brag about their travels. I was incorrect! Hawaii is far and away the most beautiful place I have ever been--visually and spiritually. I will be dreaming of returning until I do....! What's in store for next time in Hawaii? Hmmm. If we can afford it, I would love to go back for a week on Maui or Kauai. Or both! Explore Oahu's north shore (a big miss this trip). Maybe even....do this cruise again! 🙂 Okay, time for me to end this review....aloha and mahalo for making it this far. 🙂 🙂 🙂
  18. We just got off the Spirit, and there are a few rumours around about what will be happening when it goes into dry dock in January. I thought I would quickly summarise what I have found out. Firstly, it is openly being stated that they are adding a couple of Teppanyaki tables, to take it up to three. I believe they will be using the room at the back of Shogun. On one occasion when we were told this, they said they were adding 3 tables, but I think this was a misunderstanding. The other changes will apparently be significant, but the senior officer we were talking to wouldn’t tell us anything specific and said that things can still change. There is a lot of speculation that Champagne Charlie’s will be turned into an o’Sheehans type place, which makes sense due to its location. I didn’t hear anything to confirm this, and I assume the shops on that level would need to be moved. It is my guess (and I have no confirmation) that something like this will happen. There were quite a few people onboard in ports who were walking around the ship with what looked like plans. I’d have loved to have seen what was on those plans. Two specific places we saw them were Raffles Terrace and Blue Lagoon/Shanghai. I think that it is agreed by many that something needs doing with Blue Lagoon, and if they add an o’Sheehans then it isn’t necessary. I suspect that the whole block containing Blue Lagoon, Shanghai, Henry’s Pub and maybe Le Bistro and the arcade will be stripped out and started again from scratch. The presence of people looking around the area suggests that this may be correct. Finally, we were told by a staff member about plans for Raffles Terrace. I have no idea if this is correct (and he wasn’t necessarily someone who you would expect to know detailed plans), but he said that the kids pool was going and a big screen being added to create a Spice H2O type area. Also they will be building back from the buffet, at least on one side, to create a better La Trattoria (or other restaurant), rather than it being part of the buffet. Whilst the source of this may not be that reliable, I think it all sounds likely.
  19. I'll be on Spirit in the Mediterranean, I only need Skype to make calls to my 85 year old dad each day but it would be nice if I could check my emails too as I own my own business and occasionally (not often) the people in the office get stuck and need advice. Mostly I will be in the EU where my current telephone package gives me internet but obviously that doesn't work while we are at sea or in Croatia unfortunately. Many thanks
  20. I will be on the NCL Spirit out of Stockholm this weekend. Does anyone know if the IPhone internal communicator is available on this ship? It was available on most others, costs about $10.00 for the trip. Much thanks - Steve
  21. We were on the Spirit back in the mid-2000's on a Caribbean cruise in late October. The ship's captain during a Latitudes party told us that when we disembarked we should expect to see a LOT of crying & hugging between crew members as we left the ship in NYC. He explained that a LOT of the crew's contracts were terminating on our scheduled arrival day. He explained that while NCL makes every effort to stagger the dates when crew contracts terminate for some strange reason for Spirit an inordinate number were ending at this cruise's conclusion; almost half his crew he said. During a BTS tour on Gem about 10 years later I asked our tour guide about crew contracts & as www3traveler pointed out above they vary greatly. Basically, however, "regular" crew (wait staff, room stewards, etc) have 10 month contracts. Entertainers are MUCH shorter & vary greatly. CD's, ships officers, etc. have 3-4 month ones, I think she said. What NCL wants to avoid is the situation I referred to above on NCL Spirit above where a VERY large percentage of the crew "turns-over" all at once. So in answer to your original question while there may be a larger-than-usual crew turnover when Breakaway moves from Miami to Port Canaveral I don't think you'll see a mass exodus like we saw on Spirit many years ago. Have a great cruise!
  22. This is a quote from the Norwegian website about the Spirit Refurb Revitalized Norwegian Spirit to Serve China Market Seasonally Beginning Summer 2020 Norwegian Cruise Line remains committed to serving the Chinese cruise market and will deploy the 2,000 passenger Norwegian Spirit seasonally to the region beginning in summer 2020. Prior to her arrival, Norwegian Spirit will undergo a previously scheduled bow-to-stern revitalization as the final ship to undergo enhancements under the Norwegian Edge® fleet refurbishment program. In February 2020 her journey from Europe to Asia will feature several exclusive sailings with new calls for Norwegian Cruise Line including South Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles and Maldives.
  23. I have had some bargains over the years but I think the best value bargain is 598€ including two free at sea perks for an inside cabin on Spirit leaving Rome on 15 December coming (my birthday). It was this price for a few weeks but now has gone back up again. We chose sailaway at 499€ then paid an extra 99€ for the perks (including perk gratuities). We have been assigned a 1D which is now selling at 682€ plus 99€. I'm happy I booked when I did
  24. My favorite is the Epic... the rooms are interesting and it's a fun ship lots of places to go and things to do. My least favorite is the sky. That ship should have never been made it out of design. Talk a walk and run into dead ends way to often. Ships been on. Epic sky getaway Breakaway dawn spirit wind.
  25. We have been on all of the NCL’s current ships except the Joy and Sky. We will be going on the Encore in Nov for the inaugural TA. We do not really have a favorite as each ship has its own pros and cons. We prefer the larger class ships for the TAs as they are ideal for many sea days and we like having a wide variety of dining venues to go to. For the port intensive cruises we prefer the Spirit. We have always had good time, service, meals etc on the ships, and haven’t had a bad cruise. There was one time we had a bad room steward. We we have been on several of the ships more than twice, no two cruises are the same - it all depends on the crew rotation. So we go along with the flow, itinerary and whatever crew that is on the ship at the time.
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