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NCL Spirit review April 17 - 24

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NCL Spirit April 17-24, 2011

 

Overall it was a good cruise but not great or memorable. We had a good time but not a fantastic time and believe me we tried.

 

The ship was clean, easy to get around, and never felt overly crowded. The crew was upbeat at the beginning and then the morning we got to Belize something changed a bit and they seemed a little less upbeat, some were unhappy, and some not as outgoing or friendly as they had been and through the rest of the cruise I saw no real service lapse just a less happy crew.

 

We are a family of five and booked two cabins OV 6050 and 6052. Our kids (ages 19, 17, and 14) shared 6052.

 

No problems boarding in New Orleans, we pulled up, porter took our bags and my husband went and parked the car back at the hotel and took taxi back to pier. The kids and I walked around sightseeing for a while before heading in about noon to start the paperwork process.

 

We got in line for latitudes and breezed through check in, took less than ten minutes and that included the printer eating my credit card receipt so we had to go to another window to print and sign. We were called to board the boat and by 12:30 we were exploring.

 

We went to Windows to have a nice sit down lunch together; it was empty maybe five tables were occupied at this time. Good sandwiches and great service, it was a nice start to our cruise. We explored the ship till our rooms were readied about 2:30. Our bags started to arrive by 4:00 and we had everything by 6:00pm.

 

6050 & 6052 – we liked the location, plenty of storage space, bathrooms well planned. No major wear and tear visible and everything was clean and tidy.

 

We went on to explore the ship more with our son, he suited up and wanted to get wet, he enjoyed both the pool and the hot tubs. We went by the pool multiple times a day during the cruise and could always grab a chair or a lounger, it wasn’t overly packed.

 

Went to large Cruise Critic meet and greet and met the crew and other cruisers. I met and enjoyed the company of many people on this cruise and hope all had an enjoyable time.

 

Our cabins and our stewards: Loved the cabins and would book them again, they were clean, quiet and plenty big enough for all our stuff. The kids and I liked our stewards Alvin and Rodrigo, my husband did not. I left a note the first day asking to have the cooler filled with ice to keep our sodas cold and they did put ice in the cooler, not a lot but they did do it. They left a response to our note welcoming us and to enjoy our home away from home. The rest of the cruise was hit or miss on getting ice in our ice bucket let alone the cooler, by day three we stowed the cooler and went to the bar upstairs for glasses of soda. Alvin and Rodrigo did a good job with our cabins and we liked to say hi in the hall, they were very friendly and I think they did a good job. My husband’s complaints are about the ice and how late they got to our cabins, sometimes we were back from excursions and the cabins still had not been serviced. I think we were at the end of the line of cabins, it didn’t bother me and my husband got over it. Great towel animals were created and left for us and because of our name (Swan) and what we named the kids cabin (cygnets) they created a family of swans in both cabins for us. A tip was left in each cabin because I felt the stewards did a good job on this cruise.

 

Food – we are not high end folks and don’t eat out a lot at home. We like the service and the food in both Window and the Garden room. There were a couple of dishes I wish we hadn’t ordered but for the most part good food and great service.

 

Taste of India was quite good, 22 dishes to try for $15 each.

 

Shanghai was not so good, slow service and the food was icky (fried rice sucked) and no real flavor in any of the dishes and that is the opinion of four diners not just me.

 

We went to Raffles buffet a couple of mornings for breakfast and for evening soft serve ice cream. Thought breakfast was good with lots to choose from. Husband and kids loved Washy Washy.

 

Blue Lagoon was great for snacks and everyone enjoyed them morning, noon and late night.

 

My kids liked all the shows they went to including the magician. I liked the Broadway show and thought the singers did a good job. Elements was liked by the entire family. Thought the NCL song and bringing out the crew to sing was cheesy.

 

No problem at any of the ports and we thought tendering was fun in Belize. Two of us booked an excursion through NCL and were on the first or second tender to the port. My husband and two of the kids booked cave tubing independently and were on the fourth tender and had no problem getting to or back from their excursion.

 

NCL canceled (due to high winds) the sail and snorkel for husband and two kids in Costa Maya, my daughter and I went on a Mayan Ruin tour.

 

Belize was cave tubing for husband and two kids while my daughter and I went to Ruins and Belize River boat tour.

 

Roatan was our favorite port and everyone went on the Snorkel and Kayak tour through NCL – Cannibal Café and Quentin were a lot of fun.

 

Cozumel was swimming with the Rays for the girls and the Submarine for the boys.

 

What I didn’t like about my cruise:

 

Don’t buy $1800. in OBC and then be told to access it you have to pay 3%. That was not a rule when I paid for the OBC vouchers and damned if I pay 3% for my own money. I ended up getting cash from the ATM. My Dear John about this went unanswered.

 

Some of the Casino staff (three card dealer and cashier) were less than friendly and so were some of the machines.

 

I didn’t like going to the Taste of India and sitting next to someone in a tee shirt and shorts.

 

I don’t like that my entire recording of the Belize river cruise has obnoxious northerners making nasty comments about the guides, the wildlife or anything they could think of… ‘Uncle Kevin’ if you are out there, shut up. Despite Uncle Kevin and his obnoxious family, mouthy kids included, this was a fabulous tour and really enjoyed by my daughter and I.

 

Things I will not do on a cruise in the future: I will not play Bingo even if my kids beg. I will not get a hundred dollars in gold dollar coins to tip with, while easy for us to carry, bar staff thought I was giving them a quarter and we got some dirty looks when tipping extra for our sodas.

 

Things I was worried about: I bought soda cards for everyone even though I had read that people were having trouble getting service with the soda sticker. We didn’t experience this at all and never had trouble with the program, of course we also tipped almost every time we used them and defeated their money saving purpose.

 

Leaving the ship was not a problem, we were red tagged and waited to be called, no line through customs very easy and relaxing. Just a note, they have great porters in New Orleans.

Edited by cygnets

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enjoyed your review..we sailed the week after you and had some similar experiences.especially the room stewards and trying to get ice in our cabin.and we came to the same conclusion...that we were the last cabin on the hallway to get serviced.

we did get a fantastic response from john o'hara with a minor problem in our room. when we met him at the cruise critic meet and greet he insisted we call him about any little thing. i did. he handled it within the hour. then i also got 3 phone calls from belle to make sure things were still ok.later in the week i wanted to get a gift shop item, which was now sold out. i saw the same thing in a display about and called belle to see if i could purchase the display somehow....instead , she got ahold of the store manager, tracked down the item and made sure i got it. every time we ran across john o'hara on board , he took the time to chat and made us feel like family. needless to say this made for a fantastic trip and another great norwegian experience.

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NCL Spirit April 17-24, 2011

 

Taste of India was quite good, 22 dishes to try for $15 each.

 

Please tell me more about this. I assume it is a specialty restaurant, but I've never even heard it mentioned before.

 

Shanghai was not so good, slow service and the food was icky (fried rice sucked) and no real flavor in any of the dishes and that is the opinion of four diners not just me.

 

This is really upsetting. When we sailed the Epic last year, I was so looking forward to going here and we completely forgot about our reservations and ate at the buffet right after returning from our tiring excursion. We ended up having to cancel and I was bummed. (Since we have places like that here and enjoy them so much). It was the only specialty restaurant that we planned on going to while on our upcoming Spirit cruise. :(

 

 

Don’t buy $1800. in OBC and then be told to access it you have to pay 3%. That was not a rule when I paid for the OBC vouchers and damned if I pay 3% for my own money. I ended up getting cash from the ATM. My Dear John about this went unanswered.

 

Are you referring to having the OBC paid and trying to take the money out to use like at the casino? I seen someone mention that before, but I didn't really pay close attention to it. Now that it's being mentioned again, I'm thinking I should figure this out because I always prepay my OBC before cruising.

 

 

Things I was worried about: I bought soda cards for everyone even though I had read that people were having trouble getting service with the soda sticker. We didn’t experience this at all and never had trouble with the program, of course we also tipped almost every time we used them and defeated their money saving purpose.

 

I've never heard someone mention that they tip for the sodas when they bought the soda package. I've never seen anyone tip either when I was on the ship. :confused:

 

Leaving the ship was not a problem, we were red tagged and waited to be called, no line through customs very easy and relaxing. Just a note, they have great porters in New Orleans.

 

Thanks for your review. I can't wait to go myself. We have less than 4 months now...and counting. :)

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Thanks for the good review. Will be on the Spirit, for the 3rd time, on Oct 23rd. Wanted to go on her one more time before she moves to Europe. This ship will be replaced with the Star last next year. Really enjoy the friendly crew, excellent shows like "Elements".

 

Counting down the days.

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An interesting review. Thank you for posting it.

 

We loved the taste of India lunch when we were on the Sun last summer so I hope it will still be available in November for us.

 

@mitsugirly. Taste of India is not a restaurant as such. When we did it it was a one off lunch in a speciality restaurant on one of the sea days. It will be available for one session only and not repeated during that cruise. Food were served buffet style and it was excellent. It seemed like they were showcasing the foods from the areas chefs and cooks were from. Wait staff were all from India too. Since we have been to India 3 times we had great fun reliving our travels with the staff. When we left I asked why no Indian beer? The officers were very excited when I told them that they could buy Cobra and Kingfisher beer in UK supermarkets (this cruise was ex Dover UK) and were discussing getting the port agent to arrange some to be brought on board for the next cruise.

 

I am so excited about our trip to NOLA and our cruise on the Spirit later this year.

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@mitsugirly. Taste of India is not a restaurant as such. When we did it it was a one off lunch in a speciality restaurant on one of the sea days. It will be available for one session only and not repeated during that cruise. Food were served buffet style and it was excellent.

 

 

I assumed that since it was called Taste of India that it was food from India, but I've never had that type of food. Can someone explain to me what it's like (if that's possible) or maybe some names of dishes so I can look them up. It sounds like a neat experience. $15 for that much tasting sound like a great deal.

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I assumed that since it was called Taste of India that it was food from India, but I've never had that type of food. Can someone explain to me what it's like (if that's possible) or maybe some names of dishes so I can look them up. It sounds like a neat experience. $15 for that much tasting sound like a great deal.

 

Taste of India is offered usually during a sea day on the Spirit in the Garden Main Dining Room (midship). It was also buffet style the two years I did it on the Boston to Bermuda run. There are different common Indian dishes, most with curry which makes them somewhat spicy. The neat thing is the Indian crew who are onboard dress in their traditional attire and are around to answer any questions you may have about the dishes. I wish I could remember the names of them but I would definitely recommend you attending it. :)

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On our Spirit cruise in April, the Taste of India was offered in Shogun on Tuesday night (after Costa Maya).

 

Thank you for this information. I had no intentions on going to Shogun and might have missed it. Good to know that it's only 1 night. Did you find it crowded when you went since it's only 1 night out of the cruise? Do they list this in the dailies so that you know when it is going to be?

 

Thanks in advance.

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Nice review. Thanks for posting.

 

Been there and done that with people on a tour who hated everything and were very vocal about it, even if others loved the tour.:rolleyes:

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Taste of India was twenty two different dishes served where you are seated. I think they hold enough places to seat fifty people during this meal. We were seated with another couple who were quite nice to chat with since they had been to India and could actually explain some of the dishes to us. I have a copy of the menu and will try to scan and post tomorrow.

 

For the OBC question, I don't like carrying a lot of cash so I bought $1800. In vouchers for our account. I did this on our previous cruises and was able to pull cash from the account if I wanted to play in the casino. This time it was not to be, they wanted to charge 3% and make you fill out paperwork and possibly charge it against my credit card I had for my sail card. I ended up using the ATM and spending less in the casino.

 

The one plus side is I spent less on my cruise than I had planned.

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Taste of India was twenty two different dishes served where you are seated. I think they hold enough places to seat fifty people during this meal. We were seated with another couple who were quite nice to chat with since they had been to India and could actually explain some of the dishes to us. I have a copy of the menu and will try to scan and post tomorrow.

 

So then do you have to make reservations when you board the ship to assure that you get a spot? I can't imagine them bringing out 22 dishes. These have to be a few spoon fulls or something in order to taste it all. :eek:

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So then do you have to make reservations when you board the ship to assure that you get a spot? I can't imagine them bringing out 22 dishes. These have to be a few spoon fulls or something in order to taste it all. :eek:

 

Traditionally Indian families eat several dishes at one sitting at home. Think meat plus vegetables or sides. It is typical for each person to take one or two spoons of each dish and to have several different dishes on one plate or a banana leaf. Some will be delicately spiced, some hot and fiery, some sweet and some sour. Some dishes would be meat based but most would be vegetable only.They would also have several condiments or pickles, raitas and breads. The breads are used to eat with, no knife and fork just the fingers of one hand.

 

The meal on the ship is a banquet, will consist of courses of many dishes and have more meat dishes. Of course on the ship they will provide silverware. Expect Lamb, Chicken and Seafood. There will be no beef or pork in true Indian cooking as those animals are not eaten in most places for religious reasons. There are also many differences in the cuisine based upon the region of the country it is from. Southern Indian dishes are usually very spicy, some areas the dishes are very dry while other areas they have a lot of creamy sauces. It is a very diverse nation with a very diverse cuisine.

 

I look forward to seeing a copy of the menu as on the Sun it was buffet style with starters such a bhajis, pakora, tikka followed by rices and curries, vegetable dishes and breads then the desserts each located in their own area. Indian desserts are tooth rottingly sweet. The traditional yoghurt based drink Lassi was also served. Yoghurt is very cooling on the mouth and the stomach and calms the burn of the hotter, spicier food. Staff were in the area and were very happy to talk about each dish and explain the ingredients, cooking methods etc. Their pride in the event was shining through in everything they said, did and cooked.

 

Again on the Sun, it was promoted in the daily for a few days before hand and when we were looking at the menus for the speciality restaurants at the booking desk they had in the atrium the staff member asked us if we might be interested and showed us the menu. We signed up right away. I think if they are doing this on the Spirit during your cruise you will hear about it or you can ask at the restaurant reservation desk.

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Traditionally Indian families eat several dishes at one sitting at home. Think meat plus vegetables or sides. It is typical for each person to take one or two spoons of each dish and to have several different dishes on one plate or a banana leaf. Some will be delicately spiced, some hot and fiery, some sweet and some sour. Some dishes would be meat based but most would be vegetable only.They would also have several condiments or pickles, raitas and breads. The breads are used to eat with, no knife and fork just the fingers of one hand.

 

The meal on the ship is a banquet, will consist of courses of many dishes and have more meat dishes. Of course on the ship they will provide silverware. Expect Lamb, Chicken and Seafood. There will be no beef or pork in true Indian cooking as those animals are not eaten in most places for religious reasons. There are also many differences in the cuisine based upon the region of the country it is from. Southern Indian dishes are usually very spicy, some areas the dishes are very dry while other areas they have a lot of creamy sauces. It is a very diverse nation with a very diverse cuisine.

 

I look forward to seeing a copy of the menu as on the Sun it was buffet style with starters such a bhajis, pakora, tikka followed by rices and curries, vegetable dishes and breads then the desserts each located in their own area. Indian desserts are tooth rottingly sweet. The traditional yoghurt based drink Lassi was also served. Yoghurt is very cooling on the mouth and the stomach and calms the burn of the hotter, spicier food. Staff were in the area and were very happy to talk about each dish and explain the ingredients, cooking methods etc. Their pride in the event was shining through in everything they said, did and cooked.

 

Again on the Sun, it was promoted in the daily for a few days before hand and when we were looking at the menus for the speciality restaurants at the booking desk they had in the atrium the staff member asked us if we might be interested and showed us the menu. We signed up right away. I think if they are doing this on the Spirit during your cruise you will hear about it or you can ask at the restaurant reservation desk.

 

 

Thanks you for the WONDERFUL description. It helped a lot. I will definitely be looking for when they offer this meal on the Spirit and signing up.

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