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Very extensive 9/11 Spirit Review


mitsugirly
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On your cruise did you have a Cruise Critic Meet & Greet? On my Oct 23rd cruise, we have already planned one and so far have over 30 people. Great way of making new friends at the beginning of the cruise.

 

Yes, we did have a Meet & Greet on Kim's sailing. The Captain didn't attend, but Kaj, the Hotel Director, lead the meeting and was very kind. They had a card with all of the officer's direct numbers for us and the ususal refreshments.

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Really enjoying the review of the Spirit (we sail her 2/5/12). The only thing I question is the fact that your little princess, at age 3, was able to zip line alone. Boy, I would have a serious problem with that. My kids are grown and gone on their own and I worry about them all the time (they are 39 and 30).

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I am loving your detailed review with pictures! We will be on the Spirit in October. I'm even more excited (my friends, co-workers and family would not know if that is possible) now that I am reading your review. We will be staying at the Drury Inn and going to Costa Maya also. Thanks so much for taking the time to write the review and adding pictures with it.

 

We love cahsew wine! It's very sweet, but oh wow, is it ever potent! Be careful! One time a Belizian clerk told us that it even gets the locals really drunk! I save it for special occasions even though it is inexpensive. We have not been able to find any in the states nor have any local liquor stores been able to order it from Belize for us. I can't wait to buy more.

 

I can't wait to read the rest of your review.

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Mitsugirly,

 

I am really enjoing your review. One of the best I have ever read. I am going for my second Spirit cruise in Feb and can't wait. Also am going to Maya Chan for the second time. Your pictures are wonderful.

 

I am not a wild animal fan. Love to look at them in their own environment from a safe place. We also did the Bodden tour last time, but asked not to go near the monkeys. None of us wanted any issues.

 

Were you happy with your meals on board? What was your favorite part of being on th Spirit?

 

Karen

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Loving you rewiew and photo's will be on the Spirit in October.

I have a few questions. Is it ok to email you.

 

Thanks,

Marcy

 

Absolutely. I'll try to get to it as soon as I can. I started back to school today for this quarter, so things are about to be hectic again. Then I go back to work on Saturday (have been off 3 weeks for vacation). I've been posting pics on my smugmug for here at the same time on my facebook and our roll call on facebook...so...I'm getting hundreds of notifications every day of replies that I'm trying to keep up with too. :p

 

I am loving your detailed review with pictures! We will be on the Spirit in October. I'm even more excited (my friends, co-workers and family would not know if that is possible) now that I am reading your review. We will be staying at the Drury Inn and going to Costa Maya also. Thanks so much for taking the time to write the review and adding pictures with it.

 

We love cahsew wine! It's very sweet, but oh wow, is it ever potent! Be careful! One time a Belizian clerk told us that it even gets the locals really drunk! I save it for special occasions even though it is inexpensive. We have not been able to find any in the states nor have any local liquor stores been able to order it from Belize for us. I can't wait to buy more.

 

I can't wait to read the rest of your review.

 

Hope you have a wonderful stay at the Drury. Did you get a good deal? When I booked, I found a special code for cruisers only.

 

This was the first time I've ever had Cashew wine. It was very yummy and can't wait to open the bottle we brought home some time soon.

 

Wonderful pictures and review.

 

Thanks :)

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Mitsugirly,

 

I am really enjoing your review. One of the best I have ever read. I am going for my second Spirit cruise in Feb and can't wait. Also am going to Maya Chan for the second time. Your pictures are wonderful.

 

I am not a wild animal fan. Love to look at them in their own environment from a safe place. We also did the Bodden tour last time, but asked not to go near the monkeys. None of us wanted any issues.

 

Were you happy with your meals on board? What was your favorite part of being on th Spirit?

 

Karen

 

Thanks. I'll have to get working on the rest of it. It takes forever to try to remember everything we did and what all happened. It was a long, but too short week if ya know what I mean. :D

 

We were satisfied with the meals on board. However, we are not too picky and I'll go into more detail about that when I get to the ship review. I'm kinda saving it for last just because I know it's going to take awhile for it.

:eek:

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COZUMEL, MEXICO

 

We decided to do the Dolphin Encounter at Chankanaab (because of our little one) but also knew that we wanted to do some snorkeling and had heard that the snorkeling here was AWESOME.

 

I’ll start this review with the Chankanaab portion first, because that is what we did first. The Dolphin Encounter price included admission to Chankanaab, so we didn’t have to pay the $21.00 admission price (which after going there, I would more than be willing to pay the admission price). There is a discount coupon online for $2.00 off admission if you are going there and not doing a dolphin, manatee or sea lion swim.

 

http://www.cozumelinsider.com/images/specials/ChankanaabCoupon.pdf

 

The port at this place is…well LONG and winding in order to get out. You have to walk around and up and down and back and forth and….well you get the picture, just to get out of here. You are passing every darn shop wanting to sell you something along the way. Make note that on the way back, it’s more like a straight shot and up the escalator and you are there. Of course I conclude this is a selling tactic to get you to buy things there because it forces you to go by all of them.

 

We caught a cab and the driver told us it would be $12 to Chankanaab. Now I know, because I do extensive research prior to going anywhere, that it was supposed to be a $10 ride. However, I did know that RC Allure and a Carnival ship was docked on down (toward the way we would be traveling, and I knew exactly where we would be going because I “walked the streets” in that entire area on google earth to familiarize myself with it before hand LOL) and thought, well maybe it’s because they are docked closer and the $10 taxi fee was cheaper there. WRONG, on the way home, we found out it was a $10 ride back. So, yea, I was scammed $2. No big deal I guess.

 

We arrived and immediately knew this was going to be good. The entrance and huge “hut” you walk under was beautiful. Waterfalls, beautifully decorated and several shops. We immediately went to the left (after passing the falls on the left that say Chankanaab)ßalso, if you need to use the restrooms when you enter, they are located UNDER the falls in the “cave”. ;o)

 

To the left was a really neat path that takes you to different sculptures and replicas of Mayan Ruins. It was in a rain forest type setting and absolutely stunning IMO. We ran across several lizards/salamanders along the way and a big Iguana sunbathing on the roof of the “sacrifice hut”.

 

 

 

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At the exit of the walk, we came out and found the small beach area, that people have mentioned here on cc before, that has nice calm waters with a gentle slope walking in. It’s the “kiddie” area people say. We decided not to stay there and walk over to the bigger beach area to look around first.

 

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The beach was GORGEOUS! Of course it’s not a beach that you walk right into the water. There is a wall all the way around it and you must walk down steps OR rocks, depending where you enter at, to get into the water.

 

We headed to the big snorkeling shack to see about renting equipment. It was $10pp for the mask, snorkel tube and fins. They did have snorkel vest, however, you had to pay $5 to rent them and they flat out told us that you could get them for free and the small shack right before them. So, we walked over to the small shack (which only had life vest, the kind you blow up=real snorkeling vest) and they just required your picture ID. Only 1 ID needed for everyone in your group. People have mentioned that they run out of these quickly, however, they seem to have plenty that day and as I mentioned, there were 3 ships there…including ALLURE!

 

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We were ready for some snorkeling and put our things at one of the MANY shade hut/papaya’s they had along the beach. One of the locals told us that the water is calmer more to the right (while facing the beach) than to the left. So, we headed down that way. There were a lot of places along there to enter (maybe 7 or 8???). Immediately there were fish EVERYWHERE….WOW. What a beautiful site! Some places had metal steps to walk into the water (then dropped off at the last step) and others just had huge rocks placed as steps. They are slippery, so be careful. I would walk down far enough to get my fins on then pretty much dive in to keep from walking on the steps. We start toward the right and worked our way toward the left. I could not believe how clear the water was and just how many different types of fish we seen all by the areas along the shore line entrances. You could just swim up and down there and see tons without even going out.

 

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There are several statues that are placed deeper out in the water. My husband swam out there later in the day to take pictures. I stayed back with our little one because at that point, she had snorkeling herself out and just wanted to play in the sand. We started to head out that way at one point, then I saw how deep it was getting and the water was getting colder and turned back because of her. Facing the beach, to the left far out is a person statue standing real tall. To the far right and far out were several other small statues. There were a lot of scuba divers out there, which made my husband very jealous and he wanted to scuba after that. Now, I don’t know how things work in Mexico, but we were told that we could scuba right then and there and the person at the rental hut can “certify us on the spot”. Hmmm, anyone know anything about this? Doesn’t sound too safe to me.

 

We did run a tab with one of the waiters going up and down the beach taking orders. I thought that was nice that they allowed you to do that. The banana daiquiris were AMAZING! Alcoholic drinks (mixed) were $6.00 and soda was $2.00.

 

We decided that we wanted to go check out the lagoon there and we decided to turn out snorkeling vest in (for fear of walking away and someone taking them) so we played it safe. We started walking and then discovered the lagoon is RIGHT BEHIND the beach area where we were sitting. Duh! I thought is was a far distance away from the snorkeling area for some reason. I thought I had seen a map of Chankanaab and it looked like it wasn’t close by. Wrong.

 

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The lagoon was amazingly beautiful! We walked all the way around it taking pictures. There were several iguanas (black in color) laying around here and there. I had seen pictures of some orange iguanas and had hoped to find one….no luck. :( We did notice someone along the side with a pool like skimmer taking the leaves and such off the top of the water around the edges. They must hire someone to care for the lagoon to keep it so beautiful.

 

Then back to the snorkeling we went for a little longer. We had scheduled our dolphin swim for 1pm (but there was a mix up, which I’ll go into in my Dolphin review) so we decided to turn in our equipment and start walking toward the dolphin area. On the way back, I finally ran into several green iguanas (had a little bit of orange on them). I don’t know a lot about iguanas, so maybe they start black, turn green, then orange as they mature and get older??? Or maybe they are just a different species all together?

 

Whenever we decide to revisit Cozumel…this place will be a priority on our list. We loved it that much! Last year we loved Sapphire Beach at St Thomas on the east Caribbean, now we’ve found our little slice of heaven for the western Caribbean as well. We did not want to ever leave!!!!

 

A link to all my pictures...TONS of snorkeling pictures...the good ones. ;o)

 

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Mitsu.....Have to smile reading your review. You basically shadowed our Carnival Dream cruise the prior week (except at Cozumel we taxied over to Money Bar to snorkle).

Maya Chan was so laid back and fun (I think I recall floating on the water with Mark, the owner, drinking bloody marys and shots of Tequila). Didn't mind the little rain that morning.

Junior and the crew at Cavetubing.bz are a hoot. It was so nice to see employees proud not only of their county but of the profession they chose to work at. Didn't try the termits, but wife did. I think they have that tarantula on payroll......looks like the same one we played with! Hope this small family business succeeds in a very competitive environment.

Looks like we had a little better weather in Roatan than you. Water not quite 100% clear (maybe 80%). Still, IMO, the best reef in the Caribbean. Anyway, at least you can say you've been there after you get that "where the heck is Roatan?" look from others. Didn't get to dine on "Jesus lizard on a stick" though! :)

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Just wondering how deep the water is, where you were snorkling? I don't swim but love to snorkel with a "hot dog of life".

Great pictures and review. Looking forward to reading the review and more pictures.

 

It really varied back and forth. You could possibly stand right there at the steps and see tons of fish. Take a box of cheerios and watch them come to you. :D

 

There is coral/iron shore everywhere along the sides of the beach wall. You could just go up and down that with no issues and see a lot. Just rent one of the life jackets and float along exploring from one set of steps to the other all the way up and down there. (They are free with your license at the shack).

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Mitsu.....Have to smile reading your review. You basically shadowed our Carnival Dream cruise the prior week (except at Cozumel we taxied over to Money Bar to snorkle).

Maya Chan was so laid back and fun (I think I recall floating on the water with Mark, the owner, drinking bloody marys and shots of Tequila). Didn't mind the little rain that morning.

Junior and the crew at Cavetubing.bz are a hoot. It was so nice to see employees proud not only of their county but of the profession they chose to work at. Didn't try the termits, but wife did. I think they have that tarantula on payroll......looks like the same one we played with! Hope this small family business succeeds in a very competitive environment.

Looks like we had a little better weather in Roatan than you. Water not quite 100% clear (maybe 80%). Still, IMO, the best reef in the Caribbean. Anyway, at least you can say you've been there after you get that "where the heck is Roatan?" look from others. Didn't get to dine on "Jesus lizard on a stick" though! :)

 

I wish we could have met Mark. I was really looking forward to it after talking with him so many times prior to our cruise. But he needs to take care of family first and I totally understand.

 

The people at .bz are so proud of what they do it was unbelievable. They do not advertise and only ask that you come back and report here your feelings and experience that you had with them. They strictly rely on word of mouth...and my mouth has nothing but high praises for them. They are truly a class act! I have a high respect for Junior and his professionalism, courtesy, fun going and making our trip a blast!

 

No Jesus lizard on a stick for us. :(

We were wanting to try the tacos they had and smelled so good when we first walked in, but by the time we returned, it was over. Maybe next time.

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COZUMEL, MEXICO

DOLPHIN SWIM AT CHANKANAAB

 

 

 

We booked our dolphin encounter (had to do the encounter because of our little one and at her age, that’s all she was allowed to do) months in advance. They require full payment at the time of booking. If you book more than 30 days (I think), then you are offered a discount. Woo hoo. I’m all for saving money.

 

When we first arrived here, we checked in. They told us to enjoy our day and come back at 1:20 for our 1:30pm swim. So off we went to Chankanaab for activities (as reported above).

 

When we returned (1:15pm) and went to sign in, they informed us that our excursion had actually started at 1pm and we were late. Um, they told me to be there at 1:20. ??? But it was ok, they just told us to catch up to them standing there on the dock being briefed on what was about to happen.

 

They provide free lockers; just insert stuff, key is already in them and you lock it and take the key with you.

 

WARNING…the wooden deck IS VERY VERY HOT! It was burning our feet (those of us that did not wear water shoes…which happen to be me and my daughter). They fitted us for our life vest and then took family by family to have their pictures taken on a chair nearby. I was busy running back and forth to any spot of shade I could stand on. Did I mention just how burning hot the deck was??? Ugh.

 

Finally they briefed us on the particular dolphin we would be working with. Her name was Foxy. She has had 5 babies since she has been with them, 1 that was in the tank with her at the time. He was not trained yet so we were instructed to try to resist touching him (even though he was trying like crazy to get our attention and swimming right up to us and setting there hoping for a little loving lol).

 

The trainer had the Foxy do several things on her own, swimming by us so that we could touch her back and then her belly. So neat and rubbery. Hehe Then they went back and forth letting everyone take turns getting to “kiss” her, then she would in turn “kiss” us. Then we would shake hands/flippers, then hold our left hand (to my husband “no, your other left hand” LOL) and she would come up out of the water and touch it with her nose. My daughter squealed with laugher the entire time and couldn’t stop smiling. What a treat. I knew she was going to love this and worth every penny we spent!

 

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Then Foxy did several tricks, waving to us and she went by, zoomed by us so fast splashing us, then a few jumps high in the air. She “talked” to us by her little blow hole squealing. Smiled at us showing us her teeth. A lot of neat little things.

 

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We spent about an hour in there with her and then they informed us that our “tour” was not over yet. Um what? They paraded us around all the tanks of dolphins and over to the manatee tank. Wow, really? They were letting us do the manatee as well? GREAT! I was kicking myself at this point because half way through the dolphin encounter, my battery died. GACK! So, when I found out there was more, I RAN to the lockers to get my other battery. By the time I got back, they were already in the water and I had missed it, but did manage to get some pictures of my husband and daughter in there with them, but just none of her feeding the manatee.

 

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We went back to see the pictures on their computer screen. The people that are at the desk doing the pictures and putting together the disc are not the photographers. The photographers are out there just snapping pictures and then it is brought to the desk for you to view. ALL OF THE PHOTOS the photographer took are on the computer of the entire group. They are not using just one disk for each family or anything.

 

So, when you go up to the desk, they are looking at all of the pictures and check marking which ones you are in (even if others are in the pictures)...anything that has you in it to offer it to you. They took around 89, I think, of us, some were just us, others were us in a group of people around us...but they offer all. For a group on 3 people (like us) it was $139 for the cd of ALL pictures.

 

Just thought I'd give a little info on it after our return. I do photography on the side here and there, and I didn't think the quality of the shots were worth $139, so we decided not to purchase them. :)

 

So, I’ve decided that my husband not only sucks at taking pictures, but also at videos as well. The pictures he got of me on the video did not turn out too well with water spots on it and sun glare. LOL But, we still have the videos and a few pictures I took from the video along with our memories of the dolphin swim. That’s good enough for us.

 

Definitely had a blast.

 

Additional pictures: dolphin%204-600x352.jpg

 

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My husband is a TERRIBLE photographer as well.:p

 

My son and I rode a camel once and he zoomed all the way in to just our faces so you couldn't even tell what we were actually doing.

 

On the first day of school I sent him to the bus w/ the camera and he took ONE picture of the back of our son's head!!!!:eek:

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My husband is a TERRIBLE photographer as well.:p

 

My son and I rode a camel once and he zoomed all the way in to just our faces so you couldn't even tell what we were actually doing.

 

On the first day of school I sent him to the bus w/ the camera and he took ONE picture of the back of our son's head!!!!:eek:

 

I actually laughed out loud with this post. Thanks for making me feel better. I carry a camera everywhere I go and even when I have the camera, he has a habit of...walking in front of me right when I snap the picture, putting an arm out at the wrong time, turning his head another way...you name it, he'll do it. Some day I'll teach him some skills. LOL :D

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Loving your review. We are doing this cruise in Nov. and doing a lot of the same things.

I have ordered a Canon D10 because of your pictures.

 

Thanks. I'm working on the ship pictures right now. I'm loving some of them. :D I think I'm buying another Canon D10 for the hubby for next year. :eek: That's how much I love it.

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Thanks for the great review! You are getting my mouth watering for our 4th Spirit cruise on Valentine's day with Russian Mom and all of our buddies! Keep it coming - I'm cruise hungry right now!

 

Haha, I know what you mean. I just got back and still can't think of anything else but my next one.

 

I finished all of my pictures (well, the one's I decided to pick and share)-almost 300 of them. :eek: I'll start to work on the review tomorrow for it and post the pictures. :)

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I joined Cruise Critic recently to get information on the very same cruise you just took - we'll be on the Spirit's Western Caribbean cruise in November. I truly appreciate your detailed reviews and pictures, I cannot tell you how helpful they are! :cool: And I'm going to second the comments about your camera, now I want the Cannon D10. :D

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I joined Cruise Critic recently to get information on the very same cruise you just took - we'll be on the Spirit's Western Caribbean cruise in November. I truly appreciate your detailed reviews and pictures, I cannot tell you how helpful they are! :cool: And I'm going to second the comments about your camera, now I want the Cannon D10. :D

 

Why thank you and welcome to cruise critic. I now have my ship review done and I'm setting here while all the pictures I decided to share upload to my account and I'll post.

 

Just remember one thing about the camera...I normally shoot with a professional slr camera (for about 2 years now). I don't do it professionally, but have done pictures for family, friends and people that wanted pictures done for them for pay. I thought about going into photography 2 years ago when I first started school, but then changed my major to nursing. I have a passionate love for photography and I'm still thinking about pursing it as well. Being on a lot of photography forums, you will find professional photographers complain about people asking them "what type of camera do you use, it takes such wonderful pictures?" and any photographer will tell you that their reply is, it's not the camera, but the person behind the camera that makes the picture. It's an art form, a good eye...and yes, the camera as well. But with any camera, you have to learn to take a good picture and the settings to use that works for the situation.

 

Now with that being said, the Canon D10 is a WONDERFUL point and shoot camera. High megapixels and so many different settings. I absolutely love it! It takes wonderful day, night and underwater pictures. (you can search my threads where I took fireworks pictures with it and they turned out fabulous). It has video, which does a pretty decent job as well. I wouldn't go without my little D10 because as a photographer at heart, it works for me and I've learn to make the most of it. If anything ever happen to it, I wouldn't hesitate to buy another asap. I've learn to carry it with me instead of the expensive slr camera just because it does it all and the convenience of the size of it. No lugging around a bag loaded with different heavy lens, camera bodies and accessories. This way I can make the most of my vacation and it simply ties around my hand. I highly recommend it and hope you enjoy it as much as I do if you decide to purchase. :D

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I joined Cruise Critic recently to get information on the very same cruise you just took - we'll be on the Spirit's Western Caribbean cruise in November. I truly appreciate your detailed reviews and pictures, I cannot tell you how helpful they are! :cool: And I'm going to second the comments about your camera, now I want the Cannon D10. :D

 

Hey Travelchick - what are your Nov dates? We are new to this too and cruising the Spirit on Nov 27th. Make sure you go over to the roll call and say hi there too.

I agree - I ave gotten so much good info from this TR and it sure helps the planning when people provide such great details about their trip.

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SPIRIT

 

I have to start by saying that when we were trying to decide what to do for vacation this year, we started by thinking it would be a “land” vacation. But it didn’t take long to decide it was cruise time again. We had such a blast last year that we knew we wanted to do it again. So the search was on…

 

 

 

My husband’s first cruise was last year with the Epic. Even though I had cruised off and on since the 80’s, I guess I started him out big. LOL I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy to top that cruise. I only had 1 week out of the year that I was going to be able to vacation and we knew we wanted to do the western Caribbean, so the only choice that came up was for the Spirit. After reading so many excellent reviews about the Spirit, I knew we had made a good decision (even if it was made for us).

 

Arriving at the port of NOLA to board was A BREEZE! I thought the Epic and Miami did a wonderful job of getting us on the ship quickly…the people at NOLA and the Spirit topped that tremendously. I could not believe how quickly we were on board.

 

The Grand Centrum entrance was spectacular! Now that’s what I remember cruise ships being like when you entered them. They gave you that “wow” factor. It was 5 stories tall, 3 glass elevators and a beautiful lit up stairway leading up to the next floor. The waterfalls were beautiful in the Grand Centrum. This was all something that I truly missed on the Epic!

 

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We immediately decided to explore the ship a little and make our way to have some lunch. We ate at the buffet at Raffles up on the 10th floor, which hit the spot, and then they were already announcing that our rooms were ready for us. Wow, that was quick! It was about 1:15pm when they were available. We found our room. Hmmm, I thought upon opening the door that it was a little strangely designed. So, I’ll start off with my “room report”.

 

We book the interior room because we like to save money in any way we can…more to spend on the ship and in the ports. We are hardly ever in there other than to sleep and shower, so why not. The design of the interior room was less than what I expected. Previously on cruises when you walk in, to one side is the bathroom and at the end of the room is the bed. As soon as you opened up the door, the door hit the bed and you were walking right into it. It was decorated ok, but could use some updating as most already know. It had a couch in it (over in the corner and beside the bed) and in front of that was a vanity with a mirror. This is where you’ll find all the different types of plugs everyone is talking about. To the other side is the storage/closet area. The closet was big enough and had shelves in the corner. But, we decided since there were 3 of us that it would just be easier to keep everything in our luggage and get what we needed out daily. I really feel that if they just moved the bed around with the sofa, the room would seem so much bigger. You would be able to walk in and have room to stand instead of maneuvering around a bed to get to things. This room was (I believe) 145 sq ft. We stayed in a studio last year, which was only 100 sq ft and it seemed WAY bigger than this one because of the layout.

 

Ok, on to the bathroom. It was decorated cute with the little ships on the tiles, but I didn’t think it was very clean. The grout was darkened in areas all over and the walls in the bathroom were a little dirty with something on them. I got tired of starring at it and decided to see if it was a permanent stain or just dirty and wipe it off. It came off. Hmmm. It came well equipped with the soap and shampoo dispenser in the shower and the hanging line for wet clothes. Everyone complained that they didn’t like the new design of the bathrooms on the Epic and the glass doors, well; I don’t see a difference really. There was a shower with a glass door on one side in the bathroom and a toilet area with a glass door on the other side. The sink was in between. So, essentially if someone was in the shower and someone needed to use the restroom, you still have a glass door there to be seen. Bathrooms were never an issue with me with either of these ships. Just saying…

 

Our room steward was nice and always spoke (but this has always been the case with any NCL personnel on the ship that we came across). I did ask that he leave 1 extra towel in the room for me to use for my hair because we only had 3 towels and there were 3 in the room. He was happy to do so. The only time he didn’t…and I’m not sure why, is the last night were he only left a total of 2 towels????

 

We got a towel animal every night after the first night (and excluding the last night) where I was told by fellow cruisers on our roll call that some only got them twice. Maybe it was because we had our daughter, maybe not.

 

Another thing I noticed this time around was you could feel the swaying of the ship. I remember these days with the smaller ships of the swaying and getting off the ship to find that you are still feeling like you are rocking. With the Epic, we didn’t feel any of that and only felt movement when we were pulling up against the dock with the vibration. The weird part was, I was always use to rocking back and forth, but I think since our beds were in the direction they were, we ended up feeling like we were rocking from front to back instead of side to side. LOL No big deal, the rocking sensation was gone after about 3 days of being home.

 

Around the ship…you could tell that she was not brand new, but these people work so hard at keeping her cleaned up. Just like the Epic, as soon as you put something down, someone is there to swipe it up and clean it for the next person. Clean, clean, clean. When it comes to keeping a ship as spotless as possible, NCL staff do it up right!

 

One gripe I (well my husband) did have was for some reason still unknown to us, outside Raffles dining, they had the side of the ship doors blocked off to go in on the left where the men’s restroom was. You had to go in the opposite side of the ship and walk around. I’m not sure why this was only on this deck. We ate a lot up there and just thought it was weird that it was always blocked off from entering the dining area there.

 

There were places around the ship that you could clearly tell that needed a fresh coat of paint or redone, but it never stopped our fun of course. We were just use to seeing everyone painting and clear coating the handrails several times during our cruise on the Epic. The handrails here hand worn off the clear coat and we only noticed because we had witnessed them on our prior cruise working so hard to keep it looking brand new (of course because it was brand new). We did see a painter on the outside of the ship on the scaffold painting one day (as I was eating lunch, he zoomed by me startling me). LOL One thing that I do have to complain about is they did not keep the windows on the outside of the ship very clean. When we got on the ship, they were not clean and during the cruise, they were not clean. All the salt on them made it hard to take pictures (like from the Galaxy of the Stars in the front of the ship) and I guess I expected a little more in that area of cleaning.

 

Upon exploring, we managed to find only 1 tv screen that showed where we were at during any given time. It wasn’t in a public place with a lot of traffic. I found that odd. I really enjoyed having it on our screen in our room last year and figured they would have this somewhere that would be obvious and it wasn’t. I also miss being able to view your on board account from the room, but asking the staff at the front desk (which was never busy) to print you up one was easy.

 

We did go down the little winding stairway to the Captains area from the Galaxy of the Stars and found that area to be really neat. I took pictures of the making of the Spirit (Super Star Leo) to share with everyone. That’s one thing I had never seen in all the pictures of the Spirit.

 

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We ended up buying 2 future cruise certificates and the lady at the desk was extremely nice. However, we were talking about the new ships coming out and she said that they were going to start booking at the end of the year??? From all the talk on cc, we understood it was going to be October. So, I’m not sure now.

 

Shopping, I really didn’t see any “great” deals going on that interested me like we did on the Epic. The jewelry was very expensive compared to last year and we just couldn’t find a deal that struck our fancy like last year. I did end up getting a tee shirt that says Spirit on it for me and one Del Sol Spirit shirt for my daughter. The best deal that I found was for a Spirit scrapbook with all the trimmings along with the matching photo book. I loved it and for all the stuff we got in the package (which included tons of pictures as well) for a great deal of only $34 (I think it was). I also got a free 8x10 photo of the ship with all the ports for the simple fact that I noticed that it was WRONG on the picture. The way that we visit each port was wrong and the guy at the photo shop said that he had never noticed that and gave me a free picture because of it. LOL Ok, I’ll take it.

 

Food-for the most part, I thought the food was good. We eat a lot at the buffet because we are not really picky and I like the thought of seeing the food I’m eating prior to eating, along with eating as much as you’d like…(insert big smiley face here). I didn’t discover the crepe area until about the 3rd night (which I love) and we had to hunt down someone to make it for me. It did not taste the same as last year. I don’t think they cooked it long enough and it was very doughy still. They also did not have the huge selection that the Epic did for fillings or toppings. Kind of a disappointment for me. I attempted it one more time during the cruise and the cook did not know how to make them. He burned the first and the second time he just made a mess with holes everywhere in it. But, it was ok. We were joking and laughing about it the entire time. He was a good sport about it and he cracked me up. The only thing I ate that I can say just was NOT good at all was their stir-fry/Asian food in the buffet. Everything else was great. We knew that eating time was going to be an issue with our 3 year old and soon discovered that it was. We quickly discovered a method that worked for us. Breakfast we would sit at a certain table (so it because familiar to her and only had one instance that someone was sitting there and my daughter looked at him like he needed to move LOL). But it was outside of Ruffles. We would sit down, I would go in and get my daughters breakfast, and then we would take turns getting ours. This worked out well. It seem to be the only time it worked though. We quickly learn to take her to the kids program to play while we dined for dinner or lunch and then bring her back her favorites to the room to eat. We would pick her up, let her eat in the room, then she would beg to go back to the kids program for a few hours. It worked for us.

 

The only specialty restaurant that we ended up going to was the night they had the Taste of India. One word describes this night of feast…heaven! It was SO good. They had 20 dishes that they serve you and we only found 2 that I didn’t care for and 1 that my husband didn’t like. It is a MUST DO! For the price ($15) you can’t beat it! It was the first time I had ever had Indian food and now it won’t be the last! We wanted to do the Teppanyaki, but it was always full for the times we needed.

 

After a very long day and picking up my little one from the kids center (she was asleep) my husband stayed back at the room with her while I went to the chocolate buffet the night it was offered. WOW, what a display. I’m not a chocolate person, but brought stuff back for the hubby to try out. I went mainly for the pictures and could not believe how beautiful it was…and VERY crowded. There are a lot of chocolate fans out there! Hehe

 

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Kids Club-my daughter begged to go to the kids club all the time and when we picked her up, she begged to go back. These people are the best! Especially CROC, who has been with NCL for 3 years I believe and has worked on a lot of ships. I believe he has a double degree in something to do with children and he was wonderful. The activities they have every day and night for the children are just amazing. My daughter came home with a bunch of things they made and they were always painting her face to correspond to what they were doing that day. She loved it. They even took them to Windows one night for dining. Always something planned and I highly recommend it to anyone with children.

 

Buccaneer Kids Pool area-Something that has been debated on here for a while and I found to be interesting while we were there. I was worried about them letting me in the pool with our little one and some said they would not because it was limited to 12 and under, others said don’t worry about it. Well maybe it was just my cruise, but there were parents in the pool, going down the slides with their children and having a great time. ALSO, there were tons of parents in the pool with their infant children IN DIAPERS…which is a no-no and there was never anything said to them. I wasn’t aware when I was looking at the pictures for that area prior to going that the hot tub was for kids as well??? At least that’s what it was used for when we were there (along with the parents). All the things to play on at the pool were really neat. The ship is actually a tunnel to climb in and you can go up on the top of it and squirt/control the water coming from the canon on it into the water. My daughter loved that.

 

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Tivoli Swimming pool-we never once witnessed any chair hogging. Maybe it was the time of day we were there (which varied), but ALWAYS seen chairs available. In my pictures you will see that there was plenty of seating available no matter which deck you were on. We would go out there and hang out, take pictures and so on…but did most of our swimming later in the evening and there would either be only 1 or 2 people in there or none. It was nice. We always found a spot in the hot tub (there were 4 at the Tivoli) and that made it nice.

 

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Casino-we went around trying to find some of the games that people on cc had told us were good to play and didn’t have too much luck finding anything other than the monkey and fish game. It was about the 4th night that I had finally discovered “my game”! It was always winning when I played it and it would keep you going for hours if you stayed there long enough. Now that’s my kind of game! I like the video looking games that have the bonus rounds with all the sounds making you sound like you just hit the jackpot. LOL If anyone is interested, this game was (when you walk in) to the left all the way at the end wall on the left. It was about the 4th or 5th one down and it is one of two games (that I’m aware of) that has multiple games on it. Hit the “more games” button and find the CAVE KING! That was the best! I won some pretty good money on it and it kept me playing all the time. Of course the Gold Fish games were always hitting pretty good as well and I did well on it (but there are only 2 of them). My husband played a Penguin game (that was 2 down from the Goldfish) and did really well on it too. We ended up doing pretty good on the slots. We used our slot plays coupons (and from the look of the huge stack they had at the desk, everyone has discovered this site as well) and we also used our NCL slot play coupons too. Extra slot plays for free and a chance to win just thrills me. Hehe

 

Entertainment-We went to see the magician, which we really didn’t care for and ended up walking out before the show was over. The show experience for us was a little weird on all the shows. They are really trying to sell you stuff, which was odd during a show. I also didn’t like their use of the movies during the show (and this was all the shows we attended). The magician came out and did a trick, then went behind the stage and they showed a movie of him…doing his tricks, so that when he came back out, he did the same tricks you had just watched on the screen. ???? It was almost pointless to stay when we had already seen it and it really wasn’t anything that gave me the “wow” factor. They also try to sell you videos and stuff on “how to do his tricks” and there is a lot of advertisement during the show, which I didn’t like.

 

The Russian couple was excellent and really amazed me (especially the wife). They did show a movie with them as well, but it wasn’t as bad because it told a little about them and their history. They also tried to sell you stuff during the show and at the end.

 

We went to see the Comedian, now he was a hoot. We really enjoyed his show, but then again I like comedians and love anything that involves laughter.

 

I don’t think we went to any of the other shows. We kinda played things by ear with our daughter and what she wanted to do and of course we had to attend only the shows that we were able to if she could go to the kids program during those times (which they stop the program at 10:30pm every night unless you want to pay $6.00/hr after that). We knew this was going to be more of a relaxing vacation while on the ship instead of packed with shows every day and something to do (like the Epic was) prior to leaving. So, this was ok with us. More time to sit on the deck watching the sunset, enjoying each other’s company and a drink, swimming, or playing in the casino. No problem. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. (Although sad that we did miss the White Hot party and would have paid for sitting that night, however, they make the mistake of having it on a night prior to the next port day when you have to get up early in the morning. I feel this needs adjusted to a different night).

 

The one thing we did different this time is not pay our account by cash. I don’t use credit cards and I’m one that plans to a tee…usually to the last penny if possible for our vacations every year. I make spread sheets, I research for months and months and know exactly what we are doing, how much it is going to cost and have envelopes for each day/activity. I believe in paying for everything I can upfront if it’s possible so there is less to deal with while on vacation. One of the mistakes I made this time was paying for our DSC prior to going and also buying our Soda package prior to going. We had a good amount of free OBC from our TA and I wasn’t thinking at the time that I paid for these items prior to leaving that I should have just used the OBC for this. So needless to say, we ended up drinking more than what we had intended. LOL We were also going to use cash to establish our OBC, but at the last moment, we used my husband’s paypal card (which is linked to his bank account) instead. They did put the $300 hold on it from the beginning. In the end, we probably should have went down and settled our account with cash, but decided to just let them charge the card and not worry about it. When we got home, we discovered that they not only charged the account for the full amount, but there was another charge that was made on the Friday that we were on the ship for $129+. We have no idea what that is about and still need to call to see what is going on. We did not charge anything for $129, our balance was not $129 and even had we charged anything for that amount, it would have been on our on board account and part of the total bill at the end. So, I will go back to doing the cash thing next time again. I just don’t like the issues with the cards and I’ve read some real horror stories about them.

 

Getting off the ship was a breeze, just like getting on. We always do our own carry off and can leave at any time. They announced that those wanting to do carry off was welcome to leave around 7 something. I want to say 7:45 or maybe even earlier. We were still eating breakfast at the time. There was no hold up getting off or in customs. Wow, simple as can be! Plenty of cabs waiting to take you to the airport. I know everyone says to make sure you book your air flight sometime after noon just in case…just we always seem to be waiting around at the airport for about 3-4 hours with nothing to do. This isn’t the greatest thing after coming off a beautiful ship and vacation…and especially with a child. I will book earlier flights from now on!

 

I know I’ve probably missed a ton of things I wanted to say, but I’ve been working a week on trying to complete all my reviews, just started back to school this quarter on Wednesday and tomorrow is my first day back to work since vacation…so, if I think of anything, I’ll add it later. Anyone that may have any questions please let me know and I’ll try to answer them if I know it.

 

We had a wonderful vacation and always make the most of it. We are happy, upbeat people that don’t let much bring us down on vacation, even if we have a bad encounter (or the daughter has a mental breakdown). LOL We brush it off and continue with the fun. NCL does not let us down. The staff is friendly and makes it a memorable experience each time. I feel that they go out of their way to speak and accommodate you in any way that they can. They are first class. The Spirit is a beautiful ship and we loved the Asian décor. Yes, she has some wear on her, but she is the oldest of the NCL family. I can see why so many people on cc cruise on her over and over. It will be interesting to see what they do when she is in dry dock.

 

Now, it’s time to figure out which ship we will want to try next year (thinking a cruise to either Bermuda or Southern Caribbean). Then let the stalking of the new 2013 ship begin! NCL…release those itineraries already!!! I’m ready to book!

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