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LUCY55

5-day Spirit March 27 comments-boat/food/entertainment

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Great boat-one of my favorites. Just the right size--not too big. Has a lot of charm with oriental and english touches. Great passenger mix. This was a spring break crowd-but not college level. Lots of kids-from little ones up through high school. There were lots of mid-westerners-some mixed generational goups. One of my teens had a great time with other teens. I didn't see any bad behavior. Groups of teens would occasionally congregate in the stair wells and goof around-but thats what teens do.

I didn't know what to expect with free-style dinning--but for the most part we had a good experience. The food was quite good. A lot of people used the buffet (Raffles). Someone told me that with there kids it was just easier-they never had to wait. So there was this constant turn-over of food at the buffet--so food seemed quite fresh. I think with this passenger mix (midwesterners with kids) more people were looking for tables in the dinning rooms early and it might be different on other cruises. We were a party of seven needing a table for eight and had at times difficulty finding a table early. Windows the largest dinning room has the most tables for larger groups--Garden Cafe has only 3 tables for eight. The first night easy to get a table for eight in Windows. Quite empty early but extremely slow service. Formal night (Monday) tables for eight already taken soon after 6. We were accomodated in a private room at Shogan. We had been planning to do Shogan anyway. Excellent food and service-quiet room at the half price rate was worth every penny. We also did La Bistro later in the week--and got a private room. Again excellent service and food. Some of the locations in Windows are very loud--hard to talk and there is a noticable vibration in this dinning room. We did the Garden Cafe once. (My son didn't join us and it was easy to get a table for six.) It was quieter than Windows and much smaller and more intimate. Food was good. We did the Blue Lagoon for lunch a couple of times. Interesting menue--hamburgers, wonton soup, oriental stir fry rice, pork & noodles, and Shepards Pie!

Entertainment--I thought this was the weakest thing on this cruise. Not bad-but not their strength. The magic show was quite good--great for families. The dance/music productions were not as polished as other cruises--poor sound mixing and/or weak singers. Comedian was so-so. There were movies which my son took advantage of. My one son loved the teen disco--lots of kids participating.

The one pool tended to be crowded. Promenade wonderful-could always sit there. Some people used the promenade deck as there jogging path rather than the using the one at the top of the boat. The Galaxy of the Stars lounge at the top front of the boat is not to be missed. Great view and there are the computer screens with all navigational parameters including weather in real time. These are the exact same displays that the captain uses. It is interesting when course changes are being made--you can see them changing rudder parameters, the ROT--rate of turn, wind speed & direction, boat speed & direction, etc. There is a spiral staircase down to the bridge viewing room-not to be missed.

Overall a good cruise--questions welcome.

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Lucy - Thanks for the great review. Can you tell me what movies were playing, as my kids are also interested in seeing the movies? Also my 2 teens are interested in the teen club and disco, how was it. Were the teens kicked out of there at 11:00pm when it becomes an adult disco? Was the teen club a true room or a part of the kids club? We will also be 8 people dining together, glad you specified which dining room had larger tables. The private rooms you mentioned for dining in Shogun and Le Bistro, did you actually request this or was it the luck of the draw? Was the food in Shogun worth the extra charge?

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I will try to answer your questions. The movies were: I, Robot, Sky Captain & the World of Tomorrow, Collateral, & Spiderman II. (Maybe there are more on the 9-day cruise.) If they are R-rated they are edited. It is a small theater near the shore excursion desk. The movies are shown in both the afternoon and evening.

You have to register your teens (ages 13-18) the first night--sign a form giving them permission to attend the teen events. Teens do things various places on the boat. They will get a schedule when you register them that first night. For the disco they just meet at the Celebrity Disco. My son said 10-11 p.m. the first night and 9-11 p.m. the other nights. On this cruise there were lots of teens and the disco was quite busy. Yes, they do have to leave at 11 p.m. My son played dodge ball from 11-12 most nights. This was a teen activity. One night was the Battle of the Sexes and this was held in a room off the video arcade. This room is separate from the little kid section which is right next door. They had teen Karaoke several nights, but I am not sure where this was. One night there was an after midnight activity, but I wanted my son back around midnight. My 14 year old son loved this cruise and the teen activities. My 16 year old son decided ahead of time everything was lame and did not take part. I saw the little kids (3-6 years?) marching down the hall in pirate make-up singing a song. I would say there were at least 12 maybe up to 20 of them with the chaperones. They looked like they were having a good time. The Buccaneer area (outdoor slide and pool) for the little kids looked great. From what I could see--this was a great cruise for families.

No, we never asked for a private room--that is just what we got. Shogun is excellent. But, I lived in Tokyo for a year and took a vacation trip back with other family members several years later. Therefore we are familiar with Japanese food. (If you aren't you might not like it.) One of your appetizers is a seaweed relish. Sushi is ala carte--about $2 an order. The entree of seared ahi-tuna is just that--seared on the edges and hardly warm in the middle. This kind of took me by surprise--a large piece of basically raw tuna. Very high quality-not a trace of fishyness. You can pick two entrees. I also had peking duck. My sister has traveled in China and said it was exactly the same. The tempera or beef with black bean sauce might be good choices for those unsure of Japanese food. All specialty restaurant reservations 6 o'clock and earlier are half price. On formal night--half price at all times on our cruise. I didn't think Shogun was that popular with the midwest crowd. I suggest you just ask about the private room. I think La Bistro had more than one private room but I am not sure. The main menue there is french. There is an extra fee ($18) for the asian/french barbeque at your table. This fee is not discounted. Had filet mignon with foie gras (the regular menue)--excellent.

Yes, to us the private rooms (quiet) and quality of service and food was well worth the half price extra fee.

There are flat screen monitors that show the status of the restaurants and dinning rooms and whether large parties (8 and up) are being accepted.

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Lucy- thanks for all the info, this will help us plan better. We will probably skip Shogun as we don't know enough about Japanese food, unless we are feeling adventurous.

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We ate in Windows every night, and two days for lunch as well. (my kids are picky eaters and ate grilled cheese and pizza every meal the entire cruise) We didn't find much for them in Raffles.

 

We had excellent service in Windows every meal except one, our last night. Interesting, this was also the only meal that a comment card with our waiter and assistant's names was not available to us.

 

We loved the use of the beepers, on formal night Mom and I waited in line to have our pictures taken, my husband had time to go to Windows and pick up a beeper, (we were a party of five) and return in time to have our photos. By the time we went through the various positions, we had about a 15 minute wait, and our table was ready. On our last night I hopped in the shower while my dh went and picked up a beeper, 20 minutes later it went off as we were wandering down that way.

 

Eventually it occured to us that we could order the kids meals from room service, and then eat wherever we chose while they went to kid's club. I wouldn't do it every night, I like my kids to experience a formal dining experience, but it was nice to have it available.

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Please tell me about the private rooms? Didn't know they had any. We will be on the Spirit to Alaska in May.

Is Shogun the only diningroom that has private rooms. Please describe.

Thank you!

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Thanks for all the info. Could you tell me if the top deck is blocked off between the bier garden and the front of the ship--on the deck plan it looks like there's a divider of some kind? Were there many smaller tables (for 4) in the Garden room or Windows?

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Le Bistro also had at least 1 private room. We were a party of 7--which means a table for eight. (I doubt whether you could get a private room for fewer people.) Also we always went at 6:00 to get the half price fee. At both restaurants (Shogun & Le Bistro) service in the private rooms was excellent. I do believe that the dinning rooms have the most tables for 4 and for 6 people. Windows on our cruise never seemed that full. This is a very large room. I also think that on our sailing Raffles buffet was heavily used so maybe the dinning rooms particularly the larger Windows was less busy. (Windows has some very large tables-for 10 people I think.) The Garden Cafe which is smaller was fuller.

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Lucy,

Did they offer Le bistro early at half price every night? Do you remember what the reduced price hours were?

 

Thanks

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The Specialty restaurants were half price per person or 2 for 1

from 5:00 - 6:30. It was offered at Shogun, Le Bistro, and

I think Maxim's but I'm not sure about that one. Definitely go

to Le Bistro - well worth it.

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On formal night (the 5-day cruise had only one) the specialty restaurants were half price all evening. We did miss the lobster tail on formal night but the food and service in Shogun made up for it. (Actually you could ask for the lobster tail at the specialty restaurants also--we just didn't.)

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Gret Reveiw.

 

Did they have the computer screens showing availability of the dining rooms up yet.

 

THOMAS CARDEN

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Yes, they did. I guess they were helpful. We could see which of the restaurants were still accepting larger parties with no wait. We never waited.

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This is some great information. I wasn't aware of the half price policy. That will help on our upcoming cruise - get there early!! Can you ask for specific meal items at any time - I notice you said that you could have asked for Lobster. This would be nice. Thanks again Lucy for a great review. :)

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We were 7 people and the specialty restaurant charge was not buy one get one free. It was half price for each person--which was great for an odd number of people. It was printed in the daily "Latitudes" that lobster tail was available in all specialty restaurants on formal night.

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