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WolfpackFan

Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review 03/04 with links to pictures

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Well we're back home after a wonderful cruise on the Norwegian Spirit and a couple of days post-cruise stay in New Orleans. We had a wonderful time and would love to sail on the Spirit again.

 

Who we are - It's me and my wife (who I'll refer to as J). We are in our low 60's and both have been retired for six years. We have been on ten cruises with three of those on NCL. This cruise was to celebrate our 40th anniversary. We live in Cary, NC and chose to fly to New Orleans.

 

Pre-cruise and embarkation -

 

We flew down on Saturday, 03/03 and spent the night at the Hampton Inn on St. Charles Ave. This is a nice Hampton Inn and right next to a streetcar stop. We arrived late and because of the long flight (one stopover) we were hungry so ate next door at the Superior Grill, which is a pretty good Mexican restaurant. Even at 9:00, it was very crowded and we had to wait an hour for a table. The food was very good.

 

I didn't realize it but they were running a marathon right down St. Charles the next morning. I got up early and had the free breakfast and watched the runners. They cleared out about 10:00 though and we headed over to the cruise port around 11:00. There was already a lot of people there and the crowds got larger as time went by. They didn't allow anyone on the ship until around noon. Our cabin was available just as soon as we boarded.

 

The ship -

 

The Spirit is a very interesting ship. I'm not sure I've sailed on one similar to her. You can very much see the oriental origins of this ship and it looked to me they had changed it very little from when it sailed under Star Cruises. Places I liked the most - Galaxy to the Stars which is a large lounge above the bridge and the Captains Bridge viewing area (which I've never seen on any other ship). Our cabin was an outside on deck six and was in fine condition. We never had any problems with plumbing, smells, etc. In general the ship seemed to be in very good condition and we saw all kinds of maintenance taking place throughout the week.

 

Dining -

 

Okay to the part most people seem to be interested in - food. We ate all breakfasts and lunches in the Raffles buffet and most dinners in the two MDR's. We tried both the Garden and Windows MDR, but Windows was our favorite. We always asked for a table for two and got one next to a window about half the time. In general all the food we had was absolutely delicious. I especially liked the steaks in the MDR's. Best steaks I've had on a cruise. I got spoiled every morning with the omelets. There was a lady cooking them in Raffles and after the second day she knew exactly what I wanted and would start cooking it just as soon as she saw me walk up. We had no problems at all with the quality of the food.

 

Okay here goes - if we had any problems with the food it was with the variety of offerings in the MDR's. This especially bothered J. She likes seafood but not fish and the shrimp, scallop and lobster offerings were not very good. Evidently they did offer lobster (which we missed) the first night but it was just half a Caribbean lobster served with a piece of fish. J doesn't like steaks or heavy meats and frankly it got to be a struggle every night finding something she would like. We did go to the buffet several nights because they had better offerings than in the MDR. Now this is not a major issue (just a little minor one). Yes we could have paid extra and eaten in the specialty restaurants but I'm philosophically opposed to paying extra for food when on a cruise.

 

As far as Freestyle Dining, it worked great. We never had to wait for a table any night and the service was great wherever we ate.

 

Service -

 

The service on the Spirit was outstanding. Everyone was so friendly and helpful. I just loved the folks at the entrance to the restaurants that sprayed your hands saying "washy, washy". Our cabin steward did a great job and we had no complaints at all.

 

Ports -

 

We were not able to go to Costa Maya because of high winds. This did not bother us as we had no plans there anyway.

 

Belize - We did the Alta Hun Mayan Ruins tour. It was a good tour in spite of the rain and in spite of the fact our bus broke down halfway back to Belize City. The tour guide called and got another bus sent to get us, which took about 30 minutes. No big deal.

 

Hondura - We went to the park where the monkeys are (can't remember the name) and had a good time. The island is beautiful and I could live there easily.

 

Cozumel - just got off the ship, walked around a little bit and got back on.

 

Entertainment -

 

We went to most of the main shows and they were all very good, especially the last one Elements. The singers and dances did a great job. We did spend much time in the lounges so can't speak much about the entertainment there, though I did enjoy the Big Band music when they played that.

 

Other Stuff -

 

Okay one more item and I hope this doesn't start a big argument - the smoking on the Spirit was the worst I've seen on any cruise ship. What really bothered me is that I've never seen a ship that allowed smoking on both sides of the Promenade Deck. I love sitting out on this deck, but every time I tried to sit and read, someone would be smoking near me and the smoke really bothered me. Also, we were on deck 6 and the only way to get to deck 7 you had to go by the casino and the area just reeked of smoke. That is all I'm going to say about the subject, but the smoke really did bother me this cruise. Much more than other cruises we've taken.

 

Embarkation - Was as easy and smooth as any cruise we've taken. Basically you could get off when you wanted. Since we were spending the next three nights in New Orleans, we just took our time and had a nice leisurely breakfast in the outside area of Raffles.

 

Post-cruise - We stayed at the Country Inn and Suites on Magazine St. for three nights. Easy walking to the French Quarter, Jackson Square, etc. I would stay there again.

 

Summary - We had a great cruise and a great time in New Orleans. As mentioned we had two concerns (one minor and one major) but we would not let them keep us from sailing with NCL again or even sailing on the Spirit again.

 

Here is a link to my Picasa web albums. The first two albums contain pictures from the cruise as well as New Orleans. One album is pictures taken with my camera and other pictures taken with my iPhone.

 

https://picasaweb.google.com/106885498236398308124?noredirect=1

Edited by WolfpackFan

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Thank you for your feed back of Spirit as we are going next year with NCL Spirit.

 

I enjoyed to look at your photos as these are beautiful too..

 

And I am disappointed to hear about smoking as I am non smoking.:(

 

After I had been on Disney Magic/Wonder cruise and I have been told that Spirit is smaller than Magic? As my favourite ship is Magic and we were on Freedom of the Seas last year, oh my god, as it was huge ship but I prefer Magic as fine size of ship.

 

Scottishwee35

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Thank you for your review and pictures. I am leaving in about 20 hours for New Orleans and the Spirit. Yes, other NCL ships have Bridge Viewing Room Windows and much easy to find (particularly The Pearl and The Jewel). I am looking forward to my cruise. Were there any staff members that particularly stood out?

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Dining -

 

 

 

Okay here goes - if we had any problems with the food it was with the variety of offerings in the MDR's. This especially bothered J. She likes seafood but not fish and the shrimp, scallop and lobster offerings were not very good. Evidently they did offer lobster (which we missed) the first night but it was just half a Caribbean lobster served with a piece of fish. J doesn't like steaks or heavy meats and frankly it got to be a struggle every night finding something she would like. We did go to the buffet several nights because they had better offerings than in the MDR. Now this is not a major issue (just a little minor one). Yes we could have paid extra and eaten in the specialty restaurants but I'm philosophically opposed to paying extra for food when on a cruise.

 

 

It sounds like J is just like me. I'm not a big meat eater. I don't care for steaks, pork chops, most beef (unless it's hamburger in spaghetti or just a hamburger), lamb, veil...not just a big fan of meat. I do love seafood (not really fish), but love lobster, shrimp and crab.

 

When we went on the Epic in 2010, we ate a couple of times in the MDR, but after trying several of their items (meat) and not liking it (even after multiple attempts from the waiter of bringing me other items that I still didn't care for), we opted to eat at the buffet or a specialty restaurant the entire time we were on the Spirit 6 months ago. I sure didn't starve and loved every bit of it. :D

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We were on The Spirit the same week (3/4). The last night in The Garden MDR, they had tempura fried mushrooms in a delicious sauce as an appetizer that was sooo good, and a seafood cioppino (seafood stew), that was really, really good. Oh, and the seafood bisque was good too. So our last night dining experience turned out to be a really good one. Overall we were both very pleased with all of the food in both the MDR's and the buffet. One thing that was weird though was the pancakes in the buffet one morning tasted like fish!!!!! My boyfriend got some and noticed it immediately and he heard someone else mention that too. How strange!!! We had the best red velvet cake that we've both have ever had anywhere on the buffet one day.

 

OK, enough about all the food. We really enjoyed our cruise. Hated that we missed Costa Maya. Guess we'll just have to do the same itinerary again one day....

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My, so many photos! I skimmed to the ones of the ship, tho. I'm so anxious to sail on her in less than a month!

 

I enjoyed your review. I'm shocked they allow smoking everywhere on the upper deck, tho! This is terrible news for me (allergies to tar, very sensitive). It may a loooong 2 weeks if there are people smoking all over the place!

 

Glad you enjoyed your trip and happy to read the review.

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I didn't notice the smoking being that bad on the decks since we were out in the open. However, the smoking in the casino was. But that's normal for any casino IMO. There is a smoke free section of the casino on another floor. We went up there and there were only a few other people there. Not a big variety of slots, but the air was fresher! I was very suprised that we didn't have any issues with smelling smoke on our balcony. That was nice! Guess we got lucky on that... :)

Edited by PreciousCruiser

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Where I noticed the smoke was worst was on both sides of the Promende deck forward and around the Beir Garden. In the mornings the ash trays were on the left side of the ship in the Beir Garden but I saw people smoking on both sides. Plas one day a man lite up right next to me back on the right hand side above Raffles. Maybe I just had an unlucky week as far as the smoking goes since others say it wasn't that bad or maybe I am just super sensitive :rolleyes:. The smoke didn't bother my wife. I know next time I cruise with NCL I am going to be a lot more careful about cabin selection and make sure our main exits aren't near the casino or near the forward parts of the Promenade deck.

Edited by WolfpackFan

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Well we're back home after a wonderful cruise on the Norwegian Spirit and a couple of days post-cruise stay in New Orleans. We had a wonderful time and would love to sail on the Spirit again.

 

Who we are - It's me and my wife (who I'll refer to as J). We are in our low 60's and both have been retired for six years. We have been on ten cruises with three of those on NCL. This cruise was to celebrate our 40th anniversary. We live in Cary, NC and chose to fly to New Orleans.

 

Pre-cruise and embarkation -

 

We flew down on Saturday, 03/03 and spent the night at the Hampton Inn on St. Charles Ave. This is a nice Hampton Inn and right next to a streetcar stop. We arrived late and because of the long flight (one stopover) we were hungry so ate next door at the Superior Grill, which is a pretty good Mexican restaurant. Even at 9:00, it was very crowded and we had to wait an hour for a table. The food was very good.

 

I didn't realize it but they were running a marathon right down St. Charles the next morning. I got up early and had the free breakfast and watched the runners. They cleared out about 10:00 though and we headed over to the cruise port around 11:00. There was already a lot of people there and the crowds got larger as time went by. They didn't allow anyone on the ship until around noon. Our cabin was available just as soon as we boarded.

 

The ship -

 

The Spirit is a very interesting ship. I'm not sure I've sailed on one similar to her. You can very much see the oriental origins of this ship and it looked to me they had changed it very little from when it sailed under Star Cruises. Places I liked the most - Galaxy to the Stars which is a large lounge above the bridge and the Captains Bridge viewing area (which I've never seen on any other ship). Our cabin was an outside on deck six and was in fine condition. We never had any problems with plumbing, smells, etc. In general the ship seemed to be in very good condition and we saw all kinds of maintenance taking place throughout the week.

 

Dining -

 

Okay to the part most people seem to be interested in - food. We ate all breakfasts and lunches in the Raffles buffet and most dinners in the two MDR's. We tried both the Garden and Windows MDR, but Windows was our favorite. We always asked for a table for two and got one next to a window about half the time. In general all the food we had was absolutely delicious. I especially liked the steaks in the MDR's. Best steaks I've had on a cruise. I got spoiled every morning with the omelets. There was a lady cooking them in Raffles and after the second day she knew exactly what I wanted and would start cooking it just as soon as she saw me walk up. We had no problems at all with the quality of the food.

 

Okay here goes - if we had any problems with the food it was with the variety of offerings in the MDR's. This especially bothered J. She likes seafood but not fish and the shrimp, scallop and lobster offerings were not very good. Evidently they did offer lobster (which we missed) the first night but it was just half a Caribbean lobster served with a piece of fish. J doesn't like steaks or heavy meats and frankly it got to be a struggle every night finding something she would like. We did go to the buffet several nights because they had better offerings than in the MDR. Now this is not a major issue (just a little minor one). Yes we could have paid extra and eaten in the specialty restaurants but I'm philosophically opposed to paying extra for food when on a cruise.

 

As far as Freestyle Dining, it worked great. We never had to wait for a table any night and the service was great wherever we ate.

 

Service -

 

The service on the Spirit was outstanding. Everyone was so friendly and helpful. I just loved the folks at the entrance to the restaurants that sprayed your hands saying "washy, washy". Our cabin steward did a great job and we had no complaints at all.

 

Ports -

 

We were not able to go to Costa Maya because of high winds. This did not bother us as we had no plans there anyway.

 

Belize - We did the Alta Hun Mayan Ruins tour. It was a good tour in spite of the rain and in spite of the fact our bus broke down halfway back to Belize City. The tour guide called and got another bus sent to get us, which took about 30 minutes. No big deal.

 

Hondura - We went to the park where the monkeys are (can't remember the name) and had a good time. The island is beautiful and I could live there easily.

 

Cozumel - just got off the ship, walked around a little bit and got back on.

 

Entertainment -

 

We went to most of the main shows and they were all very good, especially the last one Elements. The singers and dances did a great job. We did spend much time in the lounges so can't speak much about the entertainment there, though I did enjoy the Big Band music when they played that.

 

Other Stuff -

 

Okay one more item and I hope this doesn't start a big argument - the smoking on the Spirit was the worst I've seen on any cruise ship. What really bothered me is that I've never seen a ship that allowed smoking on both sides of the Promenade Deck. I love sitting out on this deck, but every time I tried to sit and read, someone would be smoking near me and the smoke really bothered me. Also, we were on deck 6 and the only way to get to deck 7 you had to go by the casino and the area just reeked of smoke. That is all I'm going to say about the subject, but the smoke really did bother me this cruise. Much more than other cruises we've taken.

 

Embarkation - Was as easy and smooth as any cruise we've taken. Basically you could get off when you wanted. Since we were spending the next three nights in New Orleans, we just took our time and had a nice leisurely breakfast in the outside area of Raffles.

 

Post-cruise - We stayed at the Country Inn and Suites on Magazine St. for three nights. Easy walking to the French Quarter, Jackson Square, etc. I would stay there again.

 

Summary - We had a great cruise and a great time in New Orleans. As mentioned we had two concerns (one minor and one major) but we would not let them keep us from sailing with NCL again or even sailing on the Spirit again.

 

Here is a link to my Picasa web albums. The first two albums contain pictures from the cruise as well as New Orleans. One album is pictures taken with my camera and other pictures taken with my iPhone.

 

https://picasaweb.google.com/106885498236398308124?noredirect=1

We had friends from church on your cruise: they too had a great time and didn't miss Costa Maya except they had a neat tour planned so were a little disappointed about that.

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Your review was good and informative especially with the dining info, but I got a not found with your link to pictures. :)

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