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hzee

Back from the 6/5 Spirit Cruise

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Since I know I will probably be flamed, I'll try to keep this short (don't count on it), yet give positive as well as the negative info. None of the following will be in any particular order.

 

We had the best room steward partners (cabin 9198) that I have run into before. Now here's a guy and gal who understand the concept of service.

 

It seemed to me that by charging a flat fee for tips, they had overall taken away the individual motivation for providing a level of service that I have experienced on other cruise lines. Raffles had some of the worst cruise food (really spotty) and the staff appeared to run at 1/2 speed. So many of the staff we saw weren't smiling and and appeared to be approaching their jobs in a perfunctory manner. (This does not include the Cruise Director and his staff. THEY WERE GREAT.

 

Embarkation was somewhat unorganized. First you waited in line to get bags x-rayed. Then they told us instead of doing that, bring all of them forward and go to the next station, for which you had to go back outside and then back into another building. Had to show info 3 times then stand in line again. When you got to the counter for check in and room key, the computer and picture taking ability onshore had gone down, so then you had to stand in another long hot line onboard. Once we were on the ship, 2000 of us had to get our picture taken at the reception desk. Picture that.

 

Debarkation and embarcation at the ports was a piece of cake. Getting off the ship back in Seattle was super organized.

 

Everyone will have their own opinion of the ports, but going through the iceflows to get to Sawyer Glacier and the glacier itself was spectacular.

 

The balcony stateroom was wonderful except for one thing. The beds are HARD. Unless you weigh under 50 lbs and/or are really drunk, bring a sheet of plywood to get comfortable on. My wife is about 130-135 lbs, and I'm a well padded 275 lbs and we hurt each morning. I really advise bringing something soft to lay on the bed. It would be even better if you've got an Aerobed to bring instead of the dress up clothes. This was far more uncomfortable than any cruise bed I have slept on. (3 Carnival 1 RCCL and this ship) and is the main reason why I won't travel by this cruiseline again. Restless nights make for tired days.

 

Windows and the Garden room are very nice except that I can't figure out why, in Windows when there are long lines to get in, they only have one person assigning seats. It could be more organized. Both of these rooms have excellent food and staff. However, I don't understand, with such excellent food resourses, how Raffles Buffet can pawn off food of lesser quality (except for an adequate breakfast). Is it so you'll pay cover charges on the other dining rooms? The Blue lagoon was o.k. (notice the small letters. What blows me away is that they charge a cover to eat in 3 other dining rooms. So does Freestyle mean that only a few places are free. On other cruises we've been on, all food and standard beverages except for soda, were included in the price of the cruise.

 

Hey Norwegian, you've already reached the bottom of my pants pocket. Don't you want to leave me with some money to buy krack-its, play bingo, drink from 9:00 am, buy original (?) Rembrandts, Picassos, Chaugalls, etc, or go on some excursions?

 

We ordered from room service twice, and both times, they were friendly, prompt and accurate. they get an A+

 

The shows were great and they had a singer named Jane L. Powell who brought the house down on two separate nights. There are no words to describe her. I've never experienced a performer like her. The vocal range was unbelievable. It alone could have made this cruise worthwile. Also don't miss Rick Klingler, the juggler. His wacky humor will keep you in stitches.

 

The bathroom and showers were better than any I've seen on a cruise. As I've mentioned previously, I'm a big guy and had plenty of room. Remember, the valve on the left adjusts the water pressure, the one on the right is the hot / cold. Soap and shampoo are in a dispenser. Bring your own if that's not your cup of tea.

 

110 volt power is for up to only 500 watts and a hair dryer will blow the circuit. (There is a hair dryer installed in the bathroom.) My wife has fairly thick hair and had no problem with drying I brought a power trip for the chargers for my electronicks a s well as a cpap breathing machine I have to use and it worked out fine.

 

For those of you on the same cruise, Spirit to Alaska on 6/5/2004, you may disagree with me but this is how I saw the good and the bad of it without holding back any punches.

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I don't see why anyone would flame you. Your review seemed very fair to me. In fact, I read more positives than negatives.

 

I think people tend to flame those that are whiny or just complain about EVERYTHING. But that definitely isn't the case here.

 

Thank you so much for this review - and feel free to elaborate more.

 

July 10th NCL Spirit

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I saw Jane L Powell when she was on the Sky. SHe is truly outstanding!

 

Next: #23 Dawn Princess 10/04

Photos: http://community.webshots.com/user/kkorman

http://community.webshots.com/user/kkorman1

http://community.webshots.com/user/kkorman2

Last Few: Coral Princess 6/04 (AK-South), Coral Princess 4/04, (Canal-FLL-VAN), Conquest 12/03 -New Years, Norwegian Sky b2b 12/03

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Just a couple of questions about room service. What is available to order for room service, a full breakfast, sandwiches for lunch? Are you suppose to tip the person that brings your room service food? Thanks, I enjoyed your review.

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Oh, a couple of more questions for you. Did you have to tender at any of the ports? Also, did you go both up and back on the west side of Vancouver Island? Any rough days at sea?

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hzee..I was totally expecting that response. I have been less than happy with the food experience on NCL. However, that said, what was the indoor pool like? What shore excursions did you take? Explain the power strip..you didn't blow anything if you plugged it in to the power strip? Would a European converter work for the hair dryer?

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I was on the June 5 sailing too.

 

The beds are hard, but I had my room stewards bring me an egg-carton pad and that helped.

 

The food is bad in Raffles because there are no cooking facilities there. What was there when SuperStar Leo was changed to Norwegian Spirit didn't meet Coast Guard or CDC safety standards, and it can't be fixed until she goes in for dry dock. All the food has to be brought up from the main kitchen.

 

Room service in standard cabins is cold items only with the exception of coffee, tea, ramen noodles and a nice made-to-order pizza. No hot breakfast. Suite guests have and extended menu. NCL recommends tipping the person who brings the food; even before I saw that, we have always tipped, we have a drawer full of $1 bills for that purpose. Room service was great.

 

I loved the fact that there was a real coffee pot and real coffee and cream in the room. It wasn't a waterboiler with instant like on other NCL ships.

 

There is a ship rotation for tendering into Ketchikan; the next one for Spirit is around July 23rd. Otherwise it's docks everywhere.

 

Our captain went all the way to the glacier, as far in as this big ship could get. Passengers on the Diamond Princess only went part way through Tracy Arm because their captain said that the ice floe was too big. It was pretty impressive, especially when we heard the thunks of the ship hitting icebergs! It was definitely the highlight of the trip; the weather was nice, the scenery beautiful, and we seemed to be just slowly floating down the fjord.

 

The staff is great on Norwegian Spirit. Raffles is understaffed, but everywhere else, people were wonderful.

 

Along with Jane L. Powell, there were other entertainers who knocked everyone's socks off... the small band that played at Champagne Charlie's was so incredible that they are being moved to Galaxy of the Stars. They gathered such a crowd every day that not everyone could fit to hear them. They were the best onboard band I have ever heard, and knew songs in at least four languages.

 

Jana

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Jana

 

Thanks for that very helpful review...my family and I are sailing on 6/19, and reading some of these reviews has been very depressing, as we have never taken a 7 day cruise before!!! It was nice that you found a reasonable way to deal with the difficulties, i.e., hard beds...I was already thinking about how I could fit an egg carton pad in my suitcase!! So, nice to know that the stewards could help out when it came to that. Also, seems to be universal opinion that Raffles is AWFUL, but at least now we all know why...really, NCL should have found some way to correct this, but, that said, what is the comparable place to eat in terms of grabbing a quick meal? Where's the best place to head for breakfast with three kids, ages 6 through 8 1/2?

 

Thanks for your help and positive words about this cruise...

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Raffles isn't "awful," but it is a challenge. From what I understand, an awful lot of headway has been made since the first and second sailings and the officers in charge (Hotel Director and Food and Beverage Director) are trying like heck to find solutions. They don't want their guests dissatisfied.

 

DON'T BE DEPRESSED! This is a unique ship in the U.S. market, there are things about her that will knock your socks off. The Galaxy lounge is incredible, the best and most beautiful observation lounge I have ever seen (this was my 17th cruise). The showroom is wonderful, the entertainment is fabulous and... you have kids? Wait until you see the children's center!

 

It isn't perfect, true, but you aren't paying Silversea or Seabourne prices, either!

 

Raffles is fine for breakfast. You can get a made-to-order omelet and other things, or if you don't like what they serve, go to Windows.

 

Jana

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Thanks for all the info, Jana and hzee. We're really looking forward to our cruise on the Spirit on July 3rd. I've read on a number of posts that previous cruises by the Spirit have gone on the west side of Vancouver Island either northbound after leaving Seattle or southbound after leaving Prince Rupert instead of the east side as shown by the itinerary, encountering rough seas with a number of passengers getting seasick. Do either of you know which route the Spirit took on your cruise? Thanks!

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We went through the Inside Passage going northbound, and down the west coast of Vancouver Island going south. The seas were very smooth on the June 5 cruise.

 

Jana

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Jana,

Though I won't be on the Spirit, I was really glad to hear that NCL wasn't putting people through a "concentration camp" experience. I'm not saying NCL is the greatest, but we've had two great cruises with them. Hoping to have a great journey on the Star. People have said even if the cruise isn't quite up to your expectations, you're in Alaska with the beautiful scenery. How bad can that be! It's nice to hear that others can see some good when not everything goes according to plan. I have only cruised RCCL and they both have their good and bad. I'm just looking forward to my trip away from work and be able to realax and enjoy Alaska.

 

Luanne

 

Norwegian Star June 20,2004

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Jana...can you answer my questions that were directed to hzee? Many thanks for the information.

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10s...

 

There is no "indoor pool" on Spirit. The main swimming pool does not have a retractable cover. There are two exercise pools in the spa, they are really neat, about 6' wide by 12' long, you swim against a current.

 

We had some hot weather on our trip, so the pool was used (in Ketchikan.) The hot tubs were used even when it was chilly out. You're going when it might be warm out too, so maybe you can make better use of the pool.

 

I took an extension cord which I used to charge my cell phone and to plug in my laptop. The ship was built with 220v and there is one 110v plug only... don't even think about bringing a hair dryer. You'll blow all the circuits in your corridor.

 

I saw on another thread that you were planning your packing. This ship was originally built for short family cruises (3 - 4 nights) and the storage space is minimal in standard or balcony cabins. Pack light. I took bulky sweaters and my winter coat, and used both in Skagway; the rest of the time I had either just a T-shirt and slacks (Ketchikan) or a light denim jacket and slacks (Juneau.)

 

Most people don't realize how hot and muggy it gets up there in mid summer. Of course the weather changes, but it does get really hot. Oh, bring some Deet-based bug spray too, Cutters or Off. The mosquitos get as big as sparrows up there.

 

Jana

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Thanks to everyone for posting reviews. I like to hear the good AND the bad. That way I'll be prepared. icon_biggrin.gif

 

I'm glad to hear that some of the issues of the first sailings are being cleared up.

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But what about a converter???? Wouldn't that work for a hair dryer???????

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Um, they said not to. I thought the same thing, but never tried it. I hadn't brought my international set with me anyway. Use the one they have in the bathroom, hotel style, not terrific but better than blowing out the electricity.

 

Look at the bright side: One more thing you don't need to bring along.

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Jana--

I'm glad to hear that there is a coffee-maker in the room. I am wondering how big the coffee-maker is. Also, is it a 4-cup Melitta/Braun cone-type or a Mr. Coffee-type basket-style?

 

Norwegian Wind 11/22/03

Norwegian Spirit 6/19/04

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Mr. Coffee type, 4-cup pot. I brought my own filters and coffee because I knew (my 10-cup filters fit just fine.) The coffee packs they use are Folgers and are only good for about 2 cups; the water flows through them too quickly to make decent coffee. It was wonderful to have fresh coffee whenever I wanted it, without having to wait for room service!

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Jana,

Thanks so much for responding!

I am also going to bring my own decaf espresso and basket-style filters on the trip.

Glad to hear that your 10-cup filters worked well in a 4-cup maker.

 

Norwegian Wind 11/22/03

Norwegian Spirit 6/19/04

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How hot is hot? We live in AZ so the sweaters come out in the 70's. icon_cool.gif Is the aft, deck 10 pool only for kids? Salt or fresh?

 

Vision '00

Rhapsody '01

Radiance '01

NCL Star '02

Princess Star '02

Grandeur '02

Radiance '02

Statendam '03

Navigator 7/03

Radiance 5/04

NCL Spirit 9/04

 

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Also, what about inside ship temperature? Hot or cold? I'm still confused about the power issue. I use a curling iron..would that blow things? And a European converter should work. That's what they are for.

Thanks for the packing tips. I've got to get that Deet. Mosquitos LOVE me!

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It gets into the 80s and is very muggy in July and August.

 

I found the interior temperature to be great almost all the time. I got chilly in a couple of places in the casino, which was unique because I am usually way too hot in casinos. Rooms have EXCELLENT air conditioning, with a "quick-cool" feature that works very well.

 

I don't think adults would enjoy the kid's pool unless you were in there with an infant. It isn't just a pool set aside for kids, it's a children's environment. I don't know if it's salt or freshwater, sorry.

 

As for the curling iron, I suppose you can try it and try your converters too. But they recommend not to, I'm just telling you. This ship has some odd quirks, and wiring is one of them. That's why there are real coffee pots instead of the boilers as on other NCL ships... they are all 220v and couldn't easily be replaced.

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Jana,

How loud is the kid area? My inlaws are booked into room 10666. Will it be noisy on their balcony? It backs to the arcade, cinema and other stuff. It was the last balcony on deck ten and around the corner from our other 3 rooms. Thanks for all the info.

 

Vision '00

Rhapsody '01

Radiance '01

NCL Star '02

Princess Star '02

Grandeur '02

Radiance '02

Statendam '03

Navigator 7/03

Radiance 5/04

NCL Spirit 9/04

 

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Sorry, one more question. Is the BBQ at lunch? dinner? main pool? We loved the lunches on the Star and we have been telling our son about the all you can eat ribs. Do they have the frest fruit station as well during the BBQ. Thanks

 

Vision '00

Rhapsody '01

Radiance '01

NCL Star '02

Princess Star '02

Grandeur '02

Radiance '02

Statendam '03

Navigator 7/03

Radiance 5/04

NCL Spirit 9/04

 

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