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mariakitty

Spirit 6/12/04 Review

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Well here it is, as promised. Feel free to ask questions and I hope you don't get bored with the length!

 

I will be posting more info online in the next day or two including pictures, scanning docs and more info on the restaurants.

 

Enjoy!

Maria

 

Norwegian Spirit Review

June 12, 2004 sailing

 

Day 1:

When we arrived at Seattle’s Pier 66, we had a feeling this was going to be a wonderful cruise. You can see the money that has been invested in the port, and it is by far the nicest port I have seen (compared so Miami, San Francisco, San Juan and Los Angeles). We anticipated quite a wait to get on the ship, however we waited only 5 minutes in line and were processed very quickly. The time from parking our car to being on the ship was about 15 minutes.

 

The ship is stunning. The overall Asian theme works well with some of the European décor at the pool and several lounges and venues. Our cabin was 11660, a balcony on the port side. The room was of good size compared to my prior cruises and included a queen bed (not twins pushed together), along with a small sofa, table and a desk. The balcony furniture was white plastic with cushions, though we discovered the suites had proper wooden patio furniture. There is a small entertainment area, which has the 13-inch tv on the top, another shelve for storage, then the drinks area that included a tray with glasses and an ice bucket, followed by 4 small drawers on the bottom. The double closet had plenty of storage space, plus roomy shelving on the right side. At the bottom of the closet is a small safe to store valuables, though we didn’t use it.

 

The bedding includes a nice coverlet that was nice and warm. The bed was VERY hard and I can truthfully say it’s the worst bed I’ve ever slept on. Even the cabin stewardess noted the beds are hard and apparently there are a lot of passenger complaints about this. My bed at home is a medium firmness, not soft, and still the beds were hard. We did have a theory that the beds are bad on purpose to get more business for the spa!

 

The bathroom in the cabin was also the best I’ve had on a ship thus far. The toilet area can be private by the use of a glass door. The shower also has a glass door, and the entire bathroom is tiled. We had a fish motif in the decorative tiles. The shower has a clothes line and a dispenser for conditioning shampoo and soap; knowing this prior to the cruise I didn’t pack shampoo, but if are particular about shampoo you might want to consider at least bringing conditioner. I wish I had. The sink also has a soap dispenser and a hair dryer is included. The dryer isn’t that powerful (it’s similar to my hair dryer’s low setting), but it does the job eventually. The only outlet in the bathroom is for a shaver.

 

Our first day on the ship was fairly cool and I was happy that I brought my wool coat. We were surprised how “empty†the ship felt even though it was booked to capacity. We had dinner at Windows this evening. I had prime rib and my husband had spaghetti Bolognese. The food was good and our waitress was excellent. We ate around 8pm and did not have to wait for a 2-person window table. Our waitress talked to us quite a lot about the Spirit. She was formerly on the Sky and actually misses it. She was flown to Hong Kong to get familiar with the ship and sailed the Spirit to Seattle. When I asked her what she thought of the Spirit, she said most passengers would much prefer the Spirit, but she preferred working on the Sky because it was smaller.

 

There was an interesting occurrence during dinner. We were near Victoria, BC and we saw a pilot boat come up to the ship from our window seat. We noticed no one was on the boat except for the driver, but it came right up to the ship and picked up one person. What we later discovered was the person was a crew member who was to greet a passenger who’s flight was delayed to Seattle. Since their flight was booked through NCL he was rerouted to Victoria where he was tendered to our ship. We actually sat in Victoria waters for quite some time, but the Captain made an announcement about this and it didn’t have an bearing on making our first port two days later.

 

Day 2: At Sea (Formal night)

The day began sunny and beautiful, and we sat on our balcony sipping coffee while passing Brown Bay. Now this is the way to cruise! I cannot say enough about having a balcony and from now on we won’t consider a lower cabin category unless we bring our young children. I personally would not want a small child in a balcony room because I am paranoid like that. ïŠ We had room service for breakfast and lunch today so that we could enjoy our balcony and just relax. When we did explore the ship we noticed the bars and lounges were empty, even during the free rum punch hour! It was getting cold by this time so pax were staying indoors apparently. We went to our room to dress for formal night, but I ended up getting so sick from the 8-foot swells that I couldn’t leave the room. I had a bit of a mishap, shall we say, and I called the steward for new towels, etc. The stewardess arrived within 5 minutes and she as so helpful. I cannot say enough about the excellent service of our cabin stewards. I did tip her $5 for her trouble and she really didn’t want to take it, but I insisted.

 

One of the tv channels includes a map with our ship’s position and the route. Some of the information was never correct, such as our sail date of 6/5/04! We did find out that the route is always the same: inside passage going north, and then outside of the passage coming home.

 

Day 3: Ketchikan

There were 4 ships in port this morning: Island Princess (there pax had to be tendered), HAL Volendam, Carnival Spirit and of course NCL Spirit). We wanted the Misty Fjord tour today, but it is not available yet and I never did find out when it would be. We did a lot of shopping here and I felt it was by far the best shopping port on the cruise. I got some good bargains on gold jewelry, and if you want salmon this is the port to get it. Go to Salmon, Etc. (it will be on your shopping guide map) and get their delicious free samples!

 

The ship’s Internet Café has prices that are completely out of line in my opinion. I pay less for unlimited high-speed broadband per month at home than NCL wanted for 20 minutes! Save your money and use the port café’s – we found one in very port. In Ketchikan there is an Internet café right at the pier called Surf City. 20 minutes cost $5, 60 minutes cost $8.25.

 

We had breakfast and lunch at Raffles. What can I say about Raffles? It is pretty bad, and I ate there much more than I wanted to because my husband preferred its convenience. We did come up with a few nicknames: Scarffles, Stuffles, Barffuls, and I could go on. We even heard other pax makeup nicknames! Raffles has quite a bit of variety, but the food items were quite odd for a typical American palate, and much of the meat seemed unidentifiable. I also noticed throughout the week that there were odd combinations of food. For example, one day mashed potatoes were served, but no gravy. Another day there was guacamole and salsa, but no chips. Then we had rice and nothing that went with it, not even soy or chili sauce. I am not opposed to eating different foods and I always do quite well when I travel foreign countries, but the choices in Raffles were so random. The food quality was poor as well, though the salad bar always had fresh items.

 

I feel I should say something positive about Raffles. The afternoon snack is usually much better than lunch. It includes scones, tea sandwiches, desserts and usually chips or something savory. Also, breakfast really isn’t different in Raffles than Windows. Everything on the Windows menu is also served in Raffles with the exception of eggs benedict. During the entire cruise the juice and coffee machines were never empty, as they apparently were on previous cruises this season. We overheard several pax complain “there is nothing to eat here†so the food quality and selection is not just our opinion.

 

This evening we ate at Maxim’s. The food here is fabulous! We had the lobster and it was the best lobster dinner I have ever had – even better than those I’ve had on the Jersey shore and in NYC. Definitely worth the $25 price tag. Once again we had a waiter that was very informative. He also was new to the ship since it became the Spirit. He told us that he was very happy he didn’t have to work on it as the Leo (as most of the staff did apparently) because the rules for Asian ships are different than in America. The staff policies are apparently much more organized on NCL (as opposed to Star Cruises) and the work is easier. However, some staff could not come to the Alaska route due to immigration issues. Also the pax are much better to deal with as NCL. The owner of Star Cruises is a wealthy casino owner in Asia; when the Spirit was still LEO the casino was on two decks (not one as it is now) and took additional space – space that is now some of the board rooms and art rooms. The waiter told us the Asian pax were so hardcore about gambling that they wouldn’t leave to go to the bathroom or even to bed. Some would fall asleep and fall of their chairs – and rather than helping out another passenger would just take over the machine!

 

We had towel animals tonight! It was an elephant and I have the photos to prove it. ïŠ The ice was also replenished in our cabin each evening.

 

Day 4: Juneau

Juneau is the best port and this was by far the best day on the cruise. I wish this was an overnight stay because there are so many excursions to take that part of one day just isn’t enough. Getting on and off the ship while in port has been very easy and never a wait. We found the shopping here quite similar to Ketchikan, though some prices were higher. But! If you want a book, Juneau is the place to shop because we couldn’t find a bookstore in the other ports – and my husband was desperate!

 

We got daring and made up our own excursion to the Alaskan Brewery. Alaskan Amber is one of my husband’s favorite beers so it was a must see for him. Since we had another excursion booked for 1pm we didn’t want to risk taking the bus for $1.25 so we hired a taxi at $15 each way. We had a personal tour of the brewery and even found out the guide had been to our hometown and told us how to get Alaskan Amber by the keg. He was quite a character! My husband is now the proud owner of an AK Amber beer tap for his kegerator and we were surprised how inexpensive the souvenirs were. By the way, you can drink as much beer as you want, with half-pint samples of all 6 beers!

 

As a side note, my husband is from New Zealand and there was a small group of people from the HAL ship that came to tour the brewery. One couple was also from NZ – the same town as my husband! Then we found out our cab driver (we had the same woman both directions) was from our town here in Oregon. Is it a small world or what? She told us that while Juneau has a year-round population of 30,000, about 50,000 additional people come to work the tourist trade, plus about 10,000 ship passengers a day. Juneau is dead in the winter. Cost of living is very high here and the average home is about $250K.

 

Our favorite tour on the cruise was Tracy Arm Fjords. At $149 pp, it was worth every penny and we heard from several pax who didn’t do this one that it was their regret of the cruise. The weather was sunny all the way and we saw humpback whales, eagles, orca, mountain goats and seals. Sawyer Glacier was calving while we were there and the sound is just incredible, like thunder. There are snacks and hot beverages available throughout the excursion and the naturalist and captain were very knowledgeable about the wildlife and terrain. The most stunning picture of the Spirit was at is came into Sawyer Glacier, coming through the small packs of glacier ice floating in the water. I have to admit those of us on this tour felt quite superior to the other pax as our boat came alongside the ship and we got back on. You simply cannot see what we experienced from the ship. However! We did hear from a staff member that the Spirit’s captain has been trying to get closer and closer to the glacier with each cruise this season and he got the closest on this run.

 

Chocoholic Buffet: If you go on the Tracy Arm excursion you will miss this, and I consider this poor planning on the part of NCL. The buffet could easily extend an hour to allow those of us on the tour to also enjoy the buffet. When talking with other pax it was definitely the full chocoholic buffet NCL is famous for, not just cookies and cakes passed around on trays. Apparently more than one guest was seen with multiple heaping plates of chocolate delights.

 

There are many glaciers to view this evening from the ship, some even larger than Sawyer Glacier and we did see more whales and porpoises.

 

More towel animals tonight!

 

Day 5: Skagway

The weather was beautiful and only needed short sleeves, no jacket. We were a bit disappointed with Skagway in that most of the shops were the same as the previous ports. Some merchants clearly advertised that they were Alaskans and not outside chain stores. We searched for Ulu knives here, but were very sorry we didn’t purchased the handmade knives in Ketchikan with the caribou handles. At least we got a website for ordering. ïŠ Skagway is very quaint, and the tours are MUCH cheaper when purchased off the ship. We booked the White Pass & Yukon railway tour through NCL at $99 pp. The same train with an added city tour was only $39. I was not happy! I have already begun my letter to NCL about this. I don’t have a problem with a markup, but this is almost triple the price and that is out of line in my opinion. The rail tour was fun, but we were surprised that we wouldn’t be getting off the train. By hour three we were ready to have it all end. Try to sit on the left side of the train first. When you cross the Canadian border you will be required to switch sides, but it’s nice to have the more formal commentary going up. Speaking of the commentary, it was a new college student that did the narration. That was a bit disappointing because she lacked story telling skills. An “old sourdough†would have been more effective…and more interesting.

 

Getting back on the ship was about a 10-15 minute wait today since what seemed like half of the ship’s passengers were on the White Pass tour. Earlier when we weren’t on a tour there was no wait to return to the ship. Embarkation in all ports seemed very well organized and we never had any trouble.

 

We ate at La Trattoria and over dinner and drinks in our cabin we enjoyed a marvelous view of glaciers, mountains, humpback whales, porpoises and seals. More towel animals tonight!

 

Day 6: Prince Rupert (Semi-formal night)

Prince Rupert is beautiful – from the ship. There really isn’t anything to do here and the shopping is almost non-existent. The citizens really want the cruise industry to be successful here and you can see what will be extensive construction happening at the pier. As we sailed into port several small children in the park held up signs the spelled Welcome to XXX (couldn’t understand the last word and it wasn’t PR or Canada) along with the Canadian flag. Many people were in the park watching the ship come in and they weren’t in a hurry to leave the park even after we docked. We visited Cow Bay and found one nice shop, but I can get the same merchandise for less money at home. I didn’t want typical gift ship items, but still didn’t find anything. We then walked into town (prepare for lots of uphill walking) and it was a collection of your typical small town shops. They are definitely not quite ready for cruise ship buyers, but they are working on it.

 

Raffles has a Mexican buffet on this night, and by this point in the cruise I was really craving Mexican food. Luckily I did get chips & salsa, but we went to Windows for our anniversary dinner as it was lobster. The lobster was terrible! Generous portions, but so rubbery and chewy that we could not finish. Windows tends to be much busier later in the evening while in Prince Rupert since we don’t sail until 9pm. This was the one and only night I wish I had eaten in Raffles.

 

Throughout the cruise, and especially tonight, we really enjoyed Henry’s Pub. The server always remembered us and was great about suggestion virgin drinks for me so that I didn’t quite so out of place. I talked with her about our route home and she said the ship always cruises the ocean side of Vancouver Island and to expect the last at sea day to be a bit rough. (Someone on CC asked me about this specifically.) She told me that the crew and staff are not allowed to take any seasick medication because of the side effects and the fact that their bodies should not get used to needing the meds. They are told in training to drink a lot of ginger ale (to burp a lot) and also eat apples to keep your tummy full.

 

More towel animals!

 

Day 7: At Sea

It was over 80 degrees today and we have sunburns as a result. We spent most of the day reading by the pool or on the promenade deck. We took this cruise specifically to relax, since we left our young toddler at home, so we didn’t do all of the activities that we could have. We did try to get to the pub quiz, but even though we were less than 10 minutes late the quiz was almost finished. We ended the beautiful evening watching the sunset and playing shuffle board.

 

No towel animals tonight.

 

Day 8: Disembarkation

Leaving the ship was just too easy, but our cabin location did play a part in this. Since we were on deck 11, we were the 3rd category to leave the ship, only behind those with early flights. We ate breakfast in Raffles (yes, AGAIN!) and heard out color called when we were finished. We picked up our carry-ons in the cabin, walked down to deck 7 and walked off the ship. After going through security we picked up our luggage and walked the skyway to the parking garage. We left Raffles at 9am. We were on the freeway by 9:30am. This simply could not have been faster. What we did not understand were all of the people forming a line in the centrum waiting for their color category to be called. Wouldn’t they rather be playing table tennis or enjoying breakfast?

 

Recommendations:

*Bring extra hangers

*Use internet café’s in port rather than on the ship

*Book tours (with the exception of Tracy Arm) off ship – you will save $$$$$

 

My final comments (and criticisms):

 

**The no-jeans policy should either be enforced or abolished. When we were eating in Maxim’s a party of 8 seniors came in and two of the men wore jeans. They should not have been allowed in the door. When you book reservations you are told about no jeans, so why isn’t it actually enforced?

 

**NCL markup is way too high on excursions. Never again will I book tours with the cruise line unless it’s a must-see that I simply couldn’t live without. Most of the tours were available for booking on the pier, at lower prices and often better times.

 

**Try to stay away from Raffles, the food is sub-par. I swear people feel obligated to eat when they enter!

 

**Food in the specialty restaurants is much better than the mains.

 

**La Trattoria IS Raffles. Don’t let them fool you! On the first day of the cruise we kept looking for it, then found out it’s one side of Raffles with white table clothes. Some of the pasta is ok, and definitely a better alternative to Raffles itself.

 

**Staff is friendly, but not pushy. I feel this is a result of freestyle cruising. Bar servers didn’t push drinks like on other ships because they were getting their tips anyway.

 

**The entertainment wasn’t quite as good this week as in previous weeks. One of the comedians was a juggler…not my cup of tea. Jane Powell was good, but we really preferred the music entertainment in the lounges. The guitarist in Henry’s Pub was very good and a nice guy to boot.

 

**The stop in Juneau should be longer so we can do more! This is a minimum 2-excursion port!

 

**Better beds! My back is still sore.

 

**Take advantage of Noel, the Port & Cruise Consultant if you have questions about anything in port. He is always on the pier in the mornings while in port and a really nice guy.

 

**Freestyle is not for everyone, and there are still elements of traditional cruising that I miss. However after our easy disembark I certainly have a fondness for freestyle. What I do miss about traditional cruising is 1)You don’t necessarily meet as many people since you don’t dine with others, or least we never did. We had to initiate conversations in lounges and other areas, which could be a problem for some. 2) Having to make reservations everyday can be a bit of a pain. You cannot make a reservation more than 1 day in advance.

 

I read the other reviews of the Spirit prior to leaving, and from my view most of the problems have been worked out already. For example, I never saw an empty juice machine and the one time milk ran out a crew member was taking care of the problem immediately. I hope those of you going on the Spirit this summer have as much fun as we did. I’m still not ready to commit to traveling NCL exclusively, but I would definitely cruise with them again in the future.

 

My website will have scanned dailies, menus and more info on the restaurants. I will post the site address once my husband has scanned everything tomorrow.

 

Maria

 

Carnival Celebration 12/22/90

RCCL Monarch of the Seas 9/92

Carival Ecstasy 9/2002

NCL Spirit 6/12/2004

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Great review, thanks, Maria! So, you didn't get seasick on Friday when you were crusing outside Vancouver Island? What did you take that first day of cruising to get over your seasickness? Oh, and you said embarkation was quick and easy in Seattle. What time did you get there to board? Thanks again. I appreciate all the info.

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On the first sea day when I was sick I couldn't take any medication because I am pregnant. I was wearing sea bands, and they didn't work at all for me, though many on this board claim they are great. I am prone to motion and sea sickness anyway so any rocking is hard on my without a patch.

 

We arrived at the parking garage at Pier 66 around 11:15am and were on the ship well before noon. In the parking garage there are porters to take your luggage, so you just have to park and take your carry-on bags. We did get in a fast line for the NCL agent counter (where you get your room keys) because my husband is a non-US citizen. However, the couple standing in front of us on the escalator was at the ticket counter at the same time we were so even though their line seemed longer the wait was still minimal.

 

Maria

 

Carnival Celebration 12/22/90

RCCL Monarch of the Seas 9/92

Carival Ecstasy 9/2002

NCL Spirit 6/12/2004

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Maria..Many thanks for taking the time to post this review. I will avoid Raffles at ALL costs icon_biggrin.gif I totally agree with your comments on the dress code. It should be inforced, IMHO, in the specialty restaurants. If someone is paying for a fine dining experience, then is should be one.

Hope our weather will be as great as yours was. Is there anything you regreted NOT taking with you? Or anything you wish you had left at home?

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Maria, who was your waitress on the Spirit? I know several people that work personally on there...Menina icon_smile.gif

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Forgot to mention..how was the service in the main dining room?

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Maria,

We will be doing the 9/18 cruise. I am interested in the White Pass RR. The official web site for White Pass states the price as $89.00. When I asked on this board about boarding the train if you book directly with the RR the answer was that if you booked independently you had to go into town to board, but if you book with the ship you can board on the dock. I'm not questioning what you saw, I'm just curious about the the price difference. Thank you for your great review. To me breakfast is breakfast, but we will try to eat in the dining rooms for lunch and dinner.

 

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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About White Pass RR, it is true if you book fromthe ship you get on the train at the dock, whereas booking independently requires you to board at the station. However, we are talking a matter of a few yards, not a lengthy walk. Our train had so many people on it that we had to board one of the parlor cars on the Skagway side of the tracks, so we were practically at the station anyway. You will still be on the same train, just not in the "NCL" cars.

 

I am baffled at the price difference. Of course NCL doesn't let you have a refund for cancelling within 24 hours or we definitely would have switched bookings. You are going during the busy season though, so if this is a really important excursion to you then the money is worth it. I must admit I feel better about what we paid if the official RR site says the cost is $89. I expect NCL to make some profit, just not double! icon_smile.gif

 

You are going to get the same breakfast in Raffles or Windows, so Raffles really is easier in the mornings, especially if you don't want to spend much time eating. My husband much preferred Raffles for breakfast and lunch

 

Carnival Celebration 12/22/90

RCCL Monarch of the Seas 9/92

Carival Ecstasy 9/2002

NCL Spirit 6/12/2004

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Rather than many separate posts, I will combine my answers into one.

 

The service in the main dining room (Windows) was excellent. Always friendly, efficient, and willing to do anything we asked. We didn't go into the Garden Room since we know it was the same food as Windows and the decor isn't quite as appealing.

 

I don't remember the name of our waitress in Windows, and I wish I would have written it down. She was from Indonesia and was formerly on the Sky before going to Hong Kong to sail with the Spirit back to Seattle.

 

There wasn't anything we wish we had brought and didn't, but I cannot stress enough having binoculars. We used them everyday, especially from the balcony. There are a lot of glaciers to view while sailing in the Ketchikan to Skagway area and binoculars helped a lot. We also bought an extra 64MB memory card for our digital camera...and filled it!

 

Maria

 

Carnival Celebration 12/22/90

RCCL Monarch of the Seas 9/92

Carival Ecstasy 9/2002

NCL Spirit 6/12/2004

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Maria,

Thanks for the review. We will be traveling with our toddler for this trip. I was wondering if you think the Tracy Arm Fjords cruise would work for a toddler (since you have one, although he wasn't on the cruise, I thought you might have an idea)?

 

Also, do you think the balcony room would be big enough for us to bring our pack n' play (found out they have the cribs with wooden bars, probably old style). We are considering upgrading to a suite if it isn't too expensive, but would rather save the money for an excursion.

 

Are the alternative restaurants suitable for toddlers? I have heard some people would rather not have people bring toddlers to the specialty restaurants. Our toddler is well-behaved for the most part and we would leave if he gets fussy or tired.

 

Thanks for your input. (We are on the Spirit for 8/21 cruise).

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The $39. White Pass tour is NOT a train tour. It is a bus/van tour and that's why you get a tour of the town thrown in too. I recall seeing the ad in town on the street and it claims to be $99. value or words to that effect but they don't tell you that you're going by bus/van. I took the $39. tour knowing that it was not the train and it was pretty good, although the road you go on is not the exact same route. It's on the opposite side of the gorge. You must have seen the road from the train as we saw the train from the road. It was nice because we were able to make stops at certain lookout points, waterfalls, etc. I understand that there are certain tours you can take which give you the train ride one way and the bus on the other way. Anyway, you didn't get ripped off. Just thought I'd let you know.

 

Norway - 2/97;Leeward -12/97;

Grand Princess - 1/99; Leeward - 6/99; Dawn Princess - 11/99;Vision of the Seas - 6/00;Carnival Victory - 9/00; Zenith - 10/00

Mercury - 3/01; R1 -7/01; Grand Princess - 11/01; Majesty of the Seas - 12/01; Norwegian Star - 3/02;

Carnival Triumph - 7/02;

Maasdam - 11/02; Holiday - 12/02; Millennium - 4/03; Carnival Victory - 7/03; Zaandam - 8/03; Zuiderdam - 10/03; Enchantment of the Seas - 1/04; Galaxy - 3/04; QM2 - 5/04; Voyager of the Seas - 5/04

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Marin,

What is the earliest time that you can board the ship on Saturday morning in Seattle? After you board the ship, are the restaurants open for lunch? Thank you very much for your review of the Spirit.

 

Norwegian Spirit Sep/2004

Celebrity Century 1998

Carnival Imagination 1998

HAL Ryndam 1997

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Thanks Cruise pup! I feel much better about what we paid for the railpass, though I have to say the person telling us about the tour in Skagway lead us to believe it was the rail tour. But that was probably what they intended to do!

 

Aweseomecruise, we boarded the ship sometime around 11:30am. I know that by noon we had been in our cabin and were on deck lookihg at passengers boarding the ship. We were surprised at how easy it was to board. Raffles was open for lunch and people were already eating when we boarded. Since our cabin was very close to Raffles we noticed this right away. They even had the bbq on the terrace around 2pm before we sailed out of Seattle.

 

In case you haven't seen my new thread, I have posted the NCL Dailies and the room service menus on my website: http://webpages.charter.net/cheapskate/cruise/

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Maria,

Also, do you think the balcony room would be big enough for us to bring our pack n' play (found out they have the cribs with wooden bars, probably old style). We are considering upgrading to a suite if it isn't too expensive, but would rather save the money for an excursion.

 

We also have a pack n' play so I have a good idea of the size - there is room for it in front of the sofa, however there won't be much room to walk around. You will have to move the coffee table, but it is TINY so not a problem. I'm sure you could manage, though who wouldn't want a suite! :)

 

There were several children on the Tracy Arm excursion, and at least one was under two years. The main "cabin" of the catamaran has lots of seating and most of the seniors and children stayed down there the entire trip. If it were me I would still consider going on the trip because it is so fabulous, but I don't think I would take my son (he's 13-months) on the top deck since it gets very cold and you really feel the speed. Also it would be easy for a toddler to get through the railing if they are on the move. You might also want to consider that the trip is 5 hours long. It really didn't feel that long for us, but it probably would have if we had taken our son!

 

We saw toddlers in the specialty restaurants and they were very well behaved. La Trattoria is definitely not a problem since it's in Raffles and it doesn't take nearly as long. The other specialty restaurants take roughly 2 hours for dinner, and those with small children often went outside for a bit throughout the meal. So yes, you can take your toddler with you, it just becomes a matter of personal preference and how well your toddler likes fine dining! The wait staff are particularly good in the specialty restaurants so I' sure you will get plenty of attention and assistance. :)

 

Maria

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Yo Maria-

 

Hey - thanks for the GREAT review!!!!

 

Did you happen to find our friend/bartender DOMINIC???

 

Waiting for answer-

 

Happy Cruisin'

 

Mike

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Maria,

Thanks for the info about the room size. I just checked the NCL website and Best Price Cruise site, and all the suites are gone. :( We found out from our TA that Spirit has the wooden cribs, not sure if they fold up. We think we'll bring our own pack n' play so we can fold it up when my toddler isn't napping.

 

Thanks also for the dailies. Are they usually the same for all cruises? Or are there variations? I noticed you docked 1 mile outside of Juneau. Was it hard to get to the town from there?

 

I'm a first time cruiser and was wondering what towel animals are????

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BB,

 

Towel animals are mini-sculptures created by the room stewards at turndown. Carnival pioneered it, and even has a school for it! NCL is starting to do it now, especially on family-centric cruises.

 

Some of them can be quite elaborate. I've put a few pics online so you can see them. These are from three separate Carnival cruises.

 

Kids love them but even adults (like me!) get a real kick out of coming back to the stateroom and finding them on the bed, sofa, chair, or hanging from the grid in front of the window. http://zeej.com/towels/towel_1.shtml

 

Jana

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Maria,

 

Do you have any pictures of your cabin posted? We are in a balcony cabin on deck 10.

Thanks!

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We took over 100 photos, but none of them are posted yet. I will see what I can do tomorrow. :)

 

About being docked 1 mile out of Juneau, it really wasn't a big deal at all because shuttle buses leave about every 10 minutes to take you into town. It's very fast and they are waiting right at the dock. The reason we docked so far from town is that there were 4 other cruise ships in port that day, so they got the closer piers first. At least we never had to tender into port.

 

Maria

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Silly question, but my hubby is dying to know....did they have a 24 hr pizzeria? My waist line is hoping the answer is no, but his fingers are crossed for yes! This is a bad habit we've gotten in to each night before we call it quits after an evening of shows and late night dancing!

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