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SailAways

Back From 9/10/05 Spirit To Alaska

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Our trip was nothing short of fantastic. The weather was absolutely perfect the entire cruise. Even the half day of rain in Juneau, while visiting Mendenhall Glacier was great.

 

Boarding the ship could not have been easier. We were through the check in, and viewing our cabin within 45 minutes. Things flowed smoothly from the time we parked at the Republic Parking Garage through all of the check in.

 

Parking cost was $12 per day, with shuttle service to and from the ship. We were directed to an NCL designated area which is secure and covered. The porters were helpful with the luggage. If you opt for this, please remember to tip the porters.

 

Our cabin, inside on deck 10 was much more spacious than we had expected. It was perfectly in order, and ready for us. We had requestd the queen configuration for the bed, and an egg crate type mattress pad. Our steward had already taken care of this. The bed turn down with mints and a delightful towel animal was prompt each evening.

 

The bath was absolutely much larger than we had expected. The large shower with it's marvelous shower head and sliding doors was so nice. The towels were soft and plump. The hair dryer is great. No need to bring one along. The soaps and lotions provided were nice too.

 

Closet and drawer space was ample. Our steward, Roberto, provided us with additional hangers upon request. He and our stewardess, Jennifer were absolutely delightful, and made sure that our every need was addressed quickly and always with a smile. We knew from the moment we met them when they already knew our names, and addressed us as Mr. and Mrs., that they would make us feel special - and they truly did.

 

The room was furnished with a coffee pot, and choice of either decaf or regular Folgers coffee. The ice bucket was always full of my favorite "to crunch on" ice cubes.

 

We found the Spirit to be very beautiful in every way. The decor is extremely well done. The Grand Atrium just takes your breath away. The entire ship was decorated tastefully, and seemed to be clean at all times. The crew were always cleaning, but never so that you would feel the need to move or make room. They were gracious at all times.

 

The shows were entertaining. The production numbers were not Vegas class, but they certainly were good, and well presented. The comedian, Ritchie Minervini was very good. He kept us laughing all of the way through the show. The Sing Along with Steve Maue in Henry's Pub was a riot. We had a great time with him, and the other guests. The Love Brothers and Lira were great - singing beautifully. Cruise Director, Kevin was almost as funny as Ritchie. He kept us informed of all of the upcoming events.

 

Galaxy of the Stars was a favorite spot for many. The Liar's production put on by Kevin and his staff was the best. They really knew how to lie - or read the script well, but at any rate, it was hilarious. The talent show was wonderful with great talent. Bingo or other activities such as games which cruisers participated in were always in progress. No reason to be bored on this ship.

 

The food was, in our opinion, simply great. We ate at Maxim's and Shogun. At Shogun, we were in the Teppanayaki room. The food is prepared in front of you with much flair and laughter. It was wonderful. Maxim's was for our Anniversary dinner. The waiters sang "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" to us for our 50th and our son and his wife for their 25th Wedding Anniversaries. We each received a cake inscribed with a greeting. The dinner was nothing short of stunning. These are the only two "service charge" restaurants which we tried. The food was excellent elsewhere, so did not see the need to spend extra.

 

Breakfast was usually in Raffles so the guys could have the wonderful waffles!! They said they were super with many choices of topping. The strawberries and whipped cream were a favorite. We ate many lunches in Raffles too. We found it to be just fine with a nice selection of fresh fruits, entrees, and delicious desserts every day.

 

Some of our lunches were outdoors with great barbecues. These always offered a wide variety of foods - no need for anyone to go hungry here.

 

Blue Lagoon was a nice spot to grab a quick lunch sandwich, or wok dish. We enjoyed the relaxed treatment here, and never had a problem finding an open seating area.

 

We found Windows and The Garden Room to both be stunning. Service was so very great in each. Our waiters were extremely attentive. The atmosphere in each was far above what we had expected. The selections of menu items was wide and varied. The waiters in all of the restaurants seemed willing to chat, and loved it when we would ask about their families and where they were from. This brought out many good stories, and always those beautiful smiles.

 

The Chocoholics Buffet was awesome. We viewed it prior to the feast and were able to take many nice pictures. The lines moved smoothly through the Moulin Rouge where the presentation was made. Amazing things were done with chocolate by the wonderful Spirit Pastry and Dessert Chefs and staff.

 

We did only one prearranged excursion. Our son and his wife kayaked in Ketchikan with a guide from Southeast Kayaking. She was delightful. They padddled across the inlet to Pennock Cove where they saw much sea life. Their guide explained exactly what they were seeing, and gave them a good history of the area. They were fortunate that they were her only guests on this tour, so they received extra special treatment. One of the highlights of the trip for them.

 

In Skagway, we rented a car and did Murray's drive up the South Klondike Highway to Carcross. We stopped to take pictures at our leisure - even got one of the train which runs parallel to the highway. We were so glad that we had made the choice to do the car instead of the train. It was quite foggy when the trip trip began. It did clear up for us, but I am not sure about the train side. We of course stopped at the Cinnamon Cache and had one of their wonderful rolls. The owners sat with us, and shared many experiences from France, where he was born. It was a special fun time.

 

Prince Rupert was another favorite of ours. Husband, son and daughter in law rented scooters from Pegasus, and cruised around for about four hours. They had an absolute blast, and would have stayed out longer, but we had dinner reservations. I toured the town, and found it to be delightful with very friendly folks who were willing to share their vast knowledge of the area and the native culture. The shops were nice, and not so touristy as those in Skagway, Ketchikan and Juneau. I hope they stay this way. This is quite a picturesque little town. On board ship this evening, the native "Tsimshian Performers" gave us a great interpretive show in the Moulin Rouge. It was informative and well presented.

 

We went to Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, and were once again awe struck with such beauty. The presentation there was most informative. This was the only day of partial rain on our entire trip. The weather was absolutely great - we were usually able to go without a jacket.

 

Our cruise missed Sawyer Glacier due to weather conditions. But, the Captain made up for it by taking us into an area of quiet, serene beauty. I am sorry, but I do not remember the name, but it was absolutely awesome again. We sighted seal on glacial ice several times during this detour. This inlet was narrow. Much to our delight, the Captain turned the ship around when he had taken us as far into this area as he felt safe. We were all amazed at this manuever. I personally had no idea that a ship this size could turn on a dime as our Volvo will, but he did just that. This was a memory maker for me.

 

Our entire cruise was a joy, with absolutely nothing to complain about as far as the ship, crew, food and service are concerned. Our one and only complaint would be the complete lack of manners of the people on board. Dress code was absolutely ignored in preference to tacky blue jeans or worse. I know that this has been discussed over and over on these boards. Now, I truly understand why. I believe it is time for NCL to address this situation, and enforce a dress code. It is not that we felt that people should be dressed up each day, but presentable clothing, Resort Casual, for a cruise certainly must be in order.

 

I know that there are those who will flame me for mentioning this, but I am ready for whatever. A cruise is, for many of us, a once in a lifetime thing. To be on a luxurious ship which is "Dressed Up Itself", and to see so many who take no pride in their own appearance was truly shocking to us.

 

The more offensive breach of etiquette was noticeably the men who wore caps and cowboy hats to dinner. It really matters not where one is dining, the hat should be removed. Many women came into the dining rooms in less than Resort Casual attire. I know that some will say, to each his own. I say, if there is a dress code, and there really needs to be, then it should be enforced. The sort of clothing which many opted to wear seemed only appropriate for ones own backyard. Sorry, but that was our take on tacky dress.

 

We are sad to see the Spirit leave the Seattle area and head for her New York assignment after the dry dock. We would go on her again in a heartbeat. Every aspect of this cruise to Alaska on theSpirit was much much more than we had expected it to be.

Bravo to Captain and Crew!!

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SailAways,

So glad you had such an excellent time on the Spirit!!!!

I knew you would, but it is so great to see your excitement and enthusiasm and to know that you enjoyed it so thoroughly!:D

 

On board ship this evening, the native "Tsimshian Performers" gave us a great interpretive show in the Moulin Rouge. It was informative and well presented.

What a great addition! I would have loved to have had something like this available. We tried to get to their performance in town at the museum, but the timing was not good, so we missed it. I guess that leaves something for next time ;) .

 

The waiters sang "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" to us for our 50th and our son and his wife for their 25th Wedding Anniversaries

While the waiters were singing this to couples in the dining room, I wondered if their employement interviews included singing auditions:p . The songs were very pretty and harmonized.

 

The large shower with it's marvelous shower head and sliding doors was so nice.

Gotta love those showers. You don't get that on just any ship:) .

 

The passenger attire on our particular sailing wasn't too bad. Most people were casual, but not sloppy, and most dressed to the guidelines for dinner. There was someone in front of us upon entering windows that had a cap on at lunchtime (probably forgot about it upon returning from shore) and the hostess politely asked him to remove it. I guess she wasn't on duty when your hat wearers came through;) .

 

So glad you have many wonderful memories of your first cruise.

Julie

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That was the most enjoyable review I've read. Thank you so much for including all the info that you did. We are sailing right after refit and are so excited. I have printed this review to share with my family.

 

Barb

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I would echo everything you said about the cruise. It was wonderful. The crew was warm and welcoming and went out of their way to make sure we were enjoying the cruise.

 

I too was a little shocked at the attire. I do admit that jeans don't bother me, however as long as they are neat. They were proper attire for most side excursions. However, I could not belive the shorts and filp-flops in COLD weather! At breakfast in Raffles (where there is no dress code other than no swim suits) some people looked like they were breakfasting in their PJs.

 

Most people looked OK in Gardens and Windows restaurants...but some jeans did slip through even though dress code prohibited. However, those who were in jeans looked better than some people in what they obviously considered to be "resort casual". Some women simply should NOT be exhibiting their cleavage!

 

I will say, however, that the attire of many cruisers did give us great "people-watching" opportunities. Frankly, what the other people were wearing, though at times generating "what where they thinking!!" reactions, didn't diminish our enjoyment of the cruise one bit!

:D

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Thanks for reading my review, and having such nice comments.

 

I didn't mean that the attire of others made our cruise any less memorable, and enjoyable - just a bit much sometimes.

 

I would tend to believe that even those who profess to not enjoying getting dressed up, should try it. They probably would feel much better in Docker type trousers, and a nice shirt. IMHO, gals always look nicer in slacks rather than jeans with the pockets accentuating the negative!

 

I would agree with you Popette, that nice jeans do not bother me. Worn and torn ones leave my mind when thinking of a cruise.

 

Alioness - Thank you so very much for such kindness. I am glad that you enjoyed the review, and even printed it out. That is special to me.

 

Zimmerjulie, you helped me along in preparation for this cruise, and it truly was just as wonderful as stated.

I hope that you had equally as much fun as we did.

Yes, the waiters did sing harmony, and my daughter in law commented to them about that.

They just smiled sweetly.

What a crew!!

 

Thanks again, SailAways :)

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I wanted to add that the detour which we took when we missed Sawyer Glacier was (I believe) Endicott Arm, and the Glacier which we saw was the Dawes. This was an absolutely marvelous and exciting side trip.

If I am mistaken, please correct me on this.

Thanks. SailAways :)

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Yes, the Spirit is a wonderful unique ship. Star Cruises', NCL's parent firm, first new built ship. And it shows from the ship itself and its Asian decor to the hard working wonderful crew.

 

NCL had a choice, to bring either the Sun or the Spirit to New York to join the Dawn as the second ship. NCL chose wisely, after her drydock the Spirit will be a better ship than the Sun, in my opinion....

 

If only NCL would add some more suites to the helipad area of deck 13 aft..... Maybe in the next drydock. There is still plenty of real estate left on deck 13....

 

While the Dawn maybe a slightly newer and larger ship, those who have sailed on the Dawn may say better, but those of us who have sailed on the Spirit know that the Spirit isn't second to any ship....

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It's so wonderful to read a review from someone who loved the Spirit as much as we did on our very first cruise last Feb. We thought everything was beautiful and the staff was great. Wonder if your Roberto was the same wonderful stewart we had, we were on deck 9 but I'm sure they move around. He knew our names from a very short meeting in the hall the first afternoon and never forgot. We were very disappointed the Spirit left Miami for New York. We'd have sailed on her again in a flash.

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SailAways! I don't know how I can write a review on this cruise after reading yours. You've taken the words out of my mouth. (When I get the time I WILL still attempt to write one though.)

 

I've always said that I don't mind nice jeans and I'll stick to that. But, on this cruise, as on other cruises we've been on, there always seem to be those who just have to push the envelope. The worst for our family was one night in Windows there was a woman, dining with 3 others, who was wearing shorts. And I'm not talking about nice, neat tasteful shorts. (Even though those too would have been inappropriate.) These were short, athletic shorts that someone who is overweight really shouldn't be wearing anywhere, let alone in a fine dining room!

 

While I don't really enjoy dressing up in fancy wear, much, I still feel that dress codes need to be obeyed and respected. They ask that in the dining rooms (Windows and Garden Room) after 5:30 that you not wear jeans, t-shirts, athletic wear, etc. But I personally feel that this should apply to the lunch time as well. If you don't want to wear resort casual then dine somewhere else. The staff are dressed neatly - I think it's only fair that the passengers dress neatly as well.

 

As for hats - I agree with you. It's like going to a professional ball game and people not removing their hats for the national anthem. It is SO disrespectful, tacky and rude! There was one man on this cruise who bought one of those Russian-type fur hats in Alaska and I don't think he even took it off to sleep after he purchased it. But....we did see the host ask him to remove it in Windows. I was very pleased to see that. (Even the comedian took a poke at this guy for wearing the hat everywhere he went.)

 

This was a wonderful review - I'll see if I can do justice with mine.....

 

Hikini:D

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SailAways! I don't know how I can write a review on this cruise after reading yours. You've taken the words out of my mouth. (When I get the time I WILL still attempt to write one though.)

There was one man on this cruise who bought one of those Russian-type fur hats in Alaska and I don't think he even took it off to sleep after he purchased it. (Even the comedian took a poke at this guy for wearing the hat everywhere he went.)

This was a wonderful review - I'll see if I can do justice with mine.....

Hikini:D

 

Thanks Hikini:

I have faith that the words will just come to you - and you surely have much more to add. I thought I was writing a "short" review, but when finished, there it was.....

I saw the Russian type hat guy too, and heard the comedian poke fun at him. How ridiculous this was.

Thank you so much for the praise, and the support on the dress code topic. Being new to this sort of thing, I just flew by the seat of my slacks - so to speak.....

 

I will be watching for yours soon.

 

SailAways :)

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It's so wonderful to read a review from someone who loved the Spirit as much as we did on our very first cruise last Feb. We thought everything was beautiful and the staff was great. Wonder if your Roberto was the same wonderful stewart we had, we were on deck 9 but I'm sure they move around. He knew our names from a very short meeting in the hall the first afternoon and never forgot. We were very disappointed the Spirit left Miami for New York. We'd have sailed on her again in a flash.

 

Thank you Debbie:

If you were fortunate enough to have had the same Roberto who we had, I know that you were treated with tender care. He and Jennifer were a great team.

SailAways:)

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Wow! Thanks, Sailaways! I'm tickled pink to read your review and know that you had such a wonderful time.

 

We'll be on an 11-Day on the Dawn in a few weeks, so I've been putting most of my focus on reviews and info about the Dawn. Your review has got DH and I now considering a 7-Day on the Spirit in February, while our High-School aged DS is on winter break!

 

Thanks so much for your thorough review!

 

Pepper

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I am also printing out this review, as it will certainly make my wife very happy to hear such great reviews of the Spirit!!! We are on the 2nd sailing out of New York on Nov 27th.. We have only been on Royal Carribean twice, and were a little sceptical about switching. My mind is certainly at ease now!!!:) :) :) :cool:

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I am also printing out this review, as it will certainly make my wife very happy to hear such great reviews of the Spirit!!! We are on the 2nd sailing out of New York on Nov 27th.. We have only been on Royal Carribean twice, and were a little sceptical about switching. My mind is certainly at ease now!!!:) :) :) :cool:

 

Thanks so much.

This ship is absolutely beautiful as is.

I feel with the changes to come, you surely are in for a treat.

Hope you are happy with your switch-a-roo.

A little variety is a good thing!

Happy Cruising.

SailAways :)

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I cruised on the Sprit during July 2004, and I also had a great cruise on the Spirit.

Remember, as Don pointed out, the Spirit was Star Cruises first newly built ship, meaning it was considered the cruise line's Flagship for a year, until the Superstar Virgo, the Spirit's (Leo) sistership was built. Although 20,000 tons or so smaller than the Star/Dawn/Jewel, the attention to detail in decorating of this ship is astonishing, ie - the tasteful asian decor, as a flagship should be. It's definately not as flashy or gaudy as many have reported about NCL's new ship, the Jewel.

About the only disappointment I had was the temperature of the food served at the cafeteria on the Lido Deck. Considering that it was originally designed for Far East service, and the small amount of time NCL had to convert the Spirit to North American service, I'm willing to forgive NCL somewhat. A major amount of work to be performed during this fall's drydock is changing the cafeteria into a buffet, and lots of other work is to be performed on all the "galleys" on this ship. This should greatly improve the quality of the food everywhere on the Spirit, which was very good to start with.

About the only thing this ship is lacking in is mini-suites. I'm not sure many New Yorkers, spoiled by the many mini-suites on the Dawn, will enjoy cruising in the Spirit's smaller balcony staterooms. A possible outcome or result, the price for the cruises on the Spirit will probably be cheaper than an equivalent cruise on the Dawn in a mini-suite.

The Spirit will always be close to my heart. It's just an amazing Ship to cruise on. :) :) :) :) :)

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I love the Spirit too...we sailed her to the Southern Caribbean last fall. They had a great band called 90210 that I didn't see mentioned in the Alaska review so maybe they'll show up on my next cruise (NCL Jewel 12/4/05). I'd love to sail on Spirit some time but find it easier to travel south to Fla. to catch a cruise than to NY. (Just my personal preference.)

 

I thought the dress code was most relaxed on the Carnival Conquest but can't say I noticed any torn jeans or short shorts in dining room. Probably because I was paying more attention to my menu. Did you notice though that the girls who wear the very lowcut pants are usually the ones who would be better served by covering up that particular body area?

 

That sounds like an "old grump", which I am trying very hard to keep from becoming.

 

I hope everyone makes it thru Hurricane Rita ok. Our country has had way too many disasters already!

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Having been a full figured gal for most of my life, I would hope that those who know me could tell you that I go out of my way to disguise what I have instead of seeming to be proud to have spillage at every opening possible!:eek:

 

Some people are so disgusting! I wish they could see themselves from behind, as we who are walking behind them see them. I think that might cure a few of them from wearing spandex too!

 

OK, back into my corner!

 

Hikini:D

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Don't go getting me into trouble here -

I feel another one of those "clothing things" coming on......

Truly, my point was, if there truly is a dress code, then we should all, in

respect of the cruise line, and our fellow passengers, do our best to abide by it.

I would agree though, if most of us could walk behind ourselves once in

awhile, wouldn't we be in for a shock. Yikes!! :eek:

Thanks to all of you for reading my review. I have had a lot of fun reading all of the responses too.

We truly did have every bit as much fun as stated.

SailAways :) :) :)

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