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Spirit 10 day cruise review 11/9-11/19/06

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NCL Spirit 10 day Cruise from NYC 11/9/06 to 11/19/06
St. Thomas, Antigua, Barbados, St Maarten and Tortola.
This is my 11th cruise 5th on NCL -late 40's
My DD Christina, SIL Brian and GD Bianca's all first timers, mid 20's to early 30's and a 5 years old.

I love to cruise, I got addicted after my first cruise, which I got as a bonus for buying my timeshare in Orlando. I didn't think I would like it cause I get motion sickness real easy, I got sick watching the O’ Canada circle vision movie in Epcot. I didn't get sick at all on my first cruise on the CCL Fantasy. That was the beginning on the addiction. In 2001 my mother and I started an annual spring break cruise. This is the first cruise I got motion sickness on. It was the first night we went to our cabin to do our door decorating and it was so hot and the ship was moving. I wasn't feeling well and neither was my daughter so we decided to get out of the cabin. I grab a bag that NCL had by the elevators as I wasn't feeling good. Thank god I grabbed that bag as I had to use it. Later we saw by in the halls that someone else felt the same way, but didn't get a bag in time. After that night I was okay, I kept taking my motion sickness pills.

[B][U]Thursday, Embarkation Day & Cabin [/U][/B]
We had no problems or delays driving in from the Hudson Valley, the west side on the river to NYC. We arrived at the pier and got right in line and was given our forms to fill out for Tortola, as we got e tickets. I don't remember the time but we didn't even have enough time to fill in the cards by the time we went through security. It took a total of about 30 minutes from out of the car to walking on the ship. $180 to park for the 10 day cruise.
I can't remember what deck we entered but nothing special walking on. I like when you enter a ship into the Grand Atrium and get that WOW feeling. We went to our cabin first and they didn't have them open yet. There was a sign saying they would be ready at 2pm. I asked if I could drop off our carry on's and he let us, no problem.

We had cabins 9197 & 9199, average inside cabins with plenty of room, I liked the glass doors on the shower it’s so much better then those curtains. The bathroom was small but not a bad size for a ship cabin. Across from the bathroom is a large closet, a few shelves and the safe, I loved the sliding doors on the closet instead of the ones that open and I also like that the safe uses a code rather then the card as on CCL. Next to the closet is a stand with 4 drawers and shelves above it and then the TV on top. There’s also a coffee pot, which I didn't use. There was a vanity-desk area, with 1 small drawer, nice area to get ready in the morning. We had a small chair sitting area at the end of the beds. We had plenty of room and there was room under the bed for the suitcases.

We dropped off our carry on bags and off to eat and then explore. We went to Windows to eat. I love this restaurant, if you been on the Dawn or the Star it's about the same as Venetian. I can't remember what we had but it was good, we all liked what we got.

After lunch we walked around the ship exploring and went to Kids Crew to get the details. We went up to the area behind Raffles in the back of the ship for sailaway. I got my first drink of the day. We stayed in this area to watch the sailaway because I had read how you could see both sides to take pictures as you leave the pier. We stayed here for a while and watched the ship past Ms. Liberty. It was too dark to take pictures. I like the fact that the aft of the ship has a public area to sit. I missed this on the Dawn and the Star as on our CCL cruises this was also my favorite area to sit on the Fantasy Class ships. I went to go to the casino launch party but it was over all ready and missed the bridge passing. So we passed the bridge about 5:15 p.m. I heard we left late due a truck losing an axle on the GW bridge which traffic was at a stand still for over 2 hours. One in our roll call almost missed the ship she arrived about 4:10 p.m. but the ship was waiting for a delivery. Which was good for those running late.

Unpacked, explored more, got a feel on the ship, and had dinner in Windows. I had the curry dish and it was great. Brain said the his chicken was good, when they brought it to him he ordered another as that was all he ate and it was there just about the time he finished the first plate.

[B][U]Ship:[/U][/B]
I have been on the Spirit so I knew what to expect. It's very similar to the Dawn and Star. The ship was clean and there was always someone cleaning or painting something. I found the ship was easy to navigate. Remember to use deck 7 to go to the restaurants as deck 6 you can't go all the way through. The elevators as in all the areas was beautiful wood, and well taken care off, and the staircase as always is beautiful. I loved the Spirit and would definitely sail on her again if the price was right.
Meet & Greet:
We had our Meet & Greet set up for 11:30 am in Henry's Pub. It's a small area and a little hard to mingle with everyone so I didn't really get to talk to everyone. We had a good turnout and Linda planned lots of activities for us. She had a door decorating contest, which I got second place. She had all kind of pirate stuff for the kids. Thanks Linda for setting everything up for us.
The captain, some of the officers and Ricky our cruise director came and said hi, they did have snacks and juice set up for us. Still nothing yet beats the M&G we had on the Dawn with Colin the CD and his staff. They gave a little talk and introduced themselves and stayed and talked to everyone and had their pictures taken with us. With that said this one was much better then the one on the Star. It was so nice to put a face with everyone we've been talking to on the roll call. I ran into a lot of them throughout the cruise and we had a blast..

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[quote name='From a land down under']You mentioned you were sea sick and kept taking your pills. Had you already been taking them when you got sea sick or started after?
Also, what time did you arrive at the port?
Thanks, great review![/quote]

Hello I start taking my pills two days before One each night.I continue to take them till we get down to the islands.

Start up again for the ride home.

Never got sick and I am prone to motion sickness and never had a problem on a cruise:)

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Hi Judy,

I have been looking forward to your review. Glad to hear you had another great time on the Spirit:)! Can't wait to hear about how the rest of your family liked it.

Mary

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[quote name='From a land down under']You mentioned you were sea sick and kept taking your pills. Had you already been taking them when you got sea sick or started after?
Also, what time did you arrive at the port?
Thanks, great review![/QUOTE]

No, that was the problem. As I have never gotten sick before I didn't really think about it much. I did start taking ginger tablets a few days prior but I didn't take a motion sickness pill till after I started feeling a little sick. If I had taken one that morning I think I would have been fine.

It didn't last long, I was fine the rest of the night. Were some friends we met were sick all night and half the next day.

I should have more to post later today.

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[B][U]Tivoli Pool & Hot Tubs: [/U][/B]
Nice looking pool area, biggest and deepest pool I've seen on a ship. I like the way it looks and the way it's set up. I didn't use this pool this cruise, we only used the kids pool area as I was sailing with my GD. The kids pool area is GREAT on this ship. My GD spent almost 3 full days there. The pool is a nice size and there is a not so hot tub there also that the kids and adults can enjoy. There's also a great area around the pool to relax in the sun or shade. We spent a lot of time here.

[B][U]Food & Dining Room: [/U][/B]
We found the food good to fair. We never ate breakfast in the dining room just didn't find the time or wanted to take that much time, either we slept late or there was something we were doing and had to be done quick. We ate breakfast at the buffet or room service. Brian would go up and get food from the buffet and bring it back to their cabin, he did this a lot of mornings as it was easier for them when getting ready to go ashore.

The buffet had made to order omelets and a waffle station both were good. At the omelet station you can request fried eggs or a 2 egg omelet. We had one lunch in the dining room besides the day we got on the ship and it was good. Room service was okay but the menu is limited. What I liked was the tomato juice from room service in the morning, it's not available at the buffet, just orange, apple and cranberry juice is in the buffet. I can't comment on the coffee as I don't drink it.

In the evening we ate at Windows most evenings, La Trattoria 2 evenings and Garden Room on our last evening to try it. We liked Windows better. I got the veggie dishes most nights and they were very good. Christina and Brian decided on beef or chicken most evenings and they liked most of them.

We only missed the dining room meal on one day, after a port and grabbed something in the Blue Lagoon, we went there a few times during the cruise for lunch or snacks. I liked the potato skins and tomato soup, my GD loved the hot wings and french fries. This placed was always packed in the early morning hours when we left the Casino or Maharini's. One morning at about 3-3:30 a.m. it was closed and we were told to order room service.

I love freestyle and not having to decide between late or early seating. Some nights we ate early 5:30 pm and a few nights we ate late 8-9 pm.

La Trattoria was good, I love this place. We made ressies for two nights, not as soon as we walked on cause we wanted to stay flexible and not be locked into ressies. We were able to get ressies a day or two in advance for 8:30 and 9 p.m.

My DD didn't find anything to her liking at the buffet, only at breakfast. She had a burger one day from Bier Garten and said the bread was stale, the burger from Blue Lagoon was good as were the french fries. My SIL didn't like how long the dinner room took one or two evenings it took 2-2 1/2 hours. Then a few nights we were in and out in 1 1/2 hours, all at Windows.

As first timers my DD and SIL in general did not like the food options. IMO I didn't like the new menus as much as the old menus. But I'm a real picky eater. I only eat boneless chicken and pork. Some nights there was nothing to pick that I liked and one night there was 4 dishes on the menu that I liked. Wish we could pick and choose now that would really be freestyle. LOL

My GD would get the kids menu which was limited but she always wanted the spaghetti. Most nights she got the always available Steak with spaghetti. Her menu had pages that the kids could color but there was never any crayons that she could use. They staff would give her a pen, one evening she got 3 yellow crayons. You would think that they would have crayons for the kids if their menu has pages to color.

More to come.

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[quote name='Maryfrei']Hi Judy,

I have been looking forward to your review. Glad to hear you had another great time on the Spirit:)! Can't wait to hear about how the rest of your family liked it.

Mary[/QUOTE]

Mary in general they liked the all inclusive they did two years ago better. I must admit on the cruise there's not a lot for the kids to do after dinner. Where as with the all inclusive there was Caribbean music being played all evening that the kids would dance to after a show that was also kid friendly. My SIL also was surprised at how short the shows were.

They both said they didn't think they would be doing another cruise anytime soon. Not like me I'm going on the Dawn again in April and can't wait.

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[B][U]Chocolate Buffet [/U][/B]
It was the second to last day at sea, at 2pm, much better then the midnight one on the Star. I missed it on the Star due to it was so late. There's a picture taking time at 1:15 pm, we missed the picture taking time by like 5 minutes but we took pictures when we got in. The line starts about 1:15 but it did go fast, Don't know if it was just me but it didn't seem as good as in the past. I didn't take many pictures as I have so many from past cruises so I have nothing to compare it with. When my daughter send me pictures I will compare them to the other and see then. There were 3 tables set up. One large table in the middle and then 2 on each side the two on the sides had the same layout and items available.

[B][U]Service: [/U][/B]
We found the service to be good to excellent, always had our room done up and ice bucket was always full, I had to leave notes to get my small cooler filled with ice but when I asked it was done.

Dining room staff was great and very friendly. All the staff members smiled and was polite and went out of their way to make our cruise special. Bianca found a few friends in the crew as the week went on.

I asked to use a bathrobe as I had to pack light due to our travel arrangements and was giving one the same night we boarded the ship. He did ask for it the last morning, maybe he thought I might pack it. LOL

The kids crew staff was great my GD loved them all, she thought "crazy" was the best.

[B][U]Weather: [/U][/B]
It was great weather the day we left NYC and also the day we returned, we couldn't have ask for better weather in Nov. It was nice the second day at sea and the first day at sea returning. The last day at sea it was cooler and overcast as much of the cruise was. Some rain but nothing that ruined the day.

[B][U]Age Group & Children on the Cruise:[/U][/B]
I cruise during spring break most of the time so I'm use to a ship with a lot of children onboard. This cruise had the fewest kids of all the cruises I have been on. All the children were well behaved Bianca met a few friends in Kids Crew and she liked running into them on the ship and in port. She was the oldest of her group at 5 1/2 the age went from 2-5. I can't remember the other group ranges but it would have been nice if she was 6 and in the next group up as most of the kids she met at the Meet and Greet were in the 6 year old group. But she had fun.

The age of the passengers was very diverse, all age groups were on this cruise and everyone seemed to have a good time.

[B][U]Casino: [/U][/B]
Best casino I've sen on a ship. I spent some time in the casino not as much as in July as they took out the machines I liked. Empty space there now with a black curtain hanging. I stayed up in the casino a few nights to 2:30-3:00 am. I lost of the machines this cruise and one night, ladies night where us ladies drink free till 1am I think it was I hit good on roulette and won $230. I ended up putting it back the last night, but all together I only lost about $60. Not bad for a few nights of having fun playing and drinking free the night I won.

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[quote name='judyf']Mary in general they liked the all inclusive they did two years ago better. I must admit on the cruise there's not a lot for the kids to do after dinner. Where as with the all inclusive there was Caribbean music being played all evening that the kids would dance to after a show that was also kid friendly. My SIL also was surprised at how short the shows were.

They both said they didn't think they would be doing another cruise anytime soon. Not like me I'm going on the Dawn again in April and can't wait.[/quote]

I would like to try an all-inclusive some day too, it sounds like a lot of fun. But like you, I'm really hooked on cruising and can't wait to go again. I'm glad your GD had such a nice time, and looking forward to the rest of your review:).

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[B][U]Entertainment: [/U][/B]
Ricky Matthews was our CD and he was great. Lisa was our cruise director in July, Ricky was much better and got the crowd going. The NCL Performers were great!

We saw almost every show. We're had better and worst shows on other ships, these were average. The two production shows we saw are a do not miss. !!! If possible don't miss the production shows. We missed the first one on formal night but I did see it in July and it was good too. MY GD made it to the first one and she loved all the costumes and dancing. She took ballet and tap for 2 1/2 years so this was exciting for her.

As always I really, really miss the late night adult comedy that CCL does.

There were 3 comedians during the 10 days. One of the three was really good the other two were average. Second City did one show and one late night show, they were better on this cruise then they were in July.

Here's a quick run down of the entertainment. I will rate each with 10 being the highest and 1 the lowest.

Thursday, 11/9 One show a "Variety Showtime" at 9:30 pm in Stardust Theater with Travis Cloer, we went and stayed for 4 songs and left, just wasn't our type of music. He gets a 4

Friday, Standing Room Only in Stardust Theater 7:30 & 9:30 pm. we missed this show, more on that later, I rated this show a 10 in July
Saturday, Ed Alonzo from "Saved by the Bell" in Stardust Theater 7:30 & 9:30 pm. He gets an 8

Sunday, Travis Cloer in Stardust Theater 7:30 & 9:30 pm. I took my GD, she got bored, it was okay he gets a 6

Monday, NCL Production show America's Beat in Stardust Theater 7:30 & 9:30 pm. They get a 10 - don't miss this one. My GD loved it.

Tuesday, Comedian Peter Sasso in Stardust Theater 7:30 & 9:30 pm., he gets a 8

Wednesday, The Second City, in Stardust Theater 7:30 & 9:30 pm, I enjoyed them this cruise. They get an 8

Thursday, Comedian David Naster, in Stardust Theater 7:30 & 9:30 pm, this was the best show, we all enjoyed it, he was funny. He gets a 10

Friday, NCL Production show On the Radio in Stardust Theater 7:30 & 9:30 pm, my GD missed this show as she wanted to go to Kids Crew, we all enjoyed it, They get a 10

Saturday, Star Seeker Talent Competition in Stardust Theater one show only at 7:30 pm, They had the most perform on this ship then I ever saw. It was fairly good. I'm not a big fan of the tablet show, NCL gets off cheap on this one. It gets a 6

Saturday, Farewell Variety Show in Stardust Theater one show only at 9:30 pm, They get a 8

TIP: If there a show or event in Galaxy of the Stars get there early to get a seat. We arrived about 20-30 minutes early and there was no seats. I would suggest at least 30 minutes to get a seat even more for a good seat.

TIP: If you arrive late walk in from the top deck 8 and sit there or walk down to an open seat from the top. If you enter the theater from deck 7 you walk in right in front of the stage and then have to walk across the stage and up to an open seat, which if you're late is full in the front by now.

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I will finish the review when I return from Virgina for the holiday.

Everyone have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

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leaving on spirit on 12/10. just wondering what activities take place during cold days at sea. also heard about new menus, wondering if anyone has them. sailed on spirit two times this summer, i think the shows are the same??? thanks for any info

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[SIZE=5][COLOR=magenta]GREAT REVIEW....!!![IMG]http://boards.cruisecritic.com/images/icons/icon14.gif[/IMG][IMG]http://boards.cruisecritic.com/images/icons/icon14.gif[/IMG][IMG]http://boards.cruisecritic.com/images/icons/icon14.gif[/IMG]:) [/COLOR][/SIZE]

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[quote name='Shawnee Indian']Glad you had a Great cruise!

Q. - Where you late getting off the Spirit in St Thomas?
Thanks![/QUOTE]

No, got right off no problems. We arrived earlier then scheduled in St. Marrten.

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Wonderful review Judy. Thanks. I was wondering if you could give me any advice on parking at the pier. Can we park and bring our luggage down to be checked in or does DH have to drop me off with luggage and then park? It is always so chaotic there. We leave on November 30th.

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[quote name='yiayiamz']Wonderful review Judy. Thanks. I was wondering if you could give me any advice on parking at the pier. Can we park and bring our luggage down to be checked in or does DH have to drop me off with luggage and then park? It is always so chaotic there. We leave on November 30th.[/QUOTE]

You can do it either way. We always drive up drop off our check bags as you have to drive right by there anyway. Then we both get back in the car park it and then walk together with our carry ons.

It works great for us.

I hope to have more of the review done soon, work and the holiday got in the way.

Any questions just ask.

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On with the review.

[B][U]Ports:

St. Thomas: Sunday 11/12/06-11:00am to 5:30pm-all aboard [/U][/B]

This was my second time to St. Thomas and I love it. It was Sunday and the Havensight Mall was open and many shops in Downtown too. As I mentioned early I didn’t plan to shop much but I know many others did so it was nice that many shops opened up.

Last time in 2003 we did the Godfrey Tour. It was a great tour and we enjoyed it. This time we had planned to go on our own to Corky Beach. A few on our roll call had planned on the Sunny Liston Tour. When we arrived and got off the ship with another couple we met onboard, hello Becky and Jamie. We decided to go ahead and do the tour so we could see some of the island and then go to the beach. Due to our late arrival we had 30 minutes to power shop. We just looked around at the outside vendors near were Sunny dropped us off.

After the shopping Sunny took as on a tour to what I think is called Mountain Top, great views from here and I had a famous Banana Daiquiri. It was good but I think it was $7.50. We stopped at another look out point maybe two.

Sunny then dropped us off at a beach of our choice. Last time I went to Megan’s Bay, so this time we choose Corky beach so we could also snorkel. This is a really nice beach and it's free, Megan's charge $3 pp to get in. This beach was great, we are so glad we choose this beach. Meg and her kids were at this beach with us too, Hi Meg, Emily, Anthony and Timothy. We all had a good time. The snorkeling is great here, go to the right by the rocks. Just walk right in waist deep and you see the fish. We were all snorkeling when Becky and Brian went out into the deeper water and Becky stepped on a sea urchin. She was fine, she said she knew better then to step down when she saw it but did it anyway. We had a good laugh over that the rest of the week, I get paid back later in Antigua.

While on Sunny tour he plays Caribbean music and gets everyone into the mood signing on the loud speaker, we were clapping and everyone including the kids were signing along. As we went by everyone would look at our bus and all the fun we were having and you could see in their faces they wished they were on our bus. It was great fun.

If I had to choose between the two tours I would choose Sunny, only cause of the music he played and getting everyone in the party mood. We had such fun, great first port for us. He was $25 pp kids same price.

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[B][U]Antigua: Nassau: Monday 11/13/06 8::00am to 4:30pm-all aboard [/U][/B]

I had booked horseback riding at this port and a tour with Charley through Antigua Guy on the port board. When we arrived I couldn't find Charley or the location where I was to meet charley. I was giving a price of $130-140 for all 4 of us with the admission price to the Dockyard included. We tried to find Charley but couldn't we met many, many guides looking to take you on any kind of tour. We found Nelson and he gave us a price of $20 pp much cheaper then I had booked. I can't remember if he charged full price or half for Bianca, I think it was half price.

We explained that the most important thing we wanted to do was go horseback riding and we knew Mr. Miller had it available. We had a great tour he took us to a church were we were able to get out and go inside and there was a good view of the ships. Then up to the dockyard, we really didn't want to go in and do the history stuff so we decided not to go in. There was another couple with us from another ship that was there, I can't remember but I think it was a RCCL ship. I know it was from Miami. It worked out great cause they didn't want to go into the dockyard either. We then drove to look out points and through the rain forest, we had a little bit of rain but not much. It was cloudy as it was yesterday in Antigua too.

He had a nice AC van and there was plenty of room for the 6 of us. Nelson dropped us off by the horse as you enter Dickinson Bay Beach. The horseback riding was $35 pp again I can't remember if he charged for Bianca, if anyone wants to know I will ask my daughter. The ride was great and as you will see in the pictures the horses were in great shape. This was one of the highlights of our cruise for all of us especially Bianca as this is all she asked to do.
The beach was close to the ship so we had schedule Nelson to pick us up at 4pm and we had plenty of time and then it was back on the ship.

I suggest in this port to just get a tour after you get off the ship, there plenty of guides available and they were all very polite. Nelson's tour was a great tour so if you can ask for Nelson. It's easy to remember cause it's the same name as the Dockyard there.

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I'm rushing to get this posted and I'm forgetting things. In Antigua, we had lunch at the beach at the place where Nelson dropped us off, it was a little high but the food was good and it was a decent size plate for the money. I paid like $17.00 for a club sandwich and a Antigua Smile, a rum drink, it was good.

I said I got paid back in Antigua for laughing with Becky about the sea urchin, well as I was swimming I went out over my head a ways out and a jelly fish stung my leg. It felt like a bee sting. I kept swimming, after that Brian and Christina ran out of the water and didn't go back in, Bianca and I had a great time.

When we returned back to the ship many told us they were in the rain a lot today, we lucked out and was on the other side of the island when it rained.

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[B][U]Barbados: Tuesday: 11/14/06 9::00am to 3:30pm-all aboard [/U][/B]

We had a blast here. This was Christina's and Brain's favorite port. I like them all as I prefer less commercialize and more local atmosphere. We had booked Glory Tours online and prepaid before we left. We booked the Best of Barbados tour land and sea. Becky and Jamie wanted to join us. I explained I wasn't sure if there would be room but I thought there might be cause no one else from our roll call booked this tour. They went with us and took a chance and were glad they did.

Our paperwork said 9:45-10:00am pick up by the big tree. So we weren't in any hurry to get off the ship, as long as we weren't late. When you arrive in Barbados you have to take a bus, sort of like a tender but on wheels. I heard a lot of people complaining about this but it's Barbados rule. After you see where the bus takes you I can see for safety reasons why they do it this way. It's a fairly long walk, some could not make it and to walk while the buses are transporting others, it just wouldn't be safe, especially with children. We got there about 10:05am, took a little longer then we expected. It started to rain a little as we were getting in the van. Our guide told us he was waiting since 8:30am. We wished we knew that as we would have been there earlier. We were surprised to see we were the only ones on the tour. We had our own private tour. This was great. When we told him our time due back on the ship, we all decided to cut out the orchard part of the tour, as none of us was that excited about that part.

First we were off for the sight seeing part of the tour.He turned around and went a different way due to construction which saved us some time. He stopped along the road at a stand where a gentleman had a green monkey and we got to touch it and then he had it jump on the adults heads. It was so cool. Then we realized it was carrying a baby. My grand daughter along with all of us thought this was great. We were even able to pet the baby monkey.

Lunch was included in the price, which was $79.00 per adult and less for a child. [url]http://www.glorytours.org/[/url] Here's the link if anyone is interested. This had to be the best tour I've ever booked on a cruise and I've booked a lot that have gotten an A+ but this one was special, read on. Our Guide called ahead due to our time and had our lunch waiting for us, it was really good. We had chicken, which I didn't eat cause it wasn't boneless breast but my grand daughter ate hers and mine. There was rice, potato salad, a sort of baked ziti, and we got a free soft drink. It started to rain some while we were eating as we left it stopped.

Now we off to the The Barbados Wildlife Preserve and we thought the one green monkey was cute we saw dozens of them and turtles you had to watch you didn't step on one of them. The deer were right there within an arms length. It was great. We saw so much, we went through fast as we still had the snorkeling part of our tour to do. I think we had 45-60 minutes in the preserve. You could spend more time there but we were happy and saw all we wanted to see. There was a rum punch or soft drink included in the price here at the snack stand. With our drinks in hand we're back in the van headed for the snorkeling with the sea turtles.

We get to the glass bottom boat and I'm not sure which was the highlight of this tour could everything was just so great. We get there and we have a glass bottom boat all to ourselves. 6 people. It was so great, especially when we see the other boats I'm sure a ship tour with 50-100's of people in them. I think there was 2 boats and then us at the location. There were turtles already in the area. Our guide feed them some food and they were all around. It was sooo much fun, something you can't do at home that's for sure. I will include a link to the pictures as soon as I can get them uploaded to webshots. We saw Puffer fish with the sea turtles reminded us of Finding Nemo.

My grand daughter is still a little skeptical of the water. She wouldn't get in. Finally her father talked her into getting on his back and she did it that way and saw the turtles good, that plus they would come up with their heads out of the water. She loved it. When we asked her what she liked best so far she said all of them, the horses, the monkeys, the beach and the turtles.

I highly recommend this tour. We got like two or three ship tours for the price of one. We skipped the orchard part and it was still well worth every penny, we thought it was a great deal. I'm thinking of doing this same tour again in April, as it was that good.

I know I'm leaving things out. If I think of anything I will post at a later time as it's getting late now. If you have any questions just ask.

Still to come St. Maarten and Tortola.

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Judy great review I think we may look into the Barbados tour Sound's great.Just think in 4 months you get to do it again:D

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[quote name='LEET44']Judy great review I think we may look into the Barbados tour Sound's great.Just think in 4 months you get to do it again:D[/QUOTE]


I can't wait. It was a great tour. I should have pictures up soon.

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[quote name='Welove2cruise2']Judy: thanks so much for taking the time to post this great review! Looking forward to reading the rest before we leave (tomorrow evening) so HURRY UP!!:D[/QUOTE]

I'm home for lunch and trying to get my pictures uploaded. I'm sad to say I don't think I will have any more review done by tonight. I might get some more done tonight after I get home from work.

Sorry, but you will have a great time. The Spirit is a great ship with a great crew.

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[B][U]St. Maarten: Wednesday: 11/15/06 11::00am to 5:30pm-all aboard [/U][/B]

We arrived about 9am two hours ahead of scheduled, NCL warned us all trip that we needed to tender as there were 7 ships visiting St. Maarten this day. They estimate about 20,000 passengers were there. I went down real early to get tender tickets and we were on tender # 4, this was a chore as I got into my cabin real late last night for an early morning. Everyone was complaining about the situation but NCL did tell us in advance what it was going to be like. We ended up getting off the ship about 11:30-12:00 we had breakfast and waited for our tender to be called.

We had pre arranged with Sunny Liston to due a tour with Victor but when we got off the ship we met up with Meg and her kids who were doing the same tour with us. She told us the meeting place was on the other side of where the ships docked and we were on the wrong side and needed to take a water taxi to the meeting location. At this point Brian and Christina said let's just shop as we haven't had much time to do any this cruise. I'm not a big shopper on a cruise I can do that at home but went with the flow. I did get a nice couch bag so it was worth it. I was a little disappointed that Victor didn't realize that our ship was tendering and was were we got off to meet us, as I was really looking forward to the tour.

It worked out good, we got a few hours of shopping in and then took a Taxi to Dawn Beach. I think that was the name I can't remember the name right now but it was one that wasn't too far from where we were and we didn't have a lot of time so we went with his suggestion. It was nice except for the jelly fish, lots of them. We were told it's jelly fish season. I've never had a problem with them in all my cruises except this one and I have never cruised this time of year so I do believe this statement is correct.

Christina decided to rent a one set of snorkel gear so her and Brian could go out to the reef area. She loved it in St. Thomas and wanted to do it again and I had the one set I brought. Well, this was before we saw all the jelly fish, they tried in any way but there was no way they could swim out to the area without running into the jelly fish. She brought the gear right back in about 10 minutes but she didn't get a refund and she didn't ask for one. Bianca and her father had fun catching jelly fish in a plastic cup and then releasing them back in the water. She also buried herself, as kids do in the sand. Funny thing was when it was time to leave she wouldn't go deep enough in the water to rinse off all the sand due to the jelly fish.

A cab driver actually was walking on the beach and we got a ride back from him. So no need to worry about a cab. We didn't set up for the one we took to come back as we didn't know what time we would leave. I think it was $6 pp each way. When we got back in time for the last tender the line was really long and our friends were sitting in a place right there by the line. Bianca was hurry so she sat with her dad as Christina and I went shopping right there in that area as we watched the line. We got an extra 60-90 minutes of shopping done while we waited for the tender.

Funny thing is the sign we saw right there at the place as you get on the tender said Beer 99 cents but water was a dollar. Also if you want to purchase liquor there's a huge store right there where you get the tender we bought must of your there as we were waiting for the tender.

[IMG][URL=http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2063397000054445721RmmRVw][IMG]http://thumb1.webshots.net/t/57/57/3/97/0/2063397000054445721RmmRVw_th.jpg[/IMG][/URL][/IMG]

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[B][U]Tortola: Thursday: 11/16/06 7::00am to 12:30pm-all aboard [/U][/B]

This is my second time in Tortola, I wanted to do the Baths tour, we had booked the Baths tour before we left online. We decided to cancel it as Brian and Christina weren't up for it and I didn't really want to go alone, I would rather spend time with them and my GD as I don't get to see them much.

We walked off the ship at about 7:30-8:00am and got a tour for $20 pp for the three adults and he only charged us $5 for Bianca. Becky and Jamie did the same thing at a cost of $15 pp, so check around. We still think we got a good tour for the price. We had Santa as our guide and he was good.

We went to a few look out points, saw the paintings on the wall, went trough town, went to Cane Garden Beach and we had an one hour to swim. We didn't really want to go swimming at this port, it was such a short visit so we didn't even bring our suits. We got a drink and Bianca and I relaxed in the hammock as Christina and Brian had some quite time at a table in the restaurant. It was called Stanley's, I remember that because a couple from our ship asked me to take their picture by the sign as that was his last name. It was a nice spot with rest rooms available for customers. We enjoyed our hour there.

After the beach we were going to go to the rum factory but there was a truck broke down and the road was blocked so we had to return the same way we came but Santa made up for it by driving us through the town. Tortola roads are quite the adventure, it was an up & down hill ride all the way. It's a nice ride with great views.

We did a ship tour similar to this last visit but we paid about twice as much. We went to Brewers Bay Beach I think it was called. Both beaches are nice you can't go wrong with either one if you're looking for a beach day.

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[U][B]My opinion on the itinerary. [/B][/U]

It's a GREAT itinerary. When my daughter first starting looking for her first cruise she didn't like the idea of how early you have to get up on vacation to enjoy the short time your ship is in port. She liked this itinerary due to the fact that some of the port stops were later in the day. This really was nice. In also includes a few islands that you don't always get to visit on a cruise from NYC. We all enjoyed the ports we visited.

[U][B]Late night entertainment: [/B][/U]

I thought I would add this as I had wished I had this information prior to sailing. This was the best late night entertainment I've ever had on a cruise. I think a lot depends on the group you're traveling with. This cruise I was either up late in Maharini's dancing and just having a great time or in Maharajah Casino winning or losing money.

The Spirit has the best casino I've seen on a cruise. I won $230 on roulette one night, all together at the end of the cruise I was down $60. Not bad for 10 days on a cruise and spending some time almost every night in the casino.

I already talked about the main shows, this section is for the late activities after the two main shows.

First night, Thursday, day at sea, 9pm Bingo, 10pm New Years Eve Party at Galaxy of the Stars, 11:30pm Fire & Ice Party at Maharini's Nightclub. I don't think or remember going to any of these events the first night. We called it an early night as it was a long first day.

Second night Friday, first day at sea, formal night. 10:45pm Dance Through the Decades in Galaxy of the Stars, 12:00am Viva Las Vegas at Maharini's Nightclub. We had a fun day and night this evening starting with the Latitudes party at 1pm, then to the Martini Clinic at 2pm then straight up to the Daiquiri tasting at 3pm. We stayed up in the Bier Garten for awhile. Now it was time we all had to get dressed for formal night, this was fun.

I will apologize now for anyone that was by our table, what can we say, we were on vacation. There was 6 adults and 4 kids. We had a bottle of wine at dinner, most of us remember very little about dinner, but I did take pictures. I always carry my camera. We went from there up to Maharini's Nightclub and I stayed out at the nightclub till 3:30am. Christina and Brian were done at 1pm, they had the kids club curfew. This was the only night Bianca went to the kids club after the regular 7-10pm hours. As when Brian went to pick her up she was sleeping on the floor. They weren't going to have that happen again.

Third night, Saturday, second day at sea, 9:15 Henry's Pub music with Corey James playing Jimmy Buffet. We went here once or twice and it was just way to smokey to stay there so I can't comment any more then that on Henry's Pub. 10:45pm 70's Disco Party, 12:00am Burlesque Night at Maharini's Nightclub, I missed both of these as it was an early night 11pm.


Forth night, Sunday, St Thomas, 10:45pm The Quest adult game show, this was so funny we almost died laughing so hard. Don't miss this one. 12:00 Thriller with NCL Production Co (see pictures). at Maharini's Nightclub.This was another late night, not as bad 2am.


Fifth night, Monday, Antigua, 10:30pm 50-60's Sock Hop at Galaxy of the Stars, 12:00am Coyote Ugly with NCL Production Co., I missed these as I was in the casino.


Sixth night, Tuesday Barbados, 10:45pm Caribbean Deck Party at Tivoli Pool we went and it was dead there so we went to Maharini's Nightclub. 11:00pm Ladies night in the casino we drank free while winning $230 on Roulette, Becky won $100 then we went back up Maharini's Nightclub. Another late night 3am


Seventh night, Wednesday, St Maarten, 10:45pm Truth or Tabloid at Galaxy of the Stars, 80's Dance Party at Galaxy of the Stars, 12:00am there was a Battle of the Sexes, I missed all of these, stayed in the casino till 1:30am.

Eighth night, Thursday Tortola, 8:45pm Newlywed game at Galaxy of the Stars, 10:45 Liar's Club, at Galaxy of the Stars, we got there early and there was no seats. I found a seat at the bar but Becky and Jamie left because it it was okay but wasn't worth standing for. This was an early night went to the cabin after a little time in the casino. 12:00am Norwegian Spirit Idol Maharini's Nightclub, I missed this one too.

Ninth night, Friday, day at sea, 10pm Pub Crawl I didn't do any of these. 12:00am Ship & Males at Maharini's Nightclub, (see pictures) Another late night and we took some silly pictures at 3:30-4am.

Tenth night, Saturday, 8:30 Bingo, 9:30 Motown Music in Galaxy of the Stars 10:30pm Jokers Wild in Galaxy of the Stars, I missed all of these. 11pm Nightcap in Maharini's Nightclub, being it was the last night it was sort of quite and everyone was just saying their goodbyes to all the great people we hung out with for the last 10 evenings.

We got to know the DJ pretty good, I don't remember his name but he stayed talking to us for a long time. He also was the one that took all the silly pictures on the bed the night before or I should say that morning with 5 different camera's. I wish I got a picture of that, it was funny.

I tried to hit on the major events, there was music playing most evening in Galaxy of the Stars and at Henry's Pub. I had a great time on this cruise in the evenings as there was a nice group of us that went to Maharini's Nightclub together I asked Brian and Christina if they wanted to go to Maharini's Nightclub and I would stay with Bianca but that first day at sea was enough of that for them. LOL

Any questions just ask.

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Great Review.

I also sailed the Spirit, on my birthday, 11/9th - I sailed with a group of 21. I was quite nervous after reading prior reviews, because I've only sailed on the RC line. I have to say some of the reviews did not match my experience on the ship.

Overall the experience was very nice, the food was just okay, I never got excited about any of the menu choices. Our favorite place was the Blue Lagoon for the hot wings, hot dogs and fries.

The shows were okay, Ricky was very energetic. Went to the nightclub a couple of times, our first experience on the 2nd night was a bit challenging. There were 2 woman and 1 guy dancing so dirty that the assistant cruise director shifted the music from hip hop to a Frank Sinatra song - that immediately cleared the floor. They must have had words with the trio, they never returned to the nightclub for the entire cruise.

I think that it is a bit absurd for the 8x10 pictures to be $25.00 - at least sell packages with different poses, they really need to work on this.

We got off at each port, was a bit disappointed with only 2-3 hours of shopping in St. Thomas (Sunday, 11/12th), it was a waste of a stop. Got off in Antigua and Barbados, went to the beach (it poured rain after an hour), then we got some shopping done. The problem with the "tenders" was explained after the fact - for the stop in St. Maarten. You had to go to the Galaxy of the Stars ballroom to get a tender # that a.m., needless to say - they didn't even look at your tender #. We had to wait until 12:00 noon for a tender - but we still shopped and went to the beach.

I missed the midnight buffets and the waiters performing that you normally see on the RC, but my expectations were not very high and I had been reading the boards - which has it's highs and lows.

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[QUOTE]The problem with the "tenders" was explained after the fact - for the stop in St. Maarten. You had to go to the Galaxy of the Stars ballroom to get a tender # that a.m., needless to say - they didn't even look at your tender #. We had to wait until 12:00 noon for a tender - but we still shopped and went to the beach.[/QUOTE]

Glad to hear you had a good time.

The only thing that I saw different was at the shows & events prior to ST. Maarten there were many announcements about the situation. They were even telling you that there would be extra activites planned and you might be happier to stay on the ship. We even saw this on the TV in our cabin.

I guess if you missed those shows and times they Rickey announced it you wouldn't have heard prior. But we heard it several times.

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Here's a link to the Spirit Pictures. The first four Albums are the 11/9-11/19 Spirit Cruise.

Final of review coming tonight.

[url]http://community.webshots.com/user/autumnsam[/url]

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Thanks so much for writing such a detailed review and especially for the photos.

I posted [URL="http://cruisenewbie.com/photos/"]300 photos of the Crown Princess[/URL] (with descriptions), so I know how much work it can be.

Great job.

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[B][U]Martini, Margarita & Daiquiri Tastings. [/U][/B]

Jose the "booze master", from July wasn't there this time. I can't even remember this bartenders name, he was good but I like the Booze Master better. There was more offerings this cruise then there was on the 6 day cruise in July. They're a nice way to meet people on the cruise, and the booze breaks the ice to start talking. LOL We met some great people at the clinics and tasting's and ran into them throughout the cruise. It's $15.00 per person.

I already touched on the first day at sea .1 martini and 1 daiquiri tasting's. The next sea day we skipped them all but there was an 11:30 am wine tasting, 2pm Margarita tasting and a 3pm Beer tasting all $15 pp. Here's one complaint I have, the 2 sea days returning the first one it's still warm pool weather and as we all know the second one is cooler indoor weather not warm enough to sit by the pool. Well, NCL decided to do all the activities on the first day and not the last which I thought was a little stupid. Added that to my comment card and hope they change in for my April cruise on the Dawn. The first day at sea returning there was 1pm Martini Clinic, which I got up from laying in the dun with my GD and went to get dressed to attend. Only 4-5 of us showed up so NCL couldn't do it. He needed more people. So we all got a free martini. 1:15 pictures taking for the Chocoholic Buffet 2pm the Margarita tasting and the Chocoholic Buffet at the same time. We were to late at about 1:30 to take pictures, we got in line for the Chocoholic Buffet. The line went quick and we got our chocolate and sat down and eat some. I Then I went up to the margarita tasting at about 2:05 with a plate of chocolate. There was 5 of us that all met up there. It was fun, of course I got some pictures. 3pm there was Beer tasting which we did not attend, by this time it was getting dark already and no time to go in the sun by the pool.

Now the second day at sea returning it was chilly, too cool to sit by the pool so I look through my freestyle daily and there was nothing I wanted to do listed and yesterday when I wanted to stay at the pool all day there was everything going on. I think NCL should switch these events. I wen to the crew show at 3:30pm it was okay. Some of the crew are very talented. Meaning there was nothing going on I had all my packing done before the crew show.

[B][U]Final Thoughts: [/U][/B]

Last cruise on the Spirit in July I had trouble with the electrical outlets, my hairdryer did not work in the outlet in the cabin by the desk/vanity area. Every time I tried to use it (twice) it stopped working. Didn't blow out anything else in the cabin just this outlet. This cruise I didn't even bring it, I just used the one in the bathroom, which was easier this cruise due to I was the only adult in my cabin. My chargers for the video and cameras worked fine.

Movies there were plenty of movies playing on 2 channels on the TV in your cabin. I highlighted a bunch that I haven't seen yet and wouldn't mind seeing but I was so busy I didn't even get to see one. There was also a movie playing once or twice a day in Clipper conference room on deck 12 fwd, they are listed in the dailies. Didn't look that comfortable to me, I would rather watch them in my cabin or a theater, I wish they didn't remove the theater from the Spirit but I guess the gift shop and the casino makes more revenue. Too bad they couldn't make the conference room a theater.

I love freestyle cruises and it would be hard to go back to traditional dining again after the benefits of freestyle. I like to eat when and where I want and with whom I wish. I'm a picky eater, I eat most veggies and some boneless meat if it's well done. Having the options to eat Italian the nights there's not much on the menu I would eat is great! Even better on the Dawn and Star there's also a Mexican restaurant available, I just love all these options. That's a real vacation to do what I want and when I want to do it.

I met some really nice people on this cruise and had a really great time. Some of the shows weren't our taste but that happens everywhere . It's hard to have so many different shows , 10 days in a row and love them all. If I enjoy half of the shows I'm happy, and I'm sure there's many that didn't like the ones I did and liked the ones I didn't. That's life we all like different things.

[B][U]Debarkation: [/U][/B]

Debarkation went very smooth and we had no problems, I slept late, one reason I love NCL and freestyle Debarkation and cruising. I was were off the ship about 10:30am. Christina and Brian did the self debarkation as they wanted to get an early start on the road with the long drive home. They were off the ship about 8:30am.

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