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Considering NCL Spirit - would you?


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We are 2 couples in our early 40's who got hooked on cruising about 8 years ago with Celebrity. Now that the kids are older, we are taking them with us. We have sailed RCCL when sailing with the family. While we do prefer Celebrity for the adults, RCCL is better suited to us with the kids. We are aware of the differences between Celebrity and RCCL. We know are ok with the things we give up on Celebrity ships.


We currently have a booking on the Mariner in April. Due to airfares to Orlando from CT in April, we are strongly considering cancelling and going on the NCL Spirit out of NY for a 6 day cruise.


Can someone give me their opinons on what we should expect if we do this? We are not sure if we like the idea of freestyle cruising - we love the dining experience and love getting to know our waiters. We basically want to know if we will still enjoy the dinners and if the food quality is passable. Also, has anyone done the childrens programs? How are they? Was the ship in decent shape?

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My mom did NCL a few years ago and didn't love it, compared to Royal Caribbean, and my friend was on NCL two years ago and said that the food was okay, entertainment was a joke and that RCCL was way better. My boss has been on NCL and said that he likes the freestyle dining....but then another friend of mine went on the Norweigan Dawn out of NY and didn't like it and it was her first cruise so....I haven't heard great things about the company and I personally wouldn't try it anytime soon because I do love RCCL, and if I was cruising w/people that haven't been on a cruise before I'd take them on RCCL because it never fails to impress. Isn't the Explorer leaving out of NJ in april? I do have to admit that I've really looked into going on NCL every now and then because I live in CT and it IS tempting to hop on a ship out of NY, but after straying this year on Carnival (and being really really dissapointed) I've gotta stick w/RCCL at least for another few cruises! Good luck - :D


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I have done many cruises (RCI, NCL, Carnival, DCL,Windjammer,etc.) and would not hesitate doing another NCL. I find all the ships have similar offerings and the food was comparable on each. Some good, some not to good on each ship. Where most people say DCL is the best in their book, we ranked is fairly low "due" to the food quality and staff in dining rooms. So, as you can see, it's all subjective, especially asking this kind of question on the RCI boards. Ask the same question on the NCL boards and you will get VERY different answers. If you want to know about the 'freestyle dining' onboard NCL, ask the folks there and they will give you all the plusses and minuses. On the RCI boards, you will generally get the minuses, because most people stick to the boards of their fav. cruise line. I have done many and enjoyed them all. Haven't had a bad cruise yet!


The only drawback to cruising out of NY in April is that you may have chilly weather for the first day. Other than that, I would go for it. NCL has regular dining rooms as well as the freestyle restaurants and you can have the same waiters each night just like traditional dining in those restaurants.

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