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happytogoing

5-Night Spirit (Nov. 28) review - warning, a happy cruiser wrote this!

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I have no complaints !!!! And I'm not glossing over anything, I promise!

 

We had an absolutely wonderful time on this cruise. The ship was beautiful, we had no problems, the service was great and the food surpassed my expectations.

 

 

Embarkation: NCL arranged our travel, and we had an overnight at the Miami Hilton, all was well, even though I left our tickets on the bus – a NCL was reached at the (Closed) airport desk and was very helpful. The port was a zoo scene, very crowded, but also very organized, many staff all over the place directing traffic. Check-in was easy and we were able to board the ship much earlier than the 4 pm that was the official time. We were on board around 2:45.

 

 

Stateroom: We were very lucky because a few days before we sailed, we were offered an upgrade to a suite, which we took. The suites are beautiful. I also looked at both inside and outside staterooms, I thought they were just fine also. The bed was not too hard, as I’ve seen written

 

 

Entertainment: Lots to choose from. We took in a variety of the choices. Many of the singers/groups are very good, only one that I did not think was acceptable. Otherwise we enjoyed the entertainment very much, went to a couple of the shows, and they were fine too. LOTS to choose from, there was plenty going on at all times.

 

 

Ship: The ship is beautiful, the slide show that is posted elsewhere on this site is accurate, have a look if you haven’t seen it. Loved the Asian décor, I hope they do not change that in the drydock. The ship was well maintained and clean.

 

 

Service: No complaints. None. I was amazed by the enthusiasm and cheerful attitude of the staff, many friendly hellos and we did not have one negative incident. From room stewards to waiters to receptionists, shore staff, everything was smooth and prompt. Andrea “spiritedmom” arranged a cruise critic meeting, and the Cruise Director, Food and Beverage Director and Hotel Director spent about a half hour with us answering questions, etc… It was great.

 

 

Shore Excursions: We took both through NCL, likely overpaid for this, however, the tours were just fine, were in small air-conditioned mini-vans and were well organized. There was a group in Grand Cayman that had a transportation mix-up and had to wait 15 min for their ride home, other than that I observed no problems. In future I might book my own, however, there was nothing wrong with the NCL ones.

 

 

Food: I can’t say enough. It was very very good, better than I expected. Both Windows and Garden Room are beautiful, the menus were interesting, the food itself was lovely. We did not wait for a table ever, although we did tend to go either early or late. The "Cooking Light" entrees are amazingly delicious. I had 4 of them, all excellent. Ate at Raffles twice and it was really good, not horrible as I’ve read. My one lunch meal there I had eggplant parmegiana and poached cod in a mustard sauce as two of the choices. Both were excellent. I was surprised since I had read such terrible things about the buffet. We also had the Teppanyaki at Shogun, and it was very enjoyable. Also had great quick meals at Blue Lagoon and snacks at the Bier Garten. Loved freestyle, we ate at a different time every night, depending on other activities.

 

 

Disembarkation: The only problem of the entire cruise. The US Customs people were late arriving on the ship and did not have adequate staff members present. The line-ups for non-US citizens to pick up their passports and go through immigration was horrible, and there was mass confusion about the requirements for the US citizens who were staying on to do the 9-day cruise. The immigration people kept telling the NCL staff they those folks did not have to be processed, but in the end, they did, so there were many, many irate folks. As I said, the line-up was also horrible. (We were in it). Disembarkation was delayed by at least an hour (note to those with early-bird flights). Once the ship was cleared, it was fine, except for all the people who wouldn’t stay off the stairwells etc… as they were asked to and causing congestion.

 

 

I know that some of our fellow passengers had a few problems with their rooms or the other odd thing, however we had no problems at all. Apart from the mess at disembarkation, we did not have any complaints at all.

 

 

Beautiful ship, great cruise overall. My husband and I are now hooked on cruising. I am certainly glad I took the negative review I read with a grain of salt, we honestly had an absolutely wonderful time.

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Happy:

 

Thanks for the wonderful review! My gf and I are going on the 5-day Spirit Western Caribbean on Jan. 2.

 

Three smaill questions for you:

 

1. What was the Sunday night departure from Miami like? Were you up top? Was it pretty?

 

2. Did you eat in La Bistro or Maxim's?

 

3. Do they still have a guy singing in the Champagne bar who does Sinatra songs?

 

Thanks!

 

David

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1. We watched the departure from Miami at the rear of the ship, looking off the back balcony on the Promonade deck, and it was lovely. There was also a sail-away party in the Tivoli pool area with a barbeque.... we went directly to "Windows" once we left the port area behind, and got a table immediately.

 

2. No, we didn't eat at Maxim's or Le Bistro, although some other cruise critic members did, hopefully they will post. Excellent reviews is what we heard though.

 

3. Champagne Charlie's - I loved this spot, very nice place to have a drink, and enjoy the Grand Centrum area. There were a bunch of singers rotated through every evening, including Pryme Time (sp?), Best of Friends, a Norwegian Show Band (something like that) and a singer names Stephen Brenko (Branko?) - he played the piano well, his singing, well........ not as strong....

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Regarding the passport:

 

Yes, the cruiseline will take your passport and keep it for the duration of the cruise. We are from Canada, and we did have to turn in our passports. I think this is not a NCL policy, but standard for all cruiselines, as that way, they have all the documentation needed when they are in the foreign ports. I don't think there is a choice in this, but perhaps I am wrong.

 

We kept a photocopy of our passport with us and also our photo ID to go on shore.

 

And, yes, it was the line-up to get the passport back and clear immigration on the final morning of the cruise that was nasty. Anyone who didn't have to stand in it was probably wondering what on earth was delaying disembarkation.

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Thank you! I figured this would be the case, even though I haven't managed to get a definite answer on this from NCL customer service.

 

Oh well, the worst thing that can happen is that we may not be able to take border-crossing excursions in Canada. We'll still have fun.

 

Thanks again for the encouraging Spirit review.

 

Vaibhav.

NCL Spirit, 5/14/2005

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Joanne.....Good review! Phyllis and I enjoyed meeting you and Gord. Hope to cruise with you again, now that you are hooked!

 

DavidNDC......We ate one meal in La Bistro. The service started out rocky. We waited for 45 minutes before the appetizer was served, but the manager made it up to us by giving us a free bottle of wine from the wine list. After that, the service was better, but the food was EXCELLENT! I would definately recommend that you dine there one night.

 

John & Phyllis

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John:

 

Thanks for the recommendation for La Bistro! It was good of the manager to give you a free bottle of wine, after you had to wait 45 minutes for the appetizer, especially in a premium restaurant!

 

Of course this would be a problem with my wonderful GF and I as she likes white and I prefer red! Heh.

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Ditto, ditto, ditto..................we also had a great time on this cruise. We came back wanting to book another soon. We really enjoyed meeting everyone from the board here and found that NCL was very accomodating of our group. I agree with the reviews that I have seen so far.

 

I am sorry to hear that there was a problem with Le Bistro, we had a fabulous meal the last night. I agree with previous posts, the Chocolate Fondue was worth the cover alone:D

 

I'm happy to answer any questions. Andrea

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This is probably a long shot, but has anyone reading this stayed in cabin 9656 on the Spirit? It's a category BD...Just wondering if anyone has anything to say about it, good or bad!

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There is no size difference in the balcony cabins. The only differentiation in the levels is where the cabin is located. We were in 9202, which is one of four BE catagory cabins. The room was spacious based on what I expected. My DH is not a small man by anyones standard and he was quite comfortable. We had to give the right of way to get around the bed and wall, but otherwise had lots of space.

 

It might be worth mentioning to anyone who might be interested that our cabin had an obstructed view which is not mentioned in any of the literature. It was not a problem and certainly did not hinder our enjoyment of the balcony.

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Thanks, Spirited!

 

I have been quite confused about all of the different categories of balcony cabins -- i.e., BA, BB, BC, BD, BE, BF.

 

It drives me crazy! If NCL calls and offers us an "upgrade" from our current BD (9656) to, say, a BA, I am inclined to say no. I mean, it seems to me that a cabin is a cabin and a balcony is a balcony is a balcony. On a different ship, maybe we might pay for an (inexpensive) upgrade to a suite, but with this ship, with the extremely small number of suites, I don't think that is gonna happen!

 

And frankly, even if we were offered an upgrade to a suite, I think I would rather save my money for the specialty restaurants, for the casino, or for buying my gf a present at the end of the cruise.

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And frankly, even if we were offered an upgrade to a suite, I think I would rather save my money for the specialty restaurants, for the casino, or for buying my gf a present at the end of the cruise.

 

You won't know what you're missing until you try one. Unfortunately, several years ago I got an upsell to an owner's suite. Boy am I spoiled now.....now I don't want to go unless I have a suite. I don't mean to sound snotty....but I would bet anyone who's had an upsell will say the same thing. I used to say the same thing as you - but now I'll do just about anything to get a suite. You can have the butler bring you almost ANYTHING on the ship and serve you formally in courses - so why go to the specialty restaurants.

 

I probably shouldn't tell you to try for an upsell - because then you'll be hooked too and will be my competition for upcoming cruises. ;)

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LOL, oh Bigsweeps, don't get me wrong! I love suites. I had minisuites (not as nice as on the Spirit) on two of my four cruises -- one on the NCL Dawn and the other on the Celebrity Century.

 

The difference this time is twofold: First, before I was paying for myself. This time I am paying for me and my gf. That kinda impacts the wallet, although I have been pitching and pitching the idea of a cruise to her for a year now! And second, it is her first cruise so I want the balcony to be perfect, if that makes sense....don't think I can afford the suite for us though!

 

Maybe in another 10 years....gotta work my way up the food chain though!

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OK Bigsweeps, I gotta know......is there a way to get an upsell offer?

 

We were first time cruisers, got the call a couple days before the cruise about upgrading to a suite (AC) for $100 pp.... thanks to these boards, we snapped it up.

 

It was FANTASTIC... I'm going to spend the rest of my life trying to figure out how to get the offer again on future cruises !!! So, if I promise not to take the same cruises as you, do you have secrets to share? ;)

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Thanks so much for your candid review, will be going on the 12th with my son, home from college. Cant wait and really appreciated your opinions. thanks again

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I will agree with most all of the above review on the Spirit. HOWEVER... yes, there were some hiccups. I can honestly say that this is the most elegant ship (by decor) that I've ever been on out of my past 22 cruises. The color schemes, carpeting, lighting, and overall ambiance are awesome. We had 4 of us in one cabin, and we made it just fine. The bathroom was great, loved the full-sized shower with a DOOR! Unfortunately, the dining room service is hit or miss. We ate in 3 different restaurants on our 5 night cruise. The Spirit has won the award for the longest dinner service on any of my cruises ever! From the time we sat down, until leaving after dessert was 2 hours, 35 minutes. One of the guys at the table tried in vain for 10 (yes 10) minutes to get anyones attention to simply refill the water glasses or tea, but noone appeared. He pushed back his chair, threw his napkin on the table, walked 20 feet to the waiters station and returned with the water pitcher. The maitre 'd appeared shortly thereafter, words were exchanged: and bottom line, the water pitcher stayed on our table with 4 people serving our table of 6. It was sad that it came down to that part. Another incident in the Pasta Bar took over 2 hours as well. When we asked if dinner was always this slow, the waiter said "we didn't expect all of you." I find that hard to believe, as you have to make reservations for this restaurant, and they know exactly how many folks are coming, and at what time they will arrive. On the positive side, the food was good overall. The complaints about Raffles Cafe weren't that evident to me, but then again, walk outside to the stern, and you have omelettes and waffles made to order. The entertainment was hit-and-miss, but there again, what appeals to one person may not to another. The showroom has excellent sightlines, with no poles to block your view; and the sound system was great. Disembarkation was marred by customs and immigration being late to clear the ship; however I fault NCL for making -NO- announcements why we were over an hour late with disembarking. I enjoyed the cruise overall, but there are some issues on the Sprit.

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OK Bigsweeps, I gotta know......is there a way to get an upsell offer?

 

We were first time cruisers, got the call a couple days before the cruise about upgrading to a suite (AC) for $100 pp.... thanks to these boards, we snapped it up.

 

It was FANTASTIC... I'm going to spend the rest of my life trying to figure out how to get the offer again on future cruises !!! So, if I promise not to take the same cruises as you, do you have secrets to share? ;)

 

Yes, you can call them and ask for one. They usually start 3-45 days out and are a bit pricey when they first start (they do the rounds and if there aren't enough people to bite on the offer, they lower the price until they are filled). You'll see the $50/pp or $100/pp upsells 1 to 2 weeks out.

 

I will warn you.....try to stay away from the owner's suites (or garden villas).....because once you have one, everything else is disappointing. ;) (I'm referring to the Dawn, Star, Sun and Jewel....the owner's suite on the Spirit isn't much better than the others). You really will be happier just staying in the AD, AC and AB suites.

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Hi Happytogoing, wonder if you could tell me what type of suite you stayed in on your 5day Spirit cruise, as i would love to know if you have any pictures especially if it is an A/C suite

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DavidNDC:

 

We were not as impressed by the Bistro as the other respondents were.

 

First, we had a problem with seating. Even though they had been informed that we had a wheelcahir with us when we made the reservations, they tried to put us in the rear room which my husband could not access in his power chair. After waiting about 20 minutes, they gave us a table in the front area.

 

Then we felt the food was fine, but nothing special except for the chocolate fondue which was great. In fact, although my tenderloin was twice the size as what was served the next night in the dining room, it was no better. And, of course, I could have gotten another one in the dining room if I felt I needed more.

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Love reading all your posts. We are booked in an AD on Spirit March 18th. Please explain why you think we wouldn't be happier in the AA?

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Yes, you can call them and ask for one. They usually start 3-45 days out and are a bit pricey when they first start (they do the rounds and if there aren't enough people to bite on the offer, they lower the price until they are filled). You'll see the $50/pp or $100/pp upsells 1 to 2 weeks out.

 

I will warn you.....try to stay away from the owner's suites (or garden villas).....because once you have one, everything else is disappointing. ;) (I'm referring to the Dawn, Star, Sun and Jewel....the owner's suite on the Spirit isn't much better than the others). You really will be happier just staying in the AD, AC and AB suites.

Did you call the cruise line or your travel agent? If you called the cruise line, what dept. did you talk to?

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