June 2015 - Norwegian Spirit to Europe - Mediterranean
The ship was ready for passengers at 12:00 in Venice which was great. There wasn't anyone directing passengers to tell them where to go for embarkation. Passengers wandering around and forming needless lines figured it out. We embarked easily left our bags and went back out to tour Venice.
All the other ports were great. We did not use Norwegian's tours except in Toulan. We booked our own private tours. To really get the most out of each port you should book tours to get you out to see the sights. If you do it on your own, you will not get to where you want to go efficiently and will miss much.
Ahtens was great and a full day of sights. Kusadas they will take you to a place to see how carpets are made. DO not ask questions if you aren't planning to buy one. They will take all the carpets you want to see out in an effort to sell them to you if they event think you may be interested. The ruins here were fantastic. Instanbul was very interesting and will take the full day.
Mykonos if you want to go to a family friendly beach, figure out how to get here ahead of time. If you take the shuttle to the town there are party buses that take you to paradise and super paradise beach which are nude and full nudity. We walked to a nearby family friendly beach but is wasn't an easy walk. It was up a hill on the side of the road. I would not recommend this for younger kids. We had older kids. We didn't get to see St. Peter's square in Rome because the Pope announced that morning that he was closing the square at 12:00 his private concert. If we would have known, we could have gone to the square early in the morning instead of the colloseum. In Naples we took private tour to Positano, and Sorrento and Pompeii. Great! In Florence we took a private tour to see the leaning tower of Pizza, and Firenza (Florence). Florence was a city with a beautiful cathedral on the outside but a very long long to get in. Lots of shops, and a museum. You may run ot of time to see all of this. Take a tour in toulon because there isn't much there in Toulon. Go to Aix or Marsaille or both. Barcelona was great. We did the hop on hop off ourselves. Easy to navigate. Lots to see.
Three days at see could be a little boring since there isn't that much to do on the ship and everyone is looking for something to do, so most of the golf, basketball, and other games were taken.
Overall the cruise was great. It had plenty of ports. The restaurants on the ship were grea. The Buffett at Raffles was okay for a quick meal. I personally disliked it for breakfast because everyone arrived at the same time and by the time you served yourself food, got coffee, and found a seat, your food was cold. We chose the restaurants after a time or two of that.
Restaurant servers were good. If you talk to them they can loosen up and tell you about their countries and lives which is interesting as well. For the most part the cruise staff want to please you. If you met someone who went out of their way for you there are comment cards that are placed all over the resuaruants (not the buffet place) and during the week in your room. These cards are important to the staff. The housekeeping staff make towel animals every night so if you have kids they will enjoy these. The ship is typically pretty clean. They are aware of the downfalls of cruising and they ask passengers to always wash before you eat and use napkins when opening doors. We survived with no gastro issues.
We enjoyed the shows even though they were not top rated, but were entertaining enough. The Galaxy (dance floor area) was fun in the evening for the band they had there HotWire which were very good. By the end of the cruise less and less attend the Galaxy because all the excursions are 8am roughly and no one really could stay up late every night.
The Ship had less to do than other ships I have been on but you really didn't need a lot because there were only 3 days at sea. All other day were ports and you didn't really use the ship all day.
In Naples, there was clearly a problem where the officers were waiting for somone who had not boarded the ship and were late. Usually ships do not do this but for whatever reason they waited they people with younger kids rushed in and boarded. Many people on the top decks looking down cheered. I was surprised because they usually don't wait I was told by all the tour guides.
We had a terrific time and would highly recommend this cruise line. We were two adults, and four kids ranging from 12-17 years old. The ports were great and gave us a wonderful memory for all.