Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review to Caribbean - Bahamas

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3 out of 5

Top 10 of what to bring with kids

Sail Date: August 01, 2006

Reviewed: 9 years ago

Traveled As: Family (young children)

Room Type: Inside

Shalaine's Top 10 what to bring on a NCL cruise (or any cruise) when you have kids (we have 10 & 3 y.o. girls):

1. Lanyards - the purser can punch a hole in your sail & sign card. Especially great for kids so they don't lose their card. Go to the purser and request that your kids do not have any signing privileges. Also if you can find those small flat watertight containers, that helps for shore excursions so you don't have to bring a purse/wallet.

2. Those plastic travel bags that you can squeeze the air out of them mostly the large size (maybe 14 by 12). I organized everyones clothes separately (tops, bottoms, underwear, swimsuits, dressy items) so everyone got 5 bags (well maybe I had a few extra). This way when you get those weird awkward small shelves, you can shove 2 or 3 bags in each (the lowest ones went to the 3 year old) and you can save your drawer space for other junk items like hairbrushes, itineraries/those daily sheets, sunscreen, etc that needs to be contained. This made packing a snap, keeps your clothes clean in case of spills & most of all, helps you find where your clothes are without digging!

3. Pop up laundry basket you might think Im a freak, but it is great. Everyones dirty laundry goes in it and it makes keeping your clothes together a snap. Later on in the week, when they offer the laundry special (I have mixed feelings on this), you can easily sort the kids clothes back into the different bags which makes unpacking a breeze.

4. Extension cord/power strip - we had tons of things to plug in-cell phones, gameboy charger, portable DVD player, etc., and a nightlight, esp. if you have an interior cabinet. It gets pitch black in the interior rooms and you cannot see a thing! Also makes the kids feel better in case they wake up during the night.

5. Wide mouth polycarbonate water bottles. We filled these in the buffet restaurant and I made my own iced tea and drank it all day. Also you can fill it with ice and it stays cold during those shore excursions.

6. Alarm clock you might be into freestyle cruising with no time constraints, but I like making it to shows, dinner, and classes!

7. Spray sunscreen from Neutrogena (we bought 2 pack at Costco), a SPF 45 face cream, bug spray (depending on where you go) a little thing of hand sanitizer, & if you are really crazy like me, a small bottle of anti-bacterial dish soap (for the water bottles) which doubles as hand soap in the bathroom. With current airline restrictions, they might have to go in your checked luggage. Keep them in zip lock bags and you can use those bags on the trip.

8. Portable DVD player keeps the kids busy while traveling & while we dressed for dinner. You can also use it as a CD player.

9. Set of walkie-talkies if you use them, they are great and help you communicate. Note this only works if both people actually turn them on (batteries help too!). If you forget, some cruise ships have them for rent$50 for a week. Yikes! You can buy them for at Walmart for a lot less than that!

10. A good attitude and your camera!!!! Things will happen, some servers will stink, people will hog loungers go in with some positive thinking, you are on vacation ... make good memories!

Overall a very nice trip; I felt we got what we paid for. What I did not plan on (even with my top 10 list) was a boat full of New Yorkers and their New Yorker attitude!!!!

If you are going to Disney, get the NCL shuttle to Disney from the shore excursion desk and buy tickets at Disney World. Do not let them pressure you into anything else. NCL also offered a transfer + ticket but I it was an extra $37/adult & $13/child$100 for no reason! The amenities, entertainment, and facilities at NCL were better but in the end we liked Carnival better for the service, food value, and organization.

Pros: Kids facilities & shows

Cons: Being stuck on a boat full of New Yorkers!

Recommends Norwegian Spirit? Yes!

Food and Dining
We were not thrilled with the food, even the dinners. It was a huge disappointment since that is a large part of why we cruise. Everything looked great, but nothing really tasted that good. We had dinner once at the Garden Room. Service was really slow, would recommend Windows if possible. You can look on these flatscreen TVs around the ship for wait time for the open restaurants. 24hr Blue Lagoon serves decent fried rice. Seating was tight and the teenagers tended to hang out there late at night. If you plan on only a few dinners in the fee restaurants, dont do it on Mon. (Lobster) night. Highlight of Fri. afternoon was the Chocoholic Buffet. Cagney's, Le Bistro, & Shogun are all really good and worth the money.
Cabin / Stateroom
The rooms do not have much storage (those plastic packing bags really help) and the beds were a hard. Although the room looked clean, when we moved the beds together, we found dirty socks underneath. A warning about the underbed cot for little kids: Our 3 year old rolled off the cot in the middle of the first night and got stuck under the bed. We solved this by using the life preservers as buffers. Only one electrical outlet.
Service and Staff
We bought the romance package since it was our anniversary. I had some problems with it so I wouldn't do it again nor recommend it. We also bought the birthday package. We got into the room and there were some balloons, streamers, a sign and a cake. The kids were surprised but I don't think it was worth the $30. I should have had hubby watch the kids for 15 mins. at the pool while I threw up a few balloons, sign and streamers and just requested the free cake. The waiters do not get tipped directly by you so overall they dont try hard and service is slow.
Entertainment
Brian Dean, the Hilarious Hypnotist aka Dr. Trance (http://www.doctortrance.com/faq.php) was hilarious! Blackstreet Boyztwo comedians/DJs/hip-hop dancers were pretty good. Second City Chicago's 1st show was funny but the second, smaller one was not as good.
We attended some of the seminars/classes however I found they were all scheduled at the same time or weird times so I miss a bunch of them. We attended a fun one about sushi making & ettiquitte, hip-hop dance, and the hypnosis talk.
Ship Quality
Galaxy of the Stars, beautiful & there is a little winding staircase in the back left and you can walk down and see the bridge. Back of the Casino is Maharini's Lounge which really gets going at night. Celebrity Disco is hard to get to but you have to go there at least for a look. The golf cage was usually empty but hot during the day. There are some clubs there for you to use.
Children's Programs
NCL does not let you keep the kids in the day care all day like Carnival. You have to pick them up for lunch and dinner. However, the kid area was nicer and better equipped--ball pit, play structure, etc. Charlie's Daycare was on the back of the ship, so if you have kids, try to get rooms towards the aft.

The ship had a little water park with two water slides, a wadding pool, and hot tub just for the kids. It was a Buccaneer theme so there was a hull of a ship, rocks and a huge crocodile. There was a kids hot tub!!! It also had an arcade where we spent a lot of money...a quarter at a time.


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