Freestyle Cruising doesn't work
Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western
Sail Date: March 15, 2009
Ship: Norwegian Spirit
Cabin Type: Oceanview
Traveled As: Family (older children)
Reviewed: 8 years ago
Review SummaryA very nice ship, well-decorated and well laid out. Cabins were comfortable. But everything that was touted as a feature of "freestyle" cruising was a disaster. Rather than battle the lines, we either ate dinner at 5:30pm, or paid to eat in one of the cover charge restaurants. The freestyle disembarkation meant waiting about an hour and a half to get off the boat and up to the customs desk.
The itinerary was interesting, but not particularly exciting. The port in Guatemala had great shopping, but only on the heavily armed compound. I overheard a conversation about an abduction taking place at one of the beaches. I never heard anything official about it, but I would not have been surprised. We took a trolley tour of Puerto Barrios, and while interesting, it was not a scenic or historic town, just a large city of impoverished people who stared at you as you went by.
The tender at Belize took well over an hour to get on at the boat in order to take a long (30 mins?) ride into the town. The shopping there was not nearly as inspiring, and leaving the shopping area meant going through heavily armed checkpoints with people on the others side yelling to you to come over for "tours of the city".
Costa Maya was like stepping into a Disney shopping area, with nice buildings, well painted, etc. Probably some nice "fun in the sun" activities, but we didn't venture beyond the shopping area.
The crew was very friendly and happy to do most anything to make you comfortable.
Food and Dining
Pay the money for Cagneys, and book the Teppenyaki place early. NCL gives priority to previous cruisers and those staying in expensive cabins, and it is difficult to be seated there. I heard the Bistro was fantastic, but never made it there.
Service and Staff
The casino was large and friendly.
The Bingo was a disaster because of the sale of "electronic bingo" machines which might be the latest rage but I had never seem them before. People buying the machines were playing over 100 bingo cards at a time. As a result, games ended after just a few numbers were called, and the winner was almost always someone with a machine.
Cabin / Stateroom
Ports of Call
Pros: Nice ship, friendly crew
Cons: Waiting in line for dinner