A Less-Than-Expected Excursion
Sail Date: September 01, 2006
Reviewed: 6 years ago
Traveled As: Couple
Room Type: Balcony
While we've been to the Caribbean many times on a number of different cruise lines this particular trip was disappointing. The Spirit's curise director and staff seemed to think strident and loud makes for a "fun" cruise. It doesn't. The noise (bands, activities, etc) was everywhere, sun decks, bars, entertainment and shows. And the shows, although the performers gave it their best, were very mediocre (and loud) and we never stayed for the finish of any. Also, the fellow, John from Australia, running the bingo games was a real con artist - some of the "promises" he made to get you to sign up were come-on's or patently false - we only played once and once was enough (and John was the loudest of the lot).
Although the food was generally good from the buffet area to the main dining rooms there were some disappointments. An example; "cheese plate" was listed on the Window's Restaurant menu for dinner and was nothing more than a slim, tiny slice of brie, cheddar, and a soft cheese I didn't recognize. The maitre d' came over and offered to have a better choice when next I ordered - but the damage had already been done - they shouldn't have offered a "cheese plate" at all if that was all they were prepared to serve. The FreeStyle alternative restaurants were not worth the premium charged - their new SHOGUN restaurant, touting authentic Japanese food, was lacking in taste and preparation. When we inquired about the Japanese staff we were told, "Japanese? There are no Japanese connected with Shogun." I almost fell off my chair. The maitre d' was Indian as were most of the other staff. What's more, they offered an appetizer of dim sum, which, of course, is a Chinese dish, not Japanese. But, on top of everything else, it was the worst dim sum I ever ate and I eat it often in New York City's Chinatown (my companion is Chinese).
There were only 3 ports of call on this cruise and we always enjoy St. Thomas for the shopping and for time on Morning Star Beach - Tortola was a first visit and very pleasant and Bermuda we never fail to appreciate. Our only complaint about the itinerary is that the shore visits were much too brief - hardly time enough to do much of anything. Of course, a look at the itinerary before booking told us that.
Although we found the housekeeping staff and our cabin steward very courteous, friendly and efficient the cabin and balcony, compared to previous cruises, seemed particularly cramped - reminded us of how the airlines crowd the seats just for an extra $ - making cabins smaller, I'd venture, appeals to NCL's bean counters.
I must say that I've traveled many times on NCL and it is one of our favorite cruise lines - this just happened to be one time we were not that pleased.
Pros: The food was mostly very good and it is a clean, well-run and steady ship.