Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western

Contributor Level: Deck Hand

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1 cruise (first)

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2 out of 5

Goofy times on a rusty old bucket.

Sail Date: December 26, 2010

Reviewed: 5 years ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Balcony

Here's the deal. The Norwegian Spirit is the oldest ship in the Norwegian fleet. I suspect they will be decommissioning it as soon as their next new ship is finished, and in the meantime they aren't bothering to fix this old girl up. It reeks of the late 1990's, it's literally falling apart in certain areas, and the constant rocking in the waves & winds gives Dramamine a run for it's money. The staff is generally very friendly, although 80% of them have a hard time speaking/understanding English. There is also a good degree of disorganization... which may be a result of the language barrier. Ask 5 people on the staff a question about anything and you'll get 5 different, conflicting answers. Even printed information is often conflicting (we almost missed a shore excursion because the tickets and the brochure both indicated conflicting start times, and the crew was totally useless, if you could find them at all. The "shows" onboard (singers, dancers, a magician, a stand-up comic, etc.) are pretty awful, but almost comically bad for those of you with sick, ironic senses of humor. I also pre-ordered flowers to be delivered to my wife on the first day of the cruise, but Norwegian claimed to never receive the order (although I had a receipt), and offered no means to fix the error after several days of going back and forth about it with their guest services staff. A huge disappointment on multiple levels, and a lot of cash tossed out to sea. All that said, we still managed to enjoy ourselves and find the silver-lining... but if you haven't already booked your trip with this company, you should seriously consider an alternative vacation.

Pros: Mindless ease of daily scheduling

Cons: Old ship, rocks a lot in the ocean, staterooms smell bad.

Recommends Norwegian Spirit? No.

Ship Quality
The layout is cramped and the decor is old and very tacky. Again, if you're one for irony, you might find it campy and funny. If you're one for taste, this will gross you out. They DO, however, keep the ship very clean (antibacterial hand sanitizers at every doorway). Germ-freaks fear not... well, fear Tetanos, perhaps, but not the flu...
Entertainment
The onboard shows were impressively bad. Just as uncomfortably old and rusty as the ship itself. We thought we'd try something really goofy one night, and we signed up for the "Murder Mystery Dinner"... the "game" was really awful, poorly written and poorly organized. Really tragic, because something silly like that should be fun, shouldn't it?? Anyway, the casino onboard is small but effective. We had a good time talking to dealers and meeting other guests there. Oh, and they don't disclose all of the facts about "Bingo" either... often times "nobody wins"... boo! Save your cash for the Spa, or something.
Cabin / Stateroom
Just gross. We "splurged" and got a balcony stateroom. People told us prior to the cruise that it would be like a "floating hotel"... this is NOT accurate. At best, it's like a floating airplane or train. It looks and feels like a transportation device. Moreover, this particular ship is falling apart. Literally. The closet doors were broken, the gnarly-yellow tiles in the tiny claustrophobic shower were cracked, retaining pungent water and allowing black-mold to rot the grout away. The shower door also fell off it's tracks and couldn't close properly. The plastic fixtures in the bathroom were painted to look metal, but the paint was all chipped off, and the green/brown rotting plastic parts came through. The toilet would often smell like sewage. :( !!! The balcony door and exterior walls/ceiling were heavily rusted. The TV rarely worked inside the stateroom. There is no internet service in the rooms. Boo.
Food and Dining
OK, let me be very clear. The "buffet" is disgusting. Like a high school cafeteria. If you don't want to spend extra money onboard for food, don't bother considering this ship. That said, the "fancy" restaurants onboard (with cover charges of $10-35 per person) were generally quite good. Fresh seafood, delicious steaks, pastas, soups, etc. The non-buffet, free dining rooms (called "Windows" and "the Garden Room") were passable for breakfast, but lunch and/or dinner options there were on the stomach-twisting side. All in all, the cover charges are relatively cheap for the quality upgrades.
Service and Staff
Very friendly. Not always helpful, though -- they often didn't know the answer to your questions or couldn't understand your question because they couldn't speak English very well. Most requests required a "supervisor" who was never available. Go figure! But overall, very nice people.
Children's Programs
No kids for us! But I do remember some teenagers sleeping next to me during one of the onboard "shows," if that means anything to you.... (?)
Belize City, Belize
Mayan Ruins of Altun Ha & Belize City Tour. The ruins are awesome, as all ancient ruins tend to be. You can climbs up onto one of them, which was very cool. The Belize City bus tour was a little awkward because the country is so poor and desolate, a sharp contrast to the "happy theme park" quality of the ship and the pier. :/
Cozumel, Mexico
Atlantis Submarine dive!! Awesome. :) Really cool way to go 100 ft. below the water to see the fishes and the reef. It's also very short, which left time for me to also book a snorkeling trip thru one of the "locals" on the pier. Had a fantastic time there, too. The fish are so used to people that they swim right up to you. Loved both experiences.
Don't Miss: Submarine dive and/or snorkeling!!
Costa Maya (Mahahual), Mexico
Zipline over the jungle canopy. It was terrifying and fun! BUT ... you're only on the zipline for about 2 minutes total, and it's an all day trip; so you do the math! We enjoyed it, but I doubt we'd do it again.
Coxen Hole, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras
Dolphin Encounter!! Amazing, adorable and brilliant creatures -- and you get to pets them, hug them, and get kissed by them. LOL. It was really cool though, truly. Great photos (for $40 at the end of the experience, but worth it).
Don't Miss: Dolphin Encounter!


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