12 Night Grand Mediterranean (Venice To Barcelona) Sail Date: October 25, 2012 Ship: Norwegian Spirit Cabin Type: Balcony Traveled As: Couple Reviewed: 5 years ago
The Norwegian Spirit was built around 1998 and refurbished in 2011. It is not a \"mega-ship\" in the 4000 passenger
range, but a mid-range 2000 passenger ship. This is a personal preference, but I find the smaller ship has a more
intimate feel to it, and on a Grand Mediterranean cruise, you're spending most of your time touring ports of call (or
should be), rather than using ship's amenities. Refurbishment was excellent quality.
Food and Dining
5 out of 5
I am not a fan of formal dining or of dressing up at all\, although I'll make an exception for weddings\, funerals and
customer meetings. Norwegian's \"freestyle cruising\" suits me just fine. There are no fixed seatings for the main
dining rooms. It's just first-come-first-served. The Spirit has fewer price-included dining options than mega-ships
have; just the buffet\, the main dining rooms\, a small 24/7 eatery on deck 7 and a sandwich bar on deck 12\, but these
were all good. The only thing you're missing out on is free pizza 24 hours a day\, which a lot of ships offer.
5 out of 5
Again\, in terms of entertainment\, this is a cruise ship. We aren't on Broadway or the West End. Would make the
cruise a lot more expensive if they had to bring in the \"Book of Mormon\" touring company. That said\, the
entertainment was quite good overall. They had a staged set-piece called \"Elements\" that was quite impressive for
ensemble NCL-created entertainment. And the soloists they brought on board (a juggler/comedian\, a magician\, a
violinist\, an aerial acrobatics couple and a singer comedian) were mostly excellent (didn't care much for the
singer...sorry). Did not engage much in ship activities because touring ports of call took most of our time.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Friendliest staff I've encountered on a cruise ship. For the most part\, they genuinely enjoyed their jobs and enjoyed
working with one another. They were very open to discuss working life on a cruise ship\, what they liked and didn't
like and were clearly encouraged to just be themselves rather than corporate fabrications. Refreshing.
5 out of 5
Ship layout is typical. We have sailed on Carnival\, Royal Carribean and Norwegian\, and there is a fairly standard
ship design. All have open atria which extend upwards from the main entrance (in this case deck 7) deck to the top
deck and a two-deck \"main atrium area\" with a double grand starcase connecting the two decks. Buffet dining is on
the pool deck\, main dining rooms (2) are on deck 5 midship and aft. Two-deck theater aft and numerous lounges\,
restaurants and meeting rooms.
Decor is tasteful\, mostly wood and polished metal surfaces. Not the over-the-top Vegas-style design of Carnival ships
(not criticizing...it's a very well executed Vegas-style design). Maintenance is flawless. Everything clean and in good
repair\, but was just refurbished a year ago. Strong emphasis on board on hand-washing. Sanitizer stations at
entrances to all public areas\, and \"washy-washy\" people with spray sanitizers at entrances to buffet and main dining rooms.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
We had a balcony stateroom on deck 10\, and it was more than adequate. Notable was the compartmentalized
bathroom\, with separate closable shower\, sink/vanity and toilet areas. I've never seen that on a cruise ship before.
Soap and shampoo are provided. Although this is now a standard on cruise ships\, it didn't used to be\, and probably
arose from the ongoing problems with Norovirus and hygiene issues. Plenty of storage space and a small safe.
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