Great Ports, Cruise Ship Experience... Not So Great

Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review to Europe - Mediterranean


Contributor Level: Purser
Experience: 7+ cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 5

Overall Rating:

2.0 out of 5
12 Night Grand Mediterranean (Barcelona To Venice)
Sail Date: June 12, 2015
Cabin Type: Balcony
Traveled As: Family (older children)
Reviewed: 2 years ago

I just completed my first NCL experience and while the port itinerary was terrific, I was disappointed with many aspects of the NCL cruise experience itself. The ship is rather tired looking with an Asian decor. Based upon my prior experiences with NCL competitors, I was not expecting the constant barrage of on-board extra fees I experienced on this ship. The main dining room food was, at best, mediocre. As a result, we tried several of the speciality restaurants (with a $15-30 per person uplift) for dinner and found them to be quite good. However, I did not like to feel compelled to pay an uplift to get a decent meal. We purchased the Internet package (extra $300) and were told our entire family would have Internet access. They neglected to tell us not simultaneously. When the Internet was working, it was rather slow and therefore unusable to access services which are timeout sensitive (ex: my work's VPN access for email). Additionally, several days it did not work at all. When I went to discuss my concerns with the Internet cafe manager regarding the lack of service for fees paid, he was the most rude, arrogant, condescending individual I've come across in quite a while. I'm sure he was dealing with a lot of unhappy passengers based upon the poor services, but, NCL needs to remind him he is in a customer service business (or replace him). A couple of the nightly shows were mildly entertaining, but, others were just downright difficult to sit through. The English movie channel on the TV in the cabin was very limited and repetitive. We did enjoy the flexibility of the open dining schedule and eating breakfast on the rear deck each morning was a treat. In conclusion, we spent enough time off the ship in fabulous ports to have an enjoyable family vacation, but, I'd be hard pressed to recommend NCL to others.

Food and Dining

1 out of 5
Main dining bad, speciality restaurants (extra $) good.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
Nothing special. Needs more things to do on days at sea.

Entertainment

1 out of 5

Children's Programs

Not used. We have older children.

Service and Staff

3 out of 5
Internet cafe mgr should be fired. Room steward was a bit gruff. Balance of crew seemed quite pleasant.

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
Older, tired looking ship.

Ship Tip

Internet service is expensive and slow if it works at all.

5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Go to Aix-en-Provence, Marseille and Cassis. A full day, but you will have fun and a very good feel for the area.
5 out of 5
You must plan a shore excursion from this port. The dock is in a highly industrial and not very pretty area. Florence is a drive, but, definitely worth it. Pisa and It's tower is fun, but, you don't need much time there.
5 out of 5
Rome was fantastic. Too much to see for your short time in port. Try to find a small cafe for lunch and try the Pasta alla Grecia. A classic ancient Roman dish...fantastic!
5 out of 5
Amalfi coast was absolutely gorgeous. Pompeii was very interesting (but can be hot). We had a PHD in archeology as a private guide in Pompeii which was a definite benefit. He could read the graffiti on the walls! I did not expect to enjoy this port as much as I did.
3 out of 5
Basically only shopping and the beach. Rent an ATV or scooter for fun and getting to the beach. No need for shore excursion at this port.
5 out of 5
Quite a bit of traffic. Plan your time accordingly.
5 out of 5
Ephesus is a must see. Be sure to enter Ephesus at the top entry gate (not the lower one) and walk down. Much easier walk. The cliff houses are worth the extra admissions fee, lots of stairs though. The cliff houses have very nice frescos and mosaics. House of Virgin Mary is OK if you have the time, but, not a must do.
3 out of 5
After the Acropolis, not too much to do on a Sunday.
5 out of 5
Very picturesque. A photographer's dream. No need for shore excursion at this port. Walk 15 mins to the public water taxis at Piazzale Roma from the ship and take Vaporetto #1 to St. Marks Square. A 20 euro day pass allows you to jump on and off Vaporettos all day.
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