Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review to Europe - Mediterranean

Contributor Level: Purser

7+ cruises


Helpful Votes

2 out of 5

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

Sail Date: June 12, 2015

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Traveled As: Family (older children)

Room Type: Balcony

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
Main dining bad, speciality restaurants (extra $) good.
Service and Staff
Internet cafe mgr should be fired. Room steward was a bit gruff. Balance of crew seemed quite pleasant.
Children's Programs Not used. We have older children.
Onboard Activities
Nothing special. Needs more things to do on days at sea.
Destinations and Excursions
Ports of call were great. However, we pre-booked independant private shore excursions (not NCL) and it worked out great. Private cars, knowledgable guides, no crowds, flexible itinerary based upon our interests.
Ship Quality
Older, tired looking ship.
Embarkation and Disembarkation
Embarkation was long lines. Disembarkation was fine. We used NCL transfers for disembarkation (extra $)
Barcelona, Spain
Toulon, France
Go to Aix-en-Provence, Marseille and Cassis. A full day, but you will have fun and a very good feel for the area.
Livorno (Florence & Pisa), Italy
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.
Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
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!
Naples, Italy
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.
Mykonos, Greece
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.
Istanbul, Turkey
Quite a bit of traffic. Plan your time accordingly.
Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey
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.
Piraeus (Athens), Greece
After the Acropolis, not too much to do on a Sunday.
Venice, Italy
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.


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

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