Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review to Europe - Mediterranean

Contributor Level: Purser

Experience
7+ cruises

Review
1

Helpful Votes
3

3 out of 5

Good Cruise. Great Ports. Great Staff. Average Food.

Sail Date: August 01, 2015

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Traveled As: Family (older children)

Room Type: Balcony

Overall this is a good cruise if you would like an overview of some Mediterranean ports. My husband and I took our two teenagers (age 14 & 17) on this trip. While we have cruised on a number of different lines, Norwegian falls some where in the middle (Radisson  - now Regent, Disney, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Celebrity and Carnival). While we thought we would like the freestyle dining format, we all decided that we would rather have the more formal traditional dining at set times which was a big surprise to us since we tend to be very laid back and no one likes to "dress for dinner - especially the teens."  We also felt that the food was not as good as other lines. The food was OK but not great. The staff on this cruise was great. They enjoyed their jobs and really made it a great experience during all activities. The shows were a mixed bag. Some were exceptional. Others were just OK. The teen club was amazing. This is the first cruise that my 14 year old actually wanted to do the activities instead of just meeting up with friends and running around the ship. There was a group of 30 kids that hung out each night and another 30+ kids that also participated in the teen club.  This is the first cruise that we did not take a shore excursion through the ship. I had always been nervous about "making it back in time" by going with an outside vendor. With careful research, I booked many private tours (just the 4 of us) that were the same price or less than the cruise line. I don't think I will ever book another excursion through the ship again. I highly recommend the Rick Steeves Mediterranean Cruises book and read it cover to cover. All of the private tours that he recommended were the best tours we every had. The Norwegian Spirit is a little rough around the edges since it is the oldest ship in their fleet. I imagine it will be retired very soon. However, you probably wouldn't even notice unless you've been on newer ships recently. Overall, I would take Norwegian again if the price and itinerary matched our needs but I would choose Royal Caribbean instead.

Food and Dining
Freestyle dining not our thing. Food was fairly bland and you have a different waiter each meal.
Service and Staff
Gio and Alex from the Cruise Director/Activities staff were excellent. They worked so hard ALL of the time (I really don't think they slept). Derrick in housekeeping was great and went above and beyond.
Entertainment
Some shows were great and others were just OK - but entertaining. The aerial artists were fantastic!
Children's Programs
Teen club was best yet! Tons of kids and a lot of structured activities but the staff didn't treat them like babies like on other ships (from the words of my teens)
Onboard Activities
Destinations and Excursions
Destinations were great. The excursions offered by the ship were very overpriced. We got the same sites on private tours for less (without the big busses, tons of people, flag following and ear pieces.)
Ship Quality
The ship is nearing the end of its life. Pool area is outdated. Toilets consistently had some issues. Beds were uncomfortable but the staff really did the best they could to make everything right. It was just an old ship. It was very clean. There was a lot of attention to "Happy Happy Washy Washy" to make sure that everyones hands were clean.
Embarkation and Disembarkation
Could possibly be the easiest on and off of a ship that we've ever had. Very well done!
Cabin / Stateroom
We had two state rooms, adjoining. The location was good... right by the front staircase on deck 9 (in the middle.) We enjoy the two adjoining staterooms instead of a family suite so we get two showers/toilets for the 4 of us.
Barcelona, Spain
We spent 2.5 days here before the cruise. It was an amazing city to see. Plenty to do! Go out and explore. Would do everything about it again. Don't just fly in and get on the ship. Definitely experience Barcelona (Ramblas, Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, Casa Mila, Camp Nou, PIcasso Museum)
Toulon, France
We just waked abound the port experiencing this little French town. It was enjoyable but not a lot to do. We would have been fine skipping this port but after being a week into our trip (went to Paris first) we were happy to have nothing scheduled.
Livorno (Florence & Pisa), Italy
Loved PIsa. Florence was a disappointment. It takes a long time to get to Florence so you really don't have a lot of time to see the city. If I had to do it again, I would just go to Pisa and Lucca.
Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
Take the train into Rome. It is easy and it will get you there quicker than cars. Plus, it is a cool experience.
Naples, Italy
Pompeii. Don't miss it. Book Gaetano Manfredi if it is at all possible for a tour. Best tour guide that we have ever had ANYWHERE. He can really engage the kids as well.
Mykonos, Greece
The last Mediterranean cruise that we went on we stoped in Santorini instead of Mykonos. I'd take Santorini any day. While Mykonos is pretty to see there really isn't much to do there.
Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul was beautiful and unlike any other port we visited however, it was one of our least favorites. There were just so many people that we didn't enjoy getting shuffled everywhere.
Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey
Ephesus is a must see. Don't miss it.
Piraeus (Athens), Greece
Second time in Athens. For the second time, I don't care if we ever go back. Dirty city.


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