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

Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review to Europe - Mediterranean

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 12

Overall rating:

3 out of 5
Norwegian Spirit

12 Night Grand Mediterranean (Barcelona To Venice)

Sail date: August 01, 2015

Ship: Norwegian Spirit

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 9538

Traveled as: Family (older children)

Reviewed: 4 years ago

Review summary

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.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

3 out of 5
Freestyle dining not our thing. Food was fairly bland and you have a different waiter each meal.

Onboard Activities

5 out of 5


5 out of 5
Some shows were great and others were just OK - but entertaining. The aerial artists were fantastic!

Children's Programs

5 out of 5
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)

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
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.

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
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.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
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.

Ports of call

Barcelona, Spain

5 out of 5
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

5 out of 5
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

3 out of 5
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

5 out of 5
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

5 out of 5
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

3 out of 5
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

3 out of 5
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

5 out of 5
Ephesus is a must see. Don't miss it.

Piraeus (Athens), Greece

1 out of 5
Second time in Athens. For the second time, I don't care if we ever go back. Dirty city.
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