Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern

Contributor Level: Third Mate

Experience
4-6 cruises

Review
1

Helpful Votes
8

4 out of 5

A generally splendid experience.

Sail Date: January 16, 2016

Reviewed: 10 months ago

Traveled As: Singles/Friends

Room Type: Balcony

This was my fourth cruise overall, and my third on NCL, with the first two being on the Breakaway and the Getaway, much larger ships, and I greatly enjoyed my cruise on the Spirit as well. I was surprised to see how many people were on "back-to-back" cruises, though I could understand why.  The decor of the Spirit is reminiscent of the heyday of liners, with a more classic, more "elegant," feel of greater intimacy than I felt on the larger ships, and I have no need of climbing walls or zipropes across the stern, etc.  I tended to alternate my time between my own balcony and the open terrace at the stern of the ship, behind the Raffles buffet.

Service generally was quite good, as was the food.  A major drawback, however, was the great difficulty in getting reservations for the times that I wanted for the specialty restaurants, even trying to get them before departure.  For the Bistro in particular, the ONLY times that I was able to sign up for, as a party of 1, were 5:30 or 9:30 p.m.  Part of this was inherent in the fact that the specialty restaurants are necessarily much more compact than in the larger ships. But not for EVERY night!  (I was able to work around that, for the most part, though.)

I enjoyed the shore excursions at the three ports, although there was woefully inadequate time in Nassau, with the ship sailing at 3 p.m., even though there were two full sea days before the next port.

These points, and others indicated below notwithstanding, I did greatly enjoy my cruise, as evidenced by the fact that I arranged for deposits for four future cruises.

 

Cabin / Stateroom
My balcony stateroom on the Spirit was clean, and Janice, my cabin attendant, was very attentive and pleasant. However, the cabin felt a good deal smaller than my cabins on the Breakaway and Getaway were. I think that people who are extra-large would find the toilet area cramped.
Embarkation and Disembarkation
Embarkation -- a very welcome plus. I arrived right at 2 at the terminal and, seeing that I was struggling walking, NCL agents volunteered to get me a wheelchair. A very negative. The reason that I arrived right at 2 was massive traffic on AiA and also at a festival right at the cruise terminals. The boarding document lists two emergency phone numbers. AND ... NO ONE ... ANSWERED ... THE PHONE. No one answered the phone at either of the emergency telephone numbers.
Ship Quality
Destinations and Excursions
I enjoyed the destinations and the shore excursions, but as commented above, there was too little shore time in Nassau, even though there were two sea days before the next port. It was not possible to take a shore excursion and and also, say, have lunch in Nassau or go to a beach.
Onboard Activities Although I didn't take part, there were certainly enough different types of on-board activity. A bee in my bonnet as another instance of NCL tackiness. NCL wanted $79 for a tour of the ship's facilities, more than for many shore excursions. I can understand a token amount of, say, $20 so as to help ensure that people don't sign up frivolously or just out of boredom. But it would seem to me that NCL would WANT to show its passengers how well it tries to support them. Tacky.
Entertainment
There were solid efforts to present high-quality acts of different natures in the evening, with two performances to help make sure that there would be space for anyone interested to enjoy.
Service and Staff
Food and Dining
I had a dining package so, as it turned out, this did not affect me. But I was very turned off at seeing that the menus for the specialty restaurants listed a la carte prices IN ADDITION TO the cover charges, an approach introduced since my earlier cruise in November. This struck me as being incredibly tacky and actively hostile to the idea of a relaxing, most expenses included trip that for many could be the only cruise that they might ever take. Even though it did not affect me, it left a bad taste in my mouth. See above for my comments about challenges in making reservations.
Nassau, Bahamas
Many people go to Paradise Island, but I've enjoyed the city tour and the Ardastra Zoo tour. Unfortunately, on this cruise the ship left too early to enjoy lunch in town, but I had greatly enjoyed the Cafe Matisse in the court complex, close to the cruise dock.
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
The Kon-Tiki beach trip, in a glass-bottom boat with a steel band on board, was most enjoyable.
Philipsburg, St. Maarten
I really enjoyed the Orient Bay beach trip, which included a drink and light lunch, VERY much. That tour also left some time for shopping in Philipsburg, which is in close proximity to the harbor.

Tip

Try to make reservations for the specialty restaurants as early in your planning as possible because they tend to fill up fast. If you have to, make a reservation for later in the evening than you would really like, so that at least you will have the opportunity to enjoy the experience.



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