What A Wonderful Cruise!
Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western
My wife and I just returned from a week aboard the Norwegian Spirit in the Caribbean. This was my 10th cruise and our 6th together ... and it may have been our favorite!
First, the Spirit is a charming vessel. By today's Mega Ship standards, it's small - I think the smallest in the NCL lineup. But it's beautiful and the mood set by the crew and staff more than made up for any limitations it may have. The Tivoli Pool area is gorgeous (albeit not able to accommodate a huge number of sun bathers or swimmers), with columns and clever design touches that give it an exotic and warm feel.
The bars and restaurants offered a wide variety of food, drink and atmosphere. Our favorite was Henry's Pub, a British-style bar with a friendly and helpful staff. We were able to watch Super Bowl 50 there and the rowdy crowd kept the bartenders hopping! During the week, other events were held there as well, including trivia and karaoke contests, all of which were entertaining and fun. In addition, the Blue Lagoon restaurant features "comfort food", including wings, chicken sandwiches, paninis, fish 'n' chips and the most delicious tomato soup I've ever had!
We enjoy the NCL Freestyle Dining arrangement, which allows you to have dinner in a group or as a couple and whenever you want. We used the Windows main dining room twice and the Garden room twice as well. The Windows does require long pants for men, which is a nice touch if you feel a little more formal, while the Garden allows shorts and more casual wear. But nowhere is it required to go Full Tux and Dress. We did dine in the Tepenyaki Room one night, which is a Japanese Steak House experience where the chef cooks at your table. It was delightfully entertaining and the food was, not surprisingly, excellent. But then the food was excellent throughout the ship. For a mere $20 I upgraded one night to the Surf And Turf filet mignon/lobster combo and it was among the best I've ever had. Don't feel, however, that you have to pay extra for meals. The standard fare offered on the Spirit was beautifully prepared and delicious, including a pork roast that was to die for!
While we didn't avail ourselves of the big productions in the Stardust Theater, people we talked to told us it was top notch. Instead, we enjoyed a guitarist (Pablo, from Spain) at Champagne Charlies, which overlooks the stunningly gorgeous atrium at the center of the ship. The view is breathtaking: the elevators and lighting alone give the scene an amazing ambiance.
The cruise director Gio was an engaging and fun fellow and his minions on board made sure people had a good time. We participated in karaoke and trivia contests as well as a Quest game on the final night and had an absolute ball. It's hard to judge why a particular cruise seems to take on a definite personality but the Spirit seemed to attract fun people who enjoyed meeting one another. We were blessed to make many new friends on this cruise! Perhaps it's the ship's relatively small size that makes it a more intimate experience. Or maybe it's the crew or the cruise director. But whatever it is, it was a delightful experience.
Our complaints were very minor. Our room steward was adequate but not fantastic. Our stateroom was small and lacked as many electrical outlets as we would have liked. And the hair drier in the bathroom looked like something out of a 1960s Sci-Fi movie. In addition, the weather for our days at sea was cold and windy ... but obviously NCL has no control over that!
If you're looking at a Caribbean cruise and aren't necessarily enamored with the idea of boarding a ship the size of a small city, you owe it to yourself to take a long look at the Spirit (there are many YouTube videos, for instance, including ones I've posted upon our return.) It's a fun, charming, beautiful ship with great food and entertainment and a classy but exciting vibe that made the seven days pass all too quickly We miss it already and hope to sail on her again!
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
If you like a fun bar, I highly recommend Henry's Pub. The Windows restaurant was busy but not overwhelmingly so. We got in there much faster than in the Garden dining room and the service was superior in Windows as well, although both were more than acceptable.
Ports of call
George Town, Grand Cayman Did not visit port