Fun 2nd time on Spirit, great ship starting to show age spots
Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western
Sail Date: February 20, 2016
Ship: Norwegian Spirit
Cabin Type: Inside
Cabin Number: 10589
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 2 years ago
This was our fifth cruise and third on the Norwegian Cruise Line. We were planning to spend some “snowbird” time in Florida this winter. We had taken an NCL cruise on this same ship, the Spirit, in Fall of 2015. We had a great time and like the small or medium ships like the Spirit.
This time we had a tenth floor middle interior room. Comparing it to the slightly upgraded eighth floor room we had in the fall, which had a window, but no balcony in Europe, we missed the second night stand by the bed, a second trash can, and the “mini couch”. The room was clean, and the bed was comfy. However, we had a few bathroom floor tiles stick to our feet and actually come out of the floor. It took two tries to make the repairs. It was slight inconvenience but at least that fixed the problem. The Spirit is showing it’s 18 years of age. Some of the furnishings (for example, curtains in the Windows dining room) are fraying. While we gave it a glowing review last Fall it’s going to need significant renovation by it's 20th birthday to remain competitive.
Dining: We dined only once in the Garden which allows dress shorts for men at night. Most of our meals were in the Windows dining room, other than a couple of quick breakfasts or lunches at the Raffles buffet were at Windows. All of our Windows meals were excellent and service was prompt. There was a definite improvement in Windows quality over the buffet. We dined twice at Shogun and found it to be quite good in service and quality of food. It was a favorite from our last cruise, and required no up charge.
We dined at La Trattoria on the final night and had a delicious meal and great service at a reasonable upcharge. It was a big disappointment to find that the upscale dining is now charged ala carte. It is too easy to add another $80 for two dining in Le Bistro or Cagney’s Restaurants.
We had a lot of fun with our free Universal Beverage package. We aren’t big “boozers”. However, it was fun to try out a daily mixed drink tropical special, and receive free sodas. You no longer have to lug 12 packs on board! However, we were disappointed the UBP won’t let you order from the coffee bar (coffees such as lattes or cappucinos). It makes no sense that a $5 coffee is extra, when a bar drink costing up to $15 in the bar is included.
Note: if you do have the Unlimited Beverage Plan, whether you pay for it or get it free, you are charged with a $80/person/week tip charge. Both of you have to pay that tip fee on top of the $13/day tips fee. However even with only a few drinks a day, we still saved a lot with the UBP.
Service: Our cabin steward and members of the wait staff were excellent. Bar service was slow, and servers seemed overwhelmed. We may have noticed this more since we had the Ultimate Beverage package option and used the bars more on this than any of the other four cruises we have taken.
Entertainment: We were surprised most shows were a subset of what we saw on the Spirit in Europe last Fall. The Cruise Director was new but both the magician Jorgas, and the aerialists were the same, as the Elements finale. The comedian, Bud Andersen, was new to us and very funny. We enjoyed the smaller venues like Champagne Charlie’s and Henry’s Pub. We particularly enjoyed the jazz music by the show band in the Galaxy, and the guitar music of Pablo Rodriguez in Champagne Charlie’s.
Boarding/all ashore: There were no problems with the boarding or the “all ashore”. We were pleased that it went so smoothly.
Other: This was our third NCL cruise and as Silver Latitudes members we were treated to TWO nice Latitudes events with free drinks and wine, fruit and cheese.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Windows early eat times tough to determine: somedays 5pm, most days 530 but GO A BIT AFTER THAT and all will be seated and line gone. It's busier later too but they have pagers that work on entire ship.