Grand Mediterranean from Venice Sail Date: September 18, 2016 Ship: Norwegian Spirit Cabin Type: Inside Cabin Number:5501 Traveled As: Couple Reviewed: 11 months ago
We took this cruise for our honeymoon, overall or trip was amazing. But that's solely due to the port of calls. Each city/town is just beyond beautiful. However, the ship is just OK, and the staff was less than ok comparatively to other cruises I've been on from other cruise lines. Remember that twelve days is a LOT of time to spend on a ship you aren't overly impressed with. The Spirit is smaller and rocks a lot. The staff is mainly concerned with money. Most of the planned activities on board that sound remotely interesting cost an additional $20-40 and they charge for shuttling to and from ports. Just a heads up, they make you itemize your laundry, so if you do wish to utilize their laundry service it will cost an astounding $100 for ONE LOAD and they do not have laundry facilities for passengers to use themselves. The pool was not used by any passengers because it was too cold and the hot tubs were luke warm. The food in the main dining halls are excellent however they kept putting my husband and I seated only next to the kitchen or dish stations EVERY SINGLE TIME and the service for a restaurant was not great, not exactly where you want to spend your dinners on your honeymoon. Overall, our experience was that you do not get to spend enough time in each of these amazing cities. And remember, if you do not book shore excursions every day and brave public transport, do your research on how long it takes to get to some of these cities from port (i.e. To get to Rome using buses and trains it takes 4 hours round trip and costs roughly $30 a person). We highly recommend booking shore excursions on the days you're in major cities (as these cities are about 5 million in population and there's just no other way you'd get around and see everything you want to see). In the smaller towns, it was easy to take shuttles and just walk and explore by yourselves. Just don't forget good walking shoes! Given the chance though, we'd still do the cruise all over again. Make sure to spend an extra few days in Venice if you can!! Hope this is helpful to everyone!
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
The food was great, the service at restaurants is less than satisfactory
3 out of 5
5 out of 5
Most, not all of the shows on board were fantastic and entertaining! The other activities you had to pay to participate in were overall not worth the money. Patricia at the piano was incredible though!!
Service and Staff
1 out of 5
Generally, our service times took too long and the staff was less than friendly. Not sure if other cultures are just not concerned with customer service or not though. The only crew member we want to recognize was Roehl, our room steward. He was the only staff member to continuously be beyond friendly, let alone wish us a good day or ask how we were doing, and even kept bringing me extra tissues and checking on me when I got a cold! He was so sweet!
5 out of 5
Cabin / Stateroom
3 out of 5
Our room steward was great, however, being in a room right at the front of the ship was not. You hear staff going in and out of crew rooms and slamming doors all throughout the night and every single movement of the ship at 6am. The room was small, but that's expected for a cheap room in a cruise ship. Thankfully it was just the two of us
Overall, we are not impressed with Norwegian and I probably will not sail with them or recommend them again. Not when you're planning the trip of a lifetime.
Amazing! Be sure to spend extra time in Venice if you can. And if you can afford it, stay in a hotel that's actually in Venice!! Just know that there are no cars on the actual islands, so to take a taxi from the airport to the farthest point they can take you costs 40 euros, and a water taxi from that drop off point to our hotel costed 60 more euros. Also, keep in mind, the people of Venice do not like cruise ships and actually protested a few days after we left, surrounding cruise ships in their own boats! So be weary of who you announce you're going on a cruise to!
We did not book an excursion this day but instead paid the $30 for the shuttle. They drop you off in front of the castle (the main attraction). To walk in the main part of the castle is free, to climb up the castle walls is roughly $20 a person. They only accept euros in certain places in Croatia, however we were fine to use a visa at most stores. So I wouldn't rush to be exchanging large amounts of money for kunas, and everything is relatively cheap. If you do want to do guided tours, there are plenty of people arranging/selling tours at the site of the castle for cheaper than the cruise line offers.
In kotor, we didn't book an excursion, however the main attraction is to climb up the mountain (3 euros per person) it's a steep hike on insane, broken rocky steps so WEAR GOOD SHOES as the hike is roughly 4-5 miles. But the view was worth it if you can make it to the top! Kotor itself is just a small, coastal town and was easy to just walk around and fine a restaurant/shop for souvenirs. Prices are relatively cheap.
In Athens, we booked a long, 10 hour shore excursion through the cruise line and we were sure glad we did. It's the only way we would have been able to see all of the main attractions from the temple of Poisedon to Acropolis, plus the lunch they served was one of the funniest memories we have!
Mykonos again, is one of those small, cute little coastal towns where you can walk around window shopping through an easy to navigate by foot town. We ended up finding a little gem, Mykonos Bay, where we were able to pay 10 euros a piece to lounge at the private resort pool (right on the beach) with pool side service and a restaurant. It was a little piece of paradise and the most perfect place to just relax enjoy the view. There was some mild nudity at this private pool, so not the best place to bring children.
I had met/knew people prior to our time that had lived in Italy and both of them warned us that Naples is not a safe place for anyone other than locals. With that being said, we opted to book a shore excursion to stay out of Naples that day. We went to Pompeii and it was amazing. Our only regret with this particular excursion was that it was only four hours (including the 2 hour commute time to and from) don't miss out on this amazing place!!!
This is one of the cities I will always give the most advice to people from now on. The cruise ship cancelled everyone's tours without asking first because it happened to be "world tourism day" in Italy. Meaning all of the attractions were free for people to go in and see, NOT meaning that you can't choose to still take a guided tour that allows you to skip the lines. You get 10 hours in port BUT to go from Civitavecchia to Rome utilizing the shuttle to a bus stop, then the bus to the train it takes you approx 1h 45 min one way. So really you get 6 hours in Rome. This is not enough time to see everything. If you are wanting to see the inside of the Vatican and the colosseum, and possibly the trevi fountain, you really need to do a guided tour. With that being said, because they cancelled our tour, we opted to brave public transport (which was prompt) and did a hop on, hop off bus instead. It ended up being fantastic but we did not have time to go into the Vatican. All the transport with the hop on hop off costed approx. $120 for two. Just like Rome wasn't built in a day, you cannot possibly experience all of Rome in a day, so pick a tour and spend the money to see the top things that are most important to you.
On this day we actually never made it to Florence as planned. The cruise line said they were selling shuttles to go to Florence and or Pisa. However, we left the ship at 0845 and they had already sold out of shuttle tickets to Florence (disembarkation was 0800) so if you opt for this, make sure you're off the ship right at 0800. If you brave the train to Florence, note that the employees at the train station do not speak English, there are long lines for train tickets and it takes 2 hours by train to get to Firenze (Florence). However, it is only approximately 20 minute train ride to Pisa and was considerably cheaper to do,
Toulon is a smaller coastal town/French Navy base. There are not many attractions in the actual town, mostly just naval muesems, however, it was absolutely beautiful to walk around the streets on our own and enjoy both a cappuccino and wine at the cafes. They had a neat little market area too.
We stayed the night in Barcelona after disembarkation (it was nice to get a good nights sleep in a non rocking ship room before all the flying back to the western United States). If you do choose to stay the night, we again opted to do a hop on hop off bus as well. NOTE that if you're going to see the attractions in Barcelona, buy your tickets to these things from either the cruise line or barcelonas city website way ahead of time! They will close ticket sales at attractions due to maximum occupancy! (We reached the saguradad familia at 1030, ticket sales were closed until 1730 and same with the Gaudi park. Although it was still beautiful to walk around the park!
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