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Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review to Europe - Western Europe

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 18

Overall rating:

4 out of 5
Verified Review
Norwegian Spirit

12 Night British Isles Heritage (London Roundtrip)

Sail date: September 15, 2019

Ship: Norwegian Spirit

Cabin type: Inside

Cabin number: 6019

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Review summary

This was our second Norwegian cruise and will be our last on this line. 1) The ship was clean and well-appointed, but the food on the buffet was terrible and served in an unsanitary manner. As a result, the two main dining rooms were always packed and hard to get into. The second night, a staff member tried to shoo everyone away to the larger dining room (which was also packed). We were not dressed in the required code for the larger restaurant. Beepers were available, but not used. Complaining to Guest Services assured us of a reservation every night at 6:30, but other guests continued to experience the inconvenience. Guess they didn't know how to complain effectively? 2) There were not enough tenders to get everyone on shore in time for their excursions in Orkney. This resulted in angry passengers, especially since we were not informed ahead of time of the (2 hour) delay. Coming back from Orkney, I saw the reason for not enough tenders in the morning - NCL Spirit was using its own tenders by then, all of which were belching black smoke and making horrendous engine noises. They obviously were long overdue for maintenance. I prayed for safety as we were ferried back to the ship. Fortunately, this was the only port requiring tenders. 3) Policies and procedures were either not clearly stated, not followed, or both. I found out at some point that the dress code in the larger main dining room was not enforced, undoubtedly due to the fact that the smaller dining room couldn't service the demand. We also did not have our liquor confiscated after our distillery tour, even though the couple ahead of us did have their merchandise confiscated. I have no idea why, since we had as much liquor as they did. 4) "Anything to make a buck" seems to be the overwhelming business model of NCL. Drinks were way overpriced; Laundry cost was much more than it would cost to have the same items dry cleaned in the States; I couldn't get a refund for post cruise transfers to LHR I purchased prior to the cruise and didn't (because we changed our travel plans); excursions were pushed and little to no information was given about the port itself. However, the itinerary was great, as was the service. Great staff, hard-working and polite. My spouse purchased spa treatments and used the nail salon several times, and enjoyed those experiences thoroughly.

Embarkation

5 out of 5
very fast, no issues

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

3 out of 5
The food on the buffet was terrible and at some stations, sanitary practices were lacking (ie, people reached in and got their food). However, food in the main dining rooms was excellent and the pub was very good. The complimentary Asian fusion restaurant was terrible. We didn't try any speciality restaurants.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
We didn't do any, but if I had brought my bathing suit, I would have used the hot tubs.

Entertainment

We weren't interested in any of the acts advertised. In addition, the seats in the theatre were horrible - low to the ground and so close to the back of the row in front that my knees would catch on the drink holders.

Children's Programs

no kids traveling with us

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Staff was very attentive and polite. Wonderful people.

Ship Quality

4 out of 5
It was somewhat difficult to get to the main dining rooms. From our cabin, we had to go up a flight of stairs, walk through the ship to the other side, then down a flight of stairs. It was confusing until we learned that the color of the carpets indicated which portion of the ship we were on. The internet library was next to a large noisy bar and meeting area, which was a very bad idea. Areas were kept clean.

Cabin / Stateroom

3 out of 5
Very cramped, but expected for the price we paid. Cleanliness was good. Didn't like the bed configuration. A top bunk was right over my side of the bed; I literally had to crawl to get in and out of the bed.

Ship tip

Read the fine print. Your excursion and transfer bookings cannot be refunded if you pay for them ahead of time. Also expect to be nickle and dimed at every opportunity. Drinks of the day, for example, were a bargain at $9, far more than I've ever paid on other cruise lines. Laundry charges were by the piece, eg, $12 to wash and dry a dress.

Ports of call

Southampton (London), England Did not visit port

Embarkation only. Nothing to do at the port.

Invergordon (Inverness & Loch Ness), Scotland

5 out of 5
We visited a distillery; tour was great.

NEWHAVEN HARBOUR (EDINBURGH), SCOTLAND

5 out of 5
We visited the Royal Mile and had lunch at a famous restaurant - really enjoyable.

Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland

5 out of 5
I love Orkney. We had a private tour of Skara Brae, the Ring of Brodgar, etc. because NCL excursions were sold out prior to the cruise. These ancient neolithic sites are older than the Pyramids. Must see if you have the chance.

Greenock (Glasgow), Scotland

3 out of 5
No excursion. We shopped at the port.

Belfast, Northern Ireland

5 out of 5
We went to the Giants Causeway, an amazing UNESCO World Heritage site. Great excursion, must see.

Liverpool, England

5 out of 5
We dumped our booked Victorian tea excursion for a chance to see the museums and shops at the harbor itself. Best cruise port I've ever been at.

Dublin, Ireland

5 out of 5
We went to Glendalough (great medieval monastery complex) on day 1 and did the Hop on Hop off (Trinity College, Book of Kells) on day 2. Highly recommend both - amazing!

Cobh (Cork), Ireland

4 out of 5
We visited Kinsale, a quaint little village that has great shops for browsing. Very nice.

Dartmouth, England Did not visit port

Bad weather prevented us from docking at this port.

Disembarkation

5 out of 5
Very easy and fast
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