Janine & Dean
Number of Cruises: n/a
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Spirit
Sailing Date: February 16th, 2005
Itinerary: Southern Caribbean
Janine and Dean
We have recently returned from our cruise on the Norwegian Spirit. What can we say other than it was absolutely FABULOUS!!!
The ship is absolutely gorgeous and very well laid out.
FOOD: We found the food on the ship to be very good. We ate in Raffles, Windows and the Garden. I liked the variety of food always available in Raffles. If we chose to eat in either The Garden or Windows we never had a problem being seated as some other people have mentioned. If you go early around five thirty p.m or late around nine thirty p.m you will invariable be seated immediately. If you go in between times the wait is usually short even though the crowd waiting may look large. It moves along quickly and efficiently. The service in both the sit down restaurants was always excellent and the wait staff, friendly and polite and you are treated like you are in a very expensive restaurant. The food is visually appealing in the way it is presented and we found it to be excellent at all times. Every might there seems to be a different theme to the menu. The desserts were prepared in the style of first class pastry chefs.
We always ate breakfast in Raffles and found the variety of breakfast fare great. Something for everyone. We found that going to the omelet station suited us best as the omelet's were prepared fresh right in front of you and you could choose from plain omelets or to have cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes or ham added or all of the above. There is food all over the ship at all times and no matter what you have or where you have it, it is all good.
BARS: There are many bars to choose from depending on what you like to do. We got into the habit of having before dinner cocktails in the BUNDT on the Promenade deck before dinner each evening. LEO and ARISHELLA that work that bar in the evening are just the greatest hosts and bartenders. They are just so personable and fun to be around. We had many laughs with them and thoroughly enjoyed their company all nine nights. A very friendly bar and we met many nice people at that bar. No matter how shy are reserved one might be you will find yourself easily conversing with the people sitting on either side of you in no time while there. I think this might be because of the bar staffs friendly and outgoing attitude toward the patrons and their easy flowing conversation that one soon finds themselves all talking to each other. I don't remember all the people that worked at that bar on occasion, but they were all friendly and excellent hosts. Leo and Arishella were there all the time and we will never forget them. The nicest folks you could wish to meet.
After dinner we would normally make our way to the Galaxy of the Stars and listen to the band, which was excellent and very professional or to the comedian. The comedian was hot and cold, some nights good and others not so good. But still it was entertaining and enjoyable. The wait staff in there was very efficient and friendly, as they are everywhere else on the ship. They soon got to know our names and knew what drinks we liked to order. A very nice nice nightclub type atmosphere and very relaxing. After the Galaxy of the Stars, later in the evening we found ourselves getting into the habit of going to the Celebrity Disco for the Karaoke, not that we are Karaoke singers. We would go because it was so much fun in there, watching the other people performing. Eddie the DJ is a character and sometimes would venture out of his little booth and give us a song or two in a very comedic way. He has a very deep voice but tended to sing songs in a very high pitched voice. We grew quite fond of Eddie and his always smiling face. Often some of the Entertainers from the ship would also wind up in the disco and entertain us some more one way or another, weather intentional or not. The Celebrity Disco I would say is a very entertaining and fun way to wind down your evening.
ENTERTAINEMENT: We went to the shows nightly in the Moulin Rouge. A perfectly fabulous auditorium. There is not a bad seat in the house, no matter where you sit. We thoroughly enjoyed all the shows. We found the comedian/magician Scott Alexender to be exceptionally good. Though a very talented magician he was an excellent comedian. A very, very funny man. He had us laughing out loud every time we saw him. There was a very good lounge type singer who's first name escapes me right now , but his last name was Washington. Not exactly our cup of tea, but very good at what he did none the less. He sang tunes in the genre of Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis etc, etc. The NCL Production Company did a very nice job on the two or three different productions that they put on. Very enjoyable and entertaining and it was evident that they put a great deal of effort into putting on a good show. Props and costumes were very professional. I am sure many of them will go far in their careers, they certainly had talent. Ricky the social director was great. He always introduced the shows and entertainers and came on briefly after they were done to tell us what was upcoming. A most personable fella who did a fine job. He was a great host at the pool party and other events on board. A young man that has definately found his niche. While speaking of entertaining we can't forget the captain, who himself was pretty entertaining. Cheers! to Captain Lars Bengsston!
LAND EXCURSIONS: We booked a land excursion on every island we went to, seeing as how we were not too sure of where to go or what to do. We were glad we did. We booked 4x4 excursions on each of the islands. We got to see the off the beaten track parts of the islands and parts one would not normally see. Our guides were most gracious and informative on of the excursions. Some of them were quite the comedians too. We got to learn about the history and the culture of the islands from these very informative guides. We thought all the islands to be very beautiful and exotic. The flora of the islands is just magnificent. The only excursion that we found to be somewhat depressing was Grenada, due to the devastation that island suffered in September 2004 from hurricane Ivan. It is slowly restoring, but I do stress "slowly" The amount of work to be done there is enormous. Most of the canopy is totally gone, but much of the ground cover has returned in a very short amount of time and many of the plants have grown back already. We felt very sad for the local people there. Many still without electricity or even roofs on their homes. However the people remain a surprisingly upbeat people and still manage to smile and be friendly. Our 4x4 driver was an elderly gentleman who explained to us that he had been retired before the hurricane, but had to return to working in order to rebuild his home and get his family back together. His wife and children were all living in different parts of the island with friends and family due to the fact that their home was destroyed. He told us this because we asked him how it had affected him and not because he was trying to get our sympathy or our money. It certainly opened our eyes to how fortunate the rest of us are.
We found Antigua and St Lucia to be the most exotic and beautiful islands of all. The views on St. Lucia are simply breathtaking. The sight of seeing the Pitons is something one would normally only see in National Geographic Magazine. Tortola was also very beautiful but was somewhat marred by the unfortunate weather that we had that particular day. The bays there are just lovely and I am sure would look a whole lot lovelier in clear weather. Unfortunately it was mostly rainy and cloudy and misty while we were there. Even so we still enjoyed ourselves. During our tour there we stopped at a lovely restaurant on a very pretty bay where we had a really great lunch and some great local rum punch. We had rum punch on all the islands but I must say the rum punch on Tortola was quite something else.. Good thing everyone was only given one cup of it.. Need I say more.
OVERALL: As you can tell we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise on the Norwegian Spirit. We really cannot find anything bad to say about the whole trip. The ship, the staff, the service, the islands, everything was much more than I expected. Maybe the only bad thing was the first three days the weather was not too kind, but that was down to Mother Nature and not much can be done about that. Even so it was not that bad and it hardly put a damper on the experience. There was plenty to do onboard the ship as this inclement weather was during the three days at sea before reaching the islands. For the most part the weather was great except for those first three days and our day in Tortola.
A few of the reviews that I have read that are not favorable are baffling to me. The people that have written them must be very hard to please people because we could find none of the things that they pointed out as not being up to par to be a problem. Well maybe the beds were not quite like the beds we have at home and were maybe a little firm, but certainly were not uncomfortable. We slept just fine. As for lines at restaurants, well that was not a problem either. You just have to choose your time at which you eat a little differently. Remember eat early or late..... no lines........ If you eat during prime time, the wait is really not very long even though it looks like a lot of people waiting it moves right along.
We would recommend this cruise to anyone who wants to just go relax, have fun and be treated extraordinary well by all staff on board.
One more thing, absolute huge kudos to housekeeping. Those people do a more than excellent job of keeping your cabin in a tip top condition of cleanliness. I swear they go in there every time you leave your room. I know we had been in the room during the day for a few minutes a few times and maybe used a hand towel in the bathroom. We would come back and it was already replaced with a clean one.
I hope this was helpful to anyone considering going on this cruise!