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Age: over 40

Occupation:nurse practitioner

Number of Cruises: 9

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Spirit

Sailing Date: February 18th, 2005

Itinerary: Southern Caribbean

Kathy Dahms

What a fabulous cruise this was, and I've been on enough to know the difference! Last year I posted about the cruise we took on the Dream which was terrible. This year (giving Norwegian another chance) it was wonderful.

I will start off with the only negative part of the trip- our arrival in Miami. We are a family of 5 with a fair amount of luggage. We needed to retrieve our bags and take them across 2 islands of heavy traffic to where the bus would meet us. Well it seems the correct number of buses didn't show up so we waited for 90 minutes until it was our turn for a bus to the ship. Things were very chaotic and unorganized. But.......once we got to the ship things were better.
The ship itself is magnificent- well kept and easy to navigate. Everyone was friendly, and very helpful. Our cabin steward Jane, was the most delightful person in the world. We had teenagers with us, who tend not to get up till late, and she took it in stride, even though we were usually the last room she had left. Her assistant Scott (I think that's his name) made wonderful towel animals at night-what a treat.

I love freestyle cruising, because I don't need to put extra money aside for tipping at the end(I always however end up tipping more for those who did a good job). I just enjoy not having to worry about it. Surprisingly , I encountered many folks on the last day who wanted the automatic tipping removed from their bills. But I guess that is the whole point of it anyway.

The food was always good. I have always felt that the specialty restaurants were just another means of getting more money from passengers, but I was proved wrong. We ate at Shogun the first night, and they had a 2 for 1 special. So for $10 we had peking duck and a wonderful meal. The last night the whole family ate at Jeppanaki- the Japanese steak house which was also very good. The rest of the time we ate at Gardens or Raffles and really enjoyed them. My teens ate every night (actually early morning) at Blue Moon. They are open pretty much 23 hours and have hamburgers, fries and some good oriental noodle dishes. The hamburgers on the ship are cooked with a variety of spices which may not be appealing for all.

The bars on the ship were all good. We never made it to the pub, where they had fish and chips. We spent mose nights at Galaxy of the Stars, and became friendly with Rex the bar waiter. What a lovely polite guy. He always kept our drinks full and kept plenty of peanuts on the table. He knew our names and what we liked. Just a great guy-look him up!

Went to the casino, lost and won- it works out pretty even. The internet cafe was the same- however I didn't remember that it cost $3.50 to send one email! If you go, use your home email to connect.

The excursions are something we usually do on our own. Over the years I have found that getting a tour or taxi off the boat is the best for your money. We did take a tour and swam with the stingrays in Antigua. I had done this before in the Grand Caymans and it was much better. In Antigua, the area is penned in and there isn't much in the way of snorkeling. Complicating our trip was the fact that it was raining pretty hard and we got chilled quickly. The kids went on an ATV trip and had a blast. They had been scheduled for a Rum Rhunner boat in Grenada but it was cancelled because the boat had engine trouble.

We had been to all the ports before except Grenada. Grenada is one place I wouldn't bother with until they have a chance to rebuild. It was difficult to walk around the town, there was alot of poverty and not much to do. It rained in Tortola but not enough to keep us from Pussers Bar and their famous pain killers! I had always remembered Barbados as being my favorite spot in the universe. We returned to a beach (mullins bay?) and it had been changed by the hurricanes. Big drop off with lots of coral making it difficult to get in the water. I guess whenever you find a perfect place you should leave it in your mind as just that. Anyway, this was a wonderful vacation, we liked having 9 days to unwind. One more thing, the captain of the ship was a riot. You could actually understand his announcements and he had a great sense of humor!
Please feel free to email me with any questions

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