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Joel

Age: 54

Occupation:Professional

Number of Cruises: 5

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Spirit

Sailing Date: October 8th, 2006

Itinerary: Southern Caribbean

Norwegian Cruise Lines
Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review
Southern Caribbean

Joel Sasser

We have been on five cruises including two on NCL, one on Royal Caribbean and one on Holland America. We chose this cruise mainly because it left out of New York and because we are beach lovers and the itinerary was the Southern Caribbean.

Embarkation
We booked a suite at the front of the ship. Cabin 10500 to be exact. As it was one of the “penthouse suites”, embarkation was a breeze. NCL had a separate line for suites and we walked onto the ship within ten minutes after arriving at the embarkation terminal. Rooms were to be ready at 3PM; however ours was ready by 1PM.

Cabin
The room was fantastic! Granted, it was a suite, but it was much more than I had expected. It appeared to be about 2 and one half times the size of a standard cabin. The dining area (table for 4 and bar complete with crystal stemware and refrigerator) and living room (sofa, two chairs, coffee table and end tables), occupied one side of the suite. A large picture window and a door to an outside balcony were at one end of the cabin. We were concerned with wind because our balcony was on the front of the ship but it never seemed to be much of a problem. It does get wet if it rains however and the Captain and crew can look down onto your balcony as they are located one deck up and from their area angle down. A door led into the bedroom and bath. The bathroom had a large separate toilet room, a walk in shower that could hold 4 people (including exceptionally good water pressure), double sinks with plenty of countertop and a hot tub that would probably hold 4 people. From the hot tub you can look across the room out of a large window at the ocean. The bathroom is open to the bedroom which seems odd until you see how wonderfully designed it is. The bedroom contained a wall of cabinets with five drawers, and lots of hanging space. The bed was a queen, with a beautiful, demure silk bedspread and luxurious linins and pillows. We were on a 12 day trip so traveled with 3 good size pieces of luggage and 2 carry on bags which all fit under the bed easily. A large picture window looks out directly over the bow of the ship.

Restaurants
Raffles (ho hum). However that being said, it is good for a varied and easy breakfast. Not great but not terrible. We did not eat any meals in the main dining rooms (Windows or Garden), but chose to eat in restaurants each night. While there is a surcharge, it is minimal and well worth the attentive individual service and the better choices of food. Our favorite was Le Bistro. A French inspired menu, an attentive friendly staff, a beautiful, intimate dining room and excellent food. A close second was Cagneys. It seemed a little strange to have a steakhouse called Cagneys decorated in an Asian theme but even so it was a beautiful room and again, marvelous service and excellent food. We were not as impressed with Shogun which is really three restaurants (sit down traditional, sushi bar or a Beni-Hanna type. We ate at the traditional sit down and found the food good, but not exceptional. The sushi bar was excellent. They also served food at the Bier Garden and had an alternating BBQ, stir-fry, taco service at the pool each day which was very nice. We were very disappointed in the Italian Restaurant when we found that they just closed a part of Raffles and provided the same food as you could get in the cafeteria styled Raffles right across the hall.

Entertainment
We loved Second City (improvisational)! We saw two of their shows and found it very entertaining. The NCL dancers also put on several shows (we saw two), which were very, very professionally done and entertaining. Many people on the ship were talking about how much they enjoyed it.

Spa and gym
The Spa was nice but not exceptional. We used it several times and enjoyed it; however it could be taken very easily to another level. Of all of the ships we’ve been on, this Spa was our least favorite. The “relaxation room” where you wait for your services is like a doctor’s waiting room with a TV and bright lights. Lounge chairs, relaxing music, water with cucumbers, incense, etc., would have transformed the room much nicer. Treatment rooms are also very much like a doctors exam room. I hear the women’s side of the Spa is much nicer. An adequate sauna and steam are available.

The gym was adequate. Not extensive, but with a dozen or so treadmills, Stairmasters, elliptical, etc., a rack of dumb bells, two benches and about ten or so universal type machines. It did the job just fine, but was not anything exciting.

Pool and outdoor entertainment
Pool was very nice with plenty of chairs. Our cruise was not completely full so did not seem to have any problem with people saving chairs. For sunning you can be outside on the pool deck (pool and four hot tubs), around the beer garden (open to the pool one deck above), or along the read of the ship where there is a kids pool and play area. There is a basketball court (ho hum), a golf driving cage (ho hum) and not much else for outdoor entertainment.

Staff
Without question, the staff on this ship was the nicest, most attentive and helpful that we have ever experienced. Our concierge Lisa, was incredible. She visited us regularly, gave us tips and guided us through the trip and even arranged for food and a bar at a private cocktail party that we had in our room for 15 guests. On the first night we met one of the entertainers (Carl) who then introduced us to several others who made us feel at home and made this trip really special. Several were dancers and entertainers working for NCL and others were entertainers under contract and we developed a routine of meeting in one of the clubs late in the evening and it was one big party with guests and entertainers mixing. What fun!! Our room’s stewards could not have been better. Our room was immaculate and cleaned at least twice daily. After our cocktail party, we left for dinner and upon return two hours later found our room completely put back together and in perfect shape). The staff on this ship truly made this one of our best cruises.

While this is not the largest or most dazzling ship we’ve been on, it is beautiful and elegant.


 




 

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