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Lori

Age: 50

Occupation:Commercial Architect

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Spirit

Sailing Date: 11-23-2008

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

Overall, I would say that this cruise was just okay. We have only sailed on Princess before, and based on hype and other comparisons, expected NCL to be similar. I had even greater hopes because I had read that the Spirit is not as gawdy as normal NCL ships because it was not really built for them. I was leary of the small scale furniture, however. I even bought a Cruise Rewards voucher from them for a future NCL cruise, I was so convinced that we would love this cruise. I was wrong, and plan to use their 30 day guarantee to return the voucher. The two biggest problems with the Spirit is the food and the lack of things to do. I even asked the front desk if and when they would have dance classes (I thought that this was a staple on cruise ships. I was wrong.) The reception host took down our cabin number and told me she would get back to me. She never did. There were no ice carving demonstrations, no galley tours, no nothing. There was an occassional trivia contest, but that was it. If you are not a sun worshipper, then you better bring a book to read. We spent a TON of time in our cabin watching the 13" TV. My son must have spent 15 hours at the basketball court because he was bored. My husband's biggest peeve was that the crew members didn't know what was going on. If he asked someone a question, they had to go ask someone else. You often got several different answers for the same question, depending on who you asked. The food was very dissappointing. The breakfast in the Raffles Court on 12 was actually very good, as long as you got fresh-cooked eggs at one of the 3 stations. And all the breads on board are very good, particularly the pecan sticky buns in the morning. Their desserts, however, SUCK. Probably why I didn't gain any weight this cruise. Almost everything has a gelatine base to it (coconut cream pie tasted like jello!) The souflees in the main dining rooms tasted like hot marshmellows. And they were the tiniest things I have ever seen. My husband's creme brulee was excellent, however. The lunch is the worst meal of the day. They can't make a pizza to save their lives, and the grill around to pool is often closed. The dinner in the buffet does give you a lot of choices, but the quality is just so-so. I think they do this so they can charge you more at the specialty restaurants on board. We only went to one, La Trattoria, and what a joke. They curtain off part of the buffet and call it an Italian restaurant. Quality of the Italian food was about equal to Chef Boyardee. The Garden and Windows are the 2 "free" dining rooms. You are supposed to be better dressed in Windows, but we saw people in shorts and t-shirts in there in the evening! The main difference between The Garden and Windows is that Windows is huge, and the service in Windows is MUCH better. We were in an outside cabin, no balcony, with a 3rd bed on 8 forward. We loved the location of the stateroom because it was so close to the main lobbies. The room was pretty good. The bathroom was better than I expected, with a separate "room" for the toilet, vanity, and a glass shower that was a good size (about 26" x 40"). They don't give you individual soaps and shampoos. There is a wall mounted dispenser on the wall for soap over the sink, and shampoo and shower gel in the shower. It is Elemis brand, so it is very good. No conditioner, though. The hair dryer is attached to the wall over the sink, and it takes a long while to dry thick hair. But it is better than hauling your own. The beds are normal size (I was worried because this ship was built for the Asian market, and the lounge furniture is TINY) and fairly hard. I thought they were great. Our exterior cabin had a 3rd bed that folded down from the wall, and the ceilings were so low in the cabin (about 7'-3" ceiling height) that you could not sit on the lower or upper bed when it was down. The TV is a TINY 13" and there is no reason, since there is plenty of room for a bigger one. This is our BIGGEST complaint. Very few activities. We were pretty bored. We spent a few hours in the card room playing with delapidated cards, we went to a few trivia contests. I was constantly looking at the Freestyle Daily looking for something to do, but there wasn't much. My son and I actually got SCUBA certified because of this cruise. We took 2 dive excursions, booked through the ship. If you dive, book the excursion through the ship. No telling when you will actually arrive, and most dive shop trips will leave too early anyway. Surprisingly, the cost from the ship was reasonable, and at least you don't have to worry about getting back in time. Cozumel is just incredible for diving, and Costa Maya doesn't really have much else to do anyway. We went cave tubing in Belize. Someone died on a Carnival cave tubing excursion in Sept 08 because the rainy season had left the river going through the caves too high and swift and Carnival did not cancel the excursion. Ship excursions don't provide enough guides for the amount of people for this excursion, and cost twice as much as booking it independently. The independent guide we booked could not have been more careful or courteous. If you want an experience of a lifetime and can hike 4+ miles over river rocks, do this excursion. My husband and son loved it. My feet hated it. This cruise left from New Orleans and sailed to Costa Maya, Guatamala, Belize, and Cozumel. The weather could not have been more perfect. Boarding in New Orleans was smooth and fast (we were on by 11:30) and we had high expectations. We had great excursions lined up, which were great. But the time we were on board was boring and just plain dissappointing. Things that I thought were staples of the cruise industry, like dance classes and lobster night, were non-existant. They had plenty of martini tastings, wine tastings, margarita tastings, and mojito tastings, at $15 each. The informality of the ship was even too informal for us, and we are from Texas! They are constantly telling you to do what you want, this is Freestyle cruising. Only problem is, there is nothing to do.

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