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Rich

Age: 39

Occupation:Sales

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Spirit

Sailing Date: 01-05-2009

Itinerary: Mexican Caribbean

We were traveling with family: six adults, five children ages 9 through 15 and all had an excellent time. This was a very enjoyable cruise overall. Our biggest complaint was the staff. Specifics are below, but food service, bar and lounge staff members apparently had little interest in serving customers on NCL cruises. They were reluctant, slow to replace empty drinks, reluctant with non-alcoholic drink requests, uncreative and unwilling to step outside the box NCL has clearly forced them into. The food was very good. I have always had a problem with the fact that cruise food is little more than glorified hotel banquet food, however such prejudgment was not substantiated by our experience. While none of our meals could compare with our finest shore-based dining experiences, the food generally exceeded expectations. The staterooms are dated and a bit worn. The decor was completely unappealing. It's hard to believe the Spirit is only 10 years old! The whole stateroom areas could stand some serious face lifts. Our stateroom head (bathroom) was completely tiled in 2" tiles with cartoonish sea creature motifs. It felt like we were stuck in an drained kiddie pool from the '80's. Hardly a romantic environment. Family friendly? Maybe too much so. The beds and pillows were passable. Everything could have been cleaned a little more to maximize comfort. If typical cruising oddities such as casino and bingo are your desire, you'll be satisfied. If you're looking for more, look elsewhere. We heard some deplorable Asian crew member renditions of classic lounge music. The Asian staff musicians were lacking in appeal (Slangers in the Night, exchanging grances...). The add-ons (musicians, comedian, magician, etc.) were fantastic, however. The technical staff does great work making lighting and sound make everything look and sound first class. The ship is very well appointed for live entertainment and actifvities. And improved staff would make everything all the more One whimsical note: the ship was built for an Asian Cruise line in 1998. NCL purchased it from that line. But clearly the ship was built for smaller clientele as the sneeze guards at the buffet were set at an average person's elbow height. Try grabbing anything from a second row at the buffet with that arrangement. We all looked like Tyrannosaurus Rexes working our serving tongs. Very funny. Costs Maya had an incredible number of excursions and they all looked (and from feedback we received) were first rate. Cozumel excursions are also phenomenal. We chose clear kayak and snorkeling. It was fantastic. There were so many great choices in Cozumel. We wished would could have had more time to do others as well. Overall, a great trip. We all enjoyed ourselves. But the lazy staff kept it from being a top shelf experience. The ship needs more attention to detail. The passengers need more attention from the staffers. We could have lived without the stops in Belize or Guatemala. More time should have been spent in Cozumel and Costa Maya. The whole Philippino staff needs to be replaced by a group that underands how to cater to and serve a customer on vacation. I'm sure they've been 'trained' but there appears to be a cultural gap because the problem was chronic from bow to stern in all areas. The bar tenders and staff were the worst. Whenever we asked for water (in the tropics, we believe in keeping hydrated when drinking), every staffer's shoulders would droop and they would sluff away as if we had run over their kitten. I guess since they can't run your room card for free water, they didn't feel they wanted to provide service. Surely they knew a $14 pair of drinks would follow every request for a glass of water, no? They never got it. Very disappointing and uncomfortable. Empty bottles and glasses would sit for 15-45 minutes without any attention ("let me get this, may I bring you another one, sir?"). I suppose it's a good thing. Our bar tabs were probably 1/2 to 1/3 what they would have been if the bar tenders and wait staff was proactive.

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