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Sherry Jones

Age: 57

Occupation:Newly Retired

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Spirit

Sailing Date: 03-1-2009

Itinerary: western caribbean

Overall, we had a great time. We had good weather and enjoyed the ports we visited. There were a few things that I think could be improved by NCL, but generally speaking it was a fun, relaxing week away from home. I had read some negative things about the ship and staff, but we thought the ship was nice and the staff was fairly friendly - certainly never rude. The worse thing I saw wrong with ship was that there were a lot of foggy windows with condensation that need to be replaced. All in all - a wonderful vacation. My husband and I both thought the food was average - everything was pretty tasty, but nothing was special. We did not eat in any of the up-charge restaurants, sticking to the main dining rooms and buffet. We discovered that the Gardens restaurant was better than Windows. Even though it was the same menu, food was served quicker and at a better temperature than in Windows. We have been on other cruises with other cruise lines and felt the food was a notch above what was offered on NCL. We ate breakfast at the Raffles buffet several times during the week and it was good - in fact the best meal Raffles served. We ate at Raffles one night and I did not like it. It was just like any all-you-eat-buffet restaurant you might visit. The salads were okay, but the main courses and desserts were not very good. In fact, I would say that desserts were the poorest quality of all the food they served, even in the main dining rooms. For example, they had a souffle on the menu 3 nights - one night vanilla, one night strawberry, and one night coconut. It was the best desserts I had, but 3 nights? Couldn't they come up with a couple of new desserts? My son had the chocolate torte one night and it was dry. The fries and chicken strips at the Blue Lagoon were really good. But don't bother ordering cheesecake - it wasn't good - not rich and creamy at all. None of us gained weight on this cruise. My husband even lost weight! Our room was fine - no complaints, except the TV was crummy, but really, who cares too much about the TV in the room? The room was small, of course, but no more than we expected. The beds were slightly hard, but we like a hard bed. I did not even ask about a mattress topper or egg crate. The bathroom was pretty roomy - the shower was a good size and plenty of hot water. The entertainment was mixed. We all like Second City - we watched them several times. The magician and comedian were enjoyable as well - not great, but certainly a good night of entertainment. However, watching the shows put on by the ship's production crew was just like watching a high school show, except with a high school production, you usually know some of the cast and enjoy watching the kids. This show unfortunately did not have that appeal. We also enjoyed the Arvin and Emily in the Galaxy of the Stars lounge. They were good and fun to watch. The Not So Newlywed Game was fun to watch, so was the passenger talent show. We enjoyed the crew talent show also, some may not have been great ,but at least they gave it their all. I was afraid that we would be pressured to buy art on the ship, based on some of the comments I had read, but we weren't. They did put a lot fliers in our room and there was art on display every where, but it didn't bother. The best deal on the ship was the photo package "Photo Frenzy." For $79.99, you could have all the pictures of taken by the NCL photographers. We came home with 25 8X10s and 35 5X7s. That s a really good deal, in my opinion. We took 2 NCL shore excursions - one at Belize and one in Santo Tomas De Castilla. Guatemala was first and we traveled by bus to the Mayan ruins of Quiriqua. Our travel guide was a 27 year old college student named Fernando. We absolutely loved him, he was so sweet and knowledgeable about the ruins. He took time on the long bus ride to come around and meet each one of us individually. He brought a CD of local music for us to listen to and gave every one a little map of Guatemala. He was very proud of his country and plans to start his own travel company when he graduates from college. He will call it "Guatemalan Quest," so be sure and watch for it if you are traveling to Guatemala in the future. The only negative thing I can say about the excursion is that it included a boat ride back down the Rio Dulce River. The boat ride was long (3 hours) and while it was pretty country, it was sort of boring after about an hour. Lunch was included, and it was OK. Now Belize was a different story - again we traveled by bus to look at the Mayan ruins of Altun Ha. Our guide this time was named Anthony. He was an average sort of guide, knowledgeable about the ruins and quipped a few jokes here and there. However, he acted sort of bored with whole thing - it was obvious he did this day after day. He didn't have the enthusiasm and joy that Fernando had and it showed. The ruins were fantastic, lunch was better than the other tour lunch, and the boat ride back was 100 times better! We saw crocodiles, iguanas, dolphins, manatees, monkeys, and even bats! All in the river, up close and personal! At Costa Maya, we chose to walk off the ship and visit the little resort type area built for the cruise lines. It was pleasant. There is a nice relaxing beach with hammocks and chaise lounges under little grass roofs. Surprisingly it was pretty quiet, I think most of the kids go off on beach excursions. We also took a taxi to the little town of Mahahual and ate lunch there at El Faro's. The food was very good. The tomatoes were the best I have ever eaten. A couple on the beach said they were afraid to eat in Mahahual because they were afraid of the water in which the vegetables and fruits had been washed. We ate it and suffered no ill effects. It was yummy! At Cozumel we just shopped. We have been there before a couple of times and decided to have a leisurely day wandering in and out of shops. It would be much better if the store employees were not so aggressive about trying to get you to walk in their shops. That got old. We ate at Poncho's Backyard. We have eaten there before and it's always good. Even with few complaints we had - I would go again today! Embarkation was painless, we had to wait an hour or so to get on the ship, but that doesn't bother us. We expected it and realized that everyone has to get off the ship before we can get on. Disembarkation was the same. We chose not to walk off the ship because we had a lot of luggage, but again, we didn't mind the wait. Once our luggage tag color was called, disembarking went quickly and smoothly. All in all, the problems or bumps we experienced were minor. NCL did a good job providing a fun atmosphere and pleasant experience. Lowest marks would go to quality of food and production crew. Highest marks to eating whenever you like, getting on and off the boat at all ports, and comfort of cabin.

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