I am sailing on that same cruise on March 26. I am not wild about the itinerary... in fact, I don't think we'll even get off the ship in Port Canaveral. If I had my kids with me we would, but I am not interested... It will be nice to have the ship largely to ourselves, though. Miami will be fun- my brother lives there- we will just go to South Beach (which I LOVE). The stop in Nassau is only from 7-1... and it doesn't sound like Great Stirrup Cay has a lot going on but beach (which is what I want, anyway). When I think back to Belize and Honduras, both of which I cruised to in the last year, this itinerary is a let down to say the least.
ON THE OTHER HAND... the Spirit is a GREAT ship and I can't wait to sail on her again! The itinerary doesn't concern me at all. Keep in mind that this is my third cruise in a year, so that might be part of it. This is the first cruise for my SO and I really wanted it to be on the Spirit.
We also really wanted to cruise out of NYC. I can't wait for that- what an amazing experience that will be. We are going to drive down the day before and stay in NYC and do a little sightseeing beforehand. No airfare is a bonus.
Just got off the Spirit Sunday... The itinerary is not a reason to book this cruise - it's rather boring. We didn't book any shore excursions at all; they are almost always so overpriced and not worth it. In Port Canaveral some folks went to Disney or Universal, and complained that they felt like they only got to glance at the parks before having to leave. The Space Center is visible from the ship; closer, but we've been there so we skipped that as well. (Heck, my kids spent a week there at Space Camp). it was also too cold that day to bother with a beach.
Miami was also chilly; we opted to have a relative from the area pick us up and drive us to South Beach.
Great Stirrup Cay is a joke. Beautiful island with a small beach that will comfortably accommodate several hundred people on a nice day. Put the whole ship there and... It was a zoo - wall to wall people, hardly any room to walk or move on the beach. If you want a lounge chair or hammock be on the first tender over. Otherwise you'll just get a little chair; they're packed in like sardines. If you want to snorkel bring your own equipment. $29 to rent theirs is ridiculous! Lifejackets for snorkeling are free and required. The food is about the same as that on the ship. Terrrible.
Nassau is nice, for the few hours you are there. You can get off the ship at 7am, but nothing really opens up until 9 anyway. Lots of shops, stores, strawmarket, and so on. Typcial tourist trap. You're not really there long enough to venture far.
Sorry to sound so negative - the cruise was not a total disaster! What age group are you? And your interests?
If you enjoy spending the afternoon and evening drinking, you'll be fine. Just make sure you have lots of credit available, as the drinks were amazingly priced while we were there. Drink of the day for $9.00? There are ways to get around that though.
We had cold weather, which did affect us. My sister, who lives in the Keys and came up to Miami to meet us, commented that it was one of the coldest days of the year. Lucky us! I was in the Bahamas the same time last year (Costa), and it was hot. So the weather did have some impact on our fun.
Good things? Hmm... Nice pillows in the cabin. Friendly staff, even if their services are a bit lacking. Our room steward was wonderfully friendly and polite. Cleaning just wasn't his forte. I dropped a sunflower seed on the floor of our cabin the first night. I watched that sunflower seed the whole trip, and it was still there when we left...
The pool wasn't crowded. It was too cold for that. Just the 1 pool though. There is a kids pool, but the kids don't seem to hang out there too much.
If you like casinos and bingo, you'll have a lot of fun. Embarkation wasn't too bad; you register your credit card right then so you don't have to find another line on board later.
Express debarkation is just that - quick and easy. We actually got to stay in our cabin until our deck (11) was called, at just about 10am. By 10:10 we were off the ship and through customs. NICE!
The ship is fairly easy to navigate; hard to get lost. There are a few dead ends, and a few "you can't get there from here" spots, but it's relatively easy.
Shows are short and sweet. Far short of Broadway, but they don't drag on.
Cabins are relatively soundproof; ours was at least. We were on Deck 11, and hallway noise was never a problem. We did hear some pounding from above at times, but we chose our cabin to be under what we thought would have the least amount of nighttime traffic. It worked.
Climate control in the rooms seems to work very well. We never had a problem with the temperature. Other than our steward turning on the AC every time he cleaned. AC? It was already cold outside! We had to use heat for most of the trip.
BRING: Power strip if you want to charge more than one thing. i.e. cell phone, camera, etc. There is only 1 outlet in the room.
Hangers if you plan to bring a lot of clothing; there aren't a lot in the closet, and the drawers are just for show basically.
Soda if you drink a lot. Drink cards for adults consist of a refillable cup that you have to carry around with you, and it's expensive. Bring soda in plastic bottles in your luggage and you won't have a problem. Same with liquor if you want some. PLASTIC bottles. Transfer it into soda or water bottles. If you like coffee, bring your own (I get those prepackaged coffee/filter things that make 4 cups, think it's Maxwell House) and water to make it with. I tried the water from the bathroom faucet... don't recommend that.
Snacks for your cabin if you get the munchies. A can of Pringles is $3.95 in the little shop. Since I travel with kids, we bring snacks. Candy, gum, granola bars, little applesauces, nuts, etc.
Check to make sure you have all the sundries you need. The selection on the ship is extremely limited and as expected, overpriced. If you're traveling with a child in diapers - they don't sell them on board. In fact, they sell almost nothing for babies. Nor do they supply food for them. I had one cruise (Carnival?) where they had baby food available in jars for those who wanted it. Not so here.
So, it's not that bad. Not horrible. Just not as good as other ships/lines.