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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 11-18-2008, 03:20 PM
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New to this site, but have found very helpful info. Went on Disney cruise in 6/07 with hubby and 1 child. Only thought it was Ok. Son at the time was only 2 and thought there were WAY to many kids at the pools (what did I expect). Looking to try again and thought NCL sounded PERFECT for us (free-style cruising). We are not big on schedules when it comes to vacation.

Looking for all kinds of advise. Would like to go cheep, but not sure if we should do inside cabin again or spend the money to upgrade. Son will be 4 at time of travel. Also, can we hope to expect good weather that time of year in the W Caribbean? What about taking our 4 year old. Is the Spirit great for smaller children.

Thanks!
Kristi D
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Old 11-18-2008, 03:20 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2008
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New to this site, but have found very helpful info. Went on Disney cruise in 6/07 with hubby and 1 child. Only thought it was Ok. Son at the time was only 2 and thought there were WAY to many kids at the pools (what did I expect). Looking to try again and thought NCL sounded PERFECT for us (free-style cruising). We are not big on schedules when it comes to vacation.

Looking for all kinds of advise. Would like to go cheep, but not sure if we should do inside cabin again or spend the money to upgrade. Son will be 4 at time of travel. Also, can we hope to expect good weather that time of year in the W Caribbean? What about taking our 4 year old. Is the Spirit great for smaller children.

Thanks!
Kristi D
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Old 11-18-2008, 05:29 PM
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Kristi D- The Spirit is a fine ship and is just completing a refit and returning to service, sailing out of New Orleans. Cruising during the Late Fall/Winter/Early Spring into her cruise region (Western Caribbean) should be quite comfortable and relaxing. The farther South she will cruise the hotter the ambient temperatures,on mainland stops there will be some humidity but bottled water is easily available both when leaving the ship or onshore.

The ship herself will be quite comfortable,especially after the refit.

You haven't indicated which ports and dates of travel to comment in anything other than generalities! Give us some more info on your plans and great quantities of advice and ideas will come to you thru our website!

We welcome you to our happy chatter and look forward to sharing with you and yours the benefits of our own adventures! You will spend many happy hours here-We too, look forward to the benefits of your company!

Bon Voyage,

BillyBuzzy
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Old 11-19-2008, 06:38 AM
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Hi Kristid, welcome to Cruise-Chat. NCL is a great cruise line. We haven't had the privilege of sailing the Spirit, but did sail the Sky this summer. She was beautiful, clean, good food, great crew! Please let us know what you select. Best wishes for a fantastic cruise and once again, welcome aboard!
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Old 11-19-2008, 07:30 AM
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The travel dates are 1/11 - 1/18. Ports of call: New Orleans; Costa Maya; Santo Tomas De Castilla; Belize City; Cozumel. Still trying to decide on the room category. Inside is really inexpensive.
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Old 11-19-2008, 07:43 AM
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You will really like Freestyle cruising....I'm will be on my 15 cruise with NCL and have never really had a BAD cruise.....I like the idea of eating when, and where, I want....it doesn't work for everyone, but really does for me....The Spirit is one of the few NCL ships I haven't been on, but with the refit, sounds like you can't go wrong....RCL, Carnival, Princess are all good cruiselines, but I prefer NCL....leaving in 58 days myself...happy Cruising...

Bob E
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Old 11-19-2008, 08:21 AM
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Kristi D - You will be traveling at a great time and a comfortable season. As I wrote earlier-time on shore will be humid the farther inland you tour. If you do the beaches it'll be fabulous a strong sunscreen will be critical for you and the family!

We prefer an outside cabin as our minimum but my Gal suffers from mild claustrophobia-any stateroom is always OK by me-so long as I'm on a ship at sea!

I am unable to determine if the Spirit refit includes new mattresses-in some cases some passengers have complained they felt the mattresses were a bit hard. We have learned to ask our stewards for an extra duvet whenever we have encountered such circumstances. The two of us, combined, have over 110 years of cruise adventures between us (We both started in our early childhood- - we met on a ship!) . Our accomodations have ranged from inside cabins to penthouses. Rely on your stewards and treat them like gold-don't hesitate to tip extra (treat all the crew members this way)-You will always enjoy perfect cruises!

Enjoy- You will all love the motion of the ocean and NCL!

Bon Voyage,

BillyBuzzy
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 11-19-2008, 02:45 PM
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Location: Philadelphia, Pa, USA
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Hi Kristi –

I second (or is it third) the welcome to cruise chat. This is certainly where I come for all of my info.

I love NCL Spirit. We did an 8 - day Eastern Caribbean out of NYC in September of 06. Wonderful! We had balcony on that cruise, deck 11 port side forward! Beautiful! As a matter of fact my desktop picture at work is one from that cruise - a wonderful rainbow in the middle of the Atlantic from our balcony. With that said, we sailed NCL Dawn in March of 04 and we went economy mode and had a deck 5 amidships inside cabin. Just as wonderful!

Unless, like Billy, you have someone in your party that may have an issue with claustrophobia then an inside is fine in my opinion and you’re right…they’re so inexpensive right now. Incidentally, Paul actually does have issues with claustrophobia but didn’t think the inside would be an problem (and it wasn’t). Interestingly he had more of an issue with the lifts. He’s not a big fan of elevators anyway so we always used the glass ones because it felt more open to him. Funny thing, I don’t like heights much so he’d face the atrium, I’d face the doors…people probably thought we were nuts!

On our upcoming cruise we opted for an inside guarantee and wound up with cabin 5555 on the Pearl. I’m good with that! I know it has been said [here] that once you have a balcony you never can go back…I’ll have to prove or disprove that for you all this coming winter.

I’ve only been to one of your ports of call (other than the “Big Easy”). Cozumel is fun and very pretty. I’ve actually never cruised there (which I will rectify this coming February). I used to work for a company that did business there and have probably been there about 35 times (poor me!). I guess the fact that I’m willing to go back for a cruise tells you that it is a nice port to visit. We’re doing the jeep tour there (it’s called “Exploring Cozumel by Jeep and Snorkel). It’s a group of jeeps driving around to some of the unspoiled parts of the island with a snorkeling stop. It’s $69.00 pp which seems pretty reasonable to me. It should be great fun!

Our cruise also stops in Belize and we opted for the “Mayan Ruins Of Altun Ha” tour which sounded pretty good.

Whatever shore excursion you choose and whichever type of accommodation you decide on you can’t help but enjoy! Freestyle is the way to go, Spirit is a wonderful ship. She’s aptly named too as she has a very grand spirit!

Enjoy and bon voyage!

Darryl
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Old 12-01-2008, 08:46 AM
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Hey! We just got off this ship with this itinerary. Let me see if I can answer some questions for you:

The kid's room on Level 10 looks great. We only stopped by to sign my 13 year old for the teen room, which is far away. They have a special pool with water slides and hot tub at the rear of the ship just for the little guys. My son wanted to go on it but was above the height limit. I think your son will love it. You have to sign him in and out for meals, of course, which sort of puts you on a schedule (I went through this 4 years ago on Princess, which also has anytime dining), but he may want to go back and play with his new friends.

As for an inside room vs. an outside room: I have never been able to handle no window. We actually prefer a window vs. a balcony because with no circulation to the balcony, the room lays out better with a crowded room. The other difference is that in the outside room, the 3rd bed hangs from the wall and is folded up during the day. In the inside cabins, it is a trundle that slides under one bed (reducing luggage storage) and the kid sleeps "on the floor" between the 2 beds. Yuck!

We were on deck 8 forward, which we loved. The main levels are on 7 and 8, so we didn't have too much stair climbing at this location.(the elevators were often full so we walked the stairs a lot) You may want to opt for the rear of the ship so the elevators to the kid room are more accessible. The Raffles Court (buffet) and the main "free" dining rooms are also accessed from the mid and aft elevators.

For the excursions:
Costa Maya is a cruise-made port; there is no real town. The stop is a big pool with swim-up bars surrounded by shops. That's it. Majahual is the only town about 10 minutes away, and it only has a population of 800. And REALLY depressingly poor. We went diving there, so our excursion was great. People seemed to like the dune buggies on the beach, but there is no beach either, so I'm not sure exactly where they went. Majahual is historic for smugglers, so there will be armed guards on the VERY long pier. The ruins are very close by, but your son will not appreciate them. Teenagers probably wouldn't appreciate them.

Santo Tomas de Castillo in Guatemala is the next stop. There is a market right at the pier that is supposed to be better than the gift shops in the town. This is a cargo port, and excursions go into the rainforest (take bug spray). Because of security issues in Guatemala, if you do an excursion here (we didn't-just shopped) do it from the ship. About half our ship did; the other half shopped). The shopping on the pier is in a big metal building, and they even have native folk dancing demonstrations. The Guatemalan textiles are not to me missed. Haggle over pricing!

Belize is more of the type of port that you would expect. You have to tender there. Belize has lots of excursions, but we did cave tubing. It is the only place in the world that has it. January is a dry season for them so the river will be lazy. It was lower than we would have liked last week. If you book this excursion through NCL, leave your son on the ship. The cruise lines only have 2 guides for about 40 people, and they free float. The independent tube companies are half the price, take you on a longer tube ride (which does mean twice the hiking, by the way), but there is one guide for every 6-8 people. They link the tubes together (your feet go under the armpits of the person in front of you) and they stear you through the caves, even dragging you over shallow water (Butts up!) We saw a 4 year old girl that was sitting on top of her mom's lap, not even in the "refreshing" water, having a great time. I would only recommend this excursion to anyone who can hike 4 miles over river rock, however (wear hard-rubber soled water shoes or old tennis shoes) and NOT during mid-August to mid-October, where tropical storms make the river deadly (literally). Otherwise, it is a GREAT excursion.

Cozumel: Okay, what is not good to say about Cozumel. We were very lucky in that we docked at the pier. Last time we were here there were 7 ships in port and the tenders were VERY busy. There are extensive things to do in Cozumel. We went diving and it was incredible. But with your little one, I would try snorkeling. The guides have all the equipment, including snorkeling vests. The water visibility is amazing (we could see the sun when we were down at 80') and even if you are in water that is 35' deep, it will look like you are just above the fish. It is like swimming in an aquarium. There are also glass-bottom boat excursions, too, if you are really worried about his swimming abilities. Go see the fish, somehow.

Food on the Spirit is mediocre. You will spend almost every meal in the buffet, but that will give you the most flexibility as to what you can eat. Breakfast is very good.

Attire on the ship is more than casual. Even on the one dress-up night only about half the people dressed up.

They have photographers in the main lobby on 7 on dress-up night, but much to our surprise, they were there EVERY night thereafter. Photos are expensive compared to doing it yourself, but not compared to professional photographer pricing.

Personally, we MUCH prefer Princess to NCL because there were more things to do on board, and the quality of everything was better on Princess. The decor is close to that of a Princess, just less marble and brass. The Spirit is supposed to be less gaudy than the other NCL ships because it wasn't really built for NCL.

I think you and your family will have a good time, just spend a little more money and get the outside cabin. In any case, don't go on a deck below 6. It's just weird down there!
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 12-30-2008, 07:54 AM
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Hi Guys,
I'm jumping from Carnival to NCL Spirit for my Spring Break cruise, March 15. My husband and I really love dancing and music. Can anyone tell me about those opportunities on the Spirit. And am I correct in reading that NCL is not going to let me bring my one bottle of wine or champagne each on board? And do they Soft Drink Card for the teenagers. Thanks for any and all advice on the Spirit.
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-4th Cruise Another Fall Break 4-day on the Fantasy, 10/08
 
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