I'm back, but my body still thinks it's on the ship!
The Spirit was beautiful after her recent overhaul. Of all the ships headed to Bermuda, this was the one with the most time in port. The weather wasn't perfect, but we had two sunny but breezy days in port and one rainy day.
I felt like there was an awful lot of sales pressure, but because of the wind, most of the shore excursions were cancelled.Maybe this racheted things up a notch.
The morale of the staff seemed a little low. They weren't very friendly, and didn't seem to want to engage in conversation.
I'm not sold on the freestyle thing, it seemed like most people wanted to eat at 7 and there was always a long line then. It also seemed like the bulk of the ship was made up of pay-to-play restaurants.
It seemed like there were more 'scheduled' things, than any other cruise I've been on!
Given the chance, I'd have turned right around and gone back on board, but I'm thinking I may be more of a Royal Carribean girl!
Welcome home and thank you for the honest review. My neighbors, who will be onboard in September, will like hearing about the amount of time spent in port. It does seem ironic that a line that touts "whatever you want, whenever you want" has so much scheduling, though.
I forget -- had you previously done the Boston-Bermuda cruise on Norwegian Majesty? I'd like to give neighbors and others an idea as to how the experiences differ. I have some hunches, but I haven't been on N. Spirit...yet.
I never did the Majesty, and had never been to Bermuda.
Up until my recent trip on the Explorer, the Sun Princess was the largest ship I'd been on.
I have to say that traveling with a teenager, I liked the bigger ship. I loved the hustle and bustle of the promenade.
However, NCL shows were wondeful, and the behind the scenes tour was fascinating.
The terminal was a breeze, especially with walk-off.
I'm sorry to be so scattered, I'm a little exhausted and still processing.
I should write a review, but that sounds like work!
poormom- Welcome home and take some time to unwind! The only cure for your feelngs and emotions at this point is to immediately book another cruise!! The cruiseline isn't as important as the fact that you're heading out to sea to see the sea!! See!!!
Welcome back, it sounds like you had a good time. Isn't Bermuda just gorgeous? Of course, it's not as nice when it's raining, but it sure beats working. I'm glad our crew on the Sky was friendly, it makes the cruise so much more enjoyable. We didn't have any problems getting a table, but we ate around 6 and there were never any lines. Did they have the sticky buns at the buffet for breakfast? Those were so yummy! Some people just don't like NCL, which is fine, there are plenty of lines to choose from.
I think having your husband take you on a cruise for your birthday is just what the doctor ordered
Did you get to Horseshoe Beach (Bay)? Isn't the sand/water just beautiful? Did you use the bus? It's a reasonable and reliable way to get around the island. Did they open the casino at night? Was the Spirit easy to get around? How were the cabins?
Geesh, guess I'm asking 50 questions, sorry. We're going to try the Epic out next year. She may be strange looking, but I'll bet she'll be a ball.
I'm not a regular here, and haven't visited in awhile, but I would like to share some comments on the original post. For the record, all of our eight cruises have been with NCL, as we have been on the Star, Dawn (3x), Jewel, Majesty, Gem, and most recently, 5/1/2008 on the Spirit to Bermuda. Obviously we are big fans of FreeStyle!!
That said, here goes:
We found the Spirit staff to be so friendly, that our 3 1/2 year old granddaughter became super shy with all the attention she attracted from staff throughout the ship. This is so typical of NCL! It seems to us that the majority of staff always prepared to engage in conversation, taking the lead from the passengers. We enjoy talking to them about the ship, their homeland, families, etc., but certainly do so recognizing they have work to do. In 8 cruises, we can honestly say we have never met a rude staff person, which says alot considering we've spent over 65 days onboard.
We have never felt pressured to purchase anything onboard, though they certainly want to make sure you are aware of what they have to sell. You may get tired of the announcements, but you are a captive audience, and they are in this to make a profit, or at least try hard.
It is true there are many "pay" restaurants", but they are also small. I don't have any numbers on the total free seats available at any given time, but there is no comparison. I know the two largest restaurants are free, one being the buffet, and it is quite likely that the three largest are no additional charge. Nobody is pressured into spending extra money, as many argue the free ones are just as good. We like the opportunity to visit specialty ones, just as when we dine out at home and seek out Italian, Steak, Seafood, etc. as to our liking.
I will agree there are many "scheduled" things to do. I'd argue that is a positive thing. True they say you are free to do "whatever", but that doesn't mean that you can do anything you want at any given time. They need to have activities planned on a schedule, it is just up to you to decide which ones if any you would like to attend. We often have a problem trying to figure out which ones to do when there are conflicts.
Dining at 7:00 pm certainly is a popular time, but isn't that so at home? Personally, we prefer dining early, 5:30 or 6:00, as it leaves time for us to catch an early show, and then the rest of the evening is available to take in a lounge act, game show, casino, etc. Occasionally we will do a late dinner, and usually those times are port days when we've eaten on shore.
In my 7 or so years of reading message boards, it is clear that most cruise patrons are in one corner or another, and we happen to enjoy freestyle. We make a general plan as to what we will do in each port, and then decide which days will will dine in each restaurant. The beauty is that we can remain flexible, and make changes as we go along. Occasionally we have not been able to reschedule a canceled reservation exactly as desired, but we have never been disappointed with changed plans.
The Spirit was our first cruise and we loved it! The staff were nothing but exceptional and the ship was lovely. The food was great also. Unless something has drastically changed, we would recommend this ship to anyone. We also love freestyle cruising. When I am on vacation I want to eat dinner (in the dining room) whenever I want to. We never had a problem being seated, but that being said, we are late diners. I would take this over being told a dinner time any day. We have cruised on Carnival also and even though we picked the late dinner time, it only seemed to work out timing wise, two times on a five day cruise. The rest of the times we hit the buffet. I didn't really care as while I know a lot of cruisers are into the food and I do like food, my main thing is relaxing by the pool during the day and dancing at night. The shows are good too. Like I have read here before, any cruise is a good cruise though, we just prefer the freestyle the best.
Welcome back Boneman, glad to hear you enjoyed yourselves on the Spirit. She is a grand ship and carries a first class crew. The Freestyle dining is one of the things we enjoy the most about NCL- enough people have liked it because all the other cruiselines imitate it in some manner shape or form! However, I still do enjoy the assigned dining on occasion! The most important thing you can do now is--start planning your next cruise adventure!
You are right and we have done just that. We leave on November 16th on Carnival Fantasy out of Mobile. We have been to Cozumel twice, but any words of advice from anyone on Calica. We really just want to make this a beach day, but don't know whether to book through ship or head out on our own. Thanks!