2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
This was an 11 day cruise to the Canary Islands and Madeira out of Barcelona with other stops in Casablanca and Spain. We were a group of 5 family members over the age of 60. My wife and I have 26 cruises with this our 6th on NCL. ... Read More
This was an 11 day cruise to the Canary Islands and Madeira out of Barcelona with other stops in Casablanca and Spain. We were a group of 5 family members over the age of 60. My wife and I have 26 cruises with this our 6th on NCL. Overall we really liked the ship and the itinerary. We splurged and bought a suite in the rear of the ship and greatly enjoyed the perks and added benefits. The destinations were very unique and interesting to visit. I write lengthy reviews so here goes: EMBARK – We stayed overnight in the Hilton Diagonal Mar in Barcelona and highly recommend it. Very nice modern hotel with shops and restaurants all over the area. A few kilometers from downtown though. We booked Sun Travel transfer from hotel to ship and it worked very well, probably same price as 2 taxis (65 Euros) but more convenient for our group. We arrived at pier at 11am and had smooth embarkation. As we were all in suites, we had a short line after security and had a lounge with snacks and drinks. After a few minutes wait we were escorted onto the ship, bypassing any lines, and taken direct to Cagney’s restaurant for lunch. Cagney’s was the suite’s location for breakfast and lunch the entire cruise and offered good food and plenty of seats. After lunch we went to our suite which was already available. CABIN – We always get balcony cabins, occasionally a minisuite. But the NCL Spirit does not have minisuites. Instead they offer full suites but at a very affordable price compared to other ships. For the price we also got the unlimited beverage plan, 4 nights specialty dining, 250 mins internet, and $50 refund per cabin for each NCL shore excursion we took. Adding the perks made the suite VERY affordable. That’s probably why they book up in advance! We were in suite 9212, the Gemini Suite, smack in the back end so faced wherever we had been. Suite was awesome – 2 rooms, one a combined dining room/living room with a small kitchenette. Other the bedroom with a huge king bed, extremely comfortable, and a big bathroom with double sinks, toilet, shower, and a Jacuzzi tub which looked over the back end and was fun to sit in as we sailed away. Our room steward was awesome and would complete any request immediately. The butler was more awesome! He brought any food we asked for, setting the table completely before serving (even breakfast at 7am). He also brought snacks every day. We came back from every excursion with sandwiches and extras in the cabin, cool! By the way, suites offer full room service breakfast as well as other room service for free. Other suite perks inc bkfst/lunch in Cagney’s, reserved balcony seating for shows, special cocktail party, and best of all a concierge. Our concierge was awesomest of all (lol)! She made all of our specialty dining reservations, fixed any booking problems, offered advice, and constantly asked if we needed anything. She resolved a problem with my brother’s suite perks (he forgot to pick them in advance) and got him a new room card with drink and dining plans listed. Also set up a birthday party for us. WARNING! However all was not paradise… We read in reviews the aft cabins were noisy at high speed due to engine vibrations. We underestimated how bad this could be. Ear plugs helped but at ship speeds over 18 kts, with 21 kts the max, the cabin would shake and we had a lot of vibration. The closet doors, tv cabinet, even glasses in the kitchenette would rattle. This was bad on long runs and got worse in the Atlantic where the seas were rougher. Nights 1,2, 8, 9, and 10 of our 11 nights were pretty bad. Other nights we were at slower speeds and it was fine. Bottom line is pick a cabin or suite in the front or middle for a quieter nights sleep. The others in our group had suites on deck 10 forward that were fine. SHIP – Spirit is 20 years old and small which was great for our destinations. We docked every stop even at small piers. Ship was well cared for and seemed in good shape. Main pool was nice size and had plenty of chairs. Kids pool area in the back looked fine for younger kids although we only had a handful of kids on this cruise. The crew was very friendly and helpful throughout the ship. We didn’t do much ship entertainment as this cruise was all about the cool destinations. We did catch a few shows at night and they were okay, about what you’d expect from a small ship. FOOD/BARS – We purchased 3 nts specialty dining to go with the 4 nts free dining. As there are only 4 spec restaurants we repeated a bunch. Cagney’s steakhouse was very good, as was Le Bistro French restaurant. Japanese steakhouse Teppanyaki was a lot of fun with chef & dancing knives, also good food. La Trattoria Italian was okay but not our favorite. We prefer NCL’s buffets over their main dining room so ate dinner there our other 4 nts. They have a dining theme each night and always have a carving station. At dinner it was rarely crowded. We had a few crowded lunches right after departing ports but there are lots of extra tables in the aft outside area. If you are in a suite, Cagney’s offers bkfst and lunch but times are limited so it wasn’t always open when we needed. Spirit does not have a lot of bars/lounges so they can be crowded in evenings. But service is very good, plenty of waiters, and all are helpful. With the included ultimate drink package, we never were given a bill so no extra tipping. You can get drinks up to $15 for free, over that you pay the difference. We never exceeded $15 as cocktails and beer were less, as were glasses of wine. FITNESS – My wife and I like to walk a lot on cruises. The jogging track on deck 12 is okay but small, 6 laps to mile, also can be crowded. So we walked on deck 7 promenade which was more open and 3 laps per mile but walking only. I went to the fitness center several times. It’s medium size, actually larger than I expected for a small ship. Was absolutely packed the first sea day morning but thinned out afterwards. We didn’t use any spa services. INTERNET – We used the 250 min free internet perk. The internet was okay but kinda slow in our aft cabin. I’m not a fan of NCL internet packages as the unlimited package is expensive as compared to Royal Caribbean, for example. If you like to download videos or use high bandwidth sites (VPN) you’ll probably need to buy the expensive packages. PORTS – Casablanca, Morocco was our first stop and the only one that was outside the EU, others all took Euros. We booked a private all-day tour with Under the Moroccan Sun which was highly recommended by Trip Advisor. The NCL excursions were all in motor coaches and we wanted a smaller tour. The tour was very good, we were pleased with our guide and driver. Only hitch is if you use a private tour, you have to depart the security area to where the non-NCL tours are parked. Our tour went to the Hassan II mosque in Casablanca, very impressive and photogenic. Then we drove 1 hr to Rabat for the rest of our tour. Casablanca looked to be somewhat dirty and very crowded whereas Rabat was much nicer. There we went to the Royal Palace and several tombs and monuments. Then we drove down the coast back to Casablanca viewing the beaches of Morocco. Our guide took us to a Moroccan lunch which was good – they took credit cards or US dollars or Euros. The next 3 stops were in the Canary Islands – Lanzarote, Grand Canary, and Tenerife. The Canaries are fairly dry islands with a lot of volcanoes. Lanzarote had little vegetation where we visited but we did get to do a 15 min camel ride which was fine. Grand Canary was more lush but still dry, little rainfall there. Canaries big draw is their nice climate and beaches – but we live in Florida so weren’t that impressed. Tenerife was neatest, very green. Had a large dormant volcano in center, Mt Teide, which features a cable car to the top which we took. Great views but dress warmly as it’s cool & windy on top. Madeira was our favorite stop in the Atlantic. Very hilly drive to the top around Funchal which had great views. Then we took a cable car over the city down to the port area, great photos. Although volcanic origin, it’s older than Canaries so more tropical, almost Hawaiian except not as warm. Malaga was our next stop, it’s in Spain after you return to the Med. We booked an all-day tour to Gibraltar which was our overall favorite tour of the cruise. Motorcoach drove 2 hrs each way but it was worth it. Rock of Gibraltar was very impressive and picture worthy. You have to go thru a checkpoint and show your passport to British guards, also do it again on leaving to the Spanish guards. Once in the tiny area of Gibraltar it feels like you are in Britain. We switched to mini-busses as the roads, especially those up the mountain, are very narrow. We visited St Michael’s Cave and saw the Gibraltar apes, they are friendly and easy to get photos with. Alicante was our final stop and it was okay. By that time we were sorta done on tours so this seemed like our least interesting place. We visited a large church and a vineyard. Could have just walked around port instead. DEBARKATION – As we were not in a rush, we left the ship at 9am when the last departures were called. No immigration or customs so we walked to our luggage and then to the taxis. Line for the taxis but it went fast. We took the high speed train to Madrid and stayed there a few days before taking a direct flight to Atlanta. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Embarkation went very smoothly. Found the ship very disabled friendly, was nowhere my partner couldn’t go ( he’s a full time wheelchair user) We booked a disabled inner porthole cabin 4498. What can I say, it was massive, wetroom was ... Read More
Embarkation went very smoothly. Found the ship very disabled friendly, was nowhere my partner couldn’t go ( he’s a full time wheelchair user) We booked a disabled inner porthole cabin 4498. What can I say, it was massive, wetroom was large all very wheelchair friendly. It was near the lifts too, perfect!! Dining.. tried the Italian restaurant (paid extra) for our friends 60th birthday.. was disappointed with the food. The food in the Windows main dining room was really nice.. only one complaint.. some of the staff need to be trained better!! They were taking away some of our starter plates while someone was still eating.. bad etiquette!! We ate in the Shogun restaurant.. was lovely too. Entertainment.. found it so so.. the house band was very good listened to them a lot. Service on board was fantastic.. didn’t wait any length of time for drinks etc.. we thought our wine Steward Paula was excellent, such a happy friendly girl. Our room steward Neil was great. Enjoyed the towel art on our bed most nights Read Less
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Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise due to the price and itinerary even though we usually travel on other lines. I had read mixed reviews here but decided, since we booked, we were going to have a great time and we did. The ship is older and shows a ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to the price and itinerary even though we usually travel on other lines. I had read mixed reviews here but decided, since we booked, we were going to have a great time and we did. The ship is older and shows a few signs of wear and tear but it is very clean and well decorated. We liked the Asian decor and the lovely ship memorabilia in the galaxy lounge. If you went down a circular stairway there you could even see the bridge and the officers at work. We were impressed we were always able to get an elevator and the ship was easy to get around. The staff was excellent and very friendly. We felt right at home with the staff and the promptness was bang on. We had a beverage package included which was one of the many advantages of the 5 at sea promotion they offer. The package also included 4 specialty dining options. The food was good, in general, Some great dishes and some just ok. The menu offering were such that you could always find something you wanted to eat. The Bisto, Steakhouse, and Italian restaurants were very good. The entertainment was varied and very well done. We saw the production shows and listened to music every night in the various lounges. Not impressed with the shops that seemed to be stocked with watches and more watches. We would have liked more educational offerings since we are not gamblers or into the spa or bingo. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this as a first time cruise and because we weren’t sure if cruising was for us, well we certainly weren’t disappointed,embarkation was an absolute breeze, onboard within half an hour of arriving at port, next stop was the bar ... Read More
We chose this as a first time cruise and because we weren’t sure if cruising was for us, well we certainly weren’t disappointed,embarkation was an absolute breeze, onboard within half an hour of arriving at port, next stop was the bar for a quick refreshment, a few to choose from, lovely bar staff waiting to greet you, next we thought we would check out our cabin we could not fault anything, it was a good size for the 2 of us, and almost ready so we left housekeeping to add the final touches, we then took a walk around the ship to familiarise ourselves, then it was off to raffles for a lovely lunch, the food in all of the restaurants is lovely and something to suit everyone’s taste. We had shore excursions booked for most ports and weren’t disappointed with any except Casablanca , it just wasn’t for us, but getting off and on the ship at ports is very straight forward just remember your key card, from the washy washy ladies and gents right up to the management side of the Norwegian spirit, nobody can do enough for you, nothing is too much bother and they really do bend over backwards for you, we will definitely cruise again and it will definitely be with ncl, my only but, is Casablanca, we didn’t enjoy it one bit and from what a lot of other passengers said neither did they, next time I’d stay on the ship.but other than that every other port was to our satisfaction, Madeira was the most enjoyable an absolutely gorgeous place and the toboggan ride is a must. Met some lovely people and some not so, but it’s all part of the experience, It was all over far too quick and before we knew it it was time to disembark, which is very well organised can’t wait to do it all over again one day, Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We booked this purely on price - end of. Some of the ports on the itinerary we've been to before, we rarely travel in Europe now but the price was incredible, even when we added in the beverage package etc. Truly superb value for a ... Read More
We booked this purely on price - end of. Some of the ports on the itinerary we've been to before, we rarely travel in Europe now but the price was incredible, even when we added in the beverage package etc. Truly superb value for a great port intensive - mainly spanish - 12 days. Embarkation at Barcelona is an absolute breeze, a really well organised port with a line outside as it might benefit from being slightly bigger pre-check in. Bag drop was effortless and I forgot to affix tags, so the chap just did it for me, easy and friendly. Being a small ship, the layout is unusual (when I say small ship, at 2000 pax guest capacity this was the first "Big Ship" to operate around Asia as the Superstar Leo, theres a little bit of an Asian feel and theme to it, the Handrails are lower than normal in some areas, the deck beds are slightly shorter apparently and in the restaurants, the tables and chairs are clearly spaced for the asian market with some very tight spaces for fat old westerners, like me. Certainly in the Shanghai Bar, the stools and tables are so close together that they border on being uncomfortable and this is the liveliest bar because it's basically a corridor. All the bars are well stocked and well staffed The buffet area is not the best layout, it's the little things like plates and bowls not being where you are most likely to need them and the coffee stations having milk at the wrong end causing numerous small gridlocks. The Galaxy lounge is comfortable an spacious, Henry's pub is cosy and offers a good atmosphere and Champagne Charlies in the evenings becomes a piano bar. All in all it's a lovely little ship but it does feel small, you certainly feel the water more in rough seas and pretty much all of the access is on one side of the ship. Food options were excellent and the meal variations were notable. Negatives... Row after row after row of EMPTY photograph shelves, some of them populated with photos that NO-ONE would buy, out of focus and taken at a distance with poses in mid yawn, closed eyes and in one case mid-sneeze. You know, if NCL are going to continue with the "freestlye" cruising, they need to accept that some people aren't dressing up for dinner and some people won't be posing for photographs, they also need to realise that now we are 10 years into quality digital photography and 3 years into superb phone selfies, fewer and fewer people will pay $25 for a single photograph, actually $30 with the "gratuity". Most of them go in the bin, at $5 each I suspect they would have taken more money and caused less pollution. All the onboard shops were ghost towns, overpriced tourist tat, grossly overpriced watches. Didn't bother us too much, we bought a lanyard and a fridge magnet, but seriously, $30 for t shirt, $12 for a plastic fridge magnet. You don't need to buy them of course, and pretty much no-one does, but the shops need staffing and the prices will get higher, same in the Casino with table after table standing staffed but empty with a $10 minimum bet across the board. How many people would have ventured in with some $5 tables, even $2 tables early in the day? But the one thing, the only thing that annoyed me on this otherwise excellent cruise, even more that the $15 per person 2km bus ride into Casablanca (I kid you not) was that from day 6, Dave the cruise director would be on the tannoy telling us that "the cruise is coming to an end soon, better buy this, or that" Seriously? Barely halfway in and I'm being reminded that it's all about to end. What do they do on a 4 day break? Tell you as it leaves port? Of course with budget cruises, they have to make it up somewhere and on-ship sales are important, but the constant plugging of overpriced goods and services, really let NCL down and with a little more thought, they could really make it pay, by dropping prices. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
After hearing so many stories both good and bad about cruising, I'd have to say that cruising is a great way to travel. The staff of the Norwegian Spirit made everything from pre-cruise preparation to disembarkation, an absolutely ... Read More
After hearing so many stories both good and bad about cruising, I'd have to say that cruising is a great way to travel. The staff of the Norwegian Spirit made everything from pre-cruise preparation to disembarkation, an absolutely breeze. Everyone (and I mean everyone!) was super helpful and personable. Whatever Norwegian is doing to create such a great team , they are doing it right and it shows in the level of service given to each person on-board. The ship was super clean and, there was an emphasis on hygiene, which was important given the number of people in such close quarters. You were never far from music, entertainment or a pocket of peace and relaxation. The port calls and ship excursions were well organized. I booked excursions through the ship's tour service and they were well organized and in my opinion, worth the money. All the tour companies were professional, the buses were comfortable and the tours were offered in various languages to accommodate all nationalities. Needless to say, I enjoyed my first cruise. Well done Norwegian! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
My wife has been wanting to see Casablanca and this cruise included Barcelona we both like. Our last and first cruise with NCL cruise on the Spirit was extra great so we did a suite again, big difference though I like the Haven experience ... Read More
My wife has been wanting to see Casablanca and this cruise included Barcelona we both like. Our last and first cruise with NCL cruise on the Spirit was extra great so we did a suite again, big difference though I like the Haven experience much better. We did enjoy our shore excursions interesting selections. The food was pretty good with a nice selection, can't say about the buffet but it looked like a good selection when we were looking around the ship. The entire crew were helpful and friendly. The cabin steward, concierge and butler very good, just ask and if possible they will do it for you. The front cabin was beautiful (thin walls though). Just note if you like to sit on the balcony not only when in port you may want to reconsider one right at the very front (ours 10500) you are not to open the door when at sea and must close the curtains when at sea after dark. View through the two big windows almost as good as the captain. Fun for us, first time right at the front. The entertainment was good we really enjoyed the funny juggler night and the soul music night. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
This was my 4th NCL cruise. I had a previous poor experience on the two cruises previously due to unfriendly staff and other issues. I was tired of the Caribbean and had done the Mexican Riviera and Hawaii. NCL had a different itinerary ... Read More
This was my 4th NCL cruise. I had a previous poor experience on the two cruises previously due to unfriendly staff and other issues. I was tired of the Caribbean and had done the Mexican Riviera and Hawaii. NCL had a different itinerary out of Barcelona that was interesting, so I thought that I would give them another chance. Just as an aside, I prefer the smaller ships and don’t need all of the other extras. We booked an Owners Suite a year prior to the cruise. The suite had a separate bedroom and bathroom, lounge area, dining room, and best of all..another half bathroom! This was great because there was no privacy with the other toilet area which only had a half glass door that you could see through. The vanity area was tiny, squeezed between the shower and the bathtub. The vanity lighting was very poor and the was no magnifying mirror in this area. There was a hair dryer and electrical outlets. There are double sinks and a nice large shower. The lounge area is small and we had to move the coffee table to access the balcony. The butler kept us stocked with bottled water, mixers, and slices of lime. The entertainment was hit or miss. The DJ was great and would play what was requested. I missed having a piano bar to sing along with! There was a piano player in Champagne Charlie’s who was fun. We would have happy hour in the Galaxy Lounge before dinner. There was a lot of activity in this area between 5-6 and this made having a quiet conversation difficult. Food was fair. Breakfast and lunch at Cagney’s was great, though it felt that the menu was limited by the end of 10 days. We had several dinners in the Windows Main Dining room and found the appetizers, soups, and salads were good; but main entrees were disappointing. Service was great! Tepanaki was great, The steak at Cagney’s was below average. Service was much improved over my previous NCL cruises. The concierge and all wait staff were the best!! Embarkation and disembarking were the smoothest that I have ever had. Probably the result of being in a suite. I would definitely do this cruise again as the ports were fascinating, we did not do any excursions but explored the towns on our own. And yes, Casablanca should be changed, it was very dirty and did not feel safe. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose the cruise because of the itinerary, looking for some winter sun. In this we were lucky. The overall impression of the ship was one of noise. Large groups of passengers would sit in Champagne Charlies, talking loudly so that ... Read More
We chose the cruise because of the itinerary, looking for some winter sun. In this we were lucky. The overall impression of the ship was one of noise. Large groups of passengers would sit in Champagne Charlies, talking loudly so that it was difficult to hear the excellent Ian West or the equally impressive trio. The music played in the swimming pool area was far too loud, both the live band and the taped music. The food in the garden restaurant was of variable quality, and was often not very hot. The Bistro restaurant was good but La Trattoria very poor. The entertainment was also very variable in quality The juggler / comedian was splendid. The magician was awful. The fact that he was also included in the final show, Elements, ruined it. The Captain needs to take lessons in making his announcements. He tended to burble on interminably with the result that nobody listened. The quizzes were spoilt by the fact that many of the staff running them had huge difficulties in pronouncing even relatively simple words. One positive note: the bar staff were excellent, particularly in Champagne Charlies, the waiters were by and large very good and our cabin steward was very good. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We love cruising on NCL cruise lines. From the moment we boarded the Spirit, we were treated like royalty. Being a loyal NCL cruiser, Platinum, has its perks. We were upgrade to a two bedroom, two bathroom suite with a balcony. The ... Read More
We love cruising on NCL cruise lines. From the moment we boarded the Spirit, we were treated like royalty. Being a loyal NCL cruiser, Platinum, has its perks. We were upgrade to a two bedroom, two bathroom suite with a balcony. The room was beautifully decorated, and luxurious. The master suite area had a very large bathroom with a large two person walk-in shower, and also a jetted tub for bathing that was seperate. There were double sinkis in the room too! Had all the amenities you could ask for; but if you have a specific shampoo or conditioner, bring those along with you. The location ofour suite on the ship was in a very nice and quiet area, forward port side of ship. We were surprisedit was so quiet since this was a ‘family suite’ . The restraurants and food selections are exceptional, delicious and made our dining experience very enjoyable. There was never a dull moment or long wait for service either. The serving staff were wonderful and at times..funny. Got to know staff personally by name. I would definately recommend getting the food and beverage packages if you can afford them. There is not a place onboard the Spirit that we didn’t enjoy. Entertainment was wonderful too. A show of some sort everynight, and they were entertaining with very talented staff/performers. Activites are everywhere on the ship too. It’s always an fun adventure with alot of entertainment to keep everyone occupied and happy. Definately recommend going on this wonderful cruiseline and on the Spirit ship. Read Less
Norwegian Spirit Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 0.0
Dining 4.5 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 3.5 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.5 0.0
Enrichment 2.0 0.0
Service 5.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.5 0.0
Rates N/A 0.0

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