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Sail Date: March 2019
I boarded okay. Firstly trying to get through the staff pushing their drinks packages. The ship looked amazing. But considering it was the inaugural voyage there was no pomp or ceremony. Not even a musical send off or complimentary ... Read More
I boarded okay. Firstly trying to get through the staff pushing their drinks packages. The ship looked amazing. But considering it was the inaugural voyage there was no pomp or ceremony. Not even a musical send off or complimentary Champagne toast. A few special people seemed to get invited to the naming ceremony but for the rest of us we had a paper certificate!! Most cruises give away freebies to keep you coming back and it advertises their company. Not even a pen or pad if you wanted to make any notes. Theres a new gadget called 'Zoe' (like Alexa etc). Anything I asked her she said ask a member of staff. I traveled alone in my cabin but if there was two of us I think it may have been a bit cramped and not enough space to put your belongings away. The safe was small. I couldn't put my laptop in it. Toiletries provided in the cabin.........Ive had better in Travelodge. There was shampoo and shower gel in a pump on the wall. No conditioner, hand cream etc. The shower cubical was small. Towels were nice though and plentiful. The wardrobe was very narrow. You couldn't hang anything neatly as it had to hang sideways. The draws were also very narrow and only opened a bit so difficult to get things in or out with our screwing them up. And I wasn't prepared to pay to have the iron rubbed over. You cant get use of an iron onboard. Tv was an okay size for the cabin but very poor channel selections. Apart for the regular BBC news there was BBC Eden. I think that was on a loop so repeated. We had a restaurant and a dining time allocated but the food was average. No steak or any speciallity dining. That was extra and there was a better selection for a price. I agree with the comment 'school dinners'. Even the mash was lumpy. Drinks served were limited even when included in your drinks package. You could only choose from what they offered and not necessarily what you like to drink!!! This was the case at all meal times. The buffet was a free for all much like a cheap package deal to costa packet. Food was leftovers in a different format. Bland or cinnamon used to lift it regardless of it actually suited the food it was put with. The pasta choices were all a little overdone. Soggy. The pizzas were sloppy and not tasty. At one point my friends undercooked pork was put on a fish griddle to finish cooking. Wonder what pescatarians, muslims and people with certain allergies think of that. Waitresses were slow, had attitude and often rude. Little or no interaction. Young and just there to earn money. There were good waitresses and waiters. They were charming, helpful and remembered your preferred choice of beverage. But they were few and far between. I had many a complaint and in the end I had the direct line to guest services. Not sure if that was a good thing. Entertainment was a regular dance class and a stretch class if you could get into the small lounge were it was held. There was a very small auditorium with barely any seating that had the same set of musical acts on a rota. Nothing around the pools except dance music from the clubs. Not suitable to relax or have fun to. That was also on a loop. The shows were okay at times other times like amateur dramatics. Everything was told in three languages so drawn out. As for shopping......rubbish. More like a duty free arcade. It was run to get as much extra money out of you as it could. Everything was extra. Cirque was supposedly sold out. Then they weren't going to be there then they were giving tickets away. Not as good as the time I see them at the Royal Albert Hall. Porters were not something I see. The excisions were over priced and we sourced our own outings. I didn't travel with children but I am a wheelchair user. The first problem with that was the muster station drill. hen the emergency drill went ahead I was unable get help to get to the muster station. It was the wrong muster station too. The signs were giving the wrong directions and no special needs addressed. When I complained to the Marshall she said 'don't worry the drill will be over soon. Go back to your cabin". I couldn't believe my ears. When we disembarked at Genoa we found a free bus that took us to the airport. The 'SP from the station. The crew didn't make any effort with their goodbyes. Right back to the embarkation.......nothing special. I wouldn't go back. Its not disabled friendly. Not enough seating for people to spend time together. Lack of entertainment. Very disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
The embarkation at Southampton was very smooth, we arrived early and we were allowed to board straight away. When we first boarded it was clear to see that it was a beautiful ship, however we soon noticed it downsides. When we arrived at ... Read More
The embarkation at Southampton was very smooth, we arrived early and we were allowed to board straight away. When we first boarded it was clear to see that it was a beautiful ship, however we soon noticed it downsides. When we arrived at our Balcony Cabin it was very narrow and the bathroom was very small. There was tissues in the wall right next to the toilet which we thought was very unhygienic, the wardrobe hanging space was very small and there was no tea or coffee making facilities in the Cabin. The food in the main dining area was not enough and we had to ask for vegetables to fill the plate, what you did get was tasty but you had to wait a while for it to be served. The Market Place Buffet on deck 15 was like a Cattle Market so we did not use this very much. The entertainment was very poor and only lasted 35 minutes each night, in fact when we had at sea days we were very bored because there was nothing much to do. The main entertainment throughout the day was in the Bellissima Lounge which was too small and people were dancing in the main walkway because there was not enough space on the dance floor. We found the service in most of the bars to be poor and we actually walked out of three bars because we had difficulty getting served. Although I must say this did seem to improve on the last couple of days. We could not stop at La Coruna because of the poor weather conditions, not once did the Captain speak over the PA System to advise his passangers to expect adverse weather conditions, in fact we never heard or saw of him at all, even though it was really bad. The overall service was unorganised and the information given was very poor. The MSC App for your phone was good when they managed to supply the correct information. There was not enough seating areas in the Champayne and Cocktail bars, the Sky Lounge was ok but only if you liked Jazz music. The Liabary was a joke, it consisted of three shelves but only one shelf was full, this was next to the Champagne Bar. Overall I think MSC are relying on the beauty of the Ship and are not paying enough attention to the Fare paying Passengers. We will not be cruising with MSC again for sure. Read Less
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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I'm not writing a cruise blog so don't expect a lengthy ramble of the pros and cons - this is a review so short(ish). Background - we have done 44 cruises. 7 have been on MSC of which 5 have been in Yacht Club. This inaugural ... Read More
I'm not writing a cruise blog so don't expect a lengthy ramble of the pros and cons - this is a review so short(ish). Background - we have done 44 cruises. 7 have been on MSC of which 5 have been in Yacht Club. This inaugural sailing was in YC too. Displaying the Union Jack upside down at the official launch of the ship was never going to be a vote winner but MSC managed to make what should have been an exciting, awe inspiring first cruise into the most boring, disorganised and disappointing cruise we have ever taken. People say - never go on a new ship for the first 6 months while they iron out the issues ans staff find their routines etc. What a load of rubbish. This ship boasts ZOE the first interactive AI virtual assistant at sea. Well, if you asked a question she was able to advise speaking to a staff member and she did try to turn on the TV but failed miserably. I did try to put her in the wardrobe but she is screwed to the desk (taking up extremely limited space) so we just unplugged her. Normally, the TV is the first place to pre-book all the shows for the week, make restaurant reservations, check your account, watch ship webcams, find the weather forecast, listen to the annoying safety briefings but none of that worked either - there were a handful of TV channels and that was it. Now, back to the "never cruise in first 6 months" argument. All of MSC ships have interactive TVs - they are not new to this ship - they are tried and tested and there is no reason for them not to work given they have been building the ship for 2 years. The same for Zoe, did they suddenly invent the thing a week before the cruise? None of the shows were announced until the night before the performance - why? Did the artists get on the day before their appearance? Given that the shows were so poor, I think they were too embarrassed to announce them. Our very first nights "entertainment" was a video of the launch party. That built the excitement ready for a mime artist, a couple doing a shadow show and a ventriloquist - all of which should have been condensed into one show (if at all). The whole thing was incredibly boring for the entire 9 night cruise. There were 3 "MSC shows" which at least added some sparkle and colour (they were nothing special but that is quite normal and manageable for their 30 min duration). We had some pretty rough seas for 3 days and the captain was absent from the PA system - in fact the PA system was used ONCE during the whole 9 days - no weather updates, no location updates, no amusing one-liners from any crew member at all. So, Yacht Club - billed as "an exclusive haven of refinement". I have always liked YC - it has never been as good as the hype but it is far, far better than a standard MSC cruise (or should be). My main gripe was the food - or rather the lack of food quality. YC menus are normally full of exciting exclusive dishes - not dozens of choices but better quality meals. Not on this cruise they weren't. Elegant Night choices were particularly disappointing - lobster tail was the only highlight but even that was a battle involving my wife and then the waiter in an attempt to remove it from its shell. MSC had announced a signature dish from Raymond Blanc for this ship - nope, they were probably still trying to get Zoe to find the Raymond Blanc cook book. A "complaint" the the restaurant manager was met with "well, I don't write the menu". That guy did not smile once during the entire cruise - I have never met anyone with so little personality in 44 cruises. Shocking. I watched as he approached guests and just stood there creating an uncomfortable "stand off". The YC Grill on the sun deck was limited and they were clueless - one day, a small choice of warm (never hot) dishes were suddenly removed and replaced with chips and fried food plus four tall hatted chefs trying to cope when more than 10 guests appeared at the food counter - these are professionals? Staff would not allow you to select your choice of food and insisted they serve the food from the dish to your plate - that alone resulted in long queues and was a joke when trying to select salad items. "Chefs" appeared every day to take dozens of photos of the food layout; only to re-arrange it by millimetres before taking dozens more photos. It was laughable to watch them as they worried more about presenting the food than they did the taste and quality. These were experienced crew who had vast experience on other MSC ships - but they were just clueless. RAJ at the YC Concierge desk was amazing (I hope MSC don't zap his enthusiasm as they appear to do with so many). Did we get an amazing experience in YC - definitely not. Did we feel MSC had pulled out all the stops to make this inaugural cruise something special - do I even need to answer. We have one more MSC cruise booked, but are now looking to cancel it based on how shockingly bad this March 4th sailing from Southampton was. I'm not prepared to spend my hard earned money on a cruise line with such a laid back, couldn't care less attitude toward its guests. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
It would have been five star but as per maiden voyages in general, the start was a little rocky (in all ways) as the crew and ship got bedded in. We had to miss out onr first port call due to the wind and strong swell and the ship rolled ... Read More
It would have been five star but as per maiden voyages in general, the start was a little rocky (in all ways) as the crew and ship got bedded in. We had to miss out onr first port call due to the wind and strong swell and the ship rolled a bit, leading to much smashed crockery and glasswear but the crew smiled on. The ship is magnificent. Zoe, the much hyped in cabin cyber assistant was pretty useless except as a bluetooth speaker. We were in Yacht Club and had the biggest TV ever, but very little to watch on it in English and unlike other lines we cruise, it was hard to find anywhere showing a watchable football match at any time on a TV. Why the italian sport channel on the TV was obsessed with basketball escapes me. Celebrity shows a sports channel on TV that shows football. We loved the Pub and the galleria dome shows were jaw dropping. The Yacht Club staff were all superb and special mention to Raj of the concierge who was so helpful. The girl running the champagne bar in the main ship also deserves special mention. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We looked forward to the much hyped inaugural cruise on Bellisima. MSC are not that well known here in UK, and it was a great surprise that Southampton was chosen for the christening and inaugural cruise of this enormous ship, capable of ... Read More
We looked forward to the much hyped inaugural cruise on Bellisima. MSC are not that well known here in UK, and it was a great surprise that Southampton was chosen for the christening and inaugural cruise of this enormous ship, capable of carrying well over 4000 passengers. As we approached the harbour we we were astounded at the sheer size of the ship, but were delighted by how speedily we boarded. There were no words of welcome or proffered welcome drink, and guests milled about wondering which direction to take. Armed with a ship plan, we worked out the location of our deck 12 cabin, and after a few wrong turns we arrived. Our cabin was pleasant but rather dull, with dark furnishings, grey ceiling and mustard soft furnishings. The bed proved to be comfortable, the wardrobe adequate for a shorter cruise, but the cabin was dominated by a huge convertible sofa. The bathroom was a masterpiece of compact planning, with glass shower enclosure, wedge shaped sink and narrow counter. We’d luckily packed toiletries as those provided were generic MSC dispensers. The narrow balcony had 2 mesh chairs and small table to enjoy on sunny days. We tried out the innovative Zoe interactive system but found it confusing and irritating. After a 3 hour train journey, we decided that we’d find the buffet, a well laid out, but crowded , deck 15 area, with plenty of tables and a wide selection of dishes. Busy waiters rushed to serve drinks, and guests settled to enjoy all that the ship had to offer. After lunch, like everyone else, we explored this vast ship, with its long central domed LED displays above a range of shops, cafes and bars. It was a truly amazing spectacle to have this moving image display as one strolled the area. The central atrium is a delight, furnished in silver and soft greys with beautiful swarowski crystal staircases linking decks. We liked the cosy pub but were astounded by the paucity of the library, in reality 2 shelves of paperbacks, completely inadequate for a ship of this size, as many guests like to relax with a book when at sea. The top deck has a water park with water rides and a range of interactive gaming opportunities, several of which had to be booked , attracting a charge per use. The attractive pools areas are well furnished with sun loungers, sun beds and chairs, very popular when the sun shone, unlike many ships, there were life guards. Dining is well organised with 3 main dining rooms, several speciality restaurants as well as the separate yacht club area restaurant for suite guests. When booking a choice of dining times was offered. We had chosen a 6pm set time, and the dining room had plenty of tables for 2 , closely spaced. The dining room staff were well organised and efficient, and the menus varied daily. The restaurant was well run, the waiters friendly and helpful and the restarant manager Fabio a charming host. Most guests had a drinks package of some kind, but the basic wines on offer were decidedly unimpressive. We chose from the bar menus, enjoying some very good , varied , Italian wines. Like many others, towards the end of the cruise, we checked our account, discovering several errors. As it is a paper free billing system, it was a matter of queuing at the guest service desk to remedy the problems, a complicated business as the relevant department had to be consulted for each mistake. MSC needs to address this issue and simplify the system. Evening entertainment is very European in style, and with such a polyglot audience acts had to have a wide appeal, jugglers, shadow performers and ventriloquist are the norm, with the addition of a separate Cirque de Soleil showroom , performing just 2evenings on our cruise, despite the promise of it being. ACirque de soleil at sea cruise. The popular Bellisima bar was the liveliest spot, with live music, a tiny dance floor and a busy bar. We enjoyed a couple of evenings there, but seating is limited and it is a very crowded spot. Disembarkation was as well organised as at the start. A colour coded system worked well, with no crowding and a well organised system. Collecting luggage was a bit chaotic, as the area was small, but it all seemed to go quite smoothly and we were soon on our way. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Where to start with this one! A brand new ship with all the hype and excitement about it being the most beautiful ship in the world etc. Well it’s rather far fetched to say the least! Admittedly check in was very easy, and we got ... Read More
Where to start with this one! A brand new ship with all the hype and excitement about it being the most beautiful ship in the world etc. Well it’s rather far fetched to say the least! Admittedly check in was very easy, and we got straight on to the ship with total ease! But that is as far as it goes with the MSC Bellissima experience! We get to our cabins and my goodness they are narrow! The wardrobe is beyond a joke! Literally a single wardrobe! How on earth people who are on extended cruises will manage, I have no idea! And not even a cheap plastic pen left for us to be able to fill in the breakfast order form! Nothing, and I mean NOTHING special was done to make the guests feel excited about being on an inaugural voyage on a brand new ship! All the focus seems to be on how much money they can claw back out of you on board! Don’t waste your money! To save time I’m just going to list the problems! -don’t waste money on spa day pass! It’s overpriced and tiny for the size of the ship! And it gets packed by all the yacht club members who get to use it for free! -breakfast is the worst experience ever! People grabbing food! -shows are ghastly! And I mean atrocious! -all the hype of cirque du soleil and they didn’t perform once! -staff and officers taking up spaces in passenger areas, using phones etc! -captain didn’t speak to passengers once over PA system regarding the change in itinerary due to weather! -entertainment in general is terrible. There’s literally nothing going on! The hilight seems to be the cringeworthy dance classes that they do every day in the Bellissima lounge. Added to the fact there are like 20 creepy staff to try to force you to dance! -dinner in the complimentary restaurants is very slow and reminiscent of school dinners! - playing club music incredibly loudly in the pool deck at 8am! - physically inpossible to do a complete lap around the ship or go to the very front and watch sail in. The very front is reserved for yacht members only! So disappointing when I personally come on a ship in order to walk around and take in the views ! -bars on the ship seem to be just tables and chairs placed along the sides of the ship, with the millions of shops selling the same thing! However the gym is very good and the only place where I found the staff to be very friendly! Also, the dome ceiling is very cool! It does make a great impression on that side, with the ceiling shows. On the whole I really do think that MSC need to rethink this ship and how they deliver the kind of service that it should be getting. Would not recommend this ship Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
This was my fourth cruise on MSC Divinia and definitely my best. Loved the itinerary and the crew was great. I especially want to compliment Ley Aguila and Oumaima Boudile of the Cruise Staff for making this a memorable cruise. They are ... Read More
This was my fourth cruise on MSC Divinia and definitely my best. Loved the itinerary and the crew was great. I especially want to compliment Ley Aguila and Oumaima Boudile of the Cruise Staff for making this a memorable cruise. They are both full enthusiasm and made the activities especially fun. I would also like to compliment Havin Pereira, Mariana Prison & Yanga Ndayi and the rest of the staff at the Atrium Bar for their friendliness and excellent service. The live music on this cruise was excellent with Olena and the Cantabile Duo both being the standout performers. I made it a point to catch as many of their performances as I could. This was an 11 night 12 day cruise in the southern and western Caribbean and my highlights were Cartagena and Panama. Aruba was also a pleasant surprise. As always the food was excellent with a more European menu than other cruise lines. The common areas are spectacular and laid out for a convenient flow. I highly recommend MSC. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Was the largest cruise boat we have booked on, but nevertheless ran like clockwork with few long waits compared to Princess when it comes to getting on and off. Purchased cruises were excellent and as advertised. MSC for Me, the app ... Read More
Was the largest cruise boat we have booked on, but nevertheless ran like clockwork with few long waits compared to Princess when it comes to getting on and off. Purchased cruises were excellent and as advertised. MSC for Me, the app wasn’t much good, as you cannot message your fellow traveller, many things priced as extra such as F1 and flight simulator, teppanakki restaurant difficult?impossible to get the price, several days when the daily activity list and menus was zero/blank; paper based backup worked though. Bookings system worked though. Cirque at Sea was good, especially the food but our seating (dinner) was terrible and room very hot. For approx 1/3 of the audience the view is from side or behind some of the explanatory visual. We attended opera, dance and rock presentations. The rock was not well received , sung and phrased by non English speakers. We should have thought it through. Some very talented singers too!! The opera and flamenco dance was fabulous. Dining in Panorama and Waves didn’t give us a view, but the view from the Market Buffet and Sky Bar is terrific. In March we were lucky and had no rain, but you need to have several layers when you go ashore as there is plenty of shade even if forecast is 16-18. Take note: Feb/Mar usually wet. Hand hygiene is not overly policed onboard, most of us caught varying degrees of ‘colds’. There are plenty of hand sanitizers and hand wash stations - please use them. Overall, food quality is patchy. Breads and pastries excellent, salads and ‘healthy options’ quite good, cold meat and cheese great, hot offerings and deserts OK to good. The more special it is supposed to be the more disappointing it can be. This is in the general and buffet dining rooms, not necessarily the specialty restaurants. Other than Cirque, we went to the Sushi - food fabulous, but staff not knowledgeable, just salesmen. We knew what we wanted and they weren’t pleased. The lonely little expert guy (chef) in the corner doesn’t get a look in. Don’t ask for sake ‘warm’ - it causes a frenzy and I received a thimble of molten microwaved sake!! You might leave hungry from this restaurant as they never leave you alone for even 5 minutes. Drinks available in different areas varies in range. For instance I could only order Chardonnay (there are lots of beer and beer related options) at the British Pub. Package drinks purchase not economical if you will be ashore most of the days-see exclusions and fine print. Service is 50-50. Waiters tended to be a tad difficult, room and customer service terrific. Some waiters were fine but.. not all. Problem being the service daily charge added automat to your bill ( you can have it removed) doesn’t give some of them any incentive. I emphasise there were some terrific waiters!!! Room was very comfortable (balcony) and with Fantastico package we were able to order early morning cuppa from room service. Room had small fridge, small wardrobe, no robes, great big bed, 2-3 seater couch, lovely big shower/loo. You can request no mini-bar otherwise it is stocked. 1lt water €2.90. So many new people leave and board every day!! With about 4000+ passengers most of the time there are patches of noisy or rude people. Lift and queue etiquette very interesting. Kids are well catered for onboard and attend shows and dinner at all hours. During our week they were no problem! Noisy teens another matter Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
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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