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Norwegian Cruise Line: Norwegian Spirit

Norwegian Spirit Review

In a curious East-goes-West journey, Norwegian Spirit was originally built for the Freestyle cruising concept and launched as SuperStar Leo for Norwegian Cruise Line's Asian parent, Genting Hong Kong Limited (formerly Star Cruises). In winter 2004, Norwegian's fledgling Hawaiian venture nearly sank when a freakish storm filled its flagship with water while it was nearing completion in Germany. With a month's worth of bookings and no new ship, arrangements were made to deploy a substitute in Hawaii and transfer SuperStar Leo to fill the gap left in its wake.

Rechristened in spring 2004 and updated to better suit American tastes, Norwegian Spirit still retains fine examples of Asian artwork. The casino is huge, and facilities for children and teens are particularly extensive, only rivaled by the Disney Cruise Line ships and Norwegian’s own newer vessels.

Norwegian Cruise Line (originally known as Norwegian Caribbean Line) set sail in 1966 with an entirely new concept: regularly scheduled Caribbean cruises from the then-obscure port of Miami. Good food and friendly service combined with value fares established Norwegian as a winner for active adults and families. With the introduction of the now-retired SS Norway in 1979, Norwegian ushered in the era of cruises on megasize ships. Innovative and forward-looking, Norwegian has been a cruise-industry leader for four decades, and is as much at home in Europe as it is in the Caribbean.

Noted for top-quality, high-energy entertainment and emphasis on fitness facilities and programs, Norwegian combines action, activities, and a variety of dining options in a casual, free-flowing atmosphere. Freestyle cruising signaled an end to rigid dining schedules and dress codes. Norwegian ships now offer a host of flexible dining options that allow passengers to eat in the main dining rooms or any of a number of à la carte and specialty restaurants at any time and with whom they please. Now co-owned by Genting Hong Kong Limited and Apollo Management, a private equity company, Norwegian continues to be an industry innovator.

From a distance, most cruise ships look so similar that it's often difficult to tell them apart, but Norwegian's largest, modern ships stand out with their distinctive use of hull art. Each new ship is distinguished by murals extending from bow to midship.

What You Should Know

Pros

  • There is a bridge-viewing gallery in the observatory lounge
  • You may find solitude in the library or writing room
  • More than 300 staterooms connect

Cons

  • Facilities for children are more expansive than the spa and fitness center
  • There are no self-service laundry facilities
  • Some top suites have forward-facing balconies that are too windy for use on sea days
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 949
  • Entered Service 1999
  • Gross Tons 75,338
  • Length 881 feet
  • Number of Cabins 1,009
  • Passenger Capacity 2,018 (2,475 max)
  • Width 105 feet
  • Service

  • Food

  • Décor

  • Value

Sep 5, 2015

Poor customer service

In Feb 2015 we booked a 12 day European cruise and a 16 day transatlantic cruise on the Spirit. In August 2015 we received notice that the transatlantic cruise had been canceled by NCL. They offered no compensation, I am sure if we canceled the cruise we would have been charged. When I tried rebooking the cruise I was told that it would cost $1,000 more and I would not get the upgrades that were offered last Feb. I will not book with NCL again

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Feb 28, 2015

Review of Norwegian Spirit

Kristy Ellis Age: 37 Occupation:Secretary Number of Cruises: 1 Cruise Line: Norwegian Ship: Norwegian Spirit Sailing Date: 2014-11-2 Itinerary: Grand Mediteranean The overall cruise was great. Our family was able to see a lot of great places in Europe without doing a lot of travel. Our floating hotel room took us to each new port while we slept and we woke up ready to go each new day. The customer service was always good, not top notch but nothing

to be disappointed in. Our steward was friendly but not the phenomenal steward that I hear others speak of, but like I said we weren't disappointed. Just not overwhelmed. Any mass produced food is bound to get old and stall after such a long cruise. The cruise line does a pretty good job at shaking things up by offering food of the port on the top deck at the time of re-embarkment. For instance, it was nice to grab a gyro onboard after missing the opportunity to do so while in Mykonos. Was it the best gyro I'd ever had, no, but it wasn't terrible either. The first few days you feel very lucky to have so many choices at the Raffles Food Court (buffet), but by the end you are so over the food offered. While there are a few other free/included restaurants, it all begins to feel recycled. The pay restaurants were across the spectrum. We were not impressed by the hibachi restaurant (Teppenyaki); however the steak house (Cagney's) and the Asian Fusion restaurant (Shogun) both provided good meals and way more food than we could ever eat! We were not able to eat at the French restaurant but the Italian restaurant was average. Our cabin was very nice, but we weren't looking for a view, just a place to be comfortable and put our heads down. We have a teen & pre-teen, so we booked room 4479. It is a family room without even a port hole; however, the room is all the forward and is comprised of extra space that would otherwise have been wasted on the ship. As our steward said, "you could play football in there." The entertainment was good, most of the nightly shows were for an older crowd, not being exciting or "cool" enough for our children. They did have the option to go to the children's center (our pre-teen met the age requirements, but was actually too "old" for this area) and the teen center (with a total of 22 children on board for this Nov cruise, you can imagine how exciting this center was on any given day) though. But, they mostly hung out with us or in our stateroom in the free time onboard. The NCL excursions all include some sort of presentation or shopping trip. While it was nice to not have to seek out vendors for particular souvenirs, it was quite annoying to sit through pitch after pitch, day after day. The "free time" you get on each excursion is always taken up by "10 minute-presentations" that turn into 50 minute sales pitches. Otherwise, I enjoyed the excursions. The alternative is to book from 3d party companies, but I was too scared to miss the re-embarkment deadlines, so we did not book outside of the ship. One particular excursion I do want to mention is the "St. Tropez & Port Grimaud." This is probably a great excursion in season. With our cruise taking place the first two weeks of November, the season was most definitely over. St. Tropez and Port Grimaud had both shuttered up for the winter and the celebrity visitors had left for the year. This in itself is not a reason to avoid the locations, as it is still pretty and there were still many impressive yachts at port. But, we stopped there on a Monday (Barcelona to Venice direction). As we discovered, local shops will NOT open if they had been open on Saturday. This includes shopping and some eating. This place was literally a ghost town when we were there. Maybe the other direction, when they stop on a different day, had a different experience. Also, an off season visit to Delos...I recommend eating a big breakfast. The boat only travel one round trip each day and you will need every minute to visit the island. When you return to Mykonos, you have to hustle to get back on the ship in time. There was never an opportunity to even stop for a snack. You will not eat again until about 2:30pm. Overall, we enjoyed our trip. It was our first cruise, and a long one at that, but well worth the money. When we took the final bill (cruise, excursions, airlines, taxis/shuttles, etc) and divided it out, the trip only cost about $120/person per day. All meals included, transportation, lodging, entertainment, taxes & fees, souvenirs...that's not a terrible price to me. We'd do it again, except we want to visit all new locations next time A few tips... 1. If you don't have EU passports, they will keep your passports upon check-in and return them after Greece. Make copies before you leave. 2. We paid for everything before we left, ie upgrade restaurant bookings, all the excursions, and I put $500 credit on our room. This took a LOT of the sticker shock away when the cruise ended. We had a VERY small bill, and that was only because we bought 2 small pieces of art at one of the art auctions. 3. If you have kids, caution: the arcade games are ran by a quick swipe of a room key and charged to your room. I would not let my pre-teen wander the ship on his own with his room key, just to be cautious. 4. The largest tables at the restaurants only seat 6 people, and there aren't very many of them. If you are dining at high-traffic times, be prepared to split up your party. 5. There are TVs in each stateroom. There are a few European news channels as well as 3 or 4 movie channels. Only one is in English. But, the run movie after movie after movie. It was nice to have pizza delivery and watch a movie on nights when you were having trouble falling asleep or you wanted a home feel. 6. Wi-Fi on board is expensive, take advantage of restaurants at port that have it for free (many do). 7. Whatever time you can start boarding, keep in mind that EVERYONE is there to check in at the same time. We waited 2.5 hours to go to the terminal and so only waited maybe 5 minutes for our turn to check-in and essentially walked right on and were able to go right to our stateroom. It gave us a little extra time in our embarkment city and less waiting at the terminal. 8. Laundry is expensive and there is no way to do your own on board. Hold out for specials, they happen usually mid-week. 9. If you have extra luggage tags, tape one to a case of water bottles and have the baggage guys take them to your room. Water purchase onboard is expensive (it's cheaper on the first day, if you forget to "pack" some). 10. The rolls that are made of pretzel dough are amazing, get lots and send some to me!

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Dec 8, 2014

Grand Mediteranean

The overall cruise was great. Our family was able to see a lot of great places in Europe without doing a lot of travel. Our floating hotel room took us to each new port while we slept and we woke up ready to go each new day. The customer service was always good, not top notch but nothing to be disappointed in. Our steward was friendly but not the phenomenal steward that I hear others speak of, but like I said we weren't disappointed. Just not

overwhelmed. Any mass produced food is bound to get old and stall after such a long cruise. The cruise line does a pretty good job at shaking things up by offering food of the port on the top deck at the time of re-embarkment. For instance, it was nice to grab a gyro onboard after missing the opportunity to do so while in Mykonos. Was it the best gyro I'd ever had, no, but it wasn't terrible either. The first few days you feel very lucky to have so many choices at the Raffles Food Court (buffet), but by the end you are so over the food offered. While there are a few other free/included restaurants, it all begins to feel recycled. The pay restaurants were across the spectrum. We were not impressed by the hibachi restaurant (Teppenyaki); however the steak house (Cagney's) and the Asian Fusion restaurant (Shogun) both provided good meals and way more food than we could ever eat! We were not able to eat at the French restaurant but the Italian restaurant was average. Our cabin was very nice, but we weren't looking for a view, just a place to be comfortable and put our heads down. We have a teen & pre-teen, so we booked room 4479. It is a family room without even a port hole; however, the room is all the forward and is comprised of extra space that would otherwise have been wasted on the ship. As our steward said, "you could play football in there." The entertainment was good, most of the nightly shows were for an older crowd, not being exciting or "cool" enough for our children. They did have the option to go to the children's center (our pre-teen met the age requirements, but was actually too "old" for this area) and the teen center (with a total of 22 children on board for this Nov cruise, you can imagine how exciting this center was on any given day) though. But, they mostly hung out with us or in our stateroom in the free time onboard. The NCL excursions all include some sort of presentation or shopping trip. While it was nice to not have to seek out vendors for particular souvenirs, it was quite annoying to sit through pitch after pitch, day after day. The "free time" you get on each excursion is always taken up by "10 minute-presentations" that turn into 50 minute sales pitches. Otherwise, I enjoyed the excursions. The alternative is to book from 3d party companies, but I was too scared to miss the re-embarkment deadlines, so we did not book outside of the ship. One particular excursion I do want to mention is the "St. Tropez & Port Grimaud." This is probably a great excursion in season. With our cruise taking place the first two weeks of November, the season was most definitely over. St. Tropez and Port Grimaud had both shuttered up for the winter and the celebrity visitors had left for the year. This in itself is not a reason to avoid the locations, as it is still pretty and there were still many impressive yachts at port. But, we stopped there on a Monday (Barcelona to Venice direction). As we discovered, local shops will NOT open if they had been open on Saturday. This includes shopping and some eating. This place was literally a ghost town when we were there. Maybe the other direction, when they stop on a different day, had a different experience. Also, an off season visit to Delos...I recommend eating a big breakfast. The boat only travel one round trip each day and you will need every minute to visit the island. When you return to Mykonos, you have to hustle to get back on the ship in time. There was never an opportunity to even stop for a snack. You will not eat again until about 2:30pm. Overall, we enjoyed our trip. It was our first cruise, and a long one at that, but well worth the money. When we took the final bill (cruise, excursions, airlines, taxis/shuttles, etc) and divided it out, the trip only cost about $120/person per day. All meals included, transportation, lodging, entertainment, taxes & fees, souvenirs...that's not a terrible price to me. We'd do it again, except we want to visit all new locations next time A few tips... 1. If you don't have EU passports, they will keep your passports upon check-in and return them after Greece. Make copies before you leave. 2. We paid for everything before we left, ie upgrade restaurant bookings, all the excursions, and I put $500 credit on our room. This took a LOT of the sticker shock away when the cruise ended. We had a VERY small bill, and that was only because we bought 2 small pieces of art at one of the art auctions. 3. If you have kids, caution: the arcade games are ran by a quick swipe of a room key and charged to your room. I would not let my pre-teen wander the ship on his own with his room key, just to be cautious. 4. The largest tables at the restaurants only seat 6 people, and there aren't very many of them. If you are dining at high-traffic times, be prepared to split up your party. 5. There are TVs in each stateroom. There are a few European news channels as well as 3 or 4 movie channels. Only one is in English. But, the run movie after movie after movie. It was nice to have pizza delivery and watch a movie on nights when you were having trouble falling asleep or you wanted a home feel. 6. Wi-Fi on board is expensive, take advantage of restaurants at port that have it for free (many do). 7. Whatever time you can start boarding, keep in mind that EVERYONE is there to check in at the same time. We waited 2.5 hours to go to the terminal and so only waited maybe 5 minutes for our turn to check-in and essentially walked right on and were able to go right to our stateroom. It gave us a little extra time in our embarkment city and less waiting at the terminal. 8. Laundry is expensive and there is no way to do your own on board. Hold out for specials, they happen usually mid-week. 9. If you have extra luggage tags, tape one to a case of water bottles and have the baggage guys take them to your room. Water purchase onboard is expensive (it's cheaper on the first day, if you forget to "pack" some). 10. The rolls that are made of pretzel dough are amazing, get lots and send some to me!

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Nov 6, 2014

Mediterrain

The cost of this NCL cruise was a bargain. The same cruise on Princess Cruise line would cost at least $1,000+ more per person. Dining - Buffet Self-Serve Style: Sufficient, medium sized area (can be overcrowded ay times). A major issue throughout the entire ship was the inability for your chair(s) to slide on the rugs. This made it extremely difficult to sit down and/or stand up. A wide and varied selection of foods to meet

all tastes was available. Some foods were bland and lacked taste. At times, drink machines broke down needing frequent repair. The Staff is alert, friendly and responsive. No issues whatsoever. Dining - Waiter Type Style: Two good-sized restaurants. One semi-formal (no shorts. T-shirts, etc.) and the other "come-as-you-are". A major issue throughout the entire ship was the inability for your chair(s) to slide on the rugs. This made it extremely difficult to sit down and/or stand up. Both dining rooms used the same menu. Sufficient and varied tastes are accommodated. Quality and presentation was average to slightly above average. A wide and varied selection of foods to meet all tastes was available. Some foods were bland and lacked taste. The French Onion soup only had one(1) sliver of an onion, mostly broth. In a few instances, the quality of the meats/poultry was inferior and returned to the kitchen. The Staff is alert, friendly and responsive. No issues whatsoever. Dining - Specialty Style: Not used. I did observe that the specialty restaurants were sparsely used. Dining - Bistro Style: Located mostly outdoors on the upper decks. Mostly "finger foods" (Sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, bratwurst, etc.). Wide and varied selections of foods to meet all tastes. The Staff is alert, friendly and responsive. No issues whatsoever. Cabin overview: Small, clean, neat and efficient. For sleeping, the bed is very comfortable. Storage/Shelving quite sufficient. Some wear and tear noted throughout. Needs overall refurbishment and/or updating. In the shower, I had noted mold and/or stained grouting in the seams and the corners. The silver backing in the corners of the vanity mirror had become delaminated. Some issues with operating the hot water controls in the shower. Intermittent issues with a lack of immediate toilet flushing. Many TV in cabin issues..... The TV remote required new batteries. Only 20 available channels. News channels were either BBC or SKY News. Eight(8) channels were mostly NCL information and advertisements. Lacked sufficient English speaking news/entertainment channels. No American TV stations. No "instant" TV Guide channel of the available movies. The Cabin/Stateroom Staff is alert, friendly and responsive. No issues whatsoever. On-Ship Services, Activities and Entertainment: Overall - Excellent and as advertised. TOUR EXCURSIONS: WARNING - The many aggressive, in-your-face and/or annoying street and/or store vendors made the shopping trips/tours a very annoying and a disappointing experience, thereby making any casual browsing in any store nearly impossible. They all appeared extremely desperate to sell you anything. This is a real turn-off for American shoppers that just like to browse. NOTICE - Although each tour states a degree of physical difficulty (from 1 to 3), it is somewhat understated in order to promote the tour. Several passengers were just worn out and had to take a taxi€™s back to the tour buses. Toulon, France - Walked around the port village. Sidewalk markets were open. Livorno, Italy - Took a tour to the walled city of Lucca and the Tower of Pisa. Few aggressive/annoying vendors. Civitavecchia, Italy - Took a tour of Rome, Coliseum, the old ruins, and the Vatican. Few aggressive/annoying vendors. Naples, Italy - Rented a Hertz car and drove/toured the Pompeii excavations. Many aggressive/annoying vendors. Mikonos, Greece - Walked around the village. Very few aggressive/annoying vendors. Istanbul, Turkey - Took a general bus tour of the old city, stopped at the Blue Mosque and the Grand Bazaar. Too many aggressive/annoying vendors. WARNING (Depending upon your point-of-view, this can be entertaining or annoying): The Istanbul tour guide unloaded the bus (40+/-) in front of a Turkish rug dealer (Gordes) where the tour would observe the process of how a Turkish rug is made. In a large room we watched the looming process with explanations from their guide. That ended when hot apple cider and a half of a Turkish bagel was distributed to all. Unexpectedly at this point, a high-pressure sales pitch had begun with the display of dozens of very expensive Turkish rugs laid out at our feet. Then, a dozen highly experienced rug salesmen entered the room to counter every possible reason to not purchase anything. A few from the tour ended up buying a rug. This "commercial" was unexpected and uncalled for. Probably a "kick-back" type operation. Kuradasi, Turkey - Walked around the port village. Far too many ultra-aggressive vendors all over the place. Athens, Greece - Took an excellent guided tour of Athens and the Acropolis. Serious walking and climbing stairs. Careful: Very slippery walking surfaces. Few aggressive vendors. Venice, Italy - We are planning a self-walking/water bus/water taxi tour of the city for the day. CRUISE REVIEW - NCL SPIRIT - 12 day Mediterranean Cruise (3,800+ miles) Oct. 9-21, 2014

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Oct 12, 2014

Medetrannien

We cruised in the Mediterranean from Venice to Barcelona. We were very satisfied with the cruise. My husband loved the shows and the cleanliness of the cabin. We had excellent service and enjoyed the shore excursions. The food and dining service was excellent. The cabin was very clean although a bit small. But we still liked it and it was comfortable. Excellent shows and other entertainment on the ship! Very well organized

tours that we bought through Norwegian Cruise Line. My husband and I enjoyed every moment. We will take another cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line and the Norwegian Spirit!

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