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  #1  
Old August 17th, 2011, 04:58 PM
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Default Honest Spirit Review 8/7-8/14

This was my 8th cruise and first with NCL. I am in my mid 30's (don't let the screen name fool you, that was years ago) and as you can see by my signature, I have no loyalty to any brand. My wife and I started going in 2002 and haven't missed many years. We tend to go for the deal 1st, itinerary 2nd, and brand of ship 3rd. We should stick with one and we would be getting some rewards. I will do the best I can to take it one day at a time and give you the details. If you have questions feel free to ask.

Pre-Trip
Flew to NOLA and stayed at the Astor Crown Plaza on the corner of Canal and Bourbon. It was a nice enough hotel with water pressure that varied while you showered but good enough for one night. We stayed on the Bourbon street side that over looked the pool. It is loud on that side of the hotel, but its the price you pay for that good of a location. We only payed $119 on priceline so we felt good about it.

Day 1 Embarkation
Port of New Orleans is one of the easiest and friendliest that I can remember. That was a great experience for us. We got to the ship around noon and were eating before 1:00. We stayed in 9026. It is a balcony room forward on the starboard side. The room seems smaller than other balcony rooms we have had but the bathroom, including shower, is much bigger. You lose some floor and closet space but if bathrooms are important you will like this one. I have read reviews about mold in the showers so I was looking, but we had none. Sailing out of the Mississippi was very cool we enjoyed the scenery that night.
Dinner in Windows that night and it was a great start to dinner. The people we were with seemed to enjoy it. The show that night is the welcome on board deal and it was ok. My biggest complaint about the Spirit was the entertainment. I though Jorgos (magician) was pretty weak. He was funny and his individual show was way better than what he did that night or in the elements show, but when compared to other magicians we have seen on 7 other cruises he was down on the list. The comedian seemed like a good guy too, but just not that funny. Sam Griesbaum (sp?) was his name. Jorgos I think was getting off with us so from now on it will be different. All in all it was a good start to a good week.
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  #2  
Old August 17th, 2011, 05:11 PM
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Default Review Part 2

Day 2 - Sea Day
This was a nice and relaxing day. We hung out by the pool, and like every other ship, people get up early to save their deck chair. So just know that going into it. Not too much to report on this day. I know we went to the show that night, but cannot remember what it was. It must have been great. LOL. We did the Buffet at lunch and I would give it a B grade, which is what I would give most cruise, and land Buffets. It was so weird, but I never had a good hamburger on this ship. Most of the time you can guarantee a good burger, but every bun I had was dry. I know it sounds like I'm just looking to gripe, but you will see what I am talking about if you go. Dinner was in the Garden Room. I actually preferred the service and everyday menu in this restaurant as opposed to Windows. They are basically the same place, and share a kitchen. Garden lets you wear shorts to dinner, Windows does not. We always had on pants for dinner, but others in shorts didn't bother us.

Day 3 - Costa Maya
In a word...RUSTIC. This is a port that has obviously been damaged by storms. This was the only place we didn't do ship tours. If you go to Costa Maya, do yourself a favor and spend the day at MAYA CHAN. They were awesome and we had a great laid back day at a very good all inclusive. Costa Maya has some crazy grass that grows all over the beaches but they do a good job of keeping their section of the beach clear of dead grass. This was probably my favorite day. If not this than the next day was it.
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  #3  
Old August 17th, 2011, 05:47 PM
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Default Review Part 3

Day 4 - Roatan
We went to Tabyana Beach this day. It has some of the most beautiful water I have ever seen. If you like to snorkel do it here. We packed our own snorkel gear and skipped to guided tour. The tour that was $25 more than ours swam right through us so we knew we were in the right sport. There were tons of scuba tours here as well and all you have to do to see the exact same stuff is walk in from the beach. Great and beautiful day. The food here was not as good as Maya Chan but it was good. They have incredible lemon aid at this place. I have no clue what they do to it, but it is delicious. Pack sun screen for this day. It was the only place any of us got burned.

Day 5 - Belize City
Maybe I never did the research but the ship didn't warn us either. I have no problem having to tender, We have done that in several places, but this is one longer tender ride from the ship to shore. So that was your warning. We never got sick but it is just a longer ride than we were expecting. We did the jungle trek and cave tubing excursion. It was about an hour and half bus ride for us that day. Once we got there it took them a while to get our group equipped and paired up with a guide. He was good though and we started our 30-45 min hike followed up with a 45-60 min float. The lunch provided here was the worst meal we had the entire week, but on a cruise if the food is bad it won't be long until you can find something good to eat. We got back on our bus, all 50 people on board fell asleep and with in another hour or so we were back at the tourist village.
If you don't want to book through the ship, I get it we rarely do on most trips, just be careful roaming the streets here.

Second City did the show this night and it was by far the best thing all week. DO NOT MISS THIS.

Day 6 - Cozumel
We did Xcaret here. It truly is an amazing place but we didn't feel like we had enough time in port to fully enjoy this place. First off, it is huge. So after the 45 min very nice ferry ride to Cancun, and the 30 bus ride we only had 4 hours until we had to start back. The underground river takes about an hour to explore and you will spend a ton of time walking from one attraction to the other. It is a beautiful place that I hope you can visit at some point but this is probably not the best way to do it.

Elements was the show this night and it was good. It was hoaky at some points (Jorgos), but the Russian Acrobats and dancers saved the day. I'd recommend you go.

Dinner this night was at Cagney's. I was given a $50 dining credit so we decided we better use it. The food was good 10 oz fillet mignon, but I was glad we didn't have to pay our money for it. It was not that much better than the dining room. We had good food and service in both all week.

Day 7 - Sea Day
We just spent this day relaxing pool side and got packed up and ready to head home. It was a nice day enjoyed on board.

Disembarkation Day
Easiest one I have ever done. Without a doubt. They do a very good job of getting you on and off the ship.

If you have any questions just ask.
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  #4  
Old August 17th, 2011, 07:30 PM
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welove2cruise232 welove2cruise232 is online now
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Thanks for posting your review -- sounds like you had a good time on the Spirit -- we cruised on this ship 7/24 and had an amazing time -- I must say this is my favorite ship in the NCL fleet, so I'm a little biased! We don't go to the shows anymore -- been there, done that -- prefer to head to the bars and listen to the various music around the ship. Did you happen to catch the ship's jazz band or Jose and Patti? GREAT entertainment! Sorry you were disappointed in Cagney's -- we had by far the best meals on board here, and went twice. However our favorite meal was the enchanted dinner -- yes, it's pricey, but it was an amazing meal.

Did you go to your meet and greet and get a chance to meet with the officers and crew?
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  #5  
Old August 17th, 2011, 07:31 PM
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Wow!
That was waaaay too quick!
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  #6  
Old August 17th, 2011, 07:53 PM
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Day 3 - Costa Maya
In a word...RUSTIC. This is a port that has obviously been damaged by storms. This was the only place we didn't do ship tours. If you go to Costa Maya, do yourself a favor and spend the day at MAYA CHAN. They were awesome and we had a great laid back day at a very good all inclusive. Costa Maya has some crazy grass that grows all over the beaches but they do a good job of keeping their section of the beach clear of dead grass. This was probably my favorite day. If not this than the next day was it.
Do you immediately notice that there is damage when porting here? What is "rustic" about it? Or was it the trip to Maya Chan? Just wondering.
We are booked with Maya Chan and can not wait to get there for a nice relaxing "private" place to go. I've nothing but good reviews about Mark and his crew. Did you happen to do any snorkeling while there? Just wondering how good the snorkeling was if so.

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Originally Posted by 20SomethingJeff View Post
Day 4 - Roatan
We went to Tabyana Beach this day. It has some of the most beautiful water I have ever seen. If you like to snorkel do it here. We packed our own snorkel gear and skipped to guided tour. The tour that was $25 more than ours swam right through us so we knew we were in the right sport. There were tons of scuba tours here as well and all you have to do to see the exact same stuff is walk in from the beach.
Did you snorkel right in front of Tabyana? We plan on doing zip lining in Roatan and then they take you to West Bay for the rest of the time. I was told that the best place to snorkel on that beach (since it's only like 1 mile long or so) is right in front of Infinity. Just wondering exactly where you were at so we'll know "the spot" to go.



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Originally Posted by 20SomethingJeff View Post
Day 5 - Belize City
Maybe I never did the research but the ship didn't warn us either. I have no problem having to tender, We have done that in several places, but this is one longer tender ride from the ship to shore. So that was your warning. We never got sick but it is just a longer ride than we were expecting. We did the jungle trek and cave tubing excursion. It was about an hour and half bus ride for us that day. Once we got there it took them a while to get our group equipped and paired up with a guide. He was good though and we started our 30-45 min hike followed up with a 45-60 min float. The lunch provided here was the worst meal we had the entire week, but on a cruise if the food is bad it won't be long until you can find something good to eat. We got back on our bus, all 50 people on board fell asleep and with in another hour or so we were back at the tourist village.
Which company did you go with? What time did they get you back to port? When was the last tender to get back on the ship? I assume that they have repaired the roads there (since you mentioned that people fell asleep on the way back to the port). I've read so many reviews that said there is nothing but pot holes everywhere and it is quite a bumpy ride.


Thanks in advance.
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Old August 17th, 2011, 08:55 PM
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Thanks for posting your review. I have been on the Spirit twice and realy do like the ship. The Jewel Class ships (Pearl and Gem) have become my favorite however.

We will be on the Star out of Tampa in February and will be stopping at these ports. Your information is really helping me with my plans.

Thanks again.
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Old August 18th, 2011, 12:11 AM
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[quote=20SomethingJeff;30229410]Day 4 - Roatan
We went to Tabyana Beach this day. It has some of the most beautiful water I have ever seen. If you like to snorkel do it here. We packed our own snorkel gear and skipped to guided tour. The tour that was $25 more than ours swam right through us so we knew we were in the right sport. There were tons of scuba tours here as well and all you have to do to see the exact same stuff is walk in from the beach. Great and beautiful day. The food here was not as good as Maya Chan but it was good. They have incredible lemon aid at this place. I have no clue what they do to it, but it is delicious. Pack sun screen for this day. It was the only place any of us got burned.

Day 5 - Belize City
Maybe I never did the research but the ship didn't warn us either. I have no problem having to tender, We have done that in several places, but this is one longer tender ride from the ship to shore. So that was your warning. We never got sick but it is just a longer ride than we were expecting. We did the jungle trek and cave tubing excursion. It was about an hour and half bus ride for us that day. Once we got there it took them a while to get our group equipped and paired up with a guide. He was good though and we started our 30-45 min hike followed up with a 45-60 min float. The lunch provided here was the worst meal we had the entire week, but on a cruise if the food is bad it won't be long until you can find something good to eat. We got back on our bus, all 50 people on board fell asleep and with in another hour or so we were back at the tourist village.
If you don't want to book through the ship, I get it we rarely do on most trips, just be careful roaming the streets here.




I think my BF and I must have been on your bus in Roatan...it was as soon as it was moving, the ENTIRE bus fell asleep!!! But the tubing was so much fun!! I also completely agree with you about the meal there!!!

We also did the beach in Tabayana and also brought out snorkel sets and I think it was THE BEST snorkeling I have ever done!!! It was AMAZING!!!

Jorgos was the CHEESIEST act I have ever seen! It was laughable how bad he was!!
Last week one the Spirit was so much fun! I think the Freestyle Cruising really suited us and now can't wait to book another one!

Jen
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Last edited by justrache; August 18th, 2011 at 12:12 AM.
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Old August 18th, 2011, 02:21 PM
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Default Some Answers

Costa Maya-
Costa Maya was Rustic in the sense that it was for the most part dirt roads. The houses along to road to Maya Chan had laundry hanging from lines. It looks like time has passed this place by and they don't seem to mind.
We didn't go snorkeling there but I can tell you most of our party did. They saw a few star fish and that was it. It is not great snorkeling but if you are board when they start the tour, go for it. It is free.

Roatan-
Yes right in front of it. We swam all over but we entered the water right there. You can go further out and see some amazing stuff (sea turtle for me) if you go into the deeper waters. If you are on the beach facing the ocean the part I am talking about is to your right. You can't go past the white buoys, and the orange ones are your guides.

Belize-
I am not sure the name of the company. We booked through the ship. We were back to the port a couple hours maybe before the last tender. The roads were not good at all but our bus was really tired, I guess.
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Old August 18th, 2011, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by 20SomethingJeff View Post
Costa Maya-
Costa Maya was Rustic in the sense that it was for the most part dirt roads. The houses along to road to Maya Chan had laundry hanging from lines. It looks like time has passed this place by and they don't seem to mind.
We didn't go snorkeling there but I can tell you most of our party did. They saw a few star fish and that was it. It is not great snorkeling but if you are board when they start the tour, go for it. It is free.

Roatan-
Yes right in front of it. We swam all over but we entered the water right there. You can go further out and see some amazing stuff (sea turtle for me) if you go into the deeper waters. If you are on the beach facing the ocean the part I am talking about is to your right. You can't go past the white buoys, and the orange ones are your guides.

Belize-
I am not sure the name of the company. We booked through the ship. We were back to the port a couple hours maybe before the last tender. The roads were not good at all but our bus was really tired, I guess.
Costa Maya...do they have different times they go out to snorkel? I know people have said that they don't go out very far. I'm just wondering because me and my husband will be there with our 3 year old and of course we can't take her out there. So, we would have to take turns going. So, I was just wondering if they do more than 1 trip out.

Thanks for the info and tips. I appreciate it.
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Old August 18th, 2011, 02:56 PM
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Costa Maya...do they have different times they go out to snorkel? I know people have said that they don't go out very far. I'm just wondering because me and my husband will be there with our 3 year old and of course we can't take her out there. So, we would have to take turns going. So, I was just wondering if they do more than 1 trip out.

Thanks for the info and tips. I appreciate it.
They did the day we were there. I think it depends on how many people want to go. We were there with our 2 kids (2 1/2 and 9 months) and my brother and sister-in-law. They went with the first group and based on their review we decided not to go. I was pretty comfortable laying in the hammock with my baby though.
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Last edited by 20SomethingJeff; August 18th, 2011 at 02:57 PM. Reason: typo
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Old August 18th, 2011, 03:25 PM
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They did the day we were there. I think it depends on how many people want to go. We were there with our 2 kids (2 1/2 and 9 months) and my brother and sister-in-law. They went with the first group and based on their review we decided not to go. I was pretty comfortable laying in the hammock with my baby though.
Thanks for the info. I love snorkeling. But it looks like there aren't very many fish where they take you??
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Old August 18th, 2011, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by 20SomethingJeff View Post
Day 4 - Roatan


Day 5 - Belize City
Maybe I never did the research but the ship didn't warn us either. I have no problem having to tender, We have done that in several places, but this is one longer tender ride from the ship to shore. So that was your warning. We never got sick but it is just a longer ride than we were expecting. We did the jungle trek and cave tubing excursion. It was about an hour and half bus ride for us that day. Once we got there it took them a while to get our group equipped and paired up with a guide. He was good though and we started our 30-45 min hike followed up with a 45-60 min float. The lunch provided here was the worst meal we had the entire week, but on a cruise if the food is bad it won't be long until you can find something good to eat. We got back on our bus, all 50 people on board fell asleep and with in another hour or so we were back at the tourist village.
If you don't want to book through the ship, I get it we rarely do on most trips, just be careful roaming the streets here.

Second City did the show this night and it was by far the best thing all week. DO NOT MISS THIS.
Hope you went to the adult Second City show on the last night.
That was the best!
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Old August 22nd, 2011, 01:49 PM
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Hi, can you tell me who currently is the Cruise Director, and concierge on the Spirit?
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Old August 22nd, 2011, 04:47 PM
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Thanks for the info. I love snorkeling. But it looks like there aren't very many fish where they take you??
don't snorkel in Costa Maya, do your snorkeling in Roatan or even Belize, Cozumel is great as well but the water can be very rough.

NIta
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Old August 22nd, 2011, 04:51 PM
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i think you gave us a very fair and balanced review as you saw it. My only real issue and that could have to do with your not doing this particular intinerary too many times or maybe never, is with the Rustic comment about Costa Maya. It has been completely rebuilt since the hurricane which was about 4 years ago or maybe 5. I think comments like the dirt roads have more to do with your not realizing that part of Mexico is very under-developed. It has little to do with the hurricane. Still you are right the roads aren't the best and yes, MayaChan is the best place to spend a day.
As for NCL not telling you about the long tender, I have cruised all mass marketed lines, we are about to do our 27th cruise and I don't remember any line informing us much about the length of the tender. Oh, yes, the cabins are very small. The sq ft are listed on NCLS website and often mentioned here.
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Old August 22nd, 2011, 06:19 PM
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don't snorkel in Costa Maya, do your snorkeling in Roatan or even Belize, Cozumel is great as well but the water can be very rough.

NIta
I can vouch for that.... The snorkeling in Roatan was AMAZING! The BEST I have ever done! We walked right to the reef from Tabayana Beach.
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Old August 22nd, 2011, 06:23 PM
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Hi, can you tell me who currently is the Cruise Director, and concierge on the Spirit?
The Cruise Director is "Big Ken" Mills but you hear and see the Assistant Cruise Director "Funky" Felix more often. I can't help you with the concierge question though. Sorry

Jen
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Old August 22nd, 2011, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by newmexicoNita View Post
don't snorkel in Costa Maya, do your snorkeling in Roatan or even Belize, Cozumel is great as well but the water can be very rough.

NIta
Quote:
Originally Posted by justrache View Post
I can vouch for that.... The snorkeling in Roatan was AMAZING! The BEST I have ever done! We walked right to the reef from Tabayana Beach.
We love to snorkel and I knew that they take people out to the "reef" or where ever it is to snorkel from there and thought I would ask.

In Roatan, we are doing the zip and dip tour with Victor Bodden. So we will make it there to snorkel.

As for Belize, we won't get to do any snorkeling there. We are doing the cave tubing tour with .bz sine we've never done that before. Maybe another time.
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  #20  
Old August 22nd, 2011, 07:55 PM
shooten shooten is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: San Diego
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Quote:
Originally Posted by webzila View Post
Hope you went to the adult Second City show on the last night.
That was the best!
Yep, I had a talk with my daughter last night about pancakes...
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