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It was our 10th anniversary this year, but I am a teacher and we have a 2yo and a 5yo. We were trying to figure out something that was new and exciting, had some active days and some relaxing days, would fit with our schedule but not drop us into summer crowds, and was something we would eventually want to go back and explore more when our kids get older. This cruise fit all the bills, so we booked. We are somewhat control-freak nervous-travelers, but can definitely relax when the time is right, so we planned to land a day early, and leave a day later. We landed in Rome, booked an afternoon tour of the Vatican, checked into our hotel, and took the free shuttle down to the city center. Rome is great, and we are definitely going to come back, but that doesn't have much to do with the cruise, so I will move on. Embarkation day we went to the airport to meet our transfer. I think we were the first ones there, there was a bit of a wait and not a lot of direction, but in the end, we got on an awesome double-decker bus, met some of our neighbors for the next ten days and enjoyed a gorgeous ride from the airport to the cruise port. It was amazing. The cruise port was great, they had a lot of seating, amenities, called people up by group, processed everything quickly, and got us on the ship by noon. My husband left his passport at the check-in desk and they ended up leaving us a notice in our stateroom that we had lost something and they recovered it, so we went to guest services to retrieve it. We didn't even know we had left it because the first day of the cruise was sea-day, so we hadn't needed it. Day 1 was exploration, we found the irish pub, Henry's, that became our home for the cruise, and where we met the best people, including Jay, the bartender. Boy is he knowledgeable about whiskeys! And really just the best with customer service!! The art gallery onboard (an actual art gallery, not a hallway or 'we took over this lounge for a few hours') was great, especially because we have a habit of buying art on every cruise we go on. The steakhouse food was great. None of the food servers were really anything to write home about, and some of them were pretty obnoxious, but with the freestyle dining, they can be easily avoided. The Italian restaurant onboard makes up for in taste what it lacks in ambiance (as it is just a section of the buffet cordoned off at night for the specialty dining). The Osso Bucco was to die for. The french restaurant was kind of a waste of time and effort, and I am glad we took two nights in the steakhouse instead. The shore excursion staff was GREAT!! Most of the excursions were amazing and well worth it. The only one I would warn against was the Athens Acropolis and Leisure tour. The Acropolis can be seen alone and read about in a travel book, and the leisure just consisted of 'eat at this restaurant we get a kickback from and shop at these stores we get a kickback from' with not the best tour guides. I wish there had been more time to get off the boat and explore in Crete (we only had a 5 hour port call and Chania doesn't have much, so it is a half hour or more to get to anything non-industrial), but it was also nice to relax on the ship one of the days to recover from all of the exploring. The ship was perfect and the experience still has me glowing and excited for our next trek to Greece or Italy!!

Best Experience on and off the ship!

Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review by ranasmama

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: April 2019
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Oceanview Picture Window
It was our 10th anniversary this year, but I am a teacher and we have a 2yo and a 5yo. We were trying to figure out something that was new and exciting, had some active days and some relaxing days, would fit with our schedule but not drop us into summer crowds, and was something we would eventually want to go back and explore more when our kids get older. This cruise fit all the bills, so we booked. We are somewhat control-freak nervous-travelers, but can definitely relax when the time is right, so we planned to land a day early, and leave a day later. We landed in Rome, booked an afternoon tour of the Vatican, checked into our hotel, and took the free shuttle down to the city center. Rome is great, and we are definitely going to come back, but that doesn't have much to do with the cruise, so I will move on.

Embarkation day we went to the airport to meet our transfer. I think we were the first ones there, there was a bit of a wait and not a lot of direction, but in the end, we got on an awesome double-decker bus, met some of our neighbors for the next ten days and enjoyed a gorgeous ride from the airport to the cruise port. It was amazing. The cruise port was great, they had a lot of seating, amenities, called people up by group, processed everything quickly, and got us on the ship by noon. My husband left his passport at the check-in desk and they ended up leaving us a notice in our stateroom that we had lost something and they recovered it, so we went to guest services to retrieve it. We didn't even know we had left it because the first day of the cruise was sea-day, so we hadn't needed it. Day 1 was exploration, we found the irish pub, Henry's, that became our home for the cruise, and where we met the best people, including Jay, the bartender. Boy is he knowledgeable about whiskeys! And really just the best with customer service!! The art gallery onboard (an actual art gallery, not a hallway or 'we took over this lounge for a few hours') was great, especially because we have a habit of buying art on every cruise we go on. The steakhouse food was great. None of the food servers were really anything to write home about, and some of them were pretty obnoxious, but with the freestyle dining, they can be easily avoided. The Italian restaurant onboard makes up for in taste what it lacks in ambiance (as it is just a section of the buffet cordoned off at night for the specialty dining). The Osso Bucco was to die for. The french restaurant was kind of a waste of time and effort, and I am glad we took two nights in the steakhouse instead. The shore excursion staff was GREAT!! Most of the excursions were amazing and well worth it. The only one I would warn against was the Athens Acropolis and Leisure tour. The Acropolis can be seen alone and read about in a travel book, and the leisure just consisted of 'eat at this restaurant we get a kickback from and shop at these stores we get a kickback from' with not the best tour guides. I wish there had been more time to get off the boat and explore in Crete (we only had a 5 hour port call and Chania doesn't have much, so it is a half hour or more to get to anything non-industrial), but it was also nice to relax on the ship one of the days to recover from all of the exploring. The ship was perfect and the experience still has me glowing and excited for our next trek to Greece or Italy!!
ranasmama’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Oceanview Picture Window
Cabin OC 6530
Our Cabin was great, our steward was attentive, and we were right off the stairs. The only downside on the 6th deck is that the dining rooms disrupt the flow, so you can't get to your stateroom from any stairs but the forward stairs. BUT, we chose the right location so that we literally just walked off the stairs, turned left, and headed straight to our stateroom. It was really nice!
Deck 6 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Acropolis
    It was nice having the tour guide get us there, she gave us some good info on the way from the port to the Acropolis, but the Acropolis is just crowded, and we could read about a lot of the stuff before or after, so the guide might not have been really necessary. Then they took us to the Plaka...
    View All 319 Acropolis Reviews
  • The Plaka Walking Tour
    The bus drove us by the Olympic stadium, which was cool, then dropped us off at the Plaka, walked us halfway down, suggested a restaurant and a place to shop and that was kind of it. The restaurant they suggested was pretty blah... not good Greek fare... just fast... and not under-priced for that...
    View All 55 The Plaka Walking Tour Reviews
  • Statue of David
    I HAD to see David when we were in Florence, and when I realized we were actually quite far from Florence, we decided to book through the Cruise to get a tour of Florence including a visit to the academy to see The David. The tour was really awesome, it was geared specifically around Michelangelo and his life and influence in Florence, but we also got to see the burial place of Galileo, and the epitaph of Dante (he was never allowed back in to be buried until it was too late), while also getting time to eat and explore on our own. It ended up being our favorite port and excursion, just perfection!
    View All 34 Statue of David Reviews
  • Malta (Valletta)
    It was a little weird because the ship docked late, and the last bus left only 3 hours after we arrived, so we didn't have much time, and only got to do the short route. In fact, the whole island kinda shuts down at sunset, so the late port call (3pm -9pm, i think) was kind of weird... but we took the bus up to Mdina, which is like walking into something from pirate's of the Caribbean. It was so cool. The bus had the audio tour at each seat, so we learned a lot going up there, explored Mdina for a bit, caught a bus back down, and then ate in Valletta. It is kind of a weird little country with so many cultural influences... We definitely want to come back here with a little more time someday!
    View All 12,408 Malta (Valletta) Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Mykonos
    Mykonos, or at least the part we explored, was small, quaint, cute, and amazing. We had some warnings from some people in Athens that they will try to gouge you at the restaurants, but everything was fairly reasonable. Beer and Ouzo is cheaper than water, so drink smart! But the ship provided a free shuttle to the town and it took maybe 5 minutes, and the walking around was just amazing and adorable!
    View All 1,000 Mykonos Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Herculaneum
    Such a cool part of history that is really well-preserved. Our tour guide was amazingly knowledgeable, as she studied under the professor that initiated the excavation of the site in the 60s. The whole thing is funny, breathtaking, historical, and magical. We LOVED this tour!!!
    View All 73 Herculaneum Reviews
  • Rome (Civitavecchia)
    We love ROME!!! It is so hard not to trip on history, and every tour guide is amazing!
    View All 2,110 Rome (Civitavecchia) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Rome (Civitavecchia) Cruise Port Review
  • Oia Village
    Our tour guide was great, told us exactly where to go to get great shots of the village and was very impartial when telling us where to eat. She was great and the tour was fantastic!
    View All 202 Oia Village Reviews
  • City Tour
    We booked a tour through the line that took us to Taormina, The Lava River outside of Zafferana that almost destroyed the town in 1992, and then to a winery near Mt. Etna. Taormina was the most amazing little town and we just loved every step. The people, the views, the shops, THE ESPRESSO!! OMG!! It was amazing. Our guide was great, describing the whole town on the ride up and then set us free to roam around. Then we got back on the bus to head for the Lava River!
    View All 90 City Tour Reviews
  • Mount Etna
    We had a quick stop between Taormina and the Winery at the bottom of the lava flow that almost destroyed Zafferana. It is overwhelming to see what a lava of river looks like, even if you have to imagine it still molten and liquid. The park is beautiful and the views are breathtaking. It is a quick stop, but the pictures were WELL WORTH IT!!!
    View All 79 Mount Etna Reviews
  • Wine Tasting
    Wine Tasting was at Tenuta San Michele on the slopes of Mt. Etna. It is a bit of a walk up to the campus, as the bus cannot use the driveway, but it is GORGEOUS!! The vineyard is run by a family of 6 brothers and one of the brothers gave us the tasting and tour, and it was spectacular. The food spread was great, the wine was great, we toured the whole operation, and it was just lovely!
    View All 21 Wine Tasting Reviews