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Review: Norwegian Spirit ~ 10-day Canary Islands and Morocco from Barcelona

Review: Norwegian Spirit ~ 10-day Canary Islands and Morocco from Barcelona

Postby Wansbrough » 07 Dec 2014 18:00

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Norwegian Spirit in Tangier


1. Choice of itinerary

This has already been covered in the opening post of my Digital Postcard topic. >>>HERE<<<

2. Cabin
This has been reviewed >>>HERE<<<

3. Embarkation

Barcelona was the departure port and one we have embarked at previously, also with NCL. Not the quickest or the slowest and I think our timings may have had something to do with it. Lots of desks open but all very busy.

4. Ports of call

The original itinerary was this
Day 1 Wednesday, November 26, 2014 Fly from Heathrow to Barcelona & Embark
Day 2 Thursday, November 27, 2014 At Sea
Day 3 Friday, November 28, 2014 Casablanca, Morocco
Day 4 Saturday, November 29, 2014 At Sea
Day 5 Sunday, November 30, 2014 Madeira (Funchal), Portugal
Day 6 Monday, December 1, 2014 Santa Cruz, Tenerife
Day 7 Tuesday, December 2, 2014 Arrecife, Lanzarote
Day 8 Wednesday, December 3, 2014 At Sea
Day 9 Thursday, December 4, 2014 Malaga, Spain
Day 10 Friday, December 5, At Sea
Day 11 Saturday, December 6, 2014 Barcelona, Spain ~ Disembark and fly home

But due to some rather nasty weather the captain told us that in the interest of safety to all passengers & crew we needed to drop the ports of Casablanca & Funchal. A bit of shock to start with and also disappointment but we soon got over it and started wonder how we would manage at ports we had not done any research into. The first day instead of being a sea day we stopped at Valencia and then it was soon announced that the following day would be a sea day followed by a stop at Tangier. This was presumably as far as we dare go until the forecast would give us the green light to carry on to the Canary Islands.

5. Public Spaces
The Norwegian Spirit was originally called Superstar Leo and was launched in September 1998 for use in the Singapore and operated 2-5 Night Cruises to Malaysia and Thailand. The previous owner being Star Cruises who have part shares in NCL.


Norwegian Spirit's Grand Centrum

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Because of this the ship has many characteristics not found in the rest of the NCL fleet and there is very much an eastern influence in the ships decor. Here are a few photos which will illustrate what I mean.
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The Casino

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One of the many elephants heads in the casino


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These displays were on every landing


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What was quite quirky were the banker style public phone dotted all over the ship which must have been part of the original décor.



A prom deck you can walk all the way around the ship. 4 laps = 1.4 miles



6. Dining


Windows Restaurant which was our favoured dining venue


As with all of the NCL fleet there are various speciality restaurants on board along with the complimentary ones. The free ones for want of a better name are called Windows & Garden and both are located on deck 6, the larger of the 2 (Windows) is located at the aft while the other is midship. We have so far favoured Windows as this one at least requires the gents to wear trousers in the evening and we have always like to put something smart on when going out to dinner. All of the restaurants are what NCL call Freestyle Dining which basically means you can turn up when you want. We have never had to wait more than 5 minutes for a table so from our perspective it works quite well. The food too has been good but a little inconsistent, some of it being exceptional while others very lacking indeed. The service too has been excellent and NCL have obviously fine tuned this style of eating to perfection and it is really fascinating to watch the tables being reset ready for the next diners. We thought they must have been influenced by formula one tyre changes.
For the speciality restaurants you are advised to book and the one that everybody seems to be favouring is Teppanyaki ($25 cover charge) which is Japanese style cuisine prepared in front of you. The other restaurants include Sushi, La Trattoria (Classic Italian cuisine with a $15 cover), Shogun which is described as an Asian fusion ($15 cover), Le Bistro ($20 cover) French Gourmet, Cagney’s ($30 cover) American Steakhouse. None of the following were able to tempt us as we are more than happy with the complimentary food.


Raffles Buffet on deck 12


7. Entertainment

We were particularly taken with the theatre layout which felt comfortable and spacious

For the first time in many cruises we made the effort to visit the shows in the theatre, this was mainly an after effect of the weather being so poor. Whereas if the weather was nice and warm we would stay out and eat later thus missing the early show in favour of food. The result of poor weather and the Freestyle Dining meant we ate earlier in the evening and then went to the later show. The acts generally were very entertaining, the ships production cast were very good and the other acts we saw were equally as watch-able.
These included
Sander & Alison (illusionists) http://sanderandalison.com/home.html
A duo of acrobats who I never found the name of but were superb. Combining the usual balancing skills and tricks with a touch of ballet. Due to a change of entertainment in the daily programme their name was never published.
Gary Lovini the UK violinist http://www.garylovini.com/
4ever who were four male vocalists from Uruguay and Spain and Italy (an Il Divo tribute act)
Also of note was the ships specially show which was called Elements and utilised the combined talents of the Sander & Alison, the production crew and the two acrobats. A very good show indeed.

The tail end of the Elements show where they allowed photography (Theatre photos by Rod)



8. Excursions/Trips
As this was to be a warm weather cruise with a spot of sun worshipping we never really planned to do too much. The exceptions being we had planned to see the Hassan II mosque at Casablanca which never happened anyway and also we visited the Alhambra Palace near Granada when we ported at Malaga. I will post a separate topic of the later in due course.

9. Service & Staff
The crew of the Norwegian Spirit were one of the friendliest and happy crews we have ever experienced. They were all very well drilled at their posts and interacted superbly with the rest of the passengers. There were lots of smiles all round which do eventually become infectious to all (well nearly all).
10. Problems and their resolution
The main problem being the change in itinerary which NCL dealt with really well. Tours were provided at both new ports for those wanting to take them. I think the first port was made easier by the fact the Norwegian Jade was also there so it was a case of just increasing the capacity on the tours to allow for another ship.

11. Overall impression
Having only cruised on 2 taster cruises and a 7 night western med on NCL’s bigger ships we were curious to see how the smaller ships would suite us. We were pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed the experience of the smaller and older ship.
The weather was awful really but it didn’t stop us from enjoying the cruise, all we did was embrace some of the other things we don’t normally do on a cruise and perhaps this made all the difference?

Here are a selection of photos taken in and around the ship..... and a direct link for those that it doesn't work for. >>>HERE<<<

Last edited by Wansbrough on 22 Dec 2014 11:26, edited 6 times in total.
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Review: Norwegian Spirit ~ 10-day Canary Islands and Morocco from Barcelona

Postby Dave » 07 Dec 2014 18:34

Thanks for the excellent review and fantastic photos W.

I studied all of your photos carefully and my impression is that this NCL ship is nothing at all like I expect an NCL ship to be like. It looks very classy!

I like your comment:

We were pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed the experience of the smaller and older ship.


Now, what have I been saying?... ;) :lol:
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Re: Review: Norwegian Spirit ~ 10-day Canary Islands and Morocco from Barcelona

Postby sevenseascoaster » 07 Dec 2014 19:12

Another interesting review giving a good insight into life on the Spirit, with great photos. It reminded me in places of the décor on the MSC Opera.

Glad you enjoyed another different ships experience.Shame about the weather, but that's one thing we can't change!.
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Re: Review: Norwegian Spirit ~ 10-day Canary Islands and Morocco from Barcelona

Postby JollyJill » 07 Dec 2014 19:18

Thanks for a great review W and of course, the fab photos. I like the look of the ship and we have not yet tried NCL.
What is the likelihood they would sail from somewhere in the UK I wonder.
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Re: Review: Norwegian Spirit ~ 10-day Canary Islands and Morocco from Barcelona

Postby tomvet » 07 Dec 2014 20:32

Thanks for the review W. We have cruised on the Pearl and Jade - your pictures reconfirm to me that NCL ship décor is my favourite - bright and airy!

I would love them to return to the UK! Did I dream that Epic was to sail from Southampton.
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Review: Norwegian Spirit ~ 10-day Canary Islands and Morocco from Barcelona

Postby grannyM » 08 Dec 2014 18:03

Thank you W for that great review with your usual excellent photos of Norwegian Spirit. It was a pity that you didn't get to some ports or have sunshine you hoped for, especially in the Canaries but you definitely seemed to have made the most of the cruise.

There were a few things you said in the review that were similar to what we felt about our experience on Jade and why we repeated it. The happiest crew ever and smiles and friendliness seemed absolutely genuine. The shows were mostly very enjoyable and the one you mentioned 'Elements' was spectacular. It was so good and because we were on a 7 night back to back we went back the second week to see it. :D

I did enjoy your comments about this ship as I think it could be our next Norwegian experience, if we have one. We still have a future cruises deposit and I don't fancy the cabin set up on Epic with the wash basin in the main cabin and not in the toilet. :roll:
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Re: Review: Norwegian Spirit ~ 10-day Canary Islands and Morocco from Barcelona

Postby grannyM » 08 Dec 2014 18:07

JollyJill wrote:Thanks for a great review W and of course, the fab photos. I like the look of the ship and we have not yet tried NCL.
What is the likelihood they would sail from somewhere in the UK I wonder.


Jill,
We would really love Norwegian to have cruises ex UK but as far as we've been told that will not happen in the near future.

Epic will do two cruises to and from Southampton next year before and after dry docking in France but it will then go back to home port in Barcelona after that. This from Norwegian's website.

Norwegian cruise line Press Release April 2014
Norwegian Epic to Sail from Southhampton in Fall 2015
Norwegian's largest ship to date will cruise to and from England before beginning new year-round Europe itineraries
Miami - Apr 24, 2014 ---
Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that Norwegian Epic has added two sailings to and from Southampton, England in 2015, marking the first time that the ship has visited the port since the inaugural celebration in June 2010.

Norwegian Epic, named "Best Ship for Sea Days" by Cruise Critic and "Best Overall Cruise Ship" by the readers of Travel Weekly two years in a row, will sail one six- and one seven-night Iberian Peninsula itinerary. The ship's six-night sailing will depart Barcelona on September 20, 2015 and arrive in Southampton on September 26, 2015, with ports of call including Cartagena, Spain; Granada (Malaga), Spain; and Lisbon, Portugal.

Following a 15-day dry dock in France, Norwegian Epic will embark on a seven-night Iberian Peninsula cruise from Southampton to Barcelona on October 11, 2015. The ship will visit ports of call including Vigo, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; Granada (Malaga) and Cartagena, Spain.
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Re: Review: Norwegian Spirit ~ 10-day Canary Islands and Morocco from Barcelona

Postby JollyJill » 08 Dec 2014 18:24

grannyM wrote:
JollyJill wrote:Thanks for a great review W and of course, the fab photos. I like the look of the ship and we have not yet tried NCL.
What is the likelihood they would sail from somewhere in the UK I wonder.


Jill,
We would really love Norwegian to have cruises ex UK but as far as we've been told that will not happen in the near future.

Epic will do two cruises to and from Southampton next year before and after dry docking in France but it will then go back to home port in Barcelona after that. This from Norwegian's website.

Norwegian cruise line Press Release April 2014
Norwegian Epic to Sail from Southhampton in Fall 2015
Norwegian's largest ship to date will cruise to and from England before beginning new year-round Europe itineraries
Miami - Apr 24, 2014 ---
Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that Norwegian Epic has added two sailings to and from Southampton, England in 2015, marking the first time that the ship has visited the port since the inaugural celebration in June 2010.

Norwegian Epic, named "Best Ship for Sea Days" by Cruise Critic and "Best Overall Cruise Ship" by the readers of Travel Weekly two years in a row, will sail one six- and one seven-night Iberian Peninsula itinerary. The ship's six-night sailing will depart Barcelona on September 20, 2015 and arrive in Southampton on September 26, 2015, with ports of call including Cartagena, Spain; Granada (Malaga), Spain; and Lisbon, Portugal.

Following a 15-day dry dock in France, Norwegian Epic will embark on a seven-night Iberian Peninsula cruise from Southampton to Barcelona on October 11, 2015. The ship will visit ports of call including Vigo, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; Granada (Malaga) and Cartagena, Spain.


Thanks Marie; looks like we will not be sailing with NCL in the near future then.
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