NCL Spirit August 14-21, 2009 Boston to Bermuda cruise: comprehensive review

This was my second NCL cruise and the less satisfying of the 2. I can only recommend this cruise to people in the Boston area who want to leave on a cruise from Boston for convenience. I understand that NCL is also the only cruise line that has 7 day cruises to Bermuda with 3 days there. So if 2 days in Bermuda isn’t enough, I could certainly see cruising there and staying for three days – that might be more relaxing than flying to Bermuda and then finding a hotel.

For experienced cruisers, however, the Spirit is unlikely to compare favorably to your other cruises. The ship is relatively small – the pool is tiny and there aren’t a lot of extras that make you say “wow, how’d they get that on a ship?” It seemed similar to the NCL Pearl I took to Alaska, but the Spirit had no bowling lanes and no shabu shabu. They did have a few things the Pearl did not have, however; the Indian night ($15 cover) sounded interesting but they had often had an Indian dish on the main dinging room menu (free).

Despite the relatively small size of the ship, it didn’t really have an intimate feel. For example, if you go eat breakfast at the buffet around 9:00 AM it will be way too crowded. I know that stressed my sister out a bit. My wife and I chose to wake up early every day and go to the main dining room where the breakfast food was very good but the service was slow.

We noticed slow service in the restaurants was pretty typical on this cruise. We were on vacation to relax so it wasn’t too bad but being from New York and living in Seoul – I just appreciate speedy service so that I can decide how long the meal takes.

Speaking of food, there were several times when we were really surprised at how salty some of the dishes were. My family tends to like salty food but there were quite a few times when something would just have way too much salt. It may sound funny to complain about free food because you can get something else instead. However, wasting food and waiting is not really comfortable. Interestingly, we only had this problem in the main dining room. The specialty restaurants were always very good.

While we’re talking about specialty restaurants, we joked on the last night as we ate in the Italian one that we’d have eaten there every night if we had just tried it earlier. The cover is a little less ($10) and the food was very good (with the exception of the canoli that must have been pre-filled so it was nasty and soggy). The Asian restaurant (where you can get regular Asian dishes or sushi) was very good. We went twice. We didn’t try Teppenyaki since it was pretty bad on the NCL Pearl. We didn’t try Cagney’s steakhouse because it was $25. For $35 you can have dinner in a famous steakhouse during restaurant week ($25 for lunch) and I guess because of the economy, restaurant week lasted for all of August at some places.

The rooms seemed quite small. I have no problem with small rooms but some people were a bit disappointed. I had a cheap inside room but even the balcony rooms seemed quite small. They certainly didn’t seem as nice as the balcony I was in on the Norwegian Pearl.

Overall it was a great vacation but I think there are certainly better cruises out there. If you’re limited to ones leaving from Boston, then I’m not so sure but this may be the best you can do. It’s good, just not great.

Other NCL Spirit cruise related posts:

2 pictures

2 more pictures

The bad start

Days 1 & 2

Shore excursion talk

Confusion over edocs

Do you expect good entertainment on cruises?

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Comments (3)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Get rid of this guy. All he does is whine about everything. And if he is not whining he is repeating that he is from NY and now lives in Korea. Go get a life!

  2. James Trotta says:

    What kind of review do you want Roadie? The kind that says everything is perfect so go spend thousands of dollars and trust that everything will be just the way you like it?

  3. […] 6: Ship is important too. GF just came back from Norwegian Spirit from Barcelona to Venice. Great itinerary, terrible ship. I want to do this with the parents next […]

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