Sunday, June 23, 2024

Cruising on the NCL Spirit

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Come together with me as I share our Norwegian Cruise Strains cruise! We sailed on a 16 day cruise from Hawaii to Alaska on the NCL Spirit, an older but fantastically refurbished cruise ship that hosted 1900 passengers with 950 crew members aboard this cruise. Utterly renovated in 2020, the Spirit underwent a $100 million refurbishment which exhibits within the finishes and fixtures all through the ship. Be part of me for a have a look at this older model, but elegant ship from NCL.

That is solely my second cruise with NCL, so I’m not but a real cruise ship aficionado, however will try to share what I do know and have discovered about cruising with NCL. That is my fifth cruise I’ve taken and Mark’s third, I believe. So be part of us for a have a look at the cruise ship first after which I’ll share the itinerary with you all. It was an attractive journey and we’re actually pleased that we received to take this journey of a lifetime and see a lot magnificence.

Immediately’s publish will share all concerning the ship, the Norwegian Spirit. I’ll share photos of the ship, our balcony room, a number of areas across the ship and all concerning the meals. This publish is geared extra in the direction of new cruisers since I’m not as skilled as many very long time cruisers are with the matters.

This cruise embarkation started in Honolulu, Hawaii. The cruise schedule was 5 days in Hawaii, 5 days at sea and 5 days in Alaska with yet another at sea day to complete out the journey. We flew dwelling from Vancouver, Canada.

Mark and I deliberate and booked this cruise in January earlier than the April crusing and selected the 16 day cruise from Hawaii to Alaska. After mulling it over and evaluating prices for a cruise, I got here to the conclusion that we would as nicely pay a bit extra and do 2 itineraries as a substitute of only one and I’m glad we did it that approach. I’ll additionally share the professionals and cons of a cruise like this. I needed to considerably discuss Mark into doing a cruise this lengthy, however I satisfied him (why not, he’s retired and I’m semi-retired…that is the time to journey!) and as soon as we had Daisy taken care of with a home/pet sitter, we had been on our approach.

Cruise journey days are brutal and there’s no getting round that truth. It could actually take hours to get to a distant vacation spot and Honolulu may be very removed from Atlanta. We had one cease on our flight to vary planes and arrived noon to Honolulu. I used an area journey agent to assist with our journey and I’m glad I did get the assistance. They know greater than I do about getting one of the best offers, so I used to be glad to have the steerage. I used Barbara Linebarger at Pleasant Reminiscences Journey/Dream Holidays.

I discover it useful to have a bit hand holding on massive journeys like this. They usually know rather more about reserving and perks than we might ever know. I did some looking myself on some websites like Holidays to Go and immediately on the NCL web site to take a look at dates and itineraries to see what was on the market after which had the agent give me quotes for every journey.

Reserving a cabin:

We knew we needed a balcony cabin on this cruise. 16 days on a cruise ship is a very long time and I don’t suppose we might have had expertise with any room lower than a balcony room. An inside room was out of the query for us on this cruise, however we did discuss to 2 different {couples} who received nice offers on an inside room, so if that’s one thing you possibly can deal with (they are often claustrophobic), it can save you some cash on these rooms. We heard a few quotes for inside rooms at $999 and $1500 per particular person, which is a steal for a 16 day cruise. Our balcony room was $7500 for each of us ($3750 per particular person), not together with air. That did embrace the beverage bundle and insurance coverage, one other pesky value to fret about. You won’t want insurance coverage, but when one thing occurs you certain don’t wish to lose all that cash. We let NCL ebook our airfare and I believe they received a fairly whole lot. A visit like this isn’t cheap, however we’re proud of the deal we received. In fact, there are add-ons alongside the way in which, however not an excessive amount of extra. We did fly in a day early, so an additional resort night time keep was further.

We did ebook some excursions earlier than the journey too for Alaska and I’ll discuss extra about that after I do these posts. In fact, excursions add to a visit too value clever, however while you’re on a cruise it’s important to see some issues (that’s the purpose of stopping at ports) and that’s an additional value for a cruise. We ended up reserving excursions by means of our journey agent and never a part of NCL and all of it turned out positive. We didn’t ebook excursions for Hawaii forward of time since we had been assembly Mark’s daughter at 2 out of 4 stops. That every one ended up positive too and I’ll share what we did later. You simply need to be ready for the little further expenses that creep up on a visit like this, as they’re inevitable. Uber fares and airport prices need to be factored in as nicely.

Flying to the Cruise:

Let’s go! As you possibly can see from the above image, the view out of our Southwest aircraft was beautiful! That is our first have a look at Hawaii and wow, it didn’t disappoint. There have been chickens everywhere in the islands, even on the airport. What a shock that was!

I booked the Hilton Hawaiian Village for our one night time in Honolulu. You’ll want to fly in a day early to get on a cruise ship, simply in case there are journey points. You by no means know as of late. We flew in on Sunday for a Monday embarkation day. The Hilton in Honolulu sits proper on the seashore and is a resort all its personal, so I’m proud of that alternative. It gave us a style of downtown Honolulu and a few spectacular views for our first day in Hawaii.

Our first room didn’t work out. It had a seashore view, however sadly as quickly as we walked in we knew the air conditioner wasn’t working. I known as the entrance desk and had somebody come and have a look at it and yep, it was damaged. They stated they might most likely get it fastened in a few hours however we determined to take their supply of one other room with a greater view.

We had been then moved to a different tower with sure, a good higher seashore view in a collection this time. We positively received an improve! We had been drained and solely had one night time right here, so we didn’t attempt to do something. Perhaps subsequent time we are able to go to Pearl Harbor, but it surely was too rushed this time to suit it in.

We ventured out and walked round a bit and the resort is surrounded by a cute village with plenty of retailers and eating places so it was very nice to go searching. All over the place we regarded, it was lovely and totally different. Simply have a look at these bushes!

A number of individuals on Instagram informed me that they’ve stayed right here earlier than too, so it’s an extended established resort and really fairly.

We loved our transient keep in Honolulu, taking within the lovely sights on this resort resort.

We discovered an informal out of doors cafe and had coconut shrimp for dinner that night time.

It was a stunning begin to our cruise journey.

After an extended and busy journey day, we went to mattress pretty early anticipating getting on the ship the following day. We had been set to move out earlier than Midday to the cruise port the following morning.

We took an Uber from the resort to the cruise ship port and made our approach by means of the road and check-in course of which was pretty seamless. They actually know the right way to course of lots of people all of sudden. They known as for teams by final title preliminary and shortly we had been on our approach on board.

The Balcony Cabin:

We needed to wait only a bit for our rooms to be prepared, so we frolicked on the ship and watched others arrive. We additionally had lunch on the Native, the 24 hour restaurant on the ship. As soon as in our cabin, we waited for our baggage which arrived later within the day. We unpacked and made ourselves snug in our new dwelling away from  dwelling for the following 16 days. We left our Alaska garments packed within the massive suitcase and solely unpacked Hawaii clothes for the primary week.

Our balcony cabin was very nicely appointed, not big however very good and comfy.

All the things on the ship has been renovated and up to date, so it felt very new.

We had been pleased to be there!

Cruise ship loos are small, however do the job. We rapidly acclimated to life on a ship for a few weeks and received used to the smaller quarters.

Bathe had loads of scorching water and was spacious sufficient. They supply Conditioning shampoo and physique wash within the bathe and liquid cleaning soap dispensers by the sink. I introduced my very own shampoo and in order for you bar cleaning soap, you might want to convey that as nicely.

We had been very glad to have a snug cabin to come back again to on the finish of the day.

The balcony, though not big, got here in useful for peeking out after we arrived at a brand new port. It was thrilling to come back out and see the brand new surroundings at each cease alongside the way in which. It began off heat out right here and progressively cooled off as we headed to Alaska. What a visit it was!

The Spirit Ship:

As I discussed, The NCL Spirit is an older ship, however has been utterly refurbished with lovely materials, carpets, finishes and fixtures. It doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles of the brand new ships, however is a chic vessel nonetheless. The Atrium is the hub of the ship, the place individuals collect to look at bulletins on the massive display screen, have interaction in leisure choices through the day and at night time, there may be reside music on the stage within the Atrium. Visitor companies, restaurant reservations, and shore excursions are discovered within the Atrium.

With a hovering ceiling, it’s an attractive house.

We took this time to stroll across the ship and discover. The most important major eating room is Home windows with these beautiful home windows overlooking the water, so we ate right here most each night time.

We had the pleasure of sitting by the home windows a number of instances throughout our cruise. It was open for breakfast, some lunch days, and nightly dinner. We’ll get to the meals in a minute.

Mark purchased some new linen garments for the cruise and I had enjoyable matching our outfits. In the event you missed his linens from Amazon, go over to my packing for a cruise publish for all these hyperlinks. He discovered some good issues to take and so they all regarded nice on him. This offers you an thought of how spacious the eating room is.

A Word About Dressing:

NCL has what they name Freestyle cruising which suggests, you eat while you need, the place you need and there’s no set schedule or sitting with different individuals until you wish to. You’ll be able to prepare to sit down with different individuals as a lot as you need, however there’s no obligation to take action. The costume code may be very informal so that you don’t have to decorate up. There are not any formal nights or dressy nights both. Mark and I opted to decorate up for dinner most nights, however by the tip of the cruise we had been going extra informal for dinner. The one requirement in the principle eating room, Home windows and Le Bistro, at night time after 5:00 pm, males are requested to put on collared shirts, pants or good denims, closed toed footwear. Girls can put on slacks, denims, attire, skirts and tops. No shorts. In order that’s about the one stipulation on costume code they’ve, which is straightforward to abide by. We had enjoyable dressing up a bit at night time for dinner.

The ship additionally has a on line casino, which isn’t our factor, but it surely gave the impression to be a scorching spot for a lot of.

We walked by means of this house after we received there, however didn’t go to it once more and I believe it was a part of the on line casino.

We discovered our approach across the ship in a couple of days, though it took awhile to get used to all of the elevator places and the place all the things was situated primarily based on ahead and aft of the ship.

There’s a small social membership, which was primarily used for group gatherings. The Stardust theater was the principle nightly leisure venue.

There are a number of specialty eating choices on board and we happily with our bundle received to attempt our 3 of them. We opted for Le Bistro, the French impressed delicacies, Cagney’s Steak Home, and Onda, the Italian providing. We loved all 3 of them! They do value further in case you don’t go for the bundle that features them.. We purchased the Free at Sea which incorporates limitless open bar bundle, specialty eating meals,  some WiFi minutes (I needed to be cautious  of that), a $50 credit score on shore excursions and I heard there may be bottled water added now, though we didn’t get water supplied to us. I might positively test on this if I do one other NCL cruise. I took a water bottle and stuffed it within the buffet eating room from the water dispenser. Simply bear in mind that it says no water bottles may be stuffed on the water dispenser within the Backyard Cafe, however I discovered you need to use a clear glass that they’ve there and fill it with a glass, in order that’s what I did. There’s so much to study all of the ins and outs of a cruise buy and what all is included.

Henry’s Pub was a cute house with reside music each night time. We listened to a gifted guitarist, Diego, on this house.

We discovered The Spinnaker lounge the primary day and I knew it might be a enjoyable house to hang around it and it was!

These coveted spots on the entrance of the ship had been a preferred spot for watching the water and surroundings outdoors. Plus it was a snug house to learn a ebook or hearken to music. The wait employees made the rounds taking drink orders and Spinnaker was a busy place, utilized morning and night.

We actually used this house through the 5 days at sea. I took a ebook to learn and Mark listened to his music, so it was an excellent comfortable house to relax. At night time it was rocking with leisure and reside music.

We made ourselves at dwelling fairly quick and received prepared to depart the port that night.

The Spice H2O house is adults solely pool and was very nice. We ended up not using the pool as a lot as I had hoped, since we had shore excursions every single day in Hawaii when it was heat after which after we headed to five days at sea, the times turned cooler. We did sit outdoors as usually as we might soaking within the sunshine when it was heat. I noticed lots of people within the scorching tubs and the pool, so many individuals took benefit of that.

Up on the thirteenth deck, the highest deck, there’s the Promenade for strolling. We walked up there a few instances for train and I made it to the health club solely as soon as. Trip will get you in a soothing mode and I took full benefit of that. This higher deck actually got here in useful after we visited Glacier Bay nationwide park in Alaska. The views right here had been excellent and I’ll share these later.

Considered one of our favourite out of doors areas was on this thirteenth deck within the Biergarten space. There have been loads of lounge areas to get pleasure from with comfortable cushions  (which that they had eliminated right here as a result of excessive winds after we had been at sea). We had a pleasant time sitting up right here within the sunshine earlier than that. We met the nicest couple our 2nd day of excursions in Hawaii. Samantha and Rob had been from Canada and we ended up catching a taxi with them and seeing the sights collectively that day. We bumped into them always and had dinner a couple of instances and frolicked a number of instances up right here. We so loved assembly them and the conversations we had had been enjoyable. It was good to have one other couple to work together with. They had been over 10 years youthful than we had been, so it was good to listen to their impressions of the cruise too.

We heard the common age on the cruise was 68 and judging from the walkers, electrical scooters and canes, we thought it could be even older than that, however that age is true between me and Mark, so the cruise was positively lots of Child Boomers like us. I do admire individuals who simply go and journey and don’t let bodily infirmities get in the way in which. That’s what we’ve got to do to reside life to the fullest and I plan to do the identical. There have been perhaps 4 children on board, so the cruise was positively an older crowd. There have been greater than 30 totally different international locations represented on board as nicely, so a various group of individuals. We loved conversations with a couple of individuals, however we’re not these individuals who need to have a crowd of individuals to hang around with. We had been positive simply being by ourselves, doing our personal factor. We additionally don’t need to do all of the actions and did what we needed as we felt prefer it.

A cruise ship affords so many actions every day and you may make the most of all of them or do none of them. We didn’t do most of the actions like bingo, trivia, numerous video games and seminars, however we did many of the nightly exhibits within the theater at night time. It was enjoyable to go to an early dinner and catch the 7:00 pm present. I used to be extra within the nightly exhibits than Mark was, so if he didn’t wish to go, I might go on my own after which return and meet him.We’d hearken to reside music after the present earlier than heading to mattress. It took us a couple of days to get our our bodies on the brand new time schedule and we had been so drained these first few nights. We stayed up a bit later because the journey went on, however we aren’t nightowls anymore, closing down the dance flooring or any of that. We went again to our cabin by 9 or 10 most nights.

We sat out right here on these comfortable lounge chairs to look at Honolulu as we left port and headed on the cruise.

It was an attractive sight.

Our general impression and expertise on this cruise was very favorable and fulfilling. We had been so pleased we did this cruise and received to see components of Hawaii and Alaska, two states we’ve by no means been to earlier than. I do know we solely scratched the floor of each, however now we are able to say we’ve been there. A cruise offers you the chance to see a bit of every port after which you possibly can determine the place you would possibly wish to return for an extended go to. We determined we’ll most likely return to Hawaii for certain, particularly since Mark’s oldest daughter, Lyndsey and her household reside there. It was a deal with to see them for two of our Hawaii stops and we had a good time seeing some lovely sights. I’ll share extra of that later.

Cruise Meals:

Cruise meals is an enormous matter and that’s one of many major attracts of taking a cruise. I’m an enormous fan of cruising and my first cruise was again within the early 80’s after I was single and younger. I went with girlfriends and we had a good time. That was my first time cruising and it was a few years later after I would take one other cruise. Actually, the opposite NCL cruise I went on was 2003, I believe and it was additionally an NCL cruise to the Caribbean with my niece Lauren, after she graduated regulation college. Mark and I went on the Viking River cruise in 2019 and that basically spoiled us.

I’ll say I’m the one who’s extra more likely to be proud of the number of meals that’s supplied on a cruise than Mark. He tends to be a little bit of a choosy eater and if he doesn’t love what he’s consuming, he would simply as quickly not eat. In order that’s the place we ended up on this cruise. For probably the most half, I’ve all the time heard NCL meals is among the finest cruise meals there may be and I’ve no complaints. Most of my meals had been very appetizing and attractive. Mark was a bit extra essential. I’ll get in additional element beneath. We aren’t used to consuming 3 massive meals a day and that’s a part of what Mark received weary of. So he began slicing again and never consuming as a lot. He didn’t wish to eat simply to eat until he was actually having fun with it, so he would save up for dinner and never eat so much the opposite meals. On a cruise with all of the meals you possibly can eat, it’s onerous to say no and cease, however you possibly can solely maintain a lot meals.

This collage exhibits among the meals I had on the cruise and you may see they appear lovely and really appetizing. Most of them had been tasty and scrumptious, some had been larger hits than others. These had been largely from the Home windows major eating room, which affords among the similar nightly classics, with menus that modified each day for dinner. You’ll be able to all the time have a look at the posted menu every day by the restaurant to see what appears good for every night meal.

There was all kinds of dishes to select from on the principle eating room menu and we received appetizers or salads and an entree and dessert. In fact, everybody loves the desserts.

A lot of the desserts had been superb, with some being higher than others style clever. The primary eating room had far fancier desserts than the buffet choices.

The Backyard Cafe was the buffet possibility on the ship and it was open for breakfast, lunch and dinner for prolonged hours, so you possibly can virtually all the time catch one thing to eat right here. The number of meals was huge and lots of days that they had speciality regional meals featured, like Mexican, Russian, Greek, Asian, and many others. There was all the time a salad bar, one thing on the meat carving station, and plenty of casseroles and scorching meals choices out there.

The breakfast buffet was big with all the things you possibly can need supplied. From pancakes, waffles and French toast each day, to made to order omelets, contemporary fruit, breads, pastries, grits, eggs, oatmeal and cereal, the assortment was big. I ate larger breakfasts than I do at dwelling, particularly after we went on excursions and wouldn’t be again for a couple of hours. Mark eats Cheerios most each morning and he continued that behavior on the ship.

Asian noodle soup ready to be picked up and broth added.

There have been loads of tasty meals out there on the buffet and I might all the time discover one thing I appreciated. Mark, not a lot.

An entire pig was supplied in the future on the carving station.

This can be a typical meal i had on the buffet. They’d prime rib early on and there have been loads of sides to select from. I had no drawback consuming on the buffet for any of the meals.

Specialty Eating places:

We actually did benefit from the deal with of the specialty eating places. This one was Cagney’s, the place I received crab cake appetizer (scrumptious!), wedge salad, and shrimp and asparagus. It was a beautiful meal and we each loved eating there. Mark received the filet and beloved it.

Considered one of our favourite meals of the journey, in Cagney’s!

We did hearken to a presentation one morning after we had been at sea by the senior officers on the ship on how they run a floating resort. It was fascinating to listen to about how a lot meals must be ordered for a cruise like this. Staggering quantities of eggs and all the things else. However I’m certain they’ve it all the way down to a science in determining what and the way a lot to order. That was actually attention-grabbing!

Or course, there are all types of tasty drinks to attempt to we loved the Blue Glacier which occurred to match our outfits that day. I had enjoyable pairing our outfit colours as a lot as I might throughout our cruise. I’ll present you these at one other time too.

Leisure:

Leisure on a cruise ship; is likely one of the most enjoyable issues to look ahead to. Some NCL cruises have Broadway exhibits on board. The Spirit had some good leisure, however not Broadway high quality. We loved singers, dancers, juggling acts, magicians, dance teams with plenty of gifted singers and dancers. One night time was Blazing Boots, a full of life Nation night time of music and dancing leisure. There was a comic on board as nicely. It’s enjoyable to see all the assorted leisure individuals and listen to about their tales on a cruise ship. It have to be an attention-grabbing approach to make a residing. There was reside music everywhere in the ship within the night and you possibly can decide your favorites to observe round. The Spinnaker was the dance and night time spot with reside music and a few passenger participation occasions that had been enjoyable to look at. We didn’t get roped into any of these.

The ship at night time had some spectacular views from the skin open decks and I attempted to get as many pics as I might. I’ve 100’s of images to share and can achieve this after I work out the right way to share every a part of the cruise. There’s  a lot to see on a Hawaii and Alaska tour, so I’ll share as a lot as I can and can doubtless break it into components.

Our general impression of the NCL Spirit is a constructive one. We each loved the ship, the cruise and all of the port stops alongside the way in which. The one factor we had reservations about was the 5 days at sea. I puzzled how that might be and I requested my cruise professional cousin, Howard, who’s a journey blogger how he did with lengthy sea days and he stated he by no means received bored. I figured we might deal with 5 days and we did, however these days did get a bit monotonous on the ship. We stuffed our time enjoyable, sipping, studying, napping and consuming, after all. There have been nightly exhibits and music for leisure, so we loved these components as nicely.

However, we might most likely select in another way the following time we do a cruise. We’re tremendous glad we received to see Hawaii and Alaska on this specific cruise and I might positively suggest it, however bear in mind that it’s received these 5 days at sea. That may trouble some individuals and never others. We didn’t know the way we want it and we survived, however had been glad to get previous these days and onto seeing extra ports and sights. Journeys like this are costly, so you might want to know what you’re signing up for. There’s far more value than simply the cabin value for certain. Airfare, shore excursions, gratuities, and many others. are all extras that you just want to pay attention to. Our journey agent helped stroll me by means of that half, though I’m nonetheless undecided how the account on board works. I nonetheless have to determine that out. I did obtain the NCL app and will see the additional expenses that we incurred through the cruise for numerous issues, however the last on that invoice was lower than $100. There have been additionally gratuities that had been pay as you go and I by no means noticed that account itemizing.

My cousin, Howard, with Backroad Planet is an professional cruiser on NCL and has lots of cruises beneath his belt with NCL and different cruise strains. Make certain and take a look at his publish about NCL cruises, as he’s rather more detailed in his than I can be since I’m nonetheless a beginner with cruising. His publish may be very informative and you too can see plenty of cruises he’s been on with particulars about ports of name and excursions. He’s superb at sharing his cruises and opinions of them!

l’ll be again over the following few weeks to share much more of our cruise with all of the stops and issues we noticed alongside the way in which. It’s so much to share and I’m prepared to try this!

 

 

 


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