Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 362 out of 500
Accommodation: 145 out of 200
Food: 240 out of 400
Service: 274 out of 400
Entertainment: 66 out of 100
Cruise: 274 out of 400
Overall Score: 1361 out of 2000
Norwegian Spirit Statistics
Size: Mid-size Ship
Cruise Line: Norwegian Cruise Line
Former Names: SuperStar Leo
IMO Number: 9141065
Builder: Meyer Werft (Germany)
Original Cost: $350 million
Entered Service: Oct 1998/May 2004
Length (ft/m): 879.2/268.0
Beam (ft/m): 105.6/32.2
Draft (ft/m): 25.9/7.9
Propulsion/Propellers: 2 diesels (50,400kW)/2
Passenger Decks: 10
Total Crew: 948
Passengers (lower beds): 1,976
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 38.1
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.0
Cabins (total): 988
Size Range (sq ft/m): 150.6-638.3/14.0-59.3
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 374
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 4
Wheelchair accessibility: Good
Cabin Current: 240 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 2
Hot Tubs (on deck): 4
Self-Service Launderette: No
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No
Onboard currency: US$
A casual and lively lifestyle in a mid-sized ship
Overview. Because Norwegian Spirit is quite a stunning ship that features a wide choice of dining venues, keeping consistency of product delivery depends on the quality of the service staff. There are many extra-cost items in addition to the extra-charge dining spots.
The Ship. A full walk-around promenade deck outdoors is good for strolling and has lots of space, including a whole area devoted to children’s outdoor activities and pool. Inside, there are two indoor boulevards and a stunning, two-deck-high central atrium lobby with three glass-walled lifts and ample space to peruse the shops and cafés that line its inner sanctum. The lobby itself is modeled after the lobby of Hong Kong’s Hyatt Hotel, with little clutter from the usual run of desks found aboard other cruise ships.
The interior design theme revolves around art, architecture, history, and literature. The ship has a mix of both Eastern and Western design and decor details. Three stairways are each carpeted in a different color, which helps new passengers find their way around.
A 450-seat room atop the ship functions as an observation lounge during the day and a nightclub at night, with live music. From it, a spiral stairway takes you down to a navigation bridge viewing area, where you can see the captain and bridge officers at work.
There is a business and conference center - good for small groups - and writing room, and a smoking room for those who enjoy cigars and cognac. A shopping concourse is set around the second level of the lobby.
The casino complex is at the forward end of the atrium boulevard on Deck 7 (not between showlounge and restaurant as in most Western ships). This includes Maharajah’s, a large general-purpose, brightly lit casino, with gaming tables and slot machines.
The dress code is extremely casual - no jacket and tie needed. With many dining choices, some of which cost extra, to accommodate different tastes and styles, your cruise and dining experience will largely depend on how much you are prepared to spend.
Standing in line for embarkation, disembarkation, shore tenders, and for self-serve buffet meals is an inevitable aspect of cruising aboard many ships. Note that a non-changeable per person service charge is added to your account daily; 15 percent is also added for bar charges, and a whopping 18 percent for spa treatments.
Families. Teens have their own huge video arcade, while younger children get to play in a wet ’n’ wild aft pool (complete with pirate ship and caves) and two whirlpool tubs. Plus there’s all the fun and facilities of Charlie’s childcare center, which includes a painting room, computer learning center, and small cinema. Even the toilets are at a special low height, and there’s a room full of cots for toddlers. Over 15,000 sq ft (1,400 sq m) is devoted to children’s facilities - all tucked well away from adult recreation areas.
Accommodation. Three whole decks of cabins have private balconies, while two-thirds of all cabins have an outside view. Both the standard outside-view and interior cabins really are very small - particularly given that all cabins have extra berths for a third/fourth person - although the bathrooms have a good-size shower enclosure. So, take only the least amount of clothing you can get away with. All cabins have a personal safe, 100 percent cotton towels, and 100 percent cotton duvets or sheets. In cabins with balconies, the balconies are extremely narrow, and the cabins themselves are very small - the ship was originally constructed for three- and four-day cruises.
Choose one of the six largest Executive Suites (named Hong Kong, Malaysia, Shanghai, Singapore, Thailand, and Tokyo) and you’ll have an excellent amount of private living space, with separate lounge and bedroom. Each has a large en suite bathroom that is part of the bedroom and opens onto it. It has a gorgeous mosaic tiled floor, kidney bean-shaped whirlpool tub, two sinks, separate shower enclosure with floor-to-ceiling ocean-view window, and separate toilet with glass door. There are TV sets in the lounge, bedroom, and bathroom. The Singapore and Hong Kong suites and the Malaysia and Thai suites can be combined to form a double suite - good for families with children. Butler service and a concierge come with the territory.
The 12 Zodiac Suites, each named after an astrological sign, are the second largest accommodation, and also have a butler and concierge. Each has a separate lounge, bedroom, and bathroom, and an interconnecting door to an ocean-view cabin with private balcony - good for families. All cabinetry features richly lacquered woods, large (stocked) wet bar with refrigerator, dining table with a top that flips over to reveal a card table, and four chairs, plus sofa, drinks table, and trouser press. The bedrooms are small but have a queen-size bed; there is a decent amount of drawer space, although the closet space is rather tight because it contains two personal safes.
A small room service menu is available; all non-food items cost extra, and both a 15 percent service charge and a gratuity are added to your account.
Dining. There are eight places to eat, two at extra cost, so you need to plan where you want to eat well in advance or you may be disappointed.
Windows Restaurant: the equivalent of a main dining room; it seats 632 in two seatings, is two decks high at the aft-most section, and has huge cathedral-style windows set in three sections overlooking the ship’s stern and wake. Waiter stations are tucked neatly away in side wings, which help to keep down noise levels.
Other dining options. The Garden Room Restaurant: this venue has 268 seats.
Raffles Terrace Café: a large self-serve buffet restaurant with indoor/outdoor seating for 400 and pseudo-Raffles Hotel-like decor, with rattan chairs, overhead fans, etc.
Moderno Churrascaria: installed in a 2011 refit, this Brazilian steakhouse has passadors who serve skewered meats tableside. Reservations are required and there’s a cover charge.
Taipan: a Chinese Restaurant, with traditional Hong Kong-themed decor and items such as dim sum made from fresh, not frozen, ingredients. Cover charge, reservations needed.
Shogun Asian Restaurant: a Japanese restaurant and sushi bar, for sashimi, sushi, and tempura. A section can be closed off to make the Samurai Room, with 22 seats, while a traditional Tatami Room has seats for eight. There’s also a teppanyaki grill, with 10 seats, where the chef cooks in front of you.
Maxim’s: a small à-la-carte restaurant with ocean-view windows; fine cuisine in the classic French style. Cover charge applicable, reservations necessary.
Blue Lagoon Café: a small, casual street café with about 24 seats, featuring noodle dishes, fried rice, and other Southeast Asian cuisine. Adjacent is a street bar called The Bund.
In addition, The Café, in the atrium lobby, is a pâtisserie serving several types of coffees, teas, cakes, and pastries, at extra cost.
Entertainment. The Moulin Rouge Showlounge, with 973 seats, is the main venue. It is two decks high, with a main and balcony levels. The room has almost no support columns to obstruct the sight lines, and a revolving stage for Broadway-style reviews and other production shows - typically to recorded music since there’s little space for an orchestra. The showlounge is also used as a large-screen cinema, and has excellent surround sound.
Spa/Fitness. The Roman Spa and Fitness Center is on one of the uppermost decks, just forward of the Tivoli Pool. It has a gymnasium full of high-tech muscle-toning equipment, and aerobics exercise room, hair and beauty salon, and saunas, steam rooms, and changing rooms for men and women, as well as several treatment rooms, and aqua-swim pools that provide counter-flow jets (swimming against the current). The spa facility is operated by the Hawaii-based Mandara Spa, owned by Steiner Leisure.
The fitness and exercise rooms, with the latest Cybex muscle-pumping equipment, are located not within the spa, but at the top of the glass-domed atrium lobby. Included is a room for exercycle classes. Sports facilities include a jogging track, golf driving range, basketball and tennis courts, and there are four levels of sunbathing decks.