My wife and I cruised aboard the Norwegian Spirit leaving New Orleans on December 14, 2008. We have cruised with Norwegian several times. As Latitudes members, our 1:00PM boarding was well organized, quick and simple. Our balcony room was ready immediately. The cabin was well decorated but smaller than on other ships, however the bathroom is larger. The bed was very firm and resulted in my back aching most mornings. I called the front desk twice and talked with our cabin steward requesting a foam pad for the bed, but nothing was provided. The bathroom had a sewer smell most days that was annoying. My wife tripped the circuit breaker with her hair drier the last day of our cruise.
The ship is big and beautiful and was freshly remodeled shortly before our cruise. Public areas were seldom crowded. Entertainment was excellent. Bar staff was attentive without being an annoyance. We ate dinner in a different restaurant every night during our cruise without any wait in any restaurant. The Shogun and Cagney's restaurants should not be missed. The Italian restaurant was disappointing. The free restaurants were industry normal, abundant and well served. Room service was quick. The in room coffee service is a nice feature. We used the fitness center daily without any wait. We visited the Spa twice for couple's massages that were a little expensive, but thoroughly enjoyed. I enjoyed the Steam and Sauna rooms. The smoking areas are the casino and any outside deck area and it was hard to avoid the smokers. If Norwegian Cruise Lines ever offers a non-smoking cruise we will book it in a moment.
Our first port of Costa Maya was less that interesting and a good day to rest on the beach. Guatemala is a very poor country that we will probably not want to visit again. We took the waterfalls tour and would not recommend taking this tour. Belize was a wonderful port and I can see us returning here to spend a week in the future. We took a snorkeling tour here and enjoyed ourselves very much. Cozumel has something for just about anyone. The two days at sea are great for just relaxing.
We chose to disembark the ship with our baggage (we packed wisely) and were off the ship and through customs in less than 30 minutes.
The only really negative comment I would have regarding this cruise has to do with our fellow passengers. I seems today's cruisers think "Freestyle Cruising" means you can go to dinner in bluejeans, t-shirt, tennis shoes and a baseball cap and converse loudly using fowl language. It seems the cruise industry is becoming more and more affordable to the masses. This was the first time we have encountered these behaviors on Norwegian Cruise Lines and it may have had a lot to do with our cruise port of New Orleans.