We were just on the spirit a few weeks ago. We did not feel the ship was dirty. We had a great cruise. It was our second time on the Spirit. We have been on quite a few different ships, large and small, old and new and felt this this was one of our most enjoyable cruises. I tried to determine why we enjoyed this cruise so much, and it had nothing to do with the physical condition of the ship. More than anything it had to do with the people who took very good care of us. They spoiled us rotten in most cases. We've never been treated as well.
To be fair, I think that when you have the opportunity to spend two weeks long on one ship you develop a different perspective and I do think that the crew does try harder on the longer cruises like Jetskier and I had the opportunity to experience on the Repo cruises.
Now the Spirit has been around awhile, it was an asian ship and things are on a much smaller scale. But I feel that is part of its charm. However if you are going to attempt 4 people in one cabin, you need to try hard to get one of the few oversized cabins, otherwise it will be a very tight fit. The most common complaint we heard from our fellow cruisers was that the beds were uncomfortable. This should be remedied with Freestyle 2.0 which I assume will be implemented before or during the drydock.
The other thing that needs some attention in drydock are the windows. Some of the dual pane window seals have blown and moisture between the glass has given them a fogged or dirty look.
The food was fine. We dined several times in the speciality restaurants, but never had any problems finding something good to eat in any of the restaurants. I don't typically enjoy buffets, so I find it best to try and avoid them on land or sea unless, that is the only option. Blue Lagoon on the Spirit had much better food and service than we experienced on the Sun or Pearl and it was kept much cleaner than the one on the Pearl. On the Pearl, we went to Blue Lagoon on a Port Day for lunch and all you could see were dirty tables and trays on stands lined full of dirty breakfast dishes at 11:45 a.m and the staff was somewhat hostile and surly, and very slow. Blue Lagoon on the Spirit was always manned by friendly efficient wait staff and the wings and Mac and cheese were really good.
Regarding the towels. We had a notice in our room stating they would only exchange towels on the pool deck. So in essence they must have made a change. There were beach towels in our cabin, and if we wanted a fresh one right away all we had to do was take them up to the pool and exchange them. I never went without.
Vacaqn, just so you know, I don't think you're crazy, or hallucinating, I think that we had two totally different experiences. I do think crews and management change constantly on these ships. Sometimes there are high points in certain areas, while others decline. Like the cleanliness, food and towel issues when you cruised the Spirit as opposed to the experiences of Jetskier or me.