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mike91911 December 31st, 2005 05:41 PM

NCL Spirit NYC Bahamas...Anybody been & other NCL questi
I'm booking the March 19th Sailing of the NCL Spirit out of New York to Florida and Bahamas. This will be our second cruise. First was on Carnival Inspiration to W. Caribean. Has anyone been on this NCL itinerary? Also how does the Freestyle Dining work? I know some of the restaurants cost extra, what is the usual charge? Anyone know which restaurants are included? Are you seated by host or do you pick your seats yourself? Can you eat as much as you want or try different things? Anyone familiar with the NCL kids program? I have a 2 year old and a 8 year old going. I know the policies just looking for opinions.
Thanks Mike

P.S. Any Texas Hold Em Players? I may bring my chips.

beenie weenie December 31st, 2005 07:25 PM

Hi Mike, Looks as though we'll be joining you on this cruise. I too am trying to learn as much as possible about NCL and the Spirit in particular. We've cruised twice on Carnival and once on RCCL so Freestyle Dining is new to us as well. I think that the surcharge for the speciality varies by restaurant and I think that there is no surcharge for Raffles and Windows, I hope I didn't mess that up, hopefully someone will post if I am mistaken. We'll be travelling with our 3 and 5 year old and it seems as though this ship is very kid-friendly. We can't wait to see the water park and the kids facilities. I read that 20% of deck 10 is devoted to kids facilities. There are a few differences between NCL and Carnival kids programs, with regard to your two year old, if he/she is in diapers or not fully potty trained you will be given a beeper and paged when it is diaper/pullup changing time. Also, on port days the kids activities are available, however there is a per hour charge of $5 for the first child and $3 for the second. That charge does not apply on sea days. NCL reduces the gratuities for children (for my two kids it will be $5/day, as opposed to the $10 a day customarily paid by adults) and I think that kind of helps balance out the charges for the kids club on sea days. Oops sorry, just re-read your you probably know all of this. sorry. Well just in case, I'll leave it.
Guess we'll be seeing you in March!

mike91911 December 31st, 2005 07:44 PM

I did so much research for our first cruise my wife thought I was nuts. We had a great time. We know this cruise will be completely different. Different cruise line but mostly because it was just the two of us on the last one. So we are planning our activities accordingly. I can't wait to see the look on the kids faces when they see the ship. We will be taking the train to New York so hopefully it will be a fairly easy day until we get to the dock. I thought I read somewhere that there is no tips taken for the 2 year old. I know my 8 year old will love the kids program but I don't think the 2 year old would stay. I've already been told I'd be given a beeper. Like I said above I know this will be a different type of cruise and I'm looking forward to it.
Mike and Jessica

beenie weenie December 31st, 2005 08:52 PM

I have become a research junkie too, but I'll tell you after you read a few sour reviews from folks who didn't do their homework ahead of time, it made a believer out of me. I just keep reading and asking lots of questions. It always pays off to know what to expect ahead of time. This will be our fourth cruise with the kids, on the first our daughter was 2 years old, strangely enough she had a ball in the kids clubs, but if big brother had not have been right there with her I am sure she would have said no way!
We are from Indiana and will be flying into Islip then taking the Long Island Railroad into the city. We got a killer deal on airfare and d/s loves trains so we figured why not. We found a place to stay near Rockefeller Center and the kids cannot wait to go.
On our other cruises we did the "formal thing" and it made for some wonderful evenings and great photo opps with the kids, but to be honest as much as I like all that I am kind of looking forward to a little more relaxed atmosphere, where the kids can eat their favorite kid stuff early in the evening at the casual eatery and then allow them to go play with their new friends at the kids club while d/h and I duck out and have a nice quiet peaceful dinner for two later.
D/s is a little disappointed he won't get to wear his tux on this trip, but he is very excited by all the other neat stuff this ship has. Let me know if you stumble across any other info you think might be helpful and I will do the same.

Glen Bailey January 1st, 2006 04:46 PM

Hi - I've been on the Spirit, but not to the Bahamas. She's a nice
ship, though still has an Oriental motif since she was transferred
from the Singapore-Malaysia area early in 2004. We thoroughly
enjoyed the free style dining, but you have to choose your times
kinda carefully if you want a table for just two. We found the best
time for dinner was right at 5:30PM. Cabins are small but very
comfortable. Don't know about now, but they only had one show
each night as opposed to others that had two. Also liked the idea
of their tipping procedures, $10.00 per day per passenger. Saved
the hassle of those little envelopes and getting cash from the
purser's office on the last day. Personally, the cruise you are
going on wouldn't satisfy me much because of the stops in Port
Canaveral and Miami, but Nassau is nice. The Alaska cruise last
year was a delight even though the crew was still getting used to
its new surroundings. We made good friends with an assistant
cruise director, Joleen. If you run into her tell her that Glen and
Alta send their love.

Glen Bailey, Portland, OR

mike91911 January 2nd, 2006 12:05 AM

We thought a while about the itinerary. Not exactly exotic. Airfare to Florida was way too high and part of what I loved so much about my first cruise was just being on the ship and how relaxing it was. We weighed it out and decided to do it. I got a real good deal on the cruise and I get to NYC for free. (work for the railroad) Thanks for yor reply.
Mike & Jess

Rhino January 2nd, 2006 03:12 PM

Mike and Jess,

I think you will like the Spirit. The food was good and the specialty restaurants are around $15-20 per person extra. You can sometimes find reduced rates for the specialty restaurants by looking in your "Freestyle Daily" newsletter that is delivered each night. "Le Bistro" was great and "Maxum's Steak House" was good and very cozy (Good for a romantic meal).

Personally, we loved the "Windows" restaurant and found that you could snag a beautiful table for two with a window view if you went earlier in the dinner run. What's great about Freestyle dining is that you can order whatever you want. Be daring...try something new! If you don't like it...send it back and order something else. :)

Enjoy your trip!

steviek49 January 4th, 2006 08:26 PM

Speaking of the Spirit..... How does the Spirit compare to the other ships in the fleet. To my understanding The Wind and Dream are twins, The Sun and Pride of Aloha are of the same basic design, and the Star/Dawn/Jewel/Pride of hawaii/Jade/and Pearl are of the same basic design. The Crown and Majesty are one of a kinds. What is the Spirit?
I believe i read somewhere that it is a smaller version of the Star class.
I read somewhere else it has sisiters at Star cruiselines.
Since I like to try out new ships/designs do you guys believe that Spirit is a one of a kind in the NCL fleet or will I find her very similar to the Dawn?
So far I have been on 6 cruises on 4 Different Cruiselines and 6 totally different ships.
Thanks for all of your opinions.

nmnita January 4th, 2006 10:30 PM

you have your fact prety striaght Steve. The Wind and Dream are sisters, the Sky and Sun similar but one was purchased before the layout was too far along in the building process so it is a bit different. We have been on both; Sun cabins a little nicer. The Star and Dawn are sisters and the Jewel similar but with some upgrades. She is the nicest ship out of 20 plus we have cruised. The Spirit is one of a kind and the two new ships will be in the same class with the Dawn and Jewel but be somewhat differnt. yes, the Majesty and Crown are, again, very different from the ships built for the company. Most of those I know who have cruised the Spirit say she is a great ship with very good food and great specialty restaurants. NMNita 8)

steviek49 January 5th, 2006 09:05 PM

Thank you New Mexico Nina,
We are also considering the Sun or Star Alaska in August. Since We've been on Dawn so we might try out the Sun.
Any info on the Sun will be appreciated

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