The itinerary that my friend and I chose was a 12-day Mediterranean cruise starting in Venice and finishing in Barcelona. We were able to explore Venice that day, prior to boarding the ship, which was a perfect start to our adventure. When we stepped in to the lobby of the Norwegian Spirit, we were greeted by friendly staff members and classical music, the overall feeling was like being in a beautiful hotel lobby, you wouldn’t even know that you are on a cruise ship unless you look outside.
Rooms are located on level 4 to level 9. We were staying in an inside cabin, which had absolutely everything we needed. With spacious bathroom and lots of storage space in the wardrobe, we were able to fit all of our clothes and personal items.
Once unpacked, we headed for dinner. Norwegian Cruise Line offers customers something they call Freestyle Cruising. Part of it is Freestyle Dining, which is great, as you can dine at any time at any available restaurants. The most popular free dining options on the Spirit were: Raffles Court & Terrace, the Windows restaurant and the Garden Restaurant. Raffles Court is a buffet style restaurant, that had a variety of food available throughout a day. Our favourite was the Windows Restaurant. Located at the rear of cruise ship, this restaurant featured big beautiful windows. The menu had a good variety of food, half of the menu were dishes that were available every day and the other half were dishes of the day. Restaurant staff were very friendly and attentive. This restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and you could chose if you would like to have table for your party only or if you would rather share it with other guests. The Garden restaurant menu was very similar menu to the Windows restaurant, but we have enjoyed the design & feel of the Windows restaurant more.
You also have a choice of speciality restaurants, that feature Cagney’s Steak House, La Trattoria Italian restaurant, Le Bistro French restaurant, Shogun Asia Restaurant, Teppanyaki restaurant & more. For these restaurant you would need to pre-book and pay set fee (usually around USD$15-30 per person). The Head chef on the Norwegian Spirit was actually from New Zealand.
First 2 days of our itinerary the cruise ship was at sea, which gave us enough time to relax before a few days sightseeing that were to follow, plus extra time to fully explore the cruise ship. It was great to relax by the Tivoli pool, that had 4 hot tubs next to it. During the day a live-band would come and play some music by the pool and BBQ lunch or hot dogs would be cooked right there on deck as well. For sport lovers there is Mandara Spa & Fitness Center, jogging/walking track and golf driving net available. It was great to be able to read a book in the library or the writing room, play board games in the card room or get in touch with the real world in the lifestyle room/internet café.
We enjoyed entertainment on board. There would be 2 concerts each evening, so guests would have a choice to attend it at 7:30pm or at 9:30pm, held at the Stardust Theatre, which is absolutely beautiful. From magic shows to comedy performances, from exciting music to Broadway singers and dancers. There was show for every taste.
Usually after the last show there would be entertainment at the Galaxy of the Stars Observation Lounge. Cruise Director and his staff did a great job entertaining the guests, with variety of activities including White Hot party, Disco nights etc.
I found cruising the absolutely best way to see Mediterranean. Travelling without bags was a big bonus on top of saving time getting from one city to another. Our itinerary included Venice (Italy), Athens(Greece), Ephesus/Kusadasi (Turkey), Istanbul (Turkey), Mykonos (Greece), Naples (Italy), Rome (Italy), Florence/Pisa (Italy), Provence (France) and Barcelona (Spain).
Norwegian Cruise Line offers a big variety of excursions and transport options in each port. We organised a few excursions ourselves and did a few tours with NCL. Everything was arranged perfectly, and we didn’t have to stress about getting back on time to cruise ship, as it would always wait for the NCL tour busses to get back.
Overall, we were extremely impressed with concept of cruising. I found it great value for money, a simple and easy way to travel and I would absolutely recommend it to everyone.
What did you love about your cruising holiday? Feel free to share in the comments below.