Norwegian Spirit

Norwegian Cruise Line

Ship information

Norwegian Spirit

About Norwegian Spirit

The 2,032-passenger Norwegian Spirit debuted in 1998 so you won't find a rock climbing wall, bowling alley or some of the other whizbang features offered by the line's bigger, newer ships, but enjoyment doesn't always have to come in a giant package.

Norwegian Spirit maybe the line's oldest and smallest ship, but it's also one NCL -- and passengers -- clearly love: it enjoyed a massive $100m bow-to-stern refurbishment in 2020 that has it looking and feeling brand new.

The refit has given the ship an adult vibe with brand-new features such as the Thermal Suite; the Spice H2O area, which replaces the kids' area Splash Academy; new cabins and a new upscale Italian restaurant: Onda by Scarpetta.

Norwegian Spirit is no longer geared towards families, and would suit couples looking for longer and eclectic itineraries. Its smaller size and traditional features make it a good choice for cruise travelers who want to feel like they're onboard an oceangoing vessel rather than a huge theme park at sea.

We found Norwegian Spirit to be one of the happiest cruise ships we've sailed, filled with contented passengers and a smiling, engaged and enthusiastic crew who can't do enough for them. But while Spirit is not the newest vessel in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet, this welcoming ship goes to show that good things can come in small packages.

Norwegian Spirit's Deck Plan Includes New Restaurants And Adults-Only Spaces

Norwegian Spirit packs a lot of activities and dining experiences into a relatively small ship (by NCL standards). So, for example, there is a sports deck with a basketball court and golf driving nets, a jogging track, the main pool deck as well as the expanded Mandara spa and the adults-only Spice H2O taking up the top three decks. You'll also find the new restaurant, Onda by Scarpetta, up here and the beautifully-situated Garden Café, which has a lovely outdoor area looking out over Spice H2O.

Cabins make up the majority of the space from Decks 11 to 8 (you'll also find rooms on decks 5 & 6), where you start to hit the main dining, drinking and entertainment venues, which continue on Deck 7.

You'll also find the Main Atrium, Stardust Theatre, and another new venue, Bliss Ultra Lounge, on Deck 7.

A new restaurant, Taste, has been added on Deck 6, which is also where you will find the main dining room, the aptly named Windows, which is perhaps the most stunning MDR we have seen on a ship -- huge double-height windows let natural light flood into the room and offer stunning views of the wake.

Norwegian Spirit is well thought-out and easily navigable, and on our sailing we never found crowding even in areas where you'd expect a lot of traffic. This may be because there are fewer kids onboard and the former kids' spaces are turned over to adults-only areas post-refurb.

Norwegian Spirit's Cabins Have All Been Upgraded Post-Refurb

Unlike most ship refurbs, NCL did not ignore the cabins, and every single one -- from the lowliest inside to the top-deck suites -- have been given a complete makeover. Gone are the aqua and green tones, to be replaced by elegant shades of cream and chocolate browns, silver and grey bedding and dark wood furniture. But it's not just the furnishings -- you'll also find modern fittings like USB sockets, nightlights by the bed and -- hallelujah -- completely refitted bathrooms with a glass door, rather than a clingy curtain.

There are 1,016 rooms in total (eight were added in the refurb) and just four types -- suites, balcony, oceanview and inside -- ranged across six floors. There is no Haven, the ship-within-a-ship suite complex on NCL's bigger ships, nor single-occupancy studio cabins.

Norwegian Spirit has 18 suites, which vary in size and location. The best cabin is the Owner's Suite, but if you can't stretch to that, the aft-facing Penthouse Suite is a great option -- you get the same views, a huge balcony, living and dining area, bedroom, wardrobe and a stunning marble bathroom complete with jacuzzi and sea views.

Norwegian Spirit cabins to avoid are the Deck 4 insides if you are the least bit claustrophobic.

Norwegian Spirit Food is Outstanding And Varied

There are 14 restaurants onboard Norwegian Spirit, including two new ones -- the upmarket Italian Onda by Scarpetta; and a newly-installed smaller main dining room, Taste.

The food is uniformally excellent, from the Garden Café buffet, which has a wide range of Aussie food such as Vegemite, Weet Bix and Milo; to the for-fee restaurants, Silk, Teppanyaki, Le Bistro and Cagney's Steakhouse.

Standout experiences for us were Windows, which is a traditional MDR in a stunning setting; Teppanyaki, for a Japanese-style Hibachi experience; and Onda by Scarpetta, which takes Italian dining to new levels.

Norwegian Spirit COVID Rules

When the ship is in Australia, all passengers mus be fully vaccinated. For the most up-to-date testing, masking, and vaccination requirements aboard Norwegian Spirit, please refer to

Norwegian Cruise Line's latest protocols.

Cabins

Norwegian Spirit has 24 cabin types available

Inside Cabins

5 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

5 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

5 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

5 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

5 Inside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

6 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

6 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

6 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

6 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

6 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

6 Outside types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

5 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

5 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

5 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

5 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

5 Balcony types to choose from

Suite Cabins

5 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

5 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

5 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

5 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

5 Suite types to choose from

Deck Plans

10 deck images available

Activities and Entertainment

Activities Tab

Theater and Shows on Norwegian Spirit

Stardust Theater

The 807-seat Stardust Theater (Decks 7 and 8) hosts colorful, lively production shows performed by the ship's singers and dancers and accompanied by a live orchestra, including Elements, a music and magic show based on the four elements and Blazing Boots, an homage to country music. You'll also find guest vocalists, magicians, comedians and other crowd-pleasing performers. With its plush red-velvet seating and opera-house ambience, Stardust Theater is one of the prettiest show lounges we've seen at sea. Two decks create a slant and great sight lines in the main section, but sit in the balcony on Deck 8 if you think you might want to leave early. Otherwise, you will have to walk toward the stage and slip out in front of everyone watching the show. In addition to the show productions, the theater hosts visiting performers and is the venue for the highly popular International Crew Show.

Daily Things to Do on Norwegian Spirit

Check out your Freestyle daily (left either on your bed at turndown the night before or outside your cabin) for what's on, or check out the Norwegian app.

Daily activities include: Sunrise stretch at the aerobic studio, sports tournaments, including golf and table tennis; trivia, origami classes, live music, free wellness seminars, jewelry, watch and handbag sales, dance classes, bridge tournaments, casino tournaments, art auctions and short films which show on the big screen in the main atrium.

Nightlife on Norwegian Spirit

Norwegian Cruise Line has a good reputation for throwing a party, and since the makeover, with all kids' facilities removed, the ship is firmly a nightlife ship.

Party vibes get going around 6 p.m. with live music in the Atrium and nearby bars, including Magnum's. You'll find trivia events in Henry's Pub and various meets including for solos and LGBTQIA+ cruisers. From 7:30 p.m. you'll find more live music popping up in different bars including Spinnaker Lounge, Henry's Pub and the main atrium. The main show in the theater is a little later than you might be used to, at 8:30 p.m. and there is just one performance an evening.

After dinner you'll also find music on the Pool Deck, karaoke followed by a DJ in the Social Club from 11:30 p.m. till late.

The renamed Spirit Casino has been moved to Deck 7 and towards the front of the ship. It was empty most night we were onboard. It features slot machines and roulette, black jack, craps, Texas Hold'em and Caribbean stud poker tables. Smoking is permitted in the casino.

Norwegian Spirit Bars and Lounges

Drinking is still important on cruises. If having a drink package is important on this ship, please mention it here, unless it has been highlighted as being an important keyword elsewhere. 

Spinnaker Lounge: High up on Deck 12, the ship's observation lounge offers stunning views from floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides. Window seats are the perfect spot to sit and stare mindlessly at the sea (that is, if no activities like bingo or the Perfect Couple game show are taking place). In the evening you'll find live music and there is a dancefloor in the center should you wish to take a spin.

Top tip: Head down the circular stairway, and peer through a glass window at the captain and officers on the bridge.

Humidor Cigar Lounge: Also on Deck 12, if you fancy an indoor smoke , this spot offers cigars and whisky in an intimate setting.

Magnum's: A musical trio or pianist is typically found tickling the ivories in Champagne Charlie's, which serves, not surprisingly, Champagne plus wine and cocktails. The art deco decor and delightful music make this bar the perfect spot to kick off a romantic night out.

Henry's Pub: Traditional English-style pub with pints on draft and a good selection of beers, a dartboard, large screen TVs and fish n' chips should you feel peckish. The bar also offer a growler service, so you can enjoy beers anywhere on the ship. 

Social Comedy & Nightclub

This is a new venue onboard and offers stand up comedy, karaoke and a late-night DJ. The line is pioneering the re-use of discarded fruits onboard and offer a selection of "Sail & Sustain" cocktails in which all the ingredients (bar the alcohol) is made from food found on the ship. Examples might include "Watermelon Twist", made from watermelon rind or "Croissant Mai Tai", the ingredients of which include almond croissant. Some of the flavors take a bit of getting used to.

**Our Picks **

For a Rock Star: Head to the Social Club where there is karaoke every night -- plus a competition per cruise to find the karaoke king or queen.

For a Pint: Henry's, nestled below the sweeping circular stairway and offering eight beers on tap, a wide range of bottled artisanal beers, shots, shot-cocktails and boilermakers.

For Something Elegant: Magnum's. Perfect for a pre- or post-dinner glass of fizz.

For a Quiet Drink: Spinnakers offers wonderful views and an elegant atmosphere.

Pools and Hot Tubs on Norwegian Spirit

Norwegian Spirit has one large outdoor pool surrounded by deck chairs and outdoor sunning spaces on Deck 12. You will also find four shaded hot tubs here. The main pool is large enough for laps if you get there in the early morning before it gets busy. On Deck 10, the aft pool is an adults only area called H20 which has gorgeous views at the aft of the ship.

Sundecks on Norwegian Spirit

Most of the sun deck space can be found on Deck 12 around the pool, and at the aft of the ship in the Spice H20 area. Peaceful sunning can be found on the deck chairs at the front of the ship on Deck 13. The wraparound Promenade Deck also has a few deck chairs but you need to get there early for these, especially if the weather is less than ideal.

Services and Wi-Fi on Norwegian Spirit

Head to Deck 7 for guest services and the shore excursions desk. On Deck 8 there are shops selling logo merchandise, souvenirs and sundries. Duty-free items, including jewelry, alcohol, fragrances, cosmetics, watches and sunglasses are also available. You will also find the ship's conference rooms and Photo Shop and Photo Gallery here.

You will find the entrance to the art gallery directly opposite Le Bistro, on Deck 7.

NCL offers two Wi-Fi packages -- Unlimited which is $29.99 per day and Unlimited Premium at $39.99 per day for streaming or video calling. These are both for one device only and you can upgrade to a second device or an additional $15.99 per day.

Dining

There are a total of 13 places to get food on Norwegian Spirit, including seven free restaurants and six for fee. The quality of the food on Norwegian Spirit is excellent, and that's across the board -- from The Garden Café buffet to the newly-installed Onda by Scarpetta, an upmarket and pricey Italian.

We were especially impressed by the quality of food in the main dining room -- Windows and its smaller sibling, Taste, a new, post-refurb addition.

While Norwegian Spirit may not have the vast choice of restaurants you'll find on the line's bigger ships, there's plenty of cuisines to choose from, including German, Italian, Japanese, Chinese and a steakhouse.

You can also order food from room service on Norwegian Spirit, which is free only for a pretty basic Continental breakfast.

Also notable, dishes are tailored to the destinations visited, such as roasted rack of lamb and grilled barramundi and the line makes an effort to source locally where possible, and that includes a superb selection of Australian and New Zealand wines.

Free Restaurants on Norwegian Spirit

Please give a brief description of the restaurant. You don't need to have a laundry list of the items available, but please point out the highlights. If you have a tip or recommendation for a certain restaurant, go ahead and put that in. NB: Do not use specific opening and closing times as these can change. Instead, you can ID what meals they are open for; open early or open late; lunch only; and so on.

Windows (Deck 6): The ship has two main dining rooms, Windows and the newly installed Taste (both share menus; Taste is just smaller). Of the two, Windows is the more elegant, located aft with dramatic Palladian-style windows overlooking the ship's wake. With its classic ocean liner decor -- think dark woods and padded chairs -- the space is stunning, flooded with light from the double-deck widows. Beg, borrow or steal to nab a table by the windows. Windows is open for breakfast, lunch (sea days only) and dinner.

Taste (Deck 6): Taste seats 304 passengers and has a more modern look as it was installed in the 2020 refit. It does not have aft views like the larger dining room, which is twice the size, but does have windows along the side. Taste has a more intimate feel and is popular with passengers who enjoy a quieter dining experience. Though the menu is the same in both venues, having two separate main dining rooms, each with distinct decor, provides cruisers with a sense of variety, particularly on longer itineraries. Taste is open for dinner only.

Breakfast is served 7 to 9 a.m. (or 8 to 10 a.m. on sea days) and includes coffee and juice, fresh fruit, cereals, yogurt, pancakes, eggs a few ways, bacon, sausages and hash browns.

Lunch is available on sea days from noon to 1:30 p.m. with a changing daily menu that includes dishes such as shrimp penne pasta, roasted rosemary chicken leg, fish 'n' chips or a tuna sandwich. Burgers, soup and salad are also available. Desserts range from peanut butter cup souffle or bread and butter pudding to ice cream, or sliced fruit.

Dinner is a multicourse affair served from 5:30 to 10 p.m. daily and has enough mainstay and rotating options to please any palate. On the menu's left page are starters such as French onion soup and escargot cassoulet and classic entrees such as grilled New York strip steak and beef lasagne, which are available every evening. On the right you will find a daily changing menu of entrees featuring dishes such as linguine with clams, Thai green chicken curry and mushroom stroganoff. Coffee and tea are served, but specialty coffees and drinks like wine or soda are additional.

The Garden Café and the outdoor section of it The Great Outdoors are the ship's casual buffet area, situated at the aft of the ship, overlooking Spice H2O. There are plenty of spots to grab a table, both indoor and out, and we never found the crowding you can experience on many contemporary cruise ships. Expect a good selection of Aussie favorites when the ship is based Down Under, including Vegemite, Weet Bix, Milo, Four’n Twenty sausage rolls and Fountain mint sauce.

Silk: The Asian restaurant formerly known as Shogun has an extensive menu of Chinese and pan-Asian food such as Singapore noodles, stir-fried beef and vegetables, and sweet-and-sour pork. Dishes lack the requisite chilli hit, but you can always ask your waiter to spice it up. We especially enjoyed the combination fried rice packed with prawns, roast pork and vegetables.

Dinner is available from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. but be prepared for waits of up to 50 minutes if you dine at peak times. Cruisers are given a buzzer so they can sit in a nearby bar.

The Local: Another new addition, this popular pub-style eatery serves burgers and hot dogs, chicken pot pie and fish 'n' chips.

Bier Garten Grill:  This counter next to the Bier Garten bar serves hot dogs, hamburgers, French fries and the like on sea days, with plenty of seating available under a large sun sail. If the weather is good, this is a great spot to enjoy a drink and something to eat while you listen to whichever performer or band is playing on the pool deck.

Room Service: The only complimentary room service offered on Norwegian Spirit is a basic continental breakfast, which includes choices such as croissants, muffins, juice, and coffee or tea.

What Restaurants Cost Extra on Norwegian Spirit?

Onda by Scarpetta, $$$$: The newly installed contemporary Italian is only the fourth of the fleet, and testament to this small ship that the other three are on the line's latest vessels (Encore, Prima and Viva). Built where the former kids' club was and overlooking the new Spice H2O area, it has a contemporary, elegant feel and lovely views. Be warned though: it's not cheap, and probably a once-in-a-cruise type of meal, maybe on a date night -- mains start at $22 for a basic pasta dish and rise to $39 for a beef filet (or you could always opt for a $15 margherita pizza). Starters are delicious (yellow tail crudo, beef carpaccio and our favorite, short ribs), and start at $14. It's a small menu, but it means each dish is cooked to perfection. You may also want to leave room for some pretty spectacular desserts -- a slab of melt-in-your-mouth pistachio cheesecake with a scoop of mango gelato.

Le Bistro, $$$$: This high-end French bistro serves a selection of classic French food including steak tartare, escargots and scallops. For main you are looking at very expensive (starting at $42) cuts of meat including beef tenderloin, veal chop and braised shank and lamb chop, as well as cheaper chicken dishes. Desserts are delicious: try the Poire Belle, you won't be disappointed: poached pear with ice cream and warm chocolate sauce.

Cagney's Steak House, $$$$: A passenger favorite (you'll find it across the NCL fleet), Cagney's never disappoints and is great for a mid-week cruise treat. The line's signature steakhouse serves Angus beef, as well as a variety of fish, chicken and lamb dishes, plus veggie and potato sides. Try the oysters Rockefeller or Tiger shrimp trio to start, followed by lobster bisque or French onion soup. For the main event, you can choose from any number of cuts (ribeye, filet mignon, Portherhouse; we opted for the New York strip sirloin and it was outstanding. You can also opt for surf & turf and get half a lobster with your filet; or opt for Australian lamb chops. Desserts are an additional $8 each and range from truffle mashed potatoes to sauteed garlic mushroom and steamed broccoli.

Sides such as truffle French fries, onion rings, creamed corn and roasted mushrooms are addictive. For dessert, there is an Oreo cheesecake or a decadent chocolate fudge brownie Open for dinner only. Passengers in suites can also dine at Cagney's for breakfast and lunch, but it's an entirely different menu.

Teppanyaki, $$$: Chefs perform a stir-fry meal before your eyes, flipping knives in the air, juggling eggs and turning onion rings into a volcano, in the 10-person teppanyaki room, which doubled in size post-refurb and can now accommodate to groups of 10. Many teppanyaki experiences are more about the show than the food but the one on Norwegian Spirit is different. Steak is a premium cut and cooked to order, prawns are large and everything is perfectly seasoned.

Lunch is available from noon to 1:30 p.m. on sea days. For dinner, make reservations for seatings at 5, 6:30, 8 or 9:30 p.m.

Tip: With only 20 covers per session and no advance reservations available online, you should book this dining experience on embarkation day or risk missing out, especially on shorter cruises.

Sushi, $$: This is a counter top within Silk which charges a la carte for sushi, sashimi, teppanyaki and rolls.

Atrium Cafe, $: Serving Starbucks coffee and a selection of sweet treats.

Cruise Critic Restaurant Picks on Norwegian Spirit

It's hard to beat a good steak, and it's hard to beat Cagney's, which is consistently outstanding -- and good value compared to land-based equivalents.

Onda by Scarpetta is lovely and inventive, particularly the antipasti, and the setting and ambience is lovely.

We're a sucker for a Teppanyaki restaurant and even if you're not keen on the theatricality, the food here is outstanding and good value for what you get.

H2: Dietary Restrictions on Norwegian Spirit

Vegetarian and gluten-free options are always available in the main dining rooms and identified on the dinner menu. If you have specific dietary needs, discuss them with the maitre d' before your first meal, or ask specific questions about the items you select.

In the specialty restaurants, dishes are not marked vegetarian or gluten-free so diners with dietary requirements need to ask their waiter.