Norwegian Spirit Review
In a curious East-goes-West journey, Norwegian Spirit was originally built for the Freestyle cruising concept and launched as SuperStar Leo for Norwegian Cruise Line's Asian parent, Genting Hong Kong Limited (formerly Star Cruises). In winter 2004, Norwegian's
fledgling Hawaiian venture nearly sank when a freakish storm filled its flagship with water while it was nearing completion in Germany. With a month's worth of bookings and no new ship, arrangements were made to deploy a substitute in Hawaii and transfer SuperStar Leo to fill the gap left in its wake.
Rechristened in spring 2004 and updated to better suit American tastes, Norwegian Spirit still retains fine examples of Asian artwork. The casino is huge, and facilities for children and teens are particularly extensive, only rivaled by the Disney Cruise Line ships and Norwegian’s own newer vessels.
Norwegian Cruise Line (originally known as Norwegian Caribbean Line) set sail in 1966 with an entirely new concept: regularly scheduled Caribbean cruises from the then-obscure port of Miami. Good food and friendly service combined with value fares established Norwegian as a winner for active adults and families. With the introduction of the now-retired SS Norway in 1979, Norwegian ushered in the era of cruises on megasize ships. Innovative and forward-looking, Norwegian has been a cruise-industry leader for four decades, and is as much at home in Europe as it is in the Caribbean.
Noted for top-quality, high-energy entertainment and emphasis on fitness facilities and programs, Norwegian combines action, activities, and a variety of dining options in a casual, free-flowing atmosphere. Freestyle cruising signaled an end to rigid dining schedules and dress codes. Norwegian ships now offer a host of flexible dining options that allow passengers to eat in the main dining rooms or any of a number of à la carte and specialty restaurants at any time and with whom they please. Now co-owned by Genting Hong Kong Limited and Apollo Management, a private equity company, Norwegian continues to be an industry innovator.
From a distance, most cruise ships look so similar that it's often difficult to tell them apart, but Norwegian's largest, modern ships stand out with their distinctive use of hull art. Each new ship is distinguished by murals extending from bow to midship.
What You Should Know
- There is a bridge-viewing gallery in the observatory lounge
- You may find solitude in the library or writing room
- More than 300 staterooms connect
- Facilities for children are more expansive than the spa and fitness center
- There are no self-service laundry facilities
- Some top suites have forward-facing balconies that are too windy for use on sea days
- Crew Members 949
- Entered Service 1999
- Gross Tons 75,338
- Length 881 feet
- Number of Cabins 1,009
- Passenger Capacity 2,018 (2,475 max)
- Width 105 feet