Sure, Norwegian Spirit isn’t the newest ship on the block. However, a $100 million, 2020 renovation has brought this ship into the modern era. Here’s everything you need to know about what to expect if you take a cruise on this classic Norwegian ship in the coming months.
In This Article…
- Norwegian Spirit Ship Stats
- Construction and History
- Bars and Lounges
- Activities and Entertainment
- Kids Venues
- Norwegian Spirit Cruise
Norwegian Spirit Ship Stats
Norwegian Spirit isn’t the biggest ship out there. In fact, compared to some of the other ships in Norwegian’s fleet, it’s less than half the size. However, this is exactly what some cruisers want: a more intimate experience with fewer crowds and fewer choices to overwhelm them.
- Gross Tonnage: 75,904
- Decks: 14 decks
- Passenger Capacity: 2,018
- Crew Capacity: 912
- Passenger-to-Crew Ratio: 2.07:1
In comparison, Norwegian Bliss measures in at 168,028 GT, with a double occupancy guest capacity of more than 4,000 people and a crew of more than 1,700 people.
Construction and History
Norwegian Cruise Line first rolled out its Leo-class cruise ship Norwegian Spirit in 2004, but that’s not really the beginning of the ship’s life. Instead, prior to its renaming as Norwegian Spirit, this cruise ship was a Star Cruises vessel, christened SuperStar Leo in 1998. So how’d we get from SuperStar Leo to Norwegian Spirit?
Originally, the ship, as SuperStar Leo, operated short cruises in Asia, in the late 1990s, on behalf of Star Cruises. In the early 2000s, the ship was moved to Australia, then back to Asia. In 2004, however, when Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America partially sank, the cruise line had to do a bit of switching and swapping in order to meet cruising demand.
At the time, Star Cruises owned Norwegian Cruise Line, so it was a bit easier to swap cruise ships between the two. Star Cruises rebranded Norwegian Sky as Pride of Aloha in order to take over Pride of America‘s interrupted cruise schedule. Then, to take over Norwegian Sky’s cruise schedule, SuperStar Leo was transferred to the Norwegian fleet and rebranded Norwegian Spirit.#
Norwegian Spirit remained a Norwegian ship and became the line’s first Leo-class cruise ship. Unfortunately, Norwegian Spirit is the only Leo-class ship still in existence. Star Cruises had transferred another ship, SuperStar Virgo, to Norwegian and made it a part of the Leo class as Explorer Dream, but then that ship was transferred over to Dream Cruises and no other Leo-class ships were introduced.
Most recently, Norwegian gave Norwegian Spirit a massive overhaul, in 2020. The 43-day dry dock cost $100 million and remade the ship with half a dozen new restaurants, seven new bars, new staterooms, new hull art and better common spaces.
So, if you were worried that taking a cruise on Norwegian Spirit would mean outdated amenities and accommodations, think again. This ship has everything you need for an enjoyable (and modern!) cruising experience, all in an intimate and smaller setting than what you might find on a lot of Norwegian’s newest ships.
Norwegian Spirit‘s staterooms are split into three categories: balcony, ocean-view and interior. Thanks to the ship’s recent dry dock and refurbishments, these rooms have lost their 1990s vibe and are newly designed to look sleek and modern, even if not necessarily luxurious.
The interior staterooms are on the smaller side, with a gray, blue and neutral color palette. Small seating areas, backlit mirrors, bedside lighting and nondescript art on the walls all make for a modern look that says “new, but budget-friendly.”
The ocean-view staterooms are much the same in the way of design, but they do have the added benefit of large, square windows. Unfortunately, those windows can often be partially blocked by the bed.
While that’s good if you don’t want the sunlight interrupting your late snoozing, it’s not so great for taking in the views. Of course, the ocean-view staterooms offer more overall space than the interior staterooms.
Balcony staterooms aren’t that much larger, but they do come with big, floor-to-ceiling glass doors all along one side of your cabin, allowing for uninterrupted views of the water. Step outside and you’ll find a furnished deck space for private viewing and taking in the sea breeze.
Balcony staterooms have larger sitting areas and entertainment areas, too. Unfortunately, the decor choices are a little more outdated in the balcony rooms, with textured wallpaper, can lights and wood paneling.
Worth Reading: Cruise Ship Cabins to Avoid (Stateroom Booking Tips)
Norwegian Spirit does not offer the studio-style staterooms that are offered on some of the cruise line’s other ships and which are designed for solo travelers.
Similarly, while Norwegian Spirit does not offer studio staterooms, it also does not offer as many suite options as you’ll get on other, larger Norwegian vessels. For example, you won’t find The Haven on this ship, which may be a disappointment to some travelers who’ve experienced this luxurious, VIP area of Norwegian’s ships in the past, with its private sun deck, dining options and more.
Instead, the basic suites you can expect to find on Norwegian Spirit include a selection of penthouses and an owner’s suite, ranging in size from 414 to 605 square feet. Depending on the suite you book, you’ll have your own living room, dining room, walk-in closet and access to butler and concierge service.
Suites offer the most updated decor of all, with neutral, earthy tones throughout, sleek finishes and contemporary furnishings.
Norwegian Cruise Line is one cruise line that’s known for its dining, both complementary and for-a-fee. When you’re aboard Norwegian Spirit, you’ll find that you don’t have quite the same number of dining options and maybe not the exact same options that you might find on other Norwegian ships.
However, what restaurants are available are updated (as of 2020) and provide a nice array of options. The ship’s complimentary dining options include:
- Taste, one of the ship’s two main dining rooms, offering high-end, contemporary dining
- Windows, the second of the two main dining rooms, this one with more of a traditional feel
- The Great Outdoors, a very casual buffet bar serving grilled eats and views
- The Garden Cafe, the traditional cruise buffet that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner
- The Bier Garten, for beer and pub food with a Bavarian slant
- The Local, another pub-style eatery with beers and cocktails
- Silk, serving Asian cuisine
You also have access to 24-hour, in-room dining. If you decide that you’d like to browse the other dining options on the ship, you’ll have an array of for-a-fee restaurants to pick from, including:
- Sushi, the aptly named sushi restaurant
- Onda by Scarpetta, an Italian eatery with a modern twist
- The Atrium Cafe for Starbucks coffees and baked goods
- Cagney’s Steakhouse, for a traditional steakhouse experience
- Le Bistro, for French cuisine and an elegant environment
- Teppanyaki, for Japanese hibachi-style eats
For-a-fee restaurants are priced either a la carte or at a flat fee per person.
So, while you might not find a huge array of dining while aboard Norwegian Spirit, you will find enough options to keep you fed and entertained throughout the full duration of your cruise.
Bars and Lounges
In addition to the Norwegian Spirit restaurants, you can also grab a drink at the various bars and lounges situated around the ship. These include…
- Spice H20, an Ibiza-inspired, adults-only bar with dancing after dark
- Humidor Cigar Lounge for whiskey-based drinks and (what else?) cigars
- Henry’s Pub, for an English pub-style experience with sports on the television and beer on tap
- Magnum’s Champagne and Wine Bar, for a classy, Art Nouveau-inspired space
- Social Comedy and Night Club, for shows, dancing and drinks
- Spinnaker Lounge, for amazing water views and music
- Waves Pool Bar, for your favorite tropical cocktails right by the water
Of course, you can also find drinks at just about all of the restaurants and eateries listed above as well.
Activities and Entertainment
You won’t find a rock climbing wall or a surfing simulator on this ship, but if you don’t need tons of ways to play, you’ll hardly realize those features are missing. Instead, you can catch amazing activities and entertainment like…
Like every cruise ship, Norwegian Spirit puts on an array of shows for its guests, including musical tributes and Broadway-style shows. Norwegian Spirit‘s current offerings include a country hits music compilation, a music and dance show inspired by the four elements and a musical set in 1950s Cuba.
Gambling in the casino
If your idea of a good time is more the slots than singing and dancing, you might prefer to visit Spirit Casino. The ship’s casino offers a mix of both slots and table games, so there’s something for everyone, no matter your game of choice.
A trip to the spa
For the ultimate in relaxation during your trip, make sure to check out the ship’s spa. You can book a thermal suite pass for heat and water therapy with ocean views, or you can book specific treatments ranging from seaweed massages to facials to manicures and hair removal.
If your idea of relaxation includes some sweat, then make sure to also go to the gym on Deck 12, with its big views of the ocean and array of classes.
A trip to the pool
The ship has one main pool and four outdoor hot tubs for your use on the pool deck. Make sure to check them out during a sea day. You’ll find lots of deck chairs and sunbeds around the main pool. There’s also a kid-friendly aft pool with a children’s water park.
Onboard shopping options are also available, including jewelry and duty-free shops, so you can pick out the perfect souvenir or gift for a loved one back home.
If you’re traveling with the kids in tow, you’ll want to check out the cruise ship’s children’s venues. The main center for kid-friendly activity is located on Deck 10, where the Splash Academy provides fun programming for toddlers to preteens.
Also Read: Things to Do on a Norwegian Encore Cruise
Children are separated into four groups at the academy, with groups for toddlers, those ages 3 to 5, those ages 6 to 9 and those ages 10 to 12. Babysitting is available here for children ages 3 to 12 as well, but it does come with an extra fee.
Teenagers have their own space on Deck 13, called Celebrity Disco, and the area features lots of gaming consoles and other game areas. Lots of programming is planned, too.
Norwegian Spirit Cruise
This ship may be on the smaller side, but it has lots to offer many cruisers. Check out the upcoming itineraries and book your Norwegian Spirit experience today.
Originally, the ship operated short cruises in Asia as SuperStar Leo in the late 1990s, on behalf of Star Cruises. However, in 2004, SuperStar Leo was transferred to the Norwegian fleet and rebranded as Norwegian Spirit.
Norwegian Spirit is considered Norwegian’s first Leo-class cruise ship. Unfortunately, Norwegian Spirit is the only Leo-class ship still in existence. Star Cruises had transferred SuperStar Virgo to Norwegian and made it a part of the Leo class as Explorer Dream at one point, but then that ship was transferred over to Dream Cruises and no other Leo-class ships were introduced.
Norwegian Spirit measures in at 75,904 GT, with 14 decks; a passenger capacity of 2,018 people; a crew capacity of 912 people; and a passenger-to-crew ratio of 2.07:1. In comparison, Norwegian Bliss measures in at 168,028 GT, with a double occupancy guest capacity of more than 4,000 people and a crew of more than 1,700 people.