The Norwegian Spirit cruise ship offered a variety of dining options. Regardless of your mood or the hour, you’ll find tasty offerings around the ship. There were 5 complementary venues in addition to the buffet, 5 specialty restaurants including sushi, a café and room service. With Freestyle cruising, you choose where and when you want to dine.
However, you’ll want to book specialty restaurants in a advance. This is especially true if you want to eat at Teppanyaki. There was limited seating and the reservations list filled up fast! I almost missed out on getting us in for Lucy’s birthday. Bad mama! You should also make reservations for large parties, even at the main dining rooms.
Read more of our Norwegian Spirit Cruise Reviews.
Complimentary iced water is available in all restaurants. Bottled still or sparkling water is available for a fee. Juice is available complementary as well, but soda will cost extra. Have your Sea Pass handy for ordering sodas and alcoholic beverages.
The same children’s menu is available at all restaurants with standard kid friendly choices such as hotdogs and chicken noodle soup. Lucy liked the mac and cheese, but usually ordered off the adult menu. Kids can mix and match from both menus.
The adult menu always had dishes such as beef lasagna, rotisserie chicken and New York strip streak that kids will likely enjoy, as well. My kids both liked the sweet potato fries. Anytime they saw those on the menu, they ordered some as a side. This is the beauty of cruising! If you want it, just ask.
A quick breakdown of where we ate dinner on our 10-day cruise:
1 night Windows Main Dining Room
3 nights Gardens Main Dining Room
2 nights Shogun
1 night Teppanyaki
1 night La Trattoria (date night)
1 night Cagney’s Steakhouse
1 night Raffles Buffet
Windows Main Restaurant (Complementary):
Windows main dining room was located aft (at the back of the ship) and is aptly named for the massive windows providing amazing views as the ship sails across the sea. There are also smaller windows on each side and high ceilings, creating a great ambiance. The service was also good.
BUT, there was too much vibration from the engines. The table vibrated slightly, and for those that get sea sick (like me), maybe it’s not the best place to have a meal. We only ate here one time (on the first evening), just because of the movement.
Derrick and I had prime rib (the best prime rib I’ve had on a cruise ship). K and Lucy weren’t in the mood for the nightly menu items, so they picked lasagna. I started with New England clam chowder and Derrick and the kids started with wild lump crab cakes. We all enjoyed our appetizers, but by this point, I was ready to get away from the sway of the ship.
For dessert, Derrick had pistachio crème brûlée and the kids and I had vanilla cheesecake plus shared a lava cake. The cheesecake was slightly chalky and there was no gooey chocolate center in the lava cake. I tried the lava cake other nights and it was always the same. Good chocolate cake, but no gooey center. The crème brûlée was the big hit of the first meal.
Gardens Main Restaurant (Complementary):
While I missed the high ceilings and large windows in the Windows dining room, I didn’t feel the engines and ship movement as much in Gardens main dining room. There was still a nice view out the side, but not the the same open feel as Windows. The service was still good, so we dined 3 times at this restaurant.
I tried to keep the kids together most nights for a family dinner but they were usually too eager to join their friends. Some nights they even scooted out before dessert.
I chose soup for my starter at each meal. The cauliflower soup was delicious, featuring pieces of roasted cauliflower. The bouillabaisse soup was good but the mussels were too large and didn’t have a good flavor. The vegetable cream soup was very good.
Derrick thought the tapenade with the mozzarella sticks was tasty, but the sticks needed to cook longer – we wanted the gooey center. Derrick liked the sriracha shrimp and Lucy enjoyed the vegetable and pork egg roll.
The entrees were okay. I wasn’t a fan of the linguine with prawns and Derrick’s steak tasted fine, but was overcooked. K wasn’t in love with his country fried chicken either. I ordered lemon grilled tilapia one night which was again, just okay. I also wasn’t the biggest fan of the italian meatballs with orecchiette pasta dish. Derrick really enjoyed his Bahamian-style crab and fish cake, and Lucy liked her spaghetti carbonara.
We didn’t try a lot of desserts. The tiramisu was flavorful and fluffy, the crème brûlée was good, and Derrick enjoyed the snickerdoodle pound cake.
Overall in Gardens, the food was fine but I didn’t love any of the dishes. Except maybe the soups and tiramisu.
Selection of Main Dining Rooms Menus:
The main dining room menus didn’t photograph well, but you can get an idea of what the nightly menus look like. The kids menu and one dessert menu is also above.
Raffles Buffet (Complementary):
Head up to the pool deck for the buffet. It had a good selection of foods and most of the dishes I tried were good.
Breakfast was a standard buffet with eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, fruits, breads, pastries, sliced meats and cheeses, potatoes, oatmeal, grits, cereals and “cook to order” eggs. You could even visit one station to order poached eggs. I usually had an omelet with fruit. Derrick and the kids tended to load up their plates with a large selection of the offerings.
There was a fairly large salad bar and a ton of bread choices during both lunch and dinner. Two soups were available each day as well as an Asian section and pasta section. A meat carving station was usually available in the evening and large sandwiches were available for lunch. You could always find a selection of meats, potatoes, rices and vegetables. Pizza, hamburgers, hotdogs and fries were also available during lunch and dinner.
A variety of cakes were available for dessert as well as Jell-O. Soft-serve and scoop ice cream were also available. The kids occasionally popped into the buffet for a bowl of fries or an ice cream cone.
There were some theme nights, but the kids never found it difficult to find something to eat.
Breakfast was served from 6 – 11:30am, lunch from 12 – 2:30pm and dinner from 5:30 – 9:30pm. Snacks were available from 2 – 5pm and 10 -11pm. Almost any time of day, except late night, you could get food from the buffet.
Blue Lagoon Café (Complementary):
Open 24 hours, the Blue Lagoon was the place to be. At least according to K. I think he spent half his cruise eating here with friends. It was great for snacks, lunch or dinner. The biggest negative was that the food must be consumed on the premises. What if I wanted to munch on chicken tenders while reading in bed, waiting for the kids to come in at 11pm??
My favorite was the chicken tenders and Derrick’s was the chicken wings. K loved the mozzarella sticks. I think he ended up consuming way too much cheese on this cruise! We also liked the burger and fish and chips. The potato skins were fine and the wonton soup would have been fantastic but was way too spicy for me. The desserts were also good. Plan to share if you order the brownie sundae.
This is a full service restaurant, so you take a seat and the wait staff will attend to you. They can bring you water or bring drinks from the bar. A coffee station was located in the restaurant if you needed a cup and didn’t want to walk to the buffet. Cookies were also available to grab from the glass case.
Shogun Restaurant (Complementary):
Enjoy complimentary Asian cuisine at Shogun. This restaurant is located in between Teppanyaki (paid) and sushi (paid) though you can also order the sushi for a fee while dining in Shogun. Don’t skip out on Shogun thinking it’s not included in your cruise fare!
The ambiance was nice with good service. We suggest booking ahead if you don’t want to wait in line. By 6:30pm, there was a line waiting to dine – luckily we had reserved a table. We ate here again near the end of the cruise without a reservation. We arrived by 6pm to avoid the wait.
The harvest spring rolls were good and we all enjoyed the pork pot stickers. I preferred fried pot stickers over the steamed. These are fried in a pan, so the outside is a bit crunchier. Our 2nd night we tried the fried calamari which was fine but nothing fantastic.
I tried the egg drop and corn soup on our first dinner. The soup had such an overpowering corn flavor that I couldn’t eat it. I usually love egg drop and corn soup, but the flavors needed to be better balanced.
The entrees are served family style so order a tasting to share. The peking style shrimp and chicken with noodles was good but be sure to take the tails off the little shrimp! The chicken was good but the pieces were too big for chopsticks.
K and D ordered the kung poa chicken which was good but didn’t have the chili peppers. They both missed the heat in the dish. The chicken was a bit dry and the chicken chunks were again a too large for the chopsticks.
The combination fried rice was good, but I wasn’t a fan of the Beef Chow Fun ( beef wok noodles). The noodles were overcooked and just tasted wrong in the dish.
Derrick ordered the Rock n’ Roll roll off the sushi menu and it was very good. If I wasn’t so full, we would have ordered more. Considering the price of sushi at home, we found the prices onboard to be reasonable.
K had the panda salad for dessert and said it tasted like a pina colada in a bowl. Derrick enjoyed the five spice chocolate cake.
Bier Garten (Complementary):
We never actually ate at the Bier Garten. Derrick had a couple of beers here, but we didn’t try the food. Surprisingly, K didn’t pop up either for a bratwurst.
Onto paid options:
Café 49 (priced À la carte):
If you’re looking for specialty coffee or a pastry, you can get it at Café 49, located in the Atrium. There is also a bar if you want something a big stronger than coffee.
Teppanyaki Restaurant ($29.95 adult):
It was time for a bit of Japanese Hibachi on the water! We ate here for Lucy’s 11th birthday celebration and it was a great meal. She loved watching the chef prepare dinner right before her eyes. He flipped spatulas, caught eggs in his hat, created a beating heart out of rice and made a dragon dance all while interacting with the guests.
You’ll get miso soup and seaweed salad with ginger dressing as starters. Then you’ll choose between Teppanyaki Classics or Combinations for the entree. Everyone in my family picked the Filet Mignon and shrimp with the exception of K who went with chicken breast and shrimp. The entrees were served with garlic fried rice and Japanese vegetables.
A couple at the table ordered Chicken Yakiudon (chicken with udon noodles), and it looked delicious. I should have made Derrick share his filet and shrimp with rice, so I could get the best of both worlds. Next time!
Dessert was a choice between Green Tea Cake and Fresh Fruit Sashimi. I wasn’t a fan of the cake but the fruit looked great.
As mentioned above, you’ll want to book early.
Cagney’s Steakhouse dinner (priced À la carte):
If you’re looking for a good steak, Cagney’s should be on your list of places to dine. I WAY over ate at this restaurant. Try the truffle fries – they are a must! This formal dining room is Japanese themed and has great service. The night we dined, one of K’s friends was celebrating her birthday with family at Cagney’s. If you’re celebrating a special occasion, make sure to tell the staff. It’s always fun to embarrass the birthday girl or boy on their special day.
The kids and I all chose the Filet while Derrick went for the T-bone. All the steaks were flavorful and cooked perfectly. A choice of sauce was offered with each steak, but you really didn’t need it. We all had the truffle fries and either broccoli or asparagus. I should have gotten the mushrooms for us to share as well.
I, of course, went for the soup appetizer and Derrick liked the lump crab salad. The baked potato soup was good, but was too heavy with a steak coming. While the appetizers were good, you could really skip them to make more room for your entree.
The desserts were excellent. I loved the oreo cheesecake. It was huge and big enough to share. I considered having Derrick go down on another night and buy me one to take back to the room. It was that good.
Cagney’s Steakhouse lunch (Concierge level only):
Concierge level guests can dine at Cagney’s Steakhouse complimentary for breakfast and lunch. This is a nice perk as it allows you to avoid the buffet line craze on Port days plus the lunch menu is quite delicious.
The menus at Cagney’s Steakhouse stay the same throughout the entire cruise. Unlike the dining rooms where the menus change nightly, you’ll find the same menu each time you visit. Not that this was a problem for us. There were plenty of choices and we didn’t even get a chance to sample all the offerings. To be completely honest, Derrick wasn’t impressed with the burger but the fries were good. Always order a side of truffle fries for the table 🙂
Lucy and I loved the fettuccine with porcini mushrooms and ordered it on multiple occasions. I wasn’t a big fan of the French dip. The pan seared scallops and shrimp risotto was good but I stand by the fettuccine being the best dish.
Derrick always chose the shrimp cocktail as a starter and commented on how clean the shrimp were. Usually on cruise ships, the shrimp are cleaned quickly so you still find veins. My first appetizer was the grilled asparagus and prosciutto. It was delicious but filling. The smoked salmon Lucy tried was great but another huge serving. She ended up ordering the smoked salmon as her entree during another lunch.
The warm espresso chocolate brownie dessert was delicious but massive. I barely managed to eat half. Even though Lucy doesn’t like bananas, she went with the banana cream pie on our first lunch and thought it was tasty.
I tried the special Mr. Worldwide cocktail. It was good, a bit sour upon the first sip. I could have drank another, but then I would have needed a nap.
Cagney’s Steakhouse breakfast (Concierge level only):
Again, this is only available for Concierge level guests. We tried to eat here every morning that we were ready on time. When you have 4 people trying to get ready for the day, it can take awhile! Derrick and I pretty much always ordered the eggs benedict. It’s one of our favorite breakfast items and we rarely get a chance to eat it. I also found the omelettes to be good – and you don’t have to stand in line at the cooked to order egg station to get it!
K ordered the crab eggs benedict one morning and liked it, but usually went for the Tahitian vanilla challah french toast, waffles with fresh berries or buttermilk hot cakes. He may have ordered 2 breakfasts on more than one occasion. He always asked for a side of bacon & sausage with his meal as well. Lucy also loaded up on the breakfast carbs choosing the french toast or waffles. Coffee here is served in a press and tasted SO much better than the coffee at the buffet.
La Trattoria (priced À la carte):
Enjoy a taste of Tuscany at La Trattoria. Derrick and I loved the crusty bread served with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and fresh parmesan cheese. I would have been happy to munch on that all night! I started with the minestrone gran faro e fagioli soup. It was very good, but I didn’t like the Italian sausage. The pieces were too large for soup and the flavor wasn’t good. The presentation was lovely and the rest of the soup was delicious. I suggest going for the vegetarian version. Derrick had the insulate caprese. We didn’t like the flavor of the tomatoes or mozzarella.
For our entrees, I opted for the chicken parmesan. It was a toss up between that and the shrimp risotto. The chicken parmesan was good but I couldn’t even finish half. Derrick had the ribeye which he enjoyed. For dessert we shared tiramisu. We also shared a bottle of red wine, but I didn’t write down the name. Overall the meal and service were very good.
Le Bistro French Restaurant (priced À la carte):
We didn’t eat at Le Bistro on this cruise. However, we did eat there on our last cruise with NCL. Since the food was pretty similar at the specialty restaurants on both ships, I can say you will likely enjoy dining at Le Bistro. Lots of people enjoy the steak here.
We didn’t try room service on this cruise, either. Normally I like to order coffee and a light breakfast in the room while enjoying a leisurely morning on the balcony. Since we had an interior room this cruise, I didn’t want to sit inside the room for my breakfast.
Please note: A convenience charge of $7.95 will apply to all room service orders (Continental Breakfast until 10am excluded, Suite Guests are excluded from the $7.95 charge at all times)
It bears repeating from my Norwegian Spirit Cruise review post, *PLEASE be aware of the Spanish VAT. A 10% VAT was added anytime we were in Spanish waters or a Spanish port. This was a majority of the cruise! The VAT was assessed on all Food and Beverage including Dining and Beverage package consumption. Pretty much if the Duty Free shops weren’t opened or you weren’t docked in a non-Spanish port, you’ll pay an extra 10% on food and beverages. This does add up quickly, so factor it into your budget.
Overall, the food was good on the Norwegian Spirit cruise ship. Take advantage of Freestyle cruising and dine when and where you choose. We enjoyed many of the selections in the main dining areas and had great meals at the specialty restaurants. K is still missing the food at Blue Lagoon and Raffles Buffet. As a growing teenage boy, he definitely ate his cruise fare over the 10-day period.
If you’ve sailed, what do you think of the restaurants on the Norwegian Spirit cruise ship?
Disclosure: We received media perks during our cruise. As always, opinions are 100% my own and may differ from others.