There were 7 of us couples travelling together, all in our 60's,on a trip of a lifetime we started planning over a year ago. We all flew into Miami and spent an extra day sightseeing via the Hop On Hop Off bus. I would highly recommend this inexpensive, fun way to see all Miami has to offer. We all stayed at the Embassy Suites - Airport, which also arranged a private bus to take us all to the port for our Sunday departure.
Embarkation went smoothly. We arrived at 11:30 and were all in the Summer Palace having lunch by noon. Our balcony rooms were ready by 2 pm. We had plenty of space, with lots of clothes hangers and drawers for our clothes. The suitcases store nicely under the bed. We moved the coffee pot to another area to make room for my makeup table.
We ate at pretty much all the venues, including the up-charge restaurants, throughout the 14 days. Our favorite in the past has been Le Bistro - now it's tied with Moderno - excellent for meat-eaters like us! We ate at various times and the service was always great. We had no preferences between the Summer Palace and Indigo - other than the Indigo accepted more casual dress (shorts). The food was the normal meal choices you get on most cruise ships now days - certainly not the gourmet selections the cruises of old served, but 10-12 choices each night, and good food. The buffet had plenty of choices as well, however finding seating is always an issue, so we chose to go to the sit-down restaurants most of the time. We found the Blue Lagoon to be a good free choice for breakfasts and lunches, and never had to wait to be seated. There is always something good to eat ... somewhere!
The entertainment was good - some better than others. We enjoyed the variety shows put on by the NCL cast. The hypnotist was funny. We could have done without the juggler. One comedian was good, the other so-so. We participated in the trivia games on board, and usually watched some of the lounge shows, such as the Not-so-newlywed-show. The various singing groups scattered around the ships bars were good as well.
All of the excursions we went on were very informative. We had scheduled a private tour in Cartagena, Columbia. Our group went their separate ways for excursions, but we went on NCL tours in Costa Rica, Puerto Chiapas, and Puerto Vallarta - they were all worth the money. We did an NCL end-of-cruise tour in L.A. - more on that later.
Our only real disappointment was debarking in L.A. - a total zoo! Apparently customs was late, people were showing up in line long before their numbers had been called, etc. There was no order at all. We were scheduled to leave on our tour at 9:00am and did not even get to our bus until 10:15. Additionally, our tour was cut short due to some guests early airline departures. Our tour was shortened by 1-1/2 hour. I will say, though, that NCL Customer Service took responsibility for their shortfalls in this area, and made amends.
We choose our cruises by itinerary, not cruise line. We're not really loyal to any one company. We always look for the many positives on our trips, not the one or two mishaps that can happen any where. Could some things have been better or gone smoother? Definitely. Will we sail with NCL again? Absolutely.