This was my 3rd cruise, (1st on NCL) and my girlfriends 1st cruise. I booked through Travelocity and for her birthday (which was May 6th, our departure date), I purchased NCL's "Deluxe Romance Package" which came with 12 red roses & chocolate covered strawberries in our cabin waiting for us on departure day. Then it also included 2 half-body massages, breakfast in bed, hors d'oeuvres and tea service for 2, a free dinner at Le Bistro, and a free 8x10 portrait.
The first day there we found our balcony neighbors brought a boombox and were blasting rap music with foul language and screaming on their cellphones as we left NY Harbor. We went to Guest Services desk and inquired about another room. We were told the ship was at full capacity and that we should wait to see if the neighbors calmed down after 1st night excitement, so we went to Cagney's for dinner. The waiters at Cagney's sang Happy Birthday to my girlfriend, we got a complimentary bottle of wine after bumping into Sawant, the manager of the Food & Beverage. Sawant went ABOVE and BEYOND to make sure our entire trip were were taken care of us. He's magically show up at our table almost every other night making sure the food was perfect and we were having a fabulous time. It was, and we were! Unfortunately, when we returned to our stateroom not only were our neighbors still listening to foul languaged rap, but now they were smoking weed. I again went to Guest Services and explained my gripes. They sent a security officer to the room, (who for the most part did nothing, didn't even enter the room), but at least the music stopped. The next morning I get a phone call from Iris, Guest Services supervisor, who informed me another room was available and I can move to it as soon as needed. I agreed and our steward had our things moved to the new room within 5 minutes and waiting for us was another complimentary bottle of wine with chocolate covered strawberries! Form then on out, our experience in the stateroom was flawless. Sean, the Hotel's overall manager, really has something special going on with his staff.
The bed was big and comfy, (though the seam down the middle got annoying because they were two beds pushed together), the bathroom was quite large and accommodating, the view was stunning, but the TV was a let down. Now I know, I shouldn't bother with TV while on vacation but for as much as we paid for the trip, I expected more than a 12" cube TV from 1995. The channels were only SportsCenter, CNN, MSNBC, BBC, FoxNews, 2 movie channels (movies were often and very recent such as MI:4, The Artist, Harry Potter, Thor, etc), and 3 channels dedicated to the ship including the "Navigator's Log" channel (heading, speed, temp, maps, etc) a channel with a camera with the view from the bridge, and an "in-house" channel that showed actual events that were filmed on your cruise. A flatscreen would have taken up less space, been bigger, and more enjoyable to watch these new movies (who wants to watch Tom Cruise in MI:4 on a 12" screen?).
The ship has everything you need, a HUGE spa, many lounges and bars (go to Red Lion) and plenty of free and cover-charge restaurants. Our favorites we paid for were Cagney's, Moderno, and La Cucina. Our favorites we didn't pay for were Aqua and Versailles (get a table by the back window!!). I wasn't much a fan of the Market Cafe. The buffet is always filled with food but so are the tables with people. I was surprised how empty the free restaurants are until I realized that a lot of cruisers wanted to portion out the food as much as they wanted, didn't want to have to wait to be served and didn't want to worry about an additional tip. If you want, you can order breakfast in bed the night before and they bring it to you whenever you request it delivered. Room service food was good, both breakfast and lunch menus. The Topsiders grill does burgers, hotdogs, pulled pork, steak, anything you'd want from a barbecue. They do it all day and it's a great way to get lunch. Food is quite good too.
The pool was another letdown. We are 33 and 32, we don't have kids and the pools seemed geared towards kids. I mean, the main pool's "deep" end is 4.3 feet and the kids side is 3.9 feet... There are 4 jacuzzi and a 5th one up front in the quiet section. Too bad on a sunny day there's over 300 people jostling for chairs, tables, and jacuzzi access. The pool needs to be revised.
The entertainment was amazing. I saw everything from a 60's musical, Second City comedy group, a comedy juggling duo named Shark Bait, a magic act, an amazing pair of Russian acrobats named Dmitri and Maria, and the last night was a big finale of almost all the acts. The shows are in the amazing Stardust Theatre which holds at least 700 passengers and the shows are an hour long showing at 7:30 and 9:30pm. There were MANY other fun things to do and far too many to list. I wasn't much a fan of the art auction (who comes on a cruise to sit and bid hundreds and sometimes THOUSANDS of dollars on art???) I wasn't a fan of the pool, and I wasn't a fan of the Market Cafe breakfasts... but that's IT! Three minute things on a huge 1000' boat is hardly noticeable. The staff was amazing, the shows were amazing, the food was amazing.
Overall this was the best cruise I've ever taken. We've already begun to book our next one and I'm certain it will be on another NCL boat.