This was my third cruise over the past 20 years. My mother chose the cruise as a family vacation for extended family as well. Some of the family members who came with had never cruised before and seemed to enjoy everything. Here are some pros/cons by segment:
Pros: the beds are like little cots with adequate storage underneath. My sis stored her large suitcase underneath. We had a couch as well, a small TV with a few channels such as CNN, Fox News, and the NCL Sky TV channel plus a few other movie channels. There is a safe in which you enter your own code to store valuables. The steward comes by numerous times during the day to tidy up; he was very friendly. Soap available in the shower.
Cons: Very small, older carpet that seemed ragged, the closet kind of stunk even before our clothes were in there. The room was sometimes a bit stuffy/warm sometimes. I didn't like the soap provided but had brought my own. Each person is charged an additional $12 a day for tips for the steward. I don't know that this is a "con" but some people might not be aware of this and should include it in their trip budget. The announcements were hard to hear in the room.
Pros: Numerous buffets for freestyle dining, free restaurants that take reservations for large groups, tap water that tastes decent, strong coffee. The main buffet on the pool deck was open quite often during the day. There were neverending supplies of pineapple and other delicious fruit, plus salads, breads and main dishes. The drinks available include water, lemonade, tea, coffee, and milk. One night featured Indian food which was pretty tasty. The breakfast buffet features tons of choices including yogurts. We only ate at restaurants that did not charge additional fees. The servers were attentive and friendly. The dark chocolate flourless cake and ice cream were always tasty.
Cons: The area around the water/tea station was always congested. The water cups are tiny, so we each would get 2-3 each time to have enough. There is no soy or almond milk, so if you do not drink cow milk, bring your own soy or almond milk. Soda is an extra cost - you can purchase that at a bar. I don't eat meat, but my family members who do often complained that the meat was tough. Some desserts were OK, but most were gelatinous somehow. I did not purchase any alcohol drinks, but they are very expensive. There are specific rules for bringing your own onto the ship. Some of the restaurant dishes had different descriptions than what they were and mostly were just OK or average. The restaurant also could not accommodate one table for eleven people, so we always had to sit at two separate tables.
Pros: Very uncrowded. My sister and I could do our own workouts in the big aerobics room with lots of space, cold towels and regular towels available, maybe 20 cardio machines available equipped with a TV on each piece of equipment, limited weights equipment. Some free classes available. Hours are great - 6 am to 11pm, water fountain (good water) available.
Cons: The air needed to circulate - it was stuffy without any fans. The classes are mostly $12 a piece, except the few free ones. I did not attend any. If more people exercised, I can see the room becoming very crowded.
Activities on Board:
Pros: There seems to be many choices of books in the library, plus some board games and sudoku puzzles available. Karaoke was fun for my sister and family. We also played a Friendly Feud game that drew a big crowd. There were two or three pools and a couple hot tubs with very few people most of the time. However, we did go on a short cruise with two destination ports.
Cons: The trivia game was terrible. The only category was the Simpsons TV show. This doesn't really match the demographic of individuals who came to play trivia. Some people ended up leaving. We were bored the whole time, as among the four of us, we had viewed maybe 10 episodes of the Simpsons. That was the only category, and the host just quickly went through each question. It was not fun like regular bar Team Trivia. Although my sis enjoyed karaoke, not all that many people attended. The casino and bingo cost extra.
Pros: The Great Stirrup Cay was a nice private island. We had our own beach chairs the whole day and there were plenty more. The snorkeling was a fun activity and not too expensive. We had the snorkel gear all day long. The ship provides food on the island, and although the buffet was limited with mostly barbeque-based foods, there were tons of tropical fruits available, some salads and breads for those of us who do not like BBQ. There were several bars open with drinks for purchase. Nassau has the market, Atlantis, and other additional cost excursions. It seems that one can find a cheaper price from a local person at the actual port versus purchasing it on board. The time available for both ports was adequate to do everything.
There were no showers on the private island, but to get back on the tender, they had running water to hose off everyone's sandy feet. Nassau had the crowded market right when you first get there and lots of people trying to sell van tours, etc. The crowds and heat in the market are quite stuffy but expected.
Overall it was a nice cruise. Those who haven't cruised before should keep in mind there are lots of extra costs, such as the extra $12 or more per day of tips added for your room steward, plus the paid restaurants, soda, and alcohol as well.