We've taken 6 cruises and thought we'd try NCL this time for anytime dining and the relaxed dining room dress code.
Overall, we had a great vacation, but found NCL service, ship, kids programming and dining to be lacking.
The pluses were the ports and excursions. We booked all thru NCL and they were all fabulous. Almost all of our tours ran late and the ship always waited for our tours to return. Big reason to book with NCL directly.
Our cabin was nice sized, but tired (drapes had holes, stained carpet, general wear and tear). This was true of all public areas of the ship.
Keep in mind we paid the recommended automatic gratuities despite our issues with service. Food was always below average (i.e. on par with 1980's-era "dorm food") in all venues except Moderno Churrascaria which was excellent. Service was bad all Dining Rooms, Moderno and Mama's Italian. Waits of 30 minutes for beverages and bread was common. Courses were not served together for all peeople at table. Often a couple people would be finished with appetizer and entrees before others at the table were served any portion of their meal despite all orders being taken at the same time. The food at Mama's was not even up to Olive Garden standards. Pizza hut has better pizza than Mama's.
Much of the food was from Sysco. We saw it stacked up on pallets and loaded onto ship in Seattle. Items you will not see on the buffet at any time: peanut butter, nuts (walnuts, almonds, etc.), salsa, tortilla/corn chips, fresh berries (but frozen are there). Potato Chips were served once. Wine was very overpriced, by comparision mixed drinks were $6-$8 seemed a better deal. Kids cereal disappeared fast. I don't know why this was out-of-stock so often.
We mentioned our service issues to dining room staff on many different visits. No one cared and service did not ever improve.
The washy washy staff sprays your hands with disinfectant as you enter most venues, but the table bus staff does not wipe down tables. IMO, cleared tables were always left dirty in the buffet dining areas. It made we wonder about the general cleaning standards.
The kids programming was sporadic with very limited Nickelodeon presence. We did not participate after two attempts which did not yield the "scheduled activity". This was vastly different our expericent with Disney and RCCL.
Overall the entertainment was good. David Naster is a funny guy. The show choir/dancers are under-utilized. The juggler was very good. Miss Rosie is entertaining.
Our cabin steward was just o.k. Hardly ever saw him. Our room was scrubbed on Day 6 and then he covered the flat surfaces with tissues so we wouldn't get it dirty. This was really annoying. I thought someone pranked our cabin, but honestly it was done to prepare the room for the next occupants. We got the standard towel animals, but nothing else memorable.
The NCL Jewel bathrooms are split to theoretically allow a couple people to use the bathroom at the same time. However, this did not work our for us (we had 6 people sharing 2 adjoining cabins). A single door opens into the area with the sink. To the left is a toliet behind a see thru glass door. To the right is a shower with a see thru glass door. There is no way for two people to share the bathroom without seeing "everything" going on in the toliet or shower area.
Honestly you really can't have a bad day cruising, but IMO Disney and RCCL are much more deserving of my repeat business and recommendation.