Just got off the Pride of America. This was our first cruise, so use that as a barometer. Went with family that had been on one other to Caribbean. We read many reviews before booking and then after, just to get as much info as we could before we started our trip. Nothing worse than figuring out how something works on day 4 of a 7 day trip. Our research was well worth the time and we thank cruisecritic.com for having this forum. My caution is to not take all comments as being written in stone. Like, we read that both main dining rooms required collared shirts and pants. Only Liberty required that on our cruise. Look for little details like that in the brochures after you board so you will get the latest info.
Again, this was our first cruise so maybe our expectations were not as refined as someone that has been on 100 cruises. We read reviews of "Bad Service", "Bad Food", "Older ship", etc. We found none of these reviews to be accurate. Service was great, food was great, food was plentiful, food was varied, accommodations fantastic. Anyone that had a problem with food on this cruise either came upon an anomaly, or has standards that no cruise line could meet. Same can be said with service.
Did we encounter NCL staff that did not care to be there? Yes, but you will encounter those people wherever you go. For our trip, they were few and far between. Did we have delays during some meals? Yes, but was 10 minutes with an empty glass gonna kill me? No. One meal there was a delay getting our desert and we did not get refills of our drinks in a timely manner. But, that night when we got back to our room, we had a plate of strawberries with an apology note and a phone number to call. I called the number out of curiosity because we had complained to no one. The manager that I reached basically told me they monitor all meals and they knew we were delayed and had empty glasses and they wanted another chance to redeem themselves.
Were there kids on the pool deck uncontrolled? At times yes, but I blame the parents, not the staff. Also read, heard comments about small rooms. This is a cruise ship, not a hotel, our rooms were fantastic.
I kinda like the fact that you have to pay for booze because there were no drunks wandering around that were wasted on free booze.
All in all, a great experience. We are looking forward to our next cruise (Alaska) and we will give NCL the first shot at providing it.