I will admit, this was my first time cruising and the second for my fiancee (Carnival, 10 yrs. ago). Our cruise was a little different as we were to be married on the ship just prior to leaving port in L.A. The wedding itself was in the chapel, a beautiful little room, nicely decorated and not too wedding-ey. However, the company that NCL contracts with (out of Miami) that "plans" your wedding "with" you is unorganized, communication is somewhat less than desirable and the cost is really too expensive for services provided. Because of said wedding, we were allowed (along with guests) to board early...everything went off without a hitch. I had a lovely but expensive wedding. Every staff member greeted me warmly.
Our room stewards (Chris & Lea) are the people I miss absolutely the most now that I am home. What a fabulous team who made me feel like a princess! I loved our room, yes, it was small, I guess, but organized with more than enough storage and the bathroom was a treat. I did expect the worst in regards to the bath but I loved how it was divided into 3 areas - shower (with doors!), basin & countertop & finally the toilet (also with sliding doors). Great water pressure too. Our room was clean beyond belief. I did notice that deck chairs had quite a build-up of grungy black tarry stuff on them and thought that it was too much suntan lotion, etc., but found that the chairs had not been cleaned in quite some time. I felt dirty after laying out just because of the stickiness of most of the outdoor furniture and the visible gunk on same.
As I said, this being my first cruise I didn't know what to expect from the food but am willing to give almost all of it a good thumbs up....remember when you are in the buffet, it is a buffet and you shouldn't expect more than that...I was quite embarrassed by one server who would not let me have a cheeseburger because it was from the children's side...I did explain to him that for $3,000.00 I would eat his tablecloth if I wanted. He tried to be accommodating after that but I was not a willing participant and left at that point. My husband says that he was spoken to sharply for making a guest cry and not letting me just eat the burger. Specialty restaurants have hidden charges so read everything thoroughly although the food is quite good. We ate many times in the Aqua and it was consistently good and the service was wonderful.
I do feel NCL was nickel & diming everyone to death on this thing....we chose cruising at the advice of my MIL in order to save some money. Our first choice was to just fly to Hawaii but was assured it was too expensive...we have now outspent the Hawaii trip by about $2,000.00 give or take a few. NCL should be better diplomats than to hold people hostage to beverages...not alcoholic but soda and water. They'd like you to drink the recycled water but it tastes like recycled water so be prepared to spend $3 a bottle.
My in-laws bought us the honeymoon package (over $200.00) and we were to get dinner in Le Bistro, a photo, canapes in our room one night...we ended up paying money to Le Bistro for water and they added money for our filets...what did the in-laws buy?? The canapes came with persistent knocking on our door even though the door sign said "Do Not Disturb", he knocked until we answered and then he apologized. Somewhat tasteless canapes.
Although we didn't go in for many shows we did watch a lovely red headed comedian and did dance the night away one other night and had a great time. We went to play "Krackits" and were very disappointed...the wait for the directors of this one was the longest part...definitely NOT worth it.
As far as excursions go, I would suggest you skip them and do research on your own. Getting around in any of the stops is easy, most of the people do speak some English and Yes, in some of the ports the vendors are relentless so be firm! I STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT NO ONE GO ON COUNTRYSIDE HORSEBACK RIDE IN PUERTO VALLARTA...This was partially refunded to us and we were still ripped off...NCL has no idea (according to their own excursion mgr., Barry) what goes on out there which does not give them the right to be irresponsible. This is truly a horrific excursion in terms of everything and NCL taking two and a half days to meet with me (then not showing up at THEIR requested hour and place) was unacceptable. We are still not happy about our refund or lack thereof.
We felt that the 7th and especially the 6th floors are soooo cold! We came from Alaska and we couldn't stand it! All other floors were of a lovely climate. We even woke early a couple of mornings and went to the gym....lots of treadmills....classes fill quick so get on it asap if you want the class thing, otherwise it was a little close early in the morning but okay. The outdoor running track was a wonderful thing....so nice to run 1)outside & 2)with the ocean right there! On the whole we would say NCL comes on strong at the beginning of the cruise, wanes in the middle and by the end you feel like you are just being put up with. Very disappointing and so far we don't feel the need to ever cruise with NCL again.