We embarked in Venice after spending the previous night there to get some tourist time - highly recommended. Embarkation was painless. Or cabin was on the lowest deck at the front and suffered a lot of noise from various mechanical bits - especially when the ship was underway. The random nature of the noises made it hard to sleep. After two nights it got so bad that neither of us could get to sleep until after we docked in Piraeus so we missed out on Athens. I complained and NCL moved us up to deck 11 which was slightly smaller but much quieter, full marks to customer service.
The excursions were all hugely expensive so we did our own thing - fortunately we only wanted to see the local ports so walking was fine. Dubrovnik was the only problem since its about a 25-30 minute walk to the old town from the port but its a pleasant enough stroll through some quiet streets with only gentle hills.
Food quality was adequate in the buffet with a good selection, reasonable in the main restaurants (which were very busy with 30-45 minute waiting times at peak periods) and quite good in the speciality places. We tried Le Bistro (French), the Papa's Kitchen(Italian) and the Brazilian meat feast in Moderno. The latter was particularly good and, since you good eat as much as you wanted, was very good value. One thing that surprised us was how early breakfast finished in the main dining room - we only made it on time once. The fact that the time changed on a daily basis didn't help either, one day it closed at 8:30am, on others it was 9 or 10.
The shows that we attended in the main theatre were good, especially the two Polish acrobats and the popular classic quartet. We only saw the magician as part of the final Elements show but he seemed very good too. Elements itself was the best cruise 'extravaganza' I've seen. Of the bar acts we enjoyed watching the ballroom dancers and listening to Guys n Doll. Also the guitarists and pianist were all very competent and their choice of music was pleasant but very much of its type (lounge muzak). The theatre got busy and arriving early was advisable.
We gave up trying to find a lounger on sea days and just used the spectator seating over the sports court - loads of space there albeit no reclining capability but for reading it was fine. On other days we got lounger seats with no problem away from the pool (which we preferred to avoid the noise). The library was the best I've seen on a ship, a huge selection of books.
The ship design was a bit odd, necessitating a lot of up/down movement to get from one end to the other. There were only a few decks where you could walk the full length of the ship. The colour scheme was garish to put it mildly.
I initially thought the drinks charges were too high but I kept forgetting to convert from dollars to euros/pounds so the final bill when I got it was much lower than usual because we hadn't bought as many drinks! that was good news for me, not for NCL... I found the habit of including a gratuity in the bill annoying and would rather they just stuck it on the overall cruise charge like other lines are doing nowadays.
Overall it wasn't my favourite cruise but I would consider NCL again and niggles aside I'd even choose the Jade. I'd just make sure I booked a high level deck for the cabin.