This was our first trip out of Tampa and we found the cruiseport very confusing with its signage but once we arrived at the ship, embarkation was easy. We had to arrive early due to our transportation, but the checkin was easy and without any issues. Being budget travelers, we usually take the inside cabins as we do not spend a great deal of time there and prefer to spend most of our time near the pool. Our cabin was small but the location was convenient for everything and there was enough storage for the small amount of belongings we travel with.
The most disappointing aspect of this cruise was the food and service in the main dining areas. We did not try the specialty restaurants this cruise because we had heard they were not worth the extra money. We ate in the Venetian most of the time and the evenings it was often very crowded and they resort to the buzzer system where you are free to walk around the it lights up when your table is ready. The food never arrived hot but only warm. The service was very slow and one night all six of us received the wrong inners - all to the right table but the staff didn't have any idea who had ordered what. It took a long time to get coffee or tea, often we waited 20-30 minutes to order desert. It seemed the wait staff was disorganized and nobody seemed to know who was supposed to do what. The food was only so-so and not what we have been accustomed to on a cruise ship. The first night was a lobster/seafood platter which was the only night we had lobster.. other nights the food was meatloaf, potroast... THIS is cruise fare? I can only describe the food as equal to a local diner... NOT a cruise ship.
The cabin steward was good for the most part. Towel animals arrived most nights and the chocolate treats arrived all but he last night. The fruitbasket we were supposed to get as gold Latitudes members never made an appearance. He did keep our cabin clean and polished (which is more then I could say for the steward on the Epic three weeks before).
Entertainment was okay - something to do in the evening but a bulk of it was in the variety show format. The ports were alright - Cozumel was definitely the best for shopping and just roaming around, we did a snorkeling/catamaran trip and a city train tour which was enjoyable if not exciting.
We do the walk off disembarkation - if you can handle your own luggage, you don't have to put suitcases outside, wait for suitcases to arrive, wait for your color tag to be called. It was great.
This cruise was do disappointing it will be awhile before we take another NCL cruise as we definitely will go to other lines. We had just done a TA cruise aboard the Epic and the food, service and entertainment was far better... this cruise was on the bottom of our NCL cruise experiences.