We have cruised on almost every major cruiseline and heard many derogatory remarks regarding NCL. Last year we cruised on the NCL Jade twice and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
We recently cruised on a B2B on the Spirit over Christmas. This is a very special ship - obviously not built to NCL's requirements, which showed in the placement of the Blue Lagoon. However, she has a most attractive Asian decor, with some interesting and unusual artefacts dotted around. The balcony cabin was on the small side, but perfectly functional, clean and pleasant.
The staff are truly exceptional - very friendly and service oriented. The food was very good and well presented and we enjoyed the specialty restaurants. The Casino was very hot and smokey - which prevented us spending as much time there as we usually do, which was a pity, as the staff there were very attentive.
We really enjoyed this ship - its the perfect size - not too large, but large enough to have all the entertainment facilities we needed. No climbing wall etc., but there was a very nice pool area for small children.
The music on board was excellent - varied enough to suit most tastes.
The senior officers were very approachable and, except for the Captain, very visible. We can't comment on the ports, as we spent sixteen days on board without getting off once!! We cruise for the ships not the ports.
I can thoroughly recommend this ship - perhaps older in style than the new glitzy ships, but very elegant and offering a very enjoyable experience.