Just sailed on the NCL Sun 10 day New Year Cruise.
Here some general insights that fit well with other posts on this board.
Did walk on 2 of my own bottles of vintage wine and 2 bottles of champagne. The Xray machine sniffed it out and I was charged US$ 15 per and given a slip to present when opening at any of the dining rooms. Noticed in the bin (past Xray)that hard booze was being confiscated for the whole cruise to be returned on last day in Tech Style Room. FYI Regardless of where we consumed it you still pay. I also smuggled a bottle in our packed luggage, that one got past the dogs and was toll free. So moral of the story you want drink in room, try smuggling it in; you drinking it in public areas, just pay.
Pay restaurants are in fact half price first night. Regular prices as follows: le Bistrot $15, Il Adagio 12.50 East meets West $20 not $15 as in NCL Web Site and Ginza can't remember....thinking $15. The supposed all you can eat at the Sushi Bar for $10 is a farce. It doesn't not include any Sashimi (straight Raw fish)or Nigiri Sushi (raw fish on rice). It only includes Maki Sushi (rolls).
New insight not seen in any of my research. Video Arcade on first day from 5:45 to 6:30 pm is supposedly free play. Once my kids hunted someone down past 6 pm, the person just put a bunch of credits in some of the machines (not all) and left. So it was 6 pm until all the credits were gone. 15 minutes in our case.
The two formal nights are the nights to avoid the pay dining rooms in my opinion. Free dining in Four Seasons and Seven Seas were very good both these nights. (Ie Lobster and Filet). So I think it's not worth it to pay up on the formal nights.
NCL tendering process is horrible. Stood in line for Grand Cayman tender tickets for 2 hours and nobody there organizing or telling you where you stand in line, worked out ok. The situation came to a head when they handed tickets out for Cozumel. No line management, literally hundreds of people clambering around. Passengers getting very agitated, telling other people off. It was a near riot (not joking). NCL hands out tender to control flow at the gangway calling ticket numbers out as they want people to come down to the gangway. There reasoning is for passengers safety. That's a bunch of bull after seeing how unprofessional and unorganized they give out tender tickets. Protect yourself or get proactive forming a line down one of the halls and not around the circular atrium.
Some general comments and I will leave for now (still foggy from just getting in).
Overall a very good cruise, Average to above average food. Poor to Very good entertainment, (very limited in scope.) but bad staff.
My complaint is with the employees.. too many seemed to being going through the motions ..no passion about there job. The housekeepers efficient but no extra effort with my kids. The dining room staff are pleasant and cordial but uninformed about there menu or food choices. plus other things like this. I'd ask for a soup as a first an entree as second(instead of a salad) and lastly another entree as my main. Three nights out of 10 they brought me two entrees at the same time. In the Garden Cafe or Great Outdoors Buffet areas tables would sit uncleared for longer than I would deem reasonable. The tendering issue from before with the employee not recognizing the situation and maybe asking who was there first and which way did the line go, but instead just hands out tickets. They have a volleyball tourney at 2:30 the NCL person would show up and deem that there is not enough people to start, so they left; my bro-in-law rounds up 7 other people who doesn't know and they play a little very informal four on four and have a blast. Same thing at the kids club. Very little things like this that either make me a freak or make me sound like a whiner or would drive some people crazy. Notice I still said overall very good.
Lastly unlike the non autograt workers the bar wait staff are worse than Jamaicans. Unbelievable and relentless in there badgering while sitting in any public area to see if you wanted bar service. I was interrupted from my book I was reading poolside 9 times in one hour alone (6 by the same waitress) asking if I wanted bar service. You'd think saying NO the first eight times might have been a clue. Another example walking around in the Great Outdoors Cafe looking for chairs and a clean table with three plates in hand and two kids in toe and being harassed for bar service instead of maybe getting some help finding a table or chairs. Greedy Greedy NCL ..more concerned about the Benjamins rather than true customer service, however, all the lines aren't much different in that regard, others are more subtle perhaps or maybe I just noticed more compared to other cruises. That's all for now.