We had a pretty good time on this cruise, so please keep that in mind as you read this.
I am 42, this was my fourth cruise, third on NCL. My girlfriend is 41, this was her first cruise in 20 years, and first on NCL.
We flew in to Miami the day before and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Miami Springs. It is very close to the airport, has a free pickup shuttle, and a $10 per person port shuttle on cruise day. This is the second time I have used this hotel before a cruise out of Miami, and I will use them every time I cruise from this port.
Embarkation was a breeze, I really like how well Miami has this figured out. We went to lunch once we got on board, and much to my shock, our cabin was ready before we where done eating at about 1pm. This is my fourth cruise, and I have never been in my room before 2pm, great job NCL!!
We had cabin 13002,a "Family" inside at the front of deck 13. This is the smallest cabin I have ever been in on a ship, and yes I have been in an inside before. That being said, for two adults it is fine. There is no way you can put a third or fourth person in this cabin without sitting in each others laps, regardless of if they are children. There are two beds that are stored in the ceiling for two extra people. Do not even think about booking an inside cabin on this ship if there are more than two people, you will greatly regret it. The frosted doors are just silly, and a bad idea. Everything you have read about them is true, no real privacy of any kind. The show is of a decent size, which surprised me, considering how small the cabin is overall. I am not a 6'3" and lets just say not skinny, and had no problems with the shower. The "fridge" in the room is a cooler, not a fridge, so don't plan on keep your water bottles or soda in there and it be ice cold when you want it. Our cabin steward was great. He was very friendly, learned our names on the first day, and did a wonderful job taking care of our cabin. There is plenty of closet space, and the beds are high enough off the ground that you can put most if not all your luggage under the beds and out of the way. The hair dryer is decent quality, but it shuts off after about 30 or 40 seconds due to overheating. I thought that odd, but our room steward said they are all like that. I would recommend you bring your own.
We only ate at one of the specialty restaurants, Moderno, it was amazing. Well worth the $20 cover charge, I can't recommend it enough. The reason we only ate outside of the main dining rooms once was because the quality of the food in them was pretty good. We ate all of our dinners, and some lunches in Taste, so I can't speak about the Manhattan room. Pretty good service, and never took more than 20 minutes or so form the time we ordered to the time our main dish was on the table.
There is more entertainment on this ship than you can possibly do in one week. If you are bored, you want to be. The only show we pre-booked was Blue Man Group. We live in Las Vegas, and I have seen them three times before, but my girlfriend hadn't so we went. If you have seen the show in Las Vegas, you do not need to go to this one, it is the exact same show they did at the Venetian. The music is amazing, but the shtick gets old after a bit. If you haven't seen them, take advantage of seeing them for free. Slam Allan was really good. Him leaving this ship is going to be a big blow to the evening entertainment level. Howl at eh moon was pretty good too, it was packed every night they played. We went to see Legends in Concert at the last minute, and was very glad we did, it was pretty good. We had Goldberg/Ross, Buffet & Jackson. Could have done with out the host who did Goldberg and Ross, but the buffet guy was really good, and the Jackson guy really does come across as Jackson.
Now let's get to the reasons why I will never sail on this ship again. The layout and design of the public areas on this ship is by far, the worst I have ever seen. I truly can not believe that someone who has ever had anything to do with the building of a cruise ship before, would have looked at the layout of this ship and signed of on spending a billion dollars to build it. There are three internal public decks, 5,6 and 7. On two of these decks, you have to walk through a smoke filled casino to get from one end to the other. i understand the concept of sticking the casino in the middle of the ship to increase foot traffic, but this is a complete disaster. Since it is in the middle of the ship, it creates, at times, a complete bottle neck of people trying to navigate through it to get where they are going. There is no real ventilation, so the smoke just sits there, so you have no choice but to breath it in as you walk through. They have several small air filters around, but they do nothing. I had read about this prior to boarding, but figured it really couldn't have been as bad as other reviews have said. I was shocked at how big of a screw up this was. The outside of deck 7 is the promenade deck, which doesn't go all the way around. The jogging track is no such thing. You just go back and fourth on the same side of the ship. Never been on a ship that didn't have a jogging track. If you want to get a clear view of the water as you sail, good luck. There are two spots on the outer deck seven, and 20 feet wide, were there is no obstructions, and you can actually see the water. The entire deck, except for these two spots, is cover by the life boats. The only place we could find on the ship to just sit by a window and look out at the water, was in the buffet. the pool deck is another disaster. Very bad design. The pools are very small, in fact calling them pools is kind of being generous, they are more like really big bath tubs. Way to many people on this ship for way to few pool chairs. I was just really surprised at how badly the layout of this ship is. I will sail NCL again, but it will not be on this ship. I hope this helps you plan your next cruise in some way.