Ship and Public Areas: The artwork on the hull is colorful, distinctive and I liked it even though Im not a fan of Peter Max stuff. I liked the atrium and the open design between the 6 - 8 decks. I also liked how everything you might need was centralized on Decks 6 - 8 and then 15 - 17 for the outdoor activities. The Waterfront on Deck 8 is very nice. It was pretty neat to stroll around the area. The weather was cool and a bit windy on the seas days, but it will be a great area when its warmer and less windy. I found the entire layout of the decks and public areas to be very efficient and easy to get around. The public restroom toilets also have an automatic flush that works only when the lid is closed. I had heard a complaint about this, but there is signage, unless it was placed after the complaints. The Waterfront also had binocular stands set around very nice touch. There appeared to be PLENTY of elevators for everyone and never a long wait at all. There were electronic panels in the elevator/stairway areas for mapping, dining reservations and show tickets.
Room: I had a balcony room and thought the balcony space was typical. The friend I traveled with was a smoker so we did spend quite a bit of time out there and never felt that there wasnt enough space. Youre sitting how much space does a person need?! The room layout was pretty comfortable. Our beds were split into two twins which put one of the beds very close to the closet. Yes, it was a tight space but I could sit on the bed, pick out my clothes and off I went. If I was a large person I suppose it could be difficult. There was plenty of space in the closet and lots of shelving. There was no drawer space, per se; however there were more shelves under the TV area behind cabinet doors. There are shelves and cabinets everywhere. The bathroom was a comfortable size as well with two large shelves for personal items. I liked the center-frosted shower door vs. the usual shower curtain that can suck fast to you when youre wet. They have added the foot step in the shower for ease of ladies shaving legs. I still dont like the shower gel provided I prefer bars of soap. I actually went down to the shop to purchase a bar, but they didnt sell them. Guess I need to buy a travel soap dish and bring my own next time. The non-fog mirror is always a nice touch too. The interactive TV in the cabin was nice , you could get show and dinner reservations without even leaving your room or picking up the phone. The system even showed you what was available in real time. In an effort to conserve energy there is a new lighting system in the cabins on this ship (new to me anyway) wherein you place your cabin card in a slot at the door and the lighting works when you leave the cabin and you remove the card the lights go out. There is also an electronic system above the exterior of the door for Make up Room with a green light, Do Not Disturb with a red light and a white light indicating the cabin is occupied. The hallway also seemed narrower than usual I would not have wanted to require a scooter to get around.
Entertainment: This ship had a great selection of entertainment. Cirque Dreams Dinner Show Jungle Dreams in the Spiegel Tent was a great show. I chose to purchase the premium seating over the standard seating due to a vision issue I have. I have heard that the standard seating is sufficient; however, I had a GREAT seat right at the stage with my premium seat. The food was a steak, two coconut shrimp, twice baked potato and broccoli. I found it difficult to eat while still keeping my eyes on the amazing show. I would have preferred eating and THEN seeing the show. Guess I'm not a fan of dinner shows if thats how they always work. The show, however, was amazing. The stage area was so small compared to what the performers were doing amazing! While I didnt see Rock of Ages I was hearing mixed reviews people either loved it or walked out. I also heard there were some technical difficulties, which is to be expected. Second City's Dysfunktional Family Reunion lunch was pretty funny. That was held in the Spiegel Tent also. In the Manhattan Dining Room there was also a dance show during dinner by the Fire and Ice dancers. Again, Im not a fan of the eating and show-watching at the same time apparently. I had only dined in the Manhattan DR on one occasion and found that the dance show lasted WAY too long - 45 minutes. It was difficult to speak with tablemates and just enjoy the meal. The dancers were, however, VERY good and talented. All in all, fabulous! The entertainment was all great. The best entertainment IMO was Comedian/Magician Michael Finney he had everyone laughing so hard we were crying! I would have gone to see him EVERY night. He also graciously allowed one of the NCL Staff, Simon Jukes, to perform and he was very good also. Michael Finney was what I enjoyed the most of all the entertainment.The casino is big, bright and nicely laid out. They do enforce the smoking and non-smoking sections. It didn't smell too bad to me at all. LOTS of gamblers on board.
Dining: We ate at Raw and Sushi Bar ($4.25 for eight pcs of eel sushi was A DEAL!) which I believe is part of Ocean Blue, Cagneys Steakhouse (outstanding), Le Bistro Italian (excellent), Taste (no up-charge and VERY good), Manhattan DR (no up-charge and fine), Garden Cafe Buffet and the Cirque Dinner Show. There is a gelato window on Deck 8 on The Waterfront that was outside of Carlo's Bakery. The cannolis at Carlos are wonderful. I really enjoyed the layout at the Garden Cafe. PLENTY of stations and food was great. We even had dinner there on the last night which was a first for me on ANY cruise. What I found that was odd, and annoying, was the plastic sneeze guards they had in just one little area within the buffet. It was a vertical shelving unit with plastic drop-down front flaps. You needed to hold the flap door up with one hand and use the other to grab the food you wanted. The shelving was stacked, so if someone came up alongside of you with a glass or cup of coffee on their tray, you would have knocked it over with the flap door if trying to get something from the lower shelf. I questioned an upper officer about this he indicated it was required due to health concerns. Why wouldnt ALL food then be behind these flap doors? I took a photo of this area on one day and, besides various dessert offerings, the shelving held bananas and oranges why would those two items be in this area?! Who eats banana and orange peels?! Just a pet peeve of mine apparently!
Pool/Outdoor Area: The pool area was a nice sized area with lots of chairs around the pool, on the deck above overlooking the pool and throughout that upper level. I love how NCL places two lounge chairs, a small table, then two lounge chairs, small table, etc. Many cruise lines place lounge chair after lounge chair requiring a person to move around the lounge chairs in order to get to the side of them to sit down. The pool band, wish I remembered the name, was fantastic. If taking a cruise in warmer months I would definitely look into Beach Vibe Club - $75 for the entire week. It was a lovely space.The aqua park was fun. I did the slides, even the big one. The rope course looked pretty cool and seemed to be popular with guests. Mini-golf was nice too. Service: The service, as usual, was fantastic. Our cabin attendant, Manuel, was not intrusive but was always around. He was super friendly and we enjoyed him a lot. First time I actually gave an additional tip to a cabin attendant!
Fireworks: I didnt attend the fireworks. Kind of glad I didnt as I heard the space was too small for the amount of people that showed up.
I was also able to meet CEO Kevin Sheehan and had an opportunity to speak with him and have my photo taken. Overall, I really enjoyed the ship's feel, layout and had a great time. I had been on the inaugural Disney Dream which had a handful of hiccups where the Breakaway inaugural seemed to run smoothly.