Cruised on Norwegian Gem that sailed from NYC on June 1, returning on June 8. I'll review my experience by category:
Embarkation - went smoothly.........total time from parking car to boarding ship was an hour. For all things considered, this was acceptable.
Food - exceptional variety of restaurants from buffet Garden café to three sit down restaurants to several specific cuisine restaurants; i.e. Italian, French, Chinese. Overall food was above average. Selection was outstanding. Restaurants had several specials for the day along with a standard selection. We found this out late, but the restaurants are also open for breakfast and dinner - nice option is you don't feel like 'pigging out' and want to relax and eat.
Entertainment - one word - EXCEPTIONAL. We were overwhelmed at the quality of the daily performances in the Stardust Theatre. Words can't describe the Man from Mars show - a cirque type show - well done!! The comedian solo act and Second City shows were exceptional!! Far above exceptions.
Excursions - this will be different for each cruiser. We didn't do anything really special, although the options are there to pick from. Norwegian's own island was nice......beware of the rocks in the water......walking is very difficult....wear water shoes.
Daily Itinerary - well rounded diverse set of activities planned each day. Freebies included multiple trivia games and q/a with staff or performers. There a library and game room........both are quiet. Library provides daily soduku and crosswords. Other options include bingo(not cheap), deal or no deal(not cheap), wine tasting ($15 / person - well worth it), contests in the pool area, and art auctions. I'm sure I'm missing other options.
Other - there's bars and a casino if you want other forms of entertainment. Don't plan on spending time watching tv in the room..........poor channel selection - although we watched little tv.
One surprise was the daily $12 service charge fee per person. That's $84 per person that I would have preferred to have part of my cruise fee!!!