I like leaving out of New York City because it offers the opportunity for a brief vacation before the actual cruise. I have been cruising with Norwegian since the early nineties. I was particularly fond of their old Norway which was built at a time when cruising did not include as many passengers, while the passengers they did include liked dressing up, dancing to live music on board and other similar amenities, which is no longer the case. We now have balconies which are a refuge from the modern ships large crowds of passengers, some of which can be very loud.
Before this cruise I held the opinion that, of the two most popular lines, Carnival, (which now has befallen into hard times due to seemingly poor mechanical maintenance) had the better food while Norwegian had the better entertainment. I believed that in order to promote their "specialty restaurants" Norwegian had sacrificed some of the regular non-specialty meals. However I must admit that during this last cruise I noticed some improvement in the food served in the non-specialty area dining rooms.
On the other hand the entertainment has suffered. I dislike reality shows, for me besides at times being somewhat vulgar, they hold very little entertainment value and I think sometimes they are demeaning to some participants. However this seems to be what most of their passengers like. On the particular cruise I was on a senior couple was singled out as having been married for 50 years and they were cajoled by the cruise director to participate on a not-so-newly wed game. Then he proceeded to make fun of the husband who was clearly uncomfortable with the situation. This might have been fun for the crowd and convenient for the cruise director but I personally cringed at the situation the poor man was in, I go on cruises to relax, for me it was no fun to watch at all, he had not volunteered to be in the position this cruise director had put him in, certainly not worth a bottle of champagne, had I been him I would have just walked out.