We are experienced cruisers, having sailed with Carnival, Celebrity, Princess and Regent Seven Seas. We booked this with friends. They chose the cruise and we joined them.
Embarkation was smooth and fast. We arrived at the port at 11:40 and we were on the ship at 12:15. Cabins were available at 1:30.
We had a mini suite, which was comfortable and spacious. Only complaint about the room: the water backed up from the floor drain in the bathroom when the tub drained.
The food was disappointing in every venue we tried: buffet, MDR, Azura, Cucina and the Brazilian BBQ. Canned peas and carrots as the vegetable in the MDR! Food cold, overcooked, flavorless. Most cruise ship coffee is bad, but this was undrinkable. Its tasted like how a stable smells. I was not tempted by the desserts, and stuck with sorbet. The chocolate buffet was mostly just the regular chocolate desserts, plus a couple of ice sculptures.
We did not see the cruise director one time on the entire cruise.
Not once did a crew member offer to take a drink order while in a public space. I had to go to the bar myself for drinks.
I usually find lots of things to keep me busy, and I was bored silly on the two sea days.
We rarely saw our steward, and he did not introduce himself to us until the 3rd day, although he did a perfectly adequate job keeping our room made up.
There were no port talks. The single "enrichment" sort of event we could find on the entire cruise was a video about the Panama Canal, which was very good, and which we appreciated, as we are going on a 15-day Panama cruise in January.
On the last night we met a couple from Australia who had boarded in Seattle,gone to Alaska, and were on thru New Orleans. They said there had been no lectures, narration or naturalists for the Alaska cruise and they were extremely disappointed.
The two pluses were a relatively small number of PA announcements and no dancing waiters.
I will not book with NCL again.