Really fantastic entertainment made up for the few minor negatives. Have been on 15 cruises with NCL, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. Some are better than others in different respects, and everything isn't perfect on any cruise, but we've never been on a bad cruise. I read some negative comments before we left and I have to wonder if some people just make things up for some reason.
Embarkation - Got to the pier thru Lincoln Tunnel about 11:15 and was stuck in so much traffic on 12th Ave N. just waiting to turn up to the dock. Better way would be to go up 11th Ave and make left on 56th St. onto dock. Then there was such a long line of people waiting to drop off their luggage. The porters said they had some problems with the luggage machinery and it usually wasn't like that. After that check in was pretty quick and our cabin was ready, so dropped off backpack and went to buffet. Buffet was very packed as it usually is on embarkation day, but after walking around a few times found a table, and was surprised the buffet food was really good. Then walked around various decks to familiarize ourselves with the layout.
Wear comfortable footwear as this is a really big ship - about a fifth of a mile long. The pool deck 15 is different than other ships. There's really only one main pool with a stage for the great Island band, because where the other pool would be is taken over by the kid's water park area, a big pool for children and their parents plus a special pool for smaller kids, and above a large ropes course. But there were plenty of lounges in the sun and shade. That Caribean band was probably the best we've had as was most of the entertainment.
Entertainment - Do not miss the "Burn the Floor" in the theater. They also play in the Manhattan Room one of the main dining rooms, but the theater show is the one you want to see. Rock of Ages was as good as Broadway. Second City put on many different shows in the Headliner Club, all terrific. The Dueling Pianos in the Headliner were also great as was the New Orleans Blues Band and the female singer who did Tina Turner, Whitney Houston reviews and others. (Warning-shows after 11 can and do get raunchy).
Food - The Manhattan room has music with dinner some nights which was nice, the Taste and Savour don't. The 3 have the same menus. Very limited. Food ok. We found the food in the Garden Terrace Buffet better than the dining room for any meal. The second night (Monday) they serve lobster tails on the buffet and they were really good and all you can eat. We ate in some extra charge restaurants and they were very good to excellent. LeBistro and Moderno. The Cirque show although $40pp, was 90 minutes of nonstop acrobatics with a really good Filet Mignon dinner, I highly recommend it. Sunday night they offer a free bottle of wine at any extra cost rest. Take advantage of it. Ate twice at the Noodle shop. Very good.
The casino has smoking, Didn't seem as bad as on some other ships but it is open to other decks, so seems a little smoky anywhere around the casino.
Cabin - 9th floor was a good location for us. Plenty of storage room, seemed like much more room than on the new Celebrity ships. Balcony small but enough room for the 2 chairs and nice to sit on. Sometimes smelled some smoke because the 8th floor had an outside promenade (as well as 6), but nothing terrible. Cabin was very quiet, never heard any noise and had a cabin of 4 next to us. Bathroom very nice.
Service was great from everybody, everyone friendly and eager to satisfy.
The private island was cancelled due to bad weather. In Port Canaveral took shuttle to Cocoa beach, but it was too windy to enjoy the beach for long. In Nassau walked off to beach near town (Junkanoo beach). Beach was OK, some rocks in water, wear water shoes, and chairs to rent weren't the best, but it was ok.
Disembarkation - went quickly, you can really pick whatever color you want and get off when you want. We got Salmon and were off about 9. (figure about 30 minutes to get off total). If someone is picking you up, they make you cross 12th Ave, so tell your driver to pick you up on 48th St. between 12th and 11th. There were taxis waiting where you get out.
Thats the way it was for us, schedules for food and shows might change week to week. Try to schedule shows you can before the cruise, you do have to have reservations for certain shows rather than just showing up (they scan your card to get in-but you can still show up and probably get in). It seemed you could always get into extra cost rest. the same day. Lobster 2nd night in buffet. Not a quiet cruise but found the quiet areas were the library and upstairs outside what they call the H2O club. They charge extra for a lot of things that were or are still included on other lines but overall a great, beautiful, new ship and we had a great time.