My husband and I are both 33, cruised only when we were younger so this was really almost a new experience for us. We almost booked on royal caribbean (apparently their boat left on the same day)
SERVICE: Rough start. As SOON as we got out of the cab at Miami port, a porter immediately asked us if we wanted our bags taken to the ship and when we said yes, demanded a tip. twice. apparently he decided to ignore me when I said no the first time. Then while we were hanging out at the bar getting drinks, we chatted with 2 guys who had just walked off of Royal Caribbean and walked onto Norwegian to continue their cruise. They seemed to rate Norwegian MUCH better in that first hour in terms of cleanliness of the ship. While they were convincing us to get the ultimate drink package since it included gratuity, the bartender decided to interrupt and tell them that no, the ultimate drink package included gratuity and not tips, tip is personal and on top of the gratuity blah blah blah. I thought it was poor form and I hate being harangued about tipping. Luckily, the rest of the staff for the remaining few days was pretty pleasant. Joel the cruise director did a fantastic job.
ROOMS: surprisingly large, we expected smaller! We got a guarantee porthole family room which was close-ish to the staircase (recommend) as it allowed us to move around easily and it was not loud at all. Surprisingly could not hear through the walls either for the rooms on either side of us either which was great. Beds are not comfortable at all and showers are small as expected. Housekeeping did a great job.
FOOD: Not bad for cruise! My husband and I have no dietary restrictions and consider ourselves to be fairly discriminating eaters. We had dinner at the Crossings twice. First night was lobster (pretty good) and steak (ok). The other night I tried their lamb chop and my husband had the snapper. They're not big on presentation, but the food was fine, better than we expected for cruise food. I will say the buffet never looked that appetizing even though the buffet seating was always full, so I would go with the main dining rooms instead. We also purchased dinner at Le Bistro and il Adagio. Neither were particularly stand out and for the additional fee i actually regret purchasing them, the MDR food was fine not to mention that the kitchens are the same in the nice restaurants as in the MDR! One night I ordered French onion soup at the MDR and the next in Le Bistro thinking it would be a highly upgraded version. It was EXACTLY the SAME soup, but served in a nicer soup terrine in Le Bistro. The only standouts at Le Bistro would be the escargot and the cocktails.
Freeport: Rough stormy day, decided not to get off
Grand Stirrup Cay: Tender was fine, did the wave runner which was awesome! Highly recommend. bbq food that norwegian brought to shore was fine, and look for the beach areas that are slightly quieter.
Nassau: couldn't go to cabbage beach as it was closed due to high tides, so walked to the public beach which was just as nice. Got conch salad at the Fried conch restaurant which was delicious!