This was our 3rd cruise with NCL. We have also sailed on three other lines. Our first through the Panama Canal.
I will try to review the Ship and the destinations as we saw them.
Getting on in San Pedro was not to hard, but do not get there early as there really is limited seating. It took about 45 mins from luggage drop off to we were able to get on the ship. As a latitude member for some reason it was a longer line and more time consuming. Once on the ship we were able to go to our room right away to drop off our carry-on. Rm 8626 is a obstructed view (but not by much) just off mid-ships towards the aft. It was a wheel chair accessible room so we had a larger room than some. To the MDR for lunch. Here is one of the few negatives, the menu did not change for lunch the whole trip, but you do have options around the ship and we were in port for 6 days so it wasn't to big of a deal.
The ship it self is fairly easy to get around once you get oriented with it.
First the food. We ate most of our meals in the MDR at the rear of the ship. Try to get a window seat if you are doing the trip from LA as you will get to see the sun set every night. We usually ate soon after the restaurant opened, service was generally good but on a couple of nights when every one wanted to eat at the same time it slowed down. With freestyle dining if it looks busy now just go to the pub next door or the lounge and have a drink and wait a hour, what is the rush. The menu had two sides to it. One that remained the same the whole trip and one that changed. Another little thing now, as we were going to 4 Mexican ports Costa Rica and Columbia it would have been nice to see more dishes from those areas. (we were told that the menu will be changing in January 2014). We tried to stay away from the buffet so cannot say much about it, but had breakfast there before going to the gym on sea days, OK. The restaurant on deck 8 mid ships (just down from our room is a little gem. Quick limited breakfasts, same with lunch. Good service and friendly. The pool area also grills a couple of days, take advantage of it.
The ports of call were all great. Use you discretion on either booking a excursion thru the ship or going at it on you own. Puerto Chiapas is a quaint place. There is a pool and bar just out side the ship that you should take advantage of. the Cruise terminal was great with a show on in the middle of it. The only issue is getting out of the cruise area. Either you book some thing there or walk 1/4 mile out and then take a taxi. We took a open air bus tour around and had a great time. Cheap beers $1 at a store by one of the stops by the ocean. Cannot say enough about Costa Rica and Cartegena, What ever you do you will have a great time. But if you get a chance go to the Crocodile boat ride in Costa Rica.
Lets now talk about the entertainment. It varied from great to below average. The main shows with the NCL performers were very good. The other acts varied, Second City was funny ( second time seeing them on NCL). The Magic show was good and also the "Circus Show".
The bands on the ship were a little disappointing. The band in the Atrium seemed uninterested and rarely was there lots of people around. I think that doing this cruise they should have had either a South American or Mexican bands playing.
Lets talk a little about the crew. First it was nice to see at least once a day Senior Officers walking around asking for feedback, hats off to them. They were great and very approachable, and seemed to like us Cruise Critics. The restaurant staffs were generally very good also, they made some great recommendations to us. The staff in the shops ranged from great to disinterested (example on the last sea day one of the staff did not want to look for a piece of jewellery for my wife because he was tired???, throw him off). The Casino staff are great, We played Roulette every night and had a blast, hats off to them too.
To summarise, the Ports of call were very good, Staff the same. If you have sailed with NCL before you know what you will be getting. I like most of their options so I will sail again with them.