This was our first cruise, so thoughts on what to except varied. We were traveling as family of two adults and two young kids. We chose this cruise because of good price. We did all shore excursions, flight booking etc on our own.
At home we decided to go from airport to cruise port on our own. We took a bus from airport to Plaza de España (be careful; pretty main stairs: tricky with two kids, pram and few suitcases -but we made it!), then from there a metro to Drassanes. It was a lovely day, so we had a snack at La Rambla and then took nice relaxed walk to cruise port. During the walk some weird taxi driver kept on driving by us and yelling that you are insane as you walk and that it is over 5km to Spirit -well, it was 2km at maximum on a good road and even our 3 year old liked the walk in a nice weather.
First the check-in seemed to be somewhat chaotic, but ever since we boarded the ship, everything was nice and smooth. We loved the easy disembarkation in ports of call, food in buffet; especially the meat dishes and chocolate cakes, welcoming atmosphere and superb youth staff who made our 3 year to feel like home although they didn't have any common language with her at all. Ship it self starts to show signs of age, but this really didn't bother us, even our rather small cabin (Oceanview Porthole) started soon to feel like home. Kids facilities were bit disappointing as currently (12/2013) NCL's website has picture of some kind of jungle gym which didn't exist.
Cabin was basic but cozy and nice enough. During the night we didn't have much space on the floor as there were also a baby bed and sofa chair as a bed. But during the daytime we survived just fine as our cabin attendant folded the sofa chair away every morning. Queen size bed had mattresses that we liked and also pillows were good. In bathroom drain got few times somewhat blocked after hair wash but problem was solved after we asked someone to clean up the filter. Hairdryer was bad.
From a noise point of view this was a rather good cabin: only sound that woke us up were the bow thrusters which were used during the arrival to Casablanca and Barcelona.
Disembarkation was also easy: on a quiet morning we just walked out, took first cab without any queue and drove away with a strong feeling that we will be back!