We where in suite 5074 with a large window, but no balcony. It was a nice room with plenty of room. We did a 12 day cruise last year on Carnival with a balcony that had a lot more room, but we felt there wasn't a big need for all that extra space this time. We have been on two cruises with Carnival and this was our first one with NCL.
Our reasoning for choosing NCL was that it had four ports instead of three for the same cost. The drive to get there is two hours longer each way, but worth it for that extra port. All our excursions where fantastic and we enjoyed everywhere we went. Getting off and on the ship was easy, and everyone we met on the excursions where fantastic!!!
We where very disappointed in the ship. It started with the freestyle dinner. The line was half an hour long and once we got in there, they couldn't find a table for us, so we stood in front of people eating, waiting for them to finish, then moved to another table that was a mess and waited for it to get cleaned up, when another table opened up and we went to that one and waited for it to get cleaned up. Total chaos. Our food came quickly, but it was bland and overcooked. We went to the other restaurant the next night, but had a reservation. This time we only had to wait ten minutes for a table, but the food was just as disappointing. We ate at the buffet for every meal after that. There are all places to pay extra to eat that we where told has better food, but it goes against our grain to pay extra for food on a cruise. We also felt that the design of the ship is based on making the restaurant's included in the price of the cruise so packed and of poor quality that it forces some people to pay for a decent meal. We heard the same from other guests on the ship.
There is just one buffet area and it's on the right hand side of the ship. It has three eating areas, but sometimes they where all full and you had to eat outside or in one of the pay to eat areas. They ran out of glasses several times and one time during dinner there where not forks anywhere. We had to walk to another eating area to get them. All the staff where friendly, but totally clueless about how to help us out find glasses or forks when that happened. The food was decent and we didn't starve, but we came back from the cruise weighing what we did when we left. That never happened on Carnival!!!
The onboard entertainment is what you expect from a cruise line. Poor singing and dancing. They had a Showtime show every night with the same people who did pretty much the same thing every night with different outfits and different songs, but after three shows, it kind of became obvious it was just the same thing over and over again. Comedy was fair and the magician was hilarious. The seats where the worse ever. Very uncomfortable and nowhere for the servers to get you drinks. They packed us in and it became painful after 45 minutes of sitting, so the last part of the show was always in discomfort.
Overall the ship had the feel of a poor design with too much of it used for pay for restaurants and not enough space for entertainment or the buffet. I give the ship a C rating at best. Everything about it was just average or fair. We don't feel where ripped off or anything negative like that, we are just disappointed at how far behind they are in service, entertainment and quality of food compared to Carnival. It is very unlikely that we would ever book another cruse with NCL.