OK, so the ship's not so beautiful on the outside, but what she has to offer on the inside makes up for her outward appearance. To cruise Norwegian you have to have a different "Freestyle" mind-set, especially if you've been on other cruise lines. Once you break away from the "cattle-call" type dinners and activities you will be able to truly relax and have a great time!
The ship really has a great sense of style. Some may find it a bit dark, but I found it to have a great modern and classy vibe throughout- and all of the decor matches throughout the ship, each public room having it's own take on the general design theme. Yes, there are spots on the ship that can be difficult to navigate, particularly the casino area. This by no means diminished our cruise experience. Yes, there is smoke in the casino and it is open to other floors. I don't particularly enjoy the smell of cigarette smoke, but it only bothered me when I was walking by someone smoking. I did not notice it on any other floor. Again, this by no means ruined our cruise experience. I was missing a full jogging track and a good area for a nice post-dinner walk. The upper open decks don't really connect and the promenade deck does not extend to the front or back of the ship. If you're a walker/runner you may be missing good spaces to jog or stroll. The gym is great, though.
We started in an inside, which was not unlike most inside staterooms- small and dark, but nicely appointed. We upgraded mid-cruise to a balcony, which was a bit bigger (even though the couch took up a little too much room) and much appreciated. Yes, the toilets have a translucent door. If you're traveling with friends, take this into consideration. There is a curtain that you can pull across to separate the bathroom and sleep areas. It is most definitely not the end of the world and did not ruin our cruise experience by any means. We were on deck 13, which made for easy access to the open decks of the ship.
Awesome. Blue Man Group- awesome. Cirque Dreams and dinner- awesome. Don't worry about paying for the upgraded seats, we had obstructed views and still enjoyed the show. We also enjoyed Second City a few times, as well as the Hypnotist show- which we actually went to twice. They also offer the normal cruise fare of game shows, trivia, etc.
Yes, you may have to wait for dinner. We heard a few angry people complaining that they'd never had to wait for dinner on a cruise before. Of course they haven't, I'm sure they had assigned seats at an assigned time. Sometimes everyone on the ship seems to want to eat at once. You can usually plan around it, but we never had to wait long. A half hour at most- nothing more than I would usually wait for a table on land. You're on a cruise, what's the rush? This by no means ruined our cruise experience. If you think it would, you should probably cruise on a different cruise line. This was my second trip with Norwegian and I think I finally realized that Freestyle cruising is DIFFERENT (and more appealing, in my opinion). What's more relaxing than going to dinner when you want? It also made choosing from the many entertainment options easier. I didn't have to worry about missing things because of my dinner time.
Excellent. The staff is attentive, friendly and pleasant. Sometimes the staff at dinner can seem a little overwhelmed, which I feel is one small aspect of the Freestyle concept that needs a little tweaking. It by no means ruined our cruise experience. We had a number of staff members go above and beyond to make our vacation special.
I will be cruising Norwegian again. I would cruise on the Epic again- even though I am looking forward to checking out the Breakaway and Getaway. I will cruise different lines, as there are ships I definitely want to experience, but I will most definitely cruise Norwegian again. Remember, it's a DIFFERENT experience than other lines- keep an open mind and ENJOY YOURSELF!!