Just completed the Jewel Cruise and have read many reviews of the cruise and ship. The bottom line is to each their own. Things that people complain about are a matter of personal taste.
For instance.. dining freestyle, my wife and I love the freestyle since we like to eat when WE want to eat and not be tied to a time. I agree that the dining food is not the best but we enjoyed the buffet and the specialiy restaurants, Once again it is a matter of taste.
I have sailed NCL 7 times over the last 2 years and would not go on any other line. I love the ships, the staff and all that the ship has to offer.
One person commented on the cost to park prior to the cruise stating 35.00 a day. Again they did not do their homework., We parked for 8.00 a day at a Fulton lot which I booked online and they shuttled us to and from the ship without a problem. Embarkation was great and port stops were smooth.
As far as noting the bad for this particular cruise and other NCL cruises I have one major complaint. The excursions on the ship are a complete ripoff. For example, in Belize, we did the zipline and the river float through the caves. It was 95.00 per person with a company that I booked online prior to the cruise... the excursion desk was 149.00 a person, The exact same itinerary.....
On a similar note we did an Alaskan cruise and booked a helicopter trip from the excursion desk to the Mendenhall Glacier (due to my laziness to investigate) and they charged 800.00 for two. Once we got off the ship it was 500.00 for same trip. I complained to the excursion desk and they gave me lame excuses but I felt better with my venting.
All in All I would highly recommend NCL for any cruise... Like I said each person has their own needs