We are a couple in our 60's and cruised March 8-15 not realizing this was a Spring Break week when we booked it. There were about 1400 kids of all ages onboard, but that didn't really impact our great experience at all. Everyone seemed well behaved.
We spent the night before the cruise at the Sheraton Miami Airport hotel and it was a wonderful choice. We had a room facing the golf course on a high floor and never heard any airplane noise. Across from the hotel is a major transit center where we caught a city bus to Miami Beach and South Beach just to see the sights. We took a taxi to the cruise port for about $25 the next morning. Embarkation was smooth and fairly quick.
Our cabin on deck 13, aft, port side was very comfortable with plenty of storage for our things. We brought Diet Coke with us with no problem since only Pepsi products are available on the ship. The steward removed all the canned drinks when we took them out of the mini-refrigerator to have room for our Coke. We did notice more rocking movement on this ship than we experienced with other ships including the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Sea, Carnival Freedom, and Norwegian Pearl. We never got seasick, fortunately, and the seas were pretty calm the whole week with the exception of one night.
The entertainment was outstanding. We saw Illusionarium and loved it. We thought the food was good and the magicians were amazing. It would have been better to have been able to sit closer. They offered a 20% discount for the show on the first night. I had already booked our tickets online and paid by credit card so I was delighted to see that they refunded the 20% back to us. We saw Legally Blonde twice and it was incredible--so funny and so well done. Burn the Floor was fantastic. The Howl at the Moon dueling piano guys were great and we saw them several times. The two male comedians were great, but the female comedian was too raunchy for our taste. We didn't enjoy her performance. The cruise director, Sinan, was great. It was a special treat to unexpectedly see him playing the part of the judge in Legally Blonde.
The Ice Bar was a waste of $40. The idea is unique but there's not much to it. It's just a very cold room with a bar and an ice throne to sit on. There's no music. You do get two drinks but they are very small. I'd recommend just ordering drinks from the other bars or having a bottle of wine with dinner with that money.
The food was excellent everywhere. Cagney's was the only specialty restaurant we tried this time, but we had eaten at all the others on the Norwegian Pearl. The Tropicana Restaurant is a wonderful atmosphere with the dance floor and live entertainment. We ate there three times. Taste and Savor are both very nice, and the Garden Cafe has a wonderful selection of food offerings. O'Sheehans was nice for lunch. We were never disappointed with any of the dining options and always managed to find a table whenever we wanted one.
There are certainly a lot of things for families with kids to do. All the watersides, mini-golf, climbing structures, etc. take up a significant amount of space. We would have liked to have had a larger adult pool or maybe more than one. There were lots of places around the ship to relax or sit in the sun if you wanted to. The jogging track was quite small and was not separated from the walkway so I got in the way of joggers more than once. Not being a jogger myself it didn't really matter to me that is was somewhat small. My husband used the machines in the gym a few times and thought they were fine. We didn't use the spa at all.
In St. Maarten we did the Ultimate Island Tour excursion which included a bus ride with a guide from the Dutch side to the French side. Then we took a double deck boat with open bar back down the lagoon to the Dutch side and the dock. It was very enjoyable.
In St. Thomas we did the Champagne Sail & Snorkel trip to St. John island which included drinks, fruit, bread, and cheese. It was very enjoyable and we had a wonderful time.
In Nassau we walked around downtown and had a drink at Fat Tuesday on the water. The we took a taxi over to Paradise Island and had lunch at the Ocean Club golf course. Afterward we went over to Atlantis to look around and buy some souvenirs. We took a taxi back to the ship.
It is a good idea to book your excursions online before you go and to make reservations for the shows. Many of the popular excursions were sold out after the first couple of days. You can put yourself on standby lists if the one you want isn't availabe and often it will become available, but if there's something you really want to do, purchase it ahead of time.
Since our flight home didn't leave until 4:45 p.m. we signed up for a Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour of Miami that included luggage storage and a bus to the airport after the tour. Everyone doing that tour met in the Theater at 8 a.m. and we were able to quickly and easily disembark and be on our way. The tour was offered for people who were flying out of Ft. Lauderdale as well. We really enjoyed the tour and the convenience of getting ourselves and our luggage to the airport in plenty of time for our return flight.
NCL does a great job in every area and we were extremely pleased with our week. We'll be on another NCL cruise in a year or two.