This was our first NCL cruise. Embarkation was very smooth. However we were told our luggage would be delivered to our stateroom within 2 hours. Four hours later we were still waiting for it. When I called , the customer service rep said "if you don't have it by 7:00 PM call back". Since the ship left NY at 4:00, I was curious as to what would happen if our luggage didn't make it onboard. He couldn't answer. We actually found a piece of our luggage alone in a hallway no where near our room. Eventually, all our luggage arrived.
Then came NCL's much touted "Freestyle dining". We made reservations for dinners on their website. When we arrived at the dining room, there was a significant line of people. We walked up front and told the desk clerk we had a reservation - she smiled and said "So do all these people; please join the line". So why bother with reservations?? The dining room staff just kept smiling and not answering any questions. People were getting truly annoyed; the staff just kept smiling and not answering questions.
We were finally seated. The menu was very pedestrian and a course was eliminated in the complementary dining rooms. If you paid extra to go to one of their "specialty" restaurants, all courses were served.
Also, there should be a complementary restaurant that is limited to adult cruisers.
The breakfast buffet was monotonous and had 2 omelet stations for the more than 3000 cruisers, so if you wanted an omelet, you were waiting 45 minutes or more.
We had a veranda room with a veranda that did not comfortably hold 2 adults - we've never been on a ship with such a tiny sitting area. It wasn't worth the extra money we paid for it since we couldn't use it. The room was fine - but for some reason they don't use sheets that are fitted or that properly fit the mattresses. The short sheeting of the beds drove me crazy and for a ship that's 2 years old, the mattresses are really worn and uncomfortable.
The ship has no mid-ship staircase so going fully forward or aft is your only option. I didn't like it. The pool is laughably small as is the fitness center. Unless you're up at 5:30 AM, the jogging track is overwhelmed with people walking in the wrong direction and unsupervised children. Deck 8 was an option early in the day but part of that run was indoors. But deck 8 is also where everyone smokes - so be prepared to go very early.
Handling the wine we brought with us was not done the way it had been explained to me when I called NCL, but that wasn't a big issue.
NCL lacks the whimsy of Carnival and the customer service of Celebrity. It was disappointing.