We chose Norwegian as a friend of ours had cruised on this ship before and said how great the food was compared to our last cruise on Princess lines.
The cabins were very comfortable, clean and the house staff were fantastic, I rate Norwegian a 10/10 for this part of the journey.
The entertainment was good and I enjoyed the acts and activities even thought the selection was limited in my view.
However the food on the boat was a complete disappointment unless you pay for the upgraded food in their speciality dining rooms. For these meals Steak house (+$30/head) and Tepanyaki (+$20/head) we thoroughly enjoyed the meals and found the food at our expected standard 10/10 although we did speak to others who paid for the upgraded dining package and found they still had to pay extra.
As for the other 24+ meals on the boat we found:- the main dinning rooms have the same limited selection 5/10 and the menu rarely changes or changes little. We were gob smacked that they could only offer butter and no margarine for the lactose intolerant and it took them 3 days to locate a supply of lactose free milk for my wife's cup of tea. We were told by an English speaking matree dee that the boat had no other options other than butter, good lord, we couldn't believe our ears that there were no options for people with dairy allergies (we certainly couldn't find anywhere on the registration forms to advise the line), this is not acceptable in this day and age especially for a organisation such as Norwegian. We ate only 4 meals in their dining rooms my wife could only eat so much grilled chicken and vegetable broth due to the dairy issue before boredom took over we decided to try the buffet. Now for the buffet: Buffet 2/10 the food that was prepared in front of you is fresh and tasty 8/10 which will account for around 5% of your selection. Everything else has been prepared some time previous and by the time it hits your plate is dry, mainly tasteless and cold by the time you get back to your seat. When a themed meal was cooked near the pool the food came from the buffet again (see my score on buffet food) except the meat which was always overcooked, tough and cold. Breakfast in the buffet, the fresh cooked omelettes were a hit (see 5%) but everything else was less than average. Occasionally something nice would be served up but unless you did a push and shove the nice food was gone before you could get there and I refuse to act in such a degrading manner. The food reminded me of an army mess hall where good food was cooked then spoilt because it sat reheating for so long. My opinion of cooking on the Norwegian is that they use their accountants to cook and their Chefs to set the pricing, only fine dining showed any evidence of skilled chefs, all others were just cooks (if indeed they were). You think I'm biased maybe? No I'm not a travel agent or employee of another cruise line, just a simple passenger looking for an exceptional dining experience on a relaxing cruise. The sad part is I think of my cruise on Princess and my mouth waters even 5 years later, I think of Norwegian and only feel disappointment due to the quality of the food. The vote was also echoed on the second last day in the theatre where staff were brought in so us client's could show our appreciation. Housekeeping and bar staff brought the house down followed by the catering staff (only polite light applause) and then the officers and staff who in my opinion did not get a fair review due to the poor standard of the catering. My suggestion to Norwegian is to let house keeping show catering how its done, look within you might learn something.
Lastly the title of my review - Ground Hog Day!
Each morning at breakfast we walk through the pool area to hear the same Mexican song playing, we walk into the buffet to hear the same Elton John tracks then the Philippine girls come around with the "Chef's Surprise" in a quaint tone but the pasties were cooked some 8 hours earlier and it was the same every day - now where's the surprise in that! (although nice and fresh would have been a surprise). Food the same low quality, tough and cold and one customer who wont be back for another taste of the same.