This was our 5th cruise but first on NCL. It was a 5 night from Miami. We drove to the port from home and used CBM Airport Parking instead of parking from the port. Email mail me if you would like information about CBM.
Embarkation was a nightmare. They had 3 lines, VIP and 2 regular. We were in a regular and it was the longest with the least number of agents. After an hour of hardly moving 2 ladies in front of us complained and they finally started sending people to the next area which had 12 agents for a shorter line. Once we got to an agent we were processed quickly. Of course we had done the online so that helped. Once on board we went to our cabin. There was not anyone to tell you how to get to your cabin, so had to find by ourselves and left our carry ons. Then off to buffet, and then a bit of walking around. We were on deck 13 for sail away. There was a very small sail away party on deck 12, really nothing to talk about. We had an inside cabin on deck 4, with the bed set up as a queen which made a small cabin even smaller. We would have asked our steward to rearrange the bed to twins but we never saw the steward until the last night. We had heard all about the towel animals and never had one. Deck 12 has the pools and it is very crowded. I went in the pool one time and it was a comfortable temp. The first night we ate in the Indigo dining room and were taken to a table by ourselves. The second night we did dress up and ate in the Summer Palace. This was my birthday and my husband had told them so at the end they brought out the birthday cake. It was big enough for 6 people. Third night we ate at Mambos. Forth night dinner at Summer Palace and the last night ate at La Cucina. The food in all was good but not really impressive. Unfortunately the best food was in the reservation only restaurants. NCL needs to improve in both Indigo and the Summer Palace. Being Freestyle, not everyone wants to make a reservation each night, so the non-reservation restaurants need to be as good as possible and we did not feel that NCL does this. We had a very hard time getting a reservation for La Cucina. We tried calling, going to the reservation desk and ended up using the reception desk to help us and we never were able to talk to anyone any other way. While there are not a lot of announcements on board, they do make sure you know about BINGO as much as possible. And the photographers were all over the place. The Chocolate Buffet was very good, but we had to find a seat near one of the entrances to the buffet in order to be sure to get in easy. We used ship's excursions at both Cozumel and Grand Cayman. XCaret was very nice. And we loved Sting Ray Sandbar. We only went to the first night's show and the last night's show in the theater. The first show was okay. The last night was a juggler act and the 2 were very good. Disembarkation started off very good and they were ahead in calling colors off. Then they stopped for an hour. Since they do not give you a piece of the tag, we finally decided to just get off. There was a problem with the gangway. Once you got to the tunnel part, there was a drop off of about 2 feet and hard to do without falling. Went thru Customs in a breeze. Overall we were not impressed with NCL and would not recommend to our friends, but that is something that each person/couple needs to decide on their own. I would not discourage someone I don't know not to try NCL.