First of all I want to say the ship is beautiful.
Our travel agent gave each of our 8 couples a coupon for one person free at a speciality restaurant on embarkation night. We decided on Le Bistro which is a $15 cover, and made a reservation for 4. I told my husband Cruise Critic reports said the Chateaubriand for 2 was awesome. When the waiter handed us the menu, we noticed the items on the right side of the menu (including the Chateaubriand were an additional $10per person. My husband was so mad, we walked out. This caused a huge disagreement between us, me crying and he having to apologize to our friends we left sitting. Nice way to start a cruise. I wanted to let you all know, in Le Bistro and Cagney's they have this additional charge for certain items, which I think is totally a scam. Freestyle they call it. When you think about it, there's only 4 free restaurants, because the two main dining rooms serve the same menu. Then there's Mexican and Italian. I don't consider the Garden Cafe' a restaurant, but a cafeteria even though the food was good. You're trying to find a table, balance a plate, drink and silverware, there are no trays! Our first port was Samana Dominican Republic, which I think is the first time for NCl and should be the last. We were tendered 20 minutes each way. The streets and sidewalks are littered with garbage and the buildings along the street abandoned and look similar to a building bombed. No shops, just a couple of small cafe's. We did not take a shore excursion, but heard lots of complaints from those who did and ask for their money back. Can't even imagine why NCL would subject their guests to this!!! Tortola was beautiful, as we took a 2 hour tour with Captain Friendly, who was just that. Besides being knowledgeable in the history of Tortola, he stopped at many beautiful overlooks, plus Bamaba Shack (woo woo). On to Antigua. I booked on-line 12pm Canopy tour for 4 of us five weeks prior to sailing. As usual, the envelope was in our cabin upon arrival. I did not open the envelope until the day before our stop in Antigua, then discovered for some unknown reason they had changed us to an 8:30am tour. I went down to the shore excursion desk (which was only open from 7-9pm) and said I had booked the 12pm tour, I was told "take it or leave it". Next morning we met off the ship for our tour, but after standing in the rain for 30 minutes the shore excursion people decided to cancel the 8:30am tour. We later found out the 10:30 and 12:30 tours went. Now why didn't they notify us, change us to a later tour. I went down and ask to speak to the shore excursion manager who gave me some story about an operator who changes the tour time, but couldn't tell me why. St Lucia was our best day. I scheduled a Cosol tour for $50 per person. He has a great website, just google Cosol Tours. The vans are spotless, air conditioned and you stop many times for complimentary food and drinks (meaning beer and rum punch besides water and softdrinks). I would highly recommend this tour. They met all 14 of us with a sign at the gate, and off we went for the next 7 hours. To sum this up, we could have had a much more pleasant cruise if NCL would pay more attention to their guests than trying to nickel and dime them to death. All 8 couples agreed we'll never take a freestyle cruise again. The food, service and entertainment were not upscale. My suggestion is for NCL to charge more for the initial cruise price and stop charging extra for better food.