Embarkation in Miami was a breeze- we got there at around 3pm (alittle late because of our flight) and it took about 10 minutes total until we were onboard. I found the process kind of confusing- there wasn't clear direction to make it a smooth process, but nonetheless it was quick.
The actual ship was beautiful, although kind of wacky with its decor. The pool area was great, but make sure to get a deck chair by the pool early. It was difficult finding a chair when we went out at about 11am each day.
we had an inside stateroom and it was not as small as i was expecting- yes it was still small but they make very good use of the space. i never felt claustrophobic at all during the cruise. they use lots of mirrors that make the space feel bigger. The food: We thought the food for the most part was amazing, and I wasn't expecting much to be honest. The food by the pool and in the garden cafe was not 5 star cuisine, but we always found something we liked. We ate at the garden cafe each day for breakfast- they had a big selection although it was the same every day- there are only so many options for breakfast so that was fine. le bistro- the food here was just ok- i wasn't that impressed, but we had to try it. chin chin- food here was really, really good. sushi- also amazing. i am in love with sushi and they had a lot of unique options. mama's- the pasta was so so, we also had the pizza and it was very good cagney's- i had the filet mignon and it was just ok, alittle dry. tangos- the food here was very good main dining rooms- azura is a kind of art deco style decor, and tsars palace makes you feel like you're in a palace literally with its decor. the menu is the same at each every day so it doesn't matter where you eat, just depends on your decor preference. the food at the main dining areas was consistently very, very good. my favorite meals of the cruise were the ones we had in the main dining rooms. one thing i didn't realize was that the menu at the specialty restaurants stays the same every night, therefore we ate at each of them only once just to try them.
entertainment: we went to the magic show (keelan laser) and we thought his magic was great. the comedian kenny byrd and the improv comedy shows were also good.
service: i thought the service was good, expect for the constant pushing of alcohol. this is where they make their money and drinks were pretty expensive, but other than that the staff was great. everyone was very friendly and always willing to help answer any questions.
the ports: we visited samana dominican republic. nothing much to see at the actual port and we didn't feel safe venturing into town here. we did the caves and mangroes excursion- it was what i expected and it was fun.
tortola, bvi- by far my favorite stop. we did the pub crawl excursion and it was awesome- the tour guides were a blast and they drove us all the way around the island, which is incredibly beautiful. highly recommend this excursion. its more about seeing the island and less about the booze! (although there is plenty if you want to drink)
st. johns antigua- we didn't have an excursion here, so we walked around town and then went to the beach. the beach we went to (fort james) was gorgeous and had a nice restaurant for lunch and good facilities.
bridgetown barbados- my 2nd favorite stop. we did the green monkey excursion- it wasn't really worth the money. we drove around the whole island which was nice, but we only got to spend about 20 minutes at the monkey preserve and we didn't drive through it- had to walk through to see the monkeys. wasn't really what we were expecting.
castries st. lucia- the excursion we did here was awful. we did the soufriere and waterfall excursion- a 2 hour bus ride both ways, and we only spent about 20 minutes at the waterfall. definitely not worth it. i didn't much care for the pushy vendors or high prices on this island either. not my favorite stop.
debarkation back in Miami was a breeze- we did the express checkout and took our bags off ourselves, and we were off the ship in about 20 minutes.
For our first cruise we were incredibly happy with Norwegian and will be cruising with them again. The food was just incredible, good service. We loved the freedom to eat wherever we wanted, at any time (with the exception of making a reservation at some of the specialty restaurants, but it wasn't difficult to get those reservations. You just need to make them a day before and make sure if you want to eat at Mamma's, you call very early in the morning to make the reservation).