We sailed out of our home port of New Orleans on Dec. 9th, 2007. Embarkation was painless and we were on the ship within 30 minutes of arrival. We had read so many negative reviews regarding NCL so we were prepared for the worst. Wrong!! Our party consisted of four members, all women, all with previous cruises under their belts. We chose NCL solely because of the ports that were offered. It was a good choice!! We loved Belize and Roatan. Belize was absolutely beautiful and our excursion (not booked through NCL) which consisted of cave tubing and zip lining was incredible. Roatan was also beautiful and our day at the beach was delightful. Since we have been to Cozumel many times, we opted for the ferry to Playa del Carmen and had a wonderful day shopping without the hassles of Cozumel. We could find only a few excursions out of our port in Guatemala and chose to venture on our on. We paid a $20.00 for a van ride to nowhere. We had wanted to shop in the city, but never made it there. We had a lot of fun, however, laughing with all the others who had come along for the ride too. At the port is a lovely area with gifts you won't find in Mexico and beautiful people. They seemed truly happy to have us in their port and were extremely gracious. Even with our non-eventful van ride, we were happy to be there. Our cabin was always spotless. Yes, it was smaller that our other cruises, but we aren't in our cabins much anyway. Our cabin stewards were always around and always cheerful. Open dining was fabulous. We loved going when we wanted, where we wanted. We never had to wait in line for dinner. We also liked the fact that the beverage servers by the pool or in the dining room NEVER bothered you. You knew they were there if you needed them. Same goes for pictures, never a hassle.
On the negative side. The food. It wasn't terrible, just not up to par with the other lines. We ate one night in Cagney's ($80.00) and found it comparable to the regular dining room food on Royal Caribbean. The biggest negative that we could find was the fact that NCL allows passengers booked through them for their excursions to exit the ship first when in port. This put us extremely late for one of our excursions and only allowed us half the time promised on the island. This is really important if you have to tender back and forth. This was a major con. Would we sail NCL again? Yes, especially from our home port. All in all, we had a great cruise and were pleasantly surprised.