This is first cruise I've been on since I was 13. I'm now 26 and all grown up. That being said I'm basing a lot of my opinions off my girlfriend's word, as she is an experienced cruiser. Please forgive my spelling.
Embarkation Fast and pain free. Hobbit Travel got us there plenty early and the we were on the ship in 10 minutes or so. We embarked from Miami right on time. Our bags were there before we even sailed. Freestyle Dining We thought the food was pretty good but not as good as others. The freestyle cruising is pretty awesome. The one down fall we thought was that you didn't get to know your waiters and tip them out as you please. If you want to eat constantly this is the type of cruising for you. They did have healthy choices but were usually next to the sweets. We frequented the ice cream stand the most. We decided not to got to the specialty restaurants and were for the most part happy with the food in the, "Seven Seas," which is the formal dining room. They had Prime Rib one night and rock lobster another and both were cooked really well. All in all I ate like a king.
Drinks The drinks were pretty reasonable I guess. The souvenir glasses that cost 5 bucks were plastic, which is lame compared to most cruise lines that have glass ones. We stuck to beer after that which they had good deals on and Miller Lite and some other beers on tap at all bars. They came around and asked you if you wanted a drink every five seconds if you wanted a drink which was a bit distracting for us book readers. I wish they'd just declare themselves instead of asking you directly, which a majority of them did.
Poolside The pools were spacious and cold which was great. They were salt water which was also quite soothing. If you wanted to lay out and read, it wasn't that great. Their wasn't a quiet place in the sun on the whole Sun. A balcony would be the way to go. The music pool side was constant and very loud, it was even hard to talk to my girlfriend. There were plenty of chairs though which was a surprise. I wouldn't go back on this ship without a balcony.
Night Life The crowd on the ship was mostly Spring Breakers due to the timing of the cruise. We aren't much for bumpin' and grindin' so we spent ever night in, "The Windjammer," the piano bar, were they featured an amazing pianist named Daniel David, who could play pretty much all of our requests and drew quite a crowd by the end of the week. They had the our favorite waiter, Julio, who also made this bar the best on the ship. The only downfall of, "The Windjammer," is that it's next to the disco and picture gallery so it's hard to fully enjoy the music. I went to the casino a few times and thought it was great. The had stuff going on all the time, plenty of slots, and lots of tables. The shows were good. They featured some very good dancers and singers. A couple of the shows were a bit risque to take children to, so beware of that if the still have the Jean Ann Ryan productions. They decided to feature the one scene from Miss Saigon that had prostitutes and were quite explicate about it. The comedians were weak but family appropriate.
Ports Roatan - We hired a tour guide from Victor Bodden and he was awesome. Knew everything about the island and let us do whatever we wanted. He dumped us at a very, very nice beach - I think it was called West Bay Beach - where we ate good food, had a couple pina coladas, and swam. The admission was five bucks but very much worth the charge.
Belize City - It took us a long time to tender which didn't really effect our scheduled tour to Altun Ha but others had canceled so they didn't want to take just the two of us there. We would could have if we wanted to but being the nice people we are we decided to go back with the majority of the people and go cave tubing. We booked it through Xtreme tours and had a blast. They drive like maniacs which we liked because we wanted to take a leisurely tube. Most of the time spent was in the car and hiking up to the head of the tour and it was a bit over priced but we had fun and lots of laughs.
Cozumel We decide not to do an excursion so we slept in a bit, got a later tender, and shopped. We got some great deals, at least we think, due to the gf's indecisiveness and my haggling abilities. We walked all over that piece and then sat down and had some chips and guac and a margarita at Las Palmeras. The margaritas were potent and the guac was amazing; this is coming from someone who has consumed plenty of both.
We were supposed to go to NCL's Great Stirrup Cay but it was too choppy, so....
Nassau We took a tour of Atlantis, which was amazing. If I had lots of money I would go there often and still may try and go there some day soon. Go here if you want to shop for expensive designer clothing and accessories, Gucci, Prada, Louie, etc. The lost city tour was cool. Lost of marine life that you never get to see and a great recreation of what it probably looked like. The casino was a work of art, plenty of million dollar sculptures and million dollar players, to keep that place a ballers paradise. We went back to the main island and went through the open air market which was a dump and unless you want a fake designer hand bag, watch or sunglasses is to be avoided. We did a ton of walking which was good, see food section.
Staff All in all the staff was great. We tried to stick with our favorites which may have bothered some other but that's the beauty of freestyle cruising as you'll learn. The cruise director Linda was awesome. At first we wondered why she talked so much but soon found ourselves wanting to go to things just to hear her stories and never tiring enthusiasm. The assistant cruise director had an issue with making lude comments about some of the beautiful women on the boat. He called one of the entertainers, "sexual chocolate," which didn't seem to be well received. The officers were great and apparently handled the boat very well for some of the weather they were faced with.
Disembarkation We did the express disembark. Never had our bags out of our sight and walked right off the ship. Great!
I had a great time. I think I'm going to try other lines before I go back on NCL but all in all I had a blast.