We had cruised twice before (Princess) and this was our first time on NCL and we were a little disappointed. Embarkation was fast and well done and on ship by noon. As we couldn't go to rooms until, we had time to eat lunch. We went to the buffet and the food was not tasty there the whole week - same food there everyday. The food was good in the main dining rooms for the most part but I was expecting to have a surf & turf night as on previous cruises; however, you had to go to the specialty restaurant to get this plus pay an extra $30/person OR have to KNOW that you can ask for lobster tail and/or steak at the main restaurants. (My husband did ask for steak and got it.) You had to make reservations for the Mexican and Italian restaurant as well as cover charge restaurants, but this was not an easy thing to do and the girls in the atrium taking reservations were very rude. Actually, much of the crew was not the most friendly UNLESS you were ordering lots of alcohol (they were getting more tips) or buying lottery tickets - which they always REALLY pushed before each show. This cruise seemed to be about who was spending the most money on the ship.
The activities during the day on the boat - especially at sea days - were not very attractive and the ones my husband attended were not well organized. Our excursion was cancelled on Tortola because of weather but we did find our own and went to Virgin Gorda and had a nice time. Our snorkel excursion on St. Thomas went well. Time in the ports was very short so if you did an excursion, there was maybe an hour to shop before you had to back on the ship. We were always the last ship to arrive and first to leave. NCL's own island is very small, rundown, and a little dirty (NOT like Princess at all).
To get to one side of the bed in our room, we had to crawl over the end and there were no clocks in the room. When asked about that, we were told it was "freestyle" cruising so we didn't need one. Ok, so how do we know when it's time to get up so we don't miss our excursion, time to get to our dining reservation, etc.? The beach towels had definitely seen better days and steward sometimes took our wets ones and didn't return clean ones. Overall service was poor (although stewards were always friendly and did a pretty good job) and we've decided it's because of the "service charge" automatically charged to everyone's onboard account instead of individually tipping for good service. Why go out of your way to offer good service, when you're going to automatically get a tip anyway? We should have asked for a lot of that "service charge" to be taken off, but we didn't.
Disembarkation was well organized and timely. I won't say we'll never cruise NCL again, but.....