My husband & I have been on 2 cruises previously (Celebrity from FL to Bahamas & RCL from Bayonne NJ to Bermuda). It was just the two of us (we're in our 30's). We're the type who go to sit on the boat, catch the sun, enjoy good food & relax. We only went on 1 excursion (AquaAdventure at Atlantis in Bahamas- worth the price if you like water parks). This was the first time we had sprung for a balcony room & it was well worth it! Having the balcony is like having an extra room (an extra room that's very small, but still nice)!
We sailed on the Norwegian Spirit, leaving NYC during the Memorial Day Weekend/Fleet Week. Traffic getting to the ship was crazy! Our cab driver couldn't get us directly to the pier, so we were dropped off a few blocks away & walked the rest of the way. Although Fleet Week definitely made a difference in the number of people at the piers, having been stuck in West Side Highway traffic before on a Saturday afternoon, I know this happens many weekends. Be sure to bring luggage with wheels!
Embarkation took about 45 minutes- it moved slowly, but by the time we got on the ship, our room was ready. Nice room, the balcony was well worth the extra money- definitely one of our favorite parts of our vacation! Our room stewards were GREAT!!! They always seemed to be available.
Pros- comfortable room, decent sized shower, enough storage space (especially if you bring bags that can fold up & be stored under the bed). I had read that the ship appeared old, outdated, but we didn't get that impression.
Cons- the main pool area could get very crowded & loud when the live band played (every day for at least 3.5 hrs a day), less impressed w/ the "surcharge" restaurants, ports (particularly Grand Bahama & Port Canaveral), our room was directly under the Children's Daycare & was loud, even at night (until at least 11 pm most nights). I did go up there one night & the staff member was very rude, denied that the children there were making any noise & told me she couldn't help. I left it at that & didn't pursue farther, but if you like to go to bed early or even some noise keeps you awake, consider getting a room on the other side of the ship. On future cruises, this is something I'd definitely ask about when booking a cabin.
Dining- Surprisingly, the main dining room dinners were our favorites! The breakfast buffet is Raffles was good (fresh waffles, omelets, eggs available). We varied our lunch routine & sometimes ate by the pool (burgers, hot dogs, tacos, etc). We also would eat at the buffet or in one of the 24 hour restaurants. Ice cream every afternoon became part of my day! Very disappointed with the surcharge steakhouse Cagney's- our worst meal on the ship & NOT worth the extra money. Some of the menu items are offered throughout the week in the main dining rooms (Windows & Garden room). Why pay if the same food is going to show up in the dining rooms that don't cost you money? Plus, you can go to the main dining rooms whenever you want, for the most part (unless you are a large party, reservations aren't required for the main dining rooms). The Asian surcharge restaurant was better (I had the Asian fusion menu & my husband ordered from the sushi menu), but we had to make reservations to even get in there. If you want to go to one of the specialty restaurants, make a reservation a few days in advance. They say you can make reservations on the same day, but they do fill up quickly so it's good to think ahead! All of the dinner menus are displayed outside the Raffles buffet breakfast each morning, so it's a good idea to look at them & then make your reservation for the night. If you wait until the evening hours, you can miss out on what you wanted! We liked the idea of "freestyle" cruising, especially the idea of eating when you want. But it isn't as simple as they make it out to be with the specialty restaurants. You also see different wait staff at each restaurant so they don't get to know you. And although we left cash tips (not required), we didn't see others doing that so many of the staff didn't go above & beyond like they might have if they thought they might get a bigger tip for better service. We also missed seeing familiar faces at the dinner table each night. We never thought that was something we would have missed, but sometimes it would have been nice to talk to others (not just each other). We were able to strike up a nice conversations w/ those sitting at a nearby tables the last night & it was nice. And, we never would have asked a hostess but if they had offered, we might have taken them up on the offer of sitting with other guests, at least 1 or 2 nights.
My husband used the fitness room everyday & said it was great. I used the Library & thought it was well stocked. I had a hot stone massage & was pleased with the spa services. It was a good vacation, but I wouldn't necessarily tell someone that it was our best cruising experience. We'll definitely cruise again, but future cruises would be based on costs, destinations, etc. it did seem like a great ship for families, especially multi-generational families.