Let me start by saying that everyone has different tastes, and for now I will make this short because we are having serious weather problems in South Florida due to Tropical Storm Fay.
We booked this trip for only two reasons. One was just to relax for the weekend, and to try the freestyle cruising. The freestyle cruising is absolutely fantastic. We loved the idea of deciding for ourselves where and when to eat. We also loved the idea of the casual dress code anytime day or night. We have sailed on many other lines and this was our first with Norwegian.
We had a balcony cabin and was surprised how small the cabin was. Barely enough room to walk around the bed. The bathroom was small but that was expected. The balcony itself was small but not bad. I have read reviews where it was stated that the chairs were very small on the balcony. The chairs were fine in size, not uncomfortable and only the table was very small. The bed was hard but not as if it was poured concrete. We were happy to see upon arrival to our cabin that there was a bottle of wine waiting and delicious chocolate covered strawberries. You are allowed on the ship at noon but your cabin is not ready until two PM. They make an announcement when your cabin is ready. The luggage arrived by four PM. The quickest we ever experienced. The shower was very small and the water temp could not decide between very hot or cold no matter how many times we adjusted the controls. AC was cold and the bathroom worked fine. Housekeeping was fine except for a few things. The mini bar is a waste unless you like to over spend. We were supplied ice but had to ask for water, and that was never replaced. Our attendant either never replaced our water glasses or only left one for two people. We were given a list for fresh fruit to be in our cabin every day. We picked pears and oranges and was given one pear and one orange only one time. Bring your own hair dryer. Ours was terrible and mine only worked by plugging it into the outlet by the desk.
The decor in the ship is still basically all Hawaiian. I did not see any real sign or any refurbishing. The ship seems confused entertainment wise. The hallways had country music and the entertainment was mainly all Latin. Other cruise lines use Reggae and island type music. The too much Latin theme would have made more sense if we were sailing to Puerto Rico. I liked the music don't get me wrong. It just seemed out of place to be an all the time thing.
The musical shows were terrible. The best things to see was the newlywed/not so newlywed show. It was hysterical and very entertaining. It can be very racy and my only beef was parents who felt it was fine to have seven, nine and ten year old children sitting in the front row. They should not have been there at all. The comedian was the hit of the cruise. He was extremely funny and we went to see every show he did. I would highly recommend him. They also had a adult theme game show where couples in teams were asked to do some funny and sometimes risqué things to do.
The staff were all very friendly. We ate at the Il Addaigo (sp?)for dinner and the service was horrible, the food was revolting. Being Italian myself I can honestly say no real Italian would come away raving about it unless they lack taste buds. The buffet was just average. The Crossings was the only place that we had a good dinner with great service. I would rate the food on this ship below average and really not all that good. There was no formal night which was a blessing for us because as I said we just wanted to relax this weekend. Ladies if they wanted to even during the evening can go into any place to eat wearing a sun dress and even flip flops. Many did. Men were asked not to wear shorts at night but many did. It is that relaxing. It was a good mixture of very casual and "just a nice dress, not too dressy". I did not see anyone wear a suit or any formal type dress. The public bathrooms were very clean but very, very small. The casino was very small and way too hot in the evening for me to even stay in. Dazzles to me was a bust. Very small, hot and too many young children during the 18 yrs. and older times. The pools and four hot tubs were fine except for toddlers and small children that were not allowed in them but were, with food in their hands! I guess mom and dad cannot read the signs right on the hot tubs. There were some very unruly children on board never being watched by their parents that were very annoying, including pressing all the buttons in the elevators and throwing balls in areas where they should not be including one man having the ball to hit him in the face and them knocking his drink off his table. Security was very lack on this ship. On other lines security would be at the doors of adult only bars and clubs that would stop kids from going in, not on this ship. They enforced nothing and were basically nowhere to be seen.
I wanted to try this freestyle not just to have a relaxing weekend, (there are much better lines) but the idea of freestyle seemed like it would be ideal for a European cruise. I would be interested to see if any other ships are favorably rated by other passengers. I would not book on this ship again. The AC did break down on the last night but after two hours it was fixed. I forgot one other thing, the White Hot party. They did put on a good show and the fake snow was a good added pleasantry. I would not say it was better than any other line because I have seen better, but it was fun.