Background: I have a varied cruising experience, having cruised with Regent Seven Seas three times, Royal Caribbean once, the Delta Queen Steamboat Co once, and Bora Bora Cruises (a boutique line) once.
Itinerary: 9 nights visiting Barcelona, Casablanca, Agadir, the Canary Islands, Madeira, and Malaga.
Embarkation: Smooth and quick. Arrived the port around 2pm and waited in line for about 5 minutes then got on the ship.
Ship Design: Because there is no grand central atrium, it was a little confusing at first to figure out the core of the ship. There were three decks that had restaurants, lounges, bars, and shoppes but they did not really seem connected easily. The main dining room Grand Pacific in the rear has a poorly designed entrance, which is right at the base of stairs, so often there was a waiting line running up the stairs. I guess because they crammed so many restaurants into the ship they could not afford to have a large central space. I think it caused a slightly claustrophobic feeling but no big deal. Deck space was good and the pool area was also nice.
Cabins: Had an inside cabin which was small, but nice. The bathroom was great and there was adequate closet space. Beds were very comfortable. Overall, nice cabin.
Food: Only ate in the main dining rooms. Food overall was a disappointment. Some of the courses were just plain inedible and they skimped a lot on the quality. For example, shrimp cocktail was always baby shrimp about a centimeter long, scallops were always baby scallops, daily ice cream selection never changed-chocolate every night. The food at the 24 hour restaurant was mediocre and the room service menu was also mediocre.
Staff/Service: Good, pleasant, smiling staff for the most part. There were some service deficiencies here and there, but I was not expecting perfect service as this was not a Seabourn or Regent cruise.
Ports: Good selection of ports and a great itinerary.
Entertainment: There was always a wide variety of entertainment during the evenings, from the big theater shows to smaller venues. Also throughout the day they offered bingo, art auctions and lectures, and some other fun activities.
Overall, it was a good cruise and a great value for money...paid under 500 for 9 nights. I would cruise with NCL again.