I have taken 4 cruises on Royal Caribbean and this is my second cruise with NCL. (and one riverboat cruise on the American Queen). I guess I have some experience with cruising
First, I must say that I really like the casual, informal Freestyle concept that NCL has created. I never liked the set dinner seatings that other cruises have. Also NCL offers so many dining options, you want to try them all, but you know you can't.
The check process at the Port Of Miami terminal was quick and painless (although there was an issue with the credit/debit cards given for on board charges, which will be explained later). We arrived around 10:45, dropped off our bags, parked the car (okay, $20 per day is a little excessive, but what choice do you have?), then proceeded to check in. Within minutes we were in a waiting area, and boarded the ship around 12:15. My only issue is that I wish I knew that the stateroom's would not be ready until 2:00; however there was a place to check anything you carried on so you didn't have to drag it around. We proceed to walk around the ship, have something to eat at the buffet, relax on the pool deck until we could get to our stateroom. It was small, but the balcony is the best!
My biggest complaint is that there is only one main show each night, as opposed to two on other lines. This made planning for dinner a little difficult, when you are trying to do everything! On the first night we really wanted to go to bingo (7:30) and really wanted to go to the first show (9:00) which left no time to go to the dining room (we really didn't want to eat early!) or to the buffet. So we settled on room service, which took 45 minutes, but was excellent.
Overall the experience was pretty good and we both had a great time.