We are two parents, one brother-in-law, all in our early 50's, and two teenagers. This was the third cruise for the family, first time for BIL.
Embarkation: Easy. We got to the port around 11:15 and were sitting at lunch by noon. Wear your bathing suit, or pack it in a small bag so that you can go right to the pool. Our rooms were ready by 2pm, but all of the bags did not arrive until 5pm. We didn't care, since we were already poolside.
Cabins: We had three inside cabins. Smaller than other ships, but really fine for a short cruise. I always bring a hanging shoe bag for shoes, socks, goggles and other small items.
Activities: The kids enjoyed the teen center. They made new friends right away and they were busy for most of the trip with air hockey, Wii, scavenger hunts, dancing, and just running around the ship. The adults enjoyed the comedian, Rich Papurra and the Newlywed Game. The dancers were just OK, but the music was good. Matt Baker is the cruise director. He is a little over the top, but very enthusiastic and wants everyone to have a good time. He plays a mean harmonica, we would have liked to hear more of that.
Food: Very good, fresh. Buffet lines were not too bad, but the seating was crowded at breakfast. We discovered that you can eat in Il Adagio, which is the Italian restaurant, for free at breakfast. They make omelets and waffles. You can also bring food from the buffet to Il Adagio and eat in a quiet place. We did that every morning.
We ate at the Palace for most nights. The food was very good and the service was prompt. The Crossings had the same food, but the service was slower.
Ports: Freeport: We took a cab for $20 pp roundtrip to Paradise Cove. It is a secluded, rustic spot, but it is a private beach for snorkeling. $3 if you have your own equipment, otherwise it costs to rent to snorkeling equipment. We paid $3 to rent an umbrella, $2 for each beach chair. You have to swim pretty far to see the fish and coral, or you can rent a kayak. It's a nice quiet spot. There is a shack that sells sandwiches and drinks. Nassau: We signed up for the People to People program through the Ministry of Tourism. This was a great way to see the island. Our hostess was an English lady who has lived in the Bahamas for 50 years. She took us on a tour, and then back to her house for a swim. She had a nice dog, the kids loved playing with him. The program is free, but we brought her a gift bag. This was a great way to see the real Bahamas, not just the tourist areas. Great Stirrup Cay: I would skip this if I went again. We had a power failure on the ship, so we waited in a hot hallway for over an hour for the tender. Then we waited 20 minutes for the tender to load. The island was crowded, hot, blaring music, cloudy water. Did not enjoy this. Another long wait to get back to the ship.
Sad event: I would like to mention that one of the guests was walking on some rocks on Great Stirrup Cay and he fell into the water and was killed. They found his body the next morning. My heart goes out to his wife. Although this kind of thing can happen anywhere, just be careful in an unfamiliar place. There is an article about this on this website.
Impressions: We enjoyed the cruise and would cruise with NCL again. Loved the Freestyle dinners with no need to dress up, unless you wanted to. The crowd seemed to be mostly 20-40 year olds, lots of families (300 kids, all well behaved from what we could see), a group of 50 somethings like myself, and some "mature" folks. I did get bitten by sand fleas on the private island. They itched and burned and I had to see the doctor in the middle of the night for a shot of Benadryl. The music was geared more toward the younger folks, we would have liked to have seen more variety. But, we had a great time, the ship is nice, poolside is a nice spot, we went to the Outrigger lounge during the day for a quiet spot to read, and enjoy the air conditioning, and we used the gym daily.