There were charges for everything. Want to tour the ship and see how it runs? Service charge! Want to bring a bottle of wine on board ship from port? If they don't confiscate it, they have a corkage fee! The only line to do so! Everything has a charge, and they aren't shy about pushing it in front of you. An automatic charge of $12 per night PER PERSON for tips for room stewards and waiters made a big difference in the type of service we received. They already knew they were getting tipped - no reason to go the extra mile. If you want a real steak dinner, you can go to Cagneys (at an extra $25 per person). The food was marginally better than the regular seating, which was about par with a low to mid-class restaurant. Crablegs would cost you an extra $10 on top of the $25, so for $70, a couple could have a better dinner. All the cruise lines I have been on before have served food way above this (with the exception of Carnival). Desserts were a complete joke. I received a molten chocolate cake that was the size of a quarter. Seriously! Seems like everything is pre-done to save them time. Freestyle doesn't mean it will always be available for you to eat whenever you choose. Lines form and people wait - some up to an hour - to eat in the sit-down restaurants that are included in the base price during the hours they are open. Of course, you could always upgrade to eat in one of the many options they have for an extra cost. Every time we turned around they were offering pulltabs and shoving drinks in your face. We bought a soda card (prepaid soda). Didn't realize how much of a scowl the staff could get on their face! And many times they didn't return with a soda! Guess they weren't getting a tip so they didn't care! The floor shows were very amateur. Incredibly disappointing. The only bright point was the comic, Tim Kaminski.
Our room was always clean and we had sufficient towels and service, so no problem there.
They charge $2.50 per minute if you used your cell phone, but they don't let people know. We informed several people who were "thrilled" they could use their cells - until we told them how much it was costing them. They were shocked. This should definitely be posted.
We won't be wasting our money on NCL again.