we went with 2 families, one from chicago and one from cleveland. we have 4 kids...12,13,15, 16. we all had a great time. we are all experienced cruisers and mainly do royal caribbean or celebrity. we chose ncl for something different. KIDS made tons of friends. age break was difficult in the teen area b/c it is 10-12 and 13-17. the middle school/junior high kids should all be together with it being 12-14 and then 14 and up for the high schoolers. it seemed like the middle school kids didn't have anywhere to go b/c of the weird break down of ages and ended up doing a lot of staircase hanging out before they found a place to hang out. the 13 year olds weren;t allowed in the 10-12 so you could have 2 kids in the same grade that can't be together b/c one is 12 and one is 13. fortunately it all worked out though with all the kids meeting lots of other kids. the FOOD was outstanding. we did do a specialty restaurant every night but for one of them. our intent was to only do 3 specialties but the food in the MDR was a really weird menu on most nights. the night we chose to go there, it was fantastic and the quality and service was the same as in the specialty restaurants. they give you a receipt with the reservation. keep the receipt, just in case there's a mix up. you must have the right mindset going in, other wise you;ll be disappointed in the payment for meals. SPA area is beautiful however is quite rocky being on the end of the boat. they offer a reasonable mom/daughter and father/son massage which was nice. CLEANLINESS was excellent. they were constantly cleaning. DRINKS were expensive as on most cruises but they ran specials every day and you definitely got a large drink for the price.
SAMANA..do an excursion. you need some guidance there. check out toursbyterry on this website. we did an excellent beach excursion with him. ST.THOMAS...been there before so we felt comfortable doing are own thing. spent the day at meghan's bay and it was great. plan to get there first before shopping as they run out of beach chairs. downtown shopping was great if you want jewelry or watches. david yurman full store there. TORTOLLA..again, i'd recommend an excursion there. we did the virgin gourda highlights through ncl and it was quite nice. on the boat over there...SIT ON THE TOP. boat fumes were terrible. PRIVATE ISLAND... get there on an early tender. no need to do the advance reservation of seats, but grab them as soon as you see them. we walked to the end of the beach and it was less crowded. if you want a round float, get ASAP. they only have 20 and sold out right away.
ENTERTAINMENT was fine. comedian was great. was hoping to see sharkbait but he wasn't on our week. second city from chicago was just okay. the adult only shows at 10:30 were quite good.
GUEST SERVICES was a joke. we had many various questions throughout our trip and they NEVER knew the answer. ROOMS...nice size. bathrooms were the best i've seen yet on a cruise!! very spacious. the rooms were airtight for noise. you could barely hear who was knocking at your door. that was a plus.
we're doing Royal next winter break with 14 of us, all one big family. there are definitely things i like about ncl that royal doesn't have and vice versa. hope this review helps. i certainly got info from other cruise reviews so i thought i'd share my own experience.