My sister and I use NCL because we love freestyle cruising. We don't want to dress up each evening, and we don't want to sit with the same people for 14 days, its nice to speak and get to know new people.
We went on this cruise to recharge our batteries after a hectic year at work, it did mean flying in from London the day before but it was worth the trip. If you have never seen the canal - go, its breathtaking - as far as the other ports of call are concerned - I would have not stopped in any of the Mexican ports, but that only my opinion.
We planned it carefully and booked a long time ago. I had a forward facing cabin, just under the bridge and my sister had a two bedroom cabin one deck up from me.
The forward facing cabin was great for the whole day whilst we transited the canal, we spent 10 hours outside taking 700 photographs.
Food - can't tell you what the food was like in the general or self service restaurants because we never used them.
Breakfast served each morning by our butlers, lunch in Cagney's and dinner in one of the speciality restaurants, all the food was great, meat in particular was fantastic. It was lovely to have fresh and not UHT milk.
Boarding - we were escorted on board as soon as we were checked in (drinks and snacks had been provided whilst we waited) we left our luggage in our separate cabins before we went to lunch.
We didn't get off at every destination and the people who commented about places having to clean up the roads, come on be realistic, many of the people live in poverty and have barely enough to eat, I think we have all seen big cities around the world which were dirtier!
Entertainment - we didn't see any of the shows, many we had seen on our previous NCL trips. That was no problem as I had a good selection of DVD's to watch(delivered each morning)and my sister had lots of books to read. Plus we had a card game going the entire trip, which I won!
Behind the scenes tour was very good and would recommend this to everyone.
I know that lots of the passengers on board got great last minute deals - so stop complaining, NCL suits some - not everyone.
The suites are fantastic, lots of room, wonderful balconies and bathrooms. The suites are the main reason we keep going back to NCL.
I would like to have travelled on the Star after the refit - but I am sure that was delayed until after her stint in Vancouver.
Sympathy to the friends and family of the crew member who died. We saw the shrine whilst on our behind the scene tour.