This was my first time cruising with NCL; have only cruised with Royal Carribean in the past and was hesitant about trying a new one since Royal was top of the line experience. Pros: Stateroom: We had 2 inside rooms since I am a single mom with 3 children and this was more cost effective than a suite. The cabin was very clean.
Food: There was a decent variety. Overall the food was mediocre to good.
Entertainment: The shows were average; Circ de Bijou, comedian and magician were great. There were a variety of venues at night.
Ship: It was very clean. The decor was tasteful and not overdone. The sailing was comfortable; we lucked out with beautiful seas and weather. There were nice areas to lay out and great walking/jogging tracks.
Excursions: As with Royal, the excursions are extremely costly. We decided to go to a park and beach in Honduras (kids loved it); in Belize we hired a driver and had the most awesome ride with frequent stops to explain the culture; he took us to the Altuna Ha ruins and for 40.00 had the most amazing day. In Costa Maya, we did the zip line which was breathtaking and the last day in the Bahamas was quite costly but enjoyable; we did parasailing which was rather short for our 180.00 and the boat driver made no qualms about requesting a tip. Food on the island was the same as the pool area - blah and boring.
Cons: Stateroom: The shower area was adequate yet the water was burning hot; in fact we had no cold water in the bathroom sink. OUr entire floor reeked of sewage from the moment we stepped aboard; they kept putting in requests to fix the problem, yet it never was fixed. Cabin steward never did our towels at night for our room, but did for our other room. The whole staff aboard the Norwegian was cool at best; anytime you requested something (we are not a needy family at all) it always seemed as if you were bothering them. Royal's staff was the most wonderful staff I have ever encountered. As usual on any of these cruises they are out to get you in anyway possible on board. Drinks very costly, extra charges wherever they can, excursions costly as well. There wasn't much for the kids to do when at sea; not enough pool space for the ship; not much for kids to do; video game room 2.00 for every game. The excursions were not well planned, sold out with hundreds of people left to fend on there own. Long waits to tender and unorganized.
Food: The restaurants were expensive and a waste of time. For example, Chin Chin cost $60 extra for the four of us and the food was marginal. The best food was in the Tzars Dining Room (no extra charge)- I wish we knew that before wasting so much money on the "specialty dining". Since the tips are automatic, the dining staff did not go out of their way. There were no trays in the buffet area so we needed to juggle out food and drinks. No-one came around with coffee/tea or to ask if we needed anything. I have been on other cruises where service was the norm.
Entertainment: There was very little to do during the day. Bingo was very expensive ( the most that I have ever paid). Many activities revolved around selling. Some example of this included the art show and the jewelry shows.
There were no ice carving or food carving shows. The Chocolate buffet was like a hoard of people waiting to get into the Golden Corral..lots of kids and unsupervised and disrespectful.
Ship: The lobby was nothing special . The ship was confusing to maneuver. The pools and hot tubs were completely inadequate. There was an adult only area that was adjacent to the kids area ( not private and quiet like other ships). There was no set age for the adult hot tubs ( 2 small) or pool so that there were always young teens crowding them. There were 4 tiny hot tubs only-extremely inadequate.
Overall we had a great time but, this will be our last Norwegian Cruise. For about the same price, once you take into consideration the "extra costs" for NCL, we can sail on Royal Caribbean which is a much classier line.