This is my 3rd cruise and my husband's 2nd. We have been on Carnival before so alot of my review will be comparing NCL to Carnival. We are in our mid-20's, no children.
Embarkation and Disembarkation:
Getting to the port around noon, there was a pretty long line but it moved really fast. From the time we got in line to the time we were on the ship was about 30 minutes. To disembark, we took our luggage with us and it took about 1 minute. I was surprised that we didn't have to talk to anyone from customs...we simply gave them our form and were off the boat!
This ship was much smaller than ones I've previously been on. It is pretty easy to get around but it takes about a day or two to figure out how to get to certain places (ie: we were on the 5th floor, to get to Windows we had to go up to 7, across the ship, and down to 6)
As expected, our room was very small. We don't spend much time in our room, so we get the cheapest one possible. There are plenty of cubbyholes and drawers to put your clothes though. I think for such a small space it was configured perfectly. The bathroom could definitely use some sprucing up. The shower would clog up so you'd be standing in a couple inches of water and the lighting was poor.
This is what I was most worried about. I had read so many reviews about how awful the crew on NCL is due to the whole "freestyle" aspect. THEY WERE WONDERFUL!! Our Steward Biron and our hostess Shellyn (Garden Restaurant) were AMAZING!
This is definitely the area where Carnival wins and NCL loses...big time. The one plus of NCL is that we didn't have to dress up to go to dinner. We ate at 2 specialty restaurants during the week: Shogun and La Trattoria. We only did because we received a $50 onboard credit from our travel agent. I don't like the whole concept of having to spend extra money to get good food. Both the specialty restaurants were good, but not excellent. The buffet, Raffles, was better than Carnival's buffet. Pretty good choices but the hours were strange and I feel we were always going in while they were making a switch to different meals. The main dining room's food was good...but definitely not the same quality as Carnival's. The selection was not that great and the portions were pretty small. Most of the desserts were a disappointment.
We went to see all of the shows while onboard. I feel like 2nd City is hyped up too much...they were funny, but not as funny as I was expecting. I would say their R-rated show was the funniest. All the other shows were great (except for the 1st Magician show).
Your vacation is really what you make of it. We had a great time! Will we travel NCL again? Probably not...it was nice to give it a try though.