In the weeks leading up to this cruise I was excited about trying Norwegian for the first time. As a loyal Carnival cruiser I was looking for a new experience and thought Norwegian might provide it. Boy was I wrong!!!
First I will talk about the positives, because there were some. Embarkation/Disembarkation: Simply the easiest and best process I have seen and I was very pleased with the ease in which I was able to get on and off the boat. NCL does do this very well.
Freestyle Cruising: I thought the concept sounded great when I was reading about it, however, in practice I think it is the single best part about Norwegian. Being able to eat where you want, dress how you want, and do what you want without having to be beholden to a tight schedule is just what a vacation is about. I was able to eat in the main dining room each night at the time that worked for my group and without having to wait for a table. I did not have to dress up for a Captain's night like on Carnival and feel forced to take a thousand different pictures. Freestyle cruising is amazing.
Now for the bad.
Irons: I am used to the laundry room available on Carnival ships and had no idea Irons were available by request only, and once you request you could wait almost an hour for one. I don't have an hour to waist waiting for an Iron along with everyone else on the but vying for the limited amount of them. Now they will press your clothes for you, but, not willing to pay that extra fee. This really annoyed my wife and I.
Rooms: I felt the rooms were small, bathrooms smaller. I fel the rooms and bathrooms were not as clean as they could be. The rooms were generally dusty bed was not comfortable and the configuration mean you had no use of the window in the oceanview room.
Staff: I felt the staff was unfriendly and the general tone of NCL to be "so what".
Pool Decks: Everyone had lots of fun on the pool decks, however, they were very small and overly crowded. It seemed as though everyone was on top of each other. In addition if you have children with you many adults took over the Kids splash pool and did not want any kids splashing, in the "splash" pool. I think NCL should really take better control of kids areas to ensure its young Kids that are actually able to take advantage of the area.
Common Areas: Hallways and Walkways near state rooms were dirty and had a bit of a smell. Boat did have nice decor but it is not kept up in a way that it should be. Night club was located in an awkward place felt too open, with small dance floor and too much seating for a night club. Most bars and other areas were okay and served there purpose.
Ports: Nassau was great although very crowded (not NCLs fault), nothing to complain about with NCL there.
Great Stirrup Cay (or whatever Norwegians private island is called), boat did not let us off there because water was too choppy for tenders. I was upset because this should not have been a surprise to them due to the large hurricane that was out at sea on its way to impact with Bermuda. Royal altered its three day before it left Miami and FLL and Port Canaveral and made sure there customers had something to do. NCL pretended to try and get us on the island and than turned that second day into a Sea Day. I don't mind a Sea Day on a 7 day cruise in fact I love them. However, I went on this cruise to get two days in the Bahamas on the beach, NCL, cheated me of that and did not quite care that it had done so.
In conclusion, I don't think NCL is worth it and I wont try it again, nor would I recommend it to any of my friends.