First off, I never leave reviews, but definitely use other reviews to help make a decision. Because I read so many negative things about this boat, I had to write a review and provide some justice to her. Like I read on a previous post, you as the cruiser will decide if you have a good time or not.
Background: Eastern from 10/9-10/16 sailing out of Miami.
Embarkation: I spent more timing unloading my luggage and walking to the gate than I did standing in line. I got to the port at 2pm and was on the ship by 2:15. Once on, we were greeted with a welcoming smile and told where we can get lunch.
Cabin: The balcony was great. It was a bit larger than the normal balcony, because it was located where the ship "jogs" out, so it had a triangular shaped area. We had reclining chairs. Bed was very comfortable and yes, it was a bit short, so you just manage. Lots of room to store things and the room was a bit narrow the first day or so, but after a few days you manage to figure out how to walk around each other. The almighty splashing sink. I guess I'm not sloppy and know how to control the water pressure. I left a small towel at the edge just encase. Surprise surprise!! The last night, the faucet was replaced. I assume NCL realized they had a problem. So adios to those complaints. The shower was great and didn't have a problem with the bathroom across. I could see why it may present an uncomfortable factor, but there was none here.
Entertainment: Book earlier, arrive early. Howl at the moon was a hit every night. Blue man group was great and unlike other reviews, cirque dreams was wonderful watch. Sat right in the front. Legends was entertaining and the magic/comedy show was a hit. The improv was "ok" Maybe its because I'm not a 20+ time cruiser, maybe not picky, or it was just great entertainment, but I enjoyed it. Ok so the Ice Bar - If you are going to be in there for 10min, don't bother. We lasted the 45 min and yes it was cold, but you socialize and realize you will probably never do this again.
Food: I agree that it was a bit misleading on the amount of free restaurants. Taste and Manhattan offer the same food, but have a different environment. We ate at the garden cafe each morning. The Irish Bar O'Sheenans was great. Fish and chips..Whoo! probably because i would never eat that back at home. We ate at only one speciality restaurant and that was Moderno. Great setting, romantic, and the food and service was perfect.
Ports: We booked the Rhino Tour on our own and it was great. **tip** the day prior or day of your excursion, make a sandwich from the garden cafe and bring it with you. Saves you a few bucks.
Decks: Yes they make you go through the casino and it can be smokey. NCL has numerous air filtration systems plugged in and I'm sure it helps. But it wasn't something that was horrible. Compared to the amount of people, the pools are small, but I would rather prefer the slides, rock climbing, rappelling, bungee, than a bigger pool. Because we laid out, got hot, jumped in the pool, and laid back down. I'm not in there to do laps. And deck chairs, I happen to be one of those who save a chair and keep it saved. We averaged about a 10:30am on deck arrival and yes had to look for a chair and maybe settled for one, but an hr or two later found another just by walking around. Again, nothing to get all worked up about.
Staff: Wonderful. They do everything they can to make this memorable. I don't go into these things with the assumption i'm going to have my food fed to me on a silver platter.
Disembarkation: Depressing! Hated to go and I was off so quickly. We walked off with our bags and went straight into customs.
Misc: Wait for the last few days to buy those watches or jewelry. Bingo games are almost every 2 days. With the first time being the cheapest. The lines for the tub ride can be long. So you may need to go later during the day or in port. We did the rock climbing and rappelling the day we got on the ship. your tv can be used to check your account or even book dinners or excursions. Never waited more than 2 min for an elevator. Each elevator location has a tv where you can check current activities or map out how to get somewhere.
Overall. Go. Enjoy. Make the best of the cruise with the people you are sharing it with. This was well worth the wait.