Well to start this review off, it is not going to be a bad review,but a critical one. We knew before we left that the ship was down 1 engine and that we would be arriving in the different ports a few minutes late each day. We did not have a problem with that at all and the excursion companies we worked with were very understanding.But what my wife and I found out later was that,I had been talking with a crew member on the first day and he informed me that the ship was down an engine. I told him I was aware of that and he informed me that we were sailing without the stabilizers out. I didn't realize this could be done. He told me that the Officers get a bonus on fuel conservation and that running with the stabilizers out saves on fuel. This would explain the excessive swaying of the ship. Excessive swaying is an understatement...the ship store sold out of Bonine the first day. I have been on several cruises and this by FAR was the roughest one yet. The captain told us that it was due to a weather front in the area,possibly so-I'm not a weather man. But the captains log on the cabin TV stated that the highest seas we had were 4-7.5 ft. swells and a moderate wind. I can say this much that I have been in rougher water before, and the ship never moved as much as this one. It was terrible !!! Now, on the other hand, my wife was talking to someone and she was informed that the reason was basically the same except that the reason for them running without the stabilizers out was that it put less strain on the remaining 3 engines...either way..a LOT of people were very sick. This did not leave a good impression on a lot of first time cruisers that we talked with. If this would of been my first cruise, I would never do another one. It's a good thing that My wife,daughter & I know, that it is usually not like this.
As far as the free style cruising, I can take it or leave it. It depends on the person. If you prefer the personal touch, then free style might not be for you. If you are really into the excursions and not picky about what time you have dinner, then you will probably like free style. But to sum it all up we had a wonderful time met a whole lot of new friends and have already put a deposit down on another cruise with NCL. The food on this ship was not the best we have had but it wasn't the worst either. I did have a problem paying extra for the various speciality restaurants,French,Tex-Mex,Asian,Steak etc. They ranged in price from $10.00 to $25.00 pp extra. We payed extra for the Tex-Mex which was pretty good, and also payed extra for the Sushi/Asian, which was $15.00. The Sushi was AWESOME.The food on the buffet was tolerable and the Blue lagoon was pretty good. Especially the cheese cake late at night after the shows.