Embarkation was very smooth. NCL keeps much of the ship open to passengers before the rooms are available thus allowing us to feel like embarkation day was a full day of cruising.
The room had excellent storage. The balcony was private and spacious. The bed was hard and comfortable and the bunk bed was tight to get around at night but very conspicuously hidden during the day.
The often criticized bathroom design was very emabarassing for a family to work around. The opaque toilet door was both amusing and a violation of privacy to all. The shower did not permit a fellow passenger from entering the room while using it. The dresser drawers were already coming undone and very inconveniently required us to put them back together after pulling of the faces after each use. Lighting was very good, especially the reading lights.
The sports facilities and gym were top notch and made me feel like I was at a big fitness club at home.
The food and restraunts were superb and very tasty. The pricey restraunts were overpriced yet quite and personal with service. We ate at the Japanese themed restraunt and had fun. The food and service was not better than a much cheaper restraunt on land.
The martini 2 for 1 was enjoyable. The ICE Bar is a must see and experience even though is was overpriced.
The fountain drink all you can drink card was priced right if used from day one and used frequently.
Crowds were suprisingly not a problem. The worst crowds were around the 3 entertainment venues (Epic Theater, Regal Tent and Second City Club). Dining crowds were limited if reservations were wisely used and late eating was avoided in the Manhattan Room. Taste was a no-charge excellent choice for both menu features and ambience along with small crowds.
Disembarking on the islands was pleasantly a very easy and surprising non-ordeal. We had easier access to shore than we have experienced on smaller ships.
The shopping district on the ship was well layed out and easy to enjoy or avoid.
The casino was very unpleasant (we are not gamblers). The location forced constant trips through the casino with smoke and annoying gambling ambiance.
The pool deck was crowded due to the excellent slides. Pools were small and difficult to swim in. The slides were awesome and serious fun for young and old alike. The toilet like slide was spectacular and often had long lines. Early or late attempts to ride were faster or no lines.
The adult only area was disappointing and tight. The area did allow for privacy from youths but did not provide privacy from adults. Do not believe the illusion created by the photographs of the adult area.
The elevators were mediocre in availability and speed. Other ships include a center of the ship bank of elevators but this one skipped this need and thus caused very congested and irritating occasions during show times and dinner times.
The crew was most friendly and supportive. The entertainers were all top-notch.
The circus dinner theater was very dissapointing despite my excitement from reading many positive reviews. I could not wait for it to be over and wish I could have gotten my money back. If you must see it, do not pay extra for the bottom tables but use the cheaper upstairs bar seats to get a better view and better value. The show was suprisingly very sexual in nature and inuendo for my tastes. The acts were good but not special.
Blue Man Group and Legends were outstanding! You may wish to enjoy repeatedly if possible. The Michael Jackson performer was ill and did not perform, yet the shows two remaining acts (Rod Stewart and Brittany Spears imitators) were great copies and singers in their own right.
The value was good. I would give the cruise a B+ overall. I prefer smaller ships and more intimacy. I look forward to cruising with NCL on their smaller ships in the future.