Norwegian cruise line had a great deal for this specific sailing. We took the deal and decided to give "freestyle" cruising a try. Here is a summary of our likes and dislikes:
1. Because of the "freestyle" mentality, ship employees are less engaging of the passengers. You don't get the opportunity to get to know your room attendant or waiters. Its as if they purposefully keep their distance from you so that you can "freestyle". We may have seen our room attendant 2 times and both were from a distance. Of course, you never have the same waiters if you go to different restaurants each night.
2. Our room wasn't sparkling clean. The carpet had stains and the room was dusty. Very surprised by this since the ship was only a couple of months old.
3. Since the ship employees have a "hands-off" mentality and if you are new to sailing on NCL ships, you are confused on how to do the most simple tasks like booking excursions. There isn't enough information in the cabin or on the TV to direct you on how to do things like order room service or book excursions. We wasted much time just trying to figure things out. On other cruise lines, the room attendant greets you when you come on-board and they give you the run-down. Not so on a freestyle ship. You are own your own.
4. Room service is very restrictive. One of our most favorite things to do on-board is to order breakfast and eating on our balcony. Yet on NCL ships, all you can get is a continental breakfast...danishes, fruit, etc. Very disappointed with this.
5. Get ready to pay out the nose when you freestyle. Yes, you get lots of options to do things and eat at a variety of restaurants, but you will be nickel'd and dime'd to death. By the time you are finished, you will rack up a huge bill at the end of your cruise that you wouldn't have on other cruise lines. Every direction you turned, you are having to pay a fee to do something. I am surprised the public bathrooms didn't require a fee for their use!
6. We were not impressed with the ports of call. I expected premier stops for NCL's flagship, yet we stopped at miami, costa maya, routan and cozumel. Both costa maya and routan were trashy and very poor. Both seemed to be recovering from recent hurricanes, but all in all, these 2 ports had little to see that was worth seeing.
7. The ship employees never really sought to go the extra mile to make our cruise the best it could be. They were pleasant, nice, accommodating, but never more than that...they never showed a willingness to do more than just the basics.
8. I prefer to give tips based on performance. Yet on NCL tips are included and not expected.
9. The TVs only have a hand-full of channels, maybe 6 or 7 channels at best. Not much to watch when you are ready to get out of the sun.
10. The food buffets are the best I have ever had on any ship.