7 day Mexican Riviera cruise (my first for NCL and destinations, 25th overall). In the main dining room (Versailles) the service was polite but slow (1 1/2 hours for a very ordinary dinner--think Denny's). From the soggy Caesar salad to the watery, flavorless shrimp; from the tough, dry roast beef to the scallops the size of garbanzo beans, the dining experience was somewhere between disappointing and awful.
A no-extra-charge is the Market Cafe up on Deck 12: a buffet featuring bottom-end cold cuts, tough and dry beef, a minimal salad bar. The ambiance: no-nonsense chairs and Formica tables. Free beverages: coffee (decaf and regular), tea (decaf, herb, and regular), half and half, milk, skim milk and water. Oh, and fruit "juice" at breakfast. What about lemonade, you ask? Buy it at one of the bars. Ditto soft drinks (but this is more of an industry-wide practice, at least at the Princess/RCL/NCL/Celebrity budget level).
Lunchtime: care for a hamburger? No problem. A More
precooked patty will be pulled out of a tray of--let's be nice and call it "juice"--and popped on a griddle for minute, so the extender and beef (sort of like budget meatloaf) will be warm for that untoasted bun (which they will put on the griddle on request). Mayo and ketchup? Sure. Mustard? Sure, as long as you don't want deli or Dijon. Pickle? No problem. You were thinking of a vinegar, not a dill pickle, weren't you?
Tried to get escape from the regular dinnertime fare by eating in one of the many $15 -
$35 (if you want lobster, for instance) alternative venues. Didn't help. Tough, dry lamb for one of my friends, microwaved (then "finished" in an oven/broiler) lobster for another. - a microwave oven in an upscale restaurant? They had a chocolate desert event one evening, even recommended bringing a camera! For what? The usual crappy stuff in the buffet.
Let's get one thing perfectly clear: the "buffet" is like a school cafeteria, but not as good.
Service on the decks, rooms, desk, library: excellent. Internet? At 40 - 75 cents/minute, you weren't expecting something faster than dial-up, were you?
The TV in my veranda cabin was an old-fashioned CRT set, not a flat screen.
Here's a complement (at last): the shower had a sliding door, a good shower head on a hose, and enough room to turn around. It even had a grab bar (in a non-handicap room). Of course, the soap and shampoo are liquids dispensed from wall-mounted units (think: gas station toilet).
The ship left every Mexican port well before dusk. Why? I mean, come on: 3:30?
Would I take NCL again? Let's put it this way: only if sentenced by a court of law. Less
Laid back place. Had a cup of coffee latte at a waterside cafe at the Marina which was delicious and had the most impressive design on the crema I have seen in person. I mention coffee in part because the coffee on the ship is ugh, even/especially the coffee bar. Really, the best coffee in the ship is the coffee you brew in your own cabin.
My partner and I took a taxi to the "New Town" area (i.e. upscale, adjacent to the beach). The ride was fun and instructive. My partner shopped; I walked on the sand. Clean. Sunny but cool. Our driver showed and explained the sights and stopped for photo ops.