First and foremost, we had a great time, got good value for our cruise dollar, and had perfect weather!
The ship and cabins were spotlessly clean, and our rooms were great. Our intereior rooms were dark and quiet, which meant great sleeping. We never felt cramped. The ship was full, and busy. The stage entertainment was exceptional, and the food good, plentiful and well prepared.
That being said...NCL had a way of making us feel a little like second class citizens. We were nickel and dimed to death. There were quiet areas like other ships... but if you wanted access it was $15 a day, Pop package ($32 on RC) was $50 here! Drinks were fully a dollar to two dollars more pper drink than other lines. Besides the $12 a day service charge, all beverages had a 15% additional charge. Kitchen tour? Pay extra! Specialty restaurants, we knew, pay exta.
We were not a fan of the Freestyle dining. On other cruise lines, this was an option, here it applied everywhere. We were actually at an advantage with 8, because groups of 8 or more could make a reservation before 6:30 and after 8:30. Between those hours, despite making a reseration, everyone had to just show up and wait, and wait in very long lines. In addition, guess where every table for 8 was every night? Right by servers station!
The main dining room itself was beautiful, but exceptionally, exceptionally noisy. All hard surfaces and reflective high ceilings meant awful accoustics. Add to that the fact they had a 3 piece string quartet playing everynight, which raised the decible level even more. Conversation was almost impossible. The servers worked their butts off. They were so understaffed and had so many tables they have no time to spend and chat with you, but their need hustle added to a general feeling that was anything but relaxing. We felt so sorry for them. They tried their best, and worked really hard, but were just so busy all the time trying to keep up. Despite this, we only had one meal that service was not prompt. Dress suggestions for special meals were not “enforced” so suits mingled with cut off jeans. Ugh.
The lounge entertainment was not nearly as good as previous cruises, but the main stages were spectacular.
There was no indoor pool, as on other ships. We saw the cruise director only as an MC at shows, and never saw his staff anywhere doing anything. There were no poolside activities, games, dancing, etc. Music on deck was good though.
Our excursions were great. But the one we booked off the ship in Belize was half the price of the ships.... and we ended up at the same place, ahead of them, and in a much smaller group.
All and all.... probably would stick with Princess or Royal Caribbean in the future.