As a novice cruiser, I fell in love with NCL and freestyle dining with my first cruise last year on the Majesty. The Spirit leaving Florida on 12-12-04 was my second cruise and I expected no less.
The ship itself was very clean and the crew worked well on maintaining it. The ship and its Asian influences were beautiful. The crew was always helpful and attentive. They do go a little overboard pushing drink sales. You don't need to lead a horse to water. I'm sure most people know when they are thirsty.
The Captain was very friendly and made many rounds about the ship including checking on the crew. I thought this was great leadership. I even saw him in the salon sitting and chatting with the guests. I never saw that before.
My inside cabin was wonderful. I was very surprised about its roomy size. The bathroom and shower were great. They were well designed. They even had hooks to hang swim trunks. The room had plenty of storage space for two. I forgot to bring extra hangers since they only have 10 per room. My initial cabin was 4527 and it was above some construction. It was awful the first day and the ship was showing full. They did move me to another room after the first port of call and some people didn't show up. They gave me a 100 dollar credit without asking.
The food in Windows was excellent each night. The breakfast buffet was normal breakfast food..can't be prepared too many different ways..so I can't complain. The room service was prompt but should have cheeseburgers and fries. Instead you have to go to the 24 hr cafe for that. The 24 hour cafe, Blue Lagoon, serves same limited menu the whole trip. I think it should change daily. The food was edible but I never wanted seconds. I enjoyed freestyle dining except for one complaint. I expect a formal night in the main dining room but we had a welcome and a farewell formal night. We had to eat buffet for lunch and dinner both these nights to accommodate the closing and preparation. This was fine the first night but the second night the ship decided to have an Asian buffet so choices were limited to picky eaters like myself. If you're gonna have theme nights at the buffet, do it when the main dining halls are open to people who want to be casual and not that formal.
My small complaints are that the gangway pictures and formal pictures were very unprofessional and not worth the money they ask for them, items were stolen from my suitcase at the pier during loading (I wasn't the only one), the internet usage needs to be cheaper, and the musical productions were great but not a lot of variety for the younger crowd.
I would recommend this ship to all novice cruisers.