We went for the glitz and entertainment and we got it. It was the wrong week--vacation for many so the ship was full and this did take away from the ambiance and the ability to set foot in a pool. But that said, the only place we felt overwhelmed with other cruisers, little kids, etc., was the pool deck and the cafeteria at peak hours.
We arrived at about 1:30 to avoid the lines and walked right in. Got our luggage within an hour or so. The main shortcoming as everyone will tell you is the size of the rooms. We had a beautiful balcony, but we could not get by each other at the sink. A foot or two more in the width would have made life so much more convenient. The end of the bed is literally 6-8 inches away from the credenzas. Everything else in the cabin was OK. Shower and toilet by the front door was less than lovely, but manageable. It all had to do with the width of the cabin. How families managed, I don't know. The sink is tiny and in the wrong place to pass by. Only one of us could use the whole bathroom area of the room at once. It was unbelievably quiet, however, and we did not hear neighboring toilets or slamming doors.
The rest of ship is lovely. Not a lot of promenading space, the outside pools are minuscule for such a large population of sun starved passengers going South. It always looked like Coney Island on a hot 4th of July. The major rooms are glitzy and perfect for such a ship. Gold, crystal. spangles-- just what we wanted. Loved the parties at the H2O area-- the Cruise Director Paul Scally works harder than any other I have ever seen--really hands on, funny and gets everyone involved. Enjoyed the FABBA and other parties he had. The TV is the worst seen on any ship and the movies were all for kids, even the ones at 11:15 pm. Kids seemed to enjoy the Nikelodeon events, but most are at a price. I met Sponge Bob and had a picture for my grandchild and there was no none there but me. I like Trivia and have really enjoyed it on 3 other NCL Cruises. This was not a Trivia crowd/ship and had uneven and sometime small (5) participation.
The BlueMan show as good, if somewhat food-centered humor. The cirque was good, but the story was hard to understand and follow, meal less than stellar, but the acts were very good. Second City was the best--current, edgy, and very slick. The Comedy Magician was a pleasant surprise and very funny.
The food was pretty good. Did not like Taste, the decor truly is dreadful, but the Manhattan was very nice with great music. Le Bistro is up to the quality of other ships. La Cucina was not-- too salty, uneven service and not very authentic Italian food. Save the money, the dining room and buffet are just as good. Buffet consistently very good with lots of selections. The vegetables all over the ship were outstanding.
The Captain and major officers came to our Cruise Critic get together-- something we had experienced on all NCL ships so far and they were very friendly and approachable. The Captain and Officers were all over the ship at all times and very easy to find and talk to. Got off a Princess Cruise where this was not the case and this was so different and impressive.
Ports were OK. The excursion I took was overpriced and half boring (Gambilina Park) but the snorkeling part was very good, but they did not offer a separate snorkeling option in Roatan. We easily went on out our own in the other ports.
For someone who wants to get away from the cold, have some fun in a little Vegas-like, but family friendly atmosphere, this ship is a good bet if you get a good price. I would go back to this ship, or better yet, one of the new ships which will have a slightly different cabin design according to one of the officers.
Disembarkation was easy and smooth-- they have the crowds down and make everything easy.