Firstly, thanks to the reviews I read on this site - it really helped us plan and those little tips made such a difference, so here goes:
The ship is fabulous, much more contemporary than others and well designed. We found our way around easily although it is vast and so did our 12 yr old. One tip, on the first night you have to go to Recess with the kids and sign them in and the line is huge. After the first night the kids can sign themselves in and out as long as you have signed the form. Beware, after Recess ends the kids can stay but it costs $6 per half hour and no-one tells you but its pretty good value if you are at a show.
Specialty restaurants were very good, we tried Moderno - unlimited meat which they bring round on skewers so you don't order you just wait for the next one to come around and flip your card from Red to Green and load up at the free salad bar. Also Cagneys - brilliant as ever. Cirque Dinner and Dreams - pretty average food but the show is good, not quite to our taste but amazingly talented peformers. We booked Standard Seating and sat in big plushy booths with a good view of the stage. If you book Premium you are at the side of the stage floor and get dragged up to join in - but its nothing too scary.
We went to Teppanyaki the first evening and had the best time but I think it was down to the fun created by the chef and the people we sat with. We went again on our last night and the family with us never spoke or joined in and the chef was new and a bit quiet but the food was still good - choose the Seafood option - fabulous!
We were very impressed by the main dining experiences - Manhattan Room is waiter service, good choice of food with European sized portions and wonderful music. For breakfast out of the madness of the buffet (which gets kinda crazy with people dashing around whilst you are carrying hot food and coffee) - try Taste which is in the centre of the ship and a very lovely experience - we could not believe it was FREE!
And the Garden Cafe is very good, considering it is free - lots of choice and tasty food, open practically all day and the outside bit is good for late night snacks with burgers, hotdogs, pizza, muffins etc.
The pool area gets kinda loud and crazy and so we found a wonderful place to relax and sunbathe up on Deck 18 - pretty hard to find so its always quiet but the waiters still come and do cocktail service - very important to me! Take the glass elevator on the right hand side as you look at the Garden Cafe up. Or the elevators in the Garden Cafe on the BLUE side and then walk up the last flight of stairs to 18. And look around the corner past the first outdoor shower - there is another even quieter place to sunbathe.
The wine package was good and we also did the Soda Package on the first day which worked great for us as I often want a Diet Coke too. You get a sticker on your card and just flash it to the waiter for unlimited soda all week long - fabulous value. Buy it at the Garden Cafe on the first day.
Cabin was fabulous, spacious with tons of storage and we had a ridiculous amount of luggage having started in cold and windy SF. Two tips that helped us: bring a 4-way power adaptor as there is only one plug. Also we brought Wrinkle Decrease - wonderful product. We also brought wine on board, kinda by accident and nobody cared - not that I would advocate breaking the rules.
And buy a sunhat before you go on board, shops are fairly rubbish and only carry tiny bottles of things like shampoo, if you forget anything you are stuffed. Tiny selection of essentials and sun cream is a bit pricey, bring candy and chocolate if you have chocoholics with you.
My husband had an accident, turned his ankle playing footie and the Medical Center is wonderful, and so is Wheelchair assistance - like a taxi service for the injured - just sitting waiting for you to call. Free of charge and very efficient. Thank you NCL.
And look out for Lance the "shopping consultant" - its hysterical. He is everywhere talking about this made-up gemstone which he clearly gets a knockback for promoting.
Bingo was great fun, but expensive be prepared for $60 a day, but I won the big prize on the last day - cruise for 2 - but its the smallest cabin on the cheapest cruise so will cost us a fortune to use it - but whatever - I'M GRATEFUL! And can't wait to go again.
Daily newsletter is fabulous, we did and tried everything and met wonderful people. What a fabulous time! We are booking our next cruise today with NCL.