Having sailed on Norwegian Gem last year, we were confident we would have another great cruise with NCL.
The ship is beautiful and well maintained. Inside staterooms are on the small side, especially when the third bed is open, but we really stay there only to sleep.
We were on deck 11 and loved to be so close to the buffet and the pool. However we could hear noises from Deck 12 (apparently the kitchen was above us, as I would hear carts being dragged in the early hours), so next time it'd go back to deck 9 or 10 for a quieter sleep.
Our overall experience was very satisfactory but, compared to our previous experience, a couple of things did not work as good as they did last year. The first is the kids' club: this year the staff was composed of South Americans that were not as enthousiastic as they should have been. My daughter went there once and they were watching Toy Story 3. Not feeling like sitting there silently, she wanted to leave after 30 minutes. The second try was for the Sponge Bob breakfast: but again, it consisted of watching Sponge Bob and eating sandwiches, so she regused to go in again. We also went to the cupcake decoration but they were not expecting so many people: the coloured creams had almost run out, so our cupcake did not look very appetizing...
The second minus was the quality of food. We are vegeterians, so we mostly opt for the buffet to make sure we find plenty of choice. This year the choice was much smaller than last year, so on day 3 we were a bit tired of having stir-fry vegetables and decided to try the Alizar. The service was exceptional but the food quality was really below average. On Thursday night, the Garden Buffet was closed for dinner to host the Chocaholic buffet, so once again we were forced to choose the main dining room. This time the food was really horrible: we opted for rice with prawns and the rice came out to be overboiled and sticky and really tasteless.
I understand having to squeeze costs imply lowering quality and variety of food but it was quite a sudden change in only 12 months' time.
However, cruising with NCL is a wonderful experience and we look forward to our next cruise!