I sailed on the Western Caribbean tour the week of Thanksgiving. This is my 7th cruise -â€" 2nd on NCL and I would give them a solid "B+". The holiday week probably changed the normal demographics of my fellow travelers somewhat. I met a lot of multi-generational families celebrating the holidays. The "children" ie mid 40's seemed to enjoy the atmosphere of the ship. The "parents" 60's + complained frequently about the lack of service and poor attention to detail. If you are a traveler who likes to slip the Matre D some cash to get preferential treatment and your idea of an excellent vacation is to be pampered by the staff then stop reading now because we have nothing in common and we probably won't like the same trips.
The overall condition of the ship was good -â€" The stateroom, towels and linins were clean. My steward did a good job keeping everything fresh. However the carpet on the stairs was worn at the place where everyone pivots to descend to the next level. The lights in my vanity stopped working for 3 days and most annoying to me - fellow travelers left drinks/plates of food around the pool deck and strong winds blew the trash all over. Wait staff routinely just stepped over the blowing cans and went about their business. Most of the deficiencies seemed to be esthetic and not functional. I had read previous reviews that getting on-board the ship in Tampa was a nightmare as they were new to this terminal. They seemed to have mostly worked out the bugs on embarkation-â€" We got through the rather long line in < 30 minutes. However I saw some older people struggling as you were required to first queue up in the hot sun to go through security and then once again inside to get your sea pass. They need some strategically placed chairs for these folks to sit on. I can not say the same for the debarkation process. It was a nightmare. I was in the last group to exit based on my 5 pm flight time. There was no organization to exit through customs. Porters had their own line and for a "tip" one could grab a porter and jump the rest of the line. People just followed the porters and then when they could not exit through the porter only customs checkpoint they just tried to merge with the other folks who had been patiently waiting in line for 30+ minutes. The well being and happy atmosphere quickly vanished as people cut the line and pushed their way toward the exit. Since I was on a bus and in no hurry I waited in the line and it took me nearly 45 minutes to get through customs.
In summary I recommend NCL to travelers where the expectation is the ship should be a pleasant vehicle for getting to the various ports of call. This is my personal view on cruising. If I can be off the ship exploring I will be. If the ship is supposed to be the end all destination of the vacation then I think people may be disappointed.