My boyfriend and I went on this cruise together, we're in our mid 20's and are familiar with how cruises go. This was our first time trying out Norwegian, and probably our last (normally we cruise with Royal Caribbean).
Embarkation from Miami was long and drawn out, the line took forever to get through, which normally with our experience with Royal Car. you fly through the process.
Upon getting on the ship, and going to our room, which was a standard cabin, we were impressed with how modern it was- toilet in an inclosed area, separate from the shower, and the sink. The room could have used more lighting, at times it was very dim. One night we had a really rocky ride, which awakened us at about midnight with a noise that sounded as if the panels in our room walls weren't tight and it kept making a very irritating noise, so irritating that we both had to get ear plugs from room service.
The service on the ship was great. In fact the people working for Norwegian were probably the nicest people on the ship. This was the first time we went on a cruise in which we as Americans were a minority. That was fine at first when we realized that, us being open minded, we were looking forward to the vast diversity. Turns out, a majority of the people we literally ran into we're rude and lacked total manners. People would stop right in front of you, block you, or their kids would just run about with no supervision what so ever. People wouldn't say excuse me and often we noticed the customers being rude and giving the crew members a hard time.
As I have seen other people mention, the lounge seats for sunning are a huge problem on this ship. It doesn't matter what time you head out (unless you wake up at 6:30 in the am to set your towels out to reserve your spot) but the chairs are always taken. About 75% of the chairs are taken up by towels a majority of the day, never actually being filled with the people who reserved them. Don't dare try to claim one of the toweled seats as your own either, or it will in fact start as fight.
I read elsewhere that someone mentioned that the adult pool area smelled like sewage. That is in fact correct, the WHOLE Spice H2O area, and the recreation area (basketball court, trampoline, adult pool) smells like crap. When we first noticed it, we thought that we were standing by someone passing gas. Once we moved throughout the entire area, we noticed that the whole area in fact smelled like crap, it wasn't some innocent passenger passing wind at all.
The ship is beautiful, and the entrainment is great. We saw the Blue Man Group, the Cirque Show, and Second City. All fantastic. However, you have to pay to see Cirque, and there are two reservation seatings, premium and just regular. Whoever planned the event area where Cirque would take place, planned it all wrong. The performers put on a show in an area that is two stories, so regardless of where you sit, at some point in time, you can't see the performers- if you're on the bottom floor, you can't see them sometimes when they're doing moves on the second floor and vice versa. Doesn't seem right that you have to pay to have your view obscured.
We were not ready for all the hidden fees- $12 service charge added per person daily, to our room bill. Which was a little ridiculous considering only part of it goes to your room attendant and the rest goes to other members of the cruise- we loved our room attendant and wished all the money went straight to him at least, considering we ate in the buffet area for every meal except for the first night when they had a lobster dinner in the free area Taste. There was bowling on the ship, which I wanted to do, but it cost money and I could bowl a lot more games at home for cheaper than on the ship. There was an Svedka Ice Bar which my boyfriend and I wanted to check out, but there was a $20 cover charge per person, which kept us from checking it out, because I don't even drink and it would have been a waste to just check it out for a few minutes while we could handle the cold, and then zip right out of there. Additionally, there was a plethora of restaurants of the ship, many we wanted to go to, but not only do you have to pay a cover charge to get in, but also have to pay for the food you choose.
The cruise stopped at St Martin (we went to Bikini Beach), St Thomas (Magens Bay) and the Bahamas (Paradise Island). All were beautiful places to go, and no complaints with any of them. Just be prepared- the Bahamas had a lot of people walking the beach trying to get you to ride jet skis, buy things and whatnot- it got old, but hey you're in paradise!
The fitness center was fantastic. This was the first time I actually worked out on a consistent basis while on a cruise, and it's in part thanks to how large and accommodating the fitness center is. A bunch of machines, and cardio equipment, along with a decent amount of free weights. I tried a spin class for the first time, and liked it so much I ended up doing it again (a charge of $20 per class). Very impressive fitness center, it's probably better than many gyms I have been to. They could definitely have some fans in it though, it gets pretty hot in there.
I really hate to sound like everything about this cruise was negative, although however the best parts I'd say were when we were off the ship. The cruise was enjoyable, but I am pretty sure that was the first and last time we will cruise Norwegian, I'll stick to Royal Caribbean.