We emabarked in Miami and have to say it was the quickest and most efficient process we'd ever experienced. Probably 15 mins from arriving at the port to being on board. Initial impression of the ship was that it was spacious, clean, airy, well laid out & easy to navigate. Information was provided very well and easy to find. The staterooms were ready quite early & luggage already there.
The first major problem arose that evening when my son returned with a list of activities for his age group. These included: Making pirate hats, marching on deck singing songs, children's party games, storytimes, macaroni pictures, movies such as "The Little Mermaid". My son is a few weeks off his 13th birthday, is the size of a grown man, mature and independent & has the interests of a typical teenager. We made numerous requests for him to join the 13year olds, but these were denied. On the first night he went along to join in, but playing tag with children so young that they still soiled themselves, wasn't his cup of tea. Fortunately, he met another boy the same age so they amused themselves the best they could.
I'm a lone parent without help and struggle to cope at times, I've always found cruising brilliant for both of us. We each get to participate in activities that interest us and I can relax, knowing that he's happy in a safe environment. That isn't the case on NCL the kids facilities just don't compare to the likes of RCI or P&O. In my opinion, if you're travelling with kids 8 or above, look elsewhere, they're gonna be bored stupid.
On the up side, we spent more time together and he read lots of books!
NCL has a number of premium dining options, probably the best selection I've seen and for a small supplement, were very good, which was fortunate as the buffet and main dining rooms were average.
The entertainment was good too, and well structured so there was something for everyone and timed well so you didn't miss out on anything. That's where I come to the next problem. My cabin 5021 was situated alongside a crew corridor that appeared to be the main route to the workplace for the entire crew. A door which seemed to be right next to my pillow, creaked loudly each time it opened, groaned each time it shut and finished with a SLAM! 220 times one morning between 6 and 7am (I counted)! I went along to guest services and asked that it could be oiled. The next day the same happened so I asked a stateroom attendant if he knew which door it was and if he could fix it. After the 3rd night of broken sleep I asked to move and was told the sailing was full, it may be, but I know that ships do need to keep a number of cabins for contingencies eg. health quarantine, flooding etc. So overall the entertainment was good, but I was always aware that I should get an early night as I wasn't guaranteed not to be woken several times. I was so exhausted by the end of the trip that I checked into a hotel in Miami & slept for 14 solid hours.
So, in all, what could have been a decent cruise with good food, bars, entertainment and ports, was completely ruined because nobody could take ownership of oiling a door.