My wife and I are first time cruisers on NCL, we have sailed Celebrity, RCCL, and Disney with my daughter. I would like to review my experience with NCL.
We embarked on 2/19/12 in Tampa. The embarkation was fast and easy, the only embarkation that I feel was better was with Disney.
When we boarded the ship we went up to the Market Cafe for lunch, we found the food very good and plentiful. Our cabin was ready at approximately 1pm, it was very comperable to cabins on other cruise lines. After touring the ship and signing my daughter up for the teen club we went back to our cabin to unpack, unfortunately due to my mistake our luggage was not at the cabin, (I forgot to write the cabin number on our tags) I explained our problem to our cabin stewart( Seby) who said it will take some time to locate the luggage and for me to check at the pursurs desk. After exploring on the ship some more then eating dinner in Aqua we went back to our cabin and all our luggage was there thanks to Seby.
There are two main restaurants on the ship, Aqua, and Versailles, Versailles is more formal than Aqua, both have basically the same menu and both are equally good. There are other restaurants on board however my wife and I did not feel that payng the extra prices for dinner was warranted.
The enertainment in the Stardust theatre was very good as was some of the other venues, I especially liked listening to Sean Burns the traveling troubadour who played nightly in the Red Lion, Al the bartender and the other workers in the Red lion are also to be commended.
The tour we took on Roatan was very nice, we went to Gambalya park and Tabiyanka beach, The park was well maintained with Iguana's all around, the beach was very clean and good for snorkeling, this side trip was well worth the money. I Belize we tendered into shore and just shopped in the port stores then went back to the ship. Casa Maya was very nice,and again went to a beach and snorkeled and shopped. Cozumel was great, a souvenir shoppers paradise, I also swam with dolphins which is quite the experience.
All in all this was a very nice cruise and well worth the money, there were a few downsides though, one of which is the teens club, the crew members in charge of the teen club "Nemo and Popeye" leave a lot to be desired, They not only did not keep track of the kids they wouldn't let adults into the club to speak with there children, kids were around the ship with no supervision at all. Secondly, the one salesman in the Jewelry shop on ship was very rude, I was looking at buying a Philip Stein watch and was asking questions about the watch, the salesman looked disgusted as if I were wasting his time, he then suggested that I go and look at the cheaper Citizen watches that were 40% off basically insinuating that's what I can afford, unfortunately for him, he lost a sale as I purchased two Philip Stein watches on shore One for me and one for my wife. There is a saying "One should not judge a book by it's cover".
All in all, the cruise was very enjoyable,Freestyle seems like the way to go unless you want a formal night, I would definitely sail NCL again.