My husband and I went on this cruise 3/11 - 3/18. This was our 4th cruise, 1st with NCL. We have previously been on Carnival Imagination in 2001, RCCL Grandeur in 2003 and Carnival Miracle in May, 2006. Overall, I would consider this cruise incredibly.... average.
This was the first time we have been to the new NOLA terminal and things went very smoothly. We drove in from Alabama on Sunday morning, about a 4 ½ hour trip, parked in the deck and got in line for the metal detectors then in line for check in. We were in line about 15 minutes, took the mandatory embarkation photo and were on board by 1:30 p.m. We had an outside room on Deck 4 and were a little disappointed with it. On the Miracle, we had been upgraded to a balcony room, which was very nice, and though we knew a standard outside room would not be exactly the same, the room was a good bit smaller than expected. DEcor was the standard cruise type so we did not love or hate it. Bathroom was adequate and hubby loved the shower. Always lots of hot water and plenty of water pressure. Our cabin stewardess Minnie was lovely. We tend to be pretty low maintenance, only needing fresh towels and the bed straightened and she kept us happy in those regards. It was spring break week and lots of students on board. I'm sure their rooms were in need of a bit more attention!
I decided to try NCL because of the "Freestyle" dining and the experience was OK. On previous cruises, hubby and I usually just eat the buffet all week because we don't like sitting with people we don't know (daughter says we're anti-social, I say we're just shy). I like being able to eat when and where we want, but the food, in general was just OK. We didn't starve, but weren't very excited either. The main restaurants were nice, but served the same menus every night. Also, one night we didn't get dessert. Our server picked up our dinner plates and never came back. We sat about 10 minutes then left. The buffet was good for breakfast and lunch. Breakfast was the same stuff every day, but several options so you didn't have to eat eggs and bacon every day. Waffles were good. They are served in the Pacific Heights restaurant so you have to look for them. There was an omelet station somewhere, but we never found it. Lunch was typical buffet stuff and the outdoor cafe served hamburgers, hot dogs, salads, etc. They always seemed to be out of hamburgers though. Pretty popular I guess. Buffet dinner was not good, not much variety of entrees. Salad bar was good though and we ate lots of salads!