After sailing on Carnival twice, Holland America once, this was our first time on NCL and we were not disappointed.
Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived at the pier at 11:30 AM via an off site shuttle service (United Parking - near MIA)...it was half the price of parking at the Port of Miami and stress free. The port parking area is under construction and is crazy on cruise days. NCL seemed very organized in their systems and we were on board by 12:30.
Dining.....Probably our only disappointment with this cruise. In the past, we have always been impressed with the main dining areas. We ate at Tsar's Palace, which certainly had a great feel for a formal dining room, however since it was "freestyle", there was never a themed evening in the dining room. No waiter performances, no piano playing, no Captain's dinner. We like those features, so not having them was a disappointment. Also, the meals were just OK, nothing spectacular. Our theory was that the "cover charge" places had to be worth the price, so maybe that is why the "free" areas like Tsar's Palace and Azura were just OK. I read some other reviews about long wait times...but we did not experience this at all and it was a full cruise for Christmas. NCL does a nice job with the TV screens letting you know how crowded each location is.
Since there is no pier at GC, you must take a "tender" onto shore. NCL had pretty good size boats take you to shore. Other lines use their life boats. I was very impressed with how fast this process worked. When you get off the ship, there will be a ton of people offering you a taxi ride to the beaches. $5.00 is the going rate to get you to the beach. We went to the Royal Palms resort. You can get a beach chair for the day for only $5.00. Very nice place.....you could eat/drink there too if you wanted. For us, rain came so it was a quick visit.
Again, if you are thinking about doing an "All-day" Beach Pass, get it off the ship. We ended up going to the Wyndam Resort...it was awesome! The locals are very nice in Cozumel. Prepare for a million offers to take you to the beach, snorkeling, or into their shops. Great bargains to be had.