This was our first (3 previous cruises) with Norwegian. Last year we tried Royal Caribbean and previous to that it was 2 shorter cruises with Disney. I'm afraid I may be a Disney snob, since I find myself constantly comparing the experiences.
Embarkation in Miami was smooth if a bit crowded (but there will be 4k customers!) and we waited about an hour for our group to be called. You enter and are immediately walking through the smoke scented casino. Everything is pretty, but that is such a detraction! We immediately went to the pool deck to claim chairs. Since this was not our first experience, we knew they would go fast. Sampled the lunch buffet which was great, but nothing stood out.
Dining...despite having the "dining package", it is nothing more that $50/for the first 2 in your cabin. Its basically a $100 credit to your tab. The majority of specialty restaurants are a la carte, so $50 would probably go for 1.5 meals. I would much prefer a standard upcharge where you were not nickeled and dimes to bits. Only one restaurant, Tepanyaki, was like this with a fixed charge which covered your entire experience. The only specialty restaurant we tried was the Food Republic, which is an Asian fusion place with some small plates. It seemed reasonably priced and the food was great. Service was polished as well. We ate the balance of our meals in the complimentary restaurants, which serve the exact same meals each night, so if you have a favorite, you are not missing anything by eating in the same place each night. O"Sheehans pub has a different menu, more of what you would expect from a pub. Service was generally good, but I kind of like getting to know the wait staff, and very few interacted more than taking your orders. The final night we ate in Taste, and have no idea or explanation, but the service was excruciatingly slow. The restaurant seemed only about 1/2 full when we ate (about 8p?) but it took almost 2 hours to have our meal. Enough that my exhausted child wanted to go to the kids club, ate 2 bites of his burger which came with our apps, and one of us left to take him there. The remainder of our meal was well over an hour. We also went to the dinner show where the meal was woefully mediocre. The food was 2 of everything (3 diff apps in small tastes, 2 smaller portion main courses with sides, and 2 desserts), but food was cool and under seasoned. I guess this helps with the service and not having to take orders, but it was blah.(The show was excellent, however, especially if you are a child of the era). Disappointed that "Margaritaville" became a "upgraded meal" after we had booked our cruise. Did not seem well attended, maybe others were irritated that had changed as well.