This was our first time on a "Big ship" so we reserved at first when we were considering this cruise but we pick the location not the ship when booking. With that said we read how big ships are like small cities making it difficult to get from one location to another which we were delighted to find was not at all the case. However, this ships seemed to take the design of a small ship, cut all the public locations in half to allow for more staterooms. This resulted in no place for people aboard to get together to play cards, game shows in separate areas other than the atrium, or informal groups to get together. The theater is only one level making it impossible for the entire ship to enjoy the shows, even with two shows. The smaller ships have two levels in the theater allowing more people seating. Many people ended up standing in the rear of the theater or sitting on the stairs in order to watch the shows which should be a safety concern.
The cruise was very relaxing with ample bars and food locations to allow everyone to eat and drink throughout the day. Once again they cut the size of the main dining rooms making it a long wait to get a table for dinner. Though when you did get a table the serve and food was delicious; however, the speed was slow from time to time. The specialty restaurants were the same as all the other ships, generally good food but not any better than the free dining locations.
This sailing ran into some rough waters making it impossible to dock in the the Azores which so many people aboard just could not understand, the captain nor NCL can control mother nature which was also the situation in Brest, France when the tide went out requiring the gangway to be moved to deck 7 and everyone had to wait for the tide to come in for another gangway to be opened. However, many people were afraid to simply walk up the gangway because it was a little steep causing many people having to wait about an hour to get on board. Once again not NCL or the captain's fault but mother nature. When leaving Brest we developed a problem with the engine making us not arrive into Southampton until noon (once again something out of the captain's or NCL's control, things break without warning) but since the UK immigration could not board in the Azores we had to be processed that day taking about two hours to complete the process, at least for us. Now this was not the same for some people who complained and threatened and the ship let them go first so they could enjoy their day in the UK while the rest of us had to wait until our designated time. However, once again the delays and the processing speed was not because of the captain or NCL as so many people failed to understand. However, I still do not know whether NCL was provided incorrect information or they simply wanted to make people happy when they insisted all shore excursions would see all the sights. This was not the case with all excursions cut in time and the majority of sites were closed by the time we finally arrived. We did the Stonehedge and Salisbury tour and have to do them again just to see the sights and the ship only gave us half of the cost back for the inconvenience. This was really the only big issue we had for the entire 16-day cruise.
The cabin is smaller than many of the balcony cabins on the smaller ships but had surprisingly enough room to store all of our clothes and extras. The balcony is very small making it difficult for two people to sit outside and relax.