From the beginning when the cabin was booked in February 2009 NCL Internet customer service department has worked with me to make this surprise for my wife "NOT A SURPRISE TO ME". Meaning that I had not run into any difficulties in making the booking, making several changes to my reservation, adding and removing multiple packages to my reservation. Final payment was made and I expected the rest to be butter.
Embarkation was a breeze. Check-in had it's normal security issues, but it is life these days. Nothing out of the normal. Total time to board the ship was like 30 mins. EXCELLENT! Our cabin was ready by the time we had boarded the ship at 2:00pm. When wifey opened the cabin door and saw the birthday streamers and balloons and the birthday cake on the table, I knew the NCL had not let me down.
Our room was satisfactorily cleaned. I look for the most obvious and then check for the non-obvious. I was good with the functioning of the restroom/bathroom area and it's cleanliness.
I did see a little soot on the lounge chairs on the AFT balcony, but that is expected with AFT balconies each morning from the ship's smoke stacks. We experienced the same each morning also on the Pride of America in Hawaii. I would have thought it would have been wiped/hosed off upon making the ship ready for a new sail date, but no biggie. I dusted off both chairs/table with one of the beach towels. Problem fixed.
The ship is beautiful inside and out. Clean in the public areas and no non functioning restrooms located, not that I was looking for one that was broken, I just never encountered any.
The screens indicating what restaurants are available for reservations is some what confusing at first until you understand the bar graph. I was terribly disappointed that Cagney's was sold out by 5P.M. for the night. My understanding was that a large party of 80+ had taken all the reservations from 5P.M. through 10P.M. I feel that the cruise line should have made arrangements for a party of that size to have a private banquet room and not inconvenience the other passengers.
The food in the specialty restaurants if good. You pay for what you get. The food in the cafe is just that. Cafe food. OK to eat, but nothing to brag home about. We did not get a chance to eat in the main dinning rooms either night so I cannot comment on their food or service.
The pool areas are just that. If you do not want to get wet, do not go there. If you do not want to encounter cigarette smoking, do not sit down wind. It's an open public place.
The shows we attended were funny. Not your Richard Pryor or George Carlin level of funny, but entertainingly fun. The Adult game "Quest" was a real eye opener. You have to see it for yourself. It is down right funny. Nothing vulgar or profane, but keep in mind this is a game show for ADULTS not for children so do not bring them to the show.
The White Hot Party was more of a luke warm party at the the pool deck.
Disembarking was also a breeze. However, once off the ship the bottle neck began forming for passengers to go through customs. That is not NCL's issue. Getting us off and on the ship was absolutely wonderful.
Overall we had a very nice time for such a short two day event. No major issues surfaced with our room or food. I would like to take the time to say that the staff in Tangos / Tapas restaurant was very helpful when wifey was feeling a bit queasy due to the semi-rough seas we encountered leaving Miami. they made every effort to obtain a can of Ginger Ale for her to drink to calm her stomach. I'm old school Navy who has put foot prints on bulk heads (walls) while underway in North Atlantic seas in Mid winter several times, so season rough seas here in the U.S. just rock me to sleep.
AFT BA category is the way to go. These have a larger balcony than the port or starboard balconies. Not much time spent in the room in the first place, but the time you do spend is outside looking at where you just visited. Or just getting that panoramic view while underway. No noise from the outdoor cafe above nor vibrations or noise from the propulsion system.