We cruised with 2 kids ages 8 and 12. We are repeat cruisers but kids have only cruised Disney! We were a little nervous about how NCL would be received by the kids and the negative reviews scared us! I'll start with the positive:
1. Food was outstanding-in the fee restaurants. We travel extensively and have eaten in well known restaurants all over- Nobu, Blackberry Farm, ABC Kitchen. The food in Los Lobos, Food Republic and La Cucina was comparable if not better than a great land restaurant. We also really enjoyed teppanyaki which was like Benihana. The food in the free restaurants and buffet was not as good but still better than other cruise lines.
2. The kids club was better than Disney-really! We were nervous that kids would not like NCL but they LOVED the kids club and went every nite after dinner! The club has these extensively themed evenings-Mission Impossible, Glow nite, Circus etc. and the counselors were awesome. caring interactive and fun.
3. Jersey Boys was great! Comedy show was fun!
4. Laser tag was a blast....go carts were fun...but laser tag was better!
5. Water slide big one was a blast
6. Though paid they had a alaska themed painting class we enjoyed, and also every sea day had 2 family style activities and game shows.
7. We also had no trouble boarding and disembarking on port days.
All of the above led to one fantastic week!
Now for the bad...just because we have cruised before NCL did not have customer service or operations dow like disney does.
1. Immediately upon getting on I had to wait in like for 1.5 hour to make laser tag and go kart reservations. It was miserable. There has to be a better way. We made all our restaurant and show reservations in advance but if you didnt you had to wait.
2. None of the shows were kid friendly. Havana was PG-13 or worse as was jersey boys. Language, sex etc. Plus the story was not something kids would like. Havana was also just not good. Dancing was okay.
3. The main areas of the ship are just too crowded. Elevators, atrium, garden cafe. We walked instead of getting an elevator most days.
4. There is an additional fee associated with most things. We did not mind this because we researched and this cruise was more inexpensive than Disney so we expected to pay for extra things-but I know some ppl found this annoying.
5. Boarding the day of sailing was confusing and hectic. As was disembarking whe the cruise was over. Again too many people.
6. The mini suite cabin is the same size as a regular cabin on Disney. The rooms are generally smaller and did not have any drawers!
I hope this helps!
View beautiful. Cabin is on the small side, no drawers!