We were looking for a temporary reprieve from a frigid prairie winter, and we found this cruise. 7 nights in the Caribbean sun, price was good - lets book it! Reserved a balcony cabin, deck 11 aft (not an aft balcony but close to the back) and started planning. Day before final payment, made a last price check - dropped by about $150.00. Less than 5 minutes with the online chat agent, we were repriced at the lower fare with all perks intact so winner winner!
Week later we get a confirmation from NCL and notice they have upgraded us from our BA (standard balcony) to an MA (club balcony) in what I would consider a better location, same deck but almost exactly midships - very pleasant surprise. If they are hoping we will book that category again, they may be right - more later!
Arrived at the new Miami terminal (very nice btw), testing and check in took no more than 30 minutes total! Boarded about 45 minutes later, went for a quick bite at The Local and wandered up to our cabin - bags were there already, everything was ready to go (including the complimentary bottle of sparkling wine which made quite acceptable mimosa's) - was not expecting that at all.
The main area of the cabin (bed and seating) is pretty much exactly as a standard balcony but the bathroom - wow, the shower is to die for! Rain head above plus 6 jets on the wall, and I (6 foot tall) could barely reach from end to end. Did not want to get out! Double sink was kind of pointless, I would rather have a bit of extra counterspace but, your mileage may vary. You could actually have 2 people in the bathroom at the same time even if there wasn't one in the shower.
Tons of storage - lots of hanging space, big drawers under the couch, lots of little nooks and cubbies to stash things in.
Bed was super comfy, lots of room under for suitcases too.
USB outlets on the bedside reading light, 3 (?) plugins (2 US, 1 Euro) so no problems with charging all our devices.
Getting off the ship is fine, reasonable walk to where you catch your excursions.
Returning from your excursion is another matter - where you are dropped off, you will have to run the gauntlet of the port vendors (no surprise), and I have never seen such an aggressive lot. Anywhere else I have been, a shake of the head or a polite "No" and you would be left alone but not here.
I don't know if it is the dearth of business the past 2 years but it was like walking through a vulture infested canyon, and there were some (not all, to be fair) that would not take no for an answer. I was half expecting to be dragged into one of those facial treatment places and never making it back to the ship.