Just got back from my second cruise so now I have something to compare with the first one. My first cruise was on the Carnival Victory to the Southern Caribbean and the second cruise was on NCL Norwegian Spirit to Bermuda. Both were 7-day cruises. I enjoyed the experience on Carnival "the fun ship" better than NCL although both had their good and not as good points. Carnival was a younger fun crowd and the ship was much nicer. The NCL Spirit was badly in need of a makeover and it felt very outdated. The cruisers were much older and many had oxygen or wheel chairs. On Carnival they prided themselves in never saying no to any customer requests and took it as a challenge to always say yes. On NCL they said NO to all the requests we asked about. 1. I needed an iron and they said only between 9am-9pm but we were catching a ferry at 9 in Bermuda so that didn't work. After a day on shore we came back and ate dinner but it was after 9 again so again no iron. Then they said we had to be in our room to get the iron and in the room when they picked it up within a specified time frame. If I had known this on the days at sea it wouldn't have been a problem. 2. There was only one electrical outlet and that said not for hair dryers. The other outlets were European and the desk had no converters because they were all checked out. Again I wish we had known to ask for an extension cord converter as soon as we boarded. We ended up buying one in Bermuda to use for my camera battery, cell phone, curlers, Ipod and flat iron and it made life easier! 3. I asked for some heavy cream (we were making Irish Coffees in our room). They said we have no heavy cream. That was untrue because many deserts had whipped cream on them but they said they could not give us any. 4. There was no laundry facility on NCL another nice addition Carnival had. 5. Asked for a fridge and was told no. The person I booked the cruise with at NCL said we would have a fridge in the room but no robes. Turns out we had robes and no fridge. 6. One thing I liked about NCL was there was no set time for dinner. On Carnival we had an 8PM set time but we were at a table of 10 people who were really fun and comparing our days off the ship was so enjoyable. We did not have to dress up on NCL but it was fun to do that on Carnival. The shows at night were better on NCL. Overall I liked Carnival best. NCL constantly had their hand out trying to nickel and dime you to pad the bill. Some of that happened on Carnival as well but not to the same extent.
Tip: We saved money on drinks and brought "cruise rum runners" filled with red wine and Jameson's Irish whiskey and no one inspected our luggage (we did put locks on them). We re-filled them while in port and they passed the x-ray machine no problem. We also bought many drinks on board but it did help save some $. On Carnival we were able to buy tax and duty free liquor before we boarded the ship maybe because it was in Puerto Rico? Since we had a fridge in the room we were able to chill what we bought and had mimosas in the morning with OJ we ordered with room service. I also liked having some days at sea without being in a port everyday like we did with our Southern Caribbean cruise. You need some time to relax and enjoy the ship but I hated to miss going off the ship if we were in a new port. NCL took 2 days to get to Bermuda and 3 days to get back home so we had lots of relaxing time. The weather was beautiful every day so we enjoyed all the ship had to offer.
One other tip for Bermuda: We docked at Kings Wharf and the things you could do there could be done in half a day everything else you had to take taxis, busses, or ferries. We got a three-day pass and could use the busses and ferries all we wanted. There was more to do and explore in Hamilton and St George so we spent most of our time there. Bus drivers were fantastic and helpful and the transportation was easy to use. The roads are narrow and many people were or felt car sick on the busses with the fast speed and twisty turns in the road. We stopped at Grotto Bay resort and stumbled on some caves that were beautiful. They had a walkway down into them and I was amazed at how beautiful they were. No one was in them and it was a short walk through each one but well worth it! We tried to get a drink there but the bartender totally ignored us so we walked up the road to the Swizzle Inn and had a drink there. That was a fun restaurant/bar. Another favorite was The Hog & Penny in Hamilton the prices were reasonable and the food was excellent. We went to the White Horse tavern in St George twice. The first time was a great experience our waiter was helpful efficient and the food was great. We enjoyed it so much we went back again this time we didn't have a good experience our waitress was terrible, we waited forever for food that was cold and so-so at best. I am glad I had a good experience the first time. We arrived on a Sunday and I was surprised that almost everything was closed Hamilton was a ghost town so we went back to Kings Wharf and some shops were open there. By ferry St George was about 45 minutes away from Kings Wharf. The ferries ran hourly but on Sunday the schedule was limited, to take a bus would have been 2 hours each way. Unfortunately we missed the first ferry Sunday because we didn't know the schedule and spent too much time trying to figure it out instead of just going to the ferry and asking so we missed the first one. The ferries fill quickly and once full they left even if it was before the scheduled time of departure. We found we should be at the ferry at good 20-30 minutes ahead if we wanted to be sure to make it back. All in all I enjoyed both cruises but Carnival is the line I'd choose next time I go.