Just got back from our cruise. As first timers, we had no expectations about what was good or bad so we went with the flow. Overall, we have no complaints. Service was excellent, people were attentive to our needs and the food and beverage quality was good. We heard other people complaining about silly things like chairs being too small, small rooms, etc, but my feeling was the it's a cruise, you're miles from nowhere so , really, what is there to complain about.
So, here's the Reader's Digest Review
Dining - we didn't eat in any specialty restaurants. Ate in Windows most nights, the Garden Room one night (same menu) Found food to be very good and the meals enjoyable once we found a group of ten that ate together every night. Waiters were great, especially Dean Walker, Nelson and Richard the maitre d. Most of the other meals we ate by the pool, in Raffles Buffet or room service. The Burgers in Blue Lagoon were way better than the grilled burgers in the Bier Garten. There is always food somewhere.
BEverages - We purchased the soda card, which worked out great for $34.04 each. Also, we are not big drinkers but do enjoy from time to time. NCL is diligent about confiscating liquor you are trying to bring on board. But, on the other hand, the liquor prices are very fair and there are lots of specials. If you drink beer, buy a bucket (buy five, get one free for $16.20). After that, wait for the domestic beer two for one specials and refill. You can take your drinks anywhere you want. Also, if you like mixed drinks or hi-balls, watch for the two for one specials. GAtoh from Indonesia is a great server and a very nice young man.
Entertainment- Really enjoyed Peter Sasso and Ross Bennett. Wes Epae and his impressions was great. The one time I saw the magician was good as well. As far as the show nights with the NCL singers and dancers, those shows were good but the balance between the singers and the background music wasn't good. Don't know if it was a sound problem or a singing problem. Still enjoyed the shows, though.
Shore Excursions - didn't take any NCL tours- went on our own with other people and saved piles of money. Negotiate with the cab drivers and don't give in. We got a two hour tour of Grenada for $10 each and a 3 1/2 tour of St. Lucia for $15 each.
Cleanliness - The ship was very clean and the room stewards were fabulous.
Cruise Directors Staff - They were a lot of fun, especially Ferdi (Superman), DJ O'Neill and cruise Director Adrian
Ports of call - found the stays in Barbados and Tortola too short (6 hours) Grenada still picking up the pieces from Hurricane Ivan. Shopping wan't very good in Barbados or Grenada, better in St. Lucia, Antigua and Tortola. Don't go anywhere in St. Lucia unless you want to spend the day driving narrow, windy and hilly roads that may make you sick. Very beautiful but you must decide if spending that much time in a van is worth it or just head straight to the beach.
Embarkations/debarkation - both went smoothly
Overall Impression - very good, nothing really to complain about, there are plans to "Americanize" this ship in the spring to eliminate some of the nagging issues from the transformation from the Superstar Leo. We talked to several passengers who were under the impression it was a brand new ship. I don't blame NCL for this, they should blame their travel agents.
Happy sailing - we're going to go again as soon as we can.