I should preface this review by advising that this was my first cruise experience and any observations made were based on my own romantic notions of what life on board a cruise ship would be like and also on what I had been told by other seasoned cruise enthusiasts.
My first experience at check in was very positive, with the whole process taking less then 20 minutes (a lot quicker than booardng an airplane). Once on board, we proceeded to our stateroom (in our case a Balacony cabin on Deck 8). The cabin was actually larger then I imagined and the storage space, while not tremendous, was adequate to store mostly everything for the 7-day voyage (tip: place your empty suitcases under the bed for more room). The cabin attendant was nowhere to be found, which I thought was odd, since mostly everything I read and heard suggested that these staff members were usually the most eager to please you and help you, especially when first settling in.
The food on board was OK, the main diningroom was very attractive and overall the service was good. As far as the two main diningrooms are concerned (the Four Seasons and the Terrace), there was a huge disparity in service, with the Terrace by far offering the type of service you would come to expect. There are three other dining options on board: Le Bistro (extra charge), La Trattoria (could not get in), and if you choose to be more casual, you can eat in the Sports bar, which offers three daily buffet meals. This cruise line offers "Free Style Dining," which allows you to eat whenever you choose. This was very nice and much to my suprise worked very well considering the ship was filled to capacity during our sailing. The only wait we encountered to be seated for dinner was for approximately ten minutes during one of the two full days at sea.
The on board activities during the day consisted of a daily barbecue buffet at the main pool, music and occasional guest participation contests, such as the sexiest legs. There were also in-door activities, such as bingo and art auctions.
The shore excursions (purchased through NCL) that we participated in were well organized, and the tour guides well informed. The nightly entertainment was pretty good also, a troupe performed 3 nights with a commedian on two nights and a juggler comedian on a third.
The ship, while not the newest or largest among the world's fleet, did meet my imagined perception of what an old time sailing ship must have been like. The service while not spectacular met my basic needs, although those people seeking the pampered lifestyle would not be happy. The shore excursions were enjoyable and informative, and a good value. The ship's itinerary, which included stops at Grand Caymsn, Roatan, Belize and Cozumel, was very good. I thought that this ship and cruise was very good for a first time cruiser and would recommend this ship to this type person.