Overall, our trip was very nice. The embarkation was very long. We waited in line outside and again inside. We had to show our identification 5 times before we got on the ship. Perhaps this was due to the September 11th tragedy. However, it really slowed things down. We booked a balcony room on the back of the ship. The room had a nice view, with privacy walls dividing the balconies. However, the room was quite small for the three of us. The bed took up more than half of the room and our son's pull out couch left little room to walk, when opened.The food was wonderful! We were a little skeptical of the freestyle system and the fact that they only advertised one midnight buffet. However, it worked out great. There was great food available from 6am to 1am buffet style. The main restaurants were fantastic. Therefore, we never ate in one of the specialty restaurants. The only down side was that it was crowded between 6:30 and 8:00 and we had to wait. Also, they were a little inconsistent with the dress code. My husband was denied entry into the dining room at lunch because he was wearing a tank top. However, one woman, wearing her bikini with a mess wrap skirt, was admitted. The "resort casual" dress code is not always the most comfortable in the evening either. Many people, especially Floridians like us, prefer to change back into shorts after leaving the dining room. Shorts and jeans are a no-no after dark.The entertainment was mediocre. The comic and magician were great, but the other shows were bland. Also, plan to get there 30 minutes prior to the show for decent seats.There were kids' programs available, however, they were best for the very young and the teenagers. The kids between ages nine and 12 were stuck without a group to identify with. The activities were either too babyish or too mature.The whole staff was friendly and very accommodating. It was convenient not to have to tip the people individually. However, some may have deserved more and some may have deserved less. The ship does not advertise that you may give less than the recommended tips, instead they spend a great deal of time, during the disembarkation meeting, talking about how important it is to give the ship all excellent ratings and additional tips for those who deserve it.One smart thing to do for the kids - buy a coke cup. It is a sport's cup with a plastic lid and straw. The cost was about $16. However, they refill it as often as you like, for the whole cruise. This really saves money in the long run.One negative thing, was the cost of Bingo. I was appalled at the expense. The cheapest a player could play was $18 for four games. At times, it would be as much as $59 for four games if you wanted to play on the power Bingo video machines. Sometimes, they played twice in one day and they always began the session by selling krack-it pull tab games for $5 each or 5 for $20. You generally win $1 on these games.The ports were nice. However, my family had been to all of these locations before, so we did not take part in any of the tours this time around.Overall, the trip was very nice. The ship was beautiful and always clean. The staff was friendly and there was plenty to do. We have been on several cruises and NCL definitely rates among the top. Enjoy!
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