Nita's comments on Thanksgiving week are exactly why I asked which week you're planning on traveling. CBA - I was on the same trip (returning this past Saturday, November 24), and aside from the sell-out crowd, with too many children booked, it was a great time for my husband, daughter, and me. We did have trouble getting into the surcharge restaurants, but we LOVED the Versailles, Aqua, and Endless Summer (all without surcharge), never went to the buffet (not our kind of thing), and also enjoyed Cagney's, with its surcharge & good beef.
Only two real complaints about the trip: the children who were allowed to run wild (sounds like the boy in your party was one of them), and the extra charge for fitness/yoga classes - I think these should be included in the cruise. To avoid the first problem, I would suggest that those who don't have to travel during school holidays avoid that time!!! Travel when the rest of us are at home. We spent approximately $3,000 total for the three of us on an 8-day trip; although we don't view this as a 'cheap' vacation, we have never done it for less money anywhere else...that's what it costs to travel. We also had room service a couple of times, when we were too tired for a restaurant meal - the menu is very limited, but it was fine.
We did not purchase shore excursions through NCL because of their expense. Instead, we booked our zip line canopy tour through shoretrips.com. We had cocktails every evening, my husband had wine with dinner, I had a massage in the spa (which I loved - ask for GRACE!), bought souvenirs in the ports (and took taxis), and we bought little things we needed like Advil, etc. in the Galleria shop - I thought their prices were very reasonable for being aboard ship. Several of our photos turned out well, so we spent about $130 on them, and received a leather folio & full-color, 8" x 10" photo of the ship (for buying three 8 x 10s.)
I realize that theatre is a matter of taste, however I must respectfully disagree with CBA's descripton of the shows. We all loved the Andrew Loyd Webber romantic songs show as well as Band on the Run. The young people who sing & dance in the Jean Ann Ryan Company are very talented, and I missed their voices in the Cirque Pacific show (since they just danced; the acrobats & jugglers from China were also featured.) I have a theatre background, and have been to many Broadway shows in New York (inlcuding as far back as The King and I revival with Yul Brenner and Annie with Sarah Jessica Parker). We now live in the LA area, and go to touring shows. The shows on NCL are very professional, very well done, and I think they rival professional theatre anywhere.
As a side note, my daughter decided that one of the beautiful young singers in the Jean Ann Ryan Company was her idol. My husband asked for a meeting, and the whole cast was kind enough to stay on stage to pose for a group photo with our daughter, and for individual photos with the young singer - thanks so much to the cast & April Kingman. April crocheted a hat for my daughter, which she left at reception as a good-bye gift. This was one of the highlights of the trip for our family. We found this sort of kindness in many of the crew members, and were very impressed with them.
Some notes to make your trip more enjoyable:
Get little bags of popcorn in the Red Lion to enjoy with your cocktail while you wait for the evening shows to begin.
We enjoyed the music of Jana in Gatsby's, in the evenings, very much.
Walk the promenade deck - Deck 7 - four times to log in 1.4 miles.
Attend Kathryn's shopping talks - sit in the front row to receive freebies. Find out from Kathryn where you can get your free charm bracelet in Puerto Vallarta, and your free charm in Cabo San Lucas (and additional free charms on future cruises).
Go to Cruise Director Ricky's line dancing class - he is a good teacher & the dancing is great.
Attend the Cha Cha lessons - they're given by two of the Jean Ann Ryan Company's cast members (they are ballroom dancers, and quite talented).
I'd be happy to address specific questions about this trip, if you have any.