EEEEWWW is an excellent description. I have never been on NCL. But with this freestyle thing, now I know for sure I never will! We each have a right to our personal tastes. When I cruise, I want a CRUISE, not a theme park. Not the Epcot choose-your-theme-for-dinner deal. (We all love Epcot's food. But we all know the expense too, and trouble getting a table, if you go for a "real" restaurant there). I have three little ones and theme parks are a blast!!! I have been to Disney more often than I can count, and I was lucky enough to stay in one of their resorts once, and loved every minute of it. But hey, how often do I get the CHANCE to dress up and have a formally seated meal? Not have to worry about how crowded a restaurant will be, how long we will have to wait and not have to calculate the cost in my head everytime I order something???
I had a booking on the Norway Dec. 9, but I have cancelled. Besides the frightening reviews . . . though it is not technically "freestyle" yet, I do not like the feeling NCL gives me with this "innovation' of theirs. OK if you do like it, I am glad there is a cruise for everybody, that is as it should be! Those of us who like the opportunity to dress and dine formally twice in a week, will appreciate being with others who are dressed-up too; it is part of the formal "experience" for me. To me that IS relaxing. I spend most of my life with my kids, eating on the run ("freestyle?") wearing t-shirts and jean shorts. A cruise to me should get-away-from-it-all . . .to a higher level perhaps??? Sorry, just feel like the casual trend has gone too far here . . .what is touted as "relaxed" seems anything but to me, personally. It just feels tacky. Sorry, just the feeling I get.
I am 33, I have a pretty good idea about what I like, and I don't mind "knocking it before I try it." I was really looking forward to the live music and varied nightlife on the Norway, but I have decided on a discount fare with a consistent, traditional, (even if too quiet!), cruiseline, where most people appreciate a couple of formal nights, and the risk of a "trip from hell" is pretty negligible. I am neither wealthy nor retired, so I can afford neither the time nor the money to risk an NCL cruise!! (or non-cruise, in the case of the overbookings! AAACCCKK!).
On a final note, two different agents told me they will not book NCL cruises anymore because of "problems." 'Nuff said IMHO.