I have been on RCCL, Celebrity, and Carnival. We are thinking about trying NCL next, and werte wondering how it stacks up to the competition. RCCL is still definitely my favorite, with Celebrity a close second. While I am convinced there is no such thing as a bad cruise, Carnival was not my favorite...By far.
Our first cruise was on the NCL Sky. It was awesome! We loved it so much, we booked another while onboard. When we got home, we picked up a bunch of brochures from the Travel Agent and when I saw the pictures of the Golden Princess, I just had to try it out! We enjoyed both cruiselines, but Princess gets the edge due to the freshwater pools and pool/spa hours (24/7). We wouldn't hesitate to cruise NCL again and are checking them out for next year (Hawaii hopefully). We also would like to try one of the Voyager class ships. You have a good attitude and would probably enjoy just about any cruise. I say go for it!!!!
Whatever you choose, I hope you have an awesome time!
I have had my eye on the Golden Princess as well, I am sure we will do that at some point. The Explorer of the Seas was excellent, since you are thinking about a Voyager class, although I tend to be partial to the smaller ships. It seems silly, but they seem much less crowded! Have fun!!
We are going on NCL (the Star) next week, and will be the first time we have not done Carnival or their partner lines (Costa/Windstar, etc.)of which we have always had a fabulous time with great service, clean cabins, and good food. Fortunately, we had nothing of what you experienced. That is really a shame. Will be interesting to find out the differences, on this competitor. Have never been on Princess either, but always read wonderful reviews from them, and would like to try them soon also. Happy cruising!
All cruises are what you make of them. I am an NCL loyalist but have cruised on most of the mega lines. We love free style dining and think NCL has the most relaxed attitude and friendliest crew. Some of the other lines have larger cabins if this is a concern to you. As for quality of food in the main dining rooms and buffets they are all about the same. One night one will be better, the next you can compare and wish you were on the other line. Of course the alternative dining on NCL is above reproach. The service and food is the about the best you will find anywhere, certainly on any cruise ship. Whatever you decide go with an open mind and when you do your comparing do it for fun, not to rate one over the other as each line is different. I will say one thing, as a retired TA God forbid if you choose Princess and have any problems. Their customer service is the very worst. All lines have some problems with customer service, certainly NCL does, but dealing with Princess was so bad I have never cruised on the line and probably never will. Hope this helps a little.