But the best is heard in the Stardust Lounge, the showroom, where nightly shows are staged. Broadway's "Pirates of Penzance" wowed guests with its tuneful music and wonderful costuming. On another night, the "Sealegs" musical revue scored with its inventive choreography.
Can a ship this size survive in a cruise world dominated by larger vessels?
Yes, says Adam Aron, NCL's president and chief executive officer. "This ship has sold very well. We're going to have no difficulty filling it."
Though larger ships obviously have more space, more facilities and more economies of size, one advantage Mr. Aron sees in the Leeward's size is that it becomes more attractive to charter. Since its Oct. 20 debut, the ship, which has several meeting rooms, has already had one charter sailing (on which former President Bush was a guest).
NCL recently upgraded its beach facilities at Great Stirrup Cay, installing several hundred beach umbrellas and chaises and making improvements to recreational facilities. Passengers can stay ashore as little or as long as they want; drinks and lunch are available there.
Tip: Buy your drinks ashore at the bar, not from the strolling waiters. The latter have premixed drinks in souvenir plastic cups for which you pay $2 extra; chances are you won't want the souvenir.
But that's a quibble. Overall, the Leeward scores good marks. Indeed, this may be one of the few occasions when downsizing is a good thing.
If you go
Cruises: The Leeward makes three- and four-day cruises. The weekend three-day trips leave on Fridays and have alternating itineraries -- one week the ship calls at Key West and Great Stirrup Cay, NCL's private island in the Bahamas; the next week at Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay. Four-day cruises call at Key West, Cancun and Cozumel in winter, at Cozumel and Key West in summer.
Fares:Not including airfare to Florida, the cruise costs $408- $1,268 for three-day trips; $538-$1,528 for four-day cruises.