This just shows how perceptions and tastes vary. I happen to like RCCL and Carnival very much, and if I never cruise with NCL again it won't bother me. As for nickel-and-diming....they all do it so it isn't exclusively an RCCL thing.
Use an agent for the booking. I am in the same boat (hardy har har) as Lisa in that we've used the same agent for over a decade - and she has always looked out for our best interests.