Cruise Review of Norwegian Sky

Name: Mbandy Date Submitted: 03/20/2010
Age: 52 Cruise Line: NCL
Number of Cruises: 19 Cruise Ship: Norwegian Sky
Overall Rating: Date Sailed: 02/08/2010
Embarkation: Miami, FL Destination: Bahamas

Norwegian Sky:  The Review

My journey began after work on Super Bowl Sunday.  I took a red eye flight from Vegas to Ft Lauderdale.  Flying is so much less of a joy than it used to be.  People sometimes complain about cruise lines “nickel and diming” you to death but I think the airlines are much more guilty.  $25 to check a bag and a soda costs five times what I can buy one from the coke machine downstairs from my apartment.  Some airlines even charge for water now.  In some states including here in Nevada it is against the law to refuse free water to someone. I must say that my seat on the airplane was the most uncomfortable I have ever had.  The leg room on Spirit is non-existent. I’m only 5’ 10” and unless I sat bolt upright in my seat, my knees were touching the seat in front of me.  (My return flight on Delta was much nicer.  At least the soda and water were free.)  My flight arrived at FLL just before seven and Susan’s didn’t come in until 11 so I had a bit of a wait.  A nibble and Caramel Latte at Duncan Donuts would hold me over until lunch.  The airport was packed with Indianapolis Colts fans and New Orleans Saints fans who had obviously attended the Super Bowl in Miami the day before. More on that later.

When Susan arrived we collected our bags and called for our shuttle.  I had just discovered SAS transportation here on Cruise @ddicts a few weeks before.  I recommend them highly for anyone going to Miami from Ft Lauderdale. It is $15 per person each way, $10 less than the cruise busses. You make your reservation on line and they e-mail you a confirmation with a cell phone number to call your driver once you have collected your bags from baggage claim. Your driver will be waiting in a parking lot near the terminal and will pick you up within 5 - 10 minutes. On the return, pretty much the same. Call the number after clearing immigration and they will be right there. SAS will take you to the cruise ship in Miami or to a hotel if you are coming in a day early and return you to Ft. Lauderdale.

It is always a thrill to arrive at the Port of Miami (or any port for that matter).  Check in was a breeze.  We were on board in less than 15 minutes.  I found it interesting that the photo for our cruise card was taken at the check in counter and not by the machine at security.  That’s the first time I have seen that. 

As we boarded the ship my first impression was how nice it was. Norwegian Sky is the old Pride of Aloha and the décor is still that of Pride of Aloha.  I have heard some people complain about that but I enjoyed the Hawaiian theme of the ship. They asked that we not go to our cabins until 1:00 so we headed for the buffet.  The buffet has two areas; the Garden Café (indoors) and the Great Outdoors (outside).  Both serve the same food but the Garden Café is the only one with a carving station.  The first buffet was awesome and I was immediately impressed with NCL’s food.  The carving station had roast beef and it was fantastic as was all the food at the first buffet. It was a welcome treat after that overnight flight.

After lunch it was time to go to our cabin, 9301, an inside cabin all the way forward on deck 9 across from the Owner’s Suites.  It was pretty standard cruise cabin stuff.  The bed was kind of uncomfortable so after the first night we asked our cabin steward to put an extra mattress pad on and that solved the problem. The carpets in the halls have tropical fish décor.  We never had an issue figuring out forward or aft because the fish were “swimming” towards the bow so we knew just to follow the fish to our cabin.  If we were going aft we were “swimming upstream”.

The two main dining rooms were nicely appointed.  Again, typical cruise line stuff.  The dining room staff was friendly and efficient.  The food was standard bill of fare.  I was disappointed that there was never lobster or crème briolette in the dining room.  If you wanted that you had to go to Cagney’s Steak House for an extra $25 which isn’t bad but $10 more on top of that if you wanted Lobster which I thought was a little excessive.  We went to the Italian Specialty Restaurant one night and it was very good.  I spent just over $50 for the cover charge of $15 per person and a bottle of wine which lasted two evenings.  If you buy a bottle of wine you have the option of taking it back to your cabin or having them keep it for you so you can enjoy it a dinner the next day.  There is also a French restaurant with a $20 per person cover.  The Longboard Bar was a cool place to hang, just across from the arcade.  Freestyle is just not our cup of tea.  We enjoy interacting with the same table mates and wait staff on the entire cruise and we missed that.  It would not keep us off of Norwegian in the future but we just prefer traditional.  Formal night was pretty non-existent.  I only saw a few other couples and families who were dressed in formal wear.  We dressed in our finest anyway and it didn’t bother us one bit. 

The muster drill was interesting. No life jackets required. They demonstrated how to put one on but people in the back couldn’t see.

As usual we steered clear of the “art” auction and the casino.  Going through the casino reminds me of being home here in Vegas so I always stay away. 

We spend more time playing games.  We love the trivia contests the best.  Susan and I are full of useless knowledge and we win more than we lose.  This time we had extra trivia because we missed Great Stirrup Cay due to heavy seas.  I think we won 4 times.  We came home with lots of NCL swag that we won. I don’t think they had a name that tune.  We do well at that too.

The shows were outstanding.  The production numbers were slick and the dancers were very high energy.  The newlywed game was a hoot!  The older couple won.  I think they have probably done it before.  There was also Quest, something I have only seen on RCCL before and always a hoot!

In Freeport We went to the beach at Lucaya because we were afraid the water might be to cool for snorkeling and wanted to find out before we got to Nassau. It was cheap taxi ride there. Across the street from the beach they had a cool marketplace and the Count Bassie Pavilion is just outside of a bar that made some great rum punch. The pavilion had a musician playing Caribbean music. No charge to hang out in the pavilion. We enjoyed it that lot.  It was our first trip to Freeport.  We saw the Carnival Glory in her dry dock and saw Bahamas Celebration and Carnival Triumph which had sailed from New Orleans.  The passengers on Triumph had watched their Saints beat the Colts in the Super Bowl while on board.  They were still celebrating. 

Nassau is, well, Nassau.  We went to the straw market for a while which is always fun.  Then we went on a snorkel trip.  The boat ride through the harbor past all the mansions was cool.  So was the water, about 72 degrees.  It was a bit of a shock when we first jumped in but we got used to it and had a good time.  The Triumph was there too with us with the Super Bowl partiers.  WHO DAT?  Don’t know what it means but they were all saying it.

We did not spend the day at Great Stirrup Cay.  We were at the island and they were off loading supplies to take to the island on one of the tenders.  It was bobbing up and down like a cork and I knew instantly that we wouldn’t be tendering that day.  Instead they put out a new schedule of events for our sea day.  Lots of trivia and some pool games etc.  I’m guessing they already have the contingency schedule planned just in case.

Then, all too soon it was over.  Disembarking was a breeze.  Probably the quickest we have ever been off.   SAS picked us up promptly and we were at Ft. Lauderdale airport by 11.   Our flights were not until evening so we sat outside Chili’s and played Gin Rummy with the NCL playing cards we won at trivia. Then it was time to say good bye until our next trip.

All things considered, I would recommend the Norwegian Sky for a great time in the Bahamas.