We just completed a Monday-Friday Bahamas Cruise on the Norwegian Sky. It was great- especially for your first experience. From what we were told, the ship was smaller than many but it was plenty big enough for us! The service was OUTSTANDING!! AMAZING!! Every time you turned around, there was someone there to help you find your way around, answer questions and make sure every need and want was fulfilled! We found out that we had nearly a 1:1 ratio of staff to guest! Wow! The ship was older but impeccably clean and nonetheless stylish. The days were well organized and we didn't run out of things to do. I also appreciated that if you just wanted to 'chill', quiet places were always available. I would rate the food in the more formal, 'complimentary' dining rooms as excellent. The food offered in the buffets was average to good. The Garden Cafe on deck 11, which was open most of the time, had food which was very good!
If you like soda pop, be sure to get the soda stamp on your 'room key card' that they issue to you upon arrival. It costs $6.25 per day. You get a souvenir cup and pop is unlimited. The only downer is that if you are not a pop drinker, the only liquid refreshments they offer is iced tea, water, hot tea and coffee. ['Juice' in the morning, too.] Alcohol is everywhere and very expensive. [$5 a beer, $6-10 for a glass of wine or mixed drink.] There are amazing mixed drinks available, a great wine list, and many beer options. Getting on the ship [called embarkation] was well organized as was disembarkation. If you have an early flight out, be sure to take all your luggage with you, [Pack the night before.], settle up your bill on Deck 5 [Guest Services] the night before,and request a 7 am wake up call & get in line by 7:30 am on Deck 6. A brief immigration form needs to be filled out there as you go through customs before disembarking. Miami Airport is only 8 miles from Port of Miami. Now, on to Shore Excursions: Plan ahead. Do your research. The Cruise Line offers several, but there's other options out there. I would recommend using a 'company' that has a professional and trustworthy on-line presence. Best On Bahamas was pretty good. Stuarts Cove Water Sports is reputable. Paradise Cove at deadmansreef.com was AMAZING! Go see Barry & Yvonne- they're the best! They offer snorkeling [fairly good], kayaking and more. It's located on the west side of Grand Bahama Island- away from the crowds. There's volleyball, a great sandy beach, palm trees, a nice deck, small bar & grill [very reasonably priced] and small gift shop. They offer complimentary pick up and drop off to the cruise ship! One of our best parts of the Bahamas experience. One word of caution: The ride to their place is depressing. The 2004 hurricane devastated the island and it appears very impoverished. Althos Island snorkeling was AMAZING!! [Offered by 'Total Package' excursions.] Rose Island beach time was included on this tour, too. Pretty nice. Nassau is busy and not very appealing to me. Evidently, Cable Beach is the place to go. And of course, Atlantis on Paradise Island may be a good choice for you. The beaches are amazing there. Many ways to get there from the cruise ship port in Nassau. [Water or street taxi or by way of shore excursion.] I would definitely recommend Norwegien Cruise line!!!