I wanted to get away sometime this spring/summer so I had planned on either Amtrak or a cruise. My sister had always said she was scared to go on a ship and so I decided to take her on a cruise. We started at the Marriott Biscayne Bay hotel. It was ok. View from 30th floor was pretty cool, but it rained, no, downpoured most of the time we were there. Monday came and we grabbed a cab to the port.
Embarkation was a snap. But, I need to go backwards a bit first and explain why. We originally booked room 9260, a balcony. However, a very nice lady fom NCL called and offered an upgrade because I am a Lattitudes member. The upgrade was to the owners suite. Ha, I thought. No way i can afford that room. I listened to all the perks and amenities and then she said, and all that for only 250.00 each, a total of 500.00 for the upgrade. I started to say, no, can't afford th... Wait, how much?
So, we were in the Pegasus Suite, Room 8201, forward, right under the bridge. Now back to embarkation... We were escorted into a smaller anteroom in the hall to be met be a rep at a desk. The room was for VIPs and owners suite members. There was coffee, snacks, juice, and it was quiet. We waited there after getting processed and then they escorted us to the ship, past everyone waiting in the embarkation waiting room and right up to where we were greeted by our butler. Yes, my own butler. Bagus, from Bali, was our best friend the whole trip. Anything we wanted, Bagus would get. Very nice man and we never really used his services. The room, when we got there, blew us away.
The room starts with a small 2 piece toilet room n your right. On the left, closets. A little down the hall is the adjoining room door, for larger groups and then a bar area with a sink and fridge. Anything in the fridge was included, and restocked when used. Then the room opens up into a dining/living area, with a wall of windows to the balcony. There is a Murphy bed in the wall, and I slept on that. Not bad at all. Out on the balcony is a hot tub, two lounge chaises, and a table and chairs. It was huge. Back inside, looking into from the balcony, there is a counter area in front of sliding, slat doors. This separates the bedroom from the living area. There is a large Lg tv, a stereo for the rooms audio speakers, a set of binoculars, and a Lavazza espresso coffee maker.
In the bedroom was a queen bed that can split into 2 twins, a very large walkin closet, a huge bathroom with a shower and a separate bathtub. Warm robes were also in there. The bedroom had its own little flat screen tv and also a laptop, a pc, which we never touched. All in all, this room was amazing and I had no issues staying in it. In fact I slept on the balcony one night. It was great!
The food was very good to mundane. The Buffett was just boring. I was on the Jewel and this selection and quality does not compare. And they are in the same cruise line. Shame. But it was still good food. We ate at Cagneys for breakfast a couple of times. That was a perk included in room. Other room categories could not eat there so it was always very quiet and service very good.
One very good meal was NCLs new Chefs Table meal. For a price, 12 lucky guests sit at a chefs table and eat a magnificent 9 course meal paired with wines by the master sommelier. It took over 3 hours and OMG, it was worth every penny. Since it was only 2 months old, there were some growing pains in what might be defined as ' pairing' issues. Some of our table felt there were not enough wines being paired, but I think they did not realize this meal was about the food, not the wine. It was still awesome.
The ship itself is pretty nice. A smaller ship, it still packs some stuff in to keep you occupied. The pool area was nice and really never seemed full. Always lounges available, chairs and tables were not that hard to find, overall, sitting somewhere was fairly easy to do. I only ate at Cagneys for breakfast and 1 dinner. I had buffet the rest of the time, or room service. Oh, they have 24 hour pizza now. Pretty good too. Nice fresh taste in cheese and sauce.
The ports were ho-hum. We stopped at Freeport, Great Stirrup Cay, the private island, and Nassau. Won't go into the ports, this is about the ship. One thing though, the room perks included front of the line access. When it was time to go ashore on the tenders, we were escorted by our very own concierge to the tender line and we swiped through a separate security point and were on the tender immediately.
Overall, I give this ship a solid 4 out of 5. No ship/trip is perfect. Some come close, but none are perfect. I have done the Jewel to the western Caribbean, and Carnival Glory to Canada. I still compare my cruises against the Jewel. I think that ship, it's very dedicated crew and the services available on that ship make it my benchmark. The Sky gets pretty close, but the food needed to be upgraded and more variety put out. I never had anyone not say good morning/evening, whatever. Ever crew we met smiled and greeted us. And that wasn't because we had the special colored cards, these folks never saw our cards. We were just other passengers and still we felt very welcomed. I would easily go on this trip again. Just to have the owners suite experience again.
Bottom line, if NCL calls withan upgrade, listen carefully, it may be the room of your dreams.