This was my first cruise with NCL and my first review here. We went on the 9/3 sailing on the Sky, which was a 4 night cruise to the Bahamas and stayed in suite #9275 (aft suite).
Day 1 - 9/3
We arrived at the port around 11:30am. Going through security was a piece of cake and once we were through, I saw a person outside of the VIP lounge who asked us if we had a suite. When I told her that we did, she asked us for our suite number and then escorted us inside the lounge. This was the easiest check-in! They already had our key cards waiting for us and just needed our passports and credit card information. Once done, we were personally escorted on board to meet our concierge and then to Cagney's for lunch. While eating, our concierge told us that our room was ready whenever we were.
This was our first suite, so I was looking forward to seeing the room. The living room/dining room was separated from the bedroom and had a good layout. There was also a DVD player attached to a surround system and a nice coffee maker. We made coffee and iced tea several times a day throughout the cruise. Our balcony was huge and had great views.
For dinner, we went to Cagney's and had dinner with another couple that I met on cruise critic. We ended up getting along very well and had dinner together for all but one of the nights. I thought that Cagney's was very good.
Day 2 - 9/4
Grand Bahama Island - we did the Lucayan National Park Kayak Experience. We've done several cruises before but this was our most favorite excursion we've ever done. We spent around 90 minutes kayaking, 90 minutes at a private beach where they served lunch, and then had a guided tour of the local ecosystems and caves.
When we got back to the ship, we were still hungry and ordered a pizza. Unfortunately, we had reservations at Le Bistro that we couldn't cancel (they require 24 hour notice) so we moved the reservation to 9:30pm. At 7pm, we were invited to a reception with the Captain and had our picture taken with him and a couple of other officers.
After the reception, we still were not hungry so we walked around the jogging track trying increase our appetite. However, it was very humid outside so we just decided to go and eat dinner slowly. Le Bistro was good, but as it was a French restaurant, I kept comparing it to Murano (Celebrity). Where Murano's food is excellent, I felt that Le Bistro was good/very good.
Day 3 - 9/5
Nassau - our least favorite port. We went to Nassau nearly 10 years ago, didn't like it then and can say the same this time around, too. I read many negative reviews of Atlantis so we decided to skip an excursion and opted to run to/from a nearby fort. We spent the majority of our time on ship and borrowed a DVD to watch in our room. For dinner, we met our new friends at Il Adagio. I wasn't expecting much and was pleasantly surprised by the food. However, service in this restaurant wasn't as good as the other specialty restaurants. Our waiter was not very friendly and I think he had trouble understanding English as he easily got confused.
Day 4 - 9/6
Great Stirrup Cay - I was very surprised in how much I liked this island. The last private island we went to was Half Moon Cay (Holland America) and I hated that island. We did the stingray adventure along with the all day snorkeling. I was a bit apprehensive approaching the stingrays but the guides were extremely patient and in no time, I was having my picture photographed while holding one. The stingrays were very affectionate. After our time with the stingrays, we got our snorkeling gear and followed the sunken treasure trail. Unfortunately, the jelly fish were out in full force and I retreated back to the beach where I decided to have lunch. They had a pretty decent variety of food and everything was delicious.
For dinner, we went to Crossings.
Day 5 - 9/7
We decided to meet our concierge and walk off the ship with our luggage. Prior to leaving, we had one last breakfast at Cagney's and said our goodbyes.
Overall - For years, I've been warned to stay away from NCL. I was told that I was not going to like their food and the service is horrible. However, I found the food to be good to very good. Our last two cruises were with Celebrity. When it comes to the main dining room, I found that NCL was better. For specialty restaurants, Celebrity is better but NCL has better variety. But to be fair, I am also comparing a small, older ship (Sky) to a much larger and newer ship (Eclipse).
I thought the staff on the Sky was very friendly and everyone went out of their way to make sure we were happy. As I had a suite, I was pretty much a "homebody" and stayed mainly on our balcony.
I only have 2 complaints:
(1) the vast majority of the electric outlets are for European devices. There were only 2 outlets for North American use and both were behind the TVs. Our butler gave us an extension cord that gave us 3 outlets, so that easily fixed that problem
(2) it was a 4 night cruise - far too short! LOL