Just got back from the Sky 4 night--literally, I'm writing this in the airport from my phone! As I really loved reading these reviews and forums while I was preparing to set sail, I wanted to get everything down while it was still fresh.
A little about us--we are both about 30, no kids, business professionals, and could definitely be considered foodies.
We flew into Miami the day before the cruise and stayed at the St. Regis Bal Harbour, which is absolutely amazing if you want to splurge. We booked it using Starwood points and our bathroom there alone was bigger than our entire cabin on the ship.
On Monday, we set out around 10:45a for the port by taxi, which cost about $30. Unloading was easy, the porters gave us the "real" luggage tags, then we entered the terminal. There was no wait at all to check in, and we were given cards for boarding group 7. Pro tip for newbies: they take a photo of you while in the waiting area, so it's worth dressing cute--wish someone had told me!
We waited about 25 minutes in the waiting area before they started boarding and called our group. Nbd. Once we got on we RUSHED over to the restaurant reservations desk to sign up for the Chef's dinner. Turns out that was unnecessary--we were the first to sign up, and it didn't even sell out completely. Next, we signed up for the ultimate beverage package and got our stickers. A word on that--we probably wouldn't do it again. It made us feel like we had to be drinking at all times to get our money's worth, instead of just enjoying a cocktail when we actually wanted them. As for selection, the only thing we couldn't get on the package seemed to be the martinis on the specialty menus; any other drink they were usually happy to switch out the liquor for something included. We had mimosas, daiquiris, Mai tais, bahama mamas, and lots of wine throughout the trip--no problem.
Next up we ignored the many crew members trying to push us to the buffet and went to the open dining room, which was almost totally empty. I had a chicken sandwich, the hubby had fish and chips, and both were ok to good. Not amazing, but more than adequate. We found the service in all the restaurants pretty good throughout.
Around 2, rooms were ready and we headed up to our balcony cabin, 9057, which was great. Comfortable, clean, just what we needed. Best tip ever was to bring an over the door clear shoe organizer; we were able to easily organize all our stuff and keep the cabin free of clutter. I'm going to pack this for every vacation from now on! We watched sail away from our balcony with a pre-ordered bottle of MoÃ«t and it was lovely.
Shortly thereafter, we went to the spa raffle and won a mini facial. We also booked a couples massage for the last day. I was less than impressed with either service. The couples hot stone massage was fine, but cost over $300 for 50 minutes. Not a deal at all. And then the facial was fine, but the aesthetician never told me what she was doing or what product she was using, just slathered on and wiped off a bunch of creams and masks for 20 minutes.
That first night we ate at Il Adagio and found most of the meal pretty good. I got the Caesar salad and the spaghetti carbonara; my husband got the sausage pizza and the steak. The apps were both great, it was one of the best Caesars Ive had, and the pizza was thin crust and very tasty. The entrees were less stellar; my pasta was fairly average, but my husbands steak was absolutely terrible...no marbling, little flavor, and way overcooked. We split a tiramisu for dessert, which was ok. All in all, an alright to good first dinner.
That night we did some of the game shows, stopped by karaoke, then hit the casino. We both like to gamble but found the tables limited--only one craps table, no pai gow, video roulette only. And then I was disappointed they didn't have any of the big name slots like Wheel of Fortune, Monopoly, Wizard of Oz, etc.
The next day, in Freeport, we did the Viva Wyndham beach day excursion and would probably not recommend that. The property looked like it had maybe once been nice, but was now very run down--they didn't have any fountains on, tons of seaweed on the beach, awful buffet lunch, and the hot tub wasn't heated. We left basically wishing we'd just stayed on the ship.
For dinner that night, we tried Cagneys, and their steaks helped make up for the awful one the night before. Only thing is that if you like your steak medium rare like we do, you have to really really stress that to them or they tend to overcook. And while the steaks were good the rest here was mediocre at best; the shrimp cocktail only came with three shrimp, the blue cheese dressing on the Cobb salad didn't have any actual cheese in it, the onion ring side were three small obviously straight out of the freezer bag rings with no flavor. For being the priciest restaurant onboard, we left a little let down.
That night we mainly enjoyed the piano bar with "Barry" but were disappointed on subsequent nights that he basically did the same act and songs every night.
On Wednesday, we were in port at Nassau with the Gem and a RC ship. We went on the Atlantis Aquaventure excursion and it was the real highlight of our cruise. Another excellent tip we got on CC was to get our Atlantis wristbands ASAP, then cab it over to the resort ourselves instead of waiting for the bus and then going on the mandatory walking tour. By doing this, we were able to get lockers and ride all the slides before the other cruisers even got there, without standing in any lines. Unfortunately my husband got his ankle caught in some netting on the Surge tube slide and twisted it pretty badly; I wouldn't recommend that one if you're over 6' tall. We also enjoyed the pool and "lazy" river, before heading back to the ship around 2.
That night was the Chef's Dinner, and maybe because we're foodies, but we thought this was utterly disappointing. The wines especially were just off their by the glass menu and were nothing special, nor were they especially well paired. The courses were hit and miss; the tuna tartare and asparagus soup were good, and of the quality I'd expect in a high end restaurant, the veal chop was pretty good though over salted, but the worst course was the sea bass which was so overcooked as to be basically inedible. I can see how this might be an exciting experience for someone who doesn't get to partake of fine dining very often, but for us it was not worth it at all.
Our final day was Great Stirrup Cay; it was cloudy and threatening rain so we stayed on the ship, which, when I saw how much the tender boats were rocking and rolling on the waves, I think was a good choice. Unfortunately, we weren't able to sleep in though, because they were making the tender ticket announcements like every 15 minutes from 7-10am. We hit the hot tubs and the spa this day, and my husband went on a tour of the galley with the chef we met the night before. (He liked this, but said it was a little long.)
That night we went to Le Bistro, which was the best meal all around. The escargot could have used more garlic, but were well cooked; the French onion soup was tasty as well. I got the lamb chops and my hubby got the duck, both were good. We split the cheese plate for dessert which was nice as well.
This night we wanted to go see the comedy show, but they had scheduled it for Dazzles, which was MUCH too small for the number of people there, and consequently about 10 degrees hotter than anywhere else on the ship. People were too packed in to the point of claustrophobia so we left. Overall, we found the entertainment onboard to be lackluster; the Cabaret and Showdown shows remind me of a lame high school show choir; the karaoke and game shows were always incredibly subdued. We ended our last day instead the way we started the cruise, with wine on our balcony.
So all in all, we had a good time, but we also saw a lot of areas needing work. I think, because of our preferences in food and entertainment, we might be better off on a line like Celebrity. But all the NCL staff were friendly and nice, our room was great, and we will most likely cruise again.