This was the maiden voyage for the renovated Norwegian Sky (Pride of Aloha) out of Miami. The embarkation/debarkation process was very smooth, compared to other cruises we've been on. We set the trip up for our 25th Anniversary with an on-line NCL Cruise Consultant. Because of the 4th of July holiday weekend, or as he claims, sick, our consultant took some time off and the price from initial quote to booking went up about $80. I requested our beds be put together prior to our arrival. Our consultant said he would set things up for an anniversary cake and some surprises. The surprise was - he didn't do anything. We requested from our arrival up until 8 pm to get the beds put together by the room stewards, who were few and far between. Restaurants were very odd. Some of the waitstaff didn't speak very good English, which caused a lot of problems when ordering. The food was fair at best. NCL promises lobster with every meal, but what they don't advertise is that this is at the pay Restaurants. We only found lobster in the formal Restaurants once while onboard. The shrimp in the shrimp cocktail had some kind of sauce mixed with it to give it a nasty taste. It seemed like lunch was burgers everyday.
For our Anniversary we signed up for the beach party/snorkel excursion on our first day in port in Freeport. When we went down to find out where we would meet our guide, we were informed that the trip was cancelled - because the beach staff wasn't coming to work! We did get a refund credit, but it was too late to sign up for any of the other excursions that day, so we just wondered around.
Next we move on to the Casino. This was part of the renovation which really seemed to work. Lot's of games and a wonderful customer service staff. The only problem to note is that the floor crew were hard to find when there was a problem with the machines or a question. Also - NO free drinks. From walking around the ship, it was obvious there were a lot of unhappy customers on this cruise. The Customer Service Desk Officer was always speaking with guests about problems they encountered.
When we went to our next port, Nassau, we were told to be back on the ship by 4:30 pm. So we went to town and made the best out of our time (including taking a $6 boat over to the Atlantis Resort, which was fun). We got back to the ship and discovered that there was a "fresh water" problem and we would be staying in Nassau until 2:30 am the next day. From the number of people in the Restaurants and casino, most people were like us, too tired to go back out after a hot day in the Bahama sun.
Next visit was to the private island of NCL. What a blast! Very well organized and beautiful. Picnic was good, beaches were nice and the water was beautiful and fun to swim in. Transportation back and forth to the ship worked out pretty good too.
The Entertainment Division of the ship pretty much made the trip worth while. The shows were outstanding, the Entertainment Director was everywhere and did everything he (and his staff) could do to make the trip a little more bearable. The only recommendation would have been to move the 70's Disco Party a little earlier in the evening and move the Monte Carlo Night event (which was the same night) to the later time period to allow families with younger children to enjoy it earlier. The crowd was about 60% teenagers anyway, but it was fun anyway. Monte Carlo was kind of confusing to me, I didn't see what was so different about the games.
Highlights of the trip for us.... Free Welcome Aboard Champagne, quick/fast embarkation/debarkation, Casino, Atlantis Resort, NCL Private Beach, Live Shows onboard, and the one lobster night we did find. Not so highlights.... Restaurant Staff, Excursion coordination, Dazzles Bar not being set up as a Disco with DJ (it has the look, but it was a Salsa set up instead and about two or three customers each time we went by). With the number of guests at the topside 70's disco, this is something NCL may want to reconsider, especially for the teens/kids. NCL under sold this cruise because they knew there were going to be "growing pains" and also the corporate big wigs were on board to offer verbal assistance to correct problems, yet we were charged regular cost for a cruise that was obviously a training cruise. "Someone" made the decision to give each stateroom a $50 onboard credit, so they knew, from all the complaints, that there were some major problems with this cruise. Overall, we had a good time, but I wouldn't do it again on NCL.