I digress... let me start from the beginning We stayed at the Embassy Suites in Miami the night before sailing and had no problem getting to the pier on time. Once at the pier we dropped off our bags with a generous tip (to give myself the false sense of security that our bags would end up on the Sky and not the Royal Caribbean ship that was parked next to ours). Processing onto the ship was relatively quick and painless; everyone along the way was courteous and very helpful. We were directed into the atrium for some champagne and orange juice (for our two boys). We made our way to our cabin (8066) and were greeted by our cabin stewards who couldn't have been more polite. Our cabin was about 90% ready for us so we just dropped off our carry-ons and began to explore the ship.
Our impression of the ship was that it was very well kept and didn't look "worn" at all. We did notice a musty smell every now and then but nothing to raise a red flag about. After checking out all of the main areas we made it back to our cabin. As I said earlier I had read that our cabin had an A/C issue but were told by NCL that the issue wasn't an issue or it had been corrected. Well, NCL's definition of A/C and ours are vastly different. True, there was A/C coming out of the vent but it was nowhere near enough to cool our room. I immediately called the reception desk and told them about it. Later that day we were told that that they had another room that we could look at and move to if we were happy with it. Well, the A/C in the new room was ice cold so we moved our luggage to the new room (9071). The folks at the reception desk offered to move our bags for us but we took care of it ourselves. Problem resolved!
Our room was nice and cold but there was little room for four people's belongings. We ended up living out of our luggage, which was a bit of a pain but again, not a show-stopper. The bathroom was small, as expected but served our purpose, though we did smell a raw sewage smell coming from the toilet. I had read about this before leaving and brought a Glade air freshener for the bathroom.
We didn't hit any of the cover charge restaurants and instead ate at the Palace and the buffet. The Palace was nice. A couple of us ordered steak and asked for A1 Sauce only to be told that they didn't have any. We were given something else which sufficed. Later that day at the buffet we saw enough A1 Sauce to float a boat. That was a disappointment but we brushed it off. The buffet food left us wanting more - of a variety. It seemed like the same food every night. The metal pans were banged up allowing steam to roast your wrists as you reached for the items in the back of the buffet tables.
On board activities: We really enjoyed the comic Tim K. but didn't make to any of the other shows.
Shore Excursions: Freeport - We were scheduled for the 9:00 AM Sea Safari Snorkel trip (the one with the slide and rock climbing wall on the boat). The morning of the trip we were told that it was cancelled and that we could reschedule it for the noon trip (which we did). So that morning we got off the boat and took a taxi to the Straw Market and killed a few hours walking around. We were kind of taken back by the amount of abandoned buildings and general state of the island. We made it back to the boat before noon and joined the group for the snorkeling trip. The boat was nice and big and well-staffed with food and drinks on the top deck. We were taken out to the snorkeling area and after receiving the how-to briefing we loaded up with baggies of fish food (puppy chow) and jumped into the water. The amount and variety of fish were amazing. Once I saw this I patted myself on the back for picking a winner excursion. The fish food helped tremendously with the quantity of fish swimming around everybody. Unfortunately, the water was quite choppy. It wasn't long before I started to feel the effects of it and climbed back on the ship. I spend the remainder of the trip on the bottom deck with my head between my knees waiting for the boat to pull up anchor and head back to solid land. Fortunately the rest of my family had a blast on the slide and the snorkeling. Not much could have been done about the ocean conditions - I should have taken a Dramamine before we left but ignorance and pride got the better of me.
Nassau - We opted for the Atlantis beach break (full day). My arm was starting to get sore from patting myself on my back for picking winning excursions. What an awesome day we had at Atlantis. The beach was pristine. The water was crystal clear and the rest of the world was nowhere in sight. We rented an umbrella for $30.00 as soon as we hit the beach. A fantastic investment as the sun was beating down on us. There were people selling coconuts full of pina colada or Bahama Mama. We drank our fill and then some. Everyone was very nice and polite the entire time. We also rented jet skis for a half hour ($70.00) and zipped around the water off-shore (an unexpected surprise) as we didn't know what else was available to do on the beach. The Sky was having some boiler work done on it while in Nassau so we had extra time to sight see. We opted to blow off taking the last tender from Atlantis to the cruise pier and instead took a taxi ($16.00 for the four of us) back to the pier. That was much easier and a lot less walking. Had I known that I would have taken that taxi over to Atlantis but I was a green-horn and opted to go to Atlantis with the group from the shore excursion. If you can go to Atlantis - do it!
Great Stirrup Cay - We were pretty sun burned and beat by the time we made it to GSC. The island area was small for the amount of people that kept coming off the tender boats. The food was very good and plentiful. We had to cut our stay short because one of our boys stepped on a sea urchin in the area that should have been roped off but wasn't. As I went to pull him from the water I was amazed at the amount of sea urchins and surprised that others hadn't step on them as well. The main snorkeling/swimming area was sea urchin free. The area in question was directly in front of the building with the green umbrellas (you'll see when you get there). GSC had umbrellas but they were mesh and did little to block the sun. Like I said we had to cut our time at GSC short but it looked like everyone else was having a great time.
Disembarking - We opted to take our own bags off the ship as we had a flight out the following day and weren't in that big of a rush. There was a slight backup as we got off the ship but it didn't last long and we were through customs in no time. In the future I think I'll continue to take my own bags off the ship. It was a piece of cake and we didn't have to search through a sea of luggage for our bags.
Summary - We had a great time. The staff was top-notch. Our issues were corrected quickly and to our satisfaction. The ship was clean, well kept, and the staff was very professional. Shore excursions were a blast - go to Atlantis, you won't be disappointed. That snorkeling boat with the slide was a good pick as well. Food - could have been better but on the bright side that's a few pounds that I won't have to work off (because I didn't pig out as much). We were hoping for a chocolate buffet but I guess it wasn't offered. Tim K. was a riot, the high point while on the ship for entertainment. All in all very pleased with our time on the Sky. Many happy memories.