First, a little background on myself. I am in my early 20's, and this was my first cruise. It was also my boyfriend's first cruise. We were looking for something short, and a great price when we stumbled upon the Norwegian Sky. After reading some of the reviews, I was a bit nervous that my first cruise experience was going to fall short, but the Sky proved me wrong. We enjoyed it so much, we already put down a deposit on our next cruise!
We stayed at the La Quinta Miami Airport East for the convenience aspect of things. The hotel rate included a shuttle from the airport as well as a shuttle to the port of Miami the next morning, which was very convenient. We arrived at the port at approximately 1:45 PM. We had carry on bags only, so we immediately proceeded to the cruise terminal.
Everyone there was very kind, and greeted us with a smile. We waited in line to check in for approximately 7 minutes. The line moved fairly quickly. Check in was a breeze. We handed the agent our cruise tickets printed from our edocs package, she checked our passports, took our pictures, we received key cards, and off to the ship we went.
When we stepped onto the ship, complimentary champagne and orange juice was offered. There was also an announcement that our rooms were ready, so we headed up to Deck 9 to check out our cabin and stow away our suitcases.
The cabin was quaint, but plenty of room for 2 people. This specific cabin, being a "superior inside" held up to 4 people. Anymore than 3, and it would've been cramped. There were two twin beds (as well as a fold down bunk on the wall), a small sofa, a desk, and a TV. The bathroom was small, but adequate. Best of all, the water was hot, pressure was great, toilet worked fine, and the air conditioning was cold!
The food on the ship ranged from average to absolutely delicious! On embarkation day, we enjoyed the poolside BBQ. The burgers and chicken were delicious. For breakfast each morning we ate at the buffet. Our favorite breakfast item was the made-to-order omelets. We also ate at the buffet for lunch 2 out of 3 days, and had pasta and pizza at Il Adagio for lunch one day. The buffet was average. Nothing extravagant, but certainly edible. For lunch they always had some type of fish on the buffet which was my favorite. The pizza at Il Adagio was OK. Certainly not the best pizza. However, I did enjoy the made-to-order pasta. For dinner we ate at The Palace the first night. I was somewhat sea sick the first night, so I did not get to fully enjoy the meal, but my boyfriend got the grilled chicken breast, and I got the Mahi-Mahi. Both were very good. Night two we ate dinner at Crossings. We both had the lobster and grouper extravaganza. The lobster tail was small, but good. The grouper was also very tasty. One night we also ate at Il Adagio for dinner. I had the lobster ravioli and my boyfriend had the chicken parm. We both enjoyed that meal very much. We ate at Crossings the last night, and we both had the grilled chicken breast. I also wanted to try the cheese tortellini primavera, so the waiter brought me a small portion of that was well. The dessert that night, Mocha Cheesecake, was absolutely to die for!!!
Service in the restaurants was always top notch. My boyfriend is a big water drinker, and one night the server had to have filled his glass 6 times! He never even had to ask for a refill. All our servers were very attentive. On the last night, we had to wait a little longer for our meal than we had previously and the server would stop by every once in awhile to ensure us our meal was on its way, and to make sure we didn't need anything in the meantime. On the last night, our dining experience lasted about an hour and a half. Everytime prior to that, it was one hour or less. We never had to wait to get into the restaurants. The first night at The Palace we ate at approximately 8pm. The other nights we always ate early at around 5:30 or 6:00pm. As we were leaving, there would almost always be a line to get in. One night we also ordered room service for a late night snack at around 11:30pm and received our order in about 45 minutes...and it was still hot!
The shows were wonderful. Rich Purpura, the comedian on board, is an absolute must-see. He will certainly have you cracking up til your stomach hurts. My boyfriend and I both enjoyed all of his shows as well as the shows hosted by the cruise director, Matt Baker. He is such a funny and energetic guy, and is great at the harmonica!
The ship itself is in great shape for being just under 10 years old. The decor is still somewhat hawaiian and doesn't always apply to the Bahamas "theme" (ie. the Pacific Coast Map in Crossing Restaurant), but for the most part, it all ties in. There were always crew members painting or replacing something. They do a great job to keep her in tip-top shape.
I was a little disappointed at the start of our cruise to find out our everglades excursion with transfer to Miami airport was canceled, but we ended up purchasing tickets for the regular transfer to the airport excluding the everglades tour. Debarkation was an absolute breeze. I loved that they don't push you out of your room or off the ship. We ate breakfast at the buffet, then made it through customs in less than 10 minutes! The bus to MIA was waiting for us, and was clearly marked.
I could go on and on about our first cruising experience, but I think you get the gist of things. This was a beautiful ship with a very hardworking crew. You should certainly try the sky!