We arrived at the Port of Miami about 11:15 AM on Monday, December 15. After waiting in line to pay for parking ($80 for four nights), finding a spot to park and walking to the entrance (not very far) and turning our luggage over to the porter (he said it all needed to be x-rayed so we had to leave it there) we finally got to the terminal itself.
Checking in was not as streamlined as it had been in August 2006 in Barcelona but we were on the ship by 12:15. The lines were not long but it seemed that everything was a little chaotic. I believe the person checking us in was "in training" so we weren't really bothered.
We got on board only to find that our room wasn't going to be available until 2:00 so we took our carry-on luggage and checked it so we could go eat lunch and have a look around the ship without lugging bags with us.
When we finally got into our room we folded out the sofabed to see how it fit and found that it would not lock in the open position. Our 16 year old daughter was going to be sleeping there and everytime she sat down it would fold up on her. So of course we call in to have it fixed. At 3:30 someone showed up. The "fixed" it by putting the sofa cushion under the bar. They said they would have the carpenter come fix it. Well, 9:30 that night we came back to our room and the cushion was still there. So we thought we would wait until morning and tell them again and ask for it to please be fixed by the time we come back from our shore excursion. That didn't happen and once again we went to the front desk and became the squeaky wheel. They were telling us that there was a work order and it would be fixed, but they couldn't tell us when it would be fixed. We insisted they take it up the chain because we wanted it fixed NOW as it was a safety hazard. My husband stayed in the cabin while I went to the Broadway show. He said some one came and wanted to just fix it but they would have to do so the next morning. At this my husband put his foot down and the head steward, after some discussion with someone else, decided they would switch it out with the sofabed in the next cabin (9033) since they only had two people in there. Then they made nice, nice and brought us three large chocolate chip cookies (very delicious by the way). We feel that if we hadn't squeaked so much they would have just let her sleep on the broken one the entire trip. Our advise if you are in cabin 9033 and need the sofa bed for someone to sleep, be careful when getting on it while it is open...it might just pop up and try to fold up on you.
Now, in spite of that beginning we did have a wonderful time on our cruise. Our daughter participated in the teen crew activities and had a wonderful time. She said the counselors were great and had some great activities for the teens.
We did the Sea Safari Snorkel by Boat excursion in Freeport. It was a very nice reef with lots of fish. The water was a bit choppy that day so everyone was required to wear a life vest. The boat had a slide and a rock climbing wall. After snorkeling we were able to walk around the shops and take the bus back to the ship at one of the shuttle times listed on the ticket they gave us when we boarded the bus to go to the excursion.
In Nassau we did the Discover Scuba. If you even think you want to try scuba diving, please do this excursion. It was well worth the money ($119 per person). They only took 10 people (one of which was just along for the ride). They split us into groups of three. One of the guides gave us instructions on the way to the reef. When we got to the reef the first group got their gear and got in the water. Everyone had to pass some basic drills at about 1 1/2 feet underwater before being allowed to go down to the bottom. When my husband, daughter and I got to go down our guide took our picture and fed the fish so they would all come to us. We even saw a starfish and the guide took pictures of each of us holding it. We all fell in love with scuba diving.
On Great Stirrup Cay we snorkeled. Yes, everyone has to wear a life vest, even if you have your own equipment. We didn't bring ours and we shelled out for rental equipment because the kid wanted to swim out to the rock barrier and I knew I wouldn't be able to make it without the flippers. It was nice but not spectacular. After lunch my husband and I walked to the lighthouse. The lighthouse itself wasn't that great but a little past it was a dock and a shallow bay. We waded around in there, as were several other people, and we saw conch shells and sand dollars. It was very pretty...much prettier than where everybody was lounging at the NCL side of the island. If we went again we would take our own equipment and spend most of the day over in that area, enjoying the quiet.
We ate at Cagney's one night. It was good but not great. Next cruise we will probably skip the specialty restaurant and just go to the main dining rooms.
Disembarkation was much smoother than embarkation. We got off at the final call for express walk-off (about 8:30) and were in our car by 9:00.
We will definitely sail with NCL again. This was our second trip with them, and we went into it figuring that the Sky is more of a "party ship" than the Jewel was so we weren't surprised that it was indeed just that. All in all it was a nice, relaxing trip and we got the "rock" to prove it. Yeah, Nassau has some pretty nice rocks that you can get for a nice price. Go to the "Shopping Talk with CJ" and you'll understand.