Embarkation was the fastest, smoothest I've ever had, we arrived at MIA at 12 noon and by one we were enjoying the buffet. The Taxi was flat rate $24. for three of us so with tip $30.
The ship and stateroom were clean and in good condition, we had an Aft balcony and our steward was perfect, the room cleaned and replenished invisibly everyday, never any need to complain or wait for anything, just quiet professionalism at work, the way I like it. I might add here that we did get a lot of noise from the theatre until about 10pm, so if you turn in early you might want to consider that about these cabins.
The Food: The MDR was hit or miss I'm afraid, some of the entrees were excellent, some not so good. We had great luck with the appetizers and salads but all the warm soups were cold and not to my liking. I've had better luck with Campbell's for the onion for example. We did not try the chilled fruit soups. Some of the main courses were excellent, the Mahi Mahi was great and tasted "clean", the Lobster good but the fillet was terrible, over cooked, dry and unpalatable to me and the lamb a little gamey. The sirloin I ordered came just the way I asked, Rare, which is usually not the case in a mass produced environment and was delicious.The lunch buffet was good, with a varied selection of cheeses and a fruit selection that was excellent and delicious, as was the roast beef. Breads were good and acceptable, some deserts were to die for.
I know from experience that ALL cruise lines can be hit or miss in the food department, some dishes I find delicious, others not to my liking, but I do think that we had a lot of "misses" on the Sky.
Breakfast buffet was good, with a good selection to choose from but I was puzzled by there only being a few egg cooking stations available, so I mostly skipped my omelet because of the lines. Breakfast is breakfast so what can you say.
We did not eat at any of the covercharge restaurants, nor did we partake of any breakfasts or lunches in the MDR. Service in the MDR was sketchy, it seemed to be understaffed and the available employees were working pretty hard. We have experienced "as you wish" dining on the HAL ship, which is the same as freestyle and I noticed a similar situation. We were seated in the dining room promptly every time, normally eating around 6 or 6.30pm.
We did not attend any of the shows or drink in any bars, the Internet service was slow as usual when cruising.
The ports were great, we had a great snorkel excursion with Stuarts cove in Nassau, but we had to run to get on the ship @5.30 (last call) and I understand from a fellow cruiser that the ship actually waited on them, I did notice we sailed a little after 6.00, our expected sail time. I can recommend Stuarts Cove, but I don't recommend the afternoon excursion if you have an early sail time as we did! We swam with sharks on the last stop, and I'm still talking about it!
Great Stirrup Cay was beautiful, we enjoyed snorkeling and walked to the lighthouse. The tip to use baby shampoo on the inside of your snorkel mask was great and we saw a barracuda and a cuttlefish among others. The food was what you would expect for a backyard barbecue, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely.
Our teenage son had a good time in the teen club, which gave me and Lisa some relaxing time together.
All in all, it was a great cruise, no service issues, the staff helpful and friendly enough, the ship was packed with a good demographic representation of travelers and we saw nor experienced any unruly or rude behavior. I have experienced "mass stampedes" on carnival around the buffets at times, but saw none of this on this cruise, which was a welcome change. We did see a customer service issue at the excursion desk, in which the passenger was clearly wrong,and it was handled with dignity and professionalism by NCL staff, which is more than the passenger displayed.
We felt that we got a good value for our dollar, and are looking forward to cruising with NCL again.
Doug, Lisa & Han __________________