The Embarkation in Miami was quick and easy. The last time that we sailed out of Miami, we waited in a 2 ½ line and made the decision to never again sail out of the Port Of Miami. We made an exception this time around because there were no 3 day Bahama cruises out of Ft. Lauderdale and this was a last minute booking. It was our friends 22nd wedding anniversary and they were able to get a really good last minute deal on 2 Oceanview rooms. So it was a postitive start to our mini-vacation. We got on the ship and proceeded to get a soda card for the trip. It was 18.50 per person and everyone thought that was very reasonable. We got into our Oceanview rooms around 2pm and I noticed that the room wasn’t very clean. When I opened the closet to put some of my clothes away I noticed that there was a quarter on the floor in the closet…guess that they didn’t vacuum!! The vanity was a little shorter and had less storage room than RCCL’s Oceanview..but its no big deal because how much stuff did you really need to bring for a 3 day, right? This was something that I think that NCL needs to address a little better. I never saw the staff "cleaning". On RCCL, through the entire cruise you would see staff wiping down railings, elevators, vacuuming..etc. Not on NCL. I didn't see any staff cleaning anything. The pool area was a little small, but otherwise a lot of fun. Great music and the BBQ that they served everyday at 5pm was a huge hit. I will say that the food on NCL-Sky was a LOT better than on RCCL and Carnival. Also..there were more areas that served food, so you never felt crowded or pushed out of the way. Plus..one of the fun things that we like to do is get a frozen yogurt cone as a snack. We didn’t know if NCL had them on their ships and was pleasantly surprised.
This cruise was a mixture of “good” and “not so good” in my book.
NCL’s claim to fame is the “Free Style Cruising”. I DO like the fact that you can go to the dining room at 8:05pm for dinner and get a table..but I miss the personalized service of the other cruise lines. We were surprised that the waiters and staff never introduced themselves..they seemed really “uninterested” in the cruisers. They forgot a side dish or to bring something you asked for to the table and then just seemed uninterested if you asked them twice for it…almost hoping that you would just drop it. Sad. Also, we never saw our stateroom attendant. We didn’t have any special requests..just would have been nice to see him/her. In the bar in the casino we had to constantly waive down a waiter to get a drink. They seemed content to stand by the bar and talk to the bartender all night. I don’t know if this has to do with NCL’s “tipping” system. NCL added a $12 per day/per passenger fee to cover the staff’s tips. I agree that this is a GOOD thing, because it stops the “cheap” people from not tipping the staff, which is a MAJOR problem on other cruise lines that leave it up to the passengers to tip on the last night. BUT..does this mean that the staff knows that they will be tipped either way, so why be polite or why try?? We couldn’t figure this out. The private Island of Great Stirrup Key was fantastic and the port of Nassau was fun! Bring cash for shopping in Nassau..there is so much to buy! Just a heads up. If you want to go to Atlantis and use their pool/slides and amenities..there are 2 prices. The first price of $150.00 per person is through the cruise line. The 2nd price is $110.00 if you go directly to Atlantis and buy a pass there. If any cabbies tell you its $25.00 per person…they aren’t telling the truth. We heard from many of the cabbies that wanted to give us a ride over to Atlantis that it was $25.00 per person..long story short, they would say any price to get you to take their taxi anywhere! LOL
Getting off the ship was great. We left our cabin at 8am. Brought our luggage with us to the dining room. Had a good breakfast, then got off the ship with our luggage by 9:30am. No long lines and no designated time to get off the ship if we wanted to.
So I guess that this is a good/not so good review for NCL. If you are looking for the personal service from the staff and are okay with a dinner seating at a certain time, then the other cruise lines are for you. BUT if you are looking for a cruise with no set schedules and a staff that really doesn’t talk to you, then NCL is good for you.