Arriving in Miami: I always stay downtown in one of the nicer hotels.....this time it was the Epic! I loved this new hotel which is so highly rated! I would recommend it to anybody who loves contemporary, clean lines, and well-trained staff that enjoys accommodating your every whim! There are more moderately-priced hotels available in the area; but, I happen to love what this hotel offers!
Check-in at NCL: I'm in a suite....so we were swished away into the VIP section....a small line so we sat down, had some soft drinks and snacks, and then they sent a butler to escort us aboard. I've always loved this service...one of the reasons I travel in owners' suites.
Room: I've been on many ships and was thinking that this one might not be up to par in that it is one of NCL's older ships (although it is one of the newest ones of all the lines touring the Bahamas). My suite was a 1 bedroom that also included a pull-down murphy bed in the living salon. The salon was spacious and included a dining room table, 2 couches, expresso maker, hot tub on deck, 2 televisions, 1-1/2 baths. Very accommodating!
Service: Jefferey was our butler and he was sensational and stupendous! Of all the cruise lines and with all the butler's I have had in past, he is absolutely the best! I have never been more impressed! I would go back on this trip if I could ensure he was our butler. His smile is always there and it is soooooo genuine!
Room Service: On time and very good food and presentation. We had a mixup one morning; but, it was still all very good.
Restaurants: We didn't go to anything but the steakhouse (Cagney's), the Italian restaurant, and the 2 main dining rooms---but that was plenty. The risotto and asparagus were outstanding in Cagney's--along with pretty much all the steaks/salads. We liked the italian restaurant's carbonera, ravioli, and tiramasu. And, the dining rooms had some pretty good meals all in all....we seemed to always get pretty good meals. We loved the souffles in particular.
Cleanliness: Although it is an older ship and there might be some "wear and tear" from its age, I thought the ship was in very good shape everywhere I looked. I actually liked the layout on this ship as compared to many of the newer ships....you could actually do your walking on the top deck outside or on deck 6 with a covered walkway.
Staff: I believe everyone on board were extremely accommodating---especially the concierge, Anna Maria.
Entertainment on Ship: Shows seemed to be adequate and entertaining--nothing really outstanding! Lots of activities on board. Bingo winnings are pretty big. Casino very good size and was fun with tournaments they offered!
Ports: We actually didn't get off the ship that much--only in Nassau; but, we heard others indicate Freeport was not all that great. Everybody liked going to Nassau--so much to do! And, we heard most people say they enjoyed Great Stirrup Cay--NCL private island which had lots of snorkeling, water activities, and barbecue for all.
Leaving ship: fairly easy.....but remember....the ship will not allow you to disembark until customs have cleared the ship. Everybody always gets antsy about leaving because many book their return flights way too early out of Miami and/or Ft. Lauderale. But, it's all about the customs agents--not NCL!
In summation....we loved the trip (although too short) and are planning our next cruise on the NCL Epic this fall! I would recommend the SKY to anybody! I enjoyed this quick getaway immensely!