First off, I want to start by saying I have NEVER been on a cruise where I had no 'kinks', they are expected...nothing goes perfect. I have seen some reviews that showed worse than some of my kindergartens, whining and complaining like 3 yrs olds. The shows were great, were they as good or better than Broadway? No of course not... they practice, but they can't practice as much as Broadway can, they do have to man shops and other jobs as well, but they were good and they could sing well and being as I was in Chorus and have done some of the things they do (just no on that scale and no partner choreography) I have to say they did excellent, if you don't like singing and dancing, don't go to the show. As far as other regular complaints, the food was excellent in MDR's and extra cost. I food Indian food for lunch first day and had everything from Asian, to Mexican, to American and seafood. I think some people are not happy unless they are complaining about something. OK, now on to the day by of our trip. I have the negatives and kinks in here as well. Some NCL could do better on, some not there fault.
My cruises are 3 RCCL, 2 Carnival, 2 Princess, 2 HAL, 1 Disney and 1 NCL (Pearl) prior to SKY.
Pre-Cruise Sun July 18, 2010- Day 1-
We got up early and started our drive down to Daytona where we were to stay in the Tropical Winds resort on the beach. Nearing Jacksonville, we stopped to eat lunch intending to eat at the Cracker barrel but it was too crowded. We ended up at a little hole-in-wall place nearby in shopping center called Perard's Italian (they have website, just not sure if I can post it here) It was some of the best Italian I have had. They had menus and a place to sit down, but you went to counter to order and pay. We had the garlic knot rolls ,(really good and they had real garlic on them) Greek salad and the white pizza. We even had a couple of slices left over. We made it to hotel a little after 3pm. We had a balcony room overlooking the beach and me and dad changed and went into the ocean w/ his buggy board. The waves were a little strong so I did not venture too far out and was exhausted within an hour and went back to change. There is a shopping center across the road and up a little ways which had a Starbucks and a Rita's in it. (Again Rita's has a website) Rita's does the Italian ice w/ custard things. I had the small one w/ the Tropical fruit ice (Passion fruit and mango mixture) and the mixture of chocolate and vanilla custard on the top and bottom. I highly recommend trying it out. That was our dinner plus I finished off the slice from lunch (we had 2 slices of pizza left) as we had a kitchen in our room (stove, microwave, fridge and a few dishes). We went to bed early to wake up early to drive the last 4 1/2 hrs to Miami.
Day 2 Mon July 19, 2010 Embarkation- We got up and slowly got moving. We went to McDonald's for dad and mom and Starbucks for me. I got my White Chocolate Mocha and the cheese and fruit package. Me and dad ate out on our balcony and then we packed up and took a few minutes to go driving on the beach before heading out to Miami.
Embarkation- Was very easy. We got to port around 1pm, handing off the luggage, parked and headed into the terminal. We then filled out our health forms and got into the latitudes lines (they were all short) I gave my credit card for me and dad gave his for mom and dad. We got our cards, took the pic and then headed onto the ship. Our ship was full, 2300 I believe is the number John our Australian cruise director said we had. (I liked him a lot, not sure why some people don't) We boarded and were directed towards buffet but firmly and politely informed them we prefer ed the main dinning room. We made it there and sat down and ordered (Palace is the MDR open on embark and the rest of days for lunch and breakfast) We loved the decor in the Palace more than Crossings and honestly service was great in both places the ONLY difference was that in Crossings we were asked if we wanted coffee or tea w/ dessert and weren't in palace, but not a big deal. halfway through meal the announcement came that the rooms were ready. We finished and headed up to deck 9 and to room 9026. Our first 'kink'- all 3 of our cards would NOT open the door. Dad took all cards and headed back down to speak to reception. Me and mom waited at room w/ remainder of the luggage. The halls are not wide so it was difficult for people to move around us, fortunately after about 10 min a steward came up and we explained the situation and he checked mom's driver's license and then opened the door for us to go in. We had chocolate covered strawberries and chocolate covered pineapple. We proceeded to try them out. Note: The rooms are small. In fact, from what I read on the history the ship was originally designed as sister ship to Coast's Victoria and no Balcony's until NCL bought her and did some redesigning. The ship itself is pretty nice considering most lines have the oldest and most worn doing the 3 and 4 days. If you don't like the Sky (which is nicer than ones from Carnival and RCCL that do the 3 and 4 days) you won't want to do the 3 and 4 days on the Carnival and RCCL, you will be even more disappointed. Finally dad came back w/ cards that worked. The Lady tried to tell him that they got demagnetized and dad informed her that he had been on 16 other cruise (me 11) and that is possible for one but not all 3 and we was upset about it. (Personally I think they never got magnetized in the first place) needless to say a little while later, a bottle of red wine was delivered for our troubles. (Which I don't like, and really we just wanted cards that worked) we unpacked and went exploring. I saw Spa and Italian (had a slice of pizza) and then it was time for muster drill. It was painless and quick w/ no life jackets. Then it was time to set sail. I enjoyed a Miami Vice (Strawberry daiquiri w/ piña colada floated with blue curacao.) We had reservations at Italian rest the first night. I have heard people complain, we loved it. The food and service was excellent. I had Salmon, dad had Shrimp and Mushroom risotto and mom Veg Lasagna. Tiramisu for dessert...all excellent. The show was good, not sure why people hated it, Choreography was good, and Christine and Adam were great singers. All in All the ship was in nice condition, no smells or anything...just not a big ship w/ all the bells and whistles, so if you are looking for Voyage class or Epic, this is not for you.
Day 3- Freeport, Bahamas Tues July 20, 2010- I woke up early. The room being soo small, mom often refereed to us as 'the 3 bears' especially at night when the sofa became my bed. It was a trick moving around my bed and over the end of their bed to make it to the bathroom, but we managed it. We ate breakfast in the Palace. Again food was good, love their hash brown potatoes, the best. The only complaint we has is on this morning they took us over to side where we waited and waited and finally mom got up and complained we had not be served, this was due to where we were put and I don't think the waiters/servers saw us at first. (It was fairly empty) They then proceeded to bring out too much food to over compensate. (We just wanted water/coffee and our orders taken... but oh well, no biggie) We have been to Freeport before and there's not much to it (Why don't they just do a sea day or do key west or something is beyond me... Freeport is a waste of time) anyways, we went out before 10am and the heat. We did a little shopping as was back on before 11, where mom wanted to drop off her one purchase (Bahamian doll) our steward was quick to apologize and inform us that our door's battery was low and a crew member was on their way to recharge it. (That was a first for us... but again no big deal) Me and mom went to coffee bar where she got a coffee and a coffee card, we looked at the buffet, where tons of people where still eating after 10am. (I guess they didn't care for the port either) We then went back to cabin where it was open and our steward was cleaning, mom dropped off purchase and I grabbed the daily and we were off to internet, where she purchased a package. Then we went to trivia, it was just a crew member and me and mom. (Crew was doing emergency drills during this time as well) She was from London and we talked and had a good time, and did trivia, and she gave us both a pack of cards since no one else showed up. We ate lunch in Palace and took a nap. I then went to the spa for my treatment, a special that day for a full body lime and ginger exfoliation followed by a neck,back and shoulder massage and finally a mini-facial. It took a little over an hour but was wonderful. Then me and dad headed for Captain Cook's Bar and the Margarita tasting. The bar tenders were confused and we waited...finally, we were told there had to be 10 people min and to come back tomorrow there would be another one (There wasn't) I was VERY disappointed as I did this on the Pearl Thanksgiving 08 and loved it. I think this was partly NCL's fault, as it was printed in Daily, but never advertised like Pub Crawl or other things. We went back to cabin and dressed for Dress up or not night. Dad brought jacket and tie and me and mom skirt outfits, we ate in Crossings and the lobster and snapper was EXCELLENT. We did not see the comedian that night as we had early morning in Nassau next day. Me and dad got the 2 for 1 Mojitos. We had raspberry ones. Then I wondered around a bit and ended up on deck 7 at Atrium bar, where I met a couple who live in FL but used to live near where I live. We talked, they bought me a drink and we had fun w/ bar tender Rooty who made us ladies a ring w/ a dollar bill, a neat little trick, he was very friendly and made a great chocolate martini. John our cruise director came around and did a video in front of us (we weren't in it, it was just right near us) a promo for White Hot Night the next night. John and the head bar tender gulped down a shot of something and they ended video, John then coughed a bit, guess he wasn't used to the shoots or he drank it a little too fast.
I then said good night to everyone and headed back to cabin to rest up for Nassau and Atlantis Aquaventure the next day.We had a towel animal when we got back as well, can't remember what it was. We got woke up by teens running down halls and smoking and screaming... we called front desk and they sent someone up, we didn't hear them again THAT night... I think NCL needs to administer a curfew for teens w/ out parents, we had this prob the rest of the cruise and I'm sure we weren't the only ones to call and complain, we realize this isn't NCL's fault totally, but some teens just can't be off by themselves w/ out making trouble... and it was late, midnight and all. This was not a prob on the Pearl so maybe just the short cruises? Anyways... a 11pm or midnight curfew unless w/ parents are guardians might be in order NCL... something to think on.
day 4 Wed July 21, 2010 Nassau, Bahamas- We were up early again, we did eat at buffet this morning. I can see why people complain, most ships buffet goes all the way around, on this ship only on one side as Longboards and teen club is on the other side. Mornings before about 9:30 it wasn't too bad, but I never ate there for lunch or dinner...it was always crowded (Did people not understand there were MDR open for breakfast, lunch and dinner at no charge????) Anyways... we are big and then proceeded to put on sunscreen and pack clothes, out beach towels etc into a bag and me and dad went down to gangway and turned in our tickets for Atlantis wrist bands, then we waited...and waited... and waited some more... (felt like forever...) I think they need to rethink putting ALL Atlantis excursions on the same waiting area... not to mention, you couldn't understand the girl when she called the first group (black and gold wristbands, whatever tour that was.) Then it was our turn... we walked and walked... about 2 miles at which point we were wondering if they'd make us walk all the way to Atlantis... there was natives selling water for $1 a bottle...everyone got some as at Atlantis it is like 4 bucks for a small bottle. We added to our bag and FINALLY got on a bus (umm we ate big breakfast and it was almost gone w/ all the walking) we finally arrived and they told us buses started at 2pm every half hour..last bus 4:30pm. They DID NOT mention keeping you tour ticket stubs..but more on that later. (umm HELLO, this needs to be told right away... I'm sure some poor fool threw theirs away) We walked in, a tour guide took us through the casino and down where we passed the Miss Teens of USA on their tour..we each waved to our states... we went through the aquarium and outside... around and down to lazy river/rapids where we were turned loose. We got chairs put on more sunscreen got inter tubes and got in. The lazy river takes about 30 min for a complete turn and is fun. We then went up the first inter tube elevator thing to where the tower line starts (if you walk, this is the point you get inter tube and join lazy river people...) you float in a line and up again an elevator type thing (or down the rapids) we did both slides which took about 2 hrs w/ rapids and river and all... then got out, took bathroom break, put on more sunscreen and got food. There's the shark bits stand. They have 4 value meals.. 3 at 8 bucks and 1 at 7. A wrap, fries or chips and drink is the first one, then there's the chicken nuggets, fries or chips, cookie and drink, the 3rd was one the 7 dollar one... hot dog, fries or chips and drink and #4 which I got, pizza, fries or chips and drink. (we got fries as the chips seemed like less food than the fries) we ate then headed over to the Mayan tower... swam through a pool and got in line for Leap of Faith... it didn't look too bad passing by, but at the top looking down... I backed out and let dad go... a girl behind me also backed out and we walked down... (It was straight down and made me feel sick) dad liked it though... we then swam a little and got double inter tube to do Serpent slide which is right next to leap of faith and also goes through shark tank...just not as fast or straight down..I liked it...then dad did challenger and we went back to out stuff to put on more sunscreen (It was like 2:30 by this point) we decided to go down rapids instead of power tower slide...before leaving. This is where we made mistake... I am part Irish and my skin is very fair... I got burnt on my legs and shoulders and upper chest a bit and on my eye...which started to hurt halfway through the rapids. Dad just simply forgot we would be on our backs with stomach and legs and all towards sun and did not put sunscreen on his front... he got burnt. We changed into dry clothes, drank water and then headed towards bus. (3:30pm by now) when we got to bus they wanted to see our yellow tour ticket stubs..which we thankfully kept but had to fish out, apparently others did not know to keep as well as we saw several people fishing it out of their stuff. We were tired and all by now but dad wanted to check out the liquor store, so we went and he got 2 bottles of his Drambuie and then on way in we bought 2 frozen mango daiquiris and sat inside shopping area and drank them... there were good, plenty of booze in them and only 7 bucks (we tipped a dollar each too so 8 a piece) which was cheaper than Atlantis' 11 bucks a piece. We got on ship and took a small nap before dressing for dinner. We ate in Palace again, and again food was excellent. We went to Broadway show and loved it. All songs were good. Mom especially liked the ending ones from Momma Mia. I met Adam and a few of the others after the show as I left while John was talking about White Hot Night... they were nice and polite. I then went and got some after sun aloe Vera stuff from on board shop as I was hurting and so was dad. We used it the rest of cruise and through Sat. I had planned to make the White Hot Night, but was not feeling well, tired and hurting...so I called it a night. Again, we had to call about teens in hallways, screaming and carrying on. Our towel animal was a dogie, he was cute!
ay 5, Thurs July 22, 2010 Great Stirrup Cay last day on ship- We ate in buffet and started down to tenders. We got on tender and noticed the waves weer about 3 ft and it was rocking the tenders a bit. Got on island, got pics taken..walked around and went to market... we got a cat (statue type thing) and me and mom decided it was too hot and I was not swimming as I was still feeling bad from being burnt. Dad promised to met us later for lunch on ship. Me and mom were only 2 to go back to ship on tender... it took forever as the waves were getting bigger and we were being rocked back and forth and pushed away from ship...finally we were back on ship. We got iced coffees, and went out to look on deck. I got Ginger Ale from bar as I was feeling just a little queasy from tender ride. We went back to room and laid down and then it was time for lunch. I took rest of ginger ale w/ me and we headed down to Palace. Dad has not shown up yet so we figured he was not coming and sat down...he joined us ten min later, just after we ordered. While in the middle of the starters, the Captain came on and told us about a Tropical Depression near Cuba. He then informed us the last tenders had left and no one else would be allowed to go on island but those on island were fine and could stay at that time. We weighed anchor later and he moved us around a bit a few times. It was funny looking out on deck later and watching the tenders bringing people back... they were going back and forth and side to side looking about to topple over... i over heard one man telling his little kid they should have stayed to watch the next tender 'try' to unload the people. I was glad I was on ship already. We left at normal time and Captain again explained that it should not affect us, but we would see heavy rains in Miami in morning. I took ginger before bed thinking it might get a little rough. The waves did get up to about 7 ft. I got a Blue Lagoon and dressed for dinner in Le Bistro. It was excellent if a little hard to find. Me and dad had Onion soup... excellent, and salad... a little bitter for my tastes. We both had Fillet...which was EXCELLENT..tender and all. Mom order veggie dish w/ goat cheese and it was too strong for her. The manager then went out and got some sort of spinach and cheese pie from dinning and our waitress bought her the duck salad, minus the duck (she doesn't eat meat) so we were good. I had the puffs for dessert, lemon, Carmel and I forgot the third one. Very good. Dad had chocolate...all good... all worth it. We did not do Cagney's as mom doesn't eat meat and I am not a big steak person, and 25 a person... a little much if we don't want that...we walked around watching the waves and it started to sprinkle. We then went to show... all singers sang a solo and then John came out and told a few jokes, very funny...then comedian came out and he was funny... we didn't stay for last little bit-fountains. I got a pen w/ the light up ship in it and went back to room. We packed and then dad wanted to go walking one last time, but they had it blocked off due to waves and strong wind. No noises to disturb us on last night. We had a rat towel animal. He was adorable.
Day 6, Friday July 23, 2010 Miami, FL- We were up early watching her pull into Miami. We dressed, packed and then off to Palace one last time... had a wonderful breakfast and heard then call those taking off their own luggage. We were purple tags. We went to Gallery and asked about pics from private island and were told they didn't come out (wonder if film fell over board from tender???) Anyways... it was raining but no bad. We got out luggage and went to Captain Cook's bar which is near where you disembark. We waited and were called. We left, said goodbye to John and crew and were off the Sky... we then went through customs, got out luggage and went outside...where we got wet getting to car... by the time we got to car and got out to main Miami street, it was flooding... you could barely see. We had no idea Bonnie was going through Miami at this time...we drove through about 2 hrs of very heavy rain and wind. It was stressful. We then hit a wreck... we stopped and ate at a Cracker Barrel and got back on road. We got to hotel around 4pm. Holiday Inn right no Beach of St. Augustine. We took in over night bags and got on internet. Mom was exhausted so me and dad went to Mexican Rest just down street... thankfully they had 2 for 1 house Margaritas... yeah! Food was good. We brought mom take out. I did not walk on beach, still tired and sun burnt. I read a bit and then took some Betrayal and went to bed. (sinus acting up now that we got off ship)
Day 7 Sat July 24, 2010 St. Augustine, FL-
We got up and tried to go to Mickie Dee's but too crowded, we went into downtown St. Augustine where shopping and square is... and found a French Bistro. We had home made crepes... mom had strawberry, dad orange marmalade and me lemon marmalade. Chef was from Lyon, France and opened it up about 2 yrs ago. It is called Le Bistro DE Leon. they have website. They do tea, and have a cheese and wine plate as well. We plan to go back. We shopped a little and found Claude's chocolates (website for them too) Belgium and French chocolate to die for... excellent, then we hit rd for ATL. We had a big breakfast so we stopped and ate lunch at Mickey Dee's... then stopped again for iced coffee down the road. We got home finally around 6:30 (Traffic and wrecks) and unpacked and watched Season Finale of Doctor Who... that's it... our whole trip. feel free to ask any questions.
All in All a good trip... some negatives and kinks, but did it ruin my trip? NO... would I go back? Yes.