Hello all! We just got back from our Sky 4 day Bahama cruise a few days ago and here's the goods on our trip. A little background on us first. This was our 3rd cruise and all have been with NCL. I am 35 and DH is 36. We had originally booked a 9 day Southern Caribbean on the Dawn but last November my DH almost died from a blood clot and once the medical bills pilled in we decided instead of cancelling our trip all together that we would down size it. So we picked the Sky itinerary and we were very excited about checking out the Bahamas. So here goes!
We flew into Fort Lauderdale 2 days prior to our cruise. We stayed at the Boca Bridge Waterfront Hotel in Boca Raton and it was a very nice hotel with good views of the ocean and a very cool drawbridge. We spent the 2 days exploring and driving around in our rental car. We visited Del Ray beach and had a nice time watching the surfers. The beach was great and the sand was so soft. We also drove to lake Okeechobee and that was a nice drive where we saw a lot of wildlife along the way. The lake itself was unimpressive and pretty dirty, but we enjoyed the ride out there. We ate at Boca Breakfast Club and the food and service left a lot to be desired. We grabbed lunch at Boston's and the food and service was fantastic! It's a great place, with great atmosphere and lots of TV's for us football fans. For dinner we ate at McCormick & Schmick's and let me tell you that place is amazing! The food was to die for, the drinks were great and the service was good. They were so busy that night because they were offering free dinners to any Military personnel for Veterans day, so kudos to them!
We dropped our rental off at the airport and jumped on their free shuttle to the port. We had to fill out new luggage tags with the porter because 3 days before our cruise we received a up sell email and jumped on the chance to change our cabin from a AFT balcony to a FWD Owners Suite. We then checked in at the office for suite guests and that went very well. John then waited for more guests and then he escorted us on the ship. He's a great guy and really entertained us on the walk to the ship. Great customer service! We then all went to Cagney's for lunch and as always the food was great but for the first time the service was not good. But we enjoyed our lunch very much! This was the first day of the "Iced Tea" saga. During our whole cruise I always ordered iced tea with my meals and only actually received it twice. It became a joke between my DH and I and was just very odd. We decided to make our own sail away party in the Jacuzzi enjoying some champagne, it was a great time! I became sea sick for the first time tonight and had a hard time adjusting to the motion of being at the front of the ship. I was able to deal with it by laying in bed, but standing up made it worse for me. So DH went a grabbed me some food at the buffet and I spent the evening in bed and watched a movie until I fell asleep. Luckily that was the only night that happened. The food from the buffet was good and helped settle my stomach.
The cabin was amazing and we loved it! We stayed in #8001 and it was very hard to leave at the end of our cruise. The balcony is beyond huge and has a Jacuzzi, 4 chairs, 2 tables and 2 loungers. Even with all that stuff out there we had tons of room to walk around. The balcony is very private. The cabin has tons of storage and I probably used about ¼ of it, but the walk in closet was great! It has 2 bathrooms. One has a toilet and sink and the other is a full bath with a tub, shower, toilet and sink. The bedroom was very nice with a dressing table, there is a bar with access to anything you want in the mini fridge at no additional cost. The living room has 2 little sofas and a coffee table. There is a dining room table where we had several meals in our cabin. Enjoying the balcony and eating meals in our cabin were our favorite parts of this cabin. We did receive all the suite benefits so if anyone has a question about that, please let me know. We did receive and new appetizer of some sort every day and that was enjoyable. We also received 3 bottles of liquor for free per our choice from a list they provide. Our butler Jomar was FANTASTIC as was our room steward. We very much enjoyed them and had a great time getting to know them. Virginia was our concierge on this cruise and on our Pearl cruise Carlos was our concierge and he set very high standards. Because of the fantastic service he provided us on the Pearl cruise we were disappointed with this aspect of our cruise. One funny thing with this cabin is...the anchor. If you are asleep when they drop that baby you will wake up in a split second! We were dying laughing when they dropped it because the noise is crazy loud! I had been snoozing the alarm and let me tell you I was wide awake after that for sure! We loved this cabin and hope to sail in it again, maybe on our next cruise. They did offer a 50% off pressing service for anyone who needed it the first night. I have some great pictures of the cabin and balcony if anyone would like to see them. I just can't get them to post here on CC, but I would be happy to email them.
Grand Bahama Island
Once we got off the ship after a tiny fiasco due to rude people and miscommunication by some of the crew we were off to enjoy our day. We rented a car and drove all over the island. We stopped at Silver Point Beach and Fortune Beach. These beaches were beyond beautiful! There were no more than 6 people on each beach. The water was warm and clear and we enjoyed our time here so very much! We could have stayed for days or even months at these beaches, they were stunning. We stopped and did some shopping at a shopping center we came across. There isn't much to see just driving around on the island but we always enjoy seeing the places we visit outside of the resorts and away from the ship. Once we dropped off our rental we did a little bit of shopping at the dock and then headed back on board. Tonight was the VIP cocktail reception with the Captain but decided to skip that since I was sick the previous night. So we went to see Rich Purpura and enjoyed his show, he's a funny one! They did have the "Fill the bag" laundry special tonight for $19.95 for anyone who needed it.
Today we met Virginia and she escorted us off the ship. We thought about renting a scooter and were talking to a guy about it and asked him about car rental places. He then told us that the car rentals were at the airport and then opened a map and showed us where we could take our scooter to see the sights. I looked down at the map and saw "Budget" on the map. So seeing how he lied to our faces I gathered our map and told him no thanks. We then walked about 3 miles to the rental center. It was a long walk but we had a fun time. Once we got our rental she told us she would drive us back downtown when we returned for the day. We ended up driving over 75 miles this day and saw tons of the island! We drove over to Atlantis and that place looks amazing! But we really wanted to do our usual and drive around to get a good view of Nassau away from the resorts. We stopped at Shark beach and walked around for a little bit. We ended up at another beach and rented a wave runner for 30 minutes. We had a blast zipping around the ocean! Once we were done exploring for the day we returned the rental and she drove us down to the shops. We did some window shopping and grabbed some pizza and headed back to the ship. DH went to Bingo and won $91.00 and had fun, that man loves bingo and always manages to win. We went to Majority Rules tonight and that was very funny! DH tried the slot tournament but didn't advance.
Great Stirrup Cay
This was by far my favorite day of the cruise. We originally had the rave runner excursion booked but changed that to the kayak tour since we rode wave runners in Nassau. But more on that later. Virginia set up a meeting place for anyone who wanted to go ashore to meet up and she would take the group to the tender. Once aboard we were on our way to the island for a great day of fun! Once we got of the tender we went over to our left and put our stuff on 2 loungers and went to swim. The water seemed cold at first but once we got our whole body wet it was warm and we went swimming all around. We went over to the rocky area and saw tons of crabs, shells, fish and all kinds of fun creatures. We enjoyed it so much we went back to grab our water shoes since the rocks were a wee bit sharp and we then went back for more exploring. The tide came in while we were looking around and we headed back to the beach. For the first time in my life I actually swam in the ocean when I could not touch the bottom and why that may not be exciting to some, it was for this land locked Colorado girl. There was a jelly fish that a very nice gentleman pointed out so we could avoid that little creature. I wasn't looking forward to reenacting that episode of "Friends" on the beach. We went back to our loungers and enjoyed a bucket of beers and soaked up some sun. We relaxed until it was time to head to the meeting place for the kayak tour. Ok so the kayak tour was AMAZING! The tour guides were exceptional and I would recommend this tour to anyone. We took a 5 minute walk across the island to the kayaks. If you do this tour make sure you have shoes of some sort on, the trail has small rocks everywhere. They have a place to hold backpacks and bags, which was really nice. We all hopped into our kayaks and off we went. We were able to go at our own pace and the guides did not hurry anyone. I would take the 12:30 tour for this reason alone since it is the last one of the day. The tour guides told us all about GSC, the surrounding islands, the animals, sea life and what it's like for them to live on the island for 5 months out of the year. My DH did all the paddling and I took our video camera and I am so happy we did that. The video turned out great and our family loved watching it. The water was so clear, we could see all the way to the bottom. We saw fish, tons of starfish and a jelly fish. They took us to a little beach where we were free to go and explore in the ocean. The guides went a found a huge starfish and some conch shells. They told us about them and everyone was able to hold and touch them. I actually ended up finding a conch shell on my own so that was very neat. There are two stingrays that frequent the area but we didn't see them. They wrapped up the tour and we all headed back. Again, this tour was great and the guides were fantastic! We then headed back to the beach and walked through the straw market for a quick little look. Then it was time to get on the tender. While in line we realized we were very hungry. We were having so much fun we forgot to eat during the day, whoops! On the tender ride back we saw why NCL skips the island when the weather is bad. That was one crazy ride! It was very windy and the tender was going up and down so much that the people in the front were getting wet from the water splashing up. We were on the top all the way in the back and it was like being on an amusement ride. Everyone up front was squealing and laughing and getting very wet and we were all laughing in the back...that is until we got wet. Ok, we were still laughing! Anyways, it was a great day and we loved every minute of it. Tonight DH went to bingo again and won $860.00 (craziness I tell ya!) We went to the Farewell Variety & Comedy show and that was fun. I don't care how many times I see "Fountains" it cracks me up every single time! Archie is a great cruise director and we enjoyed him and his humor very much!
As always food is very subjective but here's what we tried and what we liked and didn't like. I did room service one night for dinner and it was very good. We ate at Great Outdoors after GSC and the comfort food was yummy. We ate breakfast twice in our cabin and the omelets' were excellent. We ate breakfast twice in Cagney's and as always the food was great but the service was not. Due to this we decided for the first time to not eat dinner there during our cruise. We ate at the buffet once and the food was fresh, hot and good. On one night we ordered dinner from the main dining room and ate in our cabin. The food was excellent. Then we ate one dinner in the main dining room and it was just awful. I hate to say it, but it was. The food was cold and I was shocked that they actually served it to us. You could tell by looking at it that is was cold and had been sitting out for some time. It was a huge disappointment after the meal we ate in our cabin that was soooo good. The waiter also did this odd thing where he stood 3 feet behind my DH and waited for me to eat so he could swoop in and take my plate. It made it very distractive to have a conversation with my DH. The Caesar salad and the strawberry soufflE were great, but the other food was not. So even though we did have this one bad meal our overall food experience was good one for sure.
Was a breeze. We grabbed breakfast in Cagney's then we headed out to find Jomar and our room steward to thank them personally and give each of them a tip. We grabbed our bags took one last look at our beautiful cabin and in no time we were off the ship. We went right to a Customs agent who by the way was the funniest freaking person, I was laughing so hard my stomach hurt. And just like that our Sky cruise was over. We grabbed a rental shuttle to the airport picked up our car and headed north to Fort Lauderdale.
We had a great cruise and will be sailing on NCL again (we bought a cruise reward while we were on board, yippie!) We were disappointed in the level or service we received in comparison to our Pearl and Dawn cruise but it in no way ruined our cruise. We were always greeted in the halls by staff and enjoyed chatting with them. High marks to Jomar and our steward for their great service. Archie was a great cruise director and very entertaining. Now it's time to start looking for our next cruise destination!