We sailed on NCL Sky 2/14/2011 our of Miami for a 4 night trip to the Bahamas. We booked everything through NCL direct. We were able to use our travel credit that we purchased on our previous 7 day traip with NCL even though it states that it is only good for 6+ day sailings. I ended up just asking over the phone if I could use it and was told no problem.
We arrived at Miami from Minneapolis on time. We took a taxi to the port - $24 one way. It was just faster than getting into a large van/bus of people which would have saved us all of $4. Check in went fast - we stood in line for approximaly 10 minutes and upon check in were told that we could enter onto the ship right away being the latitude members that we are.
We got onto the ship and walked around to find different things. We went to the spa right away to see what they were charging for day passes only to find out that they do not have the pools/tubs like other NCL ships. We did eat on the back of the ship at "Out Door Cafe". The food was what was expected - good. Our room was ready by 2:30 so we went there next.
We had an inside room deck 9 aft. First impressions are that this room is small. But you have to remember that you are only in the room to nap, sleep and get ready for the day. The room was very clean and our room steward did an outstanding job - we met her 2 days into the cruise but that was only because we were out on the deck most of the time. The only down sides that I saw were: The bed for me was as hard as sleeping on the floor. My wife loved the bed and said she got some much needed rest. I enjoy a much softer bed. I enjoy watching a few minutes of TV just before bed each night and was disappointed to find the same thing on night after night. There was 6-8 channels to choose from and other than CNN played almost the same thing. They did have ESPN but all they showed was basketball - you would think that they could have gotten at least one hockey game shown. The same movies played all the time at the same time. NCL also replayed the "Undercover Boss" episode that had NCL's president undercover. The only big complaint I had about the room was that I could hear the wind blowing all the time. I think it was because of the balcony rooms that had their balcony doors open all the time allowing the wind noise to be sucked through any crack it could find. I compare the nice to a winter night when you can hear the wind blowing outside of your house.
Day #1 had us in Freeport Bahamas. We took the taxi into town to go to the beach. The taxi van dropped us off at the casino and it was a short walk - about 1-2 minutes, to the beach. We spent about 2-3 hours there before heading back. Taxi was $5 per person each way. Honestly there isn't much to do in Freeport and I would not get off the ship if I went there again. The beach was very nice which was worth it if you do get off. My wife and I were part of a game they had at the pool deck. It was fun if you like to get messy. I ended up winning the event that I was a part of and at the end of the game the prize was the staff dumped a bucket of who knows what over our heads. The stuff washes right off and doesn't stain and it's all in good fun. The only thing that I saw wrong with this is that they just handed us a clean towel and said thanks! I'm not one to demand things but even a free t-shirt or at least a free adult beverage would have been worth it. I along with the other adult guy who won his event bot agreed that at least something could have been given to us.
That night we did on board ship activities and ate at the Crossing Main Dinning Room on deck #5. Food service was nice but food was average. I had lobster and a steak. It was the first time that I've had lobster and was disappointed. Mine was dry and just had no flavor. It appeared to be over cooked. My steak was dry as the beach. My wife had chicken which was juicy and tasted great - wish I would have gotten that.
Later that night we went to Longboards Bar and had an order of hot chicken wings which were great - we ended up doing this every night at about 11:30 just before going to sleep.
Day #2 had us in Nassau Bahamas which was nice. We went to the British Colonial Hilton and bought a day pass. It was a short 10-15 minute walk from the pier to the Hilton. The day pass cost $55/per person with a food/beverage credit of $30/per person. We spent most of the morning and early part of the day on their beach with less than 30 people around us. The heated pool was nice along with having a nice bathroom less than 100 feet away from the beach. We ended up getting 2 burgers and 4 drinks which cost us $72 minus that $60 food/beverage credit it cost us $12 which was the 18% gratuity that they tack on to everything.
The only bad thing to say about Nassau was that they make you walk through this building to get into town. It's just a way to sell you something. They same things are for sale outside of this building and are cheaper. The straw market we walked by because honestly it just didn't look good to us. IT seemed that all they were selling was handbags. Just like any place there is someone always trying to sell you something or take you some where. We just said no and kept walking or at times didn't respond. To get back onto the pier to get to the ship we had to go through Bahama security. Military dressed people checking ID's along with Ship key cards. This process took about 20 minutes and was not run well because you had to go back through the same building that you entered through - I think so you could buy just one more thing.
We ate in the crossing dinning room this night and the food was much better. Nothing to write home about and say that it was the best that I have ever had but it was better than the previous night. I had a pasta dish which I know is hard to screw up so I knew I was safe.
Day #3 had us on NCL's private island which is under construction. From the last time we were there it is starting to look much better but is no where near being completed. The much needed beach space is the best thing about the island. Before the tenders unloaded right on the swimming beach - now they have their own little harbor. Honestly we were only on the island for 30 minutes just to see the changes. We spent most of this day on a the pool deck on the ship reading our book that we each brought with. I did buy a bucket of beers but at the cost of $24 for a six pack I slowly drank them over the course of 2 days.
We did eat in the Palace Main Dinning Room this night and were disappointed on the service and the food. I took for ever about 30 minutes to even get our order taken and when it did arrive it arrived wrong. Our food took for ever to get to us and I honestly believe it was because our server was tending to other guests and could have used some help. We were seated in the corner of the room and we felt like we had been forgotten - I could have been because we were seated next to a table of 10 who were ordering bottles of wine like it was water. I had the sea trout which was by far the fish that I have ever eaten. There were more bones in the fish that what there should have been.
Over all I would have been happier just going to the buffet this night.
We did attend the shows which were good. The comedian, Rich Purpura, was outstanding and had us laughing most of the show. The house bands were also good and played a lot of different music. We went to the casino but didn't win anything - we spent less than $100 there. We attended an art auction which was interesting but I doubt that I will go to one again. There was a guy who bought close to $20,000 worth of art and magically at the last auction he won the $500 credit that they giving away - kinda think that was rigged.
All of the staff were friendly and helpful. I have to say that they looked like they enjoyed their jobs. Everyone says the ship looks old but I have to disagree. The ship looks better than some of the other major cruise lines that were in port at the same time we were. It is still obvious that the ship was once in Hawaii and this would be the only think I would say to upgrade and remove these Hawaii island decorations. We only spend $270 extra while on board the ship - these costs were the $12 per day per person, a bucket of beers (my wife brought a 12 pack of coke with) and the $250 ($100 credit back to account) deposit we put down on for our next NCL cruise.