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As the title of this indicates, this cruise was a bit of an experiment. We are experienced NCL cruisers, but never for a weekend cruise and never embarking anywhere but NYC. So, this particular cruise was much shorter than usual and much further away from home. My DH & I were very interested to see how we would feel about the experience. HOTEL: We opted for the Hilton Downtown, arranged by NCL for us. The price was right and the hotel is ideally suited to get to the pier quickly and easily. The shuttle was set for 12:30pm, and we intended to be having lunch in Cagney's at that time... so we decided to take a cab two hours earlier so as to maximize our time on board. EMBARKATION: We had priority embarkation, and that went quickly and smoothly. We arrived at the pier at about 10:50 and were onboard at 11:30. We were escorted to Cagney's and introduced to the Concierge. After a nice lunch, we went to our cabin. SHIP & CABIN: The ship has been well-reviewed. It is pleasant, easy to navigate, in good shape and offers many activities. The forward Penthouse with Large Balcony was great. Nicely decorated, large and very comfortable... and the balcony was indeed large (very, very large, in fact). DRINKS & DINING: We opted for the Specialty Dining Plan, and enjoyed the Italian and French restaurants, and Cagney's. The meals were generally wonderful, but we did have a few service issues. During one meal our waiter/waitress was changed twice. So, we had someone new for the appetizers, the main and for the dessert. I think we had a fourth person serve coffee. It created long delays between the courses. Also, we would have added extra gratuity to the cheque had we had one person; but we didn't feel the service merited anything extra in the circumstances. Nonetheless, the meals themselves were prepared to order and delicious. The lobster dish in Le Bistro was nothing short of amazing. Most passengers seemed to have the Unlimited Beverage Package, and this did cause a few line-ups at the various bars. That said, we never had to wait overly long; and while the staff did seem a little overwhelmed - they remained pleasant and efficient at finding out who was next and taking their order. The decision to remove signing for the drinks was a good one. It really helped speed up the process of getting served at the bars. It was my birthday weekend, and the cabin was decorated with balloons and streamers, and I had a certificate for a birthday cake at any of the restaurants. I had mentioned this to my PCC, but hadn't purchased the package... so this was all a nice surprise! ACTIVITIES & EXCURSIONS: We were invited to the Captain's Reception. We've been to these on other cruises, but found this one to be rather unique. There being so few "suite guests", there was a lot of face-time with the Captain and senior officers. Each one seemed to make a point of engaging passengers in conversation. It wasn't just a handshake in the line, but real conversations with them. It was nice to have that opportunity. We went to Blue Lagoon Island and Great Stir-up Cay. Our weather was mostly overcast, so this affected the enjoyment of both locations. One note: We felt Blue Lagoon Island was more suited to young children, as the water was at most waist height in pretty much all of the beach / lagoon areas. It was not really possible for adults to swim there. DISEMBARKATION: We did the easy walk-off, and it was indeed quick and easy. While we were escorted to the exit point on the ship, there really wasn't much of a line (9:00am); and we were in a cab to the airport very quickly thereafter. MIAMI vs. NYC: All told - sailing from Miami instead of NYC added about two hours of flight time onto our travel. Thus a day of five hours of travel with one plane change became seven hours with one plane change. That can be a little tiring BUT we found the arrangements at the pier in Miami were so much more calm and organized as compared to NYC. There wasn't any fuss getting a taxi from the hotel to the pier; there wasn't any of the usual argument with taxi drivers about whether they wanted to drop you off (and your three small children) on the side of the road six lanes of traffic across from the pier in NYC as opposed to driving you right to the pier itself (an annual argument that our cab drivers lose); and there wasn't the usual chaos trying to find a baggage handler to take our bags. While NYC has a lounge for VIP guests and Miami really doesn't for these weekend cruises - it was still a much better experience overall sailing from Miami in terms of boarding logistics. It was also nice to be able to use our deck fully from the first moment on board. It can be chilly outside for the first day or two from NYC, so being in Miami gave us much more immediate and enjoyable deck time. Overall, we definitely recommend Miami as an embarkation point even if you have to fly to get there; and while a weekend cruise is short - it was fun to be away and we greatly enjoyed our time on board and in the Bahamas.

Experimenting with a Weekend Cruise

Norwegian Sky Cruise Review by Kingmaker_inc

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2015
  • Destination: Bahamas
  • Cabin Type: Penthouse with Large Balcony
As the title of this indicates, this cruise was a bit of an experiment. We are experienced NCL cruisers, but never for a weekend cruise and never embarking anywhere but NYC. So, this particular cruise was much shorter than usual and much further away from home. My DH & I were very interested to see how we would feel about the experience.

HOTEL: We opted for the Hilton Downtown, arranged by NCL for us. The price was right and the hotel is ideally suited to get to the pier quickly and easily. The shuttle was set for 12:30pm, and we intended to be having lunch in Cagney's at that time... so we decided to take a cab two hours earlier so as to maximize our time on board.

EMBARKATION: We had priority embarkation, and that went quickly and smoothly. We arrived at the pier at about 10:50 and were onboard at 11:30. We were escorted to Cagney's and introduced to the Concierge. After a nice lunch, we went to our cabin.

SHIP & CABIN: The ship has been well-reviewed. It is pleasant, easy to navigate, in good shape and offers many activities. The forward Penthouse with Large Balcony was great. Nicely decorated, large and very comfortable... and the balcony was indeed large (very, very large, in fact).

DRINKS & DINING: We opted for the Specialty Dining Plan, and enjoyed the Italian and French restaurants, and Cagney's. The meals were generally wonderful, but we did have a few service issues. During one meal our waiter/waitress was changed twice. So, we had someone new for the appetizers, the main and for the dessert. I think we had a fourth person serve coffee. It created long delays between the courses. Also, we would have added extra gratuity to the cheque had we had one person; but we didn't feel the service merited anything extra in the circumstances. Nonetheless, the meals themselves were prepared to order and delicious. The lobster dish in Le Bistro was nothing short of amazing.

Most passengers seemed to have the Unlimited Beverage Package, and this did cause a few line-ups at the various bars. That said, we never had to wait overly long; and while the staff did seem a little overwhelmed - they remained pleasant and efficient at finding out who was next and taking their order. The decision to remove signing for the drinks was a good one. It really helped speed up the process of getting served at the bars.

It was my birthday weekend, and the cabin was decorated with balloons and streamers, and I had a certificate for a birthday cake at any of the restaurants. I had mentioned this to my PCC, but hadn't purchased the package... so this was all a nice surprise!

ACTIVITIES & EXCURSIONS: We were invited to the Captain's Reception. We've been to these on other cruises, but found this one to be rather unique. There being so few "suite guests", there was a lot of face-time with the Captain and senior officers. Each one seemed to make a point of engaging passengers in conversation. It wasn't just a handshake in the line, but real conversations with them. It was nice to have that opportunity.

We went to Blue Lagoon Island and Great Stir-up Cay. Our weather was mostly overcast, so this affected the enjoyment of both locations. One note: We felt Blue Lagoon Island was more suited to young children, as the water was at most waist height in pretty much all of the beach / lagoon areas. It was not really possible for adults to swim there.

DISEMBARKATION: We did the easy walk-off, and it was indeed quick and easy. While we were escorted to the exit point on the ship, there really wasn't much of a line (9:00am); and we were in a cab to the airport very quickly thereafter.

MIAMI vs. NYC: All told - sailing from Miami instead of NYC added about two hours of flight time onto our travel. Thus a day of five hours of travel with one plane change became seven hours with one plane change. That can be a little tiring BUT we found the arrangements at the pier in Miami were so much more calm and organized as compared to NYC.

There wasn't any fuss getting a taxi from the hotel to the pier; there wasn't any of the usual argument with taxi drivers about whether they wanted to drop you off (and your three small children) on the side of the road six lanes of traffic across from the pier in NYC as opposed to driving you right to the pier itself (an annual argument that our cab drivers lose); and there wasn't the usual chaos trying to find a baggage handler to take our bags.

While NYC has a lounge for VIP guests and Miami really doesn't for these weekend cruises - it was still a much better experience overall sailing from Miami in terms of boarding logistics. It was also nice to be able to use our deck fully from the first moment on board. It can be chilly outside for the first day or two from NYC, so being in Miami gave us much more immediate and enjoyable deck time.

Overall, we definitely recommend Miami as an embarkation point even if you have to fly to get there; and while a weekend cruise is short - it was fun to be away and we greatly enjoyed our time on board and in the Bahamas.
Kingmaker_inc’s Full Rating Summary
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