May 2014 - Norwegian Sky to Caribbean - Bahamas
Boarding the vessel was extremely easy and fast. We drove in and used the port parking while on the cruise. Unfortunately all of our paperwork failed to mention where exactly we were supposed to go as far as Terminals and parking garages went. We ended up having to stop and call Norwegian to find out it was Terminal C. All of the staff was very nice, very kind. SOME of them went out of their way to make our experience extra enjoyable and others would just say sorry to special request (especially at dinner)
This cruise is good for first time cruisers or older couples that are either not aware of what is missing from the vacation aboard a cruise ship, or not into staying up too late and partying on the ship. We found ourselves quite bored in the evenings due to lack of entertainment available at sea. The fact that the ship ports every day is actually a little overwhelming and tiresome if you plan to stay up late every night. Unfortunately as hard as it seems they try the dj's and dance club never seem to be jumpin...the hot white party was OK but this cruise isn't really for younger couples who want to party and have a good time. Sadly the dance club has a very small floor and looks like something more of a strip club scene with all the velvet chairs that face the floor which makes it a bit awkward to want to get up and dance with people just sitting and staring...Convinced that Norwegian sends some crew members out as "cruisers" and try to pull people from the chairs to dance with them to get the atmosphere going. It works a little, but it's still not the right crowd for it to be completely successful. I give them mad props for trying though as the "cruisers" were very nice individuals and tried very hard to succeed as much as they did. Other entertainment on board was either at very random times that they never seemed to fit our schedule, or just not really anything we felt like participating in. Sadly the "sports bar" only has one sports channel so it's hit or miss if you are hoping to catch a certain game. They mostly played soccer/futball games from 2010 that we noticed.
Food - main dining room "The Palace" and "The Crossing" both had the exact same menu's every night but were just worded a bit different in each. The food was very tastey, but nothing really spectacular. The presentation of the food was always impeccable but unfortunately the taste was sometimes a little bland, especially when it came to desserts. They tasted like they were flash frozen/thawed cakes. We didn't try any of the specialty restaurants because we really didn't feel like spending more money than we had to for a decent meal.
The cruise ports to 3 different islands of the Bahama's. Freeport - if you don't take or do an excursion you will be pretty bored within the first 2 hours of being there as there is not too much around the port area without taking a cab to explore. One thing I really love about Norwegian is unlike most other cruise lines I've ever gone on, they do not seem to over charge for excursions. We were going to take a cab on our own to Lucaya National Park and the cab driver wanted $100 per couple so we didn't end up going, but once we got back on board we realized too late that they actually give you excursions + "do it yourself" rates for each port of call, and according to their chart we would have been robbed blind had we taken the cab. Not only did the cab driver lie about how long it would take to get to the park but also would have upcharged us about 40% more just because we seemed gullable at the time.
Second port of call is Nassau. There is a little more to see and do around the port in Nassau however it's definitely worth $4 pp for a water-taxi to go and spend time at Atlantis for the day unless you have another excursion in mind.
Last port is Stirrup Cay which is Norwegians "private" island even though within a short distance away we noticed a Carnival cruise ship ported as well. The beach is nice, pretty big area to walk around and find privacy if wanted. Sadly it looks like a man-made beach as the sand has fake seashells in it...it looks like the island use to be a rock and it was bulldozed and turned into a private island. Again the beach was nice, the water was warm and it's pretty shallow so you can get pretty far out without any danger. Lots of activities available on the beach for a fee. We were encouraged to bring our beach towels from on board with us and there are plenty of lounge chairs available for free to use.
In all - it was a nice little cruise with a very friendly staff that seemed to try very hard to make it all as fun as possible for everyone. I really want to recognize the crew aboard this ship as they work tirelessly at cleaning and making sure the ship always looks good and they are always cooking and serving up food 24 hours a day. For as many hours as these fine people work for the most part they are all very nice, very kind and always have a smile on their face. I never heard a single one of them complain about anything...and one thing to really keep in mind is that they do this job 7 days a week with new people coming aboard twice a week ,but they still make you feel special and your cruise a one of a kind experience.
I recommend this cruise for anyone who just wants to get away and plans to do a lot of relaxing with no intention of worrying about the entertainment factor on board. I think if you lounge at the pool all day and go to sleep early enough to get off the boats when they arrive in port at 8am every morning and make the most of your day ashore you will truely enjoy this cruise. If you are honeymooning or young and looking to have fun till the wee hours of the morning this is not the cruise for you.