This was our fourth cruise. We have sailed on Carnival's Mardi Gras, Celebrity's Mercury, and Royal Caribbean's Sovereign of the Seas. I read many reviews about NCL's Sky before we sailed. Some raived, others ranted, so we weren't sure what to expect.We sailed on 3/18/01 from Miami on the Eastern Caribbean itinerary. Embarkation was the easiest and most pleasant of any cruise we have ever been on.Our room was an inside cabin, we were surprised how small the cabin was and the lack of drawer space. There was plenty of room to hang clothes for two people though. We found we could store clothes in the suitcases, under the bed and that solved the problem. The size of the room was not a problem as it was laid out well and everything worked the way it was supposed to. It was actually quite cozy and was the quietest cabin we've ever had on a cruise.This was the first cruise we had been on where we were able to have lunch in the dining room instead of the buffet upon embarkation. What a treat to be able to be waited on for our first meal aboard the Sky!We did have one major complaint. My wife and I are both smokers. On our previous cruises we were able to buy cigarettes, duty free, on the ship. We were expecting that on the Sky as well, so we did not bring extra cigarettes with us. To our surprise, you could only buy cigarettes by the pack at the bars and they were quite expensive. So be advised, if you smoke bring enough cigarettes to get by on. We would have done that had we known. Lesson learned.Nassau. We had no intention of getting off the ship here, but we had to get off to look for cigarttes. We got caught in a major downpour there which just added to our frustration of not having enough cigarettes. To make a long story short, the next day in San Juan we were able to buy duty free cigarettes right at the port. Thus ended our frustration.Now for all the good stuff. We just loved NCL's Freestyle cruising. Not having to be at the dining room at an exact time gave us a total sense of freedom. We were now on our schedule and not the cruise line's schedule. This made the cruise very relaxing for us. I was very happy about not having to wear a suit or tie. I hate having to get dressed up when I'm on vacation. This was the only cruise we have been on, where we could still eat in the dining room and not have to put up with formal night. This made the cruise more relaxing for us as well. After all, isn't that what a vacation is supposed to be for, to get away and relax? I also liked that the tips were automatically added to my bill and I did not notice any difference in the service on the Sky. We had GREAT service!! Way to go NCL! We love Freestyle cruising. Maybe the other cruise lines will take the hint!As for the food, awe yes, the food. It was as good, if not better, than on any ship we have been on. We didn't even go to any of the alternative restaurants because we were so impressed with the food in the regular dining room. This was largely due to a waiter they call "Mr. T." We were served by him our first night and asked for him by name every night after that. He singlehandedly made this cruise an experience to remember. How could we forget, I think we both gained about ten pounds!We enjoyed this cruise so much, that we are booked on the Sky again on 2/9/02, the Western Caribbean this time. Of course we will bring enough cigarettes this time. We are also hoping Mr. T is still there. I can't think of a better place to spend Valentine's Day, or any other day for that matter.
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