The cornerstone of our trip down to Miami for Spring Break was a short three day cruise on the Norwegian Sky. It was first put into service in 1999, it was revamped in 2004 to become the Pride of Aloha to service week-long Hawaiian cruises for four years. Four years later, it returned to Miami, retook its original name, and now works the Caribbean seas. Capable of holding 2,002 passengers, this 77,104 ton cruise ship is the youngest and highest-quality ship to offer 3 and 4 day cruises to the Bahamas, which is the trip we took.
Overall I was very pleased with the cruise with one exception, which NCL can’t control. It was windy our entire trip, which made staying on the pool deck a lot harder, and prevented us from landing at Great Stirrup Cay, their private island.
The itinerary was short and simple:
- Friday – Depart Miami at 5PM
- Saturday – Arrive at Nassau at 8 AM, depart at 6 PM
- Sunday – Arrive at Great Stirrup Cay at 8AM, depart at 5 PM
- Monday – Arrive at Miami at 7AM
Stinks we didn’t get to check out Great Stirrup Cay though. 🙁
Getting on the ship was easy and reminded me of our NCL cruise out of Philadelphia, that time we were bound for Bermuda. Our ship departed at 5PM and we were on board by the early afternoon. You simply take your luggage (we just had carry-on, since it was a shorter cruise) into the boarding area, fill out some paper work, and walk up for processing. The waiting area is huge but there were very few people waiting and the four of us were processed in what seemed like less than 15 minutes.
Our stateroom was exactly what we expected out of an interior stateroom. A snug 121 square foot window-less room with a converted double bed, bathroom, fridge, minisafe, and television. I never really care about accommodations on a cruise because I feel that you shouldn’t be spending that much time in your room anyway. The fun is in exploring the ship, enjoying it’s entertainment, and running around on shore.
The food was OK, not as good as when we went on a 7-day cruise to Bermuda, but it wasn’t bad. The only downside to the food options on the cruise was that both “regular” sit down restaurants served the exact same menu and we heard, from other passengers, that the upcharge restaurants weren’t really worth it. Food at the restaurants was good though, with plenty of options regardless of your preferences. The buffets were convenient, tasty enough, but lacked imagination. I don’t recommend going to the buffets for dinners as the restaurants are much better.
I’ve only taken cruises on two cruise lines, Norwegian Cruise Lines and Carnival. On Carnival we had scheduled dinners and we prefer NCL’s Freestyle Cruising option much better. We aren’t antisocial or anything but we found that having scheduled times restricts what you can do. While on this particular cruise we were in port from 8AM to 5PM, meaning we were always on the ship at dinnertime, in the past we’ve been on cruises where you had to pick a dinner time that conflicted with port time.
Affordably Priced Beer Buckets
I was surprised how affordable the beer buckets were. It was $5 a beer, 16 oz. Bud Lights or other domestics, and you got a freebie with a purchase of five. It’s not “cheap” but it’s certainly better than you’d expect at a movie theater or ballpark. They were bar prices and we were pleased not to get ripped off while we were a captive customer! 🙂
$5 bucket deposits? Really? I understand the need to have a deposit, so that people don’t take these things (I’m not sure why anyone would but I suppose people would if it were free), but five bucks? We bought a bunch of buckets during our trip and were diligently returning them each time but we still needed to talk to the “front desk” at the end of our cruise to get a $5 deposit returned. One of the bartenders suggested that we just keep the bucket, trading it in each time, but we declined and had to wait fifteen minutes to get it cleared up. I wasn’t the only one in line.
As I wrote earlier, overall I was pleased with the trip and had a great time. Even the captive day on the ship, as we floated around and looked for sun, where we spent most of our time in the casino, sitting on the pool deck, or playing games in the buffet restaurant, were fun times. I’m glad it was a shorter cruise as I was once again reminded of how stir crazy I can get on a boat, but winning a few hundred dollars in the casino made me feel like I benefited from missing Great Stirrup Cay!
We will have a post about the various places we went to on Nassau in a future post, as well as Martha’s impressions of the cruise!