So, I had wanted to go on a cruise for the longest time, and while it was a wish of mine, I didn't want to have spend a lot of money on something I wasn't sure if I was really going to enjoy or not. So, I opted for a short 3-night cruise sailing out of Miami to Nassau, Bahamas, on the Norwegian Sky.
As we live in New Jersey, we decided to take a flight to arrive to Miami the same day as the cruise was sailing. Some of our family picked us up at the airport, and we went to lunch, and then we were on our way. We got to the port at around 1:45pm, and the embarkation process was very easy. In a matter of 15 minutes, all pictures had been taken, credit card infomation was processed, and we were on the ship! There were a total of three in our party; all different ages - my 68-year-old widowed mother, myself (a 39-year-old mom of one), and my little 11-month-old baby boy. All employees of NCL, both in the terminal before boarding, and once we got on the ship, were very helpful and accomodating with us since I had the baby stroller, diaper bag, baby, etc. I liked that a lot.
Once we boarded, we went straight to our stateroom, #6210, on the Oslo deck. Our room was an oceanview, and it was a perfect size for the three of us. The only real complaint I have is that the layout of the deck is very uncomfortable because it is not elevator-accesible. To get to the stateroom, we had to take an elevator to the seventh floor, and then, fold up the stroller, and carry everything down one flight of stairs to the deck where our stateroom was. The stateroom was not overly large, but it wasn't outrageously small, either. We had two single beds, and a pack 'n play for the baby set up in the middle between the two beds. I did not feel cramped, nor did I feel like we were knocking into one another at any time. The room was very pleasant, and very clean, with a good amount of towels, and complimentary toiletries in the bathroom.
Our luggage did not take long to arrive to our room, and once it came, we put it inside, and went out to walk around, and to become acquainted with our home for the weekend. We went to the Buffet on the Pool Deck, Deck 11, to see what was going on. Lots of people were milling about at the pool, and we went to Il Adagio, where pizza and pasta were being served. The pizza was fresh out of the oven, and the pasta was being made to order. We grabbed small plates of pasta, and grabbed a table, and sat around talking, just taking everything in.
At 4:30pm, we were scheduled for the obligatory muster drill, so before the drill, we were instructed to go to our stateroom, and grab the life preservers, and go to our assigned stations. When we got to our Station C, starboard, it was so hot and muggy, and no one had really arrived yet, just a handful of passengers, and the crew member in charge of leading the drill. When he saw me with the baby, he suggested that I go inside, so that we would be comfortable, and to not worry about it. So, we went inside, and sat in the Atrium, on the International Deck, by the windows, in very comfortable bamboo furniture, and patiently waited for the start and completion of the mandatory drill. One thing has to be said for NCL - this a cruise for anyone. In the Atrium, seated next to us, obviously also sitting out on the uncomfortably hot muster drill was a couple approximately in their 80's. There was another young family with four children, ourselves, and a very loud, very drunk bachelorette party. Anyway, finally, the drill was over, and we were free to do whatever (sorry, no pun intended).
We returned to the Pool Deck for the Sail-A-Way, and got a table by the window in the Garden Cafe. We finally pulled out of port at around 5:30pm.At around 6:30pm, we headed back to our room to change for dinner, and I could definitely feel that the ship was moving. My baby was in his pack 'n play, and kept swaying from side to side, and not voluntarily. Needless to say, both my mother and myself got very seasick and had to get some Dramimine from the Reception Desk so that we could enjoy the rest of the trip. We went to dinner at the Palace Dining Room, but a lot of the crew members could not walk straight, even they were pitching from side to side. We half-heartedly ordered our meal, but my son was tired and cranky, so I just asked our waiter to prepare our meals to take back to our room. When we got to our room, it took all of ten minutes for my son to go to sleep, and quite honestly, I was out like a light very soon after.
The next morning, we woke up bright and early, and when I looked out of the window, we were docking in Nassau, and I could see the beautiful Atlantis hotel to my left. We took showers, got dressed, and went to eat breakfast so that we could disembark as soon as possible. We had not made plans to go on any shore excursions, as we just really wanted to go shopping, and be at our leisure to come and go as we wished. Good move! We went straight to the Straw Market, and were pretty much there all morning. I found the prices to be actually even better than the prices I have found on Canal Street in Chinatown, in NYC. After an arduous morning of shopping, we went back on the ship to eat lunch, and then got off again to buy some booze and some jewelry (neither of these two items were purchased at the Straw Market). Happy with our purchases, and tired by the sun and the walking, we were back on the ship by 4:30pm, and took our Dramamine just in case. No need to worry, the seasickness that we had felt the night before did not repeat itself.
We got ready, and got dressed up, and decided to go to dinner at the Palace Dining Room. We were seated immediately, and service was great. The waiter brought my son a very fancy serving of strawberry and banana yogurt, and he loved eating that, along with the very yummy rolls that were in the bread basket. I ordered the scallops appetizer, and as my entree, the lobster and grouper dish, and both were very tasty, and impeccably presented. My mother ordered the absolutely most delicious appetizer ever; watermelon with fried feta cheese. One would never think of pairing those two together, but it was DELISH!!!!! I can't recall what her main entree was, but I do remember that she was very pleased. For dessert, I had the creme brulee, and coffee, and then, since it was my birthday, I was presented with a birthday cake, along with four or five crew members singing "Happy Birthday" to me. It was a very nice way to end my birthday.
After dinner, I had every intention of going out to explore the ship some more, but I went to our room to lay with my son while he fell asleep, and the next thing you knew, it was the next day.
Sunday was our day to spend at Grand Stirrup Cay, and I wanted to get as much sun as possible. I had made an appointment to have a hot stone massage at the Waves Spa before going ashore, so I got up at 7:00 to get going. My massage ended at 9:00am. By the time I got back to our room, both Abuelita and the baby were ready. We went to eat breakfast at the Cafe Garden buffet, and then made our way to the private island. By the time we got there, it was no later than 10:30am, and there was not an umbrella that was available, or empty lounge chair to be found. We decided to sit in a small grove of palm trees that had pretty decent shade, and that had lots of hammocks. It was a bit of a walk to the water, but that was all right. We went into the water for a while, and just hung out, but it was too hot. My mother went to make the line at the buffet once lunch was being served, but nothing looked appetizing to me. I decided that I would wait until we got back on the ship to eat. Because of the sun and the heat, we decided to head back to the ship at approximately 1:30pm. We got back to the ship, and my mother decided to take a nap while my son slept. I took the opportunity to go the lunch buffet, and go to the pool to get some sun. Boy, did I ever!!!! I was tanned to a crisp! But, it was nice that it wasn't overly crowded since everyone was at the beach.
After sunning, we got ready for dinner, and decided to go to the Crossings Dining Room. We got a table with a beautiful view, and ate the most delicious meal. There is one crew member who I have to mention, Claudia Aching, originally from Peru. She is one of the most attentive, caring, nicest employees I met on this cruise. She really made the difference for me. All of the crew members were very nice, but I had the opportunity to have her services on four different occasions, and she is one of the best examples in customer service.
Anyway, after dinner, we went to the Reception Desk to get our luggage tags, and went back to our room to pack, and get ready for the next day, which was our last day of the cruise.
On Monday morning, when I opened my eyes and looked out of my window, I was disappointed to realize that we were back in Miami and that the cruise was over. At the same time, I felt a little relief to know that everything had gone smoothly, and that nothing bad had happened.
Disembarkation was cake. We chose to get off the ship at the next-to-last group as our family would not be picking us up at the terminal until 9:00am. Yes, the line for immigration was long, but nothing that wasn't manageable. They didn't ask one single question, and let us through right away. We got our bags from the carousel and wheeled them out and were back on "terra firma" by 9:10am.
Would I go on another cruise? Absolutely, in a heart beat. I found it to be one of the best values for your money around. I plan to do a couple of things differently: 1.) Go with more people, and hopefully someone around my age 2.) Go on a longer voyage - three nights was too short!!!