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patseacruiser

Deckhand
I sailed the Sky 7/27/12 - 7/30/12. I have not sailed the Sky previously and I found that I loved it. I am 7 days shy of becoming diamond plus on Royal yet recently have been sailing Norwegian and finding that I am in love with freestyle.

Freestyle is more than just eating at what time you like. It's also not having to dress in formal to go to dinner. They have a formal - or not night. I also like the specialty restaurant choices. Unless you go on the Allure or Oasis on Royal you do not have the choices that Norwegian usually has. In fact, on the ship that is comparable with the Sky in size and itinerary - Majesty of the Seas - there are no specialty dining choices!

While you might say I am not paying to eat and that is nickel and diming us you might change your tune if you tried these restaurants. It's true - you can eat in the main dining rooms and your meals are included BUT the $25 service charge at Cagneys I would equate the quality to that of a Ruths Chris Steak House. You certainly can't eat there for $25.

Il Addagio is a $10 service charge. I could not finish the chicken parmagiana that I had. There was so much of it - and so good. My cousin had the veal saltimbucco and I tasted it - very very good.

Le Bistro is a $20 service charge. While Royal has done away with their escargot let me assure you it is live and well at Le Bistro. Okay they're not really live. Pork medallions that were so tender. Lamb chops cooked perfectly and oh so tender. But the chocolate fondue for two - well I could have licked the bowl clean. In fact, I didn't want to share with my cousin since it was for two.

We got to the port at about 10:30 on Friday morning. It was perfect. Weather was beautiful. Parked at the pier as my cousin is handicapped and handicapped parking is free at Port of Miami. We had VIP check in and were quickly ushered in and processed. I did use my passport card because I was too lazy to dig in my bag for my passport and they did ask me to sign a form that I acknowledge that I can not fly home with the passport card if anything happens.

By 11:30 we were boarding and were ushered right up to Cagneys for lunch. We opted to go to the pool bar and hang out for a little while and have a frozen drink. There I ran into my Norwegian BDM as she had a group of travel agents on the ship for a ship inspection. We chatted awhile and then it was time for lunch.

I will continue this in a little while.
 

patseacruiser

Deckhand
Lunchtime first day

We went into Cagneys for lunch and I had the pan seared scallop risotto. Fantastic. Even more fantastic is the service you get there. If you can afford a suite - Norwegian has the best suite perks than any mass market line I have come upon. Cagneys for breakfast and lunch is something that I can't even place the value on since the service and quality of food is awesome - just for breakfast and lunch - nevermind dinner.

It was a very hot Miami day and I did not take the advice I usually give - pack your bathing suite and spf in your carry on. No I packed it. My cousin did listen to me and by 1 he was swimming in the pool cooling off. That left me to use my new Nikon that I purchased on my last cruise in June in St. Maarten to try out while I sweltered in the sun.

About 2 pm I decided to go to the room and see if my luggage had arrived. As I passed the crew elevators where they were bringing up the luggage, lo and behold, there was mine. No one in sight, I quickly grabbed it and headed to my aft balcony cabin. An aft cabin is a highly sought after commodity but usually the sun will just about kill you on that balcony. We had to leave our curtains drawn just to keep the room cooler. Anyway, I digress (which I do often). I got my clothes unpacked and into my bathing suit. So I got to spend 2 hours cooling off in the pool - it was very refreshing.

About 4 pm they started calling us to muster drill. We went to our muster station and my cousin is claustrophobic and can't really stand that long so we communicated this to the staff and were escorted to Dazzles where they had a demonstration of the safety instructions for those who couldn't stand outside for 20 minutes.

After muster we decided to watch sail away from our balcony. We popped open a bottle of Prosecco and a tray of chocolate strawberries that was sent to my room and enjoyed the sights of Star Island, Fisher Island and South Beach from our balcony.

When I was having lunch I made a 8 pm reservation for Cagneys so we showered and went to the casino before our dinner. Yes if you can't find me generally on a cruise, check the keno machines and most likely you'll find me.

Dinner at Cagneys was a gastronomical fantasy. The steak was blue - just like I like it. Creamed spinach and asparagus and the bernaise sauce. I was in heaven. Capuchino and the raspberry creme brulee. Does it get anybetter than this? Actually, I'm not sure it gets better but it does stay on par.
 

patseacruiser

Deckhand
Saturday morning and we are in Great Stirrup Cay. We woke and went to breakfast in Cagneys - in no hurry to get off the ship as we have been there but I did want to check out the cabanas they just built so we will eventually take the tender over to check it out.

Breakfast at Cagneys - what bad can you say about it? Fresh fruit which I love, pastries, breads, mueslix (never tried it), and juices. Then there is the menu to order from. I tried the Tahitian Vanilla French Toast. And my cousin had the eggs benedict.

We wandered around and then went to the room and put on our bathing suits and decided to check out the private island. They are also breeding sting rays there for an eventual sting ray encounter. We went to the concierge who escorted us to the tender and went on over. The cabanas (which they only have 14 of) are to the left of the tenders quite a bit away. They have fans, chairs, table, $50 beverage credit and a cabana attendant for bar service and food service. The cost is $250 and well worth it I think. I took a few photos and we decided to take a dip in the ocean before heading back to the ship. We ended up in the ocean for about an hour it was so nice.

Of course, we repeated the lunch procedure by heading to Cagneys. You know as I write this review I realize all we did for 3 days was eat! From lunch to the pool. Oh it's such a shame to have to live like this. We checked out the steam and sauna in the spa. This ship doesn't have a hydrotherapy pool and lounge chairs like most of the other ships on Norwegian but we enjoyed what we had. For sailaway again, we were on our balcony drying our suits off with another bottle of Prosecco and a plate of chocolate covered strawberries.

At 7 pm was the Captains party. There were about 30 people there at most and it was so nice. We met the Food and Beverage Manager and I already met the Hotel Director as soon as I boarded. We shared a few drinks with another travel agent I have only known from online and it was so much fun to meet someone you only chat with on the boards. We went to Il Addagio with them for dinner at 7:30. Food at Il Addagio was very good - and very very plentiful. For a $10 service charge I couldn't even compare it to anywhere else. The food was better than Olive Garden and certain much less expensive. We got one dessert - the triple panacotta with 4 spoons. We all tried a taste of each panacotta - lemon, chocolate and mango I think the third one was. The evening was capped off with a trip to the casino.
 

patseacruiser

Deckhand
Sunday and it's our last day on the ship - boo hoo. Need I say it again? We started the day in Cagneys for breakfast. Again, it didn't disappoint. After breakfast we headed out in Nassau for the #10 bus to Sandals. I got a day pass for Sandals and I love Royal Bahamian. I stayed there for a week almost 2 years ago. It was fantastic. Highly recommend. But Sandals allows travel agents day passes and I try Sandals everywhere I go that they have a property.

We grabbed the bus and got there about 10 am. The #10 bus is $1.25 per person and drops you off and picks you up right in front of Sandals. Breezes also has day passes if you have kids over 14 but it's not even close to the quality of Sandals. Sandals charges $110 per person I believe for a day pass but if you can drink and eat - it's worth it.

We found an awesome lounger right by one of the new fire pits near the big pool when you first come onto the property. We grabbed some towels and threw them on our chair and headed into the pool (make that swim up pool bar because after all it's 5:00 somewhere). A goombay smash and a pina colada later and we were floating around the pool. They have float mats around the pool and you just grab one and hop on. By about 12:30 we decided to wander up and get a personal pizza. They made very good pizzas and I remembered that from when I stayed there 2 years ago. So we put our order in and went for a swim in the ocean. 20 minutes later our pizzas were done, the attendant signaled to us and we got out and went up to eat. Grabbed some drinks and had a pizza. Then I took my inspection and camera along. It's sort of an unwritten law for travel agents to take pictures of everything. It's a sales thing just like any other type of sales. You post the pics and hope people will engage you in conversation. So I did some room inspections and I was amazed at how much they changed the Balmoral Tower. It was originally the Manor House when I stayed there and didn't have a real balcony per se. It was sort of something you could just stand on but now they added full balconies. Very nice I must say.

About 2:30 it started to rain. Bummer - our day is cut short. Luckily we had brought some dry clothes with us and we went to a changing area, showered and changed and grabbed the bus home. But as it happens in the Bahamas so often, the rain was just a shower. Either way, we were already headed back to town.

Some shopping and back to our balcony for sailaway and watch the pier runners late for the ship. Of course, they didn't disappoint and there were a few that were running. It always makes me wonder what part of all aboard at 4:30 don't people understand when they are just sauntering up at 5:00??
 

onlyrocknroll

Deckhand
I have been looking at various cruise lines, and one of the things that I like about NCL is all of the options as far as restaraunts goes. I don't mind dressing up for dinner, but it's nice to have the option not to.
 

BOOPSAHOY

Deckhand
I am a big NCL fan. Love the aft penthouse suite and the Cagneys perk. Did you try the crabcakes benedict? Decadently delicious. Love the escargot and at Cagneys we love the oysters Rockefeller. We liked the Asian restaurant and Le Bistro too. Because we are platinum members we each get a dinner or 2 at Le Bistro with a bottle of wine and because I booked far in advance we also have a dinner for 2 at Cagneys and La Cucina (on the Gem). Reading your review has made me even more excited for out 1/18 cruise, thanks for posting:)
 
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