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JL Huggins

Age: 37

Occupation:Lawyer

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Sky

Sailing Date: 02-9-2009

Itinerary: Bahamas

This is only the second cruise I had ever been on. I've just gotten back from 4 nights on the Norwegian Sky. Overall I enjoyed my trip but I think it could have been better. I went on one of the coldest weeks so we could not enjoy the full amenities because it was so cold. The food that is included in the package was decent though nothing to write home about. However, I felt that NCL is constantly trying to squeeze more money out of you. For example, they have specialty restaurants, which they charge about $25 + and you have to be vigilant to understand which restaurant you are walking into to be sure that you are not charged more money. They charge $12 per day for gratuities plus 15% gratuity for each item you purchase on the ship including drinks. The staff seems to be trained to be very aggressive about getting more money out of you. For example, they had a liquor tasting but it was clear that when you get there that they were supposed to pressure you to buy cases of large containers of liquor that you can only get on your last day. NCL was concerned with cleanliness on the ship and they had hand sanitizers at almost every entrance including on and off of the ship. They cleaned the cabins twice a day. I felt that they were really focused on not creating epidemics as had been in the news in the past, which I liked. However, everything in the cabins and on the interior was a bit worn. The carpet and the bathroom in the cabins were a little rusty. The sheets were so old that they had little lint balls on them, which made them uncomfortable to sleep on and I had to call room service several times to get them to give me a sheet without out those things on them. We traveled on one of the coldest weeks in the Bahamas so we could not enjoy the beaches like we hoped. There is not much to do on the ship during the day. Since it was so cold, most people did not want to stay on deck to do the outdoor games like ping pong and volley ball. The waters were so choppy that we could not go ashore on day as planned at Grand Stirrup Island, which is owned by NCL. I had heard from the staff that this has happened in the past but NCL did not seem to willing to offer us many more alternative activities since we were stuck on board. There was very little to do that was not costly like bingo or the casino. All they had was a game room with a few board games and a pop culture trivia contest in which what seemed like 1/2 the ship showed up for. They did not have enough forms for everyone to play the game and only did one set of questions even though it was clear that we were all searching for something to occupy our time. We then went to bingo which is expensive and they did not give us a discount since we were stuck on the ship. They offered us 1 bingo square for free but if you pay the $20 - $35 you get 6 squares at a time. The parties at night are fun for all ages but there is a very small dance floor and you constantly have to fight off waiters who are trying to get you to buy more drinks and give you a little bit of attitude when you ask for water. I also used the spa. Don't plan a manicure / pedicure on board unless you want to be overcharged. The massage and facial were very nice, though. The pre-packaged land excursions are expensive, but enjoyed the two I took. At Grand Bahamas Island I did the beaches and caves tour, which I think is designed for warmer days because they give you time much to spend on the beach. The caves are a rather minor part of the tour. The beach was isolated and beautiful, but too cold to really enjoy. The bus driver tells you everything you ever wanted to know about living in the Bahamas - and then some, but is very friendly. I also rode on the segway in Nassau, which is advertised as a nature tour, but is really a 'lets see how fast we can go on a segway' tour. The staff is mostly Indonesian and many do not speak English very well. They also seemed bored with their jobs and there was a real sense of forced friendliness. For example, I was on the quiet deck and a Spanish speaking family came into the area and talked very loud. My guess is that since the sign was in English they did not know that it was the quiet section. The waiters more concerned with getting you to order drinks refused to intervene when I asked them to subtly let the family know that this was supposed to be the quiet section. Although it seems like I had a lot to complain about, I think these things I have listed as complaints are minor overall and would recommend this cruise to others. Be sure to bring a watch because there are a lot of things that require you to track your time and there is no clock in the cabins.

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