Our first stop after Houston was Miami..the rigmarole you have to go through that the airport is crazy! – We were glad we had gone there 2 ½ hours early.
Our first impressions of Miami were great. It’s not exactly as I had imagined in my head – roller skating bikini-clad women on a beach… it’s more like Surfer’s Paradise. Our hotel was on the beach, with a balcony and view right over the water. There is really good public transport less than a block away which took us to Lincoln Road. Lincoln Road really blew us away. It’s an open-air mall packed full of retails stores selling camera gear, souvenirs and clothes – both bargains and labels. But, the mall is mostly restaurants and bars. The mall is five blocks long, which you can imagine is home to probably about 100 restaurants. – We were spoilt for choice! Luckily our hotel concierge had recommended a place, and it was fantastic.
The next day it was finally time to board our cruise. Neither of us had any expectations on what it would be like; you will soon see I am now a huge advocate for cruising!
We travelled on
the Norwegian Sky; known as the ‘party ship’. The ship carries 2000 guests, has 12 decks, three pools, five hot tubs, 11 restaurants, a theatre, a night club, bars, basketball court, golf range… you get the idea! Each day there around 50 different activities to take part in; poker championships, cupcake decorating, quiz’s, dance classes, bingo, 70’ dance parties, etc, etc.
We went to the A La Carte restaurant on the first night (included in the cruise fare) and lucky we did! The hotel manager; Steve, (that’s the guy in charge of the ship in general) came by our table to say hi. It turned out he was Australian, so you can imagine there was some banter about the Rugby. One of my goals for our cruise experience was to meet the Captain…. On the spot, Steve invited us to an exclusive Captain’s cocktail function the following night! – We couldn’t believe our luck!!
Day two, we docked at Grand Bahama Island. We had pre-booked the biking tour. We had Mario as our guide. A 28 year old, native Bahamian who really knew his stuff! We cycled 12 miles around the island stopping off at points of interest; The Garden
of the Groves, Taio Beach and the Freeport Market Place, amongst others. It was really nice to get a perspective of the island from a bike and we managed to see and learn so much in just one day. After getting back onto the ship, we ‘prettied’ ourselves for the Captains’ function. We were treated like celebrities! Being called when it was time to enter the function, having our photo taken with the Captain and the waiters continually serving canapés and drinks. Steve came by again and introduced us to the overall restaurant manager (remember, there are 11 restaurants!). As if our day couldn’t get any better…. He arranged for us to go to one of the ‘fancy’ (has a cover charge) restaurants on the boat, three course meals and a bottle of wine – his shout! I will never put down Australia again!
Each night there is at least one show if not two or three. The first show was a musical; ‘So Rockin’ Nights’ performed by the Sky dancers/singers, the second one was a magician/comedian who was really funny, the third night, the Sky production dancers/singer were back for ‘On Broadway’; a medley of musical excerpts from
various Broadway shows. The final night had two shows. The first was a talent show put on by various crew members on the ship – bell-hops, waiters, engineers, etc. The second was the variety farewell show which was really entertaining.
Day three was supposed to be a private island excursion. Unfortunately the swell was too large for us to be ferried onto the island, so we had a day at sea. It was actually really nice to be able to sleep in and relax. We passed the day with a quiz, lazing at the pool, playing some games and of course, checking out the restaurants. The food onboard is very good and the service is impeccable.
Our last day on the Sky took us to Nassau. The two major attractions of this island are stores selling diamonds and Atlantis, a huge resort. We had pre booked a dolphin encounter at Atlantis. Atlantis has a hotel – the most expensive suite is $100,00 for 4 nights! It has a water park with 12 rides, an aquarium and the dolphins. Jahan and I had the opportunity to swim and play with two dolphins. It really was incredible.
We rounded off
our last excursion day with some shopping in Nassau, picking up some great bargains!
We really didn’t know what to expect from our cruise but to sum up our experience: We received amazing service, there was an extremely friendly atmosphere, the food was great, there is so much to do on and off the boat, look out for the hawkers onshore, the Bahamas are HOT!!! And although it takes a little while to get used to the movement of the boat, it really is the most fantastic way of vacationing… waking up in a new place every morning.
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