MITSUGIRLYS BACK TO BELLY SKY CRUISE review and pictorial
Day 2: Getting on the ship
Day 10 for us since this is a back to belly vacation: Getting on the ship
I woke up without the alarm at 7:45am. It looks like my trend of waking up earlier than the clock (on the Sun) was going to continue with this cruise.
I got dressed really quick and headed outside to see what the weather was going to be like for the day. It was raining a little, but yet hot with the sun out too. A typical Florida day.
I headed back up to the room to get the rest of the family up and get ready to head down to breakfast.
It's always an added plus when we stay in a hotel with a free hot breakfast.
They had waffles, eggs (scrambled and boiled), sausage, sausage gravy, biscuits, bagels, toast, muffins, cereal, milk, juice, apple juice, punch, water, coffee and probably more that I didn't notice.
It wasn't anything spectacular, but definitely filled our bellies and it would tie us over until we were on the ship with endless food....
By the time we were done with breakfast, the rain was gone and it was 81 degrees outside. Now that's what I'm talking about!!!
Meanwhile back home...the snow had caused them to close the schools. LOL
We had reservations with MJS to pick us up at the hotel and drive us down to Miami. We had used them on a previous cruise and was very satisfied with the service we received. They were constantly in contact with us before so we were never left in the dark.
They called me at 9am to confirm our reservations. They they called again at 9:30am to see if we would be interested in moving our time from 11am to 10:30am instead since they would already be there picking up other people heading down to Miami. I confirmed with the SLOW moving person on the bunch (Kendra) if it would be possible for her to get her crew ready by then. She agreed and I let them know it was a go.
We went back upstairs to get our things gathered, do the last minute packing and I walked next door to see how far Kendra was and to light a fire under her butt to make this earlier reservation happen....SHE WAS GONE! Room cleaned out...are you serious??
I found her downstairs in the lobby, with all of her luggage and her entire crew. Really? She was early for once? Earlier than me??? Get outta here. I couldn't believe it. She ask me what the hold up was with us. So now, this makes her up early for her flight, making it to the airport way before her flight, and now beating me to the lobby before our transportation arrived. Someone has kidnapped my daughter, but I'll keep this one of course.
We applied my "home made" tags to our luggage and MJS arrived at 10:25am promptly.
We shared the van with 4 others and it took about 25 minutes to get to the port of Miami.
Someone tell me how these kids managed to get in the back seat and together? That usually equals nothing but trouble.
Of course the son is a goof ball and is known to get things started himself.
Our ride was pleasant and the driver showed us different things along the way...the Dolphins stadium, showed us an area where graffiti was aloud all over the town and there was now a new billion dollar tunnel that was built (and we were going through) that goes under Biscayne Bay and is 120 feet below sea level. It was quite impressive and keeps traffic out of the downtown Miami area.
As we pulled in to port, we could see a whale tail and Sakari screamed with excitement about seeing it (she still did not know what was going on).
Then we seen a couple of NCL ships as well.
At this point, we knew it was about time to tell Sakari of her "big" surprise.
She cracked me up when she turned to Brayden and says "I guess we're not going home" LOL (They had been arguing about where they were going and she kept telling him we were going home and he kept saying we weren't...while getting the mean eye look from him mom and me to keep his mouth shut).
Her expression when we told her filled my heart. She didn't know what the think.
We made it to our ship and the porter took our luggage and we headed inside. There were absolutely NO lines at all. We walked inside around 11:15am.
When we walked up to the counter to check in and give our form of payment for the cruise, the lady that had my sons girlfriend was completely rude as can be. I have NEVER experienced anyone like this with NCL. They have always been so sweet and this lady was totally out of character for what we have experienced with NCL. Everyone used my NCL cc card for their room (I want those points for a future free cruise or upgrade) and the lady was having major issues about this (even though I had already checked in with it and so did Kendra and her room). She said they would not be able to use it and that's when I butted in and said they could because we do it on every cruise and my daughter just used it on her room just now too. The lady was very argumentative and when Courtney said, "Why is she telling me I can't use this card for our room?" to me, the lady butted in with an attitude saying "I DID NOT say that! You are putting words in my mouth and that is not what I said."....Um I was standing next to her at the counter and DID hear it. So long story short, another lady put it in for her and it was used. When she went to hand them their room cards, when Courtney put them in her hand as the lady at the counter reached across to hand them to her, Courtney turned to pass them out to the people assigned to her room and the lady just had to take one last nasty shot... "Well, I WAS going to explain to you about the cards and their use, but since you SNATCHED them out of my hands, you act like you know, so go on!" At that point, this lady had completely pissed me off with her rudeness. I told her "YES, we go on multiple cruises a year, YES we know what to do with the cards, NO she did NOT snatch them out of your hands, YOU were handing them across the counter to HER, so get the story straight and adjust the attitude!" Then we walked away with me mumbling that I had NEVER came across someone so rude at the NCL counter and they should probably replace her if they wanted passengers to start their cruise off with a positive feeling about cruising with NCL. Of course I got a good eye roll from her and not another word was said.
We headed down the hall to get on the cruise and by then I had already adjusted my attitude to reflect "cruise mode and no one is going to get to me".
We caught the flat escalators...love these things.
Meanwhile Kendras bf was hurt in a 4 wheeler atv accident several weeks prior to this and was having issues with his leg and ankle swelling and had bought a small leg mover prior to the cruise to help it facilitate the healing and being off of it as much as he could during the cruise. He decided to push his way to the end instead of getting on the escalator. LOL
Me making fun of him because he was falling behind
Then for some reason they had one going in the opposite direction. Only 2 people in my family are crazy enough to try to walk this going forward, causing extreme leg pain and fatigue....Kendra and Brayden of course.
By the time she got to the end, she knew she had made a mistake by trying this. That'll teach her! Well, probably not. I guarantee she'll do it again next time.
Here's the beautiful Star in port with us. We were on her during a "week before Christmas cruise" in December 2012.
There's our beautiful Sky waiting for us. I couldn't wait to see how different or the same she was from the Sun.
We came to the end and we were getting ready to walk through this...
Then I noticed the ship was right there!!! Um what? This was weird. I don't think I have ever been on a cruise where you just walk down a hallway and onto the ship??? I'm use to walking into the blue-green ramps that wind back and forth to go up to the entrance of the ship. This was weird.
We were handed a copy of the map of the ship. This will be the first time we were ever given this.
We were also handed the card to sign up Sakari for the kids club.
Day 1, here we come...
We immediately spotted the kiosk that you can take pictures any time on board and it will post them to your social media account...for free. It's pretty cool and the only ships I'm aware that have these are the new ones. So, this was a pleasant surprise.
Of course we hadn't even left the US yet and we were sending pics back home.
Of course I still have phone service on my phone, so here's my post to those back home...
So now I'm going to stop and change things up a little bit. I normally go on with our day, but those of you that have been patiently (or impatiently) waiting for the ship pictures...this is for you. I'll do the tour of the ship first and then continue with our daily activities for those that are interested in sticking around and seeing how our cruise went. :D
I will start by going deck to deck starting at the lowest "public" deck and working my way up, like I always do.
Please forgive me if I missed a lot of things. After all, this was a short cruise and if truth be known, I felt like I almost just came off this ship already and had seen everything by being on the Sun the week before. I didn't notice until I got home that I didn't take as many pictures of this ship and I had missed a few things. :( Sorry about that.
So you will find the ship review located on this page.....
So, back to the ship and our daily activities.
Once we made it up to the pool deck, we decided we were starving. We wondered into Il Adagio, since being on the Sun, we thought maybe we would get lucky on this ship too with an "extra" place to eat...plus it didn't hurt to see people going in and out of there...and YES! They were serving food...and it was basically a pasta bar! I was excited. Wait, there's pizza too!!! Double excited since we only found pizza one night on the Sun.
We of course decided to go for the pizza. There was a long line and they couldn't make the pizza fast enough. I know at one point I headed over to the buffet to check it out and the lines were even longer. So, I quickly came back and stood in my spot in line.
Now I have to say this pizza wasn't as bad as the "delivery" pizza we've had, but it wasn't as good as the pizza that I have had in the buffet on other ships either. There's just something about this cheese. It's like FAKE or something. I mean just look at all that cheese....I'm a cheese lover, but not a fake tasting cheese lover.
We enjoyed our "seating" arrangements and I kept staring outside hoping to see a dolphin or something. I have yet to see a dolphin swimming by the ship and read about others who see them in port all the time.
Sakari found a "pet dragonfly" It sat on her hand forever. I finally had her take it outside to let it go.
Since we are still in port and have free phone service...I had to give the guys back home another picture...
Meanwhile, Courtney is giving real pictures...
We wondered out of the restaurant and headed out trying to find the rest of the family.
We found them eating at the Outdoor buffet.
After everyone ate, my grandson and his cousin decided they wanted to go swimming. I really didn't want to let Sakari go in for several reasons...one, she a bear when it comes times to try to get her out of the water and two I knew we would be having the life boat drill soon and didn't want to deal with a sopping wet child and three, I didn't pack her bathing suit just for this reason.
We went over and played a little ping pong
They decided it was a little hot and we would walk around the ship a little to explore.
When it was time for the lifeboat drill, we reported to our station outside to stand. When we arrived, Kendra and the rest of the family was already there. She warned us that the guy in that section had been extremely rude and she was right!! He was screaming at everyone and at one point said "You guys don't want to piss me off!"...but in a "girly" voice...if you know what I mean.
He was having a fit saying everyone "had to be perfect in line, how hard is that". Then he wanted people in line from tallest in the back to shortest in the front. Well, that put our kids at the front, by themselves...I don't think so. Then he'd give his little "ooookkkkaaayyy????" It was irritating. He was yelling at everyone. At one point, I looked over and caught my grandson STANDING ON THE RAILING!!! I screamed...it was so embarrassing and he immediately ordered my daughter and her family inside. Geesh! My heart was pounding and I would have nightmare of this the rest of the cruise! It wasn't very much longer he was irritated with us as well because Sakari would turn around to say something to us, being only 6 years old she doesn't quite understand why we have to do this every time and what the meaning of it is...she thinks the boat is sinking and wants to know why we are standing in line instead of getting off the ship. He orders us inside. Fine with me.
Inside it was cool and there were places to sit down. My daughters bf's leg was hurting from all the standing anyhow.
After the drill, we stayed in Dazzles for a moment and the kids decided to dance a little.
Then we headed over to the kids club to sign up the munchkins for Splash Academy. I really liked the way it looked compared to the Sun. It was so bright and "kid-like".
Our rooms were ready (I have to add that they had the rooms ready when we first got on the ship and we managed to put our heavy luggage down in the closet and leave).
Our luggage arrived fairly quickly and we were just down the hall from where they were coming out at. We were able to spot ours and they allowed us to take them to our rooms. (We had the kids doing all the work).
I quickly put away all of our things...well, I attempted to but you know how the "space" to put it away wasn't very "friendly" to put things. It was a mess and stuff was just stacked on top of each other. I'm so glad that I wouldn't be spending an entire week on this ship with a weeks worth of clothes I had to find space for.
When Sakari's luggage arrived...this was the condition it was in...
I tell ya, I don't know if we cruise too much or we just have crappy luck with our luggage, but over the last few years, all of our luggage has taken a beating.
Of course one of the first things I do is to remove the stuff out of the refrigerator. Only this time it was LOCKED!!! Yikes! I tried calling housekeeping and the customer service desk...NO ANSWER. I let it ring forever and still no answer. I tried calling back several times...nothing. Ugh. That meant I wasn't going to be able to get my soda in it to start getting cooled down.
We had several notices in our room. This was addressed to me and Sakari...I thought it was weird because I wasn't celebrating anything...other than passing the nursing boards, but they didn't know that.
My hubby was celebrating a birthday, but that was last week. My son, in the other room, stated he got one too. It was his birthday 2 weeks ago. So maybe they give you the entire month to celebrate?
Yea, I guess that was it.
Of course we got the latitudes letter. However, I didn't see anything about a latitudes party??? Maybe they don't do those on short cruises. I guess there would be no free booze for us on this cruise.
There was the captains party, but we never manage to go to those.
Of course they have the shore excursion information...which we wouldn't be using this time around.
It was time for the sailaway and I headed toward the front of the ship to get pictures.
When we made it to the end, I knew it was time to head down to the pool deck for the party.
My daughter was down there waiting on me to dance and we quickly jumped in.
Then the Sky dancers came on and did their little routine. Sakari picked out the "dancer" she wanted as "hers". She loved the other girl from the Sun and was always dancing with her and running into her. She told me "Mommy, we are on a different ship now and I need a new person, I want her".
I went up and told the dancer her "story" and she quickly adopted Sakari and danced with her and said she was honored that she was the chosen one.
Once the dancing was over, we headed to the bar for a drink.
Do you see anything in this picture?? It's not my "normal" pictures...why? Because there are SO MANY PEOPLE ON THIS SHIP!!! YIKES! This is the most crowded ship ever!
We were about to spend the next 5 days waiting in long lines, fighting for a table to sit down and eat at, standing room only at times, no chairs and the list goes on. I might as well been on one of the newer ships with 5000 people on it. It was horrible IMO.
Someone take me back to the Sun with the people movers and 3 legged people please.
We decided to head to the buffet again to find something to eat and let the kids eat again before shipping them off to the kids club.
I really didn't find anything that looked too appealing to me so I settled for a salad.
I checked the kids club schedule and headed that way
We headed to the casino after dropping them off and didn't have too much luck. I took $50 with me and by the time I stopped playing, I had a ticket for $37. The hubby decided to try his luck at craps and did decent.
After leaving the casino, we headed to the photo shop to check out our photos taken earlier in the day.
They always have this special they run.
We picked the kids up from the kids club and they decided they wanted to go swimming...on the back of the pool at the kids area.
We pretty much hung out there the rest of the night with the entire family eating and having some drinks while the kids played in the pool. The hot tub was completely loaded with adults...completely packed. Sakari, being the friendly social bug she is, decided she was getting in that hot tub no matter what. She went in and stood in the middle of all of them. It didn't seem to bother them and none of them left. It did kinda sit wrong with me though...her being the only child in there and I made an attempt to lure her out after awhile...coaxing her with food. It worked.
I was really in the mood for some wings, but they were not serving the "comfort" foods yet. Darnit. I hate not being on a ship without the 24/7 restaurant.
While we were sitting and watching the kids in the pool, we noticed heat lightening off in the distance. It was actually really pretty and it was off toward another ship in the distance. I tried and tried to capture the pictures of it over the ship, but with a point and shoot camera, it's just not possible. This is the one time that I wished I had brought my dslr.
So, you'll have to settle for just a ship in the night picture.
We made it back to the room and once again, I tried calling the service desk and housekeeping to get my refrigerator opened...still no answer.
I did run into the room steward and told her I needed it open. She was able to get the keys and get it opened for me.
Is it just me or did this seem pretty darn empty? I thought it usually has a lot more in it. Maybe it's because it was only a 4 day cruise?
I emptied it out and put it on the top shelf above the tv. I figured I wouldn't ask for it to be removed from my room since we weren't going to call this home for very long.
She ask me "how many" people in the room. I told her 3 total. After that...the next time she cleaned the room, our towels went down to only 2 and so did our beach towels. I'm sorry, this is where I have to say wth??
She also didn't even empty the trash when she cleaned tonight or take out our dirty drink glasses we brought from around the ship. She also didn't replace our water glass, which had soda in it from earlier with a clean glass. Sigh. What is with these 2 ships not replacing the dirty cups? Is this like the towel? You have to put them on the floor to let them know you want clean? Really???
Sakari did her normal thing...drawing, while I continued to organize the room and stock the refrigerator with our soda.
This was her creation for the night.
We knew we would be in port early the next day and it was already later than what I wanted it to be. I called to set the wake up time for 6:30am, took my shower....beating the shower curtain this time around and not allowing it to get the best of me, and then heading to bed.