The next morning after getting packed, we headed over to La Provence once again because I need to have another of those amazing Chocolate Chip Croissants (in general I couldn’t get enough Chocolate Croissants on this trip and have been going through some major withdrawals since returning!). We enjoyed a pleasant meal although they messed up my Latte order and I ended up with a Latte that was terrible in comparison to the previous day. There was also a very rude man who felt it necessary to push by us as we were entering and skip the entire line to get his precious baguette. I don’t know if he thought he was actually in Paris or what but I was not impressed. Not the bakery’s fault but still an unpleasant start to the day.
After breakfast, we returned to The National Hotel to settle the rather large bill that we racked up during the previous day (which we expected from any Miami resort). We were sad to leave as we had such a great experience but hopefully we’ll return in the future.
We called an Uber to take us to the Port of Miami. We have several friends who have used it with great success and although I was a tad leery about the idea of a stranger picking us up, we figured we’d give it a try. I’m so glad we did because it saved us some money and our driver was a great guy. He got to The National within moments of us sending the message through the Uber app.
Our ride to the Port was quick and painless. Once there, we checked our bag with the porter’s after much research on Cruise Critic (they have excellent message boards and real-person reviews) we opted to check our bags with a porter. Quick Tip: on the Norwegian Sky you have two options- you can carry your bags on with you and check them in at Captain Cooks Lounge until your room is ready in the mid-afternoon or you can check the bags with the porters before checking in (make sure you tip them!) and they will be delivered to your room later in the evening.
We opted for the latter because we didn’t want to hassle of carrying our bags on. Quick Tip: If you check your bags with the porters, make a point to pack a carry on with items you’ll need that day (like a swimsuit to start enjoying to pool and a change of clothes for later in case you’d like to change for dinner). Norwegian was clear that the dress code for the first day and night were super casual and our bags made it to our stateroom in a timely manner but it was still helpful to know we had extra clothes if necessary.
Once our bags were checked and the friendly porter who assisted us was tipped, we made out way into the terminal. We started by going through security similar to that at the airport (a conveyor belt to put your bags through and they checked us as well). It was pretty quick and easy although I think they mistook a hand sanitizer bottle for a bottle of wine. Kind of odd since those things don’t actually look anything alike but I guess you can never be too careful.
From there, we headed to a different room deep within the terminal. We each had to fill out a short healthy form indicating that we weren’t sick and that I wasn’t up to or past my 24th week of pregnancy. Quick Tip: If you’re pregnant, make sure you check your ship’s requirements for pregnant passengers. Norwegian allows you to travel before the 24th week of pregnancy providing you have a note from your doctor indicating that you’re fit to travel and when you’re due. I had to email this to them in advance and I also brought a copy with me. Additionally, I brought a copy of my medical records from this pregnancy to carry with me, just in case. Luckily, I didn’t need them!
We then got into a long checkout line which I’m happy to report moved pretty quickly. Once we made our way to the front, a friendly attendant checked us in, gave us our ship cards which were hooked up to a credit card for onboard purchases and would allow us to get on and off the ship without our passports (we still needed them to board but once we had the card it worked in place of the passports while we were in port and until we disembarked). Quick Tip: Bring photocopies of your passport to carry with you, just in case you need them and then lock your passports in your Stateroom safe. I set an alarm on my phone for our final day to make sure we didn’t forget the passports. We kept the photocopies in my bag that I carried with me at port, separate from my wallet. It’s also a good idea to have copies of your credit cards in a different location, just in case.
Once we finished checking in, we headed up to the waiting area where they assigned us a boarding group number and we sat down to wait. I was happy to sit down because I was getting fatigued and a bit dizzy (my latest, not-so-favorite pregnancy symptom) but we ended up waiting for a decent amount of time.
When you check in online prior to leaving for your trip, Norwegian has you choose your arrival time. I chose 10:30am thinking we’d get right onto the ship and be able to start enjoying it right away but upon arriving was told they don’t let you on until noon. I think I may have missed that in the online check in. I still feel as though we got on before noon but we were waiting a bit longer than expected. It wasn’t a big deal as it went reasonably quickly once they started calling groups (we were in boarding group 8) but it was unexpected. Quick tip: in my mind, the ideal arrival time to set during online check in is 11 or 11:30am if you want to enjoy the ship early or 1 or 2pm if you don’t want to have to wait at all. This is purely anecdotal.
Once our group was called we were on the ship within a matter of minutes. They were ushering everyone towards Captain Cook’s Lounge to drop off bags (many people walked their own bags on), through a sea of promotional tables with various raffles and upsells and in the general direction of the buffet. Quick Tip: if you want to avoid the busy buffet on that first day, you also have the option to dine at one of the main dining rooms or Il Adagio which is the Italian restaurant that is free for lunch and breakfast.
We initially headed into Il Adagio but they kept turning us away in favor of the buffet which seemed off since they say they offer pasta and pizza at lunch. But we didn’t make a big thing about it, we simply headed down to one of the Main Dining Rooms, Crossings, to get some lunch (this isn’t as quick as the buffet but I’m not a huge buffet person and we didn’t mind the leisurely pace).
The food in Crossings, while not as amazing as some of the other meals which I’ll discuss later in the trip, was good and we enjoyed it. I didn’t have a huge appetite (I was feeling a bit off that day in general) so I opted for an appetizer of popcorn shrimp, a Greek salad and a Feta and Watermelon salad. They all tasted good, although the Greek salad had a bit too many peppers for my taste (that’s more of a nit-picky, personal preference thing). J started with a salad and got a Philly Cheese Steak and Fries followed by the Orange Chocolate Mousse, all of which he enjoyed. I thought the addition of orange jello to the mousse was odd (again, more silly preferences, I’m not a huge jello person) but when I tasted it, it actually worked pretty well!
Shortly after lunch, we were able to get into our room (which was around 1-1:30pm). Our stateroom was an interior cabin. It was definitely small (which I expected) but it was very clean, no weird smells or anything crazy like that.
After that we explored the ship a bit and J jumped into the hot tub as soon as physically possible (he lives for hot tubs and at this point I just miss them!). It was a bit windy and overcast for me to put a swimsuit on, but I found a nice lounge chair and read my book for a while. Eventually, the pool deck got pretty busy. They ended up doing a sail-away BBQ and celebration around early evening. They had a lot of song and dance and introduced the main cruise staff. The BBQ was just ok but the atmosphere was a lot of fun and very celebratory.
Once we got moving, J got back in the hot tub and I resumed my reading. It began getting really windy and the boat was rocking a bit more than I would have liked. I headed inside and told J I was headed to the library to relax and keep reading without all the wind. On my way in, I got sidetracked by a shopping presentation. A few minutes into it, J was walking by and noticed me. I joined him and we headed back to the room.
By now the boat was rocking pretty good and the sea was quite rough. As I mentioned earlier, I was already not feeling my best that day (some pregnancy days are rougher than others, as all you mama’s out there know). While I wasn’t getting queasy and seasick per se the rocking gave me a super uncomfortable and odd feeling that I didn’t like. Quick Tip: While medicine is available on the ship, the prices are premium, to say the least. I was happy that I packed a bag of common over-the-counter medications to have available including some seas bands and Dramamine (the later of which we didn’t even end up using).
We laid down for a bit and relaxed and I put on the sea bands, just to be safe. Around 8pm we decided to head to dinner at Crossings (since we got the Dining package that allowed us 3 nights of eating at the high-end restaurants that you normally pay extra to eat at, this was our only night without a reservation).
Walking down the hall was quite an experience. With all the rocking we were walking on a zigzag. To quote J “The drunks are walking straight and the sober people are walking like they’re drunk!” There were definitely a few people in the dining room looking very green. Quick Tip: In addition to sea bands and Dramamine, the staff gave green apples to those who were experiencing sea sickness, as they’re supposed to help.
At this point I barely had any appetite. J opted not to get a starter, while I started with the Bouillabaisse, which was delicious (or as appetizing as any food could be at that moment). J ordered the Strip Loin which came out a nice medium rare and I opted for the Roast Chicken Breast. My chicken was tasty though slightly dry, but for some reason chicken really didn’t appeal to me the whole trip and I barely touched it. J was kind enough to share his strip loin which I thought very tender and tasted great. I ended up taking a Chocolate Melting Cake and a green apple back to our cabin since I had no appetite but couldn’t resist the dessert (it was totally worth it- the Chocolate Melting Cake was SO good!).
Once back at the room, I fell asleep pretty quickly and J went off to play in a poker tournament and eventually joined me to rest up for our first day at port the next day!
You can find the other links from this trip here: