Thanks to our friends Mike and Sarah, we had a place to stay last night, and got to sleep on a normal mattress before our adventure on the Norwegian Sky.
We got up at 5am filled with anticipation for our cruise, and Mike drove us to the Brightline Train Station in West Palm Beach. The train station is brand new and super clean compared to any other train station I’ve been to.
The Brightline Train
Unfortunately we had to pay a $20 change fee. We thought we had booked the 8am train but our tickets were for the 7am train. The waiting area at the station is fancy like an airport lounge. It has free WiFi and plenty of places to charge your phone.
The train was equally clean, quiet and comfortable. We travelled in Brightline Smart Class which is their equivalent to economy while Select class is their premium which gives you access to an exclusive lounge and free beverages.
We bought a coffee for $2.75 and they also give you a free bottle of water if you ask for it. The train has free WiFi too so you can Instagram your time away.
The station at Miami was bigger than West Palm but equally as clean. Both stations had this pleasant scent, not quite new car smell but maybe lemon fresh? We found a place to sit and relax while we booked our Lyft ride to the port – usually about a $10 fare but we received a $5 Lyft credit so it only cost us $4.90.
The Port of Miami
The Port of Miami is like Cruise Ship Alley. There are cruise ships lined up back to front along an azure inlet.
When you pull in, there are porters waiting to take your bags. I didn’t expect this so I didn’t have much to tip unfortunately. You then walk into the terminal, where you go through security. You’ll line up here to get your magic plastic card. This card acts as both your payment method and room key onboard. This is where they check your passport. Unfortunately Norwegian didn’t have the Australian E3 Visa in their computer system. What took about 5 minutes for most people ended up taking us about 45 minutes. The staff at this point didn’t seem to be too friendly, but we eventually got through.
After you get your card you go upstairs and wait to board. This was reasonably quick. There were staff waiting to greet us as we boarded. The onboard staff were much more focused on the passengers than the terminal staff were.
Onboard the Norwegian Sky
Our room wasn’t ready when we first boarded, so we explored the ship. We found a place serving free pizza and grabbed some lunch at the Great Outdoor Cafe at the rear of the ship. It was a beautiful day. The food was great (except the hamburger meat tasted weird so I only took one bite).
Walking around the ship on the first day of the cruise, you’ll find that a lot of the shops have specials or competitions that you can enter. Danielle was keen to enter as many of these as possible. We had a tour of the Mandara Day Spa. There was a competition for a spa voucher, so naturally we had to enter. Danielle also ended a raffle for the jewelry shop. There was a tour of the ships main facilities. I was hoping that they would show us the bridge in the engine room, but apparently that these days.
We found a great spot to watch the departure from Miami. The Norwegian Sky left port at the perfect time. The sun was just setting behind Miami’s sky scrapers. The Captain turned our ship around on a dime, and then we were on our way out to sea.
The raffles paid off, we scored a $100 voucher to the Day Spa – although they made me dance in front of a crowded room to receive it.
We ate dinner at the Palace restaurant which was awesome. This cruise we are doing on a budget so we are only eating at complimentary restaurants. The Palace is the main sit down restaurant on the Norwegian Sky and the food was delicious. I ordered the Cream of Broccoli Soup as my appetizer, the bacon wrapped chicken breast for main and the Creme Brûlée for dessert. All were delicious. I’d have been happy to spend the rest of the cruise just sitting right there. But there was entertainment to be enjoyed.
After dinner we enjoyed a variety show in the Stardust Theatre at the rear of the ship. This show was a little taste of all the entertainment we’d be enjoying over the course of the cruise. They introduced the ship’s management team. Each officer had to do a little dance – I could see a theme appearing here.
Overall it was a great first day on the cruise. The only other downside was that Danielle’s bag never appeared, so we had to chase it down at guest services. We hit the hay utterly exhausted.