We have previously posted about the embarkation process for Royal Caribbean in Galveston and for Carnival in Puerto Rico. Today, I want to describe the process of embarking on the Norwegian Sky in Miami. I will talk about some of the key things you want to be sure to do within your first few hours on board. Over the next several days, please follow us for more details on the excellent ship and trip. In summary, though, Norwegian Sky embarkation in Miami is really easy. Let’s talk about boarding time, lunch the first day, and business to take care of as soon as you board.
I selected an arrival time of 10-10:30. I don’t have any kind of elite status on Norwegian, and I was not staying in a suite. Not wanting to get caught in long line, and wanting to board ASAP, I selected the first time available. It turns out I didn’t need to do that. I caught an Uber from the Hilton to the port, and I quickly found a luggage porter. I then went to a dude checking that I was at the right terminal, a security check, and immediately to a check-in counter all without slowing down.
There was some minor confusion at the check-in desk. I pre-purchased a dining package, and I did not have a sticker indicating that. More on that in a minute. I had also purchased an internet package. The lady checking me in did not know how to access those things, and she told me to ask at guest services on board. Fair enough. She attached my Cuban visa to my passpart with a paperclip, and off I went from the check-in desk to the waiting area upstairs. I arrived at the pier at roughly 10:10, and I was seated before 10:25.
When I reached the top of the escalator, I was given a boarding card:
As far as I could tell, the group numbers were assigned randomly. They later called suite guests first, so I am sure they were able to ask for a higher priority card. However, if that applies to you then you should definitely ask. When I had that, I began the rather long process of sitting.
At about 11, the seats were starting to fill. An NCL employee started playing a scavenger hunt game, and the prize was priority boarding. People were literally running through crowded aisles to be the first one to present her a pen or chapstick or whatever she asked for. It was all in good fun, but I am glad I was to the side and out of the way. Boarding started at 11:30. By 11:40 they had called my group, and by 11:45 I was on board.
One of the first things I did on board was go down to guest services to ask about the dining package and internet access. They said that the dining package was printed on my boarding card, and they gave me instructions for internet access. That transaction took less than a minute. However, had I waited there would have been a significantly longer line. So, if you have any questions about your accounts you will want to ask them quickly.
Next, I set up spa appointment for the one sea day on this cruise. I guessed, correctly, that those appointments would be hard to come by if I waited until later in the cruise. Because I was there before lunch on the first day and went in person, I was able to quickly make my desired appointment for the desired time. I will post more later about the spa itself.
Finally, I went looking for lunch. The buffet and the Great Outdoor Cafe (another buffet) were quite busy. Unfortunately, I also didn’t think either of them was very good. The indoor buffet was also quite crowded due to a poor layout. However, the main dining room and Il Adagio were both open. I was hungry, so I sampled both. The main dining room had menu and waiter service. Il Adagio is the extra-fee Italian restaurant on board. However, the extra fee only applies at dinner. At lunch, they served very good pizza for no extra charge. That is definitely worth checking out.
Overall, Norwegian Sky embarkation in Miami was easy, and I enjoyed my first few hours on board. That set me up for a great rest of the cruise. Watch us closely here on Dine Drink Travel, because we will be posting many more details about this trip over the next few days. I hope those details are useful. Happy travels!