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Old November 8th, 2008, 05:39 PM
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Default NCL Sky: Brief Report

We just got back from the Nov 3-7 cruise to Bahamas on the Sky. Here are a few brief observations:

Embarkation: I was worried that with our flights arriving at 2:00 we might be too late for embarkation which is officially over at 4:00. We arrived on the ship at 3:20 after waiting what seemed forever for our luggage at MIA. But we did make it!

BTW: Even though the cruise receipt says you must be on board 2 hours before departure, NCL confirmed it is actually 1 hour.

The Ship: Overall, the ship is in excellent condition and very clean. I had heard complaints of a sewage smell from past posters and I can confirm that there is some odors in various parts of the ship, but mainly the smell is outside on deck 7 mid-ships.

Cabins: We were in 8130 which is a "superior" inside and the cabin was fine. In good condition and even though we were above the casino, it was very quiet! We had a sofa which could double as a pull-out bed as well. No complaints here.

My fellow passengers were in 0129 and it is also an inside, but NOT a "superior" inside and it is without a doubt the smallest cabin I have ever seen on any ship in my 15 cruises. Way too small as the space where our sofa sat was missing in the regular cabin making for a VERY small cabin! You basically have a bathroom on one side as you enter the cabin. A closet on the other side, and then the bed with almost no space in between. Might be handy if you didn't want to get out of bed to use the bathroom though:-)

Food: The food was "OK" at best in the regular diningroom we went to (Crossings). Most of the food arrived luke warm at best, except for the last night in which the food was hot for some reason.

We tried the buffet for lunch and it was also "OK" at best. The pizza offered in the Italian restaurant was awful.

We also tried the Cagney's steakhouse one night for an upcharge of $20 per person. The service from our busgirl who did 90% of the work was outstanding. The waitress was mediocure at best. The food was markedly better than the regular diningroom, but quite honestly not what I expected having tried upcharge dining on other cruise lines in the past. Personally I did not think it was worth the extra charge.

Entertainment: The cruise director Matt was very good. The comedian (apologies for forgetting his name) was also very good as well as the dancers. Overall the entertainment was enjoyable.

Disembarkation: We were concerned about making our 11:11 flight as the official arrival time in Miami was 8:00. We asked for Express Disembarkation and we were off the ship at 7:45. Obviously we were docked earlier than expected. We took a taxi to MIA and we were checked in by about 8:30 with loads of time to spare!

Issues:

1: Take a sweater. You're goin' need it! I have never been on a ship in the Caribbean that was so cold! I'm talkin' meat locker cold! A lot of people were complaining about this issue.

2: Maybe I am being a little too cynical, but it seemed as if it always took way too long to get a table in the regular dining rooms. Long lineups were the norm. While it was not communicated as such, it almost felt like they were deliberately being slow to put the thought into your head that maybe you should try the pay-per dining instead.

3: This was our first experience with Freestyle and I can see why some people like it. Personally it is not for us, but that's OK. I go along with the more relaxed atmosphere but people, please loose the baseball caps and muscle shirts in the dining room. Clearly anything goes in there.

Overall it was an enjoyable get-a-way and considering the very cheap price ($221.00 pp Cdn. all in) we got what we paid for. No major surprises one way or another.

Hope this helps!
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Old November 9th, 2008, 01:42 PM
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KLSmith

Thanks for the review of your Sky cruise, it will be helpful since we are looking at that cruise next year. You gave some of the good and bad points and seamed happy overall.

Freestyle is not for everyone, but you tried it. You are right hats and tees should not have been allowed in the dining rooms for dinner. I also agree that pizza on cruise ships is not very good.

Thanks for the helpful hints.

Drew
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Old November 9th, 2008, 02:20 PM
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good and very fair review as you saw it. As for the lines in the main dining rooms, were you trying to eat between about 7pm and 8pm? If so, this is like going to "Outback" or "Olive Garden" no reservations and a very busy time. We have been lucky, 6 freestyle cruises and have only waited once. It was a large group of us, we did have a reservation but still waited about 15 or 20 minutes. You are right, freestyle, though certainly gaining in popularity as all mass marketed lines now offer a version of it, isn't for everyone. For us, it is almost a must, no flex dining, no cruising. There are many who like the pampering that goes with traditional dining and that is fine.

I am glad you made it time wise, boy were you pushing it and glad you had a good get-away, for, I know, a dirt cheap price.

Again, thanks for your appraisal..

Nita
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Old November 9th, 2008, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita
........As for the lines in the main dining rooms, were you trying to eat between about 7pm and 8pm? If so, this is like going to "Outback" or "Olive Garden" no reservations and a very busy time.

Nita
Nita:

No actually we arrived most nights between 6:00 and 7:15, and there always seemed to be a line up.

Oh well, just an observation.
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Old November 9th, 2008, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KLSmith
Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita
........As for the lines in the main dining rooms, were you trying to eat between about 7pm and 8pm? If so, this is like going to "Outback" or "Olive Garden" no reservations and a very busy time.

Nita
Nita:

No actually we arrived most nights between 6:00 and 7:15, and there always seemed to be a line up.

Oh well, just an observation.
Certainly surprises me about the 6:00pm part, but I am not doubting you. There would be no reason for you to say this if it wasn't true...some people choose to find fault where and when ever they can, I do not believe you are one of them.

Nita
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Old November 10th, 2008, 03:03 PM
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Having been on the Sky I would agree completely with OP's report. Mine would have been the same. Sky is sort of a "Freestyle Wanabee". There are fewer restaurants available. What I have since learned is that the Sky is not typical of all NCL ships. My experience on the Jewel was completely different from the Sky. The number of restaurants available on Jewel (about 10) seemed to spread the pax out so there never was a long waiting line. Only one night (Lobster night in the dining room) was there a wait time. The quality of the food was excellent. It was like the two ships were from two different cruise lines. 8)
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Old November 10th, 2008, 03:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScurvyDog
Having been on the Sky I would agree completely with OP's report. Mine would have been the same. Sky is sort of a "Freestyle Wanabee". There are fewer restaurants available. What I have since learned is that the Sky is not typical of all NCL ships. My experience on the Jewel was completely different from the Sky. The number of restaurants available on Jewel (about 10) seemed to spread the pax out so there never was a long waiting line. Only one night (Lobster night in the dining room) was there a wait time. The quality of the food was excellent. It was like the two ships were from two different cruise lines. 8)
Interesting about the quality of food, I am glad you liked the Jewel, it is one of our favorite ships.

Actually the Sky really isn't a freestyle "wantabe" but I like the term. It was purchased in its shell development pretty much so they builders were able to design it to fit Freestyle. It was the first true freestyle ship and smaller than some, so it doesn't have the dining choices, but it is a true freestyle ship ...
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Old November 18th, 2008, 04:39 PM
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I have heard reports of the Sky not being great-I assume that is why it has a lot of $99 a person cruises for 3 day and $109 a person for 4 day. My thinking is when you pay that-HOW can you expect much more than what you received.

If you want a dinky cabin-try the Majesty of the Seas inside cabins-now those are dinky. I haven't been on that ship- but I was on Sovereign of the seas-her sister ship, ( majesty RCI still has-they sold SOS) and BTW-I paid $189 a person for a 3 day for an inside on SOS back in 2001, and I thought I had a bargain. ( and I did as we had paid $450 a person for an inside 4 day just 2 years earlier-1999- on that same ship)

Carnival Inspiration about FROZE me to death in December 2003-and yes we were in the caribbean. Cozumel, Grand cayman, Costa Maya and Belize-that is the caribbean- right? The food on that ship was not nearly as good as I had experienced on other Carnival ships. I still had a decent time-although I had to buy a sweatshirt in the gift shop to keep from freezing-although I still never felt warm that whole week.

So none of your gripes are anything new.

You know, I never gripe when I get what I pay for-I only gripe when I have paid too much. I never expect much when I pay a "bargain" price. But boy was I disapointed when we paid top dollar for RCI Mariner of the Seas in 2005. We expected more, because we paid more-and boy were we disapointed.
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Old November 18th, 2008, 04:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita
Quote:
Originally Posted by KLSmith
Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita
........As for the lines in the main dining rooms, were you trying to eat between about 7pm and 8pm? If so, this is like going to "Outback" or "Olive Garden" no reservations and a very busy time.

Nita
Nita:

No actually we arrived most nights between 6:00 and 7:15, and there always seemed to be a line up.

Oh well, just an observation.
Certainly surprises me about the 6:00pm part, but I am not doubting you. There would be no reason for you to say this if it wasn't true...some people choose to find fault where and when ever they can, I do not believe you are one of them.

Nita
Nita $99 and $109 cruises tend to attract people that are on tight budgets. My guess is most could not afford the pay extra- and so those pay extrarestaurants were about deserted-which made the main dinningrooms busier than usual. He is probally telling you the truth.
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