We are sailing in about 9 days on the Norweigan Sky and I'm hoping some NCL regulars can give me some reassurance.
I know what I have done is a bad idea but I have made the mistake of looking at recent reviews for the ship and I am getting nervous because I'm reading things like the food isnt that great and/or cold, service is slow, they are quick to cancel Great Stirrup Cay, etc.
I know that you cant believe everything you read online so I'm sure we'll have a great time but...
Please tell me everything will be ok
My girlfriend and I took our first ncl cruise recently, and here's what we thought, and was confirmed with other friends that cruised ncl this past year as well.
We thought it was ok... nothing wrong with it, but no real "WOW" factor. Food was ok, better if you were willing to spend the extra cash on the specialty restaurants; entertainment was ok, (Next Stage Band excellent) but the comediane was horrible (Dave Henaan I think).
We like the freestyle dining, go when you want; we sat on our own... being two relatively attractive women can bring about some unpleasant dining offers and suggestions from some men.
It was 50-50 for us, some good points, some bad points. But we enjoyed ourselves.
We met more than a few people who have sailed ncl many times and enjoyed it.
I think it will be what you make of it; if you want to find criticism in every detail, you might not have much fun; if you are carefree and open, it won't be bad.
I am confident you should have a good time, there is no reason you shouldn't, and with any luck, you might have a great time.
ok, let me give you a little information on the ship and the entire situation. First of all, you can read bad reviews whenever you try, people who are unhappy with an experience are more inclined to gripe than those that are happy are to praise..We expect to be happy so we blow it off, but when things don't go our way we want the world to know. Next, the Sky is an older ship like all ships that do short cruises, so it isn't going to be all glitz and glory like newer ships, but I happen to think she is a pretty nice vessel. Third, cruises that are less than 7 days, especially 3 or 4 dayers are very different as well and usually are not going to be the same quality. Quality may not be the right word, but I think you get the idea, so it isn't just the Sky or NCL, it is all shorter ones and I have done short cruises on most mass marketed lines..It just isn't the same. It is fun, but the overall experience is different. and last, as for missing the private island, again this is par for all private islands. We have been on another line that twice out of 2 times has missed their private island, we have missed Great Stirrup Cay once and the only time we did HAL that involved the private island, it was availble the first few hours of the day and then they closed it and brought everyone back. The reason, tenders do not handle bad weather or rough waters well. So again, this isn't an NCL thing..
Hope this helps. Just go with the attitude, if you have never cruised you are going to fall in love with the experience and if you have, take the shorter cruise for what it is, a way to get away for a quick cheap vacation.
Thanks for the input. We have cruised before and I know that the shorter cruises are not as "glamourous", for a lack of a better word, but they are the ones that tend to fit into our schedule best. (we attend the Rolex24hr race prior to cruising each year)
It sounds like if we go with the "extra" restaurants, the food issue is a non-issue.
Both my DH and I are pretty easy going people so I'm sure everything will be great - more than anything I think it is the "fear" of the unknown with the Freestyle idea. It seems that with the other lines we have cruised, we have gotten more pre-cruise info/input directly from the line.
I really do appreciate your input and it has made me feel better.
I sailed on the Sky on 1/11/10. I wrote a very long review myself on my blog. I believe that every ship and itinerary has pros and cons and my cruise on the Sky was no exception.
I will say that the freestyle dining is a bit over-hyped. It is not really freestyle because you either get to the free dining venues early or you wait in line. Most nights there were a 20-30 minute wait if you got there past 6:30PM. The other specialty restaurants still required a reservation so really the only portion of the ship that is different from other lines and can be called "freestyle are the 2 main dining rooms.
I really liked 3 of the lounge areas onboard and the decor was quite nice in all of them (the Outrigger, Plantation Room and Cook's). 2 of the best musicians I have ever heard at sea also played on the Sky (Ariel Jacobe and Bruce Crichton)...look for them when you get onboard.
The crowd was typical of the shorter cruises (budget conscience, first-time cruisers).
I think you will enjoy it. The cruise director is fun and make sure you try to attend the marriage game and also the Quest show.
I am wondering if the Sky was really full on your sailing. I say this or ask it because we rarely have waited more than 60 seconds and almost always eat between 6:30 and 7pm. Our last cruise we noticed the dining room was busier before 6pm. Maybe it was the demographics of those sailing with you..