NCL Sky, Miami, Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay 09/11/09
Ship NCL advertises this ship as the newest in the Miami / Bahamas market. I agree..
This ship is more of the super ship design like the destiny class. If your not looking to go on a 90's era ship this is your cruise to the Bahamas.
Now I need to be critical of NCL. While this is a newer ship, NCL is in third place when it comes to attention to detail. Let me give you some examples.
The stateroom was clean and functional, and you did feel very clean and comfortable.
However.. the bathroom floor was not spotless as you will ALWAYS find it spotless on Carnival and RCCL.
There also were signs of wear and tear, like a scratched up table in the stateroom, oxidation on door locks, cracking in the bathroom sink basin where the water stopper is located, and oversized light bulbs stuffed in the ceiling light pins.
The wear is not major in most cases, but its also a sign that NCL has been ignoring these things.
Bottom line NCL, little things leave big impressions, if the other guys can getit done right so can you.
NCL will need to take her offline at some point to get these things fixed or they will become old ship issues quickly, tainting her newness image.
Especially since this ship has two cruises in every seven day stretch, which is allott of people using and breaking things in short periods of time.
Activities NCL offers a behind the scenes (how a cruise ship works) tour for anyone who wants to go, you don't need to be a frequent cruiser, HOWEVER, NCL charges $55 per person for the pleasure. Come on NCL, are you serious?? I paid my cruise fair, I spent $300 in your casino and $600 more in the spa and on drinks, maybe you could throw this in possibly?
I found this just absolutely chinsy NCL..
The Sky has all your usual ship fun, shuffle board, ping pong, spa, shows, music, comedy, photography, and dance lessons.
Ok so here NCL is exactly the same as its competition and its quality is no better or worse. SO don't base your decision on the activities.
To the good, and there is a lot of good here.
Food Let me be clear, NCL has the BEST food at sea when comparing the value cruise lines in my humble opinion.
I have been on all the major players many times and the food was great!
It was Fresh, different, and had well thought out menus.
I tasted the buffet, room service, and the main dining room and there were dishes I had never had before. Everything was full of flavor, the portions were great, and the service was excellent.
To add to this, what other cruise line has Wonton Soup at midnight? NCL has it. That's right! Wonton Soup. Check it out at the "Great Outdoors" bar. They actually have a full menu available until the very early hours of the night.
A+++++ NCL well done.
Sky, the concept.
I think NCL wants to be different, you can tell in just about everything they do.
The colors in the rooms and the public areas are different and not boring. The bars are set out in new and exciting ways, and the ship in general was thought out in a much different and exciting way then your usual mega ship way.
If you're bored with nornal, NCL is the way to go. I will say the ship is so different I got totally lost at first, not to fear though, they have clear, intelligible signs everywhere and by day two I was fine.
One great difference is this ship has an open terrace area aft called the "Great Outdoors", with a buffet and bar overlooking the water and sky, its a really nice place to eat or drink and have fun.
Costs There is value here, you can sail for as little as $199 per person in an inside cabin, or around $299 for a balcony, of course depending on the date the price will go up. Add $45 per person for port charges.
Premium Food This ship has three premium restaurants, of which I visited none, you see, I still think all food should be included, so I don't go for this gimmick.
However in fairness, you may want to try these out if your into French, Italian or a Steak House. There is a flat cover fee which includes all the food you can eat.
The Drinks As far as alcohol, drinks cost between $4 and $18, depending on what you like.
I ordered two red bull and Grey Goose drinks and it cost me $32. I almost fell out of my chair, so be warned, ask first before you order. NCL you think maybe that's a little too much??
Port Parking This ship is home ported in Miami.
Get ready to pay $20 per day to park your car at the port, so if you live in the area get a friend to drop you off or pick you up, or take a taxi because its outrageous. We can thank Dade County for this, as usual; they soak you when you have no alternatives.
Getting on and off Embarkation and disembarkation was smooth, we chose to carry our luggage out and we were off in 10 Minutes, 20 minutes if you count going thru customs.
Summary All in all, for a 3 or 4 day Bahamas cruise, this is a better deal than what RCCL and Carnival offer by a mile, for now anyways.
I sincerely hope the other carriers get a little more competitive with each other, a nice price war would be great for us cruisers ;-)
I will will be posting some pictures soon.
We just returned from our cruise. Overall it was great.
First a bit about the ship. The food was great. We put out the extra bucks and went to dinner in Cagney's Steak House and Il Adiago and they were both worth the extra money. The service was super and the food wonderful. The buffets were good also. When the inside buffet was busy, we just went outside without a wait.
We had a balcony cabin, as well as a handicapped room for a friend of ours. NCL took very good care of our friend. The room was huge, especially the bath. Perfect for a wheelchair. Our balcony room was perfect. I will never stay in an inside cabin again.
The shows were okay. We cruised Royal Caribbean five years ago and the adult games were similar. I would think by now things would change. The comedian was very funny. The broadway type shows were cheesy and a waste of time. The partying at the pool at night was fun. We always found something to do if we didn't care for the shows. There are so many things to doon the ship that if we didn't like what we saw in one place, we would just go someplace else.
Surprisingly we did well in the Casino. The machines go from $.01 on up. There were plenty of tables to choose from.
Our overall ship experience was good and we would cruise on the Sky again.
My only suggestion would be to do something about the entertainment. The cruise director as Austin Powers was a bit much. I think a dueling piano bar for adults would be great fun.
As for the ports, Freeport was pathetic. Where we docked was all industrial. Cargo containers, sand piles -- it was just awful. Nothing pretty about it at all.
We took the $39.00 NCL shore tour. Driving around was sad. They had lots of devastation from past hurricanes, and the homes are in very poor condition. These people are very poor. The first market was dirty and there was no paper in the toilets. Bring you own, I guess. It wasn't worth the stop as far as we were concerned. The second place was better. There were 86 shops and a casino across the street. Much nicer. The last stop was the beach. 20 minutes for picture taking and a drink.
The next day we went to Nassau. The port was much better. We decided to take a taxi on our own and went over to the Atlantis Resort. We shared a taxi and paid $4.00 per person. We were there in five minutes. It's a beautiful place. We walked around for about an hour. I'm sure we didn't see even half the place. We took a taxi back for $4.00 each again. Right across from the place where we docked there was a straw market. Lots and lots of stores. Something for everyone. We really enjoyed that.
The last day we went to NCL's island. It was very nice, although you need to get there early to get a lounge chair. Otherwise you'll have to sit on a sand chair. They had bar service, a BBQ, music, volleyball and you could also rent floats, snorkel equipment or take a parasail ride. The food is free, but of course everything else has a charge. We paid $18.99 for two foam floats for the day. The beach is nice and the water was crystal clear.
On the last day getting off the ship couldn't have gone more smoothly. We opted for the easy walk off. We took our own luggage, and went through Customs in about two seconds. It was perfect.
So overall, we had a blast. We would have hoped the ports would have been better, but didn't think about the hurricane damage. Shame on us being from SW Florida.
We are planning another cruise and will go with NCL again. But next time we'll do more research into the ports.
I just got back from a HORRIBLE cruise. I have been on many cruises, this is my first time on NCL. So I thought we could spend Christmas on a cruise for a change. It almost ruined our Christmas. It was the WORST! What they say and what they do is not the same. The staff were SLOW, LAZY, and the food wasn't good at all. We ate the same thing EVERYDAY!
The stateroom was so small that we did not have enough room to put our luggage. The room is supposed to sleep 3, but the sofa bed was set up poorly, that we couldn't go to the door or the bathroom without tripping over the bed. We went to the reception desk to complain. The girl didn't seem to really care about our complaint, so we asked to speak to the manager. The manager told us the same, that all the rooms are set up like that because it is a smaller boat. The boat is fully booked so that they can't change the room for us.
The dining room service was just as bad. The service wasmessy and the food was blaaaa. One morning we went to the Crossing Dining Room for breakfast and found that we had to wait around 20 mins. There were 20 to 30 people waiting for a table, but the dining room was empty around the middle. I asked the hostess why the long wait when there are empty tables. She replied that they don't use that part of the dining room for breakfast. We definitely won't book with that company again. BEWARE of NCL.
So, I had wanted to go on a cruise for the longest time, and while it was a wish of mine, I didn't want to have spend a lot of money on something I wasn't sure if I was really going to enjoy or not. So, I opted for a short 3-night cruise sailing out of Miami to Nassau, Bahamas, on the Norwegian Sky.
As we live in New Jersey, we decided to take a flight to arrive to Miami the same day as the cruise was sailing. Some of our family picked us up at the airport, and we went to lunch, and then we were on our way. We got to the port at around 1:45pm, and the embarkation process was very easy. In a matter of 15 minutes, all pictures had been taken, credit card infomation was processed, and we were on the ship! There were a total of three in our party; all different ages - my 68-year-old widowed mother, myself (a 39-year-old mom of one), and my little 11-month-old baby boy. All employees of NCL, both in the terminal before boarding, and once we goton the ship, were very helpful and accomodating with us since I had the baby stroller, diaper bag, baby, etc. I liked that a lot.
Once we boarded, we went straight to our stateroom, #6210, on the Oslo deck. Our room was an oceanview, and it was a perfect size for the three of us. The only real complaint I have is that the layout of the deck is very uncomfortable because it is not elevator-accesible. To get to the stateroom, we had to take an elevator to the seventh floor, and then, fold up the stroller, and carry everything down one flight of stairs to the deck where our stateroom was. The stateroom was not overly large, but it wasn't outrageously small, either. We had two single beds, and a pack 'n play for the baby set up in the middle between the two beds. I did not feel cramped, nor did I feel like we were knocking into one another at any time. The room was very pleasant, and very clean, with a good amount of towels, and complimentary toiletries in the bathroom.
Our luggage did not take long to arrive to our room, and once it came, we put it inside, and went out to walk around, and to become acquainted with our home for the weekend. We went to the Buffet on the Pool Deck, Deck 11, to see what was going on. Lots of people were milling about at the pool, and we went to Il Adagio, where pizza and pasta were being served. The pizza was fresh out of the oven, and the pasta was being made to order. We grabbed small plates of pasta, and grabbed a table, and sat around talking, just taking everything in.
At 4:30pm, we were scheduled for the obligatory muster drill, so before the drill, we were instructed to go to our stateroom, and grab the life preservers, and go to our assigned stations. When we got to our Station C, starboard, it was so hot and muggy, and no one had really arrived yet, just a handful of passengers, and the crew member in charge of leading the drill. When he saw me with the baby, he suggested that I go inside, so that we would be comfortable, and to not worry about it. So, we went inside, and sat in the Atrium, on the International Deck, by the windows, in very comfortable bamboo furniture, and patiently waited for the start and completion of the mandatory drill. One thing has to be said for NCL - this a cruise for anyone. In the Atrium, seated next to us, obviously also sitting out on the uncomfortably hot muster drill was a couple approximately in their 80's. There was another young family with four children, ourselves, and a very loud, very drunk bachelorette party. Anyway, finally, the drill was over, and we were free to do whatever (sorry, no pun intended).
We returned to the Pool Deck for the Sail-A-Way, and got a table by the window in the Garden Cafe. We finally pulled out of port at around 5:30pm.At around 6:30pm, we headed back to our room to change for dinner, and I could definitely feel that the ship was moving. My baby was in his pack 'n play, and kept swaying from side to side, and not voluntarily. Needless to say, both my mother and myself got very seasick and had to get some Dramimine from the Reception Desk so that we could enjoy the rest of the trip. We went to dinner at the Palace Dining Room, but a lot of the crew members could not walk straight, even they were pitching from side to side. We half-heartedly ordered our meal, but my son was tired and cranky, so I just asked our waiter to prepare our meals to take back to our room. When we got to our room, it took all of ten minutes for my son to go to sleep, and quite honestly, I was out like a light very soon after.
The next morning, we woke up bright and early, and when I looked out of the window, we were docking in Nassau, and I could see the beautiful Atlantis hotel to my left. We took showers, got dressed, and went to eat breakfast so that we could disembark as soon as possible. We had not made plans to go on any shore excursions, as we just really wanted to go shopping, and be at our leisure to come and go as we wished. Good move! We went straight to the Straw Market, and were pretty much there all morning. I found the prices to be actually even better than the prices I have found on Canal Street in Chinatown, in NYC. After an arduous morning of shopping, we went back on the ship to eat lunch, and then got off again to buy some booze and some jewelry (neither of these two items were purchased at the Straw Market). Happy with our purchases, and tired by the sun and the walking, we were back on the ship by 4:30pm, and took our Dramamine just in case. No need to worry, the seasickness that we had felt the night before did not repeat itself.
We got ready, and got dressed up, and decided to go to dinner at the Palace Dining Room. We were seated immediately, and service was great. The waiter brought my son a very fancy serving of strawberry and banana yogurt, and he loved eating that, along with the very yummy rolls that were in the bread basket. I ordered the scallops appetizer, and as my entree, the lobster and grouper dish, and both were very tasty, and impeccably presented. My mother ordered the absolutely most delicious appetizer ever; watermelon with fried feta cheese. One would never think of pairing those two together, but it was DELISH!!!!! I can't recall what her main entree was, but I do remember that she was very pleased. For dessert, I had the creme brulee, and coffee, and then, since it was my birthday, I was presented with a birthday cake, along with four or five crew members singing "Happy Birthday" to me. It was a very nice way to end my birthday.
After dinner, I had every intention of going out to explore the ship some more, but I went to our room to lay with my son while he fell asleep, and the next thing you knew, it was the next day.
Sunday was our day to spend at Grand Stirrup Cay, and I wanted to get as much sun as possible. I had made an appointment to have a hot stone massage at the Waves Spa before going ashore, so I got up at 7:00 to get going. My massage ended at 9:00am. By the time I got back to our room, both Abuelita and the baby were ready. We went to eat breakfast at the Cafe Garden buffet, and then made our way to the private island. By the time we got there, it was no later than 10:30am, and there was not an umbrella that was available, or empty lounge chair to be found. We decided to sit in a small grove of palm trees that had pretty decent shade, and that had lots of hammocks. It was a bit of a walk to the water, but that was all right. We went into the water for a while, and just hung out, but it was too hot. My mother went to make the line at the buffet once lunch was being served, but nothing looked appetizing to me. I decided that I would wait until we got back on the ship to eat. Because of the sun and the heat, we decided to head back to the ship at approximately 1:30pm. We got back to the ship, and my mother decided to take a nap while my son slept. I took the opportunity to go the lunch buffet, and go to the pool to get some sun. Boy, did I ever!!!! I was tanned to a crisp! But, it was nice that it wasn't overly crowded since everyone was at the beach.
After sunning, we got ready for dinner, and decided to go to the Crossings Dining Room. We got a table with a beautiful view, and ate the most delicious meal. There is one crew member who I have to mention, Claudia Aching, originally from Peru. She is one of the most attentive, caring, nicest employees I met on this cruise. She really made the difference for me. All of the crew members were very nice, but I had the opportunity to have her services on four different occasions, and she is one of the best examples in customer service.
Anyway, after dinner, we went to the Reception Desk to get our luggage tags, and went back to our room to pack, and get ready for the next day, which was our last day of the cruise.
On Monday morning, when I opened my eyes and looked out of my window, I was disappointed to realize that we were back in Miami and that the cruise was over. At the same time, I felt a little relief to know that everything had gone smoothly, and that nothing bad had happened.
Disembarkation was cake. We chose to get off the ship at the next-to-last group as our family would not be picking us up at the terminal until 9:00am. Yes, the line for immigration was long, but nothing that wasn't manageable. They didn't ask one single question, and let us through right away. We got our bags from the carousel and wheeled them out and were back on "terra firma" by 9:10am.
Would I go on another cruise? Absolutely, in a heart beat. I found it to be one of the best values for your money around. I plan to do a couple of things differently: 1.) Go with more people, and hopefully someone around my age 2.) Go on a longer voyage - three nights was too short!!!
I just got back from a HORRIBLE cruise. I have been on many cruises, but took my granddaughter for her FIRST cruise on the NCL Sky. It was the WORST!
What they say and what they do is not the same. The staff were SLOW, LAZY, and the food wasn't good at all. We ate the same thing EVERYDAY! This included hot dogs, hamburgers, and fries.
The buffet was a joke! It was like a realy bad Morrisons. We had to wait over 30 minutes for a burger, and at the buffet, have you ever?
The ship had a bad layout. It was in dry dock, for what?
We didn't see our room steward till the second day! No towel animals EVER! Anyone even THINKING about booking with them, DON'T DO IT!
Thought if anyone else reads these for a little insight this might be helpful. We managed to only spend $250 on alcohol, but I heard a lot of horror stories on disembark about bill running thousands. Stick to the buckets of beer, good value. KEEP your receipt, you'll need it to get the 5 bucks back deposit on the helmut bucket. If you want wine with dinner, consider buying the package at the start.
Food: Head chef is Indian. The curry dishes are amazing, dont be scared of the vegetarian dishes even at the Palace and Crossings. The fresh fruit is the 2nd best part of the main buffet. Going to buffet at peak times is like Hometown Buffet meets Denny's. Use as last resort. Desserts are worth the calories. Secret: Il Adagio (the pay extra italian place at the back of ship opposite the buffet) has an omlette and waffle station for breakfast and pasta and pizza for lunch FREE. Tables are plentiful and if you want extras go get them at the Great Outdoor cafe (the "mini buffet").
If you have a day at sea get a lounge chair early(think 9am). Best quiet place - outside the Outrigger Lounge, theres a "hidden" door to the left of the entrance that takes u outside. The bartender there will also give you hints on how to win the Resort Quest contest on the last nite, so hang out by the bar until you get your number.
The entertainment was the best part of the cruise! Go see the shows. Also, we made the mistake of thinking that the luggage we set outside by midnight per instructions the last night wouldn't be seen again until the airport, not so. You will get it back before you head to airport, so if you need to put some stuff back in there that can't be checked you can.
The cruise ship smelled like raw sewage.
The staff was unprepared for passengers upon arrival.
I will never cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line again!
I was disappointed in Norwegian Cruise Lines, as I was told the room for me and my 2 teenage sons was as big as a Holiday Inn Hotel room. That was a lie. It was half the size of a normal hotel room. I had to climb over my son's bed (pull out couch bed). It was tiny -- the size of a little girl's play house bed. So I climb over his bed. His legs get scrunched up, while I'm going to the bathroom, or getting the door. The room was tiny! It ruined the first part of our trip. We were given on our 3rd night of the cruise the same room on the 8th deck (which is where I was supposed to have been in the first place), and was what I had requested when making my reservation. The new room the manager offered us was a little better in that it had one big bed for 2 instead of 2 little tiny kids' beds and a pullout sofa bed. Oh, it did still have the tiny sofa bed too, but they turned it sothat we could get to the bathrooom if we needed too, but we still had to climb on top of the bed to get there. The only problem with the room they wanted to give us was that the AC wasn't working properly, and they offered us a fan. The room downstairs was ice cold, which we liked. So, in the end I stayed in that room and my kids went up to the 8th floor room (so in the end we were satisfied), not enough to take another cruise with NCL though.
By the way, to get this new room, i had to first complain to a manager at the front desk. She said sorry Charlie, nothing she could do, except report it to her manager and she'd get back to me. So Ginny, the other manager, told me to come to her office. She said there's nothing anyone could do for me. The next day I got mad and asked to speak to her manager, a man. He listened to me and offered me the other room I told you about, but when I said the AC's not working right, he got all upset, and was like "that's all we can do for you mam; we've offered you 2 rooms for the price of one." We took it, fan and all.
In all parts of the ship, the service was very good -- not excellent -- but good (I have been on better ships with better service though), but all in all no complaints there.
The food was Ugh!! It was very bad, except in the dining rooms that you pay extra for. Cagney Steak House cost us $157 dollars plus extra for a tip. The tip was included but the service was very good. The food there was high quality, and very good steaks. The desserts were good too.
In the Palace, the food was horrid. The lobster (they say it is from Maine) didn't look like it or taste like it, and was pre-frozen. It was very tough. That being said, I did have two tails. The service was very good though, and the dining room manager was very nice and accommodating to us.
The Crossings for breakfast was good. It was not the best of food, but pretty decent for breakfast fare. No complaints there and the service was exceptionally good!
Room service was lame. The service always takes one hour. Sometimes it was quicker for just drinks. They had a lame menu -- turkey sub with like one slice of turkey in it; a BLT that was made with oldddd bacon; sogy bread; chicken fingers that were cold, not even warm; and pizza that was horrible, a small round one that a kid could make. It was just not good.
On the last night of the cruise we were hungry and wanted something to eat. Bam, room service said since it's the last night of the cruise there is no room service. What?????? That didn't seem right, so I called the front desk and they did get me some food, but it took one hour or more, and the food was old and cold.
The entertainment was lame as well. There was a corny commedian (frankly, I could've been more funny). Some of the music sounded nice though and on the all white night my kids had a good time. The teen room was lame also, and my kids wouldn't even go in there. It was too boring.
The pools were a definite disappointment. They were small and didn't look appealing, so we didn't even go in them once. And it was the same for my teens, and that's the main reason I was going on the cruise -- to swim.
Would I go on another NCL cruise? No, I wouldn't due mainly to the room size.
The service on the ship was very poor. We had to wait for up to 45 minutes to be seated for dinner. Reservations should not be allowed on freestyle cruising.
The food was outrageous. It was obviously food that was left over from previous dinners, especially the appetizers. The leg of lamb dinner was questionable. I have never had leg of lamb served with baked beans!
Appetizers were bizarre; i.e. short-rip crepes, bruschetta with tortilla chips instead of toasted French Bread! Our dinners took sometimes up to 2-1/2 hours -- the service was that slow!
I was very disappointed in the whole cruise. The only thing that my husband and I liked about it was the itinerary.
We also just completed a 10-day cruise on Pride of Aloha. I can't believe that the last two reviews were for the same ship. We had the opposite experience.
Our cabin was very clean and we always had clean towels and wash cloths. Our room steward visited our room at least twice a day. Our bed was turned down every night. There was ample room for our clothes. As for storage we just put our bags under the bed, no problem there. I would suggest a port side balcony room for the best view of these magnificent islands.
The food was about the same quality as other cruise ships we've been on. In fact, the meal at the Bistro ($15 extra charge) was the best I've ever had on a cruise ship. I will agree that the service in the Crossings Dinning Room was sub par, but there are so many other choices of places to dine that we never had to go back. I think that the wait times will vary depending on the time you choose to dine. We enjoy a cocktail before dinner and would request a "beeper"from the hostess. We then would go to Captain Cook's Lounge. When our table was ready we would be paged. Sometimes I wished we had more time before being paged. Reservations can be made if you feel it is necessary. If your party is less than five people the only times are 5:30 and 8:00 PM for the main dining rooms. If your party is for five or more or at the "pay" dining rooms, reservations can be made for any time. It is best to make your reservations two days in advance. If you do this you will have no problems.
The nightlife on this cruise was almost non existent after 10PM. It's not that there was no entertainment, but with the average age of the passengers. I think "bed time" for most on this cruise was at or before that hour. We made our own entertainment and found that the bartenders and wait staff are very friendly, especially at Captain Cook's and the Plantation Club.
Alas, this ship will be leaving in June. For those who are going for a cruise on her before she leaves I say, don't worry. If your expectations are reasonable you will have good cruise. This is still the best and most economical way to see the Hawaiian Islands.