Length: 853 ft
Quick short getaways to the Bahamas on a smaller Norwegian ship - take life easy, enjoy the rideBest For People Who Want
The option of lots of dining venues and nightclubs; extensive fitness facilities and a full-service spa; casual evening attire; an internet cafe; seven restaurants; above average Broadway-style musicals; casual dress policy with open seating diningShould Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
Average to large size cabins with good closet space; high level of service; gourmet cuisine; lack of PA announcements.Onboard Experience
This ship has quite a history though it was built in just 1999. This ship began as Norwegian Sky, but was re-fitted to become Pride of Aloha, the first NCL-America ship to sail year-round in Hawaii. To complete that task, they replaced the casino with a museum of Hawaii folklore and imbued the entire vessel with a Hawaiian theme, including renaming the Lido grill the Hukilau Café.
Now that the noble NCL-America experiment has been reduced from three to one full-time ship in Hawaii, Pride of America, the re-renamed Norwegian Sky is back, after an extensive two-month re-renovation to re-restore the casino, add a variety of night-spots and upgrade the staterooms. The ship now has all of the latest "Free-style 2.0 enhancements including new bedding, guaranteed lobster in every restaurant, welcome aboard "bubbly" and more.
Norwegian Sky now has the same lively interiors as the rest of the modern NCL fleet, which happens to be one of the youngest fleets in the cruise industry in terms of average age of their ships.
Entering the circular marble lobby of the ship your eyes go immediately to the winding stairs in the center that lead up the atrium with its glass-enclosed elevators. Intimate sitting areas with floor-to-ceiling glass walls on two levels let you comfortably enjoy the world outside. Like other NCL ships, the Norwegian Sky exudes a feeling of spaciousness throughout, while public rooms offer a sense of intimacy. The Plantation Club, a delightful wine bar, serves tapas, and the Longboard Bar features CNN and taped sports events playing all day. Have a cigar in Captain Cook's Cigar Club, or a cappuccino while you check your email or surf the web in the Coffee bar. Shop in the large gift shop or try your luck in the newly renovated Sky Club Casino.
Daily activities include the requisite bingo, aerobics classes, dance lessons, fashion shows and make-over demonstrations. For a rather hefty price you can indulge in a variety of spa treatments, including massage. I found Norwegian Sky's entertainment to be above average; at night, there is dancing, cabaret, live music in three lounges and high quality Broadway-style production shows in the Stardust Theater.
NCL has introduced freestyle cruising with multiple dining options and a casual dress policy, although you can dress to the nines if you want. Active cruisers will find a plethora of ways to keep fit, from a workout on the basketball court to the well-equipped gym or aerobics classes. Parents can securely put the children into the hands of Kids' Counselors and let them enjoy the Kids' Corner and disco, or the video arcade.
Norwegian Sky's biggest handicap is some of the smallest cabins found aboard any ship. The food, while not gourmet, is above average and the "Chocaholic" buffet is something worth staying up for. Service is uneven in the restaurants, though a major emphasis of "Free-style 2.0" is improving food quality throughout the fleet. One of the new 2.0 options is "Lobster Galore," which insures that every passenger gets a chance to order lobster at least once during the cruise, even if you only dine in the "included in the cruise fare" dining rooms, Palace and Crossings.Decor
All of the NCL fleet has been imbued with lively blues, oranges and blonde woods that radiate a carefree, light-hearted feeling. The furniture is all contemporary, like a Danish Modern with a sense of humor. Tropical touchs are common, such as aquarium-themed carpet and wall murals.Cuisine
NCL has really separated itself from the pack where cuisine is concerned. While there are still the two "included in the cruise fare" dining rooms, there are also five additional restaurants with aboce avergae food available for a fee. In the regular dining rooms, Crossings and Palace, the offerings are average cruise cuisine. Due to some criticism in the past, NCL (under the guidance of Apollo management) is trying very hard to improve the status quo. Still, there is no doubt they prefer to have you dining in the one of optional restaurants:Restaurants
The two main restaurants, Palace and Crossings each have open, restaurant-style dining each evening from 5:30pm to 10:00. Free-style dining means you can come to the dining room any time you wish and sit alone, join another table or invite the Maitre D' to seat others at your table.
Cagney's Steakhouse: 32-oz porterhouse steaks or king crab legs
Le Bistro: a traditional French restuarant with Côte de Boeuf, a 32-ounce premium gold angus rib eye steak; Plateau de Fruits de Mar, a cold seafood platter including mussels, lobster tail, shrimp and raw oysters on the half shell; Cardinal of the Seas, braised lobster tails.
Il Adagio: a casual Italian trattoria
The Garden Café: the Lido café where breakfast and lunch buffets are available as well as pizza, soup and sushi.
Great Outdoors: where NCL chefs cook fresh, prepared-to-order food as guests watch.Service
A multi-national staff provides reasonably good service and, for the most part, a pleasant attitude. The crew at the pool keeps the towels and blankets resupplied (needed on a cloudy day at sea) and drinks delivered with a smile. On the whole the bar staff was ideally pleasant and not overly gabby.Tipping
NCL charges $10 per day per passenger to your shipboard account, the same as other cruise lines. However, on NCL the charge is referred to as a "service fee" and unlike other lines, NCL guests cannot have the charge removed.Entertainment
The Stardust Theater currently features two productions, "South Rockin’ Nights," a high energy party celebrating the sounds of southern rock, R&B and pure rock 'n roll; and "On Broadway," a lively production of today's current Broadway smash hits including "Wicked," "Mama Mia" and 'Hairspray." In addition, music by three bands keeps the energy going into the evening when guests can party until the wee hours of the morning at two new themed experiences: White Hot Night, the ultimate dance party at sea set in a wonderland of white; and Monte Carlo Night, a sizzling casino party with the glitz and glam reminiscent of the French Riviera. One of the prettiest spots on the ship is the Outrigger Lounge. It reminds me a bit of Raffles in Singapore, but with a panoramic ocean view. The Longboard Bar offers video monitors with a variety of sports programs or CNN. Adjacent to this is the Zone, which morphs into a disco and karaoke spot after dark. The new Atrium Bar offers caviar, pate a fois gras.Cabins
Norwegian Sky's weakest area is cabins, among the smallest at sea. Category H inside cabins are 121 sq. ft., while F and G insides are 147 sq. ft; outside cabins in Cat. A, B, C and D are 149 sq. ft. Add to this, there is inadequate closet space for a week and several design flaws: reading lights over the bed are too low and tiny door handles that are difficult to open.
Each cabin is pleasantly decorated and has a small sitting area, TV/radio, telephone, modem connection, refrigerator, safe and individual thermostat. A daily movie program is available on the TV plus CNN and another satellite channel. All but a few outside cabins on Fjord and Norway decks have balconies. These superior deluxe suites measuring a tiny 154 sq. feet plus a 48 sq. foot balcony; they are very narrow and feel tiny. Suites have concierge service, which is a very nice touch. The penthouses and owner's suites, located fore and aft, are larger (between 311 and 398 sq. feet, depending on location) and boast teak decks and private hot tubs on the deck of the owners' suites. There are also connecting cabins for families.Fitness/Spa
The Pool Deck, Sports Deck and Sun Deck are expansive, with shelter from the wind while at sea. Located forward on the Pool Deck, the two-room Body Waves center has one room filled with up-to-date equipment and a view and another for aerobics classes.
A full-size basketball/volleyball court on the Sports Deck, two golf driving ranges, a batting cage, jogging track and aerobics classes scheduled throughout the day complete the program. The Steiner Body Waves Spa includes massage and steam rooms. Two pools and four hot tubs on the Pool Deck are well-protected from the wind and enjoyable in most weather. A children's splash pool and another hot tub are located forward on the Sports Deck. For the kids there are counselors and special programs in the Kid's Corner as well as a teen disco.Attire
As this ship now only sails three and four-day cruises, the designated dress code is a full-time "resort casual". Passengers have the option of not dressing up for "formal" nights as only some public areas will be designated formal. Those who do enjoy dressing up, expect one formal night during a one-week cruise. Most men opt for a dark suit instead of a tux while women don dressy pants suits, cocktail dresses or long gowns.
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.
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.