My wife and I just finished a 3-day cruise on Norwegian Sky. We have done 2 other 3-day cruises on Majesty of the Seas and thought we would try Norwegian. It is basically the same itinerary, stop at the cruise line's private island and then go to Nassau (Bahamas).
First, I want to thank all the Cruise Critic reviewers who recommended SAS Transportation. We flew into Fort Lauderdale and needed to get to the Port of Miami. We pre-reserved a ride with SAS and they were already calling us when we got our luggage. We shared a very comfortable shuttle with another couple going to the same ship. It took about 35 minutes to get from the airport to the ship. At $15/person, for 2 people, it is about the same as a cab ride from Miami airport ($25/cab). Our driver gave us a non-stop talk about Miami and south Florida. While that might be annoying to some we found him entertaining and he did point out items of real interest. It was a great way to start a short vacation. Coming back the shuttle was already at the port when we arrived. It took about 45 minutes to get from Miami to Fort Lauderdale, even in rush hour and during a rainstorm.
We had an interior stateroom on the Sky. For a short cruise it was comfortable with more than enough storage for both of us. I think it would be a tight fit for 3 people. The shower was larger than other ships of similar size. There is only 1 power outlet so plan your recharging if you have a phone (or 2), a laptop, an iPod, etc. The hairdryer uses a separate outlet. Our Sky cabin was aft but away from main stairways and it was very quiet even though there was a large wedding party in the cabins around us. Once again the cabin attendant was the real hero of the the ship keeping our room made up and ensuring we had everything we needed. If you want to sleep interior cabins are great since they are so dark you do not know if it is day or night!
The Sky is smaller and one of the older ships in Norwegian's fleet. It has several dining options and several lounges. We ate in the main dining rooms on the 1st and 3rd evenings. The service and quality of the dinners was very good. We made reservations at one of the specialty restaurants for the 2nd night. While my wife's dinner was excellent my dinner seemed inadequate for the extra cost being charged and overall the service seemed rushed. The breakfasts and lunches on-board the ship are fairly standard. The poolside outdoor BBQ on Friday evening looked enticing but we were already signed up for a sail-away activity, the Pub Crawl. It is a great way to meet people and see the ship. One complaint, no cookies on board; lots of desserts but no cookies! Sometimes you just want a small sweet. We were surprised that there were no end of cruise surveys for ratings and comments but perhaps that is a Norwegian practice.
As with any cruise you cannot predict or control the weather. Unfortunately for us it rained pretty hard the entire trip once we left Miami. All events were cancelled on the private island and there were downpours in Nassau. The ship's staff did a admirable job in revising the scheduled private island day to have more on-board activities but this is also where we found some issues. There were a lot of transitions in several of the venues and it seemed that there were never enough crew to move these along quickly. Since the outside of the ship was not useful due to the rain this limited the interior options. So you might want to go to a lounge to try it and find that it was still quite dirty from the prior activity with the available staff focused on cleaning versus attending to the guests. I have read in other reviews that the Norwegian staff can be indifferent. While we thought overall the staff was very attentive it did seem at times they were overworked with so many activities being moved inside and it showed in their attitudes.
Both embarkation and debarkation was smooth. We carried off our luggage and there were no delays in getting off the ship and through customs. As noted above our transportation had already been arranged and picked us up within 5 minutes of clearing customs.
This was our first experience with Norwegian's Freestyling approach and while acceptable for a short cruise I am not sure it fits our style for a longer cruise. We have found that by using flexible dining options on other lines you can get the same variability. We have sailed on Royal 5 times, Carnival once and Holland once for a longer cruise.