My husband and I have cruised several times before but it was the first time we were trying NCL.
We arrived to the port at about 1:30PM. We checked in and were aboard the ship in less than 10 minutes which was excellent and maybe the fastest check-in we've ever had.
We arrived at our stateroom around 1:45pm and it was "ready". We carried on our suitcases, so we would not have to wait for them.
To our surprise, our balcony stateroom was VERY small in comparison to the balcony staterooms from the other cruise lines on which we have previously travelled. In addition, 3 of the 6 pillows on the queen size bed, were stained. One stain seemed to be blood. The steward was called and after waiting for an hour, he exchanged the pillows for new ones.
We headed up to the upper pool deck to meet our group and have lunch at the buffet and drinks. We bought the soda card which was $21 for the 3 days which entitled us to unlimited soda and a refillable cup. We proceeded to go to the deck bar and have our cups filled, but asked the bartender to rinse out the cups first. To our horror, the bartender dunked the cups into a water-filled bucket that was on the floor instead of using a sink and then filled the cups with Pepsi. Obviously, we did not drink it. We went back to the room and cleaned them thoroughly.
The ship finally sailed at about 5:30pm right before the clouds started rolling into the Miami area.
We went down to the Palace dining room for dinner around 6:30PM. We were seated right away, which was nice. However, we found the service to be extremely slow and the food at the main dining rooms and the buffet very poor compared to the other cruise lines, as far as taste and quality. The dinner service itself was very poor. The waiter could not remember who got what. Some orders never came. We were there for at least 3 hours and 30 minutes of that, was just to get a cup of coffee!
After dinner, we all went to the casino which was nice, although a bit smoky.
Day 2- Grand Bahama Island
Ordered coffee and croissants from room service (placed the door tag the previous night for a 7:00am delivery). Order was delivered on time and the bread was fresher than the one at the buffet.
Left the ship at 8:15am and waited for the transfer to the Lucaya area of the island. Went to the UNEXSO Dolphin Experience excursion, which was awesome! Highly recommend it!
Returned to the ship at about 1PM, famished. Went to the buffet and after waiting in line for 30 minutes, got my cheeseburger just right with all the condiments I liked. Went to an empty table, put down my burger and went to grab something to drink and was outraged that by the time I came back to the table (no more than 5 minutes), my food was gone! One of the servers had thrown my entire burger and fries to the trash! I was so upset! I called the manager, who offered to make a new one for me but I had no more time left. So the lesson, I guess is: When at the buffet, always go with someone and take turns guarding your food!
Went back to room and ordered coffee and some cookies from room service.
Went to dinner at 6:30PM with the group at the Palace again and story repeated itself. Slow service and poor quality food.
Day 3- Nassau
Due to heavy rain and swells, we never got off the ship at Nassau.
Went to one of the main dining rooms for breakfast to meet the rest of our group at 8:30AM. Some orders took over 45 minutes to arrive, and were wrong when they finally arrived. My order of eggs was inedible, as it was severely under-cooked.
Since we could not go ashore, we decided to go to the spa for massages. The spa was advertising a special of $109 for "ladies & gents" package. The massages were wonderful and the staff very friendly.
We went for lunch at the buffet. In my humble opinion, this has to be the worst designed buffet ever! You wait in a very long line and for a long time, because the special "grill" orders are in the middle of the line instead on one of the sides. Took forever! The choices were limited and not very appetizing at all. Overall, the food here was a constant disappointment. Many of the offerings were the same as the day before with only very few new items.
We then decided to go to check out the Bingo game. It was fun. We actually won a little money with the scratch off tickets and then proceeded to give most of it back, at the casino.
In the evening, we went back to the Palace dining room for dinner. The story repeated itself: Very slow service and poor quality food.
Went back to room and ordered coffee and some cookies from room service. Order came about 30 minutes later.
We relaxed for a bit and then went back to have drinks with the group and then go to the casino. It was a nice evening, except for how much the ship was swaying. Most of us got really dizzy.
Day 4- Private Island
Due to heavy rain and swells, we never got off the ship at the Private Island. Actually, the swells were so high, that the tenders could not pick up passengers at the ship.
Went to have breakfast at one of the main dining rooms. Again, the service was slow. I only had croissants and coffee, as I was feeling a bit queasy because of the swells. Orders for the rest of the gang took between 30 to 45 minutes again.
After breakfast, I had to go lie down. Ordered some coffee and tea from room service.
I was feeling better by the late afternoon. Made reservations for "The Bistro". The food and service was very good. The cover charge for the restaurant was $20 per person, but in my opinion, well worth it. No comparison to the main dining room or buffet food. The filet mignon was perfect. Really enjoyed the crÃ¨me brulee too.
After dinner, we went back to the casino for a while and then took on the juggler/comedian show (which was really good) and then returned to the room to pack.
Day 5- Disembarkation
We got dressed and had breakfast at 6:30am at the buffet. Again, I had only breads and coffee. My husband had eggs and bacon with some pastries.
After breakfast, we returned to the room to get our bags. The bill was on our door. We were flabbergasted to find out that NCL charges $12.00 for each time you call room service, for a total of $96.00, in our case! This was such an unwelcomed surprise. NONE of the other cruises ever charged us for room service!
We left the ship at 7:45am with our suitcases. It was quite fast. We were off the ship and through US Customs in less than 10 minutes. Finally we got to our car at the parking lot and headed home.
"LIKES" about the NCL Sky-
The juggler act.
"DISLIKES" about the NCL Sky-
Staterooms are very small and do not look like the pictures on the NCL website. Not enough storage.
-The soap and shampoo in the pumps. Our room had dispensers which were not well marked so we had no clue which was which. I ended up washing my hair with soap by mistake!
-Dining service (except The Bistro) was VERY POOR!
-Garden Cafe Buffet is poorly designed, congested, and has very limited and unappealing offerings.
Food on the NCL Sky was way below average. Nothing was great or super good like on RCL.
-Dazzles, which is the disco, is very small with low ceilings and does not feel like a dance club. A bit claustrophobic.
-The casino was very smoky.
-The passengers on the ship were a younger crowd which often got rowdy or acted like they were on a high school field trip or at the prom.
Was small (smallest balcony stateroom we have ever had). On top of the tight quarters, it lacked sufficient storage space for 2 adults, even though it was listed as able to accommodate 3 people. As a result, one of us had to keep our clothes in our suitcase the entire cruise. The space around the bed was inadequate for one person, let alone for more than one to circulate.
The Bathroom shower was equally inadequate, including a shower curtain that would not stay in place, which we believe explains why, upon our arrival, our Stateroom's carpet was wet! The carpet was also worn and dirty, the room could have been cleaned better, the edges of the carpet near the walls were very dirty and dusty, the room did have a refrigerator with beverages for purchase, the hairdryer was very old and provided very little heat and power, the TV in the cabin was very old, storage is very limited in the cabin with a very small closet area and only 3 small storage drawers for clothes.
Overall, I would not sail the NCL Sky again ever or would I recommend it to anyone. From now on, we will go back to Royal Caribbean.