I just came back from my 4 night Bahamas cruise aboard the Norwegian sky. Embarkation was very easy even though there were long lines. I had only 1 carry on luggage which made it easier but it seemed like people with many bags had no problems. Welcome aboard was nice, with musicians greeting passengers in a friendly way and establishing a fun atmosphere. After that it was a bit confusing finding my stateroom which was between decks 6 and 7 and has no elevator access. But a staff member directed me there in a friendly way. I left my bag and went onto the outside decks to enjoy the view and say good bye to friends and family. Then went to the pool side sail away party with a nice BBQ meal.
Later, I went back to the stateroom to check it out in more detail. It as in deck 6a, which is between decks 6 and 7 so you have to go down from deck 7. It seemed like a quiet area of the ship. The cabin itself did not feel claustrophobic even though it was inside. It had a double bed. There was good space for mostly everything but not much drawer areas. There was a pull out sofa where a 3rd person can sleep, but if you pull it out, you block the bathroom access for one of the other persons on the bed. My only complaints were that the white bedspread and a pillow case had 2 small black stains, looked like charcoal or maybe a pen spilled out its ink. I think a sheet had a similar small stain too. The stateroom looked clean but did not smell clean. The bathroom had a slight scent of urine. I think they should use cleaners with stronger "fresh" or "floral" scents. The doorknob to the bathroom was missing but you could still open it with the stub. Everything else was good. Bed was firm without being hard, but I guess that is personal preference. Air and water temperature control worked great. I saw my cabin stewardess many times, unlike other passengers have said and she was always nice and greeted me by my name.
I only ate at the Garden cafe because I like the variety that buffets can bring. I found the food to be always hot, with good choices all the time, for all 3 main meals. I specially enjoyed the indian curries and the mexican food. It was not 5 star restaurant quality but surely way above cafeteria food. Free drink selection has been improved with the strawberry kiwi and the mango flavored waters. I kept mixing them with tea or lemonade so I never got bored of the final flavor combination. Orange and cranberry juices for breakfast, milk too. Coffee was not too good but that is a common thing amongst cruise lines and even restaurants overall. If you want gourmet coffee you have to go to a gourmet coffee place, it is that simple. Good deserts (you have to try the double chocolate cake- superb!), salads and fruit (fresh!). The carving station left a bit to be desired, because they only had 1 kind of meat at a time and most of the time it was pork which I don't eat (but it surely looked good and lean, with herbs and a good nice golden crust), but I had turkey and it was OK. I never saw the roast beef. They had a good vegetarian selection, but as others have written, placed next to meat items and sometimes they get bacon pieces on them, etc. Pricess cruise foods were fancier but so was the cruise price! For the SKY, I think it was good value. If you went on peak dining time it was hard to find a seat. I ended up outside most of the time. The waiters come by to clear tables super quickly to make more tables available to the next guest, but sometimes too quickly in my view. One time I got up to refill my drink and when I came back my food was gone!
I had room service once and it exceeded my expectations in terms of amount of food and presentation. It took 45 minutes to get there but I was told beforehand so no surprises there. Food quality was good.
With regards to lounges I mainly went to Dazzles and the drinks were good and the service was great. It was nice to sit and drink where there was some kind of show in progress.
The entertainment was more than I expected, with great comedians including Second City crew. The game shows were also great fun. Most of the time there were a couple of activities going on at once so you can choose, but Princess cruises had more variety overall.
The ports of call were good. The day at Freeport was nice but a bit windy so the Lucaya beach experience could have been a bit warmer. On the positive side, it was not crowded and the beach was very beautiful with white sands and azure waters. You have to take a taxi out of the port and into town. We got a friendly driver named Emmanuel who also served as an unpaid tour guide, and explained things along the way. The town showed some signs of damage due to the recent hurricane Sandy but the shops and restaurants were open and people seemed to be enjoying themselves.
The day at Nassau (I didn't seem much hurricane damage there) was warmer so I took a reasonably priced city tour with an extremely nice lady who called herself friendly Fanny. It was supposed to be 2 hours long but the whole van of passengers was having such a good time it ended up being close to 4 hours and she was in no rush, happy to make her customers have a good experience while enjoying herself too! We went to a Fort shaped like a ship with nice island views, the queen steps, souvenir shopping, to the lower, middle and upper income class areas to see the difference, have fresh conch salad made before your eyes by the water with some super powerful coconut milk/coconut water/rum mix that everyone wanted more of, and finished off at Atlantis resort, before being driven back to our starting point. This lady was very friendly, very knowledgeable, fun and entertaining. Definitely recommend her! Afterwards, I got a chance to do a lot of shopping on the port, sightseeing, eating, and it was great. It was a bit hard to find an internet cafe (the one I found first was not working) and the like, but it was a good experience. I had to try another local favorite, rum cake (yum!), with rum tea (yum again!) and later I had the soda called Bahamas Goombay punch. It tasted like champagne, pineapple and bubble gum sodas together. It was good (have it with ice, since it is quite sweet).
For the last port, which was supposed to be NCL's private island, it was cancelled by the cruise captain because the island had received substantial damage due to hurricane Sandy so we were all sad about that and had a sea day instead. This made the ship feel crowded for the first time, because all passengers were at the open decks most of the day. But it was enjoyable nonetheless. I also spent a bit of time browsing selections at the cruise's stores, such as gift shop (found a couple of nice things for $10 each), jewelry store, art gallery and library.
Disembarkation day was a breeze. I got up, packed my bag, and had a nice last breakfast at the Garden cafe and then self-disembarked due to only having carry on luggage. Other people with many bags seemed relaxed and happy. Out by 9am, and through with customs, etc by 9:30 to enjoy my last day in Miami.
Overall, great experience for the price. It surely was not as fancy as more expensive cruises. The ship shows a bit of age but it is kept in good shape. The staff were friendly and helpful but sometimes hard to get a hold of in the dining areas. I will do it again, for sure.