I'm writing this on the last day of a 4-day quickie cruise on the Sky. I'm sorry to report I can't wait for this particular cruise to end.
My wife and I are experienced cruisers. (Over 20 cruises) We are admittedly spoiled. This is the shortest cruise we have taken in years; four days Miami -- Bahamas and back getaway. We booked this particular cruise because we were treating our 20 something kids and their better half's to a cruise vacation. We have all have cruised on NCL numerous times before.
I'm not sure if the LOW quality of this sailing is because it's short and designed as a starter cruise or if it's because NCL is making cuts everywhere to bring down costs. It's likely a combination of both.
Low points are accented by absolutely inferior food. We are not foodies and not the types that expect gourmet food. The meals in the main dining rooms and specialty restaurants were on par with Shoneys on a bad day. Seriously!
There were lines for every meal. Lines at the buffet for breakfast and lunch and even lines for anytime- dining. NCL needs to take a page from the Celebrity play book and improve the flow of passengers at their dining venues. They also need to fire the Executive Chef.
This was not a super cheap cruise either. We paid almost $1000 for each balcony cabin for a 4-night cruise. We expected more for the money.
The crew, in general, was not friendly or helpful. I had to ask a waitress twice for silverware at one of the buffets and still had to fetch it myself.
Balcony cabins on the Sky are small but functional. Forget candy on your bed each evening or any introduction from your cabin steward. They seem to not care. Did I mention no hot food from room service and after midnight they charge a service charge for room service? What happened to the good old days at NCL?
Internet service is not provided in your cabin on the Sky unlike newer ships. Entertainment was limited to the same comedian we have seen on prior NCL cruises, a juggler and a repeat of the sub-par "Oh What a Night" show we had seen before as well.
So it cost us $3000 to learn what we should have known. Stay away from starter cruises if you are seasoned cruisers. You will find a ship full of lower end vacationers that have come to gorge themselves on bad food and expensive drinks.
We still have a certificate we purchased on the Pearl for another seven day or longer cruise on NCL. I'm sad to say we will likely let it expire and pass on another NCL experience.
We are looking forward to our next sailing, a 14 night Trans-Atlantic sailing on Celebrity's Equinox. Hopefully Celebrity still knows how to do it right! I'll let you know when we get back.