Our quick 3-day cruise on the Norwegian Sky was a good experience, albeit rather hit and miss at times.
We decided to pay extra and try the penthouse suite. We enjoyed the more spacious room and extra perks very much. We used the large balcony a lot during the cruise. Our concierge, Karin, seemed to be everywhere and was extremely helpful in providing information, making reservations, and checking to see if we needed anything. I don't believe there was a harder working person on the ship.
Getting on and off the ship was great as personal escorts were provided for each.
The entertainment does not hold up to more sophisticated venues, but overall we enjoyed the stage shows -- a singing tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and the improvised comedy act Second City. The comedian Andrew Kennedy was funny.
The restaurant service was good. Food was ok if not typical for cruising.
The highlight of our cruise was time spent on the private island Great Stirrup Cay. There were still visible effects from Hurricane Sandy, most notably, the loss of beach sand. This, combined with the improvements NCL is making to the island, make it a bit difficult to rate the island overall. We rented one of the cabanas and enjoyed our day there. If you rented a cabana for an upcoming cruise, no worries, there was no hurricane damage to any of the cabanas.
Could Be Better:
There was no single major problem that tarnished our experience, but there were some issues that could have been better.
Our room service was very ordinary, at best. The room was not cleaned to the level we expected when we arrived. Spill/grime remained on the counter cabinet and the doors/walls were coated with visible finger smudges. Hair was found on the bed when we pulled back the sheets. I made room accommodations before the cruise that NCL forgot about. One evening empty shampoo and conditioner bottles remained in the bathroom after they had completed their cleaning for the day. There was no consistency when calling for room service support. We were told to dial one number for service but then we were directed to a different number and at times neither number to dial for service seemed to be working effectively. Our butler was stuffy and we didn't quite see the point in having one. Perhaps all a bit nitpicky, but paying premium dollars means that expectations will be higher.
The buffet style food choices and selection were not on par with what we have experienced with other cruise lines.
The ship itself lacks charm or a sense of wonder. One of the main levels overlooking the pool area is, of all things, a netted basketball court. I've gotten used to this area being prime lounge chair seating, a giant screen, secondary pool area and/or pool bar. A netted basketball court in this area seems old, out of place and intrusive to the party atmosphere.
The suite only had one American style electric plug, the rest were European style plugs, a constant source of annoyance. The room CD/DVD player does not have a modern audio plug or I-Pod connection. If you want to play music from your I-Pod, plan on bringing an audio connector adapter for the larger "old style" head phone jacks. The stand up shower bordered on ridiculous. Think of trying to shower in a coffin and you get the idea. Why not just place the shower head in the giant oversized whirlpool tub 2 feet away?
We always say that cruising is so much in part what you make of it. Expectations will ultimately be determined by many factors -- cost, accommodations, length of cruise, ship specs, itinerary, etc. We had a good time aboard the Sky, but we were looking for great. We may try NCL on a future cruise, but for a first impression, it felt just slightly off at times.