I/we are an avid cruiser(s). I booked this post Thanksgiving weekend cruise when I discovered my partner had to work the weekend some heavy duty roof repairs were to be done on the house - did not want to be around to stress about it. I have sailed with all three Miami based weekend cruises (Carnival - Imagination/Ecstacy, RCCL - Majesty/Monarch of Seas - NCL - Westward/Leeward). I had been disappointed in all the past weekend cruises and found ships, food, service to be lacking. So with some trepidation I booked the NCL Sky sailing. I had been on this ship 11 years ago for a 15 day Panama Canal cruise and we loved the ship but based on prior experience did not really hold high expectations. I was very pleasantly surprised!!!
The Ship- Nicest of the options, very clean, plenty to do, great dining venues, wonderful open deck space, cabins can be small but for a weekend manageable. Cons: Hawaiian theme is bit Kitchy, a little worn could use an update of carpeting in some areas: Spa and Casino. Despite Hawaiian theme the outrigger lounge is lovely and underused. Favorite restaurant was the Bistro - beautifully decorated and shimmered at night.
Food- Bought the freestyle three restaurant pass prior to sailing. Pro: Bistro - excellent and beautiful venue. Service excellent food excellent. Cagneys was very good but similar to venues found on other lines and Adiago was good but not great. Garden Cafe and Great Outdoor Restaurant - selection and quality was very good. Surprised at variety of options. Breakfast selections were exceptional
Bars - Don't drink but lots of fellow passengers did and they seemed to enjoy.
Spa/Gym- Very nice and good size. I had three treatments and because I am Platinum the 25% discount made them worthwhile. Spa Manager is polished, poised, friendly and genuine. The Spa area could benefit from a refit - blinds that are broken and tatty furniture do not set a very good ambiance. Men's locker room could benefit from more frequent maintenance. Lots of traffic on my weekend voyage and the men's sauna and steam became a bit gamey.
Shows - I enjoyed the shows the four guys did performing Oh What A Night - were fun and it was enjoyable. Comedian was a little too tame for me but can't get too raunchy on a family ship.
Cabin - Clean, in great repair, fresh and no odor of any sort. My only beef is that housekeeping needs to clean the inside of the cabin doors - too many oily hand prints. A pet peeve. But otherwise room was spotless. NCL needs to update TV's and options
Embarkation - easy 9 minutes from curb to boat deck - best ever.
Debarkation - left the ship at 7:30 and was in my office in West Miami by 8:30 less that 10 minutes from announcement to car.
Customer Service : Friendly, good, and delivered proficiently
Ports: Its the Bahamas - Nassau for non-shoppers or Atlantis fans - stay on the ship. Stirrup Cay - big improvement and very nice facility upgrades.
Pools/Hot tubs- lots of decls space - hot tubs always packed. One disappointment was the extensive teak deck restoration going on around the pool - 20% of decks space was out of service and the noise from the sanders, saws, etc was not conducive to relaxation by the pool - a disappointment. NCL should disclose this when booking.
Take advantage of the onboard booking of a cruise option - great deal.
On another note love the NCL website, we cruise 3-4 times per year and we feel there site is the best.
For a weekend getaway you cannot beat the NCL Sky far better than the Carnival and RCCL options. Now when RCCL retires the Monarch and Majesty of the Seas with Grandeur class ships they might hold the edge but for now the NCL Sky has the clear advantage.
Overall: Great value will go again. NCL delivers an excellent weekend experience.