My husband and I cruised on the NCL Sky in early December with four other couples. Sky was chosen based mostly on price - we all live in SW Florida and wanted a short cruise getaway with friends. The rate was ridiculously cheap - even after the tip add-on and port charges.
Embarkation was pretty quick - we boarded around 1:30pm. Check-in agent was not particularly outgoing...some of us received the daily activity guide, others did not - were told they "ran out". Seemed to be a bare bones welcoming committee. Not many crew members available for questions or directions. Interestingly we were not hit with the barrage of spa service people or drink special hawkers which was actually kind of nice. Our bag did not arrive to 7:30pm that night - we were convinced it was lost. Guest Services was really not helpful...just kept telling us to wait til after 7pm to file a report. We were told at check-in our bags would be delivered by 4pm. We carried our bag off the ship at the end so we wouldn't have to wait. Self-carry was highly encouraged - must be a cost-saving thing for NCL.
Sky is TIRED and BADLY in need of a make-over. The ship felt small and cramped compared to other ships we've been on. The decor still reflects the Sky's old assignment in Hawaii. The buffet dining area (lido) was particularly cramped feeling since one entire side has been converted into specialty restaurants and the Longboard Sports bar. Apparently NCL felt it was better to add the Free Style dining options at the expense of space on the Lido deck. Lines were LONG and converged on each other in the middle. The food was decent but often items were in need of replenishing. Dining Room service was ok but nothing special. We did not have two table attendants as we have on other cruises so service was slow and the server seemed overworked. We don't care for NCL's Freestyle Dining...dress code is not very strictly enforced and the ambience is lost when the folks at the table next to you are wearing flip flops, tanks and shorts. went to Il Adagio one night. Our server was beyond rude and the food was just ok. Some of our group ate breakfast in the Main Dining room one morning - took TWO HOURS serve was so bad.
Cabin was tiny (porthole)- which was expected at our price point but we truly had the smallest bathroom I've ever seen. Luckily we are small people. No way a person of size would have fit in the shower. There were no toiletries provided. We had a sofa bed in the cabin so theoretically could have slept 3 but everyone would have had to crawl over the open bed to get to the bathroom. closet and door. Our friends had Interior cabins and they were even smaller!!! Thank goodness we paid for the upgrade.
Ports of call all Bahamas...frankly, been there done that - there are other more interesting Caribbean destinations. There was nothing to Freeport - straw market at the dock, straw market at the end of the $10 pp cab ride. Nassau wasn't a whole lot better unless you got away from the main drag - mostly tourist traps and T-shirt shops. We stayed on board during the stop at the private island.
Passengers were a mix of ages - not a ton of kids, teens or students but we cruised before Christmas break. Sky is a bargain boat and the clientele reflects it. Suffice it to say we opted not to go into the hot tub as it seemed to be the bathing place of choice for many of the people...
Not much in the way of entertainment although the Jersey Boys knockoff show was pretty good. One couple in our group tried to sneak on alcohol in their checked luggage. It was well disguised but confiscated nonetheless...can't imagine how NCL found it. Obviously they make their money on on-board liquor sales!!
Overall - the Sky is an old ship catering to bargain seekers. Certainly not a high or even middle class cruise experience. This was the first cruise we've been on where the mandatory tip irked me - didn't feel like the staff was going out of their way to earn it.
Had this been our first cruise, we would not likely have cruised again. Thankfully, we know what a cruise SHOULD be and NCL Sky isn't it.