My wife and I have cruised many times and are very easy going about our cruise expectations. However, the experiences on the SKY on this cruise were way below what we have ever experienced on any other cruise that I felt it was worth reporting.
The SKY is a nicely laid out ship. The public rooms are all tastefully decorated in nautical themes. Unfortunately there are many unfinished projects throughout the ship. Railings missing, steps closed off due to missing rungs, etc. During one sea day our entertainment was watching two of the slowest moving crew members attempt to replace a piece of railing. After "working" on it for hours, they finally just gave up and put up Yellow tape and roped it off. It stayed liked that for the remainder of the cruise.
Most ships have gone to the prepaid gratuity system and that normally works fine. However combine that with the lack of a comment card system and the end result is a less than caring crew experience.
We booked a balcony cabin and when trying to open the door the handle came off in our hands. This prevented us from getting to the balcony. We immediately reported this to our room steward who said he would contact the ship's carpenter. On day two the door was still unusable. My wife tracked down a maintenance crew member and pretty much dragged him to our room to show him the problem. Finally later that day the problem was fixed.
The bar staff at the pool side bars are the most unfriendly and uncaring serve staff I have ever seen. People were waiting 30 minutes to get served. It was an ugly experience with every one standing around tapping their cards on the bar trying to get some service. The Champs bar on Deck 12 was the worst. The bartenders never make eye contact and totally ignore the people waiting. The terrible service was consistent whether there was a crowd waiting or not. Bar service on the rest of the ship was excellent.
The food and service in the speciality restaurants is very good. We like NCL for their free style dining so we can eat where and when we like. We mostly only use the speciality restaurants. My wife ate one meal in the Garden café buffet and was very disappointed. The selection was small and the food was not very good. I on the other hand had Sushi in the Plantation and it was excellent. The Italian restaurant has custom made Pasta and Pizza at lunch which is very good. Most people do not know about the Italian restaurant serving lunch which is a good thing as they can only make one pasta dish at a time, so it can be a bit of a wait if more than a few people show up at the same time.
The entertainment on board the ship was very good. Nice selection of bands, shows and comedian. Always plenty of things to do. There is a nice amount of deck space around the pool so finding a deck chair never was a problem.
We live close the Miami so we take cruises often. We have taken three night cruises to the Bahamas on RCCL, Carnival and now NCL. NCL Sky is the nicest ship for that venue but they need to improve on their crew service.
We have sailed on NCL on 3 other longer cruises and had excellent experiences. Unfortunately if this had been my first NCL cruise, it would probably have been my last due to the service.
Overall it was a relaxing and enjoyable weekend.