Norwegian Sky Cruise Review by Vivere LaDolceVita: Decent Ship, Terrible Crowd
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Decent Ship, Terrible Crowd
Let me start by saying we had some idea of the kind of crowd we'd be sailing with from reading prior reviews from this time period. But nothing quite prepared us for the sheer number and "intensity" of the hordes of riotous spring breakers carousing the ship all day and night, starting fights, vomiting in or near the pool, simulating sex in public areas and being generally trashy.
We are a group of 8 men in our 30's and we're not as sensitive to rambunctious young people as older people might be, so the fact that we had this reaction is really saying something. I felt genuinely sorry for the seniors and young families on board. All that being said, due to the fact that we had an insular group of friends, we ate together, did excursions together and took every opportunity to avoid the spring breakers, which we managed to do relatively successfully at least 50% of the time.
As for the ship itself, it's pretty much what we expected. A decently maintained older ship. More Everything looked its age, but except for minor issues (some corrosion on metal in bathroom, slight odor issues in various corridors), NCL does a pretty good job of keeping things clean and respectable looking. It is by no means a luxury mega ship, and it rocks and creaks a good deal more than newer ships we've been on with Celebrity and RCI.
We were surprised that the Beverage Package was not offered on our sailing, but figured out the logic once we saw all the spring breakers, who likely would have all been hospitalized by the 1st day in port had they had open bar. It was, of course, a huge profit-generator for NCL who realized they would lose money on most beverage packages offered to binge-drinking co-eds.
The staff was generally friendly but very pushy with drinks. One female server would even go so far as to "steal" customers from other bartenders/servers in order to get points for herself. You can tell NCL pressures the staff hard to sell, sell, sell. It's helpful when you want to get a drink quickly, but mostly feels abrasive and intrusive. Cabin stewards were nice but did very little in the way of making guests feel special -- no chocolates on the pillows, no little "gifts" like a comp bottle of water -- that are standard on most other cruise lines. I blame NCL, though, not the servers, for this.
Lastly, the one bright spot was the food, which was generally good to very good, especially considering how low our expectations had been driven based on our experience everywhere else on the ship. We ate only in the main dining room (Palace and Crossings) and the buffet. Good selection, tasty and prepared as ordered. Service in the MDR, however, was spotty and slow.
Bottom line: Avoid sailing NCL to the Bahamas in late February to March unless you want a Carnival-type experience (with the exception of the food) for an NCL price. Less
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Cabin review: Norwegian Sky 9015
Small. Dated furnishings with exception of flat screen tv. Bed was surprisingly comfortable. Bathroom was clean but tiny and cramped (typical of older ships).