I took my boyfriend on a weekend cruise aboard the Norwegian Sky for his 35th birthday. My boyfriend and I had both cruised on Carnival before as 20-somethings, and Norwegian was much better suited for our age group now. The other passengers were mostly 30-45 years old traveling as couples or with children. There were NO college students or spring breakers aboard in late April. We took a car service from the Fort Lauderdale airport to the port in Miami at a cost of $25 per person. We arrived at the port in Miami at 1:00 pm, and embarkation was a breeze. It took less than 10 minutes to get onboard. Others have complained about the baggage handlers at the port, but we found that the baggage handlers for Norwegian were clearly marked, and they were not aggressive about asking for tips. My boyfriend tipped the baggage handler $2 per bag, but the baggage handler had not asked for a tip.
Our stateroom was ready as soon as we got onboard, so we went to locate our stateroom. Then we ate lunch in the buffet, which was the only real weakness of the cruise. The food at the buffet had no flavor, and the selection was virtually the same day after day. My boyfriend got a hamburger and prime rib that were both cold and tough. The fruit on the buffet, however, was excellent. After the first lunch at the buffet, we ate elsewhere on the ship but would take a plate of fruit - pineapple, oranges, watermelon - at each meal from the buffet. We ate dinner twice at the Crossings dining room, and the service was excellent. We never had to wait for a table for 2, and we were seated with an ocean view both nights. We also ate at Cagney's to celebrate my boyfriend's birthday, and the server brought him extra shrimp cocktail and dessert. The servers also sang "Happy Birthday" to him. Although Cagney's was great, I do not believe it was necessary to pay extra for the specialty restaurants. The food in the main dining rooms was pretty comparable to the food at Cagney's at no extra charge. For breakfast, my boyfriend and I really enjoyed the waffle and omelet stations in Il Adagio. It seemed that few other passengers were aware of breakfast service at Il Adagio, so we almost had the restaurant to ourselves each morning. Besides the waffles, the other highlight of our trip was the entertainment.
The cruise director, Joel, was really funny and always present to create a party atmosphere. We particularly enjoyed the VEGAS show and the comedian, Russ Rivas. I actually got my boyfriend to dance at the White Hot Party and when the band V.I.P. played in the Dazzles lounge. We did not feel it was necessary to buy the Ultimate Beverage Package, and we came out WAY ahead. We spent only $100 total on alcohol, and we each had 3-4 drinks each day of the cruise. We found that the best value was to buy a bucket of beer to share each evening. With the included gratuity, the bucket of beer was $31. Others had complained that they felt pressured to buy the Ultimate Beverage Package or the Ultimate Dining Package, but I did not have that experience at all. Although they were available to purchase, I did not have anyone ask or suggest that I purchase either the Ultimate Beverage Package or the Ultimate Dining Package. In fact, I did not feel pressured or nickle and dimed by any of the staff on the Norwegian Sky. All of the staff was friendly and courteous. The lines at the bars on the pool deck could be quite long, especially during the sail away party, so I would like there to have been more bartenders. Otherwise, the staff was very attentive and very accessible all over the ship.
The casino on the ship was small, but I like that the slot machines were open all night long - I played for over an hour when I couldn't sleep and won $50. I learned that the slots were open all night from the Freestyle Daily, which is the newsletter outlining all of the dining, entertainment, and beverage options each day of the cruise.
The Freestyle Daily was so helpful for planning our activities and for outlining the disembarkation procedures. Again, disembarkation was a breeze. My boyfriend and I decided to walk off with our luggage. On the morning of disembarkation, we slept until 8:00 am, ate breakfast, and walked off the boat with our luggage around 9:00 am. It took less than 10 minutes to go through customs. Overall, we had a wonderful time on the Norwegian Sky, and we would both cruise with Norwegian again. Next time we would like to go longer!