I was "lucky" enough to sail on NCL Sky's inaugural cruise to the Bahamas. However, I soon discovered that lady luck was not on my side when we began encountering many problems. Read below to learn more about each aspect of our cruise:
Embarkation: Embarkation was quick but there was no separate check-in for balcony guests, a 2.0 enhancement. However, there was bubbly and someone did escort us and take our luggage to our room which was nice.
Room: We stayed in an aft balcony room #9276. Pretty standard room, nothing special except that our balcony was bigger than side balconies and our room has a curtain separating our bed from the sofa. However, this is where our troubles began: Our A/C was not working well and to make a long story short, it wasn't fixed until the 3rd day of the cruise. (We were given OBC to make up for it.) The bed was rather firm but pillows were plush. Not much in the way of storage space. 3 Drawers in the closet area as well as 2 robes. Two small nightstands on the side of the bed with reading lights that are positioned WAY too low and interfere with pillows. The TV was a standard 13" TV. The bathroom was very cozy, code for small but adequate. The carpet was rather dirty and really needed a good steam cleaning. By the way, I noticed a musty humid smell almost everywhere I went on the ship.
Decor: The ship is still decorated in Hawaiian theme everywhere, not that that is a bad thing. However, there is usually country music playing in the halls. I like country music but why country instead of Caribbean music??? Otherwise than that, I really liked the decor. It was bright and cheerful.
Food: OH BOY. This was the worst aspect of our trip. They had LOTS of problems getting the food on the table on time. Il Adagio took well over 1 hour to get food on the table. The whole thing took almost 2 hours and it was NOT a relaxing 2 hours. Then breakfast at Crossings took almost as long. We sat down at Crossings at 9:04 a.m. and I had to complain when we didn't have any food by 9:40 a.m.! FINALLY got it at 9:50 a.m. and I was not the only one pissed off. Funny thing is that the dinner at Il Adagio was given to us for free to make up for the lack of cold air in our stateroom and then the dinner was just horrible! Not just how long it took, I mean the food, it really wasn't good at all and I am NOT a picky eater.
To make up for it we were given another free dinner at Cagney's. The food there was exceptional! Great service, great food, great atmosphere. Room service was the worst! On average, it took 1 hour ½ to get your order and that is if you got it at all! One morning we pre-ordered breakfast and it NEVER got there. (Neither did our wake-up call...) We soon figured out that if we wanted to eat we had to go to the Garden Cafe. Food there was actually quite good though some people don't seem to understand the action station concept; they thought they had to wait in the whole line to get their food. The food issue was pretty awful the first 2 days but after A LOT of guests complained they really seemed to improve.
Entertainment: We don't usually enjoy cruise ship shows so we only went to the first night's and that was OK. The best show I went to was the Not So Newlywed game. That really was great fun and the cruise director Matt was a real blast! There were lots of theme night like Monte Carlo night (a casino party), White Hott Nights (a pool deck dance party), and Carnaval Espectacular (a Mardi Gras type of shipwide party.) My favorite was the White Hott Nights, very lively!
Casino: The casino seemed very nice and everything seemed brand new due to the addition. The dealers seemed a little lost the first day and some seemed to still be in training but everything seemed high tech in there. Can't say much more as we didn't gamble.
Kids Activities: The Kid's Korner was usually open for free from 5-10:30 p.m. and otherwise than that was $5.00 an hour during port days and after 10:30 p.m. - 1:30 a.m. Our 4 year old seemed to have a BLAST there! Lots of activities.
Pools: The pools and hot tub were usually very busy so we waited until a port day to go in when it was empty.
Debarkation: Was fast, efficient, and non-rushed. If you wanted your luggage taken of for you, you had to get off according to the color coded luggage tag you selected. Otherwise if you were taking your own luggage off you could stay onboard until 10 a.m. They didn't rush us off and that was nice.
In the end, we did experience lots of problems. I would be lying if I said it was a relaxing vacation as it seemed that we had something to complain about all the time. The staff really seemed lost so I don't know how much training they got prior to the sailing. Odd thing was, the ship was only sailing 75% capacity on purpose to avoid expected difficulties. Even then, they just didn't seem to be able to cope. Like I said before, by the 3rd day things really started improving. Unfortunately by then, many passengers had sworn off NCL all together.
I for one have sailed with NCL twice before and this was my 3rd cruise with NCL. I am willing to give NCL the benefit of the doubt and I plan to sail to Alaska next year aboard the Pearl. All in all, I do feel that our complaints were listened to attentively and we were lucky enough to deal with a lovely front desk supervisor that was a DELIGHT. We were given on board credit to make up for some of our difficulties. I think they tried to make up for their shortcomings and they apologized over the loudspeaker on the last day. They also gave all guests a $50 OBC as well as a discount off a future cruise valued at 20% of our cruise fare which I will use aboard the Pearl.
In the end, of the 6 cruises I have taken, I hate to admit it, but this was the worst one of all. However, I feel this was a one time thing and that the crew will soon get their act together. I think the Sky (and NCL) deserve a second chance!