My family and I just returned from the 4-night August 4th sailing of the Sky. Before leaving, I read the many "bad reviews" and was quite concerned. I appreciate those of you that had difficulty and do not doubt the ship's initial problems. However, I can honestly say that we had a FABULOUS time. The ship is indeed beautiful and the crew was among the best we have experienced. We are not new to cruising and have been doing so for the past 29 years, and have sailed on about as many cruises. In fact, my husband and I just returned 2 weeks ago from the Med. on Holland America. This cruise was in celebration of our sons' birthdays.
First of all, we were on deck 9 - which was the area of concern in earlier reports. Our cabin was 9231 - balcony - and our adult sons were in 9317. Our area of deck 9 was fine (9231) - but there was a musty smell when we got off the elevator in the area of our sons' cabin (9317) aft. The crew was still cleaning and airing out a few cabins by the elevator and there was a smell of disinfectant in that area. Both my sons have asthma triggered by allergies, and by day 2, my younger son was having some difficulty with the mold issue.
Consequently, I went to the reception desk and they could not have been more concerned. I spoke with a lovely young lady, Elsa, and she informed me that there were no other empty cabins on our deck in the forward section of the ship. She said for me to go to my cabin and she would keep trying. I had no sooner arrived at my cabin, when she called and said she would meet me at my cabin and show me a cabin on deck 10 for the boys. The net result was that they moved to cabin 0227. I cannot stress enough how polite and professional she was and how many times she apologized for the problem.
Food: We ate at Cagney's on the first night - the result of coupons we received from the travel agency. It was SUPERB! We also ate there on Thursday night in celebration of my younger son's 24th birthday. The food in The Palace was good as well - salmon, steak and chicken were available every night in addition to the daily menu choices. The only area which needs to be evaluated is the Lido. It is much smaller than other ships and the lines were a bit long. The layout also needs to be re-evaluated as the traffic flow was not set up so as to promote easy flow. As an example, the condiments were before the buns & burgers - people got confused and had to back track causing a bottleneck. Also, the ice cream line was located at the entrance to the lido. People were lined up into the doorway entrance and this caused traffic flow problems at lunch and dinner. The Lido food was adequate but nothing special. More variety is definitely needed. Breakfast at the Lido was very limited but the Aldagio restaurant right next door offered omelets without charge for breakfast and pizza and pasta for lunch. I felt that as a veteran cruiser, that many people like myself, did not at first take advantage of all the "freestyle" dining options. People are "programmed" to go to the Lido and were not inclined to pay attention to the other options. Although they are listed on the Freestyle Daily - I'm sorry to say many of us did not read it carefully enough. Also, an advantage of having a balcony stateroom is that you are invited to breakfast in the Palace Dining Room until 10 am. My husband especially enjoyed the eggs benedict offered. Crossings is open to other stateroom categories, but only until 9:00 am.
Ship: The ship was immaculate and beautifully decorated. The crew seemed to be constantly cleaning. Cabins are smaller than other ships and storage is limited - we only had 3 drawers in the closet and 2 small drawers and shelves in the nightstand. I do think though for the short length of the cruise and the no need to dress up made it unnecessary to bring a lot of extra clothing.
Entertainment: We missed the Broadway show, but really enjoyed the comedian - Tim Kaminski and the dancing at Dazzles nightclub. The other major show was good.
Crew: I felt the crew really made the ship. They tried their best to please everyone and were so polite and accommodating. They seemed to have been pretty beat up the first couple of weeks and still they were always smiling and asking of we needed anything.
This was my 5th NCL cruise and I would not hesitate to recommend the SKY. I'm confident that it is just having a few "growing pains" and will be a great product in the short cruise market.
My other NCL cruises were: MS Starward 1979 MS Southward 1986 SS Norway 1988 MS Westward 1988