This being our second cruise (our first time with NCL), I'd say we did not have high expectations for this cruise line. We chose the ship merely for it's route to the Bahamas. Unfortunately, due to Tropical Storm Hanna, our ship was re-routed, but that is not the reason for this negative review.
Beginning with the boarding process, we were able to check in a little before noon and the check in process went very smoothly and efficiently. No long lines.
Our room was ready by the time we boarded and luggage was delivered promptly. Room was clean, AC worked properly. No complaints about our lodging.
Like other reviewers' complaints - music was not ideal for the cruise ship. It did not create that "island" feel to the ship. I didn't mind the Hawaiian decor, knowing that NCL Sky previously cruised the Hawaiian Islands.
Lounges and other facilities of the ship were not very large, but nothing to really complain about.
I didn't like how the adult only pool was right next to the other pool only because kids paid no attention to signs stating that the pool was adult only. Also, it made the pool area very crowded.
Now to the most important part of the trip... Food and Entertainment.
The food at the Main Buffet and the Garden Cafe was horrible. Very bland. Fruit was not fresh. Meats were overcooked. Salad dressings were watered down. You would burn your hands either on the piping hot plates or the tongs that had been sitting over the hot steam from the food warmers.
Lines were always ridiculously long, in one case, we waited 20 minutes just to get to the beginning of the lunch buffet. By the time we did get to the food, it was gone and we had to wait even longer for the chefs to bring out additional food. With the exception of their ice cream, the food was completely unsatisfying at the buffets.
As for the 24 hour room service. Food always took approximately 45 minutes to be delivered. I didn't mind waiting for the food, but the fact that the food was delivered cold (pizza) and soggy (grilled cheese) left me again, feeling unsatisfied.
The meals at The Palace and Crossings always had the same menu, but still, did not taste good at all. The sirloin steak looked as if it had been grilled on a broken down george foreman grill. We requested that our steaks be cooked medium and instead, they were well done, with barely any pink.
We paid to dine at two of their restaurants, Cagney's Steak house and Le Bistro. The meals were better at these two places and the steak house was great, but we didn't feel that it was necessary to have to pay for these places. The reason being is that the service and food quality at these two restaurants were comparable to what we received on our previous cruise without having to pay an additional charge.
Another thing I realized during this cruise is how little things go a long way. For example, on our previous cruise, it was always a delight to go back to our room to find a new animal towel placed on our bed. Not once during our 4 night cruise was there an animal towel made for us.
Secondly, there was absolutely no forms of entertainment while dining. Some people might like this, but for me, it was one of those things that I enjoyed on our previous cruise and thought made a difference.
Lastly, the shore excursions. The process to disembark the ship at both ports took up most of our time on shore.
Due to Tropical Storm Hanna, we were re-routed to Cozumel, MX. Once we docked, we had to take a tender to shore. Again, we didn't mind doing this, but it was the amount of time it took in order to do so. We wasted about an hour and a half because of this process. Not only did it take a long time to get off the boat, but it took a long time (30 - 45 minutes) of sitting in the sweltering heat to board back on a tender to get back on the boat.
Our second stop was at Key West, Florida. We docked at 1:30 and by the time they called our group to disembark the ship, it was 3:00. We didn't get to the actual town until about 4 PM because of the long line to get off the ship. This left us with only 3 hours at this port and little time to really do anything fun.
Despite the bad food and unexpected itinerary, we tried to keep a positive attitude about our trip. That was until we boarded our shuttle back to the airport and found that the consensus among the other cruisers was the same as ours. Our entire ride from the cruise terminal to the airport, passengers shared their complaints and gripes about their experience. These opinions were coming from passengers who have been on multiple cruises, one lady who had even been on 29!
With the money spent on this cruise, you're better off booking with another cruise line to the Bahamas. It will take a lot of convincing to book another cruise with NCL ever.