Wow, am I happy that I did not believe everything that I read about the NCL Sky. First off, I made the reservation for our trip in May for a September sailing date for myself, my husband, and our 2 children (12 & 14). My mother, brother, and a friend added their rooms after, and we were all give cabins next to each other. My 2 children were free (with the exception of port taxes, fees, etc which amounted to $67 each). I figured for about $50 per day/per person on my end, things couldn't be too bad!
We arrived at the port a little after noon and we were on the ship in lightning time! On board we were greeted with champagne and orange juice and set off to explore. The announcement that cabins were ready came promptly at 2:00 pm and by about 2:30 our luggage was being delivered. We picked up a snack at the Garden Cafe. My only complaint was that 2 of us are vegetarians and there is a sign above the food that said "Vegetarian", but to my surprise was full of pork! Besides that, the food in the action stations varies and the lines move relatively quick. My TIP here: If you are on the ship before 2pm try the Palace Dining Room. It is open embarkation day for lunch until 2 and I heard rave reviews about the BLT.
PORTS: Freeport: Not much excitement, but then again, we didn't book excursions or plan any trips. I was in definite "chill mode". We took a trip to Lucaya and walked around for an hour or so and made our way back to the ship early. Definitely liked the Freestyle here.
Nassau: I have not been to Nassau in 20 years, so Paradise Island was a must for us. We paid $3 per person for a water taxi and were on our way. Everyone had a great time on the slides, pools and even in The Dig. We bought the bands for access to everything directly from the hotel and it works out less expensive. Just make sure to budget time to get back to the ship because this way you are on your own. The water taxi's run every 30 minutes and the vendors under the bridge give you a pretty cheap souvenir option.
Great Stirrup Cay: Only one word to describe this day: HOT! Living in Miami I don't care for beaches on vacation. But, if you want a fun day in the sun don't miss out. There are an abundance of activities on the island and the BBQ got rave reviews. There is a small market for souvenirs, but if you get a chance in Nassau, it's better to buy your things there. They were more expensive on GSC and the selection was smaller, but basically the same stuff. The tenders ran pretty empty throughout the day and didn't get really crowded until the last few that brought the stragglers back to the ship.
GENERAL: Overall we had a great time! We had 2 cabin staff that we saw every day at least once. While the room was not large, it was ample for the 4 of us and always clean. My husband and my daughter are both very tall, and after storing our bags and using the (small) closet to hang our clothes, we fit ok. After all, how much time do you really want to spend in the cabin? Likewise, the bathroom is tiny. With one at a time it too was adequate.
I had read horror stories about the room service. However, I could not find one thing to complain about. My Mom ordered breakfast everyday with the door hanger, and they would call her a few minutes before delivery, which was always on time. My daughter used it to order at night and it never took more than the 30 minutes that they request you give them to deliver it.
My son used the childrens activities and to my surprise, he was rushing me to get back from port so he could get cleaned up and ready for the Tween Crew program. Children under 12 must be signed in and signed out, which works fine for me. On the other hand my 14 year old was not happy with the Teen program (13 - 17). Because of a lack of attendance the only action I saw was the WII games and kids sitting on the chairs against the wall. She left after a short time on the first night and didn't bother to go back.
We booked massages for the second evening and used the facilities in the spa. It didn't seem to be very busy. There were good discounts for the last night, so read the Freestyle Daily that is delivered to the room and take advantage.
After dining in the Crossings Restaurant on the first night I did not want to come home, EVER! Dinner was excellent. Our server, Melony and her assistant Krishna were fabulous! We dined in the Crossings all 4 nights of our trip and loved it every night. My original intention was to try one of the cover charge restaurants, maybe Italian, but remember we have 2 vegetarians, and I had no desire for the steakhouse. There was no need! I consider my husband a picky eater, and he loved it! There was a variation in the menu every night, and they even made requests that were not on the menu. The staff could not have been more delightful. My lunch one day in the Palace (midship) was good, but the service was nowhere near as friendly or as good, so we stuck with Crossings.
The Freestyle Cruising takes some getting used to. You do have to plan for what you want to do. Freestyle? maybe only because you do what you want when you want. Now that sounds like vacation.