We have just returned from a four-nighter on the Sky. This was our fourth NCL cruise, so there were no surprises for us in terms of "freestyle." We knew what to expect. We were a bit concerned about all of the people complaining about the ship being dirty or run-down; about the food being bad; about the crew being unpleasant. I am here to tell you that we found none of this to be true.
The Sky is in beautiful condition. It is clean and well-maintained. We saw crews every day doing cleaning, scrubbing and painting. The new bedding and towels were a real step up from our previous NCL experience....not that we were unhappy with them before. I thought the ship was in the same great shape that we have come to expect from NCL.
We did ALOT of eating on this cruise. We had both buffet and sit-down experiences at every single meal-time. The breakfast is the same everyday in both the buffet and the dining room. There were coffee and danish out by the pool starting at 5.30amThere are omelet and waffle stations in Il Adagio AND the Longboard Bar, and there was hardly ever a wait at either of these. There is a wide-ranging menu in the main dining room Crossings for all passengers. Those in balcony categories and above are also offered there own separate breakfast buffet in the other main dining room Palace. Combining all of this with the fact that the Great Outdoor Cafe is also open at breakfast time, I never saw any of the chaotic nightmares that others have described here. Also, there is ALWAYS coffee in the Library. And the bonus for Latitudes Members is the Latitudes Lounge which is hidden away in Captain Cook's Bar. We found there were always coffee and danish there in the morning, as well as cookies in the afternoon.
The same number of options was available at lunchtime and at dinner. Certainly the Garden Cafe filled up at prime mealtimes, but once people realized that the buffet outdoors also was open, that took some of the pressure off. There was softserve ice cream all throughout lunch and dinner service, located out by the pool. There was hard scooped ice cream available at dinner time inside the buffet. This station offered fresh-squeezed fruit juices at breakfast (for an additional charge) and served as a deli counter with sandwiches at lunchtime. We never saw more than a dozen people waiting in line for either of the main dining rooms.
Our favorite things to eat included warm sticky buns in the breakfast buffet, served under the warming lamps used for the carving station at dinner; the Indian fare on the buffet at lunch and dinner; the Singapore noodle salad at lunch in the dining room one day; the availability of a steak on the menu in the dining rooms EVERY NIGHT.
As for the crew, we found them to be very friendly. We could not walk through any public space without being greeted by them. We only ran into our room steward once and he was just great. We had a couple of wonderful servers in the dining rooms. The others were not bad, they just did their job in a courteous, professional manner. The bar staff were really nice, too! Oh, and when the weather prohibited us from tendering at Great Stirrup Cay, the Captain set sail for a sunny spot out in the open ocean. The Cruise Staff printed up new Freestyle Dailies and added on a bunch of onboard activities to keep us occupied.
Now, you should know that we went on this sailing with our eyes opened wide. We knew that the low low prices that NCL offered (we paid just $69 per person, plus taxes and port charges) might have an effect on the level of service and quality-along the lines of "you get what you pay for." We were very pleasantly surprised to find this NOT to be true. The standards we have come to expect with NCL were easily upheld (and in some cases surpassed) on this trip. Would we do it again? In a heartbeat...especially since we came back to temps of -2 degrees!