This was my second NCL cruise. I sailed the Jewel last year and this year I got to experience the Sky. The Sky seems to get beat up a bit in the reviews but you cannot compare the Sky to the Pearl or Jewel so I don't know why people do. The Sky is beautiful but one of the oldest NCL ships. However it still is the youngest cruise ship to sail the Bahamas. In addition, the Sky is a very busy ship sailing 2 cruises to the Bahamas each week. Any ship taking that kind of schedule and amount of passengers is going to show a little wear here and there. This was a special cruise for me because one treat on the Sky is its affordability. I could never afford a penthouse suite on the Jewel or Pearl but the penthouse and owner's suite are very affordable on this ship. The perks of booking a suite are not just room size. They treat you very well with breakfast and lunch at Cagney's everyday. They give you a bottle of champagne at sailing and another bottle of wine at dinner. They brought 2 baskets of fruit and flowers to the suite too. Our room was the 0064 aft penthouse. The balcony was huge and it was nice to be on the back of the ship. Our suite was very big with a a separate bedroom and living space. We had 2 TVs and a cappuccino machine and DVD player with movies. The bathroom was big with a separate shower. NCL no longer gives you a glass of bubbly getting on the ship. I hope NCL reads the reviews here because every NCL review mentions how much they miss that little luxury. We were brought to our room by the butler.
The lifeboat drill was different than my other NCL experience. This time they did not require you to bring the life jackets to the life boat drill. This particular cruise was full of senior citizens and one staff member also informed me that they never saw so many before on board. This made this cruise very quiet and quite nice. For the first time, I actually felt sorry for any kids on board because I never saw that many. This ship does not have water slides and the pool was empty at night and it was strange to see no one playing basket ball. So for the first time on a cruise, I got to shoot some hoops.
We ate at Cagney's and it is always a hit. My partner is from Argentina so it is hard to impress them with steak. We loved our steak and it was the best ever. Unfortunately NCL raised the price of Cagney's steakhouse. Last year it was $20 per person but now it is $25 per person. It is still worth the extra money. You get the best steak, any appetizer and any desert. The suite deal even threw in a bottle of wine for us. One thing that I did not like was that they charged an extra $10 if you had the lobster. So our bill there was $60. Some would argue they would not pay that on a cruise. But that meal with the steak, lobster, and several courses with the wine would be $200 easy. So it is definitely worth it. We also ate at Crossings restaurant that was covered in the price of the cruise. We loved our meals there. We did walk past the buffet a few times just to see what they had. The food looked good but I thought it was no where close to the buffet they had on the Jewel. But there I go again comparing ships. The ships are not the same and neither is the price. The buffet still had omelette stations in the morning and at least one fresh cut meat for lunch or dinner. Of course they had the typical hamburger or hot dogs but I had a pizza craving and was shocked not to find a pizza station at the buffet on a cruise ship. The ship used to have a Hawaiian theme that you can still see. The decor is nice though. I did not see any dirt or grime and the ship was very clean.
One negative thing about an older ship (1999) was that the public restrooms and elevators were so small. Most public restrooms had only one toilet and the elevators could hold no more than 8 adults. But what can you do? You cant let those little things ruin your cruise.
The entertainment was ok. You get what you pay for. For the price of this cruise I was not expecting a Las Vegas act. They had a comedian that was not funny at all. They had a good singing and dancing group that did provide some decent entertainment but nothing like what you get on the Jewel or Pearl (there I go again). The only part of the Sky that I did not like was the theater. It had awkward railings all over the place and the air conditioning was not that good since it would get stuffy in the theater during the show. On the Jewel, they have air conditioning vents on the back of every seat. Now I know why.
I loved our breakfasts at Cagney's everyday. I do agree that the service on other NCL ships is a little better. That does NOT mean that the service on the Sky is not good. Our jacuzzi tub was broken and our telephone broke in our suite and it was hard to find someone to help us. This was a very unusual cruise with hardly any kids and mostly senior citizens. But that made it even better for me Another suite perk was a private cocktail party with the captain and other suite guests. I enjoyed this and put away several glasses of wine (hey when do you get free alcohol on a cruise). This cruise is definitely the way to see the Bahamas. While some ships only stop at one or two islands, this NCL cruise stopped at 3 islands in the Bahamas, Freeport, Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay. Now that is the way to see the Bahamas!!!!!!!!
The final port was the NCL island Great Stirrip Cay. You must get to the island early. The island is amazing. It was a great beach day with a very yummy BBQ with hamburgers, hotdogs, pizza, and fresh fruit. Of course they sell tropical drinks. You must get there early on one of the first boats to get a nice chair. The #1 complaint of this stop is not enough beach chairs for everyone. I was there early (another suite perk) but I must agree. Some came and saw the crowd and went right back to the ship. The island is big enough to spread everyone out but not everyone gets a comfy beach chair. But the island is so beautiful. I rented a tube and brought some snorkel equipment. I have snoreled in Key West but this has to be the best place on earth to snorkel. One woman brought some hot dog bun bread into the water and there were about 50 large and colorful tropical fish surrounding her. There are so many fish that I could touch them. It was amazing. Yes they will sell everything here from raft rentals, snorkel rentals, etc.