Family Cruise after wedding on south Beach - took 1st timers
We have travelled as a group of 4 with 2 cabins on NCL out of New York and Miami on the Dawn and Pearl class ships. We have always had a great experience, until we decided to go on the Sky. We each took our adult children and another couple who were married on sunday night along with a 3 year old, so there were 10 of us and 5 cabins on deck 8, 2 ocean view and 3 inside.
Embarking: Great, an A plus to NCL, easy and quick. On the ship within minutes it seemed. Once on the Sky, things quickly went downhill. The ship itself is nice, clean (other than for the public washrooms towards the end of cruise, disgusting) and they have kept it fresh.
Food: very bland, everything seemed to taste the same, service in the main restaurants was extremely slow, we only ate together as a group twice as it took over 2 hours, the kids got tired of waiting and chose to eat at the buffet for the rest of the cruise. The staff were unfriendly, unhelpful and without smiles. In one case, after adding a further tip to my drink from the bar (in addition to the 15% they collect automatically) I was told perhaps I would tip better next time. Needless to say, we did not ask for anything from this staff member again. Our daughter was charged for 2 buckets of beer (diff brands), when she went to customer service and told them she had only gotten 1 and did not drink the other brand, it was not hers, she was told "don't worry, not a problem, just pay it anyway"!!. So she was to pay for something she did not get. We argued, she let them know that they could either remove the 27.45 charge which was not hers, or she was removing the tips from her room, which were 50.00, their choise. They then called their supervisor, who had copies of the bills sent up, proving that one was not hers, then removed charge, no apology etc.
Excursions: We booked 6 excursions, 4 were cancelled, and the other 2 times changed. Also book 4 para-sailing at private island. 2 were not given tickets, the other 2 were, and when asked at the desk about a ticket, told to take a copy of their room charges showing they had paid for excursion. No one seemed to know what was going on.
Ourselves and our travel companions completed the 250 deposit info for our next cruise (which gives you a 100 credit immediately), theirs was processed, ours was not. When I asked NCL about it, they said it would be done. When we got home and our travel agent had gotten the info for our friends, but nothing for us, I called again. They did return my call, but said that there was nothing they could do. Very disappointing time as our 1st family vacation together in 12 years. I had to opportunity to go to a travel show which included NCL. When I brought up my thoughts she told me to see my travel agent. What is she to do? The representative was not interested in the least.
We will go on NCL again, but not the sky, the Dawn was far better and so was the Pearl. We go every January, this year we have booked on Freedom of the Seas with Royal Caribbean to try it out. If this is your 1st cruise, do not go on the sky, and go on a minimum of 7 days, as the crew is much more professional and there seems to be more organization etc.