My wife, 4 year old son, and I took a Thanksgiving cruise in November, 2008 on the Sky and had a wonderful experience. So we decided to repeat the experience in November 2010. It was good, but not as good. Allow me to itemize.
Checkin: Very smooth. Attendant was very helpful funneling us into the quickest line. No longer than 30 minutes from parking garage to onboard.
Food: No complaints.
Dining Room: The first night, Lobster night, we had Thomas. He was excellent, so much so that we bragged about him to the asst. maitre’d. Big mistake. After that, his service went from 10 to 1. The assistant waiter brought a bowl of lobster tails to the table next to us for seconds, and did not even acknowledge us. After what seemed like an eternity, we were finally able to get her attention to request another lobster, and she acted like how dare you disrupt my system. Poor service. They brought me a dry lobster tail with no butter. The next night we dined in the forward dining room and had Pasek. Totally different experience. If we had had Pasek the first night, I would have no complaints regarding restaurant service.
Other dining venues: Overall, very good. However, I found that if you asked a bar runner for a soft drink and showed him my drink card, he became very uninterested in serving. As a matter of fact, I ordered one Pepsi from a bar runner in Il Adagio at lunch and still have not received it. I guess they figure no tip, so why bother, but they got their tip when I bought the drink card. Bartenders were sure to explain that they made the drinks “extra strong, just for you”. Not really.
Cabin Steward: very good. After the first night, he did not make up the sofa bed for my son. We got him to do it again on the fourth night. Also, had a hard time getting him to return to the cabin to bring a change of sheets (toddler accident). But overall, he was very good.
Kids program: OK, two years ago, when my son was 4, he could not wait to get to the boys and girls programs. I mean like he would sprint down the hall and be the first in line when they opened. I mean like 10 minutes early so he wouldn’t miss any of it. This is the main reason we chose to take this cruise again. But now he is 6, and in the older group. I watched as an older kid prodded him as they were sitting around in a circle, and the leader said nothing, even did not appear to notice. There were more than 30 kids in that 6-9 yr old kids’ area room and only one leader was apparent. Poor supervision. They simply did not have enough staff to accommodate 700 kids on this cruise. And I think they should have had some idea of how many kids were to be on this cruise. On a positive note, with the staff being composed of primarily Canadian workers, there were no accent issues to deal with, like we had on the Carnival Inspiration (heavily European).
Entertainment: Trivia, game shows, entertainment, and quest were excellent and well run. Matt and Felix did an excellent job.
Casino: Only had 1 $5 blackjack table open the night I was there. $25 tables sat unused with attendants smiling at guests.
Specialty restaurants: We did not try any of the specialty restaurants, but we did sign up for the murder mystery dinner ($20 each) at Il Adagio. However, the meal was held in the rear dining room at 5:30 to 7:00. This was Ok, except when the dining room opened up to everyone, the noise made it difficult to hear at our table. This could have been held at the specialty restaurant. However, that is really my only complaint. The food was good and the murder mystery was fun (I didit).
Nassau: we took a buggy ride tour. Interesting. Ate at a Bahamian restaurant. Not bad. I bought a “Cuban” cigar. Horrible. I would not recommend anyone buy a “Cuban” cigar from the Bahamas. The one I bought last year in Grand Caymans was great. This one, and the one I bought two years ago in Nassau, were HORRIBLE. Did Atlantis two years ago, not worth it again. However, Avoid Johnny Rockets on Paradise Island. Very expensive.
Freeport: Pat and Dianne’s snorkeling cruise. Boat was the Fantasia. Two snorkel ladders on the back, waterslide into the ocean on the front. Great, with very attentive and friendly crew. Would love to do them again.
Great Stirrup Cay: A lot of fun. Snorkeling was awesome, food was great. Note to NCL, do your pizza that way ON the ship too.
Overview: Enjoyable but not superior.