I just returned from a 4-day cruise on the Norwegian Sky. It was a "girls only" cruise for a my travelling party. We had mid-ship outside cabins on the 8th deck. The ship shows its age - no peepholes in the cabin door, not much storage space in the closet or the bathroom but adequate for a short cruise (although I had to use my suitcase as a "drawer"), the shower had what appeared to be mold at the bottom, carpet worn and stained, furniture worn. As some cruisers noted, the beds were indeed rock hard! There were mattress pads on the beds but they were of no help. The public areas seemed to be crowded with furniture -as if they were expecting more people on board and needed extra seats. The theatre rows were so close we couldn't figure out how to proceed down them! There is visible wear in the public areas as well.
FOOD: We found the buffet to be plentiful in selection for both lunch and dinner. Entrees were changed daily as well as meats. The salad bar remained the same but was no problem for me as I like "rabbit food"! We ate breakfast in Il Adagio once for the omelette's and waffles. The omlette was quite good but sides were lacking in quantity and taste. We waited over 5 minutes for potatoes only for the server to come back with 1/2 a dinner plate full! We thought she'd at least fill up the tray! Breakfast in the main dining room was good, however, be prepared to wait for delivery. Allow at least an hour after placing your order - very slow even though the dining room wasn't full. We had dinner in the main dining room on the last night only - the salmon was perfectly cooked and my travel mates enjoyed the jerk chicken and beef with broccoli dishes they ordered. (Crossings dining room)
ENTERTAINMENT: Bingo was the most expensive I've encountered on any cruise!! $40. All other cruises I've taken charged only $10-20. We only played once, that was enough. We didn't see any shows so I cannot comment on them. Pool deck entertainment was very good and for the private island.
SERVICE: Although our room steward was friendly, he wasn't the best I've encountered on a cruise. We got back to our cabin as he was still cleaning. I witnessed him cleaning the bathroom floor with the towels we left there for new ones! He simply wiped the floor with them - no cleaning agent sprayed, nothing! He vacuumed on the third day only - there was a plastic price tag hanger on the floor when we checked in and it stayed there until Wednesday! Yet another reason to always travel with Clorox wipes!
We were fortunate enough to received two bottles of wine. For me this is a problem since I am allergic to alcohol. When I took the Norwegian Gem last October, they simply changed it to a non-alcoholic drink of choice equal to the cost of the wine. On this ship, after two discussions with guest services, we received no substitute and not even the courtesy of a reply from whomever they had to talk to. I informed them of my experience on the Gem and was told "that was that ship". So what?! It's the same cruise line. I took the bottle home in my suitcase to give away - I was not going to let NCL have it back!
Service in other areas was good, just slow in the main dining room. No problem with any other staff members....
PORTS: Itinerary was fine. When you go to Freeport, simply take the taxi for $5pp to Port Lucaya. Otherwise, there is nothing else to do near the dock on your own. Have lunch and cracked conch at Zorba's and get your Pandora bracelet trinkets at Columbian Emeralds. CE in Nassau does not carry the product.
Nassau was more expensive than Freeport we took a taxi tour for $25pp but it did give us some insight into local living, the Atlantis, and a couple of other points of interest. The straw market is still open in case your taxi driver tells you it's not! There is a new facility being built in town but not open yet. The old one is still in operation....
Great Stirrup Cay was great! Good food, great beach. Be advised there are no umbrellas and chairs are first come, first served. You can rent a clam shell for $30 per day, which I found to be reasonable compared to other places. You'll get two chairs with the clam shell but location is first come, first served. They're set up in three rows so if you want a view of the ocean, get there early....
Overall, it was a good getaway despite the wear on the ship. It's not unbearable or torn apart, it just shows it's age and could use a little refurbishing. Don't go with high expectations, it's not a luxury cruise (no formal night on this short cruise). If you want the whole overall, luxury cruise experience, then choose a higher end line. This is great for a casual getaway or families.
NOTE: The best disembarkation I've experienced on any cruise line! Quick!