This was our 2nd sailing with NCL and our 2nd on the NCL sky. In Sept. we did the 3 day itinerary. It had pros and cons as compared to other similar ships with similar itineraries but I am pleased to say that either the 4 day is a big difference or they have improved greatly in a relatively short time b/c the cons had mostly all been fixed this time around.
Both cruises we picked NCL b/c we've done all the Royal Caribbean 3-5 day cruises out of our area that go to Bahamas and although I like Royal Caribbean I am very tired of their 3 day ships. NCL has the best rates and we find the Sky to be a better ship and offer more activities.
Last but not least we did the private island Grand Stirrup Cay. I've only ever been to RC's Coco Cay before so not sure how this is for a private island but we enjoyed it very much. I found there wasn't as much "private exploring" one could do (like Coco cay) as they weren't allowing access to non beach areas (and enforcing) but the main parts were better I thought and the beach cookout/bbq was MUCH better than RC with burgers, chicken, ribs, salads, but be warned it closed at 2:30. We tried to get off the boat at first around 9:30 and the line went ALL the way up from the gangway to floor 5 (they said the delay was due to rough seas meaning they had to individually help each guest on ferry) so we just took our stuff up to the pool, relaxed an hour and a half and then went back down and got on no problem.
This is the first time we ever had an interior room and it was smaller than every room we've ever had as it did not have the couch/coffee table area. My husband and I are average build and could really not both be doing something at the same time without bumping each other but no problem we just didn't spend any time in the room. The constant darkness (10 am seemed like 3 am without lights) was worse than the sf.
We found there was so much to do on this ship that we were constantly going somewhere and exhausted ourselves. We are not normally "club types" but had a LOT of fun dancing under the stars or in their clubs. The pool areas were never too crowded even though the ship was near capacity. We found a great secret-2 for 1 martinis in the Plantation Club every night 6-8....go in there and ask for Singh or Tushar. Tell them Jason and Kristi sent you and you want 2 for 1 martinis! They don't advertise them but will honor it. It's been a favorite hang out to meet new people past two cruises.
I can't say much about the shows as we only made it to the comedy show. But the comedian, Rich was very funny and hosted quite a few other activities we went to. I saw a few shows in Sept. and I can say that they sure aren't Oasis or Freedom quality but very par for 2-4 day cruises.
Gambling was a dissapointment as craps is our game and on this particular cruise seemed like we were literally the only two people ever playing!!! Also minimum $5.00 bets made it more expensive than other crap tables on competing lines.
We didn't eat in the dining room or specialty restaurant as we just didn't want to spend the time! We were having too much fun so just grabbed food in the buffet which was actually the best cruise food (lunch and dinner) I've ever had....breakfast was just mediocre. Also there is a sports bar that serves a limited menu all night so one day after dancing we went down and had delicious chicken wings, free of charge, made to order.
what else? Oh yess........the spa. We have gotten quite a lot of services in this spa and it's wonderful....if you can, splurge for the couples massage. We also never used to be "spa" or massage people but the couples massage is a very special treat. In fact it was so amazing we both fell asleep and then woke up holding hands at the end when they rang a bell!
All in all, for the price we paid, this ship exceeds expectations for not only the price range but the price range + a 3-4 day cruise. If you have never been on a cruise before you'll see that generally the 3/4 day don't compare to longer stays with ship features/entertainment. If you have and you just want a quick cheap getaway and understand it's not going to be the Oasis you are going to have a blast!!!!!!!!
PS...fellow cruisers.....two things: 1. When at a buffet please try and decide what you are going to have while waiting and if you are at a station tell the person behind you to go ahead (this would have made the lines incredibly shorter!) and 2. Make sure your children are not cannonballing into the old people in the "adult only pool". : )