On Sept 5-9, 2011 my wife, daughter, son and mother in law sailed on the NCL SkY out of Miami. We previously sailed on the SKY exactly 3 years ago. I have been on RCCL, Princess, Carnival and NCL previously, and this was the shortest of my 10 cruises.
Embarkation/Disembarkation: Very easy, we parked at the port for $20 a day. Check in friendly and easy. The lines were not too long at 12:30.
Ship: We like the ship, and that is one reason we are returning guests. The big atrium, layout, and design were appreciated. Clean.
The buffet- the workers were polite and helpful. Sometimes it was difficult to find a seat inside. The food was good-loved the sliced avocado, and my kids loved the grilled chicken breasts which they ate every day. The buffet has a better selection of items than on our previous SKY cruise. We ate breakfast every day at the buffet and the food was good. The buffet was easier with our small children.
Crossings- Food was OK.
Palace- Service was good. Try the wild mushroom quesadilla- I ordered it 2 nights in a row.
Cagney's-I was particularly upset listening to a scammer complaining about his meal the day after he ate it, and wanted a refund at guest services. I was behind him in line. All he could say was he didn't like it-nothing more specific, and I just wanted to know if any of his steak remained on his plate when he was through with this supposed bad meal. Obviously he knew at that point no one from the restaurant was around to respond to what appeared to be a baseless complaint just to get a refund for the steak dinner he enjoyed the night before.
Ice Cream bar- Still good, not open all the time, and the line was never too long. Free. The soft serve machine located out by the pool was not open a lot, and the servings I had were too soft-almost mushy.
Staff- The staff continues to work hard to try to please everyone. They almost were being overly nice with the constant hello's etc, We were pleased.
Room- we were a porthole room (5208 and 5209) mid ship. 149 sq feet. Comparable in size and décor to others we have sailed except that drawer space was more limited. Our 6 year old daughter slept on the sofa bed. Very quiet just like the balcony we had the last time we were on the SKY. They must have insulated the rooms better than other ships. There was a hairdryer in the desk drawer. Soaps are included in the bath. A/C worked very well.
Cleanliness- The ship and our room were clean. I heard someone complaining that they had not seen their room steward in several days. He didn't say his room wasn't clean, just that he hadn't seen him. Obviously he didn't understand that a good steward is not seen unless needed. Once I had to put the clean room sign on our door, and our room was cleaned promptly while we were out. No problem.
Kids Zone- Our 5 year old daughter and 2 year old son LOVED this experience. They open at 5 pm, and we would take them to the buffet to eat then drop them off so we could then enjoy our dinner. The face painting was hilarious-our son was a pirate one night. They didn't just babysit the kids-they were involved in activities. We peeked in several times and they were having fun, so we were pleased with what the workers were doing with them. Since these workers are not included in the automatic tipping we tipped them separately on the last day of the cruise. We also used the group babysitting once and our daughter was the only one there. Not too many kids on this ship either.
Ports- The private island is really a jewel in NCL's crown. They have quite a buffet there too.
Value- Very Good especially when you look at the prices of comparable sailings on Royal(smaller room sizes and an older ship), carnival and Disney(just look at those prices).
Entertainment- The comedian we heard was OK, the music show was also very good.
Overall- We enjoy the Sky and the shorter itinerary as we have small children. This is the only cruise we have ever done twice. The kids love the kiddie pool, so we spent a lot of time in it. I heard several people complain about the food quality- We found it good overall. It is not the best we have had, but it was good. We look forward to returning again!