Norwegian Sky Review
- Pro: Open bar included in fare.
- Con: Open bar included in fare.
- Bottom Line: With short itineraries and included drinks, Sky is a perfect ship for quick, fun getaways - not so much for family vacations.
Norwegian Sky Overview
Norwegian Sky may be a teenaged ship, but a decidedly youthful feeling is evident onboard. The average age on this 77,104-ton, 2,004-passenger vessel is lower than on many other ships, likely because it offers such an excellent value -- a roster of year-round three- and four-night Bahamas cruises at excellent price points on a midsize ship with big-ship amenities. It also doesn't hurt that inclusive beverage packages -- soda, beer, wine and some spirits -- are rolled in with cruise fares. Other cruise lines are seeking this young demographic, but Norwegian is actually getting it, due in no short part to the flexible dining options and multiple venues for late-night drinking and dancing. This ship's short itinerary, in particular, appeals to first-timers (and those with less vacation time).
The ship offers a throng of features, from multiple specialty restaurants to a state-of-the-art children's area. Norwegian has done an especially good job separating key areas for families and adults on this ship -- with separate pools, programming and even nighttime lounges for both demographics. And embarkation and disembarkation are relatively quick with little wait time. Norwegian Sky marked the first time we were actually greeted by a crewmember ready to show us to our cabin -- not one who only said "hello" as we juggled laptops, purses and rolling suitcases.
Decorative interiors and vivid colors -- remnants of Sky's days sailing Hawaii under the name Pride of Aloha -- are still fitting for its current Bahamian itinerary. The cheerful, tropical decor -- floral carpets in the panoramic elevators; warm, island colors; and a feeling of light and air, made most dramatic by a series of beautiful, brightly hued kites hanging in the seven-story atrium -- puts everyone in a lively mood. And, thanks to regular refurbishments, this ship still shows little sign of wear.
Norwegian Sky Fellow Passengers
Expect to see a lot of young couples, friends on girlfriend getaways and guy's outings, and European visitors who want to tour the Bahamas. The weekend sailings find lots of youngsters toting their school backpacks on Friday afternoons and then heading out again with mom and dad -- and the backpacks -- early Monday morning.
You will also find many young families (strollers abound) and some multigenerational groups. On our weekend cruise, 82 percent onboard were Americans, and 18 percent represented some 20 other countries. We heard about six different Spanish dialects and several Asian tongues.
The ship has proved very popular with first-time cruisers.
Norwegian Sky Dress Code
Resort-casual is the term Norwegian uses, and it covers everything from nice jeans to a bit of glitz. Shorts aren't permitted in specialty restaurants, but the ship promotes a casual attitude toward dress entirely. Pack some nice collared shirts for men and a dress or pants and a cute top for women, and you're good to go. Daywear is shorts and a T-shirt -- if you are not in the pool.
Norwegian Sky Gratuity
Each passenger is automatically billed $18.99 per person, per day in all cabin categories up to and including mini-suites. Cruisers booked in suites will be charged $21.99 per person, per day. This service charge is added to the onboard account for the food service team and room steward or stewardess, as well as bartenders since this is a beverage-inclusive ship. Amounts can be adjusted at the purser's desk. Additional tips can be made in cash or added to the onboard account. An 18 percent gratuity applies to all spa, salon and fitness services booked in advance through Norwegian's website. All specialty and entertainment dining carries an 18 percent auto-gratuity.