I've been on 13 cruises and 5 were on Norwegian, including a previous Sky trip about 5 years ago. This is the 1st Norwegian cruise I can say disappointed me. The ship is clearly showing its' age and our Inside cabin (I like Inside because I can sleep like a baby in the darkness) was RIDICULOUSLY tiny. Putting the two single beds together (Cabin 0140 on Deck 10) did not allow us to walk around the bed! How is that possible? The air conditioning grate next to the bathroom just off the floor was HANGING OUT and I had to put it in position. Talk about storage? THREE TINY pull out drawers in the closet, with the bottom one half-used by a hair dryer. NO other storage. We got away with the closet barely.
Bathroom was as expected and the shower was good, but the shampoo/conditioner was not capable of lathering my hair, which is SHORT. Body wash was worse than if I had a small Ivory soap bar. One nagging thing that ALL cruise lines need to think about: If most of your target market is American, show ESPN, not some crappy sports channel that you can't get game results from. Americans want to see Sportscenter, not Premier League Review shows.
The ship was likely less than half full, and it does make a difference in certain ways. While embarkation and dis-embarkation were much better than normal, and there was basically no line for anything, it does affect the staff some, knowing they are not making a lot of tip money that trip. The friendliness was there but you could see the energy wasn't and it showed. The original itinerary, set when purchased 5 months ago, included 2 days on Stirrup Cay and port calls to Freeport and Nassau. After the hurricane they removed Freeport and added a day at sea. But we did end up stopping in Freeport without any prior notification to us. The port area was just not a desirable stop with many of the small huts barely open a few weeks. We did get to talk to a few natives who had harrowing stories of survival (one had to swim for his life a couple of times!) and we made sure to buy something from them.
The buffet was AWFUL as was the outdoor one. Main Dining rooms were better. The buffet was pretty small for the size of the ship (I suspect the original Love Boat show would have had a bigger one . . . ) and the food choices were not vary wide. Throw in that this ship does not have the soft ice cream machines around the ship (COME ON! This is unforgivable today!) and it was disappointing. The Stirrup Cay barbecue did NOT have ribs the second day. First time that has happened. Hint to Norwegian: When you can easily see how RCL's Coco Cay looks like across the way it's a thing you need to spend some money on Stirrup, which is like fast food next to Coco Kay being Mortons for free. If I have kids and have a 50/50 call on which Caribbean cruise to take Coco Cay will be a force-enhancer in that choice.
Games were fine (the couple who were married for 62 years and had met in college were GREAT during the Newlywed game) and the Rock Music production the second night was very good, as they did not fall into the trap of the same old tunes. I was pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of 3 songs from The Who, which showed someone was thinking. The comedian, who I've seen before, gave what I would call a lazy performance, basically playing off 4 audience members instead of a theme. At least it wasn't some crappy political stuff. The magician was very good too. The musical group from the Philippines was very good. The Latin duo was okay but almost no dancing was occurring.
The best part of the entertainment was Barry at the piano. We had seen him some years ago and were familiar with how he works the crowd and the fact that he was able to make it fun for a number of us in what could politely be called a bad venue showed his talent. And what happened to the Tip jars Norwegian? These performers deserve it!
All in all, we got a good rest by sitting on chaises and reading. Just not quite what a normal Caribbean cruise is supposed to feel like. We talked with a very experienced cruiser the first day and we both agreed that Norwegian has a bit of an image problem about what they truly want to be. You know that Carnival is going to be a party trip and RCL will be more geared to mature travelers and Disney to families while the Holland's. etc, are going after the more affluent looking for a different level of travel. Norwegian seems to want to thread the needle between Carnival, RCL and Princess for the Caribbean short-term cruise market but they might need to take a hint from RCL, which re-did one of their ships (Navigator or Majesty?) to cater to the Millennial market and when they finally re-do this ship to pick a niche to cater to. Neither of us can define that right now and in this competitive environment that is a problem going forward.
The one benefit to this was that it was only about $800 total for the 2 of us, gratuities included. But they tried to charge us another $15 per day for my wife, after I prepaid all of this months ago. How that happens in today's modern technology I can't understand.
See above. Atrociously small and poorly designed.