We just got back from a 5-day cruise to the Bahamas on the Norwegian Sky as part of a girl’s weekend. This was my first time on Norwegian. I have cruised 2x before with Royal Caribbean and was excited to see how this cruise line compared. Sorry this is long but I know when I am looking at reviews, I like to see some details not just yeah it was fun!
The Ship: First this is a small ship compared to what I was on before. Pretty basic type of ship no real frills. 2 pools on the main pool deck with hot tubs and a tiny pool at the front of the ship tucked away. Maybe I missed it, but I like to find little quiet spots on the cruise away from the hustle and bustle of people to enjoy a drink, read my book, stare at the water and sit in the shade (I am a very pale skin the sun loves to burn). I did not find that on this cruise but again that is my own personal preference. As in any cruise the beach chairs are quickly snagged up in the morning so if you are sun person be prepared to live there.
The Stateroom (9th floor balcony): We were a party of 3 girls sharing a balcony room. A big complaint of mine was the balcony door was not a sliding door but a single paned door with a big port window. Again, my own preference but I like to watch the water from inside the room which I could only see a portion of the sea. My biggest complaint of all - DO NOT PUT 3 ADULTS IN THIS TINY ROOM. This room is by far the smallest cabins I have been in. 2 people would bump into each other in this smaller than normal cabin. The pullout couch literally when pulled out blocked the access to the balcony and butted up against the only table in the room. You could not access the balcony without stepping on the 3rd person. As it was, I fell off of the corner of the pullout bed trying to maneuver over it and got a nice bruise to show for the entire cruise. Suitcases were a nightmare as there was no place to put them as the closet only had 3 small drawers for clothes. The shelves at the top of the closet was reserved for the flotation devices. I originally put my suitcase under the bed but once that couch is pulled out you can not access that suitcase and with no other drawers or shelving, I had no choose but to live out of my suitcase. For 3 women this was strategically not ideal for getting dressed or pulling out clothes. The regular beds were a little firm but fairly comfortable. The pull out couch my friend said was fairly comfortable except for the bar would dig into her body. May want to think about adding another thicker blanket for that. Pillows were soft so your head sank. We saw our steward (while extremely polite and nice) whenever he wanted to turn down the room but that was it. He did give us a requested third chair for the balcony. But we had glasses left on the bathroom sink that wasn’t touched for 2 days. On the 3rd day our water went out and it took them awhile to get it fixed and then it was a trickle, again for 3 women no water is a major issue! It was fixed by the next morning. A suggestion for the room maybe they could add some kind of shelving and/or hooks in the room to make up for the lack of drawer space.
The Food: The food was hit or miss and dependent on the person. To me food is subjective so it’s hard to review. We ate at Cagney’s the specialty Steakhouse and while my companions enjoyed it, I thought it was basic and not worth the extra $ except that the staff did go out of their way to make you feel special. My friends had the drink package, I did not but I am not a huge drinker. Drinks ranged in price but average that I ordered seemed to be about $11. And FYI save yourself a trip to Guest Services - Miami has an alcohol tax which we weren't expecting. Also, one nice thing that they had over Royal Caribbean was the anytime dining. I loved not having to make reservations at the main dining hall just walk in (you do need reservations for the specialty restaurants though).
Excursions and Great Stirrup Cay: A huge problem I had was their tender system to get to Great Stirrup Cay. There really isn't too much communication and what is written in your daily planner is confusing. If you have a pre bought excursion you don’t need to pick up a tender ticket. But they do not tell you where to go. Unless it was in the announcement over the loud speaker which you do not hear in your cabin. It is very garbled sounding and that’s if you hear it at all. But their tender system was ridiculous! We had a prebought excursion luckily the time for later in the day (which FYI they have the right to change the time so look at your tickets when you get them because ours was a different time then our itinerary said). They directed us to go down to deck 3 and there we found just people standing everywhere in the staircase corridor and we were directed to the "back of the line" which was the entire length of the crew’s hallway. Nowhere to go at the end because it was cut off by a door to a crew only area. Not only was this a fire hazard they kept directing people down there so you had 2 lines in a narrow hallway! The most ridiculous thing I have ever encountered. Not what I want to do on my vacay was stand in line in a narrow hallway! But they did warn in the planner to expect 45 mins to get to the island I just wasn’t prepared to be lined up in a tiny hallway 2 people deep. They need a better system for this!!!! Once on the island you can eat, go to the sectioned off beach which is crowded to the hilt with people or find your excursion. We did the swim with Pigs and it wasn't quite what I understood it to be. And this is not a knock on the hardworking men that handle the excursion. They were very knowledgeable and explained that the area was under construction so maybe in the future this would be a worthwhile excursion but right now I felt it was a waste of $109. It is more like you take a boat ride to a little island and in a small section you can go and feed a variety of pigs. Some baby pigs but a bunch of way bigger pigs and one up to 500 lb pigs in the water. And it is not really swimming more like petting and feeding in the water where they proceed to poop because they eat a lot of apples (hey they are animals after all). So not my type of excursion as I didn’t want to wade into water with floating poop (and yes, they do scoop up the floating poop fairly quickly). But yes, the baby pigs are cute to look at. Just my opinion, but maybe some sinks/shower to wash up in or some hand sanitizer stations would be nice. On the way back to the tender boat we had to wait in about an hour line to go back to the ship. So, budget your time wisely. They do hand out water and cool washcloths while you wait.
The next day we got out at the Port at Nassau. That process was smooth and efficient and we were off the ship within minutes. So, ports process easy Tendering never again! Unfortunately, Nassau I realize I just don't enjoy because the locals hawk you for everything and are nonstop harassing you the entire way around the port. Unfortunately for our day a cold front moved in and it poured as we got into the city so we hunkered down at Senor Frogs and spent the day there. We didn’t get to enjoy the beach but you can't control the weather. But if you do go to Senor Frogs make sure someone is in charge getting you back to the ship on time. I could totally see getting lost in time in that place! Another unfortunate part of the cold front was the seas were angry that night which did not make for a fun night for our seasick friends.
TV and Guest Services: Not something I normally critique because I am usually not in the room much but with the angry seas, I found myself in the room a little more than usual. They have about 5 channels that are about the ship but no real information is on there more informercial style just trying to sell you more cruises or show you the one entertainment item that they recorded from the first night! I just want to know about the ship that I am currently on! Although they did have 4 channels of movies and pretty new movies playing on a loop. Another thing I was surprised was that the only way to look and monitor your bill was to go to Guest Services. I liked Royal Caribbean you can see it right on your screen. No wasted time standing in a line wasting your valuable vacation time! I spent about 45mins waiting for my itemized bill and I spotted an error from the Spa and had to go to the back of the line and wait again! A tip book any spas or specialty restaurants first day but watch your bill. They charged me when I booked the spa and then again when I actually had my appointment.
Ship Activities: Again, I hate to compare one cruise line to another but the onboard activities were I guess to me a little boring. The night life is a little sad. They had no real shows on ship just some things like Lip Sync battle, Battle of the Sexes and a version of Name that Tune. Cute but again more a passing of time because there was nothing else to do kind of thing. Unfortunately, some of the crew women seemed like they wanted to be anywhere else then being subjected to another Lip-sync and their faces showed it. The last night was a comedian/magician and a heavily attended Not So Newlyweds game. Which they held in a lounge where chairs were a premium so go early. They do have a decent sized theatre but not much is held in there except the Welcome Show and the Magician or at least they I know of.
Disembarkation: This was actually very smooth as we opted to take our bags ourselves and we were quickly on our way to our already booked shuttle to the airport. This was very organized and the smoothest I have seen.
Synopsis after this long review: All in all, we made the best of an ok cruise. As the Social Director said, this is what you make of it. Was this my favorite cruise line NO was it a fun trip YES because we made a ton of new memories. This was my first Norwegian cruise and I don’t know if I will go on another one of theirs? My friend who has been on another Norwegian said this experience combined with her last one, she will not choose this cruise line again. The ship may be refurbished but it is an older, smaller ship and you may want to take that into account before you go.
You pay extra for a Balcony room. This was by far the smallest balcony room I have been in! Balcony itself was a good size but if you have a 3rd person in the room and they are using the pullout couch it completely blocks your access to that balcony. You have to climb over the person and if they are a late sleeper basically that balcony was useless to me in the early morning. NO storage space with 3 people in this room.
The port of Miami was pretty organized and I found that we did not wait around a lot and they directed you what to do and where to go. Not too much confusion which I liked.
Not really swimming with the Pigs more like wading into the shallow water with the pigs holding a sharp stick with an apple on the end. I must have misunderstood and thought that we would be swimming with them but this is was more of the feeding various sized pigs. These are animals so be aware that when they eat alot, they also poop alot. Poop is often found floating in the water. Yes they scoop it out fairly quick when they see it or are told about it. They are under construction and maybe once that is done (with an area for food and drink) this would be a better excursion. You take a boat ride, you get off the boat, you see baby pigs, then told about all of the pigs (varying sizes and one up to 500lbs) and what you will be doing. You then are escorted down the beach a little ways and handed a sharp stick where you put pieces of apples and you feed the pigs. The people who run this excursion are very knowledgeable and my dislike of this was completely nothing on them. One suggestion bring hand sanitizer. There is no where to wash up after touching the pigs and/or swimming in the water with them. This was just not my cup of tea and I guess I was expecting something different.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Nassau I am just not a fan of all of the people harrassing you for a taxi, cigars and everything they try to get you to buy. I felt like we couldn't even stop for a minute to look around or take pictures because we would be approached.