My family and I were on the 5-day Caribbean cruise to Key West, Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay and Grand Bahamas travelling on the Norwegian Sky. We returned on January 29 of this year. I just wanted to share some of our overall impressions of this cruise.
The day we boarded in Miami, the registration process was straightforward and because we arrived early, it didn’t take too long. We found out later though, that the room card for my youngest child was not linked to my credit card, which caused us much grief later when I had to stand in a long line at customer service several times to find someone who gave us the correct information about how to do that.
After we boarded, we joined the crowd at the buffet for lunch, our first introduction to the ship. We met the fellow making individual ice cream cones to order. It was a got day (we left from Miami) and he was sweating quite a bit, but he was using his gloved hand and the paper hat he was wearing to wipe the sweat from the top of his head. He continued to scoop up the ice cream without washing his hands– no thanks, we were not in the mood for ice cream after that! I was really surprised that a ship that took the time to have staff spray passengers’ hands with hand sanitizer as soon as we entered the dining room would allow staff to ignore proper hygiene like that.
In general, the food on the cruise was “meh” at best. The breakfast buffet had the same selection every day. There were 2 separate lines for the indoor dining buffet to grab food, and many times each line ran out of food whether it was the bacon, waffles or some other item. Unbelievably the pancakes actually made noise when they were banged on a plate, yes, they were that overdone. We tried all of the complimentary restaurants on the boat, but we never did get a decent (and by decent I mean flavourful) meal. That was really disappointing because one of the benefits of a cruise is to try different types of food.
I have been on other cruise lines (Royal Caribbean and Carnival) and both offered many, many more activities on their ships than we had on the Norwegian Sky. There was one trivia game in the morning, one in the afternoon and that was it for daytime activities with no activies on the pool deck itself. No dance contest, no “hairy chest” contest or any of the funny activities offered by others. They did have a live band for 30 minutes in the afternoon but that was it.
Because the Sky was an older ship, a free beverage package was offered. A word of warning for people purchasing this package on the day of the cruise, the basic beverage package does not include a 20% tip for every drink. There is a beverage plus package that can be purchased at the time of boarding, but that is $128 US per person and that also does not include the 20% tip surcharge. We purchased a beverage plus package well in advance of the cruise and I called Norwegian a few times before the cruise left to make sure we would not have any additional charges (we read the warnings on CruiseCritic). We were assured that there wouldn’t be any other charges when we ordered alcoholic drinks. Well, imagine our surprise when we found out a few days into the cruise that there was a “tax” applied while in the US (while we were in Miami and Key West). We also found out – a few drinks into another cruise day – that this “tax” also applied in Great Stirrup Cay as well! The amounts were not huge, but I hate it when I ask a specific question and I am lied to, so be warned!
I will also mention that we did not have good luck with our cabin steward. One of our staterooms had no toilet paper for 2 days. If we brought food back to our cabin, there were days when the dirty cutlery and napkins were left behind. In fact, in one of our rooms they were still there the day we checked out.
All in all this was the first cruise we were happy to go home, while we had fun as a family, our fun had nothing to do with the cruise. We spend a lot of money for a 2 out of 5 experience. I definitely will not be cruising with NCL again.
Space in the cabins is much smaller than any other cruise I’ve been on. There are only 3 very small drawers in the closet, so we ended up leaving most of our clothes in our luggage, which only fit under the bed. There are only 2 electrical outlets as well, so if you have more than 2 phones you are trying to charge (I always sleep with a white noise machine), you are out of luck.
We rented an air conditioned villa which came with water, coffee, a TV with many movies (great if you have small kids) and access to a buffet. There was also a private bathroom with the villa which was great. However we were told on the ship that the villa didn't come with towels (it did, so we had to drag that around) and there was quite a bit of confusion because there were 2 Norwegian ships there on the same day, so staff were giving wrong directions and instructions, which is why this wasn't a 5/5 review. Otherwise we were on the beach so that was great.View All undefined undefined Reviews