Booked this 5 night cruise because we wanted a shorter vacation than typical 7 day but longer than the 3-4 day ones also offered. This was a first time cruise for my travel partner as well. I’ll go day by day to give you an idea of what ... Read More
Booked this 5 night cruise because we wanted a shorter vacation than typical 7 day but longer than the 3-4 day ones also offered. This was a first time cruise for my travel partner as well. I’ll go day by day to give you an idea of what to expect. I will review the ship and her services and not the ports since you can read about them separately (two of our port days were cancelled due to hurricane Dorian’s destruction (Grand Bahama) and a new tropical system that formed over Great Stirrup Cay (Norwegian’s private island).
First, arrival at Miami airport went as planned. Finding Norwegian transport desk was very easy on baggage claim level. Staff there were friendly, professional and prompt in getting us to the ship. Once we arrived at cruise terminal, going through various stages of embarkation went so quickly we were on the ship within 30 minutes (fastest embarkation I’ve ever experience!). We were given ship information and locations open for lunch.
We decided on main dining room (Crossings). Again, staff were friendly, welcoming and helped ease us into vacation mode. Food was good....wine was too lol! Note, even with drink package , whenever you are in US ports and waters, the ship will charge tax and add it to your shipboard account. After lunch we heard the all clear to be able to get into our staterooms.
The Norwegian Sky is an older ship (put into service in 1999) and had a substantial renovation earlier this year. Most public areas were nicely refreshed. Even stateroom art and bed linens were updated. Unfortunately what WASN’T updated was stateroom carpet and furniture. I was really surprised to arrive into my stateroom (balcony 9268) to find stained and worn carpet and stains on love seat, in several places. That was kinda disappointing considering how good public areas looked. The bed was very comfortable. Also note, stateroom size is identical to windowed/portholed staterooms. The only difference is the addition of the balcony and bed/loveseat configuration (instead of bed being on outside wall, it’s turned to side wall leaving about 10 inches between foot of bed and cabin wall and providing access to balcony door. Also note, cabin has a full length single glass door with a wall that has a porthole on balcony side and not usual full length double glass...strange appearance, but you get used to it. Bathroom is, well...small, but it’s functional. Definitely very tight for two but again, functional. My cabin steward, Michael, always had my room freshened up and ready whenever I returned. I kinda wondered if he ever got sleep lol! He was very talkative and friendly too.
I unpacked quickly (had carried our bags on with us) and headed out to the Spinnaker lounge for sail away. The lounge, as much of the ship other than buffets and pool/hot tub areas always felt roomy and not crowded. In fact sometimes we felt as though we had the ship mostly to ourselves. Not sure if it’s always that way or just for this cruise. After sail away, we had a few more drinks, then went to dinner in Palace main dining room. Again, we were greeted with smiles and immediately seated. Great service and good food. There was a nice variety on the menu. Some items are available everyday, while others only once, ask your server. Menu is the same in both dining rooms so it just depends on which dining room is your preference for location, decor and servers. Although we ate non specialty dining dinners in Palace, lunch was usually in Crossings (Palace is only open for dinner). Food generally was good in main dining rooms. Steak was cooked as ordered (med rare) too, which was nice.
After dinner, we headed to theatre for evening show. Keep in mind, main dining rooms are not fast food places so plan your time accordingly if you want to make evening shows. First night show was very good! I’m fact I was surprised at the quality of shows in main theatre. I don’t normally enjoy non production shows, but this cruise the comedian and magician were really good! So, I definitely recommend seeing them. I’d also like to take a moment to say how good the cruise director Jasper is! He’s a natural up on stage and at putting people in a relaxed vacation frame of mind.
Next day was port day in Key West. Ship docks at Naval dock so Norwegian provides shuttles to the base of Duval Street. Shuttles run frequently. After spending time in town, we returned to ship to get ready for our dinner at Cagney’s Steakhouse. What a great experience that was! Awesome service, ambiance and food! I can’t recommend Cagney’s enough!
Day 3 was at sea...although pool area was crowded and total party atmosphere, we were able to secure lounge chairs in a quieter area close to the atrium while still having access to pools and hot tubs. Fun relaxing day. Drinks flowed freely both from the bar and servers walking around taking orders. Dinner later in Palace was good. The comedian performed in main theatre that night, again enjoyable!
Day 4 was a port day in Nassau. We did not take advantage of any excursions as I’ve been here several times. Once back on ship, went to gym, small but very adequate and never looked crowded. Dinner in Palace was good, and again consistently friendly service! Next up was magician night in main theatre. This guy was really good. He was entertaining and talented. Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised at the talent on the ship.
Day 5 was supposed to be a port day at Great Stirrup Cay. However that was cancelled due to weather, so we had another day at sea. Basically we had a repeat of day 3. However dinner that night was at Le Bistro, the French restaurant. This place was the biggest disappointment of the trip. I’ve eaten at Le Bistro on the Escape a few times. On the Escape, the food was excellent. Le Bistro on the Sky (while quite beautiful in ambiance) was a total disaster. The service was incredibly slow and inconsistent (can’t blame our server, he was the only waiter for our whole section). But what made the meal a total disaster was the food! NOTHING was good. The escargot were bland and over cooked. The scallop appetizer was basically ONE sea scallop cut into 3 pieces and even more bland than the escargot! The mushroom soup was runny and bland. Wine pours were small (I had the drink package so I don’t understand a pour that is less than the pour mark on the glass...I just had to wait and wait for a refill). Once the recommended entree’ (the Sole) arrived, it was over cooked and cold. I’ve eaten a lot of sole in my life in various places. I’m NOT even sure this WAS Sole. Regardless, it tasted more like the sole of my SHOE. The dessert (the Napoleon) was sickeningly sweet with cheap hard chocolate on the top. The French Press coffee was the best thing about the meal. I cannot stress just how bad this meal was. As we walked out of Le Bistro, another patron was leaving as well. Her opinion of her dining experience was spot on with ours! So, in the end. If you have a dining package, make two reservations at Cagney’s and skip Le Bistro altogether.
Day 6 was arrival back in Miami. Disembarkation went even faster than embarkation! Norwegian Sky is part of a new program using facial recognition technology to process passengers. We were off the ship as quickly as we could walk! The transport for Miami airport was just as we left terminal. We boarded the bus and waited for delivery at the airport. Everything went smoothly and as planned.
All in all, an excellent cruise experience. No, it’s not Crystal, Regent or Seaborn. But, the value for what you pay is really good. All the staff were friendly, professional and efficient. I would take this cruise again for a nice relaxing trip! I’d avoid Le Bistro like the plague.... Read Less