Age: 41 - 50
Number of Cruises: First Cruise
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Sky
Sailing Date: May 7th, 2000
My husband and I just took our first cruise. Before leaving we studied many cruise reviews and we were very discouraged and worried that we had chosen the wrong ship. We decided to have fun anyway! What a pleasant surprise to find that the Norwegian Sky was beautiful! Remember, we have nothing to compare to, but it is a beautiful ship. Being so recently refurbished, everything was clean and new. Our room seemed very adequate to us. We had an outside cabin on the Oslo deck with a large square window. We unpacked all our bags (six!) and did not have to store anything under the beds except the empty luggage. I overpacked and we only needed to wear half of what I took! We hung everything up (plenty of hangers), put our underwear, socks, etc., in the drawers. We put some shoes and a couple of folded sweaters in the night stands. We didn't even use the desk drawer. We hung our jackets on the hooks by the little loveseat, and we hung our bathrobes and my nightgown on the hooks in the bathroom. Plenty of room! Because we could pull our bed away from the wall and use it as a seat, we spent a little more time in our room looking out the window.
From there we saw whales and eagles! There is a small TV that kept us updated on the news and sports; a channel about nature; a movie channel which we enjoyed seeing several movies we hadn't seen, usually at night before bed. We'd tune into the ship information channels, also. Nothing more was needed. If you want to watch TV, stay home. I heard a lady complaining that she wasn't getting to see her soap operas! The bathroom was tiny, but adequate for what you needed to do! The shower is round, and small, and a very large person would have a difficult time. The vanity area is plentiful and so are the shelves on either side of the mirror. The fan runs all the time keeping the bathroom pretty much free of steam and smells. Our ice bucket was kept full. We did not order bottled water because the running water was good tasting. We saw our room service person everyday, more than once, but never in our room! Because we were in a short hallway, he was pretty much around all day. He was pleasant, but not real out going. He kept our room very neat and clean. There is a safe and hair dryer in each room, but no irons. They don't have any irons in fact. We just went without and things looked fine. Our bathroom was kept supplied with shampoo, soap, lotions, shower gel, etc.
The food was wonderful! It was way beyond our expectations! We sat with another couple that we knew and they knew the others at our table. We became fast friends. Our waiter was very dignified and took his job seriously. He was pleasant, explaining the menu to us when we had questions. He never blinked an eye when we asked for extras, or more. My husband once ordered two entrees because he couldn't decide--there was not even a slight hint of annoyance! We'd even ask for ice cream sundaes when they weren't on the menu. Our bus boy, or assistant waiter, was really fun. He was so sweet and our water glasses were never empty. Our waiter did tell us the first day that if we came just as the dining room opened (we had early seating) that he'd be able to serve us faster because the food orders wouldn't get backed up. The service was incredible! The food was very good. There were so many things to choose from. The chilled soups are wonderful. Be sure to try them. I am a very picky eater, I don't even like seafood. There was always something for me to eat. If there was something I did not like, I realized that it wasn't because that food wasn't good, it was because I just didn't care for it! But, there was very little that I didn't like! We ate most all our meals in our dining room because we liked it so well.
We did try Le Bistro one night and the four of us were not impressed. My filet mignon was delicious, but the servers were snooty and service was slow. We ate in the Garden Cafe a couple of times when we were in a hurry (buffet) but still preferred our dining room. For our first two afternoons we ate at the "outside" buffet, I am sorry, the name leaves me right now. It is on deck 11, in the aft, and it is where they serve the lunch buffet first day. It was very nice. They did have hotdogs and hamburgers and cheeseburgers. The cheeseburgers were very good the first few days. Thereafter, we think they were using meatloaf, or soyburger meat, because the texture was different and they were over seasoned. We enjoyed the ice cream shop several times during the cruise. The only midnight buffet that we went to was the chocoholic. They served it in too small of an area and I swear all 2000 people were there! (Did I say that the cruise was sold out?) Anyway, we tasted, but did not eat much. One of our friends went to one of the afternoon teas and said it was very nice. We just were never hungry!! In fact, we had a hard time being hungry for meals!!
The entertainment was very good. The troup that does the broadway acts are good, excellent singing and dancing. They did two shows a night, for three nights. Jane L Powell was the best! She performed on two nights. Her shows are wonderful and she is so personable!! Don't miss her shows! If you want good seats you pretty much have to be willing to stand in line beginning an hour before each performance. The comediane was good, as was the magician.
They have so many activities and everyone seemed busy. You receive a newsletter daily telling you what is going on. Our cruise director, a young man named Gary Anderson, was great. The staff was quite young, but friendly and full of energy.
My husband went to the gym every morning. He was so pleased that there was a variety of equipment and that it was not crowded in the morning.
We enjoyed Glacier Bay. Park Rangers came ashore and over the loudspeakers told us all about the glaciers, etc. It was cold and windy and we were glad that we had brought our parkas. That was the only day we used them however. I neglected to state that we had "miracle weather". Beginning in Seattle and throughout the entire week, including our return to Seattle we did not have a drop of rain. Not only that, but it was sunshine everyday! The highs were only about mid 60's, but in the sun, it was t-shirt weather! Anyway, in Haines we only walked around. In Skagway we took the White Pass Railway trip. That was so good, especially on a clear day! It's a must!
In Juneau my husband took the fishing trip, but nobody caught anything, too early in the season maybe. I went on the salmon bake. It was nice, but I thought there'd be more to it. Would not do it again only because I didn't need to pay for food (although the salmon was wonderful I'm told). We didn't sign up for anything ahead of time in Vancouver. We took a taxi to Gastown and there caught a Grayline tour bus. These are little red double decker busses with a guide that takes you all over the city. It was about a two hour trip. We chose not to get off; however, you can get off anywhere you want, and catch the next bus. They run about every half hour. I think it was about $15 each. Our friends took the seabus across the bay to West Vancouver and it only cost $1.75. The one thing we decided is that next time we won't sign up for anything in advance. You can pretty much get off the ship and sign up for things for less.
Disembarking was the most difficult in that it just takes a long time. Our experience was that it's way better to make all your own travel plans. We had cheaper plane tickets; it's cheaper and faster to take taxis than go on arranged busses.
I did try my hand at the internet cafe. The computers had been down earlier in the day, due to the way the ship had to dock. They were very slow in the afternoon and it took me quite awhile to accomplish what I needed to do. The young man in charge took six minutes off my total time which I thought was fair.
We don't gamble so cannot give you any first hand experiences with that. If you are a non smoker, you won't find it too bad. All dining rooms are smoke free. It is irritating to be sitting in a lounge chair, in the open air, relaxing and enjoying the afternoon, only to have someone come and sit near you and begin blowing their smoke all over. One lady was polite enough to ask, but got huffy when we said yes it would bother us, but that we were willing to move. The casinos aren't smoke free and sometimes you have to walk through them to get to your destinations.
I do want to say that many people said that on other cruise ships that the waiters are more outgoing and friendly, almost silly. Our's were not. It was as if they were requested to be a little more dignified and professional. However, three times during the cruise they all got together and performed for us. We all loved it!
I hope that you enjoy your cruise on the SKY as much as we did!