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Kayron and Don Lance

Age: 51 to 60

Occupation:Travel Agent

Number of Cruises: 8

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Sky

Sailing Date: n/a

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

Overview

The Norwegian Sky is a beautiful, new ship.  The public areas are well appointed and functional.  This was our 8th cruise and generally we enjoyed it.

Cabin

We are travel agents and were attending a seminar onboard the Sky.  Our cabin was not our pick but was assigned by the cruise line when we checked in.  The cabin was inside, located at the very stern of the ship and was the lowest category available.  When our two beds were pushed together to make a queen bed, there was not enough room to walk on one side of the bed.  One of us would have to crawl over to stand beside it.  I understand that the hull was designed for another cruise line and that NCL purchased it because of a good negotiated price.  Since the dimensions were already established, the cabin size may not be to the NCL standard.  It will be interesting to follow the “Sky” class newbuilds.  We did not let the size of the cabin dampen our spirit.

There were a few small items in the room and the bath that need to be mentioned.  The shower was round but adequate for our size.  One glaring flaw was the placement of the shelf for shampoo, soap etc.  It was a foot off the floor so that you were forced to bend over to reach anything located there.  Not really a big item, but not good planning either.  Also, the chair for the dressing table was just outside the bathroom door and to exit from the bath was impossible if anyone was seated there.  Finally we noted that storage space, particularly drawer space, was the least we have seen on any previous cruise ship, including NCL.

Tour of the ship

The atrium area was beautifully decorated with light colored woods and lots of plants.  Though it was small, compared to other recent ships we have toured, it was well appointed.   The glass elevators in the bow area of the atrium went all the way to the 11th floor, to the pool deck and that is nice.

The pool deck was busy, particularly on “at sea” days.  There were multiple levels of deck space and several areas for sunning, away from the crowds.  Mostly, we could find empty seats every time we went to enjoy the sun.  Still the “seat saving” by leaving towels to mark your territory was a problem but that is universal around pools on ships and resorts now.  Aggravating!

There were many out of the way lounges and bars.  Our favorite was the Observation Lounge, with glass completely overlooking the bow area of the ship with a panoramic view of the water.  Decoration here was excellent and nightly entertainment was provided for dancing.  Our other favorite was Gatsby’s Wine Bar at the stern of the ship, portside, 12th floor.  A great place to enjoy a nightcap before retiring.

Food

Food was good overall.  Our only complaint was not the dining room food or service, but the lack of imagination in food selection for breakfast and lunch.  Only a few items varied the whole week.  We said the food was good but essentially the same each day.   We tried Le Bistro, alternative dining, and were impressed.  We also enjoyed Pizza in the pizzeria and it was good.  The only problem we noted there was that drinks were not available in the pizzeria, necessitating a trip to the pool bar and waiting in line for a Coke.  Main dining food was good but second entrées were unavailable.  Even the staff grumbled about being unable to provide “seconds”.

The good

I loved the computer area where I could read e-mail and keep in touch with the office back home.  A nice touch that is being added to lots of ships.

We thought the captain was very interested in us as guests and kept us well informed.  He spoke each morning over the PA system and kept us apprised of any happenings during the cruise.  We were late departing Miami because of an engine malfunction and we were immediately informed.  That is a comforting extra.

The not so good

One major complaint concerned the difficulty moving about the ship.  You could not get from bow to stern without going through the middle of a restaurant or bar.  Many times it was necessary to go up or down several floors to reach your destination, fore or aft.  Newer ships have corrected this design flaw.  We decided that the ship was not well planned but again wondered if this was necessary to fit into the hull dimensions.  Several times, activities in the Show Lounge attracting long lines of people prohibited me from going out the door to the walking track on the Promenade deck.  Also, even though there seemed to be lots of empty space, we felt crowded.  I believe there is good space to guest ratio overall, but the design makes standing in line occur often.  On one port day, we stood in line awaiting a tender for 30 minutes but our presence blocked people from exiting the elevators.  They were forced to go up a floor and then to walk down to find the end of the line.  Design flaw again!

Another small complaint involved the lack of information about the ship position and weather.  Most new ships have position and navigation info available on the TV.  We did have announcements each morning giving position and forecast, but I enjoy a map with a reference point rather than longitude and latitude.  We found a map by the purser’s desk with a “stick on” ship indicating our position but it soon lost its stickiness and we found it on the floor.  Oh well, maybe it isn’t necessary to know where you are.

We felt the ship was not extremely stable.  Of course with a cabin at the rear of the ship, we expected some motion but moving to the center of the ship didn’t stop it.  We are always prepared for bad weather, but we had calm seas.  The movement was unexpectedly side-to-side and I wonder if there was a problem with the stabilizers?

Shore excursions

Shore excursions for this Eastern Caribbean Itinerary were average.  We have been to Nassau, so we didn’t disembark.  We always enjoy San Juan so we walked to Old San Juan for shopping and a drink.  We chose a taxi to downtown St. Thomas and enjoyed shopping there.  Great Stirrup Cay was a nice rest on our last day.  It appears under construction but has great potential.

Entertainment

We did not attend any shows but heard from others that they were the best at sea.  I am sorry that we missed the performances.

Embarkation/Debarkation

Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth, other than a small glitch when our tickets were not printed.  Not the fault of NCL however since our group ordered them.

Summary

Overall, we enjoyed the cruise.  We had toured the ship before and wanted to really get the feel by sailing her.  She is beautiful, but has a few design flaws.  New ships are always fun and the Sky has the feel of a typical Norwegian Cruise Line ship.  We like and recommend NCL and well sail them again.  If you have questions about the Sky, please contact me at jlance@sprynet.com .

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