We just got back from the Nov 3-7 cruise to Bahamas on the Sky. Here are a few brief observations:
Embarkation: I was worried that with our flights arriving at 2:00 we might be too late for embarkation which is officially over at 4:00. We arrived on the ship at 3:20 after waiting what seemed forever for our luggage at MIA. But we did make it!
BTW: Even though the cruise receipt says you must be on board 2 hours before departure, NCL confirmed it is actually 1 hour.
The Ship: Overall, the ship is in excellent condition and very clean. I had heard complaints of a sewage smell from past posters and I can confirm that there is some odors in various parts of the ship, but mainly the smell is outside on deck 7 mid-ships.
Cabins: We were in 8130 which is a "superior" inside and the cabin was fine. In good condition and even though we were above the casino, it was very quiet! We had a sofa which could double as a pull-out bed as well. No complaints here.
My fellow passengers were in 0129 and it is also an inside, but NOT a "superior" inside and it is without a doubt the smallest cabin I have ever seen on any ship in my 15 cruises. Way too small as the space where our sofa sat was missing in the regular cabin making for a VERY small cabin! You basically have a bathroom on one side as you enter the cabin. A closet on the other side, and then the bed with almost no space in between. Might be handy if you didn't want to get out of bed to use the bathroom though:-)
Food: The food was "OK" at best in the regular diningroom we went to (Crossings). Most of the food arrived luke warm at best, except for the last night in which the food was hot for some reason.
We tried the buffet for lunch and it was also "OK" at best. The pizza offered in the Italian restaurant was awful.
We also tried the Cagney's steakhouse one night for an upcharge of $20 per person. The service from our busgirl who did 90% of the work was outstanding. The waitress was mediocure at best. The food was markedly better than the regular diningroom, but quite honestly not what I expected having tried upcharge dining on other cruise lines in the past. Personally I did not think it was worth the extra charge.
Entertainment: The cruise director Matt was very good. The comedian (apologies for forgetting his name) was also very good as well as the dancers. Overall the entertainment was enjoyable.
Disembarkation: We were concerned about making our 11:11 flight as the official arrival time in Miami was 8:00. We asked for Express Disembarkation and we were off the ship at 7:45. Obviously we were docked earlier than expected. We took a taxi to MIA and we were checked in by about 8:30 with loads of time to spare!
1: Take a sweater. You're goin' need it! I have never been on a ship in the Caribbean that was so cold! I'm talkin' meat locker cold! A lot of people were complaining about this issue.
2: Maybe I am being a little too cynical, but it seemed as if it always took way too long to get a table in the regular dining rooms. Long lineups were the norm. While it was not communicated as such, it almost felt like they were deliberately being slow to put the thought into your head that maybe you should try the pay-per dining instead.
3: This was our first experience with Freestyle and I can see why some people like it. Personally it is not for us, but that's OK. I go along with the more relaxed atmosphere but people, please loose the baseball caps and muscle shirts in the dining room. Clearly anything goes in there.
Overall it was an enjoyable get-a-way and considering the very cheap price ($221.00 pp Cdn. all in) we got what we paid for. No major surprises one way or another.
Hope this helps!
Thanks for the review. I'm curious what time did you go to dinner that you had to wait? I was on the NCL Sky bboth in August and September. I always eat 6:00 ish, and never had to wait.
Thanks for the report, Ken.
Thanks for the review of your Sky cruise, it will be helpful since we are looking at that cruise next year. You gave some of the good and bad points and seamed happy overall.
Freestyle is not for everyone, but you tried it. You are right hats and tees should not have been allowed in the dining rooms for dinner. I also agree that pizza on cruise ships is not very good.
Thanks for the helpful hints.
They have to swipe your sign & sail card when you enter and then they seemed to stare at the screen waiting for a table number to pop up. The waiter would then seat you at that table. When I asked about this, they claimed this was to update the dining availability screens around the ship, but it seems like an awfully slow system if you ask me. We did get fed eventually of course, but I thought there might be a better way to do this.
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