Introduction

With the major cruise lines just recently beginning regular sailings to Cuba, the Princess and I were fortunate enough to sail on the second cruise to the island onboard Norwegian Sky. The smallest ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet, yet the largest vessel stopping in Cuba, we were cruising more for the itinerary than the ship this time around. Primarily sailing on mega-ships, we were not sure what to expect on this “small” vessel. With only two other short cruises under our belts on Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas and MSC Divina, we had little for comparison. Continue reading to see how this ship fared in our Norwegian Sky ship scorecard.

Norwegian Sky Ship Scorecard

Pool Deck

Met Expectations

Like similar ships of this size, the pool deck consists of a central area surrounded by lounge chairs and tables and chairs. Norwegian Sky offers two adequate sized pools and four hot tubs on Deck 11. This sun deck always seemed to have available chairs and loungers, and the pools were easily accessible and never over-crowded during the cruise. We enjoyed the deck 12 lounge area which gave us great views of the action without being too close to the pools. There is also a small kids pool and hot tub located on deck 12 giving families even more options.

Norwegian Sky Ship ScorecardNorwegian Sky Ship Scorecard

Sports Deck

Did Not Meet Expectations

While it is a smaller ship, the few sport amenities available felt like after thoughts. A centrally located basketball court and golf driving net on deck 12 appeared unused during the cruise. Also, the jogging track on deck 6 was not officially open until 8am leaving little outdoor space for a morning workout. While the gym was also a bit on the small side, there was a separate aerobics room that included additional equipment for those looking to workout during the cruise.

Service

Exceeded Expectations

One thing we miss on the larger ships is the personalized service we have experienced on smaller vessels. Norwegian Sky was no exception. From our very attentive concierge Suzanna, to the excellent service in Cagney’s from our waiter Bosco, we were impressed with the crew and staff throughout the ship. Our room attendant Eddie was like a ninja, cleaning our room regularly even though we only saw him once all cruise. Bar staff and waitstaff everywhere else were equally impressive. We give the service two big thumbs up!

Norwegian Sky Ship ScorecardNorwegian Sky Ship Scorecard

Daily Activities

Met Expectations

This four day itinerary was port intensive with three days in port, so we spent very little time onboard during the day. Still, reviewing the Freestyle Daily activities, there were plenty of things to do for those that decided to stay on the ship. Trivia, contests, and other events typically found on any cruise were still being hosted by the cruise director staff. The sexy legs contest along with all the other cruise staples were even squeezed into this short cruise.

Main Dining Room

Not Rated

We did have plans to dine in the main dining room; however, we just never got there. Being treated to a VIP upgrade by Norwegian Cruise Line, we ended up eating breakfast and lunch at Cagney’s Steakhouse. This is typically reserved for suite guests. Also, with three specialty dining restaurants and only four nights (including the overnight in Cuba), we were not able to squeeze in any evening meals in the MDR either.

Specialty Dining

Met Expectations

We have been pretty spoiled during our last few NCL trips. Having experienced a variety of the specialty dining venues on the line’s mega ships, we are now accustomed to the food and service in these up-charge venues. Again, we were very impressed with the food and our waitstaff overall. Dining at all three venues- Il Adagio, Cagney’s Steakhouse, and Le Bistro- our dinners were tailored to our tastes and specifications. We did get the 3 night Specialty Dining package, which we always recommend when sailing with this brand as it can be a huge cost savings.

Norwegian Sky Ship ScorecardNorwegian Sky Ship Scorecard

Casual Eats

Met Expectations

True, there are limited complimentary selections on Norwegian Sky. However, for what it lacks in variety, it more than made up for with quality. Not usually fans of the buffet on cruise ships, the selections were pretty standard the few days we stopped into the venues (Garden Cafe and Great Outdoors). There were a few Cuban specialties, including a roasted pig one evening, as well as a custom omelet station for breakfast and a crepe and ice cream station in the evenings. Il Adagio also offers a complimentary omelet and waffle station for breakfast and pasta and pizza station for lunch.

Norwegian Sky Ship ScorecardNorwegian Sky Ship Scorecard

Nighttime Activities

Met Expectations

Standard cruise ship activities were also available during the evenings on Norwegian Sky, including the Not so Newlywed game show, the Perfect Couple, the Battle of the Sexes, and the Quest. Live music, karaoke, and the White Hot Party were among some of the other events hosted during the evening hours of the cruise, not to mention the popular Deal or No Deal. Running into the same folks at most of the nighttime shows and activities, we felt that fellow travelers were satisfied with the variety of nighttime options.

Entertainment

Met Expectations

Ok, Norwegian Sky does not have Broadway shows or signature entertainment like the larger ships. Given that we have been spoiled in the entertainment area during our last few cruises on mega-ships, we did temper our expectations for this cruise. During the four nights, there were two production shows- Showdown and Rock You Tonight, along with two comedy shows and a Welcome Aboard variety show. The four main vocalists provided solid performances, but the small stage did hinder the dancers ability to showcase their talents. The comedian, Russ Rivas, also provided solid laughs throughout the cruise including his adult only show on the last evening.

Norwegian Sky Ship ScorecardNorwegian Sky Ship Scorecard

Staterooms

Did Not Meet Expectations

Small might not be an accurate enough description for our interior cabin on deck 10. The cabin size and layout was one of the only areas where the age of the ship did show. These rooms were very tight and not outfitted with some of the other amenities you would like, such as extra outlets. Storage was also lacking even compared to other smaller ships on which we’ve sailed. Given the going prices for these sought after cruises to Cuba and the little time spent in our room, we managed in our interior cabin over the four days.

Norwegian Sky Ship ScorecardNorwegian Sky Ship Scorecard

Bars and Lounges

Met Expectations

The All-Inclusive nature of the Norwegian Sky means bars are busy. Yet, the amazing bar staff was quick, friendly, and provided professional service during every interaction. So two big thumbs up here. However, almost all of the signature cocktails on the menu are pre-made including at the Atrium bar which is now a mojito bar. The raspberry guava mojito just did not live up to those handmade cocktails on Escape and Getaway. There is also some lack of diversity when it comes to the bar and lounge menu selections. But, another big plus was never being asked for a key card or having to sign a drink receipt!

Norwegian Sky Ship ScorecardNorwegian Sky Ship Scorecard

Crowd Control

Exceeded Expectations

For a smaller ship, Norwegian Sky handled crowds with exact precision. With close to 30 elevators throughout the ship, passengers navigated to and from busy events with little waiting. Just be prepared for the tight quarters in these lifts! The ship design is a bit maze-like, but you will get used to the layout. The pool deck was never over-crowded, we were always able to find good seats at the shows, and disembarkation was quick and painless. Overall, we were impressed with crowd control on Norwegian Sky.

Norwegian Sky Ship Overall

Met Expectations

Granted we choose this cruise mainly for the two full days in Cuba, but the Norwegian Sky ship did hold its own for this short cruise. The ship provided a bite-size NCL experience that will be familiar to those who have sailed on other ships in the fleet. The all-inclusive drink package and outstanding service made us feel pampered during the trip. There was never a lull or dull moment between the ports of call and offerings on the ship. For those looking to visit Cuba, Norwegian Sky might be the perfect fit.

Norwegian Sky Ship ScorecardNorwegian Sky Ship Scorecard

The itinerary also included a stop at the private island of Great Stirrup Cay, so fitting everything you want to do, see, eat, and experience during your vacation will take some planning. Good thing we are here to help you make the most of your cruise to Cuba on Norwegian Sky.

Comments

Have you sailed on Norwegian Sky? What are your ratings for this ship? Drop us an anchor below to share your opinions on all things related to Norwegian Sky.

Norwegian Sky Ship Scorecard

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About the Author

DB & The Princess

Welcome Aboard! We are Don and Heidi, the husband and wife travel team behind EatSleepCruise.com. We took our first cruise vacation together 10 years ago and have been hooked ever since. Follow along as we share our travel tips, cruise reviews, information on ports of call, and the latest cruise news to help you plan the ultimate cruise vacation. Are you ready to embark on your journey to “sea the world, one port at a time”? Read More...

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