Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 365 out of 500
Accommodation: 145 out of 200
Food: 240 out of 400
Service: 266 out of 400
Entertainment: 74 out of 100
Cruise: 272 out of 400
Overall Score: 1362 out of 2000
Norwegian Sky Statistics
Size: Large Resort Ship
Cruise Line: Norwegian Cruise Line
Former Names: Pride of Aloha, Norwegian Sky
IMO Number: 9128532
Builder: Lloyd Werft (Germany)
Original Cost: $332 million
Entered Service: Aug 1999/Jun 2008
Registry: The Bahamas
Length (ft/m): 853.0/260.0
Beam (ft/m): 105.8/32.2
Draft (ft/m): 26.2
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (50,000kW)/2
Passenger Decks: 12
Total Crew: 914
Passengers (lower beds): 2,002
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 38.5
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.1
Cabins (total): 1,001
Size Range (sq ft/m): 120.5-488.6/11.2-45.4
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 252
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 6
Wheelchair accessibility: Good
Cabin Current: 110 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 2
Hot Tubs (on deck): 5
Self-Service Launderette: No
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No
Onboard currency: US$
A multi-choice ship for upbeat, family-friendly cruising
Overview. Norwegian Sky, a resort at sea, caters well to a multi-generational clientele, with lots of choices for dining and entertainment. It provides a fine, comfortable base from which to explore. The outdoor space is quite generous, including an extra wide pool deck with two swimming pools and four hot tubs.
The Ship. In 2004 Norwegian Sky was ‘Hawaiianized’ and morphed into Pride of Aloha for Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL’s) Hawaii cruise operation, but withdrew from that market in 2008 and was transferred to NCL for short cruises in the Caribbean. The interior decor reflects its operating area, and the focal point is an eight-deck-high atrium lobby, with spiral sculptures and rainbow-colored sails.
Public rooms include a shopping arcade, children’s playroom, Internet center with 14 terminals and coffee available from an adjacent bar, several lounges and bars, small conference room, the Mark Twain library, and Captain Cook’s for cigars and cognac. Those with a black belt in shopping may seek out the Black Pearl Gem Shop.
The hustling for passengers to attend art auctions is aggressive and annoying, as is the constant bombardment for revenue activities and the daily junk mail that arrives at one’s cabin door. There are many announcements - particularly annoying are those that state what is already written in the daily program. There is little connection to the sea from many public rooms. Passenger hallways are quite plain.
A per person service charge you can’t change is added to your account daily; 15 percent is also added for bar charges, and a whopping 18 percent for spa treatments.
Accommodation. There are numerous price categories, including 13 for outside-view suites and cabins, and six for interior cabins. All the standard cabins have two lower beds that convert to a queen-size bed, a small lounge area with sofa and table, and a decent amount of closet space, but very little drawer space, and the cabins themselves are disappointingly small. However, each is decorated in colorful Hawaiian style, with an explosion of floral themes and vibrant colors.
More than 200 outside-view cabins have their own private balcony. Each cabin has a small vanity/writing desk, color TV set, personal safe, climate control, and a laptop computer connection socket. Audio can be obtained only through the TV set. Bottled water is placed in each cabin - but your account will be charged if you open it.
The largest accommodation is four Owner’s Suites. Each has a hot tub, large teak table, two chairs, and two sunloungers outside on a huge, very private, forward-facing teakwood-floor balcony just under the ship’s navigation bridge, with large floor-to-ceiling windows. Each suite has a separate lounge and bedroom. The lounge has a large dining table and four chairs, two two-person sofas, large TV set, DVD/CD unit, coffee table, queen-size pull-down Murphy’s bed, guest closet, writing desk, wet bar with two bar stools, refrigerator and sink, several cupboards for glasses, and several drawers and other cupboards for storage. The bedroom, which has sliding wood half-doors that look into the lounge, has a queen-size bed (with European duvet) under a leaf-glass chandelier, vanity desk, TV, walk-in closet with plenty of hanging rail space, five open shelves, and large personal safe. The white-tiled bathroom, although not large, has a full-size tub with retractable clothesline, separate shower enclosure with glass doors, deep washbasin, and toiletries cabinets.
There are 10 Junior Suites, each with a private teak-decked balcony; these suites face aft in a secluded position and overlook the ship’s wash. They have almost the same facilities as those in the Owner’s Suites, except for the outdoor hot tub, and the fact that there is less space.
Dining. Freestyle Dining has no assigned dining rooms, tables or seats, so you can choose which restaurant to eat in, at what time, and with whom. In practice, this means you have to make reservations for a specific time, so ‘freestyle dining’ turns out to be programmed dining.
The main dining rooms - Palace Restaurant, with 510 seats, and Crossings Restaurant, with 556 seats - have tables for four, six, or eight and an open-seating arrangement. The cuisine in both includes regional specialties. However, it’s best to have dinner in one of the specialty restaurants, as the food in these two large dining rooms is just so-so.
Other dining options. A smaller eatery, the 83-seat Plantation Club Restaurant, is an à-la-carte, light-eating option serving ‘healthy’ spa dishes and tapas. It has half-moon-shaped alcoves and several tables for two. The wine list is quite decent and well arranged, with moderate prices, although you won’t find many good vintage wines. The cutlery is very ordinary and there are no fish knives.
For classic and nouvelle French cuisine, the 102-seat Bistro has an à-la-carte menu. The decor is inspired by royal and aristocratic gardens. For premium steaks and lamb chops, there’s Cagney’s Restaurant, with 84 seats, intimate seating alcoves, and good food, at extra cost.
Other eateries include Pacific Heights, a casual Pacific Rim/Asian Fusion eatery that has steaks plus local fish and seafood. Casual, self-serve buffet-style meals can be taken in the Garden Café.
Entertainment. The 1,000-seat, two-deck-high (main and balcony levels) Stardust Theater is the venue for production shows and major cabaret acts, although the sight lines are quite poor from some seats. A number of bands and solo entertaining musicians provide live music for listening and dancing in several lounges and bars.
Spa/Fitness. Body Waves is a large health/fitness spa - including an aerobics room and a separate gymnasium, and several treatment rooms. Mandara Spa, headquartered in Honolulu but owned by Steiner Leisure, operates it and provides all staff and treatments as the concession. A whopping 18 percent gratuity is added to spa treatments.
Sports fans will appreciate the large basketball/volleyball court, baseball-batting cage, golf-driving net, platform tennis, shuffleboard, and table tennis facilities. A sports bar, with baseball and surfing themes, has live satellite television coverage of sports events and major games on several TV screens. Joggers can take advantage of a walk-around indoor/outdoor jogging track.