Ready for a quick weekend escape to the islands and some serious partying? Then look no further than the Norwegian Sky! NCL’s getaway cruises to Nassau, Bahamas, and NCL’s private island in the Bahamas are packed with that carefree cruise feeling, plenty of food and drinks, and are relatively inexpensive (especially if you’re flexible in your schedule). Starting in 2017, you can also cruise to Cuba on the Sky for brief getaway trips.
We’ve been on the Norwegian Sky on three separate occasions, all with the same cruising destinations in Nassau. Each trip was unique and lots of fun, and we highly recommend these little getaways to reset your batteries. You can read about one of our latest Nassau cruises in this trip report here.
Watch a video recap of our Norwegian Sky cruise below:
Can’t see the video? Click here to watch it on YouTube.
11 Things to Know Before Cruising on the Norwegian Sky
- Print your Luggage Tags Before You Leave
Once your cruise is 90 days away, you get a whole slew of information from Norwegian. You’ll need to complete your online check-in (a simple process much like checking in for a flight) and your boarding passes will become available. Look at those e-documents closely because there’s a link to your personalized luggage tags on there. Print them out and attach them to your bags. These tags tell the porters where your cabin section and room number are when you drop off your bags at the port on cruise day.
- There Will Be Alcohol and Lots of It
While you always have the choice to opt for one of the NCL beverage packages as an upcharge or free upgrade on longer cruises, part of the fun and limitless cruising package of the Norwegian Sky features an unlimited open bar. This means that liquor runs freely during the entire trip.
While we enjoy to “get our drink on” while on vacation, some people REALLY, REALLY like to see just how “open” the open bar package is. You’ll find that there is a much younger, party-happy crowd on these short cruises than you see on some of the longer cruises and lots of bachelor and bachelorette parties.
Also, while the Ultimate Beverage Package includes virtually every brand you can imagine, some of our favorite drinks are premium beverages on the Norwegian Sky. One such drink is Grand Marnier, our poison when we hit the casino or as a nightcap after a big dinner. That’s just a small complaint, though, and with so much else to drink that is included, why be picky?
- The Florida Straits can be Wavy
On most of the bigger ships, you don’t even feel the waves unless seas get really rough. In fact, sometimes you might even forget you are on a ship. The NCL Sky is a bit smaller and the passage from Florida to Nassau on the first night can sometimes be a bit bumpy as the ship passes through the Florida Straits. Nothing majorly wavy, but if you are prone to get queasy, it might be a good idea to take some kind of seasickness medication or whatever remedy floats your boat. Personally, I was introduced to Bonine as a seasickness medication on our very first cruise on the Norwegian Sky (which got really bumpy that first night) and it works wonders.
- Bring your White Stuff
Saturday night is party time on the Norwegian Sky with NCL’s White Hot party. The party takes place on the pool deck and attracts a wild group of parties from all over the ship. Dress code, as the name might suggest, is white. So don’t forget to pack some white party clothes. The party winds down relatively early on deck but moves on to the ship’s dance club for an after party. I would love to tell you about the after party, but we’re not spring chickens anymore and have yet to make it to that one.
- Stick with the Sit-down Dining Rooms
The food at the “Garden Cafe”, NCL’s buffet dining option, is great. From breakfast to dinner, there is always something delicious to be had. We try to steer clear of this dining option as often as possible though. It’s just too easy to overindulge at the buffet and the ambiance is sort of hectic.
Instead, it’s much nicer to get great service and excellent food at the main dining rooms. Simply show up whenever you please during serving hours as NCL’s freestyle cruising skips set table times. The food is delicious and the service attentive, all without costing a penny more than serving yourself at the buffet.
- Catch some Comedy
NCL has a knack for picking out some extremely funny comedians, even if they are not super well known. We have yet to go to a comedy show on the cruise ships where we didn’t have tears running down our faces by the end. Often times the comedians will tie the show together by making little quips about the ship or cruises in general. Since there are no “open container” rules on the ship, make sure to grab a drink before heading to the theater.
- Don’t Forget Your Card…. Ever
On a cruise ship, your keycard is your everything: your room key, ID Card, drink ticket, credit card. EVERYTHING. It seems every time you turn around you on this ship, you need your card for something. Make sure that wherever you go (especially when at port) that you have that little piece of plastic with you. If you are prone to misplace things (like…uhm…my husband) it might be a good idea to have them punch a hole in your card (either at check-in or the Guest Services desk) to attach a lanyard or bring/buy one with a pouch to stick in your card.
- Bring a Carry On
Chances are your cabin won’t be ready by the time you get to board the ship – and your luggage might take well into the afternoon to arrive. No worries, your room steward will place the luggage in front of your door, so you don’t need to wait around for your stuff. It does, however, serve well to come prepared for the afternoon with a small carry-on. Planning to hit the pool? A swimsuit and suntan lotion might be a good idea to go into your carry-on then. Basically, take everything you will need for the first afternoon until the ship leaves port in your carry-on so you don’t miss any of the fun including cameras.
- Stay Hydrated
With so much liquor available on the open bar nature of this cruise, it’s easy to go for the “Kennedy Package” – every time a drink is empty, go for a fresh one. Of course, your liver will probably hate you by the end of the trip if you do this.
While I tend to drink more adult beverages on a cruise (don’t judge, it’s vacation) I also tend to drink way less water than at home. With so few drink dispensers around the ship, it’s easy to forget to stay hydrated. So I like to carry a water bottle with me throughout the day which I refill at the drink dispensers. *Please use a clean glass to transfer the water from the dispenser to your bottle, to avoid spreading germs.
- Know When to be Back on the Boat
When going on-shore, it’s easy to forget about the time. Make sure you know when you need to return to the boat because the ship will indeed leave you behind if you are not back in time (if you booked your excursion through the cruise line this is a different story, they will wait for latecomers then). You can find the boarding time at the top of the Freestyle Daily, the cruise “newspaper” your room steward leaves in your room every night.
- Get Some Peace and Quiet at the Stern of the Ship
The Norwegian Sky can get a bit loud at times in the main areas, such as the central pool deck, the atrium and in other popular areas. One of our favorite “hide-outs” on this ship is the patio of the Plantation Club bar. This bar is at the very stern (back end) of the ship on the uppermost floor and can be a nice and quiet place to relax and hold a conversation. It was also the location of a cutthroat game of Cards Against Humanity on a prior cruise. On a warm night, this is probably one of my favorite places to relax for a quiet nightcap on the Norwegian Sky and it’s pretty spectacular at sunrise too.
You’re ready for your cruise on the Norwegian Sky now. There’s so many more things you can bring to trick out your space or bring the party on board (like wi-fi speakers)…what is on your list of must-haves when you cruise? Share them in the comments below!4