The older (but still not very old) Sun and Sky have a cozier feel than NCL's bigger, newer ships, yet still feature multiple restaurants and lots of cabins with balconies.
Typical Per Diems: $60-$105
Sky sails the Bahamas from Miami (year-round).
Sun sails the Caribbean from Port Canaveral (spring/winter).
Norwegian Sky and Sun were the first two megaships built for NCL's modern era, and blazed the trail that all the later ships followed, with multiple restaurants and everything designed with casual cruising in mind. Sky spent 4 years sailing as Pride of Aloha for NCL's Hawaii operation, but is now sailing Bahamas itineraries under her original name.
Sky's cabins are done up in fun, lively island colors, but they're quite small and have limited closet and storage space -- just a two-panel closet and a small bureau with four slim drawers -- so be prepared to use your suitcase to store whatever. Oh, and watch out for those reading lamps above the beds: Their protruding shades make sitting up impossible. The vast majority of standard inside cabins (118-191 sq. ft.) and outside and balcony cabins (147-173 sq. ft.) run smaller than similar cabins at a lot of competing lines. Bathrooms are also compact, with tubular shower stalls and slivers of shelving.
It's worth noting that Sky's hull was originally built by Costa, which planned for the cabins to have portholes and no balconies. Costa sold the hull to NCL after the shipyard went bust, and, unwilling to bring out a megaship without balconies, NCL compromised, working around the existing portholes and adding balconies, resulting in an odd door-and-porthole combo (most ships have sliding-glass doors) between cabin and balcony.
Norwegian Sun is heavy on suites and minisuites, the latter of which measure a roomy 264 to 301 square feet (plus 68- to 86-sq.-ft. balconies) and have walk-in closets, sitting areas, and bathtubs. Twenty 355- to 570-square-foot Penthouse and Owner's suites (with 119- to 258-sq.-ft. balconies) include the services of a butler and concierge who will get you on the first tender to port, make dinner reservations, and generally try to please your every whim. The pair of penthouses also has a separate living room and dining area. Among the regular balcony cabins, categories BA, BB, and BC (which take up most of Decks 8-10) are laid out awkwardly, with the twin beds and the closet-dresser unit positioned too close together. A person dragging a suitcase has to twist up like a pretzel to squeeze by. Other than that, the decor is pleasant with caramel-wood veneers; attractive gilt-framed artwork; and navy, gold, and Kelly green fabrics and carpeting. Storage space is plentiful, so much so that on a recent cruise, we couldn't even manage to fill up all the shelves. The bathrooms have a pair of shelves above the counter and a really useful one in the shower, though otherwise the skinny shower stalls can be a tight squeeze. Cabins at the forward end of Deck 6 have large portholes that look out on the ship's wraparound Promenade Deck (which is popular with walkers and runners, so you'll probably want to have your curtains closed most of the time). Every cabin has a small sitting area, a minifridge (not stocked), a hair dryer, TV, desk and chair, and a coffee/tea-maker.
Six cabins on Sky and 20 cabins aboard Sun are equipped for wheelchairs.
Even though Norwegian Sky is the older of these two vessels, refurbishments in 2008 and 2009 made her decor much fresher and more fun; while Sun is still done up in a pleasing but not too jarring pastiche of mostly cool blues, sages, deep reds, and soft golds blended with marble, burled-wood veneers, and brass and chrome detailing.
Both ships are bright and sun-filled due to an abundance of floor-to-ceiling windows. Surrounding the understated three-level atrium on several levels is a bar, some clusters of chairs creating relaxing pockets, and an area where a pianist performs. Each ship has nearly a dozen bars, including a sports bar, wine bar, nightclub/disco, two large poolside bars, a coffee bar, an Internet cafe, and a dark and cozy cigar club with the most comfortable, thick, buttery leather chairs and couches around. With soft ballads coming from the adjacent piano bar as background music, the cigar bar is the most appealing place on the ship for quiet conversation (unless, of course, you can't stand smoke). Many of the balcony seats in the two-story show lounge have obstructed views of the stage, and decor-wise, this isn't one of the ships' most impressive spaces. Still, the lights are low most of the time, and the focus is on the stage, where it should be. There's a large, attractive observation lounge wrapped in windows on one of the top two decks; at night, it's a venue for live music. The casinos are large and flashy enough, though not as over the top as those on Carnival's and Royal Caribbean's ships. The layout of the shops is attractive, with a wide streetlike corridor cutting between the main boutiques and a long, elegant jewelry counter.
For kids, the ships' huge children's area includes a sprawling playroom with ridiculously high ceilings, a teen center with a large movie screen and foosball games, and a video arcade. Each ship also has a wading pool.
Pool Fitness & Spa Facilities
The well-stocked oceanview gyms on these ships are open 24 hours a day, and the adjacent aerobics room has floor-to-ceiling windows and a great selection of classes, from spinning to kickboxing. Nearby, the Balinese-inspired spa and beauty salon affords ocean views as well. On Sun, while you wait to be led to your treatment room, you can relax in a serene sitting area with a wall of glass facing the sea.
Out on deck, there's a pair of pools with a cluster of four hot tubs between them. One deck up, you'll find a combo basketball/volleyball court, a pair of golf driving nets, and shuffleboard. On Sun, the kids' wading pool and some cute mini-chaise-longues are conveniently tucked along the starboard side of the Sports Deck (near a door to the interior of the ship); on Sky, it's in a more desolate spot far forward on the Sports Deck, where there's also a fifth hot tub.
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Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.