Historical Havana is beautiful!

Norwegian Sky Cruise Review to Cuba

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 10

Overall rating:

3.5 out of 5
Norwegian Sky

4 Night Cuba Overnight & Bahamas (Miami Roundtrip)

Sail date: September 03, 2018

Ship: Norwegian Sky

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 9215

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review summary

We booked passage on the Norwegian Sky and departed 9/03/18and returned 9/07/17. Although this was my 18th cruise, it was my first on NCL and the experience was memorable. One of the most amazing features of this cruise venue is free bar service throughout the entire cruise, no fees whatsoever and your pick of anything offered in each bar, lounge and restaurant. Typically our drink tab runs anywhere from $500 to $1,000 or more depending on the cruise length so that was a wonderful perk. The food was good to excellent and there was plenty of it as well as varied selections. We upgraded to a balcony stateroom on the 9th deck (9215) starboard side. The stateroom was small but the balcony was delightful. There were many shows and activities onboard and the entertainment was enjoyable with high impact singers and dancers and an excellent comedienne who offered both a family and adult show later in the evening on one night. You depart Port of Miami promptly around 5 pm EST and cruise overnight to Havana arriving around 7 am. We were fortunate to be berthed next to a visiting Ecuadorian Navy cadet training tall ship the Guayas which was one of the best surprises of the trip. The Havana cruise terminal is located directly across the street of downtown and the view upon entering Havana harbor is very picturesque. We disembarked, went through Cuban customs (an easy process) and after a short walk to the street were in a different world. What impressed us the most was the architecture and artistry of the Cuban people. Although a poor country, the area we visited (clearly intended to impress tourists) was clean, well maintained and yet the buildings were amazing, some built in the early 1500's. We walked around for about 2 and a half hours whereupon the heat got to us and we decided to return back to ship. One does need to convert US dollars to Cuban pesos and that is easily done in the cruise terminal where they have a currency exchange. Expect your US $ to be worth about .83 cents in pesos with the conversion and fees. As it turns out we did not spend much on shore since food and drink was free onboard, so why pay to savor Cuban cuisine (expensive) on shore? As Florida residents we are used to heat but not Cuban heat and humidity, thus our exploration was short but memorable. We did go on the Tropicana nightclub/cabaret excursion which was offered by NCL and was worthwhile. The fee for that is $200 pp, albeit we got a discount through our Starwood Preferred booking and status allowing us to save some $65 pp. We were transported by a modern, clean and luxurious air conditioned bus from the terminal to the club. The Tropicana we learned has been in continuous business since 1939 and it looked wonderful, similar to being in any swank place to be in Miami Beach. The show was amazing, albeit all singing was in Spanish (which we don't speak) but the vocals were still amazing as was the dancing. The show runs two hours with no break, performance after performance. Upon arrival the women are greeted with a Carnation, the men are given a Cuban cigar. Each table in our group had two bottles of Cuban Rum and colas which was included in the charge as well as some nut snacks on each table. Our seats were close to the main stage and that is all part of the NCL package. The show ended close to midnight whereupon we returned back to the ship and had wonderful memories to take back with us. You can take photos in the show by paying a $5 fee for pictures or $10 for video based on the honor system. We did not bring any cameras or smartphones with us since we presumed pictures were forbidden, but surprise if you pay they are not. All in all it was a wonderful cruise, NCL impressed us, we would highly recommend this cruise and cruise line for a short but memorable visit to Cuba. We had a great time from the time we left to the time we arrived back at the port. Access on and off the ship was quick, efficient and painless. We did take our own bags off with us and had no problem being one of the first off to our waiting vans for offsite parking. One last thing, we celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary onboard with a specialty restaurant meal in Cagney's, the ships steakhouse and the cuisine and ambiance was both enjoyable and worth the upgrade, with excellent service in all dining venues."

Embarkation

4 out of 5
The Miami terminal affords quick and easy departure

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

5 out of 5
One of the most amazing features of this cruise venue is free bar service throughout the entire cruise, no fees whatsoever and your pick of anything offered in each bar, lounge and restaurant. Normally, our drink tab runs anywhere from $500 to $1,000 or more depending on the cruise length so that was a wonderful perk. The food was good to excellent and there was plenty of it as well as varied selections.

Cagney's Steakhouse

5 out of 5

Cagney's, the ships steakhouse and the cuisine and ambiance was both enjoyable and worth the upgrade, with excellent service in all dining venues.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
Standard nothing to brag about pools and hot tubs.

Shore Excursions Desk

4 out of 5

We booked the ship's excursion here. We did go on the Tropicana nightclub/cabaret excursion which was offered by NCL and was worthwhile. The fee for that is $200 pp, albeit we got a discount through our Starwood Preferred booking and status allowing us to save some $65 pp. We were transported by a modern, clean and luxurious air conditioned bus from the terminal to the club. The Tropicana we learned has been in continuous business since 1939 and it looked wonderful, similar to being in any swank place to be in Miami Beach. The show was amazing, albeit all singing was in Spanish (which we don't speak) but the vocals were still amazing as was the dancing. The show runs two hours with no break, performance after performance. Upon arrival the women are greeted with a Carnation, the men are given a Cuban cigar. Each table in our group had two bottles of Cuban Rum and colas which was included in the charge as well as some nut snacks on each table. Our seats were close to the main stage and that is all part of the NCL package. The show ended close to midnight whereupon we returned back to the ship and had wonderful memories to take back with us. You can take photos in the show by paying a $5 fee for pictures or $10 for video based on the honor system. We did not bring any cameras or smartphones with us since we presumed pictures were forbidden, but surprise if you pay they are not.

Entertainment

4 out of 5
There were many shows and activities onboard and the entertainment was enjoyable with high impact singers and dancers and an excellent comedienne who offered both a family and adult show later in the evening on one night.

Children's Programs

We didn't bring our children onboard. They did have a family comedian.

Service and Staff

2 out of 5
e didnt interact with the crew much we celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary onboard with a specialty restaurant meal in Cagney's, the ships steakhouse and the cuisine and ambiance was both enjoyable and worth the upgrade, with excellent service in all dining venues.

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
It was clean.

Cabin / Stateroom

3 out of 5
We upgraded to a balcony stateroom on the 9th deck (9215) starboard side. The stateroom was small but the balcony was delightful

Ship tip

Makes sure you purchase your Cuban VIISA We met with departure agent who efficiently booked us in, gave us our Cuban required VISA ($135 each purchased in advance)

Ports of call

Miami, Florida

4 out of 5
NCL's Miami terminal affords quick and easy departure. We arrived around noon and after about a 5-10 minute wait in line were directed to a departure agent who efficiently booked us in, gave us our Cuban required VISA ($135 each purchased in advance) and we then went to a boarding area and after about a 15 minute wait, our group was called and we went on board

HAVANA, CUBA

4 out of 5
cruise overnight to Havana arriving around 7 am. We were fortunate to be berthed next to a visiting Ecuadorian Navy cadet training tall ship the Guayas which was one of the best surprises of the trip. The Havana cruise terminal is located directly across the street of downtown and the view upon entering Havana harbor is very picturesque. We disembarked, went through Cuban customs (an easy process) and after a short walk to the street were in a different world. What impressed us the most was the architecture and artistry of the Cuban people. Although a poor country, the area we visited (clearly intended to impress tourists) was clean, well maintained and yet the buildings were amazing, some built in the early 1500's. We walked around for about 2 and a half hours whereupon the heat got to us and we decided to return back to ship. One does need to convert US dollars to Cuban pesos and that is easily done in the cruise terminal where they have a currency exchange. Expect your US $ to be worth about .83 cents in pesos with the conversion and fees. As it turns out we did not spend much on shore since food and drink was free onboard, so why pay to savor Cuban cuisine (expensive) on shore? As Florida residents we are used to heat but not Cuban heat and humidity, thus our exploration was short but memorable. We did go on the Tropicana nightclub/cabaret excursion which was offered by NCL and was worthwhile. The fee for that is $200 pp, albeit we got a discount through our Starwood Preferred booking and status allowing us to save some $65 pp. We were transported by a modern, clean and luxurious air conditioned bus from the terminal to the club. The Tropicana we learned has been in continuous business since 1939 and it looked wonderful, similar to being in any swank place to be in Miami Beach. The show was amazing, albeit all singing was in Spanish (which we don't speak) but the vocals were still amazing as was the dancing. The show runs two hours with no break, performance after performance. Upon arrival the women are greeted with a Carnation, the men are given a Cuban cigar. Each table in our group had two bottles of Cuban Rum and colas which was included in the charge as well as some nut snacks on each table. Our seats were close to the main stage and that is all part of the NCL package. The show ended close to midnight whereupon we returned back to the ship and had wonderful memories to take back with us. You can take photos in the show by paying a $5 fee for pictures or $10 for video based on the honor system. We did not bring any cameras or smartphones with us since we presumed pictures were forbidden, but surprise if you pay they are not.

Great Stirrup Cay (Cruise Line Private Island), Bahamas

3 out of 5
On our return to Miami, the ship stops at their private island of Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas, which is a big island compared to the RCL private island that lies just to the right of NCL's and is dwarfed by the expanse and locale of NCL's island. The protected cove, beach, amenities were plenty and the water was crystal clear, the sand white and food and drinks were all included. There are some lounges on the beach adjacent to Palm Trees and with the unrelenting sun beating down, you will want to snag those or be burned to a crisp. We spent about 2.5-3 hours on the island and once again gave into the heat to return to ship by tender and enjoy a cool drink and meal onboard in air conditioned comfort.

Disembarkation

4 out of 5

Traveler Photos

Cuba Capital View of Ship Sign from Private Island view from Cuba dinner Pink cadillac in Cuba
Was this review helpful? 10

Be the first to comment

Leave a comment

Remember: Be polite and respectful. Our diverse community is home to members with different opinions and a broad range of cruise experiences.

Other reviews of this sailing