Norwegian Sky Food –
To celebrate my wife’s birthday we traveled to Miami as well as the Bahamas on a four-day cruise on Norwegian Sky from Miami to the Bahamas.
The trip includes one night in Miami as well as the four night cruise visiting Nassau, Grand Bahama and the cruise line’s private island Great Stirrup Cay.
The report will be organized in the following posts:
Miami and Bahamas Trip Report – Meals on Norwegian Sky
Going on a cruise generally offers an all inclusive experience. In the case of the Norwegian Sky that is the case as both meals and alcoholic beverages are included in the base cruise fare.
That being said, the meal options offered as part of that all inclusive experience is limited to the two main dining restaurants, beach BBQ on the Private Island and the buffet on the ship. Those options are good; however, the cruise line like others offers specialty restaurants where you can get a better meal but there is a cost.
When cruises first began, all gourmet food was included in the cruise fare. Now the regular restaurants have removed lobster, filet and other high end dishes off the regular menu and added a charge for them.
Traditionally cruise lines have charged a pre-fix charge for the specialty restaurants. That means that in order to go, each person has to pay $15-$50 to enjoy a meal at the restaurant. Typical specialty restaurants include steakhouses, Italian restaurants, French and Asian restaurants. Norwegian is now making these restaurants all a cart, which means that each item on the menu has a specific cost similar to a restaurant on land.
Prior to departing on the trip as well as on the first night of the cruise, Norwegian offered a meal package where you could pre-pay for complete meals at the specialty restaurants for three or four nights on the cruise. The three-meal option was about $60 per-person. I purchased this option because I knew it gave lobster and steak options at the specialty restaurants.
The Norwegian Sky offered a steakhouse, French restaurant, Italian restaurant and a sushi restaurant. My wife and originally selected one night at the steakhouse, one at the French restaurant and one at the Italian restaurant. After arriving on the ship, we reviewed the menus and decided that a second meal at the French restaurant would be better than the options at the Italian restaurant.
When we checked in, our cruise cards had 3UDP printed on the front which meant that we pre-payed for three meals in the specialty restaurants.
The way that the deal worked is you would order whatever you wanted from the menu including multiple appetizers and side items and then you would select one of the entrees per-person. At the end of the meal you would receive a check listing all the items and then the total cost was deducted for the meal plan. You would then have to write in a tip or leave a cash one. The tip would be in addition to the amount charged in the daily service charge. The server in the specialty restaurant receives their share from that amount based on you dining in the restaurant that day. The service was excellent so it is important to give an additional tip as well.
At the end of the cruise, I added up all the meal purchases and they totaled $250. I paid $120 for the meal plan, so I saved $130 by pre-paying for three-meal package.
At each of the specialty restaurants there were two lobster options, one filet and one larger steak to share as well as various other higher quality items such as lamb chops and veal.
Le Bistro – French Restaurant –
Our favorite restaurant on the ship was the French one. We felt that the service was best in this one and it was a nice intimate experience. Both times we dined there we were given a table for two by the window.
At each restaurant we were given a choice of multiple wines. Each night they would feature a red and white wine; but they offered all the wines from the alcohol package so you could get a Malbec or Pinot Noir even though they were featuring a Merlot at the restaurant.
The meal started off with bread at the table followed by an amuse bouche. The amuse bouche was the same both nights and it was a salmon one that you spread on bread. Both evenings the dish was excellent and it was a nice taste to start the meal.
We were then given a choice between various appetizers and soups. We tried two of the soups. One was the French Onion and the other was a Mushroom soup. The Mushroom Soup was poured at the table and it was a mix of four different types of mushrooms in a rich and creamy sauce. That was excellent.
I also had a salad with duck, various greens and vegetables. It had a tangy Champagne vinaigrette. The duck was mild and it had a good flavor and the salad was excellent.
My wife tried the scallops which were seared and served neatly on a plate. The scallops were fresh and they had a good flavor.
We also had an excellent sampler appetizer with duck, chicken and vegetables served in small cones. Each of the appetizers were excellent and they were full of flavor.
My wife was able to get lobster each night for her main entrée. One option was with lobster tails and the other was a 2-pound lobster. The lobster tail option was a little better because the majority of the 2-pound lobster was the shell. Despite that fact the lobster was cooked perfectly and it had an excellent taste and flavor.
The first night at the French restaurant I selected the filet. I requested it medium; however, it was served well done. In hindsight I should have requested an other because it lacked a great taste due to it being overcooked.
The second night in the French restaurant I selected the lamb chop. The lamb was cooked perfectly and it had a wonderful taste and flavor.
We shared a chocolate dessert one night at the French restaurant but were too full the other night to try one of the other desserts. All of the items on the menu sounded excellent. The chocolate dish was rich and full of flavor and it was excellent to share.
On the night we went to the Steakhouse it was quite busy and we were assigned a table in an area that was somewhat crowded. The servers at that restaurant were not as attentive and we frequently waited to have our glasses refilled and for assistance. In addition, the servers did not formally check back with us after each item was served. The survive was night and day compared to the excellent service we received in the French restaurant.
The food at the steakhouse was excellent so it was still worth the wait and the lower service level.
Our meals started with an appetizer with large shrimp cocktail. The shrimp was served chilled and it was fresh and had an excellent taste. The cocktail sauce was flavorful and excellent.
After the appetizer we both also selected a lettuce wedge salad with blue cheese dressing. The dish was presented attractively and the lettuce was fresh and the salad was topped with blue cheese and it also had an excellent flavor.
For the entrée I selected a ribeye steak and requested it cooked medium. The steak was cooked to perfection and it was rich in taste and flavor. It was presented simply on a plate.
The steak was served which a choice of sides. The server suggested that we each order two. I ordered the mushrooms and a creamed corn. The other options included potatoes, au gratin potatoes, French fries and onion rings. All of the options looked good. The mushrooms were served hot and they were seasoned well and went well with the steak. The creamed corn was rich and tangy and it had an excellent flavor.
For dessert I selected an Oreo cheesecake. The Oreo cheesecake was served chilled. It was very rich and had a good chocolate and Oreo flavor. It could have been shared by several people based on how rich it was.
Main Dining Room –
One of the nights we ate in the regular restaurant. The restaurant was quite busy. We had a friendly server who made some suggestions from the menu that we accepted and they turned out well.
The main restaurant featured a different menu each evening. You could choose from multiple courses and select from varied options.
We had a wonderful soup and salad at the restaurant. They both had excellent taste and flavor.
For the entrée we had a turkey dish and a steak entrée. The turkey was light and it was seasoned well. The steak was cooked to order and it was tender and it had a good flavor. It was not as good as the filet or the ribeye in the specialty restaurant; however, it was still excellent.
We generally dined at the buffet for breakfast. The buffet was busy each of the mornings. We were able to choose from a lot of different options and it was often difficult to decide what to get. There were omelet stations available but every time I was in the area the line was quite long so I selected other options.
My wife and I both enjoyed our breakfasts on the ship. The food was all served hot and it was flavorful.
We dined one day in the main restaurant for lunch. The lunch service was similar to the dinner one. We were given a table for two and we had a friendly server that was attentive and kept our beverages full.
We selected from soup, salads and various entrees. All of the items we selected were good and we enjoyed the experience overall.
We also had one lunch at the buffet. The lunch was while we were in port so the buffet was not that busy. We sampled from a lot of different items and the food was served hot and the buffet area was clean. The meal was enjoyable.
Beach BBQ at Great Stirrup Cay –
At the Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas, they setup a large buffet at the center of the island and they offer an island BBQ themed meal.
I had lunch at the Beach BBQ and found a variety of items offered included, sandwiches, pizza, burgers, jerk chicken, hot dogs and salads as well as desserts and fruit. The food was all signed and it all looked appetizing.
The first three afternoons, Norwegian offered a mini BBQ on the pool deck. The food was cooked on the grills that were setup on the deck. There were burgers, hot dogs, chicken and a pasta or rice type dish offered. We did not eat at this as we did not want to take away from our dinner experience. These buffets were busy and everyone seemed to be enjoying the food.
Overall I am glad we purchased the specialty restaurant dining plan as we were able to select from more gourmet entrees. I would highly recommend the French restaurant as it was intimate and we received an amazing service from the servers.
You can certainly have an excellent multi-course dinner in the regular restaurants and come away enjoying your meal. I would however, recommend trying one of the specialty restaurants especially if you like lobster, filet or ribeye.