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Moving up one deck we come to International Deck (7). We take a peek into one of the D-grade outside twin cabins on this deck and are pleasantly surprised with the amount of space. Oh, and the oversized portholes really add a lot of charm to the otherwise quite standardized look of the cabins on the ship. Then we’re off to the atrium again. The wonderful thing is that the atrium takes on a different atmosphere on each deck. On deck 7 one finds the intimate Atrium Bar, where a pianist is tickling the ivories. Views from the somewhat overhanging semi-circular side areas are very good, and I’m sure this will be a popular hangout for future passengers looking for a quiet evening in classic, elegant surroundings. A checkered marble floor leads into the Monte Carlo Casino. A sense of "déja-vu" immediately comes over me. Which ship is this? Norway? Norwegian Dream? From the carpeting to the artwork – this is a carbon copy of the other NCL vessels’ casinos. Since the casino has to remain closed in port we walk briskly to yet another design highlight: the Arcade. I love it! This long narrow area is bordered on one side by the huge Galleria Shopping Mall (again, closed in port!), and is totally windowless.

However, this is a space where we can truly "reach for the Sky", because the ceiling is painted like an ocean-going version of the opening screen of Windows 98, clouds and all. Which is rather appropriate, because the Arcade is home to the Norwegian Sky’s Internet Café. During our visit computers are still being installed, but it is quite obvious that NCL has another winner on their hands. A coffee bar serving up all sorts of specialty coffees is located smack in the middle of the room, and the comfortable wood-framed chairs make this place a feast for the eye. And the computer enthusiast.

What is this? Do we feel hunger pangs?

Then it must be time to zoom up a couple of decks and find out what NCL holds in store for us at The Great Outdoor Restaurant… We see salads, we see sandwiches, we see warm apple strudel with vanilla sauce. And yes, we EAT salads, we EAT sandwiches and we EAT the strudel. With vanilla sauce! This is the tea time buffet at the Great Outdoor Restaurant, another one of these great NCL inventions. Luckily, they have learned from the mishaps on the Norway, where during inclement weather the only way to have a casual breakfast or lunch is to dress warmly and take your chances as there is no indoor seating.

Therefore, the Norwegian Sky boasts both an indoor and an outdoor casual eatery. The outdoor one is simply fantastic. The two spacious buffet areas boast brightly colored tiles and there’s a very tropical outdoor bar nestled in between. ‘The whole aft deck is then given over to an alfresco restaurant that is outstanding. A huge canopy overhead keeps the odd drop of liquid sunshine away, and the view cannot be improved. We’re up on Pool Deck (11), where the aft section is completely dedicated to all sorts of dining and drinking options. Apart from the Great Outdoor Restaurant, there’s the large Garden Café occupying the starboard side, with Sven’s Ice Cream Parlor placed all the way forward (for that other NCL gadget – free ice cream each afternoon!). You will have no trouble discovering that this place is meant to look like a garden, too! Lots of rattan furniture, bright wall paintings and huge windows overlooking the ocean. There’s an expansive buffet area that is designed a little awkward (where do I start?). I was pleased to see the use of real forks, knives and napkins, and the food carts placed here and there should provide some interesting food options.

On the port side is the exquisite Sports Bar. NCL was the first cruise line that placed a heavy emphasis on sports with their Sports Afloat program. That resulted in the provision of a sports bar on the original Windward and Dreamward (now Norwegian Wind and Norwegian Dream). On Norwegian Sky, you will find the next generation of sports bars. And the result is stunning. With floor-to-ceiling windows (and remember this is deck 11 – imagine the view!), parquet flooring, bright colorful furniture and a superb bar this is all the sports fan needs. This is the place to watch live football games, eat some popcorn and nachos in the afternoon (we’re still on an NCL ship after all!), and admire the sporting artifacts that are placed all over the room.

 

All photos and text: © 1999-2000 Bart de Boer - www.ShipParade.com

Originally published on July 30, 2000. This version published on July 14, 2007

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