Embarkation: We were cutting it close getting to the pier. I mean like are we going to get to board close. We ended up getting there at 2:45 (they ask that you be there by 3 as they shut down at 330). But, everything was fine. We went quickly through the terminal and got VIP check in. We had cabins 9076 and 9077. Our concierge David and butler Dilip met with us and Dilip escorted us to our rooms which were already ready. 9076 was huge with a nice living room, but watch plopping down on the couch or you might fracture your tailbone! It is NOT soft! Does the cabin/ship show signs of wear? Yes. Should that ruin your trip - no. The view from this cabin is phenomenal. The kids were in 9077 next door which was a very small comparative to other lines we have been on (first NCL cruise), balcony stateroom, but it worked fine. The concierge lunch had already been shut down, so we ate upstairs at the buffet. Had the muster drill and off we went. We ate dinner that night at Il Adagio. It was More
pretty good. Calamari and pasta fagioli (but chicken based? not like the pasta fagioli I am used to) and a seafood alfredo for dinner.
Day 1 (sea day): One thing that surprised me about the entire cruise is that it never felt crowded. Maybe that is because we are coming off of ships like the Disney Magic, Carnival Dream where they are crowded, but you figure on a sea day the pools would be slammed, restaurants super crowded but it never felt like that. We ate breakfast in Il Adagio for the concierge guests. Excellent hot breakfast menu. Lunch was in the buffet. We did dinner at Le Bistro - YUM! A must eat. Escargot, the most tender beef. Delicious. The hubby and I got a couples massage from Cherry and Connie and it was divine. The kids played at the pool. My son and I did Bingo twice. Kids always got a free pack when they played with an adult. Overall a great day.
Day 2 (cozumel) - We signed up to play the Amazing Cozumel Race. We were a little concerned since we had the kids with us (11 and 8) but we were excited. We were one of two teams from Norwegian. The other 16 teams were either people staying in Cozumel or from the two Royal Caribbean ships. Teams ranged from 2 up to like 10. It was a BLAST! If you are a high adrenaline, adventure sort of group - this is a must do. It is played very similar as it is on tv and you are running all over Cozumel solving clues. It ends at a Mexican Restaurant where you get a free drink and chips and salsa (most also buy lunch which is HUGE portions. If you get the quesadillas, just split it with someone). We ended up coming in 4th out of 18 which I dont think is too shabby! After the game, we stopped in some shops for souvenirs and then back to the ship. We ended up eating at the buffet since we were tired!
Day 3 (Grand Cayman) - The kids and I did the Turtles and Stingrays tour. The husband was supposed to do the dive but they cancelled it. He was a little surprised. They said the diving at the wall had too strong of a current, but they usually will just change dive sites. But, nope cancelled it. And because they called the kids room (where he was technically in) he didnt get the message. So, he got over to shore (tender port) with all of his gear and nada. So, he ended up doing a snorkel tour which he said was ok. We had a great guide (His name was pilot), for our tour. We got out to the turtle farm as he narrated. He gave us a guided tour and then we got a whole 12 minutes left to look around. That was my biggest complaint. It felt so rushed. My kids wanted to hold the baby hatchlings but my daughter wanted to get a stuffed turtle from the gift shop. By the time we got to the bus, we were among the last. Wish there had been more time there. It is a very interesting facility. Then, we were off to the Stingray City portion of the tour. Let me recommend, bring food. You have no lunch provided and no real opportunity to get food. This tour met at noon and we didnt get dropped back off in town until 5. My kids were starving. We had taken a couple of cookies, but blew threw those pretty fast. It is a pretty long trip out to stingray city and frankly it has become so touristy - you are kind of like people soup out there. We did the stingray excursion several years ago and there were stingrays everywhere, but now there are more people than stingrays and it seems like each guide kiind of has "their" stingray. We got pictures holding the stingray, "kissing" the stingray, and you had the choice to feed it as well. When we got back to town at 5, we had about an hour and a half before the last tender, so I took the kids to margaritaville. Most of the shops had already closed. This margaritaville has a slide, so we ordered some coconut shrimp and let them play for about 30-40 minutes then walked over to the tenders and back to the ship. We ate Teppanyaki that night. This is the hardest restaurant to get since I think they only seat 12 at the hibachi. Personally, it was pretty good, but not as good as our local hibachi restaurant? May be just a personal preference. It was a fun show though. Our cooks were very entertaining.
Day 4 (Jamaica) - We did a private excursion with Marva Shaw from knowjamaica dot com. Her son Javier was our guide. We had 3 other families from the ship with us. Much better than the 90+ ppl on the grand cayman excursion. We started at Dunns River Falls. Can you say crowded? This is another place that wasnt as crowded last time we were there. We had about 20 people in our chain and I dont know if the guide wasnt as good or the people leading the chain were just impatient. I definitely only recommend this to people in good physical shape. Small children should be at your own risk. My husband ended up helping the elderly couple behind him as our group often didnt wait for the guide and I think we ended up going up the falls in a more difficult pattern. After the falls, we went to Calypso Rafting to tube the White River. It was fun. There is a short break in the middle for you take pictures or you can buy water, coke or beer. After that, we went to Mahoghany Beach where we at lunch and the kids swam for a little bit. Some local kids ended up out there close to when we were about to leave and told the group of kids from our tour that they needed to move?? It was almost time to go anyway. We ate grilled conch (and husband ate jerk conch) it is very rubbery and probably wouldnt do that again. Javier dropped us off at the shopping area where we ended up at Margaritaville and the kids slid on their waterslide until it was time to walk back to the ship. About a 5-6 minute walk with some very pushy salesppl. Just say no and keep walking. My daughter (8) did the kids ice cream mani/pedi party at the spa that night. She really enjoyed that. Then, we ate at the buffet.
Day 5 (at sea) - My daughter woke up bawling around 8 am and I took her to the ship dr (first time) where they diagnosed her with an ear infection. He gave her some advil, decongestant and Amoxicillin. She went back to the room and went back to sleep so we tag teamed breakfast with our son. My son and I then went and played Bingo - where I won! Yay. When we got back. I forgot to mention two nights before, my husband got called on stage for deal or no deal where he won $477. Pretty cool. Someone else won a free cruise the 2nd deal or no deal playing from the audience. My daughter felt better around lunch time and we went to the buffet. My son and i played the afternoon session of bingo and we had booked a 2nd couples massage. Our daughter felt well enough and went to the kids club (she wasn't contagious) while we got our 2nd massage - hot stone this time. We also ate our own dinner at Ginza for sushi. And we at out in the great outdoor cafe for dessert from the buffet. Very nice evening.
Day 6 (Great Stirrup Cay) - This was our beach day. The kids wanted to do the hippo slide but it was too windy. So, all we did was beach, lunch, beach. It was a little too cold for me in the water, but my husband went out with the kids. They built sand castles. Lunch was good under the covered pavillion, but watch the seagulls, they are not playing. They will take your food. We let the kids get a few things from the locals marketplace and then back to the boat. As we were leaving, we noticed a big dark cloud coming up. We made it back fine, but the last tender was in a pouring thunderstorm with 50 knot winds. They had to keep circling to get the tender to the ship and when they finally did, they cheered. You could hear them all throughout the ship. I had an acupuncture appt. Did it work? I dont know. We ate dinner at Moderno Churrascaria (sp) the brazilian steakhouse. By far the best dinner of the cruise. The meat was delicious. The little cheesy ball breads divine. The seafood chowder...I could just go on and on. A definite must eat. We played the last bingo session where we didnt win :( nor did we win the free cruise raffle :(.
Shows - We went to the hypnotist...still dont believe it but the show was amusing. We also did the magician - he was pretty good. Not the best show line up we have done, but ok.
Overall impressions - Not pushy on alcohol sales, liked that. For a spring break cruise with over 600 kids on board, mostly very well behaved. Older ship, has some blemishes, its not the super shiny new ship - but it was a great place for our family spring break vacation.
Biggest con - I loved the layout of our room and the view from our room but I would NEVER book their aft rooms again. The shaking back there when coming into port (especially coming back into Canaveral) was unbearable. Our doors were rattled open, I thought my teeth were going to rattle out. I have never had another cabin - even aft cabins - where there was that much motion and vibration. If you book it, bring some Ambien because especially the last night coming in to Canaveral - we were literally awake from 5am forward because the motion would not stop.
Disembarkation - Took a while to clear the ship. We were off and waiting for my husband to pick us up with luggage by say 930ish. A little later than we are used to.
Would we do the Sun again? Yes. The crew was unbelievably nice. Would we do NCL again? Probably. I wish they would get a little more kid friendly - ie Childrens programming on tv. Our kids wake up before us and they did not have a dedicated childrens channel for them to watch. And they didnt love the kids club like they have on other ships - but that may just be my kids. Less