Norwegian Sun Cruise Review by HACKT: Great Baltic Cruise on Sun
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Great Baltic Cruise on Sun
We went on a Baltic cruise on the Norwegian Sun in June 2012 departing from Copenhagen, Denmark. We arrived in Copenhagen 2 days before the cruise and stayed at the Crowne Plaza near the airport. Although we liked it, we heard the Hilton Hotel by the airport was slightly better. We took a taxi from the Crowne to the port (Freeport terminal) which cost about $50 for 4 people -- much cheaper than the NCL bus which was $30 per person.
We got to the Sun about 11:45. Embarkation was very fast, we were onboard at noon. By the time we were eating in the buffet, they announced all the rooms were ready about 12:30. We had a midships balcony room which was almost as large as mini-suites we'd had on other cruise lines. The room was very nice, comfortable bed, with a functional bathroom. The only 2 complaints I had were the balcony door was hard to lock and the TV was an old, small model. The movies on the TV were limited -- only one channel of English movies which varied from More old to recent. Otherwise we were happy with the room and the steward.
This was our first cruise on NCL after 11 other cruises. We really enjoyed NCL and the Sun. The "anytime dining" was great as we were coming back to the ship at different times due to the destination. We ate in both the Seven Seas (semi-casual) and the Four Seasons (casual) dining rooms, slightly preferred Seven Seas and the service there. We also did pay dining in the Moderno (Brazilian) Steakhouse, il Adagio (Italian) restaurant, and the East-West steakhouse. All were good - Italian was "OK" but only cost $10. We never had a wait anywhere for dinner.
Most other meals we ate in the buffet (Garden Cafe). We felt the buffet had a good variety and especially enjoyed the ice cream bar. The buffet was only on one side of the ship so it was crowded at peak times. We got around this by going to the other side of the ship and eating in the Moderno which had a quick brunch available that included an omelet station for breakfast and a pizza station for lunch -- it was rarely crowded. Room service was not so great -- cold breakfast items and a limited menu.
Evening shows were good -- basically like all the other cruises. We enjoyed the Illusionist the most. There was music throughout the ship in the evening -- enough variety for everyone.
Overall, the service on the ship was outstanding. The crew was amongst the friendliest we've ever had. Even with different waiters at the restaurants, all were fast & efficient. We will definitely cruise with NCL again. Here's a quick summary of the destinations:
Warnemunde -- My wife and I booked the NCL excursion "Top Ten Sites in Berlin" because we preferred a train ride over a bus and we wanted to make sure we would get back to the ship on time. It was a long day -- 3 hr train ride each way and 8 hrs on a bus touring Berlin. Although an expensive excursion, it was a good trip and we saw most all of the tourist sites in Berlin. It included a nice lunch in Berlin and drinks/snacks on the train. Our son and his friend stayed in Warnemunde and walked to the town and the beach and enjoyed a relaxing day.
Tallinn -- We walked to the old walled town which was on a hill visible from the ship. It took 30 minutes to walk each way and we spend several hours walking around the churches, shops, and restaurants. We were lucky the weather was nice -- 60's and sunny. Estonia takes euros, as does Germany and Finland. I picked up a walking tour map from the ship's passenger service desk which helped explain the sites.
St Petersburg -- Definitely the highlight of the trip and a gorgeous city! Again lucky on weather -- sunny and temps in high 60's. We booked a two-day "moderate" tour with SPB Tours -- I read about them in earlier reviews and booked the tour online. They are a better value for the money in my opinion -- we would have used them in Berlin except we wanted the train. If you want a tour at every port, they also offer a multi-city package for a good price, but we wanted to go on our own at the other stops. The two days in St Pete were lengthy but outstanding -- we saw all the major sites. The city is beautiful and you will want to spend both days sightseeing. Russia uses rubles but we got by with credit cards for lunch and shopping and tipped with dollars or euros.
Helsinki -- The weather turned cooler, in 50's, with clouds and wind but no rain. Helsinki was okay but a small port. We chose to walk into town but grabbed a taxi since it was windy. We used taxis to go to Rock Church, then to Parliament Square, about 10 euros each time. We walked back to the ship thru the shopping district. Another go-it-yourself option is the Hop On-Hop Off bus which is right by the ship but it cost 25 euros each. If it was raining we would have used it.
Stockholm -- Poured rain during the short 7 hr stay in Stockholm. We booked an NCL excursion to the Vasa Ship & city sightseeing so we did not have to walk around in the rain. Stockholm is a beautiful city and the short stay was not enough to cover the sights. The reason the stop is short is because it takes 4 hrs to sail up the river to the city from the Baltic. We did have a great view of the estuary when we departed Stockholm for the Baltic -- we stayed in our cabin and took pictures from the balcony of the islands and the resorts. Sweden has their own currency so we used credit cards for purchases.
Since we were staying in Copenhagen one more night, we chose the embarkation option to carry our luggage off the ship when we were ready. This was nice in that we did not have to put our luggage out the night before arriving. We left the ship at 9:30 (10 was latest) and walked to the taxi line. We were dismayed to find the line wrapping around 3 times. However, it moved very fast and we were on a taxi in 20 minutes. It cost just over $50 for the 4 of us to go to the airport for my son's flight, then my wife and I took the hotel shuttle to the Crowne Plaza. We paid the taxi with Danish kroner but they also take credit cards if you tell them in advance. Less
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