As committed Freestyle cruisers, we expected to enjoy our first trip on the Norwegian Sun and we were definitely not disappointed. The itinerary was most unusual but that only heightened the appeal and we were delighted to discover fascinating places not usually associated with luxury cruising.
The Sun proved to be a great ship with wonderful staff and the relaxed, almost quiet, atmosphere made it very pleasant (although we heard later that the cruise had undersold by mnre than 300 passengers).
First stop after leaving Copenhagen was Bergen where the rain barely stopped, much to the delight of the American majority who said it was so welcome after a long, hot summer in the States. Alesund in Norway was much the same but we did an NCL trip which was most enjoyable thanks to an entertaining guide.
The treeless (not quite) Shetland Islands provided numerous photo opportunities but they proved to be nothing compared to the bleak but beautiful Faroe Islands vistas which had the photographers working overtime. We overheard one snapper admitting he had taken 300 pictures and the tour still had some distance to go. We also had a chuckle at dinner that evening when the "Regional Speciality" was pork chops despite the fact there are no pigs on the Faroes!
Iceland was indeed the Land of Ice and Fire but the Blue Lagoon wasnt quite its magical self as the rain came down torrents. Even the captain made a joke about it, saying tongue in cheek that it would be better in the next country - Scotland!
Little did he realised just how big a success Greenock would be. This port pulled out all the stops to give a real Scottish welcome with the quayside arrival hall a blaze of tartan, Scottish souvenirs and even free whisky tasting. A group of volunteers persuaded dozens of passengers to savour the delights of nearby attractions rather than go monster-hunting to Loch Ness. Many people did not realise that Nessie is only spotted at the start of the tourist season every year!
A group of Scottish entertainsrs including bagpipe players and Highland dancers, packed the Sun theatre in late afternoon and received a thunderous standing ovation. And there were hundreds up on the open decks for the sailaway as a pipe band paraded up and down the quayside as local people waved their Scottish flags. A truly memorable send-off.
The final stop was a very busy Dublin which must hold the world record for traffic lights per square mile. We did the hop on - hop off bus tour but were glad to get back on board.
The food on the Sun was excellent no matter where you ate. We tried the Bistro, Moderna, Adagia and East Meets West and enjoyed every single meal. We also went to the tasting sessions for sangria and wine and whisky. Whoosh - after five large drams in 30 minutes it was time for the only afternoon nap of our cruise.
We spent some time in the casino but never saw any big winners despite the dollars flowing into the slots. Enteretainment wise we tended to listen to singer Shane who was a quality act.
Finally, the biggest secret on the Sun has definitely been exposed on Cruise Critic. Instead of going to the crowded buffet, we were advised to try the Moderna instead for a relaxing breakfast. Unfortunately too many on the ship had read reviews on this site and it was pretty busy, but not as much as the buffet.