Embarkation: I found this to be the roughest part of the cruise but only due to the wait times caused by US Customs computer systems going down and halting the lines for some time. Our luggage was picked up at curbside by the Port of Vancouver workers and delivered to our stateroom within one hour of us getting on the ship.
Stateroom: We had booked a oceanside balcony stateroom so I was hoping for the best and yet I was still surprised by the size of our room. It was much bigger than I had expected and our room is exactly the same as the stateroom picture on the Norwegian Sun main page on this site. We had plenty of room for our luggage as well as room to stow our suitcases, etc. The bathroom and shower were a bit small but then again, I'm not a big guy so I didn't feel cramped at all.
Food: The food in the buffet was just fine. Definitely on par with buffet food anywhere else I've eaten. I found that it was great for breakfast with made to order omelettes and a fresh waffle station. It was also great for snacks throughout the day. We didn't try any of the specialty restaurants so I can't comment on those but we did eat at both of the main restaurants and found them both to be really good. We even ordered room service several times.
Service: I felt that the service was great. Everywhere we went, we were greeted with "good morning's", a smile or a friendly "hello". This was true for every type of crew member that we encountered from the room stewards, to the food service staff to the maintenance folks. They were truly a delight to be around.
Entertainment: The Jean Ann Ryan group put on three shows that were pretty impressive considering the constraints of working on a ship. By no means was it a Las Vegas or Broadway level production but the singing was good and the troupe definitely gave it their all.
Overall: Our cruise director Patti Honecki was wonderful. Her cheery attitude and constant jokes (most of them at her own expense) made for a fun cruise. She and her staff work awfully hard to keep the passengers happy and active. All bar and spa charges already have 15% gratuity added to them but there's STILL a space for additional tip. Although we found the crew to be very friendly, many of them have a bad habit of watching over you as you fill out the room charge forms. Every time I had to sign for a room charge, the waiter or waitress or spa attendant would hover over you watching as you filled out the receipt. If they weren't hovering, you could see them open the receipt holder the second they walked away from you to check if you had tipped them or not.
Just some random notes...
- I'm not sure why NCL stops in Wrangell. Its a really small town that's only worth about 20 minutes of anyone's time.
- One disappointment was that due to too much ice in the water, we couldn't make it up to Sawyer glacier. What we did see of the Tracy Arm was beautiful and it only made it that much more disappointing that we didn't get all the way up to Sawyer. This is one of the dangers in heading up so early in the season (May).
- Definitely get a balcony cabin if you can. On an Alaskan cruise its totally worth the money to be able to see the sights from your own room. In Wrangell, there were a dozen bald eagles circling in front of my balcony and fishing below. What a sight!
- All in all we had a great time and I was very pleased with the service and overall experience. I will definitely try other cruise lines to see what they have to offer, but I'd go back on the Sun any time.