It is always important to set reasonable expectations for any planned trip. It is never realistic to expect open seating buffets to offer 6* quality dining experiences, for example. Norwegian is also not a super premium brand, and it certainly does NOT cost a 6* price. On the basis of what was promised (or at least perceived as promised) and what was actually delivered, the Norwegian Sun cruise rates a 9+ on a 1-10 scale, in my opinion. Here is my assessment:
1. Ship Condition: The ship is in excellent condition. Everything is in top working order. Aesthetically and cosmetically, the ship is virtually unblemished. You can't expect a floating hotel that houses 2000 guests and that is subject to rolling seas, vibrations, and constant movement to NOT have some maintenance issues. When there were maintenance issues, they were promptly addressed.
2. Ship Size: 2000 passengers with a 900+ crew is a good mix. The ship is over 800 feet long and offers a lot of amenities. It is not a mega-ship that offers rock climbing and water park slides, but it also does not take you a $10 cab ride to get to the pool.
3. Food: Excellent selection on the buffet lines. There was always a good selection of fresh fish, beef, pork, and lamb. The Sprinkles ice cream bar was open during the day and closed when the evening buffet closed. The food on the buffets was always fresh and varied and was consistently of high quality. The burgers (and more) in the aft of the ship were great when you just wanted something to eat after coming in from a tour, and the sports bar offered good food (but a LIMITED) sports viewing experience. The sports bar needs to have more availability than 1 ESPN channel and NFL Channel.
4. Itinerary: EXCELLENT. 5 ports with varied experiences available. Dominica and St. Lucia were rain forest tropical with waterfalls and lush scenery. Barbados, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas appealed more to the beach and sun lovers.
5. Crew: The officers were incredibly accessible. If you ever had a problem, I am quite certain that the right person would be contacted and that the issue would be addressed immediately. The average person you meet in the restaurant, on deck, or in the hall was always polite and smiling. I think the people genuinely like working on this ship.
6. Entertainment: Always good and sometimes great featured entertainment in the main room. Magic (excellent), hypnotist, Cirque performers (excellent), a dynamic opera quality male singer (excellent), and in house entertainment troupe rotated shows. There was a LOT of other entertainment going on each night in many other locations. Something for everyone.
Like I said above, the Norwegian Sun offered excellent value for my travel dollars spent. My brother and I already placed a deposit for our next cruise. You simply cannot go wrong with this ship and this itinerary.