We wanted to spend quality family time together over the holidays and on our 11 day Southern Caribbean cruise we did just that. We had two cabins on the 8th floor. DH and I had a balcony that we rarely used and our 3 teenage daughters were in an inside room across the hall. Since we wanted to spend Christmas Day with family as always, we booked a 6:15 a.m. day of flight from Toronto that was direct and got us to the ship with hours to spare.
Embarkation was smooth and the whole process took us about an hour. We were on the ship by noon and had lunch in the Seven Seas, one of two main dining rooms on the Sun. The food was very good all cruise long in all of the dining venues including both MDR's and buffets and Le Bistro. We were actually very happy with the quality, temperature, presentation and service on board this ship. If we had one suggestion it would be to have more variety for vegetarians but other than that we have only good things to say about our meals on this cruise.
Along with the regular song and dance shows which were not of the quality of years gone by on NCL there were some wonderful shows. We really enjoyed the ships husband and wife acrobatic act, Greg Gleason the magician, Terrence B the hypnotist, Aaron Shaw the singer and the other comedian/juggler on board. The bands and DJ Sax also provided us with countless hours of dancing and listening to a wide range of music. The musicians and entertainment staff worked hard on this New Year's cruise and they seemed to also enjoy this spirited cruise. From learning how to dance the Tango to trying to Belly Dance our days were filled with fun and interesting activities. Kareoke was also a big hit with our daughters and one of them participated in "The Sun Voice" competition. CD J.C. Sanchez along with his very energetic and capable staff offered a wide selection of activities. We have so many fond memories from our cruise. Celebrating New Years underneath the Caribbean sky and dancing the night away on the deck at the White Hot Party are amongst our favorites.Ports of Call on this cruise included Cartegna, Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. Cartegna was our least favorite port this cruise. We went to the Old City by taxi and it just didn't have the wow factor that we were expecting.
In Aruba we spent an hour or so shopping and then took a taxi to Manchebo beach. We enjoyed several hours at this beautiful beach and ate dinner listening to live pan drum music on the beach.
This was our first visit to Curacao and we thought that it was a lovely port. We started and ended the day shopping in town and in between that we went to Blue Bay Resort by taxi. It was a picture perfect cove that offered great snorkelling.
St. Maarten is a favorite of ours and with 6 ships in port we knew that we needed to get up early and leave the port area. We rented a car and drove to Marigot. We got some beautiful hand crafted souvenirs from the craft market that will be treasured for years to come. The pastries at Sarafina's bakery were as delicious as ever as was the iced coffee. We then drove to Grand Case but since the swells left very little beach to be enjoyed we got back in the car and drove to Le Galion beach. We knew that "baby beach" would be calm and it didn't disappoint. This authentic Caribbean beach has always been a favorite of ours. After an hour or so in the water we headed back to Grand Case for lunch at Le Soleil. Dining here is always a special treat. After a wonderful meal we returned our rental and went to town to shop for about an hour or so. It was another great day.
Our last port stop was St. Thomas. This day started out with a long 40 minutes spent clearing customs. The morning was cloudy with showers so we were thankful that our excursion was not booked until 11:40. We spent some time shopping at the port and then returned to the dock for our excursion. Like in St. Maarten the day before St. John was experiencing heavy surf on the north shore beaches. We were told that we would not be able to go over to St. John and were given the chance to cancel. We decided to go anyway. Halfway into our trip we were told that the swells were down and that we were going to go to Honeymoon Beach as originally planned. The snorkeling was very good and the beach was gorgeous. The crew of the Catamaran were not of the quality that we are used to but other than that it was a good excursion. Swimming beside a sea turtle for a full minute was the highlight for me.
Disembarkation went smoothly and we spent the night in Miami Beach before flying home the next evening. We had a wonderful vacation thanks in part to the wonderful crew and entertainment staff. If you don't need all the bells and whistles that the newer ships offer you will enjoy the Sun.
Tips: deck 6 has a great walking/jogging track, the white Sangria in Las Ramblas is delish, the $5 room service pizza is worth the price, the Great Outdoor Cafe is a great place to eat and also enjoy the view of the wake, the observation lounge has 2 for 1 drinks at happy hour.