This was my fourth cruise, first with NCL. I was traveling with my Girlfriend, we are both 21 year old college students. Embarkation was a breeze, arrived at the port of Miami around 1:30 and found almost no line whatsoever. We were allowed to check in at the Lattitudes only check-in even though we were not members, the whole process from entering the terminal to being onboard took less than 15 minutes.
The ship is not as massive as the mega ships but is still big and nice in appearance. The Sun is a very clean ship with many hand sanitizers around to make sure your hands are clean. I stayed in an outside cabin with a large porthole window on the 4th floor forward. This floor served easy access to the main dining rooms, purser and shore excursion desk, and exit from the ship during port.
Food was abundant on this boat. Anywhere you go you can find food, and it's delicious. Aside from the main dining rooms and specialty restaurants there are 2 buffets, a sports bar, More
and room service to choose from. Ice cream is available all day with toppings, and its free of charge unlike other ships I have been on. There was even a sail away BBQ, which was great, with chicken, pork and various side dishes. During the deck party they even roast a pig by the pool, it was all excellent. The thing I liked the best from all the food were the pretzel rolls, these could usually only be found during the specialty buffets but they were terrific. There is a Chocoholic buffet at midnight at the end of the week as well. Everything is chocolate and everything is very rich. I tried many of the desserts but settled on chocolate cheesecake and an ice cream sundae.
One night in the dining room neither myself nor my girlfriend could find anything on the dining room menu so we decided to try Le Bistro. We both ordered the filet mignon. The only difference between Le Bistro and the main dining room was presentation. The food tasted exactly the same, but with a much nicer and classier presentation. Not really worth the extra $15 per person to eat there. My GF tried the chocolate fondue, but could not even compare it to what we normally eat at the Melting Pot, it just wasn't that good.
There are hundreds of activities throughout the week onboard the ship, with the same amount offered during sea days and port days. Our cruise director, Linda, put together many activities but most were dry and not that fun. The deck party was just OK, with mostly watching and not much dancing/conga going on. Poolside activities were very limited to 2 contests for the week. I would rate the cruise director as a 5 on a 10 scale.
The entertainment onboard the Sun was not that bad either. I missed the big production shows but was able to see the comedian, John Knight, several times. He was a very funny guy with lots of jokes that he did not repeat during the four shows I saw him in. The piano player in the Windjammer Cafe is wonderful and will play whatever song you ask him to. He even came by everyone's table during a break to ask them what they wanted to hear.
Pictures are taken every night. Norwegian places a strong emphasis on getting your picture taken and then going to buy it. Their prices are very expensive but the photos come out very nice. I decided to splurge $25 for one 8x 10 formal picture. This was expensive but very nicely taken.
The main money maker for NCL is alcohol. Do not expect to not be bothered anywhere you go to buy drinks. Swarms of waiters and waitresses lurk around the ship to sell you drinks. Beware! If you don't buy a monkey head drink during the deck party be ready to be hassled for one for the rest of the event.
The only shore excursion booked through NCL was the Jungle Beach Break to Uvero Beach in Costa Maya, Mexico. This beach is very nice with about 1,000 beach chairs and 2 open bars. The liquor drinks are watery but the beer is good. We arrived around 11 and were surprised to see that we possible had to leave by 2!! I heard the director of the beach saying that because not many people were PAYING EXTRA for jet skis and other rental equipment it wasn't worth keeping everyone there and letting them drink from the bar. Unfortunately the last bus home was at 3 even though the ship did not leave until 6!! Also, do not buy tequila here. I purchased 2 bottles at the beach from their tequila store only to come back and find out that it was not 100% agave as promised but a cheap local tequila. I would wait until Cozumel to buy tequila.
If you go to Belize I highly recommend the cave tubing. It was so much fun I must go back. I booked on www.explorebelizecaves.com, he was waiting with a van ready to go as soon as I arrived in Belize. It was wonderful. We had a small group of 5 with a private guide compared to the ship excursion of 40++ people with 1 guide. We hurried and passed them after we got out of our extra cave. That's right, for half the price we got to tube through 2 caves instead of the 1 that cruise shore excursions give you. The food there is excellent and worth well more than the $5 that you will pay. It comes with chicken, rice, bread, pasta salad, desert, and fruit punch and its AWESOME!
Disembarkation from the boat is a breeze as you choose your own time if you are an independent traveler as I was. I highly recommend this cruise to anyone looking to have a good time. My next cruise is on Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas as I enjoy the massive mega ships. But the NCL Sun is definitely a nice ship made to have lots of fun on!! ENJOY! Less
Norwegian Sun Cruises to the Western Mediterranean