At 12.17 PM we were dropped off at the Vancouver, BC Canada Port facility and quickly guided to one of the US Immigration counters before approaching the NCL Vessel check in. Both procedures completed efficiently and by 12:53 we were on board and escorted to our stateroom. After freshening up we unpacked our carry-on, loaded the safe, left a note with instructions for our room attendant and went to the buffet for a quick lunch on the 11th floor's sun-sheltered aft deck.
The hot and cold buffet food choices were plentiful, our selections were well prepared and flavorful. Even the desert choices were in part healthy, certainly plentiful and surprisingly tasty. Easy access without line-ups at the various food-stations, attentive friendly waiters supplying beverages and plenty available seating inside and outdoors, facilitated a relaxing meal while enjoying a marvelous view of Vancouver's breathtaking scenery.
The above described buffet food experience was consistent throughout the cruise with daily changing food choices. The dining room food was largely very similar to other major cruise lines, though perhaps slightly less sophisticated in the changing dailies (no Tiramisu, Creme Brulee, Sachertorte, no duck dishes, or elaborate lamb choices). However, all menu and desert items were of excellent quality, well prepared to order and! - Flavorful. The embarkation evening menu selection featured lobster, a vanishing choice at some cruise lines.
After briefly exploring the ship, we retreated to our cabin for a short nap prior to the Safety-Drill. The nap did not materialize for we ended up unpacking our luggage that had arrived in the meantime. Nonetheless, we felt energized enough to return to the upper sun deck to catch some sun-rays and continue to marvel at the Pacific Metropolis water activities and splendor. In the meantime more guests had arrived and some were frolicking in the, to 83 degree Fahrenheit, heated swimming-pools or enjoying the BBQ served by the pool.
The SUN left Vancouver Port on time and sailed as scheduled without incident in mostly spectacular weather to Whittier. AK.
Debarkation at Whittier, AK was swift and painless; we walked off the ship at 10:30 AM to board our privately arranged full day excursion boat for Prince William Sound at the adjacent dock. The tour operator staff met us exiting the Sun, took our luggage and delivered it to the station for check in at our evening train to Anchorage.
Note-table pleasant observations while a passenger on board of the NCL SUN:
(the points below are emphasized as they particularly present the opposite experience endured on the disappointing southbound voyage on Celebrity Millennium from Seward, AK to Vancouver, BC in mid June 2013.)
Always friendly, willing, effective and efficient attendants regardless whether stateroom, buffet or dining room servers.
Dining room waiters consistently served promptly the next course, refilled beverages while clearing used dishes immediately from tables. Thus, the dining room meals were not the often long drawn out exercises in waiting for the sometimes half cold served next course experienced on other cruise lines, regardless of fixed - or my time dining.
Cloth-Closets have lights.
All swimming pools are heated hot tubs are at the standard prescribed temperatures and thereby pleasant.
*Dining room is open for lunch and breakfast every day.
*Full flavored beverages, versus watered down ones.
*Room service breakfast is available also at debarkation morning.
*Cabins, lounges and decks may be used up to 10:30 AM on debarkation day.
Vessel is meticulously maintained and in perfect cosmetic condition.
No noticeable construction, cleaning, painting is done in passenger areas.
All passenger areas of the vessel are accessible and not hampered by closure, wet paint, pressure washing etc.
Windows and glass panels are clean and allow unobstructed views.
Outside wooden decks are immaculately maintained and indeed of natural wood and not an artificial composite faking wood appearance.
The vessel fosters the feeling of being onboard a ship, versus a shopping and entertainment venue.
Vessel had a pleasurably broad spectrum of well dressed, acculturated passengers, diverse languages and age groups on board.
Room for improvement is in the area of:
Achieving consistency for all dining room personnel in maintaining a polished style by the though efficient, but often lacking a smile dining room staff.
Provide Satellite Cell-Phone service availability while at sea.