Norwegian Sun Cruise Review by YVR2dreams: Good Times on the Sun in Alaska
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Good Times on the Sun in Alaska
Embarkation on the Sun in Vancouver was longer than 2 prior cruises and faster than another 2 prior cruises so I guess it was about average clocked at just over an hour. Disembarkation in Vancouver was a breeze, we walked off with our own luggage after the initial crowd and had already filled out our customs declarations (a huge time saver) as we got to pass all those who hadn't yet bothered filling theirs out - all in all it took us about 6 minutes to go from the ship to out front of Canada Place.
We had a mid-ship inside cabin category IB on Deck 9 which was quite spacious and well laid out for 3 adults. It had sufficient closet, shelf & drawer space for us all. The 3rd person bed was a futon couch which was comfortable & long enough for our 6 ft tall son. The washroom was a bit cramped, especially the shower stall but there were 6 small shelves for toiletries, you could fit a water bottle under the tap and hang things on 4 door hooks. We heard nothing above, below More or beside us the entire week.
Dining - we ate breakfast mostly in the MDR, or at the Great Outdoor Buffet which is at the very back of the ship through the Garden Cafe Buffet. The Outdoor buffet had one line which made it much more organized than the layout in the Garden Cafe where people were constantly going in different directions causing chaos. Yes we needed to wear a light fleece but it was so much more relaxing and we could always find a seat.
We usually had lunch as well at the Great Outdoor Cafe or MDR on sea days and in the port on days we docked. The buffet food was pretty good, but not great. The two MDR's had the same menu's which included the same half dozen signature items as well as a few different items each day.
We had dinner at Monderno's one evening which we all really enjoyed and thought was well worth the extra charge. We also dined one evening at Le Bistro which we were not impressed with at all and did not think was worth the extra charge. The meat dishes were all overcooked and quite disappointing. Though I did enjoy the chocolate fondu dessert.
We did the martini tasting one afternoon at Champs Bar - it was a good deal as we received 4 x 3 oz martini's for $15 and they were certainly not cheap with the pours. We also went to Las Ramblas for sangria & tapas a couple of afternoons, wings in the Sports Bar, cocktails & trivia in Dazzles & the Windjammer. I think we tried all the bars & liked them all.
We used the gym once - though we had great intentions of using it more often, the other activities seemed to always win out. We didn't make it into the pool, but enjoyed the hot tub one night.
The anytime dining and more casual attire really made this cruise more relaxing than the other lines I've been with where you always had to plan around getting ready and going for dinner. This definitely could be the deal breaker when I go to plan my next cruise.
We found almost all the employees to be very friendly and accommodating. The activity staff and bartenders especially top notch.
The other point that exceeded my expectation was how easy it was to get off the ship in ports. There was no reserving a time or lining up, you could just simply walk off anytime and didn't have to wait for the people with cruise booked excursions to go first as with some other cruise lines.
The Norwegian Sun is a mid sized ship, yet we never waited to get into the MDR for any meal nor did we ever feel like it was crowded (except in the Garden Cafe) which as noted above we tended to avoid.
The weather could not have been better for us, even though it was mid September, it was sunny and dry in all the ports we visited which added to our terrific week aboard the Norwegian Sun. Less
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Cabin review: IB9127
Very large at 172 SqFt. Lots of closet, drawer and shelf space. The 3rd bed fit my 6 ft tall son no problem and he found it to be very comfortable. The washroom & shower are on the smallish size but adequate.
Port and Shore Excursions
We took the "White" bus with Juneau tours to Mendenhall Glacier where they dropped us off and had pick ups every 30 minutes to come back. We hiked out to Nugget Falls (o-k, more like strolled along a well marked, level path) to the large, roaring falls with Mendenhall Glacier across the way. Great place for photo ops. We then came back into town and had an amazing crab feast at Tracy's King Crab Shack. A meal to remember for sure.
Bering Sea Crab Fisherman's Tour
We really enjoyed this excursion. The crab fishermen are extremely engaging, humorous and educational. You really felt like you had a good understanding of what life is like for these men and their industry. It was fast paced, interactive and very interesting. Being out on the sea seeing bald eagles and other wild life on a sunny day was a total "Alaskan" experience.
White Pass Scenic Railway
The scenery was pretty cool. The train ride was a nice way to see it.