The Sun is a great ship: Norwegian Sun Cruise Review by jennyprovo
Overall Member Rating
The Sun is a great ship
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Since we were at the port early (we were there by 10AM), there was no line in we were in group 1. Check in was a breeze. There was a wedding group that boarded before us but we were on board before by around noon. In time to get some lunch in the Four Seasons MDR. I always look forward to the Batter Fried Fish.They always try to guide you to the buffet but because of Cruise Critic we know better. No lines at the MDR!! After lunch we wandered around the ship until our rooms were ready. We had balcony room 9213. We were delayed a bit from leaving port but no problem as we were officially ON VACATION!! Our luggage had arrived and it was time for dinner. We ate at the Seven Seasons MDR. It was busy and they asked if we wanted to share a table, otherwise we would have to wait for an available two top. We opted to share a table with More two other couples. It was a nice dinner but this was the only meal that we shared with other guests. My least favorite part of other cruise line dining is the group dining.
Since this was a 10 day cruise we had plenty of time to dine at the various venues. Most of our other cruises we didn’t really utilize the fee based dining. This time we had Sushi, Italian and French. Each of these meals were very good.
Most of our breakfasts and lunches were from the buffet sitting outside at the Great Outdoors. We did have one meal in the MDR. It was good but I just liked sitting outside to eat.
I have to note since the buffet is so small on the Sun there seemed to be a lack of variety vs other NCL ships we have been on. Especially the Indian food. We always look forward to this on the buffet but on the Sun there was only one choice at each meal vs the two or three on other ships.
The pool area of course is always very busy. I didn't even try to get a chair here. That is OK with me. There was always a chair available on 12 or 13 forward. The pools are a pretty good size. There were not a lot of kids on this cruise so we didn’t have to worry about tons of kids in the pool.
There are lots of bars and other places to sit inside. The Observation Room in the front of the ship is a nice venue that that doesn’t seem to be utilize for many activities. It is a great place to read during the day. It never felt overcrowded anywhere on the ship.
I love that there is promenade deck that goes all the way around the ship, as not all the new ships have this. Great place to walk or run. I also used the fitness center. It is a good facility.
The spa is pretty small compared to other ships but we did go massages. Very friendly staff and not too bad of an upsell on their products.
I would have to say that the entertainment on the ship was just OK. The singers in the production crew were not the greatest. Someone said on a previous review that the blonde girl sounded like she was screaming the whole time, and I would have to agree. The dancing was good. Their shows were entertaining but just not as great as on the Star or Gem. I enjoyed the comedian. I was disappointed that he didn’t do an adult show later at night on one of the day like I have seen on other ships but he was funny. I was a little leary of TerranceB the Hypnotist. I caught the end of the 7:30 show and then we decided to go to the 9:30 show. It was actually pretty good. I am not sure I believed it all but it was entertaining. I was pleasantly surprised by Paul Pappas the pianist. When I saw that it was a pianist I thought oh how boring. I was completely wrong. I would say this was the best show of the cruise. Very entertaining and he keeps your toe tapping. We did not see the ventriloquist or the acrobatic duo so I can’t comment on those. We did spend a lot of time in the Windjammer listening to Gu Fidelis. He sang cover songs and some originals and played his guitar. He was very good. We went to some of the nightly game shows in Dazzles, as always these are entertaining. I do have to say that some of the game shows it was hard to see everything going on as it was packed every night and the show are not elevated at all. I didn’t particularly like the Calypso band that played by the pool everyday. Just not my thing I guess at least not everyday.
This is where the Sun shines :-) Their crew is the best. The Captain Goran Blomqvist seems to love his job and the ship. Brian Walters the hotel director was also great. We saw them and their staff around the ship all the time. Always with a warm Hello!! Richard Matic was our cruise director. While a little cheesy at times, him and his staff were fun and kept us entertained. Our room steward was great (Jinesh Joseph). A little too chatty at times but always wanted to know how our day was going and if there was anything that he could get us. He had only been sailing with NCL for two months and didn’t know any English before he joined. I was amazed at how good his English was. I really like that all staff no matter what they are doing say Hi as there walking by. And it is usually not just the cursory HI they really seem to be happy to be there and happy we are sailing with them. These people are why the Sun consistently ranks as one the best mid size ships.
Disembarkation was a breeze. Our flight was until 4PM so we were not in any hurry. We picked the last time slot and were off the ship by about 10AM. They started the disembarkation at 8AM and we were the last group getting off the ship. Everything on schedule. Customs moved very quickly. The taxi area was a little disorganized but we were on our way by 10:30 or so.
Overall this was a great cruise. Loved the ship and crew. Of course it would have to be really bad to make any vacation bad but that is just me. I would definitely sail the Sun again. Less
Cabin review: 9213
Our balcony stateroom was a good size. 9th floor forward. I think this was the largest of all the NCL ships we have been on. Nice size balcony with two chairs and a little side table. Lots of storage to put all of our clothes. The suitcases fit under the bed. We actually had extra room for things. This room definitely is big enough from three people, I can’t say that for all the other rooms I have had. The bathroom was not the best. Their was plenty of storage but the shower was very small. If you tried to shower with the curtain closed it clung to you, which I hate. We worked around it. Since everything in the bathroom is able to be wiped down you could just shower with the curtain open or just partially open, which is what we ended up doing. As much as people hate the Epic set up the shower size was great much better than the Sun!! There also is this strange hairdryer in the bathroom, looks like some kind of vacuum. We knew about this beforehand so we brought our own hairdryer. I wouldn’t have wanted to dry my hair in the bathroom anyway as it gets very steamy.
Port and Shore Excursions
We didn't see much of the island so I can't comment on that. For $55 pp we spent the day at the Hilton enjoying their pool and beach. We choose the pool. Our price included lunch and one non alcoholic drink. We got there around 10am and had no issues finding chairs around the pool. There was a brief rain shower while we ate lunch. The pool area was beautiful and clean. The sun was hot and the pool was cold. We took a taxi to and from. On the way there we took a shared taxi van that dropped everyone but us at the Boatyard...I guess if you like the party scene it seemed like a good deal $15. On the way there our taxi driver charged us $20 on the way back $15.
Sari Sari Falls
The falls are gorgeous. The hike is strenuous. NCL should have more than 3 levels of effort for excursions because this one is more like a 6 or 7 on a 10 scale.
You start with a 90 minutes bus/van ride if you are prone to car sickness either take meds or sit in the front or pick another excursion. Lots of twists and turns. Our guide shared information about the island as we went.
Once we arrived we started the hike right away. It took us over an hour to get to the falls. We crossed the river three times going and coming back. The water is cool but very refreshing as you are in a rain forest so it was warm and moist. The terrain is challenging. We went up and down the river bank many times. Once to the falls you can view them from the river bank area or go just a bit further to get in the actual pool the falls creates. If you are physically able it is worth is. Our guide was very helpful in getting us to the pool for those of us who wanted to go (half of our group went 6 out of 12 people). The hike back took a bit less maybe like 45 minutes. Just before leaving the river bank we had a vegetarian soup that was delish. Hot soup when already hot from hiking was interesting but I was so hungry by then it did not matter. Then a short hike back to the bus and another 90 minutes ride back to the port (quick stop a beach on the Atlantic to see the ocean).
I recommend bringing plenty of water none was provided at all...lemonade was available with our soup. Maybe a small snack like a protein or granola bar. There was only one bathroom stop which was on the way to the river....we were sweating so much not a big deal but we were gone for over 6 hours
We did the all day Island Tour. We really enjoyed this tour. We saw the much of the island. There were many stops to enjoy the beautiful views. Also lots of bathroom breaks. Adrian was very knowledgeable about the island. We visited Toraille Falls. I guess they had some really nice gardens here that were washed away with the storms they had over the summer. We also stopped at the volcano. It was included in the tour price. Once there they take you on about a 1/2 tour talking about the volcano and surrounding area. You can also go to the mud baths here. The last stop was the beach between the Pitons. We boarded a nice boat that took us to the the beach. The public beach wasn't that great but others said the snorkeling was good and they saw lots of fish. The sampling of the various foods of St Lucia was the best part. All this food and drinks are included in the price. The tour was as described and we were back in plenty of time for sail away
This was our second tour with Bernard's. It was just as good as the first time. DJ was our tour guide. He was a very good guide. We did tour 2 this time. A little more beach time at Orient Beach. There wasn’t anyone at the iguana farm so we didn’t get to feed them. It was sad to see all the work they put into it only to have to move it across the fence to the Dutch side because the French side said it wasn’t permitted. The beach club at Orient Beach was good, chairs very comfortable. For $10 we got two chairs and two drinks. Serafinas in Marigot was closed on Monday but we did get some pastries at the place next door. Don't miss the Soursop juice in Marigot. It was another wonderful tour.
St. Martin is my favorite Caribbean island. The people are super friendly. Their cruise port is very nice and well maintained. And at their shops I never felt pressure by the shopkeepers like I do on other islands. I would definitely plan a full vacation on this island.
We booked an Island Tour with 2 hours of shopping during our recent NCL cruise. Godfrey was waiting outside the cruise terminal as he said he would.
We really enjoyed the open air taxi. Godfrey was more than reasonable on price and collected our fee as we departed. We spent 2 hours in Charlotte Amalie shopping. Godfrey dropped those who wanted to at the top of Blackbeards castle it was $10pp to go in and tour we opted not to do the tour and just walked down to the city. The views were incredible. We had a light snack in town before heading out on our island tour.
Godfrey shared lots of information about the island and its history. The views were beautiful. We stopped at a mountain top store for great views and some souvenir shopping. The place also famous for banana daiquiris.
The views of Magens Bay were amazing. We then did a quick stop at Coral World. For another $5 you could stay there for two hours or two hours at Magens Bay we chose to go back as we need to pick up a ring we had purchased in Charlotte Amalie and was being sized.
It was great tour for a great value!!