This was my third time on this itinerary so I am pretty well versed on this subject. However having said that I will try to be objective. First of all is getting on the ship. Boarding is a simple process, you go through a normal security area where they check your carry-on. Once through that you go through the check-in process. They try to make that easy by having special check-in areas for different groups. Of course the longest line is for those who have never cruised on NCL before. The other group areas are based on your Lattitude status (the group is based on whomever in your personal group has the highest status, and everyone in your personal group goes through that groups area) with Platinum having the shortest line. The also have a special line for those who are handicapped (same rule applies; if one member of your personal group is handicapped all go through that group area). Once you have checked in you go to the waiting area where you are given a boarding group number. The earlier you get there the quicker you will board. Personally I recommend getting there as close to 10:00 as possible. That way the crowd is smaller, so check-in goes quicker and you will be assured of a seat in the waiting area. Actual boarding begins around 12:00pm. It can be a little chaotic because some people with higher boarding group numbers will often crowd near the boarding entry area making it difficult to get through the crowd. VIPs always board first followed by the handicapped and then the general boarding group numbers.
Now comes the ship. The Sun is not one of NCLs newer ships nor one of the larger. Although it came on line about 13 years ago it has been pretty well maintained. Don't expect a lot of high tech features because they won't be available on the Sun for a couple more years. The pool deck is one of the most popular spots on the ship so during the day finding a deck chair can be difficult. The Observation Lounge is a very nice room that seems to be underutilized. Dazzles is probably the most used space on the ship. During the day it hosts Bingo, line dancing, art auctions and others. At night it hosts almost all of the game shows and several parties. It does have ample public space for a ship of it's size and age.
One place that does have that crowded feeling at times s the Garden Cafe Buffet. Although it is rather small it has a reasonable selection of food. Due to the volume of people and the limited space waiting in line is common. If you want something special such as an omelet, waffles, of crepes a wait is assured as there are only two omelet stations, one waffle station, and one crepe station. However no meals must be eaten at the buffet. If you don't like the lines you can try Seven Seas restaurant. It has open hours for every meal although they are not open as long as the buffet. The food in all of the non-specialty restaurants is average or slightly above. If you order a steak it is highly likely that it will be cooked medium no matter how you order it. There are two sections of the menu. The right hand page will always be the same and the left hand page will change daily. The right hand page is different in the Seven Seas restaurant and the Four Seasons restaurant. The left hand page will be the same in both. Both restaurants are large enough that at supper time there is usually very little waiting. Usually the Four Seasons will be a little more crowded because it is a more casual restaurant. At the Seven Seas restaurant men can not wear shorts. Although the dress code is listed in the Freestyle Daily and at the restaurant it is not unusual to see someone being turned away because they don't pay attention and show up in shorts. The only specialty restaurants that I ate at were Le Bistro and Il Adagio (La Cucina). Le Bistro has always been my favorite. I know that any steak that I order there will be cooked exactly as requested. The service and quality of all the food in the specialty restaurants is always very good.
Now for entertainment. The machines in the Casino are usually very tight so remember "Only play for fun." One thing about the Casino that is either good or bad based on your personal preference is the fact that the Casino is the only place on the ship that offers an indoor smoking area. All other smoking must take place on the port side of the pool deck area. The main theater a little strange. The forward seating is lounge like; tables and chairs while the rest of the theater has normal theater seating. Shows in the theater are mixed. We saw a couple of high energy shows by the production cast. Unfortunately no one in the cast was really that memorable; good but not great. There was a comedian one night, Don Friesen and a vocal impressionist one night, Tyler Bryce who were both entertaining but not great. The magician, Justino was very entertaining; mostly close-up magic. The hypnotist, Terrance B is always highly entertaining; let go and enjoy yourself. There was an acrobatic duo, Soul Duo, who were great. Their strength and flexibility were amazing. The last show was a Beatles tribute band, Rock You Tonight. Although the played well I had trouble visualizing the Beatles and their show seemed very flat and lifeless. There were there or four house bands who all played well but the vocals were just average. One band did an Elvis tribute that was among the worst I have heard. They admitted that they didn't even know much about him. They read facts from a script without any enthusiasm or any feelings.
The staff on the Sun is absolutely top notch. Everyone makes you feel welcome from the moment you arrive until the time you leave. You will always see a smile on all the faces. The Cruise Director Richard is the best that we have ever encountered. Often the cruise director is just a voice over the PA system and someone you see at some of the main shows but Richard has an amazing hands on approach to his staff. You will see him all over the ship talking to cruisers and hosting events. His staff holds him in the same high regard as the cruisers. The example that he sets causes his staff to exhibit the same attributes. They all love their jobs an act like it isn't a job. You will see them everywhere throughout the day and night. They are always smiling and energetic.
My overall impression of this cruise was that it was very enjoyable. Although there were some negatives they were far outweighed by all of the positives. I love the ship, the itinerary, and the staff. The food is good and plentiful. The entertainment is above average overall. There is so much to do on the ship. I am sorry to hear that NCL will no longer be offering this itinerary on this ship. I plan on cruising the Sun again and again.