Free Style Cruising... Or, No Style Cruising?: Norwegian Sun Cruise Review by sbglaser
Overall Member Rating
Free Style Cruising... Or, No Style Cruising?
The free-style dining experience was certainly not our style. Even their very causal dress code was not enforced in the "upscale" restaurants. Something quite incongruous about a waiter draping a napkin across your lap, saying "Madame" while the people around you are in flip-flops and T-shirts saying "I survived the Alaskan zip line" . The staff were friendly but not particularly helpful-mostly because very few spoke English well enough to answer all but the simplest questions. As a monoglot myself, I truly understand how hard it is to learn a foreign language. However, none of our waiters were able to answer questions about how a dish was prepared or even identify foods in the buffet line! Our bad luck? Maybe, but from our steward to the waiters to the people helping with excursions we experienced some major communication gaps. However, once food appeared it was quite good. The wine selection in the restaurants was more than adequate and they will cork a wine for you and bring it to any restaurant you are eating in. We ended up eating in specialty restaurants for 4 nights-in retrospect we should have bought the dining package but we had no way of knowing how rushed and difficult the service would be in the main dining rooms.
The shore excursions were the high point of our experience. We enjoyed all four ports. However, all people going on an excursions were rounded up in their entertainment lounge before disembarking. The purpose of marshaling all those people into one room at 15 minute increments was never revealed to us. You sat there while someone yelled out the name of the excursion; people raised their hands and at the end of each 15 minute period, EVERYONE in the room got up and walked to the gangway together, not in separated groups. Once off the ship, each person was on their own to find the appropriate person holding a placard with the name of their excursion on it, Why gather people if there was no attempt to divide us into our tour groups?
Besides the excursions the only other high point on the cruise was that we were participants in one of the games that was led by the cruise director. She was terrific and always made a point of saying hello to us and asking about our day whenever she saw us on the ship.
There were, unfortunately, many more relatively small things that occurred that taken together made this an experience we are unlikely to repeat. Less
Our cabin (once it was dry) was more than adequate. We had a balcony stateroom and there was enough storage space. The bathroom was very small and the shower almost claustrophobic, but adequate to meet our needs. Our steward spoke no English but our cabin was cleaned and made up beautifully each day. We had no "relationship" with him other than a quick Hello when we passed in the hallways. After spending a few hours in an inside stateroom, I would certainly recommend a room with a balcony if it is not too pricey.
Port and Shore Excursions
Best part of our trip. Did a separate review on TripAdvisor. Really exhilarating and very well planned. Terrific young guides and gave us a good story to balance out the rest of the cruise. In fact, all 4 of our excursions were great-this was just the most memorable. We did outside excursions (hikes, kayaking) because of the basically sedentary nature of cruises.