We sailed on the NCL Sun on 1/26/08. This was our forth consecutive cruise (the Star, the Jewel and the Star again) with NCL and we have yet to be disappointed. The staff was very friendly and efficient and the food and entertainment was very good.
We took a redeye flight out of Las Vegas and arrived in Miami at 10:54 am. From the airport we took a taxi (flat rate of $24.00 for 1-4 people) to the pier and as has always been our experience with NCL embarkation was effortless we had no more then a 15-20 minute wait from the time we dropped our bags until the time we were on board exploring the ship.
Our cabin (inside superior deck 8) was ready at 1:00 pm and we met our Stewards Francis and Archie. I cannot say enough about how efficient and friendly they were. We told them that we were avid coffee drinkers and they made sure we NEVER ran out. No request of them was too big or too small, they were both great!!
We ate our lunch at the buffet and I must say that we enjoyed the selection and flavor. To us the food on the Sun was a cut above the Star and the Jewel and I let the F&B Director Craig Champion know that when we met briefly. Others may not agree but that is our opinion. Every meal was tasty and served hot. We ate the first night at Seven Seas and had the pleasure of being served by Roberto and Debbie….what a team. Roberto was a mild understated humor and is very nice and efficient and Debbie is the bubbliest and sweet girl you would ever want to meet. They were such a good team that we requested their tables each of the other three nights we ate there. The Four Seasons may have a great view with the large aft windows but the Seven Seas has Roberto and Debbie and we will take them over the view any day. We ate at two of the specialty restaurants, Teppanyaki and East Meets West. At Teppanyaki we had the pleasure of being entertained and served by Jerry and Eric, again two wonderful NCL employees who deserve high praise. They were kind, sincere and very entertaining. As an added bonus, the food was fantastic! The food at East Meets West was also excellent and the service efficient.
The shows by the Jean Ann Ryan Company were very good but the Sun being an older ship the room was a bit small and nothing can compare to what we saw on the Jewel. The only other show we saw was the comedy Magician. He was a riot and I would list his name but I don't remember how to spell it and I hate butchering someone's name. Linda the cruise Director was very, very good as well.
Our Concierge, Ruth Hagger, was outstanding as well; always very helpful, never too busy and calling from time to time to make sure all was well. All in all this was one of the finest crews we have seen.
As for the ports, we have been to each before and booked this cruise because of our desire to visit Roatan and Belize again. In Roatan we went, as we did the last time, to Half Moon Bay a small resort on the West End with great snorkeling and great food and service. I almost hate to say too many nice things about Half Moon Bay as it is still relatively unknown and crowd free and I would hate to ruin that for our next trip there…..call me selfish….lol. Our waiter, Miguel was great and took care of all our needs from the minute we arrived until our taxi returned to take us back to the ship.
In Belize we had planned on taking the water taxi to Caye Caulker but we nixed that plan due to the schedule. We arrived on shore via the first tender around 9:30 or so and proceeded to the water taxi stand. Although every other person along the way appeared to be either a tour or taxi driver none were too pushy. I simply told them that we were going to Caye Caulker and each one would offer directions to the taxi terminal and wishes for a good day. Most even told us the schedule of the taxis and it was this that caused us to change plans. The next Taxi did not leave until 10:30 am and the trip is 45 minutes. Considering we wanted to visit a shop we had been to before in Belize City we would need to return on the 1:30 pm Taxi and that would only leave us less then 2 hours on the caye and we felt we would be gypping ourselves. Instead we just walked back to our favorite little store and made some purchases. Ironically even though we have been there twice now I still don't know the name of it just where it is at. We also planned to go back to a local restaurant called Macy's but I did not open until 11:00 am and we needed to get out of the heat and humidity so we went to one down the street that had A/C. Although the food was ok I wish we had waited for Macy's to open. If you find yourself in Belize City and want some wonderful local food Macy's is the place. It is very small but the food is great. Cozumel was the port we were least looking forward too as it is very touristy and we prefer the smaller ports. That all changed this trip as we had booked a Dolphin experience at Dolphin Discovery at Chankanaab National Park. We had a 1:30 pm appointment and stayed on board the Sun for awhile….what a mistake. We should have gone to the park earlier as the Park itself with the abundance of snorkeling areas and beach areas was almost as impressive as the Dolphin Swim. What a great time that was.
Great Stirrup Cay was the last port of call and is always one of our favorites. It is like an extra day at sea where you can be as lazy or active as you want to be. If you get on one on the first tenders you can get one of the hammocks as we always do. The snorkeling there is fantastic.
Disembarkation was a breeze and for the first time we tried that BAGS program where you checked baggage is, for $15.00 per person, taken by airline personnel to the airport for you…….It was great. All in all this was one of our best cruises despite the first days being a bit overcast and the Sun, although a bit smallish is a wonderful ship and her crew is first rate. We took advantage of the new booking program onboard. We put down a deposit of $250.00 on another cruise and received a $100.00 onboard credit for the on we were on…..can't beat that so we will be sailing NCL again next year, and the year after that and the year after that…..you get the picture. We love Freestyle Cruising so unless someone comes up with something better we will stay with NCL.