We were a casualty of the ATA airline closing. Planned our trip to Hawaii for a year and found ourselves without a means to the islands. BUT... called NCL on Thursday a.m. and were booked on a cruise leaving on Saturday. The agent we spoke to was excellent, confirming everything for us and giving us her direct phone number in case of a snafu.
So Saturday found us on the Sun. The embarkation process was simple, although we were told we had to get there very early because of not having paperwork submitted. The paperwork took all of 1 minute to complete!
Overall impression of the cruise - excellent. Relaxing, fun, good ports of call.
Ship - We'd traveled on Norwegian 12 years ago and this ship seemed almost identical to that one, just reconfigured, i.e., the Italian restaurant was located in what would have been a deck area. This resulted in having the ship a bit confusing to navigate. You had to walk through a lot of rooms to get to others, etc. But the overall facilities were good. Lots of options for dining and entertainment.
The pool and hot tub area was very nice, BUT overrun with kids. Kids were in all the hot tubs and were constantly jumping into the pool around us. This is not the responsibility of the cruise line, but it wasn't terribly pleasant...
Stateroom - very efficient use of space. Amazing how much storage there was in a small area! We had a balcony room which was clean and quiet. We were directly below the pool deck but heard no noise. Decor was classic and soothing in the stateroom and throughout the ship.
Food - we ate in the dining room every night which was very good. Service was a bit rushed, but we got used to it. We'd read reviews saying the food was poor and so were pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed it. Desserts were definitely weak. We skipped those. All custardy things!
The buffets were OK. Loved the covered area on the back of the ship!
Room service breakfast was a disappointment compared to Princess cruises. We ended up going to the buffet each morning.
Entertainment - EXCELLENT. the shows were the best we've ever seen on a cruise ship. Oddly enough the shows were not well attended. People missed out on some great talent.
Ports of Call- Roatan, Honduras - beautiful beach in West Bay. We took a cab to Half Moon Bay which had been recommended, but it was just dirt and water. Supposed to be great snorkeling but it wasn't what we were looking for, so we went according to the cabbie's recommendation to Foster's in West Bay. White sand, turquoise water and some nice snorkeling if you walked a bit.
Belize - we divided up here and took different shore excursions. Aerial Trek and Cave Tubing gets super high marks from my husband. I'll be doing that next time. I took the snorkeling trip to Shark Ray Alley. We had a nice team of young men helping us, but the snorkeling was tough. Quite a strong current! Saw lots of stingrays, no sharks. Then we had the afternoon in Ambergris Cay. Interesting small town, but no real attractions or shopping.
Cozumel - super HOT!!! and the tenders are operated by the port. We had to wait in the sun for almost an hour to get a tender. Not pleasant. We spent the day just wandering around the town and would not recommend that. Store owners are very aggressive. Two women actually took my arms and pulled me into a shop!!
Great Stirrup Cay - pretty island. Only a small number of chaises and the rest of the chairs were small. Food was good.