We chose ncl because of the freestyle cruising. With young kids,the thought of eating when and where and with whom we liked appealed tremendously,and I cannot fault ncl with the freedom it allowed us. The ship was well maintained,clean and very comfortable. We had spent 4 nights in Buenos aires, staying at laprida suites, a very reasonably prices suite apartments in Recoletta. $ fun filled days with terrific tours, culminating in being dropped off at the dock on the Sunday,midday. Embarkation took about an hour or so,and was relatively painless. Luggage only arrived in our rooms about 5 hours later, a bit of a pain as kids wanted to swim. Relatively aggressive front desk staff handled our early queries re. fuel surcharge refunds etc, clearly on the first few days they deal with lots of aggro clients wanting free upgrades etc, so they are on their guard.
Overall, I liked the Sun, but I must say.....a few negatives..one felt continuously hustled for extras..drinks are exhorbiatnt, shore excursions ridiculously overprices compared to what you can get them in he same ports for, and whats worse,they even go so far as to make the port information newsletters as useless as possible,with no relevant info re where to go,what it should cost etc, so be warned, plan ahead unless youa re happy to leave it to them and open your wallet...very wide! Continuos photo opportunities,but @ $20 per pic,no thanks. One wonders if they charged $5 per pic how many more they would sell..go figure!
Dining was mediocre. The buffet (garden cafe) is the most popular,and was crowded,esp on cold days. A wide selection of mediocre food,but at least you cans see what you are getting. At the main restaurant (the 4 seasons) one gets the buffet main courses just plated more presentably,and served to you, with a few extra dishes on offer. If one is looking for calmer dining,the 7 seas aft restaurant is a very pleasant environment,but same food as 4 seasons. Ate at the steakhouse,$20 surcharge,not bad steaks but starters and desserts disappointing. Sushi was good, $15 surcharge. But best restaurant on the ship is il adagio, the Italian one. Very quiet,lovely menu,and only $10 surcharge. Las ramblas has some interesting tapas,and good nachos and salsa and Guacamole.
The outdoor cafe has hamburgers,pizza and hot dogs at most of the times other restaurants are closed. Pacific heights is a good place for pizza of all things,and you can make changes to the one they offer,so do use that option!
The sports bar has a menu after 5pm,with good buffalo wings
The Childrens programme was amazing. we battled to get the kids out to come and eat (they don't really feed them in he club) The councilors were great,the programme varied, and it made our holiday a true pleasure. Its not available free during port stopovers,but a pay option is on offer if needed.
tips,oh sorry,the service charge (still not sure what the difference is,despite ncl being at pains to try explain that it is different) are $12 per person per day,kids also $12 Service was polite and friendly, nothing spectacular,but that may to be more with he fact that the cruise was full,so staff were very busy. Entertainment in he main theatre was a mixed bag of mediocre shows. Best one being hilby the skinny german juggle boy. Casino was lots of fun, and not full at all. Gym was not bad, and well frequented, so at times hard to get a machine. Spa - I used their shower facilities after gym, rather unimpressive given what they re charging for treatments. The itinerary was amazing,more details in my port reviews. Disembarkation was a lot more painful then embarkation,with long queues, lots of hanging around waiting for late calling of your color tag that allowed you to go.
Overall,a wonderful holiday, and a terrific break,but beware of all the extras you are continuously confronted with .