First let me say that before this cruise there had been some concern about previous negative reviews of the Norwegian Sun, Chilean earthquakes, negative reviews of 'Christian the Van Man', verbiage from Argentina about shipping control in the Falkland Islands and on and on. To our joy absolutely every potential problem was NOT a problem for us. It is hard to decide where to start with this review since so much of what needs to be said is to provide some balance considering previous reviews. First of all, please understand that my wife and myself feel that fair value needs to be given at a fair cost. We knew the Sun was a little over 10 years old but found it to be well maintained and actually quite elegant. There was some age showing but nothing inappropriate. In all cases regarding the Norwegian Sun as far as food value and professional service we were well served. We ate at some of the premium restaurants and some of the no charge ones. All of the food was good. The steak and lobster at the 'East Meets West' steakhouse was excellent. Yes, there was a cost but we knew that in advance and chose to pay it. The entertainment aboard ship that we saw was also very good. Another interesting topic has been embarkation and disembarkation. All things considered, the crew did a VERY good job with both. The only thing we found that could do with improvement was the coffee in the Garden Cafe. Try Pacific Heights or the Java Cafe for a better cup of coffee. And just to address it up front, 'Christian the Van Man' sent Jose to pick us up at the Santiago airport and transfer us privately to the ship. This occurred flawlessly in a professional manner that was enjoyable, trust-able and appreciated!
Our Cruise Critic group was active before the cruise. My wife and I scheduled several tours with Norwegian and several with Cruise Critic members. All of the tours we went on worked well and were very enjoyable. Thanks to Sandpiper34 a meet and greet was arranged where almost ALL of the ships officers, including the Captain, came to meet with us and addressed any issues or questions we had. It was a great way to start the cruise. I highly recommend doing it and thank the ship's personnel for attending as well as Sandpiper34 for having arranged the meet and greet. The short version of this review is that we had a GREAT time! With the many concerns listed earlier this could have played out very differently. Cruise Critic members, Norwegian Cruise Lines and all of the individual operators who assisted us are to be highly commended. And just in case anyone wonders about it, we have no affiliation with any of these entities except to be thankful for their good service.
The following gives some specific port and tour information.
Santiago, Chile: Private transfer from the Santiago airport to the port in Valparaiso was handled very well by Christian Montenegro, The Van Man. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org. We recommend him.
Puerto Montt, Chile: We took a tour with several other Cruise Critic members. This tour was with GV Tours (Annie) and was one of our favorites. They may be contacted at http://www.gvtours.com/.
Puerto Chacabuco, Chile: NCL ship tour of Chacabuco and surrounding area. Short and inexpensive but a good value.
Punta Arenas, Chile: NCL ship tour to see the penguins on Magdalena Island. Well worth the cost! You should be prepared for high winds and blowing sand. Especially plan on protecting any camera equipment.
Ushuaia, Argentina: NCL ship tour cruising the Beagle Channel. The catamaran was almost new and the tour was very good.
Stanley, Falkland Islands: Cruise Critic tour with Patrick Watts, email@example.com. We visited one of the last battlefields from the 1982 war with Argentina, a lighthouse and saw some penguins. Great value for the cost! Thank you too, Ian (our 4 WD driver)!
Puerto Madryn, Argentina: NCL ship tour, Great Patagonian adventure. We visited Peninsula Valdez, saw many birds, penguins and sea lions, had lunch at the San Lorenzo ranch. This tour was relatively expensive but we would do it again in a heartbeat!
Montevideo, Uruguay: This was a Cruise Critic tour of approximately 20 people. Ricardo Wall firstname.lastname@example.org arranged for several taxis and vans. We then all toured the city and visited a winery. The only thing to remember about arranging things this way is that the cost is for the taxis/vans but expenses are additional. We thought this was an excellent and affordable way to see Montevideo! Thank you Ricardo!
Buenos Aires, Argentina: Fred B. with www.silverstarcar.com handled arranging to pick us up from the ship and transfer us to the hotel (Melia Buenos Aires Hotel-excellent location, great service, reasonable cost- consider it as an option). We spent a couple of extra days with Fred chauffeuring us around in his Lincoln Town Car. Once again, we had a GREAT time. We highly recommend Fred as an affordable private way to experience Buenos Aires and the surrounding countryside!!! We met some wonderful new friends through Cruise Critic and loved every moment we spent together in person aboard ship.