We had sailed on Norwegian about 10 years ago and had terrible experience with them so we were apprehensive about this trip. We checked all the reviews on the web and were prepared for some of the issues facing us. Working with the NCL web site was not good. Our reservation was locked and the technicians could not unlock it. We got NCL info on our 8 hour flight to Dover too late to find good seats. They provided us with their own cruise consultant and we didn't call often but most of our calls were left unanswered.
This is a NO FRILLS cruise. Folks do not dress for dining at any time. Old tee shirts and frayed shorts seemed to be the daily choice of dress. Do not waste your precious luggage weight by bringing any formal clothes. Although it would be nice to dress properly in the evening in the two free dining rooms, it is not required.
Do bring a bar of soap, toothpaste and shampoo. These are not provided.
The crew and staff do need training on customer services. There is some sort of internal problem as there are few who will actually smile. We did see crew in the dining room who were a bit too friendly with each other behind the water pouring stations. I read one other reviewer on this site who also noticed this. They do have their own cabins below for those activities.
Security did hold any luggage that looked like it might contain alcohol and did not deliver it to the cabin until the passenger came down to security and removed it. Drinks run from $7 up so be aware that your check out bill may be more expensive than the low cruise price.
There are two dining rooms included in the cruise price and a buffet and outdoor cafe on Deck 11. Seating is at a premium and folks do seem to get agitated trying to find a seat. No trays are provided so you must get your drinks and find a table and then return to the buffet to get your food. When you return to the table you will find your drinks removed and someone else has claimed the table. So you start all over again. We had lots of handicap motorized vehicles on this trip. It became a major problem as there did not seem to be a slow speed limit. Most vehicles were so large that they filled the elevators and the drivers sped through the cafe. Just be aware as you might be run over or pushed as the aisle are not big enough for those high powered "cars".
The pull-out couches were dirty. The air filters desperately need cleaning or replacing. If you have allergies, take your meds with you.
I tried to surprise my husband for his big birthday coming up by upgrading (with money) to a suite on the second half of our journey. I was the only person at the Reception Desk. I was told that nothing was available. The Customer Service gal turned and walked away from me. She could have smiled and said "Let me check". Three days after that, a couple asked to join us at lunch. They were laughing as they had complained three days in a row about a small problem on one of the doors in their cabin and were just moved to a beautiful suite for FREE. So things are not always what they seem. The Reception Desk needs to know that they might be caught in a lie. Most complaints were about the staff at the Reception Desk. They were very rude and short with their answers.
The Sun is sailing from the Port Canaveral to the East and West Caribbean. Perhaps this will be a good thing for those families who want to be casual and stay in their swim suits all day by the pool. You can eat in those clothes and wear the to the shows.
The food is okay. It is not an upscale cruise. The entertainment was good. Instead of lecturers on the foreign ports, they showed copied TV shows from the PBS channels. Movies on board were old repeats in three languages. If you are bring children, add a CD player to your list to bring. And CDs.
Their are activities on the ship but most areas do not have many seats. You must show up 45 minutes early and save your seat in order to partake in most activities. The bars are small so if you find a favorite, get there early. Bingo and the Art auctions are going all day long.
Personally I would not go on another NCL cruise. Twice was enough for us. This was our 33rd cruise and third transatlantic crossing so we have some sense of what we wanted in our cruise experience.