We are a couple who always chooses the itinerary first, and the ship second. We have sailed NCL on several occasions in the past, and have always been pleased with the value offered. NCL did not let us down with their Baltic Sun sailing.
Embarkation was very organized. We arrived at the port directly from an overnight flight from NY. We took a taxi to the port and waited for them to open at 10:30 a.m. We were on board by 11:30 a.m. We went directly to the MDR that was open for lunch, the Seven Seas, and had a nice quiet lunch. We were fortunate to have beautiful weather on most days of this cruise. We sent up to the sun deck, and took a little nap until 2:00 p.m. and our rooms were available.
Public Rooms and Cabins
We did not notice any wear and tear in any of the public rooms or our cabin. What I did notice is that the overall decor needs updating to bring some modern energy to the ship. We were in an inside cabin IA, on deck 9. The cabin was larger than any inside cabin and even some balcony cabins we have been in. Plenty of storage space. Deck 9 is the perfect deck if you want a quiet floor, nothing but cabins above and below you. The ship is laid out a little "weird" but it just something you need to get used to.
Fitness & Recreation
The ship had a nice sized workout room with modern equipment. The Sun also has the Promenade Deck which goes completely around the ship. If you circle the ship 3 1/3 times you have walked a mile. I loved doing that each day.
I enjoyed both the German Folk Dance show and the Russian Folk show that was offered on the ship. There was also a Russian language class and a Viking history class offered.
We ate at both MDRs. We found them almost identical. The food was tasty and plentiful. Every night you are presented with a new menu. The left side has new options and the right side has everyday options. With choices such as salmon, rib eye steak, roast chicken offered every night, you can't go wrong. The presentation of the food can be improved. Also, if you are looking for gourmet fine dining, then the NCL Sun is not for you. We never had trouble getting a table, and most tables had fabulous views through large picture windows. We did notice that 8:30 was a busy time in the MDRs. We ate at two specialty restaurants, and didn't think they were worth the extra fee. We enjoyed the MDRs just as well.
For lunch there are several options. I am not a fan of buffet dining because I am a teacher and it always reminds me of a school cafeteria. The Great Outdoors is a wonderful option for those who want a buffet for lunch or breakfast and want to enjoy the out doors. We enjoyed Moderno for lunch. They have a quick sandwich, pizza or pasta option here, and that is what we enjoy for lunch. Most days, weather permitting, the ship had a NCL BBQ for lunch or sail away also.
Breakfast can be eaten in the Seven Seas, which we enjoyed for a nice relaxing start to the day including French toast, my favorite, or hubby's favorite, Eggs Benedict. But with this itinerary, a visit to the buffet is in order. The breakfast buffet is like every cruise breakfast buffet I have seen. I did notice something called breakfast pizza in Moderno, but didn't try it. On the mornings we had to wake up extra early, we had room service deliver a continental breakfast including a full pot of coffee to the room. It was always delivered exactly on time.
If you enjoy an afternoon snack, there is always coffee and cake, or ice cream available at the Great Outdoors.
We thought the entertainment was very good. When you cruise, you expect a certain type of show, and all of the three shows we saw were very enjoyable. We also enjoyed the live music acts placed throughout the ship. The musicians on the Sun are all exceptional and very talented.
All of the service providers were helpful and friendly. Our room steward worked very hard to keep our room clean. We always had fresh towels, and turn down service. The waiters and waitresses always served with a smile. The running joke on the ship is the hostess in the Garden Cafe who sprays your hands with sanitizer. Washy Washy girl. Everybody loved her.
We used both NCL shore excursions with private tour companies. For St Pete, you need to research a private tour operator. Don't be afraid of what you read about Visas. The operators that are mentioned here on Cruise Critic will obtain a special Visa for you. You can see so much more, for less money by using a private tour. The NCL excursions that we did use, were well run and worth the money for those particular excursions if you did not want to DIY.
Value for Money
This is the number one reason we chose the NCL Sun for our Baltic cruise. If you research other cruise lines and compare, you will notice the large price difference. With the money saved, we spent it on the excursions and special meals in the ports. Don't forget the beautiful souvenirs in Russia.
The NCL Sun is a very nice ship and is perfect for the Baltic itinerary.