NCL has a new theme- “I want to be your vacation hero.” While we never thought we’d need a “hero,” when Air Canada lost our luggage, the folks at NCL (who had no responsibility for this loss) turned out to be the heroes we needed. Here’s the story…
We arrived in Copenhagen (luggage less) the day before sailing and had to spend our precious vacation time in a VERY pricy department store purchasing “basics.” The following day we were told our luggage was still in “transit” and after a very smooth check-in, we arrived at the Sun’s front desk (a bit harried and upset) to ask for assistance. We were immediately given new t-shirts, a “necessity bag” of essentials including toothpaste, brushes, deodorant etc., and coupons for free laundry. Then my husband requested to speak to the “person in charge” and Yahaira, group coordinator and a lovely, efficient and knowledgeable dynamo, and font of information arrived and assured us that she would be in direct contact with the airlines and the multiple port authorities to track our luggage. She then personally escorted us to the lounge, bought us a drink and helped calm our nerves. (This was during her most busy time of passenger boarding!!) Over the next three days she and hotel director Steven took time to find us on the ship and give us periodic updates on our luggage’s travels. In the meantime our room steward, Sherlton worked after his late shift to take our dirty clothes to the laundry and return them early in the morning – before he actually started his work shift. We couldn’t have asked for better service. Throughout the cruise we were constantly impressed by the friendliness, efficiency and professionalism of every crew member we encountered. This service is one of the main reasons we choose NCL.
The Sun – What a lovely intimate ship! The Sun is large enough to offer private corners yet small enough to allow you to quickly reach a planned event. Its colors are muted – not too glitzy- and its Casino is just large enough so you don’t have to wait for a slot machine or table (although Ken did miss the “Let it Ride” table.) We never waited more than one or two minutes for anything – restaurants, bars, gift shop etc. And the Champagne bar was perfectly located for cocktails pre-dinner or Showtime. As someone whose last cruise was on NCL’s Epic I could appreciate the advantages of both large and smaller ships. The Sun did not disappoint.
Rooms – We saw two types of rooms. Our balcony cabin was spacious and we spent several hours sitting out and enjoying the many ships that sailed by. On a European tour I would highly recommend a cabin with a view. Every day was a different city with views of medieval walls, crenellated churches and leaded glass windows hundreds of years old. On a personal note, the coffee pot was a welcome addition and made our morning more relaxing. I also would highly recommend the sideways inside cabin. Instead of the long narrow inside cabins, the Sun has several insides that have the door on the long wall and have a bathroom and closet to the left and a desk, drawers and another closet to the right. The far wall holds another closet, the couch, coffee and end tables, and two beds. This room would comfortably accommodate 4.
Restaurants – By far the best addition to NCLs dining choices is the Moderno Churriscaria. A Brazilian style restaurant, it is a combination of a top-notch salad/soup bar and 10 varieties of meat carved from skewers tableside. At intervals that you determine by a ‘stop” and “go” card on your table, your waiter arrives with steak, chicken, pork, veal, sausage, each more mouthwatering then the last. Please save room for their final steak selection.
For us, Le Bistro never disappoints flavor wise but we do miss the yummy bread bowl that used to house the mushroom soup. Our lovely server (so sorry I’ve forgotten her name) offered knowledgeable advice on wine pairings and thoughtfully kept our main course warm when we raced out to the deck for photos of the Malmo bridge. If you want the best steak, try the cote’ du Bouef carved tableside. It was worth the extra price.
We also had a very nice dinner at the Italian restaurant and enjoyed the complementary Tapas (Spanish snacks) in Las Ramblas. The olives and cheeses were mouthwatering.
The Seven Seas and the other main dining room were lovely and we enjoyed both a lunch and dinner there with good service from Roderick and a nice selection of food. At the buffet, breakfast was always a bit crowded at prime time (with many tours leaving at once everyone wanted to eat) but you can find seats in Las Rambles or out on the deck. Try the biscuits or the cinnamon buns.
Entertainment – For us the Baltic cruise was mainly about touring the 6 countries so we missed out on most of the entertainment. We did enjoy the daily trivia, the Beatles show and the crazy “Skinny German Juggler” - both were entertaining. There are very few bad seats in the theater – it’s a small venue -- but we had no problem getting seated. And I particularly enjoyed the “backstage ship tour.” It was the first time I had seen the inner workings of the kitchen, crew quarters, and theater and was amazing!!
Vacations can be many things-- relaxing, educational, challenging. The one thing a traveler never wants is for a vacation to be disappointing. Our vacation started out with a problem that the NCL team worked hard to solve and then turned our trip into one of our most enjoyable times at sea. Thank you Steven, Yahaira, Sherlton and the rest of the crew.