We recently returned from the NCL Norwegian Sun Baltic Cruise that sailed on September 11, 2011 from Copenhagen.
The ship itself looks great and we had no issues with a balcony cabin on Deck 8. Our cabin steward was very efficient and did a fine job. We really enjoyed the ports and had no complaints with any of the shore excursions. Our biggest problem relates to ship life.
The ship has a major design flaw with it's buffet on Deck 11. Most ships we've been on in the past have mirroring buffet lines on both sides of the ship with plenty of seating. Norwegian Sun has a buffet only on one side of the ship, the other side has a bar and small dining area. There is a secondary buffet outdoors with less choices at the aft end of the ship with outside seating. This would be fine if the weather was always good, but a mid to late September cruise in the Baltic doesn't lend itself to outdoor eating, particularly in the morning. There was a constant battle to find a table More
indoors. The buffet itself seemed small with fewer choices from our past experiences. The food was OK. We were disappointed with the coffee/juice bar since they cut off juice drinks after breakfast. A money saving trick. Eventually we gave up on the buffet altogether, electing to go to the relatively empty dining room for breakfast. We did learn that you didn't want to be in a hurry to meet a shore excursion without giving yourself at least 1 1/2 to eat in the dining room.
Lunch wasn't a big issue since we took most all day shore excursions. Fortunately, there were only two sea days to contend with at lunch time.
Our group of 22 had three tables reserved for dinner every night which was nice. Service however, was very spotty. Just getting your water glass refilled became a challenge on many occasions. We wondered if NCL's decision to automatically charge your ship credit for daily tips leaves the incentive out for the staff to do a good job. Some of our cruise mates elected to have their daily $12/person charge reduced because of the service. Food for the table would arrive in spurts, instead of at the same time. The menu was rather bland and uninspired. The Sun has five specialty restaurants, all with $25-$30/person upcharges. Seems like you shouldn't have to pay an extra $50 to have a good steak. At least we didn't have to in the past. Drink costs were rediculous. $2.50 for a diet pepsi is sad.
Overall, we felt that there are plenty of cruise lines sailing to the same destinations and NCL is no longer on our list of choices. Less
Fascinating city. We stayed in the heart of the city a Clarion Twenty-seven (watch out for the Ice Bar, they party late and the music is loud). We walked most everywhere and there are jump on/off buses to get you to some of the further tourist spots. Additionally, you definitely want to take the canal tour. It will give you a whole different perspective on the city. Prices are expensive. The Clarion had a breakfast and dinner buffet included in the room price which made it an extremely good value. However, the room was very small and utilitarian.
Fascinating City but oh, the traffic. Expect to spend time in traffic jams. We visited Yusupov's palace where Rasputin was assassinated and Catherine palace in the country. The decadence of that era is astounding. The Church of the Spilled Blood and St. Peter's Cathedral were beautiful.
Did a land/sea tour in Stockholm. Beautiful city melding old and new together as only the Swedes can do. The Vassa museum is really interesting if you like old ships. Our sea tour was tour hours long including a trip through two locks, very cool.