We had heard less than encouraging comments about both embarkation and disembarkation from friends who had cruised with other lines and we were a little concerned about the length of time it might take. To anybody considering NCL leave these worries at home. This is a slick operation and the whole process of embarkation is determined by the speed at which you are able to walk. No lineups, no waits and really clear instructions. Leaving the ship at the end of the cruise was equally impressive. Everyone had a time (of your choice) and it went like clockwork. Congrats to the crew of NCL Sun for this.
Our cabin was one of the less expensive outside staterooms on the Biscayne deck. The guy or gal who designed this was nothing short of a genius. My wife and I don't travel light yet there were adequate hangers and closet/drawer space to handle more than we took. The space was impeccably clean and the housekeeping staff entered more than once each day to ensure we had everything we needed including turning down the bed and leaving mint chocolates on the pillows. Another nice thing we discovered was that our suitcases (27" size) easily fit under the comfortable beds.
Our dining was a memorable experience. From the first night we ate at the Seven Seas restaurant. We had every intention of trying 3 or 4 of the "extra charge" dining rooms but we were so thoroughly satisfied with the quality of food and the service at the Seven Seas that we didn't stray. Not only is the food here beautifully displayed, it is delicious. We simply didn't have a bad meal. Of particular note has to be the wait staff. These people should be commended for their superior service and attention to detail and if you should choose this ship we would recommend that you ask for their section. Our waiter was a charming Turkish man named Servet Turgut and his assistant waitress was Jennifer Calixto a young Filipino lady. Talk about being spoiled. The assistant Maitre d' Madalina Armenian also ensured our meals were a delight.
The ship is always being maintained. Service staff seem always to be doing something but never getting in anyone's way. There is no "tired" feeling about this vessel and all the lounges are modern and well laid out. The venue used for the major evening entertainment is the Star Dust Lounge, a rather large 2-story theatre type facility. Almost all seats provide an unobstructed view of the stage. The quality of entertainment is very high and although not always to our taste was always well executed.
Free Style cruising was a big hit with us. No suits or formal wear to worry about and dining when and where you want was easy. A word for those planning an NCL cruise. Book the restaurant in the morning for that evening's meal. You'll be taken right away with no waiting.
The shore excursions we chose were enjoyable but a word of caution. Make sure you know exactly what you are getting for the price paid. On one excursion we were of the opinion that the snorkeling was included with the price and that the extra was for the rental of the equipment. As we brought our own snorkel gear we assumed incorrectly that there would be no extra charge. Wrong! We all had to pay a fee that made for an expensive excursion.
All in all a very pleasant cruise and one that I would highly recommend. We are now so enthused about cruising that we are saying goodbye to the Caribbean resorts and are planning where to go on our next cruise.