As first-time cruisers, we were obviously new to the whole experience, therefore it was all a lot of fun to explore the ship and get used to cruise life. Add to that fact that we had perfect weather during the entire cruise, we were with our two college-age kids for Christmas and that everybody was in the holiday spirit, we have mostly good things to say about the whole trip.
First the good. The staff aboard the Norwegian Sun was incredible. We did not encounter one situation of anyone being anything but helpful, professional and friendly. These people are well-trained and genuinely good folks.
Our balcony cabin was fine. The bathroom is small and you'll get to know your shower curtain intimately, but no complaints. Everything was clean and our steward was amazing and cleaning and chatting it up with us. Nice guy!
The food was always fresh and tasty. We're not food critics, so if you hit the buffets early and plan accordingly for dinner, you'll be fine. If you're a picky eater, I'm sure that you could find flaws here and there.
The entertainment was good and bad. A few bar bands were fun, including the reggae band and Flyer. We also saw Charles Peachock, the juggler who was in America's Got Talent last summer. Amazing. The other musical stage performances were a little too cheesy for us.
Our port experiences were also very enjoyable. We did the Playa Mia beach excursion, via NCL, at Cozumel (our first stop). Price includes great food, unlimited bar and a nice beach. The swimming and snorkeling was really cool. For our first excursion and port, it worked quite well. The drive there was a little long, but it's in an air-conditioned bus. You could probably do it for a little less money if you go on your own.
Georgetown, Grand Cayman was ok. We did the Tiki Beach Break. White sand, blue water and a plastic glass of what they called rum punch. Cheap, pretty and ummmm....ok.
Ocho Rios was a great day, at least at the beginning. We went through Norwegian to do the Dolphin Cove and Dunn's River Falls. The dolphin experience was super. The staff did a nice job of getting us close to "Toto" the dolphin. We didn't do the full-fledged swim, but enjoyed it very much. There are other things to see and do there, but plan on staying at their beach if it's available. We enjoyed a few hours there, laying out in the sun. Their shuttles run every 10 minutes and will take you to Dunn's fall or back down to the port area.
As for Dunn's River Falls, be very careful. My wife and son tried to climb, but had to stop half the way up. Let's just say that Jamaica doesn't have a version of OSHA to guarantee the safety of its workers and guests. The guides are strongly encouraging the climbers the whole way, but for someone not used to deep pools of water and jagged rocks, it can be a bit intimidating. Be careful mon. The rest of the grounds are full of aggressive people, trying to sell you the normal tourist junk. You can go and not walk up the falls and still see the beauty of the falls. It's organized chaos, leaning a little more toward the chaos part.
Our favorite stop was at Norwegian's private island, Great Stirrup Cay. A lot of their improvements have been completed to the degree that you are not bothered by any construction. Aside from some biting flies, it was an amazing day. Beautiful beach, great buildings, super food. Don't forget to explore away from the main beach. Lots to see.
As for the not so good, the Sun is an older ship. Some pealed paint and rust here and there, along with some dated color schemes, makes it look like it could use some more updating. It is also a smaller ship, but we found it to be so fun and great for first-time cruisers.
If you have great weather, who cares about a few of the flaws. We're glad that we went on the Sun and would go again.
P.S. Get some wings in the sports bar while you're there! Mmmmm mmmmm.