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This was our first trip on NCL in fifteen years, the first time being on the old S.S. Norway in 2000. We selected this trip last minute out of San Diego, our hometown, and initially had a family balcony stateroom but upgraded to a full suite just prior to departure. More on what’s included as I write. EMBARKATION: Several years ago the Port of San Diego built a nice, new cruise ship terminal and for the life of me I don’t know why they don’t use it. Along with the Sun, Holland America also had a ship in port. Instead of using a terminal for each ship, the powers that be decided to use the old terminal for BOTH ships. What a nightmare. Thousands of passengers coming and going led to the most chaotic embarkation we’ve had in nineteen cruises. Once we got past the port security, however, our experience was flawless. There was a separate check-in for suites and no wait. After the paperwork was completed we were escorted to meet our concierge, Elvina, for a quick debrief about what to expect. From there we were lead onto the ship and to our specialty dining room for lunch. STATEROOM: Our suite was ready not long after and luggage was delivered within an hour. Just as the empty bags went under the bed our butler, Dominic, came by to introduce himself. This was the best perq we have ever had. He kept our fruit bowl filled, our coffee bar stocked, our DVDs supplied, and coordinated with Elvina for anything he couldn’t handle himself. My wife wanted to pack him up and bring him home with us. Bryson, our cabin steward was as good as they come. By the time the trip was over, we had a nice collection of ten towel animals. CRUISING: Our suite was on the aft end port side, right over the propellers. The location was great until the second morning when at about 5:00am the cabin started shaking worse than any earthquake we’ve ever experienced in California. And then a second time…then a third time. The ship was stopping by reversing the propellers and the cavitation created an unbelievable pounding. We later heard that someone had been helicoptered off. We never did get confirmation of that. Each time we arrived at a port of call, the same thing happened. Maybe at 8:00am it wouldn’t have been so bad but at 5:30am it was an alarm we didn’t have to set. In the future if we are offered a free suite over the propellers or have to pay for a stateroom amidships, we’ll pony up for our room. It isn’t worth losing the sleep. Also our air conditioner decided to not operate properly on the second sea day. Not too much of a problem except the heat and humidity outside was stifling. PORTS: Acapulco-the most influential reason we took this trip. We did a tour that included the cliff divers. Spectacular is the only word to describe what they do. They climb up a 130 foot rock cliff and dive from there. We were offered a drink along with chips and salsa. On the way back to the ship we ran into Dominic and told him about our air. We hadn’t been in the room 30 minutes when someone from maintenance came by to check on it. A couple of tweaks and it was at least blowing air but not quite cold enough to fully overcome the nearly unbearable heat and humidity. Still wondering if we had a stateroom other than a suite if our issue would have been looked at as quickly. Manzanillo-This was a five hour bus tour of the city and country with several shopping stops. The people in this town were very pleasant and friendly but there was a considerable police/military presence. Still really hot and humid. Puerto Vallarta- Another bus tour but it also included a visit to a tequila distillery. Yummy! Shockingly…still hot and humid. Mazatlán-We were here thirteen years ago and the town has grown up some. Probably the friendliest inhabitants on the whole trip. A shorter tour this time that also included some sea divers but not nearly as wonderful as Acapulco. The dive was only about 30 feet from a concrete platform. Unlike the divers in Acapulco these divers only worked for tips. Several people were walking along the sea wall soliciting for the gratuities and then as the bus was leaving the divers we watched came up to the bus also to collect. We never did find out if the money we gave at the sea wall was actually for the divers. Cabo San Lucas- We were just here in August with kids and grandkids so nothing planned. We did get rained on both days here so just as well we stayed on board. As part of the suite package we were given a $75 credit towards excursions in four of the five ports. DINING: There are two main dining rooms. One allows shorts for dinner (Four Seasons) the other won’t (people with shorts were turned away from The Seven Seas). Meals in these restaurants were at best mediocre. Sauce is the name of the game here and understandable. Beef dishes were thin and overcooked. Vegetables were normally undercooked and flavorless. Hard to recommend anything about the MDRs. The specialty restaurants, on the other hand, were marvelous. Cagneys (steakhouse) had fantastic filet mignon. For that matter, so did Modernos (Brazilian style) and Tempanyaki (Japanese Benihana style). We also ate a meal at Le Bistro (French themed). We did not try La Cucina (Italian cooking). Once again as part of the suite package we were offered five meals among the specialty restaurants. The buffet was adequate but uninspired, breakfast being the best meal there. There is an ice cream bar at the buffet but all they ever offered was vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. Soft serve was available in the outdoor café. The sports bar has a grill type menu from 5:30pm until 5:00am. Room service has a $7.95 charge but we never used or found a menu for that. BARS: We had an unlimited beverage package which provided virtually every drink you can imagine. I had the opportunity to sample some scotches I hadn’t tried before but curiously none of them were more expensive than the generic tequila sunrises my wife had. Tanqueray was pricier than Bombay Sapphire. There was no consistency from bar to bar. Some bars we would go to and it was like the first time the bartender had ever attempted to make a drink. We did finally settle in on the sports bar as our go to place. SUMMARY: All in all this was one of our best cruises in a while. Even though The Sun is nearly fifteen years old, it was clean and fresh. Only real issue is trying to get from the back to the front of the ship. Deck 7 makes you walk through the smoky casino. Deck 6 has you going through several bars. You can’t go between the MDR’s on Deck 5 as the kitchen is in the way. The personnel on this ship were wonderful. Once someone learned your name they used whenever they spoke to you. The cruise director staff did a really good job with the activities. The Captain seemed like he was everywhere and was very approachable. Hopefully it won’t be another fifteen years before we’re back to “Sail like a Norwegian”!

Well Worth It

Norwegian Sun Cruise Review by mwcsocal

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2015
  • Destination: Mexican Riviera
  • Cabin Type: Penthouse with Balcony
This was our first trip on NCL in fifteen years, the first time being on the old S.S. Norway in 2000. We selected this trip last minute out of San Diego, our hometown, and initially had a family balcony stateroom but upgraded to a full suite just prior to departure. More on what’s included as I write.

EMBARKATION: Several years ago the Port of San Diego built a nice, new cruise ship terminal and for the life of me I don’t know why they don’t use it. Along with the Sun, Holland America also had a ship in port. Instead of using a terminal for each ship, the powers that be decided to use the old terminal for BOTH ships. What a nightmare. Thousands of passengers coming and going led to the most chaotic embarkation we’ve had in nineteen cruises. Once we got past the port security, however, our experience was flawless. There was a separate check-in for suites and no wait. After the paperwork was completed we were escorted to meet our concierge, Elvina, for a quick debrief about what to expect. From there we were lead onto the ship and to our specialty dining room for lunch.

STATEROOM: Our suite was ready not long after and luggage was delivered within an hour. Just as the empty bags went under the bed our butler, Dominic, came by to introduce himself. This was the best perq we have ever had. He kept our fruit bowl filled, our coffee bar stocked, our DVDs supplied, and coordinated with Elvina for anything he couldn’t handle himself. My wife wanted to pack him up and bring him home with us. Bryson, our cabin steward was as good as they come. By the time the trip was over, we had a nice collection of ten towel animals.

CRUISING: Our suite was on the aft end port side, right over the propellers. The location was great until the second morning when at about 5:00am the cabin started shaking worse than any earthquake we’ve ever experienced in California. And then a second time…then a third time. The ship was stopping by reversing the propellers and the cavitation created an unbelievable pounding. We later heard that someone had been helicoptered off. We never did get confirmation of that. Each time we arrived at a port of call, the same thing happened. Maybe at 8:00am it wouldn’t have been so bad but at 5:30am it was an alarm we didn’t have to set. In the future if we are offered a free suite over the propellers or have to pay for a stateroom amidships, we’ll pony up for our room. It isn’t worth losing the sleep. Also our air conditioner decided to not operate properly on the second sea day. Not too much of a problem except the heat and humidity outside was stifling.

PORTS: Acapulco-the most influential reason we took this trip. We did a tour that included the cliff divers. Spectacular is the only word to describe what they do. They climb up a 130 foot rock cliff and dive from there. We were offered a drink along with chips and salsa. On the way back to the ship we ran into Dominic and told him about our air. We hadn’t been in the room 30 minutes when someone from maintenance came by to check on it. A couple of tweaks and it was at least blowing air but not quite cold enough to fully overcome the nearly unbearable heat and humidity. Still wondering if we had a stateroom other than a suite if our issue would have been looked at as quickly.

Manzanillo-This was a five hour bus tour of the city and country with several shopping stops. The people in this town were very pleasant and friendly but there was a considerable police/military presence. Still really hot and humid.

Puerto Vallarta- Another bus tour but it also included a visit to a tequila distillery. Yummy! Shockingly…still hot and humid.

Mazatlán-We were here thirteen years ago and the town has grown up some. Probably the friendliest inhabitants on the whole trip. A shorter tour this time that also included some sea divers but not nearly as wonderful as Acapulco. The dive was only about 30 feet from a concrete platform. Unlike the divers in Acapulco these divers only worked for tips. Several people were walking along the sea wall soliciting for the gratuities and then as the bus was leaving the divers we watched came up to the bus also to collect. We never did find out if the money we gave at the sea wall was actually for the divers.

Cabo San Lucas- We were just here in August with kids and grandkids so nothing planned. We did get rained on both days here so just as well we stayed on board. As part of the suite package we were given a $75 credit towards excursions in four of the five ports.

DINING: There are two main dining rooms. One allows shorts for dinner (Four Seasons) the other won’t (people with shorts were turned away from The Seven Seas). Meals in these restaurants were at best mediocre. Sauce is the name of the game here and understandable. Beef dishes were thin and overcooked. Vegetables were normally undercooked and flavorless. Hard to recommend anything about the MDRs. The specialty restaurants, on the other hand, were marvelous. Cagneys (steakhouse) had fantastic filet mignon. For that matter, so did Modernos (Brazilian style) and Tempanyaki (Japanese Benihana style). We also ate a meal at Le Bistro (French themed). We did not try La Cucina (Italian cooking). Once again as part of the suite package we were offered five meals among the specialty restaurants. The buffet was adequate but uninspired, breakfast being the best meal there. There is an ice cream bar at the buffet but all they ever offered was vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. Soft serve was available in the outdoor café. The sports bar has a grill type menu from 5:30pm until 5:00am. Room service has a $7.95 charge but we never used or found a menu for that.

BARS: We had an unlimited beverage package which provided virtually every drink you can imagine. I had the opportunity to sample some scotches I hadn’t tried before but curiously none of them were more expensive than the generic tequila sunrises my wife had. Tanqueray was pricier than Bombay Sapphire. There was no consistency from bar to bar. Some bars we would go to and it was like the first time the bartender had ever attempted to make a drink. We did finally settle in on the sports bar as our go to place.

SUMMARY: All in all this was one of our best cruises in a while. Even though The Sun is nearly fifteen years old, it was clean and fresh. Only real issue is trying to get from the back to the front of the ship. Deck 7 makes you walk through the smoky casino. Deck 6 has you going through several bars. You can’t go between the MDR’s on Deck 5 as the kitchen is in the way. The personnel on this ship were wonderful. Once someone learned your name they used whenever they spoke to you. The cruise director staff did a really good job with the activities. The Captain seemed like he was everywhere and was very approachable. Hopefully it won’t be another fifteen years before we’re back to “Sail like a Norwegian”!
mwcsocal’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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