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Norwegian Sun Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
2,215 Reviews

Nice cruise with a glitch or two

Norwegian Sun Cruise Review by Mike D.

1 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Oct 2015
  • Destination: the Mexican Riviera
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Inside

The NCL Sun is scheduled for a refurbishment in May 2016. Some parts are showing their heavy usage. The floor in the Sports Bar (a great place to bring the buffet food and eat in relative peace) is worn, scarred and haggard for example. But, in general, the ship is attractive and functional.

Our inside cabin was great, having a sitting area and plenty of closet and drawer space for two travelers. The shower, however, with its curtain, and tiny circular arrangement was disappointing. On newer NCL ships (like the Jewel), the shower is larger with a glass door.

We were on the 10th deck, Aft, and approximately under the Moderno restaurant and an entrance to the pool. I attempted to get to a lower deck (for noise concerns) quite a bit after I made the initial reservation (and seeing the location because I was on an earlier cruise on this ship). But deck 10 cabin 0122 was almost always quiet with only a couple episodes of loud noises coming from above which was, I believe, crew work. I wouldn't hesitate to have the same cabin again.

Our cabin steward, Rodel, was awesome. He seemingly was invisible most of the time but the cabin was always made up properly and promptly. He has talent as an inventive towel artist. When we did see him, he was personable and upbeat.

The shipboard entertainment, from the evening shows in the Stardust Theater to the lounge entertainment were all very good to excellent. It was the first cruise for this particular set of singers and dancers in the production cast but they were pretty polished and talented. I enjoyed three lounge acts in particular--Justin Lacey, Into the Drift, and Riley Haupt. The Windjammer bar is a fairly intimate and definitely comfortable place to listen to music. It would be improved if NCL's constant hawking of on-board photos wasn't almost always in view behind the performers. When the photos are removed, there is a great view from the ship but the photos generally cover that.

We dined at most of the specialty restaurants except for the sushi restaurant. All were good to excellent. My top picks would be Teppanyaki (also open for lunch on sea days) and Cagney's steak house. NCL threw in the dining package this trip but the prices seem reasonable without the package too. La Cucina (Italian), Le Bistro (French) and Moderno (Churrascaria) were all good also. When the lamb chops came around at Moderno, it was a high point for me there but that was probably eclipsed by the excellent salad bar with lots of high end items. Service in all the restaurants was very good to excellent with no real lapses.

The Garden Cafe buffet which I regularly inhabited for breakfast and lunch could be slammed at times. There is plenty of seating if one counts the outside spaces at the stern, the pool area, and my "secret" space-the Sports Bar. But lines could get clogged at times which is probably the nature of shipboard buffets. I have seen more selections (particularly at lunch) on other cruises although there were plenty of nice options at breakfast such as omelet and waffle stations.

I did not use the services of a bartender/ bar server during the trip so I can't speak to that.

I didn't engage in many of the daytime activities beyond entertainment other than a morning workout in the gym. The gym is well equipped but some of the equipment, notably some of the cycles, were out of order for the whole cruise. Perhaps the upcoming dry dock with include some work in there.

We took a city tour of Acapulco (not provided by the ship) and the Cuyutlan Turtle Experience from Manzanillo (a ship tour). The turtle tour included a drive out into the country, and a lunch at a local restaurant. The guide was excellent. But all that was paled by the experience at the center that is attempting to ensure that sea turtles survive. We were able to release baby Green Ridley turtles (born that day) into the Pacific Ocean. I will not soon forget the sight of those little turtles making their way instinctively into the surf. I hope "my" turtle makes it.

The glitch or two mentioned in the title all deal with embarkation and disembarkation. I lay part of the blame for the delays on the Port of San Diego not the NCL Sun since on an earlier cruise (from Vancouver) on this ship, embarkation and disembarkation went well. Embarkation: But in San Diego, getting on the ship was about an hour process of standing in line. We arrived at noon and the queue almost filled with entire waiting area. Once close to the actual registration lines, we got to "jump" forward because of previous cruise history, my wait time was less than others who reported 2 hours +.

But embarkation was a breeze compared to the "pigs breakfast" that was called "Disembarkation". My bad was that I had an 11:50 a.m. flight which I thought was plenty of time with an 8 a.m. docking and scheduled walk-off. But customs clearance was slow apparently because of...well...I don't know. The Sun intercom kept calling out for passengers with non-US passports finally sounding desperate and resorting to different languages in an attempt get certain passengers to comply. Finally our cabin steward asked us to leave our cabin so he could prepare it for the next cruise so we went to a public area and waited. And waited. With others. Signs said disembarkation had not started. A bit after 9 a.m. I decided to peek outside and saw people were, in fact, disembarking. We made our way to the atrium and found huge lines of people who were queued up. With signs on the video monitors saying that disembarking hadn't begin. I won't go into more details but it took 2 hours to walk off the ship. My suggestion is that NCL could have done a MUCH better job communicating what was happening. Disappointing.

Summary: Great cruise. Good food. Great excursion. Very nice cabin for inside. Great service. Awful disembarkation.

Mike D.'s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Inside
Cabin IA 0122

Generally quiet. Excellent space with plenty of storage. Shower is tiny with a curtain. TV needs to be updated but not a major concern. Cooling was fine but a bit noisy.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Interesting tour of the city and views of the bay. Ended with Cliff Divers.

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San Diego

Slow embarkation seemed fast compared to snail's pace disembarkation.

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Mike D.
14 Reviews Written
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