Itinerary: This cruise was a South America cruise which embarked in Valparaiso Chile and terminated in Buenos Aires Argentina. The ship went along the west coast of south america (Punta Monte, Puerto Chacabuco, and Punta Arenas), through the straits of Magellen to Ushuaia, Beagle Channel, around Cape Horn, to Falkland Islands (Stanley), to Punta Del Est Uraguay, and then to Buenos Aires. These were all great destinations and ports of calls. We saw sea life, glaciers, Penguins, local artisans and the weather was in our favour with calm seas when rounding the Cape.
Ship Amenities: The Norwegian Sun holds about 2000 passengers. In our opinion, the ship is just the right size - neither too small to take on the seas of the voyage, but also not so big that we felt lost. It is going in to dry dock this spring for some minor enhancements, but for the most part, everything on the ship was in good condition and very clean. It gets pretty crowded in the main buffet during meal times, hard to find vacant chairs on the pool deck in the sun on sea days, and the gym gets pretty crowded at peak times in the morning and early evenings.
Cabin: We chose cabin 9320 because we wanted to get an inside cabin mid-ship with no noisy rooms above and below us. It turns out deck 9 and part of deck 10 are the only floors where there are no noisy rooms (such as dining rooms, gyms, dance floors, etc) below or above us. The cabin was very spacious, clean, and comfortable. If you are looking for a cabin with a balcony, the room across the hall from us would be good also.
Dining: Food was always plentiful, and for the most part delicious. We seldom ate at the main buffet because of it was very busy and noisy. We often went to the sit-down dining room (Seven Seas or Four Seasons) for dinners, or to the buffet in the Moderno room for breakfast or lunch. There was also the deck out back on the 11th floor which was good for lunch on a nice sunny day. We tried three restaurants which had cover charge (we bought a restaurant package for $69) The Japanese Tappenyaki dinner was not very good in terms of both food quality and entertainment value. The Brazilian dinner in the Moderno was excellent in terms of quality of the food (Brazillian BBQ steaks, etc) as well as the ambiance and the service. The Steakhouse at Cagneys, was also excellent in terms of the steak quality and quantity and the service was very good.
What we liked:
- Service: All the staff looked genuinely happy and provided excellent service.
- Shore Excursions: People complain about how expensive the shore excursions are, but I think they are well worth it, in terms of quality of experience as well as the destinations. We went on the Petrohue falls and Lake Esmeralda excursion at Puerto Monte, Coyhaique and Scenic Simpson Valley at Puerto Chacabuco, End of the World wilderness trek in Ushuaia, and Lagoon bluff in the Falklands.. All were great experiences.
- South American Lecture series: We attended the regular South American Lecture series provided by Peter Croyle. Highly recommended to get the full context of each of the areas you are visiting as well as the richness of the history and the culture of South America
What could be improved:
- buffet (ambiance and food variety): The main buffet was a zoo. It was mainly because it is laid out poorly so that there often were a congregation of people in the popular areas. Also some of the more esoteric food (like Indian and Asian food) were tucked away in a hard to reach area. Part of the problem was also the lack of manners of some of the passengers. I think there is value to the phrase "take all you can eat, but eat all you take"
- sports equipment: some of the equipment were older and did not work. The floor of the gym was heaving. Hopefully this is one of the areas they will fix in dry dock.
- internet access: slow and expensive
Tips & Hints:
- choosing your cabin location: Key for good night sleeps. Choose mid ship and quiet floors, away from elevators. Inside or balcony based on your preference and budget.
- choosing who you hang out with: Not everybody you meet on the cruise are your type, but we did manage to find some people we could hang out with, and avoid the people we did not like
- budget for onboard spending: There were no surprise charges. But you must budget for the service charges and how much you would spend on excursions and drinks and trinkets.
Very spacious, clean, mid-ship inside cabin. It was quiet, and the bed was very comfortable. If you don't mind not having a window or a balcony, this is the cabin to get. Our cabin steward, Roberto, provided impeccable service!