Norwegian Sun Cruise Review by Cruise Swell
- Sail Date: December 2016
- Destination: South America
- Cabin Type: Family Inside
The embarkation for the cruise went extremely smoothly boarding from 12:00pm and by 12:30pm you were on the ship. This was good after a 14 hour overnight flight from London to Buenos Aires.
The Norwegian Sun entered service in 2001 and is currently 15 years old but has been refurbished recently. The ship given that it is older is not showing its age due to the refurbishment. The ship is medium sized but has all the amenities you get on a larger ship just on a smaller scale. I found the ship easy to navigate around with short walks to most areas that you wanted to visit. One of the highlights of the ship is the atrium which goes from Deck 5 to Deck 11. Most of the facilities around the atrium are on Decks 5, 6 & 7. The area of the ship you spend your evenings are Decks 5, 6 & 7.
Activities were arranged by the entertainment team through out the day. You could play Bingo, Deal or No Deal, learn Tango or Line Dancing. I am not a big fan of organised activities but there were lots of organised activities if that's what you like.
In the evenings the main entertainment was in the Stardust Theatre with production shows, magicians and musicians. I found the productions by the singers and dancers of NCL were the best. The last production show with the singers and dancers was entertainment highlight of the cruise.
One dancer in the shows Rachel (from Scotland) really stood out from the others as being a passionate high quality professional dancer. She is a rising star and has a bright future in singing and dancing.
The production shows on the Norwegian Sun looked like shows you expect to see in the theatre in the West End of London, Las Vegas or Broadway in New York.
Of all the singers onboard Henry (from USA) stood out with his easy listening melodies.
Henry is a soulful singer with a large repertoire of songs from the 1950's to today.
After leaving the theatre in the evening the entertainment continued in Dazzles Nightclub with a themed disco. If you wanted something more relaxing you headed next door to the Windjammer Bar with a singer. Windjammer was like a traditional British style pub where you could meet new friends and talk to fellow passengers.
Dazzle Nightclub was louder with a good party atmosphere.
I dined mainly at the Seven Seas Restaurant at the rear of Deck 5. This is a more traditional restaurant with tables for 2, 4, 6, 8 with full waiter service.
The food in the restaurant was superb with half of the menu changing each night.
Also the service was prompt and you were never left long waiting for a course.
Of the speciality restaurants I only tried Cagney's Steakhouse. The food in the restaurant was superior to the main restaurants and worth the approx $25 per person.
I would recommend the Brazilian Churrascaria as I tried one in Rio de Janeiro.
You get unlimited salad from the bar and unlimited cuts of meat.
The Garden Cafe Buffet was good for breakfast and lunches but you are better off going to one of the other restaurants for your evening meal. The Great Outdoor Cafe offers alfresco dining which is good when the ship is docked in port or when departing port late afternoon.
Whether in the bars or restaurants the service was superb. You were not left waiting for half an hour to get a drink like I have experienced at land based bars.
The gym was a good size and never over crowded with a mixture of cardio machines and free weights. I only tried it once as I was on holiday. There were good machines for running, cycling and cross training. The only downside was just one rowing machine.
VALUE FOR MONEY
The cruise itself was good value for money considering whats included, meals, accommodation, entertainment, etc. I managed to get a deal with the unlimited beverage package which was good value.
The drinks onboard are expensive by UK Pub Prices and European prices. Plus the drinks come with an 18% gratuity or service charge. Expect to pay around $8.00 for a bottle of beer plus an 18% gratuity about double UK pub prices. However if you can get a deal with a drinks package as long as the value of the drink is $15.00 or below it is included.
What is strange is the ultimate beverage package does not include coffee and tea, whereas on other cruise lines they are included. If you add whisky to you coffee (Irish Coffee) it is included.
A European style city with a Latin American flair. This city has very distinct neighborhoods my highlight was the colourful La Boca. Swedish colours of blue and yellow really brighten the area up. This area is also good for seeing Tango dancers. Recoleta and San Telmo are also very good.
I booked an organised tour online as it was a third of what NCL was charging covering the same attractions.
Easy walking city and the ship docks close to the centre. The most friendly I visited in South America with a few attractions of large signs and interesting building. Uruguay is known as the Switzerland of South America, no mountains but a welcoming place. If you like steak head for Mercado del Puerto a 5 minute walk from the ship. Some of the best and largest steaks in South America.
I booked an organised tour online which as half of what NCL was charging covering the same attractions.
Punta del Este
Due to bad weather the ship did not tender. Passengers that organised an excursion from Montevideo told me that it had excellent beaches. It is known as the San Tropez of South America.
An industrial port city in Brazil. My highlight was the tram tour giving you a flavour of the city. Unfortunately the commentary is in Portuguese but it is an enjoyable ride.
I also visited the Coffee Museum which is set up for Brazilian and Portuguese tourists.
It is worth paying for a commentary in English although I found the museum to be rather dull. It lacked interactive and fun exhibits which can bring history to life.
I gave this port a miss, it is a tender boat to the pier due to the port of Vila do Abraao having a shallow port. I was told by fellow passengers you can see Brazilian wildlife including small monkeys and large spiders by walking around the island. If you like beaches Lopes Mendes came highly recommended.
A good tourist resort with all the modern facilities you would expect.
You can book a trolley to go around the peninsular or a boat to go swimming and snorkeling. I booked a boat for swimming and snorkeling online and it was a third of the price NCL were charging for the same excursion. The sea was clean and warm however I did not see any fish. Buzios reminded me of the resorts in the Caribbean and the Bahamas. The safest place visited in South America on this cruise.
Rio de Janeiro
The best port and highlight of the cruise and I would recommend at least booking 2 nights if not 3 nights in Rio to see as much of the city as you can in a short space of time. The highlights in Rio de Janeiro were Corcovado and the Christ The Redeemer Statue, Sugar Loaf Mountain and Samba Dancing. I would also recommend a guided tour to the Favela's. Be careful in Rio de Janeiro and watch for pick pockets and large group of young men. The city has an edge to it with lost of railings in front of buildings.
Book the tours with your hotel locally as they are much cheaper than the cruise shore excursions and cheaper than on the internet. I booked three tours with the hotel to see the main sights and it cost less than one fully day of Rio de Janeiro with NCL.
I would recommend that you book them in advance online where possible.
If you want peace of mind and safety book them with NCL but they cost at least double those online or at the portside.
I found that Punta del Este, Santos and Isle Grande you either book with NCL or make your own arrangements locally. All of the others you can book online before you go.
Overall I would recommend this cruise for anyone wanting to get a flavour of South America. The port highlights are Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. With this cruise you get to visit Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil without having to worry for your safety and security. Most people outside the tourist areas do not speak English, so unless you are fluent in Spanish and Portuguese then the Norwegian Sun is a excellent way to see South America.
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The cabin was 172 square foot and the second largest inside cabin I have ever stayed in. This cabin can sleep although more than 4 people in it would be claustrophobic.
It had all the amenities required. The bathroom with w/c was excellent. My only gripes were that you could not view you account on the TV and the TV was dated. But who goes on a cruise to watch TV. Also no tea and coffee making facilities in the cabin but it is an American ship and Americans have different tastes. The bed was soft and comfortable and the sofa was very good.
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Buenos AiresBooked an excursion with Grayline Argentina on the internet.View All 239 Buenos Aires Cruise Port Reviews
They picked me up at Dock Gate 4 at the Buenos Aires Cruise Terminal.
An excellent half day tour cost £17 compared to the £35 if booked with NCL.
Visted La Boca, Recoleta and San Telmo. Also visited the Parliament Building.
If your cruise starts or finishes in Buenos Aires I would recommend a 2 nights stay giving your one full day to explore the city.
View Cruise Critic's Buenos Aires Cruise Port Review
MontevideoBooked a tour with Uruguay 4 U which you can pick up at the Museo del Carnaval at 9.00am. This is a 4 hour tour covering the city highlights and is much cheaper than the £47 equivalent NCL Montevideo city tour.View All 248 Montevideo Cruise Port Reviews
A friendly city ideal for walking, the ship docks about a 20 minute walk from the city centre.
View Cruise Critic's Montevideo Cruise Port Review
Rio de JaneiroI stayed for three nights in a hotel at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro.View All 135 Rio de Janeiro Cruise Port Reviews
I would recommend tours to Corcovado, Christ the Redeemer Statue, Sugar Loaf Mountain, Favela's and a Samba Dancing Show.
It is cheaper to book them locally with your hotel than online before you go or with NCL. The full day tour with NCL costs £279, a similar tour booked locally with a hotel will cost you £100.
If your cruise starts or finishes in Rio de Janeiro I would recommend booking three nights in a hotel giving your two full days to explore the city.
View Cruise Critic's Rio de Janeiro Cruise Port Review
Santos (Sao Paulo)I got a taxi from the cruise port to the city centre costing £8 each way, £16 return.View All 33 Santos (Sao Paulo) Cruise Port Reviews
I then explored Santos on foot. The highlight was the tram touring the city.
The tram ticket cost 16 Real, roughly £4. NCL's excursions cost £79.
The coffee museum was dull and lacked an interactive display, also you need a guide that speaks English as all the information is in Portuguese.
View Cruise Critic's Santos (Sao Paulo) Cruise Port Review