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This was our sixth cruise on NCL and by far the longest at 20 days travelling as it did all the way from the port of San Antonio, Chile to San Francisco, CA, a distance of over 6,000 nautical miles aboard the Norwegian Sun, one of their smaller and older ships. This was also a “repositioning” cruise, taking the ship from Latin American ports to the Alaska circuit. I’ve come to understand that repositioning cruises need to be judged a little differently than those that repeat the same journey over and over during a season. Our cabin 1002 on deck 11 faced forward, giving us the same forward facing view as you get on the ships bow-cam. In port this is a real benefit, but it is less so on the open sea, when the wind and weather can make the balcony unusable. On this voyage there were a number of days of choppy seas and windy weather particularly towards journey’s end. All the areas where NCL excels were on full display during this cruise. The service was top notch, delivered by an enthusiastic and diverse crew. I have noticed NCL really attempts to establish personal connections between crew (including entertainers) and passengers. Likewise the variety of dining options and the quality of the food itself was outstanding, in fact a significant improvement over the last time we cruised on the Sun in 2014. The entertainment itself was on the whole quite good, with the entertainment staff making a real effort to avoid duplication despite the length of the cruise. We also enjoyed the excursions which we took at most every port. All of them were well organized and most featured very good guides. Some people cruise to experience the ship, but our focus is always the onshore experiences we do in each port. In this regard, NCL and its partners delivered interesting and meaningful experiences. Where NCL always comes up short is onboard activities. NCL simply needs more interesting things to do on sea days, and there were ten on this voyage, and some of them during poor weather when hanging around the pool is not an option. Many people are satisfied with Bingo and game shows and pool parties but I look for something more. The ship itself was a looking a little tired and I hope that the renovations planned during the dry dock scheduled in 2018 will improve and modernize the ship’s facilities. I wouldn’t be surprised if NCL is planning to retire the sun from active service within the next few years given its age, and the projected launch of a half dozen new ships that are doubtless better equipped and more spacious. On this voyage also there were some problems with embarkation and disembarkation. The embarkation issues were not wholly of NCL’s making, as a strike in the original departure port of Valparaiso made it necessary to move the port to San Antonio, a location which had never hosted a cruise ship before and thus lacked the infrastructure for efficient check in. I give NCL good marks for making the best of a tough situation, but they could have done a better job communicating with the passengers during the checkin process, which took for many a couple of hours. Disembarkation was hampered however by a delay in getting luggage off the ship. Passengers, some of whom had air connections, had to wait much longer than expected for their transfers. To me, efficient off loading of luggage ought to be a no brainer for a cruise ship and here NCL clearly didn’t deliver. All in all, this was a good but not a great cruise. It won’t stop me from using NCL again, but I will think very seriously as to whether I would take an extended cruise with multiple at seas days in the future.

Good cruise, with a little room for improvement

Norwegian Sun Cruise Review by Hunt1530

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: April 2017
  • Destination: South America
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
This was our sixth cruise on NCL and by far the longest at 20 days travelling as it did all the way from the port of San Antonio, Chile to San Francisco, CA, a distance of over 6,000 nautical miles aboard the Norwegian Sun, one of their smaller and older ships. This was also a “repositioning” cruise, taking the ship from Latin American ports to the Alaska circuit. I’ve come to understand that repositioning cruises need to be judged a little differently than those that repeat the same journey over and over during a season.

Our cabin 1002 on deck 11 faced forward, giving us the same forward facing view as you get on the ships bow-cam. In port this is a real benefit, but it is less so on the open sea, when the wind and weather can make the balcony unusable. On this voyage there were a number of days of choppy seas and windy weather particularly towards journey’s end.

All the areas where NCL excels were on full display during this cruise. The service was top notch, delivered by an enthusiastic and diverse crew. I have noticed NCL really attempts to establish personal connections between crew (including entertainers) and passengers.

Likewise the variety of dining options and the quality of the food itself was outstanding, in fact a significant improvement over the last time we cruised on the Sun in 2014. The entertainment itself was on the whole quite good, with the entertainment staff making a real effort to avoid duplication despite the length of the cruise.

We also enjoyed the excursions which we took at most every port. All of them were well organized and most featured very good guides. Some people cruise to experience the ship, but our focus is always the onshore experiences we do in each port. In this regard, NCL and its partners delivered interesting and meaningful experiences.

Where NCL always comes up short is onboard activities. NCL simply needs more interesting things to do on sea days, and there were ten on this voyage, and some of them during poor weather when hanging around the pool is not an option. Many people are satisfied with Bingo and game shows and pool parties but I look for something more.

The ship itself was a looking a little tired and I hope that the renovations planned during the dry dock scheduled in 2018 will improve and modernize the ship’s facilities. I wouldn’t be surprised if NCL is planning to retire the sun from active service within the next few years given its age, and the projected launch of a half dozen new ships that are doubtless better equipped and more spacious.

On this voyage also there were some problems with embarkation and disembarkation. The embarkation issues were not wholly of NCL’s making, as a strike in the original departure port of Valparaiso made it necessary to move the port to San Antonio, a location which had never hosted a cruise ship before and thus lacked the infrastructure for efficient check in. I give NCL good marks for making the best of a tough situation, but they could have done a better job communicating with the passengers during the checkin process, which took for many a couple of hours.

Disembarkation was hampered however by a delay in getting luggage off the ship. Passengers, some of whom had air connections, had to wait much longer than expected for their transfers. To me, efficient off loading of luggage ought to be a no brainer for a cruise ship and here NCL clearly didn’t deliver.

All in all, this was a good but not a great cruise. It won’t stop me from using NCL again, but I will think very seriously as to whether I would take an extended cruise with multiple at seas days in the future.
Hunt1530’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BC 1002
Large cabin with plenty of storage space. Shower only, a little on the small side.

Décor a little worn. Tempermental TV. Very comfortable bed.

Large balcony with great view but limited usability during sea days.
Pool Deck Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins