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We chose this cruise based on desire to visit Alaska through beautiful scenery, great fishing and land excursions and for uninterrupted family time. We were traveling as a family of 8 and enjoyed our trip and the scenery was gorgeous. Please note that we are all FIRST time cruisers and no very little about what the process entails from beginning to end. We booked the Owners suite and the connecting mini suite on Deck 12 port side. We started in Vancouver with hotel reservations at Coast Coal Harbor hotel about 5-6 blocks from port. It was a great place to stay and easy walk to restaurants, shops, port, etc. Embarkation day was very chaotic from the start. We arrived with the masses at the port which happened to be the same time the cruise ship was disembarking. UGH...we (all 8) had priority boarding which until we actually got through customs seemed like it meant nothing. The port had no signage for where to place our luggage which was step one. We then went up an escalator to sit in chairs until we arrived at check in which was complicated because one person needed to be in two locations due to billing and credit card information as they wouldn't complete us as a group of 8. Finally we were given expedited customs both US and Canadian where were made the final stop before boarding. Here is where my darling daughter learned that she left her phone in the bathroom back by check in. As my husband and her start off to retrieve it. I found a very helpful Norwegian man and woman with a radio who radioed ahead our problem which helped us find the phone! They were taking it over to Disney cruise line when they heard the call to leave it at Norwegian. That was such as blessing!!! Finally when we are all back at boarding we had a nice complimentary boarding snacks and drinks before boarding the Sun. We then enjoyed a very nice lunch at La Cucina on board the ship. After lunch we went to purchase Specialty Dining for 6 people and 3 soda packages. Some minor confusion about our prebooked reservations were also worked out with only 1 time changing to later than we preferred. Our 8 bags appeared sporadically throughout the remainder of the day and by 8pm we had our final luggage. The concierge and room steward called multiple times to see if we had our luggage, asking for what color it was or way to identify it and it was eventually found a few floors down. It seemed to bother them as much as us! Dining - we chose to dine at Moderno, La Cucina and Cagneys. Moderno was excellent. The salad bar was average - I think it boasts large, however I've seen larger but that's just my opinion. We have one no red meat person in our group and they accommodate with a banana leaf wrapped something which was so nice to see the accommodation. La Cucina was likely our favorite. We attended their for lunch quite a few times and then as mentioned earlier 1/2 our party attended for breakfast and thought the quality was improved over the buffet. Agree that lunch was the same way. The menu however didn't change it would have been nice by the end of the 7 days to have a slightly different menu however I get that they only have so much food on the ship and so likely they can't make it change but even if they could utilize the same items but change them up would appear different. Cagney's was our last dining option and it was good. Husband and brother in law enjoyed the tomahawk steak which was huge! The raspberry creme brulee was picked by 3/4 of our group and we all agreed it was excellent. We also ate in the Main dining room and always had excellent service and great food. This menu did change slightly at least a few entrees appeared to be different each day which was great for our teens. Entertainment - we didn't venture into the casino at all - we don't gamble much, maybe $20 hear and there. Brother in law was disappointed that you had to pay for bingo cards as I think he would of participated otherwise but seemed to be lots of people engaged in that activity despite paying $20 for a card. The evening events were good. We really enjoyed the Stardust lounge events which consisted of a comedian, Uptown - which was a musical group with dancing that was excellent, Rock you Tonight was also great as well as World Beat! We also listed to the guitarist and piano Manny in Windjammer and enjoyed their selections. We didn't attend any dances in Dazzles unfortunately. Since we were traveling over the 4th it was great to gather in the atrium and sing the national anthem. Also the sing along was fun with great tune selections! On At Sea days we saw a lot of people/families with decks of cards playing their family games or solitaire etc. We did this one day at the Observation lounge which accommodated our group nicely. The kids and my mother took part in the painting on canvas class which was enjoyed by all as well! A couple of us listened to the Q and A with the captain, hotel director and engineer which revealed fun facts and was actually really informative. We were traveling with three teenagers and Entourage was a blessing. The kids were also engaged in very teen appropriate activities that made them feel special. Water pong at midnight (take off beer pong but colored water) was creative and made the kids feel special. They could always be found either at Entourage or getting ice cream. My daughter and niece were hoping to play volleyball however the court was 18 and older which was kind of a bummer. They didn't seem to mind but it was something they wished they could do. Oh they even got to attend dances at Dazzles until about 11 or midnight then they headed back to Entourage - they were typically open until 1am. A crew member stated this cruise seemed to have more kids then some of the other ones so they were really active. The kids loved Entourage! Service - The Owners suite offered us additional service of a butler and concierge. I had done most of the prebooking for specialty dining, etc so we didn't have to utilize him as much. We did have a group that was fishing in Ketchikan and so needed to have them go through priority disembarking at the first port but other than when we disembarked at Seward we didn't utilize his service as much. The butler was seen at least daily if not twice daily. He brought us our treats (they called them amenities) not to mention our water supply that we drained daily, more coffee (which was OK but not his fault it was just the brand they purchased - nothing to write home about) in suite breakfast two days and the occasional late snack. He even made special arrangements when room service didn't officially open until 630 but we wanted it at 615 because of our 7am port arrival. This man was generally helpful and always available by phone when we needed a question answered or some assistance. The room steward could always be found on deck. It was nice to have his hours posted so we didn't bother him when he wasn't working. When I called for extra blankets twice he was always quick to respond with sending some up. We asked for extra towels no question asked. We needed a bar of soap for the 1/2 bath and got three! Since I have never been to Alaska or on a cruise ship before I think the ports were appropriate. We chose not to go through the ship for shore excursions but to book independently. The cost was significantly less and I booked early for discount pricing. I had absolutely no problem with meeting the ship departure time due to the excursions. They were very accommodating and aware of time frames and always ensured we had plenty of time to get back. Overall, I would do it this way again. I would cruise again I think. I have no comparison but overall no complaints with Norwegian. I did lots of research and understood limitations ahead of time (such as the Sun is an older ship but recently refurbished, smaller of the ships in the fleet, etc.) and still chose to book it. I felt for my first cruise it met my expectations. Disembarkation was less stressful we had assistance from the butler and concierge to port side where we picked up a rental car after a little waiting.

First time cruisers - Alaska bound!

Norwegian Sun Cruise Review by Sparling

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2017
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Owner's Suite with Large Balcony
We chose this cruise based on desire to visit Alaska through beautiful scenery, great fishing and land excursions and for uninterrupted family time.

We were traveling as a family of 8 and enjoyed our trip and the scenery was gorgeous. Please note that we are all FIRST time cruisers and no very little about what the process entails from beginning to end. We booked the Owners suite and the connecting mini suite on Deck 12 port side.

We started in Vancouver with hotel reservations at Coast Coal Harbor hotel about 5-6 blocks from port. It was a great place to stay and easy walk to restaurants, shops, port, etc.

Embarkation day was very chaotic from the start. We arrived with the masses at the port which happened to be the same time the cruise ship was disembarking. UGH...we (all 8) had priority boarding which until we actually got through customs seemed like it meant nothing. The port had no signage for where to place our luggage which was step one. We then went up an escalator to sit in chairs until we arrived at check in which was complicated because one person needed to be in two locations due to billing and credit card information as they wouldn't complete us as a group of 8. Finally we were given expedited customs both US and Canadian where were made the final stop before boarding. Here is where my darling daughter learned that she left her phone in the bathroom back by check in. As my husband and her start off to retrieve it. I found a very helpful Norwegian man and woman with a radio who radioed ahead our problem which helped us find the phone! They were taking it over to Disney cruise line when they heard the call to leave it at Norwegian. That was such as blessing!!! Finally when we are all back at boarding we had a nice complimentary boarding snacks and drinks before boarding the Sun. We then enjoyed a very nice lunch at La Cucina on board the ship. After lunch we went to purchase Specialty Dining for 6 people and 3 soda packages. Some minor confusion about our prebooked reservations were also worked out with only 1 time changing to later than we preferred. Our 8 bags appeared sporadically throughout the remainder of the day and by 8pm we had our final luggage. The concierge and room steward called multiple times to see if we had our luggage, asking for what color it was or way to identify it and it was eventually found a few floors down. It seemed to bother them as much as us!

Dining - we chose to dine at Moderno, La Cucina and Cagneys. Moderno was excellent. The salad bar was average - I think it boasts large, however I've seen larger but that's just my opinion. We have one no red meat person in our group and they accommodate with a banana leaf wrapped something which was so nice to see the accommodation. La Cucina was likely our favorite. We attended their for lunch quite a few times and then as mentioned earlier 1/2 our party attended for breakfast and thought the quality was improved over the buffet. Agree that lunch was the same way. The menu however didn't change it would have been nice by the end of the 7 days to have a slightly different menu however I get that they only have so much food on the ship and so likely they can't make it change but even if they could utilize the same items but change them up would appear different. Cagney's was our last dining option and it was good. Husband and brother in law enjoyed the tomahawk steak which was huge! The raspberry creme brulee was picked by 3/4 of our group and we all agreed it was excellent.

We also ate in the Main dining room and always had excellent service and great food. This menu did change slightly at least a few entrees appeared to be different each day which was great for our teens.

Entertainment - we didn't venture into the casino at all - we don't gamble much, maybe $20 hear and there. Brother in law was disappointed that you had to pay for bingo cards as I think he would of participated otherwise but seemed to be lots of people engaged in that activity despite paying $20 for a card. The evening events were good. We really enjoyed the Stardust lounge events which consisted of a comedian, Uptown - which was a musical group with dancing that was excellent, Rock you Tonight was also great as well as World Beat! We also listed to the guitarist and piano Manny in Windjammer and enjoyed their selections. We didn't attend any dances in Dazzles unfortunately. Since we were traveling over the 4th it was great to gather in the atrium and sing the national anthem. Also the sing along was fun with great tune selections! On At Sea days we saw a lot of people/families with decks of cards playing their family games or solitaire etc. We did this one day at the Observation lounge which accommodated our group nicely. The kids and my mother took part in the painting on canvas class which was enjoyed by all as well! A couple of us listened to the Q and A with the captain, hotel director and engineer which revealed fun facts and was actually really informative.

We were traveling with three teenagers and Entourage was a blessing. The kids were also engaged in very teen appropriate activities that made them feel special. Water pong at midnight (take off beer pong but colored water) was creative and made the kids feel special. They could always be found either at Entourage or getting ice cream. My daughter and niece were hoping to play volleyball however the court was 18 and older which was kind of a bummer. They didn't seem to mind but it was something they wished they could do. Oh they even got to attend dances at Dazzles until about 11 or midnight then they headed back to Entourage - they were typically open until 1am. A crew member stated this cruise seemed to have more kids then some of the other ones so they were really active. The kids loved Entourage!

Service - The Owners suite offered us additional service of a butler and concierge. I had done most of the prebooking for specialty dining, etc so we didn't have to utilize him as much. We did have a group that was fishing in Ketchikan and so needed to have them go through priority disembarking at the first port but other than when we disembarked at Seward we didn't utilize his service as much. The butler was seen at least daily if not twice daily. He brought us our treats (they called them amenities) not to mention our water supply that we drained daily, more coffee (which was OK but not his fault it was just the brand they purchased - nothing to write home about) in suite breakfast two days and the occasional late snack. He even made special arrangements when room service didn't officially open until 630 but we wanted it at 615 because of our 7am port arrival. This man was generally helpful and always available by phone when we needed a question answered or some assistance. The room steward could always be found on deck. It was nice to have his hours posted so we didn't bother him when he wasn't working. When I called for extra blankets twice he was always quick to respond with sending some up. We asked for extra towels no question asked. We needed a bar of soap for the 1/2 bath and got three!

Since I have never been to Alaska or on a cruise ship before I think the ports were appropriate. We chose not to go through the ship for shore excursions but to book independently. The cost was significantly less and I booked early for discount pricing. I had absolutely no problem with meeting the ship departure time due to the excursions. They were very accommodating and aware of time frames and always ensured we had plenty of time to get back. Overall, I would do it this way again.

I would cruise again I think. I have no comparison but overall no complaints with Norwegian. I did lots of research and understood limitations ahead of time (such as the Sun is an older ship but recently refurbished, smaller of the ships in the fleet, etc.) and still chose to book it. I felt for my first cruise it met my expectations.

Disembarkation was less stressful we had assistance from the butler and concierge to port side where we picked up a rental car after a little waiting.
Sparling’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 13 to 15
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Owner's Suite with Large Balcony
Cabin SB 1203
Our cabin was a great spot for 8 people to gather throughout the cruise. We had 5 adults and 3 teenagers on this trip. The balcony was large enough to accommodate 2 additional chairs from the mini suite balcony without feeling like you were tripping over chairs. The view was obstructed somewhat by the railing that is necessary likely for safety reasons but if you stand up from the lounge chair or hold your camera up above it you didn't tend to have the rail interfere with the pictures. (This was a criticism I had read about earlier but didn't find it a nuisance.) The pull out bed was fairly comfortable for my husband and I. The bathroom in the Owners Suite is spacious and seemed to work well the entire trip. We had two sinks not to mention a nice vanity spot in the "closet" area so three girls could get ready at the same time which we utilized frequently. The 1/2 bath was a blessing to have and offered a fourth alternative to someone getting ready as well. The master bedroom had a king size bed I believe with a sitting area which we never really utilized than for our luggage. We loved the view in the morning from the balcony. It was actually nice to have the second balcony in the mini suite as we utilized it while we were at Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier for additional views. Enjoyed the amenities from the butler and so appreciated the room stewards help with setting up the bed in the evening, taking it down in the morning, extra blankets, towels, etc throughout the trip. The perks with the suite just seem to keep flowing. My sister and her family utilized La Cucina as suite members (which by the way they were treated as if in the Owners Suite because we tied the two rooms together when we booked the rooms. (The butler and room steward said this was a common occurrence which was great to hear) They went for breakfast quite a few mornings at La Cucina and found it much better quality than the buffet. The rest of us couldn't get up in time to go. HA! There was immense amount of closet and hanging space for the 7 days and 4 people. My family didn't all hang their clothes or put their clothes in drawers we just tended to live out of our suitcases which I know is not always achievable in smaller rooms but 4 large bags were not "in the way" with two in the sitting area of the master bedroom and two in the closet area.
This room is in the front of the boat and despite one occurrence of a sharp drift we rarely felt the boat move and it was quiet!
Pool Deck Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Glacier Bay
    Beautiful views! Hubbard Glacier was equally impressive, if not more impressive!
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  • Mendenhall Glacier
    Booked this excursion in April to receive a discount as well for booking more than 6 tickets (we were a family of 8). The bus tour was awesome and the guide was very informative about the culture of Juneau! Well worth the money!
    View All 888 Mendenhall Glacier Reviews
  • Fishing
    My husband, mother, brother in law and nephew fished for Salmon in Ketchikan. They absolutely loved Nick from Chasin Tail. He was an awesome guide that got them into fish that they flew back home. Roughly 40lbs between the 4 of them! Well worth the money and my husband wants to go back again!
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  • Misty Fjords Flightseeing
    We booked through Family Air in February to receive a discount on our flight which I felt was well worth the money. My daughter and I flew with another mother and her young daughter and Dave (the owner) was very cautious about equally distributing weight, including all in the conversation and telling us a lot of insightful information about Ketchikan and the Misty Fjords!
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  • Seward
    Cute little town. We did some exploring around town but decided to spend most of our day seeing the sights in between Seward and Anchorage by rental car. We booked our rental cars early on in the year and with an AARP discount they were reasonably priced. We did find it difficult to get 4 large bags in the trunk of their mid size (Chevy Cruze) car but made it work overall with one in the back seat between the passengers. If I had to do it again I would probably splurge and get an SUV likely a little more comfort for 4 people, 4 large bags and 4 carryons!
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    My husband, daughter and mother decided to visit Jewell Gardens and experience glass blowing. They all raved about the experience and their items were shipped to us without any difficulty, arriving after we were home! Booking through the cruise ship you paid almost $200 more for this for 24K gold included in your glass piece. We felt it was well worth booking independently. Buy the Smart Shuttle pass $5 for all day travel as it is a bit of a jaunt from the dock!
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  • Yukon Van Tour
    6 of us took a AC van into Yukon Territory through Dyea Dave! It was a great experience and our guide was very knowledgeable about the area and gave fun little facts throughout the trip. She gave us plenty of time at each stop and we never felt rushed the entire day!
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  • Vancouver
    Vancouver is a beautiful location with lots to see. We didn't spend a great deal of time there but would love to go back and check it out more!
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