Norwegian Sun Cruise Review by DonWatts
- Sail Date: December 2017
- Destination: South America
- Cabin Type: Inside
Embarkation was quite tedious -- two hours in a line moving at the speed of molasses. But the building was quite hot, so the molasses flowed reasonably well. Once on board, things were fine.
Cabin: Inside, forward. Biggest drawback was being on Deck 6a (sort of like Platform 9 3/4, kinda hard to get to), no elevator access -- had to either go up or down flight of stairs to reach it. Night #3. in rough seas, there was a continuous random banging thud against our back wall -- as if a pair of tennis shoes were looped around an invisible staircase behind the wall. They moved us to a different cabin seven doors down that night. All was well afterwards. Worst part was losing our cabin steward, Milos, who became my instructor in Bosnian for the rest of the voyage. Our new cabin, and steward Mingxu, were excellent.
The cabin itself was certainly adequate, though shower was a bit cramped (my fault -- must diet!). TV was a tad fuzzy, but did not use it much anyway. Housekeeping was excellent.
Dining: Yum! We ate most of our meals at the buffet -- always a wide selection of choices, regardless of breakfast/lunch/dinner. And GOOD! We ate several dinner meals at the Four Seasons restaurant: Maitre d' on top of my wife's food allergy -- always attentive and careful. Much slower than the buffet, of course, but nice to have a "civilized" meal now and then. Choice of private table or shared table (with random pairing of passengers). We much preferred that and met some wonderful people: U.S., Canadian, French, Chilean, etc. Speaking of which, this was a very diverse set of passengers, much more than I expected. Chinese, Japanese, German, Spanish, in addition to the above dinner-mates. Many many languages could be heard throughout the voyage.
Entertainment/activities: A wide range of fun stuff: trivia games, "game show" formats, etc. Music by Jonathan in the Windjammer Bar was a special treat. Our biggest complaint about the activities was a total lack of educational sessions. Visiting four countries and virtually nothing in terms of historical overviews or lectures about the cultures, histories, etc, of any of them. Quite disappointing and a waste of opportunity. Many of our new friends on board felt the same way. NCL would be well-advised to add some kind of regular educational effort. We would rather spend a half hour learning something than a half hour trivia session about airport identification or dog breeds.
Shore excursions: Wow! Excellent! Pricey, but there was some comfort in knowing that if the bus was late getting back to the ship, the ship was not going to leave without us! (Indeed, at one port, a passenger who had taken off on his/her own, did not make it back before departure and had to fly to the next port at their own expense!).
All the tourguides, without exception, spoke excellent English, and were obviously proud of their country and culture. However NCL chooses local tours, it works -- keep it up!
Don't forget to keep a bunch of $5 or $10 or whatever bills on hand for tips at the end of the excursion -- they ALL deserved it!
Disembarkation was also tedious: the staff "controlling" it didn't. She divided the large room into three sections -- called for the first section to leave, and promptly forgot to call the other two and set other groups loose at the same time. No control over who was being herded out the back door, so the whole thing got bottled up quickly. But once off the boat and on our day-long excursion/airport transfer bus to Santiago, all was well.
Overall, a wonderful experience, despite the concerns above. We will sail with NCL again in a heartbeat -- just as soon as we save up for another.
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