Norwegian Sun Cruise Review by papasprep
- Sail Date: February 2018
- Destination: South America
- Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Inside
First, the cruise was out of San Antonio, Chile, not Valparaiso, but Cruise Critic doesn't allow me to put that in as the port of embarkation, as they don't have San Antonio, Chile listed.
The cruise was really enjoyable. We went to ports we have never been to in South America, as this was a repositioning cruise.
We took two buses from Santiago to San Antonio, Chile. First bus is from the airport to the central bus station in Santiago. Look for Turbus. It was about $3 US. The girl selling the tickets at the window didn't speak English, but had a translating thing on her computer that she used to help us and sell us that first ticket to the central bus station, called Terminal Alameda Santiago. Second, from the central bus station, Terminal Alameda, we took a nice coach bus to San Antonio. Tickets are sold inside the central bus station. The bus company is Pullman. Just ask someone where the Pullman tickets are sold. They will point you in the right direction. Trip is about an hour and a half and about $8 US. Bus station is within walking distance of the port. I heard people paid $150 for transfers from the airport to the San Antonio. Take the bus. Way cheaper and a pleasant ride.
We stayed in the Terra Mia Boutique Hotel in San Antonio the night before embarking. It is brand new and is family run. The rooms are very small, but was sufficient for an overnight. The breakfast room overlooks the harbor and delicious breakfast is included in the reasonable price. (We paid $75 cash US). The family was so friendly, we felt like a much honored guests, not just a patron.
We also went to a wonderful restaurant on 274 21 de Mayo street in front of the Terra Mia (one street closer to the harbor) called Logrono Restaurant. They didn't speak any English, but had a menu that included English. We had fish and steak. The fish was very good. My husband raved and raved about that steak. Said it was the best he had had in his whole life. The restaurant is accessed by stairs up to a small courtyard where you enter the restaurant.
Next morning, we walked to the port, but the Mia Terra will arrange a cab for you.
Embarkation was quick and smooth, but rooms were not ready til late, as norovirus had been on the last cruise and NCL were thoroughly sanitizing every square inch of the ship. Measures had been put in place, noticeable mostly in the buffet, to stop the spread of the virus. Food was served by the crew, rather than by the guests in the buffet. They continued this into our cruise. The crew worked overtime keeping things sanitized. I give high marks to NCL and the crew for doing a great job!
We took no ship's shore excursions. Most were with Cruise Critic members.
Our first port was Coquimbo, Chile. We did a Tour by Locals set up by a fellow passenger and cruise cruise member. We went to La Serena, Elqui Valley, Dam, Museum and lunch. Was a pretty good tour.
Second port was Arica, Chile. This tour was also set up by a fellow passenger and Cruise Critic member, Anne.. Anne had come up with a list of places she wanted to see and then put out a proposal to different tour companies. The result was fantastic tour and great price by Orlando of Raices Andinas. We did a short walking tour of the city of Arica and then up to the top of El Morro for a great city view. We saw the geoglyphs, went to the Azapa museum to see the mummies, and went to the Lluta Valley for lunch. The ride through the valley was spectacular.
Third stop was Lima, Peru. We elected to do something different here. We went on a boat ride to several nearby Palomino islands with Mar Adentro in the port town of Callao, Peru. It's within walking distance of where the port buses drop you off in town, but the tourist police would rather you take a taxi (available at port bus drop off point $5 one way). The swimming with the Sealion tour was $45 US cash. They take you out to the islands where you will see many birds including penguins. It does smell of guano. The highlight is getting in the water with the sea lions. They provide wet suits - you need them as the water is cold . The young sea lions will cautiously come up to your feet if you put them out in front of you. But mostly they just jump and swim. Never felt unsafe. It was great!!! Loved it!
I also have a recommendation that many other passengers did and loved in Lima, based on what other passengers from our Cruise Critic group said. Haku tours did a cruise critic tour called the Kings and Queens tour and the Shanty town tour together. It really opened fellow passengers eyes to the way many live. I will do that next time we go.
In Salaverry, Traveler's Tours Peru took us to see both Chan Chan and the Temple of the Sun and Moon. Our time in port was really short there, but this company was able to get it all done with time to spare. I helped plan this tour, and the company was very responsive in their email contact. A pleasure to work with. They really did a great job, picking us up inside the port. Good tour and guide.
Stop 5 was in Manta, Equador. We did a tour with SOS tours, again organized by a fellow passenger. We went to the fish market and learned about the local fishes. Also learned a little about their fishing boats, which were in various stages for building and repair nearby the fish market. More interesting than maybe it sounds. We did a walk through the rainforest. Now I really enjoyed it. But, apparently it is usually dry down in the streambed, but not for us. It had been a wet season for them. Water was flowing in the small stream, so many of us got our feet wet. One lady, not in our group, slipped and broke her arm. (She was seen locally, it was set and she got back to the ship.) It's definitely a doable hike, but you do have to be in decent shape, watch where you are walking, be ready to walk on lots of rocks and possibly water, and be careful walking especially on mossy surfaces. And it is quite humid and buggy. BRING YOUR BUG SPRAY. Absolutely necessary. If you take the tour, perhaps ask if the there will be water in the stream or not. After, we stopped at restaurant near a beach and had snacks and something cold to drink. Next we went to Monte Cristi to learn some Equadorian history, see Panama hats made, and to shop. Rain started as we got down to the market, but most chose to go out in the rain and shop. Then back to the ship. Mostly a good tour.
Stop 6 was Puntarenas, Costa Rica. I think this was a favorite stop of many of the passengers. Beautiful and green compared to many of the desert climes we saw in northern Chile and Peru. We did the Villa Lapas Skybridge Tour with Ricky Ricardo tours. Another great tour arranged by passenger Anne. We first stopped to see the monkeys, which took banana pieces right from our hands. We stopped by a wonderful overview and then went on the skybridge walk. Nice hike. Not difficult. It's dry, no bugs, but lots of stairs and uneven surfaces. Take the walking sticks at the trails beginning. They are helpful where there are sandy surfaces. Then we took an optional part of the tour, to a boat which took you on the river to see crocodiles and many, many birds. The river guide's knowledge was impressive!! We also stopped to see medicinal plants and to shop. Excellent tour!
We went through the Panama Canal. Got up before 6am and enjoyed the day on deck watching as we went through the locks and Culebra cut and Gatun lake. Wonderful day and the commentator on board did a wonderful job!
Last port was Cartagena, Columbia. They have a wonderful port area, with parrots, peacocks, various birds, anteaters, monkeys and other creatures roaming about. We went with Tour in Cartagena Tours. Marelvy Pena-Hall heads this tour company. We walked in the old town, drove to the Fortress of San Felipe and La Popa monastery perched high above the city with great views. The problem is it is really hot there, (over 90), especially for this northerner. Just too hot for me.
Onboard, they had the usual activities. Trivia, shuffleboard, bingo, some dance classes, etc. I would have liked to see more line dancing. They had a couple classes, but not many. I really enjoyed the naturalist who gave talks on many mornings. I learned alot from him. Also enjoyed an arts and crafts segment they did on sea days. I wasn't big on the night time shows, especially the cast productions shows. Too much skin and tight clothes for me. Sexy sells I guess. Wasn't a fan of the magician either.
Food was very good in the dining room and in the buffet. Service was mostly great, but slow at times. As I said, things were busy for them this cruise.
Good cabin steward. Great inside room.
Love the walking track on deck 6!! Way better than being on the top deck.
Overall, it was a good cruise, with some interesting ports, and a great crew who worked hard to keep us healthy. I'll be back NCL!
250,000+ people have entered their email
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
City TourWe walked through residential streets and through the more touristic spots in the old city. It was extremely hot and humid. We stopped by to see the Fortress of San Felipe, but did not go up in it and lastly we went up to La Popa. It was interesting, but just too hot.View All 320 City Tour Reviews
LimaMar Adentro Peru is a short distance from the point outside the port where the port buses drop you off. Take a taxi (cost $5) to the Marina Club Del Callao/Submarine Museum Abtao. For $45, they take you on a 2 1/2 hour boat ride out to the Palomino Island, where there is a large rookery of sea lions. Along the way, they will come close to islands where you will see Humboldt penguins and many birds. Once at the sea lion rookery, the tour operator will provide you with a wet suit if you want to get in the water with the sea lions. The water is at first so cold, but after 5 minutes, we had gotten used to the cold water. The sealions swim and jump nearby. The young sea lions come close out of curiosity. It was awesome!! The tour was very good and the operators very friendly. They spoke both Spanish and English. Great tourView All 13,326 Lima Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Lima Cruise Port Review
Skyway HikeWe did the Villa Lapas Skybridge Tour with Ricky Ricardo tours. We first stopped to see the monkeys, which took banana pieces right from our hands. We stopped by a wonderful overview at a restaurant and then went on the skybridge walk. Nice hike. Not difficult. It's dry, no bugs, but lots of stairs and uneven surfaces. Take the walking sticks at the trails beginning. They are helpful where there are sandy surfaces. We had a delicious lunch. Then we took an optional part of the tour, to a boat which took you on the river to see crocodiles and many, many birds. The river guide's knowledge was impressive!! We also stopped to see medicinal plants and to shop. Excellent tour!View All 10 Skyway Hike Reviews