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This is my third cruise ever and first with NCL. Had high hopes and expectations after only cruising with Carnival in the past. This cruise went to Key West, FL and Havana, Cuba. IMPORTANT to know…This is touted as one day in Key West and two days in Havana, IT IS NOT. Having left port at 4 pm on Sunday, it arrived at Key West at 1pm on Monday and we were to be back on the boat by 6pm to set sail at 7. Arriving in Havana at 7 am we were to be back on the ship by 5 am the next day for a 7 am departure toward home. Plan accordingly. We thought we had two full days in Havana and were disappointed. Orlando to Port Canaveral: Shuttles are good, UBER is the way to go. If you have 4 people and luggage get an XL Uber. Stay at the Radison Resort at Port Canaveral if you are arriving a day early. Not in walking distance of too many food choices, but Uber is everywhere down there and cheap to eating destinations. Embarkation was super easy. We requested a 12:30 to 1:00 time and arrived about an hour early. The lines were already down so low that check in process took about 30 minutes and we were on board by 12:10. EVERYONE on board is with their luggage and trying to eat buffet at the only open restaurant. It is a madhouse, but only so bad due to the size of the ship. The Good: Updated in 2018 the rooms and décor throughout seemed really nice. The crew was attentive and super friendly. It is only 800 feet long so getting from one end to the other is pretty quick. Once you learn the decks, getting around is not so hard. All the action is on 5-7 and 11 and 12. Our rooms (on the 10th deck, port side balcony) were really comfortable. They were cleaned once a day and our bed was made up mid-morning and turned down in the evening. Shower had a lot of pressure and temperature easily adjusted. CAREFUL! Because you can easily go too far towards HOT and it is scalding. They have warning signs, but if you have children, don’t let them mess with the shower knob. The drinks were all inclusive and well made. The “painkiller” of British V.I. fame was particularly tasty and followed the original recipe with Pusser’s British Rum. We had paid for the premium package which allowed us the top shelf liquor. This was an over-site, however, because somewhere we missed that this was an all-inclusive cruise from the get-go. We really didn’t need it, but since we had it, we drank high quality stuff to get our money out of it. As an example Woodford Kentucky Bourbon (from the Derby) is a top-shelf bourbon. Bulleit Bourbon and the Pusser's Rum were not. The various bars and hangouts were comfortable, particularly the Windjammer which is a really cozy hangout. I found the bartenders here to be the best and when in International Waters, Cuban cigars can be bought here to smoke up on the smoking deck. The rear observation deck and bar was really nice too. Waiting to get off at the ports is the thing to do. We waited an hour or more before we even bothered to try and get off the ship and the result was minimal lines and quick processing. We cruised the second week of May and there were very few kids/children on the boat which was nice. The pleasant surprise was the Butterfly Conservatory at Key West. Really worth the stop and super cheap to attend. The Bad: The communication system is horrible on this boat. There are no speakers in the cabins and where there are speakers they are very hard to understand except in a few locations. Don’t be lazy. If you want to be informed read the daily guides and watch the TV channels that provide cruise information. The food was mehhhhh!!!! The cafeterias are small and provided little more than your really good Holiday Inn complimentary breakfast. Much of the fruit was artificially ripened and tasteless. The made to order omelet bar is your best bet, but it’s still just Holiday Inn free breakfast. Breakfast in the dining room was the same as at the buffet you just didn’t have to go get it yourself and the coffee was better; very disappointed. We only tried two of the several available restaurants where you pay extra. The Churrascaria service was slow and the meats overcooked. The salad bar there was delicious and had a very good smoked salmon on it. The Mexican restaurant was poorly attempted. Mexican food on a boat when you are from Texas is a bad idea although the table side guacamole was very well done and tasty. I have to say that the food experience on Carnival Conquest 10 years ago was 10 times better than this NCL ship in 2019. For a cruise that is going to Cuba and sells Cuban cigars on board, the smoking deck on this ship is in a poor location with some absurd rules. Outdoors, with room for 40, the smoking deck sits on a part of the upper deck of the ship where the winds whip around frantically from just the ship being in motion. Couple it with any kind of natural wind and one can even light their cigar. What appears to be the bar that serves the smoking deck cannot be smoked at and the bartenders shoo you away if you approach with anything lit. One would think, especially with this cruise, that there would be an indoor smoking lounge so you could actually enjoy your cigars. The cruise itinerary could be better. A full day at sea going and coming back, with two full days in Havana would be AMAZING! Key West is not worth the stop for the length of time you are there in my opinion and with no disrespect to Key Westerners. I’m sure it is much better when you drive down from Miami. Conclusion. The food was 3 stars at best and the itinerary should be massaged to get the most out of Cuba. The comfort of the ship, ease of getting around and staff were above average and having very few kids on the cruise was a nice extra that we weren’t necessarily expecting. I took this cruise to have two days in Cuba and got 22 hours of which 9 of it was after dark. There is only so much one can do in Cuba after dark and most of it can be done on the ship. I would honestly say that if you are taking this cruise to go to Cuba you might consider flying there. If you are going for the food, pick a different ship. If you like fewer people on your cruise this is a really nice ship. (1800 passengers, 900 crew) Updated in 2018 does not mean brand new, so there are some things that newer ships have that this one doesn’t. If you like to gamble, the casino is small, but whenever it was open there were available seats for card games and slot machines. Double check if your cruise is all-inclusive on drinks and if so, DO NOT purchase the premium package. The premium dinner package is probably not worth it either unless you eat at Cagney’s every dinner meal. Wait at ports before disembarking and you will have a faster and more stress free transition onto land.

Hoping for more, underwhelmed :-(

Norwegian Sun Cruise Review by 1_JohnPaul_1

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2019
  • Destination: Cuba
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony
This is my third cruise ever and first with NCL. Had high hopes and expectations after only cruising with Carnival in the past. This cruise went to Key West, FL and Havana, Cuba. IMPORTANT to know…This is touted as one day in Key West and two days in Havana, IT IS NOT. Having left port at 4 pm on Sunday, it arrived at Key West at 1pm on Monday and we were to be back on the boat by 6pm to set sail at 7. Arriving in Havana at 7 am we were to be back on the ship by 5 am the next day for a 7 am departure toward home. Plan accordingly. We thought we had two full days in Havana and were disappointed.

Orlando to Port Canaveral: Shuttles are good, UBER is the way to go. If you have 4 people and luggage get an XL Uber.

Stay at the Radison Resort at Port Canaveral if you are arriving a day early. Not in walking distance of too many food choices, but Uber is everywhere down there and cheap to eating destinations.

Embarkation was super easy. We requested a 12:30 to 1:00 time and arrived about an hour early. The lines were already down so low that check in process took about 30 minutes and we were on board by 12:10. EVERYONE on board is with their luggage and trying to eat buffet at the only open restaurant. It is a madhouse, but only so bad due to the size of the ship.

The Good:

Updated in 2018 the rooms and décor throughout seemed really nice. The crew was attentive and super friendly. It is only 800 feet long so getting from one end to the other is pretty quick. Once you learn the decks, getting around is not so hard. All the action is on 5-7 and 11 and 12.

Our rooms (on the 10th deck, port side balcony) were really comfortable. They were cleaned once a day and our bed was made up mid-morning and turned down in the evening. Shower had a lot of pressure and temperature easily adjusted. CAREFUL! Because you can easily go too far towards HOT and it is scalding. They have warning signs, but if you have children, don’t let them mess with the shower knob.

The drinks were all inclusive and well made. The “painkiller” of British V.I. fame was particularly tasty and followed the original recipe with Pusser’s British Rum. We had paid for the premium package which allowed us the top shelf liquor. This was an over-site, however, because somewhere we missed that this was an all-inclusive cruise from the get-go. We really didn’t need it, but since we had it, we drank high quality stuff to get our money out of it. As an example Woodford Kentucky Bourbon (from the Derby) is a top-shelf bourbon. Bulleit Bourbon and the Pusser's Rum were not.

The various bars and hangouts were comfortable, particularly the Windjammer which is a really cozy hangout. I found the bartenders here to be the best and when in International Waters, Cuban cigars can be bought here to smoke up on the smoking deck. The rear observation deck and bar was really nice too.

Waiting to get off at the ports is the thing to do. We waited an hour or more before we even bothered to try and get off the ship and the result was minimal lines and quick processing.

We cruised the second week of May and there were very few kids/children on the boat which was nice.

The pleasant surprise was the Butterfly Conservatory at Key West. Really worth the stop and super cheap to attend.

The Bad:

The communication system is horrible on this boat. There are no speakers in the cabins and where there are speakers they are very hard to understand except in a few locations. Don’t be lazy. If you want to be informed read the daily guides and watch the TV channels that provide cruise information.

The food was mehhhhh!!!! The cafeterias are small and provided little more than your really good Holiday Inn complimentary breakfast. Much of the fruit was artificially ripened and tasteless. The made to order omelet bar is your best bet, but it’s still just Holiday Inn free breakfast. Breakfast in the dining room was the same as at the buffet you just didn’t have to go get it yourself and the coffee was better; very disappointed. We only tried two of the several available restaurants where you pay extra. The Churrascaria service was slow and the meats overcooked. The salad bar there was delicious and had a very good smoked salmon on it. The Mexican restaurant was poorly attempted. Mexican food on a boat when you are from Texas is a bad idea although the table side guacamole was very well done and tasty. I have to say that the food experience on Carnival Conquest 10 years ago was 10 times better than this NCL ship in 2019.

For a cruise that is going to Cuba and sells Cuban cigars on board, the smoking deck on this ship is in a poor location with some absurd rules. Outdoors, with room for 40, the smoking deck sits on a part of the upper deck of the ship where the winds whip around frantically from just the ship being in motion. Couple it with any kind of natural wind and one can even light their cigar. What appears to be the bar that serves the smoking deck cannot be smoked at and the bartenders shoo you away if you approach with anything lit. One would think, especially with this cruise, that there would be an indoor smoking lounge so you could actually enjoy your cigars.

The cruise itinerary could be better. A full day at sea going and coming back, with two full days in Havana would be AMAZING! Key West is not worth the stop for the length of time you are there in my opinion and with no disrespect to Key Westerners. I’m sure it is much better when you drive down from Miami.

Conclusion. The food was 3 stars at best and the itinerary should be massaged to get the most out of Cuba. The comfort of the ship, ease of getting around and staff were above average and having very few kids on the cruise was a nice extra that we weren’t necessarily expecting. I took this cruise to have two days in Cuba and got 22 hours of which 9 of it was after dark. There is only so much one can do in Cuba after dark and most of it can be done on the ship. I would honestly say that if you are taking this cruise to go to Cuba you might consider flying there. If you are going for the food, pick a different ship. If you like fewer people on your cruise this is a really nice ship. (1800 passengers, 900 crew) Updated in 2018 does not mean brand new, so there are some things that newer ships have that this one doesn’t. If you like to gamble, the casino is small, but whenever it was open there were available seats for card games and slot machines. Double check if your cruise is all-inclusive on drinks and if so, DO NOT purchase the premium package. The premium dinner package is probably not worth it either unless you eat at Cagney’s every dinner meal. Wait at ports before disembarking and you will have a faster and more stress free transition onto land.
1_JohnPaul_1’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Balcony
Cabin BA 0037
Our rooms (on the 10th deck, port side balcony) were really comfortable. They were cleaned once a day and our bed was made up mid-morning and turned down in the evening. Shower had a lot of pressure and temperature easily adjusted. CAREFUL! Because you can easily go too far towards HOT and it is scalding. They have warning signs, but if you have children, don’t let them mess with the shower knob.
Norway Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

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