Transatlantic Cruises - Opportunities to enjoy everything!: Norwegian Sun Cruise Review by kirby31098

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Transatlantic Cruises - Opportunities to enjoy everything!

Sail Date: April 2010
Destination: Transatlantic
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
The positive: -Great cabin with balcony on the 11th deck. -Very smooth weather crossing in late April and early May. -Some staff were exceptional. -Endless variety or opportunity for abundant activities to wile away the hours/days at sea. -Excellent entertainment during the first six sea days. -Specialty restaurants were not overly crowded. -Fabulous tea and scones for the afternoon tea.

The negative: -Most staff and servicing,(restaurant, bar, lounge) were inconsistent at best. -Cruise director and staff lacked appropriate decorum. -Port information severely lacking or non existent. -Those who supposedly were in positions to know about ____________ didn't. -Sports bar only served "bar food" during the evening hours. Popcorn in afternoon. -Surly staff at hotel desk. -Internet use is a necessary evil these days and you will use up all the minutes purchased, plus some, faster than you think you will. The per minute cost is outrageous and last minute checking on port More reservation can be expensive.

The neutral: -Specialty restaurants were great some nights and mediocre on other nights. -Two Main dining room choices with only small to non-existent waits for seating. -Buffet had a nice variety and selection. -The unfortunate thing about Freestyle dining is never getting to know one set of dining table staff who will wait on you consistently and who get to know you.

Best suggestions: -Bring your own wine on long voyages and pay corkage fee to make sure you get the wine you prefer. This is a great option NCL provides. -If you find a waiter that you really enjoy in one of the main dining rooms, make a reservation for his/her table every night that you dine in that room. -If you have a chance always share a table with other cruisers you do not know. The insight they provide, especially if they have cruised to many ports, is invaluable. -Plan and use your time a sea wisely, it passes very quickly. -Consider doing transatlantic going from the east to the west. The port intensive visiting is then out of the way and you have six days to rest crossing the Atlantic back to the USA. Less

Published 06/03/10

Cabin review: MB1211 Mini-Suite with Balcony

Great Bathroom and Wonderful closet. Great living space with a cabinet stocked with stemware sometimes, and refrigerator. Loved the Balcony especially with the nice weather during the crossing. Down the hall from the spa, but "no fumes" were noticed in the corridor or rooms. Near the exercise room. Location toward the front of the ship made the rocking motion of the ship more noticeable than locations at mid ship and at lower levels, There was a "special" breakfast room for guests at the AE level, but the service, in general, for the special breakfast room was inadequate at best. We ended up eating in the Main Dining Room.

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Port and Shore Excursions

NOTE: Zeebrugge is an active shipping port. They have extremely strict rules regarding passengers on the dock. You cannot walk from the dock to the town or train, You can only leave the ship's dock by cab or bus, which was provided free of charge by the port/ship. Brugge is about a 20 minute cab ride or 15 minute train ride from the port. The cab price to town is fixed and does not fluctuate, so a cab of 8 is the same price as a cab with 2.

Brugge was the highlight of the trip. It is a small old town that escaped major damage during WWII. You can use the train to get from Zeebrugge to Brugge. It's clean, quick and affordable. Cruisers on our ship arranged to meet a Historian Guide and take a walking tour of Brugge. The group of 25 paid the Guide $25 euros for the two hour tour, so $1 euro each.

Make sure to stop in one of chocolate shops and have a hot chocolate. It was cold the day we visited and enjoyed the treat so much many of us had more than one.

This is the port closest to the D-Day Beaches. Cabs have a fixed rate for the tour and are reluctant to change the itinerary to suit the travelers. At the dock is a local car rental agency, but a reservation is necessary as they have limited inventory. The car rental company will also rent you a Garmin or other navigation device to aid in traveling the area however the roads are well marked and easy to drive provided you have someone with you to navigate. Also, you need to have Euros and be prepared to pay a few tolls.

Our ship was in port for 12 hours which was plenty of time to do the sights that our group wanted to see. The down side to our travel was that the ship's visit was on a Sunday and many small town shops were shuttered.

There is no shortage of "museums" housing a multitude of military armaments. Every little hamlet has at least one, usually more. Except for the American Beach sights and Cemetery, all museums we visited had $5+ Euro entry charges. Some entry charges are adjust for "seasonal entries."

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Hire a cab at the port and have them take you around Lisbon if you have never been there before. On our second transatlantic we had them take us to Pena/Sintra Palace. Make sure to have the cab make a stop and pick up the Portuguese National dessert, a custard type pastry, and cherry "wine", a drink made from cherries, sugar and a 100 proof alcohol. People line up for the dessert and our driver told us about the "cherry wine" - "One makes the day go better."

Read 639 Lisbon Reviews

Vigo is a fishing village mostly noted for their seafood. It does not have much in the way of tourism, especially since our ship was there before tourist season, summer months, so there was no transportation out to the nearby islands and sanctuaries. Also available are boarder tours to the villages along the Spain-Portugal boarder.

Our ship was in Vigo for twelve hours so we used the time to take the train to Santiago de Compostela, a pilgrimage site, where it is said that the remains St. James the apostle are interned. The train ride from Vigo to Santiago de Compostela took about 1.5 hours. The express train is faster, but note that it does requires a reservation and is a little more expensive, but not prohibitively.

The walk to the Cathedral is an easy one but does require you to navigate a flight of stairs and a small incline to get to the there. The Pilgrim's Mass is at noon. Make sure you stay until the very end when they light the incense in the "Botafumeiro", a 225 pound silver incense burning hanging above the altar. Quite a show, especially when it has to be stopped from swinging.

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