Christmas Cruise -- Norwegian Sun: Norwegian Sun Cruise Review by LasseKjus

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Christmas Cruise -- Norwegian Sun

Sail Date: December 2010
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
It has come to a recent tradition in our family to go on a cruise over Christmas. This was the third of the last four years to do so. We probably were a little spoiled with last year's last minute deal on the Costa Atlantica, getting a Wellness Suite for next to nothing. This year, we booked far enough in advance, and the best option was the Norwegian Sun, a repeat of a ship we did four years ago. Of our 14 cruises, this is only the second time we've repeated a vessel (Disney Magic being the other).

We had four rooms in our group. A balcony for my in-laws, an oceanview for 3 for my family of five, an inside for my sister-in-law's group of four, and another inside which got our other two stowe aways in the ocean view on the ship. We used it for storage. The balcony cabin was what you would expect. Nice size, well appointed, lots of storage. The oceanview was teeny. We pushed the queen against the wall and the two adults and the two year old slept there. The third bed, which More wasn't made to full length accommodated the 7 and 4 year olds. There was very little storage and even less room to walk. The two inside cabins were huge. Lots of storage and lots of space.

Last year, our embarkation was a breeze. Five minutes within arriving at the terminal, we were aboard. On Costa, you do most of the stuff onboard outside of verifying your eligibility to be on the ship. Amazed. This time, not so great. Everyone on land was grumpy. We got yelled at more than a few times. Maybe it was the fact they were working on Christmas. We arrived and were waiting for my in-laws who were inexplicably later than us. As we waited, we were told we should just board. We wanted to all board together. The lady didn't listen, got impatient with us and started to be snappy. While we were waiting for them, another person told us just to board. We said we were waiting for the rest of our party, and he snapped back, "well where are they?" Saying I didn't know, he snapped back, "you should. Just go onboard and wait." When we saw them arrive at the terminal and get through security, we started to get in line and the same woman who told us to board with out them, snapped at us again that we couldn't line up unless everyone in our party was ready. ARGH! Then we start to board, and the land crew tells us different directions to board, starts to get into a short argument and finally lets us on.

Once we got on the ship, things got better. However, there was one thing that put a black mark on this voyage and that was the weather. We know that's out of NCL's control, but we had very little sun on this trip. All but two days were completely cloudy. Our first day at sea was rough. Barf bags were put out all over this ship. One of our party suffered through it. Every time she went to deck 11, she vomited. After day 1, we had smooth seas and no more sea sickness.

Dining was fantastic. All our food was very well done. Main dining rooms were a little slow, however. Last April, we were on the Norwegian Star, and our four-course dinners took just over an hour. This trip, we typically had two hour dinners. Granted we had more people this time. After the second night, they remembered our preferred dining time and the number of seats we needed and held a table for us. That was very accommodating.

Of the 11 of us, 5 were age appropriate for the kids club. My 7-year-old has been on 11 cruises and this was the first time she was willing to go to kids club. The 4-year old and 2-year old were begging to go. The 2-year old even cried the last night we had to take him out and tried to run back in, despite being there for three hours. Whatever went on in there, the kids loved.

Entertainment was good. We saw three shows. Two were music based and were entertaining. Not great, but enjoyable. The juggler, Romano Frediani, was awful. We couldn't decide if he was just a bad juggler or a bad juggler on purpose in order to get laughs. His show was a train wreck and only got good after the audience started heckling.

The casino staff was very knowledgeable and very friendly. In fact, all of the on-board staff was fantastic. A complete 180 of the ground staff.

The only thing that was annoying outside of the weather was presenting to customs first thing in the morning in Key West, our last day. The line was 45 minutes long and not real fun.

Disembarkation was a breeze. No wait at customs and our luggage was waiting for us. Less

Published 01/06/11

Cabin review: OC7012 Oceanview Picture Window

Very small, not a lot of storage. Small showers. Window hard to see out of. No walking space at all. Kind of noisy from access to kids club. Teens running up and down the halls. We have kids, so it's not as problematic for us, but could be for others.

Read All Oceanview Picture Window (OC) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

Wanted to go to the Belize Zoo after hitting land and seeing that it was cool and cloudy yet again. The local tour operators weren't trying hard to make that happen. Said it was a long ride and the cost got in our way. Instead, we took a horse and buggy tour. This was our fourth time in Belize and our first to do this. Our driver was knowledgeable and personable. We only spent 3 or so hours on land. Got my favorite souvenir, a Belize Humane Society t-shirt.

We docked at near downtown and enjoyed the shopping along the way and lunch at Casa Blanca. We had plans to go to Chakanaab Park, but decided against that as we got off the ship later than planned. We should have as this was our only warm, sunny day. We've been to Cozumel like 7 times now, so there's nothing really new for us here.

Read 5470 Cozumel Reviews

Had very little time in Key West. Were allowed to debark at 7, but had to clear customs first. Lined up at 8, not done until 9. Off ship around 10 after breakfast, giving us just 2 1/2 hours on land. Would have liked longer. Key West is fun to peruse. Third trip to Key West.

Read 1380 Key West Reviews

I'm listing Port Canaveral (our home port) since I can't find Santo Tomas Guatemala. It was chilly, cloudy and a little rainy. There is very little to do in port and in the neighboring town. We decided to take a water tour of the river and into Livingston. Cost was $49 per adult. It was a decent tour. We were in a power boat for about 45 minutes before we saw anything. Stopped at the hot springs for about 15 minutes, saw some mayan villages, and then went to Livingston, which wasn't really worth the trip. It was not a built up port town which was somewhat refreshing, but there was very little to do. Our kids played at the playground near port and had fun doing that. Then we took the 45 minute boat ride back.

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