Consider this a review from the point of view of someone whos never cruised on NCL but has some experience on HAL and Princess. We chose this cruise based on price and itinerary and while we were not disappointed in either of these respects, we did find ourselves quite disappointed at the end of the cruise for 2 very specific reasons that Ill detail at the end. To us they were important; to you they may not be. The Sun is a very clean looking ship, well maintained, smartly painted and kept up quite well. I've not seen any areas of the ship where trash has been left to stand for days or even hours as I have on both HAL and Princess ships. You can find rust on the Sun, but not nearly so easily as you can on other ships. She was in dry dock less than a year ago so that certainly helps. The colors in the carpets and drapes are all strong and not sun faded. Overall, I'd have to say the condition of the ship is perhaps a halfstep above the other ships weve been on.
The rooms are a bit more cramped than others weve had and the storage space rather more limited. Each cabin has a small refrigerator and while that may be fine for some, I'd rather have the storage space. It is possible to have the mini-bar goodies removed so you can use the fridge for other things. One thing we noticed was that the water pressure in the cabin was almost overpoweringly strong and there was a never-ending supply of nearly scalding hot water, both quite appreciated. In fact, the water pressure onboard was better than it is here at home. Dust accumulated on every surface at a furious rate in our cabin. I don't fault the stewards though as they cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. The AC, which worked well throughout the cruise, seems to generate the dust and distribute it. When we opened the air intake to look at the filter, we found it solidly blocked by 2+ inches of woolie dust. Our steward was most apologetic about it and cleaned it thoroughly, explaining that it was maintenances job to clean and replace them. All four cabins of our party had the same problem, and I think that this, in part, led to my wife developing a sinus infection that drove her to the ships doctor; a cruise first for us. The beds are standard singles that can be pushed together to form a queen of sorts. How they manage to move them is another question as they seem to be made of solid concrete and only get firmer as the cruising nights pile up. Then there's the pillows or whatever they really are; I suspect they might alternately be used as body armor. I never pulled the cases off, but I also suspect they may be 2"x12" planks of wood, they litterally are that hard and flat. That's it for pillows, 2 per bed. No throw pillows for charm or propping up to read. The love seat there is barely room for makes into a bed, but only apparently for torturing its inhabitant as sitting on it alone is cause enough to contact Amnesty International. We've discovered that the drapes that cover our generous porthole hang at noticeably different lengths. This causes the weighted bottom of the shorter of the two to bang annoyingly when the seas are a bit rambunctious behind the wall they slide into. There are no chocolates during evening turndown service or note from the crew or captain wishing us a good night's sleep. Also, no magically refreshed fruit bowl in the room, not that there's much space for it to sit if there were one. The bath is functional. Dull white nearly seamless formed plastic walls with a formed sink and tube-like (yes, tube with an e) shower stall. A hair dryer hangs above the toilet and the towel that hangs from the lowest towel bar does so into or over the trashbin, your choice. Fortunately, the stewards always hang the floor mat there. The bath stall is clean, and appears to be easily cleaned, but I just can't help noticing all the (not yet all my own) hairs that inevitably stick to the white plastic walls during the wiping down process. This is a bathroom that is made for "multi-taskers" as I can literally sit on the can, wash my face in the sink after shaving it while soaking my feet and legs in the shower tube. All soaps come from dispensers, there are no bottles of name-brand shampoos and no body lotion whatsoever.
The food is fine; we had no trouble finding something to eat at each feeding and it seems to be available more often than on HAL/Princess. There is almost always food someplace, whether at the sports bar, outdoor cafe, buffet or main dining rooms. One thing to note is that for the 24/7 pizza, there is a $5 delivery charge, double the delivery charge to have pizza delivered at home. The problems we had with food tended to be getting at it. Because there are so many venues for food, they are all are rather small and quickly fill up at prime dining times, making movement difficult, with the exception of the main dining rooms. Also, there's no easy way to get through the Garden Cafe (the buffet) to the Great Outdoor Cafe (aft buffet) from the pool area of deck 11 when the troughs are open. As for service, it's generally good but tends to be slow, especially in the main dining room and the sports bar. You can pay to eat at several different venues which are unlike any Ive seen on other cruise lines. Theres a Brazilian Churrascaria onboard which is pushed heavily by the staff, a French restaurant, a sushi bar, a tappas bar, and Italian restaurant and even a teppanyaki experience. We chose to eat only once at Il Adagio, the Italian restaurant with nice views of whatever is alongside the starboard side of the ship. We celebrated the birthday of one of our party of 8 and when we made reservations found that they could only accommodate parties of 4, meaning we were side-by-side in booths, not the greatest arrangement for a party but we made it work. The service here was attentive and personal. The time we spent enjoying beautifully presented good food went quickly, unlike it does in the main dining rooms, where long stretches of time passed between courses and service. Seating was quick in the main dining rooms, but it seemed we were waited on by robots who made little attempt to do more than required to serve a multi-course meal. I think this is attributable to the Freestyle Dining concept. We found it too much to try and keep up with or avoid any particular waiter. We spent a lot of time at the Garden Caf, Great Outdoor Caf and the Sports Bar. Wed like to see the concept of the sports bar on other ships. Also, we missed the full hot and cold sandwich bar found on the HAL/Princess ships weve been on. There was a lunch-time DIY cold station where you could make your own sandwich, but it was hidden over at the churrascaria and we generally avoided this area as it was just inside from where smoking on the pool deck was allowed and always smelled of it. We did find, unfortunately for our waistlines, that the ice cream/dessert bar was open continuously from lunch time until well after dinner, and thoroughly enjoyed the peach and blueberry cobbler but passed on the bread pudding, which others did seem to enjoy.
Small, functional bath; little storage space; generously sized porthole; extremely firm beds and pillows
Busy and dirty! We did an independent walking tour of Amsterdam, including touring the Anne Frank House. Consider purchasing tickets to this online, where you can specify an entrance time, otherwise you may be waiting in an hours-long line.
Quaint and beautiful! We did a ships sponsored walking tour of Brugge. Do not miss this lovely, ancient town, just for the sights alone! We concluded our walk with a beer-tasting at a local pub and are glad we did not miss this. We tasted 4 full servings of local beers in a short timeframe and were quite well on our way before we even left the pub!
Least favorite port and overpaid for a ships sponsored tour to go see a dinky palace in Sintra, stopping at a smelly beach town along the way. Take a Lisbon tour instead!