52 New Orleans to Caribbean - Western Norwegian Sun Cruise Reviews

We left on our cruise out of New Orleans, which was a joy. We arrived early and were able to get on the ship by 11:30. All of the embarkation went smoothly and very quick. Once we got onto the ship, we met our Room Stewart, Mikle, who ... Read More
We left on our cruise out of New Orleans, which was a joy. We arrived early and were able to get on the ship by 11:30. All of the embarkation went smoothly and very quick. Once we got onto the ship, we met our Room Stewart, Mikle, who was always there when he was needed and seemed to always be working. He took excellent care of us and our accommodations. The balcony room was worth every penny we paid for it. If you have never done this, it is well worth the money. I am afraid of heights, and yet it never bothered me venturing out to look at the calming sea. In fact, we were so enamored with our room, we didn't get much of a chance to enjoy the entertainment that was offered! Our first night we were able to eat at the East meets West steakhouse. I am not sure how much of a bargain it is, it seemed to have similar food to what was served quite often in the other restaurants. As far as the freestyle cruising, I actually enjoyed eating whenever and wherever you wanted; however, I did find most of the buffets lacking the same quality as the other restaurants offered. I also found that it was odd that the room service menu was so minimal with the freestyle concept. The ship itself was typical of what you would expect. It was clean at all times and tended to be very smooth on the water. The drink servers were always around, but were never as pushy as what you would find with other cruise lines. Room service seemed to arrive in an acceptable amount of time. What I enjoyed most about the cruise was the staff was extremely friendly and helpful. I did not meet any rude staff members and most would go out of there way to assist you. Even the Captain was very personable and would always speak with you if you spotted him somewhere on the ship. Leaving the ship was pretty much the same as other cruise lines, unless you went with the express disembarkation, you waited until your tag was called. The wait wasn't unbearable, and it always gives you one last chance to take pictures or eat one last meal. I found the Customs officials were also extremely polite. We had purchased a little more alcohol than we were allowed, and stated this on our declaration form. This is by far the best way to go as the cost was only a little over $2 per bottle, which is much better than having it confiscated. Of course as most ships of this nature, the pool area was always full on sea days, another reason to have a balcony. I would definitely recommend this cruise to anybody, and I would be more than happy to cruise again with Norwegian and on the Sun. This is our fifth cruise, and enjoyed the experience very much. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
My partner and I are from Birmingham Alabama and this was our first experience sailing with Norwegian. Our cruise was April 8th through April 15th. We arrived in New Orleans on April 7th and stayed at the Sheraton on Canal, just blocks ... Read More
My partner and I are from Birmingham Alabama and this was our first experience sailing with Norwegian. Our cruise was April 8th through April 15th. We arrived in New Orleans on April 7th and stayed at the Sheraton on Canal, just blocks away from the cruise terminal. Service is always good at this property, plus it gave us excellent views of the ship the morning of embarkation. Embarkation: We caught a taxi from our hotel to the terminal about 9:00 am expecting to just check our luggage and then head down to Cafe Du Monde for coffee and beignets. The weather was quite cool in the low 40's. Once we arrived we were the first to actually check in. This was fast and smooth taking about 10 minutes. After check-in we caught the trolley down to the French Market and spent the morning shopping. We boarded the ship at noon; this again was fast and easy. I id like how before you could enter the ship you had to sanitize your hands. Stateroom: We conveniently found our cabin with our shore excursion tickets waiting for us. The cabin was much larger that I had expected, with a king sized bed. This was a superior ocean view state room, very spacious, the bed was a little lumpy, lots of closet space, I did not feel cramped by any means, and I am a big guy. The Ship: The Norwegian Sun is a beautiful ship, vibrant colors, amenities abound. I found the layout to be easy to navigate with floor plans posted at all elevator entrances. Dining: The food was excellent; we did not eat in any of the specialty restaurants. We had diner in the Seven Seas and the Four Seasons both had lots of options to choose from. Everything was delicious and the service was excellent. We also ate breakfast and lunch in the Garden Cafe and Pacific Heights. The specialty omelets in Las Ramblas Tapas Bar & Restaurant were a real treat for breakfast. Shore Excursions: We booked all of our excursions through NCL's website; this was very easy and gave us many options to choose from. Costa Maya- I was very disappointed with this port, too commercial. We had booked the Jungle Beach Break; a motor coach took us to a private beach that was absolutely beautiful. The only negative I have to say about this excursion was the lack of alcohol at open bar. The drinks appeared to be watered down. Santo Tomas De Castilla, Guatemala- This was my favorite. We took the Las Escobas Waterfall Adventure, Eddie was our tour guide. The rain forest and the waterfalls were exceptional; I would highly recommend this excursion. The people of this port were the friendliest. Belize-Altun Ha Mayan Ruins & Belize City Tour. Wonderful excursion, air-conditioned motor coach takes you on a tour of the city while your tour guide gives you a detail history of the points of interest, then you off to the ruins. Our guide was an archeologist and local, she was very thorough. The site is very impressive; I now can say that I have climbed a Mayan Pyramid! Cozumel- We did not book an excursion for this port, spent the day leisurely shopping. Entertainment: We were very impressed with the onboard entertainment, bands were good, comedians were top notch and the cruise director was very nice, a little cheesy. The cast of the production company were excellent. Entertainment-Very Good. Disembarkation: This was the worst part of our cruise, the cruise director had been pushing the express disembarkation, and how it was fast and easy. We decided to just carry our luggage off and take advantage of this express check out, well so did the other 2,000 guest onboard. Elevators were useless, and we had to make our way down from deck 9 to deck 6 using the stairs, it took an hour moving one step at a time on the crowded stairwell. Once we made it to the deck six we walked right off the ship and through customs with no problem. Summary: The Norwegian Sun is a beautiful ship and the service was excellent. I would highly recommend it to anyone who would like a nice relaxing vacation. I can’t wait for next sailing. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
I just returned from the Western caribbean cruise from New Orleans to Costa Maya, Santo Tomas de Castilla, Belize City, and Cozumel from April 8th until the 15th. First off, if you arrive early, there isn't the long wait to get ... Read More
I just returned from the Western caribbean cruise from New Orleans to Costa Maya, Santo Tomas de Castilla, Belize City, and Cozumel from April 8th until the 15th. First off, if you arrive early, there isn't the long wait to get processed and board the ship. The line moved quickly and we were onboard the Norwegian Sun in no time. We arrived at the terminal around 12:30 pm and were onboard by 1:30 pm. We received our luggage around 3 or 4 pm and were settled in and up on the 12th deck watching the ship leave New Orleans at 5:30pm. There are plenty of drink servers walking around selling overpriced drinks. $9.00 for a Bahama Mama is a bit outrageous but it is a good drink. If you keep the cup, refills are $7.00. There are other drink choices too. You don't pay cash for anything on the ship. You use your cabin card and everything is billed to your room daily. I wasn't too fond of that because sometimes I would rather pay in cash and I think it should be left up to the passenger to decide how to pay for purchases. Our stateroom was very nice, clean, and comfortable. We were on the 4th deck and had an awesome view. The rooms are kept clean as housekeeping cleans them twice a day. The housekeeping staff were probably the friendliest people I have ever talked to. There are drinks and alcohol in your room but I would stay away from drinking any of that because they are once again overpriced. A bottle of Evian water was $4.50, a small can of Coke was $1.75, and a Snickers was over $1.50 too. The beer served at the bars average around $3.50 and aren't that cold. A good deal is to get the football helmet bucket of 6 beers and ice for a little over $20. You keep the bucket for the trip and return it at the end and get $5.00 back. There is a Blackjack table and another gaming table set up on the 11th deck in the evenings so you can play outside and still see the great views. The casino was nice but didn't have much selection as far as variety of games but it was pretty cool. There are stores on deck 7 and there are many nice items in the store and not too pricey but a little high. If you are a cigar smoker, I recommend the Havana Cigar bar on deck 6. They don't open until 4:30 pm but you can sit in the smoking area anytime and enjoy a good stogie. The beverage servers remembered my name and what I drank every time I went to smoke. Very nice people as well. The 7 seas and 4 seasons restaurants have good food but are a little limited as far as menu choices. We ate breakfast and dinner in them pretty much every night. The food and service was excellent early in the cruise but by Thursday, the service and food seemed to lack something. The food was still good but not as good as earlier in the week. The servers mixed up our orders several times and once we waited 30 minutes to get water and 25 minutes to get our ice cream dessert which was melted by the time we got it. Our server disappeared for 30 minutes so I spoke to one of the managers and he practically ran to the kitchen to find our waiter and have our orders brought to us immediately. That impressed me. That was the only problem we had when dining. Other than that it was fine. Mixed drinks, and soft drinks you have to pay for but you can drink all of the water you want in the restaurants. The shows were pretty nice. We watched a slide show about how the Norwegian Sun was built and many of the features on the ship. The captain, who was very nice and actually a funny man, spoke to us as did the Navigator and Chief Engineer. There are quite a few things to do on the ship but the most aggravating thing is the small kids running around jumping in and out of the adult hot tubs and the teenagers yelling and being loud. There is a child's pool on the same deck but for some reason they small kids like the adult pool and hot tubs. There should be an age limit for the adult pools and hot tubs. Excursions: There are alot of choices for excursions. We went to the Beach Break in Costa Maya on Tuesday. Gorgeous beach with an open bar. You have to walk what seems like 2 miles to get from the dock to the bus that drives you about 45 minutes to the beach. Once there, it is pretty relaxing and there are a few things you can do like jet ski, snorkeling, etc. Wednesday we were in Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala and all we did was shop in a big warehouse. It was about 90 degrees outside and about 110 degrees inside the warehouse. They had many nice items but everything was basically the same. Thursday myself and my 2 nephews went ATV riding in the rainforest in Belize. We had the coolest tour guide. His name was Raymon and he was great. It was 104 degrees the day we rode the ATVs but they provided cold water for us and Raymon and the staff were always checking on us to make sure we were ok. It was a blast. They also throw in a little cave walk. You climb through a small opening and then it opens up to what I heard was a pretty cave. I was a bit big to fit through the opening but sat with a couple and talked while everyone explored the cave. The bus ride there was hell. Try going about 70 mph through bumpy streets then a long dirt and gravel pot hole filled road. We made it fun because everybody on the bus laughed and cut up. I recommend this excursion if you like ATVs. You can swim in a cool river after you return to the meeting place and cool off. It was so clear and cool. They serve salsa and tortilla chips and fruit. Friday my nephews and I went deep sea fishing in Cozumel. This was awesome as well. Take my advice and do this but if you get seasick, either take something before you go or skip it because you do bounce around out there. I got a bit nauseous and felt bad but I should have known better and taken something and eaten before we went. Our crew was great and we had a blast. They have water, soft drinks and Coronas for you to drink. The final highlight of this was my nephew catching a 50 pound MahiMahi. It was great and we had a blast. There were six of us on the boat and since we had all gotten there early, the company took us out early and stayed out a little extra. That was appreciated by all of us and we tipped the Captain and Mate pretty good. There is great shopping in Cozumel too so venture into town which is a little walk from the ship. There are great deals on things but if you buy alcohol make sure you check it in on the ship. Saturday we were at sea all day and we docked back in New Orleans on time Sunday. The disembarkation process is kind of a mess but goes fast. We got off of the boat at 11am and were on our way home around noon. This includes getting off of the boat, getting our luggage, going through customs, and loading up our vehicles, saying goodbyes and heading out of the garage. Oh, pay the $98.00 to park for the week. It is worth it believe me. Overall I would rate the Freestyle cruising experience very high. You can eat what and when you want to and it is pretty fun. The cruise director (Matt Baker)was fantastic and a kick. If you have never cruised or want a more laid back cruise I recommend this one for you. It is a good time and you can relax. If you want anymore information or have questions, please email me. I will tell you everything about this fun time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
Background - We were a group 3 families - 6 adults & 7 kids (17,17,16,15,14,14,8) vacationing on our 3rd cruise, but the first on NCL. So, this review will have a little more a family tilt. New Orleans -- We arrived in New Orleans by ... Read More
Background - We were a group 3 families - 6 adults & 7 kids (17,17,16,15,14,14,8) vacationing on our 3rd cruise, but the first on NCL. So, this review will have a little more a family tilt. New Orleans -- We arrived in New Orleans by air on Saturday afternoon and took a taxi ($48) to the Embassy Suites Convention Center. I thought the hotel was clean, in a great location and would stay there again. We enjoyed the free happy hour from 5:30-7:30 and then walked the maybe 10 minutes to the French Quarter for an authentic supper and site seeing along Bourbon Street. Even though it was a Saturday night, I thought Bourbon Street was quite tame and did not feel uncomfortable walking along with teenagers. Embarkation— The Embassy Suites is maybe 3-4 blocks from the ship and easily walkable if your luggage is on wheels. We got up, enjoyed the free breakfast, and walked to the pier around 11:00. The check-in process was smooth and organized and we were on the ship before 12:00. Stateroom - Our stateroom was 8225, a balcony on the starboard side towards the front. I thought it was a great location. The room was bright, clean, and had lots of storage. Although, I should have looked closer at the website pictures because the sleeping arrangements for 2 adults and 2 teens were not what I had expected. I thought we would have a main bed, a couch, and a flip-down bed. Instead we had a main bed, and a couch that pulled into a double bed. Try telling your teenage son and daughter that they were going to sleep together! So, I talked to our stewards and they split the main bed into two twin beds and my wife and I slept on the not-so-soft couch. It worked it out OK. Our cabin stewards were not the chatty type, but very efficient and did a great job. Ship -- Overall, I thought the ship was great. Being spring break, there were a number of kids, but it seemed like mostly families and nothing too rowdy. The 8 year old in our group loved the Kids Club and our teenagers found a number of new friends through the teen club around the pool. During the day we enjoyed lounging by the pool and following the Stardust show we enjoyed relaxing and people watching in the Champagne Lounge. Dining—Overall, I thought the food all around the ship was excellent! I am not going to go meal by meal, but we always ate breakfast and lunch on the run and dinner was in one of the main dining rooms. My one bafflement was why did so many people eat breakfast/lunch in the claustrophobic cafeteria-like buffet when there are so many other good option around.... (i.e. made to order omelets, waffles, pizza, burger bar, pasta bar, sports bar, etc...) A main concern I had going in with Free Style dining was eating together as large group. So, one of the first things I did was make reservations for 13 for every night at 6:00 for a table of 6, 4, & 3. After the first two nights of rushing to get ready by 6:00, we realized that this was totally unnecessary. We cancelled our reservations and went to dinner whenever we were ready and never had to wait to get 3 tables close to each other. My only recommendation on a dining room is to NOT eat in the 4 Seasons on the chocolate buffet night, as they begin to tear-down tables around 8:30 and it was quite distracting. Entertainment—We went to all the shows in the Stardust and overall I was disappointed at the variety. The first night was a singing/dancing preview of the ship's talent and the last night was a review of the same. The Jean Ryan Dancers were very good and the Broadway review show was excellent, but I really didn't need to see them two more nights with a different music theme. The blues singer/tap dancer was very talented, but was still pretty much the same type of show with the same ship band. The only show our kids had any interest in seeing was the hypnotist - who was very funny! How about a juggler, magician, knock-off band, etc...??? Ports of Call Costa Maya—we made our own advanced reservations at the Maya Palms resort. Thanks to cruise critic, we knew to walk through the market, out the fence, and down the street to the taxis. On arrival, we were met by the owner and instructed not pay the taxi until it returned to pick us up at a designated time. If you are looking for family friendly, a quiet relaxing pool, unlimited drinks, and miles of empty beach, this place is perfect. The only people at the resort besides our group was a family of 3. We spent the day laying by the pool and walking the beach. Our kids had a great time breaking open coconuts and drinking the juice. My son ordered food and it looked very good. The other family went snorkeling and also said it was very good. Guatemala— we made our own reservation in advance with Happy Fish Travel for the Las Escobas Water Falls tour. Since the tour was only 2 ½ hours, we chose to have it start at 10:00. Happy Fish had a 15 passenger van waiting for us and we drove through town and up to the Ecological Reserve. Our tour guide was just OK. From there we hiked though the rain forest to the lower falls. We thought our kids would totally board, but they had a blast. We all swam in the water falls and then gathered our stuff and walked up further and swam in a better waterfall. There was a natural slide, climbing, etc... It was a good tour, and fairly inexpensive. My only plug for Happy Fish is that when we walked out of the water falls, a number of people were waiting for their ride to return and our van had never left and we immediately drove back to the ship. The shopping by the ship was fun and the $1 Mexican beers were tasty. Belize—We booked the Cave Tubing and Zip Line Excursion through X-Stream. This was our longest and best day and I can't say enough good things about X-Stream. We were met at the pier and boarded a 15 passenger van for the 70 minute ride. Filipe, our tour guide, spent the entire trip talking about the country, the sites, the tour, etc... He was very good, very funny and made the ride go quick. First we did the zip line where we were fitted with harnesses and helmets and headed up the hill to the first station. We then zip lined through the rain forest to eight or so different stations. Very Fun! We then took a water break and headed cave tubing. Filipe was a great guide and was very conscious for our safety throughout the caves. Finally, we boarded our van and dozed back to the ship. Cozumel— We booked our own reservations for the Nachi Cocum resort on San Francisco beach. We knew we wanted a beach day and were concerned about the crowds with 5 other ships in port, so we opted for this resort as it limits the number of guests. The resort was quiet and just as it was promoted. As we arrived, we were given wrist bands and escorted to our reserved beach cabana and chairs. The service was great, the drinks were good as was the food. My son & I rent a wave runner and that was a blast! They called us a taxi when we were ready to leave and headed back to town. A little shopping and then back to the ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
Went on this, our 6th cruise just to try out NCL and get away for a week. We travel a LOT and took a cruise just to keep from having to pack and unpack constantly. Here's our take on the Sun. Food: Reading prior reviews caused us a ... Read More
Went on this, our 6th cruise just to try out NCL and get away for a week. We travel a LOT and took a cruise just to keep from having to pack and unpack constantly. Here's our take on the Sun. Food: Reading prior reviews caused us a little concern about the food quality. HOWEVER, AND THIS IS A BIG HOWEVER, we were very pleasantly surprised. Being native New Orleanians, our taste buds are jaded and we're really tough on the cuisine. NCL's food came thru with flying colors. The food isn't for the plain palates of the world. This food's complex; not just meat and potatoes. How about pecan crusted snapper over gumbo? Grilled lobster? Beef Wellington? Seared tuna salad? Get the idea? Forget boxed mashed potatoes and meatloaf. This is for foodies! Tapas is brilliant but you MUST like to try NEW THINGS. Staff: Just terrific. Never had a cruise where the staff from the cruise director (a total HOOT!) to the cooks didn't just like each other, it was like a love affair and we, the passengers, were included. They weren't particularly effective if you had a problem but they were so nice, who cared? Cabins: The cabin was really small and the shower was too funny. A large person may have to wash half of themselves at a time or a leg then an arm then the other leg, the hair, etc., get the picture? But it was clean and lots of fresh towels always on hand. Keep the lid down on that potty or Whew!!!!!!!! Generally a bit dirty. Junk under the bed when we arrived, previously white plastic TV now brown (need to find out about 409 in the cleaning department), smeared balcony windows and dust clinging to the mirrors. OK, enough dissing the room. We weren't in there much. Beds: Ouch! Cratered in the middle and just enough sheet/blanket to cover you if you stay flat and still. Husband and wife here spent the nights pulling and fighting for sheet/cover. But A/C didn't work well so we didn't need much. Entertainment: Absolutely best quality ever. They must put LOTS of money into hiring the BEST dancers on the seas. They were outstanding and super energetic. The cruise director was really clever and full of fun. But, the comic was tired and needed to be put out to pasture. If he asked ONE MORE PERSON WHERE THEY WORKED then tried to make a lame joke out of it we were gonna hurl, uh, leave. :-)) Boat: BORING! That's the problem. If you've been on Carnival or RCL, you board NCL expecting some visual stimulation. FORGET IT! Not a sparkle or glimmer of color in the common areas. Even the lounges were plain. We LIKE pretty, why can't the boat just be as pretty inside as the sun painted on its hull outside?????? Shore excursions? No seasoned cruiser in our opinion would ever book with the cruise-line. Why pay 30 - 60% more for the same product you can get on-line. Check out the following: Belize: Coral Breeze Tours will take you to Caye Caulkner to snorkel the coral gardens and Shark/ray alley. Nice dive boat, group leader and captain with a sense of humor. (Rubbed a ray all the way up my arm!) Lunch and free time too. All for $83 and they meet you right on the tender dock at the Wet Lizard. Easy, fun trip! Costa Maya: Can't say enough about David at The Native Choice Tours. You'll find them right in the mall when you get off the pier. David took 3000 years of Chacchoben history and condensed it into 3 hours! He's full of energy and even runs into the rainforest to get you native plants to smell and taste. Fantastic guide! Save some time to walk around Mahahual and get a massage! Guatemala: Happy Fish Travel has a booth right in the terminal. We took the Rio Dulce and Livingston tour. The Rio Dulce showed us real people living off of the land. No roads, travel is only by boat and the lifestyle is really foreign to most Americans. A treat to step back in time. Thermal springs kind of a bust. A little area blocked off by two boats and you just get to wade in slimy, rocky water. Not worth getting your shorts wet for. Livingston is just sad. They bring you there for lunch to their diner, the Happy Fish Rest. Stick with their specialty, fish! The rainforests and just breathtaking - go see them. Cozumel: The reef is GONE! If you want to see fish on a reef, make sure and do it in Belize. We went to Uma's beach and clear kayaked. Nothing to see - poor Cozumel. But, the beach, lunch and freshwater pool and unlimited bar were nice. Fun time, good food, great entertainment, icky boat?! Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
Norwegian Sun by Georgia (Magnolia Blossom) Western Caribbean March 25, 2007 About us. 54/59 year old semi-retired professiinals. Our 28th cruises, 7th on NCL and 3rd on the Sun. Not terribly fussy, pretty laid back. ... Read More
Norwegian Sun by Georgia (Magnolia Blossom) Western Caribbean March 25, 2007 About us. 54/59 year old semi-retired professiinals. Our 28th cruises, 7th on NCL and 3rd on the Sun. Not terribly fussy, pretty laid back. Embarkation - Port of New Orleans. This was our third sailing from the new facility and each time has been a bit more organized. They seem to finally have their staff trained. The "new" facility is in the same location as the old but they have expanded and and added an on site 5 story parking garage. You pull into the garage, pay your $98/7 day cruise with cash or credit card and pull up to drop off luggage, if necessary, then proceed to the designated floor. Elevators are in the center and far end of the garage. If you use the far end elevators you will come out on the outside of the terminal and may have to wait in a line there so it is best to use the central elevators which place you right where you need to be. You will show identifcation (tickets and photo i.d.) and enter the "cattle shute" toward the windows. From the time we left our car until we were in line was only a few minutes. We had preregistered online so they swiped our credit card, verified our passport, took our photos and we were off with room keys inhand. Three stations were set up for photos and 20 minutes from locking the car we were unlocking our cabin. The Ship The Sun is one of the ships built for freestyle cruising, and so is superior to the Dream, the Sea or Majesty, which we sailed in the past. There are no real bottlenecks. The interior is done in NCL's typical understated style and is filled with bronze colored woods, brass and bronzy colored granite. In places the interior seemed somewhat stark but overall it is a sleek and elegant ship — no glitz or neon here. She was in dry dock in November so all the paint and soft surfaces are fresh. The atrium area is a bit on the small side and the panoramic elevators are oddly shaped (kind of keyhole shaped, narrow at the entrance, ballooning out toward the rear), which made for difficulty in loading and offloading. There are a lot of elevators on this ship and they seemed to run more quickly than on most. The central staircases are of the typical spiral type, making attractive places for photos. Several bars, the Internet cafe and customer service areas all rim the atrium. Hallways are nearly devoid of artwork; the artworks in the stairways were large florals, with a different flower for each floor (if it's poppies, I must be near the casino!). Dining There are two main dining rooms, appointed primarily with two- and four-person tables. They are easily rearranged for larger groups. The Seven Seas dining room is on the stern, so it has windows on three sides allowing for many window tables. There were no booths, just tables (although some tables had unusual center legs, making it difficult to cross your legs). The buffet was well laid out and only the beverage area was weird. The ice dispenser was in the center rather than at the beginning near the glassware. The omelet station was in a separate location (Las Ramblas) and theBelgian waffle station was in Pacific Heights. It is necessary to wear a shirt and shoes in the buffet. An outside buffet area serves nearly identical fare, plus hot dogs and hamburgers. Its seating area was on the stern — a very pleasant spot where you could dine in your bathing suit. You do need to pass through the indoor buffet to get there, but you didn't need to be fully dressed if you were just passing through. There is a complimentary ice cream bar off the pool area, which was open most of the time. Several specialty restaurants were available such as a tapas bar, sushi bar, Japanese, Italian, and French restaurant and a steak house. All but the tapas bar and Pacific Heights required an additional fee. Pacific Heights is a lighter fare/health conscious restaurant and no additional cost applies. The "pay" restaurants require reservations and the cost is from $20-$30. If you dine at 5:30 or 6:00 there is a 50% reduction in cost. Spa The spa, off the pool area, had a large assortment of exercise equipment. Yoga, Pilates and spinning classes were available for a fee; aerobics sessions were complimentary. The spa is operated by the Mandara company, and thus operates much like those on other lines. The steam room and saunas were small but free. The showers in the spa were much more spacious than the cabin showers and had liquid soap and shampoo available. The showers had cute little transparent doors which might give bashful folks a problem; but more problematic for me was their tendency to slide open as the ship rolled. The theater seats were high-backed, which created a bit of a problem for short people like me who had to crane a bit to see above the back. Seating down front was much more comfortable. There were two levels to the theater, and several poles created partial obstructions. Lounges There were several lounges, and the Observation Lounge on Deck 12 at the bow provides a beautiful, sweeping view. It is a nice place to hide away during the day and read, as it did not seem to be used much. It is nicely appointed with rattan furniture and a medium size dance floor. Dazzles is more centrally located and has a larger dance floor and many activities — e.g. game shows, art auctions were held there. A champagne bar adjoins the atrium as does a coffee bar. The Sports Bar on Deck 12 had many TV screens and served 22 types of beer. It is a great place to view the world but too smoky for me. The pool area has two pools divided by a raised area of four Jacuzzis. The pool water is salt water. Walking decks are the promenade, with 3-1/2 laps per mile and festive murals all the way around; and the sports deck, which has a padded walking surface but requires something like 12 laps to the mile. The promenade deck is the boat deck so it is covered walking while the sports deck is sunny. Casino The casino is well laid out and has the usual variety of slots, video poker and table games. There are quite a few penny and nickel machines, a goodly number of quarter and the balance are 50 cents through $5. There are four $1 video poker machines, four quarter poker machines and eight progressive quarter machines. They are connected to other machines in the fleet. There are now 2 multi denomination poker machines from penny on up. They allow you to choose from a variety of poker games. Table games are craps, blackjack, roulette, Let it Ride, Caribbean Stud, Baccarat and Texas Hold-em. Casino service was prompt and courteous. The usual blackjack and slots tournaments were held throughout the cruise and I believe there was a poker tourney too but I'm not positive. The slots now use paper tickets so I found that to be a welcomed change. Cabin Ours was a balcony (BA) cabin on Deck 10. Storage was more than ample. The desk area had one electrical outlet which was the only one in the cabin. A refrigerator, TV, and four-cup coffeepot were standard. Folgers coffee was provided. The bathroom has a circular shower with a curtain held snugly in place by vertical rods in the curtain. Six storage shelves were provided. There is a real toilet paper holder (so the tissue does not fly off the holder with use), a wall mounted hair dryer, and an outlet for electric razors. The shower has normal single handle controls and an adjustable-height shower head. Liquid soap and shampoo dispensers were in the shower. The bedding is the typical NCL duvet and quality cotton.On previous voyages there had been DVD players in the room which have now been removed. Likewise, for the rental area onboard. Entertainment The shows were excellent and usually 45-50 minutes in length. We did not take in any shows other than the Jean Ryan dancers but our travel partners said the comedian was very good and the female hypnotist was awful. Lounge entertainment was quite good. I felt the entertainment was better than usual. The usual game shows, bingo and poolside activities were offered. The ship also has a mesh enclosed basketball court, ping-pong area, and golf driving range. In the library the usual board games were available for checkout, and bridge gatherings were held. Friends of Bill and Friends of Dorothy had regurlarly posted meetings but I was disappointed that no Veterans meeting was scheduled this time. My husband always enjoys those. Food The quality was a bit better than most other ships, but that is such a matter of personal taste that it is hard to judge. The menus seem to have been revamped along with the new "Whatever" advertising program. In the past I've thought menu descriptions a bit confusing and this time they were a bit abbreviated but the food had quality had improved considerably since our trip last October. On lobster night they actually had decent-sized lobsters. Although we never had supper at the buffet I was told they servce identical items in the evening on the buffet. Although I doubt that includes steak and lobster! Wine service was handled by the waiters and went smoothly. There was no wine program available unless you are a Latitudes member; then you could buy five and get one free. Thankfully, there was no nightly entertainment by dancing waiters, and the dress code was enforced for the most part. The Sun now allows nice jeans in the dining room but I saw a few people turned away for shorts and no ball caps were visible either. Buffet food was the usual fare, of good quality and available round the clock with the exception of change-over pauses in service. Food was also available at times in the casino. Cleanliness The ship was the cleanest I've ever been on. Hand sanitizing was strictly enforced at embarkations and at all buffet lines and restaurant entrances. Staff One of the friendliest staff I've enountered. They all seemed particularly adept at remembering names throughout the week — a nice touch. The only indifferent or rude folks I encountered were in the dining room where they seemed to be very understaffed at times. Disembarking NCL has an express system whereby if you carry all your luggage off yourself, you can be in the first group off the ship. Quite a few people seemed to opt for this. We were off the ship by 7:28 a.m. and breezed through Customs. We exited the parking lot at 7:30. Wow!You are allowed to wait in your cabin until your group is called. Misc. Notes Tips are added to your account automatically unless you request otherwise. Security was very good. They seem to have gotten absolutely rabid about liquor smuggling as well as irons, so attempt it at your own risk. Photographers: Almost invisible! The photography staff was available for formal photos and as always at the pier, but they were not in your face every time you turned around. Announcements were kept to a minimum. There was no captain's party for everyone. Just a Latitude's party which was at 11 a.m. on a sea day. Drinks were of good quality and volume but the prices have really skyrocketed! Passengers were a middle aged crowd with quite a few younger folks, but it was spring break time.Passengers were mostly U.S. citizens. There were quite a few children, all of whom were well behaved. As for Internet access, the ship has about 10 stations available but I usually use the more affordable shore-side outlets. Per-minute use was 75 cents and packages were available including wireless. Phone service is available from your cabin for $7.95/minute. They bill it down to the second as I found out when my mother was hospitalized and I needed to make a few calls. The passenger talent show one night was the usual embarrassing display. The jewelry shop onboard is a Columbian Emeralds shop. Latitudes comps seem chintzier than in the past. Getting a drink at the latitudes party was a challenge. Getting ice in the afternoon was a hassle. There was not an ice machine on the floor that was accessible to guests so we had to go to the buffet or sports bar to get ice. Bar set up; We pre-ordered a bottle of Dewars for in room consumption. A liter was $43 and we bought club soda by the can at the bars. Well worth it. Call NCL direct to set this up. Overall: It was a wonderful trip and I would sail the Sun again any time. My only complaint was slower service in the dining room but that certainly did not overshadow any of our vacation. The Sun will not return to N.O. after her Alaskan summer and will be replaced by the Spirit. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
After sailing on NCL for three prior vacations I have to say that NCL Sun was the best NCL cruise that we have ever been on. My wife and I started the cruise on Sunday in New Orleans and had dinner in the La Bistro so we could see the ... Read More
After sailing on NCL for three prior vacations I have to say that NCL Sun was the best NCL cruise that we have ever been on. My wife and I started the cruise on Sunday in New Orleans and had dinner in the La Bistro so we could see the great sites on our way out of the Mississippi. As for activities at our fun day at sea the crew tried to keep everyone satisfied but as everyone knows not everything appeals to all. After a great night sleep in our balcony room on deck 8 we had a great breakfast at the sit down dinning room. Our first port of call was nice we took the boat blast and snorkel, it was a great trip until our speed boat sank but luckily no was hurt and our money was refunded without any hassle. I would recommend going on this tour since their private beach was just what we asked for....relaxing and clean. After coming back to the ship we meet our room stewart and to our surprise she knew both my wifes and my name. Her great attitude greeted us every morning and a goodnite was given every evening, she really made an extra effort. That night we ate at the seven seas dining room due to Lobster night, let me say that the dining room food was horrible. No taste no thought and very strange offerings is all I have to say. After another great night sleep we had a quick breakfast to ensure a quick departure into Santo Tomas. The port looked very uninviting but we went on the horseback adventure at amatique bay. Let me say what a beautiful gem of a place, very nice people and the pool was to die for. They really made the best out a small port. After a great relaxing day we went back to the ship and watched the locals come out and give a royal sendoff. Dinner that evening was provided again by the dining room, refer to my previous statement in regards to quality and selections. The next day started with another quick breakfast and then to a catamaran that took us snorkeling...what a site. Belize snorkeling was unbelievable to say the least. After snorkeling we were transported back to a private island that was heaven I only wish we had longer than an hour to enjoy. Back on the ship we ate dinner at Teppanyaki and it was by far the best meal (taste and atmosphere) we had on a ship ever. Our final day at port was at cozumel and we choose the Offroad jeep and snorkel. BEWARE you are not allowed to go offroad any longer so all this tour included was a horrible snorkel and a lot of pavement driving. My suggestion is rent a jeep and hit all the beaches and dive bars along the way for a great day of seeing the island. Dinner that night was provided by the steakhouse and it was well worth it. No complaints here my lamb was great and the crab cakes were superb. Our final day at sea was a day that included much sunbathing and some arguing with NCL for a refund for a mislabeled tour. We did get half of the tour refunded but it took some hassling on our part. We were however told that the website is not updated for shore excursions and everyone should be checked when you board the ship. That evening we joined another couple at the pacific heights for dinner (non-pay but reservations required). The dinner was great it was home cooking that we were craving. Overall NCL redeemed themselves from our last horrible trip on the pride of aloha but you are now being forced to eat at the special dining rooms to get a great meal. For having to spend the extra money for something that should be included will turn some people off but it is nice somenights to only eat with a few other people and have some quiet time. I only have one more thing to say about NCL...No I don't want a drink from the bar quit asking me every 2 minutes. Chris - Pittsburgh PA Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
We traveled on the Norwegian Sun out of New Orleans on 3/18. We had 6 cabins and travelled as a group. This was supposed to be a fun, family cruise. Most in the party were prior cruisers except for my parents. Unfortunately, due to this ... Read More
We traveled on the Norwegian Sun out of New Orleans on 3/18. We had 6 cabins and travelled as a group. This was supposed to be a fun, family cruise. Most in the party were prior cruisers except for my parents. Unfortunately, due to this experience, I'm not sure we'll be able to get the first time cruisers out again. We (past cruisers) had wonderful experiences cruising on both Carnival and Royal Caribbean. First though, the positives... the Itinerary is great, the Embarkation was easy and there were a few really nice crew members. That's about it. Island Review - Costa Maya was beautiful and the people were really nice as usual. We shopped a bit then rented three golf carts and rode to the nearby city. It was nice and relaxing. Lots of good buys there and the people were incredibly nice. We got to watch a local shimmy up a tree and pick coconuts then open them. This was pretty nice while sitting on the beach and relaxing. Guatemala - while it started out raining it cleared relatively quickly. Very lush green was facing our balcony (ok.. along with the shipping dock) but still very pretty green. The people here are genuinely glad to get the cruise business and it is obvious. They were very nice to our entire party. Everything was reasonably priced and nice selection of handmade goods. The sendoff from the people were great. I had read about it and it was a site to watch. Everyone appears to come out, the horns, the sirens, the dances, the genuine hospitality wanting you to come back. Belize - we didn't do any excursions on this Island but shopped :-). Lots of good buys here as I missed them on the last cruise. I was shopping around for the best buys last time and missed several things I really wanted so.. I went back and got them this time. The prices on this Island are good - you have to negotiate a bit sometimes. It is good to walk the whole area as you can get some really good buys. Cozumel - we did the ATV beach excursion. This was a bit disappointing but really not in their control. We had done this same excursion on our Carnival Cruise back in 2005. It was an incredible excursion back then. However, due to Hurricane Wilma's destruction we weren't able to travel parallel to the water. Previously, you travelled along the beach, visited a ruin then came back and took a beach break (swimming, lunch served, etc.). However, the head of the group explained that due to the destruction this area wasn't available to them anymore. So, we went down a very bumpy, dusty trail, visited a ruin, a natural lake, a cave and then returned - but it was pretty in some of the areas. The beach break was the disappointing part as instead of getting to take it by ATV, we had to board a van and take it to a nearby resort and use their beach. Again, this wasn't in the control of the excursion and we still enjoyed it. Ship Review - Now, I really hate to sound negative but it is really bad when you hate to go back to the ship from the Islands. However, that was the consensus of many on this cruise. I decided to write about this because I really would hate to see someone else go on this cruise and encounter some of the horrible things we encountered. Between our cabins we experienced, dirty sheets (1st day), no soap in the shower (3rd day) which was found in the middle of a shower, towels with hair on them (they were supposed to be clean). I would definitely stay away from the Internet. We purchased a set of minutes on the first day only to have them drained the first day. We attempted to find out what happened but their Internet Manager is an Independent Contractor and Norwegian said they aren't responsible. hmmm.. Anyways, we finally resigned to the fact that maybe we had done something wrong on their computers and maybe they were different from the ones we used on Carnival. However, when we saw several people complaining about the same thing every time we were there and I mean several.. then there is a problem with their system and not all those people. This was a costly lesson to the tune of almost $130 for us between the two packages. Their shows were OK... a few were really good and a few just OK. We really loved Cirque Pan and a few of those type shows. The game shows were good but due to them being held in the Dazzle Lounge you had to get there really early to get seating. Everyone was pretty much standing room only. I'm not sure why they didn't do these in the Stardust during off times of the other shows. Casino .. we had several of us that gambled. The only bad in this that I can say was that they offer 'Sea Bucks'. This is based on your gambling and using your card to gather points throughout the week. At the end of the week anything over a specific point value and they basically credited that amount to your room. We had someone in our party that had 81 points... bummer though to be told she couldn't get that many because she "didn't drink enough".. hmmmm.. that wasn't documented either. The food was mediocre at best. Several times things were out in the self serve line and I mean out for like 30-45 minutes out. Also, we had one in our party who was a first time cruiser be "escorted" out of the main dining room due to not having proper attire. They had seated him and he was dressed in nice dress shorts and a nice dress shirt. Granted they have dress attire rules but if they made the mistake they should have handled this differently. They could have explained to him and said after that evening they would not allow it anymore or make a general statement that after that evening dress rules would be enforced. Also, at this same time he was escorted out, seated next to them was a 18 or 19 year old in a tshirt and flip-flops. When this was brought to the attention of the maitre, they were told that "exceptions are made for the younger crowd". There was very little for the 10-12 age group to do on this ship. They are pretty much limited to the Video Arcade. Lots of activities for the younger (which was adorable) and for the older... but nothing for the inbetween. This could just be improved to make it more friendly for all age groups. There were many other things but I really don't want to write all negative. There were some nice crew members on this ship who did attempt to assist us with some things. The Casino Host was very nice, the Asst Cruise Director and his crew was very nice, a few of our room stewards were great, front desk staff was good. We didn't expect luxury. However, based on the money paid you at least expect the basics such as clean sheets, clean glasses, food availability. You expect to leave with a feeling of relaxation and good memories. I can honestly say that if polled at the line waiting for Customs that out of 10 people probably 7 would say they would never travel this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
Just back from Sun. I will try to be objective. Overall, disappointed. I may have expected too much. Previously sailed on NCL in 2000 and 2001, prior to freestyle. 4 prior Carnival cruises. Sailed with my husband. We drove to NO from the ... Read More
Just back from Sun. I will try to be objective. Overall, disappointed. I may have expected too much. Previously sailed on NCL in 2000 and 2001, prior to freestyle. 4 prior Carnival cruises. Sailed with my husband. We drove to NO from the Nashville area. We are in our late 30's. The food and service on NCL were far superior in the past, prior to freestyle. NO's was fine. We walked around the French Quarter and ate lunch. Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived at 3:00 p.m. and avoided the crowd. It took 10 minutes to board. We booked an oceanview guarantee and were upgraded to room 6202, superior oceanview. The room had a good view. It has a large porthole which overlooks the jogging track. You could look out the porthole and see through 3 windows on the jogging track. The track was closed in the evening and early morning so noise was not an issue. I could not however, imagine a smaller room being comfortable as we could barely walk around the foot of the bed without hitting the wall. The bed covering was not clean. I do not think it is cleaned every week. We never had ice. We had to go to a bar to obtain ice. The bathroom was horrible. We experienced the sewer smell from the shower and sink drain as well as heard the plumbing drain throughout the trip. (especially at night, it make a gurgling sound) I had to cover the sink drain and keep the door shut to keep the smell out of the room. The worst was the last morning when the toilet would not even flush. Public areas kept very clean. We found the food to be average at best. My last four cruises were on Carnival and the food was far superior. My opinion is that the free food is average to encourage passengers to pay extra for the speciality restaurants Le Bistro was good. Turbot, mushroom soup, goat cheese tart, beef and cheese plate were all good. However, for the service charge, I expected it to be better. It simply could not compete with the Carnival Supper Club. The service in Le Bistro was good. We just could not justify paying extra for any other meals. The food in the dining room was average. My husband tried the duck which was good. Otherwise, the food was fair to average, even the desserts were not good. Service was very poor. We had to order dessert with dinner. It is obvious that the waiters do not work for tips and have no desire to be promoted. Service in Pacific Heights was a little better. The calzone was good. Pizza is average. Pike Perch had no flavor. Pork Chops too tough to eat. Desserts were good. Sports bar- individual pizzas and tuna melts good, watched NCAA basketball tournament, this is a good place to have a drink Observation Bar- Nice place to have a drink, watch the ship leave port Tapas- Hit or miss, a few items were average, most were terrible. Tapas sandwich bar, tuna salad pretty good, Waffles not very good, cooked in so much oil, it was all I could taste, stick to cereal and breads Outdoor cafe-salad bar and french fries are good, otherwise, fair, there was always a line, it was almost as if the staff was not prepared to serve the number of people on the cruise, the other food was bland Overall the staff was just not that friendly and the tone of the passengers not very upbeat. We spoke with other passengers who agreed other lines were better. Casino- Slots do not accept quarters or pay out in same. You use paper tokens. It did not even sound like a Casino! I am sure this is a sanitary issue. Overall not much casino action Internet service- very slow, $6.75 to check emails Gift shops- Good selection Costa Maya -wonderful, took the bus to Mahajual. Spent the day at Tapas. Walk on down the beach. There are great restaurants to hang out with a chair right in the water. We spent $40.00, two buckets of beer, food, tip for the entire day Guatemala - Looked around the "flea market", bought coffee. It was very clean, people very friendly. We did not go on an excursion as we decided we could spend the day at the ship's pool free rather than spend $100.00 to go to Aquamatic Bay. Belize- Deep sea fishing. Not so great. Very small fish caught. We saw larger fish snorkeling in Cozumel. Took water taxi to port. We had been to Belize when the port first opened. It has improved and the area appears to be safer. Cozumel. Taxi to Chakannaab. $10.00 each way, had coupon for park, $14.00 each entrance fee. The reef was damaged by Wilma. The snorkeling was good. The park was wonderful. It has a new pool, play area and gift shop. This is our favorite place. It was our fourth time! Past guest program- Carnival is far superior, there was a party at noon. Bloody Mary's, draft beer and rum punch were offered for 35 minutes, on Carnival, it was for an entire hour before dinner and you could order wine, Martini, etc. Captain's Party for all guest ????, there was no such party Very few free activities on board No pool activities during the day Chocolate Buffet - looked wonderful, tasted bland, even the chocolate dipped fruit, Sauna an steam room were nice Cigar Bar-Nice, music was good Disembark also a breeze. We carried all luggage off and were in the car at 7:45 a.m. We will not sail NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
Background Information—we are a young couple, 29-year-old wife and 33-year-old husband. We live in Arkansas and this is our second cruise, the first on another cruise line. Embarkation—went very smoothly. We got to the pier from the ... Read More
Background Information—we are a young couple, 29-year-old wife and 33-year-old husband. We live in Arkansas and this is our second cruise, the first on another cruise line. Embarkation—went very smoothly. We got to the pier from the airport around 11, waited in the VIP lounge until 11:45 when the ship was cleared, and then we were the first ones on board! After some initial confusion (our room was 1212 but on the 11th floor, and this confused some crew members) we were in our beautiful mini-suite. Stateroom/Service—in a word: WONDERFUL! We had the 2 BEST stewards on the entire boat, I'm sure. Alma and Mochamad. On the first day Alma memorized all of our names and never failed to greet everyone in the hallway with a cheerful greeting. Mochamad was a bit shyer but definitely went out of his way to serve. On our last cruise we never even saw our steward, much less had them greet us. This time we always had ice and ended up with 5 towel animals through the cruise. The room was a mini-suite, which means it had a balcony and a huge bathtub. My take on the balcony—not necessarily worth it. We really enjoyed it, but we didn't spend enough time out there to make a huge difference. The tub, however, was amazingly huge and wonderful. I'm not sure I could have made the week without it. We weren't too impressed with the bed—it was okay, but we got the foam pad later in the week and it helped a LOT. Food—Overall: DELICIOUS! Our only complaint was that there were too many options and not enough time to try everything. I want to go back on the Sun just so I can try what I missed! (DINNER) East Meets West—We ate here the first night and got the ½ price discount. The Filet Mignon, crab cakes and Caesar salad were wonderful. The bananas foster, cheesecake and sinful obsession were all great desserts! Le Bistro—ate here the last night as part of the Romance Package. Very nice. The duck was wonderful and I got to see it flame cooked in front of me. My husband found the beef to be a smidge fatty, but extremely tasty. The goat cheese tart was good, the French onion soup and mushroom soups were WONDERFUL, and the apple tart was outstanding. Pacific Heights—ate here on Wednesday and found it to be as good as the "pay" restaurants. My husband loved the calzone, and I thought the pork chops and cabbage rolls were wonderful. The apple cider pie was okay—not nearly as good as I'd hoped it would be (since I love apple pie and I love apple cider). Main Dining Room—We ate in the Four Seasons twice for dinner and loved it both times. The Beef Wellington was the best beef on the ship. The duck was as good as Le Bistro. The lamb was tender and tasty, the spinach and cheese appetizers are to die for. The cold soups were wonderful. Las Ramblas—We ate here one evening when we weren't very hungry. It was pretty good. The empanadas were tasty, as was the spicy goat cheese. I didn't love it, and we decided not to go back. Garden Cafe Buffet—Much better than we had expected! After our initial lunch buffet the first day, we didn't set foot in the buffet until dinner on Thursday. We were very impressed! Excellent selection, wonderful desserts (I LOVED LOVED LOVED the bread pudding), tasty food. Made-to-order pasta, fresh Caesar salad, huge salad bar. (LUNCH) Main Dining Room—We ate lunch in Seven Seas twice and enjoyed it both times. I found the appetizers and main courses to be as good as at dinner, but the desserts selection wasn't quite as good. Pizza/Pasta Bar—We had pizza twice, both times adding either buffet (salads and dessert) or pasta. The pizza was good but not amazing. The made-to-order pasta was quite tasty. (BREAKFAST) Main Dining Room—excellent again. Eggs benedict was very good but I've had better. Fruit was quite fresh, hot cereals good, bacon and potatoes were good. The pancakes were okay but the French toast was absolutely wonderful! The other mornings we ate made-to-order omelets and waffles, which we loved. Overall, as you can tell, we loved the food. The breads selection was incredible and I ate WAY too much of it. Room service was fine (we ordered breakfast once) prompt and tasty, but the selection was small. One small complaint that I had was that I couldn't find a lot of vegetables without sauces or creams except for the salad bar on the buffet. Not a major deal, just made it slightly harder to eat healthy. (Though I can't say I tried too hard) Entertainment—We went to all the shows but one and really enjoyed them. The dancers were quite good. There is a gymnast and 2 ballet dancers and 2 ballroom dancers who really enhance the shows. Some of the shows had some risque moves that wouldn't be suitable for young children in my opinion. The hypnotist was entertaining, the comedian was HILARIOUS. The jazz/blues singer was quite talented. Overall Service—we were very, very impressed. Everyone was extremely friendly and professional. We were greeted with a smile when we passed staff in the halls. The waiters were (with few exceptions) extremely attentive and cheerful. Most people that we spoke to were impressed as well. The concierge and reception staff were also very professional. The cruise director was cheerful and did a good job. Romance/Anniversary Package—We're not big wine drinkers and Anca the concierge helped us trade the bottle in our room for another kind. It was okay. In Le Bistro they let us trade for a White Zinfandel that was more to our liking. I've read other places that people wouldn't let you trade, but the Sun bent over backwards for us. The strawberries were tasty, the canapes were interesting and pretty good. The $5 off the pictures didn't help much since they were SO expensive (we took the discount instead of the free picture from the party). Good thing, too, because we forgot to go to the party! It was on the last day and we just forgot. Oh well. If you're a wine drinker this could be the package for you, but I'm not sure I'd do it again. We enjoyed it but once was enough. Debarkation—we did express and we were off the boat by 8:10. A bit congested in the hallways but overall very smooth. Ports of Call Costa Maya—we took a bus to Mahahual and walked around. Got massages for $10 for 30 minutes and they were quite nice. Ate lunch at the Cat’s Meow. The food was good but overpriced. The Margaritas were STRONG and good sized. The cheesecake was to die for. Lots of fun shopping, and the people DID haggle. Yay! Guatemala—Went on the trolley tour. It wasn’t as good as other tours I’d been on, but I’m not sure there was a lot to see. The guide was good, but the tour was short. The shopping was fine (one big flea market) and the people would haggle somewhat. One interesting thing was that as we pulled off from the pier the people lined up and danced and waved goodbye. It was really cool. Belize—We went to Smugglers Rum Plantation and went horseback riding. We booked this tour off the internet and not through the ship. Tendering was smooth for us because we used the VIP tendering tickets and were on the first boat. Apparently for the people we ended up on tour with it was VERY frustrating later on. We were there a good hour before they were. The Plantation was nice. A good ride, a knowledgeable “tour” of the city on the trip there. Good horses and excellent guides. The lunch was very, very good. Shoppers—beware! The people here are VERY push if you go outside the “pier” area. You have to be firm and keep moving fast. Cozumel—Didn’t even get off the boat. Didn’t enjoy it last time (too commercialized) and I was recovering from the horseback riding! Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
Overall, great vacation. My husband and I went alone. This was our third cruise. The first was Princess (honeymoon), the second Carnival (family event). We chose this cruise for the embarkation port and the itinerary. Incidentally, I think ... Read More
Overall, great vacation. My husband and I went alone. This was our third cruise. The first was Princess (honeymoon), the second Carnival (family event). We chose this cruise for the embarkation port and the itinerary. Incidentally, I think the absolute best feature was the itinerary. I loved each of the ports far better than any other ports I have visited on any other cruise. Embarkation day. We flew in the day before, so we got there early around 11AM. When we first arrived, my husband dropped my off with the bags and went to park the car (not at the terminal). I was standing there with five bags and was completely ignored by porters. A NCL representative pointed walked me to the gate where the porters were bringing bags (but did not help me with my bags). I stood there for five minutes while porters walked by me until one came up and collected my bags. I was sweating and flustered by then so I didn't tip him, but my bags still made it to the room. From there things were better, the line was minimal, we were handed our key cards. One weird thing is we were then told to wait a few minutes to board while other people were waved through. Anyway after five minutes, we were waved on and we ducked out of the embarkation photo line and went onto the ship. Also, we had carried on some bottled water and a box of coke zero and didn't want a picture of us carrying stuff. Our room was in the process of being cleaned, so we dumped our stuff and went off to find the buffet around 11:30. After eating, we walked around the ship to explore. I ended up getting a massage at the spa that was fantastic. The price was similar to spas on land, but it's a great way to start a vacation, especially since the ship wasn't leaving for a while. When I got back to the room, they had delivered out champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries from our anniversary package. These were fantastic. As we took off from the port, we went back to our room since the ship turned around and our balcony (port side) faced the city. I got great photos from our balcony. The first night we ate dinner in Le Bistro (also part of the anniversary package). The food was good, my husband loved it. Great chocolate souffle! Also if the steward knocks on your cabin door and you say "We're busy", they'll still come in, I guess they can't hear you very well from the hall. Our bad. We remembered the Do Not Disturb sign from them on. Second day was a sea day. I like to wake up early to read a book and listen to my iPod in the morning sun, then move my chair over to the shade for the rest of the day. My husband likes the entertainment of the band and poolside games, but this was very minimal on this ship compared to others we have been on. Also, there were chair hogs in full force all day. The worst was a group of six next to me who reserved seats for the entire day 9AM to sundown. All six were occupied for approximately ten minutes only in early afternoon. Most of the time only one or two were taken. Day 3- Costa Maya. We got a bus ride to Mahahual ($3pp), found a restaurant with lounge chairs and umbrellas near the beach. We walked a bit farther to get away from the crowd. I thought it was worth it, once we settled we were hardly bothered by the vendors that were walking up and down the beach. The water there is extremely shallow, and to get out to a deeper swimming area, you had to cross a boat crossing lane. My hubby and I got a bucket of (6) beer, a pina colada and fish tacos for 27 dollars, and hour long massages for 20 dollars each. The ship's spa massage was definitely better, but what did I expect for the price. Taxis were $2pp back. The docking area seemed nice also, there was a huge pool with a pool bar and a shopping area. There were booths to book tours around that area also. Day 4- Guatemala. I loved this port. At first glance, we had pulled up into an industrial shipping yard, but I guess the only place that can accommodate a ship of this size. The port building had music and dancers, crafts for sale and dollar beers. There were also a ton of touring agencies. We took our time getting off the ship and got a tour to Las Escobas waterfalls for only $35pp. We took a boat then a van to get to the park. When you get there we walked a bit through the park with our guide who pointed out native trees, etc. Since we went a little later, many people were leaving the falls as we got there. And there's nothing like jumping into cool waterfalls after a sweaty trek through the jungle. Afterwards we went back and got to the dock for the afternoon kayaking tour we booked through the ship. The kayaking was great, the river we were on was shallow, and the resort we ended up at was pretty nice also. There were waterslides, hammocks on the beach, several pools, and plenty of chairs everywhere. They announced the last boat back to the ship, and when we left, there was a great sendoff from all the taxis, tour guides and vendors that we watched from our balcony. Day 5- Belize. We booked a cave tubing excursion through a private and smaller company- not the popular one written about on these boards. This was also fantastic only $35pp compared to $99pp for the ship tour, and I loved the smaller group. We were allowed to float separately instead of chained to each other in huge human chains. Our guide met us at the pier, despite some problem with the tenders that let only 40 people off the boat at around 9:30. Another hour before another forty were let off the boat. We had been up early and had early tender tickets, but we didn't get off until 11AM. Our guide met us at the dock, took us around the city, gave us drinks and snacks and a sample of cashew wine-very unique and local-tasted like a dessert wine. We hiked through the jungle carrying our tubes, and got to hop in the water from some rocks. Our guide was part Mayan and pointed out everything along the way, the human chains all passed by not really getting any explanation of anything. Some areas were shallow, it's deeper and faster in Oct-Nov-Dec, shallower and slower this time of year. When we finished, we were taken to a local restaurant for lunch, then brought back to the pier. We had to get back to the ship right away, but this seemed to be a good shopping port. Day 6- Cozumel. We immediately took a taxi to Chakanaab ($10). We had $2 off admission coupons printed from the internet. The park is beautiful, and well-kept. There must have been hundreds of people doing the dolphin swims. Originally we wanted to do this also, but there were six pens and twenty people in each, and the groups were going one after the other. Instead, we walked around and got a set of chairs under a palapa. The bar servers can bring food and drinks out to you. The park is big enough so it didn't feel too crowded. We saw a couple of iguanas in the lagoon in the park. The Ocean is very deep right off the beach. We brought our own goggles, and I was amazed to see fish swimming almost right up to my face. There was a nice platform in the middle of the swimming area. There was also a pool area and a swimming beach. Afterwards, we went back to the city center to walk around. Cozumel is the most commercial of all the ports, almost like being in Miami. There were many more stores and restaurants than the other ports. The actual pier area was small, I guess because there was so much more just outside the pier areas. I saw eight cruise ships along the piers that day, and one smaller one that was tendering in. Day 7- last sea day. Same thing as the first sea day. I got up early to read and listen to my iPod, and watch all the towels take up empty chairs. Minimal entertainment poolside. The earphones from the iPod definitely cut down on the incessant bar server attention. The stateroom and stewards were great, comparable to the other ships we have been on. Our steward even called to apologize for the incident on the first day. The entertainment was pretty good, I enjoyed the singers the best. The various fee restaurants were nicer than the regular dining rooms. The dining rooms were good for a leisurely sit-down dinner, but I liked the food elsewhere better. Some people complained about the wait, but if you don't want to spend the time, I'd recommend not ordering all of the courses or going to the buffet. The buffet food was really good, possibly better than the dining room. My favorite restaurants were Las Ramblas for tapas and Pacific Heights for dinner. My best suggestion for foodies is to try everything because there are so many options, something somewhere is bound to be to your liking. It was also nice to know that you could get cash from the casino and have that charged to your on-board account. All of the ports accept US dollars and we ran out by the third day. Worst feature: I did get occasionally annoyed by the ubiquitous bar servers and photographers who sometimes seemed to not understand the words "no, thank you." Best feature: I thoroughly enjoyed the ports. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
What a big disappointment!!! I have sailed before but not with NCL. I must admit I will never sail NCL again. This was the worst experience I have ever had with a cruise line. The itinerary on this ship was wonderful. The ports of ... Read More
What a big disappointment!!! I have sailed before but not with NCL. I must admit I will never sail NCL again. This was the worst experience I have ever had with a cruise line. The itinerary on this ship was wonderful. The ports of calls were spectacular!!! Costa Maya.... The port is good. You can do some shopping. Find a few good buys. The party at this port was loud, wild and crazy!!! But about two miles away from port in the little town of Mauhaul, this is were you want to go. The people are so nice. You can really find great buys. Things are a lot cheaper here than at the port. Also the beach is beautiful. Crystal clear water, powder sand. So very relaxing. You can get a table right on the beach, with your feet in the water. A very friendly server to serve you without ever having to leave your spot. The beers are cheap. The food is great and reasonably priced. Just a nice place to spend the day relaxing. You can also rent wave runners, snorkel, parasailing. Pretty much any thing you want to do. And it is very reasonably priced here also. Guatemala.... The port is not much here. They have a large shopping area here. You can get some good buys here. This is you Jade port. If you like Jade jewelry this is were you want to get it. Great, Great, Great buys on Jade!!! I liked this port for the lush green jungle. I recommend taking a excursion down river through the canyon to the waterfalls. It is great. You get a good look at how they live in Guatemala. Also you will get a chance to stop in the small town of Livingston. This is a nice place to have lunch, walk through the town and enjoy the sites. Also you can get really great buys here but I found you must know a little spanish and you must have plenty of single one dollar bills to make purchases here. But in all I love the sites of this port. Belize.... Well I was not impressed with Belize. But we had chosen to stay in port and shop. This was a mistake!!! To me this port was the most expensive. You also have to watch what you purchased here. I mean after you pay for something you have to really inspect it to make sure you are getting the same quality that you had purchased. They like to swap the merchandise here. So keep an eye on you merchandise from the time you purchase it till you leave with it . Also the vendors here don't know the meaning of NO!!!. They are so pushy here. And don't dare venture outside the port gates alone in Belize. I don't feel it is safe. Way to much trouble going on for me. Cozumel.... Well we had been to this port before. Last time we took an excursion with the cruise line to a private island. We were not impressed. So this time we rented a car. Started out to travel to the other side of the island. But we never made it. We stopped at a little free beach. Mr. Sancho's. This is the place to be. WOW!!! What can I say. WOW!!! The beach was beautiful here. No charge.... I like that price!!! Free is always better. This is a great place to spend the day. Very nice restaurant and bar. Very reasonably priced. Food and drinks great deals. You must try the black beans... They drinks served here are delicious!!! Tables right on the water. You can rent snorkel gear, wave runner, parasailing, glass bottom boats. Lots of little shops to purchase souvenirs. Cuban Cigars!!!! Real cheap here. Also all shops, restaurant and bar takes credit cards(visa/mc). Save cash for renting snorkel gear. You can snorkel right at the beach. WOW!!! The fish are beautiful and plentiful. This is a great place for first time snorkelers. Also back at port if you want to purchase liquor this is the port. Great buys on expensive liquors. Now as for the NCL'S "The Sun". Well I have never encountered such rude people. They act like you were putting them out to serve you. No one on this ship acted very professional. Not friendly at all. We are not very high maintenance cruisers. We just expect the basics. You know, fresh sheets, clean towels ice in the cabin. We you could for get about the ice at night no one would bring you any. The did not change the sheets the whole cruise. They would give you clean towel once a day. The food was just mediocre on this ship. But of course they have all the cover charge restaurants on this ship so they hold back the good food for the cover charge restaurants. Also the service in the main dining rooms were very slow, not friendly, down right rude if you ask me!!! When you do want to complain. Forget it!!! Even the people in charge don't want to hear it. They are just as rude. Not very professional if you ask me. Everything on this ship was way over priced. The drinks were extremely pricey, and watered down. Plus what couple drinks I did order, I don't know if the server made a mistake or if the bartender just didn't know what he was doing. But I didn't get what I order or at least not what I expected. Bingo...WOW!!! The cost of bingo was entirely to expensive for the cash prizes they were given away. I did like the bingo staff though. They were the only staff I encountered on this whole ship that were truly friendly. They were great!!! On the sea days they did none of the poolside entertainment we were use to. Just a lot of bar staff trying to push drinks. At $10.35 per drink with tip. I understand why. But they need to learn to be friendlier and less pushy. We did have a few children traveling with us. The programs on the ship for the really young seemed good. Also for the teen group was good. But we had the in betweens. You know the not still babies but not teens yet. The 8- 12 year olds. Well forget it. Nothing on this ship for that age group. Also when booking excursions on this ship. Ask lots of questions and know what you are getting. Still way to expensive. Just book online yourself. You will find them at half the price as the cruise line. Forget the internet cafe. Just a ripoff. You pay dearly for the package. Then after you use it, you find that the computers don't log off right and before you know it your minutes are all gone. We did go to a few shows. They were good. They did a lot of game shows. The only problem with this was they did not do them in the big lounge on in the small disco bar. Never enough seats. You had to get there way early to get a good seat. Also everytime you tuned around on this ship they were taking your picture. This was so they could sale you a lot of way over priced pictures. The prices were unreal. But what upset me was they would not give discounts but all that was not purchased they bagged up and threw in the garbage. What a waste. The could have discounted the price and made a small fortune. Well like I said in the beginning this ship had a great itinerary. We all loved the ports of call. But as for NCL, NO!!! We will never sail with them again!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
We sailed on the Norwegian Sun on 3/4/07 out of New Orleans. Travel party included my husband and I in one room and our one-year-old son and his favorite sitter in another. We were on deck 9 (Fjord) in 9076 and 9143. We've sailed once ... Read More
We sailed on the Norwegian Sun on 3/4/07 out of New Orleans. Travel party included my husband and I in one room and our one-year-old son and his favorite sitter in another. We were on deck 9 (Fjord) in 9076 and 9143. We've sailed once before (pre-baby) on the HAL Zuiderdam. Just because I always like to know this sort of thing when I read these, we are generally content people who want to make the best out of all situations. EMBARKATION- We drove to New Orleans, arriving about 12. We parked in the terminal ($98- they accept cards or cash) and a porter took our luggage and then allowed us to self park. No problem finding a space. Security took a few minutes, not too bad. We were asked to see our documents, then sent to the normal line. I had read that we would have a separate line since we were in a suite, but we hardly had to wait, so no big deal. Then we got checked-in, our agent said we could pick up our keys in a separate room since we were suite guests. Someone took us to that room (our son and sitter were allowed to come in too, even though they were in a separate room that didn't qualify) Then, the agent in that room greeted us and got our keys. Weird, but whatever! We walked right on and could go straight to our rooms. We dropped our carry ons and had lunch in the main dining room. (More about the food below) We explored the ship which is sort of odd b/c you have to use certain levels to pass from forward to aft as some things are only accessible from one or the other (like the main dining rooms.) But it's cool once you get the hang of it. ROOMS/DECOR- The general look of the ship is nice. Some of it is a little Vegas-like to me (bright carpets, etc) but other parts are really pretty (the great outdoors cafe was one of my favorites) Our rooms were nice. there was a good deal of wear on the carpets and furniture, but most everything was very comfortable. My only real complaint are the deck chairs. They were the same chairs as on the pool deck, but in bad shape. Stained and very worn. I do understand why, the ash from the stacks falls on the aft decks, and even though our great maid, Maria, kept it clean, it obviously affects the furniture. The bathroom more than made up for it. Really, really pretty. Lovely fixtures and tile. Beautiful wood cabinets. Full tub and separate shower. Tons of storage and a lovely little vanity area separate from the bathroom. SERVICE- We had a really positive experience with the crew. Maybe because they all were charmed by our son, but really an exceptional crew. Our maid Maria was always working it seemed. Slipping in our room anytime we were out to tidy up. Our butlers (a suite perk) Theodore and Patrick were very charming and helpful. They brought us food and menus and helped our sitter find some movies for our son to watch. (on that topic, there is a dvd player in the suite and we wished we'd have brought movies. they have about 50 titles in their library- all at least 2 years old, but free to borrow) We didn't use any ship excursions, but the concierge, Anca, helped us make a couple dinner reservations. We didn't use her a ton, but she was helpful with getting us priority tenders and disembarkation and generally making sure we were happy. The restaurants had great servers and every time we ate we were spoken to by the maitre de. Very attentive but unobtrusive. Well done. FOOD- I have really mixed feelings about the food. The Good: Le Bistro (expect the very bad lobster martini I had) Il Adiago and Teppanyaki Grill The Average: Buffets and room service. Room service was good, but so limited I have to add it to the average list. Las Ramblas- ok but not great. The questionable: East Meets West- just really not worth even a half price surcharge. Some items in the main restaurants- they were really hit or miss. Good thing you can re-order if something misses!! My advice is to try to plan ahead to eat at the surcharge places. I know it seems odd to pay extra, so just consider it part of the original costs if you can. Reserve Teppanyaki early, they only have 3 seatings a night, 12 at each seating. It is sooo tasty (we eat it all the time at home, but this place was seriously good.) Also, sushi is available for lunch on sea days, so if you are struggling on how to fit in all the restaurants, consider that. I had read elsewhere that the two big restaurants had different menus, but they had identical menus every night of our trip. PORTS- Really lovely. Guatemala was my favorite. But we enjoyed them all. We used local (non-ship) excursion vendors, David and Ivan in Costa Maya for the ruins. Very informative, comfortable bus and just overall great experience. David actually was filling in one of the ship guides on some detail before our tour. Ha. They are the real deal, half-mayans themselves. In Guatemala we grabbed a taxi to the waterfalls. It was amazing. The big tours would clear out and we could just play at our leisure until the next wave of bused people came. We did cavetubing.com in Belize- too cool. Paradise beach and shopping in Cozumel. I would only say, the water is rocky in Cozumel, if you are used to Florida beaches, you might be disappointed. DISEMBARKATION- Crazy easy. We met at our appointed time and were in our car 30 minutes later. Wow. We had a great time, and would go with NCL again. Freestyle was our style- we loved eating when we wanted, where we wanted and not feeling like it was prom night! Although some people did dress up and got lots of attention for doing it- all and all it was a great trip. If only we were still sailing.... Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
Embarkation was swift for us. We got there early and were on the ship in less than 20 minutes! If you want to avoid a long long line, get there early. Luggage got to the room very fast also! We had a window room with a huge porthole. I ... Read More
Embarkation was swift for us. We got there early and were on the ship in less than 20 minutes! If you want to avoid a long long line, get there early. Luggage got to the room very fast also! We had a window room with a huge porthole. I found this nice that we could look out the window and see where we were instead of being in a black hole and not knowing where the heck we were. The room was as expected, but the stewardess was wonderful. Was a little upset that we didn't get a towel animal. But, oh well... Did not enjoy the "freestyle" cruising theory. 1.) All the FREE restaurants were mediocre. 2.) You had to pay for the good restaurants. 3.) Everything else on the ship is outrageous! Especially drinks! This cruise would be good for you if you don't plan on drinking any alcohol. If you do, bring a ton of extra money! Entertainment was by far the best I've ever seen on a cruise ship. Amazing dancers!!! I was very impressed. The service was wonderful, but of course they are hounding you every minute you don't have a drink in your hand. Hey, they want you 15% tip (which is added to everything). Everyone I encountered was very friendly and willing to help me if I had any questions. HELPFUL TIP FOR EXCURSIONS: BOOK ONCE YOU GET OFF THE BOAT! THE SAME EXCURSIONS ARE OFFERED ON LAND AND ARE ABOUT 1/2 THE PRICE! Costa Maya- Tourist Trap! Do an excursion! Guatemala- Not much there... Do an excursion! We went to the waterfalls and it was absolutely amazing! Highly recommend! Belize- My favorite Port of Call! Went snorkeling on the world's 2nd largest barrier reef! Pretty Cool! Cancun- Very touristy, but fun. Beautiful water, and lots to do. We rented a scooter and rode all over the place! Fun stuff! Overall, this cruise was a blast, but very very expensive! If you have the money, then go for it! If you are on a budget, choose another line. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
My husband and I went on this cruise 3/11 - 3/18. This was our 4th cruise, 1st with NCL. We have previously been on Carnival Imagination in 2001, RCCL Grandeur in 2003 and Carnival Miracle in May, 2006. Overall, I would consider this ... Read More
My husband and I went on this cruise 3/11 - 3/18. This was our 4th cruise, 1st with NCL. We have previously been on Carnival Imagination in 2001, RCCL Grandeur in 2003 and Carnival Miracle in May, 2006. Overall, I would consider this cruise incredibly.... average. This was the first time we have been to the new NOLA terminal and things went very smoothly. We drove in from Alabama on Sunday morning, about a 4 ½ hour trip, parked in the deck and got in line for the metal detectors then in line for check in. We were in line about 15 minutes, took the mandatory embarkation photo and were on board by 1:30 p.m. We had an outside room on Deck 4 and were a little disappointed with it. On the Miracle, we had been upgraded to a balcony room, which was very nice, and though we knew a standard outside room would not be exactly the same, the room was a good bit smaller than expected. DEcor was the standard cruise type so we did not love or hate it. Bathroom was adequate and hubby loved the shower. Always lots of hot water and plenty of water pressure. Our cabin stewardess Minnie was lovely. We tend to be pretty low maintenance, only needing fresh towels and the bed straightened and she kept us happy in those regards. It was spring break week and lots of students on board. I'm sure their rooms were in need of a bit more attention! I decided to try NCL because of the "Freestyle" dining and the experience was OK. On previous cruises, hubby and I usually just eat the buffet all week because we don't like sitting with people we don't know (daughter says we're anti-social, I say we're just shy). I like being able to eat when and where we want, but the food, in general was just OK. We didn't starve, but weren't very excited either. The main restaurants were nice, but served the same menus every night. Also, one night we didn't get dessert. Our server picked up our dinner plates and never came back. We sat about 10 minutes then left. The buffet was good for breakfast and lunch. Breakfast was the same stuff every day, but several options so you didn't have to eat eggs and bacon every day. Waffles were good. They are served in the Pacific Heights restaurant so you have to look for them. There was an omelet station somewhere, but we never found it. Lunch was typical buffet stuff and the outdoor cafe served hamburgers, hot dogs, salads, etc. They always seemed to be out of hamburgers though. Pretty popular I guess. Buffet dinner was not good, not much variety of entrees. Salad bar was good though and we ate lots of salads! Entertainment was pretty good. I agree with several others I've read on here, the Jean Ann Ryan dance Company was wonderful. Their production of Cirque Pan was amazing! Didn't see the hypnotist or comedian. Chantz Powell is a good entertainer. Hard to believe he's only 19! The talent show on the last night was fun. Now to the part we really didn't like - onboard activities. Since we've been on 3 previous Western Caribbean routes, we've done Costa Maya, Cozumel, Belize before. On Tuesday we stopped in Costa Maya, where we've been 3 times before so we decided to stay on the ship. On previous cruises, there are lots of things going on poolside even on port days. Not on the Sun! No band, no hairy chest contest, no ice sculptures, nothing but servers hocking helmets of beer and drinks of the day! Most of the Costa Maya day NCL workers were around the pool deck grinding rust off of hand rails! Very disturbing. More of the same in Guatemala. I wasn't feeling well that day (allergy attack/sinus infection I'm still fighting with) so we stayed on the ship and played cards inside (I couldn't listen to the grinding anymore). Once we got to Belize, though we didn't have an excursion booked, we went onshore just to get off that boring ship for a while. Here you'll find the standard tourist area but everything was nice and clean and unlike Mexico and Jamaica, there weren't people every 3 feet screaming at you to buy something. We stopped at the Iguana Rana for fish & chips and a couple of Belkin beers (made locally). Hubby said the beer was good, but I'm not a beer drinker so I took his word for it. Last port was Cozumel and we spent the day at Playa Mia. Fairly crowded but a pretty nice day. Lots of activities, parasailing, jet skis, etc. We booked the excursion on the ship so we had use of non-motorized toys, lunch buffet and the most important part - open bar. Good pina coladas and bottled water was nice. We got a couple of extra bottles to take back on the ship. Lunch was pretty good and it was an overall nice day. I would definitely recommend going to Playa Mia if you just want a day to relax or if you enjoy lots of water activities. Good excursion for the whole family. The entertainment staff are very fond of game shows on this ship and that's about it. They had the Newlywed game, Family Feud, Weakest Link and a Jeopardy style game. Of course, they strongly encouraged visiting the bars and shoved Bingo down your throat. The bands on board were, what little we saw of them, not the greatest. One reggae band that played by the pool only played for a couple of hours on sea days. The other club band was not that good either. Hubby and I enjoy sitting back listening to some music but we just couldn't cut these folks. As I said, I tried NCL because of the Freestyle thing, which is a good concept, but not well organized on this ship. I don't think we'll be cruising NCL again, definitely not the Sun again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
As a first time "mega-ship" cruiser, I found this Cruise Critic website to be very helpful, so want to share what I learned with others as a way of saying "thanks" for all those who wrote before me. In retrospect, the ... Read More
As a first time "mega-ship" cruiser, I found this Cruise Critic website to be very helpful, so want to share what I learned with others as a way of saying "thanks" for all those who wrote before me. In retrospect, the main thing that one needs to work on is expectations. If you come aboard expecting something that isn't there(i.e. the legend of unlimited, top quality gourmet food available around the clock, or service that includes tucking you in at night and reading you a bedtime story) you are bound to be disappointed. Taking the experience for what it is...realizing that you get what you pay for and that you aren't paying top dollar but are still getting great value for your money...and enjoying the good parts while ignoring as much as possible the less good ones...and taking some personal responsibility for yourself having a good time...all these are important things in helping make your cruise experience a positive one. Some general things: 1. Food: The food wasn't as good as I'd thought it would be, but it wasn't terrible either. I can see how someone with expectations would be disappointed, but everyone I talked to or overheard talking about the food, thought it to be very good. Lots of interesting dishes, and though they usually didn't succeed to a gourmet standard, they were generally good and satisfying. I ate at the Garden Cafe or Great Outdoor Cafe buffets more than in the restaurants. Lots of choices, great salad items and fruit...and no dress code. The Seven Seas and Four Seasons provided great service, but limited menus compared to the buffet. I loved some of the tapas at Las Ramblas, though they weren't really Spanish. The Italian restaurant Il Adagio was a nice change of pace and worth the extra $10 per person. Friends loved the steaks at East Meets West, but I didn't eat there or any of the other restaurants with a surcharge as paying extra didn't seem worth it with all the "more than acceptable" available food. 2. Ports of Call: In general I wasn't blown away by the stops, but I took them for what they were and had a good time. When I first booked the cruise I thought I should book an excursion in each port, but after thinking about it, realized I would be just as happy deciding later which excursion, if any, to book...and all I had heard and read about were readily available onboard... and even on the pier for those who want to save a few bucks. And, there is nothing wrong with getting off and viewing the craft shops at port and then returning to the ship early for some quiet time while most people are on shore. Costa Maya: The town and beach were not much. I quickly walked the three blocks through town fending off offers of food or massages the entire time. Then headed back to the pier area and shopped a bit before going back to the ship and chilling out. Santo Tomas Guatemala: In my opinion and that of others I talked with, this was the best stop by far. The craft market was a good one...the people there were most friendly. I took the Go with Gus tour you may have read about elsewhere in these reviews. This is not offered onboard, so you have to book directly (either at the pier after you go ashore or ahead of time via the internet at gustavo@turcios.com or at his hotel website http://posadaeldelfin.com) HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!! Not only do you get some incredibly beautiful scenery during your boat trip on the Rio Dulce and feel like you're in the world of the Maya from several hundred years ago, but you get to meet with school children, (be sure to ask Gus ahead of time what you might bring for them as they have very little and even simple school supplies and books are welcomed) have typical food (Catch of the Day was delicious!), and walk the streets of the town of Livingston...all in a remote area of the country which is just now being developed for eco-tourism. Don't miss this! Belize City: As I've seen lots of Incan and Mayan ruins before, I decided to head out to Caye Caulker and take a look. I'm a "get-away-from-it-all beach nut" and hoped to find a place I might want to come back to and spend a month. So, we made our way to the water taxi station and headed out (45 minutes each way). It was nice enough, but no beaches. We did rent a golf cart and explore the island...and had a nice lunch at Rainbow restaurant. Would I go back? No, but I was glad I saw it if only to satisfy my curiosity. If I went back to Belize again, I would definitely sign up for a snorkeling or diving trip. Cozumel: Since I have always wanted to swim with dolphins, I saved that for here as I was told it was the best program of the four ports. This is the only tour I booked via the cruise line, and I selected the Dolphin Swim Experience. Frankly, I'd recommend taking a taxi out to Chankanaab Park ($10 or less each way) and booking there directly. They offered an option which the ship didn't that would have provided even more time with the dolphins...and the price was better, too. Loved the dolphin experience...and the park was nice. Snorkeling was basic. However, as my companion doesn't snorkel, it was the only time I got a chance to do it. Again, for snorkeling or diving, I'd book a tour specifically for that. Afterwards, we chose not to walk around the city, and headed back to the boat for sun and sauna. 3. The Norwegian Sun and NCL Freestyle: My two previous cruise experiences were on the Uniworld Tolstoy for the Russian river cruise (100 passengers) and a Cook cruise of the Great Barrier Reef (120 passengers). As I am usually an independent traveler and don't like crowds or standing in lines, I was a little concerned about being with so many people in such a small space. But, honestly, I never felt crowded or overwhelmed. Just the opposite, it was like being in a large hotel with lots of areas to get away from it all. I had a cabin with balcony which was very nice, and I wouldn't want one without a balcony in the future. Unfortunately, even though there is supposedly no smoking in the cabins, ours reeked of smoke so the cleaning crew came in and washed the walls and sprayed Febrize on the furniture and carpets which helped some. I look forward to the day when one can book a cruise on a ship where there is no smoking at all. Would have spent more time (and money!) in the casino, but there was just too much smoke. Other facilities such as the fitness center and spa, shopping, library, etc. were more than adequate. The three nights of musical productions were of great quality and most enjoyable. I went to one fitness lecture which I found useful, and a stretch class which was good, too. Walking around the ship on the promenade deck could have been an enjoyable way of getting exercise outdoors, but too many people were smoking along the way, so I gave up on that after the first day. 4. Dress code: If you're someone who likes to dress up I think the NCL Freestyle may not be for you. For the restaurants with service, slacks and shirt with a collar were required for dinner, but many people still wore denim jeans. Some people did dress up a bit (no tuxes that I saw) for the formal night, but generally everybody was very casual...and that's just the way I like it, so I was happy not to have to dress up. Overall, despite my initial reservations about taking one of these large cruises, I have a very good time and to my surprise would definitely consider one of them again. I loved the Freestyle concept and would look for that first, and I thought that NCL did a very good job in general, and would definitely consider cruising with them in the future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
Norwegian Sun Review Sail Date 03-04-2007 As a former travel agent, and avid cruiser, I realize how important it is to have ship reviews. As hard as it is sometimes to take the time to write the review after the excitement has worn ... Read More
Norwegian Sun Review Sail Date 03-04-2007 As a former travel agent, and avid cruiser, I realize how important it is to have ship reviews. As hard as it is sometimes to take the time to write the review after the excitement has worn off, and the bags are unpacked, I know how much I enjoy reading reviews, so this is my way of giving back the cruise community. Let me say that I am fairly critical, having been on nineteen cruises to date. PRE-CRUSE STAY IN NEW ORLEANS Since we drove in a couple days early, we chose to stay a few minutes out of the downtown area in Metairie. It seriously was less than a 10-minute drive to the French Quarter. We stayed at the Sheraton Metairie, which I believe to be a new Sheraton acquisition. The property nice and clean with free covered parking. Nothing too special, but nice nonetheless. We were able to get a GOV rate of 70.00 which was far lower than the rates downtown where parking was up to 20.00 night or more. On the Saturday before the cruise, we wandered around the French Quarter, and went to the D-Day museum. The D-Day museum was a favorite with my kids, and in my opinion, NOT to be missed. After some Cruise Critic recommendations, we ate at the GUMBO SHOP, which was very good, in a nice festive atmosphere. This was my first ever trip to NOLA, and quite frankly, I am surprised at the level of damage and destruction that still exists from Katrina. The tourist areas are fairly well repaired, but that's about it. EMBARKATION We had breakfast this morning at Cafe Beignet. (This is also a must for a NOLA visit!) After some research, we decided to park at the cruise terminal for the 98.00 weekly rate. This was by far the most convenient. After paying, we pulled up where the porters unloaded our luggage, and directed us to the fourth level where we parked right next to the elevator. With a few steps, we were in the terminal. We arrived about 10:45 with no wait at all. Check in was a breeze, and we waited for about 15 minutes or so in the waiting area before boarding the ship. NCL gets an A plus on their Embarkation efficiency. Having sailed on the SUN three years ago, we knew how to get to our room with no problem. STATEROOM This time around, I booked an Inside Stateroom on the Viking Deck (8). There are five of us (three kids, ages 6, 8 and 11) I've always thought that the SUN has nice staterooms with well through of appointments. Plenty of closet space, a stocked mini bar and refrigerator. The room was equipped with the two twins that make a king, a sofa that folds into a double, and one upper berth. I'm not as impressed with the bathrooms on this ship that are small and very RV'ish. They are all plastic, not tile like Carnival's bathrooms. The showers are very small, and the soap and shampoo dispensers are inconveniently located and hard to reach. I found that the entire bathroom is always soaked after a shower, which I guess is why they made them all plastic. Now, I'm not the type of person that usually carries my own sheets to a hotel room, but I have to say, I wasn't too impressed with the cleanliness of the room. I noticed that Vaseline had been wiped on the bed skirt, and was still clumped up. Of course, I can only imagine how it got there. So needless to say, they don't wash or change the bed-skirts every week. Also, there were stains of who knows what on the sheets as well. I had all of the linens changed that night, but it was impossible to get in touch with a Steward until dinnertime. Also, during one of the weekly linen changes, I noticed the sheet on the upper berth was stained and full of little black hairs. TOTALLY DISGUSTING! After settling in, we wandered the ship, had lunch at the buffet, and made dinner reservations for Adagios for that evening. SHIPS CONDITION Having been on the SUN in 2003, I was able to compare it from then to now, and I believe it to be in great shape! Having just completed some refurbishment in dry dock, there was evidence of newness in many places. Most of the upholstery in all areas was brand new as was much of the carpet (not all). The ship was very clean, and one new thing I noticed since 2003 was the installation of dozens of hand sanitizing stations. My kids loved cleaning their hands every time they passed one. SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS We were able to eat at both Adagios, and Le Bistro, both of which were fantastic, and well worth the money, especially if you take advantage of the ½ price early bird specials. (Reservations at 6pm or earlier) One thing to note is that if the kids order of the usual kids menu, they are not charged the cover charge for specialty restaurants. We were thankful for that. I didn't know this, but it takes 7-8 hours to reach the mouth of the Mississippi River, and while we were eating in Adagios on the first night, we had perfect seats to watch the sights as we passed by. Much to our surprise, there is a little town that shoots of fireworks every week as the SUN sails by. It was really neat to see from our table beside the window. We also visited Las Ramblas for Tapas appetizers on a few evenings. This is not to be overlooked. We really enjoyed the environment there. MAIN DINING ROOM FOOD AND SERVICE We had the opportunity to dine in both dining rooms, and I found the service and food to be excellent. Of course there are always things on the menu that I just don't care for, but I found the quantity, quality and presentation to be fantastic. We were always treated very well by the wait staff. We never had to wait in line to eat, but then again, we usually eat early. BUFFET FOOD Like I said, eating is one of my favorite parts of cruising, so I am very picky. I found the meals served on the Buffet to be very well done. There was always something different, and plenty of options. Breakfast really is what it is, but there were always options if you didn't want the standard liquid scrambled eggs. We also made it to the Chocoholic Buffet, which was great as usual. The fresh fruit dipped in hot fudge was my favorite! BAR SERVICE We are not big drinkers by any means, but we like to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, and an occasional cocktail. Thank God we are not, because NCL charges through the nose for drinks!!! One glass of Sangria at Las Ramblas was 7.84! This is absurd! NCL needs to revisit this. Full bottles of wine were also way overpriced. 28.00 for a bottle of wine that would cost 7.99 at the liquor store. They would allow you to purchase a full bottle, and they would store the unused portion to use at a later time. This was nice, and made it a little better, but still way overpriced. I would hate to see some of those bar bills from someone that drinks a lot. ENTERTAINMENT After 19 cruises, I would say that I am a pretty good judge of Cruise Ship entertainment. The Jean Ann Ryan Dance Company on the SUN is the BEST I have ever seen. Their theater productions of MR PRODUCER, QUE NOCHE and CIRQUE PAN are far superior to anything I have seen on any cruise line. As far as the other headliners, there was a cheesy Hypnotist, and very good comedian, and a phenomenal 19 year old artist named Chanz Powell. Don't miss this guy! The cruise Director was a British woman named Linda Minnikin. A very nice lady that always took the time to talk with you. She's been with NCL for 28 years, I believe she said. CHILDRENS PROGRAMS What can I say other than WELL DONE. Our kids couldn't wait to go back to the Kids Corner. The staff there was wonderful, and according to my kids, much better than the last time on the SUN. One note is that there were only 74 kids 2-17 onboard, compared to the 550 that are booked on the 04-18-07 sailing. We hardly noticed any kids around most of the time. The kids were given the opportunity to spend some time with the Captain in a Q&A session, as well as with the Cruise Director. They were even brought up on stage during the finale where all of the crew is introduced. They were introduced as "Junior Cruise Directors". My kids were on cloud 9, and loved every minute of it. GAMING The casino was the normal cruise ship casino. Smokey and stocked with the usual table games and slots. There were multi combination slot machines ranging from 1 penny to 25 cents, as well as one machine that was 500.00 a pull! BINGO was extremely overpriced, but fairly popular. They were pushing those wireless automatic bingo machines were you could play 72 cards for 100.00. All you really did is sit and watch the machine play for you. The cruise staff also pushes the pull tab lottery tickets (Krack-Its) very hard. Otherwise know as "Rip-Offs) PORTS OF CALL COSTA MAYA - This was our first visit to Costa Maya. We enjoyed are day at Mahaual which is a 3.00 pp cab ride (2.00 for the return). There are many places you can get a 40 minute massage for twenty bucks. This was wonderful, and one of the highlights of our cruise. Eating at Mahaual isn't that cheap. We ended up paying 40.00 for 5 drinks, and two plates of Nachos. There is plenty of vendors selling necklaces and souvenirs there, but beware, it's junk. The necklaces the kids bought fell apart after one day. SANTO TOMAS - The ship docks at a container port where there is a warehouse full of shopping and tour vendors. There is live local music and dancing going on, and you really got the feeling these people appreciated the money you were spending. We booked a tour with HAPPY FISH, and got a bargain. 100.00 for the five of us, for a 5-hour tour of the Rio Dulce, and the fishing village of Livingston. Our guide, a local Guarfana Indian did a great job, and took us way up stream were we were able to interact with many local Indians. This was a scene right our of National Geographic. Kids no older than 7-8 paddling around in canoes carved out of tree trunks. Teenagers fishing with nets, women washing their clothes on stones. This was a very good experience for my kids to see. We stopped at a thermal hot spring, and had the chance to explore a cave that was recently discovered. Later we went to Livingston were we were taken to the Happy Fish restaurant. The food was great! We had three fish and seafood meals with drinks for 33 USD. The really neat thing about this port was the send off they give you as the ship leaves. All of the vendors, tour guides, local policemen, dock workers and their kids line up and sing and dance and wave as the ship pulls out. Very touching! BELIZE - We originally had plans to go cave tubing, but had to cancel as my youngest wasn't feeling well. We just explored the port area. If you are into knock-off designer purses, there are many places where you can buy COACH, GUCCI, or whatever. COZUMEL - Having been to Cozumel a few times, we had no real plans. As we were walking around, we ran across one of those vendors pushing timeshare presentations. We were offered 5 day passes at their all-inclusive (alcohol included) resort for 50.00 for attending the 60 minute sales pitch. We did it, and it was fun. All the food and drink, swimming, etc for 50.00. The resort was nice, but I would never purchase for the 50K they were asking. They even covered cab fare back to the ship. DEBARKATION We were issued lavender luggage tags with an approximate time of 10:15 for debarkation. We were able to sleep in until 9am, ate a light breakfast, and we were off the ship by 10am. The porter carried our checked luggage all the way through customs and to our car. Again, NCL gets an A plus for there efficiency. POST-CRUISE STAY We booked another night at the Sheraton Metairie, and spent the morning enjoying the Riverwalk area, and the Audubon Aquarium. The aquarium was nice, but nothing special. Our Aquarium in TN is MUCH better. However, the IMAX presentation of "Hurricane on the Bayou" was fantastic. It really opens your eyes to the coastal erosion issue in the region. CLOSING This is a wonderful cruise, one of our best ever! I love the itinerary, and the Freestyle Dining concept. NCL is doing a great job overall, and we would definitely cruise with them or on the SUN again. Happy Sailing! Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
This was a family cruise for me, my husband and all of my husbands side of the family. Most of us had cruised before on the Carnival Cruise Line. Our party consists of My husbands mother, step father, father, step mother all of which had ... Read More
This was a family cruise for me, my husband and all of my husbands side of the family. Most of us had cruised before on the Carnival Cruise Line. Our party consists of My husbands mother, step father, father, step mother all of which had never cruised before. Also my husband sister, niece,my nieces friend, sisters boyfriend, his daughter and a friend, and my husbands aunt, all which had cruised before on other cruise lines. We were hoping this family cruise would be the start of many family cruises for our family. But after this experience on The Sun, I will be surprised if the first time cruisers will ever want to give another cruise line a chance. first let me start by tell you the itinerary for this ship is great. The ports of call are wonderful. Our first port was Costa Maya. We did not do a shore excursion. Instead I had pre-booked us a golfcart so we could travel the two miles up the road to the little town of Mauhaul. I pre- booked over the net with Costa-Maya Tours. The cost is $10.00 for pre-booking and $65.00 upon arrival in cash for a full days rental. Now one thing you must know you can rent for only $65.00 upon arrival but you run the risk of them being booked up, so I suggest you go ahead and pre-book for the extra $10.00. It is well worth it. After we picked up the golf cart we made our way to the small town of Mauhaul. It is a beautiful place to visit. There are plenty of little shops to buy souvenirs( at a lot better deal than in port) a nice beach where you can get a little table for no real cost only the price of a beer or soda. They will come right to you on the beach to serve you. There are a few restaurants to have lunch, still the will take your order right on the beach and deliver you food right to your beach side table. The service was great, everytime my husband wanted another beer all I had to do was raise my hand and the young man serving us would bring him a beer. It was wonderful. You could also get a massage right there on the beach (very reasonable rates). We did not shop to much in the Costa Maya port for us it was way to loud, crowded and the prices were to high. But if you are looking for the party scene that is where it was at. Our second port of call was Guatemala. This was my favorite of all ports. Again I pre-booked over the net for our excursion (the excursions on the ship are double the price as booking yourself). We went with Happy Fish Travel. They are great. Met us right at the port. We boarded a small boat to set out for our day. We had Erik Barrientos as our tour guide. He was great answered all our questions, was very friendly and most helpful. It was a great day. We travel down river through the canyon to see waterfalls, the wildlife and stopped at a nice little place to purchase souvenirs. Then we traveled back to the small tour of Livingston for lunch at the Happy Fish Restaurant. The food was good. We had the steaks but I had also order the Happy Fish Platter which was fish and grilled shrimp. My favorite was the grilled shrimp. That is what I would recommend. My husband and I walked through the small town, did a little shopping. You can get great buys here but you must know a little spanish and have plenty of single dollar bills to make your purchases. This is a very poor country and they appreciate anything you spend here. After returning to the port we boarded the ship and the people of Guatemala all come out and put a very nice show to send the ship off. They are great. Also one thing I would like to mention also. Please remember that the guides that do the tours are not the owners of the boats for the excursions. They are paid a very small wage. It is greatly appreciated if you tip the guides. Our guide Erik was great and yes we tipped him. But I over heard other guest wondering why he would have to work to jobs after just doing the tour well it is because he is paid very little wages. So please remember to tip the guides. Our third port of call was Belize. We did not book anything for this port. So all we did was walk through the port and shop. I found this to be the most expensive port of all. Also in this port you have to really watch what you buy here. I purchased a sterling silver necklace for my son. It was a very nice necklace and I finally got the shop keeper down to a price I could live with. The only problem was after I purchased the necklace and was paying for it, I turned my back on the shop keeper just long enough to get my money and pay and the shop keeper pulled the ole switch the merchandise game. He was dropping my necklace in a bag for me and I asked to inspect it first and he said it is the same necklace. But it was not. It was a very cheap knockoff of what I had purchased. So I made him give me my money back. So we walked through a few more shops and then returned to the shop which had the necklace. This time he had the real necklace back out displayed and I picked it up and asked it I could have it at the same price. When he said yes I has me money ready. I paid for it and when he wanted to bag it for me I told him I would just place it in my bag I already had. Not wanting to give him the chance to switch the necklace again. So my advice is while shopping in Belize pay close attention to what you are getting. This is true in all ports inspect your merchandise after you pay for it. If I ever go back to Belize I will take an excursion. Belize is a great place to snorkel, so that is what I plan on doing next time. Our fourth and final port was Cozumel. We did not book and excursion. Instead we rented a car. It cost way less that taking cabs.( remember that if you take a cab in cozumel get the price upfront. Most of the time they give you a price but do not tell you it is per person) I recommend renting a car. You can go where you want, all the shops offer free parking. You can travel completely around the whole island in one hour and forty minutes. Although we did not make it to the opposite side of the island. We went to a very nice little free beach call Mr.Sanchos. It was great. Nice beach, crystal clear water, beach chairs with umbrellas also nice tables under straw huts right on the beach gave great sun block. At this beach the rent snorkel gear for $7.00 for 2 hours also wave runners for $60.00 an hour. We did snorkel but thought the $60.00 an hour for wave runners was just to much. (in Costa Maya in the small town of Mauhaul you could rent wave runners for $35.00 an hour). Also the food at this beach was great. You could get a sampler platter for $12.00 that had ribs, chips guacamole and salsa, pepper poppers or cheese sticks, hot wings and black bean dip. We chose the sampler and got a extra order of black bean dip with chips and salsa. Cost us $ 27.00 with drinks feed our party of four. Also all shops and restaurant here at this beach take credit cards ( visa & MC). Take a little cash for snorkel equipment. It was a great place for first time snorkeling. Lots of fish to see even saw some small eels. Also this port is a great port to shop and purchase your liquor. Everything is really cheap here. Now I have told you all the good things about my cruise, let me tell you the bad. Well we have cruised with Carnival before and had a great time. But with Norwegian this was a terrible experience. I have never encountered such poor service and the rudeness of the crew was unbelievable. The food in the main restaurants was just mediocre. The service was horrible. Never once did the waiter ask if we would like something to drink with our meals. It took at least one hour and a half to get your meal. One night we ate in the Seven Seas for dinner. My Step father in law being a first time cruiser was not aware that he could not wear shorts in the main dining room. We had noticed the night before that they were not really enforcing the dress code so we went on to the restaurant. The hostess did seat us never mentioned the shorts. The waitress served us our water and was beginning to take our order. Then the maitre d walked through and noticed the shorts he went directly to the hostess and made the hostess come to the table and ask my step father to leave and change from shorts to slacks. They caused a very bad scene not just the one time but 3 times during our dinner. We felt like we were the entertainment of the evening. It was a horrible experience. My step father would not even eat in any of the main dining rooms after that night. I immediately call the reception desk and ask for the restaurant manager to give me a call. I waited 2 days and no call from the restaurant manager so on the third day I call back to the reception desk and asked for a appointment with the Food and Beverage Director. He would not even meet with me. But he did return my call. At first he was very rude, but in the end he did offer his apology and asked us to give them a chance to make it right. I knew my step father would not dare go back to the Seven Seas restaurant so the F&B Director made us a reservation in the Four Seasons restaurant. That night we got excellent service. The F&B Director did stop by our table to apologize to my step father. He even gave us two bottles of wine. The food was good except for my steak was way to over cooked. But service was right on the money, that night. But the following night we returned to the Four Seasons for dinner and once again the same rudeness of the crew and poor service was available. I believe they do this to try to get the passengers to eat in the restaurants that have a cover charge. My husband and I did eat in one of the restaurants that had a cover charge. We ate in the East Meets The West. It was excellent. The food was delicious, fast and very friendly service. But of course we did have to pay $50.00 for the two of us to eat there. Now my husband and I was not pleased with our room steward. Everyone else had fairly good stewards, but ours did not even do the basics for us. On the first day of the cruise my husband and I ordered a drink in a souvenir glass. After we finished the drink and returned to our room tat night we left our drink glasses. On other cruises the room steward would always wash our glasses for us to use the next day. But not on this ship. The glasses sit dirty with old fruit on them in our room till I went down and had all our gratuities taken off our bill the last day of the cruise. By the way when I spoke with the F&B Director the first time on the phone he ad assured me he would contact the Director of house keeping and have the glasses cleaned but when I returned from port they were still dirty. That is what made me decide to have all gratuities off my bill. After I did that and told what the problem was then, and only then did the glasses get washed. Also the room steward would not ice down my husbands beer while we were out of the room. And just to let you know they only want to service your room twice a day once to make your bed and the second time to turn down your bed. So make sure your baths are done prior to the beds being turned down. Or it is impossible to get clean towels for your morning bath. Don't even think about trying to get ice for your room after 9pm. This is impossible. They will not bring you any till moring.Room service takes an hour to get to your room. Then it is always wrong so plan on two hours for room service to get your order right. Everything on this cruise is over priced. One drink with tip includes is $10.35. Bingo cost any where from $ 40.00 to $140.00. And the cash prizes are very slim. They did have some good game shows for entertainment. But they always did the in Dazzles which was a small disco bar so not enough seats. So always get there early. I did not understand why they did not do them in the Star Dust Lounge. So there would be plenty of seating. Oh well guess they had there reasons for this. We did have children with us and there is absolutely nothing for the age group of 8- 12 to do on this ship. They had a fairly good program for the 2- 7 year olds and the 13- 17 year olds but the 8-12 years olds, I feel got over looked. The did have a video arcade on this ship but the changer was broken and none of the shops would give children change so that was a loss cause. They did none of the entertainment poolside that we were use to. One day they did have a pool party I chose to nap but my husband went. He said it last about 20-30 minutes. So I missed nothing. And forget about the internet cafe. This is a ripoff. My sister in law purchased a package for here and the kids traveling with her to keep in touch with they parents. After logging off the first time there was a glitch with the computers and it took all their minutes away. They bought a second package to find it did the same thing. This time my sister-in -law went to complain and found she was not the only one on the cruise with this problem but everyone was told that NCL was not responsible so nothing was done to compensate for the loss minutes. So over all this was a horrible time onboard the Sun. But like said this is a great itinerary for the ports we saw but the service we got on the ship was horrible. We will never be traveling with Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
Background Information Our cruise was 3/18/07 - 3/25/07. We have cruised 5 times, this was our 2nd on NCL. We went with 4 other couples that we met on a previous NCL cruise. New Orleans We arrived a day early in NO (St Patty's Day). ... Read More
Background Information Our cruise was 3/18/07 - 3/25/07. We have cruised 5 times, this was our 2nd on NCL. We went with 4 other couples that we met on a previous NCL cruise. New Orleans We arrived a day early in NO (St Patty's Day). This was awesome. If you want to experience Mardi Gras at a much calmer level, I would recommend going on St Patty's Day. We had a blast - it was not real crowded and the "flashing" was minimum. Hotel Info We stayed at the Pelham Hotel. The hotel was a couple blocks from the French Quarter/Bourbon Street and Harrah's Casino. Great location. The rooms were vintage NO style and very nice. NOTE: If you book a room with only one bed they are kind of small. We had a room with 2 double beds and it was good size. Cost was $119+tax. Embarkment We arrived at their terminal at 11:30 and was greeted by a porter to take our luggage. We checked in and got on the ship at 11:45. Very smooth! Ship Info The Sun was a very nice ship, in very good condition. Not many signs of wear. The layout is kind of strange because some floors do not go the length of the ship, but once you explore a little you get used to it. Activities As I said before this was not our first cruise, so we had a good idea of what to expect for activities; however the Sun did disappoint us a little. They did not have near the activities as other cruise lines or even the other NCL cruise we had been on. During the at sea days they typically had one poolside activity the entire day. They also had BINGO, an afternoon movie and casino tournaments, but that was it. You could play basketball, ping pong or shuffleboard on your own also. Each day as we left a port of call a reggae band played for about an hour. Service Our room steward was great. Our room was always made up right away, clean towels always, plenty of ice. HELPFUL TIP: I pre-ordered a bottle of Absolute Vodka for $40 to have in my room for the week. I brought along single packets of lemonade and made myself Vodka Lemonades all week long - this saved me a TON of money! There are WAY too many bar servers on this ship. You are bothered way too much. I understand their pay is based on gratuity, but when my eyes are closed and I'm relaxing you do not need to disturb me to see if I need a drink. Ports of Call Costa Maya - nice tourist area right off the ship with shops and a swimming pool with swim-up bar. Many locals offering excursions for good prices. We took a bus to Manahual to experience the local culture and had a blast! Locals had little shops throughout the village. A lot of different bars/restaurants. We ate at Tapas bar and Willy set us up a table right on the beach partially in the water so we could dip our toes. Beer was $10 for a bucket of 6 (XX or Corona) - much better than the $22.71 the ship charges. Guatemala - docked in a shipping yard. There is a large shopping area where locals come and bring their crafts to sell. You can buy local bottled beer for $1 and it was pretty good. We arranged with a local guy to take the 10 of us in a van to the waterfalls. We hiked through the woods and to a couple different falls. They drove us through the town, gave us bottled water, stopped by a little stand and bought us fresh watermelon. They then took us on a tour of the larger city. We then choose to go back to the ship, but they would've continued to take us around longer. The cost was $25 per person which included the entrance to the falls, water & watermelon. It was a nice trip. When the ship left the locals came and gave us a wonderful sendoff…this is something to see. Belize - we have been here before so we just stayed in the shopping area where the tender docked. It is very commercialized and the most expensive of the ports. If you are daring enough you can leave the gated area and there are locals with little stands selling their crafts. We wandered out there and a fight broke out between a few of the locals who were vying for a sale. The police were right there to control it , but it made me a little uncomfortable so we went back into the gated area. The last time we were at this port we booked the cave tubing experience through the ship and it was a wonderful experience. Cozumel - we have been to this port several times, so we opted to take the advice of others and rent a jeep and go to the other side of the island. We must've not gone to the right places because that was a complete waste of time. They quoted us $65, but with the insurance, tax and gas it ended up costing us $115. We did go to the "largest ruins" on the island and paid $5.75 each and they were horrible. If you want to see ruins, go while you are in Belize or plan another trip to Playa Del Carmen/Cancun and visit Tulum or Chichen Itza. Shore Excursions Being avid cruisers we did not plan on booking any excursions through the ship. However my husband's plans had to change because he planned on scuba diving in Belize, but since you are tendered into shore (not docked) the people who booked excursions through the ship were let off first. By the time we got to shore (11:00) it was too late to go scuba diving. Since he still wanted to dive, he booked an excursion through the ship for Cozumel. Big mistake! It was $89 (typically reasonable for scuba diving), but they took them to an island and they had to walk from the shore to dive. Typically you dive right from the boat. He was very disappointed. Dining I was happy with our dining experience. We ate breakfast in the dining rooms twice, once in the buffet and the rest of the time at the omelet or waffle station restaurants. Lunch we ate in the buffet or the outdoor garden cafe (back of ship on deck 11). The pizza was AWESOME, you could get that at the outdoor cafe or in the pizza station (deck 11 port side). We ate in the main dining rooms every night except one. I thought the entrees were all very good, but the portions were small (but who cares because you eat so much all day long). We did not eat at any of the specialty restaurants. Entertainment At night is where we were really disappointed. They had a nice show each night. The Broadway-type shows were okay, not the best I've ever seen on a ship. The hypnotist was awesome; the comedian was pretty good, but only did a short show. The only place that was very active at night was Dazzles lounge. There are several bars onboard, but the entertainment in the other bars was just so-so. At Dazzles, they typically started the evening with a game show (Newlywed Game, One versus 10, Weakest Link, etc.); then had a band perform for about an hour or so, then another type of entertainment (comedian, hypnotist, etc.), then the band played again. Dazzles & the casino were the only places on the ship that had much activity at night. We went with a group of 10 which made it fun, but if we only went as a couple as we have in the past we would've been bored out of our minds. Pictures NCL takes your picture every time you get off the ship. They also go to the dining rooms each night and take your pictures. Several nights they have professional photographers set up to take formal portraits. The cost of all the pictures are OUTRAGEOUS!! The port pictures have a border on them about the port of call (very nice memento) they are $12.99 for a 5x7 or $14.99 for a 5x7, 3x5 & 2 wallets, so if you want that memento from each port that would be $75. The dining room pictures are also $12.99 for a 5x7. The formal portraits are $25 for an 8x10 (they do not offer 5x7s). Our large group had several pictures taken, some serious-some fun. We would've easily bought 10 of the group pictures if the prices were reasonable ($10-$15 each). Instead we bought one. I think NCL is making a big mistake here. They would sell far more pictures if their prices were better. We spent $20 on our portion of the group picture and our embarkment photo. If their prices were better we would've bought each port of call photo, a group photo and an individual photo. Their loss... Disembarkation This was a joke!!! We opted for early disembarkment because we had a fairly early flight (11:15). We got in line at 7:45 and waited on the stairs with our luggage forever. We finally got off the ship, through customs and in a cab at 9:30. It is a 30 minute ride to the airport - cost is $30 for 2 or $12pp for 3 or more. Plenty of cabs to choose from. Many people in line had no reason to do early disembarkment. NCL should restrict it to people with early flight times or those who had a long drive. They should also restrict it to those who can handle carrying out their own luggage. There was a couple in front of us who each had 2 big suitcases, backpacks and were trying to carry a large picture. My husband had to help the girl several times just to keep things moving. Several people in line with us had early flights 10:15 & 10:30 and missed their flights...just something to keep in mind when booking your flight home. Summary All-in-all we had a great time. We sailed NCL before and will again (we have their credit card), but I must say this ship would not be high on my list of ships to return to. Mainly because of the lack of things to do. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
We had planned to visit New Orleans in 2006, but Katrina destroyed the time share we booked and the time was replaced giving us another opportunity in 2007. We went 9 days pre-cruise, 7 days in the time share and two days at the Holiday ... Read More
We had planned to visit New Orleans in 2006, but Katrina destroyed the time share we booked and the time was replaced giving us another opportunity in 2007. We went 9 days pre-cruise, 7 days in the time share and two days at the Holiday Inn off of Royal Street. The Holiday Inn was a great location, we were in walking distance to the whole French Quarter and were close to the trollies giving us easy access to the World War 11 museum, confederate museum, Imax, River walk and the Aquarium. We also enjoyed alot of great food at the Red Fish Grill(a Brennen restaurant), Acme Oyster Company, Johnny's Poor Boys, and one of our favorite experiences The New Orlean's Cooking School off of Lewis St. Kevin was the instructor who prepared the food with stories sprinkled with Cajun humor. The people of New Orleans have been through alot but the city is coming alive again, the people make you feel really welcome. Embarkation, We took a taxi from our hotel to the ship $ 7.00 which is close to the Riverwalk Marketplace, the porters were there to pick up our luggage and Norwegian Crew welcomed us to the terminal providing coffee, Juice and pastries. We arrived at 11:30AM they let us board at 12:30 AM. We had an inside cabin on deck 9, that was more than adequate with lots of storage. The bathroom is small especially the shower, the shower curtain was annoying but workable. There was always plenty of hot water, and the room was always madeup in a timely manner. We enjoyed the free style dining usually eating in the seven seas or four seasons dining rooms. We enjoyed the food in both and always had good service, we could request to sit with others and if available we did. We never had to wait more than a few minutes. We tried the Le Bistro restaurant which had a $15.00 cover charge, but if you wanted something really good you had to pay an additional $10.00 service charge for their chefs special tasting courses. I found the concept very irritating. I also noted on the cruise boards specials if you booked your meals earlier. These were not available on our cruise. We tried the buffet several times, which we enjoyed, it could get a bit crowded. omelets were available in the floor above, and waffles in a different restaurant. We enjoyed all the shows, The Jean Ann Ryan Dancers, Chantz Powell, singer dancer, The star seeker talent show. The Cruise Director Lynda Minniken and her staff, did a great job of organizing activities, such as, Liar Liar, Newlywed game etc. The Bingo was well organized and expensive. Tours, Costa Maya went on David and Ivans ruins tour, inexpensive, David is very knowledgeable, It was rainy day and David warned about being careful. My wife was climbing down a ruin and slipped sustaining a slight injury, David's group leader seemed unprepared for handling that type of problem. It is not a ship's tour so your not covered by their insurance. It makes you think about the chance you are taking. Santo Thomas, we took Happy Fish tour to Livingston and Rio Dulse River. Great scenery, lots of wild life had lunch at Happy Fish restaurant in Livingston, enjoyed the send off by all the locals from Santo Thomas. Belize, took the ships ruin tour and Safari, saw alot of scenery and wildlife. Cozumel we walked around the local shops and enjoyed the beautiful weather. We did not care for the tipping policy. The add the 15 % service charge to Bar Bills but when they hand you the bill they have the tip portion blank like they are expecting a tip. Drinks are extremely expensive and are starting to get unreasonable. We enjoyed the Sun and had a great time Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
We took the Sun out of New Orleans on February 25 for a Family 7 Day Cruise. Sorry its taken me a week to get this ready. I'd like to tell you a little bit about my Family first. This was I think our last Major Vacation together since ... Read More
We took the Sun out of New Orleans on February 25 for a Family 7 Day Cruise. Sorry its taken me a week to get this ready. I'd like to tell you a little bit about my Family first. This was I think our last Major Vacation together since my Daughter is married now and its been almost a year since they got married. They couldn't really afford a real honeymoon so my Wife and I thought this might be a great last real family vacation. My Son is 25 and a few hours younger then my new son-in-law. So we booked two rooms on the Sun through a local Travel Agent. This Agent has had things messed up from the beginning what a mess. My Wife, Son, and I booked a outside Mini Suite with a Balcony and I booked a inside Cabin a few doors down for my daughter and son-in-law. The Sun was great, really laid out nice. Really great food and very good people working on her they were all very curious and kind. In the mornings when I'd get up around 4 I'd go down and have a coffee and this one Lady would always make sure my cup was full even though it was at the buffet.. Our Stewards were the best you could ever ask for. They went out of their way to make the rooms so very nice. We had a great time. The first Port-Of-Call was Costa Maya on Tuesday and we went shopping and eat at a place called "The Cats Meow" what a great lunch we had there. The biggest problem was the long walk on the dock to the pier. That was a very tiring for me using a cane. On Wednesday we went to Santo Tomas, Guatemala what a nice place so many hand made crafts those people made so very nice. You could really tell how proud they were of their Crafts. When we got ready to leave the whole Police Force, Fire Department, and the Crafters all came out to the Docks and played music and danced to show their apparition of us being there. That was so nice. We had a great time there. On Thursday it was off to Belize City the boys wanted to take the Beer Tour so I sent them on that. While they were off on their adventure I sent the women to the Spa for a full body massage. When they were done we went shopping we met up with the Guy's after their Tour was over and had lunch at this place called Something Lizard. A really nice lunch. We had another great Day. On Friday we went to Cozumel, by the time I got to down the long Dock I was beat and was having Chest Pains so I went back to the Ship to rest. My Wife and Kid's said I missed the best Port of all. They had a great time shopping and bought all kinds of stuff to bring back home. On Saturday it was chilly all day at Sea. The best time I had was spending quality time with my Family. The best thing I can recommended to any of you if you want a stress free Cruise get a Mini Suite with a Balcony. I relaxed more out there then I have on any vacation I have ever been on. Just sitting there watching the water and the nice warm breeze in late February and early March. With us being from Michigan it was great sitting outside in short sleeve shirts. The biggest problem we had was the Travel Agent she booked my Son with one letter missing from our last name and it was a big problem with the Air Lines. The Ship stuff was all right she just messed up with the Air Line Stuff. I hope this helps any of you that are first timers. Thanks, Rick (RJB7777777) Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
We sailed out of New Orleans at the new port building, and it was GREAT! In parking garage, unloaded van on floor 3, drove up to floor 4 and parked right by the elevator. We got there about 11:00, and immediately filled out paperwork, only ... Read More
We sailed out of New Orleans at the new port building, and it was GREAT! In parking garage, unloaded van on floor 3, drove up to floor 4 and parked right by the elevator. We got there about 11:00, and immediately filled out paperwork, only took 2 minutes, and we boarded at 11:45. Terminal is very nice, free juice and cake, plus nice restrooms and a place to purchase coffee, sodas, etc. Once onboard we checked out our cabins, VERY NICE (we had in inside) couch included, and we went up to the buffet for lunch. Food is very strange on this cruise. If you have kids, they're pretty much stuck with hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza. The rest is just really weird, and I love gourmet food. It's more "creative" than gourmet. Either very spicy, or very undercooked meat at the carving station. Rolls and desserts are pretty much standard, usual tasteless cruise stuff. The caesar salads are good, and available at every meal. Dining room, fine, if you have 2 hours to spare. The freestyle cruising is a great concept, but servers forget who ordered what or how many courses you have been served. Two nights we left without dessert and coffee, because they never came back. Drinks: You have three choices, tea, coffee, or water (except for breakfast when you can have orange, pineapple or apple juice). And milk. My suggestion is to bring those little packs of single drink mixes and make your own punch. They also have a great variety of hot teas and hot chocolate. The coffee is too strong, and the tea is instant. We didn't eat in the specialty restaurants, but we did end up in the Sports Bar each night. There you can order pizza, fish & chips, sandwiches, hot dogs & hamburgers. It was pretty good, but you still have to go outside to the buffet to get your tea or water. Public rooms are okay, but overrun by children. I don't have anything against families traveling with children, but please keep them under control! It is hard to get an elevator because of kids playing on them, the kids wearing the new "wheelies" will knock you down in walking areas, and we saw way too many unsupervised children at the adult comedy show and even gambling in the casino! There really is not any security on this ship. And even though the children have their own pool and hot tub on deck 12, they took over all four hot tubs at all times on the main deck. We didn't see the broadway shows, not our cup of tea, but we really enjoyed the hypnotist and comedian. We also enjoyed the deck parties. Make sure you pack your Mardi Gras stuff for Tuesday night. The sock hop was cool, and we enjoyed the 70's music (however, after a week of piped in Bee Gees music you tend to get a little sick of it.) Get ready for the bar sales people. You cannot get away from them. We were asked at least 35 times a day if we wanted drinks. Not cool. Ports: Costa Maya...our favorite, even though we only went shopping. Very nice shopping area. Guatemala...three words... GO WITH GUS! You get to travel to a school and have the children put on a program for you, and then you get to hand out presents to a much needed school system. Our group took toothbrushes, toothpaste, construction paper, crayons, socks, notepads, pencils and candy. The kid's parents even show up, and they are all so grateful. Many people made donations which goes to pay the teacher's salaries. The sendoff when you leave the port is awesome, hundreds of cars and emergency vehicles parked at the dock with lights on and blowing horns. These people are so grateful to have tourists. Belize, we took a trip for $10 each to Cucumber Beach, and the guide took us on a city tour as well. It is the law there that your guide has to stay with you on the beach and make sure you make it back to the ship. Very safe, very fun, and very informative. He even took us to a flea market before we got back onboard. This excursion, like Go With Gus, is not an NCL trip, but good, safe fun and very entertaining for the whole family. Deck chairs: plenty of them if the ship is in port, but never available on sea days. Same old crap of reserving chairs. Sprinkles Ice Cream Bar was open every time we went in, and they have special flavors of the day, as well as the standard chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. They also have flavored yogurt, and you can get it in a cone or a dish. Sprinkles and toppings are available. Spa...didn't use, but they had some great specials (book during port days, they are discounted.) The workout rooms were also plentiful and had plenty of machines. Bingo: Free a couple of times during the week, but get prepared to pay big time for most games. Photos: The photographers on this ship are great, but be aware that the cost is $12.99 per photo (5x7) Reception Desk: Good luck. These people are RUDE! We were able to take off our "service charge" of gratuities and tip ourselves. We gave it all to our room steward, who was the best! We had booked two rooms with the same credit card, only to find out on the third day that it was against their policy, so had to put up a second credit card. They didn't seem to have any problem using the same credit card when we booked our cabins! Drinks onboard: Be prepared to pay at least $9 for even "drink of the day". It is cheaper to order cokes from the bar than purchase a coke card for the week. Cokes by the glass are $1.25 and by the can $1.75. We bought several cokes (20 oz.) at the first port for $1 each, and drank those all week. Getting off the ship: If you want to carry your own luggage, you can be off by 9 a.m. If not, colors are called (you are assigned colors on the day before cruise ends) and they go by floors. If you are on the lower deck, you will not get off until 10:30. It was, however, very prompt, and you will get off the ship at the assigned time. Luggage is very easy to find. We didn't even need a porter! Overall, we will probably not sail NCL again, because we like Carnival and Princess so much. We were a little put off by the organization and lack of control of the children. If you have ANY questions, please email me, and I will try to answer them. :) Happy Cruizin! Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
For those sailing on this ship and are having a hard time finding information on Costa Maya, and Guatemala, I offer the following based on our cruise last week. In Costa Maya, we hailed a cab to the fishing village Muahuala, or something ... Read More
For those sailing on this ship and are having a hard time finding information on Costa Maya, and Guatemala, I offer the following based on our cruise last week. In Costa Maya, we hailed a cab to the fishing village Muahuala, or something like that, anyway it is a short ride, and worth it. There are several little bars, with beach chairs and tables, with umbrellas, cheap beer and food. You can rent jet skis, get a massage, kayak, snorkel just about anything you want. We rented a jet ski for $35 for a half hour, and got massages for $20 four about an hour, they were the best we have ever had! A short stroll further down the beach is a little bar called the Maya Cafe, the owner will load you up with tequila, beware, it hits hard and fast! plus there are several vendor selling their goods, the more you drink the more you buy! Be sure to tell him the loco Coloradoans sent you! In Guatemala, we reserved through Happy Fish travel.com. Our guide was Carlos, who took us on a small boat tour up the Rio Dulce, all the way to the San Felipe Castle, on the way you will see some incredible scenery and get an up close view of those who live on this river. We then stopped in Livingston for a very nice lunch and then a walking tour around Livingston. I highly recommend this tour, and Carlos, he is very proud of his country and works hard to make your trip memorable. When you return to ship make sure that you get on deck and watch the locals send you off, it was quite emotional and touching, we have never experienced anything like it! As far as the ship it is nice, a very nice casino, and the restaurants are top notch. However we were disappointed with the ability to find food during certain parts of the day or evening, and some of the crew were not overly helpful in providing proper information. The Great Outdoors Cafe was not good, and had a very limited offering. We ate most of our breakfasts' at the omelette bar located in Talapias deck 12 AFT. Very good. The ship is kind of hard to get around as certain decks do not go all the way through. We did not partake in much of the entertainment, however the showroom is very nice and spacious, they have several musicians, the band playing in the disco were ok, very nice voices but they had an accent that sometimes was hard to deal with. The Observation Lounge is very nice, and the duo and big band that played in there were quite good. The itinerary does not provide much time at sea and during February it was quite cool in the Gulf of Mexico, so we did not spend much time at the pool. All in all a very nice cruise, comfortable ship and being exposed to the Guatemala culture was incredible. Feel free to email me with any questions. Also remember that in Belize, the ships cannot get close to the shore so you have to tender in, most of the vendors will wait, but you might not get a full tour as they will be rushed to get you back in time. Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
Sun Review - 2/18 - 2/25 Embarkation - Wonderful. The new cruise terminal is so convenient. Paid $98 drove up where porters were waiting, they unloaded our luggage. Parked on Level 4. Took elevator down to terminal. Went right thru ... Read More
Sun Review - 2/18 - 2/25 Embarkation - Wonderful. The new cruise terminal is so convenient. Paid $98 drove up where porters were waiting, they unloaded our luggage. Parked on Level 4. Took elevator down to terminal. Went right thru security into Latitudes line. Took 5 minutes. They were calling our number (2) as we finished our paperwork. We walked right onto the ship. All I can say is Wow. Ate lunch in the 7 seas dining room. Food was delicious. Balcony cabin 8221. Very nice. Didn't really like the shower curtain, but LOVED the shower. My goodness the water pressure was the strongest we've had! (this was our 20th cruise). Didn't really like the soap and shampoo in those dispensers. But no biggie. Cabin had no bath robes. Did have coffee maker with Folgers regular and decaf. Real coffee mugs. Chairs on the balcony were fine for us. But I don't think I'd want to sit on them for hours. Lots of storage space. And there's a refrigerator. The crew was so friendly. The wait staff in the dining rooms were the friendliest we've had on NCL. Lorna in the 7 seas was excellent. Try to get her if you can. Dining reservations seemed hard to get. At 755am the Teppanyani was already completely booked for the following night (forget about the same night I guess unless you have priority reservation options). 1/2 price 5:30p - 6p did not include Teppanyani or Sushi. We thought the food was very good in the restaurants. Buffet was hit or miss. Some things could, some not. Also some food was very hot/spicy. Especially some of the soups. A very nice option was in the Sports Bar where food was served from 530pm - 5am. Table service - Hamburgers, Hot dogs, pizza, fish and chips, shepherds pie, soup, garden salad. So if you were at the disco and wanted something at 330am, you could get it. The room service menu was very limited (more so than Carnival). I ordered from the children's menu - grilled cheese and peanut butter and jelly. Very good! All regular pictures were $14.99 which included the main picture and a second page that had 1 4x6 and 2 2x3s. $12.99 for just the main picture. Formal 8x10 pictures were $24.95. I found it weird that they did not take pictures of you as a couple or group when disembarking at each port. They had individual pictures with characters like indians, etc. Beer was $3.95. 'Helmets' were buy 5 get 1 free. Domestics were $22.71 including gratuity. Drinks of the day were $9! not including tip. The soda card for adults was $5.75 per day. Costa Maya - rented golf cart and went to Mahajual. Was fun. We went down to Pez, got 1 round of drinks and left because beer was $3 and a can of diet coke was $2. Left and was making our way back to Cat's Meow. Stopped and got 3 beers for $4 (or 6 for $8). Most places had 6 for $10. Had coconut shrimp at Cat's Meow and another bucket of beer. The coconut shrimp are not on the menu. When I ordered them, the waiter said 'Welcome Back'. That was a fun day. Lots of people rent golf carts. We rented the last one and they had to turn the other people away. Cost was $15 hr or $65 for the whole day. Guatemala - Just walked off the ship and went to the shopping pavilion. We sat under one of the tents and had a couple of drinks. It was still a nice day. Beautiful weather. Belize - Tender tickets are given out at 8am that morning by the Champagne Bar for those that want to get off early. We were off the ship before 9. Went to Caye Caulker. Rented a golf cart - $22.50 for 2 hours. Rode around. Stopped at Paradise Cove and ate at their Rainbow restaurant (we ate there last year too). When we got back to the Tourism village we walked around. Lots of shops. Beer was $3 in the Village. Cozumel - Went to Paradise Beach. We had a great time there. Yes it was crowded. But Martin found us 3 chairs and an umbrella and made sure we had drinks. We didn't eat. Stayed about 2 1/2 hrs. Made our way back to port and went to Carlos and Charlies which is always a fun time. Our first sea day was very cool. Our last sea day was awesome! It was hot and sunny. Calypso music and happy times. Debarkation was great. We decided not to do the express and just take our time. We had breakfast in the dining room, went back to our cabin and waited until our color (purple) was called. The estimated times listed on the Freestyle Daily were right on. We disembarked about 10:10 and went down to claim our luggage. Tip: Get a porter. We got one and went thru the porter's exit instead of inline with everyone else. We walked right up to customs took about 15 seconds and we were done. Our porter went with us up the elevator and to our truck. Help load our luggage in the truck and we were off. It was well worth the $20 tip we gave him. (I think he would have been happy with anything.) We wanted to help these guys make a little money anyway. The only negative thing I have to say is that there were over 500 children on the ship. And they took over the ship. It was pretty bad. 4 hot tubs. Kids in every one. One had 14 little girls in it. And the kids would run from one hot tub to the other, then into the pool. Then into the hot tub, and on and on. There were small 7 yr old girls riding in the elevator and pushing all the buttons to stop at every deck. Giggling. Where were their parents? Would any of us let our small children run around a huge ship without supervision? It was crazy. It was bad enough that as much as we enjoyed everything else, my husband is questioning whether we should ever go on another NCL cruise when that many children could be onboard (like Mardi Gras week, spring break, summer). The ship is beautiful. I don't think you will be disappointed with the ship. Just hope you are not on a cruise with that many children on board. I guess the Kid's program was not that great so the kids didn't want to participate? Kathy Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
This was our first cruise my wife and I took with the kids (3 and 4 year old) and the Norwegian Sun was a great choice. Five nights is perfect when traveling with small children, gives you just enough time to enjoy a perfect vacation ... Read More
This was our first cruise my wife and I took with the kids (3 and 4 year old) and the Norwegian Sun was a great choice. Five nights is perfect when traveling with small children, gives you just enough time to enjoy a perfect vacation keeping the kids happy. I have taken week long resort vacations with the kids and they always get cranky and home sick by the end of the week. We boarded the ship at 3pm on Tuesday, the check in process took about an hour, the lines were long and check-in clerks were slow. The clerk had trouble finding our reservation and had printed our cards wrong, so my card had my son's information which made ordering drinks at the bar fun. Once on the boat everything was great. If you are traveling with kids an II class cabin is a great value. We had a queen bed and a sofa bed that served as a queen bed. There was plenty of room and closet space. The bathroom was small but functional, just enough room to stand inside and shower the kids. We went to the Kids Club to register the kids. They run programs free of charge from 9-12, 2-5, and 7-10 for days at sea, 7-10 only on port days. Sitting is available to 1AM for a small charge ($8 an hour for two kids). My kids loved the program, they attended every activity. The Kids Club was a life saver for us since the weather was cool, cloudy, and rainy on the two sailing days. The night program gave my wife an I a chance to dine in Sushi Ginza and the Steak House, they are well worth the cover charge. The wait staff in the Seven Seas was great with the kids, they brought whatever they wanted, didn't matter what was on the menu. They were entertaining and patient. When it came to breakfast the waffle bar in Pacific Heights was the place to be. The view from the large windows is spectacular. It is not as noisy and busy as the buffets, but you can certainly make a plate at the full buffet and bring it over to Pacific Heights. My wife and the kids loved pasta bar for lunch (also in Pacific Heights). I preferred the sandwich bar in Las Ramblas, the bread is fresh, and all of the creations are excellent. The kids pool was a nice extra, it was perfect, even has a hot tub for the kids to enjoy. It is in a quiet corner on the pool deck, not as busy as the main pools. There are rest rooms and showers right by the kids pool. Our first port day took us to Costa Maya. We took a taxi for $3 a person to Mahahual, about a 5 minute ride. We sat on the beach in front of the Tapas restaurant, they provide lounges for no charge. The waiter there was great, drinks and food is reasonably priced, the beach front is perfect for the kids. There is a large roped in area with knee deep clear blue water. The kids were in the water all day. Shopping in that area is also significantly cheaper than shopping on the boat. The beach day was also much cheaper then booking a beach excursion with the cruise. If you like tours then there are plenty of excursion options off the boat for less, and you can negotiate a better price with the operators. Our second port day was Cozumel, by far a wonderful place to visit. We rented a Jeep from Executive car rental, negotiated a good price. They also provide a coupon for Playa Mia for $3 a person, young children free. The normal rate is $12 a person. Playa Mia has it all. Clear blue water, white sandy beach, plenty of lounge chairs, bars and restaurants, excellent food reasonably priced, play area for kids, floating trampoline, floating climbing wall, kayaks, hobie catamarans, peddle boats, pool, and more. Perfect place for anyone looking to enjoy a beach day with all of the amenities. After the beach we drove around the island to see some of the sights. It is a small island with one main road that runs along the shore, very easy to navigate. Jeep was fun since some of the roads are not paved. Overall we had a great experience. I would definitely take the kids cruising again with Norwegian. Freestyle is a great option, our previous cruise on Princess was very scheduled and formal which we did not enjoy. The kids program is top notch, Candice (Kanga Roo) was the kids program director, she does a great job. My kids still ask when they can see her again. Entertainment on the boat was great, Bud Anderson was on board, he is hilarious. Linda the cruise director runs a great program. The cruise staff was friendly and attentive. Couldn't ask for a better experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
Norwegian Sun Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 3.5 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.8
Family 3.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.7
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 3.5 4.1
Value For Money 3.5 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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