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454 Norwegian (NCL) Port Canaveral (Orlando) Cruise Reviews

We booked a cruise on Norwegian Cruise Lines (Our First on NCL) on the Sun sailing out of Port Canaveral, Florida, for December 4th - 11th, 2010. Ports of Call included the Bahamas, St. Thomas and St. Maarten, VI, with three sea days to ... Read More
We booked a cruise on Norwegian Cruise Lines (Our First on NCL) on the Sun sailing out of Port Canaveral, Florida, for December 4th - 11th, 2010. Ports of Call included the Bahamas, St. Thomas and St. Maarten, VI, with three sea days to enjoy the warmer climate and ship amenities. We were able to board/embark without any trouble and they took our pictures at the cruise terminal vs. as we boarded the ship (A nice first). Our vision of the ship was compared to fifteen (15) previous cruises on Holland America, Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean. To our surprise, The Sun has a piece of elegance of the ships of the past with wood panels/flooring, decorative colors and paintings in abundance. We were guided to the Garden Cafe' on deck 11/Pool Deck. What we found was total disaster in the layout and organization of the buffet area. Massive lines that did not move, poor access & egress flow. Everything flowed together (Salads, Main Dishes, Side Dishes, and Desserts & Ice Creams). We found too many food stations that had to cook each individual item while you waited. Space was very tight everywhere you turned you were running into people. Ship was built in 2000, so they had to have an idea of how this would not have worked. Compared to any of our previous sailing, this ship missed the "Boat" and our first impression bubble burst!!!! We were told that this was the only restaurant open on the ship until dinner. We finished lunch and continued our tour of the ship. All the amenities seem excellent and the crew was very friendly. You could actually carry on a conversation and understand them. We were given the OK to go to our inside cabin. What a surprise awaited us!!! This is the largest interior or exterior cabin we have ever had. Plenty of storage available, but the bathroom was just like any other - tight!! Refrigerator and safe were available and were quite comfortable and enjoyed the quiet. Never did see our room stewards from day one. The Great Outdoor Cafe' was a real treasure when it was open and you can enjoy the full panoramic view off the rear of the ship. Best hot dogs and hamburgers on the ship. Desserts and salads were excellent. Much needed maintenance on railings and step ways. Using 2X4's as railing is NOT acceptable. This ship was to be dry docked in early 2010, but NCL Corporate kept her active despite some necessary renovations and repairs. Four Seasons and/or Seven Seas Main Dining Rooms were nice, but the service and quality of food lacked from our expectations. Service was slow every night and quantity/quality of the food was less than other cruise lines. Open dining in all dining rooms might work if properly staffed, but too few people trying to cover a much larger area than able to serve in a reasonable manner. Every item from appetizers to desserts was brought out by a different person. The Management is more interested in selling passengers upgrades to high end venues. These are a little pricy and the quality/quantity is not much better with about the same service. After an enjoyable day at The Atlantis in the Bahamas, we departed for our next two ports of call -St Thomas and St Maarten - a sea day away!!!???? Tuesday, our sea day was interrupted mid-day by a sudden stop and we were dead in the water. The Captain announced there was a minor technical problem and there was nothing to worry about. We started moving again, but at a much reduced speed. After the first show that night, the Captain announced that our propeller/propulsion clutch on one screw had stopped working. As a result, a New Freestyle Cruising itinerary was being put into to play to accommodate our slower speed. We would NO LONGER be going to St Thomas or St Maarten. The Captain and NCL Corporate had put us on a course to Samana, Dominican Republic, and Great Stirrup Cay (NCL Private Island in Bahamas). Dominican Republic is under a Cholera Alert, but we were going regardless. Had to be tendered into the Port which is like most of the ports in Belize or Roatan were ten to fifteen years ago - very little to offer in excursions or accommodations. This is one of the most desolate areas that we have ever been in. Having travelled over the years with the US Army, we have seen many places to compare to this poor choice!!! Our New Freestyle Cruising caused some ill feelings with a large number (25% to 50%) of passengers who had booked this specific cruise to do Christmas shopping in St Thomas and St Maarten. Much hostility was present as was witnessed at the customer service desk that evening. It looked like NCL had every Security Officer on duty to hold the irate guest at bay. Many wanted unreal demands (100%) refund to the Captain walking the Plank!!! We were finally able to come to an agreeable resolution to have one person deal with the Captain. A passenger named "Larry" volunteered to represent us. He was on his Honey Moon, but stepped up to the cause!!! He had a meeting that night with the Captain. We met the next night in the Stardust Lounge which was offered by the Captain. He updated us on what had been discussed, but did not promise anything other than NCL Corporate & Captain where working on an offer. He indicated that we would know something the Last Full Day of Our Cruise. Many did NOT want a credit on another NCL Cruise, but a refund (full or partial) on this cruise. NCL "Corporate" did give us a $100 on board credit, free wine at dinner on Wednesday night and free photographs for the entire cruise (if you know to ask, no announcement). Plus a 50% discount on snorkeling or water slide in Great Stirrup Cay which also was NOT announced. We have contacted several cruise agents who verified that the port charges were $280 dollars per person, while Customer Service quoted us $14.37 per person which was an additional credit to our final bill for the lesser amount. Who made money on this??? Friday finally came and our letter from the Captain& Corporate. They are allowing a 30% value of this cruise to be taken off the next NCL cruise. Based on the meetings, we wonder how many people will take another cruise on NCL? May be the CEO should do some "Under Cover On This Boss". Also, it should be noted that when we left Great Stirrup Cay, we were using both propellers/screws. Our speed resumed to full speed, but the Captain did not post the Knots per hour on the onboard TV network - Wonder Why??? But we did get it back to Port Canaveral ahead of schedule. Disembarkation was NOT well organized (no tags put in rooms). You had to go to the front desk and pick from what was left. We were suppose to get off at 8:15 AM, which turned into 9:15 AM plus stand outside in the cold for half of that time. Other cruise lines have this down to a science at the same port. We'll probably try those others before we set foot back on the Sun again. We can NOT recommend this ship to any prospective cruisers or guest. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Top Ten Good: 10. The food in the non-paying restaurants was good (not great). The wings in the sports bar were very good and we enjoyed the tapas in Las Ras. 9. The gym. The equipment is good. A small issue with the ... Read More
Top Ten Good: 10. The food in the non-paying restaurants was good (not great). The wings in the sports bar were very good and we enjoyed the tapas in Las Ras. 9. The gym. The equipment is good. A small issue with the treadmills not opening until 8 (presumably not to disturb those in the staterooms below-poor design of ship?)so those were some unhappy people. 8. The room service. 7. The mixed drinks were good. 6. The comedian (Bud Anderson). 5. The room was very comfortable and the bed was fabulous. We enjoyed the ocean view. 4. The casino staff. 3. The ship. We sailed on its maiden voyage and it is still a beautiful ship in terms of ambiance and decor. 2. Our room attendants were good. 1. Being served, cleaned-up after, cooked for, and entertained for a week. Top Ten Bad Things On The Norwegian Sun: 10. Many people were seasick due to rough seas. While the ship did provide meds to me, they should have been proactive and offered them to people when it became apparent that it was a problem. 9. The unseasonably cold weather ( no fault of the cruise line ). 8. Uncleanliness of the ship at times in public places(melted ice cream, bandages left around the stairs, glasses left on tables). 7. Confusing signage at the registration/excursion desk. Many people were standing in the registration line, when they should have been in the excursion line. Basically, if you stood in the wrong line, the staff said too bad. We had to stand in line to get our key reprogrammed because it wouldn't work. There were others who had the same problem. 6. Our remote control didn't work. After contacting the front desk twice, our remote still wasn't repaired. Finally, we tipped our room steward to have it done it was done in five minutes. 7. Being badgered to spend money on the ship. After paying 29$ to play 4 games of bingo, "Johnny Cash", the entertainment director, spent most of the bingo air time chatting about opportunities for us to buy jewelry, art, etc. 8. Yoga classes, spinning classes that you had to pay for. Additionally, there were nutrition classes, etc., that were free; however, we were reluctant to attend because we figured they would just be another sales pitch. 9. Hand sanitizer girls. Even though there were automatic hand sanitizer machines in the entrances of each eating area, there were girls wanting to spray your hands. This personnel could have been used to do more useful jobs. 10. The ports. Key West was less than 5 hours in port, and we felt it was basically to send people through customs before disembarkation (everyone had to do it). Guatemala was extremely disappointing. Our excursion was billed as an ecological excursion up the Rio Dulce to see wildlife, etc., and then to the town of Livingston. We saw some birds. Then we saw 2 monkeys that were tethered by the side of the river. There were children who had signs asking for 5$ for monkey food. Then, we were taken to a beautiful area of water lilies. As soon as we arrived, there were about 7 dugout canoes of children who raced to our boat and tried to sell us trinkets. So sad. Then we were taken to a "show" in Livingston, where we were expected to tip. The whole thing was not our cup of tea and we hated it. It was not an "ecological excursion", we learned practically nothing about the area in terms of ecology or culture, except that the people are poor who live on the river. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Embarkation started off good. Going to the VIP lounge for a short time and then being escorted onto the ship prior to the normal boarding time. We were taken to the private dining area where we could have our breakfast and lunch each day ... Read More
Embarkation started off good. Going to the VIP lounge for a short time and then being escorted onto the ship prior to the normal boarding time. We were taken to the private dining area where we could have our breakfast and lunch each day of the cruise. The private dining area results Food - average Service - average Really nothing VIP about this except only Penthouse and above could eat there. But it was better than eating at the Garden Cafe. Penthouse 8001 is a wonderful room. Now keep in mind this ship was supposed to be in dry dock earlier this year for a much needed overhaul. Well NCL decided to push it back a year. So it will get its overhaul in 2011. The Penthouse is serviced by a butler and room attendant. Our butler Leonardo rated below average. Per NCL guidelines the Penthouse rooms are to be ready and up to the butlers standards. Ok, if his standards are burnt out lights, clothing left in cabin by previous cruiser, items that are dusty, missing glasses well than I guess my standards are to high. Leonardo would do the bare minimum on all aspects of his job. He never asked if would like anything specific or special for our room. Now you should know that friends of ours were in Penthouse 8202 and they had a completely different butler his name is Jose. He went above and beyond exceeding their expectations at every turn. Where Leonardo went below and under our expectations the entire trip. We had dinner in our friends cabin 8202 with Jose setting everything up. He did an exceptional job. Well our butler Leonardo was a bit jealous and wanted to do service us dinner as well. So we decided to give it a try. He has to be good at something. Right? Ok, simple things like where the correct fork and knifes go. He was clueless. Bread plates and knifes never appeared. Not only did he forget part of the order but did not even place part of the order. Hopefully you get the picture on this as I could go on but there are other things to fill you in on. The room attendant was Fernando. Very little English speaking skills which is well out of the norm for a NCL ship. His attention to detail was about the same as a half blind man taking care of your room. Left dirty drinking glasses in the bathroom, I mean did not replace them for days. Took the dirty glasses from the sitting area and did not replace them, ever. We had to ask to get this done. The amenities in the bathroom were never replaced once used up. Thank goodness we brought our own. I purposely left some trash on the floor near the dining table and there is was on the floor for 3 days. Dusting and cleaning would be part of his duties. Both of which lacked. As there were heavily dusty items in the room. Got to the point we could not stand it and wiped them off ourselves. The screen on the TV was horrible and that to we took care of our self. We received exactly on towel animal. Which is a cruising staple. On previous NCL cruises we got them every day and sometimes twice a day. That should be a given not a request. Small touches that are missed add up to a lot. Our concierge Virgina was great at first. She addressed our issues but that came with even poorer service from our butler and attendant. So we did not bring that issue up again with her. As we did not want to go back to the cabin and have nothing in there. Virginia then did a complete 180 degree turn on assistance not just with us but others. I had a certificate from NCL for an On Board Credit which she and others proceeded to tell the ship was not going to honor. I kept getting different reasons from each person I talked to about it. Virgina finally told me that if I was not satisfied that I could call NCL Customer Service from the ships phone at $5.00 a minute. Are you kidding me. Really. I waited to our final port of Key West and called from there. Customer Service in Mesa, AZ could not believe that I had to fight so hard to get the credit applied as it was valid. Customer Service Help Desk Supervisor Enida sent the ship an email stating the credit was valid and how to apply it. Again everyone said no that it would not be honored. From the reception manager to Virgina all said NO. So I called Customer Relations and Escalations in Miami and spoke with Marcel. He was so embarrassed that he apologized a dozen times. His voice reflected his disgust of the situation. He sent an email to the ship addressed to the Director of Hotel Services, General Manager of Reception and so on. Within an hour of that happening the credit was finally applied. Did I get a I sorry for the this. NO. No one apologized on the ship for this. This really put a damper on the cruise. This was by far the worst cruise on NCL to date for me. The food in the non-cover dining areas was poor to bad. It ranged from cold to under cooked. From no seasoning to so much you could not eat it. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
My wife and I were married mid July, she had to have unexpected surgery and subsequently several weeks of radiation treatments. After this she needed some down time to reset her focus. We booked a last minute cruise on the Norwegian sun on ... Read More
My wife and I were married mid July, she had to have unexpected surgery and subsequently several weeks of radiation treatments. After this she needed some down time to reset her focus. We booked a last minute cruise on the Norwegian sun on 10-23, 2010 - 10-30, 2010 to the Eastern Caribbean. We flew from Norfolk VA to Orlando and then the troubles began. We had planned to take the NCL shuttle to Port Canaveral to the ship. Once we found the NCL staff they informed us that they were having a problem disembarking the ship and that we would have to wait. We waited 3-4 hours until they finally got us a bus to the port. Upon arrival at the terminal there were lines out the doors, which was not unexpected. The problems worsened when they had 3-4 lines funneling into the building all being checked by two personnel for entry into the terminal. Once inside the building we made it through security and then were placed in a holding line which consisted of 10+ long rows of chairs that we all sat in, then they called us to the counters one row at a time to have our photos taken, attach a credit card to our ship card etc. Once you got to the head of your line there were multiple staff taking customers but it was a free for all. The staff would hold up a sign indicating they were available and then customers would RUSH from one line across to the other side of the area to jump in front of the available staff. This process took approximately 1.5 hours. We finally got on the ship at proximately 3:00 PM. We had not eaten since 6:00 AM just before boarding our flight. We went to the buffets with the hope of getting a bite to eat only to find them close because they were getting ready to do the lifeboat drill. Thankfully we had a couple of fiber bars in my wife's pocketbook, which saved us. We finally got a snack about 5:30 PM as the ship was leaving. The Staff were all very friendly and eager to please. The entertainment was first rate. We did have a problem with our in room safe as well as our room being too warm. One phone call got a fast response and both were corrected in a very timely manor. The ship was VERY well maintained and cleaned, especially considering it was launched in 2001. We didn't meet our room Stuart for the first three days of our cruise, but once we did meet him, he was very friendly and helpful. The food was disappointing, maybe due to us comparing it to Carnival or Royal Caribbean. The buffets were very similar day after day. The sit down restaurants food was good, but not up to what we were used to. To obtain a surf and turf meal you had to go to one of the up-charge specialty restaurants. These up-charge places were excellent. The Ginza, Teppanyaki and East meets West were excellent. But why does NCL force you to go to the up charge restaurants to get the quality we have gotten on carnival and Royal in the regular sit down restaurants? Our dinner at East meets West was the best food we had on the cruise, but for the additional $102.00 it costs, it should have been. The buffets were poorly constructed with regard to movement. an example is the breakfast buffet. There is an omelet station in the middle of the line, so everyone waiting for omelets backs the complete line up. The lunch buffet has a similar problem with the carving and ice cream areas. These areas of 'bottle necking" would be better placed at a separate island out in the mid dining room so that the buffet line can flow. This is how is was on both of our other cruises with Carnival and Royal. This is a simple ergonomic change that would make a huge difference. On one of our shore excursion days we could not even get lunch at the buffet before we disembarked because the line was completely around the buffet and out onto the pool deck. Shore excursions were good. We did have one of them canceled. The excursion desk called us at 6:15PM. They left a message that our excursion for the next morning had been canceled and advised us to call them back at their desk by 8:00 PM to schedule an alternative excursion. We got back to our room and got the message at 11:00PM. Luckily we were able to go to the excursion desk in the morning and book a last minute excursion that went very well. Photo services, again were uncoordinated. One night we went to the main area to get photos taken and found the photographer taking pictures. There were many people sitting around the perimeter talking. We walked up to the area just behind the photographer and a man came up and started yelling saying we had cut in line, we apologize stating we didn't see the line, during this another woman approached and began yelling at that man stating she was next in line. The woman was sitting on the other side of the center area with another large group of people and neither group was aware of the other. A simple series of signs station "photo waiting line" with arrows directing people where to wait would have alleviate this. Disembarkation was better than embarkation, however we asked to carry our luggage off from the ship and were told we could not, yet in the morning numerous people we doing just that. Overall I would rate this ship as a 5 on a 1-10 scale. I am sure we will cruise again in the spring. I am just as sure it will NOT be on this ship and an not sure it will be with this cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
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