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

We arrived at the port in Port Canaveral about 10:30.. they didn't let us board until 11:30.. but once they gave us the green light.. it was fast and smooth. While we were waiting we were seating in lined up chairs while they offered ... Read More
We arrived at the port in Port Canaveral about 10:30.. they didn't let us board until 11:30.. but once they gave us the green light.. it was fast and smooth. While we were waiting we were seating in lined up chairs while they offered us banana bread and orange juice. We were not allowed into our rooms until 2:00.. but they made announcement at 1:00 that our rooms were ready. We ate at The Great Outdoors while we waited.. and checked out the rest of the ship. The food at the Great Outdoors was okay.. nothing fancy, but we didn't want to eat on the big buffet in the Garden Cafe with everyone else. The Great Outdoors is a great place to start.. on the front of the ship with great scenery. We had an interior room on the 10th floor. Very spacious I thought.. although this was our first cruise. We had plenty of extra space to unpack and didn't need all of the drawers and shelves. It was great to be able to be soo organized. It was bigger than our friends window room on the 5th floor. We were very happy with our interior room.. it had our queen-ish bed, a full couch and a pull down bed.. although we didn't use it. The bathroom was small-ish.. but worked just fine. We had 6 shelves to put our things on and 4 hooks on the door, with a "close-line" in the shower. Some of our favorite places: The Observation deck was a beautiful place to have a drink, read a book, and relax.. with karaoke there from 8:30-9:30 each night. Los Rambles: Great tapas for a pre-dinner snack. It opens at 5:30 and had live guitar music. Seven Seas: This main dining room was a little more hidden with a very pretty entrance.. not as many people found it earlier on anyway. It is kind of tucked away and you can only get to it from the back of the ship. The food was awesome! They had lobster, escargot, and my favorite.. chilled peach soup! Piano Bar: I can't quite remember the name of it, but the piano player was really funny, talented, and entertaining. He loved talking to the audience.. we skipped a few of the shows in the stardust theatre to watch him.. and he'll even let you sing along with the microphone if you want to. Beds: no floral bed spreads :) Nice white clean linens with a towel animal each night. I liked the variety of the lighting in the rooms also.. i liked the dim side bed lights. What we didn't like: The carpet and decor in the Garden Cafe (main buffet).. very ugly and tacky.. although the food wasn't too bad... okay.. it was really tasty :) Pools: I don't think they were heated.. but can't complain too much. Hot tubs were nice and hot. What was new: ALmost ALL of the carpets were new.. except the garden cafe (what a shame!).. and the cabins.. but i think those were replaced sort of recently. They refinished all of the deck boards.. and were replacing the "blue stuff" on the upper decks by the basketball court. We had a great time.. and can't wait to go on another cruise! Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
DW and I booked this cruise about nine months in advance. We were particularly attracted to the Sun because of the Eastern Caribbean itinerary and the fact that it left from Port Canaveral in central Florida. The PC location allowed us to ... Read More
DW and I booked this cruise about nine months in advance. We were particularly attracted to the Sun because of the Eastern Caribbean itinerary and the fact that it left from Port Canaveral in central Florida. The PC location allowed us to spend a week with my Dad who lives in central Florida prior to embarkation. We also like the idea of the smaller ships and the Sun did not disappoint. We arrived at the port around 11:30 and were quickly checked in and aboard. This whole process including paying corkage fee on wine took about twenty minutes. We made our way to the pool deck and waited for our friends to arrived from central Ohio. The entire Sun staff went out of their way to be friendly, courteous and helpful. Our cabin steward, Freddy, was extremely helpful and on more than one occasion went out of his way to accommodate our particular needs. The wait staff in all the eating venues we visited were very helpful and accommodating. For instance, DW is allergic to uncooked onion and adjustments and recommendations were made to assure her that she got just what she wanted at every meal. Even the casino staff knew us and greeted us by name. We went to the CC Meet and Greet and had a chance to meet the captain and some of the staff as well as interact with other CC'ers. We provably had about 20-30 at the M & G and ran into one another throughout the week. We ate in the Seven Seas Dining Room, Pacific Heights, both buffets and visited Los Rambas for tapas. Pacific Heights is easy to overlook and the meal we had there was exceptional. I am pretty particular about food and I enjoyed every meal. Some I liked better than others but each dining experience was good to exceptional. We did have to wait for a table one night at Seven Seas but did not wait long. I had read so much about the food prior to sailing that I was a little nervous. My worries were for naught as each dining experience was good. We went to about 80% of the shows and particularly enjoyed the female vocalist Jeri Sager and the Broadway review show. We missed the comedian, Bud Anderson but heard he was very good. The entertainment on this cruise was our best entertainment experience on cruise ships to date. We stopped in Nassau, ST. Thomas and St. Martin. We had been to Nassau and got off the boat for about an hour to walk around town. At St. Thomas we went to Magen's Bay which was very beautiful and very crowded as there were five ships in port that day. We did discover Bushwackers in ST. Thomas. At St. Martin we had booked a tour with Bernard's Tours which was a great experience. At Nassau I had the opportunity to lead an Ecumenical Prayer Service which was coordinated with Madelina, the Entertainment Administrator. The ship is due to dry dock after a short cruise to the Bahamas. I understand that new propellers as well as some face lift changes are to be made. I do know the carpet in the casino is to be replaced. The ship looked to be in good shape, though. It seemed that the carpet in our stateroom was new. I should mention that our TA recommended an aft balcony and I am glad that we booked this cabin. We had a panoramic view from the back of the ship. This location also sheltered us from the wind so that when it was windy on the pool deck we enjoyed the sun with out the wind from our balcony. We did self disembarkation and carried our bags off the ship. There was some congestion on Deck 5 but it moved quickly and smoothly. Overall, we had a wonderful time aboard the Sun and felt well taken care of for the week we spent there. We would definitely consider sailing aboard the Sun again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
We left on New Year's Day from Port Canaveral on our first ever cruise on the Norwegian Sun. Our group was comprised of myself, my husband and our 18 year old son. We stayed in a pool deck (11) mini-suite and it had more than ... Read More
We left on New Year's Day from Port Canaveral on our first ever cruise on the Norwegian Sun. Our group was comprised of myself, my husband and our 18 year old son. We stayed in a pool deck (11) mini-suite and it had more than enough room for the 3 of us. Lots of storage space and a huge bath room and closet. The pool deck was very convenient for several of the restaurants and of course the pool and spa. It was also very quiet and I was surprised that there wasn't more motion that close the front of the ship. I am prone to sea sickness but only felt mildly queasy one morning despite the daily dose of Bonine but it passed quickly once I had something to eat. We loved everything about the cruise including the ports of Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Martin. The crew was amazing and our cabin attendant, Melchor was great, keeping our room tidy and leaving towel creatures for us most nights. We all though the food was very good and there were a few items like the Wild Mushroom Risotto from the main dining room that were excellent. We are not big drinkers but did order a few drinks mostly at the shows. We liked all the shows we saw which included Mod the musical, Encore, The juggler Romano Frediani and the crew talent show on the last night. Embarkation and Disembarkation were both very quick. We will cruise again in the near future with NCL and bought a cruise reward while on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
We sailed on the Norwegian Sun on January 1st. We had a penthouse suite. The VIP check in was messed up by a NCL employee who did not know what planet he was on and left us standing in line for an hour. Once we checked in and was escorted ... Read More
We sailed on the Norwegian Sun on January 1st. We had a penthouse suite. The VIP check in was messed up by a NCL employee who did not know what planet he was on and left us standing in line for an hour. Once we checked in and was escorted to lunch by the butler things were looking better. Our room was very nice especially the large balcony with lounge chairs. Our butler service was a real treat and was very professionally carried out. We ate once in the dining area that did not cost extra and that was enough. The speciality restaurants were very nice and accommodating. Food,atmosphere and service was great there. Of all the cruise lines I have been on this one was the best. The only bad part was the concierge service. Everything that she arranged never panned out. In other words avoid concierge do things yourself you will be much better off, believe me. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Embarkation: This was my first cruise. Flew down to Orlando the night before and then met the transfer bus the next morning for the trip to Port Canaveral. Arrived at the port about 11:00. Once through security, went upstairs and had to ... Read More
Embarkation: This was my first cruise. Flew down to Orlando the night before and then met the transfer bus the next morning for the trip to Port Canaveral. Arrived at the port about 11:00. Once through security, went upstairs and had to wait about 5 minutes to check in. Once checked in, had to wait about another 20-25 minutes to board the ship. Was eating lunch in the Four Seasons dining room on the ship right when it opened at 12:00. Room: Had balcony cabin on Deck 10 (Cabin 0031). Room was a nice size, and there was plenty of storage. Beds were very comfortable. It was also very nice having the balcony. In my opinion, it is definitely worth paying the extra to get the balcony. Bathroom was small, and there was barely enough room in the shower to turn around, but we managed. It was not that big of a deal. Our room stewards, Jonathan and Ferdinand were great. They remembered our name after the first time meeting us. From then on, whenever we saw them, they would call us by name. We also always had towel animals every night, which was a nice touch. Food and Drinks: We ate most of our meals in the main dining rooms, and the food there was good to very good. Had breakfast a couple mornings at the cattle call (I mean buffet), which was ok. I had read about problems finding a somewhere to sit there, but we took our plates both times to the sports bar and had no trouble finding a table. Ordered room service a couple mornings for breakfast as well. Although, the breakfast menu is limited for room service, we enjoyed what we did get. Once for lunch, we ordered the pizzas from room service, but I was a bit disappointed in them. I am more of a thin crust pizza person, but that is just my personal preference. We participated in the Murder Mystery dinner, and really enjoyed that-met a nice group from New York there. Ate dinner one night at Le Bistro, and the food was excellent-best meal of the cruise. It is definitely worth the cover charge. For drinks, we went to the Observation Lounge every night around 5:00 where they had 2 for one Martinis every night from 5:00-6:00. So you could get four martinis for right at $20, including the 15% added gratuity. The service there is slow, and one time we had to wait about 30 minutes after ordering for our next round of drinks to arrive. However, we soon learned the secret is to go ahead and order 2 martinis at a time. Once at the Topsiders bar they brought me back the wrong key card, which I did not notice until I tried to use it later on that night to get into the room. However went down to reception, and they cancelled the old card and issued me another one. But I would always definitely check to make sure now that they key card they bring you back is yours. Shows: Went to several of the shows. Thought Bud Anderson was very funny both nights. Also enjoyed Jeri Sager's Broadway show. She has a great voice. Mod the Modern Musical was good as well. One night we planned on going to the show, but ended up falling asleep in the room. Ports: Enjoyed all the ports. Did not do any of the excursions. Just wandered on our own. In Nassau a lot of the stores were closed as it was Sunday, but there will still plenty of shops open. Also went to the Queen's Staircase and Fort Fincastle in Nassau. In St. Thomas, went to a lot of the shops and had a good time. Ended up buying a Philip Stein watch there as an impulse purchase. In Saint Maarten, we first took a cab to the French side to look around. It was $25, including tip, for the cab. The cab driver kept telling us how high gas was there and how he usually had more than 2 in his minivan cab, etc; so, we gave him a $7 tip. We were disappointed in the French side. It was nasty looking to me, and other people I talked to who went to the French side agreed. My advice would be to save the money and stay in Phillipsburg. We found a bus to take us back to Phillipsburg for $2 per person. Went to a lot of shops in Phillipsburg and again had a good time. You definitely should go to the Guavaberry Emporium in Phillipsburg and have one of their drinks. It is delicious. Disembarkation: Was delayed somewhat because not all the non-citizens reported to the Stardust Theater at the requested time. So, they kept paging for them over the PA system. There also seemed to be some confusion as to what deck the self assist passengers were to use. But, from the time we started walking off the ship, we were through customs and on the bus to go back to the Orlando airport in about 20 minutes. Overall, had a great time. I would defintely sail NCL and on the Sun again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Just returned yesterday from a week on the NCL Sun and we had a great time. 6 of us in 3 balcony cabins on deck 10 forward. Ages from our Mom at 88 to my nephew of 15. Had read all the reviews, good and bad so I was a bit nervous. ... Read More
Just returned yesterday from a week on the NCL Sun and we had a great time. 6 of us in 3 balcony cabins on deck 10 forward. Ages from our Mom at 88 to my nephew of 15. Had read all the reviews, good and bad so I was a bit nervous. That fear was unjustified. We thought the main dining room food was some of the best we've ever had on any cruise. This was my 20th cruise but my first on NCL. We didn't usually have to wait long for a table for 6 - just one night when we arrived right after the murder mystery people were seated. I was disappointed that we could not open the balcony dividers - I was sure I read we would be able to - it was inconvenient but we dealt with it. The whole staff was wonderful. Moderno was open for breakfast and lunch and had wonderful pasta lunchtime every day and good pizza too but the calzones looked awful. They had waffles there every morning. We have to agree that the buffet area is horrible but once you get past it and get to the Great Outdoors, that's the place to be. I tried a few pretzel rolls and they were OK. Thought the wine prices were pretty high. The only not so great food were the desserts. Really lacking in that area. Too many that tasted like jello based. Ports - Nassau - didn't even get off the ship. Some did and said I didn't miss anything. Been there before. St. Thomas - got it early due to a medical emergency (heard a rumor that there was an explosion and a female worker was injured by glass - just a rumor). Oasis of the Seas and Carnival Dream were in every port with us. They are huge!! Went to Emerald Bay Beach cause it was closest to Crown Bay were we docked and had a wonderful day. Water was a bit cold but crystal clear. St. Maarten just took the water taxi over to Phillipsburg and got beach chairs and umbrellas and it was wonderful. Water still just a bit cold but it was pretty warm so it felt good. 2 Heineken's for $3.00. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
We are just back from the Sun on its last voyage before dry dock and we had a great time! We (my husband and I) were traveling with our 23 month old, my parents, and 2 couples that are longtime friends of ours. Stateroom: We booked ... Read More
We are just back from the Sun on its last voyage before dry dock and we had a great time! We (my husband and I) were traveling with our 23 month old, my parents, and 2 couples that are longtime friends of ours. Stateroom: We booked an inside category JJ though I'd really wanted to spring for a balcony this time around. I ended up being pretty happy with our choice. The room had a nook with a couch as well as a large floor space where we were able to set up our pack 'n play. There was so much storage, too! The room never felt cluttered even though we brought lots of toys for our son. Food: We ate in the main dining room a few nights and though the food was pretty good meals took about 90 minutes, which was pushing it for the little one. The rest of the nights we ate in the great outdoors area, which meant that everyone could eat what they wanted, when they wanted it. Great outdoors is nice because you can run in to the sports bar (great wings and chicken strips) or up to Las Ramblas (great everything and yes it's free). The salad bar at lunch and dinner was pretty great, and I was always able to find something for myself and my son. The hours of availability of food were much broader than other lines we have sailed, which is nice when you don't know when your child will want to eat on any given day. Freestyle dining is just the only option when you have a small child, in my opinion. Entertainment: Our previous cruise was on Disney and we had been very disappointed with the lack of live music. NCL, on the other hand, had plenty and my son was welcome in all of the venues. He particularly liked the acoustic guitar player in Las Ramblas (as did we). We split our time between the forward observation lounge and Las Ramblas, depending on who had the best drink special at the moment. As for the shows, I didn't attend any so I can't speak to them. Public spaces: We most enjoyed the observation lounge, Las Ramblas, and the sun deck at the very front of the ship. We did spend some time at the kids' pool, which was perfectly adequate and even had a little slide. We also spent time in the Tech room on 6, where the under 2 zoo was. We found that this was a safe place to let our son roam while we played games. Only bummer was that the room had no windows so we couldn't take advantage of the views. Medical facility: This is one section that you don't see in most reviews. On the first night of the cruise, when my husband came back to our room at 1 a.m. he found that our son had a 105.1 fever! When it wouldn't come down, we called the front desk, and they had the nurse call our room. She met us downstairs in the medical center, examined him, and then called the doctor, who lives right there. They took excellent care of our son, advised us on how to medicate him, and even helped us give him a lukewarm shower in the hospital room they have on site. They made a scary situation a lot easier on us, and I truly felt that we received high quality care. The cost was actually about the same as an ER visit would have been- about $150. they even called the next morning to check on him! Ports: This was an odd 5 day itinerary because of the upcoming dry dock. We only went to Key West and Cozumel, which was fine with us because we enjoy sea days. We'd never been to Cozumel before, so I just researched online as best I could ahead of time. We ended up booking a car through Avis so that we could explore the island and have a car seat to transport my son safely. However, when we arrived at Puerta Langosta (I think that was the name), there was an Alamo right there and they were able to transfer our Avis reservation over for the same price. We drove around the island on the paved roads. The eastern side of the island is gorgeous! I was glad we made the trip, as the scenery was really unique. Overall, this was a great trip at a great price. NCL will continue to be our first choice (at least while we have a younger child) because of the affordability, flexibility, and laid-back atmosphere. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
The Crew on the NCL Sun greeted us enthusiastically arriving on board. It gave us the since that a great vacation was about to occur. This was our second cruise with the Sun and again we where not disappointed. We had heard that they were ... Read More
The Crew on the NCL Sun greeted us enthusiastically arriving on board. It gave us the since that a great vacation was about to occur. This was our second cruise with the Sun and again we where not disappointed. We had heard that they were going to dry dock after this cruise so we thought that we might not be first on the crew's minds with all the anticipated work in the Bahamas. That thought was incorrect on our part. We were made to fill right at home the moment we arrived. The food in the main dinning rooms and the buffet was scrumptious. Grouper with lobster the second night and red snapper the last still makes my mouth moist when thinking about it. The maitre d' was very accommodating to one of our two friends with lactose intolerance helping her plan her meals a day ahead and our cabin steward (Mr. Santiago) was attentive to his work; and helped my wife in the purchase of an NCL robe. The receptionist desk attendants, looking stoic at times, were always helpful and pleasant when queried. The on board activities seemed to be constant in all the lounges with the veterans gathering (only offered on NCL) being a big plus for me. As always the complimentary sauna and steam room gives this vessel even more to appreciate. By far one of the most restful and fun times we have had in a long while. Kudos to NCL, the Sun and its crew for another cruise well done. Our experience has proven to us that NCL gives the most freedoms to enjoy what, when and how much while on board. We discovered again that elegance, charm and fun are all reasonably priced with NCL. We are very happy knowing that we will soon be sailing again with NCL. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
The schedule of our 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise was changed after a shuddering malfunction in an engine reduced our speed by about half. We made it to the Bahamas, but St. Thomas and St. Maarten were replaced with the Dominican Republic ... Read More
The schedule of our 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise was changed after a shuddering malfunction in an engine reduced our speed by about half. We made it to the Bahamas, but St. Thomas and St. Maarten were replaced with the Dominican Republic and NCL's private island, Great Stirrup Cay, in order to make it back to Port Canaveral on schedule. NCL quickly organized tenders, events and shore excursions for the new ports of call, provided a few extra complimentary things on board and gave everyone $100 credit and 30% off another cruise. I understand the Sun was due to go into dry dock for maintenance in January-- maybe it needed to be a little bit sooner. The ship was clean, but starting to show some signs of basic wear. It could use a little updating and was not as stylish or impressive as the Spirit. I was pleased with my stateroom. Kind of garish carpet and couch, but good lighting (and a variety of it, not just harsh overheads), plenty of storage, minifridge, powerful air conditioning, lots of mirrors, fine spacious balcony, and it was quiet as a tomb. The stewards-- Ramel and Nevil-- were angels and memorized us immediately-- if they saw us in another part of the ship, they greeted us by name. They worked fast, carefully, and were friendly to a fault. The food was generally very good, and I only had a couple dishes (both chicken) that I considered mediocre. The soups were particularly delicious, as were all the seafood dishes I got. Professional plating, appropriate portions, nice variety. The Freestyle dining in the two main dining rooms usually worked well, though we did have to share larger tables with other passengers a couple times. Speedy, polite service (though I think it was markedly stronger in the first few days of the cruise). The buffet (which I only ever went to for breakfast) was, truly, too small for the volume of people trying to use it. There were simply not good paths of travel and lines tended to get confusing. It was always crowded and noisy, and I always immediately took my food outside. The spa was well-appointed-- my manicurist was easy to talk to (about real topics, not just generic pleasantries) and nice. The entertainment (around the ship and in the theater) was good quality though, again, not as impressive as what I found aboard the Spirit. The crew talent show was a nice touch though. Our Nassau shore excursion was delightful. We rode Segways around the island like maniacs, and everyone seemed consumed with childlike awe at learning something new and careening about on these peculiar vehicles. The tour guides were fantastic-- nice, fun people to be around as well as professional and knowledgeable. They outfitted us with plenty of safety equipment and at least 20 minutes of gentle lessons, but I still managed to fall off as a result of my own antics (as did about half the other people), but everyone hopped right back on with laughs of "Oops, my fault! I'm fine, I'm fine!" The day was beautiful and cool, the terrain rugged and a little challenging, and the sights we saw (an old fort, a botanical garden) interesting. The Segways were in great shape, the guides provided bottled water and backpacks, and everything was generally wonderful. Samana, Dominican Republic was a little underwhelming, but better than a day at sea. Can't complain for something that NCL put together in about twelve hours. They managed to organized quite a few shore excursions, though we didn't take any. Samana is pretty rough around the edges, with lots of stray dogs (though very tame and not skin-and-bones as in some developing countries) and rather pushy vendors, but I don't regret seeing it. If you want elegant shopping, this is not your place. We had a glacially cold beer at a bar, walked along the shore, and picked up a few trinkets. The surrounding landscape was rather mountainous and dramatic, and a storm looked like it might roll in, but never did. Getting back to the tender dock, the NCL crew was waiting cheerfully with chilled towels. Great Stirrup Cay, NCL's private island, is a naturally beautiful place. A shallow turquoise cove is protected by rings of jagged rocks, and it's ideal for swimming. I took a dip myself, and the water was tolerable even in December-- frequent complaints that the sunny, 80-degree island was "freezing" were clearly coming from very thin-blooded people. The delicate sandy beach right around there may have been artificially created because the rest of the coastline was as rocky and wild as could be without a glimpse of that white sand. Walking off away from the more populated area, there were mesmerizing, elaborate tide pools full of tiny fish and snails. NCL was in the process of improving the facilities, so there was construction going on in the background (why the cay is supposed to be closed until next fall), but it did not intrude on our experience. It wasn't noisy, though I could see plenty of activity going on over a fence and some trees. The facilities that were already there were adequate-- decent, clean restrooms, various open air shelters, and a kitchen/grilling area that provided a tasty, casual barbecue that was actually refreshing after the rich food of the cruise. There were thousands of lounge chairs and you could literally plop down anywhere with no problem. It was a very enjoyable day. But here's where it gets unpleasant. My biggest complaint about this cruise was the company-- no fault of NCL. I was embarrassed by the way I saw some of my fellow passengers speaking to innocent crew members. The rudeness, unreasonableness, and trashy arrogance of quite a few customers left a bad taste in my mouth. The crew must have the patience of Job. I understand being disappointed by the changes, but I honestly believe some people's hysteria was put on entirely as an attempt to receive a free cruise they well knew they weren't going to get. Those Carnival passengers drifted without power for four days, but you think you should get a full refund for the daunting hardship of having to go to a private island barbecue? Cruise lines don't guarantee they'll visit their expected ports of call, and when you buy your tickets, it says so. Don't take the cruise if you don't like that possibility. If the ONLY reason you're on this vacation is to get to St. Thomas to do your Christmas shopping, then you should have flown to St. Thomas and stayed in a hotel. NCL did much more than they had to do to assuage passengers' fits of whining, but still people were spitting "YOU'LL NEVER [EXPLETIVE] SEE ME AGAIN" in the faces of smiling, apologizing staff on the way off the ship. Never see you again? Good riddance. Spoiled, loud, low class people. Not everyone-- some individuals were lovely and laid-back-- but the overall social environment was poisonous. G8R62, if boarding took 2 hours you were, frankly, doing it wrong. I was relaxing on my balcony within 30-40 minutes, confused as to why everyone was sitting like zombies in that terminal waiting area for no clear reason. I could dine leisurely in a main dining room in 45 minutes to an hour-- there were servers everywhere with each person only covering a very few tables. I don't know how you even managed to have such a hard time, unless perhaps the waitstaff was avoiding you for a reason? If you prompted one of the (normally very professional) servers to lecture you on manners, I have no doubt you were indeed obnoxious people. Norwegian will always be a good service for the price. Maybe more luxurious lines will be, well, more luxurious, but you will certainly pay for it. Apples and oranges, honestly. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
We wanted to be cruising the Caribbean over Christmas and New Year so they recommended the NCL Sun bAck to back Eastern and Western. Our flights over to the US were great. We couldn't fault BA at all and even with a 10 and 11 ... Read More
We wanted to be cruising the Caribbean over Christmas and New Year so they recommended the NCL Sun bAck to back Eastern and Western. Our flights over to the US were great. We couldn't fault BA at all and even with a 10 and 11 year old the time flew by. Our overnight stay was at the Hyatt which is right in Orlando International Airport. Our room was really nice - two large double beds and there was a swmming pool out on the roof which was great for the kids to dip into after the long journey. The only thing I would fault with NCL here is that there was no one there to meet us, which was a bit confusing as our paperwork had said someone would be there to tell us what time the coach etc would be picking us up the next morning. However the check in desk at the hotel did have a letter for us to explain the details. The next morning was a bit chaotic, only because the hotel reception are was being refurbished so all the NCL passengers were waiting in a tiny space in the lifts foyer. Anyway, the weather on our way to ship was awful, raining heavy not a great start. There was quite a big queue at embarkation, but asd soon as we boarded all the stress melted away. The restaurants were open for lunch, but unfortunately due to the rain the sail off BBQ was cancelled. We got into our cabin fairly quickly and our luggage was waiting for us to unpack. We had a superior inside II cabin and it was reaaly roomy. Lots of storage space and plenty of space under the beds to store the suitcases. Our cabin stewards Jonathan and Ferdinand were brilliant, goodness knows how they manage to remember all the passengers names, children included, but they do. We always had our evening meals in either the Seven Seas or Four Seasons restaurant. We never had any complaints on the food, the children who can be a bit picky always finished their plates. Breakfast was nice at the Garden Cafe or out on the back to take in the fresh air. Lunch varied, either one of the restaurants, Garden Cafe or BBQ. We also liked Las Ramblas which served lovely tapas or the Sports Bar did things like chicken wings. Also, just rememberd there is another restaurant which I can't remember the name that specialised in pizza and pasta etc. All in all food was fabulous. I have to say I was quite disappointed with some of the passengers dress atire during evening meals. I have to say it did seem to be the majority of poorly dressed people were American. Although not everyone wants to get dressed up formally every night, to turn up to a restaurant in shorts and a t shirt which had clearly been worn all day long was a bit off putting. Wine waiters were very knowledgable and we took advantage of the wine offer for both weeks of the cruise which is you pre order a certain number of bottles and the price is reduced 20%. We had already pre paid for the childrens soft drinks package, but you can easily do this once on board as well. The weather throughout the 2 weeks was not great. Myself and our two children were all sea sick once during the 1st week and then again the 2nd. Not a pleasant experience, but I suppose to be expected after all we were on a cruise! My main complaint is about one of the ports of call - Guatemala, what on earth possesses the cruise line to stop here? It is nothing bur a freight terminal. It is not safe to walk into the town on your own. We booked an NCL excursion to the waterfalls and it was a total rip off. The trip was supposed to be 3 hours long but it was over and done with in half that time and the waterfalls are pretty poor. They say they are taking you to the rain forest, but I have seen better at the Eden Project in Cornwall. Christmas Day was spoilt unfortunately as this was the day we were back at Port Canaveral and we had to go and see the US Customs people at 6.30 am in the morning, the children were very disappointed that they had to get dressed at that time in the morning when they had their presents etc to unwrap. This was very poorly organised. We also had the same thing to go through again the 2nd week when we reached Key West. All in all we had a really good time, the NCL Sun although slightly older than others in the fleet is a nice ship - the pool areas could do with an overhaul, but nothing to really complain about. We would travel with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Just got back from the Western Caribbean itinerary. The ship seemed to be running just fine. After hearing the day before we were supposed to leave about the unfortunate events that occurred during the cruise just prior to ours I was a ... Read More
Just got back from the Western Caribbean itinerary. The ship seemed to be running just fine. After hearing the day before we were supposed to leave about the unfortunate events that occurred during the cruise just prior to ours I was a little worried we weren't going to make it to all our ports. This was not the case. My wife and I had a great time aboard the Sun. It was everything we expected for the price we paid. The staff were very nice, and we were happy with the service we received. We thought the food was pretty decent in the main dining rooms. We are not huge buffet people, so we only ate the buffet when the dining rooms were closed. The setup of the buffet is a little confusing, but unless your extremely inpatient, it was not a big deal. We didn't try any of the cover charge restaurants. Overall, we were very happy with the food. Could it have been better on more expensive cruise line, maybe, but it wasn't noticeably worse than the food on my Carnival cruise several years ago. We arrived in Cozumel and it was really windy, so the port was closed to small vessels meaning our catamaran/snorkeling excursion was cancelled. Disappointing, but not NCL's fault at all. The charges were immediately removed from our on board credit. The only thing I wish they would have done is made an announcement on the ship that the port was closed because we didn't know this until we were ashore. We had awesome times in Guatemala at the Las Escobas Waterfalls, and the farewell that the locals give when the ship departs is great. We went zip lining and cave tubing in Belize and had an amazing time doing that. Would have been nice to have some more time in Key West, but at the same time, the sea days were nice and relaxing on the ship, so it was nice to have the afternoon to lay in the sun by the pool. Disembarkation was pretty simple. We did self-assist where you carry your own luggage off, and it was pretty smooth. There was a line, but it moved rather quickly, and we were off the ship about 15 minutes after getting in line. Customs was extremely fast as well. The cruise was everything we expected for the price, and we will sail on NCL again in the future. I recommend, however, to do your own research, as for some people, NCL may not be the best choice. Either way everyday on the ship was better than a day work. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Background: We are experienced cruisers and usually drive to Miami to cruise on NCL. We were happy when we heard that NCL was bringing a ship to Port Canaveral, which is nearby, so booked this cruise when we saw an article in the local ... Read More
Background: We are experienced cruisers and usually drive to Miami to cruise on NCL. We were happy when we heard that NCL was bringing a ship to Port Canaveral, which is nearby, so booked this cruise when we saw an article in the local paper that the Sun had arrived from Europe. Embarkation: We were dropped at the port by a friend around 11:30 am and were eating by noon. No kidding, it was very quick and easy getting on. No lines and very efficient. We are silver level latitudes members so did get to get in a different line, but the line for everyone else was not long and was moving quickly. Since we knew ahead of time that we probably wouldn't be able to get into our room until around 2pm, we carried on everything we might need, and really only needed our appetite. We got into our room by 1:30. Stateroom: We chose an deluxe inside cabin because we like to get a good night's sleep and we have found that the inside cabins are very dark. Our room was the largest we've ever had, for an inside cabin. We both had our own closet and chest of drawers and there was a big sofa bed in addition to our bed. The bathroom was average (small) but OK. I made a note to myself to bring along a bar of soap on the next cruise. The liquid soap/shampoo combo in the shower was runny and did not lather well. No shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser or shower cap was provided either. We always had clean towels. We did encounter a problem with our room, I believe it was day #2, there was a wet spot on the carpet in front of the door inside and outside the cabin. We reported it to our cabin steward, but nothing was done. By day 4 we noticed an odor and called the front desk to see if they were going to fix it... they ended up fixing it while we were out snorkeling, but placed a big dryer fan in our room so we couldn't really use the room for that afternoon. To make a long story short, we complained and ended up being compensated fairly by guest services. (extra shipboard credit and a bottle of wine) Dining: The ship was very clean and everyone working on the ship was very pleasant and helpful. We enjoy NCL's freestyle dining. We only ate in the main dining rooms twice and the food was very good. We lucked out and hit the one night when they serve lobster in the main dining room..(It was the second night of the cruise) and had a delicious lobster and grouper dinner. We love Le Bistro and ate there twice, ordered the filet both times. We have eaten in the steakhouse on other cruises and think that the steak in Le Bistro is just as good for a bit less cover charge. The atmosphere is very comfortable, we sat in a curved booth with pillows... The staff is very attentive and the service is fantastic. We also ate at the Italian restaurant, which was very good, but it has changed since last time we cruised on the SUN and is now "casual" Italian, the menu has changed, still delicious but not as much variety. (I like to cook so like to try things that I don't make at home...) We ate in Pacific Heights twice. This is not an 'extra charge' restaurant and we loved it. I didn't remember it from last time on the Sun. It is 'hidden' on the 12th floor behind the sports bar. Both nights we ate there it was pretty empty. I'd classify the food as Asian/Mexican/Caribbean fusion. We thought it was very good and would definitely recommend it. I don't like buffets, but my husband liked the breakfast buffet because it was quicker than the restaurant. It was too crowded and didn't have enough tables. When you could find a table it was usually not wiped clean (I'm not into germs) so I'd get an extra cloth napkin and make myself a little tablecloth. :) I preferred the restaurant for breakfast because I like to sit in a nice clean quiet place and enjoy my meal, not carry my plate around and hope that someone doesn't take it when I go to find a hot tea. Plus I love eggs Benedict, which they don't serve at the buffet. Activites: We used the gym every day. It is equipped nicely and has just about everything you need. Lots of cardio machines, free weights and machines. We did not take any classes, but they were available (for a fee) We didn't do any group activities. I did do some shopping in the duty free store. I love Swarovski jewelry and always buy a pair of earrings or two. The salesgirl was very helpful and pleasant. I also bought 2 bottles of Absolut for my friend who drove us to the port. They hold the booze for you until the night before you get off the ship. Entertainment: We went to every single show and we loved them all. They are excellent and there was a nice variety, every night something different. The theater is spacious and you really don't have to be there when the doors open to get a good seat. It's comfortable and clean. I personally liked the comedian "BUD" the best, he was hilarious. Shore Excursions: We are both SCUBA certified but decided not to lug all that gear along on this cruise so only brought our snorkeling equipment. We took a cab to Sapphire Beach in St Thomas and had a nice day considering it was raining most of the time and a hurricane had just gone through so the water was a bit rough and stirred up, but hey, we were gonna get wet anyway... I'd go back. There were beach chairs and a small restaurant. There was a dive shop renting all kinds of water sports equipment. I think it would have been a fantastic day if the weather had been better. We took a cab to Dawn Beach in St Martin. We rented 2 chairs and an umbrella for $10 and had a nice relaxing day. There was lots of reef to explore, but the water was choppy due to the storm that just went through so visibility was not the best, but OK, better than a day at the office... I took a long walk in Nassau, my husband didn't get off the boat. I had researched snorkeling opportunities and we decided not to snorkel here. We had taken an excursion last summer on the NCL Sky, and it was really good, but decided to be lazy this time. Disembarkation: We chose to get off last (this is part of the freestyle thing, you choose what time you want to get off) so were able to sleep in and eat a nice breakfast before leaving. We placed our luggage outside our door the night before with color coded tags for the time we selected to disembark. The next morning, we waited for our 'color' to be called and proceeded to deck 5. The lines looked long, but moved fast. We were off, luggage in hand and were going through immigration in about 30 minutes. In summary, we had a very relaxing, fun filled, entertaining vacation. We have already booked our next cruise (we actually had it booked in July, this one was an extra) on the NCL EPIC for the transatlantic in May. We got a great deal on a mini suite w/balcony. We always use an NCL cruise consultant (over the phone) to book our trips. Something I'd like to mention is that I get motion sickness pretty easily, and I take Bonine when I cruise. It's over the counter and I take one each night. It really works. The seas were rough especially the last 2 days and we heard of people getting sick. I would have been sick before the ship left the dock if I had not taken my pill. They sell it on the ship, but you really need to take it before you feel sick. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Embarkation was quick and easy. We were up to the Garden Cafe within minutes after checking in at the port. Food was okay. The lines at the buffet were confusing, but you could figure it out how it went and was okay for the rest of the ... Read More
Embarkation was quick and easy. We were up to the Garden Cafe within minutes after checking in at the port. Food was okay. The lines at the buffet were confusing, but you could figure it out how it went and was okay for the rest of the week. I enjoyed eating in the Seven Seas and Four Seasons for dinner all week as I am on vacation and want to be waited on. Also, the food was more interesting and better there. Didn't venture into the specialty dining rooms as I didn't think it was warranted. Did try out Pacific Heights one evening and liked the main dining rooms better. As far as getting away from the crowd when eating at the Garden Cafe or Great Outdoors, there is plenty of quiet seating in the Sports Bar adjacent to the Great Outdoors or even taking your plate into Pacific Heights. Nice and quiet. We had a great balcony room in the aft directly overlooking the very rear of the ship on Deck 10, directly under the Great Outdoors. We couldn't have asked for a better room. More room for storing things than we could even use. Bathroom was small, but no smaller than other ships we've been on. Steward always kept the room neat and clean. We didn't go on any excursions in Cozumel, just had a nice lunch in Las Palmeras and was serenaded by the guitarists. It was alot of fun. It was my 4th time to Cozumel and there really wasn't anything else I wanted to see. In Guatemala we took the excursion down the Rio Dulce and to Ak Tenamit. We loved it. The driver went much too fast. I think we were a little short on time and he was trying to make up. Livingston was a little scary and I didn't feel safe. We only stayed there maybe 10 to 20 minutes. Make sure you're with a group of people and don't go off by yourself. Belize was also great. We took another boat ride down the Old Belize river and had a very good lunch. After that we went to Al Tun Ha, ancient Mayan ceremonial grounds. Very impressive. We didn't attend any of the evening entertainment in the Stardust Lounge. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
This was our fourth cruise overall, my wife and I are totally hooked and I can't find any other vacation that comes close to the value of cruising. This was out first outing with NCL, and will not be our last. The whole freestyle ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise overall, my wife and I are totally hooked and I can't find any other vacation that comes close to the value of cruising. This was out first outing with NCL, and will not be our last. The whole freestyle concept has rubbed some people the wrong way with charges being levied for various extra services---two points here. First, if you don't ever pay for anything extra on this ship you will have a fantastic time, if you add on some activities/fancy restaurants you might even have a better time. Second, ALL the cruise lines are on the extra fee bandwagon now anyway (we are booked on the behemoth Oasis this summer, RCL is charging extra for everything--even room service after midnight!) so don't hate on NCL. Ship: The ship is the smallest we have ever sailed on but it did not detract from the experience. If anything I think we liked the small ship feel better then the massive 3500+ ships. The Sun doesn't have any massive atrium or three story dining room to impress, it feels allot more cozy and homey. Easy to get around, well tagged. Nothing was ever busy or packed, if anything it felt under capacity (even though it was full). Nice, relaxing motive and art. Food: Really great food on this ship. The buffet was good, lots of variety. It is small but never seems overcrowded. I wish they had a better separate concept grill/pizza area like Carnival does. The main dining room had great food every time we ate there, very eclectic, never had to wait for a 2-top table. All you can eat Sushi was fantastic, very nice selection (not just california rolls and tuna like on some lines). It was a nice little counter with maybe 9 seats, only 3 other people there the night we went. I think it was 10 bucks a head? I destroyed that place, they must have had to go fishing after I ate there, I must have had 9 rolls. Great. The much touted Tapas place was OK, the food was decent but the set up was wrong, you saw allot of dishes get eaten fast and not refilled nearly fast enough. Drink service was slow and suspect. Sports Bar was good, nice guys, good atmosphere. They can hook you up with Wings just about whenever they are open. One thing that surprised me was the Pacific Heights restaurant, the "light" dinner option (no charge). We went one night at my wife's request and it was fantastic. We are from Maine, so we are pretty picky when it comes to seafood, but the Mussels in white wine where some of the best I have ever had. Had Pike baked in parchment as well, Pike is not usually a fish I would seek out but it was quite good. Never went to the Italian place. The French spot, Le Bistro, was out of this world. Gave us a charming 2-top under the gazebo in the middle of the dining room. Pate, french onion soup, Chateaubriand, nice wine selection, hardly had room for desert. A must do on this ship, great value. Room service was decent fare, prompt and polite service. Good coffee, a must for me. Service: Fantastic service all around. Everyone was attentive and very nice. Always cleaning, painting, dusting. Disinfecting stations at all major entrances/choke points/restaurants. Saw the captain more than on any other cruise. He as all over the place, even in one of the evening shows. Shows: I am bias here because I think all these Broadway type shows are inherently cheesy. I will leave it at this, they were as good as other cruises we have been on. The dirty comedian was pretty funny, magician was alright. Kids: We don't have any and there weren't many on this cruise considering it was during school season. The few we saw looked like there were having a good time. Fellow Passengers: We were among the youngest couples on board (mid 20's) but met a ton of really nice people. Great folks, if not a little (or allot) older then us. This could be a turn off for some, there are not as many youth based parties/contests/heavy drinking such as on Carnival (although we like that too). It was more laid back but still very much fun. Overall: Nice, smaller ship. Good food, activities could use some work. Nice ports, see below. Great service. Not bad for the $. We hold no allegiance to any line right now, doing Carnival next month and RCL at the end of the summer. But would not hesitate to go NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
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