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14 Norwegian (NCL) Rio de Janeiro Cruise Reviews

So this was a starter cruise for us in that region of S.A. Overall we enjoyed this cruise experience, once we got onboard. There were some ups and downs. The NCL arranged transportation from the Rio airport was disorganized. There were ... Read More
So this was a starter cruise for us in that region of S.A. Overall we enjoyed this cruise experience, once we got onboard. There were some ups and downs. The NCL arranged transportation from the Rio airport was disorganized. There were two buses, our bus for 30+ people took overall an hour to find us??? The registration process at the pier was horrendous. Everyone waited in a LONG line for bags and papers to be checked, then were given a number and shuffled to another area with HUNDREDS of people with no explanation and no idea how long we had to wait. The numbers being called out were in no particular order. After about 45 minutes they called for Platinum Latitude members to come wait in a shorted line. (Thank goodness) Later we found out some people waited over 3 hours to get on the ship. The buffet Food on the NCL cruise ships is never very good, so you have to find what you like and stick with it if you have to eat in the buffet due to timing of activities. Otherwise we use the main dining rooms as much as possible. We DID NOT LIKE the 25% shipboard tax in Brazil and did not know about it until arriving. NCL should be up front about such additional costs. Also when booking a cruise through NCL the rep. should tell you that a visa (Brazil) is needed at the time of booking so that you can factor in the cost of visa's toward your overall expense. The overall stateroom cost for a balcony was fine. The cost of the airfare to get to So. America sucks. So we will plan better next time. Cruise from Miami or Latin America. We did enjoy the service in the main dining rooms and our cabin steward was very nice and pleasant. For the most part the excursions were well coordinated and the guides entertaining and knowledgeable. At some of the beach town stops in Brazil the excursions were not really needed since the town consisted of a few dilapidated buildings and stores. etc. This was our only opportunity in the foreseeable future to see the east coast of the South American main cities of Brazil, Uruguay and Arg. We wanted to go to South American since we have never being before. We will be going back to the west side Chile, etc. Probably on NCL. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We had a great time on this cruise. We had never been to South America so we did the back to back from Buenos Aires to Rio so we went to each port twice. My favorite port was Buzios, Brazil, but all the ports were nice, especially the ... Read More
We had a great time on this cruise. We had never been to South America so we did the back to back from Buenos Aires to Rio so we went to each port twice. My favorite port was Buzios, Brazil, but all the ports were nice, especially the ones where we could dock instead of tender. This was our 27th cruise with NCL and they did not disappoint. We had not been on the Sun for awhile, but the crew and the ship were fantastic! We had the dining and the beverage packages so we enjoyed the food and beverages immensely. Cagney's was our favorite, but we didn't have a bad meal the whole trip. The entertainment was good but we would have liked to have seen a comedian too instead of so many musical shows. Our only disappointment was not getting to take a cooking excursion that we signed up for in Buenos Aires. It was cancelled because of lack of participation. We had taken a similar cooking class in Mexico and had a fantastic time so we were upset to miss that. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This cruise allowed stops at places I had never cruised. These included Punta del Este and Montivedio. Because of a great price the friend with whom I traveled and I were able to book single balcony cabins next door to each other. The ... Read More
This cruise allowed stops at places I had never cruised. These included Punta del Este and Montivedio. Because of a great price the friend with whom I traveled and I were able to book single balcony cabins next door to each other. The cabins were comfortable. (On this ship, those who use CPAP machines need to carry an extension cord as the plug in is not near the head of the bed. If notified, the ship provides a gallon of distilled water that is waiting in the cabin on arrival.) Embarkation was a mess with passengers waiting for hours with little news on what was taking place. It caused worries about the whole trip which ended up being needless. The food was most adequate. It is not the equal of the upscale lines, but not bad at all. A pleasant part of buffet meals is that there is a large open air space at the stern just behind the buffet. It has its own shorter buffet lines. It also helps one to avoid a crowded and noisy room. Entertainment on the large Norwegian ships can be excellent. On this one, it was fair to middling. The typical musical reviews were quite good. Individual performers on other nights were not memorable. With the Freestyle eating server quality varies. Of the ten evening dinners we were able to sit at one of the tables of a very excellent server with a great memory on seven of them. The other three nights varied. (We chose not to pay for any of the specialty restaurants). Though the Sun is an older ship, recent renovations have put it in very good shape. Its size is in my view a benefit without the need for really long walks. There are all the facilities one needs. A positive experience is provided. After the cruise, I booked another one on Norwegian which will leave Venice in a few weeks. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
went to BRAZIL, URUGUAY & ARGENTINA. it was all good EXCEPT Im not a fan of NCL. Food is ONLY okay, excursions are waaaaaay overpriced, employees selling CRUISE NEXT are not upfront with the fine print so I canceled and I truly ... Read More
went to BRAZIL, URUGUAY & ARGENTINA. it was all good EXCEPT Im not a fan of NCL. Food is ONLY okay, excursions are waaaaaay overpriced, employees selling CRUISE NEXT are not upfront with the fine print so I canceled and I truly think its despicable that the beverage packages are soooooooooo overpriced. Im not a water drinker but being deprived of water isnt compatible with life~!! I can see charging for liquor, but pop, water and juices need to be included~!! My balcony cabin was nice and the people were all hardworking but that wont be bringing me back. My cruise price also dropped by $100 and the managers at NCL were totally unreasonable in giving me an adjustment. I should have been given that money back with an onboard credit. Never would I recommend NCL cuz there are toooooooo many better choices for cruises~!!! Embarkation was also piss poor taking 3 hours~!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We had never been to South America or south of the equator. EMBARKATION: Awful No porters to take our bags. We stood in line in the hot sun to check in our bags. Then we were given a ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We had never been to South America or south of the equator. EMBARKATION: Awful No porters to take our bags. We stood in line in the hot sun to check in our bags. Then we were given a number and told to sit in a non air conditioned warehouse until our number was called. Announcements were made in Portuguese except for the number. When our number was called we were bussed to the ship. We stood in another line at the Four Seasons restaurant on board to check in. At least we could go directly to our cabin. NCL staff at the Meet & Greet said the Sun's position at the pier was changed at the last minute and the check in area assigned could not accommodate the technology needed to check in at the pier. DINING: There was never a wait at the Seven Seas main dining room. Staff was pleasant and attentive. Great menu and service for breakfast. We asked to share a table and met some wonderful fellow cruisers. We tried 3 of the specially restaurants, Teppanyake, Le Bistro and Cagney's. There was never a problem to get a reservation. The food was excellent. Service was a bit slow at Cagney's and Le Bistro. Not sure I would pay the surcharge if the specialty restaurants were not included in our fare. The Garden Cafe, buffet was smaller than on other ships, but never seemed over crowded and we always found a table when we went for breakfast and lunch. Variety was okay. Would have like to see more salads at lunch. CASINO: DH had some trouble with a slot machine eating his cash that wasn't resolved by the casino staff so we avoided the casino for the sets of the cruise. LIBRARY: Is open during posted hours to check out a book. They have a variety of fiction and non fiction in several languages. There are shelves of books you can "borrow" at anytime without needing to check them out. The "taken-return one" concept. MANDARA SPA: Convinced DH to try acupuncture for orthopedic issues and pain. Dr Christine was patient, explained what she was doing and made recommendations. i got a hair cut and style - fine. Massage was super! Liked that we could use the sauna and steam room without charge. Staff was pleasant. ENTERTAINMENT: Thank you NCL for knowing you audience! We were mostly a over 50/60 year old crowd. The Argentinian "Beetles" were such fun. The 16 member song and dance cast are very talented. Just a pet peeve of mine - If you are doing a production based on the 60s or 70s put in some dance moves from that era in you numbers and costumes that reflect that era. Pay attention to the lyrics. In Burt Bacharache's "I say a little prayer for you" not once did the singer fold her hans as if she were saying a prayer - just wiggled her hips. ENRICHMENT: The lectures on the ports were pretty good. They include history of the area and not just shopping. We did not take any ship shore excursions. DISEMBATKATION: You are bussed from the ship in Buenos Aires to the terminal. It is a working industrial port so this makes sense for your safety. This may be one of those times when it is best to arrange transpiration to the airport or hotel ahead of time. The lines for the taxis are long and sometimes confusing. A piece of our luggage got put into another cab by mistake. Scream! Eventually the dispatcher found the cab and it was brought back to us after over an hour. Whew! Also, things will go smoother if you know a little Spanish. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
The Good –the Itinerary & the Weather; The bad – the Dining; The Ugly – NCL’s Nickel & Diming We decided on this cruise because of the itinerary and the opportunity to visit Iguazu Falls post cruise. Embarkation was ... Read More
The Good –the Itinerary & the Weather; The bad – the Dining; The Ugly – NCL’s Nickel & Diming We decided on this cruise because of the itinerary and the opportunity to visit Iguazu Falls post cruise. Embarkation was shambolic. Queue for luggage drop off, queue for health documents, long walk or shuttle to ship, long queue to check in. We later learnt that this was because the ship was too far away from the terminals for the computers. The credit card terminal was inoperative when we checked in so we could not register our credit card. The next morning we received a poorly worded, aggressive letter saying that as we had opted to pay cash (not true) our signing rights were cancelled and we would have to deposit some money. Not impressed, compounded by the front desk forgetting to tell the computer when it was sorted and our cruisecard then being embarrassingly rejected for a $6 purchase. To be fair, customer recovery was excellent. Our balcony cabin was fine although the bathroom is indeed tiny. Storage space was sufficient. The ship appears to be well maintained and all public areas were clean and tidy, if a little old fashioned. We thought dining ranged from poor and abysmally repetitive in the buffets to just OK but lacking any pizzazz in the main dining room. We ate at three speciality restaurants, le Bistro, the Italian and Cagneys. They too were OK but I wouldn’t hurry back although the steaks in Cagneys were excellent. On the whole the crew were excellent, being pleasant and efficient. We particularly enjoyed the Great Outdoors bar. Some of the ports required tenders, and we thought the NCL operation slick and safe. We never had to wait long. Disembarkation was OK but getting a taxi a nightmare. Wonderful weather and some chilled ports of call made the cruise. We have some concerns with the NCL pricing model (extra charges in the MDR, extremely expensive drinks, overpriced excursions) which makes it unlikely we will return. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
The best way to travel, you have everything in the ship, restaurants, entertainment, swiming pool, you are in a floating hotel without having to carry your handbags and luggage when you travel from place to place. There are all kind of ... Read More
The best way to travel, you have everything in the ship, restaurants, entertainment, swiming pool, you are in a floating hotel without having to carry your handbags and luggage when you travel from place to place. There are all kind of restaurants for you to choose, every night there is a show, by the pool performances and music. the rooms are nice and have enough space, the bed is spacious. You have buffet restaurant and 2 seating restaurant where you will be served by a waiter/ess. Disembarkation in every point went smoothly, without any problems, on time, very organized. All the staff was gentle, nice, and very helpful, always smiling and ready to help you in every way. Personally I am sure that I will choose to travel this way again, me and my husband enjoyed every moment of the trip and we are planning to do it again next year. We highly recommend to enjoy a cruise trip!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Overall, we enjoyed our time on the Sun. The ports of call were lovely. We did all port excursions on our own except for Ilha Grande (Schooner and Snorkelling Adventure). We used the Spa a number of times and were satisfied with the ... Read More
Overall, we enjoyed our time on the Sun. The ports of call were lovely. We did all port excursions on our own except for Ilha Grande (Schooner and Snorkelling Adventure). We used the Spa a number of times and were satisfied with the services. On one of the sea days, we wanted to take the "Behind the Scenes Tour" of the Ship. We went to register and Norwegian was charging $79 per person. This is robbery for a guided tour of the ship we are already on and it didn't offer any extra food or beverage or bonus. In the formal restaurants, many men (including teenage boys) did not adhere to the "smart casual" dress code of jeans or slacks with a collared shirt and closed-toed shoes. When asked why this was not being enforced, the staff told us that they "south Americans are casual and don't get it." That was disappointing and annoying as we only ate at the formal dining rooms as we prefer a plated dinner in a more upscale setting yet were surrounded by guests that look like they should be at the buffet. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We chose this cruise because it was inexpensive and we were interested in the destinations. We bought our tickets before learning that every US citizen in our party would have to jump through many hoops to get a $160 visa to enter Brazil. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was inexpensive and we were interested in the destinations. We bought our tickets before learning that every US citizen in our party would have to jump through many hoops to get a $160 visa to enter Brazil. Unless you live near a Brazilian Consulate or Embassy, it will take you at least 2 weeks and you may have to hire a company to do it for you. I will not discuss the safety aspects of Argentina and Brazil. I strongly recommend enrolling in the US State Department STEP program at https://step.state.gov/step/. About NCL: I had acceptable experience with NCL previously, but was disappointed they did not credit me for a prior cruise. We were not permitted any of the perks of their reward program as we were previously promised. If you plan on participating in their Latitudes reward program, tape record whatever they say to you and screen copy all online offers. NCL does an excellent job of embarkation/debarkation. Fast, efficient, friendly. We actually had someone die during a long, tedious embarkation on Holland America a few years back. HA should take a hint from NCL about embarkation/debarkation, especially since time is more important to their clientele. NCL website is clunky and the application is useless. The application does not provide very much about the ship except how to spend your money. There was not even a map of the ship. About the Cruise: Ship condition was a little worn, but not as bad as the Pride of America was prior to last year's overhaul. Cabin condition was very good, but they really don't have enough 110v outlets. The service was excellent and the photo staff, sales persons, and spa staff did not try to hard sale. The lack of aggressive sales was a blessing. Food in the cafeteria was acceptable. Way too much dairy, food very salty, and no margarine, even on request. Very few vegan/vegetarian choices and they dumped meat into just about everything, including macaroni salad??? Food and service in the main dining room was excellent. Way too much dairy on the menu, but there were always choices and the staff would recommend things not on the menu as needed. The main dining room was the highlight of our on-board experience. The entertainment was disappointing. The magician was basically a guy who brought out props for his contortionist wife to use. After 15 minutes, we had seen enough. Musicians were OK, but the BINGO sounded better. The Casino staff was not helpful and we ended up with charges to our account even though we never successfully gambled. Overall, the staff was excellent. Friendly, patient, and helpful best describes the hotel staff. I was a little disappointed with the ship crew when I pointed out a significant SOLAS safety hazard caused by the crew and it was not resolved. I had to go to the Safety Officer and it finally was resolved a couple of days later. We did not take ship excursions, but enjoyed the ports of call. We were probably the only passengers to take in the Rio Military Museum, including the submarine tour. Rio is very expensive and has a 25% tax on everything. NCL did not warn us that ALL ON BOARD PURCHASES IN BRAZIL WATERS ARE SUBJECT TO 25% TAX in addition to the published service charge of $13.5% to 15.5% per day and for just about everything purchased on board. We and NCL lost out because we would have bought our wine package online had they informed us of the crazy tax rate, but chose not to make purchases in Brazilian waters. Uruguay was a pleasant surprise and the people are exceptionally friendly. We exchanged too much money as just about every business in Punta Del Este and Montevideo accepted euro, US $, and Argentine Pesos. Free walking tours of Punta Del Este and Montevideo are excellent if you are mobile and want some exercise. Argentina was surprisingly unfriendly. We failed to exchange enough money and were shocked to find restaurants and businesses unwilling to take credit cards. The government controls the money very closely and it stifles trade. We discovered a fantastic nature reserve in walking distance from the Buenos Aires pier, the Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve. Free entry and bring your camera and binoculars. The Hop on/Hop Off bus in Buenos Aires was a deal. Purchase tickets in the cruise terminal. Start early and explore. The city is rich in culture and history. The local beer is way better than the local in Brazil and Uruguay. Wines in Uruguay and Argentina are exceptional and the prices are great. If you are making your own arrangements from the ship to the Ministro Pistarini International Airport (EZE, located in Ezeiza), purchase a taxi ticket in the cruise terminal to the MT Leon Station at 1299 E. Madero Av or take the 10-15 minute walk. DO NOT take a bus from the main terminal, Terminal de Omnibus de Retiro. The airport buses are not as frequent and you will require a transfer. It is closer to the pier, not worth the time. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose this cruise because of it's great itinerary. We sailed Rio de Janeiro > Buenos Aires stopping at 5 ports along the way. Firstly, the boarding procedure was quick and simple but when we were on board there was literally ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of it's great itinerary. We sailed Rio de Janeiro > Buenos Aires stopping at 5 ports along the way. Firstly, the boarding procedure was quick and simple but when we were on board there was literally no one to assist us in the direction of our cabin. We eventually found one staff member and asked him and he had no clue where to point us. it took about 15 mins to finally find it. The ship itself was clean and elegant inside and quite luxurious. Our room attendant Jay was superb and so were a couple of bartenders namely Sy and Santos who were super friendly and always remembered our names. I would like to warn anyone who is on the "ultimate beverage package" that the package is very limited. We were shocked to find out that bottled water is somehow not included and they were trying to charge us $4 - $6 for a bottle of water! Also small things like teas and coffees in the cafe were also not included in their "ultimate beverage package". Out of principal we refused to buy bottled water as we paid $800 each to be on this package. My girlfriend got quite sick after three days, probably from drinking the tap water on the ship! The bottled water policy didn't make sense to me at all, how can a $15 cocktail be included on the package when a bottle of water isn't? None of the staff could explain the logic to me either. Perhaps I was spoilt on my last cruise with Celebrity where their "ultimate package" was inclusive of absolutely everything, even premium whiskies and wines where Norwegian are quick to charge you extra for this. It was really disappointing. Apart from the few staff members i mentioned above, I found the crew to be quite unprofessional at times. There were a few instances were crew were clearly speaking negatively about Norwegian cruise lines in front of guests (happened twice on the tendors and again while we were waiting to be seated at the dining room). I'm not sure whether they are not paid enough or are working too many hours but it is reflecting in their service and we could tell that they were not happy. Overall we enjoyed the cruise because of the ports of call and it was comfortable but unfortunately it doesn't compare to Celebrity Cruises in terms of value for money, service and overall experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Great itinerary! Great Ship! Great Crew! Great Price! Great Cabin! After cruising on just about every cruise line and after cruising more than 250 cruises the Norwegian Sun wins my vote for best ship. It is wonderful to see it back in ... Read More
Great itinerary! Great Ship! Great Crew! Great Price! Great Cabin! After cruising on just about every cruise line and after cruising more than 250 cruises the Norwegian Sun wins my vote for best ship. It is wonderful to see it back in the South America market. It would be nice one day to do an around the world cruise on her. The ship was in great condition and looked like it had been recently overhauled and up to date. The cabin was spacious and the bed so comfortable I hated getting out of it in the morning. The dining on the ship was elegant wherever you ate. Although I ate in several venues I felt that this was not a necessity as the food and service in the main restaurants was every bit as good. The timeliness of service was excellent. I thought the entertainment in the main shows could be improved on as I would like more shows with comedy and magic and entertainers interacting more with the audience. The classical music in the Atrium is one of my favorite things to relax to and enjoy every night before dinner. FABULOUS SHIP AND CRUISE! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I´m brazilian and it´s my second NCL Cruise, the other was NCL Getaway. The ship is old but tradicional, the crew members are great and the Cities I visited the best. What make me upset is an ilegal tax that all onboard have to pay, crew ... Read More
I´m brazilian and it´s my second NCL Cruise, the other was NCL Getaway. The ship is old but tradicional, the crew members are great and the Cities I visited the best. What make me upset is an ilegal tax that all onboard have to pay, crew members and passengers, a 25% tax plus the 18% tax for the service, but this 25% we only know when we make the first payment. Researching, they create this because NCL was finned for Brazilan law and give to all to pay what it´s deservers only to NCL because NCL don´t follow brazilian rules, that they should have at least 25% brazilians working there. And for people that doesn't speak English is really hard, even in the recreation for kids there´s no brazilian, I had to complain because my 7 and 10 years old boys weren't understanding much. Roberto the cruise director is the best and all the adult Recreation team were great: Sandra, Clarissa, José, Adriano, love you all. Imagine, a beer costs $7.95 but you have to pay $11.35: +1.43(18% grat, ok) but the $1.99 brazilian tax is ilegal!!!!!). Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
If you are looking to go on a cruise where service is great, staff are happy...do NOT take Norwegian Sun!! Leadership on this ship and Guest Service manager, do NOT have a clue of what service is all about. She is rude, defensive and ... Read More
If you are looking to go on a cruise where service is great, staff are happy...do NOT take Norwegian Sun!! Leadership on this ship and Guest Service manager, do NOT have a clue of what service is all about. She is rude, defensive and insulting to guests. Luggage delivering was delayed for 13 hours, no apology, no compensation, no compassion! They have this "don't care attitude" Luggage was damaged and after many stressful encounters, they replaced my Samsonite suitcase with an inferior quality suitcase. This suitcase fell apart after one use! Staff on the entire ship - you do not see any staff smiling. it is obvious that they are not happy with their job! Getting on and off the ship at ports of call - security staff who scans your ship card did not provide any eye contact, smile or hello!! What we expected to be a fun, relaxing cruise...it turned out to be stressful and horrible! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
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