1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Norwegian Cruise Line
  4. Norwegian Cruise Line Cruise Reviews

19 Norwegian (NCL) San Diego Cruise Reviews

I always wanted to go through the Panama Canal, its history fascinates me. I also wanted an extended cruise for a bit of "R&R". The price point was good but the on-board costs were disappointing. I feel NCL was in my ... Read More
I always wanted to go through the Panama Canal, its history fascinates me. I also wanted an extended cruise for a bit of "R&R". The price point was good but the on-board costs were disappointing. I feel NCL was in my pocket for every little thing.... a 1 liter bottle of Dasani was $6.60!!! Yes, $6.60 - outrageous. Kids video arcade games are $1.30 per game. Food was okay in the complimentary restaurants and buffets but don't bother with the complimentary steak dinner - the meat quality is less than average which I think is done to encourage cruisers to use their "specialty" (for a charge) Cagney's Steakhouse. The entertainment was merely average. However, the staff couldn't have been nicer - pleasant, friendly, courteous... excellent all around. My major complaint is the embarkation/disembarkation process. Really this needs major attention. The boat left San Diego 2 hours late. I delivered my luggage at 11:15 BUT it was not delivered to my cabin until 8:15. NCL tenders were terrible and have too little capacity to handle excursions. First day, excursions were delayed two hours because of various NCL issues. Cruisers were truly annoyed. It got worse when disembarking at final port. The instructions from staff were contradictory; the bridge communications from Vincent, the cruise director, were just terrible. Very poor communication resulted in delays, misdirection and anger. I am unsure if I will cruise NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
ABOUT MY CRUISE: SHIP/NCL - PRE-BOOKING ITEMS - DON'T DO IT. As items you book are charged diectly to your card at time of booking the item(both excursions and fixed priced dining). I had thought it would all go thru my onboard ... Read More
ABOUT MY CRUISE: SHIP/NCL - PRE-BOOKING ITEMS - DON'T DO IT. As items you book are charged diectly to your card at time of booking the item(both excursions and fixed priced dining). I had thought it would all go thru my onboard account... WRONG. So it quicly got confusing when onboard I canceled my reservation for Moderno. They had no problem canceling. But only becaused I asked, did they refund (to my shipboard account) what I had pre-paid prior to trip on my charge card. Once again - I would recommend NOT PRE-BOOKING anything where you are prompted to input your charge card as this means you will have some charges on visible on your charge card statements while others show in you onboard account. As I had used multiple charge cards it got very confusing very quickley as to what I had already paid for and what I needed to do to get a refund. i had thought that many excursions and things were fully booked so I booked pre trip. But in reality, the day of the departure they open up all excursion/dining. So as long as you book day one you should be able to get what you want. SHIP FOOD ATTRIBUTES- Disappointing in lack of tast, quality, and variety. The main dinning set menu variety was limited and quite bland. Meats dry and medium temp. SHIP FOOD OPERATIONS: Very, very, limited hours/seating for sit down breakfast Very, Very, Very limited hours and available seating for sit-down lunch. To that extent I now call them flash breakfast and flash lunch. Lasting about only 1 to 1.5 hours meaning here and gone before you know it. . The main(free) sit down dining rooms: Note: both have the same menu as each other. The Indigo dining room is small seating around 150-200. Lacks spacionous and windows. More like a indoor mod cafe with no views. The summer palace is more like one would expect. Located out of the way in the back of the ship it was always available for walk up. It is well decorated, airy, and has big windows and floor to ceilng wall on windows on the back. BUFFETS: The Garden Buffet was below average in quality and taste and most importantly tempature. Most items looking well aged and dry. Greatly disappointing for grab and go items such as burgers or sandwhichs. Only hamburgers, dogs, and very limited selection of cold meats(typically a mince meat item-salami and swiss cheese) . Did not see cooked chicke breast or sliced turkey, ham. roast beef, american, or cheed sliced cheease.). I think that to control cost the cooks move at snails pace in reactivley restocking items rather than pro actively. For example, middle of luch rush out of sliced cheese... cook placing cheese one slice at a time on the buffet rather than having full plates of sliced cheese ready to go. Food management did not seem to attend to making sure items were stocked and fresh at all stations during meal times. Main meat carving station- very dispointing quality and selection of entree. Only had prime rib once. Had dry turky, dry pork... and even had meat loaf as a entree. i laughed.. meat loaf and an entree at a carving station!! COOKIES - VERY VERY LIMITED. Only avaible at great outdoors cafe during snack hours 3:30-5. SHIP ENTERTAINMENT: Below average in variety and quality, Some headline acts/performers where repeated over 3-5 days where as typically it is one day(2-3 shows) SHIP DRINK SERVICE: Not really attentive or soliciting drinks. Especially lacking indoors. One must hunt down a server to walk up to bar to really keep glass from being empty. TIPS: SUMMER PALACE FOR SIT DOWN MEALS - INCLUDING BREAKFAST AND LUCH. Seems most people did not know it was there. COOKIES: Bring a zip lock bag and grab a bunch for your for your room from great outdoors cafe snack hours. Be careful as they stop restocking around 4:30. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Chose the cruise because we could see friends and relatives in the San Diego area, sail thru Panama Canal as I have always wanted to do, and then be back home in Florida. Came in a week early to see San Diego, but there was to much too ... Read More
Chose the cruise because we could see friends and relatives in the San Diego area, sail thru Panama Canal as I have always wanted to do, and then be back home in Florida. Came in a week early to see San Diego, but there was to much too see. Pacific Ocean was choppy, and so was the Caribbean, most than usual in Caribbean. Hurricane in Pacific prevented us from stopping at Cabo San Lucas. Embarkation was okay, felt like you were in a warehouse, not a "real" cruiseport. Ship was delayed because of the Dockworkers changing shifts. Norwegian did not care for San Diego port. Our cabin was dim, we like brighter lights. Also you had to get out of bed to turn off the overhead lights, there was not a turnoff at the beds. No place to sit except on the beds, no chair or sofa, really no room. I did have a shower chair which was great. Also like the shower door instead of the curtain. The TV was nice, but the channels were often weak or scrambled. Also it was several days before we even know who had won the World Series. College football was not carried on any sport or regular channels. Room service breakfast was fine, and early on most mornings, chocolate croissant were great. But they usually forgot something once it was our cereal. The Entertainment was good especially liked Duo Quincennesce, the aerialists, Michelle Murlin, the broad way singer, and especially Brenda Kaye the Hypnotist. The staff was also great. Room stewards, the wait staff were all good. My favorite was an African man from Zimbabwe who worked in Tides. He had the nicest smile and we a little each day. I wish I would have got his name, he was so good to talk to, we made some kind of connection. The food was mediocre, not hot when it should be, but lukewarm or cold, this was in the buffet and main dining room, the Summer Palace. But again the wait staff and esp., Annisha who was in charge of special diets tried to get my husband vegetarian meals. His favorite in the Summer Palace was two scoops or mashed potatoes and two little ears of corn on the cob. Some breads and desserts were good, I especially liked the bread pudding at the buffet. The carrot cake in the Summer Palace was esp. good. Over all an average cruise with not enough things to do on sea days. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This was our fourth time travelling with Norwegian and for the first time we came back a little disappointed. Service, food and cabin were fine but we were particularly disappointed with the entertainment on the ship. We felt the groups ... Read More
This was our fourth time travelling with Norwegian and for the first time we came back a little disappointed. Service, food and cabin were fine but we were particularly disappointed with the entertainment on the ship. We felt the groups and singers round the ship were nowhere near as strong as others we've been on and while the "specialist" entertainers were mixed to say the least. Some were excellent - The Quintessence Aerial duo and The Barricade Boys - some were ok, and some just poor. In particular the woman singer was dreadful and I wasn't impressed with the comedian Tim whose act was very dated and consisted of making members of the audience do stupid things. Also a lot of the acts did two or even three shows during the cruise.The game shows seemed tired and ill thought out. And there were some odd things about the ship itself. Who thought it would be a good idea to put four lanes of bowling in the middle of a lounge?!!? And why was the trivia usually held in the Atrium where there were never enough seats and you had to compete with people visiting guest services etc.? We enjoyed the ports and most of the places visited - San Diego and Cartagena in Colombia especially but compared with the cruise we took with Norwegian to Hawaii last year on the Jewel, the Pearl was a disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Cons -old cruise ship; framework inside hasn't changed -resulting from old design, passengers cannot navigate as easily as on modern ships - traveling portside corridors will not land you at the same places starboard. -soda ... Read More
Cons -old cruise ship; framework inside hasn't changed -resulting from old design, passengers cannot navigate as easily as on modern ships - traveling portside corridors will not land you at the same places starboard. -soda package is a rip off. Soda will come from the bar fountain and at stations without a fountain, cans are used. However, you often get an old can (flat soda) because only slightly half a can pours into one of their cups. So, if the person in front of you orders a Pepsi and then, you're the next guest 15 minutes later to order a Pepsi, you get whatever was leftover in the can from the prior guest. Pathetic policy. -Stardust Auditorium (theatre on the ship) is extremely outdated. The seats are fold down and low to the ground. Very uncomfortable. -Thermal Spa chairs are positioned inside the center of the spa; they should be ideally facing out to the front forward the ships windows. Pros -This is a classic cruise ship; which makes it easily convertible to what an affinity group customizes it to be. This ship is one of the most chartered ships in the US today. -the Filipino staff will cater to your every ask -food is slightly above average; good spread Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
First, the NCL repositioning cruise from San Diego to Valparaiso and then from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires does not sell out. We met dozens of people that booked the first leg - San Diego to Valparaiso the day before departure and paid ... Read More
First, the NCL repositioning cruise from San Diego to Valparaiso and then from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires does not sell out. We met dozens of people that booked the first leg - San Diego to Valparaiso the day before departure and paid under $400.00/person for a very good cabin. Then there were people who were booking the second leg from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires when we were getting close to the end of the first leg and they were getting amazing prices on the second leg with good choices of cabins. If you can, book late and save big money on both of these cruises! The embarkation process in San Diego was delayed and it took much longer to get everyone on the ship, day one. They told us there was a chartered group the week before and they were really taking their time getting off the ship in San Diego. After everything was sorted out the ship left from San Diego late. The Norwegian Sun is one of the smaller ships in their fleet, but the rooms are clean and it appears the normal wear and tear of a cruise ship is being addressed regularly. On this cruise the main decks in the pool area were being refinished so they would mark off an area each day and the sanding and vacuuming would go on all day long. Thus, future passengers would benefit from refinished pool decks. The included options for food consist of a buffet and two dining rooms. There are also six extra charge restaurants on the ship. In the included restaurants the food is average at best. We did not feel that there was a great deal of flavor to many of the dishes served at the buffet or the restaurants. The service at the restaurants and the cabins was good. The personnel working in both the cabins and restaurants did not appear to be overly customer oriented, but were responsive when you engaged them in conversation. Overall, the entertainment on board was marginal each evening. On this 17 night cruise there were only a couple of acts that would be considered good and we spoke to many different guests during the day that agreed with our assessment of the entertainment. The exercise/gym area was split into two rooms. There was a smaller room with all exercise equipment and that room was typically full of people and many people had to wait for exercise machines in the mornings. The other room, next door was the larger of the two rooms and open for groups to use for stretching in the morning. The two pools and deck area is small but the group on this ship did not seem to be too crowded as there were many on the cruise who chose not to be outside much of the day. The Sun also had two golf hitting nets and a table tennis area. In the golf hitting nets there was only left handed clubs and a few old beat up golf balls in each net. If you are a left handed golfer, you’re in luck. The scheduled enrichment talks were not well done and mostly abandoned by the passengers the first week. The daily activities were minimal and not well attended nor well organized and run. The activities started late and were held in venues that did not have enough space for everyone so many people quit attending. In talking to others on the ship some had taken this cruise the year before and told us that the new NCL owners (not sure about the ownership change) had really cut back on everything including the food in the dining rooms, the drink prices had increased significantly and it seemed like their was a mandate from corporate to save money anywhere and everywhere possible. We talked with a number of passengers along the way and found people who thought the cruise was magnificent to those who felt that other cruise lines were better at almost everything on the ship. Everyone has their likes and dislikes when it comes to cruising and you can find someone on your cruise to agree with your point of view. PORTS Huatulco, MX - Has been upgraded in the last 18 months to include more shops, restaurants and bars. There are multiple options for shopping and eating in port, most places have wifi if you purchase food and/or drinks. There are some tours that leave from the port, many taxis are available in port and multiple beaches very close to the cruise dock as well. BTW, the boulevard that goes south from the port to the town is a good place to get a run in for those interested. Chiapas, MX - Very little to nothing available in this port. There are a few shops in the exit area, one with wifi if you buy 2 drinks, but there are so many people on the wifi that you get very little bandwidth, thus a super slow connection. They provide buses to the city for $10.00 round trip and the bus ride is 30 minutes each way. Not much to to do in the port area if you stay for the day. Chiapas is a small Mexican town with some shops, restaurants and bars. There are a few tours offered to local area coffee farms, some small ruins, etc. if you are so inclined. Antigua, Guatemala - The ship ports in an industrial port which is not well designed for tourists and cruise boats. They have tried to provide some shopping and dining options the port area, but those are minimal at best. There are a few shops with Guatemalan clothing and other hand made souvenirs available and all of the vendors accept USD. A couple of bars have opened and provide wifi, however, once again with everyone trying to get on the internet the connection is super slow and comes and goes - mostly goes. At the port there are taxis and multiple tour companies that will take you to Antiqua. The tour company cost is fixed and all charged $45.00 per person the day we were there. We have heard some days it is $50.00 per person. Driving straight to Antigua could be done in and hour, but most of the tour companies will take 1.5 to over 2 hours to get to Antigua. They like to stop multiple times to have you shop at little shops along the way. The tour company uses 12 passenger vans that are older, have 4 rows of seats, all have a flip down/up third seat in each row (which is the most uncomfortable seat in the row) and they put 12 people in a van before they leave for Antigua. If you have back problems you will be uncomfortable within the first hour on the van. The roads are have many bumps and the seats in the vans have very little cushion. We chose Viajes de Guatemala for our tour company and there are 3 or 4 different companies at the port all vying very hard to get your business. We stopped 3 times on the way to Antigua and it took over 2 hours to get there from the port. The tour guide took us to 2 different free museums and wanted us to go shopping at a central area where he could be with us at all times. Some of us wondered off to see the city on our own and were rounded up in 30 minutes to get back with the group. Downtown Antigua would be a very nice place to spend and afternoon and is not at all dangerous for tourists. USD are accepted everywhere and English is spoken by many Guatemalans. There are people walking around selling necklaces and woven items. If we could do it again, we would like to get a ride to Antigua and walk around for the afternoon and then ride back to the port. Our guide followed us very closely and then after we spent about an hour in the town took us to a restaurant on the way out of town where we were expected to buy our lunch. The restaurant was expensive for the town. We were then put back on the van, taken to the cross on the hill above the city for a picture option, put back on the van, taken to another museum for a short stop then to drive back to the ship. We talked to other guests on the ship and some were able to get a van or bus that went to Antigua allowed you to walk around for 3-4 hours then take you back to the port. We think we would look for this option next time as we prefer to spend out time walking about the town and not getting in and out of a van most of the time. Antigua is a very nice place to visit, we never felt uncomfortable in the town and would like to experience more of the town on another visit. Puntarenas, Costa Rica - We have visited many parts of Costa Rica over the years and feel it is most unfortunate that this port may be a first experience for people visiting Costa Rica on a cruise ship. This port is not in any way representative of the Costa Rican people or country. This port is dirty and the people are not gracious and helpful like most of the people in Costa Rica. You can walk from the ship to the city in less than 10 minutes. There are many vendors set up along the sidewalk between the main street and the beach most of which speak English and accept USD for almost anything you want to purchase. Also in this area are a number of outdoor restaurants and most have wifi if you buy something to eat or drink. We recommend leaving the ship and booking a tour at one of the tour companies located in the port area. The street that follows the beach is a good place for a 4 mile run. Zip lining is a great experience in Costa Rica. Salaverry, Peru (Trujillo is the nearest city) - Trujillo is a city of about 1 million people and the majority would be considered very poor in most countries. On the cruise ship we paid $15 for round tip buss transport from the port to the city of Trujillo or you can hire a taxi at the port. There is a main square with free wifi throughout the square (very nice for the city to provide wifi free) and there is a walking mall for about 1/2 mile that has many shops and restaurants. You can also take a city bus or taxi to Chan-Chan which is about 30 minutes by bus - 20 minutes by taxi. There are only a few ATM’s in the city, we discovered one in a Scotiabank along the walking mall. There are not too many souvenir shops in town, but the local people set up a number of tents in the parking lot of the dock area and you can get local products at a fair price from them just before you board the ship. At the port you can use USD and English can be used with the vendors. In the city Spanish is most helpful if you want to eat, drink or buy something along with Peruvian money. There are numerous police all around the town and we never felt threatened or unsafe anywhere in the city of Trujillo. Callao, Peru (Lima) - the port is again an industrial port which requires the cruise line to bus everyone out to the port gates to start their trip to town. We decided to take a taxi as that appeared to be a faster way to get to Lima in the morning. Most of the taxi drivers at the port want to have a day trip out of the port and will try to talk you into hiring them for 4 or 5 hours at about $25 USD per hour. We found a driver that would take us to downtown Lima and drop us off. The taxi ride to downtown Lima from the port gates is approximately 10 miles and due to traffic, excessive stop lights and signs, poor roads and way too much traffic for the roads the trip was almost 45 minutes with a 9:00 a.m. start from the port gates. We experienced the same type of difficulty on the return to the port and the return trip took even longer due to afternoon traffic. You should expect to pay around $25 USD each way in a taxi. One of the passengers decided to try walking from the taxi stop into the town of Callao and was robbed within blocks. We had read on Trip Advisor not to walk in this area and to only take taxi’s or busses from the port to the city. The center of the city is a traditional South American big city (@10 million people) with a square and the government buildings in the center of town. There is a walking mall in the center of town with many shops and restaurants along the way. In the square there are many police officers and tourism officials that can assist you with maps and directions. Most first time visitors to Lima will take the tour of the San Francisco cathedral (about $3.50 USD) as they take you to the catacombs in the basement. The English tour goes about once an hour and can be very crowded, e. g. over 20 people in the group. With so many people in a group it is difficult to hear the guide. Near the cathedral is the presidential palace and they have a changing of the guards ceremony a couple of times a day. There are some shop keepers and taxi drivers that will accept USD but for the most part you need to pay with a credit card or Nuevo Soles. There are many banks in the downtown area and you can also find people with green vests who walk along the streets and they will change your money. Downtown Lima seems safe and free of crime for tourists, we felt safe everywhere we walked in the downtown area. Arica, Chile - An industrial port that requires a shuttle from the ship to the port gates. When you arrive at the port gates the city is just across the street. The locals have set up a number of shops in tents at the park across the street that sell mostly hand made items. These small tent shops want to deal in USD for their hand made items. Some of the shops in town will take USD but most prefer Chilean money. The are plenty of ATM’s throughout the city. From the ship you will see a hill in the city with a large flag of Chili on top. The walk to the top of a hill is moderately strenuous and takes about a half hour to get to the top of the hill from the port gates. On top of the hill there is a small museum, some very old cannons (1867 vintage) and a statue of Jesus. In town there is a pedestrian mall and a narrow street that has mostly bars and restaurants. Many of the bars and restaurants have wifi if you purchase food or drinks. Some of the restaurants you will come across will advertise wifi, but if they have a weak signal you won’t be able to log on and if you do it is extremely slow, so ask people at the tables about the signal before sitting down and ordering. There are a couple of museums in town and some historical statues that you can spend time viewing. It is a nice town and feels safe, however, the waiter at the bar/restaurant we stopped at in the restaurant row area told me to keep my camera in my backpack and not on the table. Be aware of your surroundings as is good advice in any city, especially the tourist areas. Coquimbo, Chile - They are working on many upgrades to this port in 2016 and it appears that in 2017 it will have a very different look. The current status of the port includes a small port building about 200 yards from the ship. The port building has free wifi (1000 passengers and crew really suck up the bandwidth quick) and some tourism representatives to assist you in planning your daily activities. You can walk through the port gates and across the street to the town of Coquimbo which has a couple of main streets that you can shop or sit for coffee, beer or some food. The large cross on the hill can be seen from the ship and almost anywhere in town. We also took the city bus (#1) that you can catch across the street from the port and for 600 Chilean pesos you can ride the bus to La Serena about 10 miles to the north. The bus will take 30 + minutes as it stops many times between the two cities. In La Serena the downtown area is filled with shops, restaurants and many more things to see and do compared to Coquimbo. In the downtown area of La Serena there are many artisan tents with hand made items that are truly one of a kind. Both cities can be toured in one day by using the city bus to go over and back or you can hire a cab right at the port gates. In Coquimbo, two of our fellow passengers were robbed at gun point on one of the switchback stairs going up to the cross on the hill. One can never emphasize enough the importance of traveling in groups and staying in safe areas. The people are very welcoming and we felt safe traveling in both cities. We were lucky to meet a couple on the bus to La Serena that wanted to take us to the downtown area and show us around. Try your Spanish with the passengers on the city bus and you can get a guided tour! Valparaiso, Chile - This was the final stop for this cruise and the beginning of the next cruise to Buenos Aires, Argentina. We spent the day in Valparaiso as the ship was not leaving until the evening. Valparaiso port is quite inconvenient requiring 2 different shuttle busses to get to the port gates. The trip from the ship to the port gates took us 2 hours and when we talked to others on the ship the same trip took many of them over 2 hours and some gave up trying to get to the city after 2 hours. Outside the port gates we were constantly cautioned to keep our camera out of site and wear your backpack on your chest to avoid having anything stolen. We took the city bus (350 Chilean Pesos) from the street across from port gates south to Plaza Sotamayor where we met a guide that does tours for tips. The tour guides hang out at the statue in the middle of the plaza and wear green shirts. The tour was about 2.5 hours and took us through the downtown area with many stops to explain historical buildings and the history behind the entire city. Valparaiso is a very hilly town with a great deal of traffic on narrow streets. The tour was well worth the time and money as the tour guide told us so much about the city and the country. Tour guides are available in multiple languages and when you ask about the tour they will separate you into the language group you feel most comfortable. There are numerous bars/restaurants along the main streets near the plazas and all are inviting with good prices for food and drink. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Unfortunately this cruise was off to bad start as no one could board for along time & there seemed to be no organisation. Finally on board after 2 hrs. in a queue.. then no cabins were ready for a very long time. Luggage was not ... Read More
Unfortunately this cruise was off to bad start as no one could board for along time & there seemed to be no organisation. Finally on board after 2 hrs. in a queue.. then no cabins were ready for a very long time. Luggage was not delivered til 8pm! In fact we went & collected 1 suitcase our selves, as it had not been delivered. No explanation as to why all these delays. Our cabin was very nice ..after eventually able to get in at 7pm!!! Dinning was much more civilised in the dining rooms than at the Buffett ..where is was often a bun fight.. with people pushing in here & there. The crew were very polite & well mannered, but some were not trained properly in 1st class dining. In the Restaurants , dining plates were removed before the other person had finished their meal. So more training seems to be needed in some areas. This cruise was definitely very American orientated, as most of the passengers were from the USA. Shore excursions were very expensive. The one we took in Costa Rica was for 4&half hours. But it returned to the ship 1 hour early & the last part of our excursion was not fulfilled. I complained on our return & a report was taken, then 1 week later when I enquired I was told we would get a $15- refund each! We heard lots of complaints about various shore excursion/ tours ..but most people didn't not make an official complaint. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We wanted to see the south American experience. As we embarked, we had lunch at the Garden Café. We found the food to be of a very messy quality. Again as we ate breakfast and lunch we found very little variations from day to day. ... Read More
We wanted to see the south American experience. As we embarked, we had lunch at the Garden Café. We found the food to be of a very messy quality. Again as we ate breakfast and lunch we found very little variations from day to day. Too many dishes with Indian seasoning (curry). I do not understand when you have several specialty restaurants, why you have to pay extra for certain cuts of meat in the Four Season dining room (main dining room). The service was great, waiters and assistant maitre D were the most helpful and congenial people. The main dining room was nice but expected more of a higher quality of dinners, this is in comparison to other cruises we have been on. Eight days into our 17 day cruise I came down with food poisoning, (my strong opinion). This required medical assistance from the ship medical staff. I was quarantined to my room for 24 hrs. We had to cancel a special paid excursion for that day. The medical staff was able to have our $200 fair reimbursed. This was the day we were to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Bummer. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This was our 1st cruise with NCL. I think we will likely be cruising with another line in the future. Before I go blasting away, I do want to say that for the most part, this is a nice ship with a great crew. Before we even got on the ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise with NCL. I think we will likely be cruising with another line in the future. Before I go blasting away, I do want to say that for the most part, this is a nice ship with a great crew. Before we even got on the ship, we had an issue with NCL. This was supposed to be a Mexican Riviera cruise but NCL changed the itinerary to a Panama Canal transit. We had done a Panama Canal transit less than a year ago but decided to stay with this new plan. In fairness, NCL did offer to refund our fare. Curiously, once we decided to stay with this new itinerary, NCL charged us and addition $450 or so in taxes. We did get a $25 credit per person but it all just left a bad taste. Lost a star here. The lifeboat drill was a joke. It usually is but we did not even practice putting on the life vest. I also did not get the feeling that the crew took it very seriously either. On our 1st day at sea, I witnessed what appeared to be a near drowning in one of the hot tubs on the pool deck. At around 11am, a very large guest, who probably should not have been in the hot tub in the first place, lost his balance and fell in head first. I seriously doubt he could have righted himself. Luckily, 2 other guest were in the hot tub and able to lend assistance. The funny thing is that I saw NO crew members anywhere. Usually, there are some waiters around but not at this moment. We related the incident to a member of the management team. I noticed that there seemed to be at least 1 crew member around from this point on. I am not blaming NCL for anything but I wonder where everyone was. Speaking of service and such, I was disappointed by the customer service desk. I was on my way to a shore excursion and wanted to get some change for tips. I was told that the personnel manning the position could not give out change until later in the morning. Huh? That was a head scratcher. I want to add though that I was pleased with the crew other than this situation. The dining room was OK but there were a number of entrees that cost extra. I expect to pay extra in the specialty restaurants but not in the dining room. We ate in the dining room a couple of times. Once I had a steak which was not too good. Service was fair. We went to the Italian and the French specialty restaurants. I felt both of these were excellent. The rest of the time we ate at the buffet which was good enough. I noticed an odd thing about the way the ship scheduled the buffet line availability. At about the time when a lot of folks were returning from excursions, mid afternoon, there was just the small buffet at the back of the ship open. It seemed a lot of people were hungry just then resulting in longish lines. At other times the lines were not bad and seating available. Speaking of extra charges, why isn't water included in the Ultimate Beverage Package? Seems odd to pay for this perk and then get nicked extra for a bottle of water. Note to self, bring a water bottle next time and fill up in the room. This ship had the worst sports bar ever. Mostly they showed was soccer, golf, and tennis. They have NFL football Sunday, Monday night and Thursday night. A number of people wanted to watch the major league baseball playoffs but were told the ship did not get that channel. Lame, lame, lame given the mix of guests on board the ship. If you like a lot of action in the casino, this might not be the cruise for you. A lot of the time, the game tables were manned but no one was playing. The slots did not seem all that busy either. My favorite game is Craps but too often no one else was playing. I guess there weren't many gamblers on this cruise. Most of the guests were of a retirement age so it may be that many folks turned in early. The entertainment was good except for the hypnotist. What a waste of vacation time. The show was very poorly attended and we left early. I liked the production numbers the best and was pleased with the 4 Seasons review. My suggestion is to sit in the balcony on deck 7. Great view of the stage. During our previous transit of the Panama Canal, there was a great deal of cultural enrichment opportunities including history of the canal and port lectures. This was lacking on the Sun. There was a narration as we transited the canal but I felt the lecturer was not at all enthusiastic. Disembarkation was a mess. We were with the red tag group. We were called an hour later than scheduled. If that weren't enough, during our transfer to the Ft. Lauderdale airport that we purchased from NCL, the bus broke down. We spent an additional 45 minutes before another bus showed up. To make matters worse, some of the guests had to help with the luggage transfer just to speed things up. The corker was when we were all loaded on the "rescue" bus and the driver from the 1st bus went down the aisle looking for tips.Ya just can't make this stuff up. There were six stops on this itinerary. Cabo - You need to tender in here. Tendering was slow due to the sea conditions. I felt the crew did a good job dealing with the seas. In this case, we ended up staying in the port. Acapulco - We saw the cliff divers and the San Diego fort. Be prepared for heat. I thought our guide was going to pass out. The cliff divers were cool but it would not be worth a 2nd visit in my opinion. It would also be easy to do the San Diego fort on your own. It is right across the bridge from where the ship docks. Guatemala - We climbed the Pacaya volcano. This is a very rigorous excursion that I enjoyed a great deal. If you are not in shape, seriously consider taking one of the horses up. It costs extra but is well worth the view. I highly recommend this excursion. Nicaragua - We went to the boiling mud pots and toured the cathedral in Leon. This is a very worthwhile excursion. Our guide was great. Be aware that there is not much to do where the ship docks. Costa Rica - I did the zip line. It was fun and very safe. My wife climbed a waterfall which she enjoyed. Cartagena - We went to the fort which was fantastic. We had a good guide. Be ready for the heat and humidity. We also went to the old city but got caught in a torrential rain. Oh well. I hope I wasn't too negative. I did enjoy the cruise but there are a number of ways it could be improved. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We departed from San Diego and hit two Mexican ports, Guatemala and Costa Rica before reaching Peru. It was Early November, hot and humid but since we are avid birdwatchers we managed to pull in a few lifebirds (birds we had never seen ... Read More
We departed from San Diego and hit two Mexican ports, Guatemala and Costa Rica before reaching Peru. It was Early November, hot and humid but since we are avid birdwatchers we managed to pull in a few lifebirds (birds we had never seen before). Just be prepared for the heat. Peru was very interesting from a cultural and historical standpoint. The ports are industrial working ports and not user friendly for passengers since you have to take a shuttle bus to leave the industrial area. In Lima the wait for the shuttle was an hour and the ride took 30 minutes. The bus delivers you to a highly policed park where expensive taxi service is available. We left the park and walked along the seaboard taking in many sea birds. We then hailed our own taxi and paid $20.00 to take a 45 minute ride to the Lima zoo. My wife thought the taxi ride was scary (it was) because he weaved in and out of traffic and barely missed pedestrians. We loved the zoo because it had birds and animals specific to Peru. They have a very nice bird exhibit where we saw my personal favorite bird (the Cock of the Rock) which is bright orange with large spoon shaped crest. A very nice zoo with lots of locals hanging out with their families. We saw several wild lifebirds here as well. A memorable day! Chile was fabulous! We love this country! First of all we noticed it is clean (not very much trash on the side of the road). The people are friendly but they don't smile. It isn't that they aren't happy, they are just stoic, so don't expect them to return a smile when you flash your pearly whites. In Valparaiso we took the shuttle bus to a terminal (exchanged some money) and walked a half mile to the bus stop. We paid the equivalent of $3.00 and road the 600 series bus for about two hours until our bladders couldn't take it anymore. It was a cheap tour of the city and a good way to get to know the people. A salesman got on and with the bus driver's permission gave a sales pitch for a package of pens he was selling that you could mark on their money to make sure the bills were not counterfeit. He sold a couple then got off and waited for the next bus. Next a volunteer from Salvation Army got on requesting donations, followed by a guitar playing singer selling CD's. He played and sang for about 15 minutes. The bus driver liked it so much he bought his CD. He was followed by a candy salesman. Women with their daily grocery shopping, kids, lovers, businessmen and students were the kinds of people we observed on the bus that day. Definitely worth three bucks! We stopped at the famous flower clock and went the Sheraton to use the marble clad restrooms. Walking down the hill from the Sheraton we stopped at the beach to take in some seabirds before catching the bus back to our shuttle station. We spent Thanksgiving in the Straight of Magellan where I photographed a group of penguins swimming near the ship. The ship glided past fabulous scenery as we encountered Tierra del Fuego National Park with pristine snow covered peaks, glaciers and breathtaking vistas. Reminded me of the the Alaska inside passage. We took a Cruise Critic tour to the interior of the park and saw Upland Goose, Black Necked Swans, Caracara and a few songbirds. The weather cooperated with us as we rounded Cape Horn. It was crisp and cool but the sea state was relatively calm. Our next stop would be the Falkland Islands. Falkland Islands is a tender port. The ride takes about 20 minutes depending on the winds and sea state. The day we were there it was cold and very windy with a little rain. We spent $20.00 each for a round trip shuttle ticket to Gypsy cove. You see Gypsy cove as you enter the port. It is located on your Port side about three miles prior to the anchorage. There we saw a small colony of Magellanic Penguins, Upland Geese, Kelp Geese, Turkey Vultures, a Dark Faced Ground Tyrant and a Grass Wren. We also saw the Flightless Falkland Steamer Duck and Oyster Catchers. A great birding day! There are also adventures to see Rock Hopper Penguins as well as other penguin species but be prepared to get muddy and jostled in the 4 wheel drive vehicles. Back to Argentina we pulled into Puerto Madryn a user friendly port with a long dock. Here we went on another Cruise Critic tour to Punta Tombo to see thousands of penguins. It takes two hours to get there but the roads are nice and well maintained. They make a pit stop at a gas station with clean restrooms somewhere in the middle of the trip. Great place for seeing lots of Magellanic Penguins in their burrows. You will also see Rea here as well as Steamer Ducks and Imperial Cormorants. Montevideo, Uriguay is a nice port town, easily accessible and interesting. I smelled pot as we crossed the first street reminding me it was legal here. The old section of town has some very nice European style architecture. There are many shops and street vendors. You will see Monk Parakeets in the city parks and we even saw a Coo-coo which had a punk rocker hairdo. Taxis are cheap here but you will need pesos. In Buenos Aires we ended our cruise. We hooked up with a professional bird watching guide named Diego Gallegos who picked us up at the cruise terminal in his van and then took us on a most excellent birding adventure. We saw over 30 lifebirds that day! He supplied a nice lunch and then took us and our luggage to the airport in time to make our flight back home. He is married with two kids and has been birding since he was a kid. Very knowledgable and well worth the price of $260.00. If you need a birdwatching guide I highly recommend him. I found him on the "birdingpals" international website. His email is diegogallegos61@gmail.com if you would like to contact him. The NCL Sun is old and in desperate need of repair. We made the mistake of moving the beds in our stateroom so we could look out the window without kneeling on the bed. Our mistake was seeing the pee-stained mattresses. Yuck! The furnishings are dilapidated and wear and tear is evident everywhere you look. A tattered bucket of bolts ready for the boneyard or a major overhaul in dry dock. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Embarkation was an absolute FIASCO! People were directed into the wrong lines to pay a fee for entry into Argentina. We were not told in advance that there would be a fee of $160/person on top of the fares and fees we had already paid! ... Read More
Embarkation was an absolute FIASCO! People were directed into the wrong lines to pay a fee for entry into Argentina. We were not told in advance that there would be a fee of $160/person on top of the fares and fees we had already paid! Hundreds of passengers (mostly seniors) lined up for hours to use 2 computers to register and pay the fee. No water, no seating. Computer forms were in Spanish--NCL did not think to even provide an interpreter. No reason for this as we were not going to arrive in Argentina for over 2 weeks. We would have had ample time to handle this once we were aboard. Food was WAY below par in complementary dining rooms. Save for one daily chef's special, the menu did not vary for 33 days! No kidding--33 days with the same few menu choices gets very boring! NCL has seen fit to remove all washers & dryers that were available to passengers. They charge $20 for a small bag of laundry and take 2 days to return it to you. They must have taken in a few thousand dollars from passengers on our 33 day voyage! Be forewarned if you plan to be aboard the SUN for more than a week of so! No way to do your own laundry! Had the mini-fridge emptied upon arrival. They tried to charge me (After my 'final statement was presented to me!) for supposed missing items. NOT! Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
NEGATIVES (1) Embarkation: Almost a three hour wait in line with a 1000+ other passengers crammed tightly together waiting to register was the worst possible scenario for beginning a vacation. (2) Disembarkation: The only elevators ... Read More
NEGATIVES (1) Embarkation: Almost a three hour wait in line with a 1000+ other passengers crammed tightly together waiting to register was the worst possible scenario for beginning a vacation. (2) Disembarkation: The only elevators going to the 3rd deck for disembarkation were locked off from all but decks 3 and 5. Eventually I and others took different elevators to deck 5 and walked down stairs to deck 3 carrying all luggage. Instead of leaving the ship with fond memories fresh in our mind, we left with a sour taste because of their rampant disorganization. POSITIVES (if the embarkation and disembarkation had not been so disorganized, my overall rating would have definitely been a 4.5 out of 5 stars) (1) Staff: Service-staff members were superbly accommodating and friendly throughout the ship; the best I have ever experienced. (2) Ship: The ship was spotless and well maintained. (3) State Rooms: Our cabin was comfortable, clean, and well-maintained. Our cabin steward was the best ever. The beds were excellent. I had some of my best nights of sleep in many years. Don"t forget State Room 10307 when booking a cruise on the Sun. (4) Food: The main dining rooms served a varied selection of well prepared appetizers and entrees that should have satisfied every passenger's taste. The buffets had an excellent selection of dishes with varied theme nights. We looked forward to the excellent soups, different with each meal. The bakery provided scrumptious breads and rolls as well. Some of the food tended to be lukewarm when served upon occasion, especially at breakfast. (5) Entertainment: The entertainment was varied and enjoyable in the lounges and the Stardust Theater. We attended the Stardust every evening and were not disappointed with a single performer. The Norwegian Sun's band, singers and dancers were awesome. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Our main complaint was the food. The menu has been the same on the last three cruises except for the lack of lobster in the main dining rooms. We were on a specialty dining plan and only tried the lobster once and found it to be ... Read More
Our main complaint was the food. The menu has been the same on the last three cruises except for the lack of lobster in the main dining rooms. We were on a specialty dining plan and only tried the lobster once and found it to be tasteless and dry as if it had been cooked and recooked. Very disappointed! The Cagneys' restaurant which we always felt was the best had a big problem serving hot or cooked vegetables. We prefer our vegetables cooked but even after requesting them as such, they were served cold to the extent of biting into refrigerator cold. Also we had to send our soup back twice in order to get it hot. Again the menu did not have any variations from past years. The next biggest complaint was the fact that the Seven Seas and Four Seasons were not open on port days and honestly the buffet was not appealing at all. Mostly stews or goulash and foreign dishes we do not care for. I do applaud your hamburgers - they were good and good meat quality - but boring after awhile. Also I would like to see a thinner bun for the burgers as the others were just too much bread. Your chopped sirloin with onions was delicious. A few simple chicken breasts would have been appreciated instead of chicken salad or processed chicken. Again vegetables were never hot! The service was excellent, both in the special dining rooms as well as in the buffet area. I do agree with others that the ice cream should be self serve and more than one station! I also want to comment that neither of us found your entertainment to be worthy of its name. The singers were not as good or the productions not as good as several others we have seen on the Norwegian past cruises. We also found the smell off the back area by the Sports Bar and back deck to be very offensive and remember the same smell from our last cruise in March. I feel this should have been rectified before this cruise. Finally I wish to comment on our shore excursions. The one we took in Mazatlan we went on a topless bus. Unfortunately, my husbands is handicapped in such a way that he had to stay on the lower level, the view wasn't as good, but that wasn't the problem. The host was on the top with the microphone and was not speaking very loud, but also his accent was too pronounced. Unfortunately there were two or three couples that did nothing but visit due to the unability to hear our speaker, but it made it impossible for the rest of us to hear a thing. The second tour the one for the second day in Cabo was better, but I feel the glass factory was too long with the emphasis for people to purchase. We sat 20 mins. longer than schedule waiting for some buyers. I feel we could have had more time at a proper shopping area if that was possible. I have been praising the NCL cruises to everyone that will listen, but I will not again, until I see an improvement over this one. I hope this is not a sign of what is to come due to a recent merger! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
The food was not as good as it used to be. We went to an afternoon tea and it was self service and paper cups. A little tacky. They added a $7.95 charge for room service per time. The entertainment was weak. There was a comedian a ... Read More
The food was not as good as it used to be. We went to an afternoon tea and it was self service and paper cups. A little tacky. They added a $7.95 charge for room service per time. The entertainment was weak. There was a comedian a couple of nights and a hypnotist a couple of nights. Reminder, this was an 11 night cruise. The dancers were fantastic. Thankfully there was a good group of cruise critic travelers and we had a good time getting to know our fellow passengers. There were a number of trips scheduled with our cruise critic group and that was nice, too. The activities scheduled by the Cruise critic passengers were some of the best parts of the cruise. The cabin stewards have so many cabins to clean that they are not able to do a good job in each cabin each day. It looked like he cleaned bathroom counters but went so quick my hair was stuck to different areas that he wiped including the mirrors and counter. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
The ship was clean and well maintained with nice public space. The pool was lively with food and choice of bars for sun lovers and foodies. The MDR was attractive and we enjoyed only 1 lunch there as we had the dinning package. The service ... Read More
The ship was clean and well maintained with nice public space. The pool was lively with food and choice of bars for sun lovers and foodies. The MDR was attractive and we enjoyed only 1 lunch there as we had the dinning package. The service was good and our food was hot. The buffet had many choices for breakfast and with opening seating aft really enjoyable. I found that the small station by the aft seating to be the best for cooked to order eggs as most passengers do not go back there. The reason I would go there is they serve breakfast late and I like to get out and change things. We were suite passengers and had cabin 9076. It is aft and has two rooms and a large balcony. We feel if you are paying for a suite these penthouses with 2 rooms offer the best cabins without the wind from the bow. Lavassa coffee machine is wonderful. The bed was great and faced the sliding door for a great view. However, the AC was not working and although they tried to fix it, it never worked correctly. Overall our disappointment is with NCL and not their people. The service charges for suite passengers is the highest and the people we depend are not part of the pool. Go figure this. Beware you will be charges for water, soda, specialty coffee and anything else they can think of. Try another cruise line for better value. Also if you want to adjust you Service Charges you have to apply after you disembark. We are still waiting! The ports were wonderful and do offer the access to the beautiful beaches of Mexico. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was our second cruise. Our first was to Alaska on the Pearl. The Pearl seemed to be a little more lively; with more poolside entertainment. The nightly entertainment in the Stardust theater was great. Many people commented on how good ... Read More
This was our second cruise. Our first was to Alaska on the Pearl. The Pearl seemed to be a little more lively; with more poolside entertainment. The nightly entertainment in the Stardust theater was great. Many people commented on how good it was compared to other cruise lines. The food in the buffet was mediocre, but we enjoyed the two main dining rooms. We had a wonderful sushi lunch at their Asian restaurant, but I wasn't real impressed with Les Bistro. It felt rather stuffy but I didn't feel the food was as good as the two main dining rooms. We had a nice balcony state room, which I really enjoyed. Our steward, Bismark, was always pleasant and more then willing to accommodate any personal request we had. About four rooms down there had been an issue with a toilet overflowing, which caused a nauseating smell in our hallway throughout most of our trip. I realize that the staff did the best they could considering we were at sea, but I think they have some serious plumbing problems. The Manzanillo excursion through NCL amounted to four hours on a bus, which I would not recommend. We booked an amazing snorkeling excursion in Cabo. There was a real party atmosphere aboard; with music, drinks that never stopped, and lunch. I don't like cold water, so I was apprehensive about this excursion, but it was like swimming in your bath tub with tropical fish all around. In fact, one fish ate a piece of tortilla right out of my husband's hand. Before I forget, you must try the martini and margarita tasting. They are $15. per person, but well worth it. This really is a great way to meet and mingle with fellow cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Lets start w San Diego port. Small but nice. Luggage drop off was easy. Quick checkin but Agent forgot to give up boarding number, was suppose to be first on, but was not. Ship food has not changed in 8 yrs. Same menu in main ... Read More
Lets start w San Diego port. Small but nice. Luggage drop off was easy. Quick checkin but Agent forgot to give up boarding number, was suppose to be first on, but was not. Ship food has not changed in 8 yrs. Same menu in main dinner areas. No Lobster Night or Chocolate Night (dessert only). No SEAFOOD, unless you go to specialty rest. People pay Norwegian Prices because they expect more not less. Buffet also had the same food EVERY Day, except for one meat selection. There are also other vegetables besides, green beans, brussels sprouts and potatoes. How about serving desserts warm and not frozen. Ice Cream machines should be self serve and more there should be more than one machine. Entertainment was ok this trip. Disembarkation. A few suggestions. Any handicapped or wheel chair people go First or last but not with everyone else. The Night before,tell foreigners to meet at a designated location, not the day of. How about start at the top of the ship (we pay more) and go floor by floor. As for early flight issues, there should be none, if you have cruised before you should know that is takes time to get off the ship. Don't book your flight before NOON. Also, because it was such a long cruise, offer clothing special about around day 4-5 and get it back within 24 hrs. Don't wait until the end of the cruise. We love Norwegian Cruise line. It is the cleanest and safest ships out there. We will be back, but hopefully some changes will be made. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Lets start with embarkation in San Diego not the most fun, lines that zigzagged thru the whole terminal but check in quick after getting to the desk. The good the cabin size was good and the location was perfect for us. Clean cabin our ... Read More
Lets start with embarkation in San Diego not the most fun, lines that zigzagged thru the whole terminal but check in quick after getting to the desk. The good the cabin size was good and the location was perfect for us. Clean cabin our steward was like a ghost never saw him but things were well taken care of. Entertainment was good. The Frankie Valli tribute band was excellent, and the couple that did Whitney Houston songs was great. Now the not so good stuff, A/C in the Garden cafe was out the whole time 11 days , it was just miserable to go there for food between 12.00 and 3.00 so hot and stuffy and the Sun never once opened up a dining room to serve lunch in fact the dining rooms were never opened for lunch at all, how can this be when you have passengers stay on the ship and want to enjoy a sit down lunch instead of quick food and hanging with the people coming back from shore this was just weird for us, never had a ship dining room not open for lunch. Some of the lounges music could be improved upon but we still listened. The shows always over lapped on time which made it difficult to see all of them, which was sad sometimes we just went and walked the ship no sense in coming in 15 mins. late. Food well lets just say if you did not eat in a specialty place the food was just ok, enough things were served that you could find something you liked , bland. Buffet closed way to early, and late night snacks were almost the same every night, if you went to the sports bar for late night snack chicken tenders etc. took a long time to get food . Debarkation was nothing but rows of people going in circles, but we did make our flight in time. All luggage was found and off we went. Another NCL cruise maybe but would really need to think about that. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
My husband and I just returned from an 18 day Repositioning/Panama Canal cruise on NCL's Sun. This is our fifth cruise, but first with NCL. We have previously sailed with Carnival, RCI and Princess. We chose this cruise for the ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from an 18 day Repositioning/Panama Canal cruise on NCL's Sun. This is our fifth cruise, but first with NCL. We have previously sailed with Carnival, RCI and Princess. We chose this cruise for the itinerary - a lot of new and interesting ports for us. I will break this review down to categories to make it easier to follow. Embarkation: An absolute nightmare and the worse experience we have ever had so far. The Sun was not scheduled to depart from San Diego until Midnight. Due to the late sailing, we tried to determine when we could board prior to the cruise and received various answers from NCL, ranging from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM. No one at NCL seemed to have a clue. When we arrived at the port at about 2:00 PM, we were told that there would be a delay due to the fact that another line's ship was in the Sun's space and we would have to wait until it departed first (at about 4:00 PM). NCL had provided shuttles for guests to use to go shopping. We did this for a couple of hours and then returned to the port. When we returned, we were given a number for boarding. At about 7:00 PM, they started calling the numbers which turned out to be group numbers. They then stopped boarding and explained that there was a delay due to problems with the key cards. When they did resume, they simply called out the boarding numbers in loud voices - no PA or overhead signs. Given the mass of people in the waiting areas, they could not be heard. We did not get onboard until 10:00 PM and by that time, we were so tired, we just went to our cabin and slept. NCL still charged us the $10.00/day/guest service charge for that day! I understand that problems do occur on occasion, but just a little suggestion to NCL - invest in a couple of small chalkboards so that the boarding numbers can be displayed overhead so guests can see when their boarding number is called. Also, don't charge people a full day's service charge for 2 hours of sleeping. Ship: The Sun is spotless and pretty in an understated sort of way. A little difficult to navigate around the decks. On more than one occasion, we would find ourselves heading in the wrong direction and turn around only to find a fellow guest laughing due to the fact they had just done the same thing. Crew: In general, the staff was friendly and helpful. I say in general due to a couple of bad experiences. On one occasion, I decided to go to the Sports Bar for a late night snack - the only place you can find something to eat after 11:00 PM. When I entered, there were two customers having drinks and one staff member. I looked at the menu and approached the staff member to place an order to bring back to my cabin. He told me rather curtly that I would have to take a seat first. OK - I'm willing to play by the rules. I took a seat and than was totally ignored. Without so much as a "someone will be with you in a minute to take your order", I gave up after waiting 15 minutes. Possibly due to the late hour and the fact I was rather hungry, I was not pleased. I decided to go to the reception desk and lodge a complaint. The one girl in reception at the time met my complaint with a rather blank look and offered absolutely no solution. The other poor experience we had was in the Pacific Heights alternate restaurant. We had heard that they served very good mussels and since my hubby adores mussels, we decided to give them a try for dinner one night. My husband ordered both the chowder and the mussels. He was served the chowder, but not the mussels. When we inquired about the mussels, we were informed rather rudely by our waiter that my husband had not ordered mussels. I clearly heard him order this. A good waiter would have said "I'm sorry, I must not have heard you and I'll get them for you" and would not have argued in such a manner with the customer. Oh well, it was a long cruise. Food: The worse we have ever had on any cruise line. The food in the main dining room was horrible. On one occasion, several of us at the table ordered Paella and none of us could eat it after the first bite. My husband ordered Chioppino one night (NCL's version is spaghetti pasta with a little marinara sauce and a few shell fish on top - not what most consider Chioppino - perhaps they should refer to a cookbook). He became very sick to his stomach that night - vomiting the dinner up. Fortunately, he was better the next morning. On a seven day cruise, they have lobster one night and a chocolate extravaganza on one night. You would think that on an 18 day cruise this would at least be doubled - not so. Only one lobster night (the lobster was dry - how do you mess up lobster?) and one chocolate extravaganza. Give me a break NCL - I am not a picky eater. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese often suffices as a gourmet meal in our household. What I would have given for a little Kraft M&C on this cruise. Due to the poor and limited offerings in the main dining rooms, we were forced to pay extra to eat at the alternate restaurants during the majority of our cruise. Maybe this is NCL's intention. For the most part, the alternate restaurants are good. We enjoyed Le Bistro (the chocolate soufflE was very good) and we ate at the Steakhouse several times. The Maitre D' at the steakhouse was particularly nice and we made sure to give him a little something extra at the end of the cruise. Il Adagio was OK, but we were surprised at the limited offerings (no fettuccini alfredo for instance - another of hubby's favorites). NCL does not seem to be very responsive to customer complaints about the food. Several fellow guests that we met and dined with decided to approach the subject with staff. A meeting was set up (I did not know about it in advance and thus did not attend). The food and beverage manager was at the meeting along with a few other staff members. According to our new friends that attended the meeting, the response to their complaints was "no one else seems to be complaining". Apparently they don't take the time to walk around the ship and listen to what the guests are saying. I heard a lot of complaints and absolutely no one was praising the cuisine. Ports of Call: As I explained earlier, this cruise stopped at a number of places. Our first stop was Manzanillo. We didn't book a shore excursion, simply walked about with our new shipboard friends. It is a pretty little city. Next stop was Acapulco. Hubby was not feeling well that day, so we cancelled our plans to go see the cliff divers that night with friends. We only walked about a bit in the morning. Very dirty city and garbage was floating in the harbor. Could not imagine partaking in any of the water sports we observed going on due to the filth in the water. Yuck! Puntarenas, Costa Rica was a lot of fun and beautiful. They had just had several days of rain and several areas were flooded, but we had beautiful weather. The group we were with had hired a van and we went to the crocodile bridge, Carrera national park and Jaco beach. My husband was not able to go with us as planned. He has a heart condition and had gone to see the ship's doctor the day before. He was very well treated by the Sun's medical staff, but since he was having bronchial spasms, the doctor ordered him to take it easy for a couple of days. Just a note to future cruisers - buy trip insurance that includes medical coverage. Although you must pay medical expenses up front, you will at least be reimbursed later. Remember, most medical insurance, including Medicare, will not pay for medical expenses incurred while traveling to foreign countries. Carrera national park was great. Our group hired a guide (recommended) for $100 which worked out to just a little over $10 per person. The guide was very knowledgeable, pointing out various plants and animals. We saw Macaws, monkeys, lizards, butterflies and numerous tropical plants with various medicinal properties. I am actually glad that hubby didn't go on this one as it turned out to be quite a hike. He would have had problems negotiating some of the areas with his cane. The Panama Canal crossing was great and I took loads of pictures showing the locks closing, filling up, etc. Gatun Lake is massive with beautiful flora along it's banks. Was disappointed that we did not see any animal life from the ship, but they must have been taking advantage of the wonderful weather as well. Cartagena, Columbia was the big surprise. I was a little apprehensive about this port, but was pleasantly surprised. We took a cab into the old town section and spent the day wandering around the various little streets. Although the sellers are numerous and often in your face, most have licenses hanging around there necks and a firm "no" suffices. Since Columbia is actively trying to encourage tourist trade, they are really going out of there way to make Cartagena a regular cruise destination. They have an entire force of "Policia Tourista" on the job and noticeably evident everywhere in the major tourist areas. Although most speak limited English (if at all), they still try to be helpful to the tourists. My limited Spanish skills managed to get our group by in terms of finding directions, etc. Santa Marta is new to the cruise ship itineraries and still has a way to go. The streets were torn up and the locals seemed to be curious about this new invasion of cruise ship passengers. On the bright side, they haven't figured out the economics yet, so we didn't have people in our face trying to sell us something every other foot. Give them a couple of years and they'll get the hang of it. An hour of walking about was sufficient for us and then back to the ship. Roatan , British Honduras, is a small island off the coast and located in the middle of the second largest reef system in the world. Beautiful water!!! We only went into the little village near the port and did not take any excursions to the other side of the island (which I understand is considerably more cosmopolitan and developed). Lots of little shops and sellers trying to get one to buy the same old touristy stuff. After the first couple of shops, everything looked the same. Belize was our next stop and we had a great time. We booked a cave tubing excursion through Cave-Tubing. Com. I highly recommend them over the cruise ship's excursion. Not only is it half the price, but you receive much more personal attention and assistance. Yhony runs the company and I cannot say enough good things about him and his operation. He is starting up a new phase of ATV's and as a bonus, he took our group on a short ATV ride through the rain forest to introduce us to this. Had a great time, got very muddy, and appreciated that the cave-tubing was following. Since my husband walks with a cane, Yhony gave him a lot of personal attention. He stayed with him on the walk to the area where you enter the water and carried his tube for him and me as well. He then stayed with the two of us during the entire cave-tubing, making sure we did not get stuck and enjoyed the experience. Two other guides were with us as well and they gave the same level of service to the other members in our group. We saw several others on the cruise ship excursion and they had basically been left on their own. We are not excursion intensive cruisers, but this one is one we will certainly remember. Thank-you so much Yhony for this wonderful experience and the next time we are in Belize we will be sure to look you up again. Our final stops were Cozumel and Nassau. We were originally scheduled to stop off in Costa Maya, but due to the hurricane, it was replaced with Cozumel. Since we have been to both ports previously, we just walked around and did some shopping. I had to get a ring repaired in Nassau and discovered a great little jewelry repair shop, Islandman Jewelers. Not much of a shop, but quality and timely jewelry repairs. Very nice guy as well. Just a note, I had to have the ring repaired because it was damaged by a jeweler in Cozumel - Silver Planet. I was having a stone set and not only did they use lead solder, but they damaged the existing settings as well. Buyer beware - do not shop there. I should have complained initially, but they took longer than they originally quoted and it was getting late - we had to get back to the ship. It was only while on the tender that I noticed the poor workmanship and damage. In addition, the stone I purchased was not what they claimed. They are crooks and intentionally market faceted quartz as precious stones. Although I am somewhat savvy when purchasing gems, this one just proved to me that I should not be so cocky in the future and that I need to bring my gem tester with me next time. Previously, we have had good experiences purchasing stones in the Caribbean and this is the first time I have been seriously ripped off by a dealer passing off totally fake merchandise. And for those of you who think it serves me right for not shopping at Diamonds International or any of the other "cruise ship recommended shops", do some searching on the internet. There are some very serious horror stories about Diamonds International and how customers have paid thousands of dollars in some cases for junk with no recourse or resolution. I guess I can count myself lucky that I didn't loose that much on this one and my ring is back to its original glory. Debarkation: This went very smoothly. We chose the express version and were off the ship by 8:30. Were really surprised that Customs was a breeze considering we were carrying our own luggage off. To sum it all up (and I know this has been a lengthy review), both my husband and I had a great time overall on this cruise. Even with the mishaps, we thoroughly enjoyed the ambience with fellow passengers and the great ports of call. Would we book with NCL again? Probably not, due solely to the food. After all, one of the things we enjoy the most about cruising is trying out new dishes and not having to pay extra for a decent meal. If NCL ever wakes up and decides to address the food issue, we would consider them again, if for no other reason than the itineraries they offer. We are already planning our next cruise - HAL's Noordam - for a 20 day next fall. I have heard that HAL has fairly good food - I'll let you know. Read Less
Sail Date October 2007
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click