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12 Norwegian (NCL) San Diego Cruise Reviews

I have cruised with Norwegian in the past. I like their "Freestyle" format. There is no set dining time, but you may make reservations for most of the restaurants. The buffets are more than enough to keep you satisfied, but ... Read More
I have cruised with Norwegian in the past. I like their "Freestyle" format. There is no set dining time, but you may make reservations for most of the restaurants. The buffets are more than enough to keep you satisfied, but the "Pub" and dining halls are complementary and a nice change. This cruise was more sea days than port days due to a storm, 5 ports for a 14 day cruise, we had to miss Cabo, but of all the ports we were scheduled for, it was the one I was least likely to get much from. Public area seating was generally good, a couple of activities underestimated the passenger response, but they made adjustments for later activities. I took an inside cabin of the smaller size, mid ship on deck 8. It was just about right for me and my wife, a third person (in the bunk) would have been too much for the size of the cabin. It IS possible to take the cruise and not spend any money on board, if you don't drink alcohol or soda. But you are likely to want to at least get laundry done ($20 for a bag full) and maybe get a souvenir mug with an alcoholic beverage. If you do drink, do the math and figure if the beverage pass is really worth it for you, you have to buy the package for all of the people in your party even if only one of you intends on using it. I, for one, couldn't consume enough liquor to justify the full price of the pass, but YMMV. Hotel staff are great, my cabin attendant was friendly and called me by name every time we met. Room maintenance was prompt and unobtrusive when needed. Entertainment staff was attentive and made it a point to remember you and greet you with a smile.The free activities I attended were craft oriented and included origami, napkin folding, and paper crafts.They also had a couple of liquor "Classes" that you could purchase and listen to a discussion of whisky or bourbon while sampling the wares. I only took one shore excursion but was very happy with it. There was some kind of delay in departure, it didn't affect our port calls, but it did seem to upset some of the passengers, our rooms were available when expected. When boarding in San Diego, the terminal was serving 2 ships at the same time and apparently a bag ended up on the wrong ship and the queues were long. Due to rough seas (4-6 foot swells) at a tendering port, our shore time was delayed from 10 AM until 1 PM, the captain made arrangements to delay departure to allow for more time on shore and for the excursions to have enough time to fulfill their expectations. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This was my 23rd cruise (mostly on NCL) and my 2nd cruise on the Pearl, and my background as a former Flight Attendant with American Airlines during the 70’s-90’s (back when it was Fun to fly and I had hair…) when I worked First ... Read More
This was my 23rd cruise (mostly on NCL) and my 2nd cruise on the Pearl, and my background as a former Flight Attendant with American Airlines during the 70’s-90’s (back when it was Fun to fly and I had hair…) when I worked First Class, it provides a unique perspective. Our 1st cruise on the Pearl was to Alaska Labor Day week 2017. We booked this cruise shortly thereafter. I was also the CC Coordinator on both Pearl cruises, we had over 70+ couples who joined us on this San Diego - Tampa cruise via the Panama Canal. Staff Officer/Hotel Director Cary (previous experience was the Waldorf Astoria Hotel Director in NYC) is the only NCL Hotel Director that hosts an end of cruise meeting with myself and other CC members that would like to speak to the senior staff. I interacted with many passengers during this 2 week cruise regarding their experiences which enabled me to share some comments/feedback to the Pearl Staff - in addition to my own observations. I won’t be commenting on the day to day of what we did/eat/excursions, etc., but rather comment on our overall experience. I must say that NCL has improved greatly over the past few years and their FreeStyle is refreshing from some of the other cruise lines offerings. The main dining rooms to the specialty restaurants are indeed a treat. Never did we find a menu that was boring or repetitive during our 2 weeks on board, nor were we served anything that wasn’t fresh and tasty. I can’t say that about some of the finer restaurants in America. Even if NCL didn’t have any specialty restaurants, the Main Dining rooms would be superb. But, the specialty restaurants do add a unique experience in ambiance and taste, so if you would like a special evening, you can’t go wrong with whichever one(s) you chose to try. The Pearls staff are top notch, to say the least. The Captain (airplane or ship) sets the tone for the crew and it shows. I observed Officers picking up garbage on the pool deck, and other Officers rearranging lounge chairs in the clubs. The crew observes this so they in turn go the extra mile to serve us. Like I mentioned previously, NCL has risen in the ranks these past few years in my book and I can’t say enough good things about their staff. From the Cabin Stewards/Stewardess’, Pool Bar Servers to our Wait Staff and Bus Boys to the crew that we never see. As the CC Coordinator for this particular cruise, we organized a Halloween Costume Pub Crawl after we left Cartagena, Columbia. We had a lot of CC participants and as a bonus, the Pearl hosted a Haunted House in the Bliss Lounge. That was a fun memorable evening for all. Overall, this was a wonderful cruise! The Cruise Director and staff did a marvelous job of keeping us entertained for many sea days. NCL’s entertainment was top notch, plus a seasoned speaker/expert on the Panama Canal. Yes, we are booking with NCL again and the Pearl in particular. To me, that is the best write up/endorsement that I can make. Thank you NCL Pearl for being the ultimate Vacation Hero! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We have always wanted to cruise through the Panama Canal and found a deal with Norwegian (our favorite cruise line) from San Diego to Tampa. This was our 9th cruise, and we found the San Diego terminal to be the most chaotic. Once ... Read More
We have always wanted to cruise through the Panama Canal and found a deal with Norwegian (our favorite cruise line) from San Diego to Tampa. This was our 9th cruise, and we found the San Diego terminal to be the most chaotic. Once onboard, though, we were back with our Norwegian 'family'.....even ran into some crew members that we had met on a previous cruise on the Pearl..........The Cruise Director, Vincent, was hard-working and attentive to our needs. The Front Desk was very helpful. The Excursion Desk members were great. Our first stop, Cabo San Lucas, was cancelled because of Hurricane Willa. That was okay with us. We had other stops in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Cartagena, and Georgetown. We had great excursions at all stops. We always book an Inside cabin---we are only there at night, so we're happy to save money for other things........like excursions. We eat most of our meals in the Garden Cafe. The food is great.......always a great variety. Staff members are great, so sweet and friendly. Entertainment was great. We 'followed' Peter James, in the Piano Bar! We attended most shows in the Stardust Theatre. My favorite was the Aerialists, Megan and her fiance. We don't do the spa, the casino, the bars, the shopping, the photos. We cruise to see the world, to meet people (passengers and crew) from all over, and to learn about new cultures and new countries. Plus, I love the Ocean! I could spend all day standing on the rail watching the waves and the endless sea! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
After cruising on the ncl pride of America in Hawaii I said I would never use nick again. On that cruise I felt the staff thought we were doing them a favor. I only took this cruise because if fit our time frame and iternary. Glad we gave ... Read More
After cruising on the ncl pride of America in Hawaii I said I would never use nick again. On that cruise I felt the staff thought we were doing them a favor. I only took this cruise because if fit our time frame and iternary. Glad we gave nick another chance because this crew and staff we fantastic. We spent our 50 anniversary on this cruise and loved every minute. The only complaints we have is our kids gave us a dining package and we were never notified about it. We found out by accident. And one other thing. We got no advanced notice about the Halloween party or the white hot night so we were not prepared. But overall we loved the cruise and will never forget it. Loved the complacently drink package Althing if I had to buy it I think it is to expensive. I would purchase the dining package again Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Yes, the ingredients in this cruise vacation are a recipe for Awesomesauce! We're a middle aged couple from north/central Massachusetts. A little over a year ago I noticed the value of this unusual annual repo itinerary on ... Read More
Yes, the ingredients in this cruise vacation are a recipe for Awesomesauce! We're a middle aged couple from north/central Massachusetts. A little over a year ago I noticed the value of this unusual annual repo itinerary on this sailing & so we decided to book it for the following year. NCL made raving fans of us years ago with its great food, entertainment, & people. We're seasoned cruisers, but up 'til now we've sailed mostly to the Caribbean except for once thru the Panama canal and once to Bermuda. This cruise vacation involved a 6+ hour flight from Boston to San Diego, a 10+ hour flight from Santiago, Chile to New York, and a short flight from New York to Boston. We also spent 5 nights pre-cruise in 5th floor corner-room accommodations overlooking Broadway and 4th Ave. at The U.S. Grant in the historic and very walk-able Gaslamp District in San Diego. We absolutely loved San Diego...The charm & hospitality of the U.S. Grant (especially that shown to us by Kimber at the front desk.and Umberto & Corey in the Grant Grill) is world class and we loved our stay there...plenty of great food/nightlife in-house or just blocks away. The night we arrived we had late-night eats, drinks, & entertainment in the in-hotel Grant Grill Lounge followed by a much needed good night's sleep. On our first full day in San Diego after sleeping in, we dressed for an amazing 80 degree F. day, had amazing craft drinks at Cafe 21 on 5th Ave, lunched a few steps and an elevator ride away at Rooftop600 (poolside on the roof of the Andaz Hotel, on F Steet) including octopus & sea bass, spent our afternoon at Sea World, and freshened up at the U.S. Grant before enjoying stage-side table seating at the world famous Flamenco dinner show at Cafe Sevilla on 5th Ave. One the second full day my wife shopped at Horton Plaza Mall across the street from the Hotel while I shredded myself to bits at 24 Hour Fitness - Horton Plaza. In the afternoon we visited the San Diego Zoo. The evening kicked off at the Grant Grill in the hotel where we feel we were treated especially well (and I can't thank them enough for a wonderful fine dining experience). Then off to the Lyceum Theater (also just across the street from the hotel) for San Diego Repertory's emotionally moving production of "Disgraced", which I think will prove to be our favorite time spent in San Diego. So well written and acted ..and delivering a not-so-subtle timely message. We capped the evening with a late-night cappuccino and desserts at Bice on 4th Ave. On Day 3, we slept in again, lunched at Operacaffe on 4th Ave., visited museums at Balboa Park (San Diego Air & Space Museum, Botanical Building, and the S.D. Museum of Art), freshened up, then ate 1st & 2nd dinner courses at Allure on 4th Ave...& 3rd, 4th, 5th dinner courses at De'Medici on 5th Ave. We highly recommend the bananas foster for 2 prepared & flambéd table-side at De'Medici & suggest that it perhaps may be the best dessert in San Diego. The remainder of the evening (8 'til late) was enjoyed at "The Shout! House" (Dueling Piano Bar) on 4th Ave. where we sang all night (with the gathered Halloween crowd) between sips. Day 4 began in the gym (24 Hour Fitness - Horton Plaza,) in the AM, lunched at The Taco Stand in La Jolla (awesome cheap eats), visited the seals & sea lions all afternoon at the beach in La Jolla Cove. (For those who don't know, they're wild, but friendly for the most part...its not a zoo or themepark...its just where these cuties choose to hang out) We then headed up (literally) to George's at the Cove (overlooks the cove) for braised short ribs & blackberry mojitos on their rooftop terrace and to watch the sunset...a heavenly magical day. The next morning, our last in San Diego (for now) was a day to sleep in, get up & pack, shave, shower and get ready to Cruise to South America. We would have loved to visit the USS Midway Museum on Harbor Drive, but we simply ran out of time. Mid-morning we said goodbye to the U.S. Grant and cabbed over to the cruise ship pier where we said hello (& embarked) the Norwegian Sun, which would be our new home-away-from-home for the next 17 nights. Lets start with the crew, then the ship, food, entertainment, & ports of call. NCL pioneered "freestyle" cruising and has great food and entertainment at sea for its price-point but the greatest draw for us that keeps us coming back is its people. Working longer days than most Americans do, day in & day out, they somehow remain interesting to talk to, remember our names, and are always pleasant, courteous, polite, & deferential to their guests...even the most "difficult" impossible-to-please guests. I'm always super-motivated/inspired to treat my own customers better following every NCL cruise. Nevis kept our balcony cabin on deck 9 immaculate, well stocked with ice, ran our clothes down to the laundry at strange hours, and made sure our needs were instantly met. Shrinivas and Honorio stood apart from the crowd of pool-deck bar waiters by day (& sommeliers at dinnertime). They never failed to greet us, take time to chat with us, and always seemed to be close at hand & know when our glasses were in need of a refill. Andre, the executive sous-chef on-board always took time out to see how we were doing. No matter which restaurant we chose for dinner, he was always there at some point during the meal, making his rounds, and engaging with his guests...definitely a nice touch. He also dropped by our table to see that we were well fed at the breakfast & lunch buffets when we chose to eat there...seemingly able to be everywhere, all the time. The ship is smaller than most of the NCL ships we've sailed on, but has almost everything their larger ships do for entertainment & dining venues, albeit slightly smaller in scale. Still, they seem no more crowded since the number of guests and crew are proportionate to the size of the ship. I had my second ever massage (& first ever at sea) on the 2nd full sea day...Esperanza's talented fingers (& elbow) melted my worldly cares away. I didn't realize how "un-relaxed" I was before until during & after the massage...(Ahhhhhh) My wife played in the casino a few times and I heard no complaints, 'tho I never set foot in it this time around. The gym was well apportioned with free-weights & decent cardio and weight machines but lacked a simple tower station to do pull ups, dips, & leglifts. There was a seperate adjacent yoga/TRX room too. Bogden, the in-house personal trainer certainly looked like he knew what he was doing 'tho we didn't personally take advantage of his experience. Overall I was happy with the gym and spent a couple hours there every other morning. The pool deck was where we spend most sea day afternoons and it seemed more than adequate in size & scale for the number of people there. The stardust theater was smaller than on the bigger ships and wasn't set up to have aerialists dangling & bungeeiing above the seated attendees (like the newer ships). That said, the venue was able to comfortably accommodate several world class performances during this cruise and we took in the shows almost every night. There were several other seated venues, with bars/barstaff, 2 with dancefloors, to enjoy DJ, live musical & comic performances, trivia & "game-shows", lectures, movies, etc... There's also a whiskey bar, champagne bar, & sports bar, atrium bar, coffee bar...whatever your choice for liquid libation. The food...well nobody goes hungry on a cruise ship. We frequented the several specialty restaurants aboard....Le Bistro (french gourmet) 3 times, Cagney's Steakhouse (traditional steakhouse) twice, Moderno Churrascaria (Brazilian-style steakhouse) twice, La Cucina (Italian) 3 times, Teppanyaki once. We ate dinner twice in the main dining room and 4 nights at the buffet (mostly after port days). We alternated between the buffet and main dining rooms (depending on our whims & how things fell into place) for breakfast everyday and for lunch on sea days. The food and service was consistently exceptional everywhere. We have nothing but great things to say, & I'm a foodie and my wife's worked in mid to high end f&b hospitality her whole life. Everyone I spoke to raved about the entertainment aboard. We loved it all. The main-stage performances spanned several decades & genres of music & styles. In the stardust theater they had The Las Vegas Tenors on a couple different nights (excellent), a Divas (duo) show also out of Vegas, Jeri Sager (Broadway) excellent, a couple nights of Greg Gleason (Magician) really loved his first show with the up close card tricks, several full length live singing/dancing performances with "the Cast" of the Norwegian Sun (sexy broadwayesque variety), & there was a comedian, a piano showman, and a Russian female violinist/comedian, whose names I don't remember. One of our 2 favorite musical acts aboard were a group from Russia called Colibri, They could play anything from the old standards to modern day hits to Spanish songs...a beautiful female singer who sang in English & Spanish equally well, accompanied by an accomplished jazz drummer & keyboardist & a guitar player who sounded just like Carlos Santana (excellent). They improvised every song and made the their own playing sets on the pool deck, in the atrium, and in the observation lounge throughout the cruise. Our other favorite was a female string trio from Poland (violin, viola, cello) playing mostly (but not exclusively) classical music...They could also be found daily in the atrium and observation lounge, and had performances one night on the main-stage in the Stardust Theater...Loved them. There was also a pop/old-top-40ish group called Blue Notes that played mostly the pool deck and Dazzel's Lounge, and a guitar troubadour who played and sang (and people sang along at times) in the atrium and the whiskey bar. There was a piano player who played mostly in the whiskey bar, but we really didn't gel with his particular peculiar style and tended not to stick around there when he was on, 'tho he seemed to have his own following...to each their own, as they say. There were also countless dance classes, yoga classes, painting workshops, game-shows, art raffles, trivia contests, ballroom dancing, and DJ events throughout the cruise running concurrently in the many venues. One small disappointment was the White Hot Party that we had looked forward to. The DJ really catered to the Spanish speaking crowd and most of the club music played at the party was in Spanish and were songs we didn't know. There was a spattering of songs in English, but it was mostly at the beginning and there was less and less as the night went on. It was very noticeable how the non Spanish-speaking crowd cleared out early on. I have nothing against the Latin culture...just think that we personally would have enjoyed NCL's signature party more if more songs we knew (and lyrics we could understand) had been included in the mix. A few things that that I thought the Cruise director's staff did especially well as far as entertainment goes was the Q & A with the Captain, Chief Engineer, & Hotel Director, & their ballroom dancing activities (we are not ballroom dancers ourselves). They had one event that was just ballroom dancing in Dazzle's lounge where some of the Cruise Director's staff kept pulling people out onto the floor...and on another night they had a hilarious mock "DWTS"-type show. Lastly, there's Ports of Call still to discuss. One of the great strengths of this sailing's itinerary for us was that it was so different from previous cruises we've been on. There were a lots of new places to explore/experience that we had never visited before. We've already discussed San Diego, the port of embarkation. After that...: Hualtulco: it was a fine day, a mighty fine day. ..had to be in the 90s...water temperature too...the ocean was like bath water...we chartered a little boat with some friends we made on the ship, another couple, living in San Diego, but originally from Mexico...They're fluent in Spanish & they made sure we were not treated like gringos. Our boat tour brought us around some of the 9 picturesque bays of Huatulco (not sure how many...wasn't really counting..) and then to a beach with great sand where we started at a restaurant's shaded tables before they set up chairs & an umbrella for us on the beach, served us guacamole and let us drink all the bottled boat drinks we bought at the package/variety store earlier. Rolando, our "seaboat captain" had provided the cooler & ice for those drinks. After several hours on the beautiful beach, Rolando came back for us & we hopped back aboard his boat to return to the ship. Puerto Chiapas: another gorgeous day in the 90's. Everyone else aboard ship was heading into town (Tapachula, a bustling traffic ridden city about 40 minutes away) or to the nearby Mayan ruins (which aren't known to be too amazing, as Mayan ruins go)...We grabbed a 15 dollar taxi to Playa Linda, the beach (planned months ago). There was this little restaurant/bar on the beach (the kind with a thatched roof & no walls). The proprietor filled his cooler for us with cervezas & ice (for 7 bucks) and he had the teenage waiter deliver it to a shaded picnic table across the very long beach. we kicked back, put on some tunes, had a few beers and walked the beach. At first, we were the only ones here ...CRAZY!! ...a mucho caliente day, and a huge, empty, beautiful beach (except for a few piles of trash heaped here & there from the weekend (apparently, trash cans have not been invented yet...no trash near the water 'tho). We spent several hours here, and each hour that went by, another couple would show up (none from the cruise ship that we were aware of). I asked one couple where everyone else was on a day like today (as I knew from my research that this is the only beach around) & they told me that it is a workday and people come mostly on the weekends...Hmm??. When the afternoon was drawing to an end, we headed back to the restaurant/bar to drop off their cooler & bottle opener, sat down, had another few cervezas each (5 more dollars), they pulled out this big speaker, hooked it up, & put on some music (in Spanish) for us...And when we were going to hail a taxi, the proprietor of the restaurant offered us a ride back to the ship in his nice Nissan (for free...12 kilometers...I'm as baffeled by that as as you are)...He didn't speak a word of English, and we, not more than a word or two of Spanish, yet he and we managed to carry on a conversation all the way back into port. I handed him a ten-spot when we got back (despite his polite protest) and he seemed rather grateful. Very nice people there. Lots of love to them. We took the road less traveled, & it made all the difference. Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala: our 3rd port of call (of 8, not including San Diego). We took a tour bus (our only shore excursion arranged through the ship) to Auto Safari Chapin, and throughout the 1.25 hour ride each way, were were educated about Guatemala, its history, culture, customs, population, volcanoes, agriculture, languages & dialects, imports, exports, religions, indigenous people, & lifestyles. Our guide was an excellent teacher & very passionate about her work & her country. We spent a few hours at the drive-thru safari, with lions, giraffes, monkeys, emus, ostriches, & many other colorful characters walking right up to the vehicle to check us out...At the end was an hour for us to go off and explore the walk-through parts on our own or to grab a bite in their restaurant. However, we had different plans (becoming a pattern lately). We (quietly) asked our guide to hook us up with someone at the safari (who works there) to tell them that I'm an American with money to spend, and my wife would like to feed the giraffes. Less than 5 minutes & ten dollars later, the two of us and a zookeeper were in a vehicle headed back to "Africa", yummy big leafy branches for the giraffes in hand. We spent our last hour socializing with & feeding these tall beauties in an intimate setting. My wife is all about giraffes...so, needless to say, this was another great day. Puntarenas, Costa Rica: We hopped off the ship and hopped into a taxi 10+ kilometers to the all inclusive Double Tree Puntarenas Resort for the day (breakfast, lunch, pools, games, beach, & all the frozen (& non-frozen) drinks one can imagine...Scorcher of a day...had to be well into the 90s...another beauty...Hadn't yet seen a drop of rain this vacation except for the afternoon of the day we went to the zoo in San Diego. Trujillo, Peru: We negotiated a taxi fare for the day & spent most of our time in port at the pre-Mayan Moche Temples: Huaca del Sol & Huaca de La Luna & the pre-Inca Chimu ciudadelas of Chan Chan (UNESCO Heritage Site), stopping briefly at the colonial center of Trujillo for some photos and a break between dig sites, Lima: We spent the day in the Miraflores District of Lima walking along the Malecon De Miraflores (miles of beautified "boardwalk" along the cliffs overlooking the beaches & ocean) in the "nice" part of Lima. We started with a cab ride to Cafe Haiti where we had cappuccinos & pastries and then checked out Parque Central & Parque Kennedy where all the protected & publicly fed homeless cats live. We then walked to the Larcomar Mall built into the cliffs along the Malecon where we lunched and sipped Pisco Sours, the national drink, al fresco at Tanta with a beautiful cliff-side ocean view. We promenaded along the beautiful gardened Malecon for several miles before stopping at Amorelado for gelato & cappachino before cabbing back to the port. Arica, Chile: Another awesome beach day at Playa Laucho, a 2 minute cab ride from the ship. Nice beach with a restaurant/bar with music and service out on the beach ...We imbibed berry/passionfruit mojitos & soaked up the sun spending every available minute on the beach not knowing if the weather further south (on the port days to come) would be "beachy" or not. Coquimbo Chile: The morning and early afternoon was overcast but the sun was supposed to come out. We grabbed a cab to the beach where we walked for miles...stopped, had a Coke & a smile...walked back along the beach for miles...stopped & had good eats & drinks at a local beach restaurant...the sun finally showed itself and burned away the haze, but we had to start heading back to the ship. On our way, we said hello to some wild sea lions that were sunning themselves beside the sidewalk as people just walked by them. We hopped back aboard the ship, freshened up, had more food & Vino at Le Bistro, checked out the Russian violinist/comedian's show in the Stardust Theater, watched the last sunset we'd see this cruise from our balcony, packed our bags, & got some sleep. Valparaiso, Vina del Mar, & Santiago, Chile: We disembarked the Ship at 7:45 AM on the last day and met up with our guide who we had pre-arranged a tour with through Tours by Locals. We chose him based on his ratings and reviews. His name is Leoncio Carrasco and we recommend him. He was knowledgeable, personable, interesting, bilingual, had a large beautiful vehicle, & cared for our safety and the safety of our belongings and luggage. We toured Valparaiso in the morning, partly by vehicle, mostly on foot (with Leon guiding us)...We stopped in an artsy cafe for coffee & tea, walked the beautiful mural walled hills, rode a funicular to the top of one of the hills, shopped at some street vendors and other shops, and the we hopped back in the SUV to visit the seals, sea lions, sea wolves, and pellicans who hang out in mass at the fish market on the ocean...From there we kept the reservations Leon made for us & lunched on the terrace of a very reasonably priced restaurant with excellent food & drinks and a view overlooking the hills of Valparaiso and the ocean. We then proceeded to Vina Del Mar, the high end ocean resort city/town where we visited a Moai from Easter Island, a living working clock made of flowers, and the beach...by noon the sun came out in force and it had turned into a warm beautiful day. We hung out at a beach restaurant and sipped drinks for a while, practicing out terrible Spanish, and cherished the sun knowing how cold Massachusetts would be the following day when we arrived back home. Leon then showed us a smidge of the mountains and vineyards on our way from Vina del Mar to the airport in Santiago, stopping for coffee, tea, & pastries at an excellent countryside cafe on the way. He dropped us off at the airport around 7:30/8:00 or so where we went through security and headed to the VIP lounge to await our 11 PM 10+ hour flight. Another great day....a great last day. If you can't tell, we loved our vacation. We recommend to all: our pre-cruise hotel the U.S. Grant in San Diego, NCL Cruiseline, this particular repositioning itinerary aboard the Norwegian Sun, our chosen "shore excursions"/in-port activities, and our guide in Valparaiso. Thank you for reading...Cheers! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I’m a 34 year old male who traveled solo on the Norwegian Sun for the full-ship charter called the Groove Cruise. The charter was from October 28 to November 2, 2016. This was my 36th cruise and 23rd time with Norwegian. I had been on ... Read More
I’m a 34 year old male who traveled solo on the Norwegian Sun for the full-ship charter called the Groove Cruise. The charter was from October 28 to November 2, 2016. This was my 36th cruise and 23rd time with Norwegian. I had been on the Norwegian Sun previously in 2008. I’ve tried out other cruise lines including Princess, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Carnival. What follows is a review of the cruise and some mentions of entertainment as they were experienced. Embarkation: San Diego The embarkation was better compared to this past Miami Groove Cruise on Norwegian Pearl. There was a miscommunication between the port security, port check in vendor and the NCL corporate security team about NCL’s wine and champagne policy at the beginning. SMS who does their port side operations worked with the other two to get this problem straightened out and a table was setup to pay the corkage fee. NCL was trying not to honor their wine and champagne carry-on policy clearly stated on their website. No information saying this wouldn’t be allowed on charters was ever provided to guests. NCL also on this sailing would not honor the soda package which they did offer on the Norwegian Pearl in January because “it was a charter.” Not sure what NCL’s corporate policy changes at the last minute were trying to accomplish but at the beginning of embark it caused some tense moments in the embark terminal. Once the wine and champagne was worked out, the rest of the embarkation was smooth and efficient. Day 1: San Diego Touring the Ship: The Norwegian Sun is an older ship in the Norwegian fleet. She had just been in a shortened technical dry dock earlier this year so her carpeting was refreshed and overall she looked amazing. The Sun staff do a remarkable job keeping her looking fresh. Given that it was a music charter, the crew had to remove chairs from venues to make room for dancing. Dazzles tables and chairs were emptied out and so were the chairs on the main floor in the theater. The remaining chairs in the theater were covered with plastic sheeting to protect them from any spills. The observation lounge was transformed into a chill lounge with a large blow up igloo. It fit nicely into the lounge and made for some great late night relaxing moments. The pool deck was transformed into a dance venue with production equipment featuring LED walls, sound and lighting. The Great Outdoors venue was cleared of tables and chairs mostly to allow for dancing as the sunset sessions and after hours stages were located here. Stateroom: Oceanview 7007: The ocean view cabin was in great shape. Everything functioned as it should. The cabin steward did a great job of keeping it tidy. A bar of soap was provided in the bathroom besides the normal body wash and shampoo dispenser located in the shower. Due to the previous cruise taking longer to disembark, it put getting the pool stage setup behind schedule. Once it was setup music for the day could be found from Dannic, Thomas Newson and Bamboora. By night the ship transformed itself into a wonderland of glow and glitter as the night’s theme was Shine! This theme is always amazingly creative but always makes me feel bad for the crew as glitter is everywhere! Tonight’s main entertainment featured the sounds of Solidisco, Feenixpawl, EDX and Dancetronauts in the main theater. Other venues on the ship going at night included the casino and the silent disco in Las Ramblas. Day 2: SEA DAY Sleep is hard to come by on Groove Cruise. If you’re getting too much sleep then you’re not doing it right. After about 4 hours of sleep it was time to start day 2 of GC and head to the on-going after hours located at the Great Outdoors with sounds from Pirupa, Mendo and Jaime Narvaez. A standard breakfast buffet was served in the buffet. The main pool stage started up around 11AM with the sounds of Kristina Sky. The day would continue under the sun with the sounds of Kryder and Tom Starr back to back along with Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano. The fun really started when the sunset with live beats from Goldfish who played saxophone right on the pool deck with the beats. This set was amazing! EDX and Antonio Giacca wrapped up the pool deck stage. At 3PM, a giant Twister game was in the sports court. It had a lot of attendees and was a ton of fun. Since it overlooked the pool stage in the basketball court, you were not out of ear shot or visual site of all the action going on poolside. Day time theme was Baby Blue & Pink Party (wear blue or pink). Once the sun had set it was time for the theater to get going along with Dazzles Disco and the Silent Disco in Las Ramblas. Tonight’s entertainment featured the sounds of Bamboora, Thomas Newson, Dannic, Paris and Simo, Monoky, Lujan, Doc Brown & many more supporting artists. The theater was the hopping venue for the night until it closed about 5AM. Tonight’s night theme was dress up like your favorite Celebrity. Many unofficial themes would be had this night. I dressed up as a Minion because they’re a celebrity too! Day 3: CABO SAN LUCAS – DAY 1 After grabbing about four hours of sleep, I rejoined the last couple of hours at the Great Outdoors where the Abyss by Incorrect had moved to. During the early morning hours until Noon featured the music of Anthony Attalla and Cocodrills. Since our arrival was scheduled for Noon into Cabo, there was a few hours of music provided poolside by DMorse and Doc Brown. Doc Brown continued to play pool side until 3PM – well beyond our arrival into Cabo. The party then moved off the ship to ME Cabo. This beach resort hotel had an expansive pool space. Extra equipment was brought in to make it a party for Groove Cruise and it went from 1PM until Midnight with the sounds of Scotty Boy, Croatia Squad, Jonas Blue, Robin Schulz, Denney, Sian and DUBFIRE who was the lead for the night party. The all day theme was Groove Cruise 3000 but it turned more into a pool party day and night. After midnight the party moved to Breathless Cabo which was closer to the tender pier. The night kicked off with the sounds of Lavelle Dupree and continued with Shaun Frank, Dean Mason and featured artist Lost Kings. Between the two venues, I liked the layout of Breathless Cabo more. Less guests went to the Breathless party as there was also an after hours going on the ship. Abyss by Incorrect this night featured the sounds of Toolroom artists Weiss, Mark Knight, Prok and Fitch and closed out with Sydney Blu. DAY 4: CABO The party moved back to the ship around 4AM but I returned about 2AM. When I woke up, Prok and Fitch was still playing at the Great Outdoors. The pool deck stage got going around 11AM and stayed active until the ship weighed anchor and headed back for San Diego. The biggest entertainer of the afternoon was Fedde LeGrand. Since it was Halloween Day, it was Halloween costumes both day and night for the themes. Tonight was the best night of the cruise in my opinion. Trance all night in the Stardust Theater from Adam Scott, Kristina Sky, Orjan Nilsen, Gareth Emery and Super 8 & Tab. It was an amazing night in the theater with friends both old and new on Groove Cruise. Gareth Emery’s set was everything in the world that night. Loved every last minute of it. Orjan Nilsen through down a mean set as well. Kristina Sky is an up and coming artist from the West Coast and her sets are just amazing. It’s my third time experiencing her style on Groove Cruise. DAY 5: SEA DAY Technically the day began a midnight when I was still in the theater until about 4AM. The day began with the Devils and Angels daytime theme only Mother Nature was not cooperating as it was cold, windy and not so sunny. After hours was again on the back deck at the Great Outdoors as it was the most sheltered from the wind. The wind would mess up the main pool stage as well and cause removal of the LED walls. The wind didn’t stop us! Klingande’s playground was on the chilly pool deck all afternoon and while the theme may have been devils and angels, people resorted to onesies to keep warm but still dance. Afternoon beats included sets from Solidisco, Moon Boots, Klingande, SNBRN, Shaun Frank and Stanton Warriors. After a lovely dinner in the mid-ship Four Seasons main dining room, it was time to grab some serious sleep! Sleep is hard to come by on Groove Cruise and you must get some sleep before disembark day. I slept until 2:30AM and got up to catch the last of Audien’s set in the theater before heading upstairs to the Great Outdoors for the closing classics party with Chocolate Puma, DJ Dan and lastly DSK CHK as we were tying up the ropes to the pier in San Diego. DAY 6: DISEMBARK Foreign guests were required to go to the Observation Lounge between 6A and 8A to present themselves to customs. Some guests were not paying attention and this caused delays for everyone else trying to get off the boat. Since the music had stopped, some guests had gone back to their cabin and fell asleep. Disembarkation took much longer than anticipated running well after 11AM. When I did finally get off the ship and clear customs, the lines had abated. NCL did the best they could with disembark given how sleep deprived the guests were. SUMMARY Overall this review was more about the Groove Cruise experience instead of an actual review of the Norwegian Sun. Groove Cruise has many ways to save including the usage of codes like GCVIRGIN which help both new and returning guests. The crew on the Sun were happy to see us and had a blast right alongside us. Service was amazing the whole trip from the dining room to bar staff to guest services. While the food served in the Four Seasons main dining room was a bit salty sometimes, the new fleet menu had various tasty selections. Crew members who were not generally working because the cruise ship did not need production cast, other entertainers and youth counselors were out and about and being helpful for a few hours a day. You would see them with us having a great time too! Minus the Norwegian Cruise Line corporate office trying to change the wine and champagne policy for charters and changing the policy about the soda package on charters, Groove Cruise Cabo was a great success! In case you did not know the Groove Cruise sails twice a year, West Coast in October and Miami in January! Looking forward to the next Groove Cruise! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Norwegian Sun Cruise 9/30 to 10/14/16 Panama Canal Easiest transfer from San Diego airport to cruise port. My flight arrived on time, I had purchased transfers through NCL. Retrieved luggage and immediately an NCL representative ... Read More
Norwegian Sun Cruise 9/30 to 10/14/16 Panama Canal Easiest transfer from San Diego airport to cruise port. My flight arrived on time, I had purchased transfers through NCL. Retrieved luggage and immediately an NCL representative asked if I was cruising with them, yes I am, and I am on a bus to the port. At the port our luggage was left on the bus to be driven to a location to be placed on the ship, didn’t have to touch it. I asked NCL for wheelchair assistance, I can’t walk up the gangway, unfortunately I was told an hour to 90 minute wait for a chair. I walked up to check-in, told them I had been preapproved for a chair and they immediately got one for me. I was checked in within 5 minutes. As I was leaving to board the ship, Carlos Zarate, Concierge, met me and said that he was at my service for the entire cruise and he would speak to me onboard. I was brought to the Atrium and sat with some wonderful Canadians while NCL finished getting the cabin ready. At 1:30 p.m. my cabin was ready and I went to check it out and unpack my carryon luggage. Within 30 minutes my other luggage arrived, I unpacked it. During that time a cheese and cracker plate was delivered to my cabin, which was wonderful, I didn’t have to go looking for food. I left my cabin to talk to Guest Services because my card didn’t have the Unlimited Soda Package on it. Guest Services said they did not see where I paid for it online, even though I had a copy of all paperwork with me and showed it to them. To make sure I asked if it showed I had paid for 4 specialty meals and five shore excursions. The shore excursions were paid for but again couldn’t find where I paid online for the specialty dining, again, I had copies of all the paperwork. Guest Services said they would make copies of my paperwork, scan it and send it to Miami corporate office to make sure I had paid for these items. I was told I could still get soda, juice and water but would be charged for them until this was settled. I explained that NCL charges a surcharge on all purchases and I was afraid it would be a nightmare to get all of this off of my bill. I was told there was no other way to do this. Guest Services said it would probably be the next day before they heard for corporate. I went to the life boat drill, easiest one I have ever done, it was in Dazzles Lounge, in and out in 10 minutes. Went back to my room and there was a message from Guest Services to please come to the desk. Waited about 10 minutes in line but they had an answer, they found I had paid for everything and gave me a new card with my dining and beverage stamp. I ate at Four Seasons and Seven Seas Main Dining Rooms (MDR). Seven Seas is a more dressed up MDR. If men show up in shorts they are turned away and told to come back when they change, but women can wear shorts, didn’t make a lot of sense to me. Both were good some nights, not so good other nights. Chicken Parmigiana was heavenly, Prime Rib excellent, Cheeseburger and Fries, great. Most food arrived hot and tasty, but a few things arrived cold. I ordered a hot chocolate that was cold when it arrived and had been made with mostly water and no chocolate. I ate 3 of my specialty meals at Cagney’s. I love Cagney’s on any NCL ship. Their steaks melt in your mouth, the White Truffle Parmigiana Cheese Fries were to die for and so was the Caesar Salad. My other specialty was in La Cucina, it was wonderful, I had breakfast there every morning, because of the Concierge and it was wonderful. Entertainment was mediocre. The Sun dancers and singers were good, so those shows were alright. One night they had a man who called himself El Gaucho, a comedian and singer, terrible, Motown Review and Frank Valle Review were fantastic. Hypnotist JayDee was absolutely horrible, passengers were getting up and leaving all throughout his show. I didn’t like that he announced he was a motivational speaker and had three seminars set up onboard to help passengers stop smoking, lose weight or feel better about themselves. I don’t care, either you do your show or do motivational speaking, not both. There was the usual bingo, karaoke, White Hot Party, Sexy Legs Contest, etc. I didn’t attend most of these. I know most people don't go on a cruise to read, but the Sun had the best book stocked library I have seen on a cruise ship. I actually read 8 novels while onboard. Bars/Showrooms, the StarDust Theater was so cold that after two days I caught a cold from sitting there for an hour to watch a show. Dazzles was freezing too. Most other bars were fantastic, speedy service, good drinks and snacks. The Sun had a Crew Talent Contest on the last sea day that was hilarious. In the Atrium on the last night, all of the officers and department heads had a singalong. Only the Sun does this, it took about an hour and after that there was a balloon drop and champagne, it was the most fun I had onboard the ship. The Sun also has a Meet the Ship's Officers, two different days, so you can learn about the ship and ask any and all questions, it was informative and interesting. The Sun also had a Sun Fair, each department, housekeeping, dining, environmental, CruiseNext, Guest Services, Spa, etc. was represented and it was very interesting. Shore Excursions were handled differently than any ship I have been on. If you had a ship excursion, you were given your ticket and told to meet in the StarDust at a certain. When you excursion was called you were brought down either stairs or elevator to the disembarkation point and went ahead of other passengers waiting in line that didn’t have ship excursions. It was the best managed port disembarkation I have ever done. Compliments to whomever came up with this idea. Miami disembarkation was a mess. I had Priority luggage tags, but was told since I had purchased a transfer from NCL I needed to use my Red luggage tags. When I was taken off the ship, Priority luggage was right there, Red luggage was being held up for another hour. I couldn’t use the transfers I purchased because I would have missed my flight so I had to take a taxi to the airport at an additional $32. I am asking NCL for a refund of that money, since I was advised incorrectly. In summary, this was an amazing cruise. The crew helped make it that way, 99% of them were personable and very helpful. My cabin was wonderful, the venues were very easy to walk to and to find when first boarding. Small problems that were cleared up immediately without a problem. Out of 5 stars I would give this cruise a 4 1/2 stars. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
I went to San Diego on Thursday, one day before departure. Wyndham San Diego Bayside provided a free shuttle from the airport to the hotel, which is directly across the street from the departure port. The hotel was very nice, the area ... Read More
I went to San Diego on Thursday, one day before departure. Wyndham San Diego Bayside provided a free shuttle from the airport to the hotel, which is directly across the street from the departure port. The hotel was very nice, the area seemed completely safe, and walking around the port area was interesting. Had I understood how beautiful San Diego is, I would have gone a day or two earlier. I'm pretty sure this was my 38th cruise overall, with probably half of those on NCL. I walked over to the ship at about 11 a.m. on departure day and was onboard around 11:30. Lunch was available in the main dining room at 12:00. My bag was delivered before 2 p.m. The ship: was absolutely beautiful. She has been carefully maintained. All the public areas were in tip-top shape. It is very easy to get around on the ship, and the elevators were never crowded. There's a good walking deck, and the gym was fine. Dining: I never had to wait for a table. The food and presentation were excellent and the hostesses and waiters were all fantastic. The passion fruit souffle was my favorite dessert. Scallops for lunch were wonderful. La Cucina is my favorite alternate dining spot, and it did not disappoint. Le Bistro was also a good choice, as was Teppanyaki. I was invited to share the Officer's Table one evening, and this was the only meal where I didn't get exactly what I ordered. I ordered steak, the gentleman next to me ordered steak and lobster tail. When they delivered his entree to me, I just dug right in without realizing what had happened. A little embarrassing, to say the least. Crew: Wow! This is a warm, friendly, energetic and seemingly very happy crew. They were unfailingly polite and helpful. I did notice quite a few people from China. It seems they are "in training" to go on the Joy when she launches. I was especially fond of "Ping, like in ping-pong" in the Atrium Cafe. I taught her to play 'rock, paper, scissors' and we had fun. Entertainment: I think NCL has the best entertainment at sea. The production shows were excellent, and the individual groups and performers were always entertaining. Additionally, the entertainment in the smaller venues was fabulous: Henry Hood on guitar and vocals, Amber Strings for classical afternoons, Inovation for dancing. As an aside, I went to the Atrium one evening around 9 p.m. and the guitarist for Inovation was standing there with his guitar on is back waiting for coffee. He had a big grin on his face, and I asked him why. Turns out the lady who was walking away had just asked him if that thing on his back was a surfboard! One of my favorite things is the crew talent show and this one was a real winner. Cruise Director's Staff: Very good at their jobs. Our trivia competitions were always fun. The only problem was that sometimes there were not enough seats. Cabin: Inside on Deck 5, and I didn't know what to expect. It was one of my favorite cabins ever. It was quite large for an inside, and even had a small sofa. It was only a few steps out to the Atrium for coffee or cocktails. The elevators were handy, and it was never noisy. Gerardo was a very good cabin steward. Ports: All pale in comparison to the transit of the Panama Canal. We stopped in Cabo, Acapulco, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Cartagena, Columbia. I truly loved Costa Rica and Cartagena. The Costa Rican people were very warm and friendly and the country is beautiful. Cartagena's old city is a great walk and the port area had a bird sanctuary. I was invited by new friends to enjoy the transit from a "romance Suite" on deck 8, all the way forward. We sat out there from about 7 am to 4 pm just watching in awe. I had expected the canal to be fascinating, and everybody I spoke to about it assured me that it would be. What was unexpected was the sheer beauty of the lakes and the lush greenery. Or maybe it was the Prosecco. Anyway, it was a bucket list item that exceeded expectations. Overall: Great cruise. Met some wonderful folks from all over the place. Canadians Ray and Barbara, Jane and Gord, and Jim, fellow Texans Babs and Bill, good people from Illinois Craig and Julie. And of course the group from Austin, "I'm with Cindy". Not to mention Steve and Sandy from North Dakota and Arizona, Pat from Toronto and Noel and Helen from the Philippines. The list is too long. Great entertainment, excellent food, tremendous itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
I was traveling with my 81 year old mom who has limited mobility. We wanted a cruise with interesting ports we haven't seen before. We both enjoyed the cruise immensely. It was a great blend of interesting places and relaxing sea ... Read More
I was traveling with my 81 year old mom who has limited mobility. We wanted a cruise with interesting ports we haven't seen before. We both enjoyed the cruise immensely. It was a great blend of interesting places and relaxing sea days. This was our fourth cruise, and it was the first time I did not have a list of complaints afterwards. Service was excellent everywhere. Food--We were very impressed with the food on this cruise. We dined at one of the two main dining rooms most every night, and had many excellent meals, and none that were bad. We had delicious ribeye steaks twice at Cagneys. We enjoyed Moderno the churrascuro restaurant but felt that one trip there was plenty. We would have liked it more if there were some dipping sauces for the meat. It got a little boring. We also enjoyed La Cucina. We have learned to avoid the buffets on cruises except for a light snack. The few lunches we had from the buffet were just OK. Embarkation--long lines but smooth. They did not have a good set up for handicapped passengers and it was hard for my mom to stand in a long line. Enrichment activities--really informative documentary on the Panama canal the day before we sailed through it. The day of passage a representative from the canal comes on board and narrates the passage. This was really enjoyable. I would love to have more in-depth information about the various countries we visited. Entertainment--I have little interest in cruise entertainment, but I was very happy to hear the string quartet playing on this trip. We enjoyed them in the dining rooms several nights and in the lounge. I took plenty of books to read but ended up reading 3 I found in the well-stocked library. Fitness--I enjoyed the aerobic dance classes but sometimes they were in the direct sun on the deck and it was wayy too hot. Wish they offered more of those throughout the day. Good walking track that stayed pretty shaded most of the time. Onboard experiences--lots of nice, quiet places for reading, which I appreciated. Most of the outdoor seating was in the sun. It would have been nice to have more shaded areas besides under the lifeboats. We enjoyed the trivia and name that tune games, except the host of name that tunes played way too much of the song and took away the challenge. It would have been nice to have some karaoke earlier than 10:00. Lots of late activities that we missed being early birds. Shore Excersions--these were all chosen to be easy with little physical activity for my mom. There were many fun things like snorkeling and zip lines that we did not do. Cabos San Lucas--did the ship easy excursion. There is not much to see in Cabos. This was a decent overview. We enjoyed the demo at the glass factory. Excellent fish tacos at Molly's in Cabos San Jose. Acapulco--very enjoyable tour with Baldo Gomez at Tours by Rudy. We released baby sea turtles at the refuge, saw lots of different areas of town, the Peace chapel, Los Flamingoes hotel. Fun day. Puerto Quetzal--did the easy shore excursion to Antigua. My mom wasn't feeling well so I went on my own. The shore excursion spent a lot of time in a jade factory/store which didn't interest me, so I went walking through Antigua on my own. A beautiful city not to be missed. Corinto--had a nice tour with Denis of Julio Guides to Leon. Leon was poor and bleak after Antigua. We got an overview of the place, saw the market, murals of the political history which went on too long standing in the heat. We went to a nice cool place for lunch. It was interesting to see but lots of poverty. Costa Rica--excellent tour guide Javier Vargas with Thumbs Up tours. One of the highlights of the trip. Went to macaw sanctuary, crocodile river cruise, and a general tour of the area. Lots of interesting plants and animals explained by our fabulous guide. We learned a lot and had a great time. Not to miss especially with Thumbs Up tours. Cartagena-- Beautiful old town. I would focus solely on that next time. We took an OK tour with Dora. We got an overview of the area and a walking tour of old town, but she rushed us through that to spend 45 mins. In an emerald store. Did not like that part, but Cartagena was one of my favorite spots on the trip. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We really enjoyed our cruise to South America on the Norwegian Sun. We took the relocation cruise from San Diego around the tip of South America to Buenos Aires. The relocation was wonderful - crossing the equator and visiting Peru. This ... Read More
We really enjoyed our cruise to South America on the Norwegian Sun. We took the relocation cruise from San Diego around the tip of South America to Buenos Aires. The relocation was wonderful - crossing the equator and visiting Peru. This review primarily focuses on the two-week cruise from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires. The embarkation in San Diego was slower than typical. NCL was still getting its act together regarding the customs paperwork. I don’t want to be too hard on NCL since this was their first cruise to South America in many years. It also seemed that several of the passengers slowed things down. The ship was in fine shape. Everything seemed to be working as designed. We spent a lot of time in the hot tubs, swimming pool, gym, dance floors, specialty coffee bar, and promenade deck. I particularly like the promenade deck because it is very wide and has a jogging track (10 laps = 3 miles). As usual, the staff were great. They work very hard, are helpful and friendly. We ate in the buffet and specialty restaurants. The Sun’s buffet serving area is small so they don’t have as large a selection of foods as on other NCL ships. This is somewhat offset if you check the breakfast/lunch food in the Great Outdoors and Moderno, and lunch in the poolside bar-b-que. They had Asian, seafood, Mexican, American and other themed buffets in the evening. We tried almost everything and were happy with the food. We had a good espresso almost every day in the Java Cafe. The specialty restaurants were very good. Everyone has to decide for themselves if it is worth the charge. For example, we tend not to drink alcoholic beverages on the ship because we have decided it is not worth the cost. Our room was clean and in good condition. Our room steward was outstanding. He kept everything clean, stocked and prepped our cabin every night (tidy up cabin, turn down bed, give us list of tomorrow's activities, and gave us our chocolates). Like all NCL staff we dealt with, he was friendly and hardworking. The entertainment staff were great. We took the dance classes, Spanish classes, and danced in the evening. Our cruise had a lecturer that talked about the upcoming ports. His lectures on the cities and sites were extremely helpful. The natural beauty of South America was my favorite part of the cruise. There are three routes between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. We sailed part of all three. The coastline, fjords and glaciers in Patagonia are beautiful. Bring a pair of binoculars and a good camera. The weather was wet, windy and cold. We wore long pants, long sleeve shirts, hiking boots, hats and fleece vests ashore on the good weather days. We added waterproof windbreakers and down jackets on cold, wet or windy days. Our cruise was the first of the season, so the weather might be nicer in the middle of their summer. Come prepared for Mother Nature’s weather. The wind and waves conspired to rock the ship at times. The largest waves were only about ten feet but sometimes the wind howled. For example, NCL disabled the sliding doors to the promenade deck for a few days because the winds were so high. Come prepared if you are sensitive to ship motion. We saw many birds, a seal (or sea lion) and a flock of swimming penguins from the ship. Other passengers saw whales and orcas from the ship. We saw hundreds of penguins at a penguin rookery on an excursion. We went on an excursion at almost every port. We always felt safe and well taken care of. The transportation busses were clean and safe. Our guides were friendly and knowledgeable. All spoke good English. Most spoke excellent English. Many were English teachers or English majors at local universities. Tenders were required at many ports. Some of the ports are container ports and you must take a shuttle bus to the port exit. You need to pay attention to customs paperwork. NCL helps as much as they can. They kept our passports and processed some of the customs paperwork behind the scenes. However, you still need to fill out and carry paperwork with you when you go ashore. I recommend bringing photocopies of your passport because you will need your passport information. Make sure you have paid your Argentine Reciprocity Fee if you are a US, Canadian or Australian citizen and flying home out of Argentina. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
The cruise on the NCL Sun was fantastic. The smaller ship allow more relaxation and the ability to enjoy all the ship has to offer. The food in the buffet and main dining room was excellent. We also enjoyed the Le Bistro so much we ... Read More
The cruise on the NCL Sun was fantastic. The smaller ship allow more relaxation and the ability to enjoy all the ship has to offer. The food in the buffet and main dining room was excellent. We also enjoyed the Le Bistro so much we returned two times. We had never had an AFT cabin but found the best cabin of all times. The bathroom was larger than our home bath and even had a "FULL" size tub. There are only 6 of these aft cabins so you have to be sure to reserve on near the center not on the sides. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Pamela (head of housekeeping) was on it! She had our beds separated , a broken door to the mini-bar fixed immediately. One time the toilet didn't flush - panic!, but she had that fixed within 1/2 hr. too. Otherwise the entertainment ... Read More
Pamela (head of housekeeping) was on it! She had our beds separated , a broken door to the mini-bar fixed immediately. One time the toilet didn't flush - panic!, but she had that fixed within 1/2 hr. too. Otherwise the entertainment was the best in a long time and we absolutely enjoyed the cruise to the max. My only complaint really is the split shifts they've assigned the cabin attendants. They are not available as often and we didn't know ours at all or what he even looked like. So they can't possibly get to know your routine. They did have an ice carving demo - fun because there is no place to put one now. The dining room was our preference because the buffet is a mad house at all times and the food was not up to par there. If you can't have fun on this cruise there's something wrong with YOU. I don't know why Manzanillo replaced Ixtapa/Zihuatenejo but it was not a good place or tour. The port is very industrial. The tour was boring. All in all very relaxing trip! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
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