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57 Norwegian (NCL) South America Cruise Reviews

Just arrived home after having a great cruise on the Norwegian Sun from Buenos Aries to Valparaiso. An excellent cruise from beginning to end, well almost to the end, more on that later. Embarkation – A very straight forward process ... Read More
Just arrived home after having a great cruise on the Norwegian Sun from Buenos Aries to Valparaiso. An excellent cruise from beginning to end, well almost to the end, more on that later. Embarkation – A very straight forward process with very little hassle considering there was another cruise ship loading at the same time. Cabin – Good size, very clean and and steward nearly always available if needed. Love the balcony though chairs a bit hard! Food – We nearly always ate in the main restaurant as we found the food and service excellent. Since our last trip on The Sun the menu seems to have a much larger choice. Lots of choice in the buffet but always seemed a bit busy and not always able to get a table easily. Entertainment – The evening shows were all of a high standard and very enjoyable. We particularly enjoyed the evenings in the observation lounge listening to the variety of music on offer during the cruise. Entertaining and very worthwhile were the very informative lectures given by Chuck Crew – The crew of the Norwegian Sun were excellent at all times. Excursions – We did three of the Norwegian excursions and found them well organised if a little expensive. We did other excursions organised by ourselves. Disembarkation – This would turn out to be the only issue during our cruise. Due to what we later found out to be a strike in the port our luggage had to be unloaded onto a tug boat and transferred to the port and the tenders had to be used to transfer the passengers. All seemed to be going according to plan and we were ready to collect our luggage at about 8.15am unfortunately our luggage did not come until after twelve noon. I realize that Norwegian had no control over the strike but I feel passengers could have been given much more information and perhaps have had drinks brought round to all those waiting in what be came very cramped conditions as half the hall was closed off for the new passengers arriving. In conclusion my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and have already booked our next. Highlights – Falkland Islands, Puerto Tombo and the penguins, Cape Horn, The Beagle Channel, glass of wine with our evening meal, the Andes Mountains, the staff of the Norwegian Sun. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
I choose Norwegian Cruise line because the price and itinary was excellent value. In the price included two pre cruise and post cruise hotel stays including breakfast. The ship is clean and the staff are brilliant and cant do enough to ... Read More
I choose Norwegian Cruise line because the price and itinary was excellent value. In the price included two pre cruise and post cruise hotel stays including breakfast. The ship is clean and the staff are brilliant and cant do enough to make your holiday one to remember. Our cabin was very clean, comfortable , only basic but it served its purpose and the cleaner carried out a clean twice a day. The food is second to none with something different on the menu each day, it was clean in pleasant surroundings. If you want to be treated well as guests this is a ship that provides the special service because its not to big and the staff get used to seeing you and the staff are not under pressure which allows them time to talk which makes a big difference and you feel like a big family. There were children on the ship but you wouldn't have known if you hadn't seen them at the beginning of the cruise I would definitely recommend NCL and wouldn't hesitate to book with them in the future Boarding and leaving the ship went like clockwork, no hanging around at border control even though a full secure check was carried out very profeshionally to ensure the safety of everyone Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We had never been to South America or south of the equator. EMBARKATION: Awful No porters to take our bags. We stood in line in the hot sun to check in our bags. Then we were given a ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We had never been to South America or south of the equator. EMBARKATION: Awful No porters to take our bags. We stood in line in the hot sun to check in our bags. Then we were given a number and told to sit in a non air conditioned warehouse until our number was called. Announcements were made in Portuguese except for the number. When our number was called we were bussed to the ship. We stood in another line at the Four Seasons restaurant on board to check in. At least we could go directly to our cabin. NCL staff at the Meet & Greet said the Sun's position at the pier was changed at the last minute and the check in area assigned could not accommodate the technology needed to check in at the pier. DINING: There was never a wait at the Seven Seas main dining room. Staff was pleasant and attentive. Great menu and service for breakfast. We asked to share a table and met some wonderful fellow cruisers. We tried 3 of the specially restaurants, Teppanyake, Le Bistro and Cagney's. There was never a problem to get a reservation. The food was excellent. Service was a bit slow at Cagney's and Le Bistro. Not sure I would pay the surcharge if the specialty restaurants were not included in our fare. The Garden Cafe, buffet was smaller than on other ships, but never seemed over crowded and we always found a table when we went for breakfast and lunch. Variety was okay. Would have like to see more salads at lunch. CASINO: DH had some trouble with a slot machine eating his cash that wasn't resolved by the casino staff so we avoided the casino for the sets of the cruise. LIBRARY: Is open during posted hours to check out a book. They have a variety of fiction and non fiction in several languages. There are shelves of books you can "borrow" at anytime without needing to check them out. The "taken-return one" concept. MANDARA SPA: Convinced DH to try acupuncture for orthopedic issues and pain. Dr Christine was patient, explained what she was doing and made recommendations. i got a hair cut and style - fine. Massage was super! Liked that we could use the sauna and steam room without charge. Staff was pleasant. ENTERTAINMENT: Thank you NCL for knowing you audience! We were mostly a over 50/60 year old crowd. The Argentinian "Beetles" were such fun. The 16 member song and dance cast are very talented. Just a pet peeve of mine - If you are doing a production based on the 60s or 70s put in some dance moves from that era in you numbers and costumes that reflect that era. Pay attention to the lyrics. In Burt Bacharache's "I say a little prayer for you" not once did the singer fold her hans as if she were saying a prayer - just wiggled her hips. ENRICHMENT: The lectures on the ports were pretty good. They include history of the area and not just shopping. We did not take any ship shore excursions. DISEMBATKATION: You are bussed from the ship in Buenos Aires to the terminal. It is a working industrial port so this makes sense for your safety. This may be one of those times when it is best to arrange transpiration to the airport or hotel ahead of time. The lines for the taxis are long and sometimes confusing. A piece of our luggage got put into another cab by mistake. Scream! Eventually the dispatcher found the cab and it was brought back to us after over an hour. Whew! Also, things will go smoother if you know a little Spanish. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
The best way to travel, you have everything in the ship, restaurants, entertainment, swiming pool, you are in a floating hotel without having to carry your handbags and luggage when you travel from place to place. There are all kind of ... Read More
The best way to travel, you have everything in the ship, restaurants, entertainment, swiming pool, you are in a floating hotel without having to carry your handbags and luggage when you travel from place to place. There are all kind of restaurants for you to choose, every night there is a show, by the pool performances and music. the rooms are nice and have enough space, the bed is spacious. You have buffet restaurant and 2 seating restaurant where you will be served by a waiter/ess. Disembarkation in every point went smoothly, without any problems, on time, very organized. All the staff was gentle, nice, and very helpful, always smiling and ready to help you in every way. Personally I am sure that I will choose to travel this way again, me and my husband enjoyed every moment of the trip and we are planning to do it again next year. We highly recommend to enjoy a cruise trip!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
I wrote this as I am on. the last  days of a South America Buenos Aires  to Rio and back to BAS cruise aboard Norweigian Sun. While everybody else is enjoying the pool, music , drinks, and sunshime, I choose to take out a notepad and ... Read More
I wrote this as I am on. the last  days of a South America Buenos Aires  to Rio and back to BAS cruise aboard Norweigian Sun. While everybody else is enjoying the pool, music , drinks, and sunshime, I choose to take out a notepad and make cruise ship notes! Why? Am I not having fun? I am not one that has a history of 25-35 cruises under my belt, and I also do not like to rate one trip against the other, either by carrier or destination. A cruise is designed to give you maximum comfort,a taste of different locations, without unpacking or repacking your bags , as well as the option of eating  without so much as a difficult decision other than choosing off multiple menus. I will state that Norweigian has excelled at this. The amount of staff at every turn , solely there to please is amazing.the amount of cleaning and polishing  I see on the stairwells of already clean surroundings is astonishing. Great service and variations in food   in all the easy to use regular dining areas After having successfully booked tours through Indonesia last season for over 60 people over a 19 day period, I undertook to attempt this again on this trip. However, the 2 direction itinerary of this sailing did not generate much user traffic on the website wrongfully named Cruise Critic. I have written to them in the past regarding this subject with no response whatsoever. Regardless of this search engine error, my association within this roll call has been noticed by Norweigian Cruise Lines. Simplify things to say, NCL noticed my publications and my searches for others cruising on the roll call I had the opportunity to discuss this with Mr Rumi , head of hotel operations on the NCL SUN. Having been a retailer in high end products throughout my career, I really appreciated his comments. He stated at a meet and greet get together, " anything on your mind, come and tell us, let us know, and, don't wait for the last day. If there is something that you need , we can fix this for you during your trip, instead of a promise  for next time". He told me that , Norweigian takes customer feedback very seriously , and that they "NCL" is out there in the media and social networks extensivley to learn what people are saying, and / or , what they want from their trips. What a phenominal concept to be able to tailor your product as a work in process for your current and future clients. I have an inside cabin, which is roomy and fabulous. I did have a small issue the first night out and I brought this to the attention of the front desk. I have had so many follow up calls from customer services as well as from the director Ms Yahira, in search of insuring my total comfort and concern for our well being. A few years ago I had travelled on an extensive NCL Mediteranean cruise, where unfortunately there was a mixup by the booking agent, not the fault of NCL. The front counter handling of that fiasco,was far different in tone and attitude to what I am seeing today with NCL. Any one could have a bad day, or sometimes, management goals and directions do not filter down the line to those that are in direct contact with the customer, and that is unfortunate. However, today, 3 years later,  we are witness to very fine customer treatment. I see that their concerns are the customers concerns. Certainly not an afterthought, but all communications  between ship ang guests are normally via the cruise director, in this case Roberto De Pasquale Here is a consumate professional who communicates in 6 languages at least ,was so empathetic to the departing passengers, the likes of which I have never heard before, and, most important, when you talk to this man you have his attention ,he looks you in the eye as he talks, and not past you. What a pleasure. The. Music aboard. with their in house STARDUST. band, composed of just 5 players, was amazing. The talent put out by the 16-17 person troupe of dancers and singers in many languages as well as dances from many foreign cultures and styles , was exceptional. Oh, and let us not forget the WINDJAMMER piano bar, for when the shows were over. Here we had a spectacle which I will not forget for a long time. I did here an exceptional player a few years ago, Jordan Peterson on Celebrity, but this gentleman from New Zealand, had a different perspective. Beau Tahana A  piano player is an entertainer, as , behind the keys, they can produce great music.  We have been on many ships and we have heard many great ones. But, an added bonus is when they can sing as then you are adding a second dimension to the music, and therefore creating more than a concert performance But, what if you are also a comedian entertainer that sings and plays. I do not mean playing music and telling jokes I refer to a brain working in a totally different dimension and detachment from the fingers on the keys, to the interaction with the guests. Add to that charachter roster the title of animator. Now you have something we have learned to call a Beau Tahana. We do not know how or what this creature was raised on in New Zealand, but it should be bottled and sold. This man is an amaing pianist. At times during his performance there are more notes per measure coming out of 10 fingers such that it sounds like the quantity of notes off player piano paper rolls. And then , on other pieces, the quick adding of certain extra grace notes come in rapid fire like brain synapses that are so fast and musically perfect His off the cuff phone conversations with himself his conscience, his parents , or now ex girlfriend are show stoppers. The birthday tributes he spontaneously creates for individuals are  sincere and beyond hilarious. We sat through almost all his sets each night he entertained and it is amazing how throught the cruise how his popularity spread to full standing room by midnight each night. He is not a piano bar crooner.  His blend of Elton John, Joe Cocker, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Orbison, in any style of play, then converted to Western , including lying on the floor playing, are amazing. We all know that when we leave his set , that we have been the greatest crowd ever. As we say in Montreal, tres Beau. All in all, this was an amazing trip, open to new locations, far different than island hopping in the Caribbean. The food was amazing , service was amazing, and I can not see any reasons for complaints, nor do I look for them. NCL.  Well done. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We wanted a cruise to take us from Buenos Aires to Rio. We also wanted a South American cruise that included warm weather, islands, swimming, and snorkeling. We really enjoyed the Brazilian islands we visited and they were all different. ... Read More
We wanted a cruise to take us from Buenos Aires to Rio. We also wanted a South American cruise that included warm weather, islands, swimming, and snorkeling. We really enjoyed the Brazilian islands we visited and they were all different. We did not realize that we were traveling at a time when all Argentinian children are on school break so there were more children than we expected but on a cruise ship there is plenty of room for everyone. The staff on the cruise ship were as good as ever, but seemed a little overwhelmed by the number of Spanish speaking people on the cruise. We noticed quite a few communications issues, especially in the first 10 days from BA to Rio. We always enjoy the specialty restaurants on board with our favorites being Le Bistro, Cagney's, Teppanyaki, Sushi, and Moderno. Food and service are always excellent. Some of the entertainers were the same from last year when we went south from BA so we felt we did not need to attend every show. The shows we did go to were pretty good. I was a little surprised that more entertainment was not offered in the observation lounge, but many activities were outside around the pool as the weather was so warm. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This was a very good cruise. Weather was super in all ports. A rough patch came up on one sea day, but the ship was stable in strong winds and high waves. Falklands offered a rocky return tender to the ship, but was well worth the ... Read More
This was a very good cruise. Weather was super in all ports. A rough patch came up on one sea day, but the ship was stable in strong winds and high waves. Falklands offered a rocky return tender to the ship, but was well worth the visit. Food was good and did not get boring and the service in all restaurants and by the housekeeping staff was friendly and efficient. Entertainment was very good, better than expected both in main theater and in other venues. We upgraded to a suite and it was terrific. Aft facing and the only problem was noise from the thrusters when they were in use. Among the specialty restaurants the steakhouse was the best. The buffet had a large selection and the main dining rooms were welcoming and featured fast service. Highly recommend the itinerary, though the cruise does cover a lot of ground. Used NCL for shore excursions in some locales and they all had good guides and interesting activities. Could improve enrichment speaker and have more info for ports, such as maps and summaries. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose the ship because of the itinerary and our previous positive experience with Norwegian. We especially like the free style dining. The service on the ship was generally outstanding. People were friendly and genuinely helpful. ... Read More
We chose the ship because of the itinerary and our previous positive experience with Norwegian. We especially like the free style dining. The service on the ship was generally outstanding. People were friendly and genuinely helpful. This was especially true of the restaurant staff. They did a great job of serving meals. We like the specialty restaurants so had a 9 night package out of the 15 nights for the cruise. They were all excellent. The two non-specialty restaurants were also good, although their menus got a little boring after a while. I really don't like buffets so we only ate there when we had to. The food was ok, but it was annoying to stand in line and look for a table, etc. You could easily avoid the buffets with other choices. Embarkation was ok. It took a while to get through the process. The first Norwegian cruise we went on we got there right when they opened and had to hang out for a few hours to be able to get into our cabin. This time we arrived about 2 pm for a 5 pm deadline and it worked better. Disembarkation was ok. The problem wasn't with Norwegian, but with Buenos Aires. Their process resulted in long lines. Once you got through the process the taxi line had at least 100 people in it. It took us 30-45 minutes to get a taxi and it cost 400 pesos (about $24) for a 1.5 mile trip. We later paid about 100 pesos on the meter for the same distance. The service was great. Our cabin attendant wasn't as good as others on the ship, judging from their experience, but she was adequate. The restaurant service was excellent. Since we spent a lot of time in the Specialty Restaurants we got to know some of them quite well. Grace, the Maitre De was very friendly and was excellent. The food in all of the areas was good to excellent. I found most of the excursions to be good, although they were very expensive. I thought that the entertainment was generally good, for what you would expect on a cruise ship. There was live music in many of the lounges including folk, rock, classical, etc. which made it very nice. Some of the shows were good, some not so good. Overall I think this was a great experience. I would recommend this cruise and Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We are a couple from the Mid-west (age 53 & 62), no kids, retired and Platinum latitude members. When we booked this cruise as our winter getaway, we did not have much knowledge of South America. We arrived in Santiago 2 days ... Read More
We are a couple from the Mid-west (age 53 & 62), no kids, retired and Platinum latitude members. When we booked this cruise as our winter getaway, we did not have much knowledge of South America. We arrived in Santiago 2 days early, a city we really enjoyed; easy to get around and very nice honest people. We booked a private transfer tour from Santiago to Valparaiso and stopped for wine tasting in the Casablanca Valley. Embarkation was long; you stop in a terminal building and then get assigned a number to ride a shuttle bus to the ship, on the ship you then complete the process on board the ship. We were pulled out of line and taken to the concierge desk and assigned VIP status, we never really found out why this happened? I coordinated the CC Meet & Greet for the first time, so this may have had something to do with it? Anyway it was GREAT, the ships crew were extremely accommodating and helpful to our CC group during the whole cruise. Yahira the concierge and Shi the group coordinator went above & beyond for us! Our luggage was in our room by the time we got there. No rest for the weary though, we delivered invitations for the CC activities to everyone and finally sat down for a lunch at 7:00pm. Food- We ate in the buffet, both main dining rooms, LaCucina, LeBistro & Moderno and all were very good. The nice thing about the Sun is that there a lot of space around the buffet that they open during the day, the sports bar, Moderno, etc.. Cabin- we were in an Aft balcony 9277, very adequate for the two of us, I continue to detest the shower curtains on this ship as they stick to you in the shower. We had a few minor issues with the cabin and they were fixed as soon as we reported them. Our stateroom attendant Chris was wonderful! The view can't be beat! Activities: We had our Meet & Greet on the first sea day, NCL arranged a room, refreshments and sent senior officers to give a short talk. As a group we decided against a gift exchange, I had an icebreaker bingo game for people to get to know each other and had purchased a small prize from the gift shop, when more than 1 person won, Shi threw in a 2 bottles of wine! There was a CC mid-cruise dinner, the group was given a private dining room and NCL threw in wine! I am detecting a theme.... We had the beverage plan for the first time and loved it! It was fun trying cocktails we normally wouldn't try. Ports & Shore excursions; after we booked this cruise we did our research and discovered there was a 50 / 50 chance of making some ports due to rough sea's, so we were prepared for this. Fortunately it became quickly clear that this was not Captain Ronny Borg's first rodeo- we made it to all ports. The scenery on this itinerary is just stunning. We used NCL for all our shore excursions and for the most part they were excellent. My favorite ports were the Falkland Islands & Puerto Montt Chile. Disembarkation- the ship had an overnight in Buenos Aires, we had a private a walking tour of the city which I highly recommend. We booked an NCL transfer / tour to the airport and while tour part was good.. there were issues at the airport. As part of our tour our luggage went directly to the airport, it was raining and we were dropped to pick up our luggage at Terminal 1, which is where our guide told us "most flights leave from". Well not this day, we had claim our luggage in the rain and then walk 2 blocks to terminal 3- it was covered. People were dropping like flies- the line to check into Delta was beyond long- after an hour or so they started bringing out wheelchairs for people about to collapse- not a good way to end a fabulous trip. Summary- this really turned into a trip of a lifetime; we really enjoyed meeting people from all over the world that we traveled with, the crew of this ship is outstanding, and the itinerary can't be beat! Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This cruise was to be of the adventurous type. to get a taste of South America. The cruise did not disappoint. From a "free" walking tour of Buenos Aires to the Falklands and beyond. History of Buenos Aires is quite ... Read More
This cruise was to be of the adventurous type. to get a taste of South America. The cruise did not disappoint. From a "free" walking tour of Buenos Aires to the Falklands and beyond. History of Buenos Aires is quite interesting, as was the history of Ushuaia and Puerto Madryn and Punta Arenas. Rounding Cape Horn was one of the smoothest crossing the captain had in 30 crossings...water was like glass. The penguin excursions were very expensive from NCL...but a number of passengers booked with other companies with no issues in returning to the ship at half the cost. The glaciers in the Chilean fjords were beautiful, especially the Italian one..going down to the water and calving numerous little icebergs. A personal highlight was the Petrohue River raft ride. There was roughly 4 sets of large rapids which made the experience quite memorable. Another was taking a short cab ride from the ship in Punta Arenas to walk through full size replicas of Darwin's ship "the Beagle" and Magellan's ship "Victoria". Our taxi driver took us through the ships and with broken english spanish and pantomime got a little extra instead of just walking through. allot 2 hours return and only cost $35 USD for the 2 of us. The weather was hot in Buenos Aires, Montivideo and Punte del Estee and as expected got cooler as we headed south. The coast of Chile was foggy...and did not burn off during the day. We choose NCL for two reasons....Freestyle dining and the variety of entertainment. Again we were not disappointed. Some have complained that the specialty restaurants have gone ala carte...but factoring in the total cost and the excellent service received the extra amount would be $5-$10 depending on your order. The LeBistro was first class, quiet and not crowded...plenty of space between diners. I enjoyed the most succulent filet mignon that I have had in 30 years....paradise on the palate. The entertainment was quite varied and professional....the Sun show band and dancers excelled over some of the professionals...their shows were not to be missed. Their energy and singing and dancing ability ensured very enjoyable performances. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose this cruise for three main reasons. The itinerary went to ports in Brazil that we have never been before. Two, we love the staff and the service on the NCL Sun. Three, the food is always excellent, although we ate at specialty ... Read More
We chose this cruise for three main reasons. The itinerary went to ports in Brazil that we have never been before. Two, we love the staff and the service on the NCL Sun. Three, the food is always excellent, although we ate at specialty restaurants and the buffet, not in the main dinning room. We have traveled on the Sun before in South America, but never out of Buenas Aires north to Brazil. The ship took a long time to sell out, I think for several factors, Americans needed a visa to got to Brazil, the overblown fear of Zika, the expensive cost of flights from North America this time of year, and that it included two holidays that many people spend with family. Because of this the prices went really low and allowed us to upgrade from a obstructed porthole window to a mini suite. Then after final reduction two months out we splurged for a penthouse suite. The ship is usually at least 50% English speaking passengers but with the reluctance of the North Americans to book this cruise there were only 120 English speakers on board. Personally, I thought that made it more fun. Room 9076 was a dream. An aft suite with a separate bedroom, huge bathroom with full size jetted tub, and a balcony that was incredible. The extra services that came with the room like a butler and concierge were nice but did not add that much to the value of the room itself. I know some people complain that NCL nickel and dimes you on their cruises, but I just don't find that to be true. Most everyone gets a free drink package when you make your reservation. If you want better food at dinner, you. buy a specialty restaurant package. The tours are very overpriced and it is worth it to use Cruise Critic or other means to make tour plans on your port stops. The Spa is expensive as well, but no more so than other cruise lines. On any cruise you take there will be a daily service charge added to you account, be ready for that. They don't allow bottled water to be brought onto the ship anymore, so you bring a large water bottle and fill it up on board. I can assure that the water on board is cleaner than most American cities. With the unusual number of Latino's on this cruise, I thought the cruise director and his staff could have done a better job with the music, even if it was just with a DJ. British Rockers just didn't cut it. Other than that, we love the ship. It is not too big. There is always room where ever you want to go. Remember if your going south around the tip of South America the pool area is not covered. The staff has always been incredibly helpful and considerate and will keep us coming back. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Great itinerary! Great Ship! Great Crew! Great Price! Great Cabin! After cruising on just about every cruise line and after cruising more than 250 cruises the Norwegian Sun wins my vote for best ship. It is wonderful to see it back in ... Read More
Great itinerary! Great Ship! Great Crew! Great Price! Great Cabin! After cruising on just about every cruise line and after cruising more than 250 cruises the Norwegian Sun wins my vote for best ship. It is wonderful to see it back in the South America market. It would be nice one day to do an around the world cruise on her. The ship was in great condition and looked like it had been recently overhauled and up to date. The cabin was spacious and the bed so comfortable I hated getting out of it in the morning. The dining on the ship was elegant wherever you ate. Although I ate in several venues I felt that this was not a necessity as the food and service in the main restaurants was every bit as good. The timeliness of service was excellent. I thought the entertainment in the main shows could be improved on as I would like more shows with comedy and magic and entertainers interacting more with the audience. The classical music in the Atrium is one of my favorite things to relax to and enjoy every night before dinner. FABULOUS SHIP AND CRUISE! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I choose this cruise as it is a great way to see part of South America in a safe and secure environment. Given the crime levels in South America and not speaking Spanish or Portuguese the cruise is the obvious choice to get a flavour of ... Read More
I choose this cruise as it is a great way to see part of South America in a safe and secure environment. Given the crime levels in South America and not speaking Spanish or Portuguese the cruise is the obvious choice to get a flavour of Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. The cruise started off in Buenos Aires and visited Montevideo, Punta del Este, Santos, Isle Grande, Buzios and Rio de Janeiro. The embarkation for the cruise went extremely smoothly boarding from 12:00pm and by 12:30pm you were on the ship. This was good after a 14 hour overnight flight from London to Buenos Aires. SHIP The Norwegian Sun entered service in 2001 and is currently 15 years old but has been refurbished recently. The ship given that it is older is not showing its age due to the refurbishment. The ship is medium sized but has all the amenities you get on a larger ship just on a smaller scale. I found the ship easy to navigate around with short walks to most areas that you wanted to visit. One of the highlights of the ship is the atrium which goes from Deck 5 to Deck 11. Most of the facilities around the atrium are on Decks 5, 6 & 7. The area of the ship you spend your evenings are Decks 5, 6 & 7. ENTERTAINMENT Activities were arranged by the entertainment team through out the day. You could play Bingo, Deal or No Deal, learn Tango or Line Dancing. I am not a big fan of organised activities but there were lots of organised activities if that's what you like. In the evenings the main entertainment was in the Stardust Theatre with production shows, magicians and musicians. I found the productions by the singers and dancers of NCL were the best. The last production show with the singers and dancers was entertainment highlight of the cruise. One dancer in the shows Rachel (from Scotland) really stood out from the others as being a passionate high quality professional dancer. She is a rising star and has a bright future in singing and dancing. The production shows on the Norwegian Sun looked like shows you expect to see in the theatre in the West End of London, Las Vegas or Broadway in New York. Of all the singers onboard Henry (from USA) stood out with his easy listening melodies. Henry is a soulful singer with a large repertoire of songs from the 1950's to today. After leaving the theatre in the evening the entertainment continued in Dazzles Nightclub with a themed disco. If you wanted something more relaxing you headed next door to the Windjammer Bar with a singer. Windjammer was like a traditional British style pub where you could meet new friends and talk to fellow passengers. Dazzle Nightclub was louder with a good party atmosphere. DINING I dined mainly at the Seven Seas Restaurant at the rear of Deck 5. This is a more traditional restaurant with tables for 2, 4, 6, 8 with full waiter service. The food in the restaurant was superb with half of the menu changing each night. Also the service was prompt and you were never left long waiting for a course. Of the speciality restaurants I only tried Cagney's Steakhouse. The food in the restaurant was superior to the main restaurants and worth the approx $25 per person. I would recommend the Brazilian Churrascaria as I tried one in Rio de Janeiro. You get unlimited salad from the bar and unlimited cuts of meat. The Garden Cafe Buffet was good for breakfast and lunches but you are better off going to one of the other restaurants for your evening meal. The Great Outdoor Cafe offers alfresco dining which is good when the ship is docked in port or when departing port late afternoon. SERVICE Whether in the bars or restaurants the service was superb. You were not left waiting for half an hour to get a drink like I have experienced at land based bars. FITNESS The gym was a good size and never over crowded with a mixture of cardio machines and free weights. I only tried it once as I was on holiday. There were good machines for running, cycling and cross training. The only downside was just one rowing machine. VALUE FOR MONEY The cruise itself was good value for money considering whats included, meals, accommodation, entertainment, etc. I managed to get a deal with the unlimited beverage package which was good value. The drinks onboard are expensive by UK Pub Prices and European prices. Plus the drinks come with an 18% gratuity or service charge. Expect to pay around $8.00 for a bottle of beer plus an 18% gratuity about double UK pub prices. However if you can get a deal with a drinks package as long as the value of the drink is $15.00 or below it is included. What is strange is the ultimate beverage package does not include coffee and tea, whereas on other cruise lines they are included. If you add whisky to you coffee (Irish Coffee) it is included. PORTS Buenos Aires A European style city with a Latin American flair. This city has very distinct neighborhoods my highlight was the colourful La Boca. Swedish colours of blue and yellow really brighten the area up. This area is also good for seeing Tango dancers. Recoleta and San Telmo are also very good. I booked an organised tour online as it was a third of what NCL was charging covering the same attractions. Montevideo Easy walking city and the ship docks close to the centre. The most friendly I visited in South America with a few attractions of large signs and interesting building. Uruguay is known as the Switzerland of South America, no mountains but a welcoming place. If you like steak head for Mercado del Puerto a 5 minute walk from the ship. Some of the best and largest steaks in South America. I booked an organised tour online which as half of what NCL was charging covering the same attractions. Punta del Este Due to bad weather the ship did not tender. Passengers that organised an excursion from Montevideo told me that it had excellent beaches. It is known as the San Tropez of South America. Santos An industrial port city in Brazil. My highlight was the tram tour giving you a flavour of the city. Unfortunately the commentary is in Portuguese but it is an enjoyable ride. I also visited the Coffee Museum which is set up for Brazilian and Portuguese tourists. It is worth paying for a commentary in English although I found the museum to be rather dull. It lacked interactive and fun exhibits which can bring history to life. Isle Grande I gave this port a miss, it is a tender boat to the pier due to the port of Vila do Abraao having a shallow port. I was told by fellow passengers you can see Brazilian wildlife including small monkeys and large spiders by walking around the island. If you like beaches Lopes Mendes came highly recommended. Buzios A good tourist resort with all the modern facilities you would expect. You can book a trolley to go around the peninsular or a boat to go swimming and snorkeling. I booked a boat for swimming and snorkeling online and it was a third of the price NCL were charging for the same excursion. The sea was clean and warm however I did not see any fish. Buzios reminded me of the resorts in the Caribbean and the Bahamas. The safest place visited in South America on this cruise. Rio de Janeiro The best port and highlight of the cruise and I would recommend at least booking 2 nights if not 3 nights in Rio to see as much of the city as you can in a short space of time. The highlights in Rio de Janeiro were Corcovado and the Christ The Redeemer Statue, Sugar Loaf Mountain and Samba Dancing. I would also recommend a guided tour to the Favela's. Be careful in Rio de Janeiro and watch for pick pockets and large group of young men. The city has an edge to it with lost of railings in front of buildings. Book the tours with your hotel locally as they are much cheaper than the cruise shore excursions and cheaper than on the internet. I booked three tours with the hotel to see the main sights and it cost less than one fully day of Rio de Janeiro with NCL. SHORE EXCURSIONS I would recommend that you book them in advance online where possible. If you want peace of mind and safety book them with NCL but they cost at least double those online or at the portside. I found that Punta del Este, Santos and Isle Grande you either book with NCL or make your own arrangements locally. All of the others you can book online before you go. Overall I would recommend this cruise for anyone wanting to get a flavour of South America. The port highlights are Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. With this cruise you get to visit Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil without having to worry for your safety and security. Most people outside the tourist areas do not speak English, so unless you are fluent in Spanish and Portuguese then the Norwegian Sun is a excellent way to see South America. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Great itinerary, I boarded in Buenos Aires ( after a wonderful week) and enjoyed visiting Uruguay and the coast of Brazil then departed in Rio for a week. This size ship ( I think 1,800 ) is perfect for a cruise like this. Easy to get ... Read More
Great itinerary, I boarded in Buenos Aires ( after a wonderful week) and enjoyed visiting Uruguay and the coast of Brazil then departed in Rio for a week. This size ship ( I think 1,800 ) is perfect for a cruise like this. Easy to get around, plenty to do. Only on the 2 sea days do you miss the water slides, rock climbing walls, golf, etc. found on the newer bigger ships. The 8 days in port you have everything you need to fill your evenings: dance lessons ( you can learn and practice Tango), good nightly performances in the auditorium, dancing in the clubs and on deck, casino, piano bar. Never a dull moment. My favorite area on ship( in fact best on my 15 cruises) was the large outside covered area aft deck 11. Take your breakfast or lunch with a view ( and shade) ,in the evenings this bar offers the best sunsets and sail away views of the city or island that you visited that day. Great multi-linguial staff, good accomodations, entertainment, and food. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This cruise was booked through Infinity Cruises in London as a package, including flights, some transfers and hotel accommodation at beginning and end of the cruise. The booking process was excellent and I have no hesitation in ... Read More
This cruise was booked through Infinity Cruises in London as a package, including flights, some transfers and hotel accommodation at beginning and end of the cruise. The booking process was excellent and I have no hesitation in recommending this company. We flew to Santiago which was very pleasant, with jacaranda trees in full flower throughout the city, It felt very safe to walk around, even in the early hours of the morning. The hotel, Torremayor Providencia was very good with a small rooftop swimming pool and one of the best breakfast buffets I have hade, including fresh strawberries and cherries. It was very close to a metro station which made travel into the centre quick and easy. Transfer to Valparaiso was included and the embarkation procedure went very smoothly, although, because of the early sailing time, we had no time to see the city. I had read that the cabins on Norwegian Sun were small, but the one we booked (an inside) was spacious and quiet, with plenty of storage space. The ship itself never felt crowded, and we never had to queue for meals. (We avoided going when the shows ended as queues did form then.) We had booked the cruise with an all-inclusive drinks package. I do not know whether it would have been worthwhile to pay for this at the shipboard price, as we did not drink to excess, but as an included item in the package, it was great. Our first port of call was Puerto Montt, where we had arranged a tour through a local company (Denis Purtov). This was an excellent tour with a very good guide. I would recommend this to anyone calling in to this port. The next port was a bit disappointing - Puerto Chacabuco. Here, disembarkation by tender took a long time, there was nothing of interest at the port itself and the tour which we had booked through the ship was rather poor. The next port was Punta Arenas. The ship docked quite some way outside the town and we caught a mini bus from the docks to the centre, Worth looking out for these shared taxis which are cheaper and run more frequently than those put on by NCL. The town has interesting old buildings open to the public which are worth visiting. Before and after Punta Arena we had scenic cruising through the Chilean fjords, the Straits of Magellan and then the Beagle Channel, with five glaciers. The whole area was like Norway on steroids! Next port was Ushuaia in Argentina, where we took a taxi to the Tierra del Fuego National Park; reasonably priced when four people travelled together. Then Cape Horn. It was windy there, but not as bad as it frequently can be and from there to the Falkland Islands. It was still windy there and the Captain deserved congratulations for being able to anchor, although this took some time and some of the longer excursions had to be curtailed or cancelled. However, we did better that the ship following us a few days later, which had to miss out the Islands altogether. We took another minibus trip, this time to see penguins. This cost £15 or $20 and was worth going on. The next port, Puerto Madryn was a bit of a disappointment as well. The main tourist attraction of the town was the Eco-centre, but this was really more style than substance. We walked back into town along the beach, which really was nice and made us feel we should have brought swimwear. I was surprised to see flamingos on the beach; I thought penguins would have been more appropriate. After another sea day we docked at Montevideo, and were just a few yards from the centre. The first building one sees is the market hall. It would be an idea to skip breakfast or lunch on the ship and eat there, it was so appetising. The city itself is a mixture of well preserved and interesting buildings which are open to the public and a few that look on the point of collapse. A good city to walk around and, like Santiago, it feels safe. The final port was Buenos Aires. We arrived about 6 a.m. and were off the ship by about 8.30. We had booked a transfer to the hotel so arrived some time before our room was ready, but were able to go for a walk in the area where the hotel was to get our bearings. The room at the hotel, Icaro Suites, was very good, but the breakfast a bit basic. Buenos Aires was a very interesting city to explore, and the newly refurbished dock area a good area to visit and to eat in. Finally, our return to Heathrow by British Airways - rather too cramped for comfort on a 13 hour flight. Overall, the NCL Sun was a particularly friendly ship. Staff were pleasant; bar staff would remember your drinks and the entertainment staff were happy to spend time with the passengers, which is so often not the case. We watched all the production shows, but only saw one or two of the guest artist shows. The in-house team were excellent. We only tried one speciality restaurant, and while it was very good, I did not see it was worth the extra over the included restaurant. Here, the waiters were very obliging and although they obviously were working very hard, would always be pleased to have a little chat. We also met some very nice fellow passengers, and spent quite a lot of time chatting and drinking with them. The Freestyle dining enabled us to share tables with these new friends most evenings and we have kept in touch since returning home. We both like the NCL approach to cruising, and this will be our first choice for cruising in future. For us, the only negative concerned the shore excursions. We only booked the one, which we thought was poor, and adopted the attitude of once bitten... The excursions generally seemed very expensive and booking one excursion per port of call could easily double the cost of the cruise. (It might of course be that the pound is so weak against the dollar that it is just expensive for us Brits.) Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
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
Our fifteenth cruise and it was awesome. This ship did have a few problems along the way regarding smells emanating near the aft of the ship but the ships company made a sterling effort to initially contain and then eliminate the odour. We ... Read More
Our fifteenth cruise and it was awesome. This ship did have a few problems along the way regarding smells emanating near the aft of the ship but the ships company made a sterling effort to initially contain and then eliminate the odour. We sailed into ports such as Stanley (Falkland Islands) Puerto Madryn, Ushuaia, Punta Areanas as well as cruising the Beagle Channel. The waterfalls and glaziers were a picture to behold. We cruised the Strait of Magellan, the Chilean Fjords, the Patagonic Channels and our Captain made every effort for passengers to take in the sights. Marine life was also a feature with whales and dolphins reasonably close to the ship. Rounding Cape Horn was a bit lumpy but that was to be expected and we travelled it with ease. Further ports travelling North towards San Francisco included Puerto Chacabuco, Puerto Montt, Valpariso (Chile) Coquimbo, Arica, Lima (Peru), Salaverry (Trujillo), Punta Arenas (Costa Rica), Puerto Guetzal (Guatemala) Puerto Chiapas, Huatalco & Cabo San Lucas (Mexico) - a favourite destination of ours, then on to LA and San Francisco. I must add that the customs area at Los Angeles Cruise leaves much to be desired and put a dampener on our vacation. Three hours waiting in a queue on the wharf to disembark is not a good look and many were disgruntled. We did get over it but will try to never experience this port again, our second experience of getting the same treatment. Let me give some insight to our cabin and on board ship experiences. All were fantastic with professional shows and staff that went out of their way to make our trip a memorable one. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We booked a package with NCL that included 2 nights at the Sheraton in Santiago as well as airfare, all transfers, a mini dining package on board ship, a bottle of wine, 20 photos from the ships photo shop, and even chocolate covered ... Read More
We booked a package with NCL that included 2 nights at the Sheraton in Santiago as well as airfare, all transfers, a mini dining package on board ship, a bottle of wine, 20 photos from the ships photo shop, and even chocolate covered strawberries. NCL representatives were right at the airport to meet us in Santiago and helped us through immigration and customs in Chile. A city tour as well as a tour of Concha y Toro winery was also part of the package as was a tour of Vina del Mar and Valparaiso. NCL even had their own guest services desk in the Sheraton to help NCL cruise passengers with anything they needed. That was a very nice and unexpected touch. The Sheraton Santiago was located in a very nice part of the city and two main tourist areas were a 15 minute walk from the hotel. We had a guide assigned to us for our tome in Santiago and the tour of Valparaiso. Great guy named Felipe. Embarkation was a breeze in Valparaiso. No lines, no waiting just went through all the local security and customs checks and walked right on to the ship after a short bus ride from the cruise terminal. Note that once you get on board the ship they keep your passport until the end of the cruise. Also make sure you have your reciprocity agreement paperwork for Argentina as this is collected at the same time. The Sun is a mid sized ship with a lot of amenities. Lots of bars and restaurants. It is one of the older ships in the NCL fleet but is well maintained and very clean. The staff and crew are very friendly and really do try to make sure that you are enjoying your vacation. Lots of shipboard activities going on at all times. If you are bored it is your own fault. Service in all the dining rooms and specialty restaurants was excellent. We never had to wait to be seated and were never rushed at any of our meals. The Garden Café buffet seating area is small so sometimes it can be a challenge to get a table there at certain times. Food selection in the buffet was very good. Food in the main dining rooms ranged from good to outstanding. Same with the specialty restaurants that we tried. Bistro and La Cucina were exceptional but Cagney's was disappointing. One thing we do not like is that the pricing structure in the specialty restaurants can be a bit confusing to guests and staff. If you have a dining package certain things are included but not everything. If you have a voucher then different things are included. Only if you are paying the full price for the specialty dining is everything clear. This is a lot of nickel and diming for the staff and passengers. Same in main dining if you want to order lobster. It is there but you have to pay for it. Same with room service, you have to pay for it. The gym is small but well equipped. There are a number of classes that you can take. The shore excursions on this cruise were all amazingly well organized. No long lines, no waiting everyone was assigned to their proper bus, tender etc. right on board ship and you went directly there. Great job NCL! We had great weather for all of our ports of call. None were missed due to high winds or rough seas. All of the ports of call were interesting and there numerous excursions available. All the excursions were good that we went on but some could be very pricey. Since this is a once in a lifetime trip for us the high price for some is worth it. Our cabin was good. There was plenty of storage space and our steward kept it very clean and tidy for us. We were in the center of the ship and felt almost no motion when the ocean got a little rough. We loved the Norwegian Sun production cast. This is a group of singers and dancers that are exceptionally talented. Their shows were fantastic and very high energy. All you would want in a Vegas style production. The rest of the entertainment was also very good. A very funny magician, a tenor with a great voice, the Argentine Tango dancers were great. The Amber strings girls played all kinds of classical an d modern music throughout the ship and Nathan the guitarist/singer in the Windjammer was a lot of fun. There were so many entertainment options available all over the ship. This was the best cruise we have ever taken with NCL. They did everything right from when we booked to when we boarded the plane to come home. Could not have had a more perfect trip. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Sailed from Buenos Aires and really enjoyed the trip. I found the ship clean and well maintained. The food in the Main Dining Rooms was well presented. I did not eat in the buffets, I found them crowded and rushed. The entertainment was ... Read More
Sailed from Buenos Aires and really enjoyed the trip. I found the ship clean and well maintained. The food in the Main Dining Rooms was well presented. I did not eat in the buffets, I found them crowded and rushed. The entertainment was good although I would have enjoyed more comedians and movies instead of so much music but some of the entertainers were very good. The whole boat felt uncrowded and relaxing and I liked meeting so many folk from different countries. Our balcony cabin was comfortable and well maintained. We both found the bathroom fine. The ports were interesting, most are difficult to reach by road and the Falklands were great. Getting on and off was relatively painless and well organized both at the beginning and end of the cruise and at each port. I have only sailed with Carnival previously, about 6 times. I would rate this better than those cruises, mainly due to the more relaxed atmosphere with less crowding in the public areas, the interesting itinerary and the crew. I also found the other cruisers more friendly and courteous than I had found on the sailings out of Florida on Carnival. Good value for the money. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
I choose this cruise primarily for the interesting ports and itinerary. Patagonia, Falkland Islands, The Horn, Straits of Magellan, Chilean Fjords, and more. Embarkation was something. Lots of lines, and checkpoints getting through the ... Read More
I choose this cruise primarily for the interesting ports and itinerary. Patagonia, Falkland Islands, The Horn, Straits of Magellan, Chilean Fjords, and more. Embarkation was something. Lots of lines, and checkpoints getting through the port terminal. Once on the ship, and completing one last check-in, I was able to go right to my cabin. My luggage was present along with the first daily schedule. Lots of events throughout the afternoon and evening. I made a list and jumped right into it. Let me mention that the cabin was great, Mid-ship Ocean View, class OF. I describe it in more detail under the cabin review section. I really enjoyed the dining choices. The two main dining rooms always a large number of selections. I ate all dinner meals in one of the main dining rooms. One evening we went to the Brazilian Steak house (specialty restaurant with an extra charge) It was great. Had my fill of wonderfully grilled meats. I tried everything. Found some cuts better than others, like the tenderloin, which I had several more rounds of. They also had a shrimp dish that was excellent. Also don't forget the grilled pineapple, out of this world. For breakfast I would eat either the buffet/cafeteria areas on excursion days. Though these were fairly hectic. After a few days I discovered the continental plus breakfast area. It didn't feel as hurried, and I was able to get eggs fried/scrambled to order, and hot cereal. On sea days I would have a wonderful sit down breakfast in the main dining room with friends. Many, many choices and always good. There are so many other snack options from the bars to the buffets, to the crepe station at the ice cream bar. I enjoyed it all. The entertainment was good. I went to most shows. Some were better than others, but all were fun. Lots of planned/scheduled events and activities. Really something for everyone. In fact I wasn't able to do everything I wanted, because there were just so many choices. The service was great. Everyone from the dinning area, to cabin stewards, to senior staff were always helpful and accommodating. Of course my experiences may not match what others have experienced. I didn't interact with all the staff, and may have been lucky with those I did. Also my travel friends also commented on the fact that a lot of it has to do with the individual person themselves. We witnessed people just griping and complaining about things out of the cruise line's control, like weather which delayed tendering. Some where outright screaming at employees about how inept NCL was handling things. I understood the delay and didn't worry about it. Hey, we're on vacation, relax and chill out. Everything isn't going to go perfectly, but how you handle it will make a big difference in your total experience. Finally the excursions. I went with NCL's excursions on this cruise. Partially because I had booked fairly close to the sailing date and didn't have time to do much on my own. I was very pleased with my choices. I wanted to see lots of penguins, and I did. I wanted to hike in the forests of Tierra Del Fuego, and of the Chilean Fjord region. I wanted to visit a volcano at Puerto Montt. I got to do all of this and it was great. I enjoyed this itinerary, and ship so much that I plan to do this cruise again sometime in the future. Those of you reading this because you are taking this cruise, are in for a real treat. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Our family loves to travel, but recently several members were diagnosed with Celiac Disease. We quickly discovered that eating out, let alone vacationing internationally, posed what seemed to be an insurmountable problem. After a great ... Read More
Our family loves to travel, but recently several members were diagnosed with Celiac Disease. We quickly discovered that eating out, let alone vacationing internationally, posed what seemed to be an insurmountable problem. After a great deal of research, I trepidatiously arranged a two week cruise, hoping that eating in a consistent environment would permit us to travel without fear of cross contamination or illness. While we prefer more authentic cultural immersion and extended stays in our chosen destinations, we were thrilled that cruising presented a compromise, allowing us to balance travel with significant dietary/ health concerns. With appropriate pre-departure notification, the crew on the Norwegian Sun successfully enabled our family to have a fabulous vacation with healthy, GLUTEN FREE cuisine that was varied and scrumptious. We spoke with Rosalia Dizon, the Maitre D, on embarkation and she arranged for us to eat in the same dining facility with a reserved table and assigned us a dedicated and knowledgeable waitstaff. This allowed us to prevent cross contamination and the need to repeatedly explain our dietary restrictions at every meal. Our waiter, Christopher Song, was impressively diligent and consulted continuously with the chefs, who often put together special dishes for our group of five. Although the crew was taking care of hundreds of guests, Christopher and Rosalia graciously made our dietary restrictions seem effortless. While I would not typically chose to travel by cruising, NCL did a fantastic job and if you are looking for a GLUTEN FREE vacation, this is a manageable option. While I can't speak for other NCL cruises, I can confidently state that Rosalia and Christopher on the Norwegian Sun kept our family healthy and well fed and their hard work deserves commendation! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We arranged for a one night pre-stay, with transfer to the ship, at the Santiago Sheraton. They upgraded us to the Cristobal, so we had a posh room with bath robes. From our elite breakfast room, we had our first view of the Andes ... Read More
We arranged for a one night pre-stay, with transfer to the ship, at the Santiago Sheraton. They upgraded us to the Cristobal, so we had a posh room with bath robes. From our elite breakfast room, we had our first view of the Andes mountains. Wow! The concierge arranged a taxi for us to San Cristobal Park, and we spent a nice afternoon, exploring the hill, seeing amazing vistas and having supper in a sidewalk cafe with the locals. The weather was beautiful. We transferred to our ship, the next morning and were soon aboard our ship. They snapped a photo of us, and took our passports. Our suitcases arrived shortly after to our cabin, and we settled in for our two week cruise. PASSPORTS AND VISAS: purchase your Argentina visas online — $92 US each: very important. They take the original, I kept a few copies just in case. TIP: Take photo copies of your passports to keep with you while ashore. Note that your passport needs to be valid for 6 months. SEASICKNESS: The first few days were a little rough, with 18 foot swells but the scopolamine patches we brought with us worked well. BEVERAGE PKG: As we booked early we received a free beverage package. Mini fridge is not included. Gratuities had to be paid up front. This does not include bottled water, or coffee, so we drank soda water and tap water. The champagne was Italian, and they offered a good selection of white and red wine. The package covered all drinks 15.00 and under, most drinks were well within this price. We found the service and drinks were excellent. ROOM: 9th level mid ship, with private balcony, bathrobes for each, a king size bed, couch and desk. Loads of storage for our stuff. Our suitcases fit under the bed. We were port side, so from our balcony we could view the ever changing site of the breathtakingly beautiful Andes mountains. Some are 5 miles high! TRIPS: Some of the trips we took were very crowded, with many buses going to the same places. We booked six trips online before we went, not wanting to miss the Falkland Island trip to the Rockhoppers. Unlike Caribbean cruises, most attractions are quite a distance from the port, and we did not want to miss anything. In Puntas Arenas, we took the trip to see the Magellan Penguins, amazing and worthwhile, but very cold, and windy, so pack accordingly. We decided to purchase some sweatshirts on board, and did not regret it. I recommend taking gloves, scarves, and hats. Luckily, the seas remained calm for the rest of the cruise. It was amazing that we could round Cape Horn, other ships were not so fortunate, and then the Captain reversed to allow the starboard side to view this legendary shore, as we cruised towards the Straits of Magellan. It was a sunny day, so we headed to the top deck, and found a celebration going on, for rounding Cape Horn. They had scooped water from the Cape, yes, they actually did this, and were baptizing people with it. What a fun thing, so we joined in. CASINO: Smoking is allowed in the casino. While in Chilean waters, it was closed. FOOD: We dined in the dining rooms most of the time, as the buffet was filled with people who seemed to think it was their last meal. We found a wide selection of food the few times we went. When we arrived at the Falklands, the tender transfer was about 30 minutes. There were three ships in at the same time! The population of Stanley is 2,800 people! Thank goodness we booked ahead for the coveted Rockhopper trip. There were many disappointed people. We were loaded into a 4 by 4, and taken on a wild, rough ride over uneven, unmarked fields. As stated in the description, this is not for people with backs, knee or neck problems. Finally, we see them, on a rocky cliff overlooking the ocean, the most adorable Rockhopper Penguins. We stayed for about an hour, and had hot drinks and homemade goodies in a small warm cabin. Bathroom facilities were available. Back in Stanley, we ended our day with a beer at the famous Globe Tavern, where we met a friend from our hometown, who was cruising the other way. Unbelievable! This happened without benefit of cell phones or internet, just a plan before we left home. At Puerto Madryn, Argentina, we were docked, so we did our own thing, as the trip to the penguins was hours each way by bus, and it was a beautiful hot day. Many people were swimming in the ocean. We had lunch at a little bistro. Four people who decided to take their own trip, did not make it back to the ship in time, so after waiting for half an hour, the Sun left without them. We became friends with one of the security guards and he told us they would join us in Uruguay, but I have no idea of how. TIP: while ashore, bring a copy of your passports, and credit cards, just in case. Also, pay close attention to the degree of mobility required on some trips. Some are very taxing, with lots of stairs and hills. New Years eve day we were at sea, so it was relaxing to sit on deck, and watch for whales. After supper every bar offered music and dancing. At midnight they served free champagne. In Uruguay, it was New years day, and we were told that everything was closed, so we had pre booked the City Tour to see the sites, a very informative trip. Back at the ship, there was a BBQ on deck, and music, as this was our last day. There was a fabulous band playing, and everyone was enjoying the sunshine on deck by the pool. Our suitcases had to be out in the hall by midnight. We put our essentials in a back pack, as we were staying 2 days in Buenos Aires at the Sheraton, offered through Norwegian Sun. This included a transfer from the ship to our hotel. BUENOS AIRES: Now we were totally on our own. We arrived around 11am at the hotel, and for some reason, check in was greatly delayed, (3pm) so we decided to take a City Tour through the concierge. But first we found a bank to get extra pesos, so we could fully enjoy our stay. Compare prices and descriptions to get the best deal. After our city tour, we wandered over to La Floride, a short walk to this shopping area, great especially for leather goods. Not too many restaurants here, but we managed to find one, and enjoyed people watching while having our supper. The next day, Sunday, we took a bus and boat trip to the Tigre Delta, and they told us we would be dropped off at a local market, and would need to taxi back to our hotel. We decided to go with the flow, and this wonderful Sunday market turned out to be one of our trip highlights. Watch for pickpockets in these crowded areas. We noticed that many travellers wear their packsacks in front, for this reason. We ate supper right across from the Sheraton, at a lovely little restaurant, Las Nazarenas, with a patio overlooking the street. I ordered pasta, very delicious, and my husband ordered a huge steak. Those Argentinians really love their beef. TRANSFER: There are many taxis available outside the door. Our cost was $35 US. This turned out to be one of the most harrowing rides I have ever had. Driving in Argentina is not for the faint hearted. MONEY: We took currency for each port, to avoid worry about changing money. OVERVIEW: All in all, I would definitely go cruising with Norwegian Sun again. I loved the smaller ship and the friendly staff. They would meet us after a trip with hot washcloths, or hot chocolate, a nice touch. It was great to unpack once, get organized, and be in the same cabin for 2 weeks. Be aware that the seas can be extremely rough, and ports can be missed. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Being excited about my first cruise, I don't know if the embarkment process was short/average/long. Didn't seem long to me. I was one of those people who thought 'I can't be cooped up with that many people', ... Read More
Being excited about my first cruise, I don't know if the embarkment process was short/average/long. Didn't seem long to me. I was one of those people who thought 'I can't be cooped up with that many people', especially for 14 days. But I never fell cramped, crowded or overwhelmed....a little sea sick once though. Our room was snug for 3 people, but we spent so little time there it was okay. The price and location was just to tempting not go! Very few children, I saw about six. Our little tug boats did an amazing job of getting us out of port around those huge cargo ships and off we went! The welcome board poolside barbeque with music was fun, with plenty of seating inside and out. The excitement was contagious. First stop was Montevideo, Uruguay: take the Leather Company free ride to the center plaza. After browsing/buying at the store, the plaza outside has many sightseeing areas -monuments,only piece of the old city wall, classic hotels and opera house. Make sure you stop buy the street craft fair, many items are affordable, esp. the jewelry, pottery and chocolates. It was a short time, but plenty to do. The next day at sea, we started the South American lecture series (that prepared us for further ports), joined Trivia, origami, Spanish Class with Hector and Dance classes. We collected initials on a game card and at the end of the cruise, NCL gifts were handed out. (I got a nice NCLcoffee mug) The nightly entertainment shows were very good. We saw magicians, flutist, singers, dancers, musical shows, something for everyone. Argentine tango group Pampas Diablos were intense and "I want to dance like that!!" I have to mention singers Elvy Rose, Amber Strings and Aaron Shaw because they were very good, too. We ate at the buffets, Seven Seas and Four Seasons, all complimentary. The amount and variety of food was overwhelming and totally delicious! It included prime rib the first night , then turkeys, hams, pork, fish, chocolate night, Lobster specials, Norwegian night, stir frys, Indian....and the desserts! But there were also sandwiches, salads and burgers and really good breakfasts. The Punta Tombo Penguin Rookery was amazing with these little penguins waddling next to, in front of or feeding their young so close to us. The coastline and hills were full. We also saw the rabbit-like mara, rhea and guanaco. Beautiful area that tourists need to respect. Day 6 brought in a storm, so we could not tender to Stanley, Falkland Islands. But this did give us more time cruising the Cape Horn area. The mountains are fabulous down here. The winds were whipping and we bundled up to go outside for photos...many photos! The sea was fairly calm for that area and sunny. We went from east to west and west to east, our captain did a great job of manuvering the ship so all could enjoy no matter where you were on the ship. Hot chocolate stations were waiting when you can back inside. Ushuaia - Prison train and Tierra del Fuego was day 8. I was surprised how many people live down there.Plenty to do and see in town. Great chocolate and Beagle beer shop in the middle of town. The Prison train was interesting and informative as we passed the tree cemetary and mountans.A short ride by bus brought us to the Beagle Channel. I just had to put my hand in those icey waters! There was a certain kind of excitement standing there, at the end of the world. Punta Arenas we met up with friends and spent the whole day at their cattle ranch. This was very special for us and won't be forgotten. The Straits of Magellan and Chilean fjords were breathhtaking. Find a good seat, have a drink - have plenty of battery time and space on your camera cards! Puerto Chacabuco, Day 12 - Best of Nature, Flavors & Traditions. We walked through a pristine Patagonian rainforest, seeing unusual plants (some as big as me), continual birds singing, came upon a huge waterfall and saw 2 large ringed kingfishers. Then a short hike up a hill to the most delicious fire-roasted lamb meal. While we werre eating there were traditiional danciing, music, wines and the wonderful pisco sours! The next day was the Best of Puerto Montt. Our excusion brought us through the countryside to a German style city and craft market. Nice, quality items there. This is where you can see one of the volcanos across the lake. On to Criadero Los Alerces Ranch with side-ways running champion horses. We were welcomed by the owner and his family, horse trainers and breeder, and Chile's junior champion tradition dancers with live music. There was a rodeo showing their horses and then a wonderful beef steak meal with local wines. Another excellent excursion. And down near the port there are rows of craft market booths. Some gimmicky stuff, but others very nice handmade local items. Take the time to look around. Our last day at sea was filled with activites. There was a special Sun Crew Talent Show that surprised the audience. Many of these young people have hidden talents: singing, music instruments, traditional dancing and then the Entertainment Crew "fountains" skit.....hysterical, loved it!! Hectar is a ham...good job! That night, I watched from the above deck seating as the kitchen staff starting to build a huge gingerbread house/ship/playground scene on a long table. The next morning, at disembarkment, we were routed by this display. Made you smile and not so sad to be getting off the ship. My first cruise. From 80+ degree days to 30 degree snow showers. Cities, penguins, mountains, ranches, rainforest. Music, games, shows,and I can't forget the adorable towel animals Yasmin made for us! What a wonderful adventure! Well worth the money,thank you. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
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
First let me say that before this cruise there had been some concern about previous negative reviews of the Norwegian Sun, Chilean earthquakes, negative reviews of 'Christian the Van Man', verbiage from Argentina about shipping ... Read More
First let me say that before this cruise there had been some concern about previous negative reviews of the Norwegian Sun, Chilean earthquakes, negative reviews of 'Christian the Van Man', verbiage from Argentina about shipping control in the Falkland Islands and on and on. To our joy absolutely every potential problem was NOT a problem for us. It is hard to decide where to start with this review since so much of what needs to be said is to provide some balance considering previous reviews. First of all, please understand that my wife and myself feel that fair value needs to be given at a fair cost. We knew the Sun was a little over 10 years old but found it to be well maintained and actually quite elegant. There was some age showing but nothing inappropriate. In all cases regarding the Norwegian Sun as far as food value and professional service we were well served. We ate at some of the premium restaurants and some of the no charge ones. All of the food was good. The steak and lobster at the 'East Meets West' steakhouse was excellent. Yes, there was a cost but we knew that in advance and chose to pay it. The entertainment aboard ship that we saw was also very good. Another interesting topic has been embarkation and disembarkation. All things considered, the crew did a VERY good job with both. The only thing we found that could do with improvement was the coffee in the Garden Cafe. Try Pacific Heights or the Java Cafe for a better cup of coffee. And just to address it up front, 'Christian the Van Man' sent Jose to pick us up at the Santiago airport and transfer us privately to the ship. This occurred flawlessly in a professional manner that was enjoyable, trust-able and appreciated! Our Cruise Critic group was active before the cruise. My wife and I scheduled several tours with Norwegian and several with Cruise Critic members. All of the tours we went on worked well and were very enjoyable. Thanks to Sandpiper34 a meet and greet was arranged where almost ALL of the ships officers, including the Captain, came to meet with us and addressed any issues or questions we had. It was a great way to start the cruise. I highly recommend doing it and thank the ship's personnel for attending as well as Sandpiper34 for having arranged the meet and greet. The short version of this review is that we had a GREAT time! With the many concerns listed earlier this could have played out very differently. Cruise Critic members, Norwegian Cruise Lines and all of the individual operators who assisted us are to be highly commended. And just in case anyone wonders about it, we have no affiliation with any of these entities except to be thankful for their good service. The following gives some specific port and tour information. Santiago, Chile: Private transfer from the Santiago airport to the port in Valparaiso was handled very well by Christian Montenegro, The Van Man. His email is christianroymx@hotmail.com. We recommend him. Puerto Montt, Chile: We took a tour with several other Cruise Critic members. This tour was with GV Tours (Annie) and was one of our favorites. They may be contacted at http://www.gvtours.com/. Puerto Chacabuco, Chile: NCL ship tour of Chacabuco and surrounding area. Short and inexpensive but a good value. Punta Arenas, Chile: NCL ship tour to see the penguins on Magdalena Island. Well worth the cost! You should be prepared for high winds and blowing sand. Especially plan on protecting any camera equipment. Ushuaia, Argentina: NCL ship tour cruising the Beagle Channel. The catamaran was almost new and the tour was very good. Stanley, Falkland Islands: Cruise Critic tour with Patrick Watts, pwatts@horizon.co.fk. We visited one of the last battlefields from the 1982 war with Argentina, a lighthouse and saw some penguins. Great value for the cost! Thank you too, Ian (our 4 WD driver)! Puerto Madryn, Argentina: NCL ship tour, Great Patagonian adventure. We visited Peninsula Valdez, saw many birds, penguins and sea lions, had lunch at the San Lorenzo ranch. This tour was relatively expensive but we would do it again in a heartbeat! Montevideo, Uruguay: This was a Cruise Critic tour of approximately 20 people. Ricardo Wall wall.ric1@hotmail.com arranged for several taxis and vans. We then all toured the city and visited a winery. The only thing to remember about arranging things this way is that the cost is for the taxis/vans but expenses are additional. We thought this was an excellent and affordable way to see Montevideo! Thank you Ricardo! Buenos Aires, Argentina: Fred B. with www.silverstarcar.com handled arranging to pick us up from the ship and transfer us to the hotel (Melia Buenos Aires Hotel-excellent location, great service, reasonable cost- consider it as an option). We spent a couple of extra days with Fred chauffeuring us around in his Lincoln Town Car. Once again, we had a GREAT time. We highly recommend Fred as an affordable private way to experience Buenos Aires and the surrounding countryside!!! We met some wonderful new friends through Cruise Critic and loved every moment we spent together in person aboard ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
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