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

47 Norwegian (NCL) South America Cruise Reviews

We wanted to see the south American experience. As we embarked, we had lunch at the Garden Café. We found the food to be of a very messy quality. Again as we ate breakfast and lunch we found very little variations from day to day. ... Read More
We wanted to see the south American experience. As we embarked, we had lunch at the Garden Café. We found the food to be of a very messy quality. Again as we ate breakfast and lunch we found very little variations from day to day. Too many dishes with Indian seasoning (curry). I do not understand when you have several specialty restaurants, why you have to pay extra for certain cuts of meat in the Four Season dining room (main dining room). The service was great, waiters and assistant maitre D were the most helpful and congenial people. The main dining room was nice but expected more of a higher quality of dinners, this is in comparison to other cruises we have been on. Eight days into our 17 day cruise I came down with food poisoning, (my strong opinion). This required medical assistance from the ship medical staff. I was quarantined to my room for 24 hrs. We had to cancel a special paid excursion for that day. The medical staff was able to have our $200 fair reimbursed. This was the day we were to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Bummer. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We liked the ports and also we sailed into San Francisco. It was close to home and didn't have to fly but only one way. We flew into Santiago the day Of the cruise, didn't have to one of a wait to board. Never will we do this ... Read More
We liked the ports and also we sailed into San Francisco. It was close to home and didn't have to fly but only one way. We flew into Santiago the day Of the cruise, didn't have to one of a wait to board. Never will we do this again, it's to stressful. As we have always gone in at least 2 days before. Ship was clean, but needs to be in dry dock for lots of work. We were in cabin 8062, but had to change because of the terrible noise and banging.(3 nights) We moved to cabin 9024 where for 3 days the air conditioning didn't work. But when it was fixed it worked great. There were others that had to change there rooms. Dining was a hit or miss. if you like Patotoes, rice and beans, same salads and soups you will be fine. Beef was not very good at all. Desert was always good. The best coffee ever in dining room. We enjoyed the Italian & French restaurants. Steak house again not very good beef. But service in all restaurants were very good. I did have one employee that was very rude maybe she was having a bad day so will not give out her name. Our room attendant was very good. Entertainment was also a hit or miss. But you always seem to enjoy going. The best entertainment was in the lounges. Activities keep you busy on sea days, you have to get points to earn a NCL t-Shirt key chain little things. kept you from not getting board. Ports, Coquimbo we did the Tabali Winery with lunch. Arica, Codpa Willage Awesome tour. Callao Coional Lima enjoyed. Salaverry wished we didn't go, not much to see. Couldn't understand guides at all. Puntarenas Zip line was pretty good, husband took this. I did the Aerial tram and Rainforest. I had done this before and enjoyed it. 3 Stops in Mexico. Have been there many times so no tours. Just did our own thing. There were only 2 Children on cruise that we seen. This was for older adults. We cruised with another couple. No I would not do this cruise again. But glad we got to see Chile and Peru. Such poor countries. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Last month The Amazing Ms D. and I took a three week cruise on the Norwegian Sun from Valparaíso Chile to San Francisco. While we have taken several cruise this was by far the longest cruise we have ever taken. There were many good points ... Read More
Last month The Amazing Ms D. and I took a three week cruise on the Norwegian Sun from Valparaíso Chile to San Francisco. While we have taken several cruise this was by far the longest cruise we have ever taken. There were many good points to this cruise and several issues that took away from our enjoyment. I will be blogging about the places we visited, but here are my thoughts on the cruise itself. The Norwegian Sun The Norwegian Sun is one of the smaller boats in the Norwegian fleet. Built in 2001, it holds about 2000 passengers. Along with the Norwegian Star it was Norwegians first “Freestyle Cruising” ship. While it is still a big ship, everything was much more convenient than on some of the larger boats. The staff on the Sun was excellent. Friendly and helpful, they worked hard to meet our needs, even giving me scores on European soccer matches that were not covered on their tv channels. UPGRADE, UPGRADE, UPGRADE This was a special trip and when we booked it we decided to upgrade to a mini-suite. This was a great choice. Our room was on Deck 11, which put us on the same deck as the spa, gym pools and Garden Café – the buffet. This made our life very easy in the morning, since the Garden Café was the only place to get breakfast. Out room was a little over 300 square feet, and had separate sitting area that could curtained off so I could watch TV without bothering The Amazing Ms D. if she was asleep. It also came with a full bathroom and changing area. All of this space meant that when we wanted someplace quiet, which can be hard to find on board any cruise ship, we had a spacious and comfortable place to go. Dining Let’s start with the best – dinner. Norwegian Cruises operate under the title of “freestyle dining.” That means that there are no fixed seating times for dinner. There are 2 main dining rooms open for dinner and you just show up when you are ready to eat. You also have the choice of whether or not to eat with other guests. The food in the dining room was very good. There was a set menu that did not change from day to day along with a changing selection of appetizers and 5-6 main courses. Over the course of three weeks the menus did repeat, but not so that we got tired of them. The portions were reasonable, and this being a cruise, you could always order a second choice if you were really hungry. Dinner service was excellent, with several wait-staff taking care of each table. Breakfast was only available in the Garden Café Buffet. It was plentiful with an omelet station, a waffle station and lots of good baked goods, breakfast meat and fresh fruit. Unfortunately with 1500 guests, the Café filled up quickly, especially on the at sea days. My biggest complaint about breakfast was that the coffee was awful. Now for lunch. Most people ate lunch in the Garden Café. We did not. The food there was not very good, and the lunch choices were very limited. The food was not seasoned well, if at all. Lunch was also served in of the restaurants. This was a much better choice. Even though the lunch menu did not change during the three weeks, the choices were much better. The only thing was that the lunch crew did not deal very well with special orders, like changing the veggies on a particular dish. Out best lunches were on the days we docked, because the food we got on shore was much better than the lunches that were on board the ship. Specialty Dining – The Sun also has six or seven “specialty dining” restaurants. For $20/person or more, you could eat dinner in a restaurant that offered a premium choice that was not available in the main dining room. We did not indulge, as we felt that for what we were paying for our suite, we did not want to pay extra for food. Amenities and Entertainment The ship was very comfortable with a lot to do. This was the first cruise where there were actually enough deck chairs in the sun so that people did not fight over them, although things did get crowded on the shady side. There were 2 decent sized pools and 4 hot tubs. There were a few places that we were comfortable just sitting and talking with people, especially in the outdoor area at the aft section of the ship and in the Atrium on deck 5, which was also where the coffee bar was. The library was well stocked and quiet, although most of its chairs were taken to be used by a large group of bridge players on board. There was an excellent string trio- Amber Strings – that performed most evenings in the Atrium before and after dinner. And the Sun Show Band had great jazz chops. The stage performances were hard to watch for someone who frequents Broadway, the efforts were earnest and heartfelt. One note – We found how important it is to have travel insurance. Two trips to the ships doctor cost us $1600. Most of this will hopefully be covered by the travel insurance, but it will not be covered by medicare. Issues – Not all was great As I said, the food in the Garden Café was not very good. There was also a feeling of being nickeled and dimed. Everything had an extra charge. We have already come to expect the charge for soda, the upselling at every spa visit and the specialty restaurants, but the only decent coffee was at the Coffee Bar - $2.95 for espresso/cappuccino. Also the alcoholic drinks were expensive. One of the more annoying things that happened was that when not enough (read no) people were attending the “health seminar” in the spa, they moved them to the Atrium, where everyone there had to hear them whether they want to or not. Finally, and most importantly, there was a major problem with the ventilation system in the rear of the boat. There was an odor of sewage that permeated that part of the boat for the last half of the trip. It was so bad that that crew just turned off the air conditioning as the only way to control it. Overall, we enjoyed our time on the Norwegian Sun, but that was due as much to our choice of room before we boarded, it gave us a place to be that was ours and comfortable. If we had been in a smaller, interior room, which would have necessitated us using more of the ship, it would probably not have been as good a trip, and my rating would definitely have been lower. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
The first part of the cruise was fine and we enjoyed a few different ports from before. The crew and the overall experience was great. However the second part from Valparaiso was a bit of a disaster. This does in no way reflect on the ... Read More
The first part of the cruise was fine and we enjoyed a few different ports from before. The crew and the overall experience was great. However the second part from Valparaiso was a bit of a disaster. This does in no way reflect on the hard working crew members, but more on the management. A lot of the passengers had to endure work being done ,which should most certainly have been left until dry dock. Some had flooded cabins, others had water leaks and toilet back ups. The worst part was enduring the dreadful sewer smells that were in our cabin and hung around the back part of the ship for days. No explanation was ever offered to us, and we were not present at any question period. No answer was ever given to a letter we wrote to the hotel director either. Also ceiling panels were removed close to our cabin and fibreglass insulation particles were floating around. The workmen were wearing masks, but we had to walk through this and breathe it in! We have to say how hard the cabin stewards had to work to clean all this up! On a lighter note, the shows were excellent as was the cruise directors staff. We did manage to have a fun time under very difficult circumstances. We have been on quite a few NCL ships before, in fact this was our third time on this ship. Hopefully some of the problems will be sorted out during dry dock, but passengers should not be subject to such blatant treatment whilst on board. We paid a lot of money for this trip and expected better from this cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
OK. i chose this cruise because I am single and I got the same room with no single supplement for 34 days straight. Also because I had decided to visit South America for the first time. I enjoyed exploring Buenos Aires for 4 days before ... Read More
OK. i chose this cruise because I am single and I got the same room with no single supplement for 34 days straight. Also because I had decided to visit South America for the first time. I enjoyed exploring Buenos Aires for 4 days before boarding. The embarkation process was neither too long or as short as some I've had before. They "process" guest in the 4 Seasons, which is one of the two (free) main dining rooms. My suitcase showed up outside my room when they said it would but it had a little scar on it. My inside room (7311) was in the front of the ship. It was the smallest on the ship but plenty for one person. The shower was a narrow cylinder that would not accommodate "large" people. The room sometimes had a slightly musty smell like pillows that had dirty hair smell. This ship's layout was a little different from most I sailed on. Usually the main theater is in the front of the ship and the restaurants are in the aft. Not so here; all in the aft. This meant that I had to walk a lot which I don't mind, but usually through the casino where smoking is allowed (cough, cough). Those with aft cabins had everything in their area: buffet on 11, main dining room on 5, theater on 6 and 7, and specialty restaurants and some bars on 12. On my end of the ship I could easily access the workout gym and salon, spa area as well as the atrium and guest services area. The guest services had some really nice people but the dreaded "supervisor" was so intransigent when I and another man argued for understanding that I was very unhappy with my treatment from that moment on. We felt we were in the right and she wasn't budging. We had no recourse so we gave up but resented our treatment. I never used the specialty restaurants so I generally ate with friends in the main dining room called the "Seven Seas". Luckily I made a lot of "friends of Dorothy" during the first half of the cruise and we ate together and enjoyed our wait staff who were excellent (like most of the staff on board except for the dreaded guest services supervisor, ironically.) We would then move on the the entertainment in the theater and then finish the night with the Karaoke event every night. I loved the "production company" i.e. the singers and dancers. They were EXCELLENT! Some of the other acts didn't appeal to my personal tastes like magicians, comedians and jugglers.The Tango acts were exciting and the 4 tenors act was wonderful as was the ship combo which did a "New Orleans" style show one night. The cruise director and his staff did their best! One of my favorite activities was dressing in togas and being made a "shellback' when we crossed the equator. the Ms Norwegian Sun contest around the pool was fun too. There were tons of ports and excursions: Montevideo does not require a NCL excursion; the port and market and tour buses are right there as you get off the ship. I am really glad I bought the Punta Tombo penguin rockery excursion even though it was overpriced (thousands of penguins!). No need for NCL excursion in Stanley unless you want to see the emperor penguins. The weather was good until Cape Horn where the winds and ocean became downright dangerous. Ushuaia was great since I took the Train at the end of the world which was fun. The town is right at the ship's feet too. Puerto Arenas was conveniently right at the ship too. No need for NCL excursions. The Beagle Channel was magnificent with a series of glaciers even with the wind howling and the cold. This was the last of the Buenos Aires- Valparaiso cruises so I recommend going earlier when it's their summer or spring. The fjords were pretty boring and the weather was awful (high winds and 20-25 foot waves). At Puerto Chacabuco the weather continued to be disappointing as was my excursion walking in the rain and muck through some dense woods. the lamb meal after was good as were the folk dancers. At Puerto Montt a small group of us hired a van and had a pleasant overview of the area for $50 each. I loved Valparaiso and Vina del Mar. The metro station is right outside the cruise terminal so I rode to Vina and then stopped on the way back at the fish market to see the sea lions go nuts off the wharf, then rode to one of the old elevators and had a look see over the city. And so ended the first half of the cruise! The second half started with the port of Coquimbo which is very close to La Serena and the Elqui Valley. Upon leaving the terminal I found a van and had a great day for $50. At the next port, Arica, I went on my most expensive and most impressive excursion to Cuzco and Machu Pichu. This was a 3 day/ 2 night odyssey that was well organized and well executed, but phenomenally overpriced ($2100). Next I had to find a dentist to put my crown back in in Trujillo, which is quite a nice city actually. I paid $10 each way for a cab. Next we crossed the equator and finally landed in Puntarenas, Costa Rica. I bought a cheap little excursion and got what I paid for. My French friends from St Martin got a great taxi driver who showed them everything worth seeing for $50 each (magic number I guess, but less than I paid. next was Puerto Quetzel, Guatemala which had only one good destination, Antigua, which I had already visited and skipped. I was still taking the Cipro I bought in Puntarenas ($30) for GI discomfort so I stayed on board. Next was Puerto Chiapas from which I took the $10 van to Tapachula and enjoyed WiFi at a nice little restaurant on the plaza. I was starved for wifi since it was so bad and expensive on the ship. Next I finally got to Huatulco which is a nice port right off the ship. I saw the whole area with a $15 cab ride. BEAUTIFUL high end tourist area. After that it was Cabo San Lucas where i took a short excursion to see the immediate area and San Jose de los Cabos which is a very pretty, less commercial village. Stunning area but at risk of being over-developed (if it isn't already). Finally the last port of call before San Francisco, Los Angeles, was very interesting for me since I'd never been. I booked a bare bones NCL excursion called "Beverly Hills and the beaches" which thankfully was not expensive ($69) and got us through LA traffic before the ship left. I really enjoyed the beaches: Santa Monica and Venice. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. First time with NCL. Website not very informative for planning ahead, apart from full info on the (very expensive) excursions. No prices for the spa, bar. Stateroom was roomy and bathroom was ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. First time with NCL. Website not very informative for planning ahead, apart from full info on the (very expensive) excursions. No prices for the spa, bar. Stateroom was roomy and bathroom was good. Everything worked - no complaints there. Food was good. Friendly staff often gave us window seats in Four Seasons restaurant which we much appreciated. Negative was the exhorbitant prices of wines not to mention the 18% service charge added to drinks. Feeling ripped off like this does take the edge off what could be a good holiday. Garden buffet restaurant often very crowded and noisy but not many queues. Horrible canned music played at times - we could not wait to get out! Ship in general has spacious public areas and decks, sometimes spoilt by loud music. Internet is ludicrously expensive and amazingly slow, even for a satellite - another rip-off, as were the expensive photos they kept taking (we did not buy). Our agent had failed to point out that there is a US$ 13 charge for each person per night for a "service charge". Quite a shock to see it on the bill - that sort of amount must pay the wages of the ships crew. Staff were on the whole friendly and helpful, especially with our early disembarkation which was much appreciated. Yes, I would sail again with NCL but with reservations. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We were lucky to have had great weather at each port and able to enjoy the shore excursions that were all booked with NCL. The previous Eastbound cruise was unable to stop in The Falklands due to rough seas. We only experienced rough seas ... Read More
We were lucky to have had great weather at each port and able to enjoy the shore excursions that were all booked with NCL. The previous Eastbound cruise was unable to stop in The Falklands due to rough seas. We only experienced rough seas while going through the Strait of Megellan. I recommend two excursions that view Penguins. 1. Punta Tombo viewed Gentoo Penguins in the nesting areas under prickly bushes. 2. Lagoon Bluff - Gentoo AND King Penguins at Lagoon Bluff - the area was very different than Punta Tumbo. It's very nice and you can walk on the beach and you can get so close to the King Penguins. I would recommend both excursions to see the difference in how the Penguins live. The ship itself was a bit of a disappointment. Staff was not very "upbeat"...there were only a handful of staff who seemed friendly or who seemed to enjoy being there. Food was only mediocre...not tasty nor presented attractively. The lounge/ bar entertainment was not good at all ...Greg, the Piano player had no personality and could not sing well.(even though he played the piano well, he was not entertaining.) Singer, Nathan Eardly could sing well enough but he was not engaging. Neither of these two entertainers engaged the people and did not attract a following of people. Entertainment in The Starlight Lounge was good. The ship band was good. The service in Las Ramblas Tapas bar was very poor, (with the exception of one female employee.) Our cabin steward did a fine job...no complaints there. After reading about and experiencing NCL for the second time, I am pretty sure that this will be my last cruise with NCL. We met with several couples through Cruise Critic and NCL did not take care of one couple who had Platinum Status... I don't like the pricing policy...when price drops, those who book later get a better price...they would not refund any money to us because we were paid in full when our oceanview guarantee dropped $600. per person, and we were still assigned to an oceanview. The same was true for the PLATINUM status couple...they would not upgrade them! The condition of the ship was fine, and they are scheduled for refurbishing in late April. I am just not impressed with NCL I encourage you to read about the different cruise lines and their fees and policies. I am anxious to get back on a Princess cruise. I have had very good experiences with free upgrades and service with Princess. One thing I like about Princess is the access to coin operated laundry on each floor ...so nice to be able to run down the hall to put a quick iron to a piece of clothing... Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
A FREESTYLE ADVENTURE IN SOUTH AMERICA (So many well written and informative reviews and so many different opinions. Is my opinion needed – probably not!) Pre-embarkation I booked the NCL cruise round South America embarking ... Read More
A FREESTYLE ADVENTURE IN SOUTH AMERICA (So many well written and informative reviews and so many different opinions. Is my opinion needed – probably not!) Pre-embarkation I booked the NCL cruise round South America embarking from Buenos Aires on 27 February and disembarking at Valparaiso on 13 March. This was the second time we had cruised on the 'Norwegian Sun'. My wife and I decided that we didn't want to opt for the free 2 day pre-cruise stay in Buenos Aires and asked the booking company to organise our trip so that we could fly to Buenos Aires arriving in time for us to get to the ship before the boarding deadline. With hindsight this was a bad decision; we should have opted for the Buenos Aires stay. A few days after the booking was confirmed we were advised by the company that we had very little time between arriving at Ministro Pistarini airport and getting to the ship in time for embarkation and that we should make sure that we had appropriate travel insurance in place. I explained that we had trusted them to arrange a proper itinerary and that in any event flights had been arranged by them before we had the opportunity to assess whether enough time had been allowed. There were many Email exchanges and telephone calls with the company but nothing was done to resolve the situation. I also received advice from friends in Buenos Aires but all thought I would be lucky to get to the ship in time – this didn't help. As you might imagine between the time of booking and the embarkation date I felt under considerable stress. I was told that If I did miss embarkation I could join the ship in Montevideo. However, with twenty hours flight time to Buenos Aires, at the end of it I didn't really relish the thought of arranging an overnight hotel stay and a ferry across the River Plate. With the lack of time available I felt it safer to pre-book a taxi from the airport to the ship at a considerably increased cost – needless to say this was not straightforward either! During all this time little information was voluntarily provided about the cruise. Tip: Choose a company with a good reviews. Embarkation By a miracle we arrived 5 minutes before the embarkation deadline. Embarkation was relatively straightforward considering our late arrival. (Staff were helpful.) We arrived on board the ship to join the safety briefing shortly after it started. Tip: Make sure you have sufficient time within your itinerary. The Cabin The cabin was clean, quiet and comfortable. My only criticisms would be the lack of space between the bottom of the bed and the wall, a balcony door that was almost impossible to open and a tiny shower cubicle. The holed (looked like moth-eaten) curtains were also a bit of a let down! Restaurants I note that several cruise members had complained about the lack of food variety but I did not really find this a problem. In the Four Seasons and Seven Seas restaurants the quality of the food was satisfactory and the service was good. The quality of wine was also perfectly acceptable to me and over the years I have sampled quite a variety of wines. We opted for the Specialist Restaurant package but with hindsight this was probably a mistake. The food in my opinion was good but the special dishes eg. lobster and steaks, could be found as specials on the Four Seasons and Seven Seas restaurants at extra cost. For the slightly enhanced surroundings and the option of special dishes $196 for the two of us was a high price to pay. The quality of food in the breakfast and lunch restaurants was OK but the restaurants were mostly too crowded for comfort. The buffets on deck were a bit mixed and not great overall. Tip: Make sure you research reviews in order to make the best use of restaurants. Ports of call and Days at Sea I think the itinerary was excellent. Reviews on the ports visited are very helpful and a must read. In view of the seriously overpriced NCL excursions our group opted for local excursion services. However, we could have done better with excursions to see the penquins and I regret not visiting a ranch in Argentina. The train ride through the Tierra del Fuega national park was a bit disappointing – little sign of wild life – but The Falkland Islands were wonderful. Days at sea were enjoyable and relaxing. The weather was very kind to us until we rounded Cape Horn and then we hit fairly rough seas. However, this was what we expected in this area and for me it added to the cruise. We were lucky enough to have brilliant sunshine on the beautiful Falklands . I saw little wildlife in the sea on the East side but it livened up on the West with several whales, dolphins, seals and a variety of birds. Tip: Make sure you research the ports and excursions thoroughly. The excursions offered by the ship can usually be replicated locally at significantly lower cost. Businesses offering excursions do not all accept credit cards and there are often long queues at banks and ATMs for local currency. US dollars are more readily accepted. I found local taxis cheap but unlikely to accept credit cards although they will take local currency and sometimes American dollars. One tip I overlooked in the reviews was 'book a port-side cabin if travelling westwards'. Entertainment/enrichment Peter Croyle's talks were excellent but unfortunately coincided with our breakfast time. However, the talk could be viewed on TV. Generally the restaurant and bar staff were helpful and attentive. The crew members were always cheerful and our cabin staff were excellent. I think I might have enjoyed the Alberto Sanchez tribute to the three tenors but through my own fault I didn't attend it. Tip: To get the most out of entertainment plan ahead and don't rely on others. Something I didn't do! Costs When I booked the cruise I was given a complimentary 'Ultimate drinks package' and given to understand that this included all drinks. However, when I asked for a copy of my bill a few days into the trip I found that I had been charged about $50 for two drinks from the mini-bar which we had on arrival and a few bottles of water which were provided daily in the room. As I had no prior information of these costs I asked that they be removed from the bill. This was refused and a sheet was eventually produced giving details of the ultimate drinks package. (The small print was so small that the desk officer offered to read it for me) The booking company were given the blame for not having made me aware of it. Why would anyone opt to pay for drinks when they could go to a bar or restaurant a few steps away and get them for free? As the charge by this time had risen considerably – several more bottles of water had been delivered - and I was made aware that the company was quite willing to waive the staff gratuities I reluctantly decided to reduce the gratuities by the additional charge to my account. (I am not in favour of an optional gratuities policy such as NCL's. This leads to a situation where guests, such as myself, who are prepared to pay the gratuities and some more on top are subsidising those that are not. Let's face it if we can afford to cruise we can afford to ensure the ship's staff are properly paid.) WiFi costs at $29.99 for a poor quality service were avoided as were the ship's excursions. Our group opted to use local excursion services at about a quarter of the cost. Post cruise Needless to say the final bill I received was incorrect. I had been charged for all drinks in spite of having the UDP. It was accepted by NCL that an error had been made and at the time of writing I await a refund of $761 and an apology although I doubt if I will receive the latter. ( A refund was made on 4 April but with no explanation I have no way of checking that it is correct. As expected I received no apology) Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We had been on 2 previous cruises with Celebrity & loved the gourmet food but hated the entertainment & onboard activities. Celebrity had no availability on our dates so we thought we'd try NCL. Embarkation in B.A. & ... Read More
We had been on 2 previous cruises with Celebrity & loved the gourmet food but hated the entertainment & onboard activities. Celebrity had no availability on our dates so we thought we'd try NCL. Embarkation in B.A. & disembarkation in Valparaiso were smooth. Our room was ready immediately. The fire drill was intense & thorough. The ship was in great condition considering its age; only showing wear by the outdated decor. We enjoyed having 5 hottubs, basketball court, ping pong, shuffle board & golf cages. The activites offered were fun & age appropriate. We hated the "washy, washy, happy, happy" (is this done on all NCL ships?) & the tender ticket process (expect a one hour line-up to get tickets for the first tenders followed by your ticket being called 30 min. earlier than stated) Entertainment: The ship singers/dancers were great, enjoyed the hyponotist & the magician (corny but entertaining). Food: Here is where NCL fell short for us. We ate in every restaurant except for dinner at Moderno & the sushi restaurant. We bought the 5 specialty dining package with our OBC. The buffets were always packed & stressful with cafeteria/mall food court quality food. The main dining rooms were hit & miss; we had some good meals & some inedible ones. The coffee served at the buffet & dining rooms was disgusting; I'd recommend packing Starbucks VIA instant or packing ground coffee that you can brew in your room. Moderno or the main dining rooms at breakfast worked best for us; not too busy & decent food. The Sports Bar serves tasty fish & chips along with some starters. The tappas at Las Ramblas were good but they often ran out of food. La Cuchina: the worst service, caesar salad made with iceberg lettuce stems, overcooked & starchy pasta, the usual crappy coffee but the best warm sour dough bread. Cagney's: we ate here twice; had good service & great coffee. The meat was good but the sides are bland & lack seasoning except for the fries & onion rings. Le Bistro: Great food & service! Unfortunately, the menu was too limited for us to return; french cuisine isn't my favorite. Teppanyaki: Our favorite; the best food & service by the chef. The waitresses were slow & inattentive; ordered wine before the meal & received it halfway through. The waitress spilled my wine & I had to ask for a napkin to clean it up myself! Service: Other than a handful of awesome staff; we didn't get good service aboard this ship. 50% of the activity staff seemed to hate people. The servers didn't care to ask why you didn't eat your entree. The bar tenders didn't ask if you wanted a drink. The front desk staff were direct & not overly helpful. Our bill had a charge of $30 to our credit card & a $30 unused, non-refundable OBC; a silly error that we had to wait in line at the front desk to correct. We heard many people aboard this cruise who had travelled with NCL in the past say that this was the worst cruise they had ever been on. Maybe the food & service is normally better? Thankfully, the itinerary is amazing! Be sure to book a starboard balcony (if travelling BA to Valparaiso) & bring plenty of warm clothes. The views are breathtaking! I would definitely recommend this itinerary but would pay the extra cash & go on Celebrity! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We received good service on an old ship that needs refurbishing. There are visible signs of ageing, some rust, dirty carpets, old and simple furniture. This ship lacks the elegance I saw on other cruises. The room service was ... Read More
We received good service on an old ship that needs refurbishing. There are visible signs of ageing, some rust, dirty carpets, old and simple furniture. This ship lacks the elegance I saw on other cruises. The room service was excellent. Entertainment was pretty good. The food was good but the selection reflected the effort of cutting expenses. The hot tubs were old like the whole ship and the water was warm but not hot, providing almost no control for users. Dining had one menu the same for every day and another only for the day. The quality of the served food at dining did not exceed the quality of food at the buffet area. At the buffet area no trays were provided and plates were really cheap. The buffet area is undersized to the number of passengers. The cabin was good, the bed was comfortable. There was not much to see at the ports we stopped but this comes from the route we selected. The short excursion prices were outrageous. We took one only but even this was a waste of money. Both embarkation and disembarkation were well organized. It surprised us taking away our passports at embarkation. I did not like it at all. The weather even in the middle of summer was pretty stormy. Because of the smaller and older ship that caused much more swaying I have ever experienced on other cruises. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Embarkation wasn't the quickest, but OK. Cabin was very clean and had plenty of storage, didn't like the shower curtain it had a habit of sticking to you. Had a balcony cabin and the chairs were not comfortable to sit for ... Read More
Embarkation wasn't the quickest, but OK. Cabin was very clean and had plenty of storage, didn't like the shower curtain it had a habit of sticking to you. Had a balcony cabin and the chairs were not comfortable to sit for any length of time. Air con in the cabin was weak to say the least. Entertainment was good, never got a minute to ourselves there was always something to do and the entertainment team were great. NCL Excursions expensive and very average. Service in the main dining room was very slow. Pizza server in Moderno at lunch was curt to say the least. Would like the washy washy crew to make sure people sanitized their hands, the amount of people that just brushed them aside when coming back to ship and also entering the buffet was unbelievable. We had a dining package and service in the specialty restaurants is good, but the food is hit and miss. One time it can be fabulous the next not so good, why can't they be more consistent? No one takes drinks orders at the buffet. In actual fact between 2 & 5 in the afternoon it is difficult to get a drink anywhere as all the bars are closed. The staff on reception were quite hopeless and had no discretion, they had to get in touch with restaurant managers when we queried extra charges for drinks on the bill when we had a drinks package anyway clearly stated on our room card, so we had to wait and wait.. The Sun is an older ship but we liked it and she wasn't really showing her age, the crew really kept it in tip top condition. In the main we really enjoyed our cruise and we will sail with Norwegian again, but they really must sort out the little annoying issues outlined above. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Food was great with tons of variety. We got tired of going to the 'trough' after a few days so went to the two different sit down complimentary restaurants so that provided a much needed break. Never had any issues with the ... Read More
Food was great with tons of variety. We got tired of going to the 'trough' after a few days so went to the two different sit down complimentary restaurants so that provided a much needed break. Never had any issues with the quality and variety of food. Staff everywhere except the front desk were incredibly nice and helpful. Always smiling and eager to help. Only negative experience with any staff were the grumpy reception desk. Other than that, staff ROCKED! Loved the "washy, washy" staff. Great idea in helping to eliminate food contamination. These people were at the entrance to every restaurant and if you didn't use the hand sanitizer station, they would say "washy, washy" and spray your hands with a disinfectant. At first, I was thinking... "seriously? Washy, washy?" After a couple times though, I found I was looking forward to their smiles and interacting with them. Awesome people. The only issue that I had was that I always felt like they had their hands out trying to get more money out of me. First of all, we had paid for two people and my husband ended up not being able to come so I had already paid double! Add the $13.50 US a day to that and them having their hands out and overcharging for anything, my final bill was an additional $1,100. I'm not a shopper nor a drinker so this was just for small things. I felt that I had paid for the trip so should have been provided at least some bottled water in my room. Beverage packages were ridiculously expensive, and I'm not even talking alcohol. Had two drinks while on the ship. Coffee and baileys was $13.00 and a vodka & cranberry with soda was $9.00. Just normal size drinks so that is a totally excessive price. Played a couple games of bingo which were $30 each (30 minutes entertainment). Everything was just way overpriced. Went to a couple of their 'free' seminars and really felt pressured to buy some of their products (which are outrageously expensive). The worse ones were any of the fitness seminars. I felt that the only reason they provided the seminars was to sell their products so after one fitness one and one hair one, I never went back. Went on 3 of their excursions and they were great. Again, a bit overpriced but I did expect that. There were tons of places to book trips when you got off the ship so some more research on my part would have been better. All the ports were great, although the first 3 or 4 we had to tender, which is a bit of a pain, but it is what it is and they had things well organized. Can't really say anything negative other than they need to provide more things to do on sea days. More things that don't cost you and arm and a leg. Not sure if I would do a Norweigan Cruise again. If I did, it would have to be a kick butt deal to make up for having to pay so much more on the ship. Would have loved to attend some yoga classes and the TRX training but again, you had to pay more for those. Just got really, really tired of paying, paying, paying! Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We took a re-positioning cruise from San Diego CA to Santiago (Valparaiso) Chili. We purchased a good deal for a balcony room. We visited ports in Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Peru and Chili. This was our first cruise (over 20) where ... Read More
We took a re-positioning cruise from San Diego CA to Santiago (Valparaiso) Chili. We purchased a good deal for a balcony room. We visited ports in Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Peru and Chili. This was our first cruise (over 20) where it was virtually impossible to take public transportation or low cost group travel to any meaningful tourist sites. Really difficult if not impossible to set something up when you walked off the ship. So unless you want to purchase cruiseline excursions (and their high rates) beware. The NCL Sun was a great clean ship with plenty of open spaces. The food - the salad, vegetables, coffee, desserts, and breads were good. The entrees, particularly the meat dishes were below average. Many days I ate some type of meatballs or meatloaf because that was the best option. The last 7 days of the cruise the meat dishes improved. The pasta station was the worst out of any of our cruises such complication for uninspired pasta. The pizza station was only open 2 1/2 hours each day (sometimes that was the best option). Room service cost 8 dollars, tips $13.50 per day per person. The entertainment - First off the female vocalist/dancers were very good, however this was a 17 night re-positioning cruise and there was only three production shows. There was also a very knowledgeable lecturer on board, he gave three talks on the culture and history of the Inca's. The rest of the line up was comedians, hypnotists and jersey boys. They literally retread the same performers over and over again. Personally I dont care for canned comedians, hypnotists and jersey boys, (once is bad enough) definitely not interested in seeing them 2 even three times. Incredibility disappointed that this type of cruise with very limit port activities and many sea days would have such HORRIBLE entertainment. NCL claimed that embarkation would be a breeze we arrived at our slotted time only to wait two hours in a long cue. Overall the cruise was ok, This was our fifth cruise on NCL, we go with the best overall value, we are not married to one cruise line. We find Celebrity and Disney to be the best cruiselines. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We departed from San Diego and hit two Mexican ports, Guatemala and Costa Rica before reaching Peru. It was Early November, hot and humid but since we are avid birdwatchers we managed to pull in a few lifebirds (birds we had never seen ... Read More
We departed from San Diego and hit two Mexican ports, Guatemala and Costa Rica before reaching Peru. It was Early November, hot and humid but since we are avid birdwatchers we managed to pull in a few lifebirds (birds we had never seen before). Just be prepared for the heat. Peru was very interesting from a cultural and historical standpoint. The ports are industrial working ports and not user friendly for passengers since you have to take a shuttle bus to leave the industrial area. In Lima the wait for the shuttle was an hour and the ride took 30 minutes. The bus delivers you to a highly policed park where expensive taxi service is available. We left the park and walked along the seaboard taking in many sea birds. We then hailed our own taxi and paid $20.00 to take a 45 minute ride to the Lima zoo. My wife thought the taxi ride was scary (it was) because he weaved in and out of traffic and barely missed pedestrians. We loved the zoo because it had birds and animals specific to Peru. They have a very nice bird exhibit where we saw my personal favorite bird (the Cock of the Rock) which is bright orange with large spoon shaped crest. A very nice zoo with lots of locals hanging out with their families. We saw several wild lifebirds here as well. A memorable day! Chile was fabulous! We love this country! First of all we noticed it is clean (not very much trash on the side of the road). The people are friendly but they don't smile. It isn't that they aren't happy, they are just stoic, so don't expect them to return a smile when you flash your pearly whites. In Valparaiso we took the shuttle bus to a terminal (exchanged some money) and walked a half mile to the bus stop. We paid the equivalent of $3.00 and road the 600 series bus for about two hours until our bladders couldn't take it anymore. It was a cheap tour of the city and a good way to get to know the people. A salesman got on and with the bus driver's permission gave a sales pitch for a package of pens he was selling that you could mark on their money to make sure the bills were not counterfeit. He sold a couple then got off and waited for the next bus. Next a volunteer from Salvation Army got on requesting donations, followed by a guitar playing singer selling CD's. He played and sang for about 15 minutes. The bus driver liked it so much he bought his CD. He was followed by a candy salesman. Women with their daily grocery shopping, kids, lovers, businessmen and students were the kinds of people we observed on the bus that day. Definitely worth three bucks! We stopped at the famous flower clock and went the Sheraton to use the marble clad restrooms. Walking down the hill from the Sheraton we stopped at the beach to take in some seabirds before catching the bus back to our shuttle station. We spent Thanksgiving in the Straight of Magellan where I photographed a group of penguins swimming near the ship. The ship glided past fabulous scenery as we encountered Tierra del Fuego National Park with pristine snow covered peaks, glaciers and breathtaking vistas. Reminded me of the the Alaska inside passage. We took a Cruise Critic tour to the interior of the park and saw Upland Goose, Black Necked Swans, Caracara and a few songbirds. The weather cooperated with us as we rounded Cape Horn. It was crisp and cool but the sea state was relatively calm. Our next stop would be the Falkland Islands. Falkland Islands is a tender port. The ride takes about 20 minutes depending on the winds and sea state. The day we were there it was cold and very windy with a little rain. We spent $20.00 each for a round trip shuttle ticket to Gypsy cove. You see Gypsy cove as you enter the port. It is located on your Port side about three miles prior to the anchorage. There we saw a small colony of Magellanic Penguins, Upland Geese, Kelp Geese, Turkey Vultures, a Dark Faced Ground Tyrant and a Grass Wren. We also saw the Flightless Falkland Steamer Duck and Oyster Catchers. A great birding day! There are also adventures to see Rock Hopper Penguins as well as other penguin species but be prepared to get muddy and jostled in the 4 wheel drive vehicles. Back to Argentina we pulled into Puerto Madryn a user friendly port with a long dock. Here we went on another Cruise Critic tour to Punta Tombo to see thousands of penguins. It takes two hours to get there but the roads are nice and well maintained. They make a pit stop at a gas station with clean restrooms somewhere in the middle of the trip. Great place for seeing lots of Magellanic Penguins in their burrows. You will also see Rea here as well as Steamer Ducks and Imperial Cormorants. Montevideo, Uriguay is a nice port town, easily accessible and interesting. I smelled pot as we crossed the first street reminding me it was legal here. The old section of town has some very nice European style architecture. There are many shops and street vendors. You will see Monk Parakeets in the city parks and we even saw a Coo-coo which had a punk rocker hairdo. Taxis are cheap here but you will need pesos. In Buenos Aires we ended our cruise. We hooked up with a professional bird watching guide named Diego Gallegos who picked us up at the cruise terminal in his van and then took us on a most excellent birding adventure. We saw over 30 lifebirds that day! He supplied a nice lunch and then took us and our luggage to the airport in time to make our flight back home. He is married with two kids and has been birding since he was a kid. Very knowledgable and well worth the price of $260.00. If you need a birdwatching guide I highly recommend him. I found him on the "birdingpals" international website. His email is diegogallegos61@gmail.com if you would like to contact him. The NCL Sun is old and in desperate need of repair. We made the mistake of moving the beds in our stateroom so we could look out the window without kneeling on the bed. Our mistake was seeing the pee-stained mattresses. Yuck! The furnishings are dilapidated and wear and tear is evident everywhere you look. A tattered bucket of bolts ready for the boneyard or a major overhaul in dry dock. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Embarkation was an absolute FIASCO! People were directed into the wrong lines to pay a fee for entry into Argentina. We were not told in advance that there would be a fee of $160/person on top of the fares and fees we had already paid! ... Read More
Embarkation was an absolute FIASCO! People were directed into the wrong lines to pay a fee for entry into Argentina. We were not told in advance that there would be a fee of $160/person on top of the fares and fees we had already paid! Hundreds of passengers (mostly seniors) lined up for hours to use 2 computers to register and pay the fee. No water, no seating. Computer forms were in Spanish--NCL did not think to even provide an interpreter. No reason for this as we were not going to arrive in Argentina for over 2 weeks. We would have had ample time to handle this once we were aboard. Food was WAY below par in complementary dining rooms. Save for one daily chef's special, the menu did not vary for 33 days! No kidding--33 days with the same few menu choices gets very boring! NCL has seen fit to remove all washers & dryers that were available to passengers. They charge $20 for a small bag of laundry and take 2 days to return it to you. They must have taken in a few thousand dollars from passengers on our 33 day voyage! Be forewarned if you plan to be aboard the SUN for more than a week of so! No way to do your own laundry! Had the mini-fridge emptied upon arrival. They tried to charge me (After my 'final statement was presented to me!) for supposed missing items. NOT! Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
I took this cruise on the Sun because of the itinerary and the overall non-NCL tour package that included stays in Buenos Aires and Santiago. The itinerary was outstanding, the SUN and NCL generally fair to adequate but rarely more than ... Read More
I took this cruise on the Sun because of the itinerary and the overall non-NCL tour package that included stays in Buenos Aires and Santiago. The itinerary was outstanding, the SUN and NCL generally fair to adequate but rarely more than that. MDR food was actually pretty good. Not gourmet, lower quantities, one less course and much planer presentation than HAL, Celebrity or Princess, but the food was acceptable and actually pleasant most of the time. This is the first cruise that I have lost weight on. The Buffet food was also good for buffet food, but the buffet area was much too small with woefully inadequate seating. NCL staff allowed people who weren't eating to hog the scarce dining space while diners were looking for places to sit. Specialty restaurants: The French bistro had good service, attractively presented food and the one of the most tasteless steaks I have ever had. The Steakhouse was better but not a truly outstanding restaurant. The Pacific heights, a strange little no extra charge specialty restaurant was a quiet place to eat but the food wasn't as good as the MDR. They should close it use the space to expand the buffet. Service in all the restaurants was good or better except for allowing squatters in the buffet area. I only had one meal in 14 days that was seriously different from what I ordered, service was always reasonably prompt, courteous and I found the serving staff to be generally friendly. Cabin service didn't quite have the sparkle it has had on better cruise lines but it was quite good with no real deficiencies. I suspect they are a bit understaffed. I went to a wine tasting for $15, the NCL staffer was somewhat knowledgeable about wine but tended to overgeneralize. I was still a good experience with good wines. Went to a beer tasting at the sports bar. The bartender was a useless clown that didn't have the slightest idea what he was talking about. The beer was a very ordinary selection of bottled imported beer. Went to a Sangria/Food pairing but it was canceled at the last minute because not enough people showed up. The nickle dime NCL approach frequently showed up on this trip. Signed up for a behind the scenes tour, but canceled when they presented me with a $55 charge that wasn't mentioned until I signed up. This is the first cruise line that I have been on that actually charged a corkage fee to bring wine on board for consumption in your cabin. The tour went through some of the most spectacular natural scenery there is going around Cape Horn, through the Beagle Channel and Straights of Magellan. It is an area also rich with history. Unfortunately, they did not have a naturalist/lecturer on board. They used an NCL staff member to do the presentations that should have been, and are on other cruise lines, done by a professional. NCL in their nickel dime mode is primarily using public domain (material so old the copyright has expired) so they don't have to pay for it. What we got were largely black and white, amateurishly put together Powerpoint presentations by a person who had little knowledge of what he was talking about. According to the NCL staffer, this is the way NCL is going to be doing their naturalist and history lectures in the future. I'm not faulting the presenter, it's NCLs fault for not getting qualified lecturers. Entertainment was pretty good, no use mentioning details because they change. Entertainment varies from season to season and cruise to cruise to it's risky making comparisons, but I thought it was better than HAL, not as good as Celebrity on par with Princess but not as glitzy as Princess. No overall disappointment with NCL's entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
My husband and I are well-traveled, active seniors. We booked this cruise through Grand Circle Travel and spent three nights in Buenos Aires before embarking. Buenos Aires is a beautiful city with much to see and do. We stayed at the NH ... Read More
My husband and I are well-traveled, active seniors. We booked this cruise through Grand Circle Travel and spent three nights in Buenos Aires before embarking. Buenos Aires is a beautiful city with much to see and do. We stayed at the NH Hotel, right off the Plaza de Mayo, but a poor choice because of the small rooms and lack of drawer space. EMBARCATION:We embarked on December 6. Luckily, Grand Circle took care of our luggage because the area for checking in luggage was a disorganized mess. However, the rest of the boarding process was long and poorly organized. CABIN:Our ocean view cabin on the 9th deck was comfortable and had lots of storage space. Our cabin stewards were excellent and very friendly; no complaints there. FOOD:We ate in either Seven Seas or Four Seasons and the service was generally good. However, some things that should have been served at the same time were not; no maple syrup with French toast and no cream cheese with bagel and lox. More importantly, the food was mediocre. Maybe they're hoping that more people will spring for the specialty restaurants. Lobster was served on two occasions and it was tasteless. Many of the dishes were of poor quality - fettuccini alfredo as a main course? The Garden Cafe was a total disaster. One long line to get mediocre food and then nowhere to sit. GI VIRUS: My husband and I, along with countless other passengers got sick. Of the 127 people in our group, almost every couple had at least one sick mate. They were constantly wiping down walls, etc. but the ship needs to be taken out of service and thoroughly disinfected. On the cruise before ours, we heard that 100 people were sick. We certainly had far more. The medical care was excellent and free, but it didn't compensate for the time spent in bed. Oh yes, they gave each "patient" a $100 shipboard credit. ENTERTAINMENT: Generally pretty bad. Since the passengers were of many nationalities, (mostly American, South American, French, and German)they had some entertainment that would be understood by all. The magician, juggler, and "Gaucho" were the worst - better suited to a kiddie party. The Broadway Revue, Spanish singer Elvy Rose, and a Cuban piano player were the best. SHORE EXCURSIONS: All were good, but over-priced. In Montevideo we took the Jewish Heritage tour and found it fascinating. Walking among the penguins in Punta Tombo was a thrill, but the a/c in our bus didn't work, the guide's English was poor, and the box lunch inedible. We complained and got a 25% refund. In Port Stanley we took a $20 (round-trip) van ride to Gypsy Cove. Scenery was beautiful but penguins were a distance away. The town has an interesting church and a few shops. In Ushuaia, the weather was a balmy 60 degrees and my husband went to Tierra del Fuego National Park, where he enjoyed beautiful scenery. I was sick in bed. In Punta Arenas I took the "highlights" tour while my husband was sick in bed. The tour was very good and there's a nice handicrafts market in the main square, about 4 blocks from the pier.From Puerto Chacabuco we went to Coyhaique and Simpson Valley. The scenery was beautiful and the snacks and pisco sours on the way back were delicious but too many people were taken to the restaurant at the same time. From Puerto Montt we went to Puerto Varas and Frutillar. Puerto Varas has some nice shopping & Frutillar has an interesting museum about the German settlers. Puerto Montt itself deserves several hours. Walk along the water, to the left of the pier. There are countless shops. At the end is a very interesting fish market. DISEMBARCATION: Went well. Then we spent two nights in Santiago at the Crowne Plaza Hotel; a very comfortable hotel in a good location. SUMMARY: The land portion was outstanding, but we won't take another NCL cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Considering its length and itinerary, this cruise was a terrific bargain! True, NCL and the Sun are not top-line and, in spite of the crew's diligence and efforts, the Sun was very badly infected with norovirus, which it seems most of ... Read More
Considering its length and itinerary, this cruise was a terrific bargain! True, NCL and the Sun are not top-line and, in spite of the crew's diligence and efforts, the Sun was very badly infected with norovirus, which it seems most of the crew and guests, including me, caught. Also many of the guests could benefit from lessons in manners, and American Airlines failed to transfer my luggage to the connecting flight from Miami to Buenos Aires, so I didn't get it until the cruise was half over. Regardless, thanks to the absolutely superb professionalism and consideration of Front Office Manager, Gilda Osorio, and her staff, especially Bruno and Yaharia, and also to fine service by the excursion and medical staffs, I had exceptional experiences and enjoyed it, except of course for the effort to not worry about my luggage, the throwing up for a few hours and the being quarantined for the required period and missing the excursion from Punta Arenas. Nevertheless, I do recommend this cruise, regardless of these problems, because it is the only one with this itinerary and because of the staunch efforts by its crew members to overcome the problems. I recommend the excursions to Peninsula Valdez, Terra del Fuego Park, the nature walk from Chacabuco, replete with delicious barbecue, pisco sours, Chilean wine and absolutely charming concert, and the excursion to the Alerce Mt. Lodge from Puerto Montt which was a true adventure and also came with a wonderful lunch and more of that wine! These were well worth the price. In addition to Gilda, Bruno and Yaharia, I want to thank Juanito and Jacolito for going out of their way to make this the best possible experience for me, in spite of the virus. And, I strongly recommend that NCL go out of its way to take especially good care of Gilda, Bruno, Yaharia, Juanito and Jacolito before RCL, Celebrity, HAL or one of the other top lines, whose marketing folks do read these commentaries, snaps them up! Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Embarkation went smoothly and in no time we were on board with Champagne in hand and our first trip to the buffet. Things went smoothly and although our luggage took quite a while arriving, we were on vacation so what. To ease the pain ... Read More
Embarkation went smoothly and in no time we were on board with Champagne in hand and our first trip to the buffet. Things went smoothly and although our luggage took quite a while arriving, we were on vacation so what. To ease the pain let me skip to things already covered by other cruisers. The Captain and cruise director. Exactly what you have read but they both disembarked in Buenas Aires for a 4 month vacation so there is hope in that area. The Buffet: What can be said. Bad food, same everyday except one Mexican night and one Japanese night. Not enough room for cold weather sailing. One thing quite a few of the cruisers we were on with discussed that I have not seen noted is the inconsideration of fellow passengers. We noted many people utilizing the tables in the buffet to play cards, games, read books and just chatter. There were at least 7 other venues for this type of activity instead of utilizing a table in a very confined and busy venue. People trying to eat their meal while it was still hot often had to carry it to other floors or even eat outside in inclement weather when other passengers idled away time at convenient tables. We were really blessed by the weather. 3 1/2 days of rain, 3 of these at sea. The rounding of the horn was cold but calm and strange. We rounded the horn on the starboard side when we should have been on port because we were sailing from Chile to Argentina. Everyone commented on it. We then went around, came past it again from the back and continued on our way. Another time when the Captain offered no explanation. We did not see the Falkland Islands. We were denied access because of Gastro Intestinal problems on board. Many people were really disappointed. Port Madryn. A note on the excursion to the Punta Toomba Penguin Rookery. The excursion tells you it is 3 hours each way on bumpy roads and you only have 1 hour there. The buses were modern and comfortable and only a small stretch is on unpaved road and that is hard pebbles. The 3 hours includes a break where you can use the restrooms and purchase drinks and snacks. It really is slightly less on the time. We only had 1 hour at the rookery but that was because the steps to disembark were very steep and it took hours for everyone to get off the ship. You had to hold onto 1 railing with both hands and short of shimmy down. We would have had more time otherwise but even having said that it was worth it because of the vast number of penguins and the closeness to the Penguins. Given that many ships do not get into the Falklands, if you would like to see Penguins this is a must see. Beagle Channel: I opened my eyes at 5:30 and it was snowing. How utterly marvelous. Snow capped mountains, cruising past glaciers and snow. This is a marvelous itinerary. The Andes in Chile, Patagonia, Gauchos, Glaciers, rounding the horn and many relaxing days at sea. NCL needs to either update this ship or put a better equipped ship on this itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
We arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina around 11:20am, after flying through the night. We collected our luggage and made our way to the group representative waiting for us in the terminal. It was quite warm in Buenos Aires, so were ... Read More
We arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina around 11:20am, after flying through the night. We collected our luggage and made our way to the group representative waiting for us in the terminal. It was quite warm in Buenos Aires, so were looking forward to getting on board quickly and being able to change from our winter clothing to something more appropriate. We arrived at the pier around 1:30 pm. The pier was looking quite congested as the Sun was joined by RCI's Radiance of the Seas. Due to the amount of people, we weren't quite sure where we were supposed to be, so I asked one of the reps stationed outside if there would be a special Latitudes embarkation. I was told there is no Latitudes in Buenos Aires. Not a problem, we got into line behind a nice British couple and happily started chatting away. The boarding was extremely warm and no fans or air conditioning were in evidence. We had many older passengers who could no longer stand in line due to the extreme heat and many were seated in the front area and quite a few others required wheelchairs. There was no water or iced ted provided and this is one of the worst embarkations we have ever encountered. We finally made it to our cabin around 3:30 pm after having our passport checked numerous times along with the required Argentine immigration forms. Our cabin, 4248, was located on the starboard side of deck 4. It was a reasonably, good sized, outside cabin with a large porthole. The cabin was clean and well laid out and we were happy to be able to shower and change prior to sailing! Muster was at 4:30pm and probably lasted way too long for all of us as we had just come in from the heat! We sailed around 6 pm towards Montevideo, Uruguay. We met up with some of our cruise critic friends and made our way to the Four Seasons restaurant for dinner. Service was mediocre for the evening meal and our dinner companion had to keep asking for a "diet" coke from the barman, not a regular coke. She had purchased a soda card and it appears at times if a tip is not forthcoming, you do not receive the best service with a soda card. This exchange actually resulted in a disagreement between the barman and our cc friends and we did speak with the Maitre'D at the end of our meal. Upon arrival in Montevideo, we grabbed a free shuttle to the one of the more famous leather stores; from there we walked around the Plaza Independencia as well as the waterfront. We had a nice day in port with beautiful weather. Our cruise critic Meet and Greet was scheduled for 12/9/08. This was a day at sea and our group events coordinator arranged our meet in the Observation Lounge, port side on deck 12. I arrived a few minutes early to put out name tags and pens. A table had been set up with cookies, something they called orange juice (this was truly a watered down version of Tang) and coffee. I believe we had about 35-40 people and we were joined by the captain and his senior officers shortly after the start of our meet. Quit a few of us stayed for a long time chatting about previous cruises and things we were hoping to see on this voyage. We had a wonderful group and my only regret is that we didn't get enough time to spend with so many others that we enjoyed meeting. We arrived in Puerto Madryn on 12/11. We joined cc members Wernew2cruising, Ljohio and Masik on the pier to see if we could get an independent tour to Puerto Piramides for whale watching. Masik had also brought along another couple, so we had 10 of us and we set out to find a large van. We were greeted at the end of the pier by many companies and started speaking with a young man about where we would like to go and what we would like to do. Unfortunately at this time, the other couple started arguing with our tour guides about the whales not being in residence in Puerto Madryn as was told to him by a former submarine captain from Puerto Madryn. To make a long story short, this couple argued with the tour operator, our guide and other cc members. This interaction had a very negative impact on our time spent in this beautiful, protected world heritage site. The cc members who took the cruise to see whales, refused to join this couple on the tour. The six of us who stayed behind had a pleasant lunch at a waterfront restaurant, then, we walked around the town to get some more photos. We spent a pleasant few hours on the Valdes Peninsula. The water is beautiful and we could see some sea lions with their young, many guanacos, birds and sheep along the way. Our tour guide, a teacher, was excellent and we enjoyed her pleasant narration on the long ride. We had a day at sea between Puerto Madryn and Stanley, so we decided to burn off some calories in the gym. The ship had quite a nice gym, not huge but well appointed for the size of the Sun. There were four elliptical machines, four recumbent bikes, about 8-10 treadmills, 2 stationary bikes, three elliptical type stair stepper machines, one regular stepper and an assortment of weight machines and free weights. As is the norm, treadmills filled up very quickly and many passengers did not adhere to the 30 minute limit signs posted all over the gym. After a few complaints, the gym managers started watching more closely in the busy morning hours. Steve and I made it a point to go very early or later in the afternoon! We had very nice weather tendering into Stanley and we only needed a light jacket or a sweatshirt as the sun was shining brightly. We were met at the pier by the buses from Gypsy Cove. It was $20 roundtrip and there was usually a bus available to return whenever one wished. This area was quite beautiful and we did a lot of walking around the cove. We were unable to get close to the beach due to the landmines still in the beach area, but we did see many penguins along the beach and hillsides and we took beautiful shots of the bay. We returned after a couple of hours and stopped in at a traditional English pub for lunch then, walked along the waterfront and did a little souvenir shopping before returning to the ship. We left Stanley around 4 pm and headed for Cape Horn. What had been a warm, lovely day, suddenly started to turn cold and blustery, and completely fitting for Cape Horn! We had rocky seas but nothing too bad and we did venture outside frequently to take pictures. As luck would have it, wernew2cruising had procured a front suite three days prior to sailing so we were able to enjoy our trip around the Horn in total comfort! Ushuaia, Argentina is the gateway to Antarctica and every bit as beautiful as its photos. We were told they had not seen the sun for two months prior to our arrival. Since our time was very limited, the six of us disembarked early to find a driver/guide to Tierra del Fuego national park. Naturally, there was no problem finding transport, the only problem was finding an English speaking guide! We paid a little bit more than the average $25 per person but we had a nice van, driver and guide and we were on our way to the park at the end of the world. The park is magnificent and a definite must see. There is a post office in the park where you can mail postcards stamped with the "end of the world" on them. Our driver provided an excellent history about the area and we have many postcard worthy photos of our time in the park. We returned to the pier around noon and did a bit of shopping on the pier. Tickets to the train at the end of the world and transport to the train can be bought at the pier for $60 per person. We left Ushuaia about an hour late and headed towards the Beagle for glacier cruising. Since we did the cruise from Buenos Aires, our cabin was perfectly situated on the starboard side of the ship. The weather was getting quite cool in the channel and we started the glacier viewing at around 5:30 pm. A disembodied voice over the speaker announced all the pertinent information about each glacier and a fact sheet was also provided in our cabin. The scenery is absolutely stunning, but make sure you have warm clothes! Hats, gloves, scarves and jackets are necessary and I used them all! We arrived in Punta Arenas on 12/15. Since this was a tender port, Ljohio was kind enough to get tender tickets for the all six of us as we had an independent tour to Magdalena Island scheduled for 10:15am. We had no problem finding the office of our tour operator about 3 blocks away. We joined our other cc members Cosalamx, luv2getaway and Masik on a small boat tour to Isla Magdalena and Isla Marta. Isla Magdalena is amazing and totally covered in penguins! We had a nice hike around the island for about one hour then, we all returned to the boat for a bumpy ride to Isla Marta to see the seals and sea lions. Wernew2crusing returned to the ship due to illness along with Ljohio, Steve and I struck out to find some lunch and shopping prior to returning to the ship. Our next two days were to consist of cruising the Strait of Magellan along with the Patagonic Channels. We had rough seas, high winds and cold weather. Many passengers were seasick and I know they probably weren't pleased that we turned around and headed back into the Strait when the captain received a distress call from the HMS Endurance. At the time, the captain provided us with very little information other than to tell us they were four hours from us and we were closest to them. I doubt that any passenger required an explanation about why we needed to assist a ship in distress, but many were upset that they weren't provided much information. We arrived in the area around 1:30 am and stayed until 8:30 am. Due to this call, we missed Puerto Chacabuco. Many converged upon reception for return of port fees! They were a whopping $5.13 per person! The captain said he would do some extra cruising through the Channels to make up the missed port. While we were disappointed, the Fjords were spectacular and we quickly forgot our missed port. We had an NCL arranged horseback riding tour in Puerto Montt, so, we headed down to the main lounge at 9:00 am. Our NCL guide took us down to back stairs and we were on the tender within minutes! It was a dreary morning and we were getting some rain. Unfortunately since it was not cold, I took only a light jacket, no hat. Luckily we were provided rain slickers at the beautiful El Colote stables. Our horses were well groomed and well fed and I could almost see mischievous glints in their eyes as we took off on our trail ride around the Lake District. Our guide, Yaqueline, provided us with lots of information about the area and answered many questions on the two hour ride. We ended our ride with a spectacular gallop down by the beach before returning to the stable to rest our sore bottoms! Our driver from the stable dropped us in town and we had a nice lunch before walking back to the pier. We arrived in Valparaiso early Sunday morning and disembarked amid the chaos even before they called our color. Eight of us cc members were taking an independent, all day, extended tour of Valparaiso prior to being dropped at the airport for our late flights home. Since Steve and I were the last ones to get our luggage, the other cc members set off to find our driver. They finally located him by the Infinity pier! We had a really great tour of the wine country, Valparaiso, Renaca and Santiago. Prior to being dropped at the airport, we concluded the tour with a visit to the Virgen atop San Cristobal hill. We were definitely ready to head home by the time we were dropped at the airport! Our overall view of the Norwegian Sun is that the Freestyle doesn't work well. The service goes from excellent to mediocre due to the fact you never form a personal bond with any of the help. The buffet line (only one line in the Garden Cafe) doesn't flow well and others are constantly cutting in and pushing in front to get what they want. The food in the buffet goes from adequate to very good. Food in the dining rooms is very good to excellent, but be careful what you order! If you think that baked flounder might not be the best choice, don't order it! Don't expect meals like you would have on other ships, there is no lobster night per se. The last night offered a seafood linguini which contained a lobster tail that was either under or over cooked along with scallops, shrimp and mussels. Another night, a good tasting roast beef was listed on the menu as "prime rib". It was good, but it wasn't prime rib! The pay restaurants are not worth the money that is being charged but we did feel our "romance package" that NCL offers for $79 was an excellent value. We had an excellent meal/service in Le Bistro. Il Adagio offers tasty food, but it is a far cry from good "Italian" food. Drink service in the sports bar/pool area was very good while it was downright rude in the Dazzles Nightclub. They now offer fresh juice on the bar menus only (quite a high fee from $2.50 to $3.50 per glass) and serve watered down Tang and apple juice in the breakfast area/dining rooms. Iced tea only during lunch. NCL asked what would be the one thing I would change on my comment card, this would be it. Offer iced tea, lemonade and punch as well as real juice. We will sail with them again and did put down a future cruise deposit for our $100 on board credit. I am hoping they will make some positive changes prior to our next adventure! Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
The problems started with embarkation and almost three hours of standing in line in a very warm building. There were only five check-in positions for about 1,000 cabins. Any competent person could have quickly calculated that it would ... Read More
The problems started with embarkation and almost three hours of standing in line in a very warm building. There were only five check-in positions for about 1,000 cabins. Any competent person could have quickly calculated that it would take too long to process the passengers and would have at least arranged for chairs and a number system, as well as provide cool drinks. The buffet was a complete zoo for the entire cruise. There were insufficient tables and chairs inside and it was too cool to eat outside for most of the days on the cruise. There were no trays in the buffet, so it was necessary to make a separate trip to get a cup of coffee or juice, and, if you left the table, someone else would sit there. Cards on the table to indicate "occupied" would have been helpful. The service in the dining rooms was mediocre. It often took over 20 minutes to get a pot of tea after dinner. The hours of the dining rooms could have been extended to accommodate the need for more inside dining space. The first day of tenders, we waited over an hour to get on a tender to leave the ship. It was as if we were being punished for not booking an NCL shore excursion. The tender service seemed to improve after that day, or perhaps it was only because we lined up for tender tickets 30 minutes before they started handing them out. The specialty restaurants were overpriced for the food and service provided. Generally, there was no feeling of being pampered, and there seemed to be no attempts made to solve problems. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
Background: This was our fourth cruise with NCL . Having experienced Freestyle cruising before, we knew what to expect and have only cruise with NCL prior for this very reason. Pre Cruise: We flew in to San Francisco 3 days ... Read More
Background: This was our fourth cruise with NCL . Having experienced Freestyle cruising before, we knew what to expect and have only cruise with NCL prior for this very reason. Pre Cruise: We flew in to San Francisco 3 days prior, as we had not been there before. We stayed at the Hyatt Fisherman's Wharf and could not recommend this hotel enough. The rooms were very clean and modern, the bed super comfortable and the staff extremely friendly. It was also in a great location and only a short walk to catch a cable car down town. The rates were very good also for the calibre of this hotel. Embarkation: I have to say that it was quite disorganised. As we were staying in a Suite, we had access to the VIP lounge for check in. The problem was that it was not that easy to find and there was no one on the ground that knew where it was or how to get to it. We eventually fumbled our way through and once we got there our Concierge met us. The Ship: The first word that comes to mind when thinking about the Norwegian Sun is "old". It's in need of refurbishment for sure. It just looks tired. The lay out of the ship is a little awkward at first but you soon get the hang of it. I quite liked the size of the ship and there were always plenty of places to find some quiet time. The pool deck was quite nice with the two pools although the hot tubs are all placed together. I would prefer them a little spread out like the other ships. The Food: Fantastic. We ate in a few of the specialty restaurants and they were great. The service was exceptional and the temperature of the food was never a problem. It did not matter where we ate, we can't think of a time where we ate a bad meal. We had the luxury of eating in Il Adagio for breakfast and lunch and that was the culinary highlight for us. Very private and the quality of the food was top notch. The Cabin: We stayed in an aft facing Suite and while the location and design of the cabin was great, it was very run down. It was like staying in a 3 star motel room. The carpet was worn, the walls stained and the cabin furniture all marked and worn. Old CRT televisions, I could go on.... Entertainment: The jean Ann Ryan shows ere great although the rest of the production shows were very average. I am of the younger variety and I can say that the entertainment was clearly aimed at those over 60. Nothing wrong with that but it would have been nice to see some variety for all ages. Ports: I would certainly recommend this itinerary. The ports of call were very good. I wont list port by port suffice to say that the highlights were Arica and Coquimbo in Chile. There is really something for every one on this trip. Conclusion: I must admit that after this cruise I really thought hard about whether I would cruise with NCL again based on my Suite experience which was far from great. The cabin was underwhelming and not worth the money in my opinion. Having said this, Belkys our concierge was wonderful and the restaurant perks for Suite guests was great. The Norwegian Sun, while an ok ship, is far from the best I have cruised on. So in summary, yes I would cruise with NCL again, although not in a Suite and certainly not on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click