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87 Norwegian (NCL) South America Cruise Reviews

Being in close quarters with your spouse for 17 days, not to mention hundreds of other passengers and crew, sounds like a good way to get cranky and swear off cruising for life. On the contrary, we found ourselves savoring the voyage, ... Read More
Being in close quarters with your spouse for 17 days, not to mention hundreds of other passengers and crew, sounds like a good way to get cranky and swear off cruising for life. On the contrary, we found ourselves savoring the voyage, enjoying each other and wonderful new friends, regretfully noting the few days remaining as we left each port. Maybe it was the unique itinerary - a good balance of sea and port days repositioning from San Diego through fascinating and diverse locations in southern Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, northern and central Peru, and northern and central Chile. We envied the few who were staying on to travel past Cape Horn to Buenos Aires and beyond to Rio de Janeiro. The sea days provided a good variety of activities, including Spanish and Bridge lessons, and interesting and informative talks about medical history from the ship's physician, along with everything else you would expect (bingo, casino, trivia, sports, gym, fitness classes, shows, karaoke, art auctions, etc.) The music was great - even for a relatively small ship you could walk from area to area and find different musicians to suit your taste. At the ports you had lots of choices between ship excursions, organizing your own tour, or just taking a taxi. Many of the ports are set up for commercial shipping and you cannot just walk off the ship to a cafe with free wifi - fortunately, free shuttle service is provided to the area where you can find a tour or grab a taxi. The most inconvenient of these is Valparaiso, where we disembarked. First you need a shuttle to take you to the Customs area; then another shuttle out to where you can get a tour or a taxi, or simply hop on the local transit train. Considering the potential for confusion, disembarkation went very smoothly. I hope some of the ports recognize the economic potential in cruise ship traffic and make improvements some day. There were subtle changes we noticed from our last cruise, one year earlier and also on the Sun. The food was noticeably better. The recent merger with the luxury line Prestige has seemed to have improved Norwegian's food choices, flavor and presentation. Now, if they could only hold off on the salt in their broths and sauces. Service in the dining rooms - specialty and free - was impeccable and staff went out of their way to accommodate requests. They were pro-active in letting guests know: "if you need anything, just ask". The officers and directors were present and visible throughout. Bridge crew, chefs, food and beverage directors, cruise director, guest services and latitudes staff and management interacted frequently and made themselves available to hear from guests. On a cruise of this length you really get to know and appreciate the crew. Everything clicked so that guests could enjoy. That left us free to make some wonderful and unforgettable new friends and memories we will treasure always. It felt like being part of a big, happy, fun family - the kind that accepts and laughs at those moments you do get cranky and leaves you smiling. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I’m a 34 year old male who sailed solo on the Norwegian Sun from San Diego, CA, USA to Valpraiso, Chile from November 2, 2016 to November 19, 2016. I’ve sailed with many different cruise lines but have found NCL to meet most of my ... Read More
I’m a 34 year old male who sailed solo on the Norwegian Sun from San Diego, CA, USA to Valpraiso, Chile from November 2, 2016 to November 19, 2016. I’ve sailed with many different cruise lines but have found NCL to meet most of my needs and as such this was my 24th cruise with them although my 37th cruise overall. I’ve sailed on other cruise lines including Celebrity, Princess, Carnival and once on Royal Caribbean. How I structure my reviews is on a day by day basis of what I did and my thoughts on what I did. Hope you enjoy the review…. DAY 1 – Embarkation & San Diego Since the ship had just returned from Groove Cruise Cabo, a full ship charter, it took longer than normal for the ship to be cleared to start embarking the next guests. I was on back-to-back with this charter so I didn’t get off the ship until 11AM. Since the ship was still not cleared at that point, I headed to Starbucks and made a few calls before heading back to the terminal. When I arrived back to the terminal, I queued with other guests to get back through security and walked right onto the ship. I’m sure others on this voyage will tell you embarkation was a mess but for me it was super easy! I dined for lunch in Seven Seas where service was fast and friendly while waiting for my new cabin to become available. I swapped from an ocean view on Groove Cruise to a balcony on this cruise. Since the prior cruise went a little longer, rooms were not announced as ready until after 2PM. I just hung out in the dining room until they were ready. Balcony Stateroom – Deck 10 – Cabin 0053 Located right by the aft stairwell, this cabin was in great condition for the ship’s age. Everything functioned as it should have. The noise from above was from chairs and tables being dragged in the Sports Bar. This would happen infrequently so it wasn’t loud or annoying. I’m a night owl so the tables and chairs moving was encountered in the early evening when people were assembling sides for watching football games and the like. The cabin came with a terrycloth robe, soap, lotion, coffee maker (which was changed during the voyage) and a mini-bar. Noise from the aft stairwell was rarely heard and I couldn’t hear my neighbors at any point during the voyage. Since my luggage was waiting for me when the staterooms were marked as ready, I went ahead and unpacked while waiting for muster drill. There was some confusion when muster arrived as my old muster station was on my keycard and not the new one. I looked at the back of the door to make sure mine had moved as I went from forward to aft. I went to the muster station on the door and they saw the keycard and sent me down to the other muster station forward. I got there and they couldn’t find me on the manifest for that station and sent me back aft. I went back to the person and they found me on the list. Turns out when my new keycard was printed at guest services they actually re-printed my old room’s keycard, not the new one so when I tried to get back into my cabin it wouldn’t let me. Quick stop to guest services got that fixed. I headed up on deck to see the Feel Free Sail Away Party. The cruise staff were trying but clearly no one was interested in partying and a few people danced but the few souls hanging around the pool deck were just watching, not participating. The music was what you’d expect for a normal cruise sailing. For me after Groove Cruise, it was culture shock. I stuck around until the cruise staff took off which was about 45 minutes after the start of the party and then went around the ship to catch cast off from different vantage points. At 5:30PM there was the solo traveler’s meet up in the Havana Club. There was a huge group of solos this cruise, largely bolstered by NCL’s offering of a solo cruiser discount on the voyage. Our social hostess for the cruise was Benjeel from the Philippines. Lovely lady but the first night even she was overwhelmed with the sheer number of guests who showed up. Dinner was arranged for solos at two times, 6PM and 8PM. At 6PM most of the solos disappeared and went to the dinner. I stayed behind at the Havana Club and chilled as the Friends of Dorothy was also here at 6:30PM. After the Friends of Dorothy gathering, I headed back to the cabin to get ready for dinner at the Seven Seas dining room. After a nice dinner of I can’t remember what I ate, I headed to the 9PM variety show. STARDUST SHOWTIME: Welcome Aboard Show This was a nice introduction to some of the acts we would see during the early part of the voyage. The production cast performed a couple of dance numbers while the Norwegian Sun show band also performed. A couple of divas came out and did a few songs and the magician came out as well for a few acts. The ship’s senior staff were also introduced during this event. It was entertainment for the night. Afterward, given how exhausted I was from Groove Cruise I went to bed. DAY 2 – SEA DAY After going to bed so early the previous night compared to the last voyage, I was up at 4:30AM wide awake. I purchased the unlimited wifi package and did some work on the balcony as the sun was coming up and then went to breakfast in the main dining room. I love fruit so almost the entire order for breakfast was fresh fruit and yogurt with some French toast on the side. All of it was presented and prepared well. At 11AM there was the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet with the ship’s officers and fellow cruise guests. We took part of the venue at the Observation Lounge for the gathering. All the senior officers were in attendance and offered to assist us in any way with any issues we had before getting off the ship. They all provided us their handy phone numbers which was very nice of them. Brian Watlers, the Hotel Director came over afterward and talked with me a bit as he remembered me from several cruises I’d taken on the Norwegian Jewel. In the early afternoon after a buffet lunch, the ship held the first welcome back party for Latitudes guests. It was so large that they held it in the Stardust Theater. I asked for a Sprite and Vesna Campos, the Food and Beverage Manager saw to it that I received it. I floated around the ship for the rest of the afternoon and got some sun while checking out the DJ’s afternoon pool side set. I got some sun for a bit and then headed back inside to get ready for dinner and the solo’s gathering at 5:30PM. I skipped the solos dinner again tonight in favor of meeting more people at the Friends of Dorothy but there was a large turnout again for the 6PM dinner time. STARDUST SHOWTIME: Las Vegas Tenors I sat for the early show at 7PM and watched these three very talented vocalists perform together and individually to some great tunes spanning many different genres of music. I enjoyed their show and a lot of guests seemed to as well since they received a standing ovation. After the show was over, I went to dinner with some new friends made along the way. Norwegian’s Night Out Party At the encouragement of the solo’s hostess, I checked out the Norwegian’s Night Out in Dazzles Disco. It was all older music as the average age this voyage was 64. I stayed for a couple of songs and watched the cruise staff try and rope people in for dancing and then went to bed. If the music was anything more current than the 60s and 70s, I might have stated but I was exhausted and the music was putting me to sleep. DAY 3 – SEA DAY After working a bit on the wifi and then getting some breakfast it was off to the Behind-The-Scenes ship tour for Platinum Latitudes members being hosted by Andres Dos Santos from the CruiseNEXT desk. We were shown the I-95, ship’s laundry, production back stage in the Stardust Theater and finally the ship’s galley. The tour is hosted at different points by the department heads. It’s a really nice overview of how the behind the scenes on a ship functions and a perk of being a Platinum Latitudes member. Loyalty does have its rewards! After a quick bite to eat for lunch, I went to the gym for a little bit before going up on deck and catching some sun. The sun was setting later so it was perfect. Headed back for a quick shower and change and went to the solos gathering. Tonight I joined the 6PM group at dinner and shared a table with 11 other guests. It was a bit busy with one end of the table being a higher age demographic than me and the other side being about my age. It kind of split up the table along those lines and people were not cross-talking between the two groups. One thing I can’t stand is dining alone at dinner. As a solo traveler, I’m accustomed to doing most things on my own but dining for dinner solo is not my favorite. STARDUST SHOWTIME: DIVAS 2 After seeing a tease of them in the embark day’s variety show, I was skeptical of this performance and whether or not it would be any good. Individually the two can sing nicely but when combined it’s worse than nails being scratched on a chalkboard. The African American vocalist could get higher notes and seemed to be having more fun with it than the other girl. I did stay through the whole performance as I did need something to do before the disco got going. I would not recommend this show. At 10 PM Dazzles flipped to an open format with the DJ Onyx. I stayed for the first few songs which were again stuck in the 70s but it was so quiet. No one was in there except a handful of older people. The scene was dead so I went to bed. Turns out this cruise saved me a fortune in alcohol expenses as I only drink if the nightclub is good and the music makes me want to stay. DAY 4 – SEA DAY After a leisurely working breakfast, I headed to the gym for another workout session. The gym on the Norwegian Sun is well appointed with cardio equipment ranging from elliptical machines and treadmills to bikes and rowing machines. There’s also a number of weight resistance machines working just about every major body part and then there’s a small assortment of free weights. The layout is functional. If you want to do any form of stretching you have to go into the aerobics classroom next door. While there might be a seminar being taught by Bogdan, the personal trainer, you can still use the back of the room without issue so long as you’re quiet. After a nice lunch it was back up to the forward deck to catch some sun and get a nap in. Seems like the sea days were meant to be workout and sun time. While the ship had trivia, bingo and the usual suspects of towel animal folding and fruit carving demonstrations, I just chose the more leisurely route. Tonight at 5:30PM I went to the solos gathering and again accompanied them to dinner. During dinner service this night (I think), Amber Strings came and performed for the dinner service. These girls are amazing and do several classical numbers and different shows throughout the cruise in the atrium and various other venues. STARDUST SHOWTIME: Las Vegas Tenors Wait, didn’t I just review that? Well it’s a long cruise so Las Vegas Tenors came back for a second show with new songs to be sung. Again, these guys did not disappoint and belted out some great favorites from Opera to Rock ‘N Roll hits. When you think of tenors you usually think of boring but these guys really are good. I was happy they had a second show. There was no point even staying up for Dazzle’s Disco as it was advertised as having the 50s and 60s sock hop so I just went to bed. DAY 5 – HUATULCO, MEXICO NCL SHORE EXCURSION: Huatulco Archeological Site and Market Shopping I had myself convinced I wasn’t going to do a shore excursion at this port call and just hang out on the beach right at the end of the pier. Well after 3 sea days and the ship being completely dead after 10PM, I was itching to do something. Elysabeth at the Shore Excursion desk was honest with me and said this shore excursion did contain a bit of shopping but I decided to book it anyway. It turns out due to mobility limitations we didn’t spend that much time shopping and instead spent more time at the ruins!! The Copalita ruins are still being excavated but they give you a peak into Zapotec, Mixtec and Aztec merchant lifestyle and how they went about processing new people into the colony. The tour guide was quite knowledgeable as we were going around the site and had some of the different myths about the site. There’s still a lot of wiggle room on what actually went on here. Given the artifacts that are at a museum as you enter, the guide believed it was more merchant trade compared to any of the other stories! While on this lovely tour I met two Australian ladies as well who made the tour that much more enjoyable! I would recommend this tour! Back on the ship, the two ladies I met on the tour decided to have a drink and get some food at the Great Outdoors. When the ship sailed from Huatulco I was on the Promenade Deck and when the ship swung around to head south the sunset was just amazing. This cruise I got to appreciate nature so much more than usual. In the morning before we arrived there dolphins jumping on the port side of the ship which I watched from my balcony. The sea was kind to me this voyage. STARDUST SHOWTIME: Pure Variety Tonight was the first night full production show by the Sun singers, dancers and showband. Exactly like it sounded like, the show was a variety of different songs that introduced the principal singers in the cast and the dancers to the attending guests. It was a good show!! I attended the 9PM showing after having a lovely dinner in the dining room. Not having anything on the agenda for the next port call, I tried to give Dazzle’s Disco another chance. Tonight’s theme was Dancing Through the Ages. I brought my phone with me to do some work on wifi as I checked it out. Sure enough the music again was stuck in the 70s. Never thought I would dislike the song Twist but it was being played as much as the Cupid Shuffle usually is on a regular 7 day cruise. I was amazed and bored so off to bed I went again! DAY 6 – PUERTO CHIAPAS, MEXICO Like Huatulco I had been to Puerto Chiapas before. I had seen the main city close by and the ruins and archaeological museum which is worth checking out if you’ve never gone before. However, there’s nothing much else to do. I stayed on the ship after breakfast and again did a workout and went out to the hut where the souvenirs were. I wasn’t moved to buy anything. I stopped by the pool where the crew were hanging out briefly and decided to just head back on the ship and give the crew their space. I grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed up to the forward sun deck which was empty and laid out. All in all it was a very uneventful day! SPECIALTY DINING: Teppanyaki Tonight I dined with two friends I made the previous day at Teppanyaki. If you’ve never done it before, it’s dinner cooked before your eyes with a little bit of a show. Tonight was a very personal seating as it was just us three and two ladies from the UK. It wasn’t a full table! The show was that much more intimate and the chefs took time to get to know us more. It also allowed us to customize the food with less salt and butter than is customarily use in the food preparation here. I was so thankful! The chefs did an amazing job and earned a little bit of an extra tip for their service. The wait staff were friendly and the hostess did recognize me from a previous cruise on the Jewel. When you cruise so much the crew literally become family, it was so nice to see her again. STARDUST SHOWTIME: Master Magician Greg Gleason The problem with cruising too much is you see some of the entertainers over and over again. This would be one example. If you’ve never seen Greg before he’s got a slew of slight of hand tricks and illusions. However, his show hasn’t changed since the last time I saw it so I didn’t stay for the whole thing. It is worth checking out if you’ve never seen it before though! Between having an excursion in the morning and knowing the disco would be stuck in the 70’s all night, I gave up and went to bed. It was 70’s disco night in Dazzles. DAY 7 – PUERTO QUETZAL, GUATEMALA The first new port on this itinerary for me. I was up early to get some breakfast and see the ship make its approach to the pier. The ship actually docked starboard side so I couldn’t see just how interesting debarking was. The cruise pier was actually just a metal grating and rickety to get to the mainland. I couldn’t wait to get off the thing after debarking the ship. NCL SHORE EXCURSION: COLONIAL ANTIGUA On the drive to the colonial city of Antigua, the tour guide was explaining local customs and the history of this area of Guatemala. What really was fascinating was our passing of the two volcanoes Agua and Fuego. One of them was actually beginning to erupt again. While scary and awe inspiring at the same time, the tour guide assured us we were in no danger. I took several photos and unexpectedly crossed something off my bucket list to see – an exploding volcano. The eruption wasn’t that great or big but still cool to see if you’ve never seen it before. When we arrived to Antigua, we debarked the bus and went to the cathedral and the Central Plaza before heading to the museum. The cobblestone streets and facades reminded me of mainland Spain architecture. It was amazing. Guatemalans are poor and it showed with the number of people who instantly started to follow us the whole time we were in Antigua trying to sell different things to us. When we said no, they would pop up at the next stop selling something else. I truly feel bad for these people but don’t they know this type of harassment will only cause visitors to view their country unfavorably? The tour included a typical Guatemalan lunch at a restaurant not too far from the Jade “museum.” The Jade museum was nothing more than a shopping stop that our guide left us at and then disappeared. He never told us a time to meet back up and this was just a money stop thrown on the tour. The lecture given was more about the quick differences in jade versus fake jade and to get us into their shop instead of teaching us anything. I was not pleased with how this tour ended. The tour guide at that point was flustered with a group of Asian people who were not following directions and messing up the tour for the rest of us. I could’ve ventured off on my own more if I knew the time we had to meet up. I was not happy with this tour or the guide for this. I wish I had written down the tour guides name to warn you for the future. How the second half of the tour went would have me not recommend it for you if you’re considering it. SPECIALTY RESTAURANT: CAGNEY’S STEAKHOUSE It was a lovely dinner with great company. I had the shrimp cocktail and Tomahawk steak. The steak was HUGE and so was the bone sticking out of it! It was cooked to order and cooked correctly. The service was absolutely amazing here as the restaurant was fairly quiet. The hostess came over and Vesna, the Food and Beverage Director stopped by to see how dinner service was going. It was a great night and relaxing dinner service. After a long day of touring it was needed! STARDUST SHOWTIME: Comedy of Anthony Padilla I went to the 9PM show and walked in after it started. Comedians are rarely funny on cruise ships or at least for me. I gave this guy 15 minutes and was not impressed and got up and left. I don’t know if guests were just tired or had already left but the theater wasn’t as packed this night either. With a sea day the next day I tried to give the benefit of the doubt to Dazzle’s for some nightlife. It was ballroom night in there. Unfortunately, when that event ended it stayed stuck in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s and again I went to bed. My bar bill was safe for another night. DAY 8 – SEA DAY Another sea day, another leisurely working breakfast followed by a work out and then lunch and some sun in the PM. The sea days I had developed a rhythm so it was good to keep it. The ship did offer an assortment of activities to keep one busy if you wanted to stay inside but I just did my own thing. Tonight’s dinner was in the Seven Seas Dining Room aft. The hostess and the maître d for the restaurant greeted us and sat us at a nice table after by the ship’s wake. It was a good dinner service. STARDUST SHOWTIME: Master Magician Greg Gleason I know it’s a long cruise but he was back for a new show. I decided to check out what was going on after the dinner service ended. The 9PM show had already started and I decided to check it out for a bit. Again, if you hadn’t seen his act before then you’d be surprised and amazed. When he started repeating things I had seen before, I took off. Tonight was the awesome 80’s Dance Party in Dazzles. I went and checked it out for a bit and then headed to bed. DAY 9 – PUNTA ARENAS, COSTA RICA I’d been to this port before on a Panama Canal cruise. Having done the tours already which interested me, I was in no rush to get off the ship here. I spent the morning eating leisurely in the restaurant and working. I got off the ship and decided to walk around. Punta Arenas really isn’t that developed besides the free wifi you can get at the end of the pier and from the vendors who have shacks setup going down the street pedaling different foods. There is a shopping area along the water for you to buy different souvenirs. I walked down to the lighthouse at the tip of the little peninsula where the ship docks. If you go out of the pier area and take a left and keep walking along the shore you’ll come to the lighthouse. There’s a beach club down there as well that looked clean and inviting and had some restaurants that looked much cleaner than the ones by the boat. I headed back to the ship to grab a quick bite to eat before going out to explore Punta Arenas to the right side of the pier. This side was not nearly as enjoyable of a walk. The bus station was down here and if I was more adventurous or had done some research I would’ve known that this station would have taken me into a much larger town for a cheap price. Some of the cruise guests opted to do this and reported they had a good time. STARDUST SHOWTIME: ROCK YOU TONIGHT After a leisurely dinner at the Seven Seas aft dining room with good company I checked out the second show (9PM) of Rock You Tonight. It was the Sun production cast’s second production show. I’d seen it before on the Norwegian Sky and it was just as good. The production cast on this ship installed just before Groove Cruise and so they are fresh into their contract with a lot of energy and pizzazz. It showed in how enjoyable the show was! Tonight was the Tropical Deck Party poolside. I decided to give it a shot and didn’t realize it was live vocals by the band Blue Notes. They played some crowd favorites.. It was a bit windy up there but the party was scarcely attended. I went and checked out Dazzle’s Disco and it was completely dead. When Blue Notes finished and took a break I went back to Dazzles and it was still dead. Off to bed I went! Bar bill still safe! DAY 10 – SEA DAY It was a bit cloudy today so I decided to go to the gym this morning like usual after using some wifi at breakfast and being leisurely. I guess some guests opted for a workout for the first time this cruise as the weather was not the greatest. The gym was fairly packed. This is when the number of broken cardio machines became noticeable. Two of the elliptical machines were not functioning and one treadmill was broken. CROSSING THE LINE: TRADITION AT SEA This was a cheeky take on earlier seafaring traditions when crossing the equator. Since it was my first time cross the equator I was dubbed a “pollywog.” Since the location changed due to the winds and the rain up on deck, I missed the pre-sign up for a toga but that was ok. After the pollywogs went and received their anointing by King Neptune (a finger of whipped cream placed on the forehead), I went up and was anointed as well. It was a cheeky ceremony but still fun nonetheless. The cruise staff had fun with it and it was the most attended event I had seen on the ship thus far (even with the night time entertainment on the ship in the theater)! Since the weather wasn’t the greatest, I had some lunch and ventured around the ship. The spa and photo gallery folks could clearly see my boredom and when they didn’t have customers, would converse with me. It was very nice of them do to that. I guess this cruise didn’t have a lot of people buying things in either area leaving the staff friendly and welcoming to talk to all guests! STARDUST SHOWTIME: Stephen Kane Stephen’s act was entirely using a piano. I wasn’t sure what to expect and basically it was a piano recital. He seemed to appease the older crowd in the Stardust theater so kudos to him for that. After about 30 minutes, I decided to leave and get ready for my specialty dinner reservation. SPECIALTY DINING: La Cucina Tonight I had dinner with an old friend from the Norwegian Jewel at La Cucina dining room. It was a nice evening with La Cucina favorites although I can’t honestly remembered what I ordered. The service from Santhil was great! Tonight I asked DJ Onyx to play some more current music. Finally there was some current music in the disco and a group of younger people came crawling out of the wood work and danced the night away. Ok, it was about 1.5 hours but it was the BEST night of the disco the whole cruise to this point!!! DAY 11 – SEA DAY Another leisurely sea day with another leisurely breakfast and some wifi and then off to the gym for a mini workout. After the workout I hung out behind the smoke stack in a wind shelter as it was insanely windy and most of the top deck was closed. I was there until 2PM when a deck hand came by and woke me up from a nap and told me I was not supposed to be there. It was a public area so I was confused by what he was telling me. I told him I was a guest and not crew and he told me that it didn’t matter that due to high winds the area was closed and to leave! I did leave but was dumbfounded by the whole thing as it was the ONLY place besides immediately around the pool that didn’t have wind. I didn’t want to be by the pool as the people down there were doing nothing but complaining the whole cruise about the pool deck being re-surfaced. There was a group of people camped out there everyday who seemed insanely miserable and just wanted to complain about everything. I tried to avoid them at all costs. I just went back to my cabin and chilled for the rest of the afternoon. STARDUST SHOWTIME: Amber Strings After dinner in the Seven Seas dining room, I went to check out the main performance of Amber Strings in the Stardust Theater. Most guests didn’t know they were covering for an entertainer who missed the ship due to flight issues. Amber Strings are a trio of ladies who perform classical favorites with two violins and a cello. They played a host of classical favorites with some introductions to them in between. If you like classical favorites then be sure to check these ladies out! Once their performance was over I strolled past Dazzles where Blue Notes was playing and kept going straight to bed. DAY 12 – SALAVERRY / TRUJILLO, PERU INDEPENDENT TOUR: Trujillo Del Peru Specialized Tours After researching this port, I found there were two things that were critical to see, the Moche Temples and the ruins at Chan Chan. Unfortunately, NCL did not have a tour which combined both of these highlights but this independent provider did. It was a full day tour and custom made on their website for the Sun’s time in port. For a US 30 deposit, they held a spot for you in a comfy air conditioned mini-bus. The tour left out of the port without needing to take any shuttle busses. The tour took us to the Temple of the Moon and past the Temple of the Sun for about 1.5 hours. After a quick tour we headed to downtown Trujillo and the main historic center of the city. We headed to Chan Chan afterward and were in Chan Chan for about 1.5 hours touring the main temple. This tour was on-the-go but I got to see so much and the tour guide was so amazing. You couldn’t beat the price for what was given for information and sites seen. I would definitely recommend this tour provider. SPECIALTY DINING: Moderno Churriscaria After watching two people run down the pier as the ship pulled away, it was time to get ready for a huge feast. The tour did not include lunch (didn’t have the time for it) so I was famished. I dined tonight in Moderno which is a salad bar plus endless amounts of meat delivered to your table. The female passadeur was very friendly and gladly accommodated one of my friend’s special requests about the meat being cooked to well done. Traditionally the meats are served from medium to medium well. All the meats tasted great. During the dinner service, the temperatures moderated a bit in the restaurant. It was a bit chilly when we first arrived. During dinner service Grace, the hostess came over and chatted a bit and then Vesna Campos came over when she came through the restaurant. At one point we were the only guests in the restaurant. It was a great dinner service and a long one. I was HUNGRY! Definitely go here when you’re starving! STARDUST SHOWTIME: What the World Needs Now This was the third production show from the Norwegian Sun production cast and orchestra. This was based on the hits of Burt Bucharach. Again this entertainment was geared to the 1960s time period so it largely sailed over my head. The mood of the show was so mellow and chill it did put me to sleep. Out of the four production shows this cruise, this one was my least favorite. Your perspective might be different given your age. The cast was amazing but the theme of the production was not lively enough for my tastes. No time for anything else tonight but bed! DAY 13 , DAY 14 and DAY 15 – MACCHU PICCHU OVERLAND TOUR A few days before hitting Peru we received an updated itinerary for the Macchu Picchu Tour. Apparently, the local train workers on Peru Rail and Inca Rail were going on strike on the full day we were supposed to be trekking to Macchu Picchu. In order to salvage the trip for guests, the tour operator re-arranged the tour making the first day the day to see Macchu Picchu. Otherwise, the tour would’ve been cancelled. If the tour was cancelled I would have been livid. This tour was the ONLY reason why I booked the cruise! After some initial confusion about baggage it was determined you were allowed one carry-on item and one backpack up to 11 pounds on the train to be brought on the plane. We had to pick up our passports which were collected at the gangway when boarding the ship in San Diego a day prior to arriving in Peru from the shore excursions desk. In them contained the Andean passage ticket and stamp for arrival into Peru. DAY 1 – In the morning I woke up super early and ate in the buffet before heading back to the cabin. The ship had arrived while I was eating breakfast but was no longer moving. Wasn’t sure why we were not proceeding to the dock. I went back to the cabin and finished cleaning up and headed to the theater for the 6:30A meet up time. The Captain was trying to get us in early so we could get off the ship and get to the airport right away. Problem was, the Peruvian navigation pilot didn’t come to the ship until after 6:30PM and so we were no where close to docking at 7AM. This started a snowball effect on the entire day’s travels. When we debarked the ship at 7:30AM we were already behind schedule and headed for the busses immediately as directed. As we were going to leave the port, the busses went to the wrong exit and we had to spend time to loop around and head for the correct exit. Being behind schedule, this didn’t help things. When we got out of the port, we hit the Callao and Lima morning commute traffic. We sat at one intersection with a cop directing traffic for 15 minutes. Traffic was everywhere and our arrival to the airport was one hour past the time the plane was supposed to take off. When we arrived to the airport it was a like a scene out of Home Alone! We dashed through the airport and headed for the plane gate. We had to clear security. We all arrived to the gate to find the plane was already loaded with other people flying to Cusco. They were wondering what the hold up was. When I boarded the plane, the oriental group was again lagging behind taking selfies and other non-sense. When they got on the plane they argued with someone over who was sitting in what seat as some people were split for the short flight. This only further delayed us! By the time the plane was finally loaded and everyone sat down, it took forever to get pushed back from the gate. Being late meant we lost our take off slot and when we finally did push back from the gate we spent 50 minutes sitting on the run way waiting for clearance to take off. When we did finally take off, the flight was fast. Upon arrival into Cusco we were hurried to the baggage area where we were told to go outside and get into 1 of 6 vans outside waiting for us and to head to the train station in Ollanta. I picked van number 5 as the people in it looked the most abled bodied. When we arrived into Cusco that’s when I realized there were people who had no business being on this tour. NCL should insist on people having medical clearance or notes from a doctor saying they’re capable of doing the tour. These people caused further delays with their sluggishness! We took off in the vans for the train station which was normally a 1 hour and 50 minute drive. Since we were going downhill and passing cars, we were making up for lost time. However, we were still past the original itineraries train departure time. Turns out we missed our assigned train. When we arrived to the Ollanta train station there was another two car special train heading for Aguas Calientes. Problem was since we missed our train, this train had other tourists on it. We had to board the train from a dirt road on the opposite side as we were already late. We received a box lunch before boarding the train to eat on the way to Aguas Calientes. Turns out since we were late but not the last van to arrive as one had pulled over en route (presumably for guests to use nature’s restroom as the vans didn’t have one), they ended up missing the train! In total there was not enough room on the train for three tour guides and six guests. We didn’t know this happened until half way through the train ride there when a conductor came through looking for the tour leader. My tour guide Fidel was left behind at Ollanta Train Station. When we arrived to Aguas Calientes we were herded towards the bus stop to board the bus up the hill to Macchu Picchu. We boarded the bus and cut a group of others waiting. They were not too happy about us doing so. When we get up to the entrance there was a bit of chaos trying to figure out how to divide what was 6 groups into 2. While this was going on, they were closing the entry gates to the ruins!! I tried to get the tour guides attention but they were trying to work it out. A couple of other guests and I went through the entry gates since we had the tickets. I wasn’t about to be shut out after this long day of commuting! I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to get back to Cusco but figured if it was this much a mess then they’d wait for me and get me back! Turns out they did get the tour groups into the ruins and when I got my own photos and walked around a bit I bumped into Maria’s group which was moving briskly with the tour. I followed her around and she described many things and moved as fast as she could given the group size. She did a remarkable job in the 1.5 hours we were there. Before I realized they were closing the ruins from the top down and clearing each level, I tried to run up to the top level to get some photos. It was already closed and they were yelling at me to come back down. I was a little bummed about this but still got some great photos. All in all we spent 1.5 hours in this magical wonder of the world. I was happy to have seen it. I would’ve been pissed if I didn’t make it! Was it ideal? Surely not. However, NCL did deliver on seeing the ruins. Most guests could not understand that and the amount of complaining that ensued was just crazy. We got back down to Aguas Calientes to catch a later train out with a boxed dinner to eat on the train provided by another catering company in town. There was a full moon overhead in the vista dome train cars so it lit up the valley we were traveling through quite nicely. We went along a river the whole way back to Ollanta Train Station. While we were on a siding mid-way waiting for another train to head to Aguas Calientes, a lot of guests were complaining about the wait as if NCL could do something about it. When the train finally did pass, it was loaded with police and riot gear. I guess this strike was serious business! After seeing that I was thankful we were going the other way. When we arrived to the train station there were even more cops with swat gear waiting around. We re-boarded the vans to head back to Cusco and since it was all uphill it really did take 1 hour and 50 minutes this time. By the time we arrived to the Hilton Garden Inn in Cusco, it was after 11PM. The carry on luggage was already placed in our assigned rooms and all we had to do was sign and get the room keys. I was exhausted but also dehydrated so I bought two bottled waters for 4 USD. Turns out this was highway robbery and I also didn’t realize I bought two with gas (carbonated). I was too tired to turn them in and went to bed. DAY 2 – Cusco Tour Even though the tour order changed, we were still given an early wake up call and had to be ready by 9AM to depart the hotel for the Cusco city tour. We left promptly and headed for the main square to visit the Koricancha and Cathedral. During this part of the tour we encountered striking teachers from the university in Cusco. Our tour guide actually recognized some of them and he stopped to talk with him. Today we had our tour guide Fidel back. After touring the Cathedral, we went to the Saqsayhuman Fortress in the hills over Cusco. Amazing Incan architecture again on this fortress built high above the city. After a nice tour of the ruins and seeing some more alpacas, we headed to lunch at a local Peruvian restaurant. All the food served were traditional Peruvian cuisine which was welcomed and refreshing given the boxed lunch and dinner the previous day were geared for Americans (ham and cheese sandwiches). After the lunch, we returned late to the Hilton Garden Inn and had some leisure time. I ventured back into the main square area with the NCL tour escort and another lady. Safety in numbers and we were fine! We went to the main square in search of souvenir shopping. We headed down to the end of the main road and found this huge shopping plaza with tons of vendors. Most of them had roughly the same items for sale. When you found something different, you immediately bought it. Here I bought an alpaca wool poncho thing for me and magnets and calendars for gifts back home. We took a cab back to the hotel as the sun was beginning to set. For 4 USD we had a ride back from the market to the hotel door. It was so incredibly cheap!! We had to be back at the hotel for 7PM for the hotel catered dinner. When we had dinner, it wasn’t overly Peruvian fare but more Americanized with three pieces of beef and possibly Peruvian gravy. When dinner was finished I went back to the room to relax and get some sleep. Problem was we had to be up at 4AM for breakfast and up in the lobby to transfer to the airport by 5:15AM! I didn’t sleep hardly at all with this on my mind. DAY 3 – Cusco to Arica, Chile I was up before the alarm clock and went and had the hotel breakfast on the go with some cereal. I was in the lobby on time and we left promptly for the airport. Given the early hour there was no one around on the streets and we watched the sunrise as we were heading to the airport. At the airport we said goodbye to our tour guides and went through security screening. The flight from Cusco to Arica boarded promptly on Peruvian Airlines. The main reason for this was it was a charter flight all to ourselves. We took off for the short 50 minute flight to Arica. When we landed in Arica, we taxied to the gate as another plane was leaving. We waited for about 30 minutes and then were told the jet way was not working and we had to back up and be brought to the only other gate they had at the airport. It was a small airport. We did taxi and then were allowed off the plane. The Chilean authorities, just two of them, were clearing our plane one a time in the terminal. This process took quite a while. I was one of the last to get on the final tour bus to take off in a convoy to the cruise port. During the bus ride back to the port, a local guide provided information about the city of Arica and the surrounding area. She provided a brief history lesson and pointed out things to us as we arrived into the city limits. When were arrived back to the ship it was 10AM Peru time but we didn’t realize the ship jumped ahead two hours while we were off. It was really noon and it was time to eat some lunch! Thank goodness! My hunger won out over taking a city tour in Arica. I stayed on the ship and just took a nap when I finished lunch. I woke up in time to see the ship off. Since we didn’t have a hotel dinner on day 1, NCL refunded the group $100 per person. This was in replacement for the first day’s train food. When we arrived back to the ship, the guests who were displeased with the whole thing went to the shore excursion manager and by the end of the cruise NCL corporate agreed to a $200 additional refund resulting in a total of $300 refunded. The tour cost was $2,099 for a solo. I wasn’t expecting any refund for us as NCL and the tour provider did get us to the ruins, even if it was not ideal. I was happy I got to see the ruins. It’s been on my bucket list forever! Not exactly sure I would return to spend more time there. I think NCL’s reimbursement was ok given the extreme circumstances facing the tour. Maybe I’m just more understanding than most? Tonight, I dined in the aft main dining room alone as I had to get caught up on three days worth of work. Using the wifi and hanging out in the corner I had some pasta as it was the third time in my time on the ship that dinner 4 menu was served. I had some pretty spicy pasta and was thankful for it as I was beginning to get sick with some sort of cold I picked up with all the sleep deprivation in Peru. STARDUST SHOWTIME: Magic Rush with Roman and Svetlana I stopped by the late show (9PM) to catch their performance. These entertainers are professional decorated dancers who chose to include magic in the form of costume changes into their show. The show was ok. The costume changes and layers of costumers you could clearly see from the angle in the balcony I was sitting at (nose bleed). The show flowed ok and was entertaining. I don’t know if I was just exhausted or just hyper aware with all the oxygen at ground level to see how they had arranged all the costumes on their bodies. It was Latin night in Dazzles so I headed to bed. DAY 16 – SEA DAY After a leisurely breakfast and getting some work done, I went for a workout. It was simply too cold outside to go out and sun. The workout took up most of the morning and then after a nice lunch, I relaxed back in the cabin on the balcony for a bit. Before dinner there was the Platinum Latitudes party in the Observation Lounge. There were lots of Platinum guests this cruise. We were left to mingle with the senior management on the ship for a bit before heading to dinner. SPECIALTY DINING: Cagney’s Steakhouse Tonight we celebrated one of my cruise friend’s birthdays at Cagney’s steakhouse. It was her choice of where to go and tonight for a change the steakhouse was packed with people! My dinner consisted of a wedge, the shrimp cocktail and the Tomahawk steak again. The steak was so tender and juicy and cooked to perfection. I loved it again! The wait staff came over and asked for our desserts and then my birthday surprise for my friend came out. She didn’t see it coming and big thank you to Vesna Campos for getting it arranged as a surprise for her without her even having a clue! Big props to the Cagney’s team this trip. Service from the hostess to the wait staff to the cooks behind the scene was just amazing. STARDUST SHOWTIME: World Beat This was the fourth and final production number on the Norwegian Sun. Save the best for last is usually how it works. This show was new to me and I LOVED every last minute of it. Music from around the world represented in costume, dance and vocals. The cast brought such energy for this last production, it was toe tapping and amazing. What a great way to end the cruise! The tributes to Africa and Orient were especially amazing. I wish I could’ve seen it twice! Well done cast! FEATURED PARTY: White Hot Party It’s easy to do because all you do is wear white. Thankfully DJ Onyx took Dazzles out of the stone age for music and finally to current beats. There was definitely some electronic dance music coursing through those speakers. FINALLY!! It was the best night in Dazzles since one night earlier in the cruise. By midnight the format had slowed and flipped to Latin and by 12:30A I was went back, showered and headed to bed. At least the night was energetic enough that I ordered two alcohol drinks. I have to say the new prices for Grey Goose and Sprite were quite sobering. If you’re going to charge per drink more than Boston you’d better give me a Boston pour of alcohol. This measured pour for $11.50 is for the birds. It used to be $8.76 a year and a half ago! DAY 17 – COQUIMBO, CHILE After a morning breakfast it was time to get off the ship and explore with the NCL shore excursion. NCL SHORE EXCURSION: Coquimbo and La Serena We had a young tour guide from the university named Joaquin who was telling us all about the two locations. His personal story seemed more fascinating than the history tour he was giving us. It seemed like this port call wasn’t really meant to be full of history. Coquimbo had suffered from a tsunami recently and so the coastline was rebuilding from that. The buildings are designed to withstand earthquakes but not tsunamis. We made a couple of stops along our journey including to a look out with seals and sculptures where the pirates used to be. From there we headed to a lighthouse for a photo op. The lighthouse was never functionally used. Odd we would be brought to something that was simply a decoration and a tagged (spray painted one) at that. We were supposed to stop at the Archaeological Museum but for whatever reason we were not allowed in. Not sure if the place was closed or not. Finding a useable bathroom at this point was hard to come by as the public toilets in the park were out of order. People split off from the group to go to the toilet and eventually we did find one. We were then dumped at La Recova market to shop for a short bit before reboarding the bus. We headed up the hill to La Serena university to get a panoramic view of the city and Coquimbo where the ship was docked. If it was clearer it would have been picturesque but it was cloudy and cool. Unseasonable according to the tour guide. I was on lucky tour number 13! The recurring 13 theme since the date we left for Macchu Picchu was uncanny! Overall, Joaquin was a good kid. He was trying to pay his way through university getting his business administration degree. He was really young and I was surprised NCL used someone so young for the excursion. He knew his history and was a fluent translator for others on the bus. I guess I just expected something more from NCL for this excursion. It was ok but not something I would recommend. I was sick with a cold at that point so I stayed in the back away from guests and got back on the ship and relaxed. I had a farewell dinner with some of the people I met throughout the voyage in the Seven Seas dining room. Service was leisurely and it was great company. Both of them were staying on to go around the Horn but I had to return home. 22 days on the Norwegian Sun was the longest I’d ever spent on any ship! Tonight I went to the photo gallery to look over the few photos I had taken. I ended up buying a stock photo of the ship in the Panama Canal and a copy of the ships itinerary – both stock photos! One of them had to be re-printed and some Photoshop done as it showed some serious rust along the water line for the Sun. The photo manager saw to it personally and it was ready for me in the morning before I debarked. I walked around the ship a bit and said goodbye to other familiar faces and headed to bed. DAY 18 – VALPRAISO / SANTIAGO, CHILE Since my flight was not until 10PM, I booked a post-cruise shore excursion to help pass the time. NCL SHORE EXCURSION and AIRPORT TRANSFER: Wines, Horses, and Santiago Overview with Transfer Another early morning and off the ship early as the tour disembark time was 7:30AM. Our luggage was brought to the airport for us and all we had to do was disembark. The terminal for the cruise passengers is not on top of where the ship docks but a bus ride away. The ship docks in a container port!! When we bussed to the terminal we had to clear immigration again and go through metal detectors. Karma was instant for a guy who cut me to get off the ship and then cut me again to get into the terminal building. He had two oranges in his pocket from the ship. This was not allowed and we were repeatedly warned. Since the ship had been in Chilean waters for two ports, the customs guy was not impressed and hauled the guy away to fine him! Rudeness of guests this voyage was irritating even during disembark! We traveled to Casablanca Valley and had a tour of the Michael Cole vineyard and had a wine sampling. After the sampling, we were given some free time to shop for the wines. While the wines were cheap, getting them to the USA was an expensive proposition. One lady bought a box of wines to bring home and was going to ship them from the airport!! After we finished at the vineyard we headed over to Estancia el Cuadro for a horse demonstration along with some traditional Chilean folk dancing. After the show we were brought to the wine museum and out to their vineyard to be shown the differences between the grape leaves that make all the different wines. Since it was early in the growing season, most of the grapes were not formed. It was the leaves that you could tell the difference by if you were paying close attention. Pretty neat! We had lunch at Estancia el Cuadro while having some typical Chilean music and folk dances peformed. It was interesting to see different instruments used and one local Chilean instrument which the tour guide explained to me. When she was showing it to me it fell apart into several pieces on the ground. I felt so bad. We got it all fixed up and off she went to a wedding which was being held on site. This place was absolutely stunning and was designed for weddings and functions. When lunch was over we headed to Santiago for a brief overview of the city. During the city tour we stopped at an artisanal village called El Pueblo de Los Dominicos. Full of handicraft items we were given some 25 minutes to shop here. Not nearly enough time to buy anything as the vendors closest to the entrance charged a lot more than if you went to the back. Shopping on this cruise was at a premium on most of the tours and this one was no different. We headed to the Sheraton hotel to dump off guests who booked a post-cruise hotel stay through the cruise line. We then headed for the airport arriving just before 5:30PM. It was a long day and I was thankful to be at the airport knowing the journey to get home was getting closer. The tour did the job of filling the day and keeping me busy. For the price paid, it was ok. SUMMARY This cruise was strictly for Macchu Picchu. I saw what I came on the cruise to accomplish and saw some pretty neat sites along the way. Would I recommend this cruise just for Macchu Picchu? Final answer would be NO. If you want to go and see the ruins, it’s best you do something longer and take into consideration any labor actions that may be happening. I know NCL gave it their best and I can’t fault them for the strike or the logistical mess that was only aggravated by a series of rude guests. The six guests who missed the train and later stayed behind to catch it on the day after we flew to Arica never got to see the ruins. I got off the cruise a happy person for having to experience this wonder of the world! In comparison to Groove Cruise, the cruise prior to this one, this one was very relaxing and sedate. Expect an average age that’s way higher than on NCL’s usual 7 day itineraries. I can’t fault the cruise line for constant catering to the predominant age group on the ship. I made the best of out if that I could and got plenty of sun in as well. The gym was a welcomed addition and something I don’t usually spend that much time in on a cruise. The staff and crew were simply amazing. Vesna Campos, Food and Beverage Director seemed to be everywhere in the afternoon and evening. She runs a tight operation and was always so kind and hospitable when I saw her. I remember her from the Pearl charters. She ran those very well! Such an amazing woman and she knows her stuff! Brian Walters, the Hotel Director who has been with NCL since before I was born (wow!!) was around and always said hello. Mihaela Mocan, the Restaurant Manager would always greet me when I entered the Seven Seas dining room by name and be a friendly face around the ship. I have to give a huge shout out to the photo staff as they would see me roaming the ship and talk with me when I was going through if they weren’t helping customers. They helped to keep me sane in night hours when I would hope for something lively in Dazzles to keep me from going to bed. While it never happened they were always so kind to me no matter at the gangway or in the photo gallery. The singles social hostess Jezibel was also very friendly and always beaming whenever I saw her. I think it was the end of her contract but she was giving all she had to keep the solos happy. Grace, the hostess from La Cucina and Moderno was always a welcoming sight no matter where ever on the ship I bumped into her. Carlos, the concierge who recognized me from the Jewel cruises I did back in 2009 and 2010, was a familiar face and so helpful during the cruise. Carlos saved me from having a complete anxiety attack over NCL’s changed policy about cashing travelers checks (they don’t do it anymore although it’s not published anywhere saying that). I also want to thank Kodi Oliver on the production cast for the warm welcome to the ship when I boarded for Groove Cruise 22 days prior. I would see him around the ship and he’d always say hello. He also hung out with a group of kids who were disabled which he wasn’t obligated to do. Big shout out to him for doing that. Kane on the production cast for being around and a smiling face to talk to when he would be strolling the ship or having lunch or chilling in the buffet. The cast on this ship was far more approachable than any other cast in recent memory. Last but not least Jun Serrano who was my cabin steward. He kept the place tidy and was always around to greet me and ask how my day was. In conclusion, the Sun is a humble ship. While she’s one of the older ships in the NCL fleet, she’s still in good working order. Prior complaints about sewage odors were unfounded as I took the aft stairwell constantly. The guest’s behavior on the ship I can’t fault NCL for but we went through the US election on the ship and besides a group of oriental people being constantly rude, some of the other guests after the election took license to being complete idiots. This cruise had its fill of odd characters. The crew never wavered though and I experienced excellent service no matter where I went! When I’m on NCL ships I feel at home. That’s why I’m leaving again on another NCL cruise one week after getting back from this one!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This cruise was booked two years ago and it exceeded my expectations. I had not sailed on the Sun since 2006 and was glad to find she had aged better than I. I do not need water slides and planks over the sea...the Sun's pool deck is ... Read More
This cruise was booked two years ago and it exceeded my expectations. I had not sailed on the Sun since 2006 and was glad to find she had aged better than I. I do not need water slides and planks over the sea...the Sun's pool deck is spacious! The mini suites are huge and comfortable. I had two stewards over the 34 days Emerson and Achmed who anticipated my every need. The South American itinerary and the repositioning Cruise had all types of weather and adventure. The destination lecturer Peter was a huge bonus! From Argentine Malbec and tangos to Falkland Island penguins to Chilean sea lions it was amazing. Going to Cape Horn with close to 100mph winds was a true bucket list item but to be able to see it all from the balcony was fantastic. Crossing the Equator was another fun experience...the ship celebrates both events in a special way...did I mention that the director Roberto coordinated the vast amounts of activities and entertainment so that there was a large participation in pool side events....not going yo describe as would not want to spoil the FUN! The music offered was tip top...the Show Band was my favorite but the performers including 4Ever ,Fabio Zini ,Jeri S and Elvie Rose drew standing ovations. Music was everywhere fro classical Amber Strings to Nathan singing in the Windjammer. Bar service was outstanding...my favorite was the Atrium Java Cafe where Marijan made great espresso as well as the best ever Caipirinha! The Specialty restaurants were very good but having to make reservations kind of takes away free style. The food and service in the Seven Seas was excellent. bar service was also swift there. My favorite was La Cuchina...this may not be 5 star dining but the atmosphere is comfort and the chili beef pizza should not be missed. Thanks to Ashley,Aileen and all the wonderful servers there! Workers came on the ship to start work prior yo the dry dock...work like this was more visible this cruise but not annoying. I had noise from the crew door across the hall from the minisuite but the forward location of 11015 was so convenient! The wifi was slow and did not work for several oft He last days but I was able to cancel and get a partial refund. Hopefully wifi will be improved. Did not use the Spa order the Gym but they appeared to be well used. Wish they would have had pool BBQ or at least food available without having to leave pool deck. Shore excursions were exciting...the weather had negative effects but that's part of being at the tip of SA. The Beach escape in Huatulco Mexico was perhaps a hidden gem...this is beautiful area to explore! Colder weather in Cabo made for no snorkeling for me. While not an excursion...getting up and 5 am to sail into San Francisco and under the awesome Golden Gate Bridge was a fitting end to a marvelous cruise! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We had done the BA to Valparaiso run a few years ago and wanted to finish this off. We and 12 other couples/friends joined the ship, and everyone had a great time with a couple of exceptions. Given a trip of this length, there are ... Read More
We had done the BA to Valparaiso run a few years ago and wanted to finish this off. We and 12 other couples/friends joined the ship, and everyone had a great time with a couple of exceptions. Given a trip of this length, there are bound to be some mechanical/electrical problems. The major one was a sewage leak into the bottom of an elevator shaft that the crew had great problems locating. Since the bottom of the elevator shaft is the ceiling of the engine room, you can imagine it gets hot. Soon the sewage smell was very noticeable throughout the stern of the ship. I think most everyone would have been understanding; however, the communication between the staff and the affected passengers was really poor. The wait to clear customs and return to the ship in LA was unbelievable. Again, no communications and no drinks/snacks appeared until we were ready to line up to re-board. Then the line was held up while they were pumping something into the ship below the skyway. Again no communication about what was going on. After arriving in SF, they pulled the ship into a ten day drydock for some refurbishing, and some is really needed. Nothing really major, but things were getting a bit long of tooth, nicked, scratched, torn, etc. Most of this should be remedied. That's enough negative... The crew was great although there were some difficulties with English among the Purser staff. Everyone was polite, smiling and would go our of their way to help us. We got the "free" booze package, and for those of us that like to imbibe it was a great deal. Food was OK; after all this isn't Crystal. Not at a $2400 per person balcony price with booze. What a screaming deal! Food tended to repeat as would be expected over this long a trip. Entertainment ranged from OK to very good. No real repeats over a 20 period; that's quite a feat. Cabins were comfortable with no real problems considering we encountered temperatures at times well into the 90's with humidity to match. All in all a terrific value cruise. For this price I can overlook quite a bit. We are Platinum status, and we booked another cruise while on board; almost a no brainer. Go NCL! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We sailed from Valparaiso Chile to San Francisco on the NCL Sun. Longest cruise so far for us at 20 days. We flew into Santiago a day early, and enjoyed an escooter tour and a fabulous dinner at Borago (one of the World's top 50 ... Read More
We sailed from Valparaiso Chile to San Francisco on the NCL Sun. Longest cruise so far for us at 20 days. We flew into Santiago a day early, and enjoyed an escooter tour and a fabulous dinner at Borago (one of the World's top 50 Restaurants). We used Christian the Van Man to transport us and another couple from the Park Plaza Hotel to Valparaiso with a stop at a winery along the way. He was a good and reliable driver and we enjoyed his commentary. He included a driving tour around Valparaiso which was very interesting. Embarkation was problematic. We requested a wheelchair for my husband who has long disease and sometimes has trouble walking long distances. The wheelchair attendant did not listen when I asked for the suite check in, and after we waited in line and checked in at the regular check in he did not take us to the suite lounge in La Cucina. We went right to the room. Our room was 8277, an aft Penthouse Suite. It was clean and reasonably speacious. Our steward, Munir (who was great the whole cruise) had gotten a carpenter to craft a triangular lift for the head of the bed to raise it 6 inches as per our pre cruise request. This worked really well. The bathroom only had one sink which we consider to be less than what one should get with a suite. The shower was tiny but we were able to shower in the bathtub. That worked much better. The butler, Jomar, stopped by to greet us and brought a plate of snacks. He also has my requested pitcher of iced tea. We got along quite well with Jomar during the cruise. Don't ask about the concierge. He was awful. He forget to make dinner reservations on our anniversary and it just went downhill with him from there. After sailaway we headed off to Le Bistro for dinner. It was fine but they really need to change the menu. Service was almost too attentive. The next few days were filled with excellent ports-Coqimbo, Arica, Lima and Trujillo. We had booked private tours with other Cruise Critic folk and these all went extremely well. A few sea days were interspersed, we mostly lounged around and played a little trivia. We were really enjoying our cabin and our balcony. The weather was perfect. Unfortunately trouble started the second week. Some contractors are supplies had been loaded on in Valpo. and more were added in some of the subsequent ports. Our relaxing cruise began to turn into a sentence in a construction site. A strong sewage smell permeated the aft of the ship, and made our cabin unlivable on several days. Contractors began removing ceiling panels in the hall. Dust and insulation was flying around everywhere. The contractors has masks but no masks were issued to the passengers. Complaints to guest services were dealt with by the attendant taking down our room numbers. No one ever got back to us until 10 of us stormed guest services as a group refusing to take no for an answer. That got us the attention of one of the higher ups, I think his name was Humberto. Still, the ship continued to stink. Then the water started running blue. Our shower curtain and washcloths were stained blue. Our steward told us not to drink the water. Our butler became ill in the cabin due to the smell. Large chunks of soot and debris littered the balcony. We Believe that NCL shortened the dry dock the ship was headed for by 2 weeks to add another cruise, and instead decided to do the some of the work on the ship around the passengers. No thought was given to our welfare and safety. No appropriate response was made to our complaints. We will skip NCL for a while. The disorganized cancellations of last summer followed by this trip have led us to believe that NCL is a disfunctional organization. We understand that things can go wrong on a vacation but this was intolerable. The lower echelon ship staff were all great. We loved all the ports except Puerto Chiapas. There was also a bad interlude in LA which was where we had to clear customs-took hours and was very disorganized, But that may not have been NCL's fault, hard to know. We are going to avoid NCL for a while.There are lots of other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We chose this ship because it was the only one available that late in the season that was going around the southern tip of South America. The cruise was chilly and rocky, of course, the further south we traveled, but we expected that and ... Read More
We chose this ship because it was the only one available that late in the season that was going around the southern tip of South America. The cruise was chilly and rocky, of course, the further south we traveled, but we expected that and did well. We were unexpectedly very pleased with the Norwegian Sun. Our balcony cabin seemed to be larger than others in that category on previous ships, with even a couch that was wide enough to sit us both comfortably as we watched the scenery drift by. Lots of storage space, too. We did have a couple of mishaps, including water/sewage backing up into our shower, but we caught it quickly and it was repaired within an hour. The staff was very nice about it, providing us with a bottle of wine and some gourmet chocolates for the inconvenience. My wife happened to mention to the head of food preparation that she burned herself on one of the serving pans. She got a sincere apology, a couple of follow-up calls to check on her, and another bottle of wine! In fact, everyone aboard the shop was friendly and attentive. This may have been because of the small size of the vessel, by today's measures, and that fact the we were with them for fourteen days. Unlike other cruises, this one seemed to tailor much of the entertainment to itinerary. We even had tango lessons! Not willing to spend the extra fees for specialty dining we confined our meals to the main dining rooms and buffet. The food was fine, albeit not gourmet. No lobster tails, but nice steaks and lamb and seafood items. Service was excellent, and as early diners (no later than 7:30) we never had to wait for a table. We generally got a table for two, but occasionally joined another couple. The layout of the ship is excellent, with the main show lounge just above the larger Seven Seas dining room, so it was quick to go from one to the other - no long walk down the whole ship. The outdoor promenade deck is excellent, allowing for a complete circuit, even in cooler weather. The only warm days were the first and last, because of the itinerary, so this limited available space, but it was only crowded at peak times in the buffet. We took all of our shore excursions from the ship. They were all comfortable and informative, albeit a bit expensive. Some of our fellow cruisers were successful in hiring private drivers on shore, but we felt more secure this way. Since most of the ports were tendered, using the ship's excursions was less tense. Peter, the lecturer on the ports, was terrific. He was friendly and informative, whether one was using a ship excursion or not. We have taken many cruises, but this was only our second one on Norwegian. We were pleasantly surprised with the high quality of our experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We had a fantastic time on our 32 night cruise from Buenos Aires to Los Angeles (sadly we had to get off 2 days early). Yes, there were a few problems, but overall we had a good time. I sometimes find that reading reviews on here can be ... Read More
We had a fantastic time on our 32 night cruise from Buenos Aires to Los Angeles (sadly we had to get off 2 days early). Yes, there were a few problems, but overall we had a good time. I sometimes find that reading reviews on here can be disappointing. Do you really need to make a fuss about a few strawberries in chocolate and a bottle of wine? Life is too short. I find people seem to want to pay less and less to cruise then expect food, entertainment and service to get better and better. You get what you pay for. If you want luxury cabins and gourmet food there are plenty of 5 or 6 star ships you can sail on. Don’t take a good / fair value cruise and expect the earth. If you think NCL is expensive and does not have the food or entertainment you like then it might be time to give up cruising or try another cruise line. Lower your expectations on the Sun, don’t stress about small things and you will have a good time. PROS: Embarkation was extremely easy. We loved the majority of the ports and the adventure around Cape Horn. We liked the food in the buffet and the restaurants. Some items are repeated every day but other items change daily; if you look there are always different choices in all the various venues and we don’t understand other people’s comments about the food always being the same. In 32 nights we only ate in 2 of the specialty restaurants. We felt the food and service was just as good in the Seven Seas and Four Seasons (if anything it was worse in the specialty restaurants). Personally we did not feel the need to pay extra for the specialty dining. The entertainment was very good. We saw the show every night. The Sun band and productions cast were very good. Unfortunately, they have all gone their separate ways after this cruise which is a pity as they worked very well together. A lot of good acts were brought onto the ship; highlights included the Tango Show and 4Ever. The Entertainment manager and team worked hard so everyone could enjoy themselves. Peter Croyle's port and wildlife talks were excellent. His information helped us to enjoy the cruise more. We even got up early to see his talks live rather than on the TV later. We were very happy with our cabin (9240). It was in a good location, there was a lot of storage space and the shower was okay for the average sized person, with plenty of hot water. It was very quiet compared to other cabins we’ve had on other ships; we could not hear the neighbours (apart from on the balcony). I thought the TV channels were okay and I enjoyed watching UK football when available. CONS: The Sun is in dry dock at the moment for 9 days, more for technical changes than passenger areas. The dry dock was cut short (some items scheduled to be changed have been delayed until 2018) so to save money NCL brought contractors on board early. There was noise when lying around the pool and more and more work in the corridors as the cruise went on. However, the contractors were very polite and any mess they created was cleaned up immediately. A lot of people got a cough and cold. I personally think this happened after contractors started cleaning the air conditioning filters. A very bad smell also started soon after this in the aft staircase area. Again, I personally think it was caused by the work the contractors were doing, but may be wrong. I’m not sure why paying passengers have to put up with work going on around them whilst on a cruise. We thought the Guest Relations staff on the front desk were poor. We always came away thinking that if we went back the next day and spoke to someone else we would get a different answer. Some of them did not show any enthusiasm or seem interested in your questions or comments and were just there for the job / money. Don’t forget the gratuity / service charge is now obligatory so you can pay this pre cruise or via your onboard ship account. For long cruises this can work out to be a lot of money. If it is a mandatory fee why is it not shown on your quote for the cruise ie. cruise price + government and port taxes + service / gratuity charge? This will help you budget and decide if you can afford the cruise. Don’t forget the 18% gratuity on all drinks, specialty dining etc onboard. I really hope NCL pass all this extra money onto the crew and it is not just a profit making scheme. SUMMARY: This was our first NCL cruise and we will definitely consider them in the future. We found the Freestyle dining worked out better than we’d expected as we are used to the more formal dining arrangements of other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I chose this cruise as there was no single supplement for solo travellers, if the 34-day cruise was book as a 14-day cruise and a 20-day cruise, and the itinerary was very interesting. I booked directly with an NCL agent. As soon as ... Read More
I chose this cruise as there was no single supplement for solo travellers, if the 34-day cruise was book as a 14-day cruise and a 20-day cruise, and the itinerary was very interesting. I booked directly with an NCL agent. As soon as I was booked, her tone and attitude changed and I did not get the amenities I was promised. She told me everything I wanted to hear, but did not deliver the goods! Follow-up emails blamed "something being lost in translation," and "my misunderstanding." It was the worst booking experience I have had with 15 cruises. Other guests on board had similar experiences. I would not book directly with NCL again. I arrived in BA three days early, and stayed at the perfectly located Melia Hotel on Reconquista. I loved exploring the city and I also took an El Tigre river cruise with fellow cruise critic travellers. A pre-cruise dinner at El Federale, a short walk from my hotel, with 18 other cruise critic travellers, was excellent. Embarkation was a lengthy process, but my luggage was at my cabin door when I arrived. The ship was beginning to show its age, and was actually going into dry dock for nine days at the end of our cruise. Probably the worst part of the cruise was work which was begun by contractors on the ship before the end of our cruise, which interfered with enjoying the pool area due to the noise of grinding metal by said workers. They were also stringing cable in the ceilings of the hallways, but this did not really interfere with my enjoyment. For several days, there was a strong sewage smell in many of the aft cabins and hallways due to a leak in one of the elevator shafts. I was not personally affected by this, but I know that it ruined the cruise for a number of guests. The greatest frustration was the lack of communication from the crew. Some of the "Guest Services" agents were rude and unhelpful. Most of the female agents were not friendly. They clearly did not enjoy their jobs or assisting guests. The captain should refrain from referring to the Guest Services staff as "girls," as many of them were men. He should not have said, "they don't know anything," when guests posed questions to him about said staff dismissing their complaints regarding the stench on the ship. Excuse me....chain of command....communication, please sir! I only attended one dinner for solo travellers. I found many of the solo travellers to be very negative and complaining about everything. I preferred to dine with cruise critic friends and/or simply ask to share a table. The entertainment on board was excellent. I enjoyed the presentations about our upcoming ports of call by Peter. All of the dining venues were acceptable, with the food and service being very good. The Food and Beverage Director was outstanding - she was everywhere! There were very few children on the cruise, which was a bonus for me. I would have liked to have spent a little time in the casino, but found it very smokey. Some smokers used this area as a smoking section; they were not gambling, just sitting smoking. The place smelled of stale smoke and I felt sorry for the staff subjected to the second-hand smoke. Returning to the US, in the port of LA, was a lengthy fiasco - very disorganized with too few Customs and Immigration Officers. Why was there no Nexus Line/Global Entry/Trusted Traveller line? The ports of call were all enjoyable. I took few ship shore excursions due to the price and my preference for not travelling as a herded pack. I preferred the private tours arranged by me and fellow cruise critic travellers; all were excellent. I explored every port of call and would love to go back to all of them. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Background information. We like longer cruises, especially repositioning ones as you get to see so many different ports. Also it means that the demography of the cruisers is to our liking. We are both retired and determined to make the ... Read More
Background information. We like longer cruises, especially repositioning ones as you get to see so many different ports. Also it means that the demography of the cruisers is to our liking. We are both retired and determined to make the most of the money we have available. We have never been able nor have we wanted to ski till now, no not snow ski but Spending the Kids Inheritance!! We have 5 children and we never made huge sums as a teacher and relief pharmacist so were unable to take many family holidays. When we sold the property we lived on and moved to a small house in town the kids all said (they earn more that we ever did) spend it on yourselves; so we are. Hotel information (if any). We flew to Buenos Aires direct from Auckland, about 12 hours, and because of the frequency of the flights we decided to make the most of it with 4 nights there. We were glad we did as there was so much to do, even though the centre of the city was closed down for much of the time thanks to Obama!! We did a couple of tours while there and also spent lots of time exploring; the best part of that was exploring the food. If you like meat and a good red wine BA is the place for you. We stayed in The Tryp, right in the city and easy to get to and from; use Ezeiza Taxis at the airport, and the "hotel" to the port. Grey Lines have a cheap half day orientation of BA and there is a cheap (free) walking tour too. I would recommend a tour into the Tigre. Ship information. The Sun is the size of ship that we prefer, small so that even when full it doesn't feel too crowded. It is not at all difficult to find your way around it and very difficult to get lost!! There are always some BUTs:- The smell of sewerage at times especially aft. The presence of workmen getting ready for the dry docking, they got in the way at times. The extreme temperature of one spa in particular so that it was closed for a number of days. The "need" to go through the smoky casino on deck 7 or having to do a deck detour to miss it. Activities. As with all NCL ships there was lots to do. We were extremely pleased to have a lecturer who was able to give us an hour each sea day that involved the next port(s) and some South American history. Not impressed with the person in charge of the art auction house; we attended the first talk and he was a rank amateur as a lecturer. The shows were first class so my wife tells me. Service. Everyone on the front desk appeared very professional, nothing was too much bother for them They sorted out every problem, complaint and request in an excellent manner. The rest of the crew we dealt with were really great too, one or two a little too effusive and only one out of her depth. They were very professional and, so long as you treated them with respect, they could not do enough for you. Port & shore excursions. As always we took NCL tours at almost every port we visited, although a little more expensive they were well researched and gave exactly what was promised. One or two probably needed a little work but in general we enjoyed them all, even the one on the only rainy day of the cruise. I will admit we had lots of tours that had meals included, expensive but the food was always excellent. The worst part was having to drink all those Pisco Sours and all the red wine!! We were advised that the guides might be poor English speakers and that the transport might be "not the best", both were as good as most we have had in North America and a lot better than some. Highlights: the Falklands, the "End of the World", the "Temple of the Moon" and the "Mezcal tasting". No we didn't spend large on Machu Picchu. Oh I forgot, Pisco Sour after Pisco Sour after Pisco Sour and the Margaritas!! Cabin. As always we travel Inside, better 4 cruises at $1000 than 1 cruise at $4000!! After all we only used it to sleep at night and rest during the day when we didn't have lots of other things to do or other places to hang out. Insides are small but not too small for the two of us and we have enough room for all we took with us. I recommend that you get the cabin steward to empty the fridge, to get pool towels and to get a bath robe; all makes life a little easier. We were very lucky as we had an excellent steward, nothing was too much trouble. Dining. We both put on the obligatory 1lb a day with no trouble. All our main meals were taken in the MDR or a Specialty; breakfast and lunch on sea days included. The service was generally excellent as we tended to eat when they were not too busy. The food was up to the standard we have come to expect with NCL especially in the MDRs; it would be nice if the breakfast and lunch menus in the MDRs had a greater variety. We really enjoyed le Bistro (4 visits), Moderno was good (2 visits) and were not overly impressed with la Cucina. One BIG complaint though; we had to have breakfast in Moderno a few times as we were leaving for an early shorex. The jugs of hot water had been used for coffee and we wanted tea!! Terrible "teoffee" taste. We complained and it was "sorted" till the next time when it was "bad" but not as "bad". Then it was really sorted, the next time the jugs had red stickers "HOT WATER ONLY". Thanks to the senior F&B staff who did a brilliant job; complain in the right way and things are sorted!! Entertainment. My wife saw all the shows and didn't have a complaint about any. The only problem was that as the cruise was 32 days in two halves there were not enough different shows and there was quite a bit of repetition. One highlight was the searching for dolphins, a real entertainment one evening at dinner. Embarkation & Disembarkation. There have been times when both of these have been horrific but not this time. At Buenos Aires we were expecting a wait but it wasn't too long and the holding area was quite comfortable, we were there early on purpose!! We were not in any hurry to get off the ship in San Francisco and things went very smoothly when we decided to move. Immigration in San Pedro (Los Angeles) was horrific, we were glad we weren't on a tour!! Summary If you have never been to South America then this is the cruise for you. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
40th birthday mega-trip. I have been lucky enough to live on 4 continents and travel everywhere I originally wanted to see. So in considering my 40th birthday, I wanted a new destination - South America... and a new experience - a proper ... Read More
40th birthday mega-trip. I have been lucky enough to live on 4 continents and travel everywhere I originally wanted to see. So in considering my 40th birthday, I wanted a new destination - South America... and a new experience - a proper cruise. I had taken a Mediterranean cruise before but this was a completely different experience. I really enjoyed it and met a lot of wonderful people on this cruise. There were some minor problems but most were dealt with efficiently. My travel-mate was vegan and there were no truly viable non-carbohydrate-heavy options available for her... despite her contacting Norwegian and letting them know her requirements well in advance. We were given the impression that her dietary needs would not be an issue - but they soooo were. On board, everything needed to be reserved and mentioned 24 hours in advance and even then no decent options were offered to her. I had almost no problems with the food choices - though the Italian restaurant was by far my least favorite experience. Service regarding most other issues, reservations, changes, etc. was polite and mostly helpful. I had to cancel an excursion THE MORNING OF due to a digestive malfunction - and they made it clear that I might not be able to get a refund (but I did). All other excursion arrangements were handled well - even though I hate waiting. There were a few issues with our cabin but most were handled quite quickly. In fact, it was my travel-mate who had most of the issues. The room was fairly clean and the daily service did a decent job. We really only spent the nights in the room - though we definitely appreciated our window on those rough days when viewing was crowded in other areas. I loved watching the play of the sea at night from our window as well. As I mentioned, our trip was rather rough in patches but I was never bored. Their entertainment options were varied and though I chose only a few to participate in, I was always able to find a comfortable location to chill and read or do whatever I chose to do instead. The music was lively, though not as varied as I would have liked. There were always several live music options throughout the evenings. I quite enjoyed learning PAI GAO poker in the casino and ended up playing nearly every night. Thankfully, I stuck to my budget and ended the trip pretty much even. The ship was a little dated in design but very colorful. Ours was the final cruise before a design overhaul and refitting so it would be interesting to see what it looks like now. The atrium was lovely and there were several locations with excellent window views - so even on those stormy / rough seas days we were able to look out and see the coast, the fjords, the Cape and the glaciers. We didn't travel with children but saw several families that did. Besides the pool area and buffet dining, I almost never saw any kids. As I understand it there were plenty of activities to keep them engaged. This was such a good experience that my father has expressed an interest in taking a cruise. We are planning one next year although this one will not be with Norwegian - my uncle is a regular cruise and has other preferences. I would certainly take another Norwegian cruise and might consider a cross-Atlantic cruise in the future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We chose this repositioning cruise because it disembarked in San Francisco which is close to home; we were a day late arriving in Buenos Aires because of a weather delay in Atlanta which caused us to miss our flight; so our site seeing in ... Read More
We chose this repositioning cruise because it disembarked in San Francisco which is close to home; we were a day late arriving in Buenos Aires because of a weather delay in Atlanta which caused us to miss our flight; so our site seeing in Buenos Aires was limited; we found a local artisans market close to the cemetery so all wasn't lost because of the delay; we really enjoyed the Sun; it's a sturdy "little" ship, a bit older; being smaller, getting around was easier; our state room on 7th deck forward was convenient to everything; ports of call were all interesting; we considered this trip an "adventure" not leisure and we weren't disappointed; the weather near the "Horn" was very rough; high seas and winds; the captain managed, however, to get us close enough to see the "Horn"; booking shore excursions not offered by NCL was a challenge but we managed to book some interesting tours on our own; Punta Tombo was amazing; walking tours in Montevideo, Port Stanley, Ushuaia, Valparaiso and Antigua were informative and afforded us an opportunity to visit "off the beaten path"; not to mention affordable; I'm a picky eater but had no trouble finding a variety of tasty food; we ate in the complementary restaurants most nights so as to control the calories with buffet for breakfast; as with any cruise there are exceptional meals and some "so-so" but overall my only complaint was not enough dark leafy greens; entertainment was fair; the best feature was the afternoon port of call lecture; Peter provided history as well as tips for getting around; theater shows weren't all that good but we really enjoyed Amber Strings and listen to them play many nights; all in all we really enjoyed this cruise BUT I would not recommend the repositioning cruise for the faint of heart; as the captain said at one of our meet and greets "you are some crazy people; to take the last cruise of the season going in the wrong direction, in the worst weather, in one of the most remote places in the world"; to which the room cheered; my husband and I felt rather young (60's) as the majority of cruisers were much older and very seasoned travelers; we met many interesting people from many countries; Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I had never been to South America and the whole programme excited me, so away I went. I flew via Germany from Ireland and landed in Buenos Aires in the morning. A car was waiting for me and took me to my hotel for the night. Due to it ... Read More
I had never been to South America and the whole programme excited me, so away I went. I flew via Germany from Ireland and landed in Buenos Aires in the morning. A car was waiting for me and took me to my hotel for the night. Due to it being Good Friday, many of the streets were closed for the afternoon, so the company that I had booked a tour with for the afternoon, came quite unexpectedly during the morning and asked if I'd like to tour in the forenoon instead of the afternoon. Very thoughtful of them. That evening a group of us from Cruise Critic gathered and had dinner together which was lovely. The following morning, after strolling around the neighbourhood I made my way to the terminal. Embarkation was swift and trouble-free and I was in my cabin in no time. I promised myself that I would stand in every country that we docked in and I did. Coming around the Cape was very rough with the decks being closed. It rained quite a lot, but we did see the Horn. It wasn't quite as cold as I had expected, in fact my everyday clothes were quite sufficient....but the ship rocked and rolled and lurched and dived. It was sometimes difficult to keep upright. However I enjoyed every minute. The food was quite good in the main dining rooms, and the buffet always had mountains of food, so that I was never hungry. I ate in the speciality restaurants a few times, but really the MDRs were much better both for service and variety. The entertainment was very good ranging from music in bars to shows in the theatre. The band Innovation provided super music almost every night, and indeed afternoons also on the pool deck. The service was excellent throughout the ship and the Cruise staff were most attentive and hard-working. However the nearer we got to US the more the ship began to be like a 'work-in-progress'. She was heading to dry dock in San Francisco and was getting quite a lot of work done beforehand. It was very noisy out on deck sometimes, with work being done on the stack. There was always work going on in the corridors with stepladders everywhere and workmen being busy busy busy. This state of affairs, should have been reflected in the price!!! Another thing, there should be much more cameras and surveillance on board. As a solo lady traveller, I was assaulted in an elevator and followed throughout the ship. My assailant knew the position of every camera on board, so all of his activity was off camera. I reported him to security, and eventually they interviewed him and of course he denied everything. And there the matter ended. In my opinion, NCL didn't do the right thing. I didn't even get an apology from them. My security was shattered and I felt vulnerable, as he began to show up wherever I was. However, I refuse to be shaken by a miserable individual and have already booked two future cruises with NCL, again travelling solo. However the main reason that I like NCL and MSC is because of their Cruise Staff, who dance with the passengers at night. I can't find out from anywhere if the other cruise lines have similar Cruise Staff. So if anybody knows, I'd be very grateful. Despite that incident, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute on the Sun and would gladly do the entire cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Taking a look at the reviews online before the cruise, I had somewhat low expectations for the Norwegian Sun. Some folks like to complain, some like to be demanding. I was pleasantly surprised overall with my vacation! That includes on ... Read More
Taking a look at the reviews online before the cruise, I had somewhat low expectations for the Norwegian Sun. Some folks like to complain, some like to be demanding. I was pleasantly surprised overall with my vacation! That includes on board the ship, ship excursions, food and drinks, entertainment options and customer service. This is a "get what you pay for" trip - remember if you want the best of the best and the finest of the finest, then perhaps this cruise line or this ship is not for you! We were pleased with the spaciousness of our room. Cleaning was adequate by our steward, who we rarely saw as we spent little time in our rooms. Food was fine - I am not a fan of buffets and when you have droves of people (including inconsiderate ones cutting in line or ones that do not realize that tongs are there for a reason!) it makes it worse - even if there are dishes you would love to try. On excursion days, we had to use the buffet for breakfast due to time constraints - otherwise I recommend you take the time to go to any of the sit-down dining options! Decent if not delicious food options and good service. We had the drink package and a specialty dinner package, and used most of the specialty dinners at Moderno. Great salad bar and great meat/chicken/lamb/shrimp offered. We were glad we had the drink package, otherwise we would not have taken advantage of the variety of drinks offered at the different bars on the ship - it would have simply been too expensive. Excursions and tendering - like a well oiled machine the ship personnel gets folks off and on like no other. They are organized! Some of our excursions were great, some were okay - a couple ports we did our own private tour (Montevideo and also in Puerto Montt) and it worked out wonderfully. Something to be said for staying off a big bus, stopping when you want and where you want, and not being held back by slow moving people. However, I speak Spanish so that also helped. We also had the luxury of FANTASTIC weather on our side for the entire trip, with the exception of the sea day through the Chilean Fjords. Oh - and yes! The informative talks with Peter are a do not miss while on this cruise! He has an abundance of information and powerpoint presentations that we enjoyed. He makes himself available for Q&As as well. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Like any cruise, everyone’s opinions and experiences are different, which is what makes the Cruise Critic reviews so interesting. This was our 6th NCL cruise We booked this cruise on the Sun 9 months before departure and did a fair ... Read More
Like any cruise, everyone’s opinions and experiences are different, which is what makes the Cruise Critic reviews so interesting. This was our 6th NCL cruise We booked this cruise on the Sun 9 months before departure and did a fair amount of research/recommendations beforehand. We knew the ship was older – we knew it was going into dry dock not too long after our cruise and we knew there was a fair possibility of missing ports due to weather conditions and tendering difficulties. It was quite a different cruise itinerary to the ones we normally do. Pre Cruise We decided to spend 3 nights in Valparaiso. Very interesting town and lots of unusual places to visit. The upper part of the town is accessible by walking or funiculars. If you have time a day trip to Viña del Mar is really worth it. Embarkation Very strange process with a pre check-in at the cruise terminal. A bus ride from the terminal to the port and then a further check-in on the ship! Not an NCL fault, just the logistics of the port, location, etc. Meet & Greet The Meet & Greet was very well attended by almost all the people who signed up. There was also a very good turn out by the senior crew members who came to meet and talk to us. Their presence was appreciated and we had a very enjoyable time socialising. Towards the end of the cruise we had a Cruise Critic Lunch which hopefully was enjoyed by those that attended. Thank you to May for all the help. State of Ship The Sun is an older ship and does show signs of wear and tear. However, it wasn’t as bad a some people made out. It does need some modernisation and part of that may be done when she goes into dry dock. Particular areas for me that need to be addressed are the buffet area and also the seating in the theatre which does not have enough gradient from front to back. Casino There was almost no one in the casino during the two week cruise. Not exactly sure why but it was a shame to see all the croupiers standing at empty tables. Slot machines seemed to be more in favour. I loved a recent cruise we did where the casino was no smoking so didn’t smell. Maybe that could help. Shopping Really nice shopping area with a good selection of products, especially in the area of ‘pharmacy and things you might need’. Probably the best I’ve seen on any cruise ship to date. Cabin Mid ship balcony – deck 9. Comfortable bed, spacious and kept really clean and well serviced by our cabin steward. (He got a Hero report from me!) Never had to ask for anything more than the first time and the cabin was always ready by the time we went back to it. He got to know our routine very quickly! Plenty of storage space and even the bathroom was a bit more spacious than other NCL ships we’ve been on. Would be nice to have a bit bigger table on the balcony and it’s time that the ship went interactive on the television system. Also there should be a channel that picks up announcements made over the loudspeaker system more of the time. You need to know about tenders, port disembarkation, activities, etc. without having to go and open your cabin door to hear them!!. Crew Members The majority of crew members were happy, smiling and very friendly. (Always the odd exception!) With the majority of tips prepaid or added automatically, there’s not that tendency to ‘overwork’ the tips!. However, we still tend to give a little extra to those that deserve it. Food Overall, there was plenty of food available on the ship at all times! We had the ultimate beverage package which worked very well. Having read a lot about the new main dining room menus, we decided to try them out before making any decisions regarding speciality restaurants. We found these menus very good. 15 day rotation, so always something different each evening. Plenty of choice, good size portions, favourites kept on the starters menu in addition the daily dishes. All the food was good quality, nicely presented and the hot dishes were hot! Very nice desserts too. We also liked the idea of having 3 ‘a la carte’ items on the menu for those that wanted something different without needing to go to a speciality restaurant. Perfect for families. MDR Seven seas v Four Seasons Both main dining rooms were very nice but overall we much preferred the Four Seasons. Really good service and much less ‘busy’ than the Seven Seas. Four seasons waiters were smiling, friendly and Solomon, whose tables we managed to sit on each evening, was both efficient and professional. (Another Hero report!) Buffet Stayed away from this area as much as possible. The design is not good and you have to line to reach the dishes you want. Bit like a school canteen. Food was reasonable with a fair selection. Like most buffet areas there is never enough seating and at busy times that often meant food going cold or having to take it in turns to get your food. Las Ramblas Tapas Bar Living in Spain I don’t understand why this venue is actually called a Tapas Bar! About 5 uninteresting dishes on offer and they certainly didn’t look very appetising. I think someone from this department needs to research exactly what a Tapas Bar actually is. La Cucina (VIP) The Suit/VIP guests get to use this restaurant exclusively for breakfast & lunch. No complaints here regarding the quality of food or the service. However, the menus remained exactly the same for the entire 15 days. I would also add that these limited menus have not changed for at least the last 3 years!! If you want to eat lunch there every day it’s quite a problem! Speciality Didn’t eventually eat in any of the speciality restaurants. We’ve done this numerous times on other NCL ships but with the MDR food being more than adequate, we didn’t feel it was necessary. Entertainment/Activities Some shows were better than others but again that’s down to personal taste. We particularly enjoyed the Pampas Diablos. The Sun Showband was very good especially when playing at different venues. Their Dixieland evening in the Windjammer was brilliant and had people standing and sitting all round the aisles surrounding the bar! Greg the pianist was also very entertaining. There is music and dance provided for everyone and of course my favourite ‘The White Hot Party’! Roberto is a really good cruise director. Always around and very friendly and approachable. He also has a good team. Plenty of dance classes, lessons, trivia, bingo, exhibitions, lectures, etc. so there was always something you could do. Ports of Call Ports of call were almost as planned with the exception of the Falkland Islands where Captain Goran decided the weather conditions were not good enough for tendering. I support his decision (although not a popular one!) as we had already had some problems a few days before in Las Arenas (where lack of information from the ship didn’t help!). Having experienced a situation in Esperance, Australia. where 1100 people were stuck on shore till 11pm at night, it would have been a bad situation in the Falklands where there are very little in the way of facilities. I would add that the Oceania Regatta which was shadowing us and another smaller ship, didn’t dock there that day either. The Captain at least made up for it a bit by getting us to Puerto Madryn a day earlier. We did three NCL excursions which we enjoyed, Puerto Montt, Puerto Chacabuco & Ushuaia and made our own arrangements for the other ports. Disembarkation Disembarkation was really easy, having been given back our passports a couple of days before. Again you had to take a bus from the ship to the cruise terminal where your luggage was waiting. As we disembarked about 9.30am we got a bus straight away and there was only a short line for taxis at the terminal. Post Cruise We stayed 5 days in Buenos Aires. Amazing city and would really like to go back. Stay as long as you can, there’s just so much to see. Overall we had a really great holiday and NCL remains a favourite cruise line for us as it really suits our life style very well. Additional thanks to Rico for his time and to Domnic. Now looking forward to the Panama Canal next year!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
After many years of HAL and Celebrity, we chose this Buenos Aires to Valparaiso NCL cruise as it had a special Easter Island post cruise. NCL 19 day package on the NCL SUN . The SUN does a 14 day cycle between Buenos Aires and ... Read More
After many years of HAL and Celebrity, we chose this Buenos Aires to Valparaiso NCL cruise as it had a special Easter Island post cruise. NCL 19 day package on the NCL SUN . The SUN does a 14 day cycle between Buenos Aires and Valparaiso. NCL added pre-cruise and post cruise options to Iguazu Falls and Easter Island. WE chose to stay in Buenos Aires pre cruise and bought our own pre cruise trip to Iguazu Falls for less than the NCL package. We had only a 15 minute drive to the port with a private driver. Our hotel in Buenos Aires( Rochester M) was small with small rooms but well located with a bountiful breakfast buffet. Overall, the staff and crew of the Norwegian Sun exceeded our expectations in courtesy, attention to detail and personal service. The food was better than expected in the main dining rooms but uninspired. The itinerary as published got sliced by omitting going around the Horn but short cutting to Ushiaia for a mixture of excuses (weather, medical ) . The communication on board from the Captain and cruise director was not consistent or reliable yet the safety drills and security appeared quite well designed. the 2001 ship launched on 9/11 shows its age in design , furniture, art work and wear and tear on the ship. Twice water stopped flowing for 10-15 minutes in our cabin. Embarkation was chaotic at Buenos Aires taking 2 hours with delays, misinformation and general incompetence. One staff told us we would get our passports back in Antarctica where we were not headed to! That did not include luggage wait time outside as our driver put us into the inside documentation/immigration line by getting a porter to accept our luggage immediately upon arrival . We bypassed over 200 people lugging their own luggage to the drop off as our porter took it from us. Our tip was worth getting into air conditioning. Our cabin was ready before 1:30PM so we dumped our carry on and sought lunch on this ship new to us. We immediately avoided the garden Café that was crowded with rude pushing arrivals. The Moderna next door was a light buffet with tables and chairs. NCL uses this as the Brazilian Grill at night and as light buffet for breakfast and lunch. We had a quiet table for soup, salad and chicken or tuna spread sandwiches. Pasta and pizza also was ready Like most cruisers we started a tour from top deck down before the ship set sail. We looked for up to date library books to borrow for the 2 weeks. None. Most of the exchange books were in German. Library books were well worn 3-10 year old tomes. We started using our "Ultimate Beverage package" with diet Pepsi. No Coke products on NCL apparently. Our safety drill was on time before sailaway and well managed Frail people were allowed to show up at their assigned stations , sign in and sit indoors for the duration to hear the instruction WE chose a B6 cabin ( 10015) which is balcony midship. It proved excellent for location by the elevators and taking us to everything we needed onboard quickly with 8 elevators. We felt very little ship motion and was well sound proofed. The only disappointment was most land sites were on the Starboard side as we sat on a port balcony (glaciers, fjords, harbors) . East to West in South America get Starboard and west to East get port balconies! The cabin felt small with lots of storage but no bathroom ease. The shower was circular and minimal. Common shampoo and body wash dispensers with no hair conditioner. Adequate 110V in the room for recharging phones and computer. Our first night we chose the Seven Seas dining room ( complimentary-traditional ) as it was isolated at the aft elevators unreachable on deck 5 from midship. It has the identical menu each night as the other main dining room the Four seasons. We found the Seven Seas uncrowded with excellent service. We had a window table most nights for two. Not once were we asked to share to make it easier for the staff. WE preferred dinner between 6 and 6:30 so did not need a reservation and were seated immediately. By the second week we had the same serving staff each night and were greeted by familiar servers knowing our preferences. We had prompt service to be able to go to the 7:30PM show if we wanted. Starters were varied each day and our favorites were the Caesar salads with chicken variations, smoked salmon tartar and seafood such as shrimp, escargot and steamed clams. The onion soup was weak as also other soups. The left side of the menu had classic main plates available every night We enjoyed some excellent NY strip steaks on this cruise off the left side. The daily changing main plates varied in quality and style. We chose lamb chops, prime rib, and steaks and left meatballs, spaghetti, lasagna, and peasant food for others. The fish entrees we tried were disappointing ( mahi mahi , corvina) With the NY strip as a reserve choice we did not choose to go to the specialty restaurants . Deserts were quite varied with the European cakes and tarts well done. The opera cake was especially stunning. we had to ask for the apple pie to be warmed when served al la mode. We chose a served dinner every night with linens and cloth napkins avoiding the Garden Café buffet. The buffet for lunch frequently was crowded with no open seating We sought alternatives outside or in the sports bar to eat lunch. The ice cream bar had limited supplies and choices. The soft ice cream was a simple pick me up in the afternoon. Entertainment in the main show room-Stardust Lounge- varied greatly. The best was the two shows by the Tango troupe from Buenos Aires which also taught tango on the ship between Buenos Aires and Punta Arenas. The production troupe had 18 dancers and singers with the male singers carrying a better tune. The women singers seemed shrill and over miked most of the time. The dancers were quite talented and well directed. Two special programs of cabaret singing outside the Stardust showed the weaknesses of individual singers as they tried Broadway and pop singles. The other main show room nights included a comedian, magician, hypnotist and an over the hill middle aged woman singer "Evie Rose". The latter was the worst nights as she seemed left over from the Catskills or some long gone era. She took the stage four times to ruin our evenings. The bars had a good piano player with wide repertoire, average classical trio strings, and a guitarist who sang folk/country. A Spanish duo sang in the bars to poor reception. A pop group never seemed to be where we were except at sail-aways and lunch by the pool. The best night in the bars came with the Sun Show band doing Dixieland. we did not do the day time sports activities for points and prizes at the end of the 2 weeks. We also did not attend the dance classes. We enjoyed the live entertainment at Sail-away. The best sail-away on embarkation we had ever seen with staff dancing and singing around the pool. the last night the hotel officers and chefs did a sing along in the atrium lining the stairway and that was a great and appropriate ending. We did most of our tours and excursions independently as the cost of NCL seemed high. As we had short time in Puerto Chacabuco and tenders, we took a NCL shore excursion which was well managed We were guaranteed our tender ticket with an NCL excursion. the local company in this rural port with few resources delivered as promised. The port speaker Peter Croyle was accessible and strongly prepared. He had some misinformation but generally steered us to good inexpensive options to excursions. WE enjoyed the inexpensive shuttle to the Gypsy Cove penguin reserve in Port Stanley. We also walked many cities without tours. Peter has been doing this for years He appears to not tolerate fools who do not listen and then asks questions. But he is worth listening to on the TV as he is rather repetitive. We sought independent tours in Punta Arenas and Puerto Montt. Punta Arenas was to see the penguin colony at Marguerite island and the sea lions on Marta island. The tour for $88 was simple ( bus to boat to island and return ) and allowed us over 60 minutes to walk through thousands of penguins Puerto Mont was scheduled with other Cruise Critic travelers for 8 hours to see volcano, lakes, Puerta Varas and cultural moments. At $70 it was a great day out on the road. Both independent shore excursion worked hard to get us back with time to spare. Disembarkation was well handled and we cleared into Valparaiso in minutes Crew line the atrium to say goodbye. Then our ( expensive) post cruise tour to Easter island was to start. A man with a sign directed us to the bus line up. But there was chaos in the Valparaiso port parking lot about which bus we would be on. Back and forth they argued to finally load us. No one came forward as our tour guide as stated in our documents. The tour guide for an excursion of Valparaiso stated he was annoyed that we had no tour guide. He did nothing to introduce the group to each other or anything to create a group out of 25 people. Soon we had a problem. The excursion company sent a bus for 50 people with one guide .The bus could not go into many Valparaiso streets so the guide started leading the mature over 55 age group up and down hills in humid 90 degree weather. He would demand us march up 5 blocks to get our tour. He made no adaptations for those walking with canes. or with limited stamina. One woman at the back of the group was left behind and got mugged on the street in Valparaiso while on tour. The excursion guide Javiar did not want to report her assault to the police or to help her. She insisted. We couldn't understand why and how we had a full day tour of Valparaiso including two museums but no tour of the wineries, Vina del Mar or other sites on the way to Santiago. Our "lunch" was a snack of an empanada and a Pisco Sour ( or alternative) DEhydration was an issue for many. Climbing the five flights of stairs in the former home of author Neruda was tough. Not worth the effort. We left for Santiago going on 4PM. We arrived in Santiago at about 5PM. Tired and wrung out. The Santiago Intercontinental was a great respite. The excursion guide dropped us off to return at 7:30AM for our flight to Easter Island. LAN flew us into Easter Island after 5 hours of flying. Poor food. We arrived hungry. A new excursion guide, Sabrina, met us at the airport complaining that we had no tour guide. NCL had bought 2 excursions and 2 dinners from her company Rapa Nui tours. Our Program was laid out by her company in the 2 days we had on Easter Island and did not include a half day tour to 5 of the 13 Moa platforms or a visit to the only town on the island. No alteration of the excursions would be made. Vouchers were used for our dinners by the tour company. At no time did Sabrina do anything to bring us together and meet each other. On Easter island there are no big buses so the tour company piled us into two vans with one guide between the two vans. Too many people. The other companies limited their tours to 10 people. e.g. Overseas International Adventures had 6 clients with one guide. We got to know them as we met them on the plane and at several sites including our 1 hour at a Pacific beach. Their guide knew all their names on the plane going to Easter island! Upon arrival at the hotel we had 45 minutes to change/clean up to go out on our half day tour. WE had this prepaid excursion planned upon arrival after being on the road from 7:30AM. WE got back in the vans at 3:45PM . WE had 2.5 hours of bumpy road on the van to learn the history of the Polynesians on the island. We saw no Moa. We walked up and down hills to see where there had been a village ( Orana) and such. The visit to the volcano crater was disappointing as it is the water supply for the island and is covered with deep green algae. Nothing was encouraging. Walking up the wall of the caldera in the heat to see green goo was disappointing. Looking at pictures of the Bird Man myth-celebration in the visitor center. Exhausted we return at 6PM to the Iorana hotel. Excursion over. Guide leaves. The Iorana is NOT a four star hotel. Barely a 3 star. Our room had deficient air conditioning. The entrance had a blown out light bulb upon our arrival. The staff would not replace as " you did something to make them stop working". Attitude at the front desk was annoying. The locks did not work for the three days we were there. Electronic system was "jammed". Refrigerator did not cool. No ice. "Water not drinkable" and bottles of local water were $2 each from the hotel. Wifi was only available in the lobby with no AC. The beds sagged towards the floor and were not comfortable as lumpy and overused. Amenities in the bath were soap and shampoo. This hotel is 2 miles to town. There were many hotels close to town with newer construction. The views from the hotel were wonderful but this was a primitive hotel. View from our room was great but we needed to close the drapes as people walked around at night in the open yard. Each evening we were left to get our dinner at the hotel or catch the bus to the selected restaurant with a driver. No tour guide. The dinners NCL bought at our hotel the Iorana and the downtown Pea restaurant were mediocre with inedible meat. The servers at the Iorana were rude with many people and displayed annoyance that we were 25 people at one time. The food served us appeared quite different/inferior from the independent travelers at the next table. Only beverage included was water or watermelon juice. Salad was grated carrots and other hard root vegetables. The surprise meat was not eaten by most The Pea restaurant was ill prepared with slow service. The sunroom chosen was hot in blazing late day sun. The guests moved the tables out of the sun( 6 feet away from the window ) in the very large unused room. The only food worth eating was the very large breaded tuna steak. The steak entrée was inedible and the vegetables distasteful. The full day tour of Easter island was a standard excursion with two vans and one guide. Rounding up 25 people proved tiring. Climbing the hills started to tire some of the older guests. Finally by mid day, we saw our first platform of standing Moas! WE used our long range lenses to get some Moas. The quarry visit was the major event of the day. We saw all the sites on the program including one hour at the Anakena beach. Some did not want to go to the beach but had no options. We chose not to go into the ocean .Everything had a charge at the beach: toilet, changing rooms before/after. Our tour included nothing. WE found that carrying pesos( about 5000 pesos) was wise as they overcharged for American dollars on everything The last morning had nothing planned. "You are on your own". NCL had not scheduled the other half day tour which includes 5 of the 13 sites on the island. The other groups and packages include 2 half day tours and the full day tour. We were short changed by the NCL planners in Miami. We could not schedule this 1/2 day tour on the island as the guides were too busy. We could pay for a taxi to town. Some did spend the $16 to go to town and visit the museum . This was the only way to see the only Moa with coral eyes. BY 12:30PM all of the guests were lined up ready to leave. Few had praise for their Easter Island tour company. All felt it a special opportunity to get to Easter island but felt scammed by NCL to miss 5/13 of the experience. None spoke of ever returning as this was their once in a lifetime to go to Easter island. So we flew 2500 miles back to Santiago. Arriving at midnight at the Intercontinental Santiago we were treated well by staff who retrieved our luggage. Staff had our reservations prepared and off we went to bed. Our final excursion was a 4 hour tour of Santiago. There was an imbalance as we had 75 minutes at the small pre-Columbian museum and 5 minutes at the Cathedral of Santiago. Way too much time for the museum Not enough of Santiago and its great plaza and awesome Cathedral. WE got the scheduled program and returned to the hotel. We had transfers by three groups to the airport. Luckily the Intercontinental allowed late check out until out shuttle time so we had time to cool down . We had 5 hours on our own in Santiago before departure at 7:15PM. We were happy to be free of our excursion guide . Summary: We felt NCL has worked hard to upgrade its cruising experience on the small NCL SUN with excellent service, courteous staff and crew, visibility of its officers, and dining improvements. The ports were the reason for the cruise and lived up to our expectations. Communication from the leadership on the ship was deficient. The NCL 5 day post-cruise experience for Easter Island which cost as much as the 14 day cruise from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso was disappointing. It was 25 people on a vouchered excursion with similar reservations. No leadership and no cohesion of the parts. NCL did not arrange for all of the tours on Easter Island to cover all the sites as expected. We saw 8/13 of the sites although we had adequate time to do all of Easter island. We would not recommend trusting NCL with your pre cruise or post cruise dollars We had arranged our pre cruise to Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls for less than NCL's offering ( about 1/2 their cost) and did not miss anything. NCL has problems with communication to its customers on board and in its packages. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We booked this cruise as soon as it became available and received many good tips on CC about which direction (Westbound) and side of the ship (Starboard) were optimal. We were in a Mini suite on deck 11 and were kind of concerned about ... Read More
We booked this cruise as soon as it became available and received many good tips on CC about which direction (Westbound) and side of the ship (Starboard) were optimal. We were in a Mini suite on deck 11 and were kind of concerned about the condition of the rooms and ship from the negative reviews. It wasn't an issue at all. The ship was in good shape and our room was outstanding. The drapes and chair/sofa coverings were maybe 1 year old. Our cabin steward was outstanding. The bathroom with the walk in closet was terrific. Bar soap and conditioner was provided along with robes. There was one morning when the water shut off unexpectedly for 20 minutes, but fortunately we were on our way to breakfast and it wasn't an issue for us. We have had this happen on other NCL ships too. We had read about long waits at embarkation, so we arrived at the port at 11:00 and received boarding #4. We were called a little before Noon and the process went quickly. It is different from other port in that you don't really "check in" and get your key card until you are on the ship. They have stations and laptops set up in the MDR on deck 5 midship. We loved the itinerary and enjoyed all of our ship excursions. Peter Croyle's presentations on sea days were very helpful on the ports and wildlife. The history sections were not so interesting. We did miss Cape Horn completely due to weather the night before and a medical emergency. But did make it to the Falkland Islands where we were able to use all the heavy coats, hats and gloves we had brought along. Sailing into Ushuaia at night was wonderful. Tip: the ship photographers have great pictures available for $2 each of all the memorable sights. Dining. We preferred the Four Season MDR to Seven Seas - Better service and Seven Seas had a major HVAC problem making it like a sauna. We ate at Le Bistro and Cagney's several times - very good. We knew the Sun did not have a 24 hour dining venue, but hope that gets corrected with the dry dock. They can revamp the underutilized Las Ramblas space or use the Sports Bar. Food in both on our cruise was only at night and not good. We avoided the buffet due to the small space and poor layout. The Moderno alternative for breakfast or lunch was ok. There was no sparkling wine the initial two days of the cruise. Not even the house sparkling they give away. With my UBP, I tried some new drinks, but was happy when the prosecco came back on board.....until a couple of days later when they were substituting it for the house sparkling without disclosing the switch. I can't drink the house on its own. A quick call to the F&B Manager and chatting with my favorite bar tenders straightened that out. Apparently, their order was short many cases. I did spend a lot of $ in cash tips on board. Apparently the 18% tacked on to the drink and dining packages doesn't really make it to the servers nor does adding $ to your tab. Luckily I brought lots of $5's and $10's. We had a good turnout for the Meet & Greet and the Group Coordinator, May, is a rock star. Many officers attended and answered questions. We also had a CC cabin crawl that was a lot of fun - thanks Marcia. There was a nice mix of fellow cruisers. Not all Americans. A lot of Spanish speakers that had a hard time figuring their way to the aft of the ship since it is 1. very confusing and 2. all signs are in English. The guest entertainment was so so. We skipped most based on the welcome aboard show. But the Tango dancers and America's Got Talent opera singer were fine as was the production show band - particularly the female sax player. The Spanish trio in the atrium and their dancing fan club were a lot of fun. We enjoyed the trivia games. The cruise director and his staff all spoke Spanish so again it was a nice mix. We teamed up with a family from CC for progressive trivia and had a great time. The unlimited internet package was too much for this 14 day cruise. I bought the 250 minute package and had no trouble using the internet café computers. I didn't bother trying to connect with my iphone from my room since the wifi signal was not strong enough. We used iConcierge on the iphone though for checking our on board charges, making dinner reservations and seeing the activities scheduled for the day. Overall we really enjoyed the cruise and highly recommend it and the Sun. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Itinerary: This cruise was a South America cruise which embarked in Valparaiso Chile and terminated in Buenos Aires Argentina. The ship went along the west coast of south america (Punta Monte, Puerto Chacabuco, and Punta Arenas), through ... Read More
Itinerary: This cruise was a South America cruise which embarked in Valparaiso Chile and terminated in Buenos Aires Argentina. The ship went along the west coast of south america (Punta Monte, Puerto Chacabuco, and Punta Arenas), through the straits of Magellen to Ushuaia, Beagle Channel, around Cape Horn, to Falkland Islands (Stanley), to Punta Del Est Uraguay, and then to Buenos Aires. These were all great destinations and ports of calls. We saw sea life, glaciers, Penguins, local artisans and the weather was in our favour with calm seas when rounding the Cape. Ship Amenities: The Norwegian Sun holds about 2000 passengers. In our opinion, the ship is just the right size - neither too small to take on the seas of the voyage, but also not so big that we felt lost. It is going in to dry dock this spring for some minor enhancements, but for the most part, everything on the ship was in good condition and very clean. It gets pretty crowded in the main buffet during meal times, hard to find vacant chairs on the pool deck in the sun on sea days, and the gym gets pretty crowded at peak times in the morning and early evenings. Cabin: We chose cabin 9320 because we wanted to get an inside cabin mid-ship with no noisy rooms above and below us. It turns out deck 9 and part of deck 10 are the only floors where there are no noisy rooms (such as dining rooms, gyms, dance floors, etc) below or above us. The cabin was very spacious, clean, and comfortable. If you are looking for a cabin with a balcony, the room across the hall from us would be good also. Dining: Food was always plentiful, and for the most part delicious. We seldom ate at the main buffet because of it was very busy and noisy. We often went to the sit-down dining room (Seven Seas or Four Seasons) for dinners, or to the buffet in the Moderno room for breakfast or lunch. There was also the deck out back on the 11th floor which was good for lunch on a nice sunny day. We tried three restaurants which had cover charge (we bought a restaurant package for $69) The Japanese Tappenyaki dinner was not very good in terms of both food quality and entertainment value. The Brazilian dinner in the Moderno was excellent in terms of quality of the food (Brazillian BBQ steaks, etc) as well as the ambiance and the service. The Steakhouse at Cagneys, was also excellent in terms of the steak quality and quantity and the service was very good. What we liked: - Service: All the staff looked genuinely happy and provided excellent service. - Shore Excursions: People complain about how expensive the shore excursions are, but I think they are well worth it, in terms of quality of experience as well as the destinations. We went on the Petrohue falls and Lake Esmeralda excursion at Puerto Monte, Coyhaique and Scenic Simpson Valley at Puerto Chacabuco, End of the World wilderness trek in Ushuaia, and Lagoon bluff in the Falklands.. All were great experiences. - South American Lecture series: We attended the regular South American Lecture series provided by Peter Croyle. Highly recommended to get the full context of each of the areas you are visiting as well as the richness of the history and the culture of South America What could be improved: - buffet (ambiance and food variety): The main buffet was a zoo. It was mainly because it is laid out poorly so that there often were a congregation of people in the popular areas. Also some of the more esoteric food (like Indian and Asian food) were tucked away in a hard to reach area. Part of the problem was also the lack of manners of some of the passengers. I think there is value to the phrase "take all you can eat, but eat all you take" - sports equipment: some of the equipment were older and did not work. The floor of the gym was heaving. Hopefully this is one of the areas they will fix in dry dock. - internet access: slow and expensive Tips & Hints: - choosing your cabin location: Key for good night sleeps. Choose mid ship and quiet floors, away from elevators. Inside or balcony based on your preference and budget. - choosing who you hang out with: Not everybody you meet on the cruise are your type, but we did manage to find some people we could hang out with, and avoid the people we did not like - budget for onboard spending: There were no surprise charges. But you must budget for the service charges and how much you would spend on excursions and drinks and trinkets. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
The Good: The Sun's layout - we never felt cramped The Itinerary - Falklands and Ushuaia were our highlights Fast Embarkation for late arrival (4:00pm) and easy disembarkation 7-Seas Main Dining - The setting ... Read More
The Good: The Sun's layout - we never felt cramped The Itinerary - Falklands and Ushuaia were our highlights Fast Embarkation for late arrival (4:00pm) and easy disembarkation 7-Seas Main Dining - The setting and views were great and we never had to wait The non-NCL Entertainment was very good Jaime, organizer of fun stuff, was very caring Peter, the destination expert, was informative and helpful Good tendering especially given the challenging conditions The Bad: Service was generally ok but forced / obligatory Specialty dining - the food was better but not worth the extra $s The Sun's production cast shows were really terrible NCL tries every trick in the book to get money out of you The way the OBC's work (or better said, don't work) Odd port hours - 7:00-2:00, really! Room Service did not show up with breakfast 4 times! The Captain made the call to skip Cape Horn which was very disappointing, but hard to second guess. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Very similar to Alaskan cruises in the the natural beauty of the area. Saw many glaciers close to ship, but no calving. I took nice hikes in Ushuaia and the Falklands.to see penguins. I only took one shore excursion. It was a great, it ... Read More
Very similar to Alaskan cruises in the the natural beauty of the area. Saw many glaciers close to ship, but no calving. I took nice hikes in Ushuaia and the Falklands.to see penguins. I only took one shore excursion. It was a great, it consisted of a short tour of Buenos Aires, and then a trip to a ranch with a horse show and then a large parrillada lunch with dance show. The excursion took me to airport at the end. One of the highlights of the cruise was the solo travelers club, Between 10 and 20 solo travelers would meet up every night and have dinner, etc. every night. A NCL assistant cruise director joined every us most nights and answered questions about the ship activities and suggestions for next port of call, and often treated the table to wine. It was great and I thank NCL, I hope this is offered on other ships? Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This was my 3rd NCL cruise and my least favorite ship. There were 5 in our group sharing the rear facing suite and the adjoining stateroom next door. This was an older, much smaller ship and the rooms are much smaller comparatively. The ... Read More
This was my 3rd NCL cruise and my least favorite ship. There were 5 in our group sharing the rear facing suite and the adjoining stateroom next door. This was an older, much smaller ship and the rooms are much smaller comparatively. The food was not as good as on previous cruises. The buffet was boring and the hot foods were usually cold and the salads were warm. The dining room food was good most of the time but desserts were a disappointment and the food service was extremely slow. That said, the Ports of call made for an excellent itinerary. We booked private tours as much as possible to save money and have more flexibility during our excursions. We enjoyed almost all of the ship entertainment and spent a lot of our free time hanging out in the casino. We had priority embarkation so we didn't experience the long process that some of the travelers did but even so it seemed pretty disorganized. I do love the relaxed atmosphere on NCL and the variety of people you meet are always the highlight of the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We were also on this tour with rglcruise and found no problems with the NCL Sun. We haven't been on NCL since 2001 and after reading CC comments we weren't expecting much; however, we were pleasently surprised with service, food, ... Read More
We were also on this tour with rglcruise and found no problems with the NCL Sun. We haven't been on NCL since 2001 and after reading CC comments we weren't expecting much; however, we were pleasently surprised with service, food, entertainment and activities. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions!! We booked flights and hotel in B.A. through NCL and it all went very smoothly from embarkment to disembarkment. Our biggest issue was with the buffet breakfast which was very hectic especially when people had early tours and were trying to get food before the buffet opened. We found the area across from the buffet (Pacific Heights and Sports Bar) areas much calmer and quieter and staff tried to send people over to these locations but most refused because they wanted to be closer to the food!! In the Pacific Heights, fresh waffles were made each morning which were very good with hot fruit as a topping. We didn't use the buffet unless we had to and preferred breakfast and lunch in the dining room. We had all dinners in the Main dining rooms except for one night when we went to the Italian Restaurant. This was very good. We found that coffee/tea was not served with the dessert most of the time even in this specialty restaurant. We did all independent tours found on the internet with other cc members: Puerto Montt - GV Tours with Annie. Except for the cloudy day we saw some wonderful scenery and had a lunch at a local restaurant with wine. Puerto Chacabuco - Anne Hedderman tour took us to wonderful scenery on a partly rainy day and lunch at a "compo" with roasted lamb or empanadas. Punta Arenas - Turismo Aonikenk to Fuerte Bulnes and Puerto del Hambre. At scenic overview of the town we saw a beautiful rainbow stretching from the port into the water that lasted for hours. This was also a partly cloudy and windy day. Ushuaia - We toured with Mario Miraglia for scenic ride into the mountains, city tour and to the"end of the world train." The tall ships were in port to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Argentina's independence and made an impressive sight with the NCL Sun at the same dock. This was also a cloudy, partly rainy day. Port Stanley, Falklands - Patrick Watts tour with a caravan of 4x4's to the battles fields, lighthouse and Gypsy Cove to see the Magellan penguins. This was our first warm and sunny day since leaving Valparaiso! Puerto Madryn - Forasterio Tours with Martin to Punto Tombo to see Magellan penguins "up close and personal." Amazing tour! Sunny and warm! Montevideo- Ricardo Wall tours with Jerry. Tour started at Bouza Winery and then a city tour to different neighborhoods. We saw a lot of this city. This was also caravan style on a warm and sunny day. Buenos Aires - We had transfers to Marriott Hotel through the cruise line. The bus ride consisted of a tour of B.A. before checking into the hotel which we didn't expect. What a nice surprise!! We saw all the tourist spots from Recoleta Cemetery in the north to the southern area of La Boca and Caminito and everything in between. We never did the "on and off" tour bus because we saw everything on this tour. Also attended a Tango show with dinner and took a riverboat trip of the Tigre Delta. Both of these tours were booked at the hotel. We found these tours to be a lot less than what the ship was offering as post cruise tours. Weather in B.A. was warm and sunny. All in all we had a great cruise with NCL Sun with interesting ports of call, wonderful scenery, glaciers, and calm seas and touring and meeting some wondeful cc members. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Cruise Review NCL Sun - 2/28/10-3/14/10 Embarkation- We arrived at the Buenos Aires pier approximately 1:30. It took our driver some time to find the correct drop off point. Costa and Celebrity also had drop-offs at the same pier and only ... Read More
Cruise Review NCL Sun - 2/28/10-3/14/10 Embarkation- We arrived at the Buenos Aires pier approximately 1:30. It took our driver some time to find the correct drop off point. Costa and Celebrity also had drop-offs at the same pier and only Celebrity had signs on the road directing you to the right building. Costa and NCL were sharing a terminal and again we had to do detective work to find the right line. Once we did, the NCL line moved very rapidly. They took our luggage and did the preliminary ticket review on shore. You also had to sign that you had not been sick as they were very focused on norovirus. Then you were put on busses to the ship and completed the process in the Four Seasons dining room where you arranged your credit terms and received your room cards. Those in suites, not us, had a separate line but no special courtesy was shown to latitudes members at any point in the embarkation process. Cabin - we had a forward ocean view cabin on deck 7 which was fine. We had sailed on the Sky in 2000 and it seemed this cabin was smaller but it is hard to really judge. The sofa was of very limited use since it faced the bed and there was barely enough room to walk between the sofa and the bed and you had to navigate around a table that was also placed in the corner. We had plenty of room for our clothes in the closet and drawers and the suitcases fit under the bed. Food - Our first meal was at the buffet. For the first week or so the food in the buffet was served to avoid the spread of the virus which was fine with us. However, the staff in man y cases did not seem happy performing this function. The buffet area tends to be very crowded but for lunch or breakfast you can take the food from the buffet to the Pacific Heights restaurant and eat there. It was nice and quiet and at lunch they make Pizza and Pasta for you. We did not sample any of the specialty restaurants and ate lunch and breakfast primarily in the Seven Seas restaurant and dinner at the Four Seasons. We limit ourselves to fish and vegetarian selections which were generally plentiful and creative and very good. My suggestion would be to have more choices at the buffet beyond Indian cuisine in the vegetarian section. Also the quality of the coffee was inconsistent - I don't know if it is left in too long at times or what the issue is but It varied from good to undrinkable. Freestyle Service - This was our 5th NCL cruise but the first in about 4 years. We are itinerary driven and this was the first time in that period that NCL had an itinerary that matched our calendar and needs. They have clearly improved their ability to meet their commitment to let you eat anytime at a table size of your choice in the dining room. There seemed to be almost an unlimited supply of tables for 2 as well as the option to share. I highly recommend sharing on occasion as we made some very good friends that way. This flexibility comes at a cost. The service in the dining room has become very impersonal. Less than half the time the server introduced herself or himself and it was rare to have the same Jr. Waiter throughout the meal. I did express these concerns to the hotel director Calvin on board as well as to the maitre'D and noticed some improvement. Ted Lawrence, an assistant maitre D, w as always very helpful to us and I highly recommend Bang Bang as a waiter. I remember that on all our prior cruises with NCL there was a card on the table with the name of your servers which doubled as an evaluation form. These were no longer present and in fact NCL seems to have gone out of its way to eliminate opportunities for feed back. There are no evaluation forms at all and we were told that guests are randomly selected to provide an evaluation via e-mail. One of the reasons I am writing this review is because I know NCL will read it as they carefully monitor these boards. Entertainment - Overall very good. The Jean Ann Ryan shows were well done but the singers/dancers are somewhat inconsistent. To our surprise "Hilby the skinny juggling German boy "was one of the highlights. Not only was his juggling good but his comedy was excellent. There was very little comedy on this cruise as the crowd was very linguistically and culturally diverse which makes it hard for a comedian to reach the audience. On Sea days, a 3:00PM show was added and these were excellent. The best show was Alberto's opera performance. He received a standing ovation and was the only entertainer called back for an encore. If I were in charge, I would have brought him back for another performance. Elvy Rose also deserves to be mentioned - she is a fabulous entertainer with a sparkling personality that can fill any showroom. We generally sat up in the balcony of the Stardust Lounge as the sight lines are better. Pedro the cruise director has an engaging personality and he and his staff worked hard and late into the night to keep the party going at the Dazzles disco. This was challenging since the crowd was not a partying one on this cruise. It was mostly retirees from the US, Canada, Australia, Germany and France. There were some Spanish speaking guests but since the summer had officially ended on March 1, they didn't seem to be a large presence. Late in the cruise they held a carnival and white night party and had they done this earlier it might have helped get people used to going to Dazzles at night. Enrichment - The cruise lacked professors or other professionals to do presentations on South America. There were 3 lectures provided by the assistance cruise director Tzolt who was excellent but was the first to admit that since he is not a subject matter expert, he can't answer questions. I missed one of his lectures as that day the ship was hit by a severe storm and we stayed in our cabin but I did learn a great deal from him. There were also some films shown. I would recommend bringing on some experts. Excursions - despite being in a cruise critic group that arranged many alternatives, we chose to do all our excursions with NCL. Our feeling is that we want NCL responsible to get us back on the ship if there is an issue on the excursion - such as a broken down bus and also to perform the quality control function. There is a cost for this - excursions have become quite expensive. Our experience was excellent over all and even though we booked in advance I did speak with the excursion desk and made some changes while on board. I realize it is the luck of the draw but all of our guides were excellent - spoke English well and had vast knowledge of their territory. Even the guide taking us to the airport, Luis, on the transfer gave a running narration on the Chilean wine industry as we drove through the vineyards. Other people we met said their guide on the transfer refused any commentary so again luck plays a role. Disembarkation - went very smoothly. The Santiago airport has very limited facilities due to earthquake damage but it worked out fine. Chile is very strict at all ports with its rules on what can be brought off the ship and uses x ray scanners and dogs to search for contraband such as fruit. Overall Suggestions- I highly recommend that you join a roll call for your cruise. We had a very large group and it was great to get on board and already "know" a lot of people . We had a sailaway party on deck 12 and then a meet and greet on the first sea day which all the senior staff, including the captain, attended. It was great to put faces to screen names. On the practical side, the group organized a number of excursions and meals which were all very successful. From NCL's perspective, they need to be more responsive and flexible to the needs of the specific cruise. For example, on a day they know that large numbers will be off the boat by 6:30, a bar should open at 6, not 7, for those who want soda in the morning especially since many of us pay in advance through the soda card. Similarly, the timing on the dining rooms can be adjusted - closing the Seven Seas at 1:30 for lunch when all aboard that day is 1:30 and you know that NCL excursions are dropping people at the ship at 1:30 defies logic. Employees seem to lack a sense of ownership - our stateroom attendant was fine but never introduced himself or asked if we needed anything. In prior cruises, that individual always received an extra tip but not this time since I never met him. We had an issue with our departure tags and again the employee didn't take responsibility. I had to convince her to check the computer and once she did and agreed I need other tags she refused to give them to me until I went back and retrieved the wrong ones - That seems the opposite of what should have happened. NCL made a mistake (which didn't bother me since I make mistakes too), but I had to take all steps to correct it. It should have been an employee's responsibility to fix the problem I identified. I would certainly travel with NCL again and applaud them for the ability to address so many demands for small tables in the dining room but think they need to re-commit to the kind of personalized attention I remember from my first 4 NCL cruises and also to bring back DIET COKE! Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
This was our second NCL cruise both of which were to South America. Since we were in one of the AD Suites, our embarkation and debarkation processes went very smoothly. Our suite was very nice. It faced forward and was on the Starboard ... Read More
This was our second NCL cruise both of which were to South America. Since we were in one of the AD Suites, our embarkation and debarkation processes went very smoothly. Our suite was very nice. It faced forward and was on the Starboard side. The movement was more than if in a mid-ship cabin but we expected that and were not disappointed. The Concierge and the Butler were great and went out their way to help us. I highly recommend that you spend the extra to get a cabin where the concierge and butler services are offered. It is worth it. The food was mediocre at best. We don't cruise for the food and had heard the Norwegian Sun was not known for excellence in the food category so it was not a big disappointment. However, I would have enjoyed the trip more had the food been a bit higher quality. We had several meals in the Four Seasons, but preferred the specialty restaurants particularly Pacific Heights. Il Adagio was also very good. Because of booking an AD Suite, we were able to enjoy the Concierge Lounge (Il Adagio) for breakfast and lunch. This is a very nice way to enjoy a quiet, relaxed meal during the day. We decided to do the Behind The Scenes tour that is offered onboard (at the price of $55 per person). It was okay but not worth it. The group was too big and it was hard to hear the tour guide particularly in the kitchen prep areas. There are no microphones, and coupled with the noise in the kitchen area (which is expected) one could not hear what was being explained unless you were right in front of the guide. The rest of the tour went better, particularly seeing the bridge and meeting the captain. Again, I wouldn't repeat the tour on another cruise. We met some very interesting people during the 14 days and we got to see a lot of very unusual and interesting sights on our shore excursions. The trip is rustic and many of the trips included rough roads. Weather ranges from very hot to very cold so bring clothes accordingly. One big disappointment (not the fault of the ship) was we couldn't get off to go to the Falklands. The weather was so bad. The Falklands is a tender port and the day we arrived, the winds were gusting to 60 mps which made it impossible to take tenders into town. We heard that this was not uncommon. One man said he had tried twice and had never yet made it to shore. Another person said they had tried four times and never made it. Maybe NCL should consider skipping the Falklands and extending the stay at Montevideo or some other of the other ports. By the way Montevideo is great as is Buenos Aires. Overall it was a great trip. We are glad that we went and saw parts of the world we never thought we would see. Now it's on to other parts of the world! Happy Cruising to All! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Choosing Norwegian Sun: A travel agent suggested this cruse. The Norwegian line was chosen because I made a down payment on a future cruise when I cruised Boston - Bermuda on Norwegian. Choosing the cabin: I choose cabin 8277 as cabins ... Read More
Choosing Norwegian Sun: A travel agent suggested this cruse. The Norwegian line was chosen because I made a down payment on a future cruise when I cruised Boston - Bermuda on Norwegian. Choosing the cabin: I choose cabin 8277 as cabins at the aft part of the cruise ship tend to be larger. My brother traveled with me and I'm left with the planning. When reservations were made: The cruise was scheduled for 1.31.10 - 2.14.10. Reservations were made in Jan. 2009. What I wanted to know about the Norwegian Sun: I found what I wanted to know about the Sun from cruise critic and other sites. Cabin 8277 This is a suite cabin and when I saw the cabin I was disappointed as it was small and cramped compared to what I had seen on the internet. The bathroom was large and quite spacious. The verandah was spacious enough, but overall, the cabin is small. I roomed with my brother and told the steward that we are close but not that close. He replied saying that if he made the bed into singles, we would not be able to open the closet nor the bathroom via the bedroom. So Bob slept on the couch and I slept in the bedroom. Bob thought the room was adequate and had enough closet space. I also thought there was enough closet space. However this was for two people. For four, I doubt highly there would be enough space. Other cruisers who did not have a suite felt their cabin space was small. There was another problem. In order for my brother and I to have separate beds, my brother had to sleep on the couch and I the bedroom, which was ok but this made the living room inaccessible. Embarkation For us this went rather smooth as my brother was in a wheelchair and we went to the head of the line. There was a line however; I have often asked myself why show up noon when you can avoid the line and board at a later time. When we registered, they took our passports for customs in Argentina, Falklands and Chile. The clerk then took us to the IL Adagio Restaurant, I queried why, the response was that we had a suite and only suite guests get to eat breakfast and lunch in IL Adagio. I learned later that the food in IL Adagio is a step or two above that in other restaurants. There are other perks such as having your passport delivered to you instead of picking it up; in short, you have a concierge waiting on you hand and foot. Both Bob and I were happy with the suite status provided. Our Concierge Karin This was said by other cc members and we totally agree. Karin is a hard worker, is always there to meet your needs and gives you a phone number for contact purposes. She provides more than good will and I doubt she is paid enough. Value A member of the roll call said that she compared prices between RCCL, HAL, NCL and found NCL to be the best bargain. Entertainment: 1. The 2nd night Monday (2.1.2010) NCL Sun had Tara Whittaker, a Canadian flautist who entertains people around the globe. She was very talented. 2. The 3rd night Tuesday (2.2.2010) was Showtime: Que Noche with the Jean Ann Ryan Dance Co. They were also talented. 3. The 4th night Wednesday (2.3.2010) was Cuban born pianist Juan Pablo Subirana who said he came to America by sitting on top of his piano and paddling it to Miami. 4. The 5th night Thursday (2.4.2010) was singer, pianist, dancer Elvy Rose. She used audience participation very well to her act. 5. The 6th night Friday (2.5.2010) was Anibal and Gaucho del Plata. He is a gaucho and used audience participation well in his act. 6. The 7th night Saturday(2.6.2010) was the dance couple of Andre & Francine. They were great; got my picture taken with both of them. 7. The 8th night Sunday(2.7.2010) was the Jean Ann Ryan Co. production of "Cirque Pan" a takeoff of the Peter Pan novel. 8. The 9th night Monday(2.8.2010) was the magic of Basilio & Daniela. They used audience participation quite well. We had dinner with a person who thinks the entertainment on this cruise could be better. There was an International Carnival Party at 10:30pm in the atrium with Latin Music however I was too tired; had trouble keeping awake during the entertainment - it was a long day. 9. The 10th night Tuesday (2.9.2010) was the instrumentalist Radim Zenkle, playing flute and mandolin. He received his greatest applause when he played a classical piece. The audience went wild and gave him a standing ovation. 10. The 11th night Wednesday (2.10.2010) was Andre & Francine from the 7th night and Elvy Rose from the 5th night putting on a duo performance. The 1st show resulted in a standing ovation while the 2nd did not. Elvy used audience participation. 11. The 12th night Thursday (2.11.2010) was Gauchos del Plata and the magic of Basilio and Daniela. Both acts were good ½ hr performances each and audience participation for both acts was involved. 12. The 13th night Friday (2.12.2010) was the Jean Ann Ryan Company production of "Encore" which showcased recent hits of the Broadway stage; nice performance. At the end of the show the officers, staff and crew of the Norwegian Sun. 13. The 14th night Saturday (2.13.2010) at 7:30pm was the international NCL Sun crew talent show with audience participation. The audience really enjoyed this. At 9:30pm Radim Zenkl entertained us with several flutes and mandolin. He received a standing ovation. It seems the best was saved for last. It appeared the Sun saved the best for last. Tours: 1. In Montevideo, Uruguay we took a private city tour, total cost about $100 for two people US. The only drawback was that the temperature was well over 90 and humid; not the best conditions for sightseeing. 2. In Puerto Madryn, we took an NCL tour called Peninsula Valdes Wildlife Sanctuary. We viewed penguins, walruses and elephant seals. This was sort of disappointing probably because we got to view the wildlife from a distance plus we had bus problems thus getting a late start. The good part of this was that it included a box lunch and killed the day; in addition we got to see the countryside as well as wildlife. 3. In Stanley, Falkland Islands an NCL tour called The Lagoon Bluff (cost $189) where we saw penguins. This is a tender port and The Jetty Visitor Center is within walking distance of where the tender docks. Relatively inexpensive tours are available at the center. Best to check the message boards and ask for advice on the Falkland Islands. 4. In Ushuaia, the city at the end of the world, we took an NCL tour Tierra del Fuego National Park. It was a nice tour and the tour guide explained the 4 hour trip very well. At the end of the dock private tour agencies are about a 4 block walk and you might get a less expensive tour. Bear in mind that the ship arrived a 7am, left at 2pm, and with such short a time, you might do better taking an NCL tour. 5. In Punta Arenas we took an NCL tour Punta Arenas & Ft Bulnes. It was very informative. We visited 2 museums, had a panoramic view of the city, saw the central square, went to a sheep sharing farm, had a lamb dinner with rolls, salad, potatoes, coffee and desert. The tender takes you to Chilian customs where a friend told me the internet connection was about $1 for 1 hour, the connect speed is slow, but the price was right. Local tours are available where the tender leaves you off. It seems that where ever we stopped in public areas, sweater goods were for sale. 6. In Puerto Chacabuco we took a private tour of Puerto Chacabuco with other members of the roll call; cost was $70 US. We saw mountains, waterfalls, various animals, valleys, to name a few. A stop was made for lunch; lamb, salad, potato, pastry, wine, bottled water, entertainment. Taxi's were asking $140 though I do not know what was included; other tours where the tender dropped us off were also available. 7. In Puerto Montt we took another private tour called Puerto Montt with members of the roll call. The tour was through GV Tours, email gvstein@surnet.cl, www.gvtours.com. The tour started in Puerto Montt, stopped in Lake Llanquihue with volcano Osorno in the background, Puerto Varas the Rose City, Ensenada where we had a lunch of beef or fish, salad, bread and vegetables, Petrohue for a view of the rapids, ending at Puerto Montt; total cost $90 including lunch. The whole van, about 20 people, highly recommends them. Please note that within walking distance of where the tender drops you off are other tours or you can choose or you canwalk the city. This was the best tour of the trip. 8. When we docked in Valpariso, 10 from the roll call went on a private tour of Valpariso and Santiago with the Van Man. The tour included Valpariso, Emiliana Winery and Santiago. Our tour guide was Alwin Schuler email alwinschuler@hotmail.com. The tour lasted about 9 hours, cost $105 US, was well worth the price; Alwin gave a very informative commentary and dropped us off at our hotels in Santiago or the airport and helped us with our luggage at the hotel. Restaurants: For this sold out cruise these following restaurants along with their hours: 1. Early Riser - coffee and danish - deck 11 aft...............5:30-6:30am 2. Garden Cafe, breadfast, Deck 11, Aft............................6:00-10:30am, 5:30-9:30pm, 10 -11:30pm 3. Seven Seas, breakfast, lunch, dinner, Deck 11, aft.....7:00-9:00am,12:00-1:30pm, 6:00 -10:30pm 4. Great Outdoor, Deck 11, aft...........................................6:30-11:00am, 2:30-5:00pm 5. Pacific Heights, Deck 11, Aft, Pasta & Pizza..................12:00-2:30pm, 5:30-10:30pm 6. Four Seasons, Deck 5, Mid................................................5:30 - 9:30pm 7. Steakhouse, Deck 12, Aft, cover charge.......................5:30-10:30pm 8. Ginza Sushi Bar, deck 12, aft, cover charge..................5:30-10:30pm 9. Teppanyaki, deck 12, aft, cover charge........................5:30pm, 7:30pm, 9:30pm 10. Il Adagio, deck 5, mid, cover charge.............................5:30-10:30pm 11. Le Bistro, deck 12, aft, cover charge.............................5:30-10:30pm 12. Las Rambas, Tapas, Nachos, deck 12, aft.....................5:30-9:30pm 13. Ice Cream, deck 11, aft....................................................12:00-9:30pm 14. Sports Bar, deck 11, aft....................................................5:30pm-5:30am 15. Room Service.....................................................................always open *note that hours vary depending if you are at sea or in port ** il Adagio is reserved for suite members during breakfast and lunch *** Four Seasons Main Restaurant is open for breakfast but only to balcony and above passengers. Dress Code: This cruise was 14 days and there were 4 formal nights. A jacket and tie were not required. I dressed in jeans all 13 nights. In the Garden Cafe, shorts were acceptable. Seven Seas' was the only restaurant that would not accept jeans on formal night and even then the rule was not enforced. Even in IL Adagio the dress code was not enforced. I was surprised to find the number of men dressed in jackets and ties. My brother said that had he known that a jacket was not required he would not have brought one. He packed a jacket but never wore it. Food and Sanitation: I liked the food but Bob did not think it was as good as HAL. In the il Adagio restaurant where we ate breakfast and lunch, for example, the only item on the menu that changed was soup for lunch. And they soup was delicious. I will not go into detail, but there was something about the food that did not agree with Bob and me. It seems that washing the hands just did not do the trick. Service Service in the restaurants was excellent but NCL could have used more stewards. At the Garden Cafe, for example, the Sun spread themselves too thin by having stewards spray your hands with disinfectant at the entrance to the restaurant, another steward sprayed your hands when you picked up your dish and silverware, at the buffet instead of helping yourself stewards were there to help you. You can only spread yourself so much. Regardless of where you ate you got to see the 7:30 show but in Seven Seas and Four Season you had to begin eating at 5:30pm. Service in the cabin could not have been better. However most of the guests decided to eat around 8pm or later, a blessing for Bob and I as we like to dine early. If one wanted quicker service they went to the Garden Cafe. I particularly liked the slow service. We could count on any meal taking about least 2 hours especially lunch. I came on the cruise to relax and eating slowly is one way. As one entertainer said "you are not going anywhere"?. The Last Season for NCL Rounding Cape Horn? We had a meet and greet for members of the roll call and several people said that this is the last season NCL will be doing the Cape Horn cruise. Several crew members confirmed this. Instead the Sun will cruise the Caribbean and Baltic in 2011. Day 1 - 1.31.10 Sunday - Buenos Aires to Montevideo When we got aboard the NCL Sun and registered, the clerk took us to another clerk who was in the IL Adagio Restaurant. I questioned this and was told that the il Adagio is reserved for suite guests for breakfast and lunch. The concierge urged us to eat there as the restaurant was about to close. Later I went to the Seven Seas Restaurant for salad, salmon, desert, coffee and 2 hours later went back with Bob and had the same thing. The ship is sold out for this cruise; the restaurants are not crowded as guests are getting used to the ship. Life jackets were not required for the drill, which was even more boring as this was done was done in 4 languages. Day 2 - 2.1.10 Monday - Montevideo, Uruguay - docked 7am-4:30pm Today we went on a city tour that included wine tasting at Seguin Moreau Vineyards. The tour was very interesting but the weather was hot, too hot for touring. Even our tour guide said that this week has been incredibly warm and unusual for Montevideo. Could this be an omen of weather to come? Back at the NCL Sun, Bob & I had lunch at the IL Adagio Restaurant. I then returned to the cabin to get the meet and greet reminders, went to the front desk and asked them if they would give me room numbers for the 5 people I had names only. The front desk said they would deliver all the invitations I had. I reminded them of the invitations they sent to the officers yesterday. There was a comment in Cruise Critic that said NCL Sun charges $1.30 US each for delivery and I was ready to deliver them myself deck by deck. Bob & I ate at the Seven Seas Restaurant; tonight's entertainment was Tara Whittaker on the flute. She started playing at 13 and entertains audiences around the globe. Day 3 - 2.2.10 Tuesday - At Sea This was a relaxing day. I got up at 5:10am then went back to bed waking again at 6:45am for breakfast. I walked to IL Adagio Restaurant and had a nice breakfast. I thought Bob would show up but he went to Seven Seas instead. Then I made reservations for tonight at the East Meets West Steakhouse on deck 12 at 6:00pm. I then went back to the cabin to get ready for the day and went to the Observation on deck 12 port for the meet and greet. I had time to kill and wanted to see where the Steakhouse was. I ran into Arlene & Jerry Zaldo and Susan & Marv Goldberg; we chatted for awhile. I finally found the Steakhouse and went back to the Observation for the meet and greet. It turned out to be a success, one person said it was the best meet and greet she has ever been to. When I first got aboard the Sun on Sunday, I sent invitations to some of the Officers; Monday night invitations were delivered to the cruisers courtesy NCL Sun. Some of the Officers came and Calvin the Hotel Director gave a short welcoming talk and ended up answering questions, more than he anticipated (he said). But it was very nice meeting people you see on the roll call daily but know them by their id only. As far as I am concerned, this is where the NCL Sun excelled. Everyone thanked me for putting it together; but Ed Morris made the arrangements with NCL, I only maintained the list. Planning is one thing; the meet and greet would not have been a success without people showing up. We must have had one heck of an active roll call. Bob and I then went to IL Adagio for lunch, but the menu was the same as yesterday and Bob wants to try someplace else. Shorts are allowed in the upstairs dining areas, but down stairs and in specialty restaurants, long pants are required, at least that is what we were told. We went to the East Meets West Steak House. Next the entertainment for tonight which was Que Noche by the Jean Ann Ryan Company. I went the Sports Lounge for a late night snack at 2am. Day 4 - 2.3.10 Wednesday - Puerto Madryn, Argentina - dock 9am-6pm We took an NCL tour called Peninsula Valdes Wildlife Sanctuary and saw penguins, walruses, elephant seals. Bus #1 broke replaced by bus #2 which also broke down. At the rest stop we changed to bus #3 for the duration of the trip and ended back at the Sun at 6pm. For supper we ate at the Four Seasons. Entertainment tonight was Juan Pablo Subirana on the piano. Day 5 - 2.4.10 Thursday - At Sea Today we are at sea, cruising from Puerto Madryn to Stanley, Falkland Islands. The ship was rocking and rolling last night, probably some passengers got sea sick. Today is sunny but the ride is not any better. I thought I would have difficulty in taking a shower this morning but did not; even managed to use my blade while shaving. The boat went thru some rough waters and passengers had to hold handrails to steady themselves. I went to the internet cafe, set up my laptop until 11:30am when I met Bob in IL Adagio for lunch. I like that restaurant because for lunch they have colossal shrimp, not the baby ones served in the other restaurants. For supper this evening, Bob and I went to the French Restaurant Le Bistro. Bob ordered salmon and I rack of lamb. The food in the Bistro was much better than in the East West on 2.2.2010 - no comparison. Entertainment tonight was Elvy Rose, very good with audience participation Day 6 - 2.5.10 Friday - Port Stanley, Falkland Islands - tender - 9am-4pm The concierge Karen gave us a VIP tender coupon. This is for all suite cabins; when in a tender port, you do not have to wait in line to go ashore. Go to the head of the line if a tender is available. That is what Bob and I did. However, once ashore we still had about a 1hr wait for our tour to begin. The NCL tour was to Lagoon Bluff or more accurately Bluff Cove Lagoon where we saw Gentoo Penguins and King Penguins. A 12 passenger van took us part of the way where we transferred to 4 wheel Land Rover's that took us from the road to grassland to seashore. The road was very rocky; about the only consolation was that the driver has been doing this for 16 years. Once we saw the penguins we then went to a cafe where we had free coffee and pastry. Tonight Bob and I ate at Pacific Heights restaurant. The food was not bad; for entertainment tonight was Gauchos del Plata. Day 7 - 2.6.10 Saturday - Cape Horn cruising Today is a day at sea. I went to the spa, took a shower, then used the steam room, showered, used the sauna, showered, got ready for the day, went back to the cabin and napped for an hour. Tara Whittaker is playing again at 2:45pm this afternoon, but I had a message scheduled and used the sauna and steam rooms to relax my muscles prior to the message. Tonight was entertainment by the dance couple of Andre and Francine. It was very good. Day 8 - 2.7.10 Sunday - Ushuaia, Argentina and Beagle Channel cruising-dock-7am-2pm Today we had a 4hr tour thru NCL of the Tierra del Fuego national park. The tour guide was very informative and I was amazed at her learning 4 hours of talk. Bob and I got back in time to have lunch at IL Adagio. It was very nice, but then again you can only eat there if you have a suite so you are paying for it. I went back to my cabin and took pictures of our going thru Beagle Channel seeing the Holanda, Italia, Francia, Alemania, and Romanche Glaciers. For supper Bob and I ate a Four Seasons. Then I went to both shows of the Jean Ann Ryan Co. "Cirque Pan" a takeoff of the Peter Pan novel. Day 9 - 2.8.10 Monday - Punta Arenas, Chile - tender 7:30am-7:30pm We took an NCL tour Punta Arenas & Ft. Bulnes. It was very informative. We visited 2 museums, had a panoramic view of the city, visited the central square, saw sheep sharing at a ranch, had a lamb dinner with salad, rolls, potatoes, coffee, dessert. Bob & I had supper with some members of the roll call. Later I saw the Magic of Basilio & Daniela. We visited a port yesterday and today, quite a few of us feel a port every day is too much & we are looking forward to the next few days at sea. One person at supper tonight said she is not getting up for breakfast tomorrow. Day 10 - 2.9.10 Tuesday - Strait of Magellan cruising I woke up at 7:30, went to the spa to use the sauna and steam room then had my seaweed treatment that lasted 2 hours. Lunch was at IL Adagio with 2 servings of shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, lentil soup, salmon salad, carrot cake, coffee. Arlene from the roll call called me and asked if I would go to her cabin to pick up the tickets for our tour Thursday. Tonight Bob and I had supper again at the Four Season's. Entertainment was the instrumentalist Radim Zenkle who was fantastic, the audience gave him a standing ovation. At 10:30pm there was the Liar's Club which was very funny and entertaining. I went to Dazzles Disco to listen to the dance music of Sol Play. From 10:30-11:30 in the Four Season's they had a Chocoholic Buffet; I got in at the very end. Day 11 - 2.10.10 Wednesday - Chilean Fjords, Patagonic Channels, Canal Moraleda - cruising - Sea Conditions very rough - force 7 winds, 48 degrees We ate at il Adagio for breakfast and lunch. At 10am there was a Free Masons informal gathering at 9am, 5 people showed up, Canada, USA and England were represented. I asked our concierge Karin if the food in IL Adagio was a step above the other restaurants and she said it was. The shrimp for lunch is colossal. I ate supper at Teppanyaki for supper. This is a Japanese restaurant where the food is prepared in front of you. It was excellent; lobster tail, shrimp, vegetables, filet mignon; you can mix and match. Entertainment tonight was Elvy Rose and the dance duo of Andre & Francine. They have been teaching tango at various places on the ship and picked a 2 students (1 for each show at 7:30 & 9:30pm) from the audience to dance with Andre. Both students did an excellent job. The 7:30pm show resulted in a standing ovation while the 9:30pm show did not. Day 12 - 2.11.10 Thursday - Puerto Chacabuco, Chile- wind force 5 -tender-7am-2pm Today we took a private tour of Puerto Chacabuco with other members of the roll call; cost was $70 US. We saw mountains, waterfalls, various animals, valleys, to name a few. A stop was made for lunch; lamb, salad, potato, pastry, wine, bottled water, entertainment. Taxi's were asking $140 though I do not know what that included; other tours where the tender dropped us off were also available. I got back in time to eat at IL Adagio, even though I had just eaten; had 2 colossal shrimp cocktails, crab cakes, bean soup, salad with tangerines. Tonight I dined at the Four Seasons, nothing special about that place. Entertainment at 7:30 and 9:30 was Gauchos Del Plata and the magic of Basilio and Daniela. Audience participation for both was involved. At the Garden Cafe about 10:45 I had various fruits then went to the Galleria Tax and Duty Free shops where there was a $10 sale for today only; back by popular demand the Freestyle Daily said. I went to look only, the room was small and filled with what could be considered junk. Day 13 - 2.12.10 Friday - Puerto Montt, Chile smooth wavelets 57 degrees - tender - 8am-6pm Bob and I ate at the Garden Cafe as we had to be at Dazzels Disco to meet with other roll call members for a private tour of Puerto Montt which cost $90. The Garden Cafe is buffet style and a quick way to eat but there is not much variety. As a matter of fact the food on the NCL Sun is just adequate. Many people I spoke to prefer other lines such as HAL (more expensive but worth the extra dollars), RCCL (which is supposed to have great daily activities) to name a few. The tour of Puerto Montt stopped at Llanquihue for a view of the active volcano Osorno, the German city of Frutillar, Puerto Varas, Ensenada where we stopped for lunch of salmon or beef, salad, vegetables, rolls, dessert. Then to Petrohue to view the rapids, back to Puerto Montt. This was the best tour of all. The tour guide was the 21 year old daughter of the owner and is going to the states for college. I wanted to try Las Ramblas and stopped there at 5:30pm but they serve appetizers only and it really was not filling. So I went down to deck 5 to IL Adagio for supper and explained that I did not have reservations. They took me and I do not know if it was because the restaurant was empty or because I was a suite guest. The food was ok for $10 but not worth the extra price. Then the 9:30pm show of the Jean Ann Ryan Company production of Encore, up to the Garden Cafe for a snack and down to the reservation desk for a copy of my bill to date. Day 14 - 2.13.10 Saturday - At Sea Bob and I had breakfast at IL Adagio then I went back to the cabin to pack my checked baggage as it had to be ready by midnight.. The carry-on bag was left to be packed later that evening. We had another meet and greet of the roll call, about 20 people showed up, it is nice meeting the faces behind the names like traveling granny. I met Bob at Las Ramblas for soup and sandwich, Bob said the soup was spicy so I did not have any. Afterwards we ate at IL Adagio for lunch where I had 2 helpings of colossal shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, salad, sweet and sour soup. Then back to the cabin for a 1 hr nap. For supper I dined at the Teppanyaki and ordered lobster, shrimp, filet mignon. This was the 2nd visit and well worth the $25. Entertainment was the international sun crew talent show at 7:30pm with people from the audience participating; the audience loved it. At 9:30pm Radim Zenkl entertained us with flutes and mandolin. He received a standing ovation. Day 15 - 2.14.10 Sunday - Santiago, Chile and begin of post cruise I had breakfast in IL Adagio with Marv Schlenger from the roll call. When I got back to the cabin I saw Bob left a note saying he would meet me in Four Seasons. That is another perk suite passengers get, VIP disembarkment. The VIP's were one of the first to disembark yet Bob and I were on a private tour and had to wait for the other 8 passengers. Our tour included Valpariso, Emiliana Winery, Santiago and we were dropped off at our hotels in Santiago or the airport. The Hotel Orly is recommended by Fodor and really is not bad for a few nights. The hotel is in a good location, has a restaurant or you can eat in nearby restaurants, includes free breakfast and internet at the hotel. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Our previous cruising experience involved P&O, Olympus and Celebrity so this was our first exposure to the "freestyle" format. Both my wife and I are quite gregarious so we often chose to dine with other passengers and for ... Read More
Our previous cruising experience involved P&O, Olympus and Celebrity so this was our first exposure to the "freestyle" format. Both my wife and I are quite gregarious so we often chose to dine with other passengers and for us, this was a culturally enriching experience. This cruise was what I would describe as an "adventure" as opposed to a cruise that focused on relaxation. The ports we visited were excellent from the perspective of anyone who has an interest in the geography and culture of this part of South America. We were fortunate in being able to go ashore at Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands as the two previous cruises were unable to do so due to inclement weather and heavy seas. We also enjoyed our stops at Ushuaia, Punta Arenas and Puerto Montt. We participated in organized land tours at Puerto Madryn (to visit a large penguin rookery) Ushuaia and Puerto Montt. These land excursions were well organized and the guides friendly and knowledgeable. These tours were, however, overpriced in the opinion of vitually everyone with whom we communicated. If you have had any experience with cruising and have any business acumen, you will quickly realize that the "hustle" is on at almost every turn. Almost every activity directed toward the passengers is designed to motivate them to spend more money. This is, of course not unique to NCL but rather a characteristic that has engulfed the entire cruise industry during the past decade. The food was good and the dining room staff well trained, friendly and extremely courteous. The evening entertaiment program was generally quite good. There was only one act that we considered to be of questionable quality. The ship's Master, Rune Myre, was a delightful asset to the entire experience. We were surprised to learn that he and his family live about 65 miles from where we live on Vancouver Island. Several passengers with whom we shared a meal had cruised with NCL previously. The consensus of the majority of these folks was that the quality of NCL service had declined over the past decade. Rumors were rife throughout the ship that NCL would abandon this itinerary next year. The reasons suggested were unpredictable weather and that NCL was losing money. If economics is the root cause the person(s) responsibe for the company's marketing program could use a lesson in basic economic theory. Clearly they don't understand such concepts as elasticity of demand and price sensitivity. The prices charged for alcoholic beverages can only be described as OUTRAGEOUS. This phenomenon was apparent by observing the small number of people ordering drinks during the traditional "happy hour," during dinner and at the evening floorshows. Seven dollars(U.S.) for a single drink is absurd. One evening at dinner my wife ordered a glass of wine. The price? ($9.20) A full litre of fairly good wine can be purchased in a Buenos Aires or Santiago supermarket for half that amount. This price gouging was obviously unacceptable to hundreds of passengers and reflects badly on the cruise lines' corporate image. It is interesting to note that the duty free store on board the ship is not operated by NCL but rather by a company called Dufry that leases space from NCL. At this store a 40 ounce bottle of Beefeater gin can be purchased for $17.00. Imagine the price NCL could purchase this same bottle for as a high volume purchaser. One can readily discern that by charging $7 per drink the company's mark-up can only be described as obscene. NCL needs to change some of its policies if it wishes to remain competitive in the cruise ship market. As for this particular voyage, this itinerary provides an opportunity to see some outstanding physical geography and an interesting cultural landscape. Barry Mayhew, Ph.D email: barrymayhew@shaw.ca Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
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