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47 Norwegian (NCL) South America Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise to see some of South America and cruise through the Panama Canal. We have traveled on the Norwegian Sun previously and had a good experience. The ship was upgraded last year and looks good. The staterooms are now ... Read More
We chose this cruise to see some of South America and cruise through the Panama Canal. We have traveled on the Norwegian Sun previously and had a good experience. The ship was upgraded last year and looks good. The staterooms are now elegant and other areas of the ship nice. This was a repositioning cruise, so there were seven sea days, which was a bit much for us, as we don't participate in bingo, karaoke, art auctions, knitting, etc, although I would have to say the ship did do a good job in offering all kinds of daily activities catered to the mostly older passengers. We are 60, but the average age is a bit older. The ship never felt crowded, except on sea days around the pool. Embarkation was easy, as we arrived late, so no crowds. Disembarkation in Miami was slow and bottlenecked through customs. Probably not NCL's fault. Service on the ship was generally good. Cabin, bar, restaurant, drills, excursions, port disembarkation, shows, lectures, etc. were all well organized. Only complaint was disembarkation for ship shore excursions, which was a joke. We were an hour late for every excursion due to a very poorly designed system. We did a combination of ship and third party shore excursions, all were pretty good. Some ports had limited attractions and things to do. For some reason the ship organized about a half dozen separate excursions under different names that ended up at the same place (rain forest, tram and zipline) and doing about the same activities. Ship excursions are a bit pricey compared to what is available from Viator and other companies, which get you off the ship quicker. NCL needs to fix this. Meals in the main dining room was surprisingly good. Cagney's and French Bistro meals were mediocre. Teppenyaki and Sushi restaurants were very, very good. Good drinks at Los Lobos. We had a complimentary NCL drink package, which we overused. Buffet inside was predictable, small, and generally crowded. The deserts on board were excellent just about everywhere. Drinks were easy to get and bartenders were some of the best on any cruise ship I have been on. The Great Outdoors buffet was better and convenient to the back seating are, where we spent a lot of time. South American ports are a bit rougher than other parts of the world. A lot of poverty and trash around. Still, many great sites. We did enjoy the extended time in Santiago. The couple we traveled with went to Machu Picchu and loved it. We enjoyed the Panama Canal experience and many of the Inca and other historical sites. Lima and Cartagena are overrun with Venezuelan refugees, which is sad but pretty much ruined most of the excursion. The ziplining experience in Costa Rica was a lot of fun. I would use NCL again and would cruise the Sun again for the right itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was a 18 night South America Cruise from Santiago Chile to Miami, FL. We choose this cruise based on the itinerary. The ship is old...built in 2001 and refurbished in 2018. Our Cabin was a Vista View Junior Suite on Deck #10 ... Read More
This was a 18 night South America Cruise from Santiago Chile to Miami, FL. We choose this cruise based on the itinerary. The ship is old...built in 2001 and refurbished in 2018. Our Cabin was a Vista View Junior Suite on Deck #10 (0067)...on the very back of the ship. The size of the balcony was average. This balcony provided an excellent view for the Panama Canal crowding. The Junior Suite was average size...had a walk-in closet and a bath tub/shower. I was not impressed with the service from the room steward. The main dining room service and food is awful....we ate in specially restaurants 14 of the nights. The production shows in the theatre are excellent...other shows are average. The bar staff is excellent and they cocktails are also excellent. Of the specialty restaurants...we prefer Cagney's Steakhouse and LaBistro French Restaurant. There is no lobster served on this ship.....not even in the specialty restaurants (this is unacceptable). The only restaurant that serves shrimp cocktail is Cagney's Steakhouse....and they charge an extra $4.99 + specialty restaurant fee (this is unacceptable). Most of the shore excursions that we booked on the ship were good. Boarding the tours were not handled efficiently. The cruise director is a former "Miss Colombia"....we rarely saw her. We rarely saw the Captain. None of the fish at any of the restaurants are eatable....sent the fish back every time....never came back any better (this is unacceptable). The breakfast in the main dining room was good. Overall service was average. They never tell you when they are having a dress-up (elegant) night. We did like the entertainment in the Windjammer Bar (Keiffer Wiley). Disembarkation process was average. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I have benefited immensely by the reviews posted on Cruise Critic, but have never taken the time to write one myself. For many years, the message boards have proved invaluable for planning our excursions. I can’t thank Cruise Critic ... Read More
I have benefited immensely by the reviews posted on Cruise Critic, but have never taken the time to write one myself. For many years, the message boards have proved invaluable for planning our excursions. I can’t thank Cruise Critic enough. It is my hope that readers will find this helpful. Warning- very detailed. We booked balcony cabin #8221. I appreciate the connections on the CC message boards and were able to join private excursions with them. They were limited person tours at a fraction of the ship's cost. I have taken about 30 cruises, 4 on Norwegian. I gave up on Carnival years ago and have not sailed NCL in a very long time remembering the food was so bad. Oceania and Azamara are favorites, but the prices are higher. My husband insists on a balcony and loves a beverage package. We find Celebrity to be the best cruise for the price. Royal Caribbean’s food has gone down hill and does not offer the beverage package as a perk. We chose this cruise for the itinerary and the offers. My husband and I flew to Buenos Aires, nonstop from JFK, two days before our cruise in South America. A real benefit of a South American destination is no jet lag. We were met at the airport by a driver, arranged by our host at the Airbnb. We had dinner at Don Julio’s, a favorite restaurant. The next morning, the same driver drove us to the cruise port. We arrived at 11:30 and were on the ship quickly with priority boarding. Luggage was promptly delivered to our cabin. Nothing compares to that first day on the ship feeling. Our room steward stopped by, but seemed put out when we told him that we needed fresh towels and ice. He had hoped not to come back again that day. We never received any ice after that. We had dinner in the MDR with a table for two. We prefer the traditional seating, with a large table, but NCL only offers Freestyle. The number of English speakers on the cruise seemed limited. Many Germans were on this sailing, some South Americans, French and Swedes. We enjoyed meeting many of the international passengers. Dinner was an unappetizing onion soup and chicken picante. We went to a nearly empty Spinnaker for cocktails and were told that they closed at 11:00. If you are looking for any Bar after 11:00 on this cruise, you will not find one. Montevideo was our first port. My husband went off the ship for a walk around and returned a couple hours later. I stayed on the ship to enjoy the drink package, sun and hot tubs. The hot tub was lukewarm. To my surprise children were allowed in the hot tubs unattended. A couple took their baby in. No food or drink is allowed in the tubs, but I fished out a small brown object, floating in the tepid water.(I subsequently developed a rash and never went in any hot tub again) After a hot shower, we went to see the comedian. Didn’t find him particularly funny. We did not attend any other shows. Dinner in MDR consisted of clam chowder, which lacked clams or potatoes, sprinkled with bacon followed by dry fish. As it was Super Bowl Sunday, the ship offered the game shown on a large screen in the theater. They thoughtfully provided traditional Super Bowl foods. We had drinks in the Windjammer Bar and enjoyed the bartenders and singers who performed there. It was to become our regular spot for it’s wonderful service. Punta del Este. We had breakfast in the dining room. The food was better there than in the buffet. We had arranged a walking tour and met at the famous sculpture on the beach. There were only five other people, all from the ship. The weather was beautiful and we enjoyed the walking tour, though the beaches didn’t look too inviting. My husband felt his gout starting to flare and the medical facility on the ship did not have prednisone. Fortunately, we had no trouble buying it at a pharmacy in town without a prescription. We were back on the ship for lunch after a quick tender. Our room steward dropped off the next day’s itinerary and took the opportunity to ask if we wanted him to come in the evening while we were at dinner. We replied in the affirmative and said that we would be leaving for dinner at 9. He seemed exasperated and asked if we could go at 8:30 and we agreed. The line at the MDR was very long and we took the buzzer with us to the Windjammer to wait. After about an hour, the bartender offered to check on our reservation. He was told that they were looking for us and the buzzer didn’t work outside of the dining area. I had very good ribs, we were the last to leave the dining room. We went to the Spinnaker only to find a few people singing bad karaoke in Spanish. We didn’t stay. I expected the weather to turn much cooler for our Sea Day as we headed south, but it was delightful. I asked about the Cruise Critic reception, as it is usually scheduled for the first sea day. A large group gathered at 11:00 in the Spinnaker. The ship provided officers who kindly answered questions and concerns. The wonderful woman, who organized this gathering, arranged special tenders for us with the helpful staff. The ship provided a barbecue on deck for lunch. We made dinner reservations by phone so we wouldn’t have to wait in line at the MDR and enjoyed a pleasant afternoon in the sun. Dinner was passable linguine with clams, then drinks at the Windjammer which closes at 11:00. Puerto Tambo. We were up at 7 and enjoyed breakfast on the aft deck. One staff member said that we were very fortunate with the weather. The week before it had been windy and cold. We met our tour at 9:15, which we had arranged through the cruise critic message board members in advance. We joined our small group for a 2 1/2 hour ride to see the penguins. The weather was perfect. We returned for cocktails and snacks before a 9:00 reservation in the MDR. Dinner was a good pate served with stale bread, risotto and unpleasant beef stroganoff, followed by nice music and drinks in the Windjammer- until 11:00. The following sea day we enjoyed breakfast in the MDR with a very nice couple from Colorado whom we met waiting in line. Afterwards we went to listen to a professor scheduled speak about the Falkland Islands, a place he had never visited. He was elderly and rambling and got into it with some of the Argentinians. We then went to what was billed as a lecture on the history of the wristwatch which turned out to be a sales pitch. Dinner was at Cagney’s, the first of four reservations at specialty restaurants. Because of our disappointing meals at MDR, I was looking forward to this. It was nice, but not particularly special. Lovely views from the windows. We attended an Irish music night in the Windjammer. Very popular. Port Stanley. Arose at 7 and took our buffet breakfast to the Sports Bar. Breakfast is also served in Moderno and outside, on the deck. It had started to turn noticeably cooler and the Sports Bar has great views from the large windows. We took our special, cruise critic tender to the Falkland Islands and paid $20 for a shuttle to see the penguins. We had a nice hike, though it was cold and windy and then walked into town. There is a great museum, free with your ship card. We had dinner at Le Bistro. Lamb chops were good, but not much else. The weather was getting cold and windy, the ocean a little rough. At sea day. Used the ship’s internet, which worked well. Had a good lunch in the MDR. Enjoyed watching the sail around Cape Horn around 6 from our balcony. Ushuaia. The day started cold and rainy. Took the $10 bus into town and returned for lunch. Free WiFi was available at the tourist center. Back on board, we had to wait in line for an hour to get through immigration and passports for Chile. Sailed the Beagle Channel and saw beautiful glaciers. Could not face another bad dinner in the MDR, so just skipped it. Punta Arenas. Paid $3 for shuttle into town rather than wait in a long line, in the cold, for the free NCL bus. Free WiFi in the Central Park. We joined an English speaking walking tour which was forming nearby. Lots of people. More of a guided walk than a tour. We visited a cemetery and a free museum. When we returned to the buses, it was mayhem with so many people clamoring to get on the free NCL bus. That evening, Jimmy Buffet music was played at the Windjammer. We had fish and chips in the Sports Bar and sailed the Straits of Magellan. The following day at sea was particularly rough as we sailed the Pacific. People were sick and hazmat suits were pressed into service. Passengers were unsteady and food was spilled, outside decks were closed. We watched the waves from the Sports Bar. Lunch featured a German theme, very good. The sea was calm as we sailed the Chilean Fjords. Just beautiful. We had another dinner in Cagney’s that night. Another sea day as we sailed the Patagonia Channels. We saw porpoises and whales. The weather warmed as we sailed north and we enjoyed spending time on deck watching the stunning scenery. Puerto Montt. Our Cruise Critic leader arranged for early tenders for our group. We joined 15 others for another small group tour arranged by a Cruise Critic member. It was an exceptional day with perfect weather. We visited an alpaca farm, saw falls, National Parks, lake, volcanos, took a scenic ride on a ski lift and stopped in a German style town. It seems that all of the tours stopped there. Thank goodness we found a Radisson Hotel. Free bathrooms had been scarce throughout Argentina and Chile. We did not have any local money for pay toilets or food, beverages. We used the WiFi at the Radisson until we met our bus. Unfortunately, all the tours arrived at the port at the same time. We waited in a very long line for 1 1/2 hours to go through local security before being allowed to board a tender. Thankfully, the ship delayed our departure. As it was Valentines Day, we were delighted with the festive decorations. We had dinner in the MDR and was served the best entree of the cruise, lamb shank. Our last day was spent relaxing at sea. We had dinner at Le Cucina.There was nothing to recommend it. We were off the ship by 8:30 and joined the 8 others who had arranged a day in Santiago from Cruise Critic boards. It was very nice and we arrived at the airport by 7 for our 10 o’clock flight. We loved the 14 day itinerary with plenty of time spent in port, balanced with sea days. Freestyle cruising has become very popular in the industry, but not for us. We like sharing a table and getting to know other passengers. Some people have complained that there wasn’t enough to do on sea days, but I loved them. I think there was plenty to keep people occupied with dance lessons, workouts, crafts and games. The food was pretty bad and I doubt that I will sail NCL again. I had asked about upgrading our 4 night specialty package to a seven night, but was told that I had to buy a separate 3 night package after I used my 4 night package. You will no longer find smoked salmon at the breakfast buffet, no sign of fresh berries or made to order hamburgers, though the pasta and pizza station were good at lunch. The French fries served were right from the freezer, even those served in the specialty restaurant. For the most part, staff was very good. We didn’t spend time in the casino (too smoky), art auctions or the spa. The beverage package is nice to have, but cans of soda, iced tea, fresh squeezed juice, smoothies, and bottled water are not included. I heard many ask for herbal tea or sugar free tonic, but these were not available. Some bar items simply ran out, not to be replaced. Some Chilean wines were added and enjoyed- while they lasted. The ship was the perfect size for us and easy to navigate. I have enjoyed all of my cruises, some more than others. Ultimately, in my opinion, good food is very important and I have already booked my next cruise with Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This is our first NCL cruise. We traveled with 2 other couples and this is our first time visiting S. America. Even though it is a small cruise ship, the cabins are much more spacious than the other bigger cruise ships we have sailed ... Read More
This is our first NCL cruise. We traveled with 2 other couples and this is our first time visiting S. America. Even though it is a small cruise ship, the cabins are much more spacious than the other bigger cruise ships we have sailed before. Entertainment is pretty good overall. We find the excursions over priced (e.g. charging us$300 for a 3 hr. trip to see penguins) and did our own thing for most stops. The food in the main dinning is just average and the buffet offers pretty much the same food everyday. There are 2 sections for oriental style noodles, one fried and the other with soup. I have to say the cooks have no experience in Chinese culinary. The noodles are hard and dry and the soup tasteless. The Indian dishes only offer the same vegetarian curry for the whole 2 weeks. We did enjoy the scenery overall, especially while sailing through the Beagle Channel. In Santiago, we toured the city and also Valparaiso on our own. In Buenos Aires, we booked a tour to the Iguazu Falls. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This was my first time cruising with this cruise line and I must admit that I was somewhat disappointed with the services provided compared to other cruise lines that I have travelled with. This is a small, older ship with only 12 floors; ... Read More
This was my first time cruising with this cruise line and I must admit that I was somewhat disappointed with the services provided compared to other cruise lines that I have travelled with. This is a small, older ship with only 12 floors; however it was recently refurbished. I found the cafeteria dining on the 11th floor always congested. You are constantly bumping into other people. The layout is poor to accommodate the traffic and good luck in finding a table to sit on those cold days when everyone wants to sit inside. Don't expect to be served coffee, juice or anything while seated as you are on your own to push through the crowds to get whatever you want from the buffet tables. Think you might to go to the main dining room to avoid the crowd, think twice as you might be waiting to be served all day...they are slow as snails! My biggest gripe was the lack of ability to see your bill online while on board. There is no kiosk or television prompt to do so. You will have to join the long line at guest service to do so and I recommend you do so every couple days as there were certainly mysterious charges to dispute which will take them another day or two to resolve. On the positive side, the "washie washie" staff were always fun and greeted you with a smile in the cafeteria. The amenities and future cruise deposits offered by NCL are very attractive. Note FCD must be used within 4 years (non-refundable) or lose it. There was no pressure to take/buy photos. As a matter of fact, I only saw 1 photographer on board! This is a very casual cruiseline. If you enjoy dressing up for formal nights and dining at a classy chefs table, this is not the cruiseline for you as there is none. If you enjoy watching a movie under the stars curled up with a blanket, cookies and milk, this is not the cruiseline for you as there is none! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this Cruise because of the wide variety of islands we were visiting. This Cruise was an older crowd not very Lively so I think bedtime was roughly around 9 p.m. . All the specialty restaurants were very good and the food was ... Read More
We chose this Cruise because of the wide variety of islands we were visiting. This Cruise was an older crowd not very Lively so I think bedtime was roughly around 9 p.m. . All the specialty restaurants were very good and the food was excellent service was great but when it came to the main restaurants the seven seas and the Four Seasons ran the same menu every night. With four or five specials every night and they both ran the same specials on the same night. Entertainment was non-existent we went to two shows and that this was the type of ship that did not have first class entertainment. We chose the unlimited beverage package which was a great advantage for us, we got our money's worth. We did not do any excursions through the ship as we found they were way over priced you can walk off the ship and find a tour right on the pier for half the price. We found that tipping a few extra dollars here and there for the waiters waitresses and bartenders helped out immensely as the few dollars they charge for gratuities doesn't seem to be enough. I prefer to leave my own gratuity as I feel the people that work for it are the ones that deserve it. And on the final note it was a very good Cruise the staff is very attentive the ports were great they just need to make some adjustments with the culinary department and the entertainment Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We had a good time. It seemed like a good itinerary but most of the ports had very little to do. The food was adequate. Dining room service was slow. They seemed understaffed. Wish they had a happy hour and afternoon tea. Some ... Read More
We had a good time. It seemed like a good itinerary but most of the ports had very little to do. The food was adequate. Dining room service was slow. They seemed understaffed. Wish they had a happy hour and afternoon tea. Some positive things: coffee maker in the room, fishes on the carpet to tell forward and aft, great entertainment, friendly staff and had only 75 percent occupancy. Just know what you are getting into before you go! The ship isn’t new but the cabins are spacious. Internet is slow and nothing available on tv like meals, bill, etc. NCL needs to revisit offerings on sea days. More activities. Activities appropriate for age of cruisers. Cagney ‘s was excellent! Food and service. There were no port lectures because the ship makes this path only once a year. So, no one could help and there were no maps available on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the size of the ship. My husband has trouble walking and I didn't want a Mega Size ship where it would be a long walk to all the venues. I requested a cabin in the middle of the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the size of the ship. My husband has trouble walking and I didn't want a Mega Size ship where it would be a long walk to all the venues. I requested a cabin in the middle of the ship, and instead we had the very first cabin in the bow. I paid extra for "run of the ship" hoping for an upgrade or at least, a cabin in the middle. The dining room, theatre, and buffet were all in the stern of the ship. When I went to guest services, I was told the ship was sold out which I found out was not true. The ship was on a high health alert due to a virus on the trip before ours. Using that as an excuse, we didn't get into our cabin until 4:30 and the ship was leaving at 5:00. Our cabin did not get any ice or water for the first 2 days and then we had to call Room Service to get ice. The entertainment, with a couple of exceptions was poor and amateurish. The Library was closed for the entire trip and there were very few activities to do on sea days. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
First time cruising with Norwegian Sun. They had an outbreak of gastrointestinal sickness on the cruise before ours and it continued on our cruise. Unfortunately I got sick. After being quarantined no one followed up to see how I was or if ... Read More
First time cruising with Norwegian Sun. They had an outbreak of gastrointestinal sickness on the cruise before ours and it continued on our cruise. Unfortunately I got sick. After being quarantined no one followed up to see how I was or if I needed anything and the room service menu was very limited for my husband who was not sick but also had to be quarantined. Consequently we missed two days and one port. The WiFi on the ship was a waste of money as half the time people couldn’t get connected. I also found there were a lot of fees for very little service. I did not find the service as good as on other ships. With the free style dinning the wait staff does not get to know you. However the staff were good considering the extra work they had with the sickness on board. Our steward was also great. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We took this cruise because of the price, the perks, and a chance to cruise with friends from various states. It was our first time on NCL and we were not very impressed. The staff from our room steward to bar tenders to dining room ... Read More
We took this cruise because of the price, the perks, and a chance to cruise with friends from various states. It was our first time on NCL and we were not very impressed. The staff from our room steward to bar tenders to dining room staff was very accommodating and did a superb job. The entertainment was average with just a couple of outstanding entertainers. We have been on other cruise lines that actually give talks on upcoming ports and do it without trying to sell ship tours - just informative talks. I realize that NoraVirus can happen but the way the ship's Captain handled it was deceitful. Never even admitting the extent of crew and passengers affected lead to distrust by many of us. My husband and I were both diagnosed with the flu and charged $2,497.03 for the treatment. I guess since we were captive patients you are free to charge any amount you want. The one Tamaflu that we brought cost us $42 while the one I got on board was $419 —-REALLY!!!! A little good will from NCL would go along way to accepting the impact of both the NoraVirus and out particularl illness. I heard several passengers expressing disappointment that NCL didn’t offer ANYTHING (such as a dollar amount off future cruise which you know would not be acted on by many) for the inconvenience we all suffered.n Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We chose this cruise due to the Panama Canal experience. We wished they had cut out the Santa Marta Stop and let us stop in Panama. There is nothing worth seeing in Santa Marta and was a wasted stop. We also stopped in Manta Ecuador ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to the Panama Canal experience. We wished they had cut out the Santa Marta Stop and let us stop in Panama. There is nothing worth seeing in Santa Marta and was a wasted stop. We also stopped in Manta Ecuador and it was a wasted stop too. Most of these ports are not ready for tourists and big ships. Getting off the ship was different since we were in shipping yards. So you had to disembark then take a bus outside the terminal. The shopping ability on this cruise was poor. This is a long cruise to have only two small shops. One was all jewlery and the other was a gift shop with liquor. They should have changed out the merchandise daily. Since we spent a lot of time at sea, woman like to shop. The choice of merchandise was slim. Cheap t-shirts. The makeup section was pathetic. Our last cruise there was one whole store of makeup and three women’s clothings stores with bathing suits, dresses, shorts, shirts, etc. Not this cruise. Also, there wasn’t the ability to get soft drinks. On our last cruise they had self help areas for drinks. This cruise only offered juice, tea, water and coffee. If you wanted a soft drink you had to go to the bar. Then you were made to feel like you had to tip for getting a coke. (Pepsi) Speciality dining was amazing. The main dining areas were not so impressive. The wait staff was very slow and the food was average. I do want to comment on our steward Lazarro. He was amazing! He heard we were having people over to our cabin for an evening get together and without asking he brought snacks, more wine glasses, and some other treats. Such a nice gesture and very much appreciated. Soledad in the casino was also a GREAT WAITRESS! Wow she was so friendly and always called us by name and made us feel so special. She knew exactly what we liked to drink when we came in to gamble. The entertainment was awful. The comedian we had on board did not even have a routine. His spill was to go around the room and ask everyone their name and what they did for a living. Then if he has something funny to say or interject he would. It was so bad. The magician was from America’s got talent or something like that and his assistant didn’t come with him because of paper work issues. So he was solo and the show was grueling. It drug on FOREVER and was awful. This is the FIRST cruise we have been on that the entertainment was terrible. To spend as much money as we did on this cruise, we were disappointed in many of the details such as entertainment and services available. Also, after about 12:00 at night, it is impossible to find something to eat unless you call room service. Shore excursions: we got off in Lima and did the Machu Picchu trip. When we looked at the brochure it states that if you are handicap, in a wheel chair or unable to climb or walk for long periods of time, this excursion isn’t for you. Well, we ended up with MANY people who should not have been on this excursion. My husband spent most of his time helping an 80 year old lady through the ruins at the mountain. We spent $2000 per person for this trip then spent our time helping others that had NO business being on this trip. Also, who every made the plans for this trip need to rethink the itinerary. We spent the nights in Cusco, where NO ONE CAN BREATHE. Out of 68 people, 65 never slept for two days because we had breathing issues. There are beautiful places in Aquas Calientes that is 6500 feet above sea level where people can actually breathe. Don’t get me wrong, the hotel in Cusco was beautiful but it was a painful experience trying to breathe. Also, someone needs to reach out to the guests before the trip to verify they are able to make this trip with all the fitness requirements. We also had a handicap woman in a motor scooter that got her own van, and personal attendant because she complained to NCL that this is why she came to this cruise. So she made NCL provide her with these options. Then she bragged about pitching a fit to NCL so they would provide these things for her. Really disgusting at what she did, then bragged to everyone about it. She was provided with her own large van and people carrying all her stuff the whole time. Now if she had paid for it, that would have been one thing. But for her to complain and make NCL pay for this service when it clearly states that if you are handicap this isn’t the trip for you. Last but not least. We were told there was the HAVEN class on this ship and this was not true. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
This was a repositioning cruise that offered a trip through the Panama Canal with ports of call in Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile. The Sun is an old ship that in April 2018 will undergo a face lift. Its small by today's ... Read More
This was a repositioning cruise that offered a trip through the Panama Canal with ports of call in Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile. The Sun is an old ship that in April 2018 will undergo a face lift. Its small by today's standards, but this six ship is easy to navigate and had enough amenities to fit an mostly active senior adult crowd. This was first cruise on NCL, having said with Celebrity, Princess, and Carnival before. Embarkation was quick and effortless. We boarded about 1 PM and had to wait for our room to be ready, which gave us time to explore the ship. decided to grab a bit of lunch on the aft deck. Hamburgers, chicken and hot dogs with the offering. Walking through the limited indoor buffet indicated that free table space might be hard to find and that we would not expect any grand buffet treatments during our cruise. We limited ourselves to the standard fare breakfasts and lunches of eggs, salads and sandwiches. Nothing fancy. When it came to dinner we found the regular dining rooms to offer very standard food varieties and quality. Oftentimes we would review the menu durning the day and opt to go to a speciality restaurant. Our favorites were Le Bistro and Casey's Steak House. The Japanese was a change of pace and very similar to what we get back home. The Brazilian was good, but I came down with stomach problems after that meal, so I didn't venture there again. We ate 7 of 14 dinners at the speciality restaurants. None of regular or speciality restaurants were crowded. I guess a lot of passages either ate later than us or hit the buffet. We never felt crowded, or had to wait long for a table. The wait staff was professional. but this is the first cruise when we did not develop a rapport with any one service team. We took advantage of CC roll calls and through the work of a few people private tours were arranged (mainly though a consolidator, Tours By Locals) We only took one NCL tour in Cartagena. We really enjoyed the tour in Manta Ecuador where we visited a rain forest and hiked through areas where no formal trail existed. In Trujillo Peru we took a tour that included a visit to a market; Chan Chan an ancient civilization that was conquered by the Incas 60 years before the Spanish arrived; a Peruvian lunch showing us how they make ceviche and our new favorite drink Pisco Sours. In Lima we went with another couple and found an english speaking cab driver who took the 4 of us on a private tour. Highly recommend victourslima@hotmail.com and ask for Rita Romero. A native of Lima, but she lived for many years in the states. After disembarking we took a tour of Valparaiso, a town filled with street art and a Chilean winery. Our CC leader was able to set up a meet and greet with the roll call members and the senior cruise staff. This also enabled us to have preferential disembarking for our private tours and final day. We never had to wait on long lines to get off the ship. A real plus! Each night we went to the theater for the show. No one wowed us. Good competent entertainers, the type you'd expect on the cruise ship circuit. The shows all lasted 45 minutes, which was just enough time. I was disappointed in the quality of the paint bar entertainers and the silly stuff that went on at 10 PM in Dazzel bar did not appeal to me. During the cruise we hit some days at sea where the wind and seas were in high gear. Without access to the pool, it left us with time to read, play cards, and just relax. This is where a larger ship would have been preferred, with more opportunities to do other activities. Overall, it was the itinerary that made the trip and the NCL Sun just got us there. We look forward to trying other NCL ships in the coming years. People tell me not judge this ship as representative of the line. We will se, as we purchased deposits on future NCL cruises. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
The overall cruise can be regarded as average. Positive points : Entertainment : excellent shows, presentations and overall activities throughout the cruise Cabin service : the cabin steward kept very clean all the time. ... Read More
The overall cruise can be regarded as average. Positive points : Entertainment : excellent shows, presentations and overall activities throughout the cruise Cabin service : the cabin steward kept very clean all the time. Overall cleaning Excellent waiters in main dining Free style Onboard treasury and cashier service Internet café service Duty free shores : good prices and large variety of products Jogging track on 6th deck Desembarkation in San Francisco Average points : Cruise price Food and beverage Age of the ship : probably she needs some update and replenishment of some old furniture Guest service information center Fitness center Negative points : Embarkation in San Antonio : although there was a strike in Valparaiso and the embarkation port was transferred to San Antonio the day before departure, NCL failed in not assigning enough people to assist the most needed passengers mostly senior citizens and some of them in wheelchairs. Shore excursions Price of shore excursions Shore excursion information service Concierge : lack of politeness of the main concierge in dealing with passengers. Return of passports : messy service Cost to have internet service onboard Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
The excursions were wonderful. The guides informative, friendly and entertaining. We learned so much about a part of the world that we knew so little about. We could not have asked to be treated more courteously by the ship's staff. ... Read More
The excursions were wonderful. The guides informative, friendly and entertaining. We learned so much about a part of the world that we knew so little about. We could not have asked to be treated more courteously by the ship's staff. They were always pleasant, smiling and wanting to help. But -- 1. We had Priority embarkation privileges but there was nothing "Priority" about it. No signs or staff directing to "Priority" check-in. Do believe the idea is to bypass the long lines. 2. Public restrooms were not only too few and far between (particularly near the entertainment venues) but there were no visible signs directing to or designating a restroom until accidentally finding a marked door. 3. Very little variety in main dining room menus from day to day. There was little difference between the Seven Seas and Four Seasons. Some selections barely resembled what the dish was supposed to be. If we were going to rate the main dining rooms on a scale of 1-10 we could only give them a 6 at best. The cafe food choices and flavors did better than the dining rooms which is something we have never said about the other cruise lines we have been on. If they were a restaurant, we would choose not to patronize either one a second time. Having sailed with other cruise lines has definitely spoiled us. Also the layout of the ship was the least cruiser friendly one that I have ever been on. Access to the various specialty dining venues were an adventure in finding them. They were put in random areas seemingly as an afterthought in the design of the ship. In general, we would not choose Norwegian Cruise Lines again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose this cruise because we had a limited time period to travel and we wanted to see South America. We did not realize that in our early 50's, we would be some of the youngest people on the ship. This is not a bad thing but it ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had a limited time period to travel and we wanted to see South America. We did not realize that in our early 50's, we would be some of the youngest people on the ship. This is not a bad thing but it definitely affects the mood of the ship. We enjoy going to the casino and during this cruise, the casino employees outnumbered the guests almost the entire cruise. This made it awkward because they were always standing around just staring at us. They seemed really bored and highly critical of the passengers. The bartenders throughout the ship were uninterested in waiting on people and often avoided asking if we needed anything. The crew overall seemed like they did not want to do more then the minimum required of them. There was one superstar bartender in the Coffee Bar, Stanko, that out shined every other crew member by a ton. He acted like he loved his job and he was very friendly. Our room steward, I ketcho (???), was also fabulous. Worked really hard and seemed to care that we were satisfied. My husband had an experience at the casino bar where he asked for a diet coke with two shots of Malibu. He watched the bartender pour 3 shots of regular rum into his diet coke. He asked him why he did it and the bartender said that he was out of Malibu and regular rum is weaker so he wanted to give him more. My husband asked to see the two different bottles of rum and the alcohol content in regular rum is almost twice that of Malibu. The bartender asked him if he wanted him to redo it. Very strange experience. What was his motive? Get people drunker in the casino? We were very surprised to learn that the All Inclusive Bar Package no longer includes water or specialty coffee. That was disappointing considering the amount of money we paid for the packages. We also signed up for internet but it was really expensive and more often then not, did not even work. The food and the service in the Four Seasons Dining Room were below average. The best meal we had was at the Cagney Steakhouse but we had to pay extra for it. If felt like they don't try very hard in the main dining rooms anymore so that you will want to upgrade to the extra restaurants. I had 5 different spa services and they were all excellent. However, every time I went for a treatment, I was asked to fill out another information form as if it was my first time. It would be nice if they tried harder to appreciate the repeat guests. When we boarded the ship, the computers were down. Although I can appreciate that they cannot help this, the fact that they left everyone standing in long lines without explaining anything about what was going on was disappointing. They repeatedly had computer issues throughout the trip. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Chose the 3 back to back cruises that go from Rio to San Francisco. Beaches, penguins, Falkland Islands, Cape Horn, Chan Chan, and the list goes on. Best way to see these, and each was great. Would forgo the start in Rio, but definitely ... Read More
Chose the 3 back to back cruises that go from Rio to San Francisco. Beaches, penguins, Falkland Islands, Cape Horn, Chan Chan, and the list goes on. Best way to see these, and each was great. Would forgo the start in Rio, but definitely start/end in Buenos Aires. My wife and I were mugged in Rio as well as several other couples that we met on the ship. The only way to tour Rio is in a group tour. Period. Never alone or as a couple, even just to leave your hotel. The Sun is a mid size ship that struggles when at full capacity. The buffet is far too small for all guests, particularly on a sea day with weather that did not allow outdoor dining. However, the staff is great and make extra efforts to try and accommodate. Not always successful. Embarkation at all 3 ports was very poor. Expect to spend the afternoon getting on board. Tendering when necessary was very good. Food was hit and miss. The only specialty restaurants worthwhile for a second visit were Cagney's and Le Bistro. Entertainment in the Stardust Theater was generally good, the production cast numbers, Uptown, and the Showband were the best. Other entertainment was decent, Beau in the Windjammer was the best for our taste- he should listen to 'mama'...Repeat, the crew and staff on the Sun make the cruise. Bridge lessons on the last leg were a nice plus. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
went to BRAZIL, URUGUAY & ARGENTINA. it was all good EXCEPT Im not a fan of NCL. Food is ONLY okay, excursions are waaaaaay overpriced, employees selling CRUISE NEXT are not upfront with the fine print so I canceled and I truly ... Read More
went to BRAZIL, URUGUAY & ARGENTINA. it was all good EXCEPT Im not a fan of NCL. Food is ONLY okay, excursions are waaaaaay overpriced, employees selling CRUISE NEXT are not upfront with the fine print so I canceled and I truly think its despicable that the beverage packages are soooooooooo overpriced. Im not a water drinker but being deprived of water isnt compatible with life~!! I can see charging for liquor, but pop, water and juices need to be included~!! My balcony cabin was nice and the people were all hardworking but that wont be bringing me back. My cruise price also dropped by $100 and the managers at NCL were totally unreasonable in giving me an adjustment. I should have been given that money back with an onboard credit. Never would I recommend NCL cuz there are toooooooo many better choices for cruises~!!! Embarkation was also piss poor taking 3 hours~!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
There were so many frustrations on this cruise to the north Atlantic. The itinerary was fantastic! The entertainment good. But, the food service was terrible with the waiters simply plopping down our plates and continued walking. ... Read More
There were so many frustrations on this cruise to the north Atlantic. The itinerary was fantastic! The entertainment good. But, the food service was terrible with the waiters simply plopping down our plates and continued walking. Language was a problem. We, as Americans were frustrated by major announcements being made by people who didn't speak understandable English. A Norwegian lady came out of her cabin one day and said "They make the announcements in every language but Norwegian". We expected Norwegian food and congeniality and DID NOT GET IT! Where do they get Norwegian? I spoke to the captain about it and his smug reply was "None of the crew is Norwegian; even I am Swedish." Our steward was fantastic - friendly, efficient, and made our trip so much more pleasant, as did the young lady in charge of the day care, who were our "neighbors" on this long trip.. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We chose NCL because of the price and the port itinerary. We have been on other cruise lines and NCL just once before about 15 years ago. This ship was a nice size, only 2000 passengers. Easy to get around, but maybe because there was ... Read More
We chose NCL because of the price and the port itinerary. We have been on other cruise lines and NCL just once before about 15 years ago. This ship was a nice size, only 2000 passengers. Easy to get around, but maybe because there was nothing to do. We had an oceanview cabin, rather small, but the most disappointing thing was that the bed was placed under the window. In order to see out the window you needed to kneel on the bed. Will never make that mistake again! Might as well have had an interior room. Getting on the ship was a bit of a nightmare. The dock workers in Valparaiso went on strike in the morning, which delayed previous passengers getting off, and new passengers getting on. Not really NCL fault, but they certainly did not make any announcements to let anyone know what was happening. We were delayed leaving port a couple hours. The cruise director tried hard, but nothing to our taste. Evening entertainment was fabulous with the Sun Crew of Singers/Dancers! They really worked hard and looked like they had a great time doing it. Other entertainers, we did not like so much. The casino looked like it was hardly used on most days. The two main dining restaurants had some good food, not fabulous, but certainly good. After 15 nights though the variety was lacking. The Garden Cafe buffet was awful anytime of day, but especially for dinner. They tried a regional theme every night, and failed miserably. Scrambled eggs in the morning were even terrible. We used the seated restaurants for breakfast whenever we could. Sometimes not possible when you are arriving at port. I've heard that the specialty restaurants are very good, but you pay extra to dine there. We did not choose to do that. Ports were all amazing, and the captain remarked how lucky we were to be able to reach all our scheduled stops. It is not uncommon for the weather to be too windy to run the tenders. In our case, we were able to see them all! We did not purchase any shore excursions with the ship, but either explored on our own, or arranged tours at the port. We had heard stories about the rough seas around Cape Horn. One crew member even remarked that the cruise prior to ours was a "disastrous" crossing. Again, we lucked out. The sailing around Cape Horn was unusually calm, as remarked by the captain. All in all, a good vacation. We would take a NCL cruise again, but it's not at the top of the list. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
The embarkation was very good with little time spent hanging about. When we went into our cabin first impressions were good. However very quickly all I could smell was human sweat. The pillows were stinking and we had them replaced. The ... Read More
The embarkation was very good with little time spent hanging about. When we went into our cabin first impressions were good. However very quickly all I could smell was human sweat. The pillows were stinking and we had them replaced. The wine and beer list had about 20 beers listed. Within 6 days on a 16 day cruise they started to run out of certain beers. This soon escalated to the point that they only had about 8 beer types and these were all American beers. I was told it was logistic problems with a container still sitting in Miami. NCL want to squeeze the last dollar from you. The cost of trips was crazy and bore no relation to their costs. Wifi was 95 cents per minute or 75 dollars for 100 minutes. You even had to $3.95 to register for wifi despite them having all your details. The worst experience without doubt was disembarkation. As mentioned previously by earlier reviewer the ship could not dock in Valparaiso and everybody and luggage had to be tendered to the pier. It was an absolute fiasco. We were 2 hours later than planned getting off the ship. We waited another 3 hours hoping to get our luggage. It was then announced that the ship was going to try dock, which meant we might get our luggage after another 2 hours. Our taxi had waited 5 hours for us, so we decided to arrange for the logistic company to deliver our cases to our hotel in Santiago. We had a very stressful 12 hours wondering if we would ever see our cases again. The logistic company did a great job and delivered our cases to our at 3.00 am the next morning. There was not one NCL officer or crew to be seen at the luggage hall. No washed their hands of us as soon as they got us off that ship. They obvisioly had no plans in place for such an eventuality. I will never sail with NCL again and I would people look into all the costs before booking with Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
The Good –the Itinerary & the Weather; The bad – the Dining; The Ugly – NCL’s Nickel & Diming We decided on this cruise because of the itinerary and the opportunity to visit Iguazu Falls post cruise. Embarkation was ... Read More
The Good –the Itinerary & the Weather; The bad – the Dining; The Ugly – NCL’s Nickel & Diming We decided on this cruise because of the itinerary and the opportunity to visit Iguazu Falls post cruise. Embarkation was shambolic. Queue for luggage drop off, queue for health documents, long walk or shuttle to ship, long queue to check in. We later learnt that this was because the ship was too far away from the terminals for the computers. The credit card terminal was inoperative when we checked in so we could not register our credit card. The next morning we received a poorly worded, aggressive letter saying that as we had opted to pay cash (not true) our signing rights were cancelled and we would have to deposit some money. Not impressed, compounded by the front desk forgetting to tell the computer when it was sorted and our cruisecard then being embarrassingly rejected for a $6 purchase. To be fair, customer recovery was excellent. Our balcony cabin was fine although the bathroom is indeed tiny. Storage space was sufficient. The ship appears to be well maintained and all public areas were clean and tidy, if a little old fashioned. We thought dining ranged from poor and abysmally repetitive in the buffets to just OK but lacking any pizzazz in the main dining room. We ate at three speciality restaurants, le Bistro, the Italian and Cagneys. They too were OK but I wouldn’t hurry back although the steaks in Cagneys were excellent. On the whole the crew were excellent, being pleasant and efficient. We particularly enjoyed the Great Outdoors bar. Some of the ports required tenders, and we thought the NCL operation slick and safe. We never had to wait long. Disembarkation was OK but getting a taxi a nightmare. Wonderful weather and some chilled ports of call made the cruise. We have some concerns with the NCL pricing model (extra charges in the MDR, extremely expensive drinks, overpriced excursions) which makes it unlikely we will return. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Got back from our cruise on Sat morning. Couple things about this cruise and our own personal preferences. The ship was too small. One pool, and hundreds of sun loving Brazilians and Argentinians and their many children do not make for ... Read More
Got back from our cruise on Sat morning. Couple things about this cruise and our own personal preferences. The ship was too small. One pool, and hundreds of sun loving Brazilians and Argentinians and their many children do not make for a relaxing time. We had to plan to get a deck chair, since there were no controls about holding deck chairs for others. Food was so so, and the add on restaurants too expensive for what they offered. I don't think we will sail Norwegian again - unless they come up with a great itinerary. The Brazilian stops were a bit disappointing and they must do better about their tours and the tour guides who we could barely understand - on the Brazilian stops. There were no maps for any of the stops either. First time that has ever happened. As a result, the shoppers amongst us had no clue about where to go. Found that very odd and it lost us some time whenever we were in port, trying to figure out the best spots nearby. We took a package of tours so that we would see the highlights of certain ports. For the most part, we felt that these were rip offs. No information. Nothing to really see, particularly in Santos. Really sad. The itinerary stated that we would stop off in Sao Paulo, but really, the stop was in Santos and we were advised not to try to get to Sao Paulo. We also found it odd that none of the tours ever mentioned any of the Olympic sites. We never saw any, or, they were never pointed out to us. Thank the almighty for Christ the Redeemer. Beautiful and inspirational. Ipanema and Copacabana have no shady spots, so walking that stretch in 100 Fahrenheit degree plus weather nearly gave us sunstroke. Some advice about that, would also have been appreciated. Not major things, but thoughtful advice and direction were missing. Also too, because it was Christmas and the New Year, many of the sites that would normally have been open, were closed. The highlight of the trip was Punta del Este & Montevideo. Buenos Aires of course has many charms. One comment about staff - the guests spoke mainly Spanish and very few staff spoke the language, so that made for several awkward situations. Also, the staff were not prepared for the different cultural habits of their guests. Some sort of cultural expectations training is desperately needed. The staff did their best, but at times, appeared overwhelmed. resorting to writing this review since comment cards were not available when we checked out Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose this cruise because it was inexpensive and we were interested in the destinations. We bought our tickets before learning that every US citizen in our party would have to jump through many hoops to get a $160 visa to enter Brazil. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was inexpensive and we were interested in the destinations. We bought our tickets before learning that every US citizen in our party would have to jump through many hoops to get a $160 visa to enter Brazil. Unless you live near a Brazilian Consulate or Embassy, it will take you at least 2 weeks and you may have to hire a company to do it for you. I will not discuss the safety aspects of Argentina and Brazil. I strongly recommend enrolling in the US State Department STEP program at https://step.state.gov/step/. About NCL: I had acceptable experience with NCL previously, but was disappointed they did not credit me for a prior cruise. We were not permitted any of the perks of their reward program as we were previously promised. If you plan on participating in their Latitudes reward program, tape record whatever they say to you and screen copy all online offers. NCL does an excellent job of embarkation/debarkation. Fast, efficient, friendly. We actually had someone die during a long, tedious embarkation on Holland America a few years back. HA should take a hint from NCL about embarkation/debarkation, especially since time is more important to their clientele. NCL website is clunky and the application is useless. The application does not provide very much about the ship except how to spend your money. There was not even a map of the ship. About the Cruise: Ship condition was a little worn, but not as bad as the Pride of America was prior to last year's overhaul. Cabin condition was very good, but they really don't have enough 110v outlets. The service was excellent and the photo staff, sales persons, and spa staff did not try to hard sale. The lack of aggressive sales was a blessing. Food in the cafeteria was acceptable. Way too much dairy, food very salty, and no margarine, even on request. Very few vegan/vegetarian choices and they dumped meat into just about everything, including macaroni salad??? Food and service in the main dining room was excellent. Way too much dairy on the menu, but there were always choices and the staff would recommend things not on the menu as needed. The main dining room was the highlight of our on-board experience. The entertainment was disappointing. The magician was basically a guy who brought out props for his contortionist wife to use. After 15 minutes, we had seen enough. Musicians were OK, but the BINGO sounded better. The Casino staff was not helpful and we ended up with charges to our account even though we never successfully gambled. Overall, the staff was excellent. Friendly, patient, and helpful best describes the hotel staff. I was a little disappointed with the ship crew when I pointed out a significant SOLAS safety hazard caused by the crew and it was not resolved. I had to go to the Safety Officer and it finally was resolved a couple of days later. We did not take ship excursions, but enjoyed the ports of call. We were probably the only passengers to take in the Rio Military Museum, including the submarine tour. Rio is very expensive and has a 25% tax on everything. NCL did not warn us that ALL ON BOARD PURCHASES IN BRAZIL WATERS ARE SUBJECT TO 25% TAX in addition to the published service charge of $13.5% to 15.5% per day and for just about everything purchased on board. We and NCL lost out because we would have bought our wine package online had they informed us of the crazy tax rate, but chose not to make purchases in Brazilian waters. Uruguay was a pleasant surprise and the people are exceptionally friendly. We exchanged too much money as just about every business in Punta Del Este and Montevideo accepted euro, US $, and Argentine Pesos. Free walking tours of Punta Del Este and Montevideo are excellent if you are mobile and want some exercise. Argentina was surprisingly unfriendly. We failed to exchange enough money and were shocked to find restaurants and businesses unwilling to take credit cards. The government controls the money very closely and it stifles trade. We discovered a fantastic nature reserve in walking distance from the Buenos Aires pier, the Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve. Free entry and bring your camera and binoculars. The Hop on/Hop Off bus in Buenos Aires was a deal. Purchase tickets in the cruise terminal. Start early and explore. The city is rich in culture and history. The local beer is way better than the local in Brazil and Uruguay. Wines in Uruguay and Argentina are exceptional and the prices are great. If you are making your own arrangements from the ship to the Ministro Pistarini International Airport (EZE, located in Ezeiza), purchase a taxi ticket in the cruise terminal to the MT Leon Station at 1299 E. Madero Av or take the 10-15 minute walk. DO NOT take a bus from the main terminal, Terminal de Omnibus de Retiro. The airport buses are not as frequent and you will require a transfer. It is closer to the pier, not worth the time. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
First, the NCL repositioning cruise from San Diego to Valparaiso and then from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires does not sell out. We met dozens of people that booked the first leg - San Diego to Valparaiso the day before departure and paid ... Read More
First, the NCL repositioning cruise from San Diego to Valparaiso and then from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires does not sell out. We met dozens of people that booked the first leg - San Diego to Valparaiso the day before departure and paid under $400.00/person for a very good cabin. Then there were people who were booking the second leg from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires when we were getting close to the end of the first leg and they were getting amazing prices on the second leg with good choices of cabins. If you can, book late and save big money on both of these cruises! The embarkation process in San Diego was delayed and it took much longer to get everyone on the ship, day one. They told us there was a chartered group the week before and they were really taking their time getting off the ship in San Diego. After everything was sorted out the ship left from San Diego late. The Norwegian Sun is one of the smaller ships in their fleet, but the rooms are clean and it appears the normal wear and tear of a cruise ship is being addressed regularly. On this cruise the main decks in the pool area were being refinished so they would mark off an area each day and the sanding and vacuuming would go on all day long. Thus, future passengers would benefit from refinished pool decks. The included options for food consist of a buffet and two dining rooms. There are also six extra charge restaurants on the ship. In the included restaurants the food is average at best. We did not feel that there was a great deal of flavor to many of the dishes served at the buffet or the restaurants. The service at the restaurants and the cabins was good. The personnel working in both the cabins and restaurants did not appear to be overly customer oriented, but were responsive when you engaged them in conversation. Overall, the entertainment on board was marginal each evening. On this 17 night cruise there were only a couple of acts that would be considered good and we spoke to many different guests during the day that agreed with our assessment of the entertainment. The exercise/gym area was split into two rooms. There was a smaller room with all exercise equipment and that room was typically full of people and many people had to wait for exercise machines in the mornings. The other room, next door was the larger of the two rooms and open for groups to use for stretching in the morning. The two pools and deck area is small but the group on this ship did not seem to be too crowded as there were many on the cruise who chose not to be outside much of the day. The Sun also had two golf hitting nets and a table tennis area. In the golf hitting nets there was only left handed clubs and a few old beat up golf balls in each net. If you are a left handed golfer, you’re in luck. The scheduled enrichment talks were not well done and mostly abandoned by the passengers the first week. The daily activities were minimal and not well attended nor well organized and run. The activities started late and were held in venues that did not have enough space for everyone so many people quit attending. In talking to others on the ship some had taken this cruise the year before and told us that the new NCL owners (not sure about the ownership change) had really cut back on everything including the food in the dining rooms, the drink prices had increased significantly and it seemed like their was a mandate from corporate to save money anywhere and everywhere possible. We talked with a number of passengers along the way and found people who thought the cruise was magnificent to those who felt that other cruise lines were better at almost everything on the ship. Everyone has their likes and dislikes when it comes to cruising and you can find someone on your cruise to agree with your point of view. PORTS Huatulco, MX - Has been upgraded in the last 18 months to include more shops, restaurants and bars. There are multiple options for shopping and eating in port, most places have wifi if you purchase food and/or drinks. There are some tours that leave from the port, many taxis are available in port and multiple beaches very close to the cruise dock as well. BTW, the boulevard that goes south from the port to the town is a good place to get a run in for those interested. Chiapas, MX - Very little to nothing available in this port. There are a few shops in the exit area, one with wifi if you buy 2 drinks, but there are so many people on the wifi that you get very little bandwidth, thus a super slow connection. They provide buses to the city for $10.00 round trip and the bus ride is 30 minutes each way. Not much to to do in the port area if you stay for the day. Chiapas is a small Mexican town with some shops, restaurants and bars. There are a few tours offered to local area coffee farms, some small ruins, etc. if you are so inclined. Antigua, Guatemala - The ship ports in an industrial port which is not well designed for tourists and cruise boats. They have tried to provide some shopping and dining options the port area, but those are minimal at best. There are a few shops with Guatemalan clothing and other hand made souvenirs available and all of the vendors accept USD. A couple of bars have opened and provide wifi, however, once again with everyone trying to get on the internet the connection is super slow and comes and goes - mostly goes. At the port there are taxis and multiple tour companies that will take you to Antiqua. The tour company cost is fixed and all charged $45.00 per person the day we were there. We have heard some days it is $50.00 per person. Driving straight to Antigua could be done in and hour, but most of the tour companies will take 1.5 to over 2 hours to get to Antigua. They like to stop multiple times to have you shop at little shops along the way. The tour company uses 12 passenger vans that are older, have 4 rows of seats, all have a flip down/up third seat in each row (which is the most uncomfortable seat in the row) and they put 12 people in a van before they leave for Antigua. If you have back problems you will be uncomfortable within the first hour on the van. The roads are have many bumps and the seats in the vans have very little cushion. We chose Viajes de Guatemala for our tour company and there are 3 or 4 different companies at the port all vying very hard to get your business. We stopped 3 times on the way to Antigua and it took over 2 hours to get there from the port. The tour guide took us to 2 different free museums and wanted us to go shopping at a central area where he could be with us at all times. Some of us wondered off to see the city on our own and were rounded up in 30 minutes to get back with the group. Downtown Antigua would be a very nice place to spend and afternoon and is not at all dangerous for tourists. USD are accepted everywhere and English is spoken by many Guatemalans. There are people walking around selling necklaces and woven items. If we could do it again, we would like to get a ride to Antigua and walk around for the afternoon and then ride back to the port. Our guide followed us very closely and then after we spent about an hour in the town took us to a restaurant on the way out of town where we were expected to buy our lunch. The restaurant was expensive for the town. We were then put back on the van, taken to the cross on the hill above the city for a picture option, put back on the van, taken to another museum for a short stop then to drive back to the ship. We talked to other guests on the ship and some were able to get a van or bus that went to Antigua allowed you to walk around for 3-4 hours then take you back to the port. We think we would look for this option next time as we prefer to spend out time walking about the town and not getting in and out of a van most of the time. Antigua is a very nice place to visit, we never felt uncomfortable in the town and would like to experience more of the town on another visit. Puntarenas, Costa Rica - We have visited many parts of Costa Rica over the years and feel it is most unfortunate that this port may be a first experience for people visiting Costa Rica on a cruise ship. This port is not in any way representative of the Costa Rican people or country. This port is dirty and the people are not gracious and helpful like most of the people in Costa Rica. You can walk from the ship to the city in less than 10 minutes. There are many vendors set up along the sidewalk between the main street and the beach most of which speak English and accept USD for almost anything you want to purchase. Also in this area are a number of outdoor restaurants and most have wifi if you buy something to eat or drink. We recommend leaving the ship and booking a tour at one of the tour companies located in the port area. The street that follows the beach is a good place for a 4 mile run. Zip lining is a great experience in Costa Rica. Salaverry, Peru (Trujillo is the nearest city) - Trujillo is a city of about 1 million people and the majority would be considered very poor in most countries. On the cruise ship we paid $15 for round tip buss transport from the port to the city of Trujillo or you can hire a taxi at the port. There is a main square with free wifi throughout the square (very nice for the city to provide wifi free) and there is a walking mall for about 1/2 mile that has many shops and restaurants. You can also take a city bus or taxi to Chan-Chan which is about 30 minutes by bus - 20 minutes by taxi. There are only a few ATM’s in the city, we discovered one in a Scotiabank along the walking mall. There are not too many souvenir shops in town, but the local people set up a number of tents in the parking lot of the dock area and you can get local products at a fair price from them just before you board the ship. At the port you can use USD and English can be used with the vendors. In the city Spanish is most helpful if you want to eat, drink or buy something along with Peruvian money. There are numerous police all around the town and we never felt threatened or unsafe anywhere in the city of Trujillo. Callao, Peru (Lima) - the port is again an industrial port which requires the cruise line to bus everyone out to the port gates to start their trip to town. We decided to take a taxi as that appeared to be a faster way to get to Lima in the morning. Most of the taxi drivers at the port want to have a day trip out of the port and will try to talk you into hiring them for 4 or 5 hours at about $25 USD per hour. We found a driver that would take us to downtown Lima and drop us off. The taxi ride to downtown Lima from the port gates is approximately 10 miles and due to traffic, excessive stop lights and signs, poor roads and way too much traffic for the roads the trip was almost 45 minutes with a 9:00 a.m. start from the port gates. We experienced the same type of difficulty on the return to the port and the return trip took even longer due to afternoon traffic. You should expect to pay around $25 USD each way in a taxi. One of the passengers decided to try walking from the taxi stop into the town of Callao and was robbed within blocks. We had read on Trip Advisor not to walk in this area and to only take taxi’s or busses from the port to the city. The center of the city is a traditional South American big city (@10 million people) with a square and the government buildings in the center of town. There is a walking mall in the center of town with many shops and restaurants along the way. In the square there are many police officers and tourism officials that can assist you with maps and directions. Most first time visitors to Lima will take the tour of the San Francisco cathedral (about $3.50 USD) as they take you to the catacombs in the basement. The English tour goes about once an hour and can be very crowded, e. g. over 20 people in the group. With so many people in a group it is difficult to hear the guide. Near the cathedral is the presidential palace and they have a changing of the guards ceremony a couple of times a day. There are some shop keepers and taxi drivers that will accept USD but for the most part you need to pay with a credit card or Nuevo Soles. There are many banks in the downtown area and you can also find people with green vests who walk along the streets and they will change your money. Downtown Lima seems safe and free of crime for tourists, we felt safe everywhere we walked in the downtown area. Arica, Chile - An industrial port that requires a shuttle from the ship to the port gates. When you arrive at the port gates the city is just across the street. The locals have set up a number of shops in tents at the park across the street that sell mostly hand made items. These small tent shops want to deal in USD for their hand made items. Some of the shops in town will take USD but most prefer Chilean money. The are plenty of ATM’s throughout the city. From the ship you will see a hill in the city with a large flag of Chili on top. The walk to the top of a hill is moderately strenuous and takes about a half hour to get to the top of the hill from the port gates. On top of the hill there is a small museum, some very old cannons (1867 vintage) and a statue of Jesus. In town there is a pedestrian mall and a narrow street that has mostly bars and restaurants. Many of the bars and restaurants have wifi if you purchase food or drinks. Some of the restaurants you will come across will advertise wifi, but if they have a weak signal you won’t be able to log on and if you do it is extremely slow, so ask people at the tables about the signal before sitting down and ordering. There are a couple of museums in town and some historical statues that you can spend time viewing. It is a nice town and feels safe, however, the waiter at the bar/restaurant we stopped at in the restaurant row area told me to keep my camera in my backpack and not on the table. Be aware of your surroundings as is good advice in any city, especially the tourist areas. Coquimbo, Chile - They are working on many upgrades to this port in 2016 and it appears that in 2017 it will have a very different look. The current status of the port includes a small port building about 200 yards from the ship. The port building has free wifi (1000 passengers and crew really suck up the bandwidth quick) and some tourism representatives to assist you in planning your daily activities. You can walk through the port gates and across the street to the town of Coquimbo which has a couple of main streets that you can shop or sit for coffee, beer or some food. The large cross on the hill can be seen from the ship and almost anywhere in town. We also took the city bus (#1) that you can catch across the street from the port and for 600 Chilean pesos you can ride the bus to La Serena about 10 miles to the north. The bus will take 30 + minutes as it stops many times between the two cities. In La Serena the downtown area is filled with shops, restaurants and many more things to see and do compared to Coquimbo. In the downtown area of La Serena there are many artisan tents with hand made items that are truly one of a kind. Both cities can be toured in one day by using the city bus to go over and back or you can hire a cab right at the port gates. In Coquimbo, two of our fellow passengers were robbed at gun point on one of the switchback stairs going up to the cross on the hill. One can never emphasize enough the importance of traveling in groups and staying in safe areas. The people are very welcoming and we felt safe traveling in both cities. We were lucky to meet a couple on the bus to La Serena that wanted to take us to the downtown area and show us around. Try your Spanish with the passengers on the city bus and you can get a guided tour! Valparaiso, Chile - This was the final stop for this cruise and the beginning of the next cruise to Buenos Aires, Argentina. We spent the day in Valparaiso as the ship was not leaving until the evening. Valparaiso port is quite inconvenient requiring 2 different shuttle busses to get to the port gates. The trip from the ship to the port gates took us 2 hours and when we talked to others on the ship the same trip took many of them over 2 hours and some gave up trying to get to the city after 2 hours. Outside the port gates we were constantly cautioned to keep our camera out of site and wear your backpack on your chest to avoid having anything stolen. We took the city bus (350 Chilean Pesos) from the street across from port gates south to Plaza Sotamayor where we met a guide that does tours for tips. The tour guides hang out at the statue in the middle of the plaza and wear green shirts. The tour was about 2.5 hours and took us through the downtown area with many stops to explain historical buildings and the history behind the entire city. Valparaiso is a very hilly town with a great deal of traffic on narrow streets. The tour was well worth the time and money as the tour guide told us so much about the city and the country. Tour guides are available in multiple languages and when you ask about the tour they will separate you into the language group you feel most comfortable. There are numerous bars/restaurants along the main streets near the plazas and all are inviting with good prices for food and drink. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Unfortunately this cruise was off to bad start as no one could board for along time & there seemed to be no organisation. Finally on board after 2 hrs. in a queue.. then no cabins were ready for a very long time. Luggage was not ... Read More
Unfortunately this cruise was off to bad start as no one could board for along time & there seemed to be no organisation. Finally on board after 2 hrs. in a queue.. then no cabins were ready for a very long time. Luggage was not delivered til 8pm! In fact we went & collected 1 suitcase our selves, as it had not been delivered. No explanation as to why all these delays. Our cabin was very nice ..after eventually able to get in at 7pm!!! Dinning was much more civilised in the dining rooms than at the Buffett ..where is was often a bun fight.. with people pushing in here & there. The crew were very polite & well mannered, but some were not trained properly in 1st class dining. In the Restaurants , dining plates were removed before the other person had finished their meal. So more training seems to be needed in some areas. This cruise was definitely very American orientated, as most of the passengers were from the USA. Shore excursions were very expensive. The one we took in Costa Rica was for 4&half hours. But it returned to the ship 1 hour early & the last part of our excursion was not fulfilled. I complained on our return & a report was taken, then 1 week later when I enquired I was told we would get a $15- refund each! We heard lots of complaints about various shore excursion/ tours ..but most people didn't not make an official complaint. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
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