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87 Norwegian (NCL) South America Cruise Reviews

Staff was marvelous. They were very attentive. We had the drink package. The drinks were excellent especially the martinis at the Champagne bar. The ship was very clean. Food was good in dining room. Buffet was decent. Shore ... Read More
Staff was marvelous. They were very attentive. We had the drink package. The drinks were excellent especially the martinis at the Champagne bar. The ship was very clean. Food was good in dining room. Buffet was decent. Shore excursions were not impressive and they were always late. They would tell you to meet in the theater at 8:45 but you wouldn't get called for your excursion until 9:45. Felt like a lot of time was wasted waiting for the shore excursions. We tried to go to the beach in Ecuador but it took 1.5 hours to get there. We were supposed to have 3 hours at the beach but ended up only getting 1.5 hours. Enjoyed the activities that were provided daily. Went to 3 specialty restaurants. The food was overcooked in the Moderno which is not the usual case for that restaurant. We were a bit disappointed. Shows were pretty good. Loved the quietness in our cabin. It was nice not hearing your neighbor open and close their drawers and flush their toilet. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I booked the Sun cruise just two weeks before flying to Santiago, Chile to start this unique, fabulous memory 16 day cruise. I was also leaving the next day to fly to LAS from FL for a couple of days and then on to LAX to go on the NCL ... Read More
I booked the Sun cruise just two weeks before flying to Santiago, Chile to start this unique, fabulous memory 16 day cruise. I was also leaving the next day to fly to LAS from FL for a couple of days and then on to LAX to go on the NCL Star for a 8 day Mexican Riviera cruise, so I only had 5 days at home between these two fabulous cruises. Both of these cruises were enhanced with perfect weather, especially with all the time I was out on the top deck taking in (and capturing photos) the crossing of the Panama Canal. Our ports in Peru were eye openers to me with the poor living conditions. I had opportunities to go inside their churches - they were simple but also beautiful. As in almost all my cruises with NCL, I met wonderful, interesting and friendly people - both as other passengers and employees. As a solo, senior, female that is very important to me. The Star was even more enjoyable (SO many great eating areas with the Garden Cafe) than when I was on her back in September of 2016 for a 14 day repositioning from Copenhagen to Denmark doing Norway, Faroe and Shetland Islands, Iceland, Scotland and Dublin (my favorite). I DO enjoy NCL cruising! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Excellent itinerary on the NCL Sun. Small ship for 14 days, but the itinerary is awesome. We did two days in Buenos Aires before the cruise (must do the hop on hop off bus) and then did two days in Santiago after the cruise. This is a ... Read More
Excellent itinerary on the NCL Sun. Small ship for 14 days, but the itinerary is awesome. We did two days in Buenos Aires before the cruise (must do the hop on hop off bus) and then did two days in Santiago after the cruise. This is a long vacation but do worth it. Ushuaia is awesome little town at the end of the world. Falkland Islands was fun. We did the 4x4 penguin tour which was excellent. Getting to see Cape Horn and the end of the continent. The Chilean fjords were awesome--balcony room is recommended for this cruise to see everything. The glaciers were also very nice. Pack your winter gear for that portion as it gets colder as you go south. The cruise ended in San Antonio and we had to pay $100 to get a private car to take us to our hotel in Santiago. Santiago is an interesting city with lots of recent history. Must see there is the Human Rights museum and take the funicular up to the Mary statue. On the ship, we ate at Le Bistro --nice -- and Los Lobos and La Cucina both twice Los Lobos had good mexican good and was never crowded. On the sun there is a sauna and steam room that you don't have to pay for. That was great for a 14 day cruise. Take advantage of it. The spa locker room is small as well as the relaxation area after your sauna. The buffet was normal and got boring after a week, but there is something for everyone--the buffet had some special ethnic nights which was good. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Great ports, especially the Falkland Islands. Puerto Madryn was not a good shore excursion because we drove for about 2 hours and saw about 20 seals from a cliff about 200 feet up, then about 20 penguins at a different spot from about 50 ... Read More
Great ports, especially the Falkland Islands. Puerto Madryn was not a good shore excursion because we drove for about 2 hours and saw about 20 seals from a cliff about 200 feet up, then about 20 penguins at a different spot from about 50 yards and at the last stop, about 10 elephant seals (all male) from about 100 yards. 15 minutes at each stop! Big mix up with our shore excursion billing which took two days to fix and no apology received! A couple of shore excursion staff were downright rude on several occasions, snapping at people and a very disorganized debarkation for shore excursions. We will do our own planning from now on. Rest of the crew were very friendly and efficient x they were a pleasure. A couple of shows were good, a couple were poor. The ships dancers, singers and band were excellent. Enjoyed the cruise other than some shore excursions. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Sailed with NCL for the first time having done mainly P&O cruises before. The Norwegian Sun was lovely having a recent refit and refresh. We chose the ship for its destinations as we wanted to sail round South America. We flew out ... Read More
Sailed with NCL for the first time having done mainly P&O cruises before. The Norwegian Sun was lovely having a recent refit and refresh. We chose the ship for its destinations as we wanted to sail round South America. We flew out early and had 3 nights in Santiago before the cruise, but NCL organised very efficient and fast transfers for us to the hotel from the airport and from the hotel to the port on embarkation day. Very impressed. There was even a dedicated help desk in the hotel for passengers and offered some tours of Santiago and vineyards for those who came just a day before. However, we didn’t know this in advance so we organised our own tour of the Concha y Toro vineyard through the local tours desk. The hotel was the Santiago Sheraton in an excellent position with fantastic views over their pool to the Andes. Ten minute walk across the road and you were in the bustling Providencia area, with lots of choices of restaurants. We were able to eat cheaply with 2for 1 deals up to 8pm. We enjoyed our first Traditional Pisco sours. The transfer to San Antonio port took about 1 1/2 hours but we got on board quickly and were able to enjoy an early lunch and our first free drinks. Our Premium Plus package included all drinks up to 15 dollars each, which was most things; speciality coffees in the restaurants; two litres of mineral water a day in our cabin plus 250 free WiFi minutes and all tips and gratuities. In addition we got 50 dollars per cabin off ship tours for each port of call which made a big difference as the tours are very expensive, but we felt we should take them as we didn’t speak Spanish. The ship had all nationalities on board with a lot of Germans and Spanish speaking countries. However, the cruise staff all spoke English and it was used as the first language in all the quizzes, with translations for the questions on the screen in up to 4 other languages. It worked well and nobody took them too seriously anyway. The cruise director, Jeimy from Colombia, was brilliant and swapped seamlessly from English to Spanish when introducing shows or explaining things. We had cabin 6024 which was an outside window on the port side so we saw land most of the time. It was a perfect position for us in a quiet, almost secret corridor. You accessed it by a dozen stairs down from deck 7 through the Art gallery towards the front. It was very near to the lovely Champagne bar on 7 where we could listen to the live music coming up the Atrium from deck 5. It was also only down one floor to get out onto the promenade deck to take sheltered photographs of the beautiful scenery especially in the Beagle Channel where we passed 5 glaciers all on the port side when sailing down the west coast. I would book this cabin again. Of the places we visited, Puerto Montt had tours to neighbouring lakes and towns which were interesting, but it was too misty to see the Orsorno Volcano; Puerto Chacabuco had nothing in the town so we did go on a long drive over the Andes to Coyhaique. We saw some Condors but nothing very spectacular. The tour got back an hour after the back on board last tender, but of course the ship waited so no problem. Puerto Arenas had some interesting things in the town so we caught the shuttle bus in and walked a lot. We visited the cemetery where the rich were buried - free entry- and went in the Maggiorino Borgatello museum founded by Salesian missionaries which was open all day because the cruise ships were in - a small charge. The best parts were sailing the scenic fjords, Beagle Channel and Ushuaia nicknamed Fin del Mundo or End of the World. There we took a 4 hour coach trip into the Tierra del Fuego park - land of fires. I was very disappointed with the shore excursions desk as they didn’t know anything more about their tours than was printed on the sheets. So when I asked if the tour stopped anywhere we could get a stamp for the End of the World in our passport or on a stamp, she said no. We were then delighted to find our first stop in the park was at the Beagle Channel which divides Argentina from Chile and there was the cute, tiny, Fin Del Mundo, post office, so we could buy a postcard, get it stamped and even post it. Other stops included a beautiful lake, the visitors centre and the last at the end of Route 3 which runs all the way down the Americas. A great tour! Back in Ushuaia the Tourist Information centre near the pier were writing out certificates and date stamping them to mark your visit. The next highlight was sailing to Cape Horn in good sea conditions, though sadly the wind got up the next day and prevented us landing at the Falklands - a common occurrence I believe as you have to tender in. However, we were refunded the landing charge. Puerto Madryn was a delight with its Welsh connections. There we went to see the Patagonian dinosaur museum and learnt all about the largest dinosaur ever found- only about 4 years ago. In the harbour were several penguins performing for us - a bonus as we hadn’t gone on any of the expensive tours to penguin rookeries and had almost given up hope of seeing one. In Montevideo we took the ship’s bus tour which was very interesting and covered a lot of highlights including the World Cup’s first stadium from 1930! The entertainment on the ship was generally excellent though not always to our taste when it came to the Flamenco and tango shows but you were exploring Latin America. There were two outstanding shows from the Abbey Road Beatles from Brazil and the ship’s entertainers did 3 lively ones and there was a very good magician on our last night. All in all, the cruise was excellent value for money and we loved it all. My only criticism would be that there were not enough seats for everyone on a rough sea day when everyone wanted to be inside and the Windjammer bar was just too small and crowded. We had never been freestyle dining before but never had a problem getting a table and found we could ask for our favourite waitress. We only ate in the Seven Seas complimentary restaurant at the rear, because that was slightly less casual than the other places and we do like changing for dinner. Food was excellent and they even produced cheese platters for us even though not on any menus. The staff were just so nice and friendly, mealtimes were a pleasure. Hope this helps anybody wanting to cruise round South America. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise as we wished to see Chile Argentina and the Falkland Islands.We usually chose on the basis of destination and value and not particularly aligned to a particular cruise line This was our 12th cruise having been with ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we wished to see Chile Argentina and the Falkland Islands.We usually chose on the basis of destination and value and not particularly aligned to a particular cruise line This was our 12th cruise having been with Princess X4 Cunard X1 Royal Caribbean X1 Carnival X1 MSC X1 Costa X1 and NCL X3. (Epic and Pride of America) Before the cruise we stayed 2 nights in Santiago, at the Hotel Plaza San Francisco. We thoroughly enjoyed sightseeing in Santiago. The only frustration was the constant warning on street robberies and theft, fortunately we had no issues with this. The transfer to San Antonio is about 2 hours by coach, we opted to use Pullman coaches which was very cheap but an experience, the coach station was manic and again security was a big concern, however all was managed well and the coach took us straight to the ship. The embarkation was one of the quickest we have encountered, we effectively just got straight on to the ship. The ship is nearly 20 years old but after a minor refit and very well maintained and better than many others that we have been on. Dining, we usually used the Seven Seas restaurant and the buffet occasionally, the food was a very good standard and on par with other offers. A good variety of choice, unusually there were not any real formal evening in line with NCL's casual style, this may not suit all. Entertainment. This was probably the poorest aspect, the good shows were Abbey Road Beatles Burt Bacharach and Magician was good, the other shows Tango show Singer Eliza Rose and American Comedian Gaucho Cowboys were not to my taste. The ships company were okay. The cruise director Jaeme from beautiful Columbia was visible, the captain was invisible., Service overall was good, the all inclusive aspect kept the cost down without the further addition of extra cabin service charges. Staff were plentiful and I would chose this option again. Excursions The ship excursions were very expensive for what they offered, there seemed to be an even bigger mark up than usual....so we only used 2 where alternatives were not really available. Puerto Montt Ship tour to Frutillar and surrounding area. Okay. Takes you to a nice outside museum Puerto Chacabuco Ship tour to Aysen okay but not good value. Punta Arenas We took and independent tour with cruiseexcursion.com agian okay showcasing the best this had to offer. It is a very bleak area even at the height of summer. Ushuaia. We did the end of the world tour. Again this made the most of what the area had to offer very bleak but mainly untouched. Falklands Unfortunately we could not dock so therefor an extra sea day. Many complaints from all as this was one of the key areas we wanted to see... captains verdict was final so no point in moaning (41 USD was automatically refunded to all for port fees). Puerto Madryn We went on Penguin trip to Punta Tombo which was excellent. 2 hour drive each way but lots of penguins in natural habitat. We would have appreciated a bit longer here to see the town after the tour. Montevideo This was a real gem after the bleak south and minimal street crime ..what a contrast!. Finally Buenos Aires which we loved for a 2 day post-cruise except for the street crime. We stayed at the 725 Continental. We enjoyed the tour overall...the south was bleaker than we expected so would not go again...very disappointing that we did not make the Falklands. but overall it was certainly an experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Chose this ship because of the pricing and its itinerary(both what we all wanted.) Went to Buenos Aires for 4 days ahead and toured city on our own. Highly recommend doing that. Transfer to ship on Feb 2 was easy and well organized by ... Read More
Chose this ship because of the pricing and its itinerary(both what we all wanted.) Went to Buenos Aires for 4 days ahead and toured city on our own. Highly recommend doing that. Transfer to ship on Feb 2 was easy and well organized by Ship. Just need a private taxi organized by your hotel. No need for NCL to do that. Food: I liken this experience to going to perhaps a favorite restaurant of yours that has good food, good service, but gives you nothing as a reminder that it was a memorable meal. The food was "fine", plentiful, and had many choices. They put in many specialty restaurants, so there were times when it was impossible to find a place to sit for lunch or breakfast if everyone was trying to eat at the same time. The food tasted okay, but again, can't think of any meal that we ate that we truly enjoyed both for the quality and experience(with the exception of Cagneys and the Argentinian restaurant which you pay extra for.) Having said that, no one got ill, we all ate well, and overall I guess we decided we got what we paid for. We brought on 2 bottles of wine from BA that we drank on the ship. You could purchase a bottle of wine at the dinner table for the $30-50 range easily. Our room was on the 9th floor, towards the back port side. When they docked in the mornings, our room really shook from the side thrusters. MIght enjoy a room away from that more. The balcony was a nice feature. The bedroom cabin was fine. One bed had a newer mattress and mine was older and sagged in the middle. Room was very clean and the housekeeper was very friendly. We took this trip because of the stops. We were very pleased with our daily outings that we chose. Lots of penguin stops and lots of wildlife to see. The natural scenery was spectacular. Out of the 14 days, we only had 7 stops. So there's lots of at sea time. I thought the daily offerings on the ship were very poor and marginal. Most days we could not find anything of interest. Folding napkins and making origami doesn't do it for us. We would have appreciated lectures on the wildlife, countries, and history of the places we went to see. I also am not interested in paying to play bingo, or gamble, or spend my time at a bar. Lots of bars and lots of drinking going on on this ship, though not a "younger" crowd so things were relatively calm. Also remember the weather is cold even in summer, so some days at sea sitting by the pool or outside was not possible. We even hot quite a storm in the Pacific with 50 foot waves for 1/2 a day. Would I go again? I would probably try to find a more upscale ship, but of course then I would have to accept the pricing with that. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We have cruised extensively and had not been on a NCL cruise for 38 years. We were pleasantly surprised by the ship. The ship had been recently renovated and was beautiful. The specialty restaurants were very good and the four seasons ... Read More
We have cruised extensively and had not been on a NCL cruise for 38 years. We were pleasantly surprised by the ship. The ship had been recently renovated and was beautiful. The specialty restaurants were very good and the four seasons dinning room was our go to for dinner. This restaurant. was made special by the excellent staff every evening(esp. Donna from St. Lucia). The common areas were well appointed and the shows each evening were excellent.The show band and all the fantastic young performers put on one outstanding show each night they performed. The only complaint was the smoke from the casino. You could not be in the casino in the evening due to the smoke but also in the morning often there was the smell of smoke outside the Bliss lounge. We thought that the bar rates for what was discribed as premium liquior were ridiculously over-priced. A whole bottle of Grey Goose is $45.00 on board and one drink was $24.00. We have traveled on both Oceania and Regent and not come across these kinds of prices. The entire staff on the Sun were fabulous, they were so helpful, friendly and courteous. We would definitely consider NCL again in the future. We only used the ships excursions once but it was way above average and a great day. The ship came across a small storm and the captain handled the whole affair with no difficulty. The stabilizers worked well in 22 meter waves, you hardly felt the ship rock. The cruise was around South America, we sailed from Santiago, Chile to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Aaah... the penguins.. and more penguins... and even more penguins!! AND the Strait of Magellan, Cape Horn, the Beagle Channel, the Andes mountains that meet the sea, the Falkland Islands - places we’ve dreamed about right there ... Read More
Aaah... the penguins.. and more penguins... and even more penguins!! AND the Strait of Magellan, Cape Horn, the Beagle Channel, the Andes mountains that meet the sea, the Falkland Islands - places we’ve dreamed about right there alongside the ship. On board, new friends, delicious food, excellent service. Of particular note - our cabin steward was exceptional, the tango dancers amazed and there was a particularly fine string trio performing daily!! The dining rooms were very nice with impeccable service and a wide menu selection. On a less positive side we were put off by the high school cafeteria nature of the buffet and the constant high volume music in all public spaces except the library and the Spinnaker lounge. In a crowd of people with hearing issues, the constant music elevated the volume of conversation to a high level. You could only escape this in the dining room where the music was lowered, and on the back terrace. Every communication from any member of the staff was hyped and super-enthusiastic = Not at all genuine. The Captain was among the worst offenders. The loud music and communication style were oppressive. Guests wearing hearing aids needed to ask others what was being said on the public announcements. This seems so unnecessary. Slowing the rate of speech and reducing the hype would make the communications genuine and understandable. This communication issue was not true on the other 5 cruises we were on with NCL. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
The ship is very clean and livable. We enjoyed the regular dining room which had very good food. The only exception was the lack of lamb chops, lobster or crab which you had to get in the specialty dining restaurants for extra money. I ... Read More
The ship is very clean and livable. We enjoyed the regular dining room which had very good food. The only exception was the lack of lamb chops, lobster or crab which you had to get in the specialty dining restaurants for extra money. I also sorely missed having any salmon for breakfast. The protein for breakfast was eggs plus unhealthy bacon, sausages, etc. Service was exceptional, consistently. Our room 8039 was very clean with plenty of storage. Ports were very interesting though we had to skip Puerto Arenas due to strong winds. During the sea days we enjoyed card playing with friends and reading in the lounges. Strong negative: In cold weather, there is not enough seating in the buffet for lunch or breakfast. You stand around with your food, hovering around people waiting for them to leave because the outdoor seating is too cold to use. We ended up going to the dining room which is open only 90 minutes for lunch so you have to time it carefully. Similarly, the ship does not have enough seats in the lounges for people when the weather is cold as all outdoor seating is too uncomfortable. Some people brought their books to the chapel to find seats. The library has only two chairs which is so unsatisfactory. Clearly this ship is meant for warm weather cruising. Shopping is limited on board. There is much expensive jewelry, very cheap jewelry, a penguin themed store (really?) and much makeup/perfume. The ship is small so they do the best they can. We were disappointed there were no lectures on each port which would have been wonderful on sea days. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
My wife and I chose this cruise since it fit in well with our schedule and compared to other South American cruises it visited the Falkland Islands and spent more time in the Chilean Fjords than some other ships. It was only our second ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise since it fit in well with our schedule and compared to other South American cruises it visited the Falkland Islands and spent more time in the Chilean Fjords than some other ships. It was only our second "ocean" cruise (our last one was with Holland America in Alaska in 2010) Prior to the cruise we arranged with our travel director to visit Iguazu falls. Given the uncertainties of domestic Argentinian flights it was good that we had some leeway in Buenos Aires before embarkation. Embarkation was relatively painless with the main delay being the queue for passport processing. Passports were held by the ship until redistributed on the first cruising day through Chile. We had a balcony stateroom 0257 which was clean and well presented. Rooms were relatively well soundproofed. We chose to eat most of our meals in the Seven Seas main dining room as a more relaxed option to the "zoo" of the Garden Cafe. We had a part of our package 4 meal Ultimate Dining Package as well as the Ultimate Beverage Package. We chose to have two meals each in Le Bistro and Cagneys which were very good, although if we hadn't had the package I don't think the extra cost would have been good value. It was evident that the best meat is chosen for use in the 12th floor specialty restaurants and the fatty and poorer steaks and cuts are sent downstairs to the Main dining Rooms. The Seven Seas managed to fit in well with the Freestyle Dining Option once one learnt to avoid the post showtime surge. The Ultimate Beverage Package was good to have. Although we never had more than 3 drinks a day it saved a lot compared to the high cost otherwise. It meant that most drinks were included and in the one case where we chose a $17.50 glass of wine the UBP covered $15 and only the $2.50 + 50c gratuity was added to our account. We did a mixture of NCL and other provider onshore excursions. In Montevideo the best option which we took was to join a tour that met the ship near the gangway without any prior booking. For $20 USD the three hour tour did most of what the much more expensive NCL tour covered. Doing non NCL tours at ports where the ship berthed at a wharf or jetty and gangways could be used wasn't too difficult (Puerto Madryn, Ushauia ) However at ports where tenders were used (Stanley, Puerto Chacabuco and Puerto Monte) Norwegian would make sure that their tours got the priority on tenders to shore. We had relatively moderate sea and weather conditions to round Cape Horn but the weather deteriorated once we left Ushauia through the Beagle Channel. When we got to Punta Arenas there were 40 to 45 knot winds pushing the ship away from the wharf and after some time the Captain made the call that it was not safe to remain in port and elected to leave once crew and provisions had been exchanged / loaded. Shore excursions were cancelled and we set sail about 11am. The extra time cruising was used to travel with less haste during the rough weather once we left the Strait of Magellan. We're not into the American entertainment culture and didn't go to many of the shows during the evening. From talking with other guests, and from the few shows we did attend it would be fair to say that the entertainment was a weakness of the cruise. In the Stardust theatre upstairs many of the seats had a partially obstructed view of the stage on account of the pillars and seating layout (including tall seat backs relative to the slope of the floor). The ship layout does not have much public space for seating and relaxing if the weather is cold or wet. We were glad we had a balcony stateroom with room to sit and read or view the scenery. Tip if you're going for the scenery choose a stateroom on the side of the ship that faces the land (eg from Buenos Aires to San Antonio choose the Starboard side). Disembarkation at San Antonio was not too arduous. Unless one uses the Self disembarkation option and carry off your suitcases, those not partaking of an NCL transfer or tour could not disembark until 9am (if early enough to obtain lime baggage tags). This caused some uncertainties for those participating in other tours. We had booked on a SEG Santiago day tour which had on our documentation as showing at 9am. Talking to the other tour participants during the day it became apparent that some had self disembarked prior to 8am thinking their tour would not wait for them while others of us assumed that the tour would wait for those booked provided they attempted to be in the first groups to disembark after 9am. In summary I would say it was a well run cruise using an older ship. We enjoyed it for the scenery and the destinations en route rather than for the cruise activities and cruising itself. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and we were not disappointed. We travelled the entire length of the Panama Canal and visited Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile. We had great shore excursions organized by some of our great roll call ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and we were not disappointed. We travelled the entire length of the Panama Canal and visited Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile. We had great shore excursions organized by some of our great roll call members. Waaaay cheaper than the NCL offers. I had read both good and bad reviews for the Norwegian Sun. Personally I found the ship the perfect size. Frankly I don't want or need water slides or thousands of people on a cruise of this type. The refurbished ship looked great especially the large fitness centre. Our inside stateroom chosen for us by NCL was larger than we expected and was a nice surprise. We only dined in either the buffet or complementary dining rooms. The food in the Seven Seas and Four Seasons was so good that we felt that paying extra for the specialty restaurants would be a waste of money. We dined early and the food arrived in good time and was hot. We liked the slower pace of the dining rooms allowing us to take our time and enjoy the meal. I found the buffets offered a good choice of food and we liked the themed nights. We did not purchase any alcohol on ship as we felt that it was overpriced. The drink packages at $69 and $99 per day seemed grossly overpriced. I couldn't conceive drinking that much every day. We found the complimentary tea, coffee, ice tea and lemonade sufficient. Finally the staff were terrific. Our cabin steward Amol was great. He learned my name the first day and always chatted with us about our day. Overall we had a great time and came away happy. Lastly I must mention that we LOVED the Atlantis Strings trio. We listened to them every night. A rare offering of culture amid the usual cruise fare. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We were quite happy with this cruise. It was a repositioning cruise from Miami, through the Panama Canal, to Santiago, Chile. This was our first suite experience and had a fantastic time. This was the smallest ship we have been on, with ... Read More
We were quite happy with this cruise. It was a repositioning cruise from Miami, through the Panama Canal, to Santiago, Chile. This was our first suite experience and had a fantastic time. This was the smallest ship we have been on, with a little less than 2,000 passengers. The ship itself was very easy to get around and never had a feeling of being overcrowded. We would absolutely recommend the Sun, depending on what is important to people below. Itinerary/Ports: The reason we booked the cruise was because the itinerary was completely new to us. After the sailing, we would absolutely do it again. For the most part the ports are ugly looking, commercial shipping ports. Once we left the port, we were very happy. Because so few cruise ships stop at these locations, it did not feel like we were being shuffled through the same, tired tourist, commercialized trap ports found in the Caribbean. We were able to get some good, authentic experiences, and felt like we were off the beaten path in many of the stops. On the flip side, the ports still seemed immature and still learning how to offer a wide-range of fun things to do for a couple of thousand of tourists only there for 5-12 hours. Ports included Cartagena and Santa Marta (Colombia), Manta (Ecuador), Trujillo and Lima/Callao (Peru), and Arica, Coquimbo, and San Antonio/Santiago (Chile). At three of the ports we saw some great wildlife - sea lions, dolphin pods, and a walrus. The Panal Canal Transit was outstanding and I would highly recommend to anyone. Seeing the locks and how they are done to lift and lower the ships was awesome. There were a couple of ports we only had 5-6 hours at - in general, I would recommend going through the ship for excursions for any port with that little time, unless there is a nice little town/beach right off the ship. This itinerary did not have those nice little port villages/beaches at the port. Food: We tried the Main Dining Room three times for dinner and then stopped going. Every night there seemed to be some kind of issue with temperature, quality, or options. The menu itself seemed very boring and repetitive. If we went more, we probably would have just returned food we didn't like or wasn't cooked right. Because we were in a suite, we were able to go to Cagneys for breakfast and lunch every day. After our dining packages ran out, we just paid ala carte at the specialty dining restaurants the rest of the cruise. We found all of the specialty restaurants to be good to excellent. Cagney's was probably the best - the meats were also cooked correctly. This was probably the best lamb I have ever had. Bistro was also very good. There were a couple of items I tried I didn't care for, but most of the menu was outstanding. The menu on La Cucina changed from our last sailing and I think we liked the older menu better. The new menu included some pizza options. We were pleasantly surprised by Los Lobos - we ended up going there three times. We did not have one item we didn't like. My favorite was the stuffed poblanos. We did Sushi one night - the Sushi on the Sun was better than the experiences we had on Celebrity's Sushi on Five. Moderno was ok - probably our least favorite of the options. It did not seem as good (quality of the cuts and options at the salad bar) as other ships, and we are spoiled with several Brazilian Steakhouses where we live that are much better. We did not go to the Teppanyaki - it looked like it was usually full, but we've done that so many times that the show the chef does is not exciting any more. Our only real gripe was the Sun does not have the Irish Pub, but has the Sports Bar instead. The menu and food at the Sports Bar was much worse than our experiences with the Pub and its not open as long. We never went to the buffet, so can't provide feedback with that. Entertainment: The entertainment on the Sun was below average for other NCL sailings we have been on. Maybe it was because it was a smaller ship. The production was not that good - the dancers seemed to always have a timing issue and only two of the singers were really good. Outside of the production, they had too much magic/hypnotism shows - it seemed like it was every other night. There was a Cuban born singer that performed two nights and she was outstanding. The Sun was also missing other options other NCL ships have, probably because of size: there is no Howl at the Moon dueling pianists, Cirque show, Burn the Floor, Bowling Alley etc. They did have a couple of hours of karaoke every night. There was also the typical Deal or No Deal, Bingo, and Trivia activities found on other ships. Service/Others: We were happy with the service on board (restaurant and room) and was a little above our experience on other Norwegian ships. My partner did three sessions with the Spa and really enjoyed the treatments. Often he has mixed reviews on spa treatments, but we have 100% positive about his experience on the Sun. The were plenty of bars scattered across the ship and never had difficulty getting served drinks. Because it was a small ship, the public pool area was small, but it never seemed overcrowded and there was always lounge chairs free. The Casino is tiny. Some of the table games only had one option, and the slot machines were boring. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
The most important for us was the itinerary. This was our first time sailing to South America. We enjoyed all the new ports on the way. The 3 tours which we took with NCL were very interesting and informative. This was also the ... Read More
The most important for us was the itinerary. This was our first time sailing to South America. We enjoyed all the new ports on the way. The 3 tours which we took with NCL were very interesting and informative. This was also the first time we cruised with NCL and the experience was very good. I liked the ship and the many activities. There was a lot to choose from and everyone could find something for themselves. I enjoyed most the special evening production shows and the music at the bars. The food was very good. We eat breakfasts and lunches in the Garden Cafe; there were many choices and the staff was very kind and attentive. I was amazed how quickly the empty dishes were taken away and the tables cleaned. In the evenings we were dining in the both main restaurants. The service was good and we were very happy with the food, specially with the fish dishes. (the flounder was excellent) Also deserts were amazing. Overall my husband and I enjoyed the cruise very much and had a great experience with NCL. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Within a couple of hours we were in our cabin and our bags showed up shortly after. The balcony cabin was very clean and stayed that way throughout the cruise. Our cabin steward was excellent; looking after our every need. The ports of ... Read More
Within a couple of hours we were in our cabin and our bags showed up shortly after. The balcony cabin was very clean and stayed that way throughout the cruise. Our cabin steward was excellent; looking after our every need. The ports of call were good choices, from the Penguin colony on the Falkland Islands, to Ushuaia, Punta Arenas. the Beagle Channel with the glaciers and fjords, and other destinations in Chile. Everywhere we went, the local folks were very friendly. The guides and drivers were very knowledgeable. Besides seeing the sites , we also learned quite a bit about the history of Argentina and Chile. Some thing that NCL should look into is their selection of on board entertainment. There were 2 bar/lounge acts that were not very good, based on that which we've experienced on the many cruises we have been on. These entertainers tried to imitate others singers/groups and failed. We tried to give them more than one attempt to listen to them. But, after a few minutes each time, we left. NCL did have a group called the BRAZILIAN BEATLES and they were very entertaining and did a good job as a tribute band. The ship's entertainment groups also did a good job with their nightly shows. The one thing, as seniors, that will change is that we will no longer fly economy on flights over 4 hours. Arriving at our far destinations not twisted like a pretzel, will be worth the increase in air fare. We were fortunate that we booked this trip more than a year in advance, because Norwegian Cruise Line offered us a BOGO, which we couldn't refuse. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Lots of sick and coughing people. People need to be more sanitary, wash there hands, and cover their cough, especially when in public areas. The crew did a great job. the rooms were small but adequate for our needs. We didn't spend a ... Read More
Lots of sick and coughing people. People need to be more sanitary, wash there hands, and cover their cough, especially when in public areas. The crew did a great job. the rooms were small but adequate for our needs. We didn't spend a lot of time in the room. The ship's tours were extremely overpriced. Tours could be purchased for half or less outside of the port. the entertainment was good and had a good variety. There was a good choice of things to do on board. The spa and sauna was a plus. Dining was good and had a variety of choices. The trick is to exercise, use the stairs, walk everywhere, eat a lot of fruits, vegetable, and salad. The ship is a nice size, not too big or too small.There are enough activities on board to keep us busy all day if we wanted. I think the staff did a wonderful job. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We just got back yesterday from our 16 day cruise from Chile to Miami. First, the cruise was out of San Antonio, Chile, not Valparaiso, but Cruise Critic doesn't allow me to put that in as the port of embarkation, as they ... Read More
We just got back yesterday from our 16 day cruise from Chile to Miami. First, the cruise was out of San Antonio, Chile, not Valparaiso, but Cruise Critic doesn't allow me to put that in as the port of embarkation, as they don't have San Antonio, Chile listed. The cruise was really enjoyable. We went to ports we have never been to in South America, as this was a repositioning cruise. We took two buses from Santiago to San Antonio, Chile. First bus is from the airport to the central bus station in Santiago. Look for Turbus. It was about $3 US. The girl selling the tickets at the window didn't speak English, but had a translating thing on her computer that she used to help us and sell us that first ticket to the central bus station, called Terminal Alameda Santiago. Second, from the central bus station, Terminal Alameda, we took a nice coach bus to San Antonio. Tickets are sold inside the central bus station. The bus company is Pullman. Just ask someone where the Pullman tickets are sold. They will point you in the right direction. Trip is about an hour and a half and about $8 US. Bus station is within walking distance of the port. I heard people paid $150 for transfers from the airport to the San Antonio. Take the bus. Way cheaper and a pleasant ride. We stayed in the Terra Mia Boutique Hotel in San Antonio the night before embarking. It is brand new and is family run. The rooms are very small, but was sufficient for an overnight. The breakfast room overlooks the harbor and delicious breakfast is included in the reasonable price. (We paid $75 cash US). The family was so friendly, we felt like a much honored guests, not just a patron. We also went to a wonderful restaurant on 274 21 de Mayo street in front of the Terra Mia (one street closer to the harbor) called Logrono Restaurant. They didn't speak any English, but had a menu that included English. We had fish and steak. The fish was very good. My husband raved and raved about that steak. Said it was the best he had had in his whole life. The restaurant is accessed by stairs up to a small courtyard where you enter the restaurant. Next morning, we walked to the port, but the Mia Terra will arrange a cab for you. Embarkation was quick and smooth, but rooms were not ready til late, as norovirus had been on the last cruise and NCL were thoroughly sanitizing every square inch of the ship. Measures had been put in place, noticeable mostly in the buffet, to stop the spread of the virus. Food was served by the crew, rather than by the guests in the buffet. They continued this into our cruise. The crew worked overtime keeping things sanitized. I give high marks to NCL and the crew for doing a great job! We took no ship's shore excursions. Most were with Cruise Critic members. Our first port was Coquimbo, Chile. We did a Tour by Locals set up by a fellow passenger and cruise cruise member. We went to La Serena, Elqui Valley, Dam, Museum and lunch. Was a pretty good tour. Second port was Arica, Chile. This tour was also set up by a fellow passenger and Cruise Critic member, Anne.. Anne had come up with a list of places she wanted to see and then put out a proposal to different tour companies. The result was fantastic tour and great price by Orlando of Raices Andinas. We did a short walking tour of the city of Arica and then up to the top of El Morro for a great city view. We saw the geoglyphs, went to the Azapa museum to see the mummies, and went to the Lluta Valley for lunch. The ride through the valley was spectacular. Third stop was Lima, Peru. We elected to do something different here. We went on a boat ride to several nearby Palomino islands with Mar Adentro in the port town of Callao, Peru. It's within walking distance of where the port buses drop you off in town, but the tourist police would rather you take a taxi (available at port bus drop off point $5 one way). The swimming with the Sealion tour was $45 US cash. They take you out to the islands where you will see many birds including penguins. It does smell of guano. The highlight is getting in the water with the sea lions. They provide wet suits - you need them as the water is cold . The young sea lions will cautiously come up to your feet if you put them out in front of you. But mostly they just jump and swim. Never felt unsafe. It was great!!! Loved it! I also have a recommendation that many other passengers did and loved in Lima, based on what other passengers from our Cruise Critic group said. Haku tours did a cruise critic tour called the Kings and Queens tour and the Shanty town tour together. It really opened fellow passengers eyes to the way many live. I will do that next time we go. In Salaverry, Traveler's Tours Peru took us to see both Chan Chan and the Temple of the Sun and Moon. Our time in port was really short there, but this company was able to get it all done with time to spare. I helped plan this tour, and the company was very responsive in their email contact. A pleasure to work with. They really did a great job, picking us up inside the port. Good tour and guide. Stop 5 was in Manta, Equador. We did a tour with SOS tours, again organized by a fellow passenger. We went to the fish market and learned about the local fishes. Also learned a little about their fishing boats, which were in various stages for building and repair nearby the fish market. More interesting than maybe it sounds. We did a walk through the rainforest. Now I really enjoyed it. But, apparently it is usually dry down in the streambed, but not for us. It had been a wet season for them. Water was flowing in the small stream, so many of us got our feet wet. One lady, not in our group, slipped and broke her arm. (She was seen locally, it was set and she got back to the ship.) It's definitely a doable hike, but you do have to be in decent shape, watch where you are walking, be ready to walk on lots of rocks and possibly water, and be careful walking especially on mossy surfaces. And it is quite humid and buggy. BRING YOUR BUG SPRAY. Absolutely necessary. If you take the tour, perhaps ask if the there will be water in the stream or not. After, we stopped at restaurant near a beach and had snacks and something cold to drink. Next we went to Monte Cristi to learn some Equadorian history, see Panama hats made, and to shop. Rain started as we got down to the market, but most chose to go out in the rain and shop. Then back to the ship. Mostly a good tour. Stop 6 was Puntarenas, Costa Rica. I think this was a favorite stop of many of the passengers. Beautiful and green compared to many of the desert climes we saw in northern Chile and Peru. We did the Villa Lapas Skybridge Tour with Ricky Ricardo tours. Another great tour arranged by passenger Anne. We first stopped to see the monkeys, which took banana pieces right from our hands. We stopped by a wonderful overview and then went on the skybridge walk. Nice hike. Not difficult. It's dry, no bugs, but lots of stairs and uneven surfaces. Take the walking sticks at the trails beginning. They are helpful where there are sandy surfaces. Then we took an optional part of the tour, to a boat which took you on the river to see crocodiles and many, many birds. The river guide's knowledge was impressive!! We also stopped to see medicinal plants and to shop. Excellent tour! We went through the Panama Canal. Got up before 6am and enjoyed the day on deck watching as we went through the locks and Culebra cut and Gatun lake. Wonderful day and the commentator on board did a wonderful job! Last port was Cartagena, Columbia. They have a wonderful port area, with parrots, peacocks, various birds, anteaters, monkeys and other creatures roaming about. We went with Tour in Cartagena Tours. Marelvy Pena-Hall heads this tour company. We walked in the old town, drove to the Fortress of San Felipe and La Popa monastery perched high above the city with great views. The problem is it is really hot there, (over 90), especially for this northerner. Just too hot for me. Onboard, they had the usual activities. Trivia, shuffleboard, bingo, some dance classes, etc. I would have liked to see more line dancing. They had a couple classes, but not many. I really enjoyed the naturalist who gave talks on many mornings. I learned alot from him. Also enjoyed an arts and crafts segment they did on sea days. I wasn't big on the night time shows, especially the cast productions shows. Too much skin and tight clothes for me. Sexy sells I guess. Wasn't a fan of the magician either. Food was very good in the dining room and in the buffet. Service was mostly great, but slow at times. As I said, things were busy for them this cruise. Good cabin steward. Great inside room. Love the walking track on deck 6!! Way better than being on the top deck. Overall, it was a good cruise, with some interesting ports, and a great crew who worked hard to keep us healthy. I'll be back NCL! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Wanted to do the Santiago (San Antonio port) to Miami thru the Canal. (Feb/Mar 2018) San Antonio port is new and somewhat limited for embarkation. But they got people through quickly. About 1 1/2 hours from Santiago. Local bus from ... Read More
Wanted to do the Santiago (San Antonio port) to Miami thru the Canal. (Feb/Mar 2018) San Antonio port is new and somewhat limited for embarkation. But they got people through quickly. About 1 1/2 hours from Santiago. Local bus from town is cheapest, but not too bad if you hire in advance a 8 pass. mini bus (only take 6 for more room). They had a luggage carrier on roof, but did not need it. With noro virus on the earlier leg, boarding was delayed until 1pm. We had received a text and knew this, so delayed our van trip and arrived about 1:45pm. Fifteen minutes later we were on board. This also resulted in slower service on board at times, but crew worked hard at keeping thing clean. We had a forward suite. Quite large for an older ship and wonderful view, especially for the Canal. I was concerned about wind being in front, but not an issue. However the 4 foot high barrier in front is solid, so cannot see the front when sitting on the chairs. Cabin attendant, butler, and concierge were all 1st rate. In fact, probably the best we have ever had. Concierge (Leah) was everywhere and could not do enough for us. Cabin 8001. Bar servers were usually quick and nice - but not many big drinkers on the cruise. Food was pretty good - even though with the virus they had to hand you everything. No self serve. We thought Cagneys and La Cucina were excellent. Bristro (usually our favorite) a bit below expectations. Sports Bar has wonderful snacks in the evening and rarely crowded. Shows were so-so. Helvis was a real entertainer! Dancers and singers about average. Ports were very interesting. We did local tours and all worked out well. The Panama Canal was great. The explanations over the P.A. system (or on your TV) were excellent all the way through. It takes about 8 hours - usually starting about 7am. Miami disembarkation took longer than usual. Started about 8:15am (usually start by 7:45) and went rather slow. Lines at immigration. We had leisurely breakfast and took it easy until about 10am, and still lines when getting into the terminal. Overall, we liked the smaller ship. Not as much to do and more limited entertainment, but easy to get around and easy to meet others. The sun is going to drydock to be fixed up a bit and then will be doing the Cuba route in Spring 2018. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
I wanted to cruise around Cape Horn and I wanted to get out of the winter weather. Everything thing began wonderfully in Beunes Aires with a Flamingo Dance before we got on the ship! Once we set sail I enjoyed early stretching classes ... Read More
I wanted to cruise around Cape Horn and I wanted to get out of the winter weather. Everything thing began wonderfully in Beunes Aires with a Flamingo Dance before we got on the ship! Once we set sail I enjoyed early stretching classes every morning followed by Fab Abs and then yoga and a message while at sea. The sea was calm the whole way down to the cape and we enjoyed local excursions to take in the sites. The Dancing shows on the ship were also excellent and I would have taken lessons with my husband, however, he sprained his ankle during our first day at sea playing volleyball. When we approached the Cape Horn the water got rough but the scenery and the glaciers were magnificent. The food was excellent and the service was wonderful. I love eating in the beautiful dining rooms and listening to the live musicians. The Classical strings trio was fabulous! However, on our way to Santiago, many people were getting sick with a virus and I also got it. The ship offered free medical assistance but then quarantined both my husband and me to the room for 48hrs so we missed one of the ports of call. I thought they might offer us a voucher or something but it did not happen. We went horse riding in one of the last ports of call and had a great time. This was the only Norwegian arranged excursion and it was terrific. All in all, it was a great vacation with a few bumps here and there. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We were a little uncertain about this ship prior to departure. We had never travelled with Norwegian before and a friend who had done a similar trip to ours with Norwegian last year had been somewhat disappointed. However, the itinerary ... Read More
We were a little uncertain about this ship prior to departure. We had never travelled with Norwegian before and a friend who had done a similar trip to ours with Norwegian last year had been somewhat disappointed. However, the itinerary looked interesting (South America sailing south from Santiago and around to Buenos Aires) and the price was quite good so we gave it a go. As others have pointed out, this is an oldish ship but it has been kept in good condition and was clean and comfortable. Staff were on the whole helpful, and cheerful - with the exception of one individual in customer relations who proved to be abrasive and unhelpful. Food was really good in both the main restaurants and in the buffet bars. Lots of options too for places to eat. We had no need to use the speciality dining. Our room was, as is usual, compact but well equipped and comfortable. Having said that the TV system is very dated and not really up to scratch. The balcony was a fair size. The bathroom on the other hand was tiny; I don't think I have ever experienced such a small shower cubicle. The small size caused me a bit of a problem when on a rough sea day the ship lurched tossing me backwards and, unable to step back because of such limited space, I landed tail end in the shower tray and still have trouble sitting. The other problem we discovered is that the air conditioning system has very limited functionality. On a couple of cold days we found that the system does not deliver warm air. Nor would it seem does the system deliver very cold air when the room became too warm - all it does is push, very noisily, cool air into the room. We discussed this with the air conditioning technician who explained that the system was not up to the standards of more modern ships. The entertainment was very good even though the main shows tended to have performers that did not have a wide reputation. The cruise show group were excellent and did wonders on what seemed a quite small stage. Performers around the stage were good too and we were especially impressed with the young Ugandan Jon Muq. He was superb. I was inclined to give the review 5 stars except for the ridiculously high charge for shore excursions. We have done meany cruises all of which charge premium rates but Norwegian really tops the chart for high prices. Having said that we did two trips and both were very good. As usual the staff were always looking for ways to extract additional income through photographs, dining etc but they were perhaps less assertive in their approaches than on some other cruise lines which was welcomed. We had a great cruise and saw some amazing places and we would use Norwegian again in the future so overall we are very happy with our trip. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
I traveled with my girlfriend and chose this cruise because of timing and itinerary - December/January - to escape the cold in upstate NY and visit Patagonia in two weeks. First issue is the port of embarkation was changed from ... Read More
I traveled with my girlfriend and chose this cruise because of timing and itinerary - December/January - to escape the cold in upstate NY and visit Patagonia in two weeks. First issue is the port of embarkation was changed from Valparaiso, Chile - A great place to visit from everyone's opinion - to San Antonio, Chile - Nothing to write home about - all after we booked the cruise and with no sort of compensation what so ever. The ship is clean, well laid-out and has a full track around the ship on Deck 6 for walking/running. It is an old ship so it is much better decorated than newer NCL ships. The cabin was the most spacious inside cabin of all ships I have sailed so far - a lot of space - a characteristic of old ships - the Sun is the second ship of the Norwegian fleet. Newer ships like the getaway of the escape will give you a closet-size cabin as a comparison. Dining is nothing to write home about compared to other cruise lines - Carnival and most other cruise lines I sailed with offers a better menu in its main restaurants. Norwegian is trying to push its pay extra a-la-carte restaurants like Le Bistro, Cagneys, etc. You most likely find something you like to eat every time in the main dining restaurants but do not expect escargot or lobster at all, just some regular grub. Entertainment on this cruise was particularly low quality even compared to other Norwegian Cruises. Young people dancing and singing and making noise but nothing special. All ports are worth a visit, except for Puerto Chacabuco - there is absolutely nothing to do or see there. With tour, they will take you to a park, maybe a waterfall, and a couple of volcanoes in the distance if you are lucky enough to get a clear sky and they are not obscured by clouds. My recommendation: stay on the ship and enjoy it while the crowds go out. The best ports is Ushuaia, the most southern city in the world, and Stanley, in the Malvinas Islands (Falklands) where you can see penguins and a particular landscape. I hear Valparaiso, Chile is great but I did not get to see it since NCL took it away and replaced it by the Industrial port of San Antonio. Montevideo and Buenos Aires are definitely worth a visit as well. Service was good, no complaints there - the cruise is multi-lingual with passengers from many different countries mostly Latin America and Europe - yet much of the staff did not speak Spanish to the displeasure of many Spanish-speaking folks. With English, no problems. One issue we encountered was when we decided to leave our big suitcases in Montevideo - for ease of travel reasons - and yet continue one more night with the cruise to Buenos Aires. The ship security would not let us leave the ship with our suitcases because we were going to come back to the ship. The problem was cleared up only after heated discussions with the ship's embarkation/disembarkation officer and the port of Montevideo representative. I see this as an infringement of a passenger's freedom of movement. Passengers should be free to take any of their personal item off the ship at any time they please. It is a matter between them and the customs of the port - none of NCL's business. In any case, we were able to do it and the matter is a rare occurrence so I hope that no one will have to deal with that again. Overall, this is a good cruise but NCL can certainly do better in serving better food and remembering that cruises are supposed to be all-inclusive and still provide excellent food and service. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We chose this cruise because my parents had cruising the Panama Canal as a bucket-list trip. They asked my fiance and I if we'd like to join, and we said yes! My parents chose the cruise line and itinerary, and we came along for the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because my parents had cruising the Panama Canal as a bucket-list trip. They asked my fiance and I if we'd like to join, and we said yes! My parents chose the cruise line and itinerary, and we came along for the ride! My parents stayed in a suite, while we stayed in a balcony mid-ship room. The cruise left from Miami, and we flew in the evening before. We shared a room with my parents that was booked by the agent my parents' used to book their trip. Because my parents booked a suite on the boat, the agent took it upon themself to book my parents the Presidential Suite at the hotel, which was a bit overboard. It was a really nice room, though! Embarkation was a little rough. The Norwegian-booked shuttle from the hotel was over an hour late to pick us up (it was supposed to arrive at 11:15, and our boarding appointment as at 12:30), and the bus that did arrive was not large enough for all of the passengers, so we had to wait longer for another bus to come pick us up. We were not given any explanation of this, and were left wondering what was going on. Next time, we would definitely arrange our own transportation to the pier rather than booking through the cruise line. Once we arrived at the pier, we dropped our bags with a baggage handler (who flat-out asked for tips) and entered the terminal. My parents were in a suite, so they were whisked away to the priority boarding area, and were on the boat almost immediately. Us plebes in the balcony room, however, went to general boarding, where we waited in a slow, agonizing line for about 2 hours. I know that "every cruise line is like this," but there has GOT to be a better way to get people on the ship. Nerves were starting to wear thin after a solid 4 hours of standing and waiting (interrupted by a short bus ride), but things turned around as soon as we got on the boat! Ship: - We loved the Sun! This was my second cruise, and this ship was just a bit smaller than the Carnival Valor, about 1,900 guests. The decor was nice, if a little bit on the "cruise cheese" side, with turquoise carpets, fishes, and the strange Greco-Roman theme of the casino. - I saw that the boat had been remodeled within the past few years, but it is starting to show some wear, with some thin carpet in the staterooms, threadbare seatbacks in the theater, etc. - What I liked most about the ship was that despite the embarkation disaster, it rarely felt crowded! The only times that it was irritatingly crowded on board were in the buffet right after shore excursions returned, and during the damned "$10" sale at the boutique. Cabin: - Our mid-ship balcony stateroom (8220) was plenty roomy for our needs and had tons of storage (there were drawers and cabinets we didn't use) and plenty of space under the bed to stow our luggage (we had 2 large suitcases and 2 carry-on suitcases). - I have to shout the praises of the SHOWER! The stall itself is nothing to spit at (tiny, as usual), but good lord, the water pressure and temperature were AMAZING for a boat. - There was shampoo/condition hybrid and body wash provided, plus hand soap. I ended up using my own. - The hair dryer does the job, but just barely. It's basically a flexible tube coming out of the wall, and it's hard to use. The tube gets hot, and it's almost impossible to try your hair without the hot tube coming in contact with your arms, etc. Uncomfortable, would recommend bringing your own hair dryer. - There was really only 1 outlet in the whole cabin. We brought along a power strip (with USB ports) and it was a life-saver. - We also brought a bluetooth speaker for music in our stateroom, which we played at a reasonable volume, of course! It added to the ambiance. Dining - Dining was fine, but nothing to write home about. We ate at 3 of the specialty dining restaurants, ate in the main dining room 4-5 times, and ate the rest of the time at the main buffet (Garden Cafe and Great Outdoors, aft). - Cagney's was very good (steakhouse), but I was disappointed with Moderno, the churrascaria. - I wasn't too fond of how the restaurants were set up... basically, all many specialty dining restaurants were right on top of each other in the same dining areas. For example, Cagneys, the sushi, and the hibachi restaurants were basically in the same dining room. It wasn't good ambiance to have to listen to the drumming at the hibachi grill when you're trying to enjoy a steak dinner. - The 2 main dining rooms are exactly the same, except one of them doesn't allow shorts. It was a little ridiculous to have this pretty arbitrary distinction, because the menu was the same, the decor was the same, and the "no shorts" dining room guests truly didn't look any more upscale or dressed up than the more casual dining room. - The food was probably the low point on board for me. Entertainment and Activities - There was always SO MUCH going on on board that we had a hard time deciding what to do! We were partial to the trivia and game show type things, which were a lot of fun... the staff did a great job with these! - Shows - We only attended 3 shows in the Stardust Theater... there was a Mentalist that was OK, but very overblown, a comedian (I fell asleep), and we attended the "We Will Rock You" show, which was my favorite. It was cruise ship cheese-tacular at its finest, and we were smiling the whole way through (though my fiance is sure that Roger Daltry was spinning in his grave). - There was a "Equator Crossing Ceremony" which should have been a lot of fun, but it was so crowded and sweltering (you know, equator!), I couldn't enjoy it. Alas, I did not get a picture of myself kissing the fish. - Fitness center was very nice! I took part in several of their classes. They were just OK, quality-wise but it was nice to get some exercise in on the ship. I like a little more challenge in my workouts, but I understand that they have to design the classes for the lowest common denominator. Service - Our stateroom steward, Arvin, was amazing, and did a fantastic job the whole way through. - The restaurant staff was spotty... some incredible servers and others who seemed like they were learning as they were going. - Bar staff was mostly great... some were super friendly, others just got down to business. I did get a little upset at one point (#firstworldproblems, I know) for being asked to not eat at the bar at a pool-side barbecue when there was literally NOWHERE TO SIT anywhere else. They said it was because they can't have food blowing across the bar, which I get, but it was completely still that day and, again, nowhere else to sit. - I did note that there was some language barrier issues at play, but I think it could be handled better. If a crew member does not understand the question, I wish they would not just say "yes" without trying to actually figure out what the guest was asking. There were many occasions where we later discovered that we had gotten an incorrect answer from a crew member. Ports/Excursions - Given that my previous cruise experience was a Caribbean cruise with Carnival, the port experience was very different! All of the ports were primarily shipping ports, which I VASTLY preferred to many of the Caribbean ports, which seem to be duty-free shop after duty-free shop (no, I don't want to purchase any diamonds!). - We did an excursion at every port, which got a bit expensive. Most were worth it! - My mom is mobility impaired, and it seemed that people really did need to be good self-advocates for accessibility. Because of the nature of the ports, there were frequently long walks to and from the tour busses, which was more difficult for her, and we sometimes wished that they would have some transport chairs available outside as there were so many older passengers on this ship. - I understand that accessibility in foreign countries can be varied, but I wish that Norwegian would provide more feedback/training to tour operators. Many operators walked far too fast for mobility impaired guests, and they didn't seem to be mindful of differing mobility levels. Some of the "Level 1" activity excursions had more walking that we expected for that level, which was hard for my mom. It's hard to enjoy an excursion when you're having to try hard to move fast enough to keep up without falling! - A couple of tours did have all of the activities advertised due to availability. It would be nice to be made aware of that, but it's possible the tour operators didn't even know certain aspects of the tour weren't going to be available until they arrived (though I feel it's the tour operator's job to ensure that the tour they're advertizing is the tour we're getting). - Peru was the stand-out destination for us. Such unique landscape! Misc Notes - We had the Ultimate beverage package as a freebie (but still paid gratuity). It was worth just in convenience. - There is a $13.99 daily "service charge" that is the gratuity for wait staff and stewards. I wish they would just include that in the price of the cruise rather than springing it on you later. Our bill at the end (including excursions and all on-board spending) ended up being about $1,400 each. We would definitely consider cruising with Norwegian again, and perhaps try one of their newer ships! Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and we enjoyed ourselves. The stateroom was surprisingly big with plenty of storage and a very comfortable bed. The (included) Seven Seas restaurant was very nice, and we ate at the buffet a couple ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and we enjoyed ourselves. The stateroom was surprisingly big with plenty of storage and a very comfortable bed. The (included) Seven Seas restaurant was very nice, and we ate at the buffet a couple times and it was fine.What made the ship stand out was the staff, quick to help and unfailingly cheerful. The gym was very nice with newer machines and free weights, although crowded at peak hours. The entertainment was so-so, not because the performers were lacking (they were fine) but because it was typical cruise-ship fare. Bingo, cheesy games, and music for the 65+ crowd. Not my thing. Embarkation wasn't well managed. Our materials listed the wrong gate, resulting in the need for two separate taxis. The line was 90 minutes long. The lady who checked us in wrote the wrong stateroom number on our passports, twice. If I hadn't been watching closely someone else might have gotten our passport at the end of the cruise. Pros: Staterooms, Staff, Itinerary, Food. Cons: Entertainment, Embarkation in Miami. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Although an old ship, very well designed. Jogging/walking track is on deck 6. This is much bigger than new ships. Chairs out of the way and no smokers on this level. We loved this and walked/jogged multiple times/day. Also ship is ... Read More
Although an old ship, very well designed. Jogging/walking track is on deck 6. This is much bigger than new ships. Chairs out of the way and no smokers on this level. We loved this and walked/jogged multiple times/day. Also ship is great for non-smokers -- designated smoking areas worked well to keep smoke away from non-smokers except for casino smoke, which made its way to some common areas (but much better than other ships we've been on). Service was exceptional and we felt like VIPs. Our server's name is Mary and she was the best we've ever had on any cruise line. We dined at main restaurant for lunch and dinner. Past cruises we ate at the buffet. The reason for a 4 not a 5 is the quality and selection of buffet compared to other NCL past cruises. Salad buffet was very limited (no mixed greens, no spinach, sometimes no tomatoes, etc). The rest was fantastic and the great choices and service at main dining made up for the buffet. Entertainment was great. One group Amber Strings (from Poland) performed at orchestra/concert level every time. They were wonderful. Ports and shore excursions were great. We did 3 excursions and explored the other ports by ourselves. Tours were worth the high prices. We would cruise this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
15 days was a great vacation to escape the cold in December! Lots of ports, some sea days. We like Norwegian Cruise Lines' Free Style (dine anytime) dining options. Great specialty restaurants too. Shore excursions- there were a ... Read More
15 days was a great vacation to escape the cold in December! Lots of ports, some sea days. We like Norwegian Cruise Lines' Free Style (dine anytime) dining options. Great specialty restaurants too. Shore excursions- there were a lot to choose from and we got credits to use for each port we stopped at. Tour guides were top-notch! Food- lots of choices from fine dining to casual buffet and an ice cream station open every day, and crepes!!! We were lucky enough to book a porthole outside cabin and it was spacious and had lots of storage.Can't say enough about the wait staff in the restaurants! Speedy, courteous and some had great senses of humor! The entertainment and activities help pass the time, especially on those sea days. The gym always had available equipment to work off the pounds you gained from the great food. We never tendered at ports, always had a regular port berth. Shuttles made available at the ports to get to the towns. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
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