114 Norwegian Sun Panama Canal & Central America Cruise Reviews

Pleasant Ship but the nickel and diming and poor entertainment took the shine off it. The Sun is a nicely laid out ship, the only issue really being the strange half floor on the deck 6 and the fact that all the dining is at the rear of ... Read More
Pleasant Ship but the nickel and diming and poor entertainment took the shine off it. The Sun is a nicely laid out ship, the only issue really being the strange half floor on the deck 6 and the fact that all the dining is at the rear of the ship. Our Cabin was at the front on deck 9, as quiet as could be but 1/6 mile from the nearest coffee! We had the ultimate beverage package and apparently Coffee is not a beverage outside of the restaurants. Hey ho, we smuggled a travel kettle on board (against the rules). Internet is a waste of time, a $50 bill for 2 emails was reduced after a heated discussion with the clearly under fire "internet host", there was a line to talk to her, no-one was happy. Stardust lounge entertainment was laughable and depressing at the same time. We had a juggler who couldn't catch, a Magician with a poor 15 minute act which he spun out to 45 minutes by telling the assembled 80 year olds about his nan dying at Christmas, an Irish comedian who told us about his parents dying last year and sang us a song about how little time we have left and a singer from American Idol who spent more time talking than singing. The entertainment in the lounges was way better and far more deserving of our time. Ports of call were OK, apart from Guatemala which is a car park full of tat stalls, or you can pay over the odds for a trip. The cruise staff are generally brilliant. Thousands of photos at $15-$25 dollars went into landfill, if they made them $5 each they would sell all of them, as it was, we posed for one, they took two and one went in the skip with us refusing point blank to have any more taken. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We selected this cruise because of itinerary because going through the Panama Canal really appealed to us! Even though the ship is smaller than the new mega cruisers, the fantastic service and enthusiasm makes this cruise a memorable ... Read More
We selected this cruise because of itinerary because going through the Panama Canal really appealed to us! Even though the ship is smaller than the new mega cruisers, the fantastic service and enthusiasm makes this cruise a memorable experience!!! The free style dining allows a lot of flexibility for diners. The casual atmosphere made it easy to pack! We used the Seven Seas dining room mostly but went to the buffet once or twice and the other dining room once or twice also. We really enjoyed the food and the service and we did not feel compelled to go to the specialty restaurants but we heard that they were really good! We sat at sharing tables sometimes and enjoyed that experience and sometimes dined alone. The entertainment was superb and includes a live band in the Stardust Lounge which so enhances the artists who perform there. The production dancers and singers are very professional and work so hard! We saw many great guest artists too! The cruise director and his staff were wonderful and put together some fun experiences! My favorite was the dancing competition game! The ports were exciting and we enjoyed each one. Sometimes we booked a shore excursion on board but others times we booked from an independent source. Sometimes we took a cab ride into the port. All the excursions worked out wonderfully! Overall, this cruise is great for a person who wants to relax during the day when at sea, explore exciting, beautiful ports, and dance at night after a delicious dinner and an entertaining show. NCL goes out of it's way to make all their staff feel appreciated which makes the staff happier to do their jobs whatever the job may be. That in turn makes the customer feel valued. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
14 day Panama Canal cruise from Miami ending in L.A. Embarkation and disembarkation were a mess. Getting on, the ship's computers went down and they had to manually check people in. Getting off in L.A. the port security was ... Read More
14 day Panama Canal cruise from Miami ending in L.A. Embarkation and disembarkation were a mess. Getting on, the ship's computers went down and they had to manually check people in. Getting off in L.A. the port security was strict making us 1 hour late but we still had time to get to the airport. Costa Rica and Nicaragua weren't worth the stop. Colombia, Guatemala, Acapulco, & Cabo San Lucas were decent stops. Ship was clean and the staff and crew were good. There was no interactive TVs in the staterooms so you couldn't make shore excursions or check account balances from your cabin. The "Sports Bar" didn't show the MLB World Series, mostly soccer and the NBA. Not a true sports bar. Maybe should rename it the "Sometimes Sports Bar" Food was pretty good as was the entertainment. Didn't visit the Casino. The beverage package (UBP) that was a perk as well as the prepaid gratuities were a nice inclusion. Had to have medical attention while onboard and they were very professional, both the doctor and two nurses. Jeffery, the bartender in the Champagne & Martini Bar was fantastic. Overall a good cruise and other than the items mentioned above, no problems. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This was our first cruise and I chose this cruise because the Panama Canal was on my bucket list. I had also wanted to visit Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Guatemala to get a sense of whether to come back and spend more time on a vacation. ... Read More
This was our first cruise and I chose this cruise because the Panama Canal was on my bucket list. I had also wanted to visit Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Guatemala to get a sense of whether to come back and spend more time on a vacation. The Norwegian Sun ship was ok but is getting real close to needing a refurb. The bed was comfortable and the cabin (mid-ship with balcony) was functional but you do need to keep things picked up and put away. The electric outlets are minimal in number which was a small issue as I have a CPAP which I have to sleep with in the evenings. Then you can't charge phone or tablet or laptop overnight. You just have to plan. I felt the food selection and quality was very good. We had a specialty dining package where we could go to the French, Brazilian, Steak etc for a more quite upscale evening. Personally I would not do that again as the food in the two general dining rooms and the buffets where as good.Given a choice of a free inclusion between the dining or drink package I would go for the drink package as alcoholic beverages run about 7 to 10 dollars and soda more than a couple bucks. Our other inclusion was free wifi which was slow depending on time of day. There are a lot of activities on the ship to try and keep you entertained during the day and evenings. We went to the musical shows and they were good to very good. The hypnotist was actually quite boring and maybe it is the result of the people who were her subjects and most seemed like they were faking being hypnotized. There were presenters who discussed the countries which were going to visit and provide some interesting background. There were also dance classes, bingo, origami, towel folding, educational lectures (acupuncture etc). The TV channels included a couple with movies, news, sports, cruise information, etc. There is a casino which we just walked through We really didn't get to use the balcony while at sea due to the weather (rain and wind), but going through the canal was a different story and we did use it. Since we were cruising at the tail end of the hurricane season the weather was not a surprise and we were fortunate that the weather cooperated going through the canal. Because this is one of the smaller cruise ships the swells in the sea over a couple meters got the ship rocking a bit and made the wife sea sick. She used sea bands and dramamine. Dramamine worked best for her. If you are prone to motion sickness then you should be prepared regardless of the cruise ship. Other more experienced passengers said the larger ships don't get moved around by the waves and wind. The individual taking care of our cabin and the crew in general were extremely competent, friendly, and efficient. I also thought fellow passengers were friendly and courteous and we had some nice discussions when we shared dining tables etc. They did put a couple of NFL games on the TV but not the World Series. Lots of soccer if that is your sport as well as european basketball. The shore excursions were ok but would advise you read those separate reviews when making your choices. All things considered I am not sorry that we were on this ship and cruising when we did. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Nice cruise , great entertainment and food was as expected for a 4* ship. My only criticism is about some of the excursions which were not worth the money but may be great to help develop those poorer countries. The Panama Canal ... Read More
Nice cruise , great entertainment and food was as expected for a 4* ship. My only criticism is about some of the excursions which were not worth the money but may be great to help develop those poorer countries. The Panama Canal remain the greatest experience. I want to highlight Veli who was a great cruise animator and made my solo cruise really fun! Delays at embarkation but I understand that computer issues can occur and that once we started, it went relatively smooth after. What was not great was customs issues at disembarkation which lead to stress of risk not making our flights but these were customs issues and should not reflect on NCL. All in all I would recommend NCL if you want a nice relax vacation where you get a nice cruise experience and where you can decide if you want to go with classic dress style, relax or all in !! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Second time doing panama canal. We like Norwegian and are Platinum members of Latitudes. Birthday celebration also. Problems with embarkation in Miami (computers were all down at check-in). Quick boarding once problem resolved. Very ... Read More
Second time doing panama canal. We like Norwegian and are Platinum members of Latitudes. Birthday celebration also. Problems with embarkation in Miami (computers were all down at check-in). Quick boarding once problem resolved. Very little contact regarding latitudes program and benefits, cruise next also represents latitudes program. (never advised of behind scenes tour opportunity) Food was very good in all specialty restaurants and dining rooms, buffet was too small and poorly laid out for access and serving, alternative buffets were much better experiences. Two very difficult sea days with high winds and surf. Problem with thrusters leaving Miami, a tire was entangled and divers fixed it in Cartagena. Never received onboard confirmation of CruiseNext as is done on other NCL ships, told we would get email 2-3 days after cruise (nothing so far). Account was charged. Observation lounge unused gem---very little activity up in the lounge. Dazzles was over used! Ship lounge areas were very cold all cruise. Panama canal was very enjoyable experience, lecturer was informative, but difficult to hear on balconies. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We took the 14 day Miami to Los Angeles cruise thru the Panama Canal and it was fabulous! The restaurants, staff, ship, everything! We were in the Owner’s Suite and it was lovely. And, I must say, our Concierge Carlos and Butler Carlos ... Read More
We took the 14 day Miami to Los Angeles cruise thru the Panama Canal and it was fabulous! The restaurants, staff, ship, everything! We were in the Owner’s Suite and it was lovely. And, I must say, our Concierge Carlos and Butler Carlos were the best we’ve had yet! On top of everything! We never asked twice for anything. In fact it was like they read our minds! I guess the one thing I would question about this cruise is the stop in Nicaragua. We got off the ship, found a starving dog, fed him, and returned to the ship because we felt a bit unsafe.we ate at the Tepanyaki, Brazilian BBQ, Steak House and Italian restaurants and all were delicious. Room service was also delicious and delivered very prompt. If given the chance, I would definately take this cruise again! I look forward to cruising with NCL again soon. Highly recommend Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We chose this cruise to knock the Panama Canal off our bucket st at a reasonable price. Older ship but is well maintained. Crew was absolutely fantastic. Most entertainment was top notch. The chef did a great job with menus for a fourteen ... Read More
We chose this cruise to knock the Panama Canal off our bucket st at a reasonable price. Older ship but is well maintained. Crew was absolutely fantastic. Most entertainment was top notch. The chef did a great job with menus for a fourteen day cruise. We ate at four specialty restaurants, Moderno, La Cusina, Tappanaki and Cagney. Cagney and Moderno were our favorites and the two we will do again. The shrimp cocktail was fabulous at Cagney as well as the steaks being excellent and almost fork tender. Moderno was a great atmosphere and assortment of meats was great. Tappanaki was fun and the grilled foods were excellent. We did not care for the seaweed salad or the dessert. La Cusina could have been better. I personally had the chicken Parmesan and it was a little dry and had very little marinara on it. Overall a great trip and we left a deposit for four additional NCL cruises. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
I had always wanted to cruise through the Panama Canal. And what a wonderful experience it was! The ship was beautiful. I appreciated the attention to cleanliness. The meals were first rate. We were three adults in two cabins. There was a ... Read More
I had always wanted to cruise through the Panama Canal. And what a wonderful experience it was! The ship was beautiful. I appreciated the attention to cleanliness. The meals were first rate. We were three adults in two cabins. There was a snafu with the computers which left us waiting to board for a couple of hours. We purchased only two shore excursions: ”Acapulco City with Cliff Divers” and “Los Angeles Tour with Farmers Market.” The Acapulco Tour was wonderful. Our guides were Caesar and Eduardo(?). They loved their city and loved telling us about it. They encouraged us to return. They were loaded with information and history. When we arrived in LA and boarded the tour bus our guide Chris’ first statement was “I am here to tell you some lies about Los Angeles. If you knew the truth you wouldn’t be here.” This continued for several hours. Nearly every story was negative—government workers sleeping on the job, lynchings, red-lined neighborhoods, over-priced housing and lack of respect for history. Wow, I was exhausted by the time we got to the airport and glad to get off the bus. This tour company needs a more positive tour guide! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Finally took our bucket-list cruise to traverse the Panama Canal!! Unfortunately, things did not start out well when the computers went down in the Embarkation area, so had to stand in the heat and humidity for more than 90-minutes. As a ... Read More
Finally took our bucket-list cruise to traverse the Panama Canal!! Unfortunately, things did not start out well when the computers went down in the Embarkation area, so had to stand in the heat and humidity for more than 90-minutes. As a result, I spent the entire first full day on the ship in bed recovering since I come from a desert climate. The major positives of the cruise were the Entertainment (VERY talented Sun singers, dancers, musicians & Director's staff), Freestyle and Specialty dining☺!!! The four Specialty restaurants we visited were absolutely wonderful, and did a terrific job of recognizing the 2 Birthdays we had in our travel group. On the somewhat negative side, our cabin stewardess was friendly but was not well-trained enough to fill our ice bucket more than twice in 14 days or clean the bathroom thoroughly. Would have appreciated additional No Sugar Added dessert options. We did encounter numerous 'Vacation Heroes' once on board who made our experience enjoyable Met some wonderful people with whom I am certain we will remain in contact. I cannot say that NCL will be my first choice in future sailing. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
My choices were limited to NCL or Princess. Since I have sailed on NCL previously, I chose it for the panama canal. Overall I was disappointed with the service, entertainment, and food Shore excursions in all ports (except cabo san ... Read More
My choices were limited to NCL or Princess. Since I have sailed on NCL previously, I chose it for the panama canal. Overall I was disappointed with the service, entertainment, and food Shore excursions in all ports (except cabo san lucas) included a long bus ride with fair guides. Would not revisit Cartagena or (especially) Nicaragua. Enjoyed Acapulco and Costa Rica. Not sure why but the food quality was much lower than previous NCL cruises. (Cost savings?). Additionally, there were few choices for diabetics to avoid high carbs. Overall the wait staff was slow and the cooks seemed inexperienced. I had to send several meals back to the kitchen. Getting water or drink refills was painstakingly slow. Cabin stewarts were friendly but also very slow to complete cleaning and turndown service. I had to ask for room cleaning at least half the time. The in house entertainers (singers/dancers) were terrible. Out of sync and poor voices. I stopped going to the "variety" shows after the first night. Guest entertainers were better: Magician, Hypnotist, Ventriloquist. I believe this will be my last NCL cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Our cruise isn't even over, but we are having such a good time we are writing this now! We chose this cruise because I had two weeks off for vacation and it was only $699 for the whole trip. (Plus lots of additional fees and a pretty ... Read More
Our cruise isn't even over, but we are having such a good time we are writing this now! We chose this cruise because I had two weeks off for vacation and it was only $699 for the whole trip. (Plus lots of additional fees and a pretty large bar tab already. Our favorite part of the trip so far are the shows at night. I love how the production shows use live music and the ventriloquist was so funny and the magician, Ben Nemzer was the highlight of our trip! We also love the music in the Windjammer. Our cabin steward is so nice and greets us by name every night and our room, although an inside cabin had enough space. The ports were fine so far. Nicaragua wasn't so pretty and it rained in Costa Rica, but we loved the rum distillery tour. Overall the service was great, the food was awesome (I probably gained 10lbs) and we would definitely come back to the Sun. We are so sad it ends soon! We love Cagney's Steak House and we love the omelette bar in the mornings. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This was our first cruise. A dear friend set it up and invited us to participate. We are glad we did. Overall it was a good experience. Since we have nothing with which to compare it it is difficult to judge if other lines would be ... Read More
This was our first cruise. A dear friend set it up and invited us to participate. We are glad we did. Overall it was a good experience. Since we have nothing with which to compare it it is difficult to judge if other lines would be better, worse, or the same as Norwegian. We were not off to a good start nor was disembarking done smoothly. We were in line for about an hour on each. Why? Improvements we would like to see were wifi included in the fee to participate in the cruise. The additional cost to do so once on board was almost $30 a day! (No, we didn't partake.) Also, the TV channels were drastically limited. A "Dear Brian" at the registration desk was used twice with messages. Neither was answered. The walking surface on the sixth deck was great, although we were never told why we couldn't make a complete circuit before 8 AM which is when I like to walk. The staff was wonderful! We felt like family to a few of them with whom we had frequent contact. The food was great and the activities were plentiful. We are looking forward to trying Norwegian for another trip. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Bucket list cruise - Panama Canal and all that. Great itinerary. Cruise was very good. As usual fellow guests are the main memories but the cabin was good, restaurants good, service in general good to excellent, bars - especially ... Read More
Bucket list cruise - Panama Canal and all that. Great itinerary. Cruise was very good. As usual fellow guests are the main memories but the cabin was good, restaurants good, service in general good to excellent, bars - especially Windjammer and Dazzles - and entertainment fine, all very positive. Enjoyed the Sun, slightly smaller ship. Embarcation and especially disembarcation were poor, second time in a row. Information dissemination on board was poor so we had to queue for an hour to disembark. The one tour we booked on board with NCL was poor, the coach broke down so we lost a lot of time and were nearly late getting back to the ship after a panic with the tour company rep. Then NCL were cheap over the refund due, delaying compensation which meant it was difficult to spend our OBC. BUT, despite the niggles it was very good and the efforts of so many great NCL crew should not be under valued by the actions of a few incompetents! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We chose this cruise because it left from our home port and did a full transit of the Panama Canal. Both were highlights of the cruise and fantastic. We loved taking a taxi to the port and fortunately had been warned by the CC roll call ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it left from our home port and did a full transit of the Panama Canal. Both were highlights of the cruise and fantastic. We loved taking a taxi to the port and fortunately had been warned by the CC roll call that the pier information was incorrect. I contacted NCL 3 times the month before sailing asking them to correct the edocs, but it was never done. We expected lots of confusion so arrived right at our 11:00 boarding time and had no delays getting on the ship. We had lunch in the MDR and dropped our carry ons in our cabin when it was available. To our delight, our balcony view was of the golden gate bridge and the Blue Angels practicing fly bys! The ship departed 2 1/2 hours later than scheduled which again was no surprise. The sun was just starting to set and the sail under the Golden Gate was amazing. Panama Canal crossing started with a 6:25am announcement from a canal spokeswoman and views of Panama City. Enjoyed this day a great deal. We started our viewing with the complimentary Panamanian breakfast (and mimosas) from our balcony and moved around the ship throughout the day with our favorite views being aft from the Great Outdoors. The Pearl was behind us and a large HAL ship next to us throughout the transit. The ports on this cruise are not great. Cabo, Puerto Vallarta and Huatulco were ok but similar to each other. Puerto Chiapas was a waste - we stayed on the ship and used the spa. Keep asking the spa about specials - it took about 4 separate inquiries, but finally we found a special that worked perfectly for us. In Puntarenas we were stuck at an industrial port outside of town. The tour guides had to board the bus out on a main road. Our excursion was ok, but many longer excursions were caught in terrible traffic jams. The ship waited 5 hours past departure for everyone to get back. Cartagena was the final port and the intense heat and aggressive "vendors" were too much to deal with. Ship: It is in ok shape and definitely needs the makeover due in the Spring. Hopefully, an O'Sheehan's style venue will finally be added. That small buffet is a really unpleasant. We didn't have any A/C problems in our room thank goodness, but the Seven Seas MDR has major problems. It was sweltering in the evenings and like a freezer at lunchtime. Meals in general were fine. La Cucina was a miss both times though. The $25 shrimp meal was bad. The steak special was a terrible quality of meat and inedible. We enjoyed the dinner with officers (Chief Financial Officer and Payroll Accountant). Service at the bars was good all around - particularly Jeffrey at the Champagne Bar, the poolside bar and the Great Outdoors. Entertainment: This was a long cruise with many sea days. The production cast had the best talent we've seen: the singers (all 6 were great) and dancers were very good. The guest performers were ok - a juggler, hypnotist, Irish folk story guy, comedian, Broadway singer. The Motown group was the best. The Cruise Director and staff worked hard. We had fun at the many trivia events. Internet: The manager was very helpful. We had two incidents when the sign off didn't work and she restored our minutes. The hardware in the internet café is kaput. After the first few days, the onboard software would not connect to my email provider's server and about 1/2 of the pc's were not working at all. The printer also did not work. Using our phones worked. A shout out to Cole in the Cruise Next Dept. He has figured out how to do this job the right way. He conducted the Platinum Plus behind the scenes tour as well as two presentations. He also was a dancing with the stars judge. He was very visible around the ship and remembered us when we saw him. We booked a cruise for next year with him and he was very knowledgeable about the ships, cabins and itineraries. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
I chose this cruise for the trip through the Canal plus having the experience of several ports that I was interested in seeing in Mexico, Costa Rica and Columbia. It was action packed with many activities onboard. Actually, too much to ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the trip through the Canal plus having the experience of several ports that I was interested in seeing in Mexico, Costa Rica and Columbia. It was action packed with many activities onboard. Actually, too much to do - with overlapping activities that I wished I could take part in but didn't get a chance. My steward was very attentive and helpful and I loved all those towel animals he made for me each night. Put a smile on my face. I enjoyed the captain's updates and it was very helpful that the ship also had the TV channel available to follow up on any weather conditions. I liked the idea of having a Q&A with the staff. Also, fun activities the pastry chef did to show off his skills. Best part - we got to eat his creations! The entertainment crew were great with their many, creative and fun activities. I didn't much care for most of the live entertainment or even the old movies that they showed on board, but to each their own. One pet peeve of mine is the 18% surcharge on all excursions taken on the day of the excursion. I paid for all my excursions months in advance and assumed everything was paid for - come to find out my room account showed an additional $13.99 per day gratuity and the surcharge for my port trips. I don't particularly like surprises and that one was very offensive to me. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We selected an aft facing cabin for our Panama Canal transit, boarding in SFO. A great treat for us was to watch the Navy Blue Angles practice over the bay just before we left. That alone was worth the trip. Leaving SFO under the Golden ... Read More
We selected an aft facing cabin for our Panama Canal transit, boarding in SFO. A great treat for us was to watch the Navy Blue Angles practice over the bay just before we left. That alone was worth the trip. Leaving SFO under the Golden Gate with picture perfect weather was a tremendous experience. Some of the ports were pretty "why-even-get-off" the ship kind of stops - but we were mainly interested in going through the canal. It would have been nice to stop in Panama. Cabo San Lucas - Cabo Wabo always fun Puerto Vallarta - Been there, done that kind of stop. Huatulco - Nice beaches Puerto Chiapas - $10 bus trip to town. Got to town and took next bus back. Don't waste your time here. Puntarenas - Our return delayed by 5.5 hrs by traffic - almost missed the ship. Docked in terrible industrial side of port while other cruise ships docked elsewhere. Cartigenia - Best stop of the cruise. Regarding the mini-suite: (I know NCL sanitizes each cabin between cruises, but for our own piece of mind, whenever we cruise we bring spray sanitizer and wipes. Before we unpack we wipe down everything that may have been touched by previous passengers including the light switches, door knobs and handles and the ice bucket. We provide our own plastic ice bucket liners and ask our steward to use them daily when adding ice. I suggest you do the same. You will feel more at home knowing you aren't making yourself sick on the first day.) Initially we were quite happy with our stateroom until the sliding door would not stay closed in rougher seas. It took three days of calling reception, talking to our steward before it was finally fixed. For two nights the door would slide open and crash into the other side waking us (and probably our neighbors) up. I finally wedged my tripod into the door to keep it closed. I wish I had thought of it sooner. The transit through the canal was a great experience, one that should not be missed. After the Panama Canal our A/C went out. With the sun blazing into the room we had to keep the curtains closed to try and block the scorching sun. Reception promised to send someone up right away, but no one ever showed. To be fair, I heard from another passenger that A/C problems were common on this ship and that the repair could be done from outside the room. A "we were here" note would have been nice. But we suffered for another 3 days until the A/C finally was up to the task of cooling the room. Our steward kept calling his boss to try and get it fixed and it still took three days to resolve. In the midst of all this, we received a notice that our balcony was to be painted and that we couldn't use it until 10:00 that evening, meaning we would not be able to be on our balcony for sail-away. So now we had an ocean view instead of a mini-suite with balcony. Nice. They decided not to paint after all, but didn't bother to notify us (and I assume others). So the balcony went unused (but paid for). I need to mention the noise and vibration that occur when the ship accelerates/decelerates, it is very noticeable. You will not wake up surprised to be in port. There will be no stealing silently into or out of port. After a while, it becomes a sort of background noise that you can learn to live with. On balance, the view from our cabin was worth the vibration. The fact is the ship is old by cruise line standards and the furnishings show the wear and tear of those years, but I was surprised to find that NCL had not replaced a bedside table with obvious cigarette burns. How long had those been there? Halfway through the cruise the public announcements stopped being echoed on the ships TV channel. Fortunately that was fixed prior to the transit and we were able to listen to the very knowledgable Panama Canal commentator as we progressed through the locks. Regarding food: Overall the food on NCL is above average, the service is excellent and the staff always cheerful. The worse place IMO to eat is Garden Court buffet which, even with the washy-washy team squirting everyone they can, is a boiling caldron of germs. The variety of food there is limited and would appeal to those of us who like a routine breakfast. You might consider bringing along some disposable gloves if you are going to use the drink dispensers, the dressing pitchers, the table condiments or the food ladles and other things that get handled by everyone. The sad truth is that many people walk right past the washy-washy and the sanitizer station and no matter how many times NCL cleans those things, they are going to be the transfer point. Every time I hear someone cough, I cringe. Maybe the washy-washy people should say "washy-washy cover-mouth". I did enjoy the washy-washy musical performances including the Beatles hit "Wash your hands" to the tune of "I want to hold your hand". The specialty restaurants were on-point as were the two main dining rooms, which we enjoyed. Cagney's common problem (as on the Escape) of mis-timing mains and apps did not occur the three times we ate there. If there was a problem it was being seated at the time of our reservation. The wine steward was very helpful. Le Bistro was a great experience, the wait staff and maitre d' exceptional providing excellent service and 'touch'. Four Seasons and Seven Seas both offered great quality food, prompt and attentive service. La Cecina is a beautiful venue, probably the prettiest on board. Hidden down a stairway, it is long and not very wide, you are reminded of a dining car on the Orient Express or something from the movies. Elegant with attentive staff. Pool side cook-outs: I'll just say they were confusing, difficult to find a place to sit and not worth the effort. Bars: The Champagne bar run by Jeffrey and Jerry is a fun gathering place that seems to attract interesting and outgoing people. It became our pre-dinner cocktail favorite. Interesting that the Champagne bar doesn't really sell Champagne. Ah well... The Poolside bar, didn't appeal to us, although the bartenders were great. Seating is difficult and uncomfortable. The Atrium bar is nice, just a different vibe than the Champagne Bar. Great for a morning bloody. Great outdoors: Bar is great. Table service (cleaning, etc) is rather spotty with a fair amount of standing around. Sports Bar: I'm sure there are logistical reasons the waiter can't take a drink order and vice versa, but I don't know what they are. Common complaints for the sports bar are table hogs, bridge and mahjong players taking up tables and only one sporting event on the many screens. Mahjong in particular annoyed other diners/viewers with it's incessant tile slapping. Bartenders very good. Chicken wings are great. Common areas: Theater, always cold, many people brought beach towels to wrap themselves with. I felt the seats were old and uncomfortable. NCL does a good job of keeping the common (reception, etc) areas attractive and neat. NCL still can't seem to figure out how to keep lounges from being "reserved" all day. Entertainment: Entertainment was very good, some seats were obstructed and not marked resulting in a constant flow of people into and then out of those seats. DJ was typical pool DJ. Several people commented that there should have been more enrichment activities (lectures, etc) and I agree. Services: Wifi - ridiculously slow and unusable. If you must have wifi while at sea, on this ship I suggest you consider the unlimited package. Daily Bulletin: Failed to list some activities, some things were not promoted at all (wine tastings for instance) and thus did not attract enough participation to take place. Our neighbor noted that Bridge was not organized or promoted, this seems to be the trend on NCL. Ships Video of Panama Canal: We paid for the ship produced video of the Panama transit which was supposed to feature the passengers on-board. IMO, you can give this a miss. Just my opinion. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Always wanted to do a panama canal cruise. We were not disappointed. It was hot and humid, so that limited our excursions. They couldn't guarantee an air conditioned bus, so didn't go on any tours, just went out to shops ... Read More
Always wanted to do a panama canal cruise. We were not disappointed. It was hot and humid, so that limited our excursions. They couldn't guarantee an air conditioned bus, so didn't go on any tours, just went out to shops close to the ship. Our first time cruising with NCL and it won't be our last. Inside cabin was larger than expected, bed very comfortable. Our steward was outstanding. Make sure you bring along a nightlight or leave the tv on with the shipboard camera for an oceanview!! Dining options were a buffet and two dining rooms. Plus other extra charge restaurants, didn't use those, so can't comment on them. Food was good and lots of choices. Only went to one variety show, but it was good but loud. Lots of activities if you chose to participate. No complaints except I wish they had more electrical outlets available. The was one outlet at the desk with one side for 110 & the other 220. Luckily we brought an extension cord with us. One single outlet in the bathroom for shaver only. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We chose this cruise because we wanted to do a full transit of the Panama Canal. It left from San Francisco and sailed out under the Golden Gate Bridge, which was wonderful. We also enjoy "Fleet Week" activities by the Blue Angel ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to do a full transit of the Panama Canal. It left from San Francisco and sailed out under the Golden Gate Bridge, which was wonderful. We also enjoy "Fleet Week" activities by the Blue Angel Navy team while waiting to sail! We had been on a previous cruise on Norwegian Sun and liked the intimacy of this smaller ship. We decided to book and Oceanview Stateroom for the first time and were delighted with it! Freestyle dining was typical of other NCL cruises we have been on ~ decent to good food selections, but nothing outstanding. Dining room service was excellent. We also enjoyed meals in the specialty restaurants Cagney's Steakhouse and La Cucina. We only attended one evening show, but it was fun. We enjoyed the talented singers and dancers. Service, in general, was EXCELLENT! No complaints. Bartenders Jeffrey and Jerry, who worked the evening hours in the Champagne Bar (as well as other locations during the day on the ship) were OUTSTANDING! Simply THE BEST bartenders we have EVER encountered ANYWHERE!!! They have taken positions on other NCL ships, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that they might return to the Sun before we sail on her again in March 2019. We had visited several of the ports in the itinerary on another cruise, but they were OK to see again. We were NOT thrilled with the port of Puerto Chiapas, even though there was a VERY NICE tourist area with a huge palapa roofed building and pool adjacent to the dock. Most of the people enjoying the pool there seemed to be crew members. We would have prefered to call at Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala, which is sometimes offered in the itinerary, so we could see the well preserved historic city of Antigua and near by volcanoes. The city of Tapachula, about 20 miles inland from Puerto Chiapas was definitely NOTHING special. My husband and I have traveled quite extensively in Mexico and this city was a huge disappointment. We took the shuttle back after about 20 minutes. In Costa Rica, we were redirected to the commercial container port of Puerto Caldera instead of calling at Puntarenas, as scheduled. Apparently there was a Princess ship that had top priority that docked there. The commercial port had NOTHING in the way of tourist attractions or services, as far as we could tell. It was located about 30 minutes from the cruise ship area, so people wanting to visit there had to purchase shuttle tickets at $20 per person, if I heard correctly. We had a private tour booked, so weren't affected. The transit through the Panama Canal was simply OUTSTANDING! We will be doing it again on the Norwegian Sun in March 2019 as a part of a cruise from Santiago Chile. Sailing into Cartagena Colombia was wonderful! The tall, white, modern buildings of the modern city skyline were breathtaking. There is a VERY nice tourist area adjacent to the dock with cafes, a zoo, a huge gift shop and more. We took a taxi into the city and did our own walking tour of the historic area with its fantastic, colorful buildings. We were in Cartagena about mid October and it was absolutely SWELTERING and breathless. I have lived in Tampa Florida and south Louisiana for 20+ years and am not bothered by heat and humidity, but THIS took it to a new level! Be prepared to SWEAT! Disembarkation in Miami was quick and easy. We took the NCL shuttle to the Miami airport. We did not book ANY NCL shore excursions on this trip. Ports of call were San Francisco, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Huatulco (loved this port and would like to visit there again independently!), Puerto Chiapas, Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera), Panama Canal transit (no stops), Cartagena and Miami. Would I do this same itinerary again. No, but I am glad that we did it. We will be on the Sun again and will call at Puntarenas (hopefully!), do the Panama Canal transit again, and Cartagena, with the cruise ending in Miami. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Do not book this ship unless you are looking for a terrible experience. It started with a 3 hour delay leaving the Port of Miami and then being charged tax on all drinks because we were still in Port. Purchased the internet package ... Read More
Do not book this ship unless you are looking for a terrible experience. It started with a 3 hour delay leaving the Port of Miami and then being charged tax on all drinks because we were still in Port. Purchased the internet package ($24.99 per day) only to find out that we could not stream and MBL playoff games. We were told that they were working on the connection and we would be able to stream, never happened. We had a AFT cabin and shook violently for 2 hours, every time we went into Port. We were offered 2 other cabins, the 1st was right next to the elevator, you could hear the dinging of the elevator. And the 2nd, had just re-carpeted and the smell was unbearable. Housekeeping had dirty dish trays and laundry bags outside our cabin everyday. Made coffee in the cabin, after 2 days, I had to place the coffee pot on the corner of the cabinet, with the coffee grinds on top. The cabin stewart took the grids and put the dirty coffee pot back on the burner. Got sucked into a massage on the pool deck and was told 15 mins for $20.00, then when she came back with my card, she said she made a mistake and the price was $25.00. Are you kidding me. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We chose Norwegian Sun ship because of the itinerary. NCL is our cruise choice. We left out of Miami. We like to visit Miami. We went to South Beach for the day. We got a inside cabin in the 8th floor, aft. We arrived at the dock at 10:00 ... Read More
We chose Norwegian Sun ship because of the itinerary. NCL is our cruise choice. We left out of Miami. We like to visit Miami. We went to South Beach for the day. We got a inside cabin in the 8th floor, aft. We arrived at the dock at 10:00 am and were on the ship by noon. Of course we hit the buffet!! We walked the ship to become familiar with the floors and the facilities. The ship was very easy to navigate. We had dinner at Seven Seas restaurant. It was fabulous! Of course the food is great and the service is amazing. Then we went to the show. The entertainment was great! We found a guitar player in the Windjammer, Henry Hood who was a great entertainer. We enjoyed the music and his interaction with the guests. We enjoyed Colibri, the jazz band, and Inovation, the dance band. We stayed up late dancing. It was so much fun. We ran on the 6th floor for exercise. The average age was 75 years old and maybe 10 kids on the ship. We visited Cartegena, Columbia, which was a fascinating place. We shared a cab with several others to the clock tower at the squareVery clean and we felt very safe there. We visited Puntarenus, Costa Rica which may have been our favorite. We used Thumbs Up Tours and did the 10 in 1 tour. It was fantastic!! I highly recommend it. Then we went to Corinth, Nicaragua. This was a very poor port. I felt so sorry for these people and wondered why they stopped there only to believe these people needed money from guest to survive! They were very nice and not pushy. They were great people just poverty stricken. We hired a pedicab and he was fabulous. Next stop was Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala. We walked outside the port and got a group together for a cab tour to Antigua. That was so great. It was a beautiful city and a beautiful drive to get there. We saw the volcano which was active during the time we were there. Then to Acapulco, Mexico. It reminded me of Hollywood. Absolutely beautiful. Did gage cliff divers, great fun. Then to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico which was beautiful and fun. The cruise ended in San Diego, California and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Rented bicycles and rode the harbor. It was a great time and even tho it was 14 days on the ship, it went by so fast. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our second time thru the canal and the second time on this ship. We choose this cruise because of the itinerary as it had three ports we had not being to before. As Latitude members we were able to get on board rather quickly ... Read More
This was our second time thru the canal and the second time on this ship. We choose this cruise because of the itinerary as it had three ports we had not being to before. As Latitude members we were able to get on board rather quickly in Miami, though we sailed late as the ship was getting late supplies. The Sun is a smaller and a little bit older cruise ship. This means that it has good and some not so good things. First it is easy to navigate the ship as it is small. There are lots of dinning options and we never had trouble finding a seat or service. The crew it self seemed happy and were very accommodating. The entertainment on board was good to excellent. The production shows were all very good with a talented crew, especially the dancers. The smaller lounges had entertainment also every night. Henry Hood is a great entertainer, do not miss him. Our cabin was in the little known or seen Oslo deck. It is hidden between deck 6&7 at the front of the ship. The only access is from deck 7 down a small flight of stairs. The cabin itself was on the small size with a small washroom and shower. Bur remember you are not in your room much. One question for NCL. How can you call it a sports bar when you only show one channel? And that one shows soccer games 95% of the time/ The ports are what makes the cruise and this one did it for us. If you have never been on a Panama Canal Cruise, plan on doing one. We went to Cartagena, Puntarenas, Corinto, Puerto Quetzal, Acapulco, and Cabo San Lucas. A high and a low. In Puerto Quetzal we went to the city of Antiqua. This is a UNESCO city and a must for a traveler, We even had the opportunity to watch a volcano pop. Corinto on the other hand had little to offer. The port city itself is very impoverish, and our tour to Leon did little to change our mind about the conditions of the country. It would have been better to by-pass this port and go to another. Getting off in San Diego was a problem. As a non US citizen we had to all go up to the observation deck at 6:15 in the morning, The custom people did not start taking us though until 6:45. around 8 AM they start paging the 15 people who had not shown up yet :(. It took another hour to get them rounded. So everyone had to wait until after 9 to get off the ship. Not the ships fault, but some people think the rules do not apply to them and it effects us all. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We chose Norwegian due to the free drink package and the price (which was much less than our usual Holland American cruises). We have always wanted to go thru the Panama Canal. The boat was in need of some updates and was showing a little ... Read More
We chose Norwegian due to the free drink package and the price (which was much less than our usual Holland American cruises). We have always wanted to go thru the Panama Canal. The boat was in need of some updates and was showing a little wear and tear. Embarking was a breeze, however as many others have mentioned Norwegian needs to work on the disembarking process - it was very confusing and LONG! we were taking our own bags off and this meant we could leave when we wanted, however they kept announcing that the non americans had to appear for immigration check and we were not cleared for disembarking. After two hours we discovered we could have gotten off an hour ago. It was still very confusing and we stayed at a hotel right in front of the cruise terminal and three hours after we checking into our hotel people were still leaving the ship. The staff on the boat were WONDERFUL, much more friendly than on Holland American. The excursions were well organized and the shows top notch. My only complaint would be the lack of activities from noon to 4ish. We found ourselves a little board and would hang out in the sports bar to visit during that time (I am not complaining we had the free drink package). Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our 1st cruise with NCL. I think we will likely be cruising with another line in the future. Before I go blasting away, I do want to say that for the most part, this is a nice ship with a great crew. Before we even got on the ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise with NCL. I think we will likely be cruising with another line in the future. Before I go blasting away, I do want to say that for the most part, this is a nice ship with a great crew. Before we even got on the ship, we had an issue with NCL. This was supposed to be a Mexican Riviera cruise but NCL changed the itinerary to a Panama Canal transit. We had done a Panama Canal transit less than a year ago but decided to stay with this new plan. In fairness, NCL did offer to refund our fare. Curiously, once we decided to stay with this new itinerary, NCL charged us and addition $450 or so in taxes. We did get a $25 credit per person but it all just left a bad taste. Lost a star here. The lifeboat drill was a joke. It usually is but we did not even practice putting on the life vest. I also did not get the feeling that the crew took it very seriously either. On our 1st day at sea, I witnessed what appeared to be a near drowning in one of the hot tubs on the pool deck. At around 11am, a very large guest, who probably should not have been in the hot tub in the first place, lost his balance and fell in head first. I seriously doubt he could have righted himself. Luckily, 2 other guest were in the hot tub and able to lend assistance. The funny thing is that I saw NO crew members anywhere. Usually, there are some waiters around but not at this moment. We related the incident to a member of the management team. I noticed that there seemed to be at least 1 crew member around from this point on. I am not blaming NCL for anything but I wonder where everyone was. Speaking of service and such, I was disappointed by the customer service desk. I was on my way to a shore excursion and wanted to get some change for tips. I was told that the personnel manning the position could not give out change until later in the morning. Huh? That was a head scratcher. I want to add though that I was pleased with the crew other than this situation. The dining room was OK but there were a number of entrees that cost extra. I expect to pay extra in the specialty restaurants but not in the dining room. We ate in the dining room a couple of times. Once I had a steak which was not too good. Service was fair. We went to the Italian and the French specialty restaurants. I felt both of these were excellent. The rest of the time we ate at the buffet which was good enough. I noticed an odd thing about the way the ship scheduled the buffet line availability. At about the time when a lot of folks were returning from excursions, mid afternoon, there was just the small buffet at the back of the ship open. It seemed a lot of people were hungry just then resulting in longish lines. At other times the lines were not bad and seating available. Speaking of extra charges, why isn't water included in the Ultimate Beverage Package? Seems odd to pay for this perk and then get nicked extra for a bottle of water. Note to self, bring a water bottle next time and fill up in the room. This ship had the worst sports bar ever. Mostly they showed was soccer, golf, and tennis. They have NFL football Sunday, Monday night and Thursday night. A number of people wanted to watch the major league baseball playoffs but were told the ship did not get that channel. Lame, lame, lame given the mix of guests on board the ship. If you like a lot of action in the casino, this might not be the cruise for you. A lot of the time, the game tables were manned but no one was playing. The slots did not seem all that busy either. My favorite game is Craps but too often no one else was playing. I guess there weren't many gamblers on this cruise. Most of the guests were of a retirement age so it may be that many folks turned in early. The entertainment was good except for the hypnotist. What a waste of vacation time. The show was very poorly attended and we left early. I liked the production numbers the best and was pleased with the 4 Seasons review. My suggestion is to sit in the balcony on deck 7. Great view of the stage. During our previous transit of the Panama Canal, there was a great deal of cultural enrichment opportunities including history of the canal and port lectures. This was lacking on the Sun. There was a narration as we transited the canal but I felt the lecturer was not at all enthusiastic. Disembarkation was a mess. We were with the red tag group. We were called an hour later than scheduled. If that weren't enough, during our transfer to the Ft. Lauderdale airport that we purchased from NCL, the bus broke down. We spent an additional 45 minutes before another bus showed up. To make matters worse, some of the guests had to help with the luggage transfer just to speed things up. The corker was when we were all loaded on the "rescue" bus and the driver from the 1st bus went down the aisle looking for tips.Ya just can't make this stuff up. There were six stops on this itinerary. Cabo - You need to tender in here. Tendering was slow due to the sea conditions. I felt the crew did a good job dealing with the seas. In this case, we ended up staying in the port. Acapulco - We saw the cliff divers and the San Diego fort. Be prepared for heat. I thought our guide was going to pass out. The cliff divers were cool but it would not be worth a 2nd visit in my opinion. It would also be easy to do the San Diego fort on your own. It is right across the bridge from where the ship docks. Guatemala - We climbed the Pacaya volcano. This is a very rigorous excursion that I enjoyed a great deal. If you are not in shape, seriously consider taking one of the horses up. It costs extra but is well worth the view. I highly recommend this excursion. Nicaragua - We went to the boiling mud pots and toured the cathedral in Leon. This is a very worthwhile excursion. Our guide was great. Be aware that there is not much to do where the ship docks. Costa Rica - I did the zip line. It was fun and very safe. My wife climbed a waterfall which she enjoyed. Cartagena - We went to the fort which was fantastic. We had a good guide. Be ready for the heat and humidity. We also went to the old city but got caught in a torrential rain. Oh well. I hope I wasn't too negative. I did enjoy the cruise but there are a number of ways it could be improved. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Norwegian Sun Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 3.5 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.8
Family 3.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.7
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 3.5 4.1
Value For Money 3.5 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

Find a Norwegian Sun Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click