25 Norwegian Sun Transatlantic Cruise Reviews

Travel for relaxation was the main reason for this particular cruise. MISSON ACCOMPLISHED! The ship is smallish and very easy to navigate. We had a balcony room on the 10 deck which was perfect. Large enough for 2 people to easily ... Read More
Travel for relaxation was the main reason for this particular cruise. MISSON ACCOMPLISHED! The ship is smallish and very easy to navigate. We had a balcony room on the 10 deck which was perfect. Large enough for 2 people to easily navigate and a much larger bathroom that many other cruise ships. The service from beginning to end was great. We spent a great deal of time in deck chairs enjoying the calm seas and sun that we were lucky enough to have. The food was very good and plentiful. never long waits in the dining rooms. Ports of call were nice, especially Maderia Portugal...very interesting and beautiful. The time at sea was filled very well by the cruise staff. Lots of interesting activities for almost everyone. Different entertainment styles for most peoples enjoyment Check in check out easy as pie. Would recommend for someone looking for lots of down time and relaxation! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Where to start? NOTHING IS NORWEGIAN!!!!! They shouldn't be allowed to use the name. The purser knew nothing to help us with the money needs in the many ports we visited. The announcers spoke so poor English we couldn't ... Read More
Where to start? NOTHING IS NORWEGIAN!!!!! They shouldn't be allowed to use the name. The purser knew nothing to help us with the money needs in the many ports we visited. The announcers spoke so poor English we couldn't understand them (not Norwegian. In fact a Norwegian passenger said "why do they translate to every language except Norwegian?"). Super rude waiter; waiting beyond the start of the show after leaving 2 hours to eat. Very nice steward. Bad food. On chocolate night we tried about 10-15 small amounts of different "treats". We only liked 2 of them. Arrogant captain and other superiors. We couldn't use the library to play Scrabble because a group had evidently paid to reserve the whole room for making doll-houses. We moved to the ballroom and they turned out the lights and started a movie while we played. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Copenhagen/Miami Sept. 30-- Oct. 14, 2012 Since we do not drink, gamble, or bake in the sun, our cruising experience focuses primarily on itinerary, quality of service, food, and entertainment. As this was a repositioning cruise, we ... Read More
Copenhagen/Miami Sept. 30-- Oct. 14, 2012 Since we do not drink, gamble, or bake in the sun, our cruising experience focuses primarily on itinerary, quality of service, food, and entertainment. As this was a repositioning cruise, we had no expectations concerning itinerary but were, none the less, disappointed that the stop at the lovely port city of Funchal, Madeira was a mere 5 hours. The other aspects of the cruise important to us were equally disappointing. Although the Norwegian Sun has a very bright and colorful exterior, the cruise experience itself was quite dull and ordinary. It seems that NCL is offering a strictly economy class of service. On a scale of 6 stars we would give the Sun a weak 3 rating. An exception was our ocean view stateroom on Deck 4. It was surprisingly spacious, especially with the beds separated, and had more than adequate storage. On the down side, the bathroom is very small. Showering in a 30" diameter shower stall presents its own unique challenge. Of the two main dining rooms, Four Seasons and Seven Seas, the Seven Seas seems a bit more polished. The two have virtually the same limited menu, providing five fixed entrees plus five additional entrees that change daily. The service in both was adequate but hardly memorable. The 6 extra fee specialty restaurants aboard all have more elegant decor and appear to be far more "upscale." Some hints suggesting the "economy class" status of the cruise include: Artificial plants and flowers throughout the ship. No designated enrichment speakers aboard. (Some passengers presented their own "guest" lectures.) The Library is very small and the Photo Studio is very large. Limited use of live music in the main theater. Minimal, and very plain glass and tableware. Butter in foil wrappers in the main dining rooms. The main dining menus have no shrimp, oyster, or escargot appetizers, and very limited dessert options. The primary Garden Cafe buffet is relatively small and has limited variety. Large "horsy" bottles of ketchup and mustard "decorate" each of the primary buffet tables. _ The main entertainment venue, the Stardust Lounge located in the stern, has poor sight lines due to inadequately raked seating and a number of interfering columns. The usual array of comics, vocalists, pianists, magicians, and jugglers performed. While there were some highlights, most were routine. The shipboard troupe of singers and dancers performed adequately but, as is usual aboard ship, they were very loud. Most of the public gathering areas, lounges, etc. are somewhat gaudy and bustling. The exception is the Observation Lounge on Deck 12 Forward. Its decor has a nautical theme and is done mostly in dark wood, brass, and rattan. While at night it is a throbbing dance spot, during the day it is usually quiet and a great place to relax and read. Walking around the ship is a challenge. Stateroom numbers do not follow the traditional odd numbers on one side of the ship and even on the other. Corridors are a virtual maze with several ending in dead ends. In some cases moving from bow to stern requires going up a deck and then down again. Deck 5 is a prime example. To reach the main Seven Seas Restaurant (Deck 5 Aft) from the main Atrium on Deck 5, passengers must take the elevator or stairwell up, walk to the stern, and then take the elevator or stairwell down again. In another example, all of Deck 4 is served by only the most forward of the elevator banks. This elevator bank is the only means of access to the entire ship for passengers in any port-side stateroom on Deck 4. There is no link between the starboard and port-side corridors on Deck 4 in the stern. It is impossible to avoid the smoke-filled Casino when walking toward the stern on Deck 7. 16 Cruises 9 Cruise Ships 5 Cruise Lines Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
I enjoy art, architecture, museums, big cities, old palaces, new cultures, and meeting new people. My wife likes the laid-back aspects of cruising--long, carefree days at sea with absolutely nothing to do but the little she really wants to ... Read More
I enjoy art, architecture, museums, big cities, old palaces, new cultures, and meeting new people. My wife likes the laid-back aspects of cruising--long, carefree days at sea with absolutely nothing to do but the little she really wants to do--she's a bingo addict. She also enjoys culinary demonstrations. We both like fine dining, dressing for dinner, posing for photos, live entertainment and saving money. Transatlantic to the Baltic and all the capitals of northern Europe was a perfect vacation in fulfilling all these needs--believe it or not, even the part about saving money. First we spent three days driving from southeastern Ohio to Cocoa, Florida, where we found a Days Inn just off I-95 offering free parking for up to 30 days (their biggest selling point). It wasn't the fanciest place in the area but one of the cheapest. It was adequate. We stayed two nights before the cruise and one upon returning by plane to Orlando. We built an extra day into the schedule to take in the Kennedy Space Center about 15 miles northeast of Cocoa (not to be confused with Cocoa Beach on the coast). The Days Inn provided a free shuttle to Port Canaveral getting us there around eleven. Check-in was painless and the wait to board was maybe a half-hour or so. We were on the ship by noon. In checking out our cabin location, we found, to our surprise, that it was already ready, so we moved in carry-on bag and baggage. A little about our cabin--we booked a handicapped accessible ocean-view on deck five just off the forward elevators and barely a few steps from the Atrium. My wife, while not wheelchair bound, has had both knees replaced and several back surgeries. She has difficulties climbing steps and is somewhat walking adverse. It was a perfect location and the perfect room for a 22-day cruise. The bathroom, shower, and storage were quite spacious. The room was also about a third larger than most cabins in our class (OE). Way to go NCL! We followed the parade to the Garden Cafe on Deck 11. The Norwegian Sun is laid out in such a way as to require forward cabin guests to trek through either the casino/shopping area on Deck 7 or through two bars and a photo gallery on Deck 6 to get to the aft elevators and the Garden Cafe. Or, you can stroll past the pools and spas in hair-mussing wind on Deck 11. Given the storms and gales of our crossing, we most always chose Deck 6. It's a minor, probably unavoidable inconvenience. The Garden Cafe was like all such Lido eating venues, always too busy. You went in and grabbed a table first, then worried about what to eat later. Despite this, by the end of the cruise, we were starting to prefer it to the dining rooms. Quite often we grabbed a quick lunch there. The food? Good, nothing to write home about, though. The pizza was mediocre but the ice cream bar (often featuring crepes) more than made up for that. Down below, on Deck five, separated by the galley (I hate it when ships do that) was the Seven Seas Restaurant (stern) and the Four Seasons (amid ship). The latter was supposedly less formal but I, for one, couldn't see much difference in dress or the menu. The Seven Seas had more windows overlooking the ship's wake (and the late afternoon sun) so we more often ate there. It's one of the best kept secrets of cruising that these main dining rooms are also excellent for a leisurely (sea day) breakfast. Be aware, the menus DO repeat on back-to-back cruises. The food was well-prepared, well-served, and mostly quite good. Deserts were somewhat lackluster. Portions were modest, never the gut-busters of coastal Florida. If you overate on this cruise, it was your own fault. The Norwegian Sun is a medium-size ship. Coming off our last cruise on board Royal Caribbean's giant Oasis of the Seas, it seemed small, though never cramped. It was barely half full on the crossing leg. There were almost more staff than guests. There were a grand total of six kids aboard. For the Baltic leg, this number closed in on a hundred and the total passenger count doubled. It seemed like a whole different ship. There were easily a half-dozen different languages spoken. I love trivia games. The Sun had movie trivia, TV theme song trivia, music trivia, even trivia trivia. I accumulated enough participation points to garner a t-shirt, a deck of cards, and a nice ballpoint pen all heavily laden with NCL logos. Hey, our trivia group even won a good number of contests. My wife played (and lost) at bingo, again and again coming within one number of winning some substantial prizes. There was a caricature artist (free) on board and his wife, who did oriental name posters. In the evening there was karaoke, twist contests, "Who Wants to be a Hundredaire," "Deal or No Deal" and other such TV knock-off games. Every afternoon featured a recent movie in the Stardust Lounge. (Don't you just love digital projectors?) Between times, I enjoyed my favorite cruise activity--napping. By and large, the entertainment aboard the Sun was excellent. The classical pianist, Claire Maiden, who played a tremendous variety of music, was easily the entertainment highlight of the cruise. Greg London, a musical impersonator was also excellent as was the hilarious singer/comedienne Judy Kolba, The magic act, Kripton & Renate Illusions, was okay if you like magicians. There was also a juggler, a tenor singer, and two or three other imported talents who were less memorable. The Sun show band was great though the NCL-produced production shows were uneven, to say the least. Their choice of songs gave the impression they were quite watchful in keeping the cost of music royalties to a minimum. The performers were exceptional, especially given the handicap of working on the quite rough high seas. We had 12-15 foot waves most of the way across the Atlantic. Jamie (no last name) the cruise director exuded charm and charisma, intelligence and good humor from every pore just as all good cruise directors should. Service in all departments aboard the Sun was impeccable. Not once was I disappointed in their knowing and doing their jobs. By the end of the transatlantic leg, they often knew us by name. I think NCL must have a computer profile on all their guest, past and present, which helps out in this regard. Finally, a port not listed below: The Azores--it rains somewhere on Sao Miguel every day. The hot springs were interesting but other than the first off-the-ship exercise in six days, this port is picturesque but falls well short of being exciting. Our YouTube video can be see at: http://youtu.be/AGL_RUnKOso Disembarkation was a breeze. We bought transfer tickets to the Copenhagen airport on board for (I think) $30 each. We flew back to Dulles on SAS in just under nine hours. I hate flying but this was at least tolerable. Why are foreign airlines seemingly so much more pleasant that American carriers? Our trip from Dulles back to Orlando was delayed by customs. A two-hour layover was too short. We got to the plane just as they were buttoning it up. After some negotiations, United Airlines gave us a coupon for a considerable discount at the nearby Hilton. We were delayed 24 hours. Transatlantic cruises have two things going for them, economy and peace and quiet. Also there's a likelihood of at least SOME rough weather along the way. The Baltic is a great trip for those jaded by the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. A surprising number of cruisers today fit that description. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Embarkation- Port Canaveral is under construction and was full of detours - it took the bus driver three or four circuits before he got us to the termi8nal. When we arrived we had to tote our baggage a hundred yards or so to the terminal ... Read More
Embarkation- Port Canaveral is under construction and was full of detours - it took the bus driver three or four circuits before he got us to the termi8nal. When we arrived we had to tote our baggage a hundred yards or so to the terminal from the bus parking area, but after that the embarkation process was smooth, easy and uncrowded. The Ship- Norwegian Sun is a medium aged ship and on the repositioning transatlantic portion of the cruise it was only about half occupied it appeared. The ship was well laid out with easy access and responsive elevators. the drew was informed, well-trained and efficient, from room steward to bartenders. The cabin we had was on Deck 4, the lowest one but it had a porthole that was sufficiently large to see out. We were so close to the water the waves occasionally broke higher than the window. Exciting. The beds were comfortable but the storage space was a bit cramped for a 21-day cruise. Activities- There was little in the way of organized activity on the transatlantic leg, but once we got to the main part of the Baltic cruise things picked up. Overall, the ship didn't have the spontaneity of Carnival, for example. There is a corporate, "by-the-book" feeling to it. There was a series of lectures by a scientist named Dr. Ricci that could have been very good but he was an older fellow and had a hard time keeping on the subject and presenting a coherent presentation. The subject was Astrophysics and Cosmology. We played a lot of trivia, etc, but there were no prizes awarded at the game time- you collected signatures on an "activity card" and then traded them in for prizes on the last day. After participating in 28 events,and winning several, I got a pen and a key chain- a little chintzy, I thought. Entertainment was average. Food- Norwegian uses the "Freestyle" unreserved dining, but there are about seven specialty restaurants that charge for dinner. We never went to any of them. One of them opened at about 5pm and used up half the "Lido Deck" dining area, which was inconvenient. The specialty restaurants didn't seem to be doing much business. Personally, I prefer an assigned seating so you get yo know your table-mates. The two regular dining rooms served fairly adequate food but nothing special. Of course- no "midnight buffet"- now gone along with many of the other perks of cruising. the weather was not good transiting the Atlantic so there were only a couple of deck barbecue events. The Lido Deck restaurant did a good business, but was heavy with Indian cuisine- curry of one sort or another every day- but there were also a few other interesting and tasty specials. All-in-all, not great but adequate. There was 24-hour a day pizza delivery- 16" pie for five dollars, or free in the Lido Restaurant. There was a formal night but nobody participated. Smoking- If you care, smoking was extremely limited on board. There was a small rather cold area on deck, albeit well protected from the winds, and you could smoke in the casino all the time. Ports- The Azores- A beautiful Mediterranean-like atmosphere with warm and friendly people- we had a magnificent seafood meal ashore, and the town of Ponta Delgado was beautiful. Amsterdam, Netherlands- We took a ship's shore excursion to the towns of Volendam and Marken- little villages and very "touristy, especially Volendam. We were too long in the rather dull town of Marken and too little time in Volendam, a much larger town with more to do. Copenhagen, Denmark- My favorite port- beautiful city and very friendly pewople. Had lunch in town at an outdoor cafe on the canal, "Heerings"- and I highly recommend it. Be prepared tho- lunch was $118.00 for two, including beer. Great food, especially the "Golden Lobster Soup" which is easily a meal in itself. Warnemunde, Germany- We took a ship's excursion called Chugging on the Molli and rode a steam train along the coast to the town of Heiligendam- very picturesque o0ld resort city with a stop for coffee and cake at a beautiful old hotel. There was a lot of shopping on the pier for the usual souvenirs. Tallinn, Estonia- A beautiful city but if you take the old town tour be advised there is a lot of walking and rough cobblestone surfaces. It was like the little village you imagine at the bottom of the hill from Cinderella's castle- we had coffee at an outdoor cafe and bought some great wool caps- the weather was sunny but quite cool at each stop. A hamburger and fries was $15 at the "Arizona Restaurant". Also went out to the open-air museum where they have many styles of old Estonian homes, mostly log cabins- again more walking but the forest atmosphere was beautiful and very restful St. Petersburg, Russia- Amazing palaces, full of gold - it's incredible what extravagance the tsar's enjoyed- took the tours of Catherine's Palace and the Hermitage- the Hermitage museum was very crowded- it was a local holiday- and uncomfortably warm inside. Many staircases and no elevators, so it was quite a workout- On the second day in St. Petersburg we took a very pleasant boat ride on the Neva River where all the points of interest are easily seen. But overall, the city seemed old and grey, leaving an impression of melancholy. Don't miss the ruins of the naval fortress about twelve miles east of the city as the ship leaves port. Helsinki, Finland- Took the ships city tour and boat ride and were impressed with the city, but it is a bit cold and sterile. Had I known earlier I would have explored the city on my own- altho the dock is quite some distance from town. Stockholm, Sweden- Our last port before returni9ng to Copenhagen. A beautiful city full of lo0re. We visited the "Vasa" museum to see the restoration of a 17th century Swedish warship, but the highlight of that stop was a hot dog stand next door where we enjoyed Swedish hot dogs of local sausage and one of lamb- sublime. The ship docked right across from town and there was a great view of the city from the deck. Disembarkation- Smooth and efficient- our bags were checked to the airport and there we took a flight to Frankfurt and from there to Washington, DC. We used ships airport transfer bus. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We decided this time (cruise #'s 19 and 20) to take back-to-back cruises.....13 day TA from Port Canaveral to Copenhagen, and 9 Day Baltic round-trip Copenhagen. The first 13 days were TA with two stops, Ponta del Gado and ... Read More
We decided this time (cruise #'s 19 and 20) to take back-to-back cruises.....13 day TA from Port Canaveral to Copenhagen, and 9 Day Baltic round-trip Copenhagen. The first 13 days were TA with two stops, Ponta del Gado and Amsterdam. I can't say enough great things about the crew of the Sun. The ship was not full during the first leg, and we all were spoiled rotten. Our stateroom steward, Fidel, was the best ever! Thanks, Fidel. Our Cruise Director, Jaime, and her staff (especially Beantown Brian, Sinful Sin, Just JJ, Mighty Maria, and Amazing Anastasia....just to mention a few)were fantastic. We woke up every morning laughing at Jaime's morning show. She was always trying to ditch Brian, but somehow, some way, he always managed to find her. Of course, the camera man, Ray, was always blamed for telling Brian where they were shooting the show. Jaime used to work for Carnival.....they should have bribed her to keep her. With a half-full ship, there was one crew member for each passenger, and they definitely spoiled us rotten. Our Cruise Critic group was a great bunch, and by the end of the cruise they felt like family! We spent sea days playing games in Las Ramblas - Left, Center, Right....Bunko, and Leaman's game - 5 Crowns. Great fun was had by all. We had an aft balcony stateroom, with plenty of storage. The ship was in great shape, and just the right size...holds 1800+ passengers. She's showing a little wear and tear in the staterooms, but is still a beauty and immaculately clean. Food was good to great in the main dining rooms, and we also tried Le Bistro (always our favorite), Teppanyaki, and the Brazilian restaurant (can you say meat, meat, and more meat?) Breakfast in Moderno was always a treat (deluxe continental). Baltic Ports: (nutshell descriptions) Germany - took the train to Berlin and Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. Had a great time on the train with Debbie and Jay and Sammi and her husband. Stood on the line where the Berlin wall used to stand, passed Checkpoint Charlie, etc. It was raining when we got to the concentration camp, but when I thought about complaining, it hit me that a little discomfort was nothing compared to what the past inhabitants of the camp endured. This was a very sobering experience, and everyone should visit a camp at least one time...lest we forget. Estonia - a beautiful country. The Talinn town square was amazing, with little shops and restaurants built into rock walls. Also, the U.S. should some lessons from the Estonia economy. St. Petersburg, Russia....we took an SPB Tour, with our guide, 'Elena' (she said, "call her Helen.") Definitely recommend you ask for her as your guide, and SPB tours can be found on line. The first day was 12 hours including the Hermitage and numerous castles and churches - the like of which I've never seen. Day 2 was eight hours, including more castles and Peterhof Gardens (beautiful), ending with a hydrofoil boat ride back to our pier. Helsinki, Finland - my least favorite port, but probably because we only saw the city and not much of the countryside. We recommend the "Hop-on, Hop-off" buses here and also in...... Stockholm, Sweden. The sail into port was several hours of beautiful islands with quaint homes and gardens. It reminded is somewhat of the Alaska Inside Passage. The city was also beautiful. Our trip home was brutal...awake for 24+ hours with 3 planes and 3 airports. We flew Air Canada from Copenhagen to Toronto (a very nice flight, by the way, for all you Air Canada haters we met on this trip), then United to Houston, and again home to Dallas. Exhaustion not withstanding, it was well worth it, as this was definitely the trip of a lifetime. We loved the ship, the crew, our Cruise Critic bunch, the ports and everything about this trip! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
The NCL SUN is a ship of a size we prefer. It is easy to find ones way around, and deck 6 offers a fine walking deck with views of whatever is out there. We like the buffet dining areas for the variety they offer and we no longer even ... Read More
The NCL SUN is a ship of a size we prefer. It is easy to find ones way around, and deck 6 offers a fine walking deck with views of whatever is out there. We like the buffet dining areas for the variety they offer and we no longer even bring dress up clothes. Saves on luggage space that way! Besides I never have enough time to do all the things I want without having to "get ready "for dinner. On NCL we can do our own thing the way we like. Our final port was Ponta del Gado in the Azores. This newly built cruise ship section makes it easy to walk from the ship to the city. A long walkway follows the water where one can watch fishing boats or sail boats or water polo players. Cobblestone walkways in the main city mean wear good shoes. Many interesting shops here with a cash only policy. The black and white stone work will fascinate you. The Arts and Crafts classes offered started with paper flowers and this led us into pre packaged amazing kits. These when made up make great gifts for crew members one really felt were special friends. The space on the back of deck 11 offered shade or sun, and clear views of the moon too. Sometimes it was difficult to find dining seating inside the Garden Cafe, so out here on deck seating was more available. On nice days the pool area was full and of course people save their seats and don't use them for hours! 5 hot tubs made relaxing really great! There were times when an offered event was so well attended the seating was difficult to find. Being a smaller ship I guess this is just the way it is. The Art Auctions this cruise were fantastic,with a plenitude of art offerings and a team with knowledge to share. Very friendly group. We went to Las Ramblas each evening to listen to the professional entertainer Kim Doolittle. With her amazing voice,guitar playing and knowledge of songs with trivia about them thrown in, she was awesome. Our favorite performer for sure. The hypnotist on board, Nadeem Manuel, has changed my life is a short time. She was most generous with her knowledge, really knows how to listen, has a great sense of humor and understands people too well! Never before have we had hawks stowe away on a ship but two stayed with us and would circle the ship during the day and sit on wires for the night. Several small birds were on board too so animal life was abundant. It really comes down to what one likes to do so if you don't have a good time, it's your own fault! Happy cruising. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
I have just joined Cruise Critic on the recommendation of one of the passengers ( ??? on the treadmill. Hi Annette) on this years trip. I have to echo the opinions of CLEMENTJR with respect to cost cutting, food and service. We had ... Read More
I have just joined Cruise Critic on the recommendation of one of the passengers ( ??? on the treadmill. Hi Annette) on this years trip. I have to echo the opinions of CLEMENTJR with respect to cost cutting, food and service. We had sailed on the Sun last year from Dover to Port Canaveral in a balcony cabin on deck 8 aft and really enjoyed the trip. While on that trip we were told that the ship was going for a refit in January 2011. There were signs that the ship was showing it's age like old style tube TVs and the odd stain and faded curtains here and there. With this in mind we decided to repeat the trip this year. Due to various family commitments we weren't able to book a balcony and settled for an outside cabin in deck 7 forward. There was a minor glitch on embarking at Copenhagen when the server died and all the check-in terminals went down, but hey ho that's computers. When we got to our cabin my wife was putting the toiletries in the bathroom when she remarked how dirty it was and that 'she didn't leave a clean house to come to a dirty cabin'. On further examination she then found price tags and hairs in the drawers. With that a swab of the shelves in the bathroom was taken and off to reception to complain. They were reluctant to accept our 'sample' but later an officer did come to the cabin to inspect it for himself. He then said he would have the cabin 'deep cleaned'. The subsequent knock on from this was a very surly cabin steward who refused to speak to us for the rest of the voyage. His loss. We couldn't see any signs of a refit in the cabin. The same old TVs, The mirror in the bathroom was tarnished for an inch and a half on the full bottom width, the carpet was worn through to the backing in places and the pull-out looked positively disgusting with stains. It's a very noisy cabin at docking time. My last Norwegian voyage I think. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
I knew when I saw this itinerary, that I wanted to do this because we have never been on a trans-atlantic cruise before. We flew directly to Dusseldorf via Air Berlin from LAX where we were met by German friends that we became friends ... Read More
I knew when I saw this itinerary, that I wanted to do this because we have never been on a trans-atlantic cruise before. We flew directly to Dusseldorf via Air Berlin from LAX where we were met by German friends that we became friends with when we were on the NCL JADE to the Black Sea in 2009. After a day and night of German hospitality we then went by train to Lubeck where we stayed a couple nights at Hotel Stadt Lubeck. It is close to the Bahnhof which is what we wanted and clean. Maybe, a couple minutes of walk. We didn't hear any trains from our room. It is small and not modern. While at Lubeck we met a friend that I haven't seen for over 40 years. From Lubeck, we went by train to Copenhagen where we stayed at Hotel Savoy before embarking the NCL SUN. At first we were going by bus # 26 to the pier but met some cruisers at the hotel and went with them by taxi. This was the easiest embarkation we ever had. It took only a few minutes to enter the ship. That was awesome. It was unbelievable! As usual, the NCL crew is friendly and made us feel at home. Our room steward, Kurt, was great. He would straighten up our mess even if I thought it was presently. Every morning, I would fix the bed but that wasn't good enough for him so he made it look nicer. He also made so many towel animals for us. The best one that I like, is the little mouse in the cup. Kurt thought it was cute that I would put a couple leis on the towel animals. The leis were of the Belgium flag colors that was given to us when we crossed the Netherlands into Belgium. The waiters etc at the dining room was excellent except for the last breakfast which we didn't get what we ordered. She wasn't a happy waitress at all...not a good example for NCL but I mostly remember the excellent ones such as Eddie that remembered us from the SUN cruise last year from Santiago to Miami and Franjaya. The only problem with Franjaya, a group of cruisers had booked dinner with him for the entire cruise so we hardly saw him and when we did, he was awesome like Eddie. Amsterdam was great. Have never being there before so made arrangements with Marius of De Dagtoertaxi which was recommended by our friend Heinbloed. A fellow cruiser joined us to see Amsterdam, Marken, Volendam, the windmill museum and went through very nice villages before returning to Amsterdam. This was an awesome tour with Marius. Few minutes after returning to the terminal, we were met by our friends, Heinbloed and Bruno who stole us away for an overnight at Brussels where we ate Belgium food at the top of the Atomium. He is the person that gave us the Belgium flag color leis when we crossed into Belgium which we were very surprised to receive. They took us to Ghent and Bruges and returned us to Zeebruges to board our ship. Heinbloed and Bruno were awesome and the places they took us to, were awesome. How can we ever thank you for all you did for us? I wish that NCL would have an overnight at either Amsterdam or Zeebruges. The only photos I've seen of the Atomium was during daylight and to see it at night was awesome. Plus spending time at Brussels and seeing the famous Mannequin Pis and the Palace area. Ghent is quieter than Bruges and I like it better because it had less tourist so wasn't as crowded as Bruges where the sidewalks were full of tourist. At Lisbon, we joined a tour that one of the cruisers arranged for with "We hate tourism tours". The greatest adventure on this was to see Quinta da Regaleira at Sintra. This was another awesome place. At Ponta Delgada Azores, Ricardo of Amazing Tours was our guide. I made arrangements with him in 2010 for this tour for 7 of us. He and Ponta Delgada was also awesome. What is said of him in cruise critic is true. At Cape Canaveral, we joined Mary from our cruise who arranged for a shuttle to take 6 of us to the Orlando Airport. That was awesome of Mary to arrange that. This was an awesome cruise. Am now looking forward to another cruise with the SUN. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
WHY I TOOK THIS CRUISE: I purchased a future cruise on a previous NCL cruise and had to use it up. Plus it was TA and I am just getting interested in TA crossings, plus they tend to be less expensive. . TRAVEL TO EMBARKATION: I flew to ... Read More
WHY I TOOK THIS CRUISE: I purchased a future cruise on a previous NCL cruise and had to use it up. Plus it was TA and I am just getting interested in TA crossings, plus they tend to be less expensive. . TRAVEL TO EMBARKATION: I flew to Copenhagen on Icelandic ending up on business class. Reservations were made on coach but whereas I was upgraded to business at no cost and got to eat in the Icelandic Lounge and was able to nibble on lobster and clam chowda, I did not complain. . EMBARKATION: This was rather smooth, the fastest I have seen it; appears Transatlatic Cruises are speedy. I took my bags with me and 30 minutes after the cab let us off, I was on deck 11 getting something to eat waiting for the clear signal that our cabins were ready. . Disembakation: I left the ship as late as possible for I was staying in Port Canaveral overnight. The only drawback to this was that as this was a transatlantic cruise, according to what we were told by NCL, there would be no early leaving per Customs officials. Disembarkation for me however was smooth as I left the ship late; there seemed to be few people which surprised me and I went thru Customs rather speedily. What did surprise me was that with all the experience the transportation people had, one would think that obtaining taxis and buses would have been smoother. I wonder what it is like when it is really busy. . FOOD: The food was average, no great, good, nor poor rather average. . CABIN: The cabin was quite adequate and the bed size was comfortable. I did not feel as if I was going to fall off it like I did on the Crown Princess in April. . WASHING DAY: Beware of the $26 washing day. I took advantage of it and would have been better off if I washed the items myself. . SPA/FITNESS: These I did not use for the Spa is too expensive and while the Fitness is free (how long will that be?) I did not use it. . CASINO: Had NCL given away lanyards free I might have used the $.01 or $.02 slots but whereas they did not I chose not to patronize the place. Besides I do not like smoking. KIDS PROGRAMS: From what I was told the childrens programs were quite satisfactory but there were only about 10 kids on board. . INTERNET CAF: Needless to say I did not use this; it is costly and time consuming plus I am on vacation. If given time free internet time then that would be a different story. . TELEPHONE USE: I did not use the telephone at all but brought one with me in case of emergency. Before leaving the states I called the phone company to tell them I would be on vacation. Use of telephone, like the internet, is costly plus again I am on vacation. If anyone wants to get in touch with me they could either leave a message or call me upon returning. . BARS: I do not drink and have nothing to say about the bars but do suggest that one think about spending money for drinks aboard a cruise ship as this tends to be expensive. . STENCH: One would think that during 15 days at sea there would be an odor from the bathrooms but such was not the case; I did not notice it nor did I hear of any comments from my fellow passengers. . GOLF DRIVING NET, BATTING CAGES, SHUFFLE BOARD, BASKETBALL/VOLLEYBALL COURT, BODY WAVES, SPA & BEAUTY SALON: I did not have occasion to use these. . GALLERIA SHOPS, SHOPPING ARCADE: I did not patronize these shops with the exception of an Acu-Strap that fits on your wrists for motion sickness. This was $10 and people that had them said they worked including one couple that sailed for more than 15 years. I decided that for $10 you could not go wrong, not that I get sea sick. . LATE NIGHT SNACKS: The Sun has a limited late night snack menu. Basically you can get something to eat on the ship 24/7. . CHOCOLATE NIGHT: Towards the end of the cruise there was a chocolate night at 10:30pm which I did not attend as I am not a dessert person plus there is a crowd of about 3000 people all trying to get their hands on chocolate like it was going out of style. . CABIN SOAP: The cabins were equipped with a dispenser for hand and bath and shampoo soap. Bar soap is available but you have to ask your for it. . ENTERTAINMENT/ACTIVITIES: The evenings entertainment was not bad on the whole however the days activities left much to be desired; one would think that there would be sufficient activities on a TA cruise. . Specialty Restaurants: I did not try any of these as I do not like eating alone. Also food is not that important to me; I eat mainly because it is a necessary evil. A couple said they were not impressed with Moderno. Other people I talked to said they were quite satisfied with the specialty restaurants. . OVERALL RATING: I asked many fellow cruisers how they rate this cruise and the average was 5 the reasons being food, entertainment, communication and inadequate facilities for activities. For example there is no reason why a movie is shown in a room that is not suited for that purpose. Now for me the rating is different. Food is really not that important to me. I got quite an experience from other Cruise Critic members that had 10+ cruise under their belt and were experienced in tours. I do not believe you can put a price on this. TOURS/TRANSPORTATION . Amsterdam: Private 5-6 hour taxi tour with boat trip; walking tour of Marken, boat to Volendam, walking tour of Volendam, Schemerhorn, Windmill museum; scenic ride back to Amsterdam. Duration 9am-2:30pm; total cost 136 Euro plus per person extra of boat trip (4 Euro) & Windmill Museum (5 Euro) plus lunch. On our tour we had 3 people at a total cost of 50 Eur. We did not make the boat trip nor did we see as much of Amsterdam as planned due to a bicycle race and the rerouting of traffic. I would take the tour again and recommend him highly. Information: De Dagtoertaxi www.dagtoertaxi.nl, dagtoer@planet.nl owner Marius Hovius. Windmill museum email info@museummolen.nl, www.museummolen.nl. . Zeebrugge-Bruges Taxi Belgium: http://brugsetaxiservice.com/eng.html . This was supposed to be taxi transportation from the pier to Brugge-Bruges only by Brugse Taxi. Three taxis were reserved and were to meet us at the pier. The 1st taxi never showed up. The 2nd taxi had engine trouble and the group ended up taking the tram on the return trip. We in taxi 1 since the taxi never showed up at 9am, decided at 9:10am to hire another taxi operated by Jean Marie Schapdrijver, jms2@telenet.be. He had been at the terminal a good 45 minutes and took our 8 passengers to Bruges for 50 Eur one-way and was waiting for us at 2:30pm for the return trip at 3:30. This was too close for me as we had to be on the ship at 4:30 but the experienced Cruise Critic members assured me that the drive from Bruges to Zeebrugge and the port was only 30 minutes. Bruges Taxi Service does get good revues from other CCers but I cant recommend them because of this experience, rather in the future I will use the taxi operated by Jean Marie. . Lisbon: Tour included Sintra, Cascals, the Estoril Coast, Belem, & the Hills of Lisbon; included picnic lunch and famous Pastels do Belem, Ginjinha (Portuguese Cherry Liquor). Not included Palace entry (Eur 5) and ice cream (Eur 2.50). Cost of trip Eur 50/pp. Our guide was Bruno; the 4 taxis (taking a total of 39 people) were waiting for us at the pier. Since we had vans, we were able to go places that buses were not able to go. After visiting Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra, we had lunch of wine, cheese and sandwiches. Later in Cascals we stopped for ice-cream and were back to the ship at 3pm as pre-arranged. The tour was through www.wehatetourismtours.com and Bruno gave a splendid tour. . Ponta Delgada: by Amazing Tours; Cost Eur 8 pp per hour. Ricardo, the owner was at the pier at 9am waiting for us, gave us a wonderful tour of the island, we stopped to see the hot springs, he treated us to pineapple grown in the Azores, and brought us back to the ship by 1pm. He suggested a local restaurant for lunch Casa de Pasto; I do not know what it is about the Portuguese, but the meat was very tender and the best we have ever tasted, reminded me of Emeril Lagasse (http://www.emerils.com). The price of the meal was quite reasonable at EU 53 for 3 people. . HOTEL IN COPENHAGEN: I stayed at the centrally located Savoy Hotel along with 4 other cruise critic members (not in the same room of course). This is blocks away from Tivoli and Stroget. The rooms are quite adequate and what one would find in a European or Danish Hotel. DIARY: . Thurs / Friday 9-15 to 16 2011: BOS to CPH overcast; BOS wx cold front coming thru, fall like weather predicted for next few days I left the apt at 6pm, asked the concierge to call me a cab to the airport but a cab was dropping someone off so I hopped in. At the Icelandic terminal I got in the line for Saga/Business (there was not any line at all) got my ticket, went thru TSA, & used the lounge. Funny, but I thought I made reservations for the coach end, however I didnt complain. The shrimp cocktail was not bad and my hands were too shaky to eat the lettuce; the New England Clam Chowda was okay but no comparison to Legal Seafoods. I tried to get online while at the Icelandic lounge, followed directions, couldnt so I gave up, my temper was flaring later I remembered that I did something wrong:). The plane flew about 30,000 altitude, since the moon was shining bright it looked like the clouds were dancing. Flight from Boston to Reykjavik was rather calm considering there was a hurricane and rain showers below us. We arrived in Reykjavik about 6am local or 2am Boston. On the flight from Reykjavik to Copenhagen, I met a lad who said Denmark just had an election. I mentioned that Malmo is not far from Copenhagen and he stated that they have already begun construction of a Metro to there. He also mentioned that many Danes buy houses in Sweden because housing is cheaper; he added that those Danes work in Denmark, pay taxes to Denmark but because they live in Sweden they are not allowed to vote. I asked him if Denmark is as expensive as they say it is; he replied yes. During both flights, I did not get much sleep, rather watched the monitor on the back of the seat in front of me. We landed in Copenhagen, partly cloudy; it was nice to see the sun again. After picking up my luggage I should have gone to the Forex booth to change money but I didnt so went thru customs using the door nothing to declare. At the Information Desk I purchased the 72 hour Copenhagen card which to my surprise expired at 2am Monday; I was not aware you could buy the card for day. I asked directions to Central Station and was told to take a left, go straight, take train 2 and go downstairs. Translated that means go take a left, go past the sign that says train #1 and walk until you see train #2, upon entering an escalator whisks you downstairs. Three stops later and I was at the Central Station, no changes were involved The walk to the Savoy Hotel was not bad considering I had 1 bag @ 2 carryon plus a laptop. . Sat 9/17/11 CPH: High 61, low 55, mostly cloudy, wind NW 21mph I didnt do much today; put on yesterdays underwear since they were washed last night and dried quickly. First I had breakfast, which I take it was a Danish breakfast since Im in Denmark. Then I had trouble with the laptop, brought it down to the front desk and both of us do not know what she did but she fixed it. It seems I know more about desktops than laptops. As it was raining outside when I left the hotel the clerk told me I could use one of the umbrellas the hotel lends at no cost. Walking to a Foreign Exchange I cashed $100 into Danish Kroner also cashed $50 into DKR then into Euros getting 20 Euros; the currency exchange had to do it that way and I needed the Euros. By that time it was noon and time to eat so I found a restaurant for 59 DKR plus water of 20 DKR. After the meal I took a nap, actually was still tired from the airplane ride yesterday. The evening clerk gave me several inexpensive restaurants but the only one I could find was one called Burger something; the place sold pizzas and burgers and mostly does a take-out business. I had a burger for 39 DKR plus 20 for water. Now $1 = approx. 5 DKR so that would make water about $5 for .5 liters or 17 oz by my calculations which is way more than I would spend in the states. I tried my Nook in the burger joint but it isnt working probably; maybe it misses the states?. Between eating lunch and supper today, my nook went on the fritz; I will have to get it fixed when I return to Boston. The clerk at the Hotel Savoy told me that the old elevator they have is one of the oldest in Denmark. . Sun 9/18/11 CPH: High 60, low 54; rain; wind NE to NW 12mph; 1002mb I walked to Tivoli today, got there at opening time, about 11am, entrance fee paid by the Copenhagen Card, walked around an hour, nothing doing, so left and stopped at Jensens Boefhus for a 59 DKR meal. This was the first time where the waitress asked me if I wanted bottled water or tap water. Naturally I said tap since I have enough of the bottled water. As I was eating, it rained roughly 5 minutes. It seems that everyplace I go, I get bottled water and what I do not drink I take with me. There remained in my wallet 500 DKR and that was for 3 meals; my intention was to splurge on a taxi from the Savoy Hotel to the cruise port on Tuesday. Its strange to see the way people dress here as this weather to me is raw but one sees men in t-shirts, shorts, girls in short shorts; sort of like Boston in winter and one views a man in shorts. The desk clerk informed me of a Danish Pizzeria that makes its own dough. I started to walk to Fontana Di Trevi, borrowing an umbrella as it was raining out & had a tuna fish sandwich that was more than filling for 38 DKR. It is located in a basement did not have knives, forks, or spoons; it mainly relies on take out although there is one table for eat in. The hotel clerk told me that whenever he eats there he has a sandwich but admitted he has not been there in awhile and did not know they served lasagna saying he would not have it as the place is known for its pizza and sandwiches. . Mon 9/19/11 CPH: partly cloudy, high 61, Low 52, wind NNE 15 mph, pressure 1009 mb, humidity 85%, visibility very good First I walked to a bank to get Euros but was told they first had to convert the $ to DKR then DKR to Euros, the teller told me that I would lose conversion in that way and to try Forex at the nearby central train station as maybe they would do it. Forex told me they could only do it by DKR then Eur. So I guess it is back to my bank in the states. Then I walked to Stroget the walking street and could not see anything in it; seems its popularity is blown out of proportion. There was a bike race ending or something. I walked back to Jensens Bofhus for lunch and had a hamburger. Was thinking of getting something else but I decided against it which was good. When I got back to the hotel the clerk informed me that taxi fare to the cruise terminal was 180 DKR; as I had 200 DKR left it meant that supper would have to be charged. For supper I went to an Italian restaurant near the hotel, had spaghetti with meat sauce as that was one of the cheapest on the menu. Upon receipt of the slip I noticed that I was charged for 288 DKR. Had I not said anything, well I doubt it was an honest mistake. So I was refunded 100 DKR & change which made me happy as then I had more than enough to pay for the taxi. When I returned to the hotel there was a message from Tracy. She told me that she and her husband were out of DKR and asked if I would I pay for the taxi and they would reimburse me; I gladly replied in the affirmative. Back at the room I started to pack as they wanted me to meet them in the lobby at 11am the next day. . Tue 9/20/11 CPH AMS: partly cloudy, high 59, low 57, wind NW 17 mph, humidity 77%, pressure 1018 mb, visibility good I started packing last night then woke up in the am as I could not sleep and finished packing. All that remained were the ready for the day stuff which I packed after breakfast. Tracy and her husband met me in the lobby, Tracy saying our cab is here. He almost took us to the airport until Tracy corrected him and he drove all around Copenhagen because there was a bike race going on. Other cruisers paid a high price for taxis but it seems we were exempt for at the airport our driver turned off the meter when he realized his mistake. Upon entering the cabin I saw 2 double beds which totally blocked up the entrance. So I asked Sidney Louis, my stateroom steward, to make the 2 double beds into 1 and what a difference. The suitcases went under the bed and the clothes were hung up in the closet with care. A balcony is a nice room to have, I do not need a balcony but for the extra $ it is worth it in my mind. Still my friend Bernie and others say that an inside is all cabin is all one really needs because how much time do you spend in the cabin? Most cruisers do not spend much time, however I do and the bigger the cabin the better?. For supper I had 2 lobster tails with fish and vegetables; the lobster tails did not compare to down Maine. Two lobster tails were needed, 1 for me and 1 for my friend Lou. At the dining table I took pictures of the two couples at supper but forgot to get their email addresses. . Wed 9/21/11 At Sea on way to Amsterdam; cloudy, 61F, sunrise 7:09am, sunset 7:40pm This morning at 12:30am I went to Deck 11 & the Sports Bar for a midnight snack. The daily calendar showed this restaurant open until about 5:30am. The weather appeared to have warmed up a bit. Getting back to Bernie (above) and his like for an inside cabin, that feeling seems justified as the cruise lines do not exactly give you what is called a roomy cabin. It is okay for a short period of time, but in reality how much time does one spend in a cabin? Bernie is planning a trip to the Panama Canal and last I spoke to him was thinking of changing from an inside cabin to a balcony as recommended by the travel agent. Met Frank from KY at breakfast; he cruised extensively with his wife but stopped when she passed away. A few years ago he looked up and asked her if it was okay to resume and now he cruises quite often. It appears he lives on cruise lines returning to KY for just a few weeks. For the remainder of this year he had 2 cruises planned. He was very interesting due to the fact that he has cruised so much. The Cruise Critic Meet and Greet was held in the Observation Lounge on Deck 11; there must have been about 100 in attendance. Various Officers from the ship were there, and irate member posed a question to the Cruise Director that should not have been part of the M&G. Steve introduced the Officers, introduced Dave who coordinated the Cabin Crawl, and other member. It was time for lunch so I took the elevator to the Seven Sea Restaurant and sat with a couple from Scotland, a couple from FLA, and a gentleman from FLA. After lunch I went to the Casino for a lanyard but was told I had to go to the front desk and purchase one. So I went back to my room and used the lanyard that said Holland America Line on it as HAL gave them out free. I was going to see the movie Vikings but my eyes had another idea; just could not keep them open so I went back to cabin for a nap. Supper with two couples both from GA and a female I never was introduced to. Two women worked for a phone company and it was humorous to hear the changes that were made from the party lines when phones were first used to todays telephones. The first phones had as many as 8 party lines and mention was made of a teacher that brought in a phone to her classroom and the youngsters queried how to operate the thing. Then Showtime with pianist and singer Claire Maidin (http://www.clairemaidin.com) in the Stardust Lounge; the audience gave her a standing ovation and she returned for several encores. . Thu 9/22/11 Amsterdam 8am-4:30pm; partly cloudy; 61F; sunrise 7:28am, sunset 7:39pm Waking up at 6:45am I got ready for the day and proceeded down to Deck 5 near the Java Caf to meet Francis and Ed for our taxi tour of Amsterdam. Eventually we got off the ship and met our taxi guide Marius. The tour is explained above under Tours/Transportation; the morning started out cloudy but the sun finally won and it proved to be a fantastic day. For lunch Frances and I both had fish sandwiches at 3 EU each while Ed had a vegetarian for 4 EU. When we got back to the ship at 3pm I immediately went to the cabin to work on numbering the photos taken. Supper was at 5:30 with 2 couples that were part of a group of 400. In the end I got to talking to one of the couples, one of them mentioned Amateur Radio. He was Charles (http://www.charlesekanter.com) who lived in FL in Key West and was very active with communications during one of the hurricanes. Both he and his wife are amateur radio operators and sailed the Caribbean for 15 years. Both are writers and it will be very difficult for them to retire; they told me their income is from real estate. I called the staterooms of the 8 cruise critic members that were signed up for the taxi to remind them to meet at 8:30am tomorrow on Deck 5 in the Java Caf. . Fri 9/23/11 Zeebrugge-Bruges 8am-4:30pm: partly cloudy, 62F, sunrise 7:37am, sunset 7:44pm A wake up at 5am then I could not go back to sleep and ended up tossing and turning until 7am when I got ready for the day and proceeded to deck 5. For the review of the taxi service please refer to the Zeebrugge-Brugge taxi above under Tours/Transportation. We were left off at the market square and each went separate ways. I went with a group; who we made up our own tour building by building. After lunch the others went someplace and I could not find them so ended up going to a local store to buy Jeans but something told me not to buy so I didnt. I walked back to the square and the taxi was there well before the 3:30pm pickup. Back at the ship I went to my cabin, took a nap, then went to 5pm supper and then to the magic of Erix Logan (http://www.erixlogan.com) ; there is just so much magic you can see, they all are basically the same and eventually you have an idea of how the tricks are done. The 7pm show was so interesting that I did not stay to see the 9pm show. At 11pm I got up and went to Deck 11 for a midnight snack. . Sat 9/24/11 At Sea: overcast, 62F, sunrise 6:59am, sunset 7:19pm I spent the day going to the Latitudes meeting for NCL cruisers and working on organizing photos. Fred and I had breakfast together again and at lunch I met him again and we sat with 2 couples, 1 from FL and 1 from Niagara Falls Canada. For supper I sat with another couple from Canada and Fl. Tonights show Shout the Mod Musical with 5 ladies from the UK was ok but nothing to write home about. Tonight we turn our clocks back. Today was laundry day, for $26 all you can stuff in one bag, I sent the pr of pants, shirt, sweater I wore since leaving Boston; would have been cheaper if I washed them myself. . Sun 9/25/11 At Sea: partly cloudy, 68F, sunrise 7:26am, sunset 7:32am I saw the movie Life as you know it, then lunch, next International Trivia with Cruise Director Pedro. The cruise critic roll call had a cabin crawl/poker run; I showed up at the Sports Bar and was given a piece of paper. Each participant in the poker run was to sign his name along with the card he/she drew. I went to my cabin so did not get all the instructions plus I do not gamble although for the $5 fee I was thinking of it. . Mon 9/26/11 Lisbon: sunny, 83F, sunrise 7:31am, sunset 7:28am For the tour and review, please see Lisbon above under Tours/Transportation. The tour was great and many thanks for bht195 (Tracy) for arranging it. The fact that the day was sunny with temps in the 80s only made it more enjoyable. We got back to the ship at 3pm and Bruno offered us a taste of Cherry Rum (free) but as I do not drink I went onboard to the a/c. Someone mentioned at supper that the Sun got a new captain for the TA leg. Taxis were available at the pier for cruisers who did not reserve a tour. Pedro, the NCL Sun cruise director from Portugal, warned us to be careful of pick pockets saying they are very clever. A woman on our tour kept her money in her bra; I think that even this was not safe, just makes stealing a bit more difficult. . Tue 9/27/11 At Sea: mostly cloudy, 73F, sunrise 6:55am, sunset 7:09pm I had a breakfast with a couple from NY who now reside in FL. The woman was more interested in conversing with a woman at another table, which I considered rude. She also put her hands on every muffin until she found the one she liked. Some people believe the world revolves around them. Eventually both women left and I asked the husband what he did in his former life. He told me that in NY he had a furniture business and moved to FL on his wifes recommendation. He tried to find work, out of boredom of doing nothing not the he needed the money, but was unable to. He tried the window cleaning business but that was not for him. Then he worked in insurance and ended up working for Prudential retiring after 10 years with disability due to a back injury. It was a nice conversation; he did all the talking and I the listening (Im a great listener?). At noon the captain came on with his daily announcement. The ship is traveling at maximum speed of 24 knots, the seas are rough and we are expecting to pick-up the pilot boat for Ponta Delgada tomorrow at 8am. I went to the Norwegian T-shirt Promotion but really do not need a T-shirt. At lunch I sat with Frank, one of the couples from Niagara Falls that I had already met, and a couple from FL. Frank told a joke about a Panda Bear who goes into a restaurant, eats, shoots up the place, then leaves. The Maitre-D tries to stop him; the Panda told the Maitre-D that he is a Panda and to look up Panda in the dictionary. The Maitre-D does and it says a bear from Australia who eats, shoots, and leaves. . Wed 9/28/11 Ponta Delgada, Azores: Partly Cloudy, 73F, sunrise 7:35am, sunset 7:29pm We had a tour by Ricardo age 38 and owner of Amazing Tours. The review is under Tours/Transportation above. He was waiting for us at the pier at 9am, gave us a wonderful tour of the island and returned us to the ship by 1pm. We asked his suggestion for a restaurant for lunch and he suggested Casa de Pasto Restaurant O Aviao. The steak we had was, as the French say, magnifico; juicy, tender, and prepared just right. Taxis were also available at this port for cruisers who did not reserve a tour. Tonight I caught the 7pm show of Nadeen Queen of Hypnosis. It was okay but basically it was the same show I saw on the Crown Princess in April 2011. . Thurs 9/29//11 At Sea: partly cloudy, 74F, sunrise 6:56am, sunset 7:02pm About 12:30am I went to the Sports Bar for a midnight snack. Breakfast with Frank again and a couple from CA; she is still working; he retired at 42 after selling his trucking business. Next I saw the movie Little Fockers in the Borneo Room, saw the movie on the Crown Princess in April. Lunch was uneventful; two couples from FL, both Navy retired men. Next the movie America and the Passenger Train with host Richard Luckin. He is a passenger who brought material with him and is presenting this free of charge, so we were told. I went to the Stardust Lounge to see Hypnosis Revealed with Nadeen and was not impressed. At supper one of a gentleman ordered pea soup which is usually green but the soup was served brown and the couple he very upset. He complained about the food and went on from there saying NCL has cut back etc. Well if you want to complain you will find something to complain about. During Showtime Encore I asked a couple I had met their opinion. He said that out of a 10 this cruise probably ranks a 5; he said the dining room employees do not seem to care, the language conversation could be better. He reminded me that I asked his opinion and he was giving it to me. . Fri 9/30/11 At Sea: partly cloudy, 75F, sunrise 7:31am, sunset 7:37pm This morning I had breakfast with Mr. & Mrs. Richard Luckin, Frank, a couple from FL who have lived in various states as he worked for Excide Battery & was transferred a lot. Richard gave a documentary yesterday afternoon at 2PM in Dazzles on America and the Passenger Train. What was nice about this was that he was not part of the NCL crew, the passengers really enjoyed the movie/talk and it was entertainment provided by an outsider filling the void of entertainment NCL provided. Richard also told us that the Sun was not made for NCL but another line. I went to the Library and picked up the daily crossword and trivia puzzles then went to the Windjammer Room and ended up participating in Trivia with host Claudine. At lunch I sat with Frank again, a lady from OR & a couple from FL. I asked the lady what she thought of the trip; out of 10 she gave it a 6. After lunch I went to the Observation Lounge and participated in International Trivia with Pedro then saw the movie Eat Pray Love in Las Ramblas. After supper with Frank and 4 people from the Legendary Tour Group (could do without eating at the same table with that group) I went to 7 & 9 pm shows of The Comedy of Ross Bennett who was very funny; perhaps the audience liked him more so for NCL really does not have that much in the way of activities for a TA cruise. He closed his shows by telling those under 50 the procedure you go through in preparing for a colonoscopy which the audience found very humorous. Next I listened to the Crew and Guest Karaoke in Dazzles before going to the Garden Caf for a late night snack. For late night snacks NCL really does not have a variety but food is always available. . Sat 10/1/11 At Sea; mostly cloudy, 75F, sunrise 7:08am, sunset 7:09pm I had breakfast with a couple from Canada via Poland and a couple from FL. The couple from Canada have been on 22 cruises with Princess and liked that line mainly because of the perks; they rate this cruise a 6 out of 10. I saw the movie Something Borrowed and was a participant in Urban Legends Trivia II. Next lunch and the captain gave his daily announcement saying we should miss hurricanes Ophelia and Philippe but the seas might get a little rough tomorrow. After that I saw the movie The Most Beautiful Train in the World with host Richard Luckin. Next I saw the movie Mamma Mia. Supper with Frank again, a couple from Michigan, and a retired ATT employee from Buffalo, NY; then Showtime with guitarist Fabio Zini (http://www.fabiozini.com/) and he was fabulous. . Sun 10/2/11 At Sea: mostly sunny, 82F, sunrise 7:40am, sunset 7:42pm Breakfast with Frank, the GM couple and Mr. & Mrs. Luckin from Fri breakfast; Richard said the Packard Automotive movie will be shown tomorrow at 3PM in the Stardust Lounge. The conversation was basically automobiles and the history of the Packard Co. Later I saw the movie Eat Pray Love in Las Ramblas which is another NCL Sun mistake. The room was too small for the movie and should have been shown in a larger environment. In, I met Frances (see 9/22/11) and we talked about various things; she gives this cruise about a 6. She said that last night she & Ed ate at Moderno and was disappointed. I went to the Great Outdoors as there was a food presentation on German food but as it was near lunchtime I did not have anything. Lunch and then I went to my cabin to work on a few things. Supper with Frank, Charles & Corinne, and a couple from FL. Frank told a joke about a man who purchased an auto for his wife. When he came home one evening, she said that she had good news and bad news and asked him which he would like first. He replied that he had a bad day at the office and would like the good news first. She told him the air bags work. I left to attend the concert FourEver in the Stardust Lounge but ended up going to Dazzles to get a front row seat for the 10pm entertainment of Ross Bennett: Late Night Comedy. When I got there a band was playing with the sound blasting. At 8pm Karaoke Idol Round 2 and then at 9pm I listened to Dance Music with Flyer. After the Ross Bennett show people said that they liked his Stardust Lounge performance better and you could tell as he really did not seem to know what to say. Then I went to Las Ramblas to hear Kim Dootlittle on the guitar but she was finished so I went to get something to eat in the Great Outdoors but ended up not eating. Actually it was that plus the fact that the Sports Bar is right next door and there you can get waited on although the menu is limited so I went to the Sports Bar instead. . Mon 10/3/11 At Sea: sunny, 82F, sunrise 7:13am, sunset 7:14pm I had breakfast with a couple from FL & Utah then saw the movie Salt followed by Cruising Conversations with Charles & Corrine (see 9/22/11). The Cruise Critic group luncheon with about 62 people in attendance including the Captain; the person I was sitting next to said that Four Seasons was better for supper as the menu is a bit different and service is quicker (I did not find this to be the case). During the afternoon I sat in for the movie Packard: An American Classic Car in the Stardust Lounge. I had supper with Frances and Ed in Four Seasons and was out in time to catch the evenings performance of We Will Rock You which did not impress me as I do not like Rock and Roll and the noise was a bit loud. Back in my cabin I began to pack. . Tue 10/4/11 At Sea: mostly cloudy, 84F, sunrise 6:47am, sunset 6:48pm I had breakfast with a couple from FL and a couple from CA; we ordered and when the food came the couple from FL left saying they did not feel well (the seas were not rough). That left 3 people and I am not much of a conversationalist as my voice is soft so basically we ate and ran. I saw Frank at another table and glad I saw him for he is 85, looks to be in good health. But one never knows. I went to Dazzles and saw the movie Chicago then to Windjammer to play the True/False trivia Urban Legends 5. Lunch with 3 couples from FL and an anonymous gent then went to my cabin for a short nap and saw the Norwegian Sun Crew Talent Show in the Stardust Lounge in the afternoon. I had supper with Frances and Ed in Four Seasons Restaurant then saw Farewell Variety Showtime starring Fabio Zini. . Wed 10/5/11 Port Canaveral: partly cloudy, E force 4 moderate breeze, sunrise 7:19am, sunset 7:01pm, humidity 60%, 75.2F Breakfast with Frances & Ed and the service was slow; the people at the next table were served faster than us and I whispered to Frances that maybe you have to be Spanish to get fast service, Frances replied jokingly maybe its because I am white. I went back to my cabin to kill time and wait for disembarkation which went rather smoothly; please see above for more detailed information. Getting a taxi from Port Canaveral proved to rather difficult. One would think there would be an easy pattern as this is done several times per week but I guess not. The taxi I took was AAA taxi, www.aaataxionline.com, which took me to Comfort Inn and I really cant complain about the place since I used it for only 1 night. In the afternoon I called AAA to take me to the airport Thursday at 5:30am; they quoted me a price of $80 for 1 person which I found out is the usual price for 1 person. For lunch I went to IHOP across the street then back to my room to use the free Wifi. I called ATT Wireless to have my phone service restored then called Barnes & Noble about my Nook and ended up going to Starbucks about a block away. In Starbucks I reregistered the Nook and all my downloaded books we restored; I just had to download them again. There was a restaurant next to Starbucks but I ended up speaking to Angel Mercado who works for Four Points by Sheraton. He suggested several restaurants for supper and even gave me the telephone # for Cocoa Beach Shuttle which he said would take me to the airport for $33 but he stated not to state a time as this would be on a share basis. I called them, got a price of about $75 plus extras but I specified that my flight leaves at 8am and should have not done that so I decided to stay with AAA. For supper I went to Floridas Seafood, 490 Cocoa Beach Cswy, Coconut Beach, FL, within walking distance from the hotel. This restaurant specializes in seafood and is well worth the experience. Upon leaving I had a nice chat with Samantha and chatted about the cruise. . Thurs 10/6/11 Port Canaveral (80F humid) to Boston (70F) I arose at 5am and was at the lobby by 5:15am. At 5:25am I called 888 Taxi and asked them if they had a call for Comfort Inn in Cocoa Beach for 5:30, the dispatcher said yes. A few minutes later the phone rang, the Comfort Inn clerk answered it; turns out the taxi would be a few minutes late. When driver picked me up he said that the dispatcher could not find a record of my pickup and also stated that for one person the price was $110 to the airport. He then got a call on his cell phone from the dispatcher about another passenger who wished to go to the airport. We stopped to pick that passenger up in a gated community that cost us a few minutes. Now I was prepared to go to the airport solo and was not prepared for this delay. I will never use 888 Taxi again. The planes from Orland to Newark and Newark to Boston were full and I cant explain why. OTHER: I read in the boards of Cruise Critic about washing underwear. So now at the embarkation port I always purchase detergent and soak my underwear about 5pm then let it dry for a good 30 hours. I purchased the quick drying kind so the underwear is dry overnight and the socks by 30 hours. But sometimes I just wish that all cruise ships had an automatic laundry. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Consider this a review from the point of view of someone whos never cruised on NCL but has some experience on HAL and Princess. We chose this cruise based on price and itinerary and while we were not disappointed in either of these ... Read More
Consider this a review from the point of view of someone whos never cruised on NCL but has some experience on HAL and Princess. We chose this cruise based on price and itinerary and while we were not disappointed in either of these respects, we did find ourselves quite disappointed at the end of the cruise for 2 very specific reasons that Ill detail at the end. To us they were important; to you they may not be. The Sun is a very clean looking ship, well maintained, smartly painted and kept up quite well. I've not seen any areas of the ship where trash has been left to stand for days or even hours as I have on both HAL and Princess ships. You can find rust on the Sun, but not nearly so easily as you can on other ships. She was in dry dock less than a year ago so that certainly helps. The colors in the carpets and drapes are all strong and not sun faded. Overall, I'd have to say the condition of the ship is perhaps a halfstep above the other ships weve been on. The rooms are a bit more cramped than others weve had and the storage space rather more limited. Each cabin has a small refrigerator and while that may be fine for some, I'd rather have the storage space. It is possible to have the mini-bar goodies removed so you can use the fridge for other things. One thing we noticed was that the water pressure in the cabin was almost overpoweringly strong and there was a never-ending supply of nearly scalding hot water, both quite appreciated. In fact, the water pressure onboard was better than it is here at home. Dust accumulated on every surface at a furious rate in our cabin. I don't fault the stewards though as they cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. The AC, which worked well throughout the cruise, seems to generate the dust and distribute it. When we opened the air intake to look at the filter, we found it solidly blocked by 2+ inches of woolie dust. Our steward was most apologetic about it and cleaned it thoroughly, explaining that it was maintenances job to clean and replace them. All four cabins of our party had the same problem, and I think that this, in part, led to my wife developing a sinus infection that drove her to the ships doctor; a cruise first for us. The beds are standard singles that can be pushed together to form a queen of sorts. How they manage to move them is another question as they seem to be made of solid concrete and only get firmer as the cruising nights pile up. Then there's the pillows or whatever they really are; I suspect they might alternately be used as body armor. I never pulled the cases off, but I also suspect they may be 2"x12" planks of wood, they litterally are that hard and flat. That's it for pillows, 2 per bed. No throw pillows for charm or propping up to read. The love seat there is barely room for makes into a bed, but only apparently for torturing its inhabitant as sitting on it alone is cause enough to contact Amnesty International. We've discovered that the drapes that cover our generous porthole hang at noticeably different lengths. This causes the weighted bottom of the shorter of the two to bang annoyingly when the seas are a bit rambunctious behind the wall they slide into. There are no chocolates during evening turndown service or note from the crew or captain wishing us a good night's sleep. Also, no magically refreshed fruit bowl in the room, not that there's much space for it to sit if there were one. The bath is functional. Dull white nearly seamless formed plastic walls with a formed sink and tube-like (yes, tube with an e) shower stall. A hair dryer hangs above the toilet and the towel that hangs from the lowest towel bar does so into or over the trashbin, your choice. Fortunately, the stewards always hang the floor mat there. The bath stall is clean, and appears to be easily cleaned, but I just can't help noticing all the (not yet all my own) hairs that inevitably stick to the white plastic walls during the wiping down process. This is a bathroom that is made for "multi-taskers" as I can literally sit on the can, wash my face in the sink after shaving it while soaking my feet and legs in the shower tube. All soaps come from dispensers, there are no bottles of name-brand shampoos and no body lotion whatsoever. The food is fine; we had no trouble finding something to eat at each feeding and it seems to be available more often than on HAL/Princess. There is almost always food someplace, whether at the sports bar, outdoor cafe, buffet or main dining rooms. One thing to note is that for the 24/7 pizza, there is a $5 delivery charge, double the delivery charge to have pizza delivered at home. The problems we had with food tended to be getting at it. Because there are so many venues for food, they are all are rather small and quickly fill up at prime dining times, making movement difficult, with the exception of the main dining rooms. Also, there's no easy way to get through the Garden Cafe (the buffet) to the Great Outdoor Cafe (aft buffet) from the pool area of deck 11 when the troughs are open. As for service, it's generally good but tends to be slow, especially in the main dining room and the sports bar. You can pay to eat at several different venues which are unlike any Ive seen on other cruise lines. Theres a Brazilian Churrascaria onboard which is pushed heavily by the staff, a French restaurant, a sushi bar, a tappas bar, and Italian restaurant and even a teppanyaki experience. We chose to eat only once at Il Adagio, the Italian restaurant with nice views of whatever is alongside the starboard side of the ship. We celebrated the birthday of one of our party of 8 and when we made reservations found that they could only accommodate parties of 4, meaning we were side-by-side in booths, not the greatest arrangement for a party but we made it work. The service here was attentive and personal. The time we spent enjoying beautifully presented good food went quickly, unlike it does in the main dining rooms, where long stretches of time passed between courses and service. Seating was quick in the main dining rooms, but it seemed we were waited on by robots who made little attempt to do more than required to serve a multi-course meal. I think this is attributable to the Freestyle Dining concept. We found it too much to try and keep up with or avoid any particular waiter. We spent a lot of time at the Garden Caf, Great Outdoor Caf and the Sports Bar. Wed like to see the concept of the sports bar on other ships. Also, we missed the full hot and cold sandwich bar found on the HAL/Princess ships weve been on. There was a lunch-time DIY cold station where you could make your own sandwich, but it was hidden over at the churrascaria and we generally avoided this area as it was just inside from where smoking on the pool deck was allowed and always smelled of it. We did find, unfortunately for our waistlines, that the ice cream/dessert bar was open continuously from lunch time until well after dinner, and thoroughly enjoyed the peach and blueberry cobbler but passed on the bread pudding, which others did seem to enjoy. The fitness center saved the day, however, from the indulgences of the ice cream bar. I used it almost daily and on the couple of days I didnt, I could be found power-walking on the promenade on deck 6. One note about the promenade; it was good for walking, even with the mild elevation changes forward, but otherwise I had no use for it as there was no chaise lounges or chairs to be found there, unlike on HAL and Princess ships. I missed that very much. The fitness center was by far the best Ive seen on any ship Ive been on. There were no fewer than 8 treadmills, 4 recumbent bicycles, 6 ellipticals and a good number of weight-training machines and free weights. There was also stair climbers and upright bicycles for use. This room was separate from the area where yoga and other trainer-led classes were conducted, so there were no conflicts with classes and very rarely ever a wait for a machine to work on, even though they were in nearly constant use. Once or twice, I found a machine out of service, but it was usually repaired and working the same day. The doors were open from 6 am until 10 pm daily and while there was a small sign on the wall in front of the treadmills indicating their hours as 8 am to 10 pm (meaning while there as a spa attendant available) I never saw any enforcement of this. I have to say that while on HAL and Princess I never saw many machines in use and no rush to the fitness center but Id sure like to see them add addition weight equipment such as found here on the Sun. Other items of note: My wife was pleased to see that Park West ran the art auctions onboard rather than the inhouse auctions found on HAL and Princess. We had such a bad experience with the art director on the ms Veendam in Dec. 2010 that we really thought wed never go back to one, but Park West fixed that opinion and she was glad to see them onboard. We did notice that on deck 7 where the Sun Club Casino is located, smoke from the casino was noticeable, and even could be smelled on other decks in the atrium areas. My guess is the HVAC, which should produce negative air pressure in the casino, wasnt doing its job fully. We didnt attend any of the shows, but from what we heard most everyone was pleased, however, one of our party found that whenever she was in the Stardust Lounge, she would break out in hives and therefore quit attending them. There was something in the fabric of the seats that irritated her skin. We found it odd that each evening before sundown the pool deck and the deck 12 above was cleared of all lounges. There was no lounging in the evenings allowed, even when the weather became conducive as we moved further south across the Atlantic. When they were out, they were at a premium. I think the open-air pool deck might be the reason behind removing the lounges. The HAL ships Ive been on with their retractable pool deck roofs are a really great solution to this problem. There seemed to be few wine stewards in the buffett areas but did find that you could identify them by the purple tops they wore rather than the white tops of the wait staff. We did have to flag them down though as they rarely stopped and inquired whether you needed anything. Overall, the crew did an excellent job and I have no complaints about service other than whats been mentioned. One thing to note, though, is that this crew was of a much more diverse mix of cultures, origins and nationalities than Ive found on HAL and Princess and seemed to be more relaxed and casual, but always professional. Our room steward, Silby, did an outstanding job. Our cabin was on deck 4, the lowest passenger-accessible deck on the ship, which often equates to the least experienced hotel staff, but we found that didnt apply on the Sun. Now to the disappointments. You may find them silly and superfluous. Two things weve come to expect and appreciate on our cruises on HAL and Princess are a trip log and a survey at the end of the cruise. We received neither from NCL. We love the trip logs weve received in the past and reference them often when reminiscing as they record the daily itinerary, location, and facts about the cruise in general, like distance traveled, food consumed, and so forth. To us, they are an indication that the cruise line wants to help me remember the time I spent with them. And, while a survey can sometimes be a bother to complete (but has never been obligatory), they are an indication that the cruise line cares to know my thoughts, good and bad, about their performance during the time we spent with them. These things communicate something to us that just didnt happen on this cruise. I did not get the feeling, upon leaving, that NCL cares how I felt they fulfilled my expectations, nor that I remember this cruise or care to ever cruise with them again; not the sort of feeling you want a customer to leave with. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
From the moment we booked our NCL-Sun cruise we saw the efficiency at which this line is run. Checking in on-line was easy and printing out the e-docs a breeze. Once in the cruise terminal we were welcomed with no lines, plenty of check-in ... Read More
From the moment we booked our NCL-Sun cruise we saw the efficiency at which this line is run. Checking in on-line was easy and printing out the e-docs a breeze. Once in the cruise terminal we were welcomed with no lines, plenty of check-in personnel, smiles, and offers to assist in any way possible. Upon boarding the ship, we were directed to eating and meeting venues by the smiling staff along with offers to help in any way we needed. In short order our cabins were ready, luggage appeared and our ship set sail. Our cabin [9122]was listed as a sleep 5, but we're unsure as to where the other 2 beds might be as we didn't see fold-downs. However, for 3 adults, it was extra comfy & spacious. There was more than enough closet & drawer space. Although the TV was old and small, it didn't matter as we only used it for background music. The room was spotless and the beds superior in comfort. Around the corner from our room were the glass elevators. To our pleasant surprise, we never heard them, nor any other noise outside of our room. We were conveniently located to the atrium by elevators, a short walk to the garden cafe', and had easy access to the pool, hot tubs and spa's. The layout of the ship is an easy study and soon you are managing all venues with ease. The food in the restaurants, buffets, dining rooms and specialty areas was superb. Although we would have wanted lobster more than one night, it wasn't to be. The dining room cuisine fell into line with the port we were leaving and made for some exciting new dishes. Options to choose homegrown American cuisine was available in all public, no-fee restaurants all the time. But trying specialty local fare was more exciting and rewarding. Having fun all the time was an easy task as the cruise staff held bingo games, the newlywed game, did craft activities, and provided a wide array of other options all the time. Sometimes it was hard to choose! Daytime and nighttime entertainment was superior and held a wide variety of themes. Dazzles lounge always had good music, as well as the piano player in Windjammer lounge. The classical guitarist, aerialist, hypnotist, songstress, and magician entertained well and were awarded standing ovations. The Sun dancers and singers performed marvelously and kept our hands clapping in time with the music as we all were caught up into the music, frolic and happy mood. They were outstanding! It's amazing how a small theatre can provide such marvelous acoustics and magical shows. Although both pools had an overhaul during this cruise, there was only one day when both were closed. The weather was nasty that day, so it was good timing for repairs. The 4 hot tubs stayed open into late night and were well occupied most of the time with good reviews as to warmth and comfort. The overall weather was nice, with a couple very windy days mixed in. The captain avoided 2 major Atlantic storms by deviating his course, and he kept us informed and on-time all the way. Port activities & tours were marvelous. We took 2 of the 8 hour tours offered at 2 different ports and were very pleased. Both had extra large lunches [hot meals] with 4 courses including wine and bottled water. It was more food than we could eat and it was a shame to leave some behind, but necessary. Our guides were fluent in English as well as many other languages. When a group of people from the ship took a private tour, as opposed to an NCL provided tour, and they got into trouble returning to the ship, NCL sent a bus for them. A vehicle accident or train problem was their problem, but NCL stepped up to help them out. And again, we left port on time and arrived to our next port on-time as well. The ship was always on time, although we waited for tour groups to return twice [down to the last minute]and were certain a delay would happen. Since we are "travelers' and not tourists, we weren't ones to find fault with much of anything. But, that doesn't keep me from warning that the art auctions run long, prizes for their drawings are minuscule, and the auction part of it has left the venue. Although bids were made below the park west pricing, they most times were not accepted unless they were within a few dollars of the asking price. Also, take-off artwork is a thing of the past. That was a disappointment and we won't return to any more cruise offered "auctions". Chaise lounge chairs were in abundance on this ship, as well as outdoor table and chairs. Although some people still insist on "saving" seats and lounges outside, it isn't necessary due to the number of chaise and regular chairs available. NCL does warn, however, that unattended chairs/lounges will have towels removed if a passenger insists that the space has been unoccupied by more than 2 hours. We never saw anyone request this be done, but it is nice to know that people who oppose rules could be moved. As for children, we traveled child-free and loved it. This was a transatlantic cruise and children are few in number on these repositioning cruises, as we have found. The childcare option was provided and must have worked well for those with children as we rarely saw the youngsters in our 2 weeks on board. Disembarkation was easy, orderly and organized for all ports and tours. Upon making port to our destination, Port Canaveral, it was again orderly and organized. With an open option to disembark, we were able to eat breakfast leisurely, and go at our own pace for our day. When we did leave the ship the terminal was easy to navigate, and we found a shuttle bus to take us to Orlando International Airport just outside in a short period of time. All went smoothly and we felt relaxed and not herded as with other cruise lines. We'd recommend NCL, especially the Sun, as an outstanding cruise opportunity if it fits your agenda. We know we'll be her again sometime in the next year or two. Thanks NCL crew members for a fabulously wonderful time made this way by all of your efforts and work ethic + your smiles and help every day. We LOVE you! ~ the 3 Moyer family members Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
I just completed a 15 day Atlantic crossing on the Norwegian Sun. This was my 28th cruise so I feel I have some experience for comparison. This was my 6th Norwegian experience. The cruise was a very frustrating experience. NCL is evidently ... Read More
I just completed a 15 day Atlantic crossing on the Norwegian Sun. This was my 28th cruise so I feel I have some experience for comparison. This was my 6th Norwegian experience. The cruise was a very frustrating experience. NCL is evidently cutting so far back on spending that passengers are no longer high on their priority list. The menu for dinner never changed with the exception of one specialty item at each meal. The lunch menu also remained the same. The food, however, was very good. The staff has been reduced so wait time for your food is much longer than it has been in the past. I guess the cruise line wants people to use their specialty restaurants for variety. I need to say that one night in one of those restaurants three of six members on my party got food poisoning. The entertainment is not what it use to be. In the few shows that were held, there were no backdrops or costumes changes that bring elegance to the performances. I guess if you enjoy one man/women shows, then you would have been content. There were two movies a day. The location that was provided to see the films was very poor and difficult to enjoy the movies. I guess I could on and on but I assume you see my frustration. This was my last NCL cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Overall, this was an okay cruise. We should mention that this was a deal as far as cruise prices go, but our overall impression was that it could have been better. We made this as a back to back, first part being 15 days from Port ... Read More
Overall, this was an okay cruise. We should mention that this was a deal as far as cruise prices go, but our overall impression was that it could have been better. We made this as a back to back, first part being 15 days from Port Canaveral to Copenhagen, second a Baltic cruise for 9 days. Weather for the entire cruise was excellent, never a rough sea. The crew and service staff were always friendly and tried hard to satisfy requests. We had excellent rapport with the wait staff in the Garden cafe and on the outdoor deck and learned that quite a few of these young people were in their first contract with NCL and were still learning, and striving to please. We can only recall one crew member who we felt didn't fit in, and that was a person who was given the task of sending passengers out of the waiting area (theater) to their tours for the Baltic portion. She was loud, officious and abrasive, and we once heard her arguing loudly with a guest about a very minor thing. The food was okay, never great, never bad, not haute cuisine, but for the price who could complain? We did observe that food trays for service were put out some time before the meal would begin, so at times the food wasn't hot enough after sitting for an hour or so. Coffee was okay...not great, not bad. Dining for us was mostly on the outside deck as that is our preference, but the few meals we had in the dining rooms were good, with good service. A little known secret is that the Sports Bar is an excellent place to sit for Garden Cafe meals, and serves a limited (hot) menu from 5:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. We also took part in the Mystery dinner (with about 100 other guests) and had a good time, despite poor direction from the staff. A real negative for us was the lack of outside seating in any area other than the pool area or the outdoor restaurant. The promenade deck, which would be expected to contain chairs or lounges and a quiet space to contemplate and read, was the official walking, jogging and lifeboat deck, so, according to the staff, chairs were not allowed on that deck. So much for reading outdoors. We also had enough of the constant music from the overhead systems everywhere on board ( no quiet spots), and we didn't appreciate the steady sales pitch from NCL for everything from jewelry and spa treatments to future cruises and Park West auctions/paintings. Please, just one cruise without Park West. Poor grades for the library. We were surprised to find the library had locks on the cabinet doors, and books could only be checked out for a few hours each day. There was a limited selection, and only a few chairs in the reading area.Our rooms were adequate. We were in a midship lower deck room for the first 15 days, and had to change to a very far forward obstructed view room for the Baltic cruise portion. Did we mention that for almost the entire cruise, windows were dirty all over the ship?All tours that we took were as represented, and we felt, very good. Great itinerary. The only tours that we had problems on were the St. Petersburg tours, and that was not NCL's fault, as that city has a serious traffic problem, and the various sites were extremely overcrowded. Also we didn't know far enough in advance that you need a Russian visa (expensive) in order to get off the ship in St. Petersburg unless you are on a ship sponsored tour. Overall, we felt it would have been more helpful if staff on board had given us more information on ways to get around on our own in each port. For example:shuttle services, trains or buses to nearby towns, without having to book the ship tours, or discover on our own. Oceania does it very well. We loved the Azores (first stop), great tour of the hot springs, botanical garden and tea factory; beautiful countryside. Kudos for the Stockholm Vasa museum tour, just make it 2 hours instead of one. Be aware that in Germany you need Euro coins to use the restrooms, a problem for us senior citizens.Will we sail NCL again? No, sorry NCL, but it seems you have changed your cruise line and service to meet either some financial criteria or a different audience. We cruised with you over 8 times, but hadn't been on one of your ships for some time. Just okay. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We are two friends in our early 60's. This was our second transatlantic cruise with NCL. First was on the brand new Gem 4 years ago, so it is not fair to compare the older Sun to the then pristine Gem. That being said, the Sun was ... Read More
We are two friends in our early 60's. This was our second transatlantic cruise with NCL. First was on the brand new Gem 4 years ago, so it is not fair to compare the older Sun to the then pristine Gem. That being said, the Sun was a bit shabby, but certainly in good enough condition that I have no complaints except for one. After about a week, our balcony was covered in salt, which we kept tracking into our cabin. The grit from the salt detracted from the pleasure of being on our balcony, which was a bit rusty and in need of paint. But, any balcony is better than no balcony!To get to Port Canaveral from the Orlando airport, we used the "Cruise Xpress" shuttle. Absolutely fantastic service for about half the price of the other bus shuttles I found on line. I was a bit hesitant to use a company that charged so much less than the others, but I was very pleased with the service and highly recommend Cruise Xpress.Embarkation took about a half hour (we got to the pier at about 1:30 p.m.), and that was with being able to use the Latitudes line. No complaints - and, our luggage was delivered to our cabin by late afternoon, so that was a plus.Balcony cabin was fine - again, a little shabby. The cover on the couch looked old, worn and a bit dirty. Tiny TV, but I was still able to enjoy watching William and Kate's wedding on the small screen. We had the bed separated into twin beds, which left about 7 inches between the end of one bed and the cabinet, so one had to be careful when maneuvering about the cabin. However, I found that there was ample space for luggage and one's belongings. Plenty of drawers and other spaces for clothing and other items. The bathroom was quite small, but big enough for what one needs a bathroom for. I flooded the shower stall only once on a 15 night cruise, and that was when I took a long shower to wash my very long hair. Always had plenty of hot water no matter what time I showered. If you are fussy about soap/shampoo, bring your own rather than use the "mystery" products in the dispensing containers in the bathroom. It seemed that the gap at the bottom of the cabin door was a bit bigger than other ships I have been on, which allowed for noise in the hallway to be heard in our cabin at times.Our cabin steward, Mark, kept our room very clean and tidy, and he always responded to our simple requests efficiently. Mark was always smiling and we were very happy to have him for our cabin steward. It seemed that the majority of the crew on this ship was from the Philippines (as Mark was), and they all seemed friendlier and more helpful than the crew on my last two NCL cruises.The entertainment left something to be desired, but I don't cruise in the hope that there will be fabulous entertainment every night, so I wasn't disappointed as I didn't have high hopes. I'd seen the juggler, Romano Frediani - billed as "one of the most popular shows in NCL history!" - on my previous cruise, the NCL Production Cast performers were better at dancing than singing, the faux Beatles were fun - but not vocally great, and the hypnotist TerranceB was dreary. Maybe other acts were better, but we didn't go to the show each night as we didn't enjoy them all that much. FourEver, the Il Divo knock-offs, were actually quite good. The lounge/bar entertainment wasn't stellar enough to make me want to sit down and order a drink. On the Gem cruise, there was a group called the Alambra Trio (?) whom I listened to at every opportunity, and I missed having an enjoyable lounge band on this cruise. Frankly, the crew talent show was the best entertainment on the Sun transatlantic cruise. The art auctions were entertaining in their own way. I was amazed that there were so many repeat buyers on board. Well, as a friend of mine has to constantly remind me, "there's no arguing taste," or lack thereof. If over-priced Thomas Kinkade and Peter Max items are your cup of tea, by all means, DO NOT miss the art auctions. I attended them simply because I was fascinated that so many people were buying what was offered, and doing so happily. Watching the auction staff operate is another form of high entertainment, and provides a fine example of P.T. Barnum's proclamation that there's a sucker born every minute.The most disappointing thing on this cruise was the lack of educational programs. This was a 15 night cruise, populated primarily by retirees, and the trivia contests were packed. We needed more mental stimulation! On the Gem transatlantic cruise there was a fantastic nautical lecturer who was the highlight of the cruise. The Sun cruise would have been much improved by adding some intellectual entertainment. If nothing else, couldn't NCL have dug up crew members from the ports we were visiting to teach us basic words/phrases in the native language? We were treated to Spanish lessons (though we went to no Spanish speaking countries) by J.J., who was a very good teacher and one of the more entertaining crew members - along with Rommel. They were both very funny and I enjoyed attending the activities they were hosting.The food on this cruise was much better than the food on my other NCL cruises. Yes, the Garden Cafe was crowded, but the crew was very efficient with the clearing of tables, etc. There was a fairly good selection of buffet items available, and most of it was quite tasty, except for the desserts, which were gelatinous and tasteless for the most part. I was very pleased to discover that in the morning the Moderno Churrascaria served healthy breakfast items. I don't eat eggs or meat, and the food available at Moderno - salad, yogurt, fruits, etc. - was just what I wanted to get my day started. The fellow from Romania who manned the Garden Cafe ice cream station in the evening was wonderful - always asking if we were enjoying the cruise, and scooping ice cream as though it was the best job on the ship. His enthusiasm for making sure the ice cream eaters were happy was remarkable, and we always looked forward to seeing him in the evening.We didn't eat in any of the specialty restaurants, as we didn't want to part with any more money after having paid $130 more each for our balcony cabin than balcony cabins were priced two weeks after we paid for our cruise. My request for an on-board credit for the difference was refused. I was disappointed that the two main dining rooms served the same food. However, the food was very good - significantly superior to other NCL cruises I've been on. There were interesting appetizers and a good variety of choices on each nights menu. Portions were rather small, but if you were still hungry, you have ordered another meal! Personally, I preferred the somewhat small portion size, as it is easy to gain weight on a cruise with food being available all of the time. The dining room desserts were not very good, so after trying them a few times, we stuck to having ice cream at the Garden Cafe at the end of our evening instead of having dessert in the dining room. My only complaint about the dining room food was the "international cheese platter" that was offered every evening. The blue cheese was edible, but the other selection (two portions of the same thing) was an awful tasteless mass of hard white cheese. The dining room staff was wonderful every time we ate in one of the main dining rooms, with the exception of one night when we dined relatively late and our server seemed anxious to get the evening over with. I hate feeling guilty for holding up the dining room staff on the rare occasions when I dine shortly before the dining room closes. Overall, the dining room servers and their assistants were excellent. We ate in the Sports Bar a few times. The food and service there was very good, though there was a chilly wind tunnel effect in the Sports Bar, as the servers had to go outside and bring the food in, so every time the door opened, we got hit with a cold gust of wind. In the late afternoon when the Garden Cafe was closed, there was an area with a small buffet with snack items on the pool deck. Enough items were offered to hold one together between lunch and dinner! Curiously, even though they make their own pizzas on board the Sun and have a pizza oven, the pizzas are NOT very good. As pizza is the world's most perfect food (when properly prepared), I wish NCL would lure a pizza chef from MSC, and then a cruise in the Sun would be close to perfect! Plus, beer or wine are the perfect companions for a great pizza, so NCL would make more money by selling appropriate beverages to with their pizza. Truly, the pizza ovens are Sun are being wasted, and it is a shame they can't make good pizzas.When disembarking, we chose to take our luggage with us instead of having it unloaded for us. When we disembarked in Copenhagen (we left the ship at 9:00 a.m.) it was the most efficient disembarkation I've ever experienced. The luggage for the other passengers was orderly and in well marked areas, and the lines waiting for cabs were not that long as there was a steady stream of cabs available. Since the disembarkation area was rather small, the ease of getting off the ship and into a cab was remarkable.All and all, the transatlantic cruise on the Sun was pleasant and relaxing. As I smoke two cigarettes in my cabin each morning with my coffee while I watch the news, I am grateful that NCL still allows smokers to do so. Would I take another NCL cruise? Absolutely - casual attire and a lack of formality is what I am looking for in a cruise vacation. Just a little more to occupy our brains on a transatlantic cruise with all the sea days, please! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
It was a little hectic and warm as it is around the central Florida area this time of year when we checked on. The waiting line to board was bearable. Once the details were attended to we proceeded quickly to locate our cabin. Our bags ... Read More
It was a little hectic and warm as it is around the central Florida area this time of year when we checked on. The waiting line to board was bearable. Once the details were attended to we proceeded quickly to locate our cabin. Our bags were not there yet, so it was off the a nice meal, one of many in the Seven Seas dining room. We sailed just a little after five p.m. and headed out in the Atlantic on what was to be a number of wonderful weather days.After reading some of the negative reviews posted on this site, we were apprehensive, but that soon faded away after the wonderful service and attitude of the ship's staff. We just can't say enough about the hotel and dining staff. They were attentive and friendly at all times. The food was very good to excellent. The entertainment was the best that one could hope for on a ship this size and number of days at sea. We saw at least 5 or 6 shows and were wowed each time at their professionalism. The person responsible for booking (cruise director?) these performers deserves a raise.Yes, sometimes the Garden Cafe buffet was hectic, but manageable. We tried to fit most of our eating to the Seven Seas dining room. We didn't visit the extra charge dining options. We did have the usual complaint of a out-dated TV system and yes, the internet connection if expensive and slow. These are minor issues and certainly didn't ruin our cruise. We really enjoyed visiting Punta Delgada. A group organized on the web pages of Cruise Critic provided us with a great deal of information and companionship that enhanced our experience. We did not participate in any NCL tours, but went off by ourselves or in a small groups assisted by members of this group that had visited these ports previously. We stayed over 3 days in Copenhagen at the completion of our cruise and had a wonderful time. After 14 days of cruising and an additional 3 days of on-shore visiting we are two tired, but happy puppies.Thanks to everyone who helped us along the way. Hope to see you again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Since the Cruise Critic site contains an excellent and comprehensive review of the Sun written before the ship's late 2010 refurbishment, this review will focus on our experience during the 15-day repositioning Transatlantic cruise ... Read More
Since the Cruise Critic site contains an excellent and comprehensive review of the Sun written before the ship's late 2010 refurbishment, this review will focus on our experience during the 15-day repositioning Transatlantic cruise in April-May, 2011.The Sun is a clean, fresh-appearing and well-maintained ship. Its facilities for sports, fitness, relaxation, dining, entertainment and quiet spaces were excellent. The crew was pleasant and helpful at all times. Our cabin, a Mini-Suite, was nicely sized, had excellent closet space, and a well-designed bathroom. It was maintained and excellently serviced by a well-trained and attentive stewardess. Food selection and taste, in both the Garden Cafe and The Great Outdoors Cafe was good to fair both in variety and quality for breakfast and lunch. Tables were cleaned promptly after use, making space available quickly for new users. Unfortunately, dinner in the main dining rooms was quite spotty: sometimes barely adequate: variety was limited (the identical menus applied both to the Seven Seas and the Four Seasons restaurants for dinner), portions quite small and served so rapidly that dinner usually lasted less than 30 minutes - essentially a rushed feeling. On the other hand, variety, quality and the quality of service was sometimes very good to excellent. Service in the Seven Seas restaurant was spotty (except for breakfast on debarkation day, when the food was cold, service - at our table only - was ridiculously slow and I had to call the dining room manager to be able to get a decent breakfast). Service was more consistently good in the Four Seasons restaurant. The wine steward in each formal dining room only occasionally visited to ask if we wanted wine with dinner, and infrequently visited our table to refresh our glasses. I have a suspicion that these issues devolve from NCL's eat-when-you wish "Freestyle" dining: no set dinner seating times, no fixed tables or table companions. Food and service in the specialty (now $20 to $25 per person cover charge) restaurants, especially Le Bistro, East Meets West Steakhouse and the new Churrascuria was excellent. However, I considered as exorbitant Le Bistro's $10 supplemental charge for the "chef's specials." And, the lobster tails were 3 tiny tails, which were tough. A disappointment. (Incidentally, we ate at the specialty restaurants 6 times during our 15 day cruise - a testament to our unhappiness with dinner in the Four Seasons and Seven Seas.)The evening entertainment in the Stardust Lounge was excellent and nicely varied. The Sun's Cruise Director, Pedro Serra, is a treasure - a huge asset to the entire cruise experience. The performers were superb, notably Paul Adams, the comedian, and Romano Frediani, the juggler/comedian. Both are longtime NCL performers and we certainly understand why. The small music groups/entertainers were generally good. The production group was very good, both enthusiastic and talented. Daytime programs were adequate - some quite interesting - but the absence of educational and informational programs was evident and missed.Considering the importance of revenue derived from optional passenger purchases of beverages, it was puzzling to observe a dearth of servers in the lounges. Several times, even when the lounge was standing room only, only one or two servers were present, and even then not very attentive to customers wanting to purchase beverages. Certainly, it was not the result of a lack of staff, but rather a lack of staff assigned to this task. Seemingly staff waiter assignments seemed to be based on the locale, and not on the size of the audience.Also inexplicable was the inefficiency of the shore excursion staff in their failure to allocate numbered stickers for bus assignments until it was time to depart the Stardust Lounge (meeting place for those going on excursions). This resulted in huge queues and long waits. When asked why the stickers could not be issued as people arrived in the lounge, I was told that "we can't until we get the bus assignments, and those are not available in time to do so." This is patently ridiculous, as buses, each bearing a number and the name of the shore excursion, were always assembled on shore well before the ship docked, making the required information immediately available after the ship was secured - usually an hour or more before passenger assemble for the shore excursions.Public areas were fine and service around the pool area was adequate. However, NCL's requirement to bring one's pool towel from the cabin and exchange it at the pool, rather than having pool towels freely available at the pools (without "registering" for a towel), is disappointing. Of special note was the able assistance of the Internet Cafe manager. Its facilities and available business services were also quite good. WiFi wireless Internet access is now available throughout the ship. Ship-to-shore telephone is available from every room, even if quite expensive. Gym and Spa facilities and staff ranged from excellent to very good.Likely because this was a repositioning cruise, our fellow passengers were mostly elderly with many wheelchairs and walkers evident. Other reviews of the Sun have noted that the Sun's guests are "casual, sophisticated but unpretentious." "Casual" may be an understatement: the "formal" night was announced as "dress, or not," and when asked when the formal nights were scheduled, the staff at the reception desk did not know and could not find out, even using their computers. Also, we would argue with the term "sophisticated," as, for example, we observed many guests wearing sneakers, flip-flops, and other very casual clothing in the Four Seasons and Seven Seas dining rooms. Only a very few men were observed wearing jackets at dinner in either formal dining room. "Freestyle cruising" apparently translates to "ultra casual," unless these observations relate more to the repositioning-type cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We left on 10/4/10 from Dover, England on the Norwegian Sun as a 1st timer on this cruise line for a 12 day Trans Atlantic to Pt.Canaveral. We encountered many problems and being the Sun is an older ship from the fleet, it might be ... Read More
We left on 10/4/10 from Dover, England on the Norwegian Sun as a 1st timer on this cruise line for a 12 day Trans Atlantic to Pt.Canaveral. We encountered many problems and being the Sun is an older ship from the fleet, it might be expected. Our toilet would not flush 5 different days of the trip and the worst was at 4AM with water overflowing on floor. Besides being ill with a high fever, this plumbing problem made it worse. All of these occurrences were documented by the reception desk. We were offered a different cabin but we declined because it was not a balcony as we already had. The disarray and confusion that happened on exiting the day of disembarkation was not acceptable.There should of been an organized meeting place for calling the colored tag groups of passengers to the gang plank instead of a mass of people falling upon each other. The food was nothing special. It was too crowded at the buffet with the staff getting in the way of the small walkway. Would of been nice if there was staff directing you to tables. We chose Norwegian because of Free Styling but with the discomfort that happened I would opt not to select it again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
After reading all the reviews of the Sun before leaving for our cruise, we were somewhat uncertain what to expect. We have to admit that we were pleasantly surprised with this cruise. We had excellent service and one of the quickest ... Read More
After reading all the reviews of the Sun before leaving for our cruise, we were somewhat uncertain what to expect. We have to admit that we were pleasantly surprised with this cruise. We had excellent service and one of the quickest embarkations ever. We were impressed with the staff from the time we stepped on board. We loved having a balcony room on the port side of the ship as we had the sun from morning until night. And that side of the ship seemed warmer and out of the breeze. We were disappointed, as were others, that we could not go to the Azores because of Hurricane Otto but respected the Captain for protecting his passengers and ship. We thought NCL would do something more than $4.23 credit per person to try and provide quality customer recovery. We realize no one controls the weather, but it would have been nice if they had given everyone a voucher to use at a restaurant or for ship activities. Our cabin stewards were great and we usually avoided the buffet and ate breakfast in the dining room or in the Pacific Heights. This is a very private area and we were very happy with the food provided there. We also enjoyed the Sports Bar especially the popcorn at 2 pm. We attended all the educational movies in the afternoon about Magellan, the Vikings, the Spanish Armada etc and felt there should have been more movies like that for a cruise across the Atlantic. I am not sure that NCL takes into consideration that a transatlantic cruise requires a different venue for daily events...9 days at sea requires some variety. We enjoyed golfing in the Ryder Cup which really enabled us to meet other golfers on the cruise. We truly enjoyed the DOTS Cruise Critic group and all the activities that were planned for us to socialize. In summary, we would love to do another TA cruise again. We highly recommend booking a balcony cabin as it was one of the best things about this cruise. We thoroughly enjoyed the privacy it gave us and the magnificent view of the ocean both day and night. The downside of this cruise for us was the NCL disembarkation. It was very unorganized and their was a noticeable lack of leadership among the staff. It was as if they hid from the chaos and didn't want to assist in the process. There was no excuse for the crowded halls of people waiting to leave. We stood in line for 45 minutes in a crowded stairway and we were among the carry off your own luggage group. At that point, we were happy we had not put down the deposit for a future NCL cruise. We never want to go through that craziness again. Everything else about the Sun was good for us and we would like to see the ship after it is dry docked...this cruise made us want to take another...maybe NCL, maybe not. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
This was my second TransAtlantic, first being on the QE2 (with a return on the Concorde :) ) about 20 years ago. It is not my preferred sailing itinerary, but my husband really likes the sea days. This was my 4th time on this cruiseship, ... Read More
This was my second TransAtlantic, first being on the QE2 (with a return on the Concorde :) ) about 20 years ago. It is not my preferred sailing itinerary, but my husband really likes the sea days. This was my 4th time on this cruiseship, with most recent, in March 2010 to South America. Other two times were to Alaska. Overall was cruise #67 for me, I'm Platinum with NCL. We were in the UK for 2 weeks prior to sailing, split between London and Glasgow. Stayed the night prior at the Premire Inn in Dover, after taking National Express Bus on one of their bargain runs from London at about $20 for both of us. The morning of the cruise, I easily rolled a suitcase to the laundry mat and had all clean clothes for the cruise. :) Embarkment was simple as, I didn't bother until about 1:30pm. The lobby of the hotel was lined up real early with people waiting. The ship is a nice size and easy to get around. Staff was consistently friendly and helpful. Our room stewards were excellent, as always for our inside cabin. We ate in the main dining room, buffet, Pacific Heights, Sports Bar, Italian and Le Bistro. There were enough choices to find something likable. Food is not my priority, price is. This cruise was a bargain give away, so any "food" complaint, I don't find too valid. All lines, after taking 4 cruises this year on three lines, have cut back, bottom fact. The only port was Lisbon, which I had a wonderful independent walking tour, set up by a Roll Call poster. It was excellent and loaded with history. The other port was skipped due to rerouting due to Hurricane Otto. There were a few days of rough sailing- I wished there were more, as it tells me, I'm on a ship. :) I admit, I am bored silly on sea days, so I spent a good deal of time reading and doing puzzles. There was a movie every day in a lounge which was limited in seating space. The shows were good, some great. Not too much going on during the daytime, that could have had more offerings, perhaps. Never any waits for the main dining room at breakfast or dinner. Service was excellent. Disembarkment was highly criticized, BUT this sailing required ALL guests to report to Customs on the ship, at scheduled times, which they did not. Repeated announcements had to be made. It WAS the best option having it done on the ship, as it avoided, having to haul luggage around and line waiting, which people did not seem to realize. People also did not seem to realize, these are features of today's travel, lines. :) We had prebooked with Cruise Express for the transfer to MCO. Very efficient and excellent value at $20pp. Overall another very good cruise for the two of us. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We just completed a 26 day cruise on the Norwegian Sun. This ship is going into dry dock in December so know ahead that there will be things that require updating, cleaning and repairs. We had sailed on Norwegian about 10 years ago ... Read More
We just completed a 26 day cruise on the Norwegian Sun. This ship is going into dry dock in December so know ahead that there will be things that require updating, cleaning and repairs. We had sailed on Norwegian about 10 years ago and had terrible experience with them so we were apprehensive about this trip. We checked all the reviews on the web and were prepared for some of the issues facing us. Working with the NCL web site was not good. Our reservation was locked and the technicians could not unlock it. We got NCL info on our 8 hour flight to Dover too late to find good seats. They provided us with their own cruise consultant and we didn't call often but most of our calls were left unanswered. This is a NO FRILLS cruise. Folks do not dress for dining at any time. Old tee shirts and frayed shorts seemed to be the daily choice of dress. Do not waste your precious luggage weight by bringing any formal clothes. Although it would be nice to dress properly in the evening in the two free dining rooms, it is not required. Do bring a bar of soap, toothpaste and shampoo. These are not provided. The crew and staff do need training on customer services. There is some sort of internal problem as there are few who will actually smile. We did see crew in the dining room who were a bit too friendly with each other behind the water pouring stations. I read one other reviewer on this site who also noticed this. They do have their own cabins below for those activities. Security did hold any luggage that looked like it might contain alcohol and did not deliver it to the cabin until the passenger came down to security and removed it. Drinks run from $7 up so be aware that your check out bill may be more expensive than the low cruise price. There are two dining rooms included in the cruise price and a buffet and outdoor cafe on Deck 11. Seating is at a premium and folks do seem to get agitated trying to find a seat. No trays are provided so you must get your drinks and find a table and then return to the buffet to get your food. When you return to the table you will find your drinks removed and someone else has claimed the table. So you start all over again. We had lots of handicap motorized vehicles on this trip. It became a major problem as there did not seem to be a slow speed limit. Most vehicles were so large that they filled the elevators and the drivers sped through the cafe. Just be aware as you might be run over or pushed as the aisle are not big enough for those high powered "cars". The pull-out couches were dirty. The air filters desperately need cleaning or replacing. If you have allergies, take your meds with you. I tried to surprise my husband for his big birthday coming up by upgrading (with money) to a suite on the second half of our journey. I was the only person at the Reception Desk. I was told that nothing was available. The Customer Service gal turned and walked away from me. She could have smiled and said "Let me check". Three days after that, a couple asked to join us at lunch. They were laughing as they had complained three days in a row about a small problem on one of the doors in their cabin and were just moved to a beautiful suite for FREE. So things are not always what they seem. The Reception Desk needs to know that they might be caught in a lie. Most complaints were about the staff at the Reception Desk. They were very rude and short with their answers. The Sun is sailing from the Port Canaveral to the East and West Caribbean. Perhaps this will be a good thing for those families who want to be casual and stay in their swim suits all day by the pool. You can eat in those clothes and wear the to the shows. The food is okay. It is not an upscale cruise. The entertainment was good. Instead of lecturers on the foreign ports, they showed copied TV shows from the PBS channels. Movies on board were old repeats in three languages. If you are bring children, add a CD player to your list to bring. And CDs. Their are activities on the ship but most areas do not have many seats. You must show up 45 minutes early and save your seat in order to partake in most activities. The bars are small so if you find a favorite, get there early. Bingo and the Art auctions are going all day long. Personally I would not go on another NCL cruise. Twice was enough for us. This was our 33rd cruise and third transatlantic crossing so we have some sense of what we wanted in our cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
The positive: -Great cabin with balcony on the 11th deck. -Very smooth weather crossing in late April and early May. -Some staff were exceptional. -Endless variety or opportunity for abundant activities to wile away the hours/days at sea. ... Read More
The positive: -Great cabin with balcony on the 11th deck. -Very smooth weather crossing in late April and early May. -Some staff were exceptional. -Endless variety or opportunity for abundant activities to wile away the hours/days at sea. -Excellent entertainment during the first six sea days. -Specialty restaurants were not overly crowded. -Fabulous tea and scones for the afternoon tea. The negative: -Most staff and servicing,(restaurant, bar, lounge) were inconsistent at best. -Cruise director and staff lacked appropriate decorum. -Port information severely lacking or non existent. -Those who supposedly were in positions to know about ____________ didn't. -Sports bar only served "bar food" during the evening hours. Popcorn in afternoon. -Surly staff at hotel desk. -Internet use is a necessary evil these days and you will use up all the minutes purchased, plus some, faster than you think you will. The per minute cost is outrageous and last minute checking on port reservation can be expensive. The neutral: -Specialty restaurants were great some nights and mediocre on other nights. -Two Main dining room choices with only small to non-existent waits for seating. -Buffet had a nice variety and selection. -The unfortunate thing about Freestyle dining is never getting to know one set of dining table staff who will wait on you consistently and who get to know you. Best suggestions: -Bring your own wine on long voyages and pay corkage fee to make sure you get the wine you prefer. This is a great option NCL provides. -If you find a waiter that you really enjoy in one of the main dining rooms, make a reservation for his/her table every night that you dine in that room. -If you have a chance always share a table with other cruisers you do not know. The insight they provide, especially if they have cruised to many ports, is invaluable. -Plan and use your time a sea wisely, it passes very quickly. -Consider doing transatlantic going from the east to the west. The port intensive visiting is then out of the way and you have six days to rest crossing the Atlantic back to the USA. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Our April & May 2010, experience with the Norwegian Sun cruise ship during a Trans-Atlantic, 15-Day cruise to the ports of Europe appears below: I. Background Information. We are a relatively young couple in our 30's from ... Read More
Our April & May 2010, experience with the Norwegian Sun cruise ship during a Trans-Atlantic, 15-Day cruise to the ports of Europe appears below: I. Background Information. We are a relatively young couple in our 30's from New Orleans, Louisiana. This was my 11th cruise and her 12th cruise overall, so we're pretty well-versed when it comes to seasoned cruisers, and have a goodly amount of cruises to compare this ship with! We've been on 4 Norwegian cruise line ships now, with this particular ship included. 7 of my other cruises were with other cruise line companies between 2002 & 2009. II. Hotel Information. We arrived in Miami, Florida one day prior to the ship's sail date on Sunday, April 25, 2010. This time our stay was at the La Quinta Inn East, on North LeJeune road, bordering Miami International Airport's eastern-most runways. However, I was NOT awakened by any aircraft. There's a Bennigan's restaurant within walking distance. This particular motel offers a FREE airport shuttle service, which came promptly without me needing to call, and also this La Quinta Inn East offers a FREE shuttle to the Port of Miami. However, on day of embarkation the shuttle was running terribly late and even later with the inclement weather that arrived late that morning on April 26th. We chose the 10 AM shuttle bus and arrived at the Port of Miami around 12 Noon. My only disappointment about the La Quinta Inn East was that the room was small and there was no refrigerator either in the room. Check-in was incredibly slow and I feel that the motel needs to hire more help with the volume of traffic this motel exhibits. If you'll be arriving to this motel by car, getting to the motel can be really rather tricky in finding, especially coming in from the north. I had to do a goodly amount of researching the roads to find out I needed to make a U-turn on LeJeune, after exiting off of 112 West to come back around and get off the service road, as soon as I seen the Red Roof Inn, next to the La Quinta, so this can be tricky to get to if you're not well-versed with the infrastructure of the roads. Overall the motel was in decent repair. They have one computer in the lobby for internet service use, but you have to pay for it, like $0.50 per minute, way too much overpriced! My reason for staying at this motel again would be on account of the free shuttle services provided to the port of Miami and the free parking, too. However, the free parking is now only for a 1 week stay. Beyond one week, you'll have to pay $5 a day for parking. III. Ship Information. The Norwegian Sun is an older, aging ship, built in 2001, and last refurbished in 2004. It has a tonnage weight of 78,309. Guest occupancy is 1,936, based on double occupancy. The length of the ship is 853 ft, and beam width is 105 ft. The cruising speed of the ship is 23 kts. You can tune-in to weather conditions and geographical positions on the ship's whereabouts at all times using your in-room TV and tune to that channel. Additionally, a short blurb on the weather for the next day is posted on the Freestyle Daily caper the night before, on the top of the headlines sheet. There are 2 main formal dining rooms onboard the ship: #1.) The Seven Seas, and #2.) The Four Seasons. I recommend you eating in the main formal dining rooms as much as possible as this is where the food is the best, and it's a much nicer ambience. In other areas, there's the Garden Cafe upstairs for run-of-the-mill buffet food, which is always a mad-house! There's also a Sports Bar, (the "Sun's" rendition of the Blue Lagoon on other NCL ships). Here at the Sports Bar on deck 11, aft, they serve comfort food like chicken wings hot or mild, traditional beef burger, fish n' chips, chicken tenders, and the like - an attractive menu. The ship also has a gym, spa, steam room & sauna as well. As with all other ships, there's also a casino and shops onboard the ship, too. There are other upgrade restaurants you have to pay for if you want to use them which include the French & Italian restaurants, and Japanese restaurant, Teppanyaki. These require surcharges to get in these restaurants if you want to use them, but Pacific Heights does NOT require a surcharge; just reservations, that's all, if you want to be sure of securing a time without a wait. I didn't ever use the pools or hot tubs, but I knew they were there and passed by them out on the decks. At the aft of the ship, there's the Great Outdoors Cafe which served typical outdoor food like hot dogs & hamburgers along with other choices. It's a covered area outside to avoid sun exposure, too. The ship is not a well-decorated ship at all, in comparison with some of the other cruise ships I'd been on. The atrium is very plain and bland-looking with no real beauty to be found anywhere in the atrium/centrum. There is, however, a pretty display of artwork above the entrance to the Seven Seas Main Formal Dining Room on deck 5, aft. Otherwise nothing is picture-worthy onboard the ship. IV. My stateroom. We had stateroom 9126 for this 15-Day Trans-Atlantic cruise. This was an interior stateroom with approximately 175 square feet of space. I found it to be plenty big enough for our needs and suited us well. By the way these staterooms go, this is the biggest-sized stateroom I'd been in. The only cramped space was in the bathroom, as the shower was extremely small, as I'm 6 ft, 2 inches tall. The shower curtain continually wanted to smooch with my legs, and the showering experience can feel quite claustrophobic to some! The rest of the inside stateroom had plenty of closet space, and a large couch, too. There was also a small refrigerator and safe provided. The closet even had a light in it. The bone I have to pick here with NCL were with the towel linens! Never, in my 11 cruises, had I ever been given worn-out towel linens in the bathroom. This happened continuously during the first 5 to 6 days of the cruise. First we were given towels that were shredding apart on the sides, unraveling threads, and very thin towels. Next after that, we were awarded with towels that had small holes in them! Can you believe?? My older towels that I've had since my college days are in better repair than these given to us on the cruise ship! This was terribly unacceptable, and I informed the Guest Service Reception desk about this just once, and the problem was rectified thereafter. The managing hotel director & housekeeping staff should have known better to retire old, used towels that were unraveling apart (shredding), and discard the holy towels, too! What an eyesore, I tell you! Other than this glaring blunder with the linens, the stateroom steward did an acceptable job for most days, except when failing to fill our shampoo vial and recycling a used, damp towel mat. Eww! What about the beds, you ask?? Ha! This was a tale of 2 stories. On one side of the bed, it was acceptable. The other side of the bed, felt as though a 500 pound person had been sleeping on the bed for months, as I sank way down like a hammock! Climate inside the stateroom was very good, however, and I never felt uncomfortably hot nor cold. So the good points about the stateroom were the plumbing as there was very strong water pressure, and lots of good hot water. The spacious size of 175 square feet was well-appreciated too considering the average inside cabin size is around only 149 square feet, for the industry average. V. Dining. Okay, here it comes: Dining. Your buddy weatherguy, (that's me), has some mixed feelings about the dining. Let me give you the best and the worst onboard the Norwegian Sun cruise ship during our April / May 2010 Trans-Atlantic sailing. #1.) The BEST places for dining: Are at the main formal dining rooms of the Seven Seas & Four Seasons. The ambience is much better in these locations, and the lunch & dinner time food were the best in these locations. I also thoroughly enjoyed the MANY menu options in the Seven Seas restaurant, as the menu offered a fantastic selection of exotic choices!! This is VERY IMPRESSIVE what NCL has done with their menus. Never did I once feel like the food ever became repetitive, as the menu options were very plentiful and creative. NCL did a fine job on the menu selections with this ship! The food in the main formal dining rooms was consistently good when I ate there. However, again, as is the case with all the cruise lines and cruise ships, desserts were a tragedy & train wreck about 80% of the time. I'd say about 8 out of 10 times, most desserts were no good, lacking in quality and taste. Every once in a while you'd hit a really good dessert like an apple streudel, or Tiramisu, or Honey Crème Brulee. I recall one blueberry cobbler was good, too. Otherwise, 80% of the time, the desserts weren't worth bothering with. You'll see! Mark my word, you'll be dissatisfied with them too! They use cheap, poor quality ingredients like jello fillers in place of real heavy whipping cream, because it's cheaper! Anything to save a buck, huh, NCL?? But you're in good company, because all the other cruise lines do the same thing, serving low-quality ingredient desserts, that have no taste, either. (Keep in mind that I did not pony-up for the specialty restaurants, as I don't believe in paying more money for food.) This means I'll only comment on the free restaurant locations. An honorable mention is in the Sports Bar, whereby I enjoyed the menu options there and the quality of food was pretty good, too; however, you wind up waiting for excessive periods of time to get served! That excessive wait time in the Sports Bar was unacceptable. I constantly was at the server holding his feet to the fire to expedite my order for food. #2.) The WORST places for dining: Are at the Garden Cafe & The Great Outdoors Cafe. Yes, I ate food there during breakfast & dinner, and the food is not good here at the Garden Buffet. The choices are very limited and food during breakfast was not well replenished, either. The food sits for a while, when not consumed, & gets tired-looking, needing to be put to bed. Furthermore, this buffet location for food is ALWAYS a mad house! Finding places to sit were a challenge, but somehow Thao & I were able to manage as we were up in the morning early enough before the rest of the gang moved in. In the morning, grits were consistently too runny, and the cherry danish I always had to ask for. Choices were limited for yogurt too - the most limited selections I've ever seen on a cruise ship, really!! The overall breakfast display of items at the Garden Cafe were mostly unattractive, very limited in variety and of poor quality. For instance, the pancakes were served cold! I didn't see any French toast nor waffles. I later learned you had to go in to Pacific Heights on the other side of the ship to request a waffle! That's really impractible to have to run to the other side of the ship just to get waffles. So, I avoided the Garden Cafe, (what I like to call the "Mad House Buffet Line", whenever I could at all possible except during port days, when I had to grab a quick bite to eat there, since the main formal dining rooms take too slow to get in and out of.) As for the Great Outdoors Cafe, I had lunch there once or twice. Don't even go here. Food sits around even longer than at the Garden Cafe, and because of this, the food becomes stale really quick. I had pizza that felt like cardboard in my mouth!! No joke!! Not many people go this far back to the aft of the ship outside to eat out there so with very few people out there to eat the food, then that means the food just sits there, gets tired & old, and needs to be put to bed, (thrown away)! VI. Activities. Activities were an impressive HIGHLIGHT for me & Thao. I was, at first, a bit skeptical, that we'd be stuck with a dull, uneventful and boring 6 days at sea with this Trans-Atlantic cruise, but to both of our surprise, there were a goodly number of activities ongoing during these sea days. For me, I love the games!! Game shows, after game shows, after game shows!! And these shows became spectacularly creative!! I was most impressed and happy with this. I got to appear on stage for a record number of 9 times!! 9 times I was up on stage!! I was in 5 game shows: (Family Feud, Jeopardy, Weakest Link, Crowing Ms. Norwegian Sun, & Battle of the Sexes show). During 1 dancing disco fever show, I was dressed as the construction worker in the Village People, and 3 times I appeared up on the Stardust Theatre stage: Once for the "Welcome Aboard Show", once for a magic show, and once during a comedian's show. So I kept myself, (and others), well entertained!! It was in this segment of the cruise, the activities section, that really crystallized my cruising experience, as I had untold amounts of fun being participants here, there & everywhere!!! It was truly a BLAST!!! I enjoyed every moment of it! I received a number of compliments by fellow passengers. I also single-handedly organized 2 group luncheons for the cruise critic groupies community. On my first luncheon that I organized, I counted 44 attendees. On the 2nd luncheon there were 40 attendees!! So, yes, we passed a good time, I'd say!! :0) When I wasn't participating in game shows, or watching game shows, then Thao & I were out taking FREE dance lessons offered by the cruise line!! There were typically 2 free dance classes offered per sea day, both of which she and I went to. They were about 1 hour long each. Most of the free dance lessons were Latin dances, which is Thao's favorite!! Then, after the free dance lessons we took, like Salsa, Meringue, Argentine Tango, & Paso Doble, we'd go ahead and practice what we learned to the music of Avalon on Deck 12, in the observation lounge at 930 PM each night for an hour. So count it up, and we had 3 hours worth of dancing during each of the sea days. I kept continually busy, and so did Thao on account of the numerous planned activities. In other activities of interest, they also had progressive trivia games, karaoke, sing-alongs, movie-clip trivia, bingo, and plenty of places for dancing venues throughout the ship. I credit and commend the cruise director's staff for orchestrating such a GREAT number of varied activities during these 6 days at sea!! I never, not once, even turned on my stateroom TV at all during those 6 sea days!! There was that much to do and keep busy!! Lots of GREAT times and GREAT memories I'll have for a long time as we got pictures of ourselves dancing, and when I was up on stage during the many shows I participated with, too! VII. Service. Unfortunately I cannot say such great things when it comes to the service personnel onboard, especially with the restaurant wait staff. The lack of personal service & personal attention has become very obvious during this cruise on the Norwegian Sun cruise ship during this April / May 2010 Trans-Atlantic. In the main formal dining room, the waiting became excessive to receive our food. Water glasses were never refilled, except only upon request. Dirty dishes were very slow to be removed from the table. And crumbs on the table cloth were never cleared away either. During lobster night, no butter was offered! Lobster wasn't peeled away from its shell either as we had on RCCL. You add-up all these oversights, and you come to realize that service on this NCL Sun cruise ship, was anything BUT special nor personal either. When in the Garden Cafe, the food buffet workers were not attentive to food outages, and did not replace until told to do so. Say what?? I should not have to tell service personnel that there's no more danish and that we need more. They should be doing their job instead and take notice on their own, instead of seeing how far along they can get away with not restocking the food items on the buffet. One gal was even slow to respond, almost reluctant to move from her place to restock food items. I felt as though service personnel on this ship only provided the most rudimentary basic services, and NO ONE --- absolutely NO ONE ever went out of their way to please nor go the extra mile to please. I always found myself having to ask for more water, ask what's happened to our order as time was taking too long in the main formal dining room, asking for this and that, when I shouldn't have had to ask for so much. These services should have been provided without me having to open my mouth. That's the difference between personal, attentive service vs. the most basic rudimentary service that was offered. So in summary, service personnel was lack-luster and has a far way to go for improvement. In the Sports Bar, they have only 1 - only one server providing service to the entire bar. This means wait times became excessive, and he did not even move fast either. I felt like I was at the DMV office waiting for a driver's license, rather than on a first-class service cruise ship. It was that frustrating! The food & beverage director & restaurant manager should know better than this and should be ascribing more servers and wait staff to that sports bar!! Just you wait and see when you go in there!! You'll see what I mean, and you'll whole-heartedly agree about the terribly slow service due to the severe understaffing of that Sports Bar. I already explained how my cabin stateroom steward provided us with shredded towels & holes in some of the washcloth linens. He additionally recycled a wet bath mat and passed it off as having us use it again when we had it on the floor; that same time we ran out of shampoo as they failed to check the shampoo vial, a point in time when I really needed the shampoo the most. Because of the poor-to-fair service rating I experienced, points must be subtracted and taken off from the overall cruise star rating of my encounters & assessment. There will be absolutely no "sugar-coating" to the rating when it comes to the service onboard this ship. No one went the extra mile, and even failed to meet minimum criteria, on some occasions, during this cruise. VIII. Entertainment I will define the entertainment subject as falling under the nighttime Stardust Theatre entertainment venues in the large 2-tiered theatre. In this category, I rate the entertainment as about average -- not below average; not above average, but just right at average, or even arguably mediocre, upon relative comparisons to my other cruises I've been on. I'll go on to say that during a 15-night Trans-Atlantic cruise, there finally came some variety of shows. Here are the shows we were entertained with: #1.) A juggler / comedian #2.) "Cirque Pan" production show #3.) Guitar & Song Gipsy Fiesta #4.) Physical Comedy Show #5.) "Encore" Production Show #6.) Comedian show #7.) Vocalist impersonation of Celine Dion tunes #8.) Latin Dance show, during daytime #9.) "Shout" Production Show #10.) Magic Show #11.) Pianist musician show #12.) Another Female vocalist show #13.) A puppeteer show #14.) Singer impressionist show #15.) Ventriliquist show #16.) Welcome Aboard show / audience participation #17.) Opera vocalist during daytime show So there was some variety offered here. I'd seen better production shows on Princess cruise lines. To me, there was just a little bit too much singing shows, I thought. The comedians were only average, I'd say. I actually enjoyed the juggler / comedian probably the most of any of them, which was on the very last night of the cruise before dis-embarking. He was quite funny! The "Encore" production show was better than the "Shout" production show, as there were more varied costumes / regalia that were worn and more variety of scenes. The Cirque Pan show was a joke. I was expecting a Cirque du Soleil derivative with Chinese contortionists and acrobats, and this show fell far short of that. The Cirque Pacific show I seen onboard the Norwegian Star last October 2009 was FAR SUPERIOR of a show than this ridiculous Cirque Pan show. The only positives about the Cirque Pan show was the creative & decorative backstage set of artwork displayed in the show and the costumes worn. Other than that, there wasn't much talent displayed. You'll come to realize what I mean when you see a real bona-fide Cirque du Soleil presentation or derivatives thereof, and then it'll hit you where the true talent really is: It lies within the Chinese contortionists and acrobatics they do, which was absent on this ship. IX. Ports of Call & Tour Excursions. Of our 7 ports of call, my 3 most favorite ports of call were: #1.) Ponta Delgada, Azores #2.) Paris, France (from the Le Havre seaport) #3.) Brugges, Belgium 1.) Ponta Delgada, Azores (Portugal) ~ This was 1 of my most 3 favorite ports of call and tour excursions that I purchased. I rightfully selected the "Hot Springs & Botanical Gardens". I really enjoyed this one a lot as I'm a natural sciences kinda guy, and enjoy seeing nature's wonders. We additionally got to see a tea factory, got to sample several different delicious teas, got to see the machines in working progress and took pictures and videos of the ancient equipment, and smelled the aroma inside the tea factory. We were taken into Ribeira Grande City & Church which wasn't that big a deal, but I didn't even know a stop would be made here anyways. Some of the highlights of this tour were a picture stop at Pico do Ferro viewpoint which overlooks Furnas Lake and Furnas Valley. Awesome, spectacular views can be seen from here and I highly recommend taking pictures with you and your guests. Next, we visited Terra Nostra Botanical Garden and got to see a RARE iron hot springs where people were swimming and relaxing in. The entire large orange pool was orange because of the iron in the water! Amazing and SO NEAT!!! The iron hot springs leave a burnt orange residue on your skin and was told you feel tired after coming out of the warm springs pool. Our final stop was at the hot springs themselves whereby you can see active steam vents of sulfur dioxide emissions. Bubbling ponds of water can be seen and heard, and even deep down below underneath the rocks as well. It made for some great pictures, too! I'd fully recommend this tour for anyone who has an appreciation for nature and an interest in volcanic steam vents, bubbling hot springs, and loves getting picturesque scenery of landscape as the drive was most beautiful with lots of cliffs, and panoramic scenery of the island! A super great tour this was! 2.) In Lisbon, Portugal ~ Here we chose the "Monumental Lisbon" tour. Our stops included Alfama Quarter, the oldest part of Lisbon, and walked the narrow streets, followed by a stop at Rossio Square, the heart of the shopping district. Shop quickly as you'll only have about 25 minutes to do so. Our 3rd stop was at Jeronimo's Monastery, which provided for nice pictures both inside and outside. Our 4th stop was made at the Tower of Belem, where Portuguese explorers were seen-off. Must hurry at this location as only 10 minutes was given, and it costs money to go up inside the Tower of Belem too, which there was no time given to do this. Our final 5th stop was made at the Monument of Discoveries on the banks of the Tagus River, erected in 1960. Again, must hurry as you'll only be given 5 to 10 minutes here. I was a bit upset at the tour guide for rushing us so quickly on this tour, particularly near the last couple of stops, as we were rushed to get pictures. Overall, just a so-so tour. I could take it or leave it. It's not the worst tour I've taken in my life, but it's also not the best either. 3.) Vigo, Spain ~ Here at this port of call we chose "Fortresses of the South". We made stops at the Medieval city of Tui & cathedral of Tui in Spain. The outside of this building was a nice stop for pictures & you're allowed to take pictures inside the cathedral if you want, too. After doing some considerable walking uphill & downhill, here at medieval Tui, we boarded our motorcoach to cross the river and reached the Portuguese side at Valensa. Inside this fortress, we were released for about 45 minutes of time to take pictures inside and outside of the fort, as well as doing any shopping inside the castle with the many shops that were there. There were places to eat as well as to shop here inside the fortress of Valensa. The scenery of this fort was very much reminiscent of the 2 forts I visited in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico a few years ago when I visited there. This tour was probably one of the dullest tours I did of the 7 ports of call we visited. Going inside & outside of churches is getting pretty repetitive now. 4.) La Coruna ~ At this port of call we decided, under the direction of my father, to go ahead and visit Santiago on our own. We purchased a motor coach ticket from the cruise ship. I believe we were given about 4 hours of free time once dumped off from the motor coach in Santiago. The big beef here in Santiago is the church, Santiago de Compestela. You enter in the building one way and exit out the other. Ceremonies were ongoing when I entered, and you can take pictures both inside and outside the cathedral. Like the other cathedrals, this one was very similar inside, but only much larger than others I'd seen, which meant more pictures. There's also a Museum of Galicia people if you're up for it to visit about a ½ mile's distance away. Otherwise, I found there to be a goodly amount of shopping adjacent to the cathedral, with tons of shops scattered up and down the roads near the cathedral. There's places to eat, a little grocery supermarket, and even a couple of pharmacies, too, if you need. You had a chance to see some pilgrims who walked countless miles with a stick in their hand to make it to this cathedral from far abroad. In retrospect, I'd probably have chosen a different tour, as I'm getting pretty tired now of visiting all these cathedrals and churches. This now marks the 4th port of call in a row whereby we've visited churches of some sort! For those who have an appreciation for visiting cathedrals, history, and religion, then this tour is a right choice for you! 5.) Paris, France (Le Havre) ~ Here we chose to go all out and visit Paris, choosing the "Scenic Paris & Lunch Cruise". Let me tell you about this. The drive on motorcoach between the port of Le Havre and Paris takes about 2 hours & 40 minutes to arrive to Paris. Once we got inside the Paris city district, the first stop was made at a plaza overlooking the fountains in the foreground, followed by the Eiffel Tower in the background. From here, you can take some panoramic photos of the Eiffel Tower & fountains. There were tons of people there, so it'll be hard to get a photo without others in the way, unless you go up to the ledge to take photos. After that stop, we spent a long amount of time driving through the streets of Paris. Nearly all the sites we seen were from the windows of the motorcoach. You will pass by the Arc de Triomphe a couple times for pictures, and you'll also pass by the Cathedral of Notre Dame, and the side of the Louvre. You will NOT get to go inside the Louvre, nor the Cathedral. You also will not be able to go up the Eiffel Tower on this tour either, as the lines are long, and time too short. We did make one more stop on the streets of Paris, to get a picture stop at one of the monuments, and only were given about 10 minutes to do so. Otherwise the final 3rd stop was made at the foot of the Eiffel Tower for our River Lunch Cruise on the Seine River. This was a special & memorable moment. We were served lunch aboard a glass enclosed river boat capsule, which was completely surrounded by glass from roof-to-floor windows. We were very close to the water of the Seine River, maybe only 3 ft from the water sitting very low, but had complete views from floor-to-ceiling windows. On the Seine River, we were served blueberry champagne, White Wine, Red Wine, and a salad, followed by a main lunch dish of Salmon & stuffed tomato with bell peppers, and then a dessert, which was a pistachio-based ice cream derivative, garnished with warm apricots; quite tasty! The wine was complimentary with the meal! You could consume as much wine as you'd like, & then they'd keep filling up your glass. (That's what made this tour so expensive, was the all the wines & champagnes!) Some tables went through 4 bottles of wine, I learned! After visiting and seeing the sites on the Seine River lunch cruise, it returned to the same point on the dock it originally departed from, and we were given 1 hour of time for shopping which was right near the foot of the Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately this area was NOT embedded within a shopping district, so shopping was very tight. They did have a souvenir store right next to the river boat dock that offered a few samplings of souvenirs, but nothing extravagant. My advice is that if you're looking to do some serious shopping in Paris, then do another tour besides this one. Also, if you're wanting to make many stops to visit many sites, you'll have to choose another tour other than this one as well, as this tour that I went on, is ONLY what I'd call an "Introductory tour of Paris". This means most of what you see is while you're on the motorcoach, and you drive-by many sites without stopping. The river boat lunch cruise on the famous Paris' Seine River was definitely a memorable experience, something I won't forget. I've never seen a river boat constructed quite like this before, with floor-to-ceiling windows! Music was played while you ate and cruised the Seine River. A live-playing violinist serenaded your table while you ate and took in the sites along the Seine River. A couple, I saw, even chose to dance on the dance floor, too! Visiting Paris was 1 of my 3 favorite ports of call I did during our 7 ports of call. 6.) Brugges, Belgium ~ On this port of call in Zeebrugges, we chose to go with the tour entitled, "Romantic Brugges". I'm happy to enthusiastically recommend this tour to everyone. This was 1 of my 3 most favorite ports of call. It's too bad there aren't more cruise ships going to this little charming district in Belgium. It's a unique experience to visit the town of Brugges, by doing both a walking tour and canal boat ride, alike, as we did both. The canal boat ride was peaceful & relaxing and allowed yourself to unwind while taking in the distinct flavors of Brugges' architectural building styles, which was quite interesting I thought. Going under the narrow-topped tunnels was kinda neat too! The walking tour is very informative, and you do walk a goodly amount of distance both before the canal boat ride and after. There are tons of places to shop in Brugges. The most notable shops they boast are chocolate factory stores everywhere. Then there are the Belgium fries and Belgium waffles which you can splurge on in addition to the many chocolate stores we found along the streets. I'd highly recommend visiting Brugges to anyone who's interested in shopping, eating, and who craves for chocolates, while enjoying the architectural styles of this quaint, charming little village! It was a favorite of mine!! :0) 7.) London, England (via Dover) ~ For this port of call, we chose the tour called "Scenic London & Free Time". The amount of free time given was exactly 1 hour and 10 minutes, as I looked at my watch, from 150 PM to 3 PM, and the free time was given at the end of this tour. Again, just like in Paris, many of the sites you see in London are whilst onboard the motorcoach bus, with only a couple stops made. The first stop we made was at the Tower of London Bridge. Here you had lots of time to take pictures, and make a quick sneak peek inside the Tower shops. We could also take photos of the new city hall, too. Afterwards, we passed by Big Ben, Parliament Square, and Westminster Abby. No stops were made at these locations, so you had to take pictures from the bus, which was sometimes a challenge. My favorite, most picturesque monuments were at Parliament Square. I'd have liked to had a stop here. Instead, though, we were given a stop at Buckingham Palace, where we were able to get out of the motorcoach and have a goodly amount of free time to take pictures of the outside of the palace, the gold-topped gate, and fountains in front as well. After Buckingham Palace we visited Kensington Place where we were dropped off for free time right next to the famed Harrod's department store. Harrod's is to London as Saks 5th Avenue is to the United States, just as a point of reference for you to understand. We had 1 hour and 10 minutes of shopping time there in Kensington Place, before we were taken to the Heathrow Airport. Again, this was what I'd call an "Introductory Tour to London". It just passes by pointing out the highlights of London mostly from the motorcoach bus, so you'd have to be quick to take pictures from the motorcoach bus. I'd recommend folks to take an open-air, 2-tiered (double decker) bus, that has no roof, so you won't have glare on your pictures from any windows, and no roof obstructions to your pictures. Just dress warmly as it is cool in London, but at least you'll be able to take better pictures on the top 2nd deck of a London red bus, as there won't be any window glares to your pictures, and you'll be able to take pictures on the left and right no matter where you're sitting as there's no roof to that bus. Traffic in London was enormous and extremely SEVERE! The streets are terribly slow as there's a population of 7.25 million inhabitants residing in London, England and about a total of between 11 to 16 million transiting per day! X. Disembarkation. Disembarkation in Dover, England went smoothly, I thought. There were no major delays to disembarking for our last tour of the cruise. We found our luggage quickly in the place it was supposed to be found at, and boarded our motorcoach promptly. There are no customs declarations forms to fill out in London as there are in the United States, so you don't need to worry about that, for the time being, until you return to the U.S., and then you make your declarations onboard your return flight home to the U.S. Otherwise passport immigration inspection to the final disembarkation port of Dover is done while onboard the Norwegian Sun cruise ship, a couple days in advance, where they have a couple of England representatives on hand that stamp your passport. The line is long and takes about 20 to 30 minutes in line to see the immigration officers. You're called by your deck, between the hours of 8 AM and 12 Noon. XI Summary: Overall, this was an enjoyable cruise. The fist 6 days at sea were the FUNNEST, GREATEST time I've EVER had on a cruise ship in all my past 11 cruises, mainly because of the many varied activities that were offered onboard. I had such a GREAT, smashing-good time participating in the 9 shows I appeared in on-stage, and that made it all the much more enjoyable. The dance classes and dancing we did was upbeat, lively and entertaining to us both. I enjoyed some ports of call more than others, and that was noted above. The only downside to this cruise was that the service personnel seemed like under-achievers, and the towel linens in the staterooms need replacing, too. There was a great selection of entertainment in the Stardust Theatre, but would have liked to seen some more impressive shows than were offered. Also, the Garden Buffet needs improvement on quality and choices of food. For that reason, I'd always recommend everyone to use the main formal dining rooms as much as possible as the food is much more fresh, and the menu choices offer so much more. Just be prepared to wait a while in the main formal dining rooms as we can call the service wait staff anything but fast! Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
We booked this cruise because the price was right, and the itinerary seemed good. I had read prior reviews of the Sun and was a but concerned, but booked anyway. We have sailed with NCL, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Carnival, Princess ... Read More
We booked this cruise because the price was right, and the itinerary seemed good. I had read prior reviews of the Sun and was a but concerned, but booked anyway. We have sailed with NCL, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Carnival, Princess and a couple of older lines. This was our 28th cruise. We are in the 50-65 year age range. THE GOOD: I like the layout of the ship, the staff in general, and the small number of passengers. The cruise director, Pedro, is a real hoot and very good at his job. Despite prior reviews, the ship seemed clean and well kept. In all honesty, if you are cruising and are anal enough to notice carpet wear, some rust, and other little things (as listed in previous reviews), there probably is more wrong with the reviewer than the ship. The cabin was clean and my room steward was fine. If you want the glitz and fine art, you will have to pay for it on another line or a newer ship. To please me, the ship really just needs to be clean, cook my meals, clean my room, and get me from point A to Point B at a reasonable price. The rest is a bonus. The daytime activities were fine and reasonably varied. Loved the martini tastings. Since the demographic on this cruise was older, more activities were probably geared toward them, but I had plenty to do if I chose to participate. We had a stern balcony cabin (mini suite) which was great (8279). Got a great deal from the upsell department (from cat. BB to AE). Never felt the "push" to buy extras any more than other ships or lines. Front desk staff were pleasant and very helpful. Specialty restaurants: Il Adagio ($10.00 surcharge) We ate there three times and loved it. Great food, incredible service. Le Bistro ($20.00 surcharge) Good food, good service. Tapas, Pacific Heights, no surcharge, great choices for alternate dining. Good pizza at Pacific Heights for lunch. Anytime/freestyle dining: Loved not having to pack formal clothes or eat at specific times. Service in regular dining rooms very good, food ok, just as expected. Pork served at EVERY dinner, beef only a few times in 15 days. Other selections for dinners seemed boring to me, but others we dined with were very happy. Truly varies by individual taste. Not a negative for the dining rooms. Shore excursions: I never use the cruise line's excursions. They are (IMO) overpriced cattle buses that waste time. I (and other Cruise Critic friends) arranged all private excursions: Lisbon: Inside Lisbon Tours: Trip to Pena Palace, Sintra and tour of Lisbon. Get a group of 8 and the cost was only 37.5 euros per person. Very good guides Vigo: Galicia Tours-Brendan Wonderful guide, did "Two Countries Tour". Reasonable priced and went where the ship did not/could not go. LeHavre: Used Taxi Le Havre, arranged for tour of Giverney, Rouen, and Honfleur. Great price, good driver. Amazing cities!! Brugges: Arranged van with Brugges Taxi (11 euros per person round trip) to take us to town. What a wonderful place to visit. Great chocolates! La Coruna: Took Taxi to Betanzos, nice old village. Disembarkation: Handled very well, finished very quickly. Very easy to get off at ports. THE BAD: East Meets West Steakhouse ($25.00 surcharge) Really lousy service, poor quality food, not worth the money The casino. Staff seemed generally bored and unfriendly. Some were fine. To get money in the casino, they use an archaic method of lining up three receipts with CARBON PAPER (yes, the kind that hasn't been used since the 70's), then you wait for them to call the accounting office (if they are still on duty). Really very messy and time consuming. You can get $1000 per day, but only $400 if you don't want to have them take over a half hour to get approval. In over 25 cruises, I have never seen a casino this poorly run. You can get prior approval if you are with "Casinos at Sea". The Garden Cafe: Yes, the prior reviewers were all right, this place is a mess. At prime times, no seats can be had (too many people sitting and reading at tables which should be for diners). The food is mediocre at best. Breakfasts are the best of the three meals. Staff in this room stands around and chats and does little else. Don't expect a smile from any staff members here. They will occasionally remove a plate. Do not expect them to offer water or coffee....not their job (still unsure what "their job" really is other than to stand around). If the weather is nice, the outdoor dining area at the stern of the ship is really a great place to sit and enjoy any meal. We tried this venue mostly for breakfast and lunch, but ate a couple of light dinners outside on nights where we just weren't hungry. Dinners are the worst for service. One night after watching a staffer stand around for an hour without doing anything (really, he did not move for an hour straight) I asked another staffer what his job was. She laughed and said, "yeah, he's my friend, he never does anything". His job was to re-stack plates. With only a couple of people eating dinner in that venue that night, he didn't have much to do. Best idea is to fill a plate and take it to your room, or the outside area. If breakfast is usually just a small bite for you, the cafe is just fine. Would I NOT take the Sun again because of the cafe, no. It didn't make that much difference to me. I really just mention it because many other reviews have done so. Dazzles Disco: This venue is used for smaller shows such as Marriage game and others. The timing for the smaller shows is immediately after the regular late show, so if you are coming from the late show, forget about getting a place to sit. It is a very small venue. No biggie, just worth a mention. Shows: Although not really something I care about, I think the shows were just about what I would see on any line. Some good, some bad, and some in between. Once again, truly a matter of taste. NO UGLY. All in all, I really enjoyed the cruise. I choose a cruise based on the following criteria in this order: Itinerary Price Line The Sun, although a smaller older ship, was a very nice ship for this type of cruise. The price was good. Would some of the "bad's" mentioned above keep me away from the Sun? Absolutely not. You can find any ship on any line and find good and bad things about it. Even the most expensive lines have negatives. Would I sail on the Sun again, absolutely. Have I been on nicer, more attractive ships, yes. Have I been on ships with better food, yes. If I want newer, glitzier, ships with great food, I will have to pay for them. If I want a great experience for my cruising dollar, I would not hesitate to choose older ships such as the Sun. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
We are very experienced Cruisers having gone on about 20 Cruises. We've been on most of the Cruise Lines. Carnival - Royal Caribbean - Princess - Celebrity - Holland American - NCL In fact we have been on NCL several times before ... Read More
We are very experienced Cruisers having gone on about 20 Cruises. We've been on most of the Cruise Lines. Carnival - Royal Caribbean - Princess - Celebrity - Holland American - NCL In fact we have been on NCL several times before this cruise, but NEVER again. This Cruise left Valparaiso, Chile and went around Cape Horn ending up in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The problem on this Cruise was the food! We have always experienced well prepared and extremely tasty food on EVERY cruise. Food in a local diner would have been better than what we had on this cruise. It ranged from some taste to NO TASTE! The worst food was at Dinner! One night I asked for a plain salad with Italian Dressing. Now the dressing was not bad but it looked like Catalina Dressing and the last thing it tasted like was Italian. One night we ordered fish and it had absolutely NO TASTE AT ALL! After a few nights of this we actually did not look forward to having dinner. We spoke with other people during the cruise and they were also disappointed in the food. Breakfast was OK. The Pizza & Pasta area (Lunch ONLY) was Great! Deserts were poor to tasteless! One day my wife and I woke up, BOTH sick with the Norwalk Virus! As experienced Cruisers we always wash our hands in the rest rooms and always use a tissue on the door handles of the rest rooms even though NCL didn't mention this. The nurse came to our cabin and gave us pills and she DID cancel our NCL Excursion for us (with a full credit). Turns out we were one of the lucky ones. We were only sick for 24 hours and got up and out the next day. Lots of other people on the ship told us they were sick for multiple days, and then their spouse came down with it after that.... NCL did improve on their daily activities. On previous Cruises they had very limited activities. The night time shows were just OK. Lots of Musicians which did not interest us and we did not attend. I think they did that because English Speaking people were in the minority, so music could be appreciated by all those who like that kind of show, regardless of their spoken language... Lucky we did not win the Free NCL cruise, I would not give it to anyone I know..... Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
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

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