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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Santiago (Valparaiso) to San Francisco on the NCL Sun We chose this cruise because it left and arrived at 2 cities of which we are very fond. We had planned a day flight north over the Andes but it was the wrong time of the year, dry ... Read More
Santiago (Valparaiso) to San Francisco on the NCL Sun We chose this cruise because it left and arrived at 2 cities of which we are very fond. We had planned a day flight north over the Andes but it was the wrong time of the year, dry and dusty pollution covering the gorgeous mountains. A small disappointment, nothing can spoil your time in this city when you can eat beef of that quality and cooked with such skill. A note re the trip to Valparaiso – for the 1st time we took the bus – we had been warned by the locals on previous visits that the bus station is too dangerous. We found this to be incorrect, we paid a pittance, the locals helped us to be at the correct counter, the passengers kept their eyes on us, in fact the bus driver even dropped us off right at the port. It was a great trip – don’t be afraid, just do it. We sailed with NCL for the 1st time in August 2015, aboard Jade and really enjoyed the more relaxed atmosphere of Free Cruising. We are retired, but we both worked pressure jobs, and now we are just not interested in schedules, so the freedom was a blessing. This cruise on the Sun was a shocker in many ways – for that reason I have analysed 14 reviews including those that embarked in Buenos Aires. Seems they had a great sail up to Santiago, experiencing the wild weather and high seas round The Horn, just like sailors of yore. Of the 14 reviews, 1 rated 1, 4 rated 2, 5 rated 3 and 5 rated 4. The contractors and sewerage smell were criticised by 6 and 6 said NOT AGAIN. Pros: - our suite in the bow was really lovely – plenty of room, the bathroom in 8202 was huge and very lux, comfy sofa, large balcony with table and chairs plus 2 x lounges and a coffee table. We moon baked out there, we are living in the Northern Hemisphere (Aussies) and we so miss the Big Dipper, The Southern Cross and all the beautiful stars we have down under. - Great value for money if you disregard the Cons - The hotel staff are wonderful – cheerful, helpful, caring and efficient - Our Concierge and cabin steward were very dedicated - We were treated to an Indian Buffet lunch and the flavours were very original and lovely. - The deep pool is fabulous – when the shallower one is flopping water all over, the water in the deeper pool is still so you can still do your laps Cons: I will begin with a qualification – the line gave us a $400 compensatory payment for the experience we had. On embarkation, when I walked through the aft door of the buffet café there was a strong and odd smell – 2 x days later, as this turned into a stench, my bronchials swelled, I developed a hacking cough and spent several days in bed. An allergic reaction from that smell I believe. - the smell developed on a daily basis, originally only aft on 11, then all the way down to 8 (our f’wrd cabin was a blessing) - all the hotel staff pretended they couldn’t smell it, poor loves - the Hotel Manager was polite but useless, completely under the Captain’s thumb - the Captain, at a meeting called for the purpose, was very irresponsible and disrespectful to a lady who had this smell in her cabin for days – I believe one of the reviews was hers - and his comment was “I thought this was going to be a carefree meeting” – laughing uproariously! - Very few at that meeting felt satisfied or believed the explanations. I will say no more – it has been covered in other reviews. - Then the contractors embarked – they actually began the dry dock work for the last week of the cruise. I had already lost ½ the days due to my reaction to the smell, and now we have a floating construction site. WHOSE BRIGHT IDEA WAS THAT? What total disdain for the paying passengers! Again, other reviews have covered the detail. - The NCL website states “Main dining room menu changes every day” – FALSE. The food standard was abysmal, almost everywhere. Cold food, poorly prepared, boring breakfasts the exact same every day, a chilli con carne dish that was frothing in the bain marie, a sure sign of trouble. I hope no-one ate it - The exception was La Cucina and Le Bistro, in particular the former. Tough flavourless old steak and dry overcooked lobster tail in Cagneys, what a disappointment. - A champagne bar that does not sell by the glass! What’s the point of that? Jade sells by the glass. - Art auction announcements very loud, exuberant and very annoying We rarely go to shows or take company shore excursions but this time we did, in Costa Rica and Guatemala and enjoyed both. My last comment – we are still waiting for the refund of our “discretionary” service charge. The application was submitted 29th April at guest relations on board, and I am in contact with the line after receiving 2 x advices that the refund will be processed in 15 business days – 6 weeks later. Some reviews state that this charge is compulsory – our cruise contract states “discretionary” so ensure that you read your contract. That’s it for me – will we sale with NCL again? Maybe, but not the Sun and not soon. Read Less

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