Number of Cruises: 7
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Sun
Sailing Date: January 8th, 2006
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
Norwegian Sun Cruise Review
This was our 7th cruise having
previously sailed Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Celebrity, and Princess. This was
our 2nd cruise aboard an NCL ship. Obviously, we like to cruise. Having said
that, we can point out negatives on every cruise and something about every ship
that we thought did not meet our expectations. The same will hold true about
this review. Let me say that I would sail this ship and this line again without
The NCL Sun is a clean well presented ship with a conscientious officer staff and crew. The ship is typical of most of the newer NCL ships offering multiple dining venues and freestyle seating. The free style dining choices offer great flexibility in dining options and has enhanced our cruising experience ten fold. After two cruises in the last year aboard NCL, do not believe that the service is lacking due to “we don’t have the same waiter every night… so they do not care about service”. The service has been excellent at all times on both ships. This format gives you the choice of dining alone or to dine with new friends as you choose. One of the best features is that there is no rush back to the ship on port days to “meet the ship’s dining schedule”. The food preparation, quality and presentation have met our expectations on a consistent basis. On our 1st NCL cruise, we opted to eat at a few of the specialty restaurants requiring a cover charge, however on this cruise we did not eat at any of these choices. We enjoyed all of the food and service on both ships. The NCL offers a buffet in the Garden Café. (I believe it is open basically 24 hrs. daily) It is situated to allow dining both inside and in the Great Outdoor Café (situated in the most aft position to allow a great view from the rear of the ship. This area offers both covered and uncovered dining options. The Four Seasons and the Seven Seas offer typical cruise ship dining experiences.
The ship is designed with a promenade deck which allows a nice 360 degree walk with a great view of the ocean. The lack of any deck chairs on this deck was disappointing. We always look forwarding to enjoying a few quiet relaxing moments sunning on this deck while sipping a beverage of choice, listening to our favorites on our MP3’s and watching the world sail past. This is the 1st ship that we have not been offered this opportunity and it was disappointing. The pool area is very adequate with ample areas for sunning both near the pool and on other decks in close proximity (without all the noise). Our cruise was sold out and we never had an issue in locating a good location on the deck, any towel issues and/or drink service. The deck band was excellent and routinely received applause from the patrons. Lots of sun, drinks and music created a great cruising atmosphere which we enjoyed.
We do not drink a lot but I might say….. It seems as if drink prices continue to rise. NCL apparently does not offer discounted “Beer Buckets”…so beer routinely cost in excess of $5 per beer. I think this is too high but I doubt that NCL charges any more than any other cruise line. Having said that… I can attest the beer was cold and I drank my fair share of $5 beers before the week had passed. I had a few frozen thingee’s too!!!
We opted for an inside room (#9331 Cat ii). After a good look at the ship’s various deck plans and stateroom options…. we chose this room based upon its location and size…. 1st of all this was the largest room we have seen on a cruise ship… all lines, all options, inside, outside or balcony. It was very large. I still believe a balcony room is the best choice…. but for this cruise we did not see the need for a balcony and we were not disappointed. ( If reviewing this ship or any other ship for Alaska…a balcony is a must). The second factor was the room’s accessibility to the pool, buffet, dining rooms and theater… all of which were excellent.
Now the two negatives about our cruise…… 1st …..The ship had adequate lounge areas for entertainment…. While personal taste will dictate whether the entertainment was good or bad… the ship just did not offer a variety of entertainment options…..if you like Glenn Miller or Name That Tune from 60’s and 70’s show tunes or Irish Folk Songs… then I suppose that you would have liked the entertainment… I have a musical background and I can say the performers were good….. just not to my liking… I think there should have been more variety. One group… Twice as Nice…. offered a Motown musical review and they performed on a very professional basis. Their performances were well attended and always were well received. 2nd…. I’ll be kind in my choice of words fro our room steward… Let’s just say…. The typical 16 year old would do a better job of keeping the up room than this guy did. I am not certain exactly when he worked… not often is that answer and on his schedule… not ours……..I have had a less than stellar room steward before… but this guy lowered the mark. I do not think this is an overall NCL problem… maybe the guy was having a bad week.
The Jean Ryan Dance Company is awesome and I would rate their performances as good as I have seen on any ship.
The Sun was leaving this western Caribbean itinerary after our cruise. The ports of Cozumel, Belize and Roatan were all excellent. Cozumel has recovered very nicely after Wilma and one should not worry about their stop here. Living on the Gulf Coast I have frequented Cozumel and the Mayan Rivera many, many times over the last 20 years. The downtown area has recovered nicely (85-90%) and all of my favorite restaurants were open and fully functional. (LaChoza, Palmera’s, El Capi Navigante, Café Dennis and of course Carlos and Charlies was open).
In Belize, we opted not to stay in Belize City (where you are tendered in) but instead immediately took a tour boat to snorkel, drink and eat in Ambergris Caye. WOW!!! My new favorite spot in the Caribbean. Talk about charisma…..If you like a beautiful view of the ocean with gentle breezes, the ambiance of a good beach restaurant (Fido’s offers cold drinks and good food), gentle breezes and small fishing and dive boats moving about…. Then this is the spot for you. The “city” of San Pedro offers some typical tourist shopping which is limited to “T-Shirts and Trinkets”. No cars allowed here!!!!.. so watch out for the golf carts… Overall…. This is a great place with great charm and without the congestion of large commercial development.
In Roatan… we opted for a quiet day at CoCo View Resort….This resort is not for every one. It is a dive resort. We are not divers… but for $25pp we could snorkel the reef (awesome reef) and enjoyed their lunch buffet. We opted for this resort because we knew the divers would leave and we basically had the resort for ourselves. This turned out to be a great day to sun and snorkel without the crowds that typically head to West Bay or West Beach. It worked really well for us.. but if you are looking for a nice sandy beach… then head with the masses to West Bay.
Embarkation had some issues but they were beyond NCL’s control. We were delayed getting on the ship by a Custom’s issue….. but once the green light was given to board.. it went really well…. “Just one of those things”…. Disembarkation was flawless and was the best that I have ever experienced.
In closing…..Overall the trip was excellent….. I was a little disappointed in the ship’s entertainment choices but I love the freestyle cruising…. Generally…. Service was excellent. The surprising thing to me after two cruises with NCL….I really believe NCL service beats every other cruise line. I really like to eat when/where we want and dress how we want. The staff is very attentive and charming….It was a very relaxing cruise and I would sail NCL again without hesitation.