Number of Cruises: 40+
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Sun
Sailing Date: March 18th, 2006
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
NCL - Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Sun Cruise Review
I have just returned from the
NCL’s Norwegian Sun. I am a travel agent and have been on more than forty
cruises. If you had never sailed before, I am sure you would think the Norwegian
Sun was a very good ship. We did have a good time, but comparing this ship to
others, in the same class, I can find much wrong.
Checking in at the pier went very smoothly and did not take very long.
When we got on the ship, no one
welcomed us or guided us to our cabin. The crew were standing around, but no one
spoke to us. Normally the steward greets you when you arrive in your room,
introduces himself and tells you were everything is, explains the safe, etc. On
the Sun, the room steward comes after 6:00pm.
When we opened the door to the cabin, cigarette smoke hit us in the face. We went to the pursers’ office at 12:15pm and were told they would try to take care of the smell. They had no other rooms to give us. The smell was so strong that I wouldn’t put anything in the room. Housekeeping did try to take the smell out and it was better, but every time you entered the room it “stunk.” AT 10:00 PM, the housekeeping manager came in and sprinkled some more powder on the rug. Even though, I feel we missed the entire first day because we couldn’t enter our room to change into swimming suits or even to rest, we were not offered any compensation, such as dinner in a specialty restaurant or even a drink on the house. We were told one couple on another floor slept in the hall all night, because their room smelled so awful.
All of the luggage was delivered to the end of the hall. You had to pick up your own luggage and take it to your room.
We had three full-grown people in our cabin. Instead of a bunk bed, we had a couch that opened up. It was a foot too short, so your feet just hung over the bed. There was no mattress, just a hard couch. The housekeeping manager brought us a foam pad to put on top of it. Of course, the blankets and sheets could not be tucked in, because it was just the end of the short couch! Not too comfortable.
There is about twenty inches of hanging closet space. The drawers are adequate. Usually the nightstand has drawers, but these tables did not. That is always nice to just put small things in instead of having them lay around.
At the shore excursion desk, there was a 45-minute wait to be helped. There were just two people working. I made our shore excursion reservations with the cruise line in advance. I had asked if I had to accompany my two teenagers on a dolphin swim that cost $165 per person. They said yes. However on the ship I was told you could get an escort pass for $35. I was not offered this on the phone. If you purchased your tickets at the place instead of on the ship, the price was $85. This did not include transportation, which was about ten minutes away.
Food and Dining Areas:
Open seating was very nice because you could go in at any time. It is very impersonable when you compare it to having the wame waiter and staff every evening. The food was tasty, however, the selections were sparse. In the elevator and at the pool, I could over hear people saying they thought there were not enough selections. In the dining room, on the menu were three choices for salad dressing. One choice was low fat dressing; the bottle of Kraft’s Dressing was brought to the table. Shrimp cocktail was the baby salad shrimp. The lobster tails were not removed from the shell by the waiter. This is certainly not important, but I have never been on a ship that the maitre’ d or waiter did not offer to do this for you at your table. The maitre’ d never stopped at our table, or said hello during the entire week.
At the buffet, there was a long line at each end to get your plate. Food was not in stations. If you wanted an omelet you had to go to deck twelve to get it and come back to deck eleven for the rest of the buffet. They did offer a few food items upstairs, but not very many. At the regular buffet, they only had scrambled eggs and squares of another egg type.
Coke cards cost $42.75 per person for unlimited sodas. When I asked how much each drink cost, they said $1.75. This is the price of canned soda not the glasses that they served. Those were $1.25. For the seven-day cruise this figures out to 35 drinks per person to break even. They did not have any kind of diet decaf sodas. Lemonade is not a free choice anywhere on the ship.
The entertainment was very good. They had three production shows that were handled by an outside company. The comedian was very good. Every evening at 8:30pm they had a game show in the Dazzle Lounge. They were always entertaining.
On this seven-day cruise, there were just two “happenings” around the pool beside the band. One was Hairy Chest Contest and Men’s Best Legs. Most of the daytime activities were inside in the form of lectures, etc. When we returned from the private island, the pool had run out of towels. The band or music doesn’t stop or even lower their volume when announcements are made from the bridge.
Ports of Call:
Great Stirrup Cay was our first port of call. The boat house to rent sail boats and other boats was not open. Rafts were available for rent. The beach was very crowded.
The next stop was Tortola. We did not arrive until 12:30pm. It was an okay island. Not too much to do on your own.
When we arrived in St. Thomas we were on the other side of the island. There is nothing there within walking distance. Even though the map that was passed out on the ship showed shops, these had not been built yet. There is a lot to see on the island. Cab fare to downtown is $4 per person each way.
Next and last stop was Samana. There is nothing to see here. Most people retuned to the ship within an hour of getting off. By 1:00pm, all chairs around the pool were taken. The ship was there until 5:00pm.
Pictures taken by the ship cost $14.95. You can have a second sheet with the same picture except it is two wallet size and a little larger picture for this price. If you want just the one picture it is still $14.95 or two different pictures cost $29.90. Portraits are $29.95 for one.
When the crew had a drill, which was about 10:00am on a sea day, they announced in advance about the signal, but they did not mention that the elevators would be turned off for about fifteen minutes. Quite a few people could not walk the stairs and had to wait to. It would have been nice had they warned about this also so they could have situated themselves.
They passed out notices about immigration in St. Thomas. Ours said to report at 9:15am. They said they were staggering the times so there would not be a back-up. At 8:45am the announced all over the ship including your rooms that all US citizens proceed immediately. When we got there at 9:00am, the line was three public rooms long.
Arrival in Tortola was 12:30pm. As you left the ship you had to fill out forms to get towels to take off the ship. The line was backed up to the sixth floor from the 3rd floor. On all other ships I have been on they bring towels to your room or you just pick them up as you get off.
News excerpts from papers around the world are normally available near the pursers’ desk free of charge. On the Sun, you have to subscribe to get a newspaper for $3.95 for the week.
As I stated in the first paragraph, I am sure people loved their cruise. We had a very good time. All of these little things that I mentioned are not that important. But, for the same money, everything I mentioned is so much better on all of the ships that I have cruised on prior to this.