Number of Cruises: 5
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Sun
Sailing Date: December 17th, 2006
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Sun Cruise Review
I'll start by saying the Norwegian Sun is
a nice ship. Not as opulent as some I've been on, but still nice. Honestly,
there was nothing on this ship that stood out above the others I've been on
other than our dinner waitress. Kudos to Valentina in the Seven Seas Dining
Room. If you can get her, do so, you will not regret it! (You have to get there
early to get her because of that freestyle dining thing they do… which I don’t
think is all that great either) Also, I'm a budget traveler, so I'm not apt to
spend money on all the added things they want to charge for nowadays (coffee
bar, specialty restaurants, internet service, spa treatments, etc) which can
send the price of a cruise skyrocketing beyond most people's budgets (not too
mention the cost of anything with liquor in it, or the 22.75 for a six pack of
beer that I had to fork over one night) If you're budget conscious and like to
drink, a cruise is probably not the place for you. In all honesty, the cost of
alcohol is an issue on almost all ships, so it's hard to berate just NCL on that
However, I'm very disappointed specifically with NCL in a few areas. It may be great for honeymooners or retired people with no children... but for families, I feel they fell way short when compared to other lines such Carnival, Celebrity, or Disney. Other cruise lines allow you to sign a release that allows your child to sign themselves in & out of the Kid's Club on their own if you think they are responsible enough. Mine certainly are, and I found NCL's policy of making me take them and return to pick them up in person very inconvenient and irritating as I had to leave activities to get them there or leave shows to make sure mine were signed out by 10pm to avoid paying the "babysitting" fees. They ramble on about "safety", but if they were really that safety conscious, they would outfit each child with a GPS unit so a parent could locate their child at any time... Let's call a spade a spade here, they want to have you leave your kids there past pick-up time so they can throw in a movie and charge you the "babysitting" fee. This isn't a reflection on the staff, but rather NCL's policy. My kids seem to enjoy the activities and staff in the Kid's Club.
Also, on my past cruises, juice or punch was always offered at the drink stations as an alternative to tea or coffee throughout the entire day/night. On NCL, you can only have juice with breakfast, and then they remove it from the drink station. I'm sure there are many kids out there that don't like to drink tea or coffee the way adults do. So you're left with making them drink water or buying them something from the bar... That chaps my hide to no end! I'm being penalized for bringing children on my cruise... What's up with that NCL???
Now, if you don't have kids, you'll probably be ok if you like these two things: Sleeping in a sauna and prison beds. Yes Sirree Bob... Our room was so hot (even with the thermostat all the way down) that one night we had to sleep with the door to our stateroom OPEN because it was cooler in the hallway than our room. Now I know I blow a lot of hot air, but to have to sleep in nothing but your drawers with no covers and the door open tells me something's wrong (even though they said is was working correctly). My parents were on this cruise with me, and they said their room was ice cold... So maybe it's a factor of us being on the "po man's" deck (deck 4, bottom of ship) vs. my parents being on deck 10 (because they've taken 34 cruises)... lucky dawgs! And this is the first cruise I've been on that their definition of bed was a cot with a pad on it... Ok, maybe not that bad, but it's not much of an exaggeration. The mattress was maybe 4 inches thick on the edges, and maybe 1 or 2 inches thick in the center, and you could feel the springs... or whatever it was in them that kept poking me in the butt every time I rolled over. After the ordeal with the A/C, I didn't even bother to mention the bed to them. I sure would like to see the cruise companies follow the hotel companies’ lead and start putting really nice beds in their rooms. I'd pay an extra $50 for that... it would be well worth it!
On a side note, this ship goes to Santo Tomas, Guatemala... You are advised by ship personnel not to walk in this town as it's extremely dangerous. Duh? Hello? Anybody home at NCL? Why do you port in a dangerous city? They must have really given you one heck of a kickback....
Norwegian gets rated at 3.5 stars... for me, that's a stretch. Norwegian has moved to the bottom of my ship rankings and I'd never again consider them for a cruise that I was taking my children on. I'll stick to somebody that know how to cater to families.