Larry and Pam DeBoer
Age: 61 - 60
Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Sun
Sailing Date: January 22nd, 2005
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
We selected the SUN because of these reviews. We had cruised before with a formal dining time and table, so wondered about the Freestyle Cruise and it sounded good and it was by far the best cruise and vacation we have had for awhile.
We used Hobbit Travel from Minneapolis to Miami. Friday night before our next morning flight we had a really heavy snowstorm. And we did not take travel insurance. So we drove to an airport hotel, stayed overnight, left our car there and took their shuttle early next morning. Arrived in Miami a half hour late. We discovered about 35 passengers from the Northeast coast missed their flights and the departure from Miami. We were to meet them in The Caymans on Monday. Travel insurance would be on my list next time.
Checking in was quick, no lines and we were on the ship in our balcony stateroom by 2:30 PM. Luggage arrived about 5:00PM, so bring a swim suit or shorts in your carry on so you can hit the pool before luggage arrives. The BC 8262 state room was right above the life boat deck, but we could not even see them below the balcony. The little extra cost for the balcony made the trip for us. Sitting on the chairs reading, watching the ocean go by and a few dolphins was great. The staterooms are spacious - luggage under the bed and a nice closet with loads of drawers. A special treat each night awaited us after dinner when our cabin stewards left an "origami style" animal on the bed make from folded towels. A swan, elephant, dog, lobster - sometimes with my sun glasses as eyes - were left.
Cruising was smooth with hardly a notice of ship sway. Deck six is a walking/jogging track with a 1/3 mile track - which we tried to walk each morning before breakfast. Also used the great exercise machine room just off the pool.
First meal was in the Great Outdoors bar and buffet on the fantail overlooking the wake. It became a popular spot for everyone all week.
We dined in the Seven Seas just about every meal. The service was elegant, European and Asian wait staff, and the best croissants this side of Paris every morning. As others have suggested try the specialty restaurants for an extra service charge. We tried Il Adagio for a great Italian meal and the Pacific Heights for great mussels. But, in the end, we really preferred the Seven Seas for creative gourmet food. The President's dinner menu was filled with many of our past President's - and wives - favorite meal items.
We decided to take advantage of the wine club. Buy 5 bottles of wine and get the 6th bottle of wine free on the final night. I found the wine prices better than most good Minneapolis restaurant wine lists.
The one disappointment we found was the same cold front up north arrived with us in The Caymans and the port was closed and no one could go ashore. The tender with the 35 Northeast late arrivals came out to the ship but the waves were too high to allow a gang plank. So, the captain sailed around the calmer South side and we were able to transfer the passengers there and continued on to Honduras. One could visually see the destruction on the trees in Georgtown from the last hurricaine. We all got our Cayman shore excursions refunded.
We scheduled shore excursions in Roatan and marveled at the numerous iguanas - the locals cook them and eat them. They say they taste just like chicken. We toured the Mayan ruins in Belize and Cozumel and still had lots of time for local shopping and lunch. The tour in Roatan stops at a beach where a good reef can be snorkeled right off shore in Las Palmas.
There were lectures on the ruins, cooking classes and many ship board activities too numerous to take them all in. A highlight on the final day at sea was a Chocoholic Buffet in the Four Seasons. Chocolate sculptures and ice sculptures filled the room and there must have been 15 - 20 different chocolate desserts free in the afternoon. Snacks, including pizza slices, were available at any time from after lunch until past mid night. But, most are too busy to gain weight -dispelling that myth. My wife actually lost six pounds on the trip.
Observing the ships in port near us - Royal Caribbean, Carnival - the Norwegian Sun was the best.
Disembarking the express way is quick. Be sure all your luggage has wheels and you get off the ship first. Otherwise, you have to go into the huge luggage warehouse and find your own luggage stacked by deck number and room.
We went during the school in season, so there weren't many kids, but those that were there kept busy in the Kids area and seemed to be having a ball.
It was a great cruise and we would book again.