This was my second cruise experience. I found the Freestyle platform was just an excuse for NCL to make more money. They serve terrible food in the restaurants included in your trip so you end up in their specialty restaurants paying more. Service is slow and unfriendly for the most part unless it involves you buying something such as pictures,duty free or alcaholic beverages.
If you are trying to get a refill on the non stop pop you paid 28.75 you'd be hard pressed to see a smiling bartender. The ship is beautiful and well maintained but I think it's safe to say NCL won't be getting another dime from me!!
Over all it was a great experience. The excursions are very expensive, and some could probably be purchased independenly for a lot less. The freedom to eat where and when you choose is nice. The food was excellent, although the restaurants with a cover charge are really not worth the extra money.
The food in the Four Seasons and the Seven Seas is very good. We did not recieve the level of service we experienced some years ago, but that may be true of all but the most expensive lines. Alaska is well worth seeing, and the multi cultures aboard ship made for a great voyage.
Me and my family just returned from an excellent week!!!! It was our first cruise and we loved it. The service was outstanding and everyone was very friendly and helpful. The entertainment was just wonderful! The activities were planned out so well, we never got bored. The shore excursions were awesome!!!! We loved how you could eat when you wished and as much as you like!! The crew members were all from different countries so that made it even more special!!! The rooms very perfect for sleeping in! The housekeepers were the best. They kept everything so nice and clean. Alaska was hot and wonderful!!! The views were spectacular!!!!
Now I have heard that other people said that the cruise wasn't good but I think they were maybe on the wrong ship or something. People made the impression that you never even met your cabin stewards well we saw ours at least twice a day. They were also very nice and helpful!
Tips : Arrive early before boarding to avoid all line ups!! Join in the activities and go to the shows!!! Be friendly you'll have more fun!
I would defiantly recommend cruisingwith Norwegian to anyone!!!!!! I loved the cruise it was just excellent!!!! Well done NORWEIGAN!!!!!
My wife, sister in law, brother in law, and I recently completed our 2nd cruise on norwegian sun. Having been on the sun in 2001 and enjoyed the experience so much, we started planning for 2004. We booked our cruise in summer 2003 with hope we would get preferred air travel and upgrades. Well we got the upgrade from deck 8 to deck 10. The flights we could have got last minute. Flight down okay Ottawa 6am to Montreal, 10am to Miami. Arrived 1 PM.
NCI rep meet us .Put us on the bus to the Ship. Got into Latitudes line at the dock, only a few people in line. (Note this the only time on the trip that being a Latitudes member would mean anything. So much for being a repeat customer). The Room we had been a balcony unit, our companions were a cross the hall in a large inside cabins.
Both rooms are very nice. The ship sailed, destination Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Costa Maya. And Cozamel Mexico. All the ports of call were great; we opted to just walk around these towns and shop shore excursionsvery pricey.
The second day out we began to feel the great expectation for this cruise we beginning to fade. Very poor service in the Garden Café and outdo café. Their seemed to be a shortage of staff which snowballed the rest of the cruise. In the main dining rooms service was fine as was the pool deck and bars. Of coarse they make money in some of these areas. We also give 10 out of 10 for the room cleaning staff. they were great.
The second day out there was an invitation to latitude member's cocktail party. Their re prizes including a free cruise for 2. It started at 4pm andlasted till 4.45 there were free drinks if you could get one. Three servers for 300 people. We managed to get a drink at 4.25 never saw the food trays. It turns out you had to stay for the bingo afterwards and buy tickets for this free cruise. Another free giveaway included with our tickets was free pull on a slot machine for another free cruise. Consolation prize you get a free film developed if you bought their 24.95 picture of you coming on board. I m laughing at NCL. We never did here of anyone winning a few cruise.
What really disappointed us the most was the food. Having been on the sun before we so enjoyed the meals in both the café and the main dining rooms. We ate 2 dinners in the main Prime Rib 1 night, Lobster another, both very good. The other nights the menus were very fancy, some of the item ii could not tell you what they were so we opted to eat in the upstairs café. This was a big mistake as half the ship was doing the same thing. The café has 3 serving stations for meals of which all are open for breakfast and lunch. Dinner I guess doesn't rate because only 1 station is open. Long lines, food service trays empty, no choice on cuts of meat, (I like rare meat, only well done available). Pork chops served on 4 nights and other items so spiced up you could not eat them. Another problem was their coffee machines; they have 6 in different areas of the café. On 4 days out seven 4 machines were broken and 2 were empty. When you able to get coffee it were so strong people were watering it down. There is one food item I would like to tell the readers about. I like scrambled eggs, Norwegian sun Version am egg soup, egg floating in water. This just gives s you an idea of what they was serving.
Another serious problem in there outdoor café. The outdoor chair was stained and dirty. Some mornings even wet because they hose down the area just before breakfast. What a treat. The staff cleaning the of dishes in this area seem to be striking against the company because no body was working very fast.
Disembarkation was terrible. Our flight that Norweigan had booked for us was out of fort Lauderdale at 7:15 at night. We were the first people to have to get off the ship. We had to wait an hour for our bags to come off and were surprised to find them damaged. My sister in laws nearly ripped open had to fill out claim for damaged goods. We don't expect they will do anything for us. They bus us to the airport 900am. Waited till 3pm to get rid of our luggage
Because air Canada would not take it early. Our flight arranged by NCL Fort Lauderdale 715pm to Toronto, 1215 to Ottawa. When we get to the ticket counter we find out there is a direct flight to Ottawa leaving at 605 PM arrive Ottawa 915 PM and there were lots of open seats, so we changed our tickets. NCI did a very poor search jobs for us.
NCL if your reading This you lost us as customers. We will do our own Flight Arrangements In future. I'm hopping other passenger on this cruise do the same with a review. Norwegian needs to wake up. We spent almost 10,000 dollars and were very disappointed.
Just got back from a very nice cruise on the Sun. Freestyle dining is a wonderful idea. My favorite restaurant was "East meets West" - a Asian fusion type of restaurant.
Service was very good from both dining wait staff and room steward personnel.
Only possible shortcoming about the Sun would be a shortage of public areas - since this is my comparsion against bigger ships it probably isn't fair.
Would definitely take the Sun again.
We went on the cruise during the week of Thanksgiving holiday. The ship was filled with families with children and teenagers. In fact, all cruises had the same passengers profile during the same week. If you don't like children, don't go on a cruise during the week of Thanksgiving.
NCL customer service was great. We arrived at the Miami international airport the day of the cruise. There were representatives waiting at the gate to greet passengers. I mean you saw them the minute you step out of the plane. They directed passengers to the luggage claims and the shuttle bus. We didn't purchase the airport transfer from NCL because we were going to take a taxi to the pier. We asked the NCL representative about the transfer price, it was $12/person each way. Not a bad deal if your group was less than 3 people. We decided to take the shuttle instead of taxi since the price was reasonable and they took your luggage directly from the airport to your stateroom. It was a short 20 minutes ride from Miami airport to the cruise port.
The check in process was a breeze.There was no line when we arrived at the cruise port at 2:30. There was a waitress walking around with refreshing ice cold water to greet passengers at the check in room. Great service continued. It only took us 20 minutes from the time we arrived at the pier to get to our room. NCL had the usual picture taken spots for every Kodak moment by NCL photographers. At the gangway, there was a NCL staff to pass out antiseptic tissue to each passenger to clean the hands. That was a great service. And it didn't stop there, they hand out antiseptic tissue at every port when we return back to the ship. They also place the antiseptic pocket napkin at every buffet tray. In addition, there were clean wipes next to each public computer for computer users to wipe their hands before and after using the computer. NCL was germ phobia and kept things and people very clean.
Pubic Rooms The name of the ship was SUN, so the decor was red and orange throughout the ship. The atrium was toward the front of the ship rather in the middle. It was a nice atrium but not too big. There were bars everywhere and it seemed like smoking was allow in all bars because the smell of smoke was in all public areas. The main disco lounge was the Dazzle. They had most of lectures and shows in Dazzle. It was freezing cold in there. Ladies, remember to bring a sweater when you go there. The casino was good size and it always seemed to be busy with good spirit gamblers. There was a hallway parallel to the casino for none gambler to walk through. A great feature that not many ships have. There were 2 pools and 4 hot tubs on the top deck. The pools were salt water and they were drain and scrubbed every night. Another clean feature of the SUN. The pool was also a wave pool and produced big waves that splashed over onto the hot tubs and deck. Fun place to be in if you like waves with no sand. The only downside of the ship is the design of all public rooms. They were not easy to find and you had to walk up and down the stairs to get to places on the same deck. So you really need to use the map placed on all strategic point to find your way around.
Freestyle The best feature of the ship was freestyle. It really meant that you could eat at one of the several dinning rooms during their hours at anytime. There were 2 main dinning rooms, Four Season and Seven Seas. The Four Season restaurant was located on deck 5 across from the Reception Desk. It was centrally located and easy to find, also more busy than the Seven Sea. The Seven Sea restaurant was located on the same deck 5 at the back of the ship. Even though both of the restaurants were on deck 5, you had to use the stairs to go from one to the other. The Seven Sea restaurant wasn't easy to find. So it was less crowded and no wait at the first 2 nights. Slowly people found their way to the Seven Seas as the week went by. Menus were mostly the same for the 2 main restaurants. Dinning at the SUN was like going out to a restaurant. The wait wasn't long for most nights. If you didn't mind sharing a table, the wait was only a few minutes. While waiting for a table, we had appetizer at the tapas bar so the wait wasn't bad at all. The variety and quality of food were excellent. There were a lot of small tables so small groups could have their own tables. The Garden buffets restaurant open 24 hours a day. The food was very average and we only ate there when we had to. The buffet food serving stations were small and not well placed. There was always a line at breakfast. The breakfast selection was limited; pancakes and French toast were served only once on our cruise. However, they had melon carving station and fresh melons were served at all times. Desserts were similar to those served at the main dinning room. So if you want to pick out, Garden buffet was the best place to go.
Dress code for dinners were smart casual. Most of the people did dress very nicely for dinner. It was an environment that you could dress up as formal as you want or be casual and comfortable. Either way, you wouldn't feel out of place. There was a formal night at the Seven Sea restaurant so everyone dressed up. If you didn't want to dress up, you could go to the Four Season restaurant. However, most of the people prefer dressing up every night. It was an elegant scene at dinner every night. On the other hand, there was the Garden buffet and pool side buffet that open to anyone who just want to have a bite to eat and not worry about dress code. The other nice service was they put out a snack table by the casino every night. For those who missed dinner because they were so caught up with their bets, snacks were right around the corner.
Stateroom Our room was on deck 9 forward with balcony. The room was clean with plenty drawers and closet. There were 2 twin beds and a sofa bed. The sofa bed opened to a full size bed. 2-3 people would be comfortable in the room, 4 would be too crowded. It was great to have a balcony that we could walk out to get fresh air and see the port without going up to the top deck. The bathroom was small but very functional. They fitted everything in that small area. Great water pressure for the shower. The toilet was vacuum kind, like the airline ones. It was noisy to use. Do make sure you didn't clog it because one clogged toilet would affect 50 others. That was one fact that you wouldn't forget on the ship. The room attendant was great. She came and cleaned our room twice a day while we were at breakfast and dinner. Nothing better than coming back to a clean room when we left it messy. The only disappointment was we didn't have any towel animal left in our room. We heard about them but didn't see one in our room on our cruise.
The Show There were different show performed every night. These were nice productions of Broadway musicals and dances. I think they were more enjoyable by adults than children. People with children may find the lack of children's entertainment at night. But kids should be in bed by then.
Ports There were 4 ports on this cruise, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, and Cuzumel. They're many excursions for each port and they were expensive. If you want like the security of ship excursion and didn't mind spending the money, then take the ship excursion. If you were independent and want to save money, then buy the tours from the local vendor when you get onshore. Each of these 4 ports were different but they all accept U.S. dollars. No need to exchange to local currency. Just remember they didn't provide change back in the U.S. dollars so have small bills for taxi and other small purchases. It was windy throughout the curse so snorkeling wasn't good. Went to Dunn's River Falls in Ocho Rio, Jamaica. Had a fun time to climb up the fall. It was suited for all ages. There were guides to take you up the falls if you needed help. Great place to spend the day in Ocho Rio. Went to Stingray City in Grand Cayman. Great opportunity to feed and touch the stingrays. Went to Chochooben (spelling?) Ruins in Costa Maya. If you went to the ruin on your own, make sure you paid a guide to show you around. There were guides at the entrance to tell and sell you their service. These were knowledgeable guides that spoke English well. You could negotiate a price and it was well worth the money. Otherwise, you were just walking around in the jungle with some pyramid ruins and didn't know the history and significance of them. Went to a beach in Cozumel. Did some shopping there. They sold typical tourist stuff, not much different than other ports. Cozumel was clean and well pointed at the water front where the ship docked.
Freestyle also applied to disembarkation. The night before, there were baskets filled with different departure time tags in the main lobby. You chose the time you want to leave the ship. Then you packed your suitcase and placed them outside your room the night before, just like other cruises. The big difference was that you didn't have to be out of your room and stayed in a lounge the day of disembarkation. You could stay in your room until it was time to leave. That was one of the many great services NCL provided.
Although the weather was a bit cloudy there wasn't anything else bad about this cruise. The ship is great. The crew was good, we had good service in the restaurants we tried. The theater is nice, comfortable seating and generally good views no matter where you sat. The entertainment was good - not as good as I've had on previous cruises - but certainly every show was fun and professional. The dance company was quite large considering it is only a cruise and they were excellent. Other on board entertainment was good too - piano players, guitar players, bands etc. None of them were great but they were all good enough. While there was plenty of bingo and art auctions etc there didn't seem to be as many activities as other cruises (i.e. galley tours, afternoon teas, etc) but we never found ourselves bored my any means. And the casino had everything you wanted. Even a generous amount of nickel slots for us gamblers who don't want to risk a lot. And one machine (I'm not telling which one!) paid off well for nickels. Hit it for $100 once then mywife got it up to $200 a couple of nights later. Also if you like table games NCL gives you $15 of chips for $10 (one offer per person) so you can't beat that deal. FOOD, this is what you want to know about anyway, right? The freestyle dining is great. Eat when you want anywhere you want. Rarely were the dining rooms crowded enough to have to wait for a table. But on nights where there is only one showtime, the restaurants do get busy about an hour before showtime so be warned. All the restaurants were very pretty. We did not take advantage of all the various choices and instead dined in the Four Seasons or the Seven Seas dining rooms for all our dinners (other choices do charge a $10 per person fee).
We had planned on using the other restaurants but the service and food were good so we figured why pay $20 additional when the other restaurants suited us fine. Be sure to check the menus each night - although the two have similar menus there are often slight variations. Filet Mignon might be served in one while NY strip was the beef choice in the other. But there is always at least one beef, one fish/seafood, a chicken, a pork etc choice for main dishes. The buffet looked OK and many people stuck to them but I like to get pampered on a cruise and be waited on. Snacks are plentiful (sports bar has popcorn in the afternoons and chips and dips at night) and the Tapas bar offers interesting appetizers in the evening if dinner wasn't enough! Pool area was nice and 4 hot tubs was an unexpected pleasure. There is also a kiddie pool and a hot tub next to that pool as well. The deck chairs get gone early as with most cruises but we never had a problem finding a place on the upper level above the pools. Shore excursions were good - overpriced as most are but good. We used NCL for Costa Maya and Cozumel but booked over the internet for Montego Bay and Cayman. Sting Ray city was great. Used Barrett Adventures (private van) in Jamaica which is OK too - Mayfield falls is great - similar to Dunns River but never a crowd. Did Chochobben ruins in Costa Maya - very nice but not large. As Costa Maya is such a new port your guide may or may not speak English very well but they try very hard. The Costa Maya port has some shopping and free tram from the ship to the shops so for someone who doesn't want to do an excursion you can kill several hours here. They also have a pool with beach chairs, swim up bar etc right in port by the shops. Cozumel we did Xcaret and it was great and the shore exursion was much more convenient than doing it yourself as the ferry picked you up and delivered you back to the ship (no taxi needed for anything) although you had to leave the park earlier than we would have if we had done it on our own.
In regards to our recent cruise to Alaska, we have a few comments. This was our first experience cruising, and overall it was very favorable and we are ready to go again. There were many highlights of the cruise including the wonderful food, the selection & quanity, the quality of the entertainment was excellent and the range of activities onboard had something for everyone.
We did not eat at any of the restaurants that had a surcharge-plenty of other options. The ships personnel was friendly and knowledgable. The shore exchorsions offered for the most part were reasonable and enjoyable. The only drawback was the short time in Juneau due to the docking time at Juneau and disembarkment process. End of season bargains made the cruise and shopping affordable. Weather conditions were good for the end of season cruising. We were very relieved that we didn't have to worry about making a flight home the day we returned to port.
My husband and I just returned from our cruise to Alaska aboard the Norwegian Sun, and it was a marvelous experience. We cannot praise NCL highly enough for providing us with such incredible memories on board this beautiful ship! And the scenery was breathtaking.
Service on the ship was outstanding! We loved the "Freestyle" dining, as we could dine when and where we chose. There are several restaurants on board where the meals are included in the price of the cruise, and a few others where you can dine for a modest surcharge. They were all (and we tried them ALL!) terrific - in terms of both food and service. We did have one small service issue in the Bistro, but in the large scheme of things, it was insignificant.
The weather was nice much of the time, although we did encounter some rain and low clouds. Our ports of call were Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan and Victoria, B.C. We had signed up in advance for the shore excursions we wanted, which saved us the hassle of doing it on board - and also let us plan and pack accordingly. We limited ourselves tothree excursions so we could relax and not rush from one thing to the next. For us, it was definitely the way to go!
In Juneau, we did the evening whale watching. The cost was $139 for each of us. The boat we went on - the St. Marie I think it was - was brand new and very nice, and they served great food. We did see a whale or two but the weather was not great and you really had to look fast or you'd miss them. Our dream of seeing a whale breach was dashed!
In Skagway, we did The Best of Skagway. At the cost of $189 each, the overall experience is not one we would recommend. Of all the things we did, this one was our greatest disappointment, though it was primarily due to the weather. Because of the low clouds, etc., we really couldn't see very much during our ride on the Whitepass and Yukon Route railroad. The driver of the tour bus (that takes you to the top, then you take the train down) was a college student from BYU and he was terrific. The entertainment at the Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp was amusing, and the food was OK. From there we went back to the town of Skagway, to the famous Red Onion Saloon, and toured the upstairs brothel. That was interesting. But as I said, the overall experience wasn't that terrific. I really felt bad for those who took helicopter tours. I didn't speak with anyone who had, but I have to believe they missed a lot due to the clouds (assuming they even took off).
Our best experience was the Alaska Fishing and Wilderness Dining tour in Ketchikan. You have to be on the dock at 6 a.m., so it's not a tour for those wishing to sleep in! We would recommend this excursion VERY highly. The cost is steep at $275 each, but we would do it again in a heartbeat. We saw eagles, and even saw a whale close up! (We could have saved our money on the whale watching adventure!) The dining really is in the wilderness, but they make a bouillabaisse that is out of this world. The restroom facility for the ladies is quite rustic. The men simply go behind the trees.
Fortunately, we packed all the right things. Prior to going, I had read that you should plan to layer your clothes, and it turned out to be excellent advice. We dressed fairly casually most of the time, but were prepared for just about anything. We took very little that we didn't wear -- turtleneck sweaters, sweatshirts, lightweight jackets, and one heavier jacket. We also took rain gear, which came in handy! I wished I had taken fewer sweatshirts - there are so many nice ones to buy, both on board the ship and in the towns, and the prices are quite reasonable.
All in all, we have memories that will last forever - and some wonderful photographs, too.
Just got back from Alaska. We had a balcony stateroom on deck 10. I enjoyed everything about the cruise except:
1) Food & service great but the specialty restaurants weren't any better than the standard restaurants. Why charge an extra $10-12? Also, the specialty restarants seemed understaffed.
2) The coffee was poor in the buffet restarants. The Java bar had good coffee but the cups were one size--small. Would prefer different sizes like Starbucks.
3) Loved the internet cafe but a bit expensive ($0.75/min).
4) People celebrating special occasions received a nice parfait dessert after dinner but we didn't know about this till after we already had dessert. Then we had no room and the cabin's refrigerator was too small to hold it.
5) Sanctioned excursions were convenient but you can often do better buying direct (this applies to all the cruises I've been on).
On the plus side:
1) Bathroom had a built in hairdryer and the vacuum toilet flushed with a minimal roar.
2) Soundproofing between staterooms was very good.
3) Balcony Rooms--the only way to do Glacier Bay.
4) Freestyle cruising. No need for a monkey suit and eat when you want.
5) Refrigerator in room.Take your leftovers back for a snack later.