My wife and 2 children just returned from a one week cruise on the Norwegian Sun. I would like to take the time to give everyone some feedback.
We arrived at about 11:00 AM. We parked in the covered parking (we live in Miami) and left our bags with a porter. We were immediately led to the check in station where we checked in with almost no line. We had to wait to board until Noon. We boarded with no difficulty and were taken to your cabin by an NCL staff member.
We had a balcony cabin on the Norway Deck. Between my wife and 2 kids we had 7 bags of varying size. The bags all arrived by about 3 -4 pm. We took a tour of the ship and had some lunch while we waited. Once the luggage arrived we unpacked all 7 bags and latter discovered we had a whole other shelf area next to the TV we didn't even use. The room was beautiful and clean. The Balcony was wonderful. I don't think I could take another cruise without it. (This is our 12th Cruise). The room had a safe, TV and refrigerator. It also had a writing desk and two chairs on the balcony with a small table. The bathroom was large enough and the shower worked great.
We loved the Ship. I have no idea what the complaint were about as far as colors. I think it was immaculate and beautiful. Our last two cruised were on Carnival and so this décor was a nice change from the more garish neon look. There were plenty of bars and deck areas to sit and people watch or sun. Our favorite place was the Windjammer bar, mostly due to the outstanding singer Roger Hernandez. He has a tribute every night to a different singer, Billy Joel, Elton John etc and later all requests.
THE FOOD AND RESTAURANTS
We managed to eat in every single restaurant except the Tappanyaki. (sp). We enjoyed them all. We had no problem with a wait time or service time in any of the restaurants. The food is very good. I don't expect gourmet quality on any ship that has to serve 2500 guests. We really enjoyed the ambiance of the specialty restaurants such as "The Bistro, Pacific Heights, East Meets West, and Adaggio. We ate in the main restaurants twice. Sunday night for the gala welcome dinner (we dressed formal tux and all as did may on board) and also for the farewell dinner on Thursday night. Both times we had minimal wait for our table and were waited on very quickly. I believe the quality of the food in the Restaurants with a surcharge is similar to the main dinning room, possibly a bit better. However, we really enjoyed the atmosphere of the smaller restaurants and the attention of the staff. The famous Chocolate fondue in the Bistro was wonderful.
I think we have been spoiled for other cruise lines until they match NCL for this concept. This was our third cruise with the kids. The previous ones were on Carnival. We cruised about 9 times BK. (before Kids). With the freestyle cruising we were able to take the kids (age 9 + 11) to dinner or order room service for PB &J at about 6 pm every nite. At seven PM it was off to the Kids Corner for the Children. Mommy and Daddy then had the pleasure of dining alone in anyone of the 9 restaurants. It was wonderful! Getting reservations was no problem anywhere the morning of the meal or the day before. This was a luxury that made this a truly wonderful mix of a vacation with the kids and without at the same time.
THE PORTS AND EXCURSIONS
We reserved Capt Marvins stingray tour in Grand Cayman with another Cruise Critic member. It was the two hour trip that visited a reef area and Stingray City. It couldn't have been better. While we were on a smaller boat that easily held the 10 of us, we watched the Giant ferry carrying 200 or so people from the NCL excursion nearby. The captain of Marvins boat told us about the Stingray and helped us feed them. Being only 10 in our group made the experience very special DO NOT MISS THIS TRIP. My kids and my wife were awed by the beauty of the Stingrays and petting them was a trip. On Belize we booked with Action Belize a boat trip ECO tour. Other than the guy picking us up not having a sign on him, once we verified who he was we were taken to the boat. The trip was about 3 ½ hours in the mangroves on the boat seeing beautiful birds and alligators. We were taken to "Bird Island" that was a nesting area for IBIS and Herons. It was lovely. There was only the four of us on this tour and it cost us $49 per person. In Roatan we took a cab to a few places but I don't recommend this. They didn't understand where we wanted to go and we didn't get there. This was a wasted stop for us, but I'm sure the trip to the beach or snorkeling was good for others. I highly recommend taking a ship trip on this stop. Cozumel was shopping time for us. We had been there many times before and we got some great deals on boots and a beautiful Chess set for my son. We had a great lunch in Panchos back yard.
Sorry, other than listening to Roger Hernandez, we didn't attend any shows.
My kids loved it. My daughter is handicapped and has other medical issues. They gave us a beeper so if we could roam the ship with no worries of problems. They beeped us when we were needed. My son really enjoyed his time with the Kids crew even more than Carnival.
I had planed to have a good time on this trip and not be hyper critical of anything. Well as it turned out, that mind set was not needed. If there was any question in my mind before this trip as to the crews attitude about the automatic tipping, there isn't now. I don't think we came across one single sour crew member on board. Everyone was exceedingly friendly and nice. From the minute we got on till the minute we left. The room stewards were great as were all the waiters in all the restaurants. The casino was fine and I came away a winner. After a 10 year hiatus of not traveling on NCL, I may have trouble choosing a different line now.