February 25, 2006
by Jacqueline Mosquera
INTRO: After reading several negative reviews, my husband and I were pleasantly surprised that almost nothing of what was said was true. This means that if you booked a cruise on the Sun, you should rest assured that you will have a good time as long as you make it your goal to have a good time!!
EMBARKATION: First, let me start with embarkation. As a past cruiser (the Sun was my third cruise), this was the absolute smoothest embarkation I've experienced. Literally, I was in my stateroom within 30 minutes, if not less!!! This includes waiting on line (never outside in the blazing heat as had happened to us on Carnival), clearing with U.S. Customs, registering with the ship, taking the first picture, buying the soda card, etc. Also, from the beginning, you see how meticulous NCL is with cleanliness as they ask you immediately upon boarding to sanitize your hands with a little gadget they provide that you will find throughout the ship, especially at their restaurants and buffet areas.
ACTIVITIES: The activities on the Sun weren't bad, but they could've been better. With my past experiences, I found Carnival's activities to be much more fun and wilder. If you want relaxing activities, you will definitely find them here. If you want a crazy Cruise Staff and nonstop party-atmosphere activities, you won't be very satisfied here. Despite this, I have to say that my husband and I had a good time anyway; we were never bored with any of their activities and there was always something to do. The best ones include daily trivia (my personal favorite), Jeopardy, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Not So Newlywed Game, etc. Also, I looove karaoke and you will find plenty of karaoke time on the Sun and a great variety of songs. The disco was not the best, so if you are young like we are and are looking to go "clubbing," don't count on Dazzles to be the place. You're better off going to a late show, one of the late buffets or snacks, and the casino. Oh, right, the shows were good. The C
irque Peter Pan was awesome as were the comedic jugglers. My favorite show was comedian Joe Yanetti's. Oh my gosh, he was awesome, sooo funny, so don't miss ANY of his shows!! They are all different yet the same type of sarcastic humor that I love!! But obviously, don't sit near him as he will pick on you!
The singers were great, too. The group of Filipino singers were THE BOMB (I loved all their ABBA covers), and the Motown singers were very good, too. Looks like Norwegian definitely splurges on their talent as did Carnival, so that's a good thing.
Also, they showed daily movies in Dazzles, so if you want to catch a movie, it's a good option. But don't expect popcorn. Also, they are recent DVD releases, nothing that is in theatres at the moment. Finally, you can catch any of these movies in your stateroom, so if you don't go, you are not missing much.
CASINO: Ok, my favorite thing about the casino was their
late-night snacks!!! Yummy!! I loved the sandwiches, wings, etc. Carnival and Costa definitely didn't have this!! About the casino, I know nothing about table games; I stick to slot machines. I love the quarter slots, so I won a few dollars from them. The machines don't take quarters--you have to change your money to the ship's tokens.
BINGO: Too expensive for me!! Never played except for the one or two free games they give you. This was way more expensive than Carnival and Costa. And the payouts were about the same (a couple of hundred dollars). To me, it was not worth it, but if that suits your fancy, go for it. I noticed they have this little Bingo machine that does all the playing for you when you purchase lots of cards, so that was cool.
FOOD & DRINKS: The food was as good as buffet-type, mass-produced cafeteria food gets. It was good, so I never understand people who complain about buffet food unless it's cold or something. The pizza was a little cold sometimes, about lukewarm. That could've been better. But the rest (including
desserts, especially the cheesecakes and chocolate-covered strawberries!!) was great. The a la carte menu at the free restaurants was awesome. Also, what a great surprise the Cooking Light menus
were! Sometimes their offerings were better than the regular food they offered (ex.: Chicken
parmesan, salmon with peach-apricot glaze, etc.). Oh, if you like Indian food, don't get your hopes up on their Indian menu as some friends who tried it said it was not very good. As always, the service at their sit-down restaurants was good as is on most ships. We didn't try any of the restaurants that require reservations and cover charges. Didn't see the point. But these same friends I made on the trip said the food there was good, too, if I remember correctly. Finally, chocolate buffet on the last night was not as I thought it would be. That said, you will find some choices that are good. Oh, don't forget to try the menu at the Tapas restaurant (forgot the name)--it's free. You can also find different free food at the sports bar. Fish and chips is
DRINKS ARE TOOOOO EXPENSIVE!! Their specials were $9 cocktails!! That's more expensive than NYC!!!
STATEROOM: We got lucky. We got upgraded to the best inside stateroom. It was big for a stateroom and very comfy!! King-sized bed and all. Bathroom was comfy. The only thing I didn't like was that the shower water's temperature changed a lot while you were showering! That was uncomfortable but you can't have it all. Also, the cleaning lady was very good and nice, but she always seemed to clean when we were there (during our mid-afternoon breaks). So if you don't want them to interrupt a quick nap or shower, make sure you put the Do Not Disturb sign during those hours or else they'll come knocking every day!!
STORES/SHOPPING: What I liked about NCL was that they didn't push/persuade you into shopping or buying their services onboard like other cruise lines do. They give you their fliers daily and that's it. No constant announcements over the PA system on their sales, etc. No one pushes you daily to go to their shops in port and buy their diamonds, no one is pulling you into their spa to get an overpriced manicure.
CONCLUSION: Overall, this cruise was a good experience for my husband and me. We had more fun on our Carnival cruise, but this cruise was very relaxing and the ship had many more amenities and comforts!!! Keep in mind that this cruise was more expensive for us, as well, so we limited ourselves in some things due to our budget!! But we still had a blast!! It's what you make of it that comes of it, remember
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