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Norwegian Sun
Norwegian Cruise Line

November 16, 2001
Christening Cruise

by Linda Coffman

Reach for the Sky ~ Capture the Sun!

Elegant Atrium Staircase & Glass Elevators

It was impossible to see everything and sample all the dining venues on a one-night Norwegian Sun cruise to "nowhere," but I tried. My highly anticipated sailing on this special dual christening voyage began with a relatively quick check in. The long line moved swiftly and in short order I was on board and being escorted to my stateroom.

Although the Norwegian Sun is the Norwegian Sky's sister ship, they aren't identical twins. Purpose-built for Norwegian Cruise Line's Freestyle Cruising concept, Norwegian Sun's subtle yet distinctive improvements include more dining options, larger staterooms with abundant storage, and expanded facilities for children and teens.

As a typical cruise passenger, I immediately went in search of sustenance and found the welcome aboard buffet in the Garden Café. Even though it was late, the salads were fresh and the pizza delicious.

With so many restaurant choices, dining presents a delicious dilemma during a typical week-long Norwegian Sun cruisenine restaurants with ten menus and only seven nights to try them all. Where to eat?

  • Four Seasons Restaurant—One of two main dining rooms with a menu of traditional fare
  • Seven Seas Restaurant—The second main dining room serving contemporary cuisine
  • Il Adagio—Italian restaurant with intimate tables for two or four (Cover charge)
  • Le Bistro—NCL's signature French restaurant featuring French-Mediterranean cuisine (Cover charge)
  • Ginza—Japanese restaurant with a sushi bar and teppanyaki room (À la carte pricing)
  • East Meets West—Pacific Rim restaurant serving a fusion of Californian and Asian specialties (À la carte pricing)
  • Las Ramblas—Authentic Spanish Tapas bar with live entertainment
  • Garden Café/Great Outdoor Café—Buffet style indoor/outdoor eatery open around the clock
  • Pacific Heights—"Healthy Living" restaurant featuring dishes from Cooking Light magazine
  • Sprinkles Ice Cream Bar—Ice cream, sherbets, and sundaes

East Meets West ~ The Lobster Tank

Taking fresh seafood to new heights, patrons of East Meets West can select their own live lobster from the octagonal lobster tank and have it prepared broiled with lemon butter, À La Nage with Hollandaise sauce, or wok-flashed and served atop noodles in a kaffir lime and lemon grass broth.

Because this is Freestyle Cruising, passengers can "dress to the nines" for a special dinner or choose resort casual attire every night. Formal attire during one evening is optional with one or more restaurants set aside for those who don't want to forgo this shipboard tradition.

Freestyle Cruising offers the flexibility of dining when you wish and with whom you choose. However, guests who prefer the same table and waiter every night at a certain time can simply inform the Maitre d' and those  arrangements will be made. For parents who want to share a romantic dinner for two, the Kid's Crew program and group babysitting solves the problem of child care.

After a thoroughly enjoyable cruise on Norwegian Sky last year, my one lament regarding cabin convenience was the inadequate storage space. There is no cause for that complaint on the Norwegian Sun! At 172 square feet, the oceanview staterooms are generous and contain more than adequate closet and drawer space. The new mini-suite category boasts 267 square feet and a balcony. Even inside staterooms are cheery and the  clever use of primary colors and strategically placed mirrors achieves an open feeling.

For a bit of nautical flair, cabin bedspreads are printed with a design of seaman's knots. Let the kids try to tie a few while you admire the ship's wheels woven into the carpeting pattern or use the in-cabin coffee service to heat water for tea or instant coffee. All staterooms also have a small refrigerator and personal safe for valuables. Bathroom amenities include a hairdryer and shampoo and soap dispensers—no more struggling to open tiny paper containers.

To tempt newlyweds and couples celebrating a second honeymoon, the choice of two elegant honeymoon/anniversary suites afford a luxurious hideaway for two. Beer budget and champagne taste? Not to worry, all the Norwegian Sun's accommodations are comfortable for couples and even spacious enough families with small children.

Rich woods accent the Windjammer Bar

Public Areas
The first thing I noticed were the differences between the Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Sun. While the layout is similar, Norwegian Sun's decor is swankier and more refined. For instance, gone are the somewhat kitschy and out-of-place statues in the Windjammer Bar and outside Checkers Lounge (named Dazzles on the Norwegian Sun). Rich wood tones and fabric colors prevail throughout. The Norwegian Sun's Observation Lounge is similarly more subdued and tasteful. Its rattan furnishings provide a light, tropical setting with nothing to distract occupants' attention from the expansive views beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows.

An expanded Internet Cafe with two dozen computer stations now encircles one atrium level and a delightful Java Cafe is a welcome addition on the main atrium floor. Sunshine pours into the atrium through an overhead skylight by day, while at night it is the Norwegian Sun's glamorous hub of activity.

A single exception to the Norwegian Sun's understated furnishings is found in the two-deck high Stardust Lounge. However, its flamboyant color scheme can be forgiven by the comfortable seating, good sight lines, and the lavish production shows presented on its proscenium stage. 

Body Waves Spa, staffed by the acclaimed Mandara Spa, boasts a full menu of salon treatments and spa indulgences. Don't leave your exercise regime at home, the Norwegian Sun has a 24-hour fitness center with state-of-the art equipment and a wide range of classes, including aerobics, spinning, yoga, and toning—all taught by certified instructors.

After a jog around the Promenade Deck, where you can admire the unique wall murals, take a refreshing dip in one of the two pools or select one of the hot tubs to soak your sore muscles.

The Norwegian Sun Experience
From the caviar and pâté de foie gras offerings in the Champagne Bar to hamburgers and hot dogs in the Great Outdoor Café, Norwegian Sun's Freestyle Cruising should satisfy the tastes of even the most demanding passenger.

Parents will find their children well entertained in the "Kid's Crew" Program and well fed from one of eight special menus designed to appeal to junior passengers. Families have the flexibility to dine at their own table or mom and dad can savor a "Night Out" while their youngsters are having a pillow fight at a pajama party. Teens, always difficult to please, can participate in a wide range of sports, dance parties, and entertainment options. Even "doing their own thing" with new-found pals is completely safe at sea.

What You WILL Find:

  • An abundance of choices
  • Tasty meals, creatively presented
  • Service by a professional staff
  • Activities to suit a wide range of interests for all ages
  • Freestyle Cruising "Active Decompression" lifestyle & enrichment programs, including personal finance seminars, cooking, mountain biking and computer classes, and genealogy discussions
  • Well stocked duty free shops
  • A chapel for weddings, marriage renewal of vows ceremonies, and religious celebrations
  • Numerous connecting staterooms and suites for families
  • Duvets on the supremely comfie beds
  • Children under two sail at no charge with two or more paying guests
  • Concierge and butler service for suite guests
  • Some of the best entertainment afloat, presented by the Jean Ann Ryan Company and guest performers
  • Lively casino action
  • Theme evenings
  • Gratuities are automatically added to all accounts

What You WON'T Find:

  • A self-service laundry
  • Structured dress codes
  • Rigid dining schedules
  • Glitz and flashing lights
  • Boredom

Fast Stats

  • 78,309 tons
  • 848 feet long
  • 108 feet wide
  • Speed 23 knots
  • 1,936 guests, double occupancy

The idea of Freestyle Cruising for a week on the Norwegian Sun is alluring... imagine capping seven days of total cruise freedom with a leisurely room service breakfast and relaxation in your stateroom until debarkation! 

More Norwegian Sun Photos - Staterooms & Public Areas

Photos © Linda Coffman & Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

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