5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was my first time cruising with this cruise line and I must admit that I was somewhat disappointed with the services provided compared to other cruise lines that I have travelled with. This is a small, older ship with only 12 floors; ... Read More
This was my first time cruising with this cruise line and I must admit that I was somewhat disappointed with the services provided compared to other cruise lines that I have travelled with. This is a small, older ship with only 12 floors; however it was recently refurbished. I found the cafeteria dining on the 11th floor always congested. You are constantly bumping into other people. The layout is poor to accommodate the traffic and good luck in finding a table to sit on those cold days when everyone wants to sit inside. Don't expect to be served coffee, juice or anything while seated as you are on your own to push through the crowds to get whatever you want from the buffet tables. Think you might to go to the main dining room to avoid the crowd, think twice as you might be waiting to be served all day...they are slow as snails! My biggest gripe was the lack of ability to see your bill online while on board. There is no kiosk or television prompt to do so. You will have to join the long line at guest service to do so and I recommend you do so every couple days as there were certainly mysterious charges to dispute which will take them another day or two to resolve. On the positive side, the "washie washie" staff were always fun and greeted you with a smile in the cafeteria. The amenities and future cruise deposits offered by NCL are very attractive. Note FCD must be used within 4 years (non-refundable) or lose it. There was no pressure to take/buy photos. As a matter of fact, I only saw 1 photographer on board! This is a very casual cruiseline. If you enjoy dressing up for formal nights and dining at a classy chefs table, this is not the cruiseline for you as there is none. If you enjoy watching a movie under the stars curled up with a blanket, cookies and milk, this is not the cruiseline for you as there is none! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
First impressions - really liked the ship. It was not too big and impersonal. Public areas nice ambience. The cabin was nicely furnished and the bed was comfortable. Plenty of cupboard space. It was our second time on NCL and we were ... Read More
First impressions - really liked the ship. It was not too big and impersonal. Public areas nice ambience. The cabin was nicely furnished and the bed was comfortable. Plenty of cupboard space. It was our second time on NCL and we were given a bottle of sparkling wine as a welcome back gift which was a nice gesture. Room was very quiet which we appreciated. Cabin service excellent - clean towels etc always available and stewards very helpful. Nice people on the cruise - everyone seemed to be ready to chat. We got the drinks package and tips included with the fare we paid. Although we do not drink a great deal it was nice to have a glass of wine with dinner/cocktail etc without thinking of mounting costs. We did not try the specialty restaurants as these were a bit expensive when food was already available. May have tried them if cover charge was lower. The shows were varied and catered to the profile of ships passengers, although we did not attend many. Entertainment during sea days was a bit of a challenge for the staff as the decks were often closed due to high winds and wet weather. In any case it was too cold to be out on deck and this seemed to catch a lot of passengers off guard in terms of clothing packed for the cruise (me included) - everyone had coats and big sweaters even indoors in the ship. Would have liked a launderette on board but a special offer for a bag of laundry for 20USD was offered a couple of times and this was useful. Embarkation and disembarkation very smooth, including no problems with tenders. Tenders were also fair in that those not on tours could collect tickets for tenders in a first come first serve basis rather than by floors which some cruise lines do. I offer the following as suggestions rather than criticisms - I enjoyed the cruise and would have no hesitation traveling with NCL again. 1. The excursions were prohibitively expensive for many people. In fairness, they were expensive whether you purchased them with NCL or privately. NCL did offer a deal once you were on the ship with cut price tours if you bought a package with 3 or 4 tours which was competitive with private tours. 2. The food was a bit repetitive and the quality average. some of the dining room choices were a bit odd - the elements were not well matched. There was good choice of specialty restaurants but not a great deal of choice in complementary food. The choices at the sports bar and pizzeria food were limited and sports bar not great quality. The Ramblas tapas really was poor quality and not enjoyable. Pride of America had a nice hamburger/ fast food restaurant that was really nice and would have liked to have seen something along those lines. The weather meant that the outdoor cafes could not be used so inside restaurants very crowded but everyone found a seat with a bit of looking! 3. There needs to be a bit more coordination for passengers running church services - there is a chapel and it should be confined to those areas - not in public bar areas where they try to drive others away. This was not on. 4. We experienced high winds and bad weather and one night the ship listed several times with one particular significant list where some people fell out of bed and things fell off shelves in the cabin. No mention was made of this by staff and it was like a veil of secrecy when people asked what happened. We were told that the degree of listing was not made public as it would cause panic - it was more worrying to me not to know. 5. During the night the ship listed, our cabin got water running into it that smelled very bad and soaked our carpet, and the carpets in other cabins near us and the corridor. When I went to report it at the front desk (at midnight) the staff said that no one else had reported the ship listing!!!!!!! What ??????? All the passengers and crew were talking about it the next day! They sent someone to vacuum up the water from the carpet which at that time was localised but I could hear water running down one of the inside walls and the next morning got out of bed to a soaked carpet that smelled awful. When I first went to report it the staff on the reception desk acted like I was the one at fault, complaining about nothing and being difficult. They told us there were no other cabins available and that we would need to stay out of the cabin for the day whilst they put industrial air blowers in the cabin. We were tired after having no sleep the night before. They then offered us the use of an inside cabin on deck 4 for the night (although the carpets were not dry until days later) - husband claustrophobic so have never been able to have a cabin without a window on our travels. We then noted it wasn't only our cabin with the dryers - in other cabins on our floor carpets were lifted, furniture moved and cabins stripped! Also dryers in the corridors and smell was very unpleasant. Asked several times where the water came from but were told different things - air conditioning, drain etc. We got no help at all until we asked to see the ship's hotel manager and suddenly we were offered a room the same as the one we had paid for on the same floor but unaffected by water. After that, staff were helpful. I think they eventually realised that there was a genuine problem and then were helpful. This episode was disappointing, but I guess the reception desk staff do get a lot of people complaining about trivial things and it is difficult to be taken seriously when you have a genuine problem - we have found most ships the same thing in this regard and honestly, it is clearly not the easiest job, and so I can understand the initial pushback but it was a bit disheartening when we knew the problem was genuine. 6. The bathrooms frequently had a smell of stale urine presumably coming from the toilet systems which was unpleasant - noticed this on other ships, not just this one. It was not overpowering, and I guess the staff are reluctant to use chemical cleaners for environmental reasons, but maybe a way of limiting it? All in all, liked the cruise and the ship and will happily sail with NCL again, but would love to know why Aussies have to pay so much more for cruises than other countries? Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
I choose this cruise as it is a great way to see part of South America in a safe and secure environment. Given the crime levels in South America and not speaking Spanish or Portuguese the cruise is the obvious choice to get a flavour of ... Read More
I choose this cruise as it is a great way to see part of South America in a safe and secure environment. Given the crime levels in South America and not speaking Spanish or Portuguese the cruise is the obvious choice to get a flavour of Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. The cruise started off in Buenos Aires and visited Montevideo, Punta del Este, Santos, Isle Grande, Buzios and Rio de Janeiro. The embarkation for the cruise went extremely smoothly boarding from 12:00pm and by 12:30pm you were on the ship. This was good after a 14 hour overnight flight from London to Buenos Aires. SHIP The Norwegian Sun entered service in 2001 and is currently 15 years old but has been refurbished recently. The ship given that it is older is not showing its age due to the refurbishment. The ship is medium sized but has all the amenities you get on a larger ship just on a smaller scale. I found the ship easy to navigate around with short walks to most areas that you wanted to visit. One of the highlights of the ship is the atrium which goes from Deck 5 to Deck 11. Most of the facilities around the atrium are on Decks 5, 6 & 7. The area of the ship you spend your evenings are Decks 5, 6 & 7. ENTERTAINMENT Activities were arranged by the entertainment team through out the day. You could play Bingo, Deal or No Deal, learn Tango or Line Dancing. I am not a big fan of organised activities but there were lots of organised activities if that's what you like. In the evenings the main entertainment was in the Stardust Theatre with production shows, magicians and musicians. I found the productions by the singers and dancers of NCL were the best. The last production show with the singers and dancers was entertainment highlight of the cruise. One dancer in the shows Rachel (from Scotland) really stood out from the others as being a passionate high quality professional dancer. She is a rising star and has a bright future in singing and dancing. The production shows on the Norwegian Sun looked like shows you expect to see in the theatre in the West End of London, Las Vegas or Broadway in New York. Of all the singers onboard Henry (from USA) stood out with his easy listening melodies. Henry is a soulful singer with a large repertoire of songs from the 1950's to today. After leaving the theatre in the evening the entertainment continued in Dazzles Nightclub with a themed disco. If you wanted something more relaxing you headed next door to the Windjammer Bar with a singer. Windjammer was like a traditional British style pub where you could meet new friends and talk to fellow passengers. Dazzle Nightclub was louder with a good party atmosphere. DINING I dined mainly at the Seven Seas Restaurant at the rear of Deck 5. This is a more traditional restaurant with tables for 2, 4, 6, 8 with full waiter service. The food in the restaurant was superb with half of the menu changing each night. Also the service was prompt and you were never left long waiting for a course. Of the speciality restaurants I only tried Cagney's Steakhouse. The food in the restaurant was superior to the main restaurants and worth the approx $25 per person. I would recommend the Brazilian Churrascaria as I tried one in Rio de Janeiro. You get unlimited salad from the bar and unlimited cuts of meat. The Garden Cafe Buffet was good for breakfast and lunches but you are better off going to one of the other restaurants for your evening meal. The Great Outdoor Cafe offers alfresco dining which is good when the ship is docked in port or when departing port late afternoon. SERVICE Whether in the bars or restaurants the service was superb. You were not left waiting for half an hour to get a drink like I have experienced at land based bars. FITNESS The gym was a good size and never over crowded with a mixture of cardio machines and free weights. I only tried it once as I was on holiday. There were good machines for running, cycling and cross training. The only downside was just one rowing machine. VALUE FOR MONEY The cruise itself was good value for money considering whats included, meals, accommodation, entertainment, etc. I managed to get a deal with the unlimited beverage package which was good value. The drinks onboard are expensive by UK Pub Prices and European prices. Plus the drinks come with an 18% gratuity or service charge. Expect to pay around $8.00 for a bottle of beer plus an 18% gratuity about double UK pub prices. However if you can get a deal with a drinks package as long as the value of the drink is $15.00 or below it is included. What is strange is the ultimate beverage package does not include coffee and tea, whereas on other cruise lines they are included. If you add whisky to you coffee (Irish Coffee) it is included. PORTS Buenos Aires A European style city with a Latin American flair. This city has very distinct neighborhoods my highlight was the colourful La Boca. Swedish colours of blue and yellow really brighten the area up. This area is also good for seeing Tango dancers. Recoleta and San Telmo are also very good. I booked an organised tour online as it was a third of what NCL was charging covering the same attractions. Montevideo Easy walking city and the ship docks close to the centre. The most friendly I visited in South America with a few attractions of large signs and interesting building. Uruguay is known as the Switzerland of South America, no mountains but a welcoming place. If you like steak head for Mercado del Puerto a 5 minute walk from the ship. Some of the best and largest steaks in South America. I booked an organised tour online which as half of what NCL was charging covering the same attractions. Punta del Este Due to bad weather the ship did not tender. Passengers that organised an excursion from Montevideo told me that it had excellent beaches. It is known as the San Tropez of South America. Santos An industrial port city in Brazil. My highlight was the tram tour giving you a flavour of the city. Unfortunately the commentary is in Portuguese but it is an enjoyable ride. I also visited the Coffee Museum which is set up for Brazilian and Portuguese tourists. It is worth paying for a commentary in English although I found the museum to be rather dull. It lacked interactive and fun exhibits which can bring history to life. Isle Grande I gave this port a miss, it is a tender boat to the pier due to the port of Vila do Abraao having a shallow port. I was told by fellow passengers you can see Brazilian wildlife including small monkeys and large spiders by walking around the island. If you like beaches Lopes Mendes came highly recommended. Buzios A good tourist resort with all the modern facilities you would expect. You can book a trolley to go around the peninsular or a boat to go swimming and snorkeling. I booked a boat for swimming and snorkeling online and it was a third of the price NCL were charging for the same excursion. The sea was clean and warm however I did not see any fish. Buzios reminded me of the resorts in the Caribbean and the Bahamas. The safest place visited in South America on this cruise. Rio de Janeiro The best port and highlight of the cruise and I would recommend at least booking 2 nights if not 3 nights in Rio to see as much of the city as you can in a short space of time. The highlights in Rio de Janeiro were Corcovado and the Christ The Redeemer Statue, Sugar Loaf Mountain and Samba Dancing. I would also recommend a guided tour to the Favela's. Be careful in Rio de Janeiro and watch for pick pockets and large group of young men. The city has an edge to it with lost of railings in front of buildings. Book the tours with your hotel locally as they are much cheaper than the cruise shore excursions and cheaper than on the internet. I booked three tours with the hotel to see the main sights and it cost less than one fully day of Rio de Janeiro with NCL. SHORE EXCURSIONS I would recommend that you book them in advance online where possible. If you want peace of mind and safety book them with NCL but they cost at least double those online or at the portside. I found that Punta del Este, Santos and Isle Grande you either book with NCL or make your own arrangements locally. All of the others you can book online before you go. Overall I would recommend this cruise for anyone wanting to get a flavour of South America. The port highlights are Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. With this cruise you get to visit Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil without having to worry for your safety and security. Most people outside the tourist areas do not speak English, so unless you are fluent in Spanish and Portuguese then the Norwegian Sun is a excellent way to see South America. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
I had never been to South America and the whole programme excited me, so away I went. I flew via Germany from Ireland and landed in Buenos Aires in the morning. A car was waiting for me and took me to my hotel for the night. Due to it ... Read More
I had never been to South America and the whole programme excited me, so away I went. I flew via Germany from Ireland and landed in Buenos Aires in the morning. A car was waiting for me and took me to my hotel for the night. Due to it being Good Friday, many of the streets were closed for the afternoon, so the company that I had booked a tour with for the afternoon, came quite unexpectedly during the morning and asked if I'd like to tour in the forenoon instead of the afternoon. Very thoughtful of them. That evening a group of us from Cruise Critic gathered and had dinner together which was lovely. The following morning, after strolling around the neighbourhood I made my way to the terminal. Embarkation was swift and trouble-free and I was in my cabin in no time. I promised myself that I would stand in every country that we docked in and I did. Coming around the Cape was very rough with the decks being closed. It rained quite a lot, but we did see the Horn. It wasn't quite as cold as I had expected, in fact my everyday clothes were quite sufficient....but the ship rocked and rolled and lurched and dived. It was sometimes difficult to keep upright. However I enjoyed every minute. The food was quite good in the main dining rooms, and the buffet always had mountains of food, so that I was never hungry. I ate in the speciality restaurants a few times, but really the MDRs were much better both for service and variety. The entertainment was very good ranging from music in bars to shows in the theatre. The band Innovation provided super music almost every night, and indeed afternoons also on the pool deck. The service was excellent throughout the ship and the Cruise staff were most attentive and hard-working. However the nearer we got to US the more the ship began to be like a 'work-in-progress'. She was heading to dry dock in San Francisco and was getting quite a lot of work done beforehand. It was very noisy out on deck sometimes, with work being done on the stack. There was always work going on in the corridors with stepladders everywhere and workmen being busy busy busy. This state of affairs, should have been reflected in the price!!! Another thing, there should be much more cameras and surveillance on board. As a solo lady traveller, I was assaulted in an elevator and followed throughout the ship. My assailant knew the position of every camera on board, so all of his activity was off camera. I reported him to security, and eventually they interviewed him and of course he denied everything. And there the matter ended. In my opinion, NCL didn't do the right thing. I didn't even get an apology from them. My security was shattered and I felt vulnerable, as he began to show up wherever I was. However, I refuse to be shaken by a miserable individual and have already booked two future cruises with NCL, again travelling solo. However the main reason that I like NCL and MSC is because of their Cruise Staff, who dance with the passengers at night. I can't find out from anywhere if the other cruise lines have similar Cruise Staff. So if anybody knows, I'd be very grateful. Despite that incident, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute on the Sun and would gladly do the entire cruise again. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
I choose this cruise primarily for the interesting ports and itinerary. Patagonia, Falkland Islands, The Horn, Straits of Magellan, Chilean Fjords, and more. Embarkation was something. Lots of lines, and checkpoints getting through the ... Read More
I choose this cruise primarily for the interesting ports and itinerary. Patagonia, Falkland Islands, The Horn, Straits of Magellan, Chilean Fjords, and more. Embarkation was something. Lots of lines, and checkpoints getting through the port terminal. Once on the ship, and completing one last check-in, I was able to go right to my cabin. My luggage was present along with the first daily schedule. Lots of events throughout the afternoon and evening. I made a list and jumped right into it. Let me mention that the cabin was great, Mid-ship Ocean View, class OF. I describe it in more detail under the cabin review section. I really enjoyed the dining choices. The two main dining rooms always a large number of selections. I ate all dinner meals in one of the main dining rooms. One evening we went to the Brazilian Steak house (specialty restaurant with an extra charge) It was great. Had my fill of wonderfully grilled meats. I tried everything. Found some cuts better than others, like the tenderloin, which I had several more rounds of. They also had a shrimp dish that was excellent. Also don't forget the grilled pineapple, out of this world. For breakfast I would eat either the buffet/cafeteria areas on excursion days. Though these were fairly hectic. After a few days I discovered the continental plus breakfast area. It didn't feel as hurried, and I was able to get eggs fried/scrambled to order, and hot cereal. On sea days I would have a wonderful sit down breakfast in the main dining room with friends. Many, many choices and always good. There are so many other snack options from the bars to the buffets, to the crepe station at the ice cream bar. I enjoyed it all. The entertainment was good. I went to most shows. Some were better than others, but all were fun. Lots of planned/scheduled events and activities. Really something for everyone. In fact I wasn't able to do everything I wanted, because there were just so many choices. The service was great. Everyone from the dinning area, to cabin stewards, to senior staff were always helpful and accommodating. Of course my experiences may not match what others have experienced. I didn't interact with all the staff, and may have been lucky with those I did. Also my travel friends also commented on the fact that a lot of it has to do with the individual person themselves. We witnessed people just griping and complaining about things out of the cruise line's control, like weather which delayed tendering. Some where outright screaming at employees about how inept NCL was handling things. I understood the delay and didn't worry about it. Hey, we're on vacation, relax and chill out. Everything isn't going to go perfectly, but how you handle it will make a big difference in your total experience. Finally the excursions. I went with NCL's excursions on this cruise. Partially because I had booked fairly close to the sailing date and didn't have time to do much on my own. I was very pleased with my choices. I wanted to see lots of penguins, and I did. I wanted to hike in the forests of Tierra Del Fuego, and of the Chilean Fjord region. I wanted to visit a volcano at Puerto Montt. I got to do all of this and it was great. I enjoyed this itinerary, and ship so much that I plan to do this cruise again sometime in the future. Those of you reading this because you are taking this cruise, are in for a real treat. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Read Less

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