2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Firstly, we are not cruisers and chose this cruise because we wanted to visit South America for the first time. On immediate embarkation we were met with a fairly hard sell with regard to drink and dining packages. A lot of people had ... Read More
Firstly, we are not cruisers and chose this cruise because we wanted to visit South America for the first time. On immediate embarkation we were met with a fairly hard sell with regard to drink and dining packages. A lot of people had been travelling for 20 + hours and we questioned whether this was really necessary at that time. It just seemed a money making exercise. Surely, it might be better to charge more for the cruise in the first instance. There are no tea and coffee making facilities in the cabin and people were going to the restaurant and returning to their cabin with cups of hot water/tea/coffee. In terms of safety, we couldn't see the logic of this. Our cabin on the Deck 8 was good - plenty of storage and an unrestricted view. Our cabin steward - Jon, was excellent. He couldn't help us enough. Unfortunately, on our last days at sea we both contracted a gastrointestinal illness. We had been ashore on an excursion earlier in the day but had eaten and drank very little indeed - only bottled water. We called the Medical Centre and despite mentioning it in the daily bulletin of Sunday, 3rd March that "a member of the medical staff will be seeing you in your stateroom" we were told that someone would collect us in a wheelchair. I visited the surgery twice and my husband once - I was in isolation for 24 hours and my husband for 48 hours. My experience of the surgery was poor. Admittedly, it was 1.30 am but all the staff really seemed interested in, was me signing a disclaimer having had an injection for repeated sickness. I was just left with little instruction re medication and wheeled back to my cabin. At 1.30 am you cannot remember how many times you have been ill and they seemed to insist on a number. The nurse, Bernadette, the next day was very abrupt and I really felt, I was just too much trouble. The Receptionist on duty at the surgery in the morning, was, however, helpful. Customer Relations were good but they sent a letter to my husband when his isolation was over to say they hoped he was better after suffering from the flu. The Medical Centre certainly needs to improve. A lot of the food is warm at best and some improvement needs to take place. The Ocean View restaurant is more like a canteen and not a good experience in my view. The staff in the main are excellent and very pleasant. We enjoyed the talks by the Captain and we thought the entertainment director was brilliant. The entertainment was good but could be improved. Certainly, the show re the tea cup was lost on a lot of people, including myself. We enjoyed the excursions but the PA system was not working for Christ Redeemer trip and this was a pity. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We took this cruise as part of a longer holiday in South America. Frankly I am amazed at the two earlier whinging reviews published but then again, regular cruisers will recognise the types who never seem satisfied. It must be ... Read More
We took this cruise as part of a longer holiday in South America. Frankly I am amazed at the two earlier whinging reviews published but then again, regular cruisers will recognise the types who never seem satisfied. It must be remembered that this cruise was priced mid-range and therefore one cannot expect five-seven star crushing. Nonetheless we had a great time. Embarcation and disembarkation were quick and seamless. Our cabin was exactly as it said in the brochure. Staff were unfailingly helpful. However they were under pressure to sell. I did not like the hard sell aspect of this cruise and I have not experienced such a hard-sell another cruises. We had intended to use the Crown Grill on two occasions but did not because of the quality of food in Boticelli's and the equally good service. My wife is a coeliac ( a genuine disease, unlike the pretentious gluten intolerants etc.) and she had a royal voyage, thanks to the attentiveness and availability of gluten free options. Our fellow diners were most impressed with the service offered to her. The buffet style restaurants provided very good food and very good options. Other than a limp ventriloquist, Showtime was generally good. Allowing for musical taste, the production values were very high at all times and really could not be faulted. Some were disappointed the shows were of approx. 35 minute duration, but, hey, it ain't Broadway. I used the gym every day. Very well appointed, good and knowledgeable staff. We did not use the spam s prices were swingeing. Shore excursion prices were outrageous. However most sensible cruisers will have done their homework and planned accordingly. There was one debacle only. This was at Ushuaia where the tenders didn't to run until late. We got only 1.5 hours ashore. The cause was a spat between the ship and port authorities. Despite the rumours, passengers did not know the real cause but its did little credit to ship management. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
A FREESTYLE ADVENTURE IN SOUTH AMERICA (So many well written and informative reviews and so many different opinions. Is my opinion needed – probably not!) Pre-embarkation I booked the NCL cruise round South America embarking ... Read More
A FREESTYLE ADVENTURE IN SOUTH AMERICA (So many well written and informative reviews and so many different opinions. Is my opinion needed – probably not!) Pre-embarkation I booked the NCL cruise round South America embarking from Buenos Aires on 27 February and disembarking at Valparaiso on 13 March. This was the second time we had cruised on the 'Norwegian Sun'. My wife and I decided that we didn't want to opt for the free 2 day pre-cruise stay in Buenos Aires and asked the booking company to organise our trip so that we could fly to Buenos Aires arriving in time for us to get to the ship before the boarding deadline. With hindsight this was a bad decision; we should have opted for the Buenos Aires stay. A few days after the booking was confirmed we were advised by the company that we had very little time between arriving at Ministro Pistarini airport and getting to the ship in time for embarkation and that we should make sure that we had appropriate travel insurance in place. I explained that we had trusted them to arrange a proper itinerary and that in any event flights had been arranged by them before we had the opportunity to assess whether enough time had been allowed. There were many Email exchanges and telephone calls with the company but nothing was done to resolve the situation. I also received advice from friends in Buenos Aires but all thought I would be lucky to get to the ship in time – this didn't help. As you might imagine between the time of booking and the embarkation date I felt under considerable stress. I was told that If I did miss embarkation I could join the ship in Montevideo. However, with twenty hours flight time to Buenos Aires, at the end of it I didn't really relish the thought of arranging an overnight hotel stay and a ferry across the River Plate. With the lack of time available I felt it safer to pre-book a taxi from the airport to the ship at a considerably increased cost – needless to say this was not straightforward either! During all this time little information was voluntarily provided about the cruise. Tip: Choose a company with a good reviews. Embarkation By a miracle we arrived 5 minutes before the embarkation deadline. Embarkation was relatively straightforward considering our late arrival. (Staff were helpful.) We arrived on board the ship to join the safety briefing shortly after it started. Tip: Make sure you have sufficient time within your itinerary. The Cabin The cabin was clean, quiet and comfortable. My only criticisms would be the lack of space between the bottom of the bed and the wall, a balcony door that was almost impossible to open and a tiny shower cubicle. The holed (looked like moth-eaten) curtains were also a bit of a let down! Restaurants I note that several cruise members had complained about the lack of food variety but I did not really find this a problem. In the Four Seasons and Seven Seas restaurants the quality of the food was satisfactory and the service was good. The quality of wine was also perfectly acceptable to me and over the years I have sampled quite a variety of wines. We opted for the Specialist Restaurant package but with hindsight this was probably a mistake. The food in my opinion was good but the special dishes eg. lobster and steaks, could be found as specials on the Four Seasons and Seven Seas restaurants at extra cost. For the slightly enhanced surroundings and the option of special dishes $196 for the two of us was a high price to pay. The quality of food in the breakfast and lunch restaurants was OK but the restaurants were mostly too crowded for comfort. The buffets on deck were a bit mixed and not great overall. Tip: Make sure you research reviews in order to make the best use of restaurants. Ports of call and Days at Sea I think the itinerary was excellent. Reviews on the ports visited are very helpful and a must read. In view of the seriously overpriced NCL excursions our group opted for local excursion services. However, we could have done better with excursions to see the penquins and I regret not visiting a ranch in Argentina. The train ride through the Tierra del Fuega national park was a bit disappointing – little sign of wild life – but The Falkland Islands were wonderful. Days at sea were enjoyable and relaxing. The weather was very kind to us until we rounded Cape Horn and then we hit fairly rough seas. However, this was what we expected in this area and for me it added to the cruise. We were lucky enough to have brilliant sunshine on the beautiful Falklands . I saw little wildlife in the sea on the East side but it livened up on the West with several whales, dolphins, seals and a variety of birds. Tip: Make sure you research the ports and excursions thoroughly. The excursions offered by the ship can usually be replicated locally at significantly lower cost. Businesses offering excursions do not all accept credit cards and there are often long queues at banks and ATMs for local currency. US dollars are more readily accepted. I found local taxis cheap but unlikely to accept credit cards although they will take local currency and sometimes American dollars. One tip I overlooked in the reviews was 'book a port-side cabin if travelling westwards'. Entertainment/enrichment Peter Croyle's talks were excellent but unfortunately coincided with our breakfast time. However, the talk could be viewed on TV. Generally the restaurant and bar staff were helpful and attentive. The crew members were always cheerful and our cabin staff were excellent. I think I might have enjoyed the Alberto Sanchez tribute to the three tenors but through my own fault I didn't attend it. Tip: To get the most out of entertainment plan ahead and don't rely on others. Something I didn't do! Costs When I booked the cruise I was given a complimentary 'Ultimate drinks package' and given to understand that this included all drinks. However, when I asked for a copy of my bill a few days into the trip I found that I had been charged about $50 for two drinks from the mini-bar which we had on arrival and a few bottles of water which were provided daily in the room. As I had no prior information of these costs I asked that they be removed from the bill. This was refused and a sheet was eventually produced giving details of the ultimate drinks package. (The small print was so small that the desk officer offered to read it for me) The booking company were given the blame for not having made me aware of it. Why would anyone opt to pay for drinks when they could go to a bar or restaurant a few steps away and get them for free? As the charge by this time had risen considerably – several more bottles of water had been delivered - and I was made aware that the company was quite willing to waive the staff gratuities I reluctantly decided to reduce the gratuities by the additional charge to my account. (I am not in favour of an optional gratuities policy such as NCL's. This leads to a situation where guests, such as myself, who are prepared to pay the gratuities and some more on top are subsidising those that are not. Let's face it if we can afford to cruise we can afford to ensure the ship's staff are properly paid.) WiFi costs at $29.99 for a poor quality service were avoided as were the ship's excursions. Our group opted to use local excursion services at about a quarter of the cost. Post cruise Needless to say the final bill I received was incorrect. I had been charged for all drinks in spite of having the UDP. It was accepted by NCL that an error had been made and at the time of writing I await a refund of $761 and an apology although I doubt if I will receive the latter. ( A refund was made on 4 April but with no explanation I have no way of checking that it is correct. As expected I received no apology) Read Less

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