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I picked this cruise rather last minute, which for me is unusual. I am usually the deal hunter who books in advance. In fact I still have a booking for Carnival Magic in December 2019 that was already booked when I found this cruise. This cruise fell into spring-break for my kids schools. We had originally planned to vacation at Destin on the outer bank, and my wife had submitted her vacation request as far back as last November. Unfortunately they did not approve her vacation until 2 weeks before spring break. We actually booked this cruise early march and had resigned ourselves that she would have to put in her 2-weeks notice if it came down to it, as that is required in order to get re-hired there. It was rediculous. Needless to say the condo's we were looking at had become unavailable by mid january. This was the only cruise that happened to have a schedule that did not require leaving school days early or arriving after classes had resumed. Given its last minute nature the pricing was not too egregious, but I am sure booking earlier might have yielded better results. This was the fifth cruise I had sailed on and subsequently the 5th distinct ship as well. In the order of sail date I have sailed on: Carnival Victory, Allure of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Carnival Liberty, and now Norwegian Sun. We were excited by the free open bar and the free-at-sea upgrade to the ultimate beverage package. We usually get the drink package on all our cruises, as they not only get you premium wines and sprits, but also those special irish coffees and mochas, as well as bottled water. My first bar experience was the Atrium Cafe and Bar. Having the Ultimate Beverage Package (UBP) I looked over the menu to find a decent Cabernet. They only listed one wine that wasnt just a generic name 'cabernet'. It was a Simi Cabernet, which is a fairly decent $20 bottle at most retail stores. Some excuse from the bartender about not having come up from the stock room yet. This was his excuse also on Day 2 and Day 3. Ironically this was a similar excuse at other bars EXCEPT for the Observation lounge, who had Simi available on the first night at sea. The 'house' cabernet they kept trying to pass off ..... Livingston. This stuff is worse than franzia. Its normally sold in JUGS. I have no idea how they got these 750ml screw-top bottles. To upgrade someone to the UBP and then deny them any premium wine is just plain wrong. They listed 6 different premium tequila, gin, and vodka's. But if you were a wine drinker they just wanted to serve swill. DAy 2 my wife came to another realization regarding the bait-and-switch nature of the UBP. BTW when you get your free upgrade they still make you pay the gratuities (20%) of its essential value. This means that not only are you paying an increased daily gratuity on your cabin ($20.50/pp/day instead of $15) but you're essentially paying another $6/pp/day for those with the UBP. My wife goes down to the Cafe to get a specialty coffee. These are supposed to be included like every other cruise line as long as you dont go to the starbucks counter. Well they only have ONE cafe on the whole ship and even though its not starbucks, thats the only kind of coffee they serve. So another bait-and-switch lie. She found out when they charged her account $6.50. Later on day 2 I noticed everyone complaining that ALL the bars kept denying them bottled water even though the UBP includes that. They claimed they were out. Its an unlimited open bar cruise. To not have water is purely irresponsible considering the risk of dehydration and alcohol poisoning. It wasnt until I complained to management about the wine, coffee and water did it get rectified on day 3. Their plan was to deflect and excuse until it was too late and assume the guests would just go along with it. Day 3 had the whole ship angry. Harvest Cay clearly says no tenders on the information. We and everyone was told no tenders. So guess what? Info in the Freestyle schedule talked about tender tickets. My wife calls the customer service desk, gets fed a lie about low ocean levels. The NCL Sun weighs 78,000 GT, its the lightest ship in their fleet. The fact that the NCL Getaway weighs 147,000 GT and was tied up to the peer blew that story out of the water. Heavier ships sit DEEPER in the water. its called submerged displacement for a reason. So our 10am peer time turned into sitting around for an extra 2hrs before the first passenger got off the ship. They only had 3 tenders and they were taking too long to cycle. They needed 6 tenders so they could get people moving faster. The lines consisted of 15min periods where nothing moved. The last group made it to shore at 2pm for a all-aboard 5:30pm departure. UNACCEPTABLE. IF that was not enough the captain of the NCL Getaway did the most irresponsible, dangerous, maneuver you could imagine. I was on the tender at 4:30 returning to the ship when the Getaway starts backing out of port. We were next to the ship trying to get off when that IDIOT captain spun up his engines to rotate at flank speed (full speed) it sent such a turbulent wake our tender kept crashing into the ship repeatedly. My daughter (16) and son (9) had litterally just stepped off the tender when this happened. They were not 6 feet in front of me when we had to hold on and try not to capsize. My son (handicapped) standing there crying and terrified that he is watching his parents die right in front of him because this IRRESPONSIBLE captain could not wait till the tenders were clear of collision before tearing out of port at break-neck speed. It was bad enough he came along and screwed us out of the peer, but letting him leave first??? Should have made his butt stay at the peer until ALL tenders were completed. Had I been on that ship I would have charged up to the bridge and relieved him of duty myself (possibly more than just that) I have the martial acumen to back it up and endangering peoples lives unnecessarily is unacceptable. He should not have command and NCL policy should state that peered ships must remain in port as long as tendering operations are underway if within 1 nautical mile of the anchored ship.

Fairly low-energy compared to the other 4 cruise ships I've sailed

Norwegian Sun Cruise Review by unixgod

Trip Details
I picked this cruise rather last minute, which for me is unusual. I am usually the deal hunter who books in advance. In fact I still have a booking for Carnival Magic in December 2019 that was already booked when I found this cruise. This cruise fell into spring-break for my kids schools. We had originally planned to vacation at Destin on the outer bank, and my wife had submitted her vacation request as far back as last November. Unfortunately they did not approve her vacation until 2 weeks before spring break. We actually booked this cruise early march and had resigned ourselves that she would have to put in her 2-weeks notice if it came down to it, as that is required in order to get re-hired there. It was rediculous. Needless to say the condo's we were looking at had become unavailable by mid january. This was the only cruise that happened to have a schedule that did not require leaving school days early or arriving after classes had resumed. Given its last minute nature the pricing was not too egregious, but I am sure booking earlier might have yielded better results.

This was the fifth cruise I had sailed on and subsequently the 5th distinct ship as well. In the order of sail date I have sailed on: Carnival Victory, Allure of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Carnival Liberty, and now Norwegian Sun. We were excited by the free open bar and the free-at-sea upgrade to the ultimate beverage package. We usually get the drink package on all our cruises, as they not only get you premium wines and sprits, but also those special irish coffees and mochas, as well as bottled water.

My first bar experience was the Atrium Cafe and Bar. Having the Ultimate Beverage Package (UBP) I looked over the menu to find a decent Cabernet. They only listed one wine that wasnt just a generic name 'cabernet'. It was a Simi Cabernet, which is a fairly decent $20 bottle at most retail stores. Some excuse from the bartender about not having come up from the stock room yet. This was his excuse also on Day 2 and Day 3. Ironically this was a similar excuse at other bars EXCEPT for the Observation lounge, who had Simi available on the first night at sea. The 'house' cabernet they kept trying to pass off ..... Livingston. This stuff is worse than franzia. Its normally sold in JUGS. I have no idea how they got these 750ml screw-top bottles. To upgrade someone to the UBP and then deny them any premium wine is just plain wrong. They listed 6 different premium tequila, gin, and vodka's. But if you were a wine drinker they just wanted to serve swill.

DAy 2 my wife came to another realization regarding the bait-and-switch nature of the UBP. BTW when you get your free upgrade they still make you pay the gratuities (20%) of its essential value. This means that not only are you paying an increased daily gratuity on your cabin ($20.50/pp/day instead of $15) but you're essentially paying another $6/pp/day for those with the UBP. My wife goes down to the Cafe to get a specialty coffee. These are supposed to be included like every other cruise line as long as you dont go to the starbucks counter. Well they only have ONE cafe on the whole ship and even though its not starbucks, thats the only kind of coffee they serve. So another bait-and-switch lie. She found out when they charged her account $6.50. Later on day 2 I noticed everyone complaining that ALL the bars kept denying them bottled water even though the UBP includes that. They claimed they were out. Its an unlimited open bar cruise. To not have water is purely irresponsible considering the risk of dehydration and alcohol poisoning. It wasnt until I complained to management about the wine, coffee and water did it get rectified on day 3. Their plan was to deflect and excuse until it was too late and assume the guests would just go along with it.

Day 3 had the whole ship angry. Harvest Cay clearly says no tenders on the information. We and everyone was told no tenders. So guess what? Info in the Freestyle schedule talked about tender tickets. My wife calls the customer service desk, gets fed a lie about low ocean levels. The NCL Sun weighs 78,000 GT, its the lightest ship in their fleet. The fact that the NCL Getaway weighs 147,000 GT and was tied up to the peer blew that story out of the water. Heavier ships sit DEEPER in the water. its called submerged displacement for a reason. So our 10am peer time turned into sitting around for an extra 2hrs before the first passenger got off the ship. They only had 3 tenders and they were taking too long to cycle. They needed 6 tenders so they could get people moving faster. The lines consisted of 15min periods where nothing moved. The last group made it to shore at 2pm for a all-aboard 5:30pm departure. UNACCEPTABLE. IF that was not enough the captain of the NCL Getaway did the most irresponsible, dangerous, maneuver you could imagine. I was on the tender at 4:30 returning to the ship when the Getaway starts backing out of port. We were next to the ship trying to get off when that IDIOT captain spun up his engines to rotate at flank speed (full speed) it sent such a turbulent wake our tender kept crashing into the ship repeatedly. My daughter (16) and son (9) had litterally just stepped off the tender when this happened. They were not 6 feet in front of me when we had to hold on and try not to capsize. My son (handicapped) standing there crying and terrified that he is watching his parents die right in front of him because this IRRESPONSIBLE captain could not wait till the tenders were clear of collision before tearing out of port at break-neck speed. It was bad enough he came along and screwed us out of the peer, but letting him leave first??? Should have made his butt stay at the peer until ALL tenders were completed. Had I been on that ship I would have charged up to the bridge and relieved him of duty myself (possibly more than just that) I have the martial acumen to back it up and endangering peoples lives unnecessarily is unacceptable. He should not have command and NCL policy should state that peered ships must remain in port as long as tendering operations are underway if within 1 nautical mile of the anchored ship.
unixgod’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 7 to 9
Ages 16+
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Balcony
Cabin BB 8028
The cabin was fairly nice and was able to handle my wife, myself, and our 2 kids. The sofa converted into a bit uncomfortable double-bed. The room stewart was helpful in adding more comforters to become makeshift mattress pads for the kids.
Viking Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Costa Maya
    I love haggling with local merchants and finding cool items that you can't just find anywhere. Be warned that the merchants here like to start extremely high with their pricing. I will give an example. I like those knit backpacks and try to get one with the name of the place embroidered on it. In Cozumel they usually price them at $15/ea or two for $20. They started out wanting $58 for the same thing in Costa Maya, assuming people cut that number in half and play the meet-you-in-the-middle thereafter. I was having none of that. I paid $17. IF you know the value of something and know a bit about haggling you should be fine.

    The aviary ($12/pp) was excellent. They were all elevated enclosures that you access from a series of rope bridges. You not only got to be in the enclosures with them but you got to feed them and handle them if the bird was willing. The lorikeets were the most hand trained of the group. The ring-neck and regular parakeets took some coaxing to trust enough to sit on your hand. The Macaw were beutiful and friendly, but did not want to leave their perches and were not keep on being petted. They, however, were still very gentle about taking the single sunflower seed from your hand, despite having a beak that can crush walnuts.
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  • Harvest Caye
    Aside from the extreme delay and being lied to about using a tender; the port itself is very nice. Its expensive, but the free services like pool and nature exhibit are top notch. The lifeguards are not just warm bodies. They pay very close attention and will not hesitate to make people take 5min timeouts if they behave dangerously. Landshark is a typical tourist trap place with high prices but I found 3 other bar&grill places along the beach that had prices in the $$ range instead of the $$$ range for essentially burgers and chicken tenders.
    View All 1,106 Harvest Caye Cruise Port Reviews
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