March 2015 - Norwegian Sun to Caribbean - Western
Overall we had a nice time. This is not an upscale boat, however we knew this going in.
Service very good. Food average. The waiters were accommodating and could almost always grant your request. The Le Bistro French restaurant was very good. We enjoyed the rack of lamb, steak and escargot. This was our favorite dining venue so we went back for a second time. Sushi was excellent, fresh and very reasonably priced. Substitutions were made willingly. Cagney's Steakhouse was a bit of a disappointment considering all the rave reviews and the $30 per person price tag. The steak was thin cut (not what we would have expected) and the baked potato was under-cooked. None of the menu items were memorable. The dining room is not in keeping with a traditional steak house and looks like a continuation of the sushi restaurant with the same carpet and walls. Both Cagney's and the Sushi restaurant were very cold inside. I needed to go back to cabin for a jacket.
The itinerary was very good. We had been to Costa Maya and Cozumel before, but welcomed stopping in Roatan and Belize City. In Roatan we did the snorkel and catamaran excursion. The boat ride was nice, however the snorkeling left a little to be desired in terms of seeing fish. The coral was abundant, and there are some pretty fish, but most on the tour reported not seeing much and were disappointed. You might check on an alternate snorkel excursion if this is something you look forward to.
In Belize we took a trip to the Zoo. It cost $50 per person with a tour company at the dock. The driver was fantastic! He accompanied us through the zoo and shared quite a bit of information about the animals, the habitat and Belize in general. This was off the beaten track and we really enjoyed it. the birds are beautiful there and most unusual.
Our speed boat excursion was cancelled in Costa Maya because of heavy seaweed in the area. We took our time and went to the beach/town in Costa Maya. The massages offered at the beach were amazing and ridiculously inexpensive. Loved it.
By far the most enjoyable excursion was the Mexican Cooking class in Cozumel. I expected tacos and quesadillas, however we made caramelized plantains with a chocolate sauce, gorgeous grouper with a sauteed vegetable glaze and shrimp sopes with a wonderful tamarind sauce. The chef and his assistants were lively and fun. Once meal was complete we enjoyed a delicious lunch then time at the beach (next to cooking building). Highly recommend this if you are not interested in going in and out of stores all day. And if you do, there is still over an hour to do this upon return to ship area. Also, note to bring a bathing suit. Some forgot and wished they had it with them.
Stewards were excellent. Staff accommodating. Cabin clean. Cruise Director energetic.
Unfortunately the spa on this boat is directly under the kids outdoor play area and basketball court. I was astounded when during my massage, I began to hear and feel loud thumping from above. At one point I needed to stop to take Advil for the enormous headache that was pounding in my head. The therapist was terrific, but the situation is very poor. We bought the special 3-2-1 on the 1st day so we gave it another try during the rest of the trip. I would strongly recommend going early or when the ship is in port. I hope that Norwegian will make a change, because the stress of the noise does not mix well with the relaxation!
Gift shop has limited selection. Some staff were friendly while others not at all interested in helping you. We went to the sale on the last day and the sales person began cleaning everything up 15 minutes prior to the posted time. He would not let us look in the boxes or show us anything. He was very busy packing and told us that he was sending the merchandise to another ship.
Regarding the shopping topic . . . or talk, shall I say . . . . This was very much a waste of time. It is very clear that the ship/shopping expert is receiving commission from the diamond stores in the ports of call. They press and press and press about buying diamonds!!!! And about calling the shopping expert to negotiate on your behalf. If you score a big win in the casino, by all means diamonds galore.! However, for the others, do you really want to purchase a big jewelry item in a country where you are most likely NOT able to visit and exchange/size, fix, etc??? The hard selling is obnoxious! Maybe the cruise lines actually own Diamonds International???
Entertainment is mediocre. Not the worst. Not the best. We enjoyed some of the crooners in the Windjammer bar and Observatory. I had the feeling that this particular boat was not one they wanted to invest a whole lot into. Yes, it had what was promised, but not with bells or whistles. On the night of the "White Party" on deck there were no black lights as advertised. It was fun, but again lacking the embellishments.
In general, I felt like the SELLING was over the top. Between the items the spa techs deem important for your well being to all the extras for dining and entertainment. When did the Athletic Manager become an expert on foot arches and begin selling plastic arches for $199.00 on a cruise boat??? Seriously, we were asked if we wanted a free foot analysis! What next?
Casino was adequate. It was filled with smoke and at the end of the night our clothing would reek of the odor. Surprising considering in all areas of the boat it is about "Healthy Lifestyle".
Bring a sweater or jacket. The common areas are very cold.
Overall this was a good value. We got an excellent price on the cruise. When we want to splurge on a newer, premier boat, we will choose an itinerary where we have not been. For those wanting to get away at a fair price that are not looking for a superior experience, you will not be disappointed.