We sailed on the Sun on 3/8/03. We took some friends with us who had never cruised before. This was our 8th cruise with our two kids, ages 17 and 7. Yes I know, that?s quite an age gap. This was our first time with NCL. We have sailed Royal Caribbean (RCI) and Carnival (CCL) many times, and once with Premier. We had a balcony cabin and our friends had an interior cabin.Our balcony cabin was smaller than our friends' interior cabin. The ?sofa bed? was hard and each night when my son would get on the bed he would sing that Chevy song ?Like a Rock.?Embarkation was disorganized. We had to wait for over an hour and if we hadn?t been shoved into the Latitudes line, it would have been another 1+ hour.The food in the main two dining rooms was bland. You had to PAY more to get a decent meal, e.g. Le Bistro restaurant had a surcharge of $12.50 per person. The meals in these ?specialty? restaurants were the kind of service and food we have grown accustomed to on RCI & CCL. The dining room staff have no real incentive to provide good service since you can sit anywhere at anytime any night. And they ?tack-on? $10 per person per day to your room bill to pay for the dining room staff and cabin stewards.We finally met our room stewards on the 5th day so I knew at that point they really did exist! There were 4 of us in the room, right? We were lucky to get two towels and wash clothes each day. The first night there were ?stains? and hairs on our sheets and we had to call the Purser?s desk to get someone to change them. An officer came and took notes and I told him that we hadn?t seen our cabin stewards yet and that we needed four towels each day. He said he would take care of it. He obviously did not, as on the 5th day I told them about needing four towels, he snapped at me and told me he wasn?t through with the room! And there were other problems that I don?t have room to list. The buffet was not good. There was not enough seating either. Going up the stairs near the buffet was a horrible/sewer smell.The teen program was almost non-existent. The younger kids program was very good and my daughter (7) loved it and the counselors. Those ladies were great for working with younger kids.I was unpleasantly surprised by the charges on this boat. The bingo cost was outrageous. A single round with their new electronic device was $79! Can you believe that, for bingo?!? Real drinks were quite expensive, most were $7 or more! We toured Roatan Island and the small hot vans got our kids sick. Not much of a tour. We went cave-tubing on Belize and that was quite cool.My wife always buys tons of pictures and then with 1 night left they put a sign out that says you can have all the pictures you want for $70. Of course, this is after I have already spent $200 on pictures!! They don?t tell you they are going to do this, they just do it and won?t give you credit for pictures already purchased.Freestyle Cruising has a few advantages, like being able to choose when you eat, however, the service with this type of cruising is poor. The shows were generally disappointing as well. The exception was the comedians ? they were a blast. But the regular shows were not very good.We were generally disappointed with NCL compared to other lines like RCI and CCL. Now our friends, this being their first cruise and not knowing what to expect, had a blast. They loved everything and are ready to go again. So I guess if you have sailed other lines and enjoy traditional cruising, this might not be the ship for you. If you have never cruised before, you will probably have a good time. Otherwise, beware!
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