Norwegian Sun - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Norwegian Sun

★★★ +

Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 369 out of 500

Accommodation: 145 out of 200

Food: 240 out of 400

Service: 266 out of 400

Entertainment: 74 out of 100

Cruise: 271 out of 400

Overall Score: 1365 out of 2000

Norwegian Sun Statistics

Size: Mid-size Ship

Tonnage: 78,309

Lifestyle: Standard

Cruise Line: Norwegian Cruise Line

Former Names: none

IMO Number: 9218131

Builder: Lloyd Werft (Germany)

Original Cost: $332 million

Entered Service: Nov 2001

Registry: The Bahamas

Length (ft/m): 853.0/260.0

Beam (ft/m): 105.8/32.2

Draft (ft/m): 26.2/8.0

Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (50,000kW)/2

Passenger Decks: 12

Total Crew: 916

Passengers (lower beds): 1,936

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 40.4

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.1

Cabins (total): 968

Size Range (sq ft/m): 120.5-488.6/11.2-45.4

Cabins (for one person): 0

Cabins (with private balcony): 252

Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 6

Wheelchair accessibility: Good

Cabin Current: 110 volts

Elevators: 12

Casino (gaming tables): Yes

Slot Machines: Yes

Swimming Pools: 2

Hot Tubs (on deck): 5

Self-Service Launderette: No

Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: US$


This is ultra-casual cruising in a family-friendly ship

Overview. What this offers is plenty of bars and lounges to play in, and multiple dining and snacking options. But the food in the large dining rooms is a weak point, and the ship is full of revenue centers, designed to help you part you from your money.

The Ship. Norwegian Sun is a close sister ship to Norwegian Sky, but with better finishing detail, plus an extra deck of balcony cabins and additional cabins to accommodate the extra 200 crew needed for the Freestyle dining concept. The outdoor space is quite good, especially with its wide pool deck, with two swimming pools and four Jacuzzi tubs, and plenty of sunloungers, albeit arranged in camp-style rows.

A separate cabaret venue, Dazzles Lounge, has an extremely long bar. A large casino operates 24 hours a day. There’s a shopping arcade, children’s playroom, and a video arcade. Other facilities include a small conference room, library and beauty salon, a lounge for smoking cigars and drinking cognac, and an Internet café. You can expect to be subjected to a stream of flyers advertising daily art auctions, ‘designer’ watches, and other promotions, while ‘artworks’ for auction are strewn throughout the ship.

A mandatory per person service charge is added to your account daily; 15 percent is also added for bar charges, and a whopping 18 percent for spa treatments.

The standard interior and outside-view cabins are very small when compared to those of other major cruise lines.

Families. Young passengers will find an array of facilities, which include a children’s playroom called Kid’s Corner for ‘junior sailors’ (ages 3-5); First Mates (6-9); Navigators (10-12); and Teens (13-17).

Accommodation. There are many, many different price categories, depending on size and location.

All standard outside-view and interior cabins have common facilities, such as two lower beds that can convert to a queen-size bed, a small lounge area with sofa and table, and a decent amount of closet and drawer space, although the cabins themselves are disappointingly small. Over 200 outside-view cabins have a private balcony. There are two Honeymoon/Anniversary Suites, each with a separate lounge and bedroom.

The largest accommodation? Two Owner’s Suites, each with a hot tub, large teak table, two chairs and two sunloungers outside on a huge, private, forward-facing teak-floor balcony, located just under the navigation bridge, with floor-to-ceiling windows. There are a number of other suites, each with a private teakwood balcony. They share some facilities with the Owner’s Suites, except for the outdoor hot tub and the fact that there’s less space.

All cabins have tea/coffee-making sets, a safe, satellite-linked telephone, and bathroom with bath or shower.

Dining. Freestyle Dining lets you choose which restaurant you would like to eat in, at what time, and with whom. Apart from two large dining rooms, there are a number of other themed eating establishments - although it would be wise to plan in advance, particularly for dinner. Some incur an extra charge. The dress code states that: ‘jeans, T-shirts, tank tops and bare feet are not permitted in restaurants.’

The two main dining rooms - the 564-seat Four Seasons Dining Room and the 604-seat Seven Seas Dining Room - have tables for two, four, six, or eight. Sandwiched between the two (rather like a train carriage) is a third, 84-seat Italian Restaurant, Il Adagio, available as an à-la-carte (extra-charge, reservations-required) option, with window-side tables for two or four persons. Reservations are necessary.

Overall, the food is adequate, but lacks taste and presentation quality, although the menus make the dishes sound good. There’s a reasonably decent selection of breads, rolls, cheeses, and fruits. The wine list is quite good and moderately priced, though the glasses are small.

Other dining options. Most are located on one of the uppermost decks, with great views from large picture windows, and include:

Le Bistro: a 90-seat dining spot for French-style meals, including tableside cooking. Reservations required.

Las Ramblas: a Spanish/Mexican style eatery serving tapas (light snack items).

Ginza: a Japanese Restaurant, with a sushi bar and a teppanyaki grill (show cooking in a U-shaped setting where you sit around the chef). Reservations required.

East Meets West: a Pacific Rim Fusion Restaurant, featuring à-la-carte California/Hawaii/Asian cuisine. Reservations are necessary for dinner.

Moderno Churrascaria: Brazilian steakhouse and salad bar, with tableside meat carving. Reservations required.

Garden Café: a busy 24-hour restaurant indoor/outdoor self-serve buffet-style eatery with fast foods and salads.

Although the menus make meals sound appetizing, overall the food is rather unmemorable, lacking taste, and mostly overcooked. However, the presentation is generally quite good. There is a reasonable selection of breads, rolls, and pastry items, but the selection of cheeses is very poor.

The wine list is well balanced, and there is also a connoisseur list of premium wines, although the vintages tend to be young. There are many types of beer (including some on draught in the popular Sports Bar & Grill).

There is no formal afternoon tea, although you can make your own at beverage stations (but it’s difficult to get fresh milk as non-dairy creamers are typically supplied). The service is, on the whole, adequate, nothing more.

A lavish chocoholics buffet is featured once each cruise - a firm favorite among Norwegian Cruise Line passengers.

Entertainment. The Stardust Theater is a two-level showlounge with more than 1,000 seats and a large proscenium stage. However, the sight lines are obstructed in a number of seats by several slim pillars. Two or three production shows are presented in a typical seven-day cruise (all ably performed by the Jean Ann Ryan Company). These are very colorful, high-energy, high-volume razzle-dazzle shows with much use of pyrotechnics, lasers, and color-mover lighting.

The ship carries a number of bands and solo entertaining musicians. These provide live music for listening and dancing in several of the lounges and bars, including the loud Dazzles, home to musical groups.

Spa/Fitness. Bodywaves, at the top of the atrium, is a large health/fitness spa (including an aerobics room and separate gymnasium), several treatment rooms, and men’s and women’s saunas/steam rooms and changing rooms.

There is an indoor-outdoor jogging track, a large basketball/volleyball court, baseball batting cage, golf driving range, platform tennis, shuffleboard and table tennis facilities, and sports bar with 24-hour live satellite TV coverage of sports events and major games.