Review: NCL Sun Cruise Ship

Updated: Jun 27

Cruising is one of my favorite stress-free vacations. You go to sleep in one city and wake up in another city! There’s just nothing better than that.

I recently had the opportunity to cruise on the Norwegian Sun ship leaving out of Port Canaveral going to Key West and Cuba. (I was one of the lucky few who had the opportunity to go before they stopped allowing cruise ships to Cuba). However, my time on-board the ship was just as fun as my time off ship. I’ve posted my feedback below on my experience with NCL's Sun Cruise ship.

Overall Experience: 4/5

Introduced in 2001, the NCL Sun holds around 2,000 passengers. This size allows it to have numerous amenities and activities without the ship feeling overwhelming or too large. The ship has a gorgeous mural covering the outside featuring a large red, yellow, and orange sun, which is prettier than most other ships. It was refurbished in 2011 but in my opinion, still lacks some of the fancy touches of a "new" ship.

Stateroom: 3/5

Talk about tight! The stateroom (cruise lingo for "guest room") left much to be desired due to how cramped they were - however, that is to be expected on a cruise ship, unfortunately. The average ocean-view cabins on the NCL Sun are only 145-170sqft in size (average among other cruise lines are 150-185sqft). The balcony cabins on the NCL Sun are a bit larger at 220sqft (average among other cruise lines are 175 to 220sqft).

There is only one bathroom inside that includes your sink, toilet, and standing shower (as opposed to other cruise lines like Disney who have a separate bathroom for toilet and shower). I am fairly small and still found the shower to be impossible to move around comfortably.

I experienced multiple dirty linens throughout my cruise and found that trash was not always taken out. This could have been our particular stateroom host or more of a standard onboard.

Restaurants: 4/5

NCL has a number of restaurants, buffets, and bars to try while on board.

There are 2 Complimentary Main Dining Rooms (Four Seasons and Seven Seas) and 1 Buffet (Garden Café) which offer flexible dining times. Unlike other cruises where you are given a set time to eat dinner every night in the dining rooms, you are able to walk down to the restaurants at your leisure. My advice however is to make reservations before getting on the ship – we found that we weren’t always sat immediately as they accommodate guests with reservations first.

There are 5 Specialty Dining options which cost additional money. They have a wide variety of cuisines: French, Brazilian Steak House, Japanese, Italian and more. The additional costs ranges in price depending on the restaurant, but one nice perk is that kids under 12 are always free! The specialty restaurants are listed below in alphabetical order:

  • Il Adagio – Italian

  • East Meets West – pan-Asian steakhouse

  • Ginza – sushi bar

  • Teppanyaki – Japanese table side

  • Las Ramblas – tapas

  • Le Bistro – French cuisine (most formal)

  • Moderno Churrascaria – South Amerian Steakhouse

Bars and Lounges: 5/5

Every corner you turn, you’ll see another bar ready to serve you! Each bar was themed and offered different specials. The different bars and lounges include a Sports Bar, Havana themed lounge, champagne bar, piano bar, and a nightclub. You’ll quickly find your personal favorite to grab a beverage (or the most convenient)! You’ll also have access to the Sun Club Casino located midship.

Quality of Food and Beverage: 3/5

The food itself is good. They did a good job cooking the food so that it doesn’t taste mass produced. However, I found it to be very repetitive even on a 4 day cruise! I also found it slightly limiting as a vegetarian – they had meat in many of the potatoes and side items. The food didn't "wow" me and it wasn't the highlight of the cruise.

Pools & Outdoor Deck: 4/5

NCL Sun features 2 Pools connected by 4 Hot Tubs – all of which are located on Deck 11. I didn’t find them to be too over the top or fancy. They became extremely crowded throughout the day as the space is limited directly next to the pool. They have chairs and loungers on Deck 12 as well. There is a bar located next to the pool and staff will assist in getting drinks for you so you don’t have to move a muscle while you’re soaking in those sun rays.

Also on the top outdoor deck, they had a Basketball Court and Golf Driving Nets. I found both of these areas to be fairly underutilized and outdated.

Entertainment: 3/5

NCL get an A-for-Effort in the entertainment department… they really tried to make interesting shows but they fell short in my opinion. They do have a variety of acts (singing, musicians, comedy) and a few different skits. The talent on stage was great (incredibly amazing vocal cords) but the actual storyline of the shows was just eh.

Overall, I would most definitely give this cruise ship a 4/5. It had all the components of a great cruise but just lacked a little bit of luxury to get the final star! I typically prefer DCL (Disney Cruise Line) so I'm a tough critic. NCL certainly checks off all the necessary features for a cruise ship so you won't be disappointed aboard the Sun! :)

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