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Norwegian Cruise Line: Norwegian Sun

Norwegian Sun Cruise Review

Insider Take

Best For People Who Want

Lots of activities; nine restaurants; glitzy Broadway-style musicals; casual dress policy with open seating dining; sports bar with videotaped and live ESPN broadcasts; terrific programs and facilities for kids and teens.

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer

Spacious cabins; not to have a lot of kids around; not to have to hear endless PA announcements.


Located on Atlantic Deck, with wonderful sea views through picture windows, main restaurants the Four Seasons and the Seven Seas open from 5:30 p.m. to midnight, with tables available until 10:00 p.m . The 24-hour buffet-style Garden Cafe/Great Outdoor Cafe on Pool Deck is for the more casual diner. Specialty restaurants at which no surcharge is applied include the Ginza (Japanese, featuring both teppanyaki and sushi), East Meets West (Californian, Hawaiian and Asian), Pacific Heights (light dining) and Las Ramblas (Spanish, with a mediocre tapas bar, Mexican beer, and Latin entertainment).

Reservations and a $10 charge are required at Il Adagio and Le Bistro. The elegant narrow Il Adagio has booths for two or four along a wall so that everyone has an ocean view. Le Bistro features table-side cooking, though not of everything.


Forward on the Pool Deck, the Body Waves fitness center has one room filled with up-to-date equipment and a view, and another for aerobics classes. The equipment feels sort of crammed in, and there's enough room in the free weight area for only one bulked-up worker-out. The Steiner Body Waves Spa includes massage and steam rooms and full service beauty salon. Treatment prices may at first seem exorbitant, but there are always specials, especially on port days. Two pools and four hot tubs on the Pool Deck are sheltered from the elements. One deck up on Sports Deck, kiddies will find a children's splash pool while Mom and Pop enjoy the hot tub located forward, the full-size basketball/volleyball court, a golf driving net, batting cage, shuffleboard, and a jogging track.


Those who prefer to have everyone dressed up at the same time, or who are likely to be discombobulated by others' slovenliness, should think twice before booking this ship. Passengers can wear pretty much what they please at night, provided they don't want to wear T-shirts and bathing suits.


One of the smaller but full free-style Norwegian ships - great for quick getaways and family cruises.

Onboard Experience

That sharp mass intake of breath you heard in 2001 may well have been inspired by Norwegian Sun's debuting with no fewer than nine restaurants, the first ship purpose built for Free-style cruising. Or maybe it was that the ship shared a glitzy dual premier ceremony in Miami with Norwegian Star; the first time a cruise line ever launched two new-builds simultaneously.

Norwegian Sun's interior is stunningly beautiful most of the time. Indeed, on entering her circular marble lobby, you'll feel your eyes going immediately to the winding stairs in the center that lead up the atrium, with its glass-enclosed elevators. Intimate sitting areas with floor-to-ceiling glass walls on two levels let you comfortably contemplate the world outside.

As is par for the NCL course, the Norwegian Sun feels spacious throughout, which isn't to deny that its public rooms can feel quite intimate when the whim takes them. No fewer than a dozen bars and lounges offer a variety of themes and decor. In the Sports Bar, CNN and taped sports events play all day. Sip a cappuccino while you check your email in the Internet Cafe, self-administer retail therapy in the large gift shop, or try to summon Lady Luck in the Sun Club Casino. There are lots of daily activities, including the inevitable bingo, aerobics classes, dance lessons, fashion shows, and makeover demonstrations. At night, there's dancing, cabaret, or pianists in three lounges, and high-kicking Broadway-style production shows in the two-deck Stardust Lounge.

The fitness-obsessed will want to avail themselves of the basketball court, the well-equipped gym, or aerobics classes. Parents can entrust their progeny to the ships' Kids' Counselors, who'll keep a close eye on them as they enjoy the Kids' Corner and disco, the video arcade or kids' pool.


Norwegian Sun is a well-lit, sparkling ship with lots of light and bright colors lending it a sense of carefree, lightness of being. You can feel the warmth of the sun as you walk near her expansive windows, and rooms seem to blend into one another rather putting contrasting themes together. Most of the woods are light maple with muted colors in the fabrics.


The nine dining venues offer a wide variety of cuisine from around the world; be forewarned that the sheer variety of the menu will entice the weak-willed to overindulge. One of the two main dining rooms, Seven Seas, aft, serves "contemporary" cuisine, while Four Seasons, amidships, serves "traditional" cuisine. Which is to say that Seas would probably grill your lobster where Four Seasons would steam it and serve it with drawn butter. Both restaurants' lamb and filet mignon are especially good, the desserts to die for. The sushi bar in the Ginza restaurant is the equal of most you'd find ashore. The French cuisine in the reservations-only Le Bistro is on a par with the desserts in the main dining room.


The staff, recruited from all over the globe, is generally attentive and pleasant.


NCL automatically adds a fixed service charge of $10 to the shipboard accounts of passengers over 13 to make service personnel feel appreciated; children between three and 12 are charged $5. Those under three get off scot-free.

While further tipping is not compulsory, NCL recommends a 15 percent gratuity for bar service and urges the beneficiaries of concierge or butler services to come up with a little something extra. All else is at the passenger's discretion.


The Sun's resident theatrical troupe, the venerable Jean Ann Ryan dance company, offers two spectacular staged Broadway-style musicals in the Stardust Lounge, the front of whose balcony you should avoid unless you want to watch the show through a railing.


When Norwegian Sun's original design was adapted for Freestyle Cruising, cabins were enlarged and more storage space was added. 67 percent have an ocean view, 432 in all. Insides range from 147 to 191 sq. ft. and ocean view from 145 to 170 sq. ft. All but a few outside cabins on Viking, Fjord, and Norway decks have balconies measuring 150 to 173 sq. ft. plus a 48 sq. ft. balcony.

The four suite categories start with mini-suites of 267 sq. ft., and range up to the three-room Owner's Suite, 829 sq. ft., complete with private hot tub on the balcony. Suite guests enjoy the ministrations of a dedicated concierge and hot breakfast options, including eggs, bacon, sausage and oatmeal. Moreover, they can order lunch and dinner off of the main dining room menus during dining times.

Each pleasantly decorated cabin has a small sitting area, TV/radio, telephone, modem connection, refrigerator, safe, and individual thermostat. A daily movie program is available on the TV, plus CNN and another satellite channel. The surprisingly spacious standard balcony is covered with a bright blue filigreed rubber mat. There's a small table and two attractive, very uncomfortable cafe-style chairs.

The pre-molded bathrooms in standard guestrooms are clinical-looking, but very functional, though nobody looks very good in bright fluorescent light.

Children's Facilities

NCL prides itself on its parent-and-kids activities, a great children's program and even group babysitting until very late. Located forward on Deck 7, the Kid's Corner is a series of three rooms with age-appropriate activities in each. Fretful or doting parents can watch their little darlings through portholes.

Ship Overview

A sister-ship to Norwegian Sky, but not a twin, Norwegian Sun—one of the first real Freestyle cruising ships built for Norwegian Cruise Line—entered service in 2001 with an additional deck, more accommodations with private balconies, and more specialty restaurants. Interiors are bright and cheerful although the decor is somewhat subdued when compared with fleetmates.

Norwegian Cruise Line hadn't introduced many new ships in awhile at the time Norwegian Sky was launched and Norwegian Sun was on the drawing board, but it didn't take long before they got the hang of it. With Freestyle cruising growing in popularity, the vessels moved into the forefront of the fleet with multiple restaurant choices, expansive casino, trendy spas, and more family- and kid-friendly facilities.

Rich wood tones and fabric colors prevail throughout. The Observation Lounge is a subdued spot for afternoon tea in a light, tropical setting with nothing to distract attention from the expansive views beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows.

The Internet café is large, and the nearby coffee bar is a delight. Sunshine pours into the atrium through an overhead skylight by day; at night it's the ship's glamorous hub of activity.

Norwegian Cruise Line set sail in 1966 with an entirely new concept—regularly scheduled Caribbean cruises from the then-obscure port of Miami. Good food and friendly service combined with value fares established the line as a winner for active adults and families. Innovative and forward-looking, Norwegian has been a cruise-industry leader for decades, and its fleet is as much at home worldwide as in the Caribbean. Several of the line's ships cruise Alaska's Inside Passage, including one of its newest, Norwegian Bliss.

Noted for top-quality entertainment, Norwegian combines action and high-energy activities as well as a variety of dining options in a casual, free-flowing atmosphere. Norwegian's freestyle cruising signaled an end to rigid dining schedules and dress codes. Norwegian ships now offer a host of flexible dining options that allow passengers to eat in the main dining rooms or any of a number of à la carte and specialty restaurants at any time and with whom they please. The ships' accommodations include some of the largest suites at sea, studio cabins for solo travelers, and a private ship-within-a-ship complex called The Haven, a more luxurious area with personalized service.

From a distance, most cruise ships look so similar that it's often difficult to tell them apart, but Norwegian's largest, modern ships stand out with their distinctive use of hull art. Each new ship is distinguished by murals extending from bow to midship.

What You Should Know


  • Many of the elements found in newer fleetmates have been added to these older ships
  • There is a hot tub exclusively for kids
  • Norwegian Sun has separate steam rooms and saunas for men and women


  • The main restaurant is not on a direct route from the main atrium
  • These are sister ships but not twins, and dining facilities vary
  • Standard accommodations are somewhat tight for more than two people
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 917,916
  • Entered Service 2001
  • Gross Tons 78,309
  • Length 853 feet
  • Number of Cabins 968
  • Passenger Capacity 1,936
  • Width 105 feet
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  • Décor

  • Value

Jul 10, 2015


I will NEVER cruise with Norwegian again!!!! Food was not as expected. We opted for the upgraded dining and were not able to even make reservations to some of the restaurants. One evening it took forever just to get a glass of water then when we placed our order it took an hour to get our food. Upon taking the first bite when it finally arrived we realized that every persons food at our table was completely cold!!! Almost ALL of the desserts consisted

of jello/ pudding/ whipped topping! Our port of Skagway was cancelled because our Captain didn't feel he could dock the boat due to winds. There were 2 other cruise lines that were docking boats that were larger than ours. We were taken to a town, "Haines" which had NOTHING for us to do. Entertainment was AWFUL- same things over and over. Dance floor was way to small and chairs were jammed up on each other in several areas. They were so close that often no one could even squeeze by to sit in them. AWFUL experience! DON'T waste your money on this ship and I would be hard pressed to even use the cruise line again!!! Ruby Tuesday's has better food and we had the upgraded dining!!! Very adequate. Housekeeping was awesome! Terrible! Same thing over and over. Dance floor was way to small!!! Gastineau Guiding Company was awesome! Great guides and service. The best part of our cruise. is their website. Brian Hild is the best as a guide! Really disappointed in the cruise line. Alaska is absolutely beautiful but the cruise was a waste of our time and money. We will not book another cruise with Norwegian!

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Jun 18, 2015


Just finished trip on SUN roundtrip to Alaska from Vancouver. (Returned Memorial day) We Liked 6A deck. Outside window. You Enter from 7th floor, down side stairs. Quiet in halls. Not busy. But Heater/AC Vent in cabin loud & blows hard constantly. Cant turn down. Sinuses hated it! And Noisy! Decibel reading 56 laying in Bed. That is like always having the tv on medium. No relief! DB by Room vent 70!!!!! Db from bathroom vent

67. (At home our house is 30 when house quiet.) So this is NOT a Quiet relaxing cabin! Not enough washywashy employees. Maybe 2 outside Garden cafe. Everywhere else they relied on self serve pumps on wall that FEW Canadians & tourists used. And there were Lots of hackers & coughers onboard. Sun needs to Enforce & Make Mandatory. Insist guests use! (I have more on that at End.) Carlos bakery/Lavazza, 3 workers ignored us in line & served walkups at counter. One worker actually argued with me about what I ordered after waiting patiently for 15 mins. I finally said out loud, "So this is how you do it now? Take cuts & get served first?" All I wanted was a Large Nonfat Latte. 3 words. I said it twice. He gave me a regular & insisted I ordered the Same as lady behind me. Seriously? Now Im mad. So I then asked for his Mgrs Name to report. Which I wrote up on a Comment card as I never found the person. The men gave Very lousy service & Rude. Incorrect orders. I heard couple other people mention, Watch them, they get orders wrong. So true. Casino smokey & small. Very few Video poker machines. Maybe dozen? Only 6 Super star. Mg/md. Many people waiting to play. Sometimes never, cant get on the whole night! Only the last night was there sufficient machine availability. Lotsa looky-loos playing 1 coin, or keno on SStars. Ugh Then there was the Newbie idiot who cashed out after Every hit, cuz thats his "system". Yeah whatever.... I was looking forward to spending time at the Art auctions. Nope. Not as good as other ship auctions, fer sure. Constantine the Art Auctioneer rarely smiled& talked condescending to employees & Guests. It was uncomfortable to watch at times. Where On the Jewel last month, I attended 4 Auctions. Very well done & educational. Not on Sun. Probably worst of the ships auctions Ive attended. He Talked way too much about the Priciest paintings. So, As usual, Nobody bid on those, so all our time wasted. This happened Over & over. Dude Took 3 hours at first one alone. Too long. Redundant. Other ship Auctioneers much better & better attitude! I Didn't win squat on any drawings either. Ive won almost every other time. What was different? He Gave away wayyy too many tix for cheering him. Meh. And an Art Gal lied to me about Not knowing If there would be More auctions? Oh yeah?? I KNEW there were more auction days. So, Trying the Hard sell. Frown on this. Happy note...Ship music very good selection. Large library. Hardly repeats. Mostly light rock. 60-90's They had to cancel 2 big nightly event Shows cuz singer sick & No backups. Had comedian again. He's good. Perhaps more Comedy nights, less relying on ship employees. Don't go on this ship for Ent. It ain't happening. Who plans this stuff? First 2 days at sea hardly any events. Only 1 art auction.. Last sea day 3 good events, All at 2:00. Why? All same time??? Scheduling lousy! No bridge observation area. Weve seen the bridge on all our other ships. Best part of Alaska cruise? We enjoyed the ports. We lucked out with the weather, sunny & warm in ports. Great Scenery. Glaciers. Lotsa Whales. Touring, Mostly on our own. Lots of walking. Saw a few museums, etc. No ship tours needed really. We did MDR mostly & paid $30- each for Cagneys on the last night. Filet mignon & Wagyu beef sliders, Fabulous. Just like we remember on the other Ncl ships. Overview, Sun is Fine cruise ship if expectations low, you're New, or all you want to do is eat & veg. (But Not in cabin cuz you are Blown constantly & LOUD vent.) I really hope their thermostats or Fans get fixed when Drydocked. (We DID have an engineer come to our cabin, but didn't, or couldn't change anything.) Sun is a Med. ship, but very little to do. Pool area was cold & windy outside. Hey it was Alaska. Sun NeedsTLC when dry dock next year. Needs it. Sun is a Good ship to get from Point A to Point B. Went to Doc after flight home, who Confirmed what I thought. Too many coughing Canadians... They GOT me! Not enough washy-washy, didnt help. Meh. Thanks Sun. We will try to remember the few highlights, over many, many Low ones.

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  • New

Apr 12, 2015

If you want an adult cruise, do not pick this ship!

Out of the 2000 persons on the ship, 400 were children. Our cabin was located next door to the teen center/teen disco, so we did not get any sleep. Activities lasted in the teen center until 1:00 a.m., then the teenagers ran through the hallway screaming and partying. We complained to security and requested to change cabins but were not accommodated. We had to call security every night about the noise and the children running through the halls,

but they ship never took any proactive measures to prevent it from happening. The overall cleanliness of the ship was just fair. The ship steward was extremely nice and most of the wait staff in the restaurants were pleasant. We had one rude waiter and some overcooked food, but overall the food was decent. Our biggest complaint was that the ship staff allowed the children and teenagers to run wild disturbing the patrons who did not have children aboard. There were no adult only areas on the ship. The children cut lines and handled the food in the buffet lines in a very unsanitary way. I would be hesitant to ever book a Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ever again. If we cruise in the future, I would be more apt to consider a cruise line that caters to an older clientele, like Holland America. Also the disembarkment procedure was a bit of a zoo. They allowed people who wanted to carry off their own luggage to leave first, which was nice, but it turned out to be nearly the entire ship. There were not enough ship staff members assisting with disembarkment.

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By Bea_CR

  • New

Sep 26, 2013


Frankly, I am shocked by the reviews I have read. I am extremely picky, my husband and I frequent five star plus restaurants and resorts in the U.S. and internationally. I was very hesitant to go on a cruise due to so many negative reviews. I was completely wrong, the cruise was great and Alaska was amazing. The main dining room and buffets had fresh fruits, vegetable s, and fish with a small neighborhood restaurant atmosphere and quality.

If you want 5 star dining, go to the specialty restaurants they are well worth it. Considering we spend $100 on a good meal at home, upgrading from the included dinning rooms for $40-$60 was a good deal. Our cabin was spotless and our cabin steward was amazing. He knew our name from the first time we entered our room. He kept the room spotless and well stocked without us asking. A warning, I did not pay attention to the fact that we had a shower curtain and not the wall like at home and flooded our bathroom while washing my hair. Our steward was great and laughed when I tried to apologizing saying, I flood the bathroom sometime too in the my mall shower. I loved a new show every night, a party to dance or just listen to a great band. At sea, we learned so much and when the rangers boarded the boat we got the most amazing views with information that made understanding the size, history and creation of what we were seeing even more interesting. The views from our balcony were an added plus. Can't miss on the excursions, pick what you like best and be amazed. Don't stand outside on the top of the boat in Misty Fjord while the boat is moving without something covering your ears. I got quiet a head and ear ache from not being wise about very cold air blowing around. Good thing a couple Motrin made me feel better withing 15 minutes of being inside. We boarded the ship within 30 minutes of our early arrival from our hotel and our balcony room was ready and our luggage arrived within another 30 minutes. The staff was unbelievably friendly and efficient. The excursions were worth every cent and booking them the cruise line meant they took us directly to the meeting site without any wait to disembark. The crew made you feel like you were their best friend; they told us about their favorite excursions and even suggested an additional excursion in Anchorage, so we did not sit at the airport for 8 hours. We did one excursion per port and had time before or after to walk around and see each port. I wanted to stay in Skagway longer, this little tiny town had friendly locals, two salmon filled streams, seals waiting to catch the salmon as the returned to the sea, a free historical tour of the town and museum with a park ranger and a lovely park with views over the ocean were worth the walk just outside of the down town area. In Juneau the plane ride over the glaciers, a leisurely walk in the woods next to the glacier and having a fresh salmon lunch with glacier iced cider was one of the most perfect afternoons of our trip.

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  • New

Jun 5, 2013


Overall, I would do it again. The check in procedure at the port in Whittier was a bit of a nightmare but otherwise everything was smooth sailing. The crew was amazing. It was obvious they wanted everyone to enjoy their cruise. And I understand from talking to some parents that their kids wanted to stay in the kiddy place and not go on family outings, it was that much fun for them. I found the buffet to be a bit of a "cattle call" with too

many people and lines. Having said that, I must also say that the sit down restaurants were wonderful. While there is a sameness of choices throughout the week, everything was absolutely fantastic. The only complain I had was one night my baked potato wasn't cooked enough (but heck, I do that myself at home sometimes). The portions were small but the quality was excellent. I think my husband grew gills he had so much salmon. I had read other reviews about bad food but I found that I really liked the quality at the restaurants. And the portion size turned out to be a good thing because I would have eaten everything they put on my plate and who knows how much weight I might have gained. The lobster was probably the best I have ever had. My room was clean, always, no matter how often I went in there and messed it up. And I got a really cool towel animal every night. I looked forward to seeing what was there in the evenings. The activities were fun...the trivial questions were brutal. I'm usually much better at that sort of thing. And the crew talent show was simply not to be missed. The magician was aweful. I thought the dance crew and the singers were wonderful. There wasn't a single minute of any performance when they didn't put forth 100% effort. We took a bus ride out of Skagway and our driver was amazing. I wish I could remember his name. He told us stories and history and just kept us entertained the entire time. Well, Alaska is just beautiful. That goes without saying. And to see it from atop this magnificient ship was amazing. Our trip up to Alaska was brutal and I got to the ship thinking that the cruise wasn't going to be worth the effort but I was so wrong. The crew were obviously intent on making sure everyone had everything they needed, the ship wasn't overly crowded, we ate until I thought we'd explode (the chocolate buffet was to die for), the entertainment (with the exception of the magician) was really good.

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