The Norwegian Sun is one of the oldest cruise ships on the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL). Two German shipyards were involved in the construction of the ship. In the dock of the former Aker MTW shipyard in Wismar the hull was built with the first six decks. The Lloyd Werft in Bremerhaven then completed the new building. The shipping company puts the original construction costs at more than 400 million US dollars. The ship began its maiden voyage on September 10, 2001.
In contrast to the last NCL newbuildings, which were peppered with exciting innovations, the medium-sized, 260-meter-long cruise ship looks rather unspectacular. It is particularly suitable for those passengers who appreciate classic cruises to interesting destinations, who value first-class service and who can easily do without adventure slides leading across several decks and huge SPA facilities. It should be noted that the Norwegian Sun was specially built for the freestyle cruising concept previously developed by the company.
Norwegian Sun - hull paint
We tested the ship and the service concept on the occasion of an 11-day Alaska cruise in autumn 2017.
We start our ship presentation as usual with the cabins. The deck plans show 968 cabins and suites. Twenty of the cabins are handicapped accessible. Apart from decks 12 and 13, the passenger compartments are distributed over all passenger decks.
We lived in balcony cabin 0208 on the 10th deck to starboard. There is enough space and storage space for two travelers. The bathroom is very small; we are amazed at how little space the shower, sink and toilet can be accommodated. Most of the lower beds in the cabins can be converted into a double bed. A number of the cabins have - like our cabin - additional beds. The total bed capacity is given as a maximum of 2.242. The basic equipment of the standard cabins consists of a flat screen TV, telephone, safe, refrigerator and hairdryer. The decor of the cabins is modern; warm wood tones dominate.
The cabin selection Board the Norwegian Sun is rich. From the inside cabin on the Biscayne deck (4th deck) to the owner's suite on the 11th deck (pool deck), there is everything your heart desires and your wallet allows.
Eating & drinking aboard Norwegian Sun
Norwegian Cruise Line has been practicing the so-called "Freestyle Cruising" concept since 2000, according to which nothing should restrict passengers. Instead, the flexibility of the guests is at the center of life on board. This also means that the restaurants do not have fixed meal times and fixed seating arrangements. This is particularly challenging for the ship's gastronomy. Two main restaurants, a buffet restaurant and several specialty restaurants vie for the guests' favor.
Norwegian Sun - Le Bistro
Restaurants included in the price
For the traditional dinner at no extra cost, the ship's guests have the two main restaurants on deck 5 amidships and aft Four Seasons and Seven Seas to disposal. Both restaurants together offer around 1.100 seats. They are supplied by the one in between main galley. Breakfast and lunch are also regularly served in one of the restaurants.
Our impression of the dinner:
- Both restaurants offer different pro forma options. Definitely, however, they hardly differ from one another in terms of the food on offer. The menus, which are also available in German, contain a large number of “classics” that are always available as well as offers that change daily. Vegetarian dishes are also offered regularly.
- The well-furnished, well-kept restaurants work with the utmost professionalism. The guests are placed quickly. There are no fixed dining times or assigned seats. There are practically no waiting times, if they do, beepers are used. If you don't want to wait, make a reservation or count among the VIPs. A well-located place is always reserved for them.
- The dishes arrive on the plate well decorated and are very tasty. The individual courses are served in quick succession. This practice is evidently based on the needs of the US guests. The beverage service also works smoothly. We found the distance between the tables and the general noise level to be pleasant. The work areas of the waiters have been perfectly integrated into both restaurants.
- The personal addressing of the guests by their first names should be emphasized. After the guests have been placed, the table waiters will be given their names on the basis of a receipt. The address in our case was logically US-style Mr. Karl and Ms. Annemarie.
Guests who appreciate self-service are available in the morning, at noon and in the evening Garden Café (Deck 11 to starboard) and that Great outdoors cafe (outside aft on deck 11). There, too, the quality of the food was good.
We find the organization of the buffet unsatisfactory. Since there are no isolated solutions, long queues often form at the buffet. Competitors like Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line or TUI Cruises can do better.
Spanish is in the Las Ramblas Tapas Bar & Restaurant to. Guests are offered selected snacks and tapas there.
Norwegian Sun - Las Ramblas
People also eat in the Sports bar. Starting with grill burgers and ending with fish and chips, all kinds of snacks are offered in a relaxed (sports) atmosphere.
Norwegian Sun - sports bar
And something else: no matter when and where you eat, cloth napkins are indispensable. Paper napkins are unthinkable on board the NCL ships.
Specialty restaurants subject to surcharge
It is undisputed that the dining options included in the tour price already meet high demands. As such, there would be no need for the specialty restaurants, especially since they require additional fees. But they exist and they are used. The following special offers are made to guests:
The Brazilian Steak house Modern Churrascaria
The specialties of this restaurant are the salad buffet and skewers with slowly grilled meat. That is cut right at the table. A visit to the restaurant costs $ 24,95.
For breakfast and lunch, the restaurant is available to all guests as a buffet restaurant with a limited selection of dishes. A good alternative to the general buffet restaurant.
Norwegian Sun - Moderno Churrascaria - at lunchtime
The Italian restaurant The Kitchen
The "Italian" located between the two main restaurants is served by its own kitchen area. In the morning and at noon it serves as a sophisticated breakfast and lunch location for suite and VIP guests. From our own experience we can say that the service is impressive! In the evening à la carte meals are served.
Norwegian Sun - La Cucina
The French specialty restaurant Shake/Snack Bar
The inviting, elegant restaurant offers modern Mediterranean and classic French cuisine at high à la carte prices.
It offers its guests Angus beef steaks and related items at à la carte prices.
The Teppanyaki restaurant
The chefs of the small Japanese restaurant work on a large steel grill. The guests sit together around a large table and admire the skills of the chefs. The skilful artists conjure up and charge the on-board account with their food with 24,95 US dollars.
The Ginza sushi bar
Right behind the teppanyaki is the Ginza sushi. It stands for traditional Japanese sushi and sashimi. Meals are also à la carte.
Guests who want to experience and use the variety of the specialty restaurants can buy dining packages for 3, 5 or 10 meals. For example, a 3-meal package in 2017 costs 77,42 euros if booked in advance.
In addition, the ship's guests are entitled to 24-hour cabin service available for an additional payment of US $ 7,95. Suite guests are exempt from payment.
Cafes, bars and lounges
There is enough of everything. Every passenger will find a favorite spot. The jewel of the Norwegian Sun is the one in the front segment Atrium. The open space leads from the 5th to the 11th deck. Four glass elevators shoot the area.
The atrium is on deck 5 Java Cafe. Coffee, tea, cakes and biscuits are served there. Coffee specialties are generally subject to payment. This also applies to the (especially German-speaking) guests who enjoy the Premium All Inclusive Package come. Coffee specialties are only served with meals without a surcharge.
The Dazzles nightclub. The disco, literally supercooled, with stage and bar is open until the early hours of the morning. Bingo tournaments, lectures, excursion presentations and other events take place there regularly during the day. In the evening, entertainers and passengers of all ages crowd the dance floor. In our opinion, the room looks uncomfortable. With this assessment we were obviously in the minority.
That's behind the dazzles windjammer bar It is an appealing place with a well-stocked range of drinks. Live music prevents boredom in the first place.
The is on deck 7 of the atrium Champagne Bar. There, guests enjoy a selection of champagne, sparkling wine, vodka, caviar and other high-quality delicacies.
The Champagne Bar follows on the same level Sun Club Casino Bar, which is frequented mainly by the guests of the casino.
The one on the pool deck (deck 11) Topsiders bar is an outside bar.
Another bar on the 11th deck is the one already mentioned, located aft on port side Sports Bar. Their distinguishing feature: many TV monitors and an abundance of international beer brands that accompany the live broadcasts of sports events.
In the bow area of the 12th deck is the entire width of the ship Observation Lounge. During the day it is a cozy view, on some days it is also a venue; in the evening it mutates into a concert studio or (even later) into a dance floor.
Also on the 12th deck, above the atrium, in good weather, in addition to the Topsiders Bar one deck below, the Champs bar open.
Our rating of the bars and lounges:
We preferred each other in the Windjammer Bar and in the Observation Lounge held up. Sometimes also in the Sports Bar. As wine drinkers, we got along well with the wine by glasses included in the tour price. As part of the Premium all inclusive offer a sufficient number of tasty wines are offered. Most cocktails are also covered by the package. Beer drinkers should also be satisfied; Various beers are available on tap and in bottles.
Sport, relaxation & wellness
Compared to what we know Norwegian Getaway the “Sun” does not have spectacular sports facilities such as a climbing garden or large water slides. But even without these attractions, the passengers on board can take a sporty approach.
Only a few ships nowadays offer a promenade leading around the ship. On the wide deck of the Norwegian Sun (6th deck), walkers and joggers share the 480-meter-long running track; 3½ laps equals one mile. Another, significantly shorter running route is also available on the 12th deck.
In the center of the pool deck (11th deck) there are two well-dimensioned pools and four whirlpools, which are well frequented even in front of Alaska's glaciers.
Inside the pool deck are the rooms of the Body Waves Fitness Centers. The equipment technology meets the needs of recreational athletes. In addition, they are offered a wide range of courses. It should be noted that adolescents between 13 and 16 years of age are only allowed access to the gym if they are accompanied by an adult. Children under the age of 13 are not allowed in this area.
On the 12th deck, known as the sports deck, are in the forward area of the ship Shepherd Hook and Family jacuzzi, the children's pool and another whirlpool. That follows aft Basket and Volleyball field. A field for Shuffleboard, two Beater cages for golfers and several Table tennis complete the sports offer on this deck.
The Sundecks are generously dimensioned. The arrangement of the loungers is commendable. Two loungers stand next to each other. There is enough space to move around on both sides of the arrangement.
Norwegian Sun - deck 12
Towards the bow there are various on deck 11 on the starboard side saunas and Steam roomswhich Body Wave Spa and the Beauty Salon.
The entertainment program is as varied as the day is long. We believe that nobody has to be bored even on days at sea. When it comes to entertainment, we first think of the on-board theater. In the two-story Stardust lounge A varied show program is offered every day on the aft decks 6 and 7. With 1.066 seats, the theater is big enough. The NCL shows are well staged and the dancers in particular are excellent.
The windjammer bar offers musical entertainment and the one in front of it Dazzles nightclub is used in many ways during the day and at night. We liked the large, representative one very much Observation Lounge on the 12th deck. It is also used for a wide variety of events.
Norwegian Sun - The captain among his loved ones
For many ship guests, entertainment also includes a visit to the casino. in the Sun Club Casino Roulette, blackjack, poker and dice tables await players on deck 7; there are also many slot machines. The casino has a capacity of 280 seats.
Norwegian Sun - Sun Club Casino
Art enthusiasts visit the regular art auctions, card players meet to play in the card room. Bookworms frequent the well-stocked and approximately 2.000 volumes Library. Even some German-language books can be found.
Norwegian Sun Library
It is impossible to imagine ships without it Internet cafe. The Norwegian Sun has 24 seats. It was positioned on the 6th deck in the area of the atrium. In the Video zone On the 11th deck racing drivers, pilots or whoever play against the electronics. We feel the visit of the Shopping arcade quite as entertaining. The shops are on the 7th deck.
Children and young people are not neglected on board the Norwegian Sun either. The supervisors on deck 7 take care of the young travelers Kid's Korner and in the Teen Club. The extensive area offers a variety of options. We could not gain a closer look, because outsiders are not welcome for understandable reasons.
Norwegian Sun - children's area
Information about Norwegian Sun
Length 260 m; Width 32 m; Draft> 8 m
9 passenger decks
Drive: diesel-electric; 6 diesel engines deliver 50.700 kW of power.
Aker MTW, Wismar and Lloyd Werft, Bremerhaven
Cabins & Suites
968; 378 balcony cabins u. 20 cabins for the disabled
1.936 with double occupancy; Maximum occupancy 2.242
958 people; 858 work in the hotel sector.
English; regular German speaking office hours
Currency on board
Current position Norwegian Sun
The trip: “Ten days of Glacier Bay from Vancouver”.
The route: Vancouver - Inside Passage - Juneau - Skagway - Ketchikan - Glacier Bay National Park - Victoria Island - Astoria - San Francisco.
The individual destinations in a magnificent landscape do not require booking the expensive excursion packages of the cruise ships. We prepared our trip well and in Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan resorted to offers from local providers. In Victoria Island and Astoria / Oregon we also booked certain services on site, where necessary. In Vancouver and San Francisco we mainly used the excellently organized local public transport.
Norwegian Sun - Empty swept deck off Glacier Bay
The time of travel: September / October 2017
The ship: The Norwegian Sun is a medium-sized, attractive cruise ship with no frills.
Norwegian Sun stands for Freestyle Cruising
The gastronomic offer: The two main restaurants offer excellent quality and exemplary service. We liked the buffet restaurant less because of the procedures. However, the spacious outdoor terrace of the Great Outdoors Café deserves special recognition. We enjoyed staying there. You could save yourself a visit to the specialty restaurants because of the excellent quality offered in the main restaurants.
Cafés, Bars & Lounges: The offer is completely sufficient. We liked most of the localities.
Entertainment: The entertainment offered daily is varied and demanding.
The 16 year old cruise ship Norwegian Sun is in first class condition. To keep it that way, the next dry dock stay is planned for May 2018.
Guests from German-speaking countries will be offered a premium all-inclusive offer. It doesn't take more than that to feel really comfortable on board.
Thanks to the German-speaking guest service, the ship can also be recommended to those guests who are less familiar with the English language on board.
We see the Norwegian Sun on a par with the premium ships from Celebrity Cruises or TUI Cruises. She is a feel-good ship of a different kind.Norwegian Sun - The master guides the ship with a steady hand
The trip was supported by Norwegian Cruise Line. Our special thanks go to the shipping company and especially to our contact persons on board. With regard to our journalistic independence, we refer to the chapter "We are independent".
(Karl Beyer - updated in August 2019)