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Aboard Norwegian Sun, 17 - 24 August 2002 - Part I

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Norwegian Cruise Lines [UK Site]

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Norwegian Sun Official Site [UK]

View from the Bridge Cam [updated every 15 minutes]

Caribbean
Deck 3

Medical Centre

Atlantic
Deck 5

Seven Seas Restaurant, Il Adagio Restaurant, Four Seasons Restaurant, Reception, Shore Excurisions, Java Café.

Promenade
Deck 6

Stardust Longe, Jogging Track, Photo Gallery, Conference Centre, Library, Havana Club, Windjammer Bar, Dazzles Nightclub, Internet Café, Life & Tech Styles rooms.

International
Deck 7

Stardust Lounge [balcony], Shops, Sun Club Casino, Champagne Bar, Shuffles Card Room? [a $10 shop I think it was], Teen Club & Kid's Korner.

Pool Deck 11

Great Outdoor & Garden Cafés, Sports Bar, Sprinkles Ice Cream Bar, Pacific Heights, Topsiders Bar, 2 Pools, 4 Hot Tubs, Spa & Fitness Room, Beauty Salon.

Sports
Deck 12

Le Bistro, Las Ramblas, Ginza/East Meets West, Golf Nets, Batting cages, Shuffle Board, Basketball Court, Champ's Bar, Chapel, Kid's Pool & Hot Tub, Observation Lounge.

Sun Deck 13

Loungers

 View My Photos of Norwegian Sun
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Standing Aft on the Jogger Track
Standing Aft on the Jogger Track

Norwegian Sun was completed in August 2001. Built at Lloyd Werft in Germany, she took 17 months to build at a cost of $350 million. Her Maiden Voyage was on 10 Sept 2001. At 78,106 grt, a speed of 23 knots, 853ft long, 105.8ft wide, 194.2ft high, and with a draft of 26.2 ft, she is not amongst the largest of today's cruise ships, but certainly the biggest [and newest] we have been on.

I wasn't sure what to expect in the way of decor, only that she may have rather more glitz than I have previously encountered. Not so; she is beautiful. Tastefully decorated in most areas, inside & out. Not overly bright clashing drapes & carpets. Everything goes well together. The only glitz is in the casino where it should be; even the nightclub wasn't overdone.

Built by Lloyd Werft on her hull
....on her Hull

Norwegian Sun Bow
Bow

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Norwegian Sun carries 1,936 passengers [double occupancy] with a maximum occupancy of 2400, and 950 multinational crew members. The Officers are from Greece, England, South Africa, Canada, Norway, Philippines and others. The majority of the Hotel Management team seemed to be from either England or Canada, with others from New Zealand, USA and Italy.

In command was Captain Constantinos Fafalios. We only saw him at the Captain's Welcome Party, to which we arrived late after dinner, so didn't even get to shake hands. He introduced all the main staff and officers, but sounded a bit 'bored'. Probably is, if he has to do exactly the same thing, week in and week out! If he ever wandered about the ship mingling, then we didn't see him.

Norwegian Sun stern
Stern

Externally Norwegian Sun looks somewhat 'boxy'. A rather short bow and blunt stern with no curving fantail; this area in the main given over to aft facing cabins. No sleek liner, but not as square as some of the new builds. She was not at all 'crowded' unless you rushed along with everyone else to some activity being announced. Some of the lounges were often quite empty. Around the pools everyone seemed to just have to grab a lounger within 6 feet of the water; but if you are happy to sit further away, in the shade, or even on the deck above, there were plenty of free chairs.

The Atrium extends from the Reception Area on deck 5 to the Body Waves Spa on deck 11. Decks 8, 9, & 10 are cabins only with no seating around the Atrium. There are 4 glass lifts from top to bottom, and a sweeping staircase rising from deck 5 to 6. It's a light and pleasant area. Sit and have a drink on any of the 3 lower levels.

Atrium
Atrium

Atrium - Java Café - Internet Café [2nd level]
Atrium - Java Café - Internet Café [2nd level]

On deck 5, the Java Café serves specialty coffees and cakes.

Around the Atrium on Deck 6 is the Internet Café, run by Digital Seas. There are numerous computers, all with cams attached so you can send video emails. It is however rather pricey at $0.75 per minute, but there are 2 cheaper packages; 100 minutes for $55 and 250 minutes for $100. Specials deals were on offer during the week, some free time, some 2 for 1 ecards. There wasn't an 'all week' rate. You can have access via a modem from your cabin but the chap said it was slower than using their computers.

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Wireless Access is also available. If you have your own laptop with a wireless card running XP this is ideal. You can rent a laptop or even just a wireless card. Having our own laptop we took the wireless option. It was only the second week it had been running. There was a bit of a hiccup on initially connecting, due to our pop-up cruncher, but the chap now knows about that:) Also the system was 'down' for a few hours on the last afternnoon, but it works well and you get a fast connection. The Wireless Access locations are all around the open areas of the Atrium, the pools, the conference centre and library.

Freestyle Dining! There are 10 restaurants to choose from, catering for every taste. You can eat when, where and with whomever you please. If you prefer the traditional way of dining, you need only see the Maitre d' to arrange a particular table at a set time that suits.

The Garden Café and Great Outdoor Café are both buffet style and serve similar fare. Both are open for breakfast, but the G-Outdoor Café is not open for lunch during some port days. Cold meats, cheeses, salads, hot food with varying themes, a carving station, fruits, breads.. many items to choose from. An omelette station at breakfast in one corner, which is also used at lunchtimes for a selection of Indian and Oriental dishes. Outdoors is where you will find the burgers, hotdogs, ribs, pork chops and minute steaks.

Sculpture outside Seven Seas
Sculpture outside Seven Seas

There was a bit of a queue sometimes inside, but go through the doors outside and there's no one there. Coffee, iced tea and hot chocolate were available at all times in the Garden Café, along with juices at breakfast. We ate here one evening; but for dinner the choices are limited. For buffet type food the quality was good, sometimes the choices better than others, but no complaints. The tables were cleared promptly and kept clean. You were given a damp cloth to wipe your hands on before handling the food. The cutlery was wrapped in a serviette. Only one minor point was that some of the plastic trays had been subjected to too much heat and were warped causing a bump in the middle:)

Sprinkles Ice Cream Bar, in the Garden Café is open from noon until 3pm every day, serving a selection of scoop ice creams and soft serve [frozen yoghurt] with 'help yourself' to the sprinkles. Howard's favourite place, especially as the waitresses from the Seven Seas would go and fetch his lunchtime ice cream for him! Häagen Dazs is also available at certain times by the pool bar, for a charge.

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Backlit Mural - Seven Seas Entrance
Backlit Mural - Seven Seas Entrance

The two main restaurants, The Four Seasons, traditional cuisine and The Seven Seas, contemporary cuisine were both excellent. There was a selection of 3 or 4 soups and salads, around 5 different entrées including a vegetarian option, a 'Cooking Light®' option and various desserts each evening. Coffee to follow with no extra charge for a Cappuccino. There is also a special menu for the children, which comes with a few activities [dot-to-dot, colouring] and a crayon to keep them quite for a while.

The food was tasty and well presented. Service in most cases was very good, although one evening our waiter seemed a bit otherwise pre-occupied. Food is cooked to order and you can "design your meal by selecting your own combination of these dishes in any order you wish". This caused amusement one night when I asked for some okra off one dish to go with the meal I had ordered. I got served two meals:)

There is a good selection of wine to choose from. In the main from America, with some French and Australian vintages. Bottles start at $18 and rise. There is a 'buy 4 bottles get 5th free' voucher one can obtain from a waiter during the first 3 nights. One must ensure all the 4 bottles are purchased on the same cabin account, preferably the same Sun Card to take advantage. The Seven Seas is open for continuous breakfast every day and for lunch on sea days.

During the 7-night cruise:- The first night was casual; the second evening was termed "Resort Elegant/ Formal Optional"; the third "Resort Casual/ Caribbean"; the fourth "Resort Casual/ 70's Disco"; the fifth "Resort Casual/ 50's & 60's" and the final two evenings as "Resort Casual". Despite all the references to 'casual' by far the majority of the passengers got changed into smart attire for the evenings, and on formal night most were dressed up to the nines. A few people remained in their jeans/t-shirts, but were in the minority. No Shorts/t-shirts/jeans are permitted in the dining rooms.

Howard in the Seven Seas
Howard in the Seven Seas

The Sports Bar, which shows live broadcasts of sporting events, although I didn't see quite what of, serves pizza from 4pm to 11pm, and from noon on the first day at sea. Tapas are available in Las Ramblas from 5pm to close each night. There are late night snacks available in various locations and a Chocoholic Midnight Buffet midweek. So you won't go hungry on this ship. We tend to eat early around 6.30pm and at that time the dining rooms are fairly empty. However if you come about an hour later they are beginning to get busy and there may be a short wait for a table of the size you request. One evening when later, we were about 10 names down the waiting list, but it was only 5 minutes before we were seated [some on the list had gone elsewhere].

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The Mast at night

Alternative Dining! We didn't try any of the Speciality Restaurants as we were quite satisfied with the main restaurants and didn't feel it would have been appropriate having the children with us. Although they can go to the Kid's Korner in the evenings if parents want a meal alone, ours' prefer to eat with us and us them. I did however look into all the restaurants and they looked wonderful. Speaking to some of the other passengers the food is apparently very good and well worth the $10 cover charge.

Reservations are necessary.

Ginza:- Sushi Bar & Teppanyaki [À la Carte pricing]
Il Adagio:- Fine Italian Cuisine
Le Bistro:- French Mediterranean Cuisine
East Meets West:- Pacific Rim/ Asian Fusion
Pacific Heights:- Cooking Light® [No cover charge]

The Speciality Restaurant Menus & Wine List can be found here.

The Shuffles Card Room as shown on the deck plans appears now to be an 'Everything is $10' store. In the Shopping Gallery, one can buy everything from diamonds, to duty free goods, logo souvenirs and sweets. The Library, I didn't investigate as I had my own books and not enough free time for them. The Photo Gallery was very expensive. We didn't buy any photos of us; well we only had the one taken on embarkation in which Howard had his eyes closed, but it was $20 [inc a keyring]. Other photographs were cheaper but still double what I would have expected. The photographers were around the ship if you wanted a shot taken, and of course on formal night people had portraits taken, but we just said 'No thanks' with a smile. There were some nice photographs of the ship that were sold at $2 each; that's more like it:)

Artwork on our cabin wall
.....on our cabin wall

The 'Stage' entrance on the Promenade
The 'Stage' - [Perfomers entrance on the Promenade]

The Stardust Lounge is two-story and well appointed. There are some supports in the way of viewing, but not a problem. What I did find annoying, and I only went to one show [Jane Powell who was excellent], was that the seats in the second half towards the rear have high backs to them, and I couldn't see over the top without sitting up very straight. They are comfortable and have slots for one's drinks. It is icy cold in here!

The shows* are held twice nightly except on the first night and one other, when there is only one performance. See Part II for details of the Entertainers.

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Table Tennis
Table Tennis

Shuffleboard, Table Tennis, Dolphin Racing, Golf in the nets, Basketball Ball, are all played. Endless Bingo and Art Auctions every day and sometimes twice!

The Body Waves Fitness Centre had lots of good equipment, all sorts of programmes running and was very popular. The Mandara Spa & Beauty Salon was always busy, and various demonstrations held.

Mandara Spa Entrance
Mandara Spa Entrance

Mandara Spa Entrance

Mandara Spa - A strong smell of Pine

Loungers all around the pool area, midships, deck 11. There are two nice sized swimming pools [heated sea water], one between 3ft 6" to 4ft deep and the other between 5ft & 6ft. The shallower pool was more popular, but both became very busy during the days at sea. The deck is all teak. 4 Hot Tubs between the pools were shaded with a canopy and always full too. A few competitions were held poolside, including a 'Hairy Chest' one. There is also a stage and dance floor f''wd of the pools, where some evening parties were held, with the whole area being sheltered by surrounding glass. The 4 table tennis tables are here too, but not enough height available as one keeps hitting the ceiling and other passengers on their loungers with the balls.

Pool Deck - Basketball Too [above]
Pool Deck - Basketball Too [above]

The Kids Pool Hot Tub & Slide
The Kids Pool Hot Tub & Slide

Towels are provided around all the pools; just drop them in the collection bins when finished with, or leave outside your cabin.

Splashes Kid's Pool on deck 12 was fun for the youngsters, with its own Hot Tub, small slide and a round half-ball with water coming out the top, which could be 'squirted' at unsuspecting parents! Deck 12 and the Sun Deck, 13, are covered with blue plastic matting rather than teak.


Howard on the Loungers eating Cookies!

The Shallower of the Pools
The Shallower of the Pools

The towels can also be signed for and taken ashore on excursions. Return with the receipt when reboarding or you'll be charged $20.

Some more photos of the Pools can be seen here

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The Kid's Korner was excellent. All the staff were Canadian, except for one counsellor from America. A wonderful room, forward on deck 7, which can be split into 3 for the different age groups, depending on the number of children in attendance. A good structured timetable to keep the children occupied. Click here to view the 10 - 12 year olds age group programme. Full details of the times and various drinks packages can be found on NCL's website here. The Teen Club looked good, full of Playstations or similar and discos for Teens only are held in the evenings. Unfortunately Beverley was a few months too young to join the teens and too old for the activities in her 9-12 age group in the Kid's Korner. All children have to be signed in and out by an adult over 21. She is used to being able to come and go as she pleases in kids clubs on P&O and Fred. Olsen, so was a bit put out by being treated as a 'baby' here. She wouldn't therefore go. Just at the inbetween age, and they do have to have a 'cut-off' somewhere. Howard however had a great time, met lots of friends and played with them in the pools thereafter.

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