While it may seem that new ships are arriving every day at every cruise line, there are a few ships that still carry a twinkle of excitement. For some of the mid sized cruise lines, the prospect of a new ship on the horizon still quickens the pulse and the excitement builds as the date approaches. At Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL Cruises), this is exactly the case. While the arrival of the Norwegian Sky heralded this company's return to health and solidified their position as a major player, the arrival of the Norwegian Sun brings them their first purpose built ship for Freestyle Cruising.
Norwegian Sun is just days away from arriving at the Lloyd Werft Shipyard in Bermerhaven, Germany for final outfitting and is scheduled to enter service on September 10, 2001.
NCL executives have given CruiseMates a preview of what cruisers can expect. While a sister to the Norwegian Sky, she is not an identicaltwin. The cruise line has wisely chosen to maintain all the best features of the Sky but to outfit her with larger standard cabins, which are on average, 20 square feet larger than those on found aboard the Norwegian Sky. In addition, the ship will have 30% more cabins with balconies, more outside cabins, four Owners Suites, 18 Penthouses and 30 Mini Suites. NCL says that the decor of the staterooms is decidedly richer, with bold jewel toned fabrics and darker, warmer cherry wood accents.
Norwegian Sun has also been designed with more dining venues than any other cruise ship in North America. Passengers will choose between dining in the two main restaurants (Four Seasons and Seven Seas), an Italian specialty restaurant (Horizons), the Garden Cafe and Great Outdoor Restaurant, a Healthy Living Restaurant, Le Bistro, the Tapas Bar and Restaurant, Pacific Rim Restaurant, the Sushi Bar and the Teppanyaki Restaurant.
NCL has also made some subtle changes to the basic layout on the Sun. At first glance, these changes appear to improve passenger flow throughout the vessel. For example, the Embarkation Foyer has been enlarged with the addition of a lounge and seating area and has a redesigned Reception and Shore Excursion Desk area. The popular Internet cafe has been relocated to the Promenade Deck on the second level of the atrium foyer. Passengers may now surf the net with an expansive view of the sea. And where the Internet Cafe was located on the Sky, the Norwegian Sun features an expanded Shopping Arcade which sits adjacent to the casino.
Speaking of casinos, kudos to NCL for recognizing that not all passengers enjoy walking through the casino. A corridor has now been created so that passengers may traverse the length of the ship on this deck and bypass the casino. Someone at NCL got the message and I only wish all the others would too.
The Pool Deck features an expanded Spa and Fitness area and the four Owners Suites and 24 of the Mini Suites occupy the space where the Observation Lounge was on the Sky, with the Observation Lounge now one deck higher on Sports Deck. I'm sure that both the Observation Lounge and the suites which displaced it will all have even better views now that they are perched atop the ship.