The NCL "Sun" was built in 2002, but seems older ... It is a bit "drawn down", and seems to have been built in the 70's.
It has a rather small, non-exciting atrium and the shops are basically one "tourist trap" and one "Columbian Emeralds" type jewelry shop run by some pretty hard core ladies ... nice, but all business!
The show lounge is not exciting. Hardly a Vegas style review, unlike those found on Royal Caribbean.
Meals are about an 8 out of 10, but the "Dine when you will" as long as it's between 5:30 and 9:30 for dinner, won me over! The restaurant staff was very friendly and in fact the friendliest of all the waiter type personnel.
The room stewards were also nice ...
I disagree totally with the "Auto-tip" policy of NCL, but it did take that $$$ factor weight off my shoulders .. I might have tipped some people more and some less, it evens out I suppose for me, not fair for those who really don't go out 100% like others of the staff do ... but that's NCL's choice and doing, not mine!
All in all, for the Dollars spent on my San Francisco - Mexico cruise on October 24th, I would rate the whole experience an 8 ... based on the lack of "ship personality" not based on the efforts of the people aboard the ship to work hard so that I may have a good time!
Thanks for your review of the Sun.I do agree with a little of what you report but not much. Of course we all see ships as well as other things in a different light: the shopping area sucks, but I never cruise to shop on board anyway so, for us, this isn't even an issue...
The atruim is something, again, some care about, for me, this has nothing to do with the beauty of the ship or much of anything else. Again, it probably has to do with how much someone has cruised and for how many years.
As for the ship being run down and appearing to be so old. I think you are going to get a lot of passengers totally disagreeing with you on this. I am guessing you have been on some of the newer and much larger RCI ships. Most of my clients and most reviews have been very positive toward the condition of the ship. NCL ships are not glitzy, they are kept in good condition and normally very clean. For those who like that "awe" feeling, I think there are lines better suited to them.
Auto tipping, like it or not, only RCI/Celebrity, of the major lines are not doing this yet. All the others have been for at least a few years. My guess, RCI will start before long.
Thanks again for your review and opinion, this is what these boards are all about. A cross section of views can be very helpful, a certain amount of debate, fun.
No, this ship was sort of old and tired ... fun, fairly clean, but definately old and tired. RCCL ships no matter how old always maintain a healthy looking
demeanor. There is a staff who works around the clock cleaning and polishing. This was not visible on the NCL 'Sun". Did I enjoy myself, yes!
Would my first choice be an NCL cruise? No! My first choice would be an
RCCL cruise. I wish that all cruise companies would consider sailing out of San Francisco. I understand that this port is expensive to sail out of for the cruise lines, but it is really convenient for those of us who are handicapped!
As for RCI ships being maintained, twice I have cruised older RCI ships that certainly were tired. Were they clean? Yes, but there is only so much you can do with older ships. I know the bedding on the Sun has been updated in the past few months and lots of updates in other areas.
Whether it has a tired look, is your opinion, but you cetainly are entitled to it, my comments simply were "the ship is not old" as ships go. 7 years is certainly not an old ship.. I think you may one of those very impressed with glitz, mentioning the atrium alone, indicates that.
There are reasons for so many cruise lines and we all have our favorites. Obviously you are completely loyal to RCI. Lots of cruisers are and that is what cruising is about. I will add, if you read reviews on the Sun, few would agree with yours and yet, like I said we need to read both sides and all opinion.
As for crusing out of SFO, maybe eventually there will be more lines, but it isn't only the cost, it is the choices in itinerary. Unless you are talking about 14 day or longer cruises, there just are few choices. Either sail toward Canada or do the Mex Riv...
Again, as long as you had a good time, that is what is important and overall your reviews shows you did.