Norwegian SUN, Let's Do Lunch, 09/23/2014

I attended another Let's Do Lunch with Norwegian Cruise Line.  This time on the Sun.  I was especially interested in checking her out since I have a group going on her in May for a Pacific Coastal cruise, and I am also organizing EWES CREWES II, a group of travel agent friends that are active on NCL U, Norwegians training program, and on a Facebook Group.

So, I got there about 10:15 for a 10:30 start time.  Milled around outside the terminal as security tried to track down "the list".  Finally got it, and got everyone checked in, and let us up on the ship 10:45ish.  BDM's Mo Adams from NorCal and Jackie Day from SoCal greeted us and gave an overview of the agenda, and then they split the group in 3 for the tour portion, and I was with Rose, the Hotel Director's secretary.  We looked at all the various cabin categories.  Nothing especially notable, cabin wise...pretty standard stuff.  Then we hit some of the main public areas.  Overall impression:  The ship is spotless.  There is no hint that she is 12 years old.  The other overall impression:  She was not built for Freestyle cruising, as the ships from Jewel since were.  In order to provide all the alternative dining, etc, a lot of retrofitting and jamming in has been done.  They've actually done a pretty good job of it, but it's a little disjointed, with various restaurants in various places, nothing like Bar Central on the later ships, etc.  At 77,000grt and only 2,000 passengers, I don't think it will take long to get used to where everything is, and, as far as I am concerned, being on a smaller ship with fewer people makes up for maybe having to spend an extra minute getting my bearings and finding a venue.
The one venue that totally stands out is the Observation Lounge.  At the front of the ship, with floor to ceiling windows, 180degrees around.  Just like the Spinnaker Lounge they foolishly removed from the Star. I think that one room is what makes it a brilliant choice for Alaska, where she spends her summers.  The Pacific Coastal cruise (Los Angeles to Vancouver) I am going on is nearly as scenic as Alaska, and we're going in May when the weather from San Francisco up is pretty dicey.  So I can see spending some time in there, rather than up on deck as we go under the Golden Gate Bridge, or into the mouth of the Columbia River for Astoria.  And especially thru the Strait of San Juan de Fuca, getting to Victoria and Vancouver.

I was pleasantly surprised to see my favorite casino hostess, Nissa, has been promoted to Executive Casino Hostess aboard the Sun.  She tells me the Sky will be her ship soon.  My guess is she'll move up that ladder and be back on a flagship soon.  Some of the other agents were surprised when she ran up and gave me a hug, and we talked a bit.  Understand, most of the agents on these ship inspections are really new in the business and getting ship inspections done as they work on their Accredited Cruise Counselor designation from the Cruise Line Industry Association.  They don't realize Norwegian is actually a pretty small company, and that after 7 years I have gotten to know an awful lot of people there.

For lunch I had a spare rib appetizer that was fabulous, the loaded baked potato soup from Cagney's that was not enough, and a rib eye steak from Il Adagio that was nicely done, if too thin a cut to get actually rare.  Or to get rare AND grill marks.  Oh, well.  Desert was something chocolate that I took one bite of, and just couldn't take the sugar overload.

During lunch, one the BDM's, Jackie Day, spotted my friend Klaus Lugmaier, and asked him to come over and say a few words.  Rather like the casino scene, he spotted me and walked over to say hi and shake hands and ask a few questions.  The rookie agent table mates were REALLY impressed with that. Sorry, but I just get a kick out of these things.  And, again, a guy like Klaus is just great at remembering peoples names, which is one of the reasons he's moved up the ladder at Norwegian.  It's also quite amazing how he seems to be EVERYWHERE. 

So, after lunch they cut us loose for an hour of self-inspection.  We didn't make it to the Splash Academy during our guided tour, and I had some requests to get some pictures, so I tracked that down, but they wouldn't let me in, so I had to settle for some pictures from the hall.  From what I could see it is a nice, airy space.  And if you are cruising the Sun with kids, absolutely get a cabin on Deck 7.  Very convenient.

By that time, it was, sad to say, time to leave.  So I did.  But I am really looking forward to returning to the Sun next May.  While I really love the EPIC and the Breakaway, and like all the stuff the larger ships have to offer, there is a part of me that also thinks ships are getting too big, and I think 6 nights on a more intimate scale will be just the thing.

If you'd like to join me in May, call 760.265.3687 or email daveholman@verizon.net.  Of find me on Facebook or Twitter.  Look for  HOLMAN TRAVEL.  We're everywhere.  Just like Klaus.