NCL Sun Cruise
"The Hurricane Cruise"
Got you didn't I! No, we didn't sail into a hurricane but one did have us concerned about possible changes to our itinerary. We flew into San Diego a day before cruise embarkation which happened to be the same day category 5 Hurricane Patricia made landfall in Mexico. We knew that wind, rain, and seas would have passed by the time we got to Mexico 4-5 days later but there was uncertainty about what conditions would be like at the ports affected. Friends and relatives urged us to not go but cruise experience has shown us that cruise lines don't take chances and would adjust the itinerary as needed. Some theorized that we could end up doing a west coast cruise to Canada. Our gut told us we might skip a port or two and end up with additional sea days. As it turned out, the Mexican government forced evacuations so there was no loss of life and damage in the ports was minimal. In fact, it was business as usual in every port visited.
was our 20th cruise in 6 years but was our first on NCL Sun and the
Mexican Rivera. Been awhile since the ship and all of the ports
were new to us. We were looking forward to the cruise but had a
small amount of concern about safety in Mexico but tourism is such a
big part of the local economy that a big effort has been made to keep
conditions safe for visitors. This was an 11 day cruise starting and ending in San Diego.
Like previous cruises, we signed onto the Cruise Critic "Roll Call" for this cruise and began making contact with a bunch of fellow cruisers. We participated in a Meet & Greet where a number of the officers came to introduce themselves to us. In addition, there was a "Slot Pull" that I participated in with 52 fellow cruisers. I should mention that this is the first slot pull I've participated in where we walked away with more than we put in thanks to someone having a $1,000 winning pull.
Be sure and click on any image for a larger view, some additional information about the image, some camera information and a satellite image of where the picture was taken.
As mentioned above, this was our first cruise aboard Sun. Max passenger load for Sun is around 2,200-2,400 which is about the same size as most of the other NCL ships we've sailed on. Sun is one of NCL's older ships (2001) and carried a design that was different. Not bad, just different. For instance, the theater was located aft where as the other ships have it located all of the way forward. It took us a couple days to figure out where everything was but, then again, that's part of the fun of sailing on a different ship. We grew to like the ship more and more as we went along. We especially liked the "4 Seasons Dining Room" and the "7 Seas Dining Room" because they were quieter than what we've experienced on recent cruises. I'm a non swimmer so having a pool I could walk into with a 4-1/2' end was nice. We never did find, especially on sea days, enough quiet outdoor shaded space to simply kick back and relax. We originally booked an "Obstructed Ocean View GTY" cabin and, because of some price reductions, ended up with a balcony cabin. The cabin was typical of what we've had before but had the smallest shower ever. We had to laugh when Kathy dropped the soap and I had to reach in and pick it up for her since there wasn't enough room for her to bend down to reach it. Someone in our Cruise Critic group talked about getting out of it to wash their feet. Overall we liked the ship and enjoyed cruising on her.....
San Diego California Departure....
We always fly
into a port the day before a cruise just in case there are flight
issues. For this trip we arranged to spend a pre-cruise night at
the "Gaslamp Plaza Suites" located in the Gaslamp Quarter district of the
city. The hotel was one of those old classic places built in 1913 that is
registered as a historic site. Included with our room was a
continental breakfast in their rooftop patio. There were lots of
nearby restaurants to choose from and we even took a stroll through the
mall. We really didn't know what to expect but really enjoyed our
We spent three
days at sea getting to Acapulco which was the farthest south we would
travel on this itinerary. A Mexican navy patrol boat followed us
into the harbor and, once ashore, there was a definite police and
military presence everywhere. As mentioned before, tourism is a
big part of the economy and making sure visitors were safe is very
important. For this port, we signed on to a private excursion
arranged by Kay for our Cruise Critic group of 34. The tour was
with "Tours By Van" run by Rudy Fregoso. We were out and about for 5-6 hours and saw the famous Acapulco Cliff Divers, the Chapel of Peace (Trouyet Cross), sent some baby turtles on their way,
took in some scenery, and stopped for lunch. Rudy and his guides
were very accommodating and seemed to appreciate the business.
This was one of
those ports where the cruise shopping consultant had absolutely no
shopping venues to suggest. No Diamonds International, no
shopping at all. The port is apparently famous for sail fishing
and had a big blue sailfish monument to commemorate it. The
cruise pier was walking distance to town so we spent a couple hours
walking around town doing a little window shopping and taking a few
pictures. It was sunny, hot, and humid so a couple hours was
enough. Back to the ship we went for lunch and a dip in the pool.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico....
A highly rated cruise ship excursion for this port was titled "Las Caletas Hideaway". Getting to this place involved a very entertaining boat trip. A number of activities were available but all we set our sights on was spending time at the beach. This was the only rain day of the entire trip, it poured! One good thing about the rain.... the water was warmer than the rain.
One thing I really like about joining a Cruise Critic "Roll Call"
is the wealth of information shared by individuals who have been there
before. For Mazatlan we heard about taking a tour aboard a
"pulmonia" which are a kind of over grown golf cart. These are
unique to Mazatlan and some history can be found here.... Pulmonia.
The nice thing about touring in one of these is the lack of windows so
you can do some picture taking on the fly. With David as our
guide, 8 of us negotiated a price for 2 pulmonias and off we
went. We stopped for some scenic sights, toured the cathedral,
visited the flower market and the fish market, then ended the tour for
lunch at a beach front restaurant. We loved it and would do this
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico....
This was an over night tendered port. We were originally booked for a photography excursion but, sadly, it was canceled for lack of interest. As an alternative, we signed up for a 4 hour "Baja Highlights" excursion scheduled for the 2nd morning. So, with the day free, we headed ashore to check the place out. We wandered around a lot, found an internet connection, and ended up browsing through Diamonds International. "Browsing", well more like shopping. A watch for me and some jewelry for Kathy, oh well, you only go around once. Back to the ship for lunch and a dip in the pool. Later in the evening we went back ashore but, frankly, we're not into the party atmosphere and couldn't wait to get back on the ship.
The morning of day 2 was spent on the "Baja Highlights" excursion. The excursion took us out to San Jose del Cabo which was very nice. Next time we'll go there for more than an hour....
For the photographers among you: We traveled light and left the DSLR's and lenses home. Instead we packed our Nikon Coolpix P7700 P&S and Nikon Coolpix P7800 P&S cameras. While aboard ship, I bought an Olympus Pen Lite E-PL5 "mirrorless" interchangeable lens camera. My only regret is that I didn't buy another for Kathy. We found ourselves sharing these cameras so we were not able to define who took which individual image. We also brought along our waterproof Fujifilm XP60 which is always fun to have around. In addition, we also geotagged our images with a Sony GPS-CS3KA.
|New November 2015|