MITSUGIRLYS BACK TO BELLY SUN CRUISE review and pictorial
So the moment you've all been waiting for....the SHIP TOUR!!!
We will start with the lowest deck (that has things other than rooms of course).
DECK 5 CLICK TO MAGNIFY
This is the Atrium area. The credit desk and reception (you will also find the excursion desk here as well).
The atrium is just like I like ALL ships to be...huge, beautiful and stories tall with the glass elevators. This is what they looked like when I started cruising back in the 80's and it's just something I think all ships should have. It give it that WOW factor when you walk on board (unlike the newer ships like Epic, Getaway and even the Jewel class ships with only 2 stories tall. They just don't "do it" for me).
They had 4 glass elevators-2 on each side, which I thought was really nice. I have only been on ships that had the glass elevators on just 1 side.
The decor under the steps wasn't much to write home about and I have seen a lot better.
Riding the elevators up to the top. They also had one of the newer screens in the lobby that you could see what was going on during the day and had the dailies listed on it.
Looking up to the top of the elevators, 11/12th floor area there was a glass dome.
This is the atrium Cafe Bar. This was a Java Cafe that you could purchase lattes, specialty coffees, teas, and pastries and cookies from Carlos Bakery.
In the atrium on sail away day, they also had a desk set up right in front of this that you could purchase your soda packages and drink packages for the week.
Four Seasons Main Dining Room is up next and is their complimentary dining that is free of charge. It's located in the middle of the ship right by the atrium.
In the entrance, they had a large replica ship of the Sun. I believe I have seen this on one other ship before, but I can't remember which one. The only thing I didn't like about this is that it didn't have the hull art on it. :(
See all those available chairs? There's no chair hogging on this ship!
Our experience in this MDR was good. We didn't experience any lines waiting to get in, get seated, or even with the service. I have grown accustomed to waiting forever for a meal or service on the other ships and this was a pleasant experience and surprise this time around.
La Cucina (which was formally called Adagio on this ship) is one of their specialty restaurants for an added charge. It is an Italian restaurant and they charge $15 per person. It accomodates 74 people.
We have eaten here several times on the other ships. I have to say that I usually enjoy the experience and the surroundings on the other ships more than I do the actual food. (I don't really like red sauce, so always get the alfredo). So since we have done this dining venue several times, we did not go this time around. However this is where they took us for the VIP status on the first day for our lunch, so we were able to dine there and that was enough for me.
The area also was accessed on the 5th floor, but you entered an area and walked down the steps to the next floor for the dining. (It was like this on the Sky as well). You would almost miss it if you wasn't looking for it. It reminded me of walking into a stairwell of a building.
At the back (aft) of the ship is the Seven Seas Main Dining Room. It's almost the same as Four Seasons with just a few minor changes in decor....and well...it's located on the aft of the ship. This is a free of charge dining area and holds 526 guest.
What's nice about this area is the entrance, or the Seven Seas "Courtyard". It's like its own little atrium there and several stories tall with nice decor. They also used this area, since it was so huge, to set up props and backdrops to take pictures with the photographer in the evenings.
I am COMPLETELY convinced they put this sign up distinctly for my husband (or was forced to put it up because of a previous husband like mine on the ship).
There were also a set of restrooms, located under the stairs, for this restaurant.
The elevators located at the back here, had several elevators, but here's a tip.... When you pushed the button to go up, there was an elevator on the end that you would have to push a separate button if you wanted to use it. I got use to going between those 2 elevators and just pushing both buttons to see which one would win and arrive first. LOL But this held true for every floor and this elevator. If you wanted to use it, you had to push that button separate than the others.
I believe it was the only elevator that went all the way to the 3rd floor as well. The other elevators only went to the 5th floor??? Correct me if I'm wrong. (I mean after all, this was 2 cruises ago hehe). I just know there was something different about it and if you look at the pictures, you will also see that it has a down button where the others don't.
Since this MDR is basically the same as the other MDR, I only took pictures of the lights/chandelier, which fascinated me.
Completing Deck 5 will be one odd-ball picture that I'm throwing in of the entrance to the ship while we were still in port. It was almost time for the sail-away and I didn't see anyone running down it almost missing the ship. I guess that was a good thing. :D
So up one floor to Deck 6 now.
We will start in the Atrium area again.
From the 6th floor looking down and up...I want to burn off some of those calories from all the food you eat? Try taking these lovely stairs instead of the glass elevators.
Now I'm not 100% sure if the following was located on this deck or deck 8, but I'm including it here...just because I can.
Now I did find it interesting that they had a few steps to go up and down toward the elevators. I believe it was like this on both deck 7 & 8. If you were in a wheelchair, I'm pretty sure if you went around to either side, there wasn't any steps for access back and forth.
I can tell you these steps caught me a little of guard the first few days. I don't recall any of the others ships having anything like this and can't imagine why they decided to do this on this ship.
I do a lot of "walking and snapping" pictures, so some do end up less than better quality with some blur. I especially do this on places that I have no interest in investigating a lot of times. Sorry about some of the pictures.
This would be one of my walk and snap pictures. It's the photo studio located within the atrium/elevator area on deck 6. They are called "Perspectives Studio"
Now that I'm looking at the "blue prints" online, I see that on the opposite side of this, in the atrium, is a play called the "Lifestyle" area. It says it has boards games and such. This must be what another poster was referring to. I really don't remember seeing anything there. Maybe I just missed it (well, obviously I missed it).
Located on both sides of this open, deck 6, atrium area is the Internet Cafe.
I will talk later about these Internet plans and answer any questions you may have on it (that I can). We DID end up purchasing a plan and using it and I know that it is talked about on here all the time with people wanting to know how it worked and especially about the SPEED. I will have all your info soon with screen shots of the internet.
Next up is Dazzles: A nightclub with a stage for dancing and a bar inside. Accommodates 292 people according to NCL's website...which I find funny since they hold the White Hot party in here for the entire ship if it's bad outside!!!
When you walk out of Dazzles, you walk into a little room with nothing but doors to the restroom before walking into the next bar. I couldn't imagine why they had these 2 doors with a little section (wasted space I thought) until one night I was in Dazzles and decided to walk over to the other bar and noticed how loud both places were but yet with those doors there, you couldn't hear a thing from the other side. Hmmm, mission accomplished by doing this.
Then you come to Windjammers Bar. It accommodates 110 people and it a bar with a little piano area for nightly entertainment. This is also the area that they let you store your carry on bags on the first day.
On one side of this was several conference rooms. I did peak in and take a few pictures, but I didn't take pictures of all of them...I mean after all, they were just conference rooms and I was there to have fun and relax, not think about anything relating to a "work environment".
On the opposite side of Windjammers was the photo gallery area. (This would be the old system of looking at tons of pictures everywhere on the wall for that needle in a haystack that would be your family pictures taken around the ship, at port and so on).
This is also where they sold scrap-booking supplies and books, cameras and accessories, bobble heads and so on.
Just off to the side after the Photo Gallery, you have the library. We did go inside to browse around, but didn't check anything out at the time because they were closed. I do know that they seem to rotate who works in there for the short amount of hours they are open. (I overheard staff talking about who had "library duty" that time).
It was very pretty in there. They did have locks on the shelf doors, so you did have to wait until someone was there to check out the books. You were allowed in to browse without it being open.
They also had a bookcase that had books on it that were free to take. It was a take one, give one, leave one behind system. :)
Up to Deck 7.
Since we are in the back of the ship (when I left off), I will start with the Stardust Lounge (since it is located on both 6 & 7). A very pretty hanging chandelier light that has an opening from below where you can see it on either deck.
The lounge has purple seats...Sakari's favorite color and she screamed with excitement at this. I liked how they had separate chairs down below instead of the stadium/movie theater chairs. It was a very nice added touch to see the tables in front of them and some leg space. You don't get very much leg space on most of the ships and this actually reminded me a little of the Carnival Dream (which had the tables in front and plenty of room to get around each other).
Along the back of the second floor, they had some bar stools that sat at a long bar-like table.
A different perspective of looking up at the chandelier light.
After walking out of the Stardust Lounge and down the hall, you will come to the Galleria Shop and Shopping Arcade.
I was fascinated by the ceiling (as you can tell since I took more pictures of it than the actual shopping). You will also notice that it's the first thing Sakari noticed and loved about the area as well.
Next up, the place I spend most of my time at and love to donate my money to....
The Sun Casino.
Once again, we are at the open atrium area with the glass elevators so time for more pictures of that area because you all know it's different looking down than looking up.
Then we have the Champagne Bar. This is where you can get premium champagne and vodka, caviar, pate, and foie gras (whatever that is). :confused: :eek: :p It says it holds 62 people.
At the end of the Champagne Bar is the hall for the Art Gallery. You will find art all over the ship (at least it seemed like it) for sale with information on it for the auction. I don't recall seeing so much art along hallways on the other ships as I did this ship (and the Sky).
You can tell, by the picture, that this is one of the side hallways on the side of the ship and it has a ramp instead of the 2 steps that you will find in the middle hallway leading to the elevators.
Just a few more pictures looking back at the atrium area before moving on.
Now the next thing I'm still trying to understand.
This would be category OD, which is an ocean view room and category IF, which is an interior room.
They are located on Deck 6A, but accessible from deck 7 by stairs ONLY. There is NO elevator that will go down to this floor area. Weird I know!
It is called the Osto Deck.
I still can't figure out how this works though because there are cabins on the 6th floor, which would/should be in this area and yet these cabins are there as well? So how can you be standing on the 7th floor and walk down a flight of stairs (which would logically put you on the 6th floor) and there also be 6th floor rooms as well? Maybe I'm missing something. :confused:
I can't imagine anyone wanting to stay in these rooms and have absolutely no access to the elevator.
The steps leading down to the dungeon.
Last but not least on this floor...the Kids Korner/Splash Academy. Sakari's favorite place on the ship.
The kids can do art projects, play and run, play games, watch movies, play on the computer and much more.
There are always people on these boards that ask how the kids club is and while I don't have anything (other than Carnival) to compare it to (which I might add that Sakari hated and so did I), I think NCL has an AWESOME kids program. The structure every day with something different and it has a "theme" to it. One day you might find that it is "Pirate Day" and everything they do is pirate related. They made pirate hats, crafts, paint their faces like pirates and do a pirate parade around the ship singing songs and "hunting for the treasure". Another day could be the Prince and Princess Day and they do everything related to that. I just love their program and I know that Sakari begs to go there and fusses to leave, then begs to return as much as I try to give her options of things to do with us around the ship, she prefers to go there when she can.
Also, the counselors at the club are usually pretty awesome. They are not just people they hire off the streets to fill a position on the ship. These people have degrees all related in childhood development, child psychology, teaching and so on. They are A+ in my book. Enough said.
Now I knew ahead of time that this place was going to be a lot different than the design of your "normal" kids club area on the other ships and it was pretty cute with the stairs, being at the front of the ship, 2 story ceilings and the skylights. Then there's the round peep ship holes for the parents to peak in to this "parent free zone" from the hallway. Pretty darn cool I tell ya!
The bulletin board with the activities.
The entrance into the club...down the steps you go.
Another neat thing that NCL started doing a few years back was a Circus show. The kids can practice during the week different skills/tricks and then on the last sea day, they put on a show in the theater for the parents and anyone who wants to come. They are devided up into age groups and do a skill that they learned. It's pretty cute.
Across the hall from the 3-5 and the 6-11 is it??? Is the teen club. I didn't go in and just took this picture from the hallway.
Now we will take you up to the 11th floor (since the rest of the floors are just rooms).
We will start with the front as you get out of the elevators.
You will have the Spa & Salon with the Sauna & Steam rooms on one side (which I did not go to or get pictures up...sorry, I completely forgot) and on the other side is the Aerobics and Fitness Center.
"Norwegians like to stay fit" (Not this Norwegian, this Norwegian likes to eat!!!)
As you walk out the door, you have the pool deck area.
You have the dance floor and stage, which is where they will hold numerous events like the sail away, White Hot party and so on. This area will also have plenty of live bands playing during the days and transforms into a beautiful array of colors in the evenings to light everything up.
There's a clock out there...just in case you lose track of time. (I myself am on "cruise" time and could care less). :D
Immediately to your right, as you walk out of the door is your smoking area. It's very small and over flows down the line on most days because there are more smokers than tables and chairs.
Now I will take a moment to talk about this "smoking" issue and the new rules. I'm not here to ruffle any feathers or get a debate started, just stating the facts and things that I learned on the cruise.
Yes, I am a smoker and have been for many many years (hanging head in shame). I was raised in a family, back in the 60's when everyone smoked and it was the "cool" thing to do. My entire family smoked and I picked up the habit. I am not proud of it, and know it's a bad habit, but non-the-less a habit that's hard to break. Have I broke the habit before? Yes. It wasn't easy. I hope to do it again, but who knows. With that being said, I'm also a very polite and conscious smoker as well. Even if I'm in a smoking section, I make sure I'm not blowing smoke in someone's face, I'm waving it out of the way, I won't smoke around others that don't smoke and even when in places like the casino, if there's not someone smoking beside me, I won't smoke either. I have also been known to put it out if someone comes along and sits beside me that is not smoking (just because I don't know if they do or not).
Now, the new "rules", effective Nov 1st of this year is that you can no longer smoke on your balcony in the rooms. Did this effect me? No. I'm use to not smoking in the room since I have "normally" booked an interior and I go outside to smoke at home, so really there's no difference for me. I would much rather go outside to smoke in the Caribbean than at home in the snow. No complaints from me! (Well, I guess the only complaint is that I can't do it in my sleepwear...that would offend a few people!) LOL
I found the only smoking places on the ship was in this small area on the pool deck (11), on the aft across the entire deck on 12 and the casino. If there's more, I missed it.
Now let's talk about this small area on 11. I have already told you that there's more smokers than spaces. So, you get people crammed in there standing or flowing over on down the line. My only gripe about this place is...people that were smokers would come there and sit and never move. It was their hangout spot and not just that, they would hold a table (kinda like chair hogging) and go get their meals and bring it back to the table and eat taking up space. I mean come on, go eat your meal and THEN come to the area to smoke. No need to be taking up all the space the entire time. I consider these people inconsiderate!
I also did talk to other smokers who said that they WERE still smoking on their balconies and that if you came out on your balcony during the night and looked in any direction, you would see hands hanging over the railing with a lit cigarette in it. One guy I spoke with said he's not only still smoking at his balcony, but he's putting his cigarettes in a cup of water and the room steward empties it every day for him (so they obviously know). I'm sorry, but there are rules for a reason and those that break the rules are what makes it hard on the rest of us that abide by the rules and give us all a bad rep.
I also found people smoking while sun bathing...anywhere no matter what deck.
One last thing on smoking...the area that they have on deck 11 is right in front of a glass wall that is the fitness center. There was a lady that worked out in there every day and we would see her come in, look at everyone and go around closing the blinds to the place. By the next to last day of the cruise, this is what the smoking section looked like:
Notice it's gone? (It's the area just where the lounge chairs are stacked up). Well, according to the story, she complained about working out and having to look at the unhealthy people smoking and they picked up and moved the ENTIRE section to the other side. REALLY??? All it took was 1 person complaining about having to see it and they move the entire thing? My thoughts: how many years have the non-smokers been complaining about smoking on the balconies and how long did it take to stop that? Then this? I would be real interested in knowing if it's still on that side or if they moved it back. It was just weird.
Ok enough about smoking and on with the tour.
Notice there are not ANY slides on this ship. I can enjoy myself no matter what, but Sakari's first words when we hit the pool deck "Where are the big slides? I don't like this ship. Can we get on that one?" And points to the Carnival Pride docked in front of us. Sigh. I told her to live with it.
There were 2 of these round stairs on the ship and according to the blue prints on NCL, they are showers. I didn't discover that this was a shower until the next to last day. LOL I had always walked in front of them and not behind them because there were people sitting at the tables there. Once the hubby told Sakari "This is your new shower area" and she said "No way, people will see me!"
I can tell you on one side, it was NOT a shower, but the towel exchange area instead.
Next up is Topsiders bar at the end of the pool.
See these round bars strategically placed forcing you to walk one way or the other? They would create a bad traffic flow with the decks were full. They had tables and chairs up against the pool area, which made for a very tight squeeze most of the time. They didn't have any chairs placed against them, so maybe they discovered these things were not a good idea although you could tell they were supposed to have chairs since there was a rail around the bottom to place your feet, just like at the bar. There was people that would pull up the high chairs from the tables though to sit there, blocking even more of the traffic flow.
On one side you walk into the Garden Cafe. This is one of the free eating area's and it is the buffet. It says that it holds 194 people. You could get breakfast, lunch or dinner here.
The place was probably the smallest buffet I had ever seen before. But the seating area was plenty and extended toward the back of the ship before going out to the aft, which had more seating out there.
I have to admit, even though the area was small, we never had a problem finding a seat. The food selection however...
To the right as soon as you walked in, you would find the ice cream area. They had soft serve or regular scoop ice cream. This is also where you find the crepes!!! YUM! I visited frequently.
To the left of there was a drink station with coffee, teas, juices, water and the flavored drinks.
You would also find numerous drinks stations placed along the walk way of the buffet so that one area wasn't always crowded.
On the opposite side (from the pool deck on the right), is Moderno. I have looked and looked and could not find pictures of this place. I find it hard to believe that I forgot because we spent a lot of time in here eating. They "might" be with my daily pictures of the review...we'll have to see.
However, during the breakfast times, you could go over to Moderno and eat breakfast. I was WONDERFUL and never crowded. I'm not sure if people just didn't know and headed to the buffet or what. But we loved it over there.
They had omelette's made your way, waffles made your way with all the toppings, a bar set up with fruits, cereals and such, a few tables set up banquet style with scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and ???? why can I not remember what was in the 4th bin? Maybe some type of potatoes? Either way, it was plenty enough of a choice for us to fill our belly for a nice relaxing morning.
Right past Moderno was the Video Zone, which was of course an arcade. I never did see anyone in here at any given time when we would pass. I think the "video-arcade" days have long past myself. Everyone plays xbox or playstation at home. LOL
Next up would be the Sports Bar and we loved it here. It is the Sun's "Blue Lagoon/O'Sheehans" area although not open 24/7 like on most ships. Sigh*
Anyhow, you could get everything on the menu that you would in the Blue Lagoon and the food was yummy as always-just some wack hours IMO. LOL
See the penny machine? You could pick from 4 different backgrounds and pay $1 to get a penny (provided by the machine) smashed with the picture on it. Yes, we did it for Sakari and something to add to my scrapbook for the cruise. :D
Heading out the back door to the aft, you will come to the Great Outdoors area. There's plenty of seating facing the wake of the ship and also more food! I love this area on the ships.
There's 2 sides and usually 1 side stays open longer than the other, but there's usually a decent selection of sandwiches that you won't find anywhere else on the ship, including the buffet. So it's a nice change.
They do seem to rotate hours with the Garden Cafe though. So, if one is open, usually the other is closed and vice versa. So it can be a hit or miss at times if you want to eat there.
There is also a drink station out there, so no need to run back inside for drinks.