Posted April 19th, 2013, 04:18 PM
I was on the Sky in July 2010 and the Sun in April 2011. The buffet area is half the size that they usually are, because when they upgraded them, they added specialty restaurants in what was once half of the buffe area. You are allowed to sit in the speciality restuarant area at breakfast and lunch, but you still have to get your food from a buffet line/queue that is only on one side and is very congested. Even if you are only going for coffee or tea, it is near impossible. The NCL Pearl buffet area was great though but then the Pearl was built AFTER NCL added their variety of specialty restaurants.
Ah, well it seems the situation has improved since you sailed the Sun. Maybe they heard your feedback.
On the Sun in January (and on my Baltic cruise before that), in addition to the regular buffet, they have smaller breakfast and lunch stations and buffets (free of course) in the nearby specialty restaurant, Moderno (That may still have been Pacific Heights back when you sailed.) At breakfast in Moderno, they had waffle and omelet stations as well as a small buffet with danish, bagels, smoked salmon and hot/cold cereal and such. There may have also been an Asian breakfast section. And a small drink station (coffee, tea water, as I recall). At lunch, there were pizza and pasta stations. Sandwich fixings and soups and salads were on the small buffet. Ice tea and water at the drink station as I recall. One could also carry food over from the full buffet or Moderno to the sports bar for more sitting.
Sun also has two lines in the great outdoor buffet....I often went there for my quick coffee or tea fix. It is usually is less congested. I do not think they ever actually removed buffet space form the Sun; she was built after the Sky while the freestyle transition was underway as I recall. Still, they did refine freestyle venues as more ships were rolled out.
The hotel director and food/beverage director on the Sun on my recent trip were absolutely first rate...Sun is smaller and older than Pearl, but they really try super hard. And she has some charm. If they'd bring the tapas restaurant back to her former glory (or better...maybe add Paella or the like), I'd be an even bigger fan of the Sun. If you do not want the bowling alley and such, you might consider giving her another chance. Or maybe not...not every ship suits every cruiser.