Norwegian Star Cruise Review by diverdawg: Family Fun on the Star
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Family Fun on the Star
I was on the Star the first week of April. I will say that I am a fan of NCL and we once again had a great time. We are a family of four with kids ages 4 and 7. This was our first cruise with both kids.
We had one of the four new balcony suites (12010) on deck 12 forward and it was great. We did not use the balcony as much as we thought because the huge floor to ceiling windows made for such a great view and the sofa was good for lounging. In fact, I would be willing to book one of the new family suites that do not have a balcony but have more space and more huge windows. The bathrooms in the new suites are great and have a lot of space. We love Cagney's breakfast and lunch for suite guests. That is a great perk but they do need more variety of lunch items.
The kids loved the Kid's Crew activities and did not want to leave. We used the Kids' Crew every day. Next time I will probably pay extra to leave them in for a few hours during port stops so that I can go diving. More The kids also loved the kid's pool/slides on 12 aft. This was a Spring Break cruise and there were 900 kids on board. We knew the kid's areas were going to be crowded but found it was manageable. I did have to be "that dad" and stop the older (and apparently unsupervised) kids from running up the slides backwards when my kids were sliding down. NCL should probably assign a lifeguard to that area during peak times on Spring Break cruises.
For dinner we did go to the Italian and Tex-Mex restaurants for an extra $10 each for the adults. I thought they were both good and I didn't mind the extra charge because as we booked during a $150 on board credit special. The main dining rooms were also good for us. Obviously, the main rooms are bigger, louder, take more time and are more crowded than the specialty restaurants. I suggest you try a few different places and don't stress over the up charges one or two nights. The buffet had plenty of adequate food if you are in a hurry and don't mind the cafeteria like atmosphere. My kids actually prefer the buffet as opposed to sit down meals so we would feed them first at the Market Cafe then check them into the Kid's Crew. Then my wife and I were free to have a quiet dinner and hit a show before picking the kids up. This is a vacation in itself!
I though the shows were very above average. The Circ de Sole (two acrobats) show was great for ship caliber entertainment. The Magic show was great and the comedy show was good for adults. The casino was fantastic five out of six nights. My review there is directly correlated to the fact I won money at the Craps table all but one night. I made a lot of close friends while the dice were hot! My only complaint is that some people still smoke and I do not. It seems so strange (and stinky) to be in a room these days with smokers, glad I quit!
My only real areas of low point scoring for the Star are the deserts and the cheap seating and configuration at the buffet. Most of the deserts are simply poor. The exceptions are the marinated berries at Cagney's and the always available lemon sorbet. All of the other cakes are bland to me and seem like a cheap sheet cakes. The cookies are good but the ship did not realize that 900 can kids eat a lot of chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies. Although the soft serve ice cream seemed cheap, the hard ice cream served at the pool bar was good.
The most direct way to get from the main pool (and our room) to the kids pool and the Kid's Crew is straight through the buffet and then only one side of the ship has access. This is also the side where the only soft serve ice cream machine is. As you can imagine, it was a pedestrian traffic mess most all day. My wife refused to walk through it and we would have to find longer ways around.
NCL is great for us. We are mid-range budget cruisers with kids. My kids loved the Kid's activities. We are willing to spend a little more to get a suite (cannot be a mini suite) that comes with all the NCL suite perks like priority boarding, special breakfast and lunch every day, in room snacks every day, in room flowers, one bottle of sparkling wine, butler, concierge, priority tendering and priority disembarkation. The rooms are also considerably bigger at 409 square feet. It was easily the size of two regular rooms. I would rather spend money here than move to a small room on Disney etc. for more money. Less
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