Some quick history ,our 27th cruise.We've cruised most of the major Lines Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America, NCL ,Princess,Cunard,Royal Caribbean,and a few no Name Lines. We pretty well know what to expect in room size, service ,food Quality,fees etc. we've been from inside rooms to owners Suites.Since we are platinum members we receive a decent amount of perks this was one of the reasons for choosing the NCL Star. .Because of this maybe I've become to critical.Our First cruise was out of New york on a ship called the Regal Empress[now retired] Today if I were to walk onto that Ship I would instantly turn around and walk back off,even without a refund.
We choose a mini-suite on the 11th deck room #11126 ,not a bad room decent sized bathroom ,but lacking some amenities I have become used to. A 13" picture tube TV[I didn't think they still sold picture tube TVs],with very limited channels to watch. The bed was so uncomfortable ,we had to request a mattress pad to make it bearable,also the lack of draws,their were plenty of shelves and compartments but only 2 draws. Our balcony was jammed with an over-sized lounge chair and regular chair,which made it almost impossible to walk onto it.At night when it was quiet our cabin made these strange creaking noises,My wife swore it sounded like mice running on top of the ceiling. On the positive side had a cold re frig. and plenty of hot water in the shower.
The public areas of the ship appears to have received the most refurbishing,the Dining halls ,shops ,casino,specialty restaurants were all very clean,and seemed much newer than the cabins.Now about the food the buffet is great for breakfast with a good selection of fresh fruits,omelets,breads,pancakes etc. Lunch was also quite good with a carving board,pre made sandwiches,But stick with the Dining room or specialty restaurants for dinner. We tried La Cucina,Cagney's ,and the French restaurant twice ,they were excellent each time .
Here's a few pet peeves I have. $12.00 per person per day seemed a little much for this ship considering that they automatically ad 15% to all drinks and 18% to all spa treatments ,including personal training. I was planning on taking 3- 1hour personal training for $209.00 which was a little pricey but OK. They automatically ad 18% gratuity to this [209x18%=37.+] I'll choose how much ,if any gratuity is deserved . I tip cash in specialty restaurants,so I had my daily gratuity adjusted. To me this seems like another way the bean counters are trying to switch more of their fees to the passengers .NCL seems to be the leader in this game.
Overall we had a good cruise and the timing was good for us. We will probally cruise with NCL again ,but it will have to be on one of the newer ships that are coming out in 2013. There's too many newer more Modern ships to make a selection from .
About Bermuda ;we used to take smaller cruise ships there. They have the advantage of being able to dock in Hamilton ,right next to the main street.Taking the ferry from the dock yard was a pain and wasted time.To me Bermuda is not my favorite Island,I prefer the Carribean ,there doesn't appear to be any deals on shopping ,and I don't play Golf,so ST.Marten here I come .
Larry Realgearhead telling it like it is