Norwegian Star Cruise Review by RiverheadLady: Kudos to NCL and the Star!
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Kudos to NCL and the Star!
I had this particular week off from work and Bermuda holds a special place in our hearts. The Star was leaving NY and it seemed like the perfect choice, although I was worried about it being hurricane season. After several phone calls and a lot of online time, I found what probably was a cancellation and I grabbed it without another thought. It turned out to be a very wise decision. I took my meclizine religiously the entire week we were on board but I worried needlessly. The water was calm and the weather was extremely pleasant, except, that is, for the last couple of hours on the final day in Bermuda. A heavy rain and wind storm came through the island and we did have a bit of an adventure.
The Star is a lovely ship. It is colorful, cheerful and extremely well-maintained. I honestly can say I am a critical person about cleanliness and neatness and nowhere did I see signs of worn or dirty carpets, corridors, linens or towels. Thinking back, early on I did notice a section on More the stairwell where the carpet was pulled away from the metal strip on the edge of the step. I thought that someone's heel must have caused it and either I never used that stairway again or it may have been immediately repaired as I never noticed it again. The ship is very easy to navigate and signs are everywhere and food is always available! I definitely appreciated that there is a large number of restrooms in very convenient locations. The entire time, I never encountered a wait in the ladies' room and all were always spotlessly clean. I marveled at how it was even possible to maintain such high standards throughout the ship with over 2,000 guests, not to mention crew members. You always saw people cleaning and working hard to keep everything in wonderful condition.
Meals onboard were pretty good and to prove it, I have been eating salads all week since we are home. When we travel we prefer a large breakfast and an early dinner, and the cruise was no different. We really enjoyed the omelet station in the Market Cafe and the vegetable, cheese and meat options to go with it were plentiful. I alternated between egg white omelets (with spinach, tomatoes and feta cheese) and lox, cream cheese, tomato and onions on toasted bagels. My only complaint was the huge amount of oil used for their omelets but fortunately when I asked for non-stick spray it was available. The half-dollar sized potato fritters turned out to be my weakness. I can live on these breakfast foods my entire life.
The first night for dinner we chose the Versailles, as it was lobster night. The entre turned out to include a very small lobster tail and a piece of red snapper. The snapper was not very good at all. The second night, we decided to go to Le Bistro and my husband and I both really enjoyed the wonderful Bouillabaisse. When we decided to try the Versailles again, the entrees seemed to improve. We were not disappointed again. Some of the dinners that come to mind included salmon, roasted leg of lamb, prime ribs of beef, pork chop, lamb shank and seafood ciopinno. All were excellent. We enjoyed the various starters (the crab cakes were by far the best ever!) and the Caesars salad with plenty of shaved parmesan cheese was delicious. Now desserts are a different story. They looked really good but didn't taste as yummy as expected. Even the chocolate buffet night was a bit of a letdown. The large "no-touch" displays were a bit strange. I noticed some, if not all, were made of wood and not chocolate at all. Now that we are home I can only say it is a good thing for me that the desserts were no better.
Just once we encountered a problem with the service at the Versailles. Seating was always immediate and service followed smoothly. This particular time we were served the usual water, bread and our pre-ordered bottle of wine. After half an hour, we still had not received any food. We were patient until we realized the couple at the next table was seated after us and had already finished their starter and salad and were working on their main course. We stopped the water girl and then all the courses came out all at once. After bringing it to the attention of the right people the following day, we were introduced to the maitre'd and were treated like royalty the rest of the cruise. I am not a proponent of pettiness or taking advantage of a situation, but in this case, my complaint was warranted and it was nice to see that it was taken seriously.
We also encountered a problem with the plumbing in our stateroom -- twice in one night! Neither was due to anything we did and even though both issues were repaired, we were later offered another stateroom, much nicer than the first. It was all handled very quickly and professionally and we appreciated it. We realize that a ship of this size with the number of passengers it holds, things will go wrong. The important thing is that the proper people are notified and then it's crucial to see how it is handled. We were pleased and are now fans of The Star.
We found the entertainment on the ship to be very good, from the musicians around the ship and out by the pool to those who performed in the Stardust Theater. Kyle, the cruise director, is an amazing talent. He has boundless energy, sings well and is quick and very witty. The last show, Elements, is not to be missed. Lots of the crew were brought on the stage during the Finale, including the Captain, Kostas Fafalios, and the Hotel Director, Sean. They all lined up in the corridors after the performance to speak with the guests. I was happy to be able to thank a few of them personally and I loved that I could tell Kyle how he reminded me of Dick Clark. He took me back how many years??? They are smart enough to appreciate the guests on the ship and they go out of their way the entire trip to show it. Even as we were disembarking in NY, Sean, Kyle and others were lined up to thank us and say good-bye. I was indeed impressed!!!
The other guests we met were all wonderful - from the Meet and Greet, as well as those in the dining areas, the theater, around the pool or when just standing around the casino at the Key Master machine. That was sooo entertaining to watch! I wish we had a "Meet and Farewell" to have been able to say good-bye to those we met. We loved Bermuda and were thrilled to revisit it but I could have easily stayed on this ship and relaxed the entire week. We enjoyed lounging, reading and listening to the music but the one pool on the Star did seem rather small for the number of guests. I can see how some people may have been disappointed with that.
We also had some outstanding moments with the crew. Everyone was extremely upbeat and friendly! Each morning we made a point to enter the Market Cafe where "Mr. Washy-washy, drinky-drinky", was stationed. He was near one of the many hand sanitizers around and is someone whom we joked with all the time. Thinking of him always brings a smile to my face. Then one afternoon as my husband was walking near the pool, one of the other crew members asked "How is Mrs. Mary today?' We have no idea who she was but boy did I feel good. Another woman insisted on carrying my tray in the Market Cafe and finding us a table near the window. The Bridge tour we were given as a result of the "Meet and Greet" was a thrill and I must add that the situation in Bermuda where the ropes broke and the ship drifted from the dock was another issue that was handled beautifully. After all was rectified and we were allowed to board the ship again, we were wet and tired but immediately offered hot cocoa (I still fell the warmth and comfort it provided), bottles of water, and free rum and punch drinks for well over an hour afterwards! The service the entire week was exceptional - and, best of all - sincere!! Anyone we tipped was humble and grateful. Not one person had a hand out ready to take.
I sincerely can't wait for another cruise and leaving from NY was amazingly easy. We loved being able to walk on and off with our luggage. The $12 cab ride to Penn Station and then the Long Island Railroad to come home sure beat the plane rides we took to Florida for our past cruises. NCL and the Star -- kudos for a job well done! Less
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