Background Info:My husband and I recently sailed on the Star (November 25th-December 2nd 2012). Our last cruise was with NCL, so we were members of their latitudes program. (we had also purchased the $250 credit for a future cruise, so we used that as our deposit) We booked our trip through NCL. I highly recommend John Spence, he was nothing but helpful. We had booked our trip in April and found that the prices on the Norwegian website didn't drop for our stateroom category.
Hotel info: We stayed at the Marriott at the Convention Center the night before we set sail. We were able to book the cruise and stay package which was $230 for the 1 night plus parking the entire cruise. Note, you can walk from the hotel to the terminal. I wouldn't bother with a cab unless you have kids or a lot of luggage.
Room info: We went with room 10166, mid ship balcony and absolutely loved the room. We liked how we were in between the two sets of elevators. Our cabin stewards were More
awesome. Our room was decorated with the Happy Birthday package (my husband's birthday was 2 days before we left). All of the staff on the floor took a chance to say Happy Birthday to us and make us feel welcomed. Anytime we saw them in the hallway they also made an effort to have a conversation.
Ship info:If I had to guess, I would say about 10% of the guests were children and about 10% were in the 18-30 category. The rest were 30+. I know it was the week after Thanksgiving, but where was the younger crowd? I didn't like how the night activities didn't start until after 1030pm. We found that there was too much down time between dinner and the night events. Maybe they wanted us to go gamble? Most of the bars were empty from 7-10pm unless there was a football game on.
Entertainment: I recommend checking out the Second City shows. We had a good time at all the ones we attended.
Specialty Restaurants: The only specialty restaurant we tried was Ginza. Being a vegetarian, I wasn't in the mood to spend $15-25 on the other restaurants to just eat something I could have gotten at the buffet or main dining rooms. The staff at Ginza were very welcoming and helpful. Our waiter let us do some sake bombs (reliving the fun of our college days). I would pay $15 again.
Other Restaurants: I was not impressed with the main dining rooms (Aqua and Versailles). The food took FOREVER and the wait staff only seemed to care about you getting in and out as quick as possible. We went to Aqua twice and Versailles once. Neither of the three times were we asked if we wanted anything to drink, which I thought was weird. Also, I am still upset about the "dress code". It mentions that resort casual and shorts are not allowed. The first night walking by we noticed many guests in flip flops, football jerseys and shorts. The time we went to Versailles I had on a pair of black linen shorts. I was told by the lady working the crowd flow that I had to change. After changing into a pair of jeans (which still doesn't make sense that jeans are appropriate) I saw at least 5 older women wearing shorts. Maybe it's because I'm younger (25) that I was told to change, and they didn't want to offend the older guests, but I was upset. This is one of the reasons we chose not to take part of the pay $250 on the future cruise, get $100 on board credit. We felt that majority of the staff didn't take us seriously because we were younger.
The buffet was hit or miss. But we usually found at least one dish that we liked. The staff over there was always helpful and welcoming.
We did find an awesome waiter, Vincent. He works over in the lounge chairs area in front of the Bier Garden. The first day he asked for our names and remembered us the entire trip.
Costa Maya: we walked to Majahual and found a nice place that had 6 beers, chips, salsa and a shot of tequila for $10. It was right on the water so we just sat there and hung out. The Disney ship was in port with us and there were a ton of kids in the Costa Maya area.
Belize: we went snorkeling at Goff's Caye with EcoTours. We read about them on Trip Adviser and really enjoyed it. We were able to see turtles, sting rays and a ton of fish.
Honduras: we did an island tour. There were 4 of us and we each paid $20 to get a tour of practically the whole island.
Cozumel: we went to Bucaneros. We paid 100 pesos ($8)to get in, but they gave you a slip of paper worth 100 pesos for the food/drink menu. I would definitely recommend going here if you want a place to swim in the ocean or swim in a pool. The cab fare was just under $10 one way.
*Thanks to the roll call on Cruise Critic, we were able to meet a lot of people at the Meet and Greet, and even get a tour of the Bridge! Definitely one of the highlights of the trip*
Overall: I think next cruise we will try either Carnival or Royal Caribbean just to see what else is out there. Less
We walked to Majahual (about 30 mins) and just walked along the boardwalk. We found a restaurant that offered 6 beers, chips with salsa and a shot of tequila for $10.
Costa Maya itself was very overpriced and had a lot of families from the Disney cruise that was in port.