We had 4 seniors, a toddler and is parents on board....a small family reunion and celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary. Two couples had cruised once before to Alaska on the Pearl, the other couple had never cruised. We had 2 adjoining midship balcony staterooms and a midship oceanview cabin. The couch made a very large comfortable bed for our toddler.
On our first cruise we used a travel agent...on this one we used NCL.com and found it to be very simple and efficient...I appreciated the updates and communications and instructions from them as the months went by.I won't hesitate to make arrangements with them again because of that.
The Carribean cruise was a very different experience than the Alaskan cruise so it's hard to compare, maybe an unfair comparison, because the Alaskan cruise is so spectacular and seems to be everybody's favorite. But this trip was good - the staff was all very efficient and friendly and made us feel very comfortable even tho we were like 'fish out of water' because we had never been out of the country or to beach areas before. The other older couple (who had never cruised) have travelled all over the world, however, and grew up on the beach, enjoyed it a lot so I think that's a good recommendation for the trip.
Through experience and recommendation we researched and planned our own excursions with local providers rather than the NCL services. Altho NCL had been very efficient on the Alaskan cruise excurions, we were able to save a lot of money by going with local guides (and they all turned out to be very professional and good).
Since we don't go to bars, swim or sunbathe, we had hoped for good entertainment in the theatre but it was very mediocre.The crew's 'talent show' was about the best they had to offer. I'm sure there was good music in some of the clubs, however.
The Star is not quite as polished looking as the Pearl, needs a little decor maitenance but everything was very clean looking. We did have a couple of negative experiences, however....a large panel in our deck 10 cabin fell out of the celing - and I happend to be standing right under it at the time, got a good bang on the head. Maintenance came immediately, however, inquired if I needed medical assistance (which I declined) and repaired the ceiling quickly. The cabin on Deck 4 had a toilet backup but that was also taken care of promptly. Our steward kept our rooms spotless, spoke good English, and was very friendly. The food was not as good as the Pearl but maybe it was the difference in the season or part of the world or maybe the economy. The buffet turned out to be the best choice for food.
A one very positive part of our onboard experience was the children's program. The staff and facilities there were wonderul and made the trip a joy for our 2-yr-old - and for the rest of us, too - we had a little time for rest and quiet meals. Our child had never even been to a daycare so we didn't know how he'd do but the staff won him over in no time and he was eager to go every time. Thanks so much for that and for a well-trained staff - we won't hesitate to take him on a cruise again.