Decided on a Christmas cruise for a change and a break from the cold and from the same old routine.
Stayed in New Orleans at Holiday Inn/French Quarter. Hotel was fine, nothing fancy, and just like everyone else says, the elevators are not sufficient. Location was great, very short walk to the action and less than a ten minute walk pretty much anywhere. After realizing that everything was so close, we decided to walk to the port via Canal St. to the river walk shops. This was between a ten and fifteen minute casual walk. We each were pulling a suitcase,(may have looked a little silly), but it was actually fun and this little adventure saved an extra $50, that the hotel would have charged for the shuttle($8/pp). Later on that extra $50 will come in handy on board.
Embarkation was fast. Arrived there around 12:15 and were on the ship by 1:00. Had to get a waiver signed for my 19 year old, and buy a soda package(around $50), and by the time we were done with that the rooms were ready. Took our carry-ons to our rooms.
Overall: Ship is aged as everyone else has stated. Personally not to my liking, but others on the ship claimed how much they "love this ship".
Rooms: we usually get interior rooms, due to the lack of time we spend in them, and this trip was no exception. Rooms were "normal" small. Two singles, one fold down bunk, and one under the beds that pulled out. We did not need the pullout one and thankful for that as there would have been next to no room if we did. The bathroom was actually nicer and roomier than others I've seen. Shower is bigger than the "capsule-types" I've seen in the past. Can't really complain about the space.....heck it was an inside room after all.
Food: Did not eat at the specialty restaurants, but heard good reviews of them. Buffet was good, and times better than the main dining rooms. Ate at the Aqua most nights, and at Versailles once. That particular night, the water was very rough, and being at the back of the boat, made for a rough and wavy dinner. Food was the same for both restaurants, and attire for Aqua was more casual, so we just ate there. Food was good, not a wow factor, but good. Blue Lagoon was good, mainly the wings, and the 24 hour availability made it nice, but not for a "real" meal. Did try that one night and disappointed with the cold service we received. Grill food out by the pool was good.
Activities: Pool, hot tubs, slides, etc, just ok. I read prior to the cruise that the slides are a waste of space...I agree. Hot tubs are small.
Entertainment: Shows were pretty good, magic show was sort of stale and impressive, David Naster(comedian) was great, singers and dancers were pretty good as well. Piano bar, karaoke nights, as well as the adult only shows were very fun. Really enjoyed the Second City Improv.
Casino was fun, won the first couple of night, but went downhill after that. Did see many people winning. Bingo was expensive(the best price on a package for three games was $60, except for the one day when one session was $20).
Ports/Excursions: Costa Maya-Spent the day on the beach and shopping. Steve at Tropicante set us up with a large table and chairs and was very accommodation(can't forget the free shots of tequila). No charge as long as you buy his drinks/food. His staff was great. Beers were 2 or 2.50 each, food was average price, and massages are only $25 for an hour. My bill for the day...many drinks, three orders of food, one massage, and a generous tip=$100. Beach and water was great, shops were nearby. Would highly recommend this laid back beach break. Email Steve, he will save you a spot.
Belize:long tender to port. Stayed in port, shopped and drank. If you're going to buy medications do it here, prices are better, and they carry almost everything. You will be sorry if you wait.
Roatan: Loved it. Private tour with Victor Bodden's(only cost $5 more than the crowded buses and we did not have to follow anyone else's schedule. Driver(Kenny) was great. He took us to the grocery store to get coffee and vanilla at a better price, then to zip line and the best part was playing with the monkeys . We then went to a small restaurant with our driver, then to the beach. Love, love, love this place. Going back.
Cozumel: Been here before. Love to sample and buy my tequila here. Have snorkeled here in the past. After shopping this time, went to San Francisco beach. Loved this too.
Staff:Great, friendly, top-notch. It's not their fault that the ship is not my preference.
As I said earlier, cruises are like ice cream....I really had a good time, but this particular flavor is not one of my favorite. I am not a big fan of the freestyle. I doubt that I will ever go on another NCL, but especially not on the "Star"