I was prepared to really hate my cruise on the Norwegian Star after reading all of the reviews that had been written. I had not cruised in decades: the last time was in the early 1960's aboard the New Amsterdam with my grandparents. We sailed from NYC to the Carribean for 2 weeks during Christmas vacation. As we passed Cape Hatteras 600 of the 800 passengers aboard were sea sick, including me. I never really regained my "sea legs" and the thought of being on s cruise ship was not one I was willing to entertain. I had been told that the ships today have stabilizers, etc. which ensure a smoother journey. I was dubious and made sure that I was loaded with sea sickness remedies.
This trip was initially a "freebie", but we did upgrade to a higher deck and an outside cabin with a balcony-11600. We chose to sail from New Orleans to Mexico, Honduras and Belize.
The only portion of the trip that was unpleasant was the departure.
When we arrived at the dock our luggage was taken from us by a bellman who felt compelled to inform us that he would not be traveling on the ship so that we needed to tip him at that time. We complied and then walked into the hall where registration was taking place. The line was very long and snaked around. It was probably took an hour or more to complete the check in process. It reminded me of college registration my freshman year! I was not happy. However, it was interesting speaking with fellow travelers. When we finally boarded the ship we went right to our cabin where we met "Lucky" (a shortened version of his East Indian name), our steward. In the end we were the lucky ones, for Lucky took amazingly fine care of our cabin and our needs. He anticipated things without needing to be asked. It was a joy having him look after us!
After checking out our cabin we walked up a floor to have some lunch. It was the dining room where food is served cafeteria-style. That was the only time where we were challenged to find a place to sit, etc. After that initial meal we no longer had difficulties there. We ate breakfast there a few times. Other times we chose to eat in one of the restaurants where we were served.
Our first night we had made a reservation for dinner a week or 2 before we sailed. We dined at Moderna, a Brazilian themed restaurant. Service was exemplary and the food was delicious.
During our cruise we also dined at Versailles and Aqua, two of the included restaurants, as well as the French Bistro. We also went to the brunch offered the first full day of sailing.
I did not go to any of the entertainment, but others seemed to enjoy it.
We did not book shore excursions through the ship's coordinator. We did that on our own before our trip.
I went to the pool once. It is a salt water pool and was very refreshing. It is a small pool, as others have mentioned. The design is short-sighted. I can't imagine what it is like during a holiday time when there would be far more young people traveling.
I did use some spa services: hand and foot reflexology, a hair conditioning treatment and a facial. The services are pricey and there is an attempt to sell you more treatments during your cruise as well as pressure to have you buy products. I declined. The prices were not cheaper for them even though one would assume they would be since they are supposed to be duty free!
I look forward to future cruises thanks to this experience.