Our family of four (8 year old and 6 year old boys) cruised on the NCL Star in January 2013 to the Western Caribbean. Our well-appointed suite was the perfect fit: providing sufficient elbow room for everyone without completely blowing the budget. The room layout was ideal and accommodated the different sleep habits of our family members. The Lavazza espresso machine in our stateroom was an especially nice amenity. We were particularly impressed with the personalized service of our butler and room steward and while initially didn't think we would use the concierge services, we found that he made our trip stress free and more enjoyable. Priority embarkation/disembarkation was very easy and hassle free.
In addition to the extra attention from our butler and concierge, one of the biggest perks of the suite was having the ability to enjoy breakfast and lunch at Cagney's. The food and service were exceptional. We dined at a different specialty restaurant every night of our sailing and found that Cagney's, El Adagio, and Le Bistro in particular are well worth the small cover charge. Teppanyaki is a show and a meal and one and an experience that should not be missed. We did not eat in the main dining room at all on this trip although the kids enjoyed the offerings from the buffet.
Our two boys loved the kids club program and in the evenings preferred to go play with the kids crew counselors and their new friends leaving Mom and Dad free to enjoy dinner, a show, or the casino. The entertainment was hit or miss, but it is hard to please everyone. We got a kick out of Shark Bait, but didn't care for Second City. The grand finale show, Elements, was amazing. We loved coming back to our room in the evening to discover the towel friend of the day, mints on all our pillows, and often another surprise as well.
Our family also enjoyed the pools and water slides, sport court, ping pong, and the giant chess and checkers boards on deck -- there were lots of things to do and the kids were never bored. Port Play was a nice option for them as well when we wanted to go exploring or shopping and they could safely stay on the ship and have supervised play and organized activities and games.
We have been on several cruises and our expectations are pretty high. The staff of the Star exceeded them at every turn! This cruise was one of the best family vacations that we have had -- the food, service, and accommodations were very good and the itinerary was an excellent fit for us as well. We had a great blend of relaxing beach time, exploration, shopping, and getting a feel for the countries that we were visiting (get away from the port area). We also enjoyed our time in New Orleans, our embarkation point. The first thing we did upon arriving home was start planning our next NCL cruise.