Traveling with my wife and three teenage sons and one teenage niece. We got to New Orleans early enough to get checked in and get on the Star a little early. This is not a review of the port that is a different story - but if you have ever cruised you would probably have the same things to say about port check ins.
I want to get the positives in - the Star is a beautiful ship. Well endowed and appointed. Our inside state rooms were fantastic. With climate control thermostats - very comfortable beds, great restroom facilities and plenty of storage. Never felt cramped or claustrophobic despite the fact that there was no outside light. I did say it was and INSIDE stateroom so we knew what we were getting to start with. The room exceeded our expectations.
The ship however was hard to navigate. We were on her for seven days and while we could get around we never really got a feel for her. it just seemed that everything was out of place.
The staff was helpful but I would not say friendly. No crew member (save the captain himself) really engaged us or tried to get to know us or go the extra mile to make our crusise extra special.
One thing in particualr that we did not like wa the FREESTYLE dining. I understand that is may save the cruise line money but it is ceartainly an inconvenienc to us. We wanted to eat in the Aqua dining room each night at one time. We only got to sit and eat at that tiem one time during the whold cruise. We missed shows or other activities on board that we wanted to participate in. And the food in the dining rooms and on the buffett was just ordinary. If you wanted to get a truly great mean you had to visit one of the SPECIALTY restaraunts onboard.
The biggest let down to me was the fact that you had to PAY to use the steam room and sauna. These two things you can get at just about any resort but not on the star.
Freestyle cruising does not mean free to enjoy.