Norwegian Star - Mexican Riviera: Norwegian Star Cruise Review by dwrist
Overall Member Rating
Norwegian Star - Mexican Riviera
Destination: Mexican Riviera
Embarkation: Los Angeles
On Saturday we drove down to see the ships in port that day. We saw the Monarch of the Seas, a big ship but looks older. You can drive into the parking lot across from the pier (the Catalina tour) and have free parking for one hour. Its a wonderful place to see the ships in port.
Embarkation -- The next day, Sunday, we arrived at the pier about 11:00am. The gate keepers waved us away (there were three ships in port that morning, (Island Princess, Vision of the Seas and the Star) and would not allow us to enter, even the buses were turned away at 11:00am. We went to the parking More lot for Catalina and took some pictures. Forget this we said and went back to the gate and told them we needed to be dropped off now. They told us to wait at a restaurant until 1:00pm. Okay, we entered the area and saw others taking luggage out of cars and decided to do the same. We pulled up to the curb and behold a worker came and helped us unload the luggage and took it onboard the ship. We did have to wait about 10 minutes for the terminal to open but that was fine. They opened the doors and we were in the second group, had chairs to sit and wait. About 15 minutes later we were called for check in. since we were in a penthouse, we were told to wait in an area for an escort. A couple of minutes later were escorted to security, went through that process and were escorted to our cabin, all the escorting by our butler, Roy. The total time from 11:00 am arrival to being in our cabin, maybe 30 minutes.
Our cabin was ready; we dropped our carry ons and hit the decks. What a clean, bright, and cheerful ship. There are many colors and different decorating styles for different areas. The outdoor grill was open for lunch so we grabbed a sandwich and drink and ate by the pool. Then we went exploring, getting our bearings, finding the private areas, all the nooks and crannies the ship has. Now we are ready to explore our cabin. We had a penthouse, 9002, forward, bow of the ship. The view from the balcony was amazing, think of a 180 degree view. The size of the balcony was huge. We had two teak deck chairs/pads that were quite comfortable and a small table for holding drinks, munchies and books. Yes it was windy when we were sailing but not unbearable. If you did not mind your hair blowing it was fun to be out and see where we were heading. It did dry swim suits if you hooked them into the chairs.
The cabin itself was big. The cabin was divided into different areas, with the entry, bar area, desk one area. The entry included a area with shelves, the spread was kept there at night. The closet is there, with doors on both sides (entry and bathroom side). It has enough room to store long clothing, shoes and many hanging clothes. The bar area is shelves with a mirror behind, a cabinet with glasses and a glass door on top; a coffee maker with the usual things, an ice bucket(always full) and a serving tray. The desk area has your TV, DVD player with a list of movies you could order from your butler. You had three drawers and two shelves on the left side of the desk. The dining area has a table and four chairs. There they had a fresh bowl of fruit (which was changed a couple of times through the week) and where they left the appetizers and dessert plates each night. The living area includes a love seat couch, a chair and glass table.
There was a floor to ceiling large picture window to see out of during the day. The door to the balcony was between the dining and living area. It was wood and on the outside was the iron/steel door that would be closed and locked during inclement weather. The bathroom was huge. In the middle was the sink with lots of storage above and below. A basket of specialty soaps, lotions, shampoos and conditioners. The toilet was to the left with a pull slide door. The bathtub/shower was on the right with the shampoo/soap dispenser if you wanted to use it. (Who would want to with the specialty soaps and amenities?) There was a line to pull and hook for drying things in the shower area. The shower was a personal shower head and had lots of pressure and hot water. The towels were in the shower area and the cloths in the sink area. On the side opposite the entry were many shelves, drawers and the two safes behind cabinet doors and two more doors to access more shelves. We had more than enough drawer space and even had one or two not in use. We had two robes hanging in the closet for our use. There was a separate make up area for the ladies that had the make-up lights on the sides of the mirror. There were three electrical plugs in the cabin, plenty for our needs. The bedroom area was separated from the other areas with heavy pull drapes. That was nice in the mornings when I wanted to sleep and hubby was up early. The bed was a king mattress (not twins together) and should be replaced soon (was lumpy). The bed linens were wonderful. The duvet was so nice to use. Yes it was clean, you could smell it. The pillows were fine for us. The colors in the cabin were gold and dark warm browns, very cozy and romantic. They included lots of mirrors to make the cabin seem even larger than it was. Yes there was the blue carpet but really you did not notice it. (This is turning into a novel) Officers and crew members -- The Captain is Captain Dan Wikingson; staff Captain Mikael Degerlund (who we met over coffee one day); Hotel DirectorLes Riley; Cruise DirectorDarin Wyman; Port and Cruise ConsultantsShaun Harrison & Martin Visser; Food & Beverage DirectorClaus Pascher; Casino ManagerBobby Russ; ConciergeNatasha Manuel; and Butler Roy Peregrino. We were invited to the Captains Cocktail Party on the second sea day, 7:15 to 8:00pm with drinks and hors doeuvres. The Lattitudes Party was also the second sea day at 1:30pm which we did not attend. The Captains Cocktail party required Resort Casual clothing and the Lattitudes Party required smart casual.
Restaurants -- We had Natasha make reservations for Le Bistro, Cagneys. Teppanyaki, La Trattoria and Endless Summer. One night we ate at Versailles. We had dinner from Le Bistro served by our butler Roy, who served us in courses, in our cabin one night. We had the sail away dinner the first night. As others have noted, the food is subjective to your preferences. We enjoyed all the meals and even the buffet for certain things. Blue Lagoon was good, we had the fish and chips. The Grill at the pool area had hamburgers that were good but In and Out they were not. The hot dogs were served with sauerkraut which delighted my husband. The sail away party had ribs, chicken and the usual salads but still was good. Le Bistros was excellent. We had the Surf and Turf which they are now serving with half of a whole lobster (tail and claw) with the Filet. For our dinner in the cabin, we had the Sea Bass which again was excellent. La Trattoria was okay, not our favorite. The red sauce taste is similar to Pregos. But the Tiramisu was very good. Teppanyaki was fun. We had ten people at our seating. They were a family from Canada. The chefs were great, throwing eggs in the air, catching them in their hats. Cagneys was so elegant. We sat in a quiet area off the Star Bar. Very secluded and overlooking the pool area. The food was good. My husband enjoyed the Ribeye. I had the New York Strip. I like my steak medium rare to rare and my steak was cooked more medium rare to medium. The same happened at Le Bistro. No big deal but a little disappointing still. I have learned to go with the flow and eat chicken and seafood dishes.
Entertainment -- We did not realize how much we were missing at Bingo until we won $640 on the last sea day. We saw two shows which were okay but we are not big on stage shows. We did have Lorna Luft, Judy Garlands daughter, perform. Jeffery Allen performed his Tribute to Elton John on the last night. Jeffrey Allen was in the Gatsbys Lounge every night from 8:15pm to close. We enjoyed the music of Allen Roman at the Gatsbys Lounge every night from 6:00-8:00pm and then he would move to The Star Bar from 9:30 to 11:00pm. The casino was very nice, the slots were tight but Black Jack paid off. The service from the servers at the pool side was great. We never experienced any nickel and diming from any of the servers. They were very friendly and would talk to us about their lives and families.
Ports -- Having lived in Southern California for many years, we had no desire to go onshore for the ports. We were content to sit and read and enjoy the amenities of the ship.
Butler and Concierge and Cabin Boys -- Being the first time we had a penthouse, we did not know what to expect. These people made our experience amazingly fabulous. Roy was so professional. He was always available when we needed him. He responded to our calls as fast as he could. While he was serving other cabins, he never left us waiting longer than 10 minutes for anything.
We heard from Natasha at least once a day if not more. My husband said if he had wanted the Brooklyn Bridge, she would have gotten it somehow for him. She seemed to have a sixth sense about our dinner reservations and where we would like to be seated. The VIP privileges that came with the penthouse, she was quick to inform us of them.
The cabin boys were very quick and good. We would leave and then remember we had forgotten something, when my husband would go back, he was surprised that the room was made up and the ice bucket was filled. They must have a switch for when we leave. We had a towel animal the last port night which added to the special treatment we received.
The Chocolate Buffet was the last port day. This was at 11:30pm. Suite people were invited to be first in the room, for pictures and plates. We all met and then Natasha took us in. The presentations made from chocolate and the ice sculptures were amazing and tasted scrumptious.
Disembarkation -- Being VIPs which you have paid for, you receive the offer of early disembarking. After the people taking first off disembarking (only 150 people that received the tags the last night by waiting in line), you are escorted by Natasha to security for the last swipe of your card and you are off the ship. Very organized and fast. Our luggage was in the area and we found a worker to help carry to the curb for a taxi. There is a man at the curb who coordinates the taxis. We shared a taxi to Long Beach to pick up rental cars with a couple from England who were headed to San Diego for more vacation. We were headed to Camarillo to stay with friends for a few days which turned into three weeks hence the late review being written.
The cruise is what you make of it. Have fun and enjoy the cruise and be thankful for what you did. We did book another cruise while onboard. We booked the Star for Alaska in August. We will be in one of the romance suites aft and will have Roy as our Butler and Natasha as our concierge again. Maybe we will met!!! Less
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