First off, I'll say NCL Star standards have slipped. We ate in the Versailles most of the time, and the dining room staff didn't go our of their way to please passengers. While we did not have to wait long to get a table, once seated the service was really slow. It took an average of one and a half hours for a meal, and often we had to rush through coffee/dessert to catch the show. One time nobody even came to ask us if we wanted tea/coffee. Even breakfast was slow; one sea day our group of 8 sat down at 8 a.m.and ordered a la carte. Three of us got our food 35 minutes later, but the rest had to wait another 20 minutes to get theirs ( yes, I noted the time) ! And this in a restaurant that's half empty! On port days, we availed of the express breakfast which quickly became boring as they had the same offering day after day. Lobster tail was served only once, and on the first night ( Surf & Turf) when passengers who attended the 4 p.m. sail away bar b q skipped dinner. Another thing that was really disappointing for us: for the first time in 5 cruises my request to be served ethnic food during our last dinner was not accomodated, while in tour previous Star cruise we did not even have to ask , they offered it to us for both breakfast & lunch !. One good thing though is that every dinner while we're in port, they had a regional specialty like Chicken Kiev in Russia, meatballs in Sweden, etc.
Another observation: public washrooms were noticeably dirtier, and twice I had to call the attention of a staff that it needed cleaning.
As for the entertainment, it was all good including the 2 repeat shows ( Shout & Elements). One exception was the " Cabaret" show by the in house performers, which was more like a musical audition. The female performers had great voices ( the guys didn't) but their repertoire did not " connect" with the audience, many of whom left in the middle of the show. I was told later that the acrobatic show originally scheduled for the night had to to be replaced by the Cabaret show because of technical difficulties, but surely NCL could have prepared a better back up show?
I had noise issues with my cabin again; I could hear loud footsteps from above and it turned out we were right under La Cucina. Although not looking at the deck plan when I booked the cabin was an oversight on my part, to NCL's credit theyinstantly resolved the problem. They assigned us another cabin and moved our stuff to the new one while we were having dinner.
As for destinations, they were all great except Helsinki where there was nothing much to do. St. Petersburg & Berlin were the highlights of our trip; Tallinn was a pleasant surprise, Stockholm was beautiful but we had so little time there. Better to skip Helsinki and stay overnight in Stockholm.
All in all, it was a good cruise & we made a future cruise deposit with NCL. We really like their entertainment, freestyle dining, easy disembarkation & no formal nights, but I hope their service will improve.