We booked the flight, airport taxis and cruise with Cruise 1st FANTASTIC. We booked an early flight 6.40from Heathrow with SAS were met in a mercedes limo and driven to the ASCOT Hotel very good location for Copenhagen. Arrived in the hotel @10.30 and were sightseeing by 11.00. Lovely place, ahd a an early buffet dinner in the Cafe Hollywood near to MacDonalds then an early night. Next morning the hotel breakfast rather pricey so went walked to a cafe/cake shop again near MacDonalds/Cafe Hollywood and had a good breakfast. The Mercedes collected us on time at 11.00 and drove us to the Star we felt like ilm stars. Embarked quite quickly and our stateroom was ready. Good location on level 11 but this trip there was maintenance on the pool which our stateroom was underneath so 1 afternoon we had to complain and one morning at 4.00am once again. The pool was not not open for a few days this did not bother us as the weather was cool but some guess were not pleased. That said our stateroom was roomy with a bath very clean as was the whole ship. The food in many, many restaurants is fabulous. We ate most meals breakfast, lunch and dinner in the Versailles brilliant food the menu is the same for the whole trip near enough but the service is faultless. We had two meals in the Bistro French cuisine was delicious. Our Cabin steward William wonderful, so too was Mukesh, Miguel, Errol and Elisabeth in the Versailles. We only booked two trips in St Petersburg although very expensive we took the view that we would be safer and happier. We opted for Hermitage with Gold Room, incredible for the afternoon did not get back until 5.30pm so if you are planning the ballet be aware of the time. The following am we went to Catherine's Palace, night morning beautiful building given that the Nazis virtually destroyed it when they left at the end of the 2nd world war and the whole interior of the Palace has been rebuilt.
The other ports we walked into, some were along walk, Tallin was only 20-30 minutes, Helsinki 50 minutes, Stockholm there was a bus but no running on the day we were there because of the Marathon pity the NCL forgot to mention. The NCL were incorrect a couple of times ie Helsinki on the local bus details so check when you arrive at the tourist info.at the Port for details.
We did not go for the Berlin trip 3.5hrs there and 3.50hrs back in a fast train too much.
Great entertainment, usual photos everywhere, $12.00 per day per person for the crew. 15% tax on drinks. We purchased the wine only deal pricey as are all the drinks on board. They advertise the Russian Bazaar for the final night, forget it 400% mark up on the tourist goods so don't delay buy in Copenhagen and Tallin. Stockholm have no idea what to charge.
Everyone is casual on the ship, perhaps too casual sometimes, no shorts in dining rooms in the evening but is good. There are great shows sometimes twice nightly, afternoon talks and films on the TV. Live ban ds, ie violin, piano, guitar in the bars. But when you sit down you feel obliged to buy a drink. There is very little room just to sit around so be aware if the ship is busy then sitting could be at a premium.
We cruised with the Jade in 2012 and had a wonderful time. The Star is exactly the same in layout, cleanliness is an obsession!
English is spoken by all the crew. Spanish and German on the excursions and ship announcements
We left a few pounds heavier. We opted to carry our suitcases off the ship to save time. If you want the crew to take your luggage the night before then you need to go to the reception 36hrs before to collect your baggage tags especially if you have an early flight. We had breakfast at 7.30 walked off the ship at 8.15 then waited for tour Mercedes Taxi which was early, to the airport no delay flight 12.15 and were home via Heathrow for 3.15pm brilliant.
Will go again with NCL in 2014 no question and will book with Cruise 1st