Norwegian Star Cruise Review by akittynamedsassy: Enjoyable time!
Overall Member Rating
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
This our 4th NCL cruise. We are both in our 50's. We had never taken this long of a cruise before and weren't sure if we would like the extra week. As it turned out, we enjoyed it a lot. Two weeks is a nice balance between being on the go and relaxing.
We did excursions at every port except Huatalco. Here is the listing of the excursions we did and what we thought of them:
Categena: Magificent Cartagena. It was a nice tour and we liked our guide. Unfortunately the temperature (in December!) was 97 in the shade, so any walking around was painful.
Panama Canal: Great, great, great. Hot too, but we had a balcony that we stayed on most of the time and turned the TV up loud to listen the guide they brought on the ship to discuss the Canal. We didn't run around the ship looking at it from different vantage points like most people suggested. Our way worked out fine for us.
Costa Rica: We did the bus, train and boat excursion. Nice guide here too. We were More up close to crocodiles and a lot of birds. They give you a booklet of birds to look out for, plus they point them out as they appear or fly overhead. Loved the birds.
Puerto Chiapas: We did the Ruins and Chocloate Discovery. Hot day too. The ruins were interesting. David was our guide. He was so good and so passionate about talking about his area and he was easy to understand.
Puerto Vallarta: We did the BEST EVER whale watching excursion. There were 26 whales counted, and they were breaching, and flipping their pec fins right in front of the boat. It was mating time so things were lively and in high competition.
Cabo San Lucas: We rode horses on the beach. Beautiful day and beautiful scenery. But as you would expect it is a nose to tail trail.
Since this is our 4th NCL cruise, I want to compare it to our other cruises. We have also been on Pride of America (our 1st cruise), EPIC (our 30th wedding anniversary cruise that started us cruising every year that has now progressed to twice a year!), and Breakaway (with two more scheduled in 2014 on Dawn and Pearl). We would rank them as follows, favorite to least favorite: Breakaway, EPIC, Pride of America, then Star (not that we didn't enjoy it (we did!!!), this is only by comparison). Star is last only because the food just didn't seem up to par on the Star. Not bad, mind you, but just not as good (IN COMPARISON) to the other NCL cruises we have taken. Still beats cooking it myself. Service seems similar in all ships: REALLY GOOD, or just so so. Not much in between.
We ate at the following specialty restaurants: Moderno (good, but for some reason not as good as the Moderno on EPIC or Breakaway); La Cucina, Le Bistro and Cagneys. We enjoyed them all. However, Modernos didn't have the "specialty restaurant" feel [it isn't a devoted dining room, it is an area that people can walk through], so that detracted too from liking it as well. We hadn't eaten at La Cucina, Le Bisto or Cagneys on other ships to compare them.
We have priority boarding (earn those latitudes points!), so that always goes well. Disembarkation was a breeze -- 20 seconds in customs and we saw our bags the second we got to the warehouse area.
Finally, I attended my first Meet and Greet on this ship. As a result of going to that meeting, we were invited to attend a private viewing of the Bridge. That was exciting.
We always enjoy NCL cruises. I almost had to be removed from the ship by force -- I did NOT want to go home. Less
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Cabin review: 10226
We enjoyed this cabin. Coffee machine got used everyday for coffee and tea. Comfy bed -- I slept better than at home. Deep tub with bath salts, or shower. Loved the location, because for a change it seemed like most things were either AFT or MID.
Port and Shore Excursions
Nicely done, and beautiful scenery, but was nose to tail riding. I get it -- liability -- but it would be nice to go on a ride once that we have a little freedom to ride on our own.
Enjoyed the excursion, but too hot weather took away from the pleasure. Also, the street people are relentless. One kept trying to sell me jewelry. I kept saying "I don't wear jewelry and I don't buy gifts" over and over, but he wouldn't get out of my face.
Best whale watching tour I had ever been on. It was mating season, so we saw 26 (counted) whales over and over doing various things: breaching in front of us, slapping their pec fins, diving. One came really close to the boat.
River Cruise & Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary
Actually the bus, boat and river excursion. The river part of it was definitely the best. Got close to crocodiles and a lot of birds. We saw 7 crocodiles in one glance.
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