Like a previous reviewer, my husband and I were also aboard Norwegian Star for a 14-day Panama Canal cruise. Unlike that reviewer, we had a wonderful time.
We had a mid-ship balcony cabin on Deck 10 (cabin 10110). Great location, quiet all the time (cabins above and below). Mid-ship means less ship movement. We get motion sickness easily, but despite being in moderately rough seas the last 3 days of the cruise, we never had a problem.
As for lost luggage, we only take carry-on. For 14 days? Oh yes. There are only 2 types of luggage--Carry-on and Lost. We attended a Q&A session on Day 4 with various crew heads of departments. There were 18 people on this cruise with no luggage, all of it held up or diverted by the airlines. Was NCL supposed to delay departure until all of that luggage showed up? No. You want to avoid lost luggage? Take carry-on.
Norovirus occurred on this cruise. This is a highly-contagious disease. It spreads like wildfire in confined More
groups of people, such as daycare, retirement homes, and yes--cruise ships. The captain said it came aboard in Costa Rica and I believe him. If it had been on board from the beginning of the cruise, people would have gotten sick long before we got to Costa Rica.
Our cabin steward advised us to scrub our hands with warm water and soap, dry them, then keep them in our pockets and not touch banisters, railings, doorknobs, or other people. We did as he said and we did not get sick.
We had a balcony cabin. In addition to a delightful view of the incredible engineering of the Panama Canal, and being able to watch dolphins leap and whales blow and sea turtles swim by, a balcony means you don't have to share outside space with other people, a definite plus during a Norovirus outbreak.
Embarkation in Los Angeles took some time, but was no worse than our experience on a Carnival cruise. The Norwegian staff were very nice and efficient.
Disembarkation in Miami was somewhat delayed. This was due to waiting for clearance by CDC (Centers for Disease Control), a federal agency which sent inspectors on board because of Norovirus.
This was not the fault of Norwegian, this is mandatory because of the disease reporting.
Because we had carry-on luggage, disembarkation meant grab it and go. No waiting for someone else to haul our luggage.
There was a fairly long wait at Customs, but again--this is not Norwegian's fault, this is US Customs. It takes however long it takes. You should plan for delays.
We had also planned to spend that night in Miami, avoiding any mad dash to the airport and the possibility of a missed flight. This is just basic travel planning.
This was the most relaxing vacation we have ever taken.
The food was good, the staff were great, and we will definitely cruise wit NCL again! Less
Norwegian Star Cruises to the Panama Canal & Central America