OVERVIEW - I cruised on the Norwegian Star with 4 other people on Jan 17th. This was the first cruise for my one friend and the rest of my party had cruised on over 10 cruises each. This was the first "freestyle" cruise for everyone
DEPARTURE - The smoothest part of this entire trip was getting on board. It only took 40 minutes to get through the entire procedure. Once on board, the confusion began. No one was available to escort you to your room and hundreds of people were trying to figure out where to go.
ACCOMMODATIONS - The inside cabins on the Star were comfortable but a bit worn. Though the housekeeping staff was always busy, the bed linens, towels, and furnishings all needed to be updated. No announcements could be heard from inside the cabin.
SHORE EXCURSIONS - Norwegian has installed a 24 hour ATM-type machine that you can book excursions and print tickets. This was easy to use and prevented us from standing in long lines. We booked the Bar-Hopping and Cliff Divers in Acapulco, Horse-back riding in Puerto Vallarta, and Snorkeling in Cabo. The first three excursions were great but the snorkeling was cancelled due to lack of participation!!
DINING - If you enjoy excellent service, professional servers,and fine dining, look elsewhere. The service in the "freestyle" dining varies wildly throughout the cruise. Dining on the Star was a bigger gamble than the casino. There were some wonderful servers on board but there are far more incompetent people working in the dining room. The only venue with any consistency was The Versailles. Paying an extra fee to be subjected to horrible service is not my idea of a vacation: dirty silverware, wet napkins, chipped glasses and plates, etc. On nine different occasions I was served the wrong menu item! I sat for 21 minutes with dirty dishes from my 1st course while neighboring tables were on course #4!I found that trying to get reservations each night for dinner to be far more stressful than the typical dining service on other ships. I have enjoyed superior food and service on every other cruise - without any additional fees or reservations.
SUMMARY - Unless you are getting an incredible deal, I would not recommend Norwegian. I hated the "freestyle" concept - it only creates mediocre to awful service. On other ships, the staff go the extra mile to please the passengers. On the Star there is an overwhelming "devil-may-care" attitude throughout the ship.