Vacation of a Lifetime: Norwegian Star Cruise Review by Dexie
Overall Member Rating
Vacation of a Lifetime
Destination: Baltic Sea
Embarkation was a breeze, we took a cab from the hotel. Sure felt sorry for those that took transit - train/bus. It appeared to be a really long walk to the new pier/terminal. On board we made ourselves familiar with the ship.
We dined a lot in the Versailles, but found it to be loud and noisy. One woman in our party was accidently hit on the head with a full tray. After the initial flurry from the Head Staff, there was no further concern on the part of Norwegian, it would have been nice for them to check in with her the next day as she did have a bump on the head. We made no fuss as the wait staff is pressured to hurry and move too fast to More avoid these incidents.We switched and went to Aqua a couple of times and the pressure for speed was still there, we had a snarky wait person one night because she had been asked to serve us and it was passed her dinner time. We witnessed what seemed like a grading or marking process being done on the staff and once again a tray brushed the head of the same companion. Really if things were slowed down just a wee bit perhaps it would be less frantic for guests. But getting people through is necessary and we understood that. (I overheard one guest complain that dinner took too long for them.) We noticed that the food seemed hotter when eating at Aqua. My husband and I celebrated our anniversary on board and treated ourselves to a meal in Le Bistro. While the selection was nice, and the food was good, we again met up with a snarky attitude when we asked to change to a more intimate table for 2 instead of being stuck between 2 tables set for 4. As for the extra cost, while the intimacy and quiet were nice, we might not try it again for what we spent.
The buffet was good and bad depending on the day. After having cruised 4 times previously with other competitors, we noticed some things that could be improved. The Market Grill is like a school cafeteria, with the food line ups, the food served, the din, the table set up and the beverage area. Accidents just waiting to happen. There was coffee available outside by the pool but I was informed by my companions that it was at best warm. If you wanted tea you had to walk all the way through the crowds and then make it a bag in a cup and carry it back without a tray.
The pool area was fun on the sunny days. The wait staff were great. However, the music usually jazz with a live band was really loud and one couldn't hear their companions speak.
We went to most of the shows and of course found them to be terrific. The entertainers in the lounges were good as well. We had a really fun evening in the Red Lion with everyone singing along with Tino and Ashley. While we were on our cruise, the FIFA World Cup started and Norwegian had viewing areas set up for the avid watchers.
When booking we decided to take a chance on a Guaranteed Balcony. We got a cabin on Deck 10 and it was very nice. Our room was as pictured and we were satisfied with it. However one in our party had an Oceanview and I can see why people speak of banging heads on the closed bunks. Our room steward was great and seemed to anticipate our every need and even enquired if we needed anything. Always discreet.
As for the ports and the itinerary. We loved it all. One of our excursions in St. Petersberg was cancelled and Norwegian re-booked us on another. When I went to visit the Shore Excursion desk, the staff was very good and even came up with a better excursion plan for us there. With the exception of Helsinki we had some great excursions. Helsinki was a land and sea excursion and seemed to be very disorganized and even left one bus load of people behind as there was some mix up.Due to the mix up we were short on shopping time at the Market Place but the weather was not cooperating that day so it really wasn't that upsetting. One thing we noted was that some of the excursions did not use head sets.In some ports it was very difficult to see and hear the guide.While I may not be so knowledgeable about the port, It didn't ruin it for me as I just love to look around and absorb it all.
Disembarking went smoothly. We booked with Norwegian's bus transfer to the airport. We were assigned a travel time based on flight departure and it seemed the easiest for us. We were concerned about getting a cab which may have been cheaper considering our group size, but on the way to the ship the cab driver said sometimes the cabs don't like to go out to the new pier and we were concerned about getting one. Leaving the ship was a breeze.
Norwegian like some of the other lines has some things that they could improve on. The washrooms on Deck 6 and Deck 7 should be looked after more frequently in the evening. They were terrible at times. The ship itself is starting to look tired but seemed to be looked after and crew were always seen painting and refurbishing. Most of the staff was great and looked after us well. While The Star's design and set up is not as appealing as some others, I would cruise with Norwegian again but would maybe consider another class of ship.
All in all it was a good trip. Another Trip of a Lifetime for our group. Less
Cabin review: 10520
Cabin 10520 is as pictured on the web site. It is a forward cabin. i did feel some motion at times but not enough to be a bother. We took a chance on a Guaranteed Balcony Cabin and were very satisfied. We enjoyed using the balcony on the nice days. Arriving in the ports and using the balcony is a lot of fun for us. We got some wonderful sunset pictures as well as the sunset is very late in the Baltics in June.