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Norwegian Star Cruise Review by dacwpark: NCL Star- Port Answers, Kids & saving $ on transportation


dacwpark
7 Reviews
Member Since 2005
5 Posts

Member Rating

Cabin 5.0
Dining 5.0
Embarkation 4.0
Enrichment Activities Not Rated
Entertainment Not Rated
Family & Children 5.0
Fitness & Recreation 5.0
Public Rooms 4.0
Rates Not Rated
Service 5.0
Shore Excursions Not Rated
Value for Money 5.0

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NCL Star- Port Answers, Kids & saving $ on transportation

Sail Date: July 2014
Destination: Baltic Sea
Embarkation: Copenhagen

Inside cabins 12009 and 12035 Cat 1C by Dacwpark- Sorry for the length so pick what you need.

On July 3-12, 2014, my wife, 8 year old daughter, 5 year old son and I sailed on NCL Star, our 3rd European cruise. This was my 14th cruise, and I have sailed on RCCL, Princess, Disney, NCL and Carnival previously.

Copenhagen hotel- We arrived 2 days early in Copenhagen so our kids could enjoy the city too. Good parks for the kids. We stayed in 2 rooms at the Radisson Blue which is right across from Tivoli Gardens, and found the hotel and its location very good. Pricey however. We needed 2 rooms as they cannot accommodate 4 people in one room which we find is typical in Europe. Rooms seemed large for Europe, but typical for an American hotel. We were on the 3rd floor, and as others noted you could hear some noise from the street. There is a small grocery store next store so we bought fruits and snacks. From the Radisson we walked to most of the old city-and our kids enjoyed More Tivoli (across the street from the Radisson). Tourist office is across the street.

Copenhagen Transportation- After exiting the airport baggage claim you immediately see the tourist information desk. Stop there and buy the Copenhagen card. I strongly suggest purchasing the Copenhagen Card (different from the Copenhagen citipass) as the Copenhagen card gives you not just the train/bus/subway but also admission to most of the sights you want to see. We purchased 2 adult tickets for about $80 each for 48 hours. With each adult purchase 2 children under the age of 10 are free which was a real bonus for us with our 2 kids. Then we walked to the escalator close by to go down to the train which takes you to central station. These trains leave every 10-15 minutes. From Central station we walked one block to the Radisson Blu. So easy even with our small children. We had (3) 50 lb bags, 2 carryon’s plus 2 backpacks. Surprise bonus- Bus 26 Faergehavn Nord Unicef stops across the street from our Radisson hotel! Make sure the bus says Unicef as that is the only one that stops where the Star departs at A330. (Note Bus 26 Unicef only comes twice and hour, and does not operate on weekends so see below for how we got from the port to the hotel post cruise on Saturday.) The bus had plenty of cruise passengers, as they had the same idea. We got on bus 26 around 11am. Ride to the port took about 40 minutes with all the stops, but the distance to the port was not that far. A cab would have cost about $40 we estimated. The bus was Free with the CPH card! As others stated there is room on the bus for luggage, and our driver was very accommodating. However, based upon our experience, you may have trouble fitting your luggage if you first board bus 26 at a later stop as others suggested such as at Osterport. Bus drops you off right at the Star-you are there!

Embarkation/Disembarkation: Easy, and organized for arrival but we were early. Lines were long but they moved. Disembarking was so easy and I don’t think they ever checked our passports. We got off at 9am but the earliest people departed I estimate was around 8am. Ship arrived not long before 8am. You won’t make a 10am flight. There is a line for taxis but it moves quickly.

Transportation from Ship to Hotel/Airport- After disembarking we took a cab to Osterport for about 115 Danish Kroner. Note Bus 26 Unicef only comes twice and hour, and does not operate on weekends. We then caught a train to Orestad (a stop right before the airport) as we were staying at the Crown Plaza for one night. To pay for the train I used the Copenhagen Citipass which gives unlimited travel on the bus/train/subway for 24 hours. I bought this citipass at the tourist center BEFORE leaving on the cruise, and as with the Copenhagen card, your children under 10 are free with a parent who has a citipass. Cost about $15 each, so $30 total. Validate this pass at a machine at the train station before boarding. After checking in to our hotel we used the citipass to go back to the city center for more fun on our last day in CPH. This hotel has a free airport shuttle! Although we booked our stay ourselves, we discovered that NCL uses this hotel.

Ship: Our first time on the Star and she was fine. She is not new nor the biggest, and to compare her to the Allure of the Seas- which we took several years ago- is not a fair comparison. We took this trip for the itinerary not the ship, but overall the ship was clean, maintained and had the amenities we wanted. Very friendly and helpful staff.

The buffet- I could always find something I liked, and always found a seat in spite of crowds. Great idea to put the silverware and napkin on the table so you don’t have to carry it with you as you serve yourself. We ate breakfast and lunch here every day. Soft serve available and our favorite. Regular ice cream we only found out by the pool, and it was not served nearly as often. The meat choices were excellent- especially the minute steak, the meatballs, the lemon chicken and the pork. We also loved the spicy corn. The burgers were very good too. Cookies could be found here after 9 pm when we were usually in bed.

Versailles Main Dining Room- My wife and I ate here about half of the nights. The food and service were good. We like freestyle dining since this gives up the flexibility we need with our small children. I want more of the tilapia parmesan! We never felt the need to try any of the specialty restaurants.

Rooms- We have had inside cabins and we realized the tip about having no windows in Scandinavia was a good idea. It doesn’t get dark until 11pm, so if you are bothered by light consider the inside cabin. Ours were very quiet. The rooms obviously had been remodeled recently- new carpet, new closet (turn on the closet light!) and a new bath. They need the same upgrade for the Spirit. Beds comfortable. Hair dryer in room. Closet typical in size but I brought extra hangers which came in handy. No clock in the room so glad I brought my own. There were two 110 outlets in the room. I brought my travel iron in my carry on without a problem.

Pools- Our kids enjoyed swimming in the adult pools as well as the slides. The water was warm enough most days although I did not think the 80 degree temperature the ship TV kept stating was correct. The first sea day was very cool, and the pool water to me felt cold. No one was in it. The hot tubs helped warm us up if we felt cold. I am not sure they heat the water in the pools as is stated in the brochure, but most of the days we had sunshine to warm the water.

Photos- We bought the package which included 20 photos plus a disc with a license for $220.

Kids Club- Just like our experience last year on the NCL Spirit. They divide the kids by age, but not for every activity. So our kids were separated some but together as a group at other times. They did not just babysit the kids but actively played with and engaged them. The face painting was great, and both of them loved it! The kids club is very flexible- their hours are not the same every day so check the schedule. As with the NCL Spirit last year, our kids enjoyed the club. We would take our kids to the buffet for dinner, and then drop them off at the club while we went to dinner. We tipped the workers at the end of the trip since they are not included in the automatic tipping. Since our kids did not come to dinner with us, we deducted their dinner tip and gave it to the kids club workers.

What to do with the kids when you go ashore- Again, contrary to the literature, you can leave your kids at the kids club while you go ashore. This was a huge benefit for us, especially since we were worried about how our kids would do on the long days such as St. Petersburg. We were able to leave the kids at the club and then go on our excursions. The club workers will take them to breakfast/lunch/ dinner as needed but there is a $6 per child charge for each meal time they watch you kids. In St. Petersburg we took our kids to breakfast early, and then dropped them off at the club. Since the club was taking all the kids to breakfast at say 9 am our kids would then have another breakfast if they wanted- what we really needed was the flexibility to drop them off so we could take our excursion. So you have to pay the meal time fee if the club is taking the kids to a meal whether or not your kids eat. The kids club itself closes during that mealtime since they take all the kids to the meal. On longer days our kids would have lunch and dinner with the club so that was $12 per child for the day. This really helped us as our kids did not want to spend a long day on our tour in St. Petersburg.

Copenhagen highlights with kids- If a parent has a Copenhagen card you get free admission to Tivoli for yourself and up to 2 children. You can go once a day, (we went 2 days in a row) so once you leave for the day you cannot return for free if your admission is from the Copenhagen card. We walked through old town to Christiansborg Palace and church. (Free with CPH card). Then we had a quick lunch waiting for our boat tour (Free with CPH card) right next to the Palace. On the tour you see the little mermaid from the back (previously I had seen this from the front). Yes it is small and not worth the trip to see it from the front in my opinion. Then we walked to Rosenberg where the kids played in the park. I had seen the palace previously. Then we walked to Amalienborg Palace (free with CPH card) but if time pressed I would skip it for Christianborg which is better. From here a short walk to Nyhavn which you always see in photos. Then a short walk to Stoggart street for the shops and street performers. This took us back to Tivoli and our hotel, and we tried to make it fun for the kids along the way. Yes this was a lot of walking but we took our time, and photos along the way. We brought umbrella’s and poncho’s in our backpack but didn’t need them.

Warmunde- The ship docks right next to the train station. My wife and I took the train to Rostock- nothing really special to us. And returned by noon. Then we walked around Warmunde and realized we should have spent the entire day there. What a pretty little seaside town.

Tallin old town is a close walk from the port. Just walk! I went back several times during the day.

St. Petersburg- you need your passport, and your tour ticket. Took about 40 minutes to clear customs. We were on SPG tours, and they are waiting for you outside customs. Very well done by SPG, and you do not pay them until the end of the first day of our 2 day tour. Highly recommend them. They have small buses holding around 15 people max instead of the 50 person megabus.

Helsinki- The ship docked at Munkholmskajen which is closer than Jatkasaarentaituri. We took the bus from the port into town. We caught the bus at the stop on Hernesaarenranta which is a short walk from the pier. We bought day bus/trolly passes for 8 euro adults, 4 euro kids from the bus driver. Have cash on hand. Lots of cruise passengers were doing the same thing. Then after stopping at a park for the kids to play, we transferred to a trolley which then took us into town.

Stockholm- we bought $40 each tickets for the hop on off bus. The bus then broke down before we reached town. My wife and I then walked into town, and then over to the Abba Museum. If I had known town was this close I would have skipped the bus altogether. Others said the hop on/off bus did not come by very often and they waited almost an hour for the next one. And it was a hot day in Stockholm, hard on the elderly. By the way the NCL Star docked at Masthamnen # 167 NOT at Frihamnen as I had thought. We did take the hop on off bus back to the port, and enjoyed the city ride back to the ship. The ship views entering and leaving are worth staying on deck to see-departing it took about 4 hours to see our last island and open seas.

Overall - We really enjoyed our trip on the Star. We were very fortunate to have great sunny weather our entire cruise. By allowing us to leave the kids while we toured ashore, the kids club workers gave us a break to take a long tour of St. Petersburg. We look forward to returning to NCL in the future. Less


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Read Cruise Critic's Norwegian Star Review >>

Cabin review: Norwegian Star 12035

quiet, good location, new carpet, new closet, new bath.

Port and Shore Excursions


Copenhagen highlights with kids- If a parent has a Copenhagen card you get free admission to Tivoli for yourself and up to 2 children. You can go once a day, (we went 2 days in a row) so once you leave for the day you cannot return for free if your admission is from the Copenhagen card. We walked through old town to Christiansborg Palace and church. (Free with CPH card). Then we had a quick lunch waiting for our boat tour (Free with CPH card) right next to the Palace. On the tour you see the little mermaid from the back (previously I had seen this from the front). Yes it is small and not worth the trip to see it from the front in my opinion. Then we walked to Rosenberg where the kids played in the park. I had seen the palace previously. Then we walked to Amalienborg Palace (free with CPH card) but if time pressed I would skip it for Christianborg which is better. From here a short walk to Nyhavn which you always see in photos. Then a short walk to Stoggart street for the shops and street performers. This took us back to Tivoli and our hotel, and we tried to make it fun for the kids along the way. Yes this was a lot of walking but we took our time, and photos along the way. We brought umbrella’s and poncho’s in our backpack but didn’t need them.


The ship docked at Munkholmskajen which is closer than Jatkasaarentaituri. We took the bus from the port into town. We caught the bus at the stop on Hernesaarenranta which is a short walk from the pier. We bought day bus/trolly passes for 8 euro adults, 4 euro kids from the bus driver. Have cash on hand. Lots of cruise passengers were doing the same thing. Then after stopping at a park for the kids to play, we transferred to a trolley which then took us into town.

Read 335 Helsinki Reviews

The ship docks right next to the train station. My wife and I took the train to Rostock- nothing really special to us. And returned by noon. Then we walked around Warmunde and realized we should have spent the entire day there. What a pretty little seaside town.


Departing you need your passport, and your tour ticket. Took about 40 minutes to clear customs. We were on SPG tours, and they are waiting for you outside customs. Very well done by SPG, and you do not pay them until the end of the first day of our 2 day tour. Highly recommend them. They have small buses holding around 15 people max instead of the 50 person megabus.


we bought $40 each tickets for the hop on off bus. The bus then broke down before we reached town. My wife and I then walked into town, and then over to the Abba Museum. If I had known town was this close I would have skipped the bus altogether. Others said the hop on/off bus did not come by very often and they waited almost an hour for the next one. And it was a hot day in Stockholm, hard on the elderly. By the way the NCL Star docked at Masthamnen # 167 NOT at Frihamnen as I had thought. We did take the hop on off bus back to the port, and enjoyed the city ride back to the ship. The ship views entering and leaving are worth staying on deck to see-departing it took about 4 hours to see our last island and open seas.

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