Norwegian Star Cruise Review by Janet Acosta: Norwegian Star - Alaska
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Norwegian Star - Alaska
Overall, I was very satisfied with my NCL experience. Our group consisted of 4 adults - two inside cabins. Since the daylight hours are so long in Alaska, we were happy to have inside cabins (dark at night). Considering that Alaska receives such a great deal of rainfall all year, my biggest recommendation is to pack raincoats or at least a water repellent jacket. We experienced mostly a light but constant rain, nothing terrible enough to ruin the experience.
Embarkation was a breeze. We checked our baggage at about noon. There was no waiting in line to check in. Waited about 10 minutes before being allowed to board the ship. As others have commented, ship staff encourage you to go to the buffet for lunch once you board the ship, however, Versailles is open for lunch. It was a great choice.. the restaurant was empty when we arrived and were able to get a table by the window. By the time we had finished our lunch, we were told that the cabins were ready. Our luggage was More delivered to our room just around the time that the ship began to sail away.
Cabins were comfortable and clean. We were happy to have the refrigerator where we kept the water bottles that we brought along. Only two power outlets, but that was enough to charge the phone and the camera battery. Dining overall was good. As you would expect, the meals at the restaurants were better than in the buffet. We had breakfast at the buffets and thought they were fine.. the food options were the same each morning. The buffet and grill by the pool were best for lunch. For dinner Aqua and Versailles were both nice, they both had the same menu which varied each night, but we preferred the atmosphere and the service at Versailles. We enjoyed the meals at these restaurants - they had a nice selection; taste and presentation were great. The Endless Summer Mexican cuisine restaurant was OK - nothing spectacular. Le Bistro (cover charge) was fine, but we didn't think it was worth paying for it when the food and service wasn't that much better than it was at Versailles. Blue Lagoon had good food, but the service was slow. We mostly went there to grab a cookie and/or poundcake with coffee or tea. The prices for soda and alcoholic beverages were outrageous, so we stuck to water and tea while on the ship.
Entertainment was somewhat lacking. We didn't mind too much because we just wanted to rest and relax, but there really weren't too many interesting choices.
Staff around the ship was great. Everyone was very friendly and always trying to satisfy the guests. Excursions were somewhat pricey, but we thought they were fun. Definitely a good idea to make reservations online EARLY. We made our reservations online a little over a week prior to sail date and one of our choices was already sold out. We saw that the excursions office onboard had long lines. We planned excursions at each port and were glad we did.. the towns are really small and it is best to plan to do something. Our favorite excursions were: Skagway - helicopter ride to Meade Glacier, and in Prince Rupert - Wildlife cruise (on a fast boat)where we saw the most spectacular humpback whale show. The biggest disappointment was the Yukon Railroad excursion in Skagway. The views are very nice but it's a 3 hour train ride to nowhere and back - no stops along the way. After about 1 hour we had enough of the train but had no choice but to stick it out for another 2 hours. Ketchikan and Juneau were the best for souvenir shopping. The ship's souvenir shop Galeria was expensive and the selection wasn't impressive.
Disembarkation was a breeze as well. You are able to choose the time that you want to get off the boat. We had chosen an 8:45 departure, but ended up leaving earlier (8:30). Once off the ship, we found our luggage quickly. I would say that the whole process took about 15 minutes.
I plan to cruise with NCL again in the future and would recommend it to others. Less
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