This review will be mixed because I have to say, with my first cruise using Norwegian, I LOVED free style cruising. We have cruised with other cruise lines and I loved not being tied in to dressing up and having a set time for dinner.
We flew to Vancouver 4 days before the cruise as we had never been there before. We stayed at the Westin Grand. Although a nice hotel, our room was great, I did not like the location. My husband, however, felt the opposite. We were across the street from the library but far from the main center of town. While there we took the off and on trolley, which is the way to go. Not too expensive but it allows you to see the town at your leisure, including Stanley Park. Vancouver is a beautiful town, we loved it. We had an opportunity to attend a comedy fest which was a lot of fun.
Sunday we left the hotel for the ship. We were early (11:30)so it was a little of a pain, very little, standing in line waiting for the doors to open (12:00). We met some very nice people in line. Once the doors opened, however, this was the easiest embarkation that I have gone through. Although we were in a suite, the line for everyone moved so fast we did not even bother going over to the suite line...we just moved on through and was on the ship within 5-10 minutes.
We knew that the cabins were not going to be ready so, after reading on this board we could go to a dining room rather than the buffet, we headed to Versailles. Lunch was great. During lunch they announced that our cabins were ready so we headed to the cabin. We were met there by our butler and concierge. What nice people. I am horrible on names, so already cannot remember theirs but they were great the entire cruise and very attentive. It was difficult for us to use them as much as we probably could as we are so use to doing for ourselves but our butler kept reminding me that I was on vacation and to relax and let him help me.
Now this is where this review may be a little negative. The cabin was only okay. The decor is horrible. We had the zebra decor. The bedspread was so old and had been washed so many times it definitely needed replacement. In fact it even looked dirty (I don't think it was). We asked them to remove it and not to bring it back. The back of the chair that matched the couch was broken. They were going to take it and have it fixed. We told them to take their time and just bring it back after the cruise...as it actually gave us more room in the cabin.
It was very nice having a table with four chairs for our breakfast each morning. I loved the wrap around balcony and spent quite a bit of time out there. The bed was very comfortable and we both slept very well all night.
The bathroom, however, had mold in it which was never cleaned completely. That was a drawback but I am sure there is a problem with mold just because we are out on the ocean exposed to the moisture all the time. The rest of the cabin was kept very clean. Our stewards were very attentive. Even though we did not have a bedspread any longer they still came in and turned down the bed and left the mint.
The rest of the ship was very well maintained. I saw nothing else on the ship that needed maintenance. They were constantly working on the ship, painting and varnishing...but were not in our way at any time. I loved all the different bars as each one was unique. The library was wonderful with quite a few books to read: fiction and non-fiction. There was food everywhere you went.
We dined in Soho the first night and it was wonderful. We had steak and lobster. It was great. The second night we tried the Tex Mex restaurant. Although not one of my favorites the food was good.
We ate at the Aqua dining room twice and although they served the same menu as the Versailles, the food did not seem up to par as the other dining room. The food seemed to be overcooked. In addition, I did not feel that the atmosphere was as friendly as the Versailles. There was not much smiling going on with the waiting staff. Now...why did we eat there two times...well, they allow jeans in that dining room. So we accepted what we decided to do.
We ate in Versailles about 3 times for lunch and all three times we loved it. The wait staff was wonderful and went overboard each time we were there. The food was great...we have nothing but great things to say about Versailles
We also had an opportunity to eat at Cagney's. What a wonderful place. Although we had late reservations and closed the place, they were wonderful. The food was cooked exactly to our liking and the sides and desserts were wonderful. Great place to eat if you have an opportunity. My sister and her husband ate at Le Bistro and loved every minute.
We also took one night at ate at the Blue Lagoon. The hot wings are to die for. If you go on this cruise, do not miss them. My husband also had the fish and chips and he said they were very good.
Our first port was Victoria. We took a tour around the city and over to Buschart Gardens. The gardens are wonderful and no one should go to Victoria without visiting them. My only complaint was that we did not have enough time to seem them all. We are definitely going back. We loved it.
The second port was Seattle. Now my favorite city. We took a city tour which included going up in the Space Needle. This allowed us to see many parts of the city. Although it was foggy the day we were there, so the view was limited, this is a beautiful city. We are going to plan a trip back and spend a week there seeing everything.
The last port was San Francisco. We had ordered tickets to Alcatraz before we left. But we docked in South San Francisco right near the baseball stadium. Anyone that knows San Francisco will understand what I am saying. It was so far from the wharf that we decided to stay on the ship as we knew the city well (we are California natives). It was a beautiful day there and although we stayed on the ship it was an enjoyable day.
We were at sea two days on this cruise. The Star has so many activities going on during sea days it is difficult to pick which ones you will attend. This is a definite plus. I chose to go to Wine tasting and Martini tasting. We also attended all of the shows. They were quite good for a cruise line.
All in all, it was a great cruise. We are already planning our next on Norwegian and in fact, on the Star. This time we are going with a different cabin category as we are not quite suite people. We are going to take our son and his wife sometime next year.