Norwegian Star Cruise Review by pdponyx: Not so shining star
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Not so shining star
I will give you my overall impression of the Star. If you want a more thorough review there are many others out there.
The ship disembarked from San Pedro/LA port. Parking is $12.00 a day. Read the signs as you come in to make sure you are headed in the right direction. I'd much rather sail out of San Diego because the set up of San Pedro is not great. The people first are not very friendly. When we found out where we were supposed to enter, the porters were only in one area. You had to go to them and wait in line because all they had were dollies to take your luggage.
When we came inside the person directed us to the wrong line. There are two steps, first to get your room key, and then the second line to take your photo. They had four different lines to choose from, but all of them were slow.
We arrived around 11 am and it took us almost 1 1/2 hours to finish the process. Once we entered the ship they had champagne and orange juice to greet us. That was More a nice treat. Our rooms were not ready yet so we headed to Versailles, one of the free dining rooms.
I don't remember what we ate for lunch, but it was not tasty. I thought maybe it's the first day and it will get better. The food never got better in the dining room. I am not a food snob by any means, however the food on Carnival blew Norwegian's food out of the water.
Because it's freestyle dining you do not have the same waiter/waitress every night. Some were friendly, and others were plain rude. Anything with gravy on it was salty. Almost all the different types of fish were dry. The only good fish they knew how to make was talapia. They had lobster two nights. The first time they made it, it was decent. The second time it was dry and tough. The desserts were sometimes the same desserts that were in the buffet. One of the appetizers, vegeterian spring rolls were the same things they had for the kids at the children's buffet. I would give the food a 3 out of 5, almost a 2 out of 5. Believe the reviews when they say the food is bad. One night never stood out for us. We just always said the food was okay. Oh how I missed Carnival's food and their service!
Eating in the dining room also took forever. It was always at least 1 1/2 hours. There were times when we'd wait 5-10 minutes for dessert to come. I know it's pre-made so I never understood the reason for the wait. Our water was not always filled, the bread they had was never fresh. On the very last night I found a piece of hair in my won ton soup.
The free dining rooms are Versailles and Aqua. Versailles has the better decor, however I found service to be quicker in Aqua because less people frequent that location. The menu was the same each night at both locations, so it just depends on the atmosphere you wanted. They posted the menu up each day. We only ate dinner in the dining rooms, evertyhing else was at the buffet. Some of my family skipped the food in the dining room and opted for the buffet. When you decide that buffet food is better than the dining room, that basically says it all.
They do have their specialty dining which is why I believe their food is so poor. I never went into any of them. I already paid to get on the cruise, I expect there to be decent food. The prices do range, and hardly anybody was ever eating in any of those dining rooms.
The one place my family enjoyed was the Blue Lagoon. This is open 24 hours, and after 11:30 is when they serve their lunch. My parents enjoyed the buffalo wings. They have a set menu, but you can get a hamburger, hot dog, chicken burger, hot wings, and some other grilled items. I do not recommend the artichoke dip, it was too watery. I asked for extra celery, they gave me one extra.
If you like to swim, be prepared to share the tiny pool with many people. There is only one community pool which is small. There are two water slides that lead into a tiny wading area. My sister went on the water slide and there usually is not enough water pressure for you to slide down well. The ship does have 6 hot tubs, and there are two hot tubs by the children's pool area.
There is a movie theater. The movies that are shown in the theater are the same ones that you can view in your room. When I was there it was The Proposal, Girlfriend's Past, Angels and Demons, Chronicles of Narnia, and a few other ones. It's not a huge theater, and the screen seemed blury to me. They only showed movies during the evenings. Sometimes during the day I wished they would show a movie because there was not much for me to do.
If you want free popcorn or a pretzel head into the Red Lion pub. They have a small popcorn and pretzel machine. Sometimes the bags of popcorn will be out for you, other times you will have to ask for it.
In terms of the activities on the ship, there were few. Many of the activities were seminars. They were basically trying to have you buy things. It was learning about emeralds and diamonds. Other activities you had to pay for. During the day when we were at sea I would work out in the gym or just walk around. Everything was packed into the evening. They did have some trivia games here and there.
The gym is nice. I liked that it is open 24 hours. They do have a screen, so bring headphones if you want to listen to whatever they have playing. There is an ice cream bar right outside of the gym that leads towards the kids pool area. If you want ice cream instead of the frozen yogurt head right outside. There were 4 different flavors each day.
Our ship just finished its stint to Alaska. Let me just say that on this cruise there were many older people. 75% of the passengers were probably over the age of 50. It was much different than Carnival.
I was looking for the night life. The night life did not exist. Most of the evening events occur in the Stardust Theater, or the Spinnaker Lounge. The Stardust Theater is a beautiful theater. The shows I would have given a 4 out of 5. We had a tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cirque de Pacific, and a tribute to the 70's. There was also a juggling comedy show, The Second City Tour (improv group), and the Blackstreet Boyz. In the Spinnaker they had Dancing with the Stars, Karaoke Idol, Newleywed Game, and the Not So Newlywed Game.
The music for the evening was mostly 70's and 80's music. It's not my style, and about 20 people were usually dancing the night away. There was a Mexican deck party, however they played Caribbean music. It made no sense to me.
The pool deck is not laid out well. There is little room to call a deck. Norwegian likes to put up windows all around the ship so you do not get a clear view out to the ocean. Only on deck 7 can you eat outside, however there are only about 5 tables.
There is a jogging and running track. The running track is very narrow, so if a person is trying to pass you by good luck. They do have two putting areas, a basketball court, however the net on top is low so you cannot throw the ball to high, a big chess area, two ping pong tables, and shuffleboard.
Everything is intermixed starting from floor six and above. You'll have some floors with the staterooms and then a dining room. The Internet cafe is on deck 9. The rest of deck 9 is the staterooms. We were on deck 5 with an oceanview, but the hallway is above us so all we heard was running.
I did like the staterooms. They have plenty of drawers, and ample closet space. If somebody is in the bathroom make sure they do not open the door and hit you. There is a mini fridge stocked with items. We asked our steward to take out the items so we could put our drinks in there. Many people brought a case of water, or case of coke with them. If you want to save money, bring your own. It's $2.00 a can for soda. There is a light in the closet, and the safe requires you to punch in a code instead of using some type of card.
They also have chairs and a little vanity area for you. We had four people in the room. I do not like how they manuever four people. There were two beds, a pull out bed, and the bunk bed. Carnival is better because they had two bunk beds which saved space. I slept on the pull out bed, and that was hard as a rock. I brought my own pillow, but I heard those were hard as a rock as well. I looked at one of the pillows and it had hair on it which did not belong to any of us.
The pull out bed is a different height than the other beds. They put it in the middle of the two other ones, so we rearranged it ourselves. We put some luggage underneath the beds, and also two small tables they had.
The bathrooms are nice because they have a glass sliding door to separate the shower and the kamode. It is tiny in there, so be careful. I hit my arm a couple of times in the shower. The only amenity they gave us was one bottle of lotion and a hair cap.
When we docked into Cabo there was an issue so we were given an extra hour to hang out there. When we were ready for disembarkation something occurred so everything was pushed back an hour. People with flights were going a little frantic.
They do give you the option to leave between 8-10 off the ship if you can carry your luggage off yourself.
One other thing. We did not go on the shore excursions through the ship. They are overpriced. In Cabo we took a water taxi ($8 each) which took us to Land's End, dropped us off at the beach, and picked us back up.
We did a city tour in Mazatlan through an outside vendor. It was $25.00 for us but my other friends got it for $20.00. They had drinks in teh van as well, and would stop at different places for us to take photos.
In Puerto Vallarta we also took a city tour. When you get off of the ship there are not that many taxi drivers. Inside is only for certain taxis, so we had to walk otuside and then somebody offered us a tour. He was a more a taxi driver than a tour guide, but we were with him for 6 hours and the cost was $17 per person.
Next time I might do a canopy tour or somethng adventerous, but they were all safe, and less than half the cost of the shore excursion.
i know I am missing some things, but that is the gist of my review. I would give Norwegian a 3 out of 5 overall. I would not go back to Norwegian because I did not like the food, the layout of the ship was odd, there weren't that many activities, and the older crowd. I would go back to Carnival any day. Less
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We were in an ocean view. The closet had ample space, and there were lots of drawers. We were under a walk way so it was quite noisy. The pull out bed is hard as a rock, so are the pillows. There are not a lot of amenities. The ocean view was a decent size. Lots of storage space.