Norwegian Star Cruise Review by sweetwatertown: Easy, Peazy, Mexico Cruise by FirstTimers
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Easy, Peazy, Mexico Cruise by FirstTimers
Destination: Mexican Riviera
Embarkation: Los Angeles
I'm going to start with the stuff that I either learned from these boards or on board the ship. I strongly suggest you hook up with your fellow cruisers on your roll call board. We cruised NCL Star out of LA on 10/31/2009 and we got lots of info from fellow cruisers. Our roll call had it's own Weatherguy and some organized and talented seasoned cruisers who put together a Meet and Greet of about 60, a cabin crawl, a precruise and post cruise photo album, and a few group lunches. If you don't utilize the roll call boards, you are missing out!!
Posters are serious when they say to PACK LIGHT, it's true. There is a ship's laundry service, we did not use this time, but, will in the future. The cost goes down as the week goes on. There is no guest laundry on the Star.
A FLASHLIGHT, really, we had an inside cabin and the lights went out, in port,for half an hour, the hallways have light strips, not the cabins. A NIGHTLIGHT, or leave the closet door open with that light More on.
SEASICKNESS MEDICATION, we never got sick, but, we took as preventative measure.
A STRIP PLUG if you want to use ipods or other accessories. You can get a wake up call, otherwise an ALARM CLOCK is handy. A WRISTWATCH, there are few clocks on the ship, by the elevators, and even my 80 year old mother uses her cell phone as a watch. Since we were in Mexico and didn't want to incur charges our phones were locked in the cabin safe. We never knew what time it was!!
Inside cabins only have tiny coffee maker, I brought STARBUCKS VIA instant coffee packets and they were great. An insulated coffee mug and a portable container for your water, unless you want to pay for individual bottles.
Bring a BINDER CLIP so that you can post the ship's daily by your tv. Read the ship's daily and always check the restaurant times on back page operating times vary on port days.
A simple, cheap LANYARD for your room card, the reception desk will hole punch for you, you always need your card for room entry and all charges.
The last night you place your packed luggage in the hall so have a CARRY OFF BAG for your pajamas and toiletries.Had seen a suggestion to place leis on luggage to ID we used little bath net loofah things from the dollar store and it did help ID the bags in customs where there appeared to be an acre of black bags.
Buy your NCL branded items at the END of the cruise, high quality tees available 3 for $30. in the atrium the last cruise day.
The spa discount of $150. for the week per couple ONLY pencils out if you are planning to use the spa a lot, including port days.
The bingo game seemed like organized crime, lol, and the jack pot is progressive, so it makes sense to play at the END of the cruise. They call too fast for the paper cards so get a computer. If you buy raffle tickets for the free cruise please note YOU MUST BE PRESENT TO WIN. Good thing we were, we won a 7 day cruise to the Caribbean!!! FYI, it's for an inside cabin, must be used within 1 year, not transferable, or 1k applied to any other cruise. We have already booked a balcony on an Alaska cruise next spring.Thanks NCL!
Our Steward, Miguel, was friendly and helpful. We had towel animals every day. You can display your towel animals above your tv in the inside cabins and during the cabin crawl my sister saw them displayed in the larger cabins in a variety of spots.I joked that he was watching the hallways on closed circuit as he performed his magic seamlessly.
The Market Cafe was LOUD but a great place to get food quickly and they had a large variety. The Versailles and Aqua have the very same menu each day, the Aqua seems more intimate and a little quieter. I loved the food at Versailles and I believe that NCL does an excellent job of hiring employees with a great attitude and a desire to serve. We were especially taken with Steve from New York, via Las Vegas. Steve always took the time to greet us individually and his service stood out.
If you want a quieter meal the service charge in the specialty restaurants is worth the price. We only ate at Endless Summer and the food and service were exemplary. They had a TASTE OF INDIA buffet, which we attended, and it was well worth the $15. fee. The food was NOT too spicy and was exquisite. Nelson, our waiter, took us to the buffet and explained each dish, which was very helpful. The chef, Godfrey, visited each table.
We enjoyed the Frankie Vallie revue at The Stardust, very professional, outstanding show. The Andrew Loyd Webber musical was also very good. The last night was a 70's music review which was good, even better was the end of that show, the captain comes out and introduces crew members. They received a standing ovation and they deserved one. There was plenty to do on the ship and we enjoyed the fact that our fellow guests were friendly and happy. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
We 3 consisted of an 80 year old with a cane, and 55 and 56 year old sisters. Our choices were limited by our mother's lack of mobility.
You walk off the ship and there are motorized carts to transport you to the port. There are men there waiting to provide van tours to tourists. For $25. each we were taken on a 3 hour tour of the city. We insured that we would be visiting the Cathedral and off we went with a total of 9 passengers. Part of the tour is to take you to prearranged areas to shop, shop, shop, whether it be at a brick and mortar shop, or a turn out in the road.I had to back track, on foot, to see items of interest.
We visited the Cathedral and purchased post card stamps at the Post Office.
There was free beer in the van and the driver cruised various neighborhoods. Maztalan is a town of 750,000. I found it to be unattractive and ridden with graffiti.The town looked like it was in a continuous state of construction with bad cement and decaying infrastructure. Street vendors were somewhat pushy and somewhat annoying. The port itself has a nice clean shopping area with good prices and cheap beer, if I return to Maztalan, that is as far ashore as I would venture. The PORT, that's it.
Upon disembarking we selected a van that would take our party of 3 on a van excursion of our choosing. We selected Eduardo for 3 hours for $100. all the other van drivers wanted to fill their vans.
Although Eduardo's air conditioning was iffy his personality and service more than made up for the inconvenience. Eduardo did take us to a few obligatory shopping locales but he also took us to where we wanted to go. Eduardo dropped us at the malecon for a designated time so we could take pictures.
Puerto Vallarta has tourist "police" in easily recognizable uniforms who are everywhere and are very informed and professional. Eduardo, too, was great for suggesting points of interest to document and other photo ops. We visited the Church and deposited our post cards at a post office. Eduardo also took us to different neighborhoods and was well versed in local history. Our last stop was at the port WalMart, we just had to check it out, and then back to the ship.
The City of Puerto Vallarta is succeeding in making tourism work for their community. I want to return and explore more fully this clean, cobblestone town.
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