Norwegian Star Nov 7-14 Mexican Riviera.
First I would like to say that I had a wonderful time on this cruise. The only thing I would complain about is the Embarkation.
My friend and I (females both in our early 60’s, I am married and she is single) arrived in Long Beach on Thurs Nov 5 and spent two days with my sister in Placentia. My nephew drove us to the dock and we arrived there at 12:15 pm. I have cruised 4 other times and my friend 5. We assumed we would be able at that time to go through security and board the ship. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. The sign for baggage drop was right as we approached the tent. The bags really had to be dropped at the far end so we dragged them down there. We got in line for security, which was poorly run. There were no signs and we got to the front of one line and they told us it was only for people in wheel chairs. So back to the end of another line we went. We got through security and I had a 1.5 liter bottle of wine in my carry on. I was escorted to a table where I paid my $15 for corkage. Then was told I would have to take it to my room because they only take 750ml in the dining room. From there we had to fill out paperwork saying we were not ill and then on to a short line to get our ship card and register our credit card. From there we were told to sit on a chair and wait. We waited and waited. More people came and they were told to go to the other side of the tent and sit in the white chairs. Finally after sitting for over an hour we walked to where they were taking boarding photos and then about 100 people were with us. The security guys who were supposedly handling the crowd did a poor job and one guy kept screaming at everyone. Luckily we were able to board at that point. It was so poorly handled that the people in front of us to go through customs had not even gone through security and they didn’t have ship cards. We walked right to the Versailles dining room for lunch because it was 2pm and we were very hungry. When we were done with lunch our room was available so we went and unpacked and got ready for the muster drill. Our bags arrive right after that.
We ate most meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) in the Versailles dining room but did try Aqua a few times. It wasn’t as elegant. The meals were good to very good. We had lobster tails two nights. We are vegetarians but eat seafood. We were always able to find things that we were happy with. The salmon that is always available was excellent. The vegetarian offerings were not always that exciting but we could always find seafood that we liked. I would recommend the smoked salmon and spinach benedict at breakfast. All of the dessert soufflés were very good. We did have fish and chips in the Blue Lagoon a couple of times and it was pretty good.
We attended the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet on Sunday morning in the Aqua dining room. They had juice, coffee and cookies for us. Joannna was very nice to set it up for us. We met several nice people and got some good suggestions for the cruise. Some of the officers came and spoke to us. They told us that there are normally only two ships in port but that day there were three and we were in the temporary terminal. The ships were late coming in by an hour because of fog and the tide was low so they had to board on a different level than they usually do. All of these contributed to the delay in boarding.
We loved the shows. The first night was good, the Andrew Lloyd Weber night was very good as well as the tribute to Frankie Valle. The four gentlemen who did that show boarded in Cabo after flying in from Las Vegas then left the ship in Puerto Vallarta. The magician was pretty good, maybe a little hokey. I missed the show with the ship dancers and the Chinese Acrobats. The final show was also good.
We didn’t do any excursions. In Cabo we walked around town and had lunch at a restaurant across the street from Starbucks. I had been to Cabo on another cruise and there wasn’t much there except cheat internet. In Mazatlan we got a driver named Fernando outside the terminal. He took us on a two hour tour for $40. We went up on a hill to see the light house and the ship in the pier. Then to see the cliff divers. From there we went to Old Town. He stopped while we went into the Cathedral. Then my friend mentioned a massage and he took us to a place he knew and made an appt for us an hour later so we could finish our tour. Then we went to the Golden Zone and saw the flower market and shrimp market as well as the resorts. Then he took us back to the massage place Amore Spa for our one hour massages for $14! When we finished and were leaving the guys from the Frankie Valle show the night before walked in. I believe it is a well known massage place. We walked back to the square by the Cathedral and found an internet place and a department store. We were to meet Fernando at 2pm for a ride back to the ship. At 2:30 when he hadn’t returned we took another cab back to the pier for $5. They are open air cabs that look like large golf carts. In Puerto Vallarta we took a van with other people for $3 each to downtown PV. Unfortunately about 15 min later I fell down on a bad sidewalk. Twisted my ankle and skinned the other knee. I hobbled the rest of the day. Had lunch at Bubba Gumps and walked down the water front. Then walked up a couple of blocks and went to a Woolworths to look around. Caught a city bus for 5 ½ pesos back to WalMart across from the ship dock. Walked around in WalMart to see what they had and bought some vanilla and Mexican coffee. There is a mall next to WalMart and we walked over there. Didn’t see much there. I took a cab back to the ship across the street, because I couldn’t walk the really long walk on the other side of the street. The driver let me out right by the guarded gate and I walked in from there.
One of the couples we met at the Meet and Greet offered for us to go with them to LAX when we arrived back in San Pedro. That was really great for us. It was $48 plus tip for up to 5 people and while we were waiting at the dock for the van she found another person to share so we all paid $12 each. It was Execucar and she reserved it online. Disembarkation was much smoother than Embarkation! We got off at 9:15 and went down to get our bags with no problems.
Bingo was very expensive. Minimum for a 6 on for four games was $30. Otherwise you use bingo machines from $50-80 for four games. I played each day and one time went for the $80 but paper for $30 all of the other times. I never won. The casino was an off and on deal. One day win the next lose etc. They got all I took to play with.
We really liked the freestyle dining. We met lots of really nice people and actually ate with some of them more than once. All in all it was a very good cruise. I would do it again. It was my first time on Norwegian, having cruised Carnival 3 times and Holland America once. I would rate it between Carnival and Holland America.
Our room stewards were I Ketut and Monohar. They did a great job. It was about the cleanest I have had. They were very friendly and always greeted us in the hall. We had an inside room on deck 4. We booked in August and thought we got a good deal. Onboard we found out that lots of people got outside rooms for less than what we paid. Our travel agency doesn’t do OBC or upgrades, they said “too bad, we don’t do that.” I really don’t mind an inside room because I like to be out in the public areas as much as possible. The weather couldn’t have been better and the water was so smooth that we hardly knew we were moving until the last day when it got a little wobbly.
Once again, I really enjoyed this cruise!