I just returned from a cruise aboard the Norwegian Star departing from Seattle Washington to Alaska. I went with my mother and brother. This was a bucket list trip for mom to do with her two adult children. Neither my mother or brother had ever sailed. This was my 4th cruise, and my first with NCL.
Embarkation was very smooth. We boarded the ship around 1230, was eating lunch at the Market Cafe by 1300, and our cabin was ready by the time we were done with lunch. The 3 of us shared a cabin, so it was adequate, but not overly spacious, but we were aware of that prior to booking. The cabin was clean and well maintained. Storage was adequate. Our room stewards were very attentive to our needs. We were economy minded and did not partake of the specialty restruants, however we found dining in both the Versailles and Aqua dining rooms to be very nice. Food was delicious and attractively prepared. The only problem was sometimes we had to wait a long time for dessert, although appetizer and main course were timely. The Market Cafe was the typical cruise ship buffet and seemed to lack variety. We did enjoy breakfast there, but seldomly ate other meals there. We did like the 24 hour Blue Lagoon. Menu was limited, but food, service, and environment were good. We also utilized room service a couple of times and found that was a positive experience.
Ship entertainment was good and included music, magic, comedy, etc. The Stardust theatre was beautiful. Seats were a little crowded and you had to get up to let people pass through in the row. We felt all staff was courteous and went the extra mile. Ship was clean and well maintained. We were blessed with good weather....sunny every day, no rain and in the 60s. That could not have been any better. We did enjoy the free style cruising as far as dining when you chose, however, I have cruised before with set dining and missed the experience of consistent wait staff and dinner entertainment which is not present with free style cruising.
A lot of reviews do talk negatively about the cruise line trying to sell things such as specialty dining, drinks, pictures, etc. and that does occur, however, it is totally optional. We did not partake of most of those things and our onboard expenses were minimal. Due to the location and time of year, children aboard were minimal and most participated in children programs. The majority of the guests were probably 40s +. The fitness area was nice. I went to the gym most days. Crowded at times, a variety of equipment. Debarkation was exceptionally smooth and we were off the boat and in a taxi by 0830. We did opt for taking our own luggage off the ship which does greatly expedite the procedure. Overall, we had a fantastic time and would recommend the NCL star cruise to Alaska to friends and family.