Norwegian Star Cruise Review by grammy sue: Free Style on the Star: Strengths and Weaknesses
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Free Style on the Star: Strengths and Weaknesses
My husband and I cruised on the Star from October 2nd-October 8th; a repositioning cruise starting in Vancouver and ending in Los Angeles. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and because of the price.
Norwegian markets their "Free Style" concept, but on this ship that translated to waiting in lines and poor service. In all fairness, the food and the service was very good at breakfast and lunch. At dinner, food and service was just average. We had the impression this was done to encourage guests to pay extra for specialty restaurants. We have since talked to people who have cruised other Norwegian ships, it sounds like other ships have better systems in place to avoid waiting in lines.
There are two main dining rooms. Versailes is beautiful, the traditional formal cruise ship dining room. Aqua was very unappealing, with low ceilings and crowded tables making it very loud and unpleasant.
We ate at two specialty restaurants. The French themed, Le More Bistro, was excellent, food and service were outstanding. It reminded us of what we usually experience on Royal Caribbean or Carnival NIGHTLY. Paying extra for the Italian themed restaurant was a total waste of money. The food was just average. Service was poor. We were seated at 7:15 and felt this would give us plenty of time to make it early to the 9:00 show. As it was, we didn't finish until AFTER 9:00, totally missing the show as there were no seats available.
Also,if you enjoy having the opportunity to get dressed up once in awhile, this is NOT the ship for you. There was one "formal or not" night; very few people dressed up. In fact, in the dining room, or even at specialty restaurants, you were more likely to see baseball caps, jeans, workout shorts, t-shirts.
On to positive, the entertainment was excellent. Our favorite was the group "Oh What a Night," singing 4 Seasons songs. Each show was superb. We also enjoyed the band that played nightly in the Spinnaker lounge, Melodious Jones.
We really enjoyed our balcony room. This was especially important as there were very few common seating areas on the ship, especially when weather is inclement. People were crowding on narrow window seats. We met people who had taken prior cruises on the Star, who said their used to be a couple large, pleasant areas to sit and relax. However, these have now been converted into suited.
In past cruises on RCCL or Carnival, your cabin steward would introduce himself the first night, get to know your needs and then work to please you. On the Star, this didn't happen; I think each steward was responsible for more rooms than they could handle. For example, I had to hunt down and make special requests for basics like wash cloths (2 nights), breakfast order forms (2 nights) refilling empty shower get container, etc.
Port talks were nonexistent. Perhaps this was because it was a repositioning cruise, but still some information should have been available. No maps of ports were available on the ship. Somehow, this doesn't even seem responsible.
In past cruises, we were always given an evaluation form to fill out the last night. We were told this wouldn't happen on the Star because it was "free style." Frankly, I don't think anyone cared what we thought. I assumed there would be an e-mail evaluation form, but that also didn't happen.
To finish, we did enjoy our cruise. Its just we have had so much better. NCL would not be my first choice when planning our next vacation. Less
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Cabin review: Norwegian Star Oceanview Stateroom with Balcony Deck Nine 9532
The location of our room, 9532, was just fine. This room was one of the smallest I have ever had on our 12 cruises, even though it is only the second cruise we have had a balcony cavin. There was also less storage space than I am used to on RCCL or Carnival. But we loved having a balcony. If you go on this ship, I recommend a balcony room, as there are few pleasant common seating areas. We really enjoyed being able to sit outside. Greatest fun was waking up at 6:15 as we entered San Francisco. I went out on the balcony just as we passed under the Golden Gate Bridge!