My husband and I have just returned from a two week Panama Canal cruise on the Norwegian Star with NCL, first cruise with NCL. We are only in our mid 40's and found that there were a lot of older people on board which actually was better in the long run, reason for this being that we could always get a sun lounger (despite certain nationalities reserving them with their towels from early morning till lunch time, perhaps like other cruise ships NCL could adopt a towel police service) e.g anything over an hour and the staff remove the towels. The bars were never full and not everyone wanted to get on shore, so no queues getting on and off ship, especially on the tender day (just one tender day which was in Cabo San Lucas) Mexico's own little Monte Carlo. We always found getting on and off ship a breeze and very well organised by NCL. Also mainly American and Canadian passengers on board with a few Europeans. There were only a handful of little ones on board. Ports visited were all nice apart from Puntarenas in Colombia which was very run down and not a very nice beach at all. We did a full transit through the Panama Canal which was excellent with full commentary. Very hot during the transit but NCL even provided iced towels for passengers which they also did when returning to the ship on shore days with iced water also, which was a nice little touch.
On board - service was excellent and lots of staff, food excellent but too many restaurants where you had to pay, but the two we went into most nights which we really liked and offered silver service and excellent choices on the menus were free, these were Versailles and Aqua. Just one was a bit more formal that the other.
Breakfast - we had this delivered to your room at no extra cost most mornings, but only continental which suited us fine.
Drinks - we found these a little expensive at over £4 a pint with a compulsory gratuity of 15%. As for tea and coffee none in room on arrival but all we had to do was order it and a fresh coffee machine and tea was delivered.
Entertainment - As with all ships some excellent some middle of the road, odd one totally awful, but then again everyone has different tastes in entertainment and it was geared up to the American audience. Skinny German Juggler Boy was just hilarious and not what we expected at all and the Frankie Valli tribute was also very good. Sinan the Turkish cruise director on ship was very funny and it was his last stint on the Star, not sure which ship he was going to next but NCL have an excellent guy there and should keep hold of him as he is worth his weight in gold to them.
Beauty and sauna facilities - Found these expensive.
Excursions - As usual on cruises most of the trips organised by NCL were expensive for example one was £90 dollars each through NCL and we did the same trip ourselves with a local tour operator and just the two of us for $40 dollars between us.
Hairdryer (for the ladies) just to let you know it was a very good one and not one of those little plastic things that blow out hardly any air.
Stateroom - was very clean and quite spacious. Also the bed was very comfortable with nice white crisp bedding each day and fluffy soft towels daily. Plenty of wardrobe/drawer space and the shower was roomy.
Tips - We paid these upfront $12 dollars each per day however this does not include the bar gratuities, which we were unaware of.
Can I just say that the staff on board all work very hard were always smiling, are very friendly, helpful and courteous and are a total credit to NCL.
All in all we had a fabulous holiday and would definitely sail with NCL again.