Finding fault is not my style. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, look for the positive, etc. That being said, our cruise on the Norwegian Star left us distinctly underwhelmed.
My wife and I live in Colorado. We took this trip with my wife's sister, niece, niece's husband, and 2-year-old twin great-nieces.
Embarkation took WAY too long. We arrived at the pier before noon, as the pre-cruise info advised. We stood in a very long line outside. When we got inside the port building, we stood around a lot longer. Signage was poor and there was little or no seating. We were asking other passengers where to go, and other passengers were asking us where to go. All of us but the twins are "Latitudes" members, but I could not tell that we had any type of priority boarding status. Once on board, our luggage arrived at our cabin within a couple of hours.
Apparently there were some events we could have attended, such as a reception for Latitudes members and More
a sail-away party, but we had no idea they were available.
Our cabin was adequate. It was a balcony stateroom. However, the bed was terrible. I like a firm mattress, but this thing was like a marble slab with a sleeping bag on top of it.
Our cabin steward was excellent. He was helpful and friendly, and clearly made extra effort to provide great service.
The entertainment was, for the most part, very good. The Second City company did several very funny shows. The performers in the production shows are very talented and the shows were well-paced and well-produced. On the other hand, the band that was usually performing in the main atrium were very amateurish.
One of the highlights of the entire cruise was a comedy hypnotist, who also did some presentations on therapeutic uses of hypnosis. He also has a long-running show at the Riviera in Las Vegas, and has great stage presence.
The food in the buffet was mediocre at best. The same dishes were served again and again.
Some were consistently good, but most just weren't. I want to stress that I am NOT a picky eater. I like most anything. Food has to be pretty bad for me to criticize it...just ask my wife.
We ate at Teppanyaki one night and the Italian restaurant one night. Both were very good, but there were surcharges for both. It almost seemed that NCL was trying to coerce guests to utilize the extra-charge restaurants by making the no-extra-charge options less appealing. The best food of the whole cruise was
a special event called "The Best of All", where there were dishes from each of the specialty restaurants. Of course, there was a surcharge for this, also.
Speaking of surcharges, it seemed that NCL was trying to chisel extra money from guests at every opportunity. For example, there was a fee of nearly $100 for the privilege of using the sauna, steam room, and whirlpool in the fitness center/spa. Charging for a service such as a massage is reasonable, but just to use a facility? Naaah....
The ports of call (Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta) were great. Shore excursions were very enjoyable and well-organized. Whale watching in Cabo and touring an artisan tequila distillery in PV were excellent.
Our niece and her husband tell us the child care service for the twins was very good.
Disembarkation was delayed. We were told it was because the ship had somehow not been cleared. Again, lots of milling around and standing in lines.
All in all, there was nothing that made us want to book another cruise on Norwegian. We are planning to go back to Royal Caribbean for our next cruise. Less