Norwegian Star Cruise Review by lagunarent: Panama with a blast
Overall Member Rating
Panama with a blast
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
Embarkation: Los Angeles
We left out of the Port of Los Angeles on New Years day. We should have arrived earlier as they allowed guest to board much earlier then we thought. The newly remodeled terminal wasn't completely finished but much nicer then before. Boarding was a little slower due to a lot of non US citizens and more paperwork but everyone was very pleasant.
We went straight to our cabin which was a surprise as I had upgraded from an inside to outside for only $20 more. Room was very nice and luggage mat out on the bed ready for us to unpack. Room was very clean and cabin stewards met us right away and remembered or names from the very beginning. Always a nice touch. It was also nice to see a shower with sliding glass doors and a separate toilet area.
We went up to the pool deck to look around and get a bite to eat. Food and service very good and for the fist time, they were setting up an actual BBQ on the pool deck for our sail away party.
We sat right next to the main More pool where the 2 slides are and they had a Trinidad band playing.
This was our first cruise on NCL and right away we were very impressed. Some of the crew was a bit tired as I'm sure the New Years Eve party was a bit long and rough but glad to see they can have a good time too!
We also have never done a Freestyle dining type cruise either a was a little concerned as we always had traditional dining with large tables. We went to the Aqua dining room which is casual and had a very good dinner. Not crowed at all. After that we went to the Welcome Aboard show which usually are a little boring but this show was Excellent! The Cruise Director was from Turkey Sinan and he even made fun of his name and then the Comedian Tim Kaminski came out and the two of them went to town. A great night and the place was packed -standing room only. After the show, we were in the Gatsby's Bar which specialized in martinis and we saw both Tim and Sinan there socializing with all the guest. Tim was great in getting people to meet other passengers and Sinan was just a great funny guy. Normally most of them run away after the shows. Not this guy he was everywhere!
We became good friends with Tim the Comedian and he introduced us to 2 other Norwegian guys traveling together. We became great friends right away and socialized throughout the cruise and in port.
All the entertainment was very good. Band on the Run, a great 70's Disco dance party was packed, then Tim's main comedy night and both shows packed way early as so many people liked him, Dancing with the NCL star was hilarious.Another night was the Duo Acrobatique show which was excellent followed by the 50's and 60"s rock and roll dance party. The cruise team had great costumes and once again the CD Sinan always stuck around to keep the party going.The following night was Rey the Ventriloquist who was very funny also packed and then followed by the Fiesta deck party. This was actually the least packed event, maybe because Acapulco was a long day. We didn't see Dorthy Bishops Diva show as Tim was going to do a late night show so we hung out with him in the Gatsby bar before hand. Friday night was Hypnotist Scott Lewis and I always love these show. There always so much fun and one of our friends participated in the late night show as well. We also had a 10 pm show for a Country Western party so the drinks were flowing! The following night we skipped the main show but went to the Liars club in the Spinnaker Lounge also Hilarious as the the Cruise director Sina, asst. CD Ray ray , Tim and the Diva were on the panel. Great imagination. My least favorite was the juggler. maybe, it's just me but not great. Thankfully, this was the night for the late night Hypnosis show. Extreme Vegas is another great NCL show followed by a great and unexpected White Hot Dance Party in the Spinnaker. They had everything white and all crew members were dressed for the occasion as well as guest. This was place was packed. This went from 10 pm to after 2 am. Great party..the bad part was the Panama Canal was the following morning but that sure didn't stop anyone! The Second City then did there show which was great and this was going to be there last cruise on this ship so they all went over and beyond. The late night show lasted longer then normal cause they wanted too as well as all of us!
Another great group that came on the ship was Oh What A Night - a tribute to Frankie Valli and the four season. They were all young guys and did a great job as well as also being very social. This really wasn't my music type but I was shocked when I saw them perform...I even went to there second show! We did our Farewell show a day early as one of the ships acrobats had injured himself when he went to fill in on another ship so one of the ships dancer filled in for him but this gave her one more day to rehearse. After the farewell show was the other Second City Unplugged show and like I said it was great!
So the Last Show was Elements which is well known for NCL as it should be. What a great show and cast!
Our ports were all great. We really liked Huatulco MX and El Quetzal Guatemala as they were something different and very nice. Getting on and off the ship was very easy and they always had hot/cold towels and sanitizer before getting back on the ship. They also always had a little covered sitting area if you were tired or waiting for others.
The food was all very good. We did eat at the specialty restaurants as well due to the length of the cruise. The French, Asian and Cagney's were all very good and worth the minimal price.
The Blue lagoon we went to 3 times and twice was after the Spinnaker after closing down the bar and I wish they also served a lite breakfast type dish as well.
The Market Cafe which is the buffet, the food the very good but the decor needs some help. Everything else decor wise is very nice but this is just kind of a bland place.
Bars were all very good. Good drinks and great drink specials. Bartenders and waiters were excellent and look forwarded to seeing some of them again soon.
The Hotel Manager was excellent as was always very visible. Always said hello and asked how everything was. We were even late on a shore excursion and we knew they were going to wait for us but he was out there with all of the staff helping and making sure we were all accounted for.
This brings me to the Shore Excursions... not usually big on these with the ship but some places you needed to book with them due to distance of port to the area of interest. The staff was friendly but not knowledgeable of all the options. This might be because they don't do this route all the time and they were not afraid to say I'm not sure so i appreciated that.
The ship's photo manager Dean was great and all of his staff as well. They actually knew how to center the photos!
Security was very good on the ship and they took care of business when needed.
The pool area was nicely laid out and offered a lot of options. Even though were "big" kids we still enjoyed the slides.
We never went to the spa of saunas and they charged a day entry fee for the steam rooms and sauna and i think they need to change that to be included.
The music around the ship was okay...not the greatest but OK. The pool guys i thought were the best and one of the night bands was the worst and we all joked about them to the Bar staff as well as the Entertainment staff and this was there last cruise as they were asked to leave early.
All in all..I'm ready for another NCL cruise and even bought my voucher to use on the next one!
Thanks NCL Star and Crew...you help start out our year Great! Less
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