Just returned from a 7 day Mexican Riviera cruise. If it was only about the charming, friendly staff this cruise with be 5 stars however in other very important ways the Star fell short. We had a Balcony room and it was the smallest room I have ever experienced on any cruise line. Really, really tight quarters with very little usable storage. The good news is that with the more casual atmosphere regarding dressing these days you will need far fewer clothes. Pack light!
The complimentary food was average at best. The Market Cafe buffet never varied for the entire cruise. Breakfast, lunch and dinner selections were boring and uninspired and the presentation was more cafeteria than buffet. I did like the "Caesar Salad" station though. The food in the specialty restaurants was far superior. It was delicious and plentiful and you really felt like you were dining and not just eating. Well worth the extra per person charge however most of the guests never experience them; feeling that they already "paid" for their meals with their cruise ticket. All of the restaurants were terrific especially Ginza and Cagney's. Avoid La Cucina!
One of the main reasons I cruise is for the relaxation and sun at the pool. Unfortunately this pool area lacked ambiance. There is only one main pool and it's very small with no shallow end for wading into. The rest of the pools were small hot tubs or slides. All the lounge chairs are removed from the actual pool area as there would be nowhere to place them. Instead the chairs are arranged "stadium style" on tiers and a good hike from the food area. Unfortunately the outside temperature on this cruise only allowed for 2 sun days as it was too cold to sit out on the other days. Lots of passengers joked that this must be the "Alaskan" cruise!
I must admit I never went to the shows or participated in the lectures onboard because I spent a good portion of my time in the casino. It is the biggest and best casino I have ever seen onboard a ship. The staff there was fabulous and the casino hosts were friendly and very accommodating. I really felt well taken care of.
The ports were fine and we loved our Salsa and Salsa excursion in Mazatlan and our Dolphin Swim in Puerta Vallarta. The cruise staff really pushes the "Diamonds, Emeralds and Tanzanite" jewelry available in every port and onboard the ship boutiques. I can't imagine making a significant purchase in either place. The ship shoppes were very uninspired; repetitive selections and tacky merchandise.
In closing I think that the Norwegian Cruise Line's Star ship is about the average you might expect; I guess I was hoping for more than just average.