Wow we had such a week on the Star.
This was our first time booking a suite and it was worth it...But from the beginning.
Embarkation seemed a little Unrehearsed for a boat that had been sailing out of this port for a few months already.
We got through security with no problem and we ushered to the line for the suites. We got our cabin cards and were brought to the area for the people in the suites. There were some sandwiches and cookies available in this reception area but we weren't able to partake in them because we were almost immediately ushered to get onto the boat.
The photo booth had not been completely set up yet, so we weren't able to get an embarkation photo taken. Secondly, Our concierge Patrick, was the one leading this small hoard of people onto the boat. Well apparently they were letting a bridal party on at the same time and the back half of the group was separated from Patrick. Nobody had told us where to go, so we were pretty lost. Jamie, who turned out to be the cruise director personally made sure we got where we were supposed to be. (Side note..In our brief conversation with Jamie, we found out that there were going to be over 700 kids on board due to the spring break sailing time!)
Well we got got Cagney's eventually with the rest of the guests in the suites. Lunch was positively delightful. (Aside from my kids arguing over who sat next to the window) After that we were free to roam the boat.
We were told that the cabins would be ready by 2:00pm. They weren't. They wound up calling deck by deck that people could head to their cabins, and I was surprised that deck 12 was called last. (Don't they usually have the suites done 1st, and there are so few cabins on deck 12 to begin with?)
So we got into our suite ...LOVE the suite. 1st. Lots of room for the kids..Right there its worth it. There was a queen bed.(2 twins pushed together) a pull out sofa bed, and a full size murphy bed. Everything was separated by curtains, which at time got to be a bit clumsy, but definitely worked to separate everyone when trying to get to bed. There was also a small table and 4 chairs, a coffee table, and 2 other sitting chairs. For a family with 2 kids (ages 2 and 9) this was way too much furniture. We had our coffee table moved out because we just kept tripping on it. We probably could have moved out the sitting chairs too. I think it really was a lot of furniture for the room. The bathroom was very nice. The tub was deep, but not jetted, there were double sinks and storage drawers. The hand held sprayer in both the shower and the tub were delightful.
There was a very small walk in closet, with 4 different sections, One of which housed the safe.
There was a complimentary bottle of champagne and a bottle of water when we arrived in the room. We don't really drink champagne, so we had it changed out for a bottle of wine. Now here's the best part of the suite.
THE BUTLER SERVICE IS PRICELESS!!!!!!....We LOVED our butler, Andres..aka Andrew was absolutely amazing. He took care of our every request and anticipated our needs before we had them. I have to say we had him running a little bit ragged. He was just absolutely fantastic! He took care of changing the champagne to a bottle of wine. He also works as the room service attendant for his suites, and he took care of each and every special request we had.
We utilized the private concierge a little during this cruise. We got into the main dining rooms without having to wait, and with a window seat to boot.
Here's the worst part. The family suites are a part of a recent renovation, and were put in place of the spinnaker lounge on deck 12. Deck 12 also happens to be right below the sundeck and running track. I heard it every time someone went out for a late night jog. Also for the last 3 days of the cruise I was woken up at 2-3am with the noise of them cleaning the deck above us. They were scraping the deck chairs along the ground and hosing off the surfaces. I complained the 2nd night this happened and the gentleman at the desk said that there was nobody up there. I went up there myself and there was a crew working just as I had suspected. Worse than that..The front desk called my room at 3:15am to see if the noise had stopped!
We only caught the show on the last day.. Seasons the "cirque" ish show was very very good. We had our 2 year old with us for it and she absolutely loved it too.
We brought our kids to the kids club on the 1st night. It was an absolute madhouse. There was a 20 minute line just to get the kids checked in.
The kids were really excited about it though.
We were given a beeper as my little one is still in diapers, so we could go back and change her when she needed it.
Well apparently they didn't tell us that we had to press a button to check the beeper. It doesn't just automatically go off. When we came back 2 hours later we were reprimanded for not paying attention to the beeper. I was furious. They apologized for the "mix up"
They really need to rethink the age groups that they have together at the kids club. There is a group of 2-5 year olds, 6-9 yr olds, 10-12 year olds and the teens. Any mom can tell you that a 5 year old doesn't have a lot in common with a 2 year old and a 9 year old with a 6 year old as well. They need to add a few more age categories, especially during family cruise times when there's 700 kids on the boat! Each of the groupings also tended to gear their activities toward the youngest in the group...Great for my 2 year old..not so much for the 9 year old.
Also they were 25 minutes late for a family Lego event that turned out to be really disappointing.
Food was great, especially the breakfast and lunch service at Cagney's for those guests in the suites. We took full advantage of that and the fact that we could get the full dining room menu in our room. The buffet was good although they need to work better at keeping all the options a little bit hotter temperature wise. My husband likes Indian food and the section for that in the buffet was really really good according to him. The food service officer happens to be Indian so we must credit him for bringing in his own variety.
We had sushi in the Japanese restaurant one night and it was good, but they could use a little bit more of an expanded menu. I didn't find the service in this restaurant to be up to par with what I saw on the rest of the ship. We also did the "best of" lunch on the last day. It was good, but it wasn't great. I probably would have been more happy in one of the main dining rooms and not having a cover charge.
I am a slot player and my husband plays the tables. He never really had any luck at the tables. The slots were reasonably loose on the 1st 2 night, and then you couldn't get a nickel out of them after that. I did however find some luck in the slot tournament, which I wound up winning on Friday.
Our room was right near the library which I must say was very nice. It seemed to be getting a lot of use too.
The main pool...I wish rules were a little more enforced here. I can't count how many times I saw little kids in the adults only hot tubs, and college age drinkers with glasses in their hands in them. There really wasn't anyone taking care of the pool areas while there were people in them. Just at night to be cleaned. Also The pools were never filled to capacity (with water) I understand that they need to be drained while we're cruising, but there really was no time when they were completely filled.
The kids pools didn't seem like they were heated to the same degree as the larger pools. I found the water in them to be colder. Also the kids pool is in a more exposed area on the back of the boat. There was some paint chipping in the kids pool area too.
Ping pong. There were only 2 ping pong tables and we were never able to get one when we wanted it.
The stardust theater is absolutely gorgeous, and the new spinnaker lounge seemed a little cramped. It would have been nice to show some kids movies during the day for the amount of kids on board.
There is a popcorn machine in the red lion pub that seemed to get a lot of usage. They should probably put a few more in around the boat for the amount of people in line for it.
The bridge tour on Thursday for the cruise critic members was absolutely amazing. Mikos, the 1st officer gave very nice descriptions of everything and took my son's questions. My son was talking about the bridge tour for a week after the cruise.
The biggest issue we had on this cruise was the public drunkenness of the college kids. We saw kids being carried back onto the tenders after being on port. There was one occasion where I was in line at the buffet around 11pm and the girl behind me couldn't even put her own food on the plate. She had to leave the line to go and throw up. I would have been miserable if I had to listen to these kids all night in a room next to me. There really was no way to contain it.
Disembarkation went really smooth for us.
We gathered in the stardust theater and Patrick escorted those in the suites off the boat in our own line. We got off in about 15 minutes.
There was no problem getting a porter. We had parked close by in the lot and we were on our way very quickly.