Booked the NCL Star Mexican Rivera Cruise when a friend of mine and his family were going to go. I was hesitant after reading the reviews at this website and others. We had zero expectations going in and happily, for the most part, was had a blast.
With the Suites, you get extras. We had a special fast track line for embarkation and a separate area for waiting to board the ship. A concierge met us there and we were escorted on board by one of the staff who gave us a tour. We got our kids registered for the kids club and bought the spa pass for the two of us. We learned early on who our butler was as well.
We were in a Family Suite which is one of the new accommodation categories deck 12 forward. This is prime real estate on the ship and is the lowest class of suite. It was HUGE. There was a queen bed for the two of us and a pull out for the girls. We could have slept 6 with a Murphy bed but didn't need it. We had a table with 4 chairs as well as other seating. There were floor to ceiling windows and no balcony (which I didn't miss). We really enjoyed just sitting by the windows looking at the waves. The butler delivered special snacks late PM. There was a book of DVD titles to choose from and as long as someone else didn't have the dvd checked out already, the butler brought movies to us whenever we wanted them. The bathroom was wonderful with great water pressure. There was a bathtub and separate shower with two sinks. The closets were a little difficult to deal with but we learned that if you had the bathroom door closed that the closets were easier to use.
In Cabo we got VIP tender tickets which we didn't need because we were on a tour but a nice touch not to have to worry about them. With this level of service you could eat at Cagney's every day for breakfast and lunch without extra charge. Very nice service. We also ate at the Market Cafe and by the pool but there were more crowds there. The Concierge, Patrick, really helped with any restaurant reservations that we wanted. Didn't have to stand in line for any of that. Also he helped when one night the cabin steward forgot to turn down our stateroom. Efficiently got the job done.
Kids club was ok, but when it was really busy, my kids got cranky. So, it was plus minus. They really enjoyed the kids pool at the aft as well as the oasis pools and waterslides midship.
We enjoyed the quiet just hanging out in the stateroom. We had get togethers with 8 total and had plenty of room getting around. NO trouble sleeping, etc. There were 4 fresh deck towels in the stateroom every day. This meant no need to check out and turn towels back in. This is a real time saver. There were plenty of ways to divide up the rooms with curtains and pull out wall dividers.
The almost daily bbqs on deck were yummy. The food in the various restaurants was ok, and rarely outstanding. The Endless Summer had good chips and salsa to start but the lobster tacos were to saucy. Another guy eating at a nearby table thought they were gross, too. The Italian restaurant was good and so was Cagneys, but Aqua and Versailles were both very good. We had reservations for every dinner and that helped a lot. We didn't have to wait and ate when the places opened. Great service. Never really waited for anything.
One weakness is desserts. They need to hire some more leadership in this area. Just really weak and not sweet enough. I would skip the chocoholic buffet next time. Not a lot of flavor and many of the baked goods were dried out. Tasted like they had been baked 3 days prior. Nice job on decorating the British Flag cake for the Royal Wedding celebration, though.
My wife like the Caesar salads. I liked the chilled soups. Ate Mueslix every morning at breakfast. Not sure if NCL or Disney is better but both really, really good.
Bingo was fun but really expensive.
Didn't like the Stardust theater... not enough leg room. Felt like a sardine. Standard quality of entertainment. Second City was funny.
Nice ice cream place.
Now, here is the must do: spa pass! Even if you cannot afford a big cabin like 12008, get a spa pass. You have access to a large changing area, dry and wet saunas, hot tubs,lap pool and best of all, quiet areas to read your book. They had cold water to drink as well as teas. I think this was the best part of my cruise. Nice after a good workout in the fitness center to stretch out in the pools and the hot tubs. Just awesome. Highly recommend. They put a sticker on your key card and you get a robe and a locker key at the front desk. It was NEVER crowded. Fabulous.
The Star is pulling out of Mexico due to violence (real and perceived) as it is affecting the yield of the ship. Gonna kill the local Mexican economies. Too bad.
Got priority disembarkation instructions. Didn't have to wait long and when we decided to use a porter to help us with baggage to our car, we were whisked to a special line that went through customs fast.
So, lots of great VIP treatment.
We would not hesitate to go on another Star cruise in the future.