The N.C.L. shuttle from the airport was a breeze, as usual. Someone meets us at our baggage claim, and takes us directly to the N.C.L. waiting area. Simple. Boarding was timely, easy, and clear.
The entertainment was the best we have had in 4 cruises with N.C.L. It was incredible. We went to ALL of the shows, and some of the lounge acts as well. Wonderful. And the crew show was right up there as well! What talent they have on-board in their staff. Jaime the cruise director did a great job, just a little humor, but did not hog the spotlight, something other cruise directors could learn from. Although she was a great 'fountain'.
The ship did seem frayed, more so than in times past, we suspect they are cutting staff positions, and doing as much as they can with what they have. A shame. As for all those talking on here about the 'refurbishing'. We found that the ship was not as much refurbished, as it was redesigned, moving the Blue Lagoon, Spinnaker, and making suites out of the card rooms, meeting rooms, etc. A good use of space. We loved where they put the Blue Lagoon, much nicer than that hallway where they now have the photographers.
The food was not nearly as tasty as in years past, but that did not stop my husband from gaining 10 lbs.! The room service was quick and fun for breakfast on the balcony.
We chose not to use the buffet more than twice, as it was spring break and noisy, with 800 kids on ship that week. But we have to say the college group, especially the U.Washington (Huskies), were very well mannered and a pleasure to be around. This being said by a Cougar fan... W.S.U.
Our room steward JOSEPH, had no help, and still took time to cheerfully visit with us every time he saw us, and called us by name. Our room was always clean and stocked. The ship was VERY clean, and I tend to be O.C.D. about such things. Just not as ship shape, with closet doors coming off, peeling paint, etc. But even with fuel going up we did not have a surcharge, so they are trying to keep the cost reasonable for everyone.
The ports were good. Cabo is always wonderful. This time my 65 yr.old hubby chose to do the dolphin swim, and was like a little kid at Christmas for the rest of the trip, and still stops people to tell them about it! Don't miss it if you get the chance. And I love to snorkel so the catamaran trip is really good, especially if you have trouble getting BACK into the water taxi at Lover's beach. But the fish at Lover's beach are more plentiful and diverse it seems to me. The taxis feed them! Santa Maria is protected and quiet, the water is not churned up, and dangerous from all the water taxis, as is the case at Lover's beach. So it would be age appropriate, and depending on physical strength, which to choose. The water temp. differs at different months, so do your research. Oct. is like bath water, April, it is cold.
Puerto Vallarta is great to walk around on your own. We take the bus..$1, for two of us one way. Easy. Take 'Centro' it takes you to the boardwalk, and center of town. Easy walk, down to the river where the flea market is, and all around to the Cathedral. Hop on the bus for 'Walmart' and it takes you back to your port. Walmart & Sam's Club right there in case you forgot something for your trip, like socks!
This was the most relaxing trip we have had to the M.R. And we owe a lot of it to the wonderful, cheerful staff we encountered on the Star.
A note to those who like to research. Print out maps of your ports, always helpful. And go to cruisett.com to see how many ships are going to be in port when you are, helpful when deciding on excursions and such. Also try wunderground.com for trip weather, click on history, and it will give you 10 yrs. of past weather for the week you will be sailing.