It was NCL's first sailing by Star out of Tampa. Embarkment was well organized until you got up to an agent. After waiting in line for about 20 minutes, it took over 45 minutes to get checked in. Agent maintained it was a new system for them and that was the reason for the delay. He changed something and then said the only two names on the reservation were my wife's. He needed someone to correct it and I think there was only one or two people trying to help the 20+ agents with any problems they had. We along with others later when leaving the ship for ports found out that both of our cards had my picture on it. Others we knew had the same problem. I think that will be corrected but some passengers we talked to said it took them up to 3 hours or more before they cleared the lines and check-in with the agents. Now for some good news.
This was the cleanest ship we have ever been on. Hallways to the cabins had nice colorful carpeting and the rooms themselves were also attractive. Food was about the same as other lines, except they had several pay restaurants which were rumored to be well worth the price. We didn't actually use any of them ourselves. Ports were better than expected although, we either stayed relatively close to the shore or took a taxi to see the country side and attractions.
The entertainment was really as good as any we've seen on our previous cruises. The cast of dancers and singers had some excellent shows. The game shows in the Spinnaker Lounge were a really a lot of fun. Dancing with the Stars was hilarious and made you laugh till you cried with the Star's version.
The Newly Weds, Married Couple, and 55 ____ were also well worth staying up for. The Red Lion was a fun bar with sporting events being televised on a large screen. Fun was to be had with karaoke and trivia games throughout the day.
The BEST OF ALL THE ENTERTAINMENT was at Gatsby's Lounge which featured pianist DAVID PELLEGRINI whose personality was filled with charisma. He played and sang anything the audience requested and the regular songs he chose were enjoyed by all. He let some of the audience sing and even play the piano. He had such a throng of admirers virtually all went every night after their first visit. Word of mouth by those guests increases the number of people every night. Everyone nightly enjoyed when he put on a very shy drink waiter(Drew) who was very shy but helped enhance the experience by his singing and banter with David. David had such a great repoire with his guests and knew most of us by our first name, he just drew you back to see more every night.
The purser's desk was extremely adapt at answering questions and dealing with any problems you had. The Internet was expensive and slow like other ships.
Gratuities were $12 per person a day which was the highest we ever paid, probably due to free style dining where you had a different table and different waiters every night. Drinks were also at least the price of other ships and the normal high gratuity was added.
Disembarkment was well organized and we got off the ship in a short period of time. Tampa has one of the nicest ports for getting in and out of and the airport is also easy to get through.
All in all, we would return to go on the Star in a heartbeat. There were 6 of us and we all felt the same as described about. Give it a try, it was a great cruise, you all deserve it.