We had taken a cruise from SFO to Mexico aboard the NCL Spirit in 2005 and loved the quality of the ship, food, staff , etc. a great experience, this time was far different!
In an effort to give an accurate review of the NCL Star, I have separated my review into different categories with an explanation of why I have reviewed them like I have.
Ship: 5 out of 10, nothing special here, it is obviously made to house a lot of people with ncls budget in mind! don't expect teak decks and deck chairs on this one it is very utilitarian.
Cabin: 4 out of 10, the lay out of the cabin was very small but usable, the balcony was very small and only 1/2 covered with the balcony above so who ever was leaning over their rail was right above your head as you were sitting outside. The balcony furniture was cheap and distasteful, the glass was dirty as was the floor with paint drips all over it!
3 times out of the 7 days the toilet didn't work as they were working on the system, they don't bother to tell you this you this, you just find out as you use them.
The cabin service was poor, we didn't get an on-board schedule for the first 2 days, the T.P. was of poor quality and would give you bum rash, we bought our own on the first stop in Mexico and was much happier.
The ice service was poor and had to wait for hours to get ice to the cabin and then that was only because we called 3 times to remind them.
Dining and Food: 3 out of 10, We ate at the restaurants that were inclusive of the price we paid! and didn't try any of the ones that they charge high prices for.
First of all we thought the staff were wonderful, very cheerful and accommodating.
The food was borderline awful! and served on the same cheap white plates everywhere, the quality of the food was poor, the selection of the types of food stuffs were basically cheap, the menu was never interesting and they never posted the menus on the TV system yet you could find out what was served at the pay restaurants on bill boards all over the ship as well as on the TV, for the inclusive restaurants, you had to go there and see for yourself!
The buffets had the same foods everyday! OMG we are in Mexico you think that maybe there might be some Mexican buffets?? no! just the same choice of basic meals everyday, with watered down juice at breakfast, stale bread stuffs, and everything with a canned food taste, the only thing that we found that was consistently good was the water and the melon!
Also we ordered the room service for breakfast (before 8pm the night before) the first 2 mornings it never arrived, after complaining about that it was finally on time the 3rd morning but with no salt, no sugar or creamer for the tea and coffee and the hot breakfast was cold.
NCL Policies: 1 out of 10, First off you are required to give a mandatory gratuity that they take directly from your shipboard account.
Every-time you turn a corner they are after money for this and money for that, anything that is quality on board they have their hand out for, you feel you are being fleeced from the moment you get to the ship.
The ship is grubby with stained couches, chairs and soiled carpeting throughout, it feels like the motel 6 of the high seas!
I hope this review helps you in some way, we will never book a NCL cruise again. "Bonn-voyage"