I had read a few reviews of the Star before booking the cruise but still booked because the price was right. I was a little worried but it turned out that my worries were unfounded. The only cruise line I have been on prior to this trip was Carnival and I was not impressed.
Embarkation was so easy. We arrived at about 1:45 pm and we walked right up to check in and were on the ship within 10 minutes of arriving at the port. Side Note: we used Memorial Park and Fly to park our car. I cannot recommend them enough. HALF the price of parking at the port and they transferred you in a really comfy bus to and from the port. There is no reason to pay over $100 to park your car at the port. There is also no reason to get to the ship so early that you have to stand in line for 30 min. to an hour to check in. Get to the port after 1:30 pm and make your life a lot easier. In the port, the employees were dancing to the music and really genuinely seemed to enjoy their jobs. In prior cruises, I felt like I was committing a crime by daring to even approach an agent. Not here, it was a fun festive atmosphere before stepping on board.
Once aboard, we went to our room and checked it out. I have to say, the rooms themselves were much smaller than Carnival, but the bathrooms were much larger and really well appointed and nice. They angled the toilet so that, if you are tall or larger in stature, your legs are rammed into a wall when you sit on the toilet. The shower was a walk in shower with a removable shower head. It was a little smaller for someone tall and big but it was doable.
The crew was amazing. The bar tenders, servers, entertainment, bussers etc. I cannot say enough good things about these people. When I got off the ship, I felt like I was leaving family. On the first night I met a nice server in the casino (jimmy de la cruz was his name) and didn't see him again until the last night on the ship and he called me by my first name. This amazed me but it was par for the course on this cruise. Gunther in the Red Lion Pub was so sweet and always welcomed us with a smile and a big hug goodbye on the last day on the ship.
The cruise director and her assistance were just awesome. Beantown Brian, Oriel, Sana, Andreas, Juicy and Crazy Christine were so much fun. They ran the events on the ship. Trivia, game shows, dance lessons, and karaoke were a blast. We were never bored!!! The shows were hit and miss, the singers were incredible. The shows "Shout! A Mod Musical" and "Band on the Run" are not to be missed. One of the performers named Erika has an incredible voice. I could sit and listen to her sing all day. The Second City comedy troop was also very funny. The aerialist Duo Amaury was amazing. But the magician was so boring. He did the same trick (put someone in something and make them disappear) over and over again. My suggestion to the entertainment people is to use their vocalists in more of the shows. Two shows with them was not enough. I would have loved to have seen a Broadway tribute type show with these singers. On Carnival, they did that but the singers are terrible. I would love to have heard Erika singing something from West Side Story or Wicked.
The food was another pleasant surprise. Anyone complaining about the food quality need only look to Carnival for the worst food on the seas. Norwegians food was really great. Not the greatest, but much better than I really expected. The buffet always changed from day to day, with some standards remaining the same. They actually had GOOD pizza and interesting sandwiches. One of the best things was that every night from about 8 til 10 pm, they had a chef out on the deck making fresh crepes with any filling you wanted. They were sooo freaking good that we went almost every night to have one. Norwegian has THE BEST cheesecake on the planet in the Aqua restaurant. If your a cheesecake fan, please do not miss having a piece.
The only specialty restaurant we ate at was La Cucina and it was not that great. I cannot recommend this place. I don't know about the other specialities but I had much better food in the buffet and Aqua and see no reason why I would try another specialty again. Its not worth the extra money. I had chicken parm in la cucina. The chicken was ok but the past was hard and the sauce was weird. The next night we went to Aqua and they had Eggplant Parm. one of my table mates ordered it and we shared it and it was phenomenal. The sauce was perfect and the noodles were well done.
Departure and port days were very easy as well. The longest we waited to exit the boat was when we had to tender and that was mainly because the couple in front of us was using walkers and had to walk down these stairs to get into the tender boat.
Now onto the negatives. The rooms were really too small. Once we had our two large suitcases in the room, it was really hard to move around. When the beds are pushed together, there is no room for the person sleeping on the bathroom side of the bed to walk. This means if that person had to go to the bathroom, they would have to slide down to the end of the bed to get off the bed. This would surely wake the other person up. Luckily, we wanted the beds separated and once they were that issue was resolves. Still the rooms could be bigger.
Another negative is that all the public seating areas are rather uncomfortable if you are larger in stature. It is like they tried to find the tiniest seats in the world and filled the public areas with them. Even the theater seats were horrible if you are someone with larger hips. Carnival had large chase lounges you could stretch out on. Even the couches that were on the ship were made to be very short in width. The theater was the worst, they had chairs up high but even those were tight and small. So a warning, if your even 50 lbs over weight be prepared to not be the most comfortable in the public areas.
Leaving on a positive, my fave part of the cruise ship is the top front of the ship. The view is amazing and at night with no clouds the stars are breathtaking. The Star has a jacuzzi at the top front of their ship. This was just such a great idea. So wonderful to relax in a jacuzzi with that view.