Launched in 2001, the 2,348-passenger Norwegian Star was the first NCL ship custom built for Freestyle Cruising, NCL's anti-traditionalist program that touts a plethora of dining, cabin and entertainment options.
The ship boasts 11 restaurants, including venues serving Tex-Mex, Japanese and French cuisine, and 8 bars and lounges (try the open-air Bier Garten). In line with the Freestyle mantra, public spaces range from intimate to exuberant, providing a variety of spots for activities and entertainment day and night. There are also tons of accommodation options, from standard inside cabins to the enormous 6,694-square-ft., three-bedroom Garden Villas.
Star was refurbished in February 2010 in Victoria, British Columbia. The two-week dry-dock focused mostly on cosmetic enhancements (carpets, upholstery, etc.) and engineering work, but the line also added a number of 54 cabins and suites, and enhanced Star's spaces for kids.
Norwegian Star Fellow Passengers
NCL's passengers run the broad spectrum of families with young kids to retirees who want a casual cruise experience at a reasonable cost. The average age of guests on the Star's eight-day Mexican Riviera cruise is mid-40's, but when the cruise starts on a Friday or Saturday, the number of children on board increases. The ship is ideal for families wanting to experience an Alaska itinerary, especially since it sails roundtrip from Seattle.
Norwegian Star Dress Code
Casual, casual, casual. There is one voluntary formal night for those who want to dress up, but most choose to leave their jewels and tuxes at home. The fancier restaurants (Bistro, SoHo Room) do lend themselves to cocktail attire, but the other dining spots only require resort casual. No shorts, swimsuits or tank tops are allowed in the restaurants after 5 p.m.
Norwegian Star Gratuity
Each passenger is automatically billed $12 per day, which supports an incentive program for the service staff. Passenger who prefer to tip individually can fill out a form at reception. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to fitness classes and bar drinks or 18 percent in the spa. For passengers using concierge and butler service, NCL recommends a gratuity "commensurate with the services rendered." The bill can be paid in cash or with credit cards or traveler's checks.
This was my first cruise ever going with a friend and his wife. It was above all expectations but found myself a little bothered by some of the hidden charges and minor annoyances I felt NCL could easily look after.
I am usually a pretty ...continue
We took this cruise as the second half of the back to back, roundtrip Miami. After the first two weeks on Code Red for Norovirus due to the cruise before us, it was surprising to find the salt and pepper shakers back on the table on embarkation ...continue
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I want to write this while still fresh and to encourage others who are to take this voyage in the future. Years ago my father in law taught us with travel that you get what you pay for. This cruise proved him correct. We had an overall very ...continue