Norwegian Star Review
- Pro: Refurbs have kept original Freestyle ship modern.
- Con: Reservations necessary to get the venue you want.
- Bottom Line: Star provides some of Norwegian's most popular features, on a smaller ship.
Norwegian Star Overview
Launched in 2001, the 2,348-passenger Norwegian Star was the first Norwegian ship custom built for Freestyle Cruising, NCL's anti-traditionalist program that touts a plethora of dining, cabin and entertainment options.
A 2015 refurbishment saw a number of additions as well as a ship wide refresh, including carpets and upholstery. The biggest change was the transformation of the whole of the lobby area of Deck 8 with a Norwegian mainstay – O'Sheehan's Bar & Grill, replacing Blue Lagoon Restaurant and Moderno Churrascaria. While Blue Lagoon has gone for good, Moderno has moved to Deck 13 taking up the space which was once the Star Bar. It shares this space with the second Sugarcane Mojito Bar. The Red Lion Pub on Deck 7 has been converted into the first 5 O' Clock Somewhere Bar on the Norwegian fleet. Digital signage has also been added, and both the phot gallery and the casino have been given a refresh. And finally, Ginza noodle restaurant has become free.
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 also 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 $13.50 per person, per day in all cabin categories up to and including a mini suite. Suite guests will be charged $15.50 per person, per day. This supports an incentive program for the service staff. Passenger who prefer to tip individually can fill out a form at reception. An 18 percent gratuity is automatically added to fitness classes and bar drinks as well as an 18 percent auto-gratuity to all services in the spa. All specialty and entertainment dining carries the same 18 percent auto-gratuity. For passengers using concierge and butler service, Norwegian recommends a gratuity "commensurate with the services rendered." The bill can be paid in cash or with credit cards.