1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
This was our 8th cruise on NCL; the 6th on the NCL Star. It was refurbished in 2015 and this was our first time on it since then. On the "old Star", we used to spend significant time in a small English pub (promenade/aft/port) ... Read More
This was our 8th cruise on NCL; the 6th on the NCL Star. It was refurbished in 2015 and this was our first time on it since then. On the "old Star", we used to spend significant time in a small English pub (promenade/aft/port) called the Red Lion. It had a warm, distinct personality and had comfortable seating. The refurbishment "killed" the Red Lion and replaced it with something called "5 O'clock Somewhere" which became a sanitized something or other (bar?) with very uncomfortable wooden seating. We only spent about a total of 15 minutes there for the whole 14-day cruise as opposed to usually spending a couple of hours a day at the former Red Lion. The Atrium on the 8th deck is now O'Sheehan's bar which is also the Star's 24-hour restaurant. Some of the food is pretty decent; some isn't. The french fries (which is your only choice for a side for most sandwiches) definitely fall into the latter group. I had a really good steak at Cagney's steakhouse; my dinner at the Italian restaurant "La Cucina" was...well lets say that I've had better from Chef Boyardee cans. The buffet was decent. If you are into craft beers (like I am), there are NONE to be had on the Star. And if you like to read (again, like I do), finding a semi-quiet nook was difficult. The service we received from all crew/staff we received on the Star was excellent. Our room steward was outstanding. Its really too bad the the NCL staff who planned the refurbishment did such an underwhelming job. Unfortunately, this will probably be my last on the Star. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
We are the type of travelers who reside in very rural Washington state, so an inside cabin works great for us. Very dark, very quiet and cheaper. All a big plus. Our room stewart Rio was excellent. He knew us both by our first names by the ... Read More
We are the type of travelers who reside in very rural Washington state, so an inside cabin works great for us. Very dark, very quiet and cheaper. All a big plus. Our room stewart Rio was excellent. He knew us both by our first names by the second day. He always greeted us and asked how our day was going. Our room was cleaned in a timely manner and turn down service every night included the cute towel animals. When Rio noticed we had pool towels he placed clean ones in our room each night saving us the hassle of going to the pool area and grab our own. We choose Norwegian for the free style dining. Hubby will tolerate the sit down dinner restaurant once, so we primarily eat at the buffet. The buffet offered a large variety of food with items every night that I had to just try. I found the food flavorful and was surprised to find Dahl, which became my default dish. For someone like myself who vowed not to have desserts (I know a sin when you are on vacation) there was always fruit available. The cook staff was very accommodating. I asked for prunes one morning and was given a bowlful from the kitchen. The full service restaurants were not impressive. The one and only dinner In the main dining room we experienced very slow service despite getting there as soon as it opened and not worth the hour spent. For the Irish pub eatery one meal was great, so I went back to try another dish and it was marginal. Basically don't order fajitas in an Irish pub. The asian restaurant was my worst experience. Slow service, a choice of three items since I am allergic to sea food, and the food was either salty or tasteless. There was a nice variety of nightly entertainment in the theater, with new performers halfway through the cruise. If you couldn't find something to do on the ship during the day then you obviously didn't read their daily newsletter. I had to make myself remove some of the activities from my daily schedule and just enjoy being on the ocean. The ports would not necessarily be my first choice, but that is why we go on a cruise. We were there to go through the Panama canal which was fascinating. But a cruise is a great way to check out a country to determine if we would spend a week's vacation there. The only shore excursion I booked through the ship was in Colombia and it was by far the worst excursion out of the 4 we did. It was hot so we bought water (which was to be provided) and the locals were extremely aggressive in trying to sell you something. The entire tour bus of people was funneled into the tour guide's small chosen store for the 20 minute shopping time, ignoring the ship recommended ones that actually offered a cool refreshment. In comparison, the three excursions I booked privately had between 2 and 10 people attending. Each of these excursions offered more sight seeing or activities than the same one offered by through the ship at a significantly lower price. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
I'll try to keep it short & sweet.... 9th cruise/ 8th on Norwegian/ 1st time on the Star. Stayed @ Embassy Suites near MIA. Nice, comfy, easy shuttle to pier ($10PP one-way), oh yeah, and the Manager's Reception! Around $185 ... Read More
I'll try to keep it short & sweet.... 9th cruise/ 8th on Norwegian/ 1st time on the Star. Stayed @ Embassy Suites near MIA. Nice, comfy, easy shuttle to pier ($10PP one-way), oh yeah, and the Manager's Reception! Around $185 hotel. Everything is subjective from here on out. This is just OUR review. Everyone's likes & dislikes, viewpoints, activity levels, and abilities are different. This is ONLY what WE thought.... The ship itself- We thought it was in real good shape all-around. All the public areas were in great shape and very clean, including restrooms, lobbies, pool area, hallways, restaurants, & bars/venues. My small nit-picky's were some touch-up paint outside "around", and some theater seats that wouldn't fold up (and they are VERY uncomfortable!). A positive- there is just SOMETHING about the "older" ships--- in that they have that wonderful, towering, "glass-elevators-and spiral-staircases" Main Atrium! It is the WOW! of walking on to a ship at the start of a cruise! The new "gigantor-ships" just don't have those--- in our opinion-- too bad.... Our cabin was a mid-ship balcony, #10590, and our Steward was Ferdinand. BEST STEWARD in all of our cruises. No question- best ever- great job! Dining- (very subjective!)-- We ate at all 5 of the Specialty restaurants (via dining package). FOUR were absolutely great in service/food/entire experience. Moderno was awful-- period. They sat us over in the Sugarcane bar area (lousy), and were pretty-much ignored. Great salad bar but the meats they brag about were mostly dry and tough. Entire Moderno experience-- terrible. NCL should take toss the whole Moderno restaurant idea (and its "tired" concept), and toss it overboard. O'Sheehan's was OK, the buffets were all good- but don't think I'd go as high as "great". Drinking-- We thought the bars were all run pretty well, maybe with te exception of the Bier Garden. There needs to be a "walk-up" line area for folks to get drinks without elbowing and reaching over prople actuallly sitting at the bar. If you know what I'm talking about--- then you know what I'm talking about! After a day or so, they were LOUDLY telling people to make a line. Trouble was-- it was right in the center of the bar- NOT off to the side. To top it off-- my wife and I were actually sitting at the bar-- and were told LOUDLY that we had to GET UP AND GET IN LINE to get a beverage-- and the line was right where we were sitting! Another funny-- the "Five O'clock Somewhere" bar was one of the "latest" to open for beverages (noon). Everday, almost all day-- and clear into late-late afternoon, the place was PACKED with people playing card & board games. Something just NOT RIGHT about the "5 O'clock Somewhere Bar" being more like a library. You get my drift...... We thought the entertainment was good overall, loved the comedian, Fred Bevill. Activities-- All just sort-of "blah" to us. Same old Deal or No Deal, EXPENSIVE Bingo, trivia, goofy game-show stuff, ship "parties" (white-hot, etc), jewelry "sales events' ,art auctions. I don't have any suggestions-- but this ENTIRE area needs to be just...plain...re-thought-out...... period. Same old twenty-year-old stuff--- again. On a cruise this long-- there needs to be more to DO........ Maybe use the bigger ships on these long cruises? The highlight of the trip for us was actually going thru the Panama canal locks! Fascinating/ amazing/ the sheer magitude of the project/ incredible! (Note-- the best picture-taking was at the BACK of the ship-- NOT the front!). Ports- (again- very subjective). We went on 3 excursions- all 3 were "NCL". Cartagena city tour, Acapulco cliff divers, Cabo land's end. All three were good! Stayed near the ship in Puerto Quetzal Guatemala- and it was really pretty good! Lots of shopping/ food/ very clean, and nice! The other two ports Costa Rica and Nicaragua--- well, we did NOT feel like riding in a bus for 3 to 4 hours just to see something and say we saw it. So we just copped-out, and stayed near the ship. I must ask (my opinion only, here)..... But-- I gotta ask......WHY are these two stops even considered? Wow, Norwegian, REALLY?? (read between the lines........) Truly sorry if I sound like a complainer in some parts of this review, because OVERALL, it was/is a GREAT cruise! A 'bucket-lister" for us! The small things mentioned did NOT affect the enjoyment of the entire vacation AT ALL. Not one bit. Next cruises for us- Escape in Sept, an Epic in Jan 2019.... and can't wait! Oh, yeah, I apologize for being "long-winded"........ Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
Chose this cruise for the Panama Canal and the price. It was several thousand dollars less than our usual choice of cruise ships. It started out as an embarkation nightmare. A half hour to check in followed by an hour waiting to board then ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the Panama Canal and the price. It was several thousand dollars less than our usual choice of cruise ships. It started out as an embarkation nightmare. A half hour to check in followed by an hour waiting to board then an overcrowded buffet with a long line. It reminded me that four years ago it was the same thing. NCL still has not figured out a smooth embarkation process. After embarkation we fully expected it would go down hill from there, but it didn't. Actually the cruise itself was quite nice. The quality and selection of food was slightly better than passable. The presentation was better than the food itself. No shrimp coocktails or escargots like on Celebrity. The french onion soup I have loved on Celebrity was watery, tasteless and cheeseless. We missed having breakfast on the fantail off the buffet. no such thing on this ship. fortunately, we learned that the breakfast experience was better in the Versailled MDR. The open dining approach worked well if you timed it right, but arrive at 7 pm and you could have a half-hour to hour wait for a table. After trying to eat at aropund 7 and catch the 9:30 show, we figured out it was best to east at 5:30 and catch the 7:30 show. Our cabin and balcony were smaller than on Celebrity. No room for lounge chairs. The bathroom was okay, especially the shower but the commode was tucked into a small area where you barely had room to sit. i pity some of those heavy folks you see filing their plates at the buffet. Absent a handicapped cabin, there is no way they could fit. I must say however that the wait staff and the cabin steward were wonderful. The other staff all around the ship were friendly and helpful. it was clear to us that they had been well trained in that regard. The ambience in the free dining venues was very nice. The Versailles MDR was lovely, but cold and noisy. We found our niche in the extension of the Aqua dining room where we dined almost every night (11 out of 14 nights). It was warm, cozy and intimate. Not a lot of space Best part of the cruise was the entertainment. it was top notch. The NCL house company was wonderful. The singing and dancing were as good as we have seen. The performers worked hard and it showed. The ports left something to be desired. Cartagena, Columbia was okay. The best part was the port istelf, stocked with flamingos and parrots. In puntarena, Costa Rica, all we did was walk off the ship and shop for a few hours in the stalls in port. large selection and good value. In Corinto, Nicaragua we took an excursion to Leon, which was horrible except for a lovely lunch in an old hacienda. In Acapulco, unless you took an excursion to see the cliff divers, the city is an absolute slum. Cabo San Lucas, on the other hand, is very touristy with nothing but shops, restaurants, bars and boats with plenty of choices for whale watching or other marine activites at reasonable prices. and it is very clean and safe - a pleasure to walk around town. Of course the Panama Canal itself was wonderful. A speaker joined the ship in the morning and left in the afternoon after providing a detailed history of the canal and how it works. That's what we came for and it was great. Bottom line, the difference between NCL and Celebrity was obvious, but we chose to save a total of $4,000 by sailing on NCL and we got what we paid for. But never again will we go through that embarkation process. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
First time as Platinum so the perks such as priority embarkation and laundry were great! The ship is fairly nice with a beautiful atrium. Some layout challenges for accessing certain venues. Theatre needs a refresh (many seats broken) but ... Read More
First time as Platinum so the perks such as priority embarkation and laundry were great! The ship is fairly nice with a beautiful atrium. Some layout challenges for accessing certain venues. Theatre needs a refresh (many seats broken) but everything else was in relatively good shape. Staff was very pleasant and worked hard although not many were exceptional except a couple bartenders and one of the assistant cruise directors; a few should be looking for a job outside the hospitality industry:). Food was quite good although the breakfast buffet selections did not change much - but there was lots to choose from! First time at Cagney's and it was great - went twice! Teppenyaki was fun and very good food and really enjoyed Moderno's. Ginza was very good and La Cucina was ok. Evening entertainment was high calibre although the themes of a couple of the big shows were not really my style. Comedians were good but we do miss the dedicated comedy club/duelling piano bar of the larger NCL ships. It was nice not having to make reservations. Always able to get a seat but could be tight at the last minute for the late or most popular shows. The daytime activities were basic but with port days and pool time there was always lots to do. Overall seating and public areas was pretty good. You could usually find a deck chair overlooking the pool. Our balcony cabin was a tad disappointing: storage was minimal and awkward; the bathroom was cramped due to an unnecessary sliding door for the toilet area (a design feature on a number of this class of ship); fridge was way too tiny inside. (These issues of course were all manageable and did not impact the enjoyment of our trip.) The balcony was a decent size compared to some of the regular balconies on the newer ships. Room steward was quite good and heard that also from friends we made on board. Demographic skewed a bit older as expected for this length and itinerary. The Cruise Critic roll call was the best we've participated in to date! Had a number of activities and opportunities to meet a lot of new and friendly people. The ports were a mix depending what you are looking for. At a couple you needed to book something to see anything besides an industrial port. We like to see the sites whenever we go to new ports. Good thing as there were not many "beach day" or "adventure activity" options for most of the ports. Note that it is very easy to book quality and inexpensive shore excursions right on-site at pretty much every port. Cabo was beautiful - definitely would like to go back for a longer time. Antigua was worth the drive in Guatemala. Wish we had done a different port in Nicaragua but Leon was interesting to see. Cartagena had some charm. Acapulco is trying to rebuild after its heyday and the people are really welcoming and there are some great sites and views - especially the cliff divers. Costa Rica was our "nature" fix - people were very welcoming. All in all a good cruise as they all are but we realize we like the bigger ships. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
We chose this cruise because of a specific excursion in Cartagena, Cumbia Dancing. We took private dance lessons, at a great expense, to prepare. One day before port the excursion was cancelled. We booked another excursion that went ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of a specific excursion in Cartagena, Cumbia Dancing. We took private dance lessons, at a great expense, to prepare. One day before port the excursion was cancelled. We booked another excursion that went fine but this was a major disappointment. While dis using excursions, almost all were top notch. The exception was in Acapulco. Cliff divers and shopping. The cliff divers were great. Flamingos Hotel was a lovely setting but a totally decrepit used up 1930's hotel and I doubt the guests much like tourists tromping through on them. The gold museum was closed so the naval museum was subsitiuted. Interesting history but a very hard walk and perhaps as many as 50% of the passengers could not do the walk and had to drop out. The excursion offerings were not very good in Acapulco. A big excursion surprise was Nicaragua. A very poor counrty but our guide was top notch. We can highly recommend Live the Tradition. We took the Zodiac Whale Watch in Cabo and it was the best whale watch tour ever and I was in the tour business in Kona for many years. Too many breaches to count and one with two whales beaching at the same time. Amazing! We had to make a collection through Chicago so we arrived in Miami 2 days early. Good time shopping and seeing Miami. Cheap and easy shuttle to the ship and smooth embarkation though a bit of a long wait. Explored the ship and and our stateroom was easy to find and clean, comfortable, well laid out with plenty of space and nice balcony. Our steward was very efficient though seemingly devoid of personality in dealing with guests. This opinion was shared withouthers on board. This ship needs a total do over. The theater seats are some of the most uncomfortable I have ever experienced. There were a great number of seniors on board who had difficulty walking the stairs in the theater. An aisle hand rail would have helped the people greatly. Aqua has great food and service but the room just seems strange from the twinkle lights in the ceiling, through the art on the wall down to floor. The shopping areas are tiny and could use much more variety in product to offer. There is more space in the photo shop that in the retail store. Watch, jewellery and perfume shop are acceptable. The atrium area could use a refresh and the coffee shop, a Starbucks type place, can be almost impossible to use because of people sitting around playing cards or just sitting and watching a band play. O'Sheehans needs a lot of work. Very poor management. The host station is on one side of the room and the other side of the room has no supervision. Waiters seem to not care and people just wander in and sit down to watch and listen to the music. Paying customers, there is liquor served, sometimes have no chance. Maybe the 5 o'clock Somewhere Bar would use more space. Buffet is good enough as is Top Side. Be aware that there are 5 separate buffet lines and the food offerings are not the same on each one. Versailles does a great job. Good food, good service but again, the room seems a bit worn. Great spa and gym. Try a hot stone massage if you feel pain. Wow! Gym equipment is top of the line and always a trainer is near by. I love the Thermal Spa but $59 per day is a bit high for me and the pass for the entire cruise tied up too much time with so much else to do. Plenty of activity and a good variety of things to do. Internet is really expensive. Finding a safe Wi-Fi location on shore has to be a much better alternative. Come on NCL, give townspeople what they want. Shows were pretty good. Great singers and dancers. Good, clean comedians, and productions. But a juggler? Didn't we leave that sort of thing behind when we bid farewell to Ed Sullivan? I would take this trip again but would prefer a different ship with a bit more of the modern nice extras. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
We did 9 cruises with NCL and they were great. # 10 with the STAR not great at all. Our room with balcony was on the 9th deck near the open deck, the music was so loud that I slept every nicht with sleeping pills. We booked the cruise 10 ... Read More
We did 9 cruises with NCL and they were great. # 10 with the STAR not great at all. Our room with balcony was on the 9th deck near the open deck, the music was so loud that I slept every nicht with sleeping pills. We booked the cruise 10 month ahead and could not get our deck 10 we had on all other cruises. The crew was unfriendly, they were very occupied talking to each other, no attention to the guest. The washy, washy girl Juno was the nicest on the ship. To get a answer from any of the crew was not possible. The balcony was very dirty, rusty and full of paint chips. There were nuts and bolds missing at the connection doors to the other balcony, the door made constantly a noises. My husband got sick after 5 days like so many of the guest and the crew too.To win a penny in the casino was absolutely not possible. I had a big amount of money with me, but it was gone in no time. This cruise was a big disappointment, I am not ready to go on a cruise very soon again, first I have to recover from this shock. We had already an other cruise booked, # 11, a trans atlantic cruise with the Star wich I cancelled right away. The music at the shows, at the pool and anywhere was too loud, people at the show covered their ears or left. They had movies on TV with sinking ships, not good for a cruise, and for 2 weeks the same movies over and over. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
I chose cruise for itinerary and price. Our cabin was adorable, loved the shower. It was small, interior cabin midship on the fourth floor. I enjoyed being so close to the exits at each port. I thought the shows were great. Lots of ... Read More
I chose cruise for itinerary and price. Our cabin was adorable, loved the shower. It was small, interior cabin midship on the fourth floor. I enjoyed being so close to the exits at each port. I thought the shows were great. Lots of variety. It's the medical facility and the food (taste, service, quality) that I am complaining about here. I got sick on the third day of our 14 day cruise (everyone on the ship seemed sick already.) $325 for over the counter cold treatments and what the "doctor" said was a zpac. I just got sicker and sicker. At one point, I had trouble even breathing because of asthma and coughing. "doctor" wanted to charge me again! I went to pharmacies in ports and got some actually helpful medications and advice (steroids and throat spray.) The food was tasteless. Even specialty restaurants offered lackluster choices. Service could take an hour to an hour and one half. Our room steward was uninterested in our needs or anything more than basic turndown service. The gym offered classes with surcharge (about $15 a class.) but did not include anything other than the equipment and towels. There was no sauna or showers or even a changing room. Daily activities were a joke or included a hefty price tag. Afternoon tea was cookies at 3:00 pm in the buffet! Shore excursions were better left to when you got off the ship. We paid for "cliff divers and Fort of San Diego" but when we got there, there were additional entry charges. Night life for the over 40 crowd seemed hopping but I was too sick to care. I love cruises for the food and service. I get to live like I don't have to care about prices and laundry and working. I felt this cruise lacked that "everyone is special" treatment that my cruise price usually buys. Read Less
Norwegian Star Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 3.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 2.0 3.2
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 4.0

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