First Cruise Ever - It was absolutely fabulous!: Norwegian Star Cruise Review by redpatti

Norwegian Star 5
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First Cruise Ever - It was absolutely fabulous!

Sail Date: August 2012
Destination: Bermuda
Embarkation: New York (Manhattan)
Day 1 We arrived at the pier way early but that's how I am - would rather be early and wait than be late. Plus being super excited added to that! We were dropped off at about 9:30 am and the porter took our luggage and we proceeded to the terminal. We sat for a little while until they started taking folks through security. Things seemed a bit busy but very organized. Three ships were leaving that day - the Star, a Disney ship and a HAL ship. Also to note that our cruise was sailing 100% full.

Once through security we were led right to the check in counter for NCL. It was a breeze. No waiting because we were so early so I have to say even though we waited a bit, it was great we were so early. We got our key cards, signed our medical waivers and were directed to have a seat after we got our embarkation group number. This was a great method of keeping everyone from crowding and pushing to board the ship. You got a number (pretty much in the order you arrived) that when More they called that group number, you were allowed to board the ship.

While we were waiting, I got information on the spa and purchased a soda package for DS. He is a big soda drinker so this was definitely a smart purchase. We could have brought soda on board with us but truthfully, I didn't want to have to worry about it. We did bring a case of water with us, which was helpful to have in the cabin during the week. During this time, we also got to read the Day 1 Freestyle Daily newsletter to start thinking about what we can do that day.

Probably at about 11:15 they started calling group numbers to board. Our number was called and we started to walk up the gangway to start our vacation!!! Music playing and crew members greeting us was great! We walk up to security checking everyone in, put my key card in the machine and it didn't work! He checked me in manually, went to my DS and it didn't work either - neither did DD's. Well he checked all of us in manually but said the cards were demagnetized somehow and I needed to go to Guest Services to have them fixed. He wondered if I had them together next to anything magnetized. Didn't think of it right away but then realized I had them in a pouch together that I had put in my bag right next to my iPad - with the smart cover on it. Well the cover is magnetized so I am betting that did it. So just be aware all of my fellow geeks who travel with devices!

We went immediately to guest services to get the cards fixed and again no line so it was so easy. While we were there, I also signed an alcohol waiver for DD.

Next was lunch. Thanks to reading CC, we headed straight to Versailles. The crew here was very welcoming and we were seated right away very close to a window with a view of the pier where the Intrepid is located. Unfortunately, we couldn't see the space shuttle as it is covered by a huge dome. It was still nice though. Lunch was good - DS ordered the burger, DD ordered the shrimp salad sandwich and I got the philly cheesesteak sandwich. We all had gotten the corn chowder soup and for dessert DS got cheesecake, DD got sherbert and I got the bread pudding. The courses were good - DD didn't think her sandwich was great but it wasn't bad either.

During lunch they announced that all of our cabins were ready so we decided to check it out. We had an aft balcony #10730. We entered and first thing, the kids went out to the balcony so I joined them. Just then we had a knock on our door. It was our cabin steward Angelo. He wanted to introduce himself and let us know he was there if we needed anything at all. We chatted for a few minutes and let him know it was our first cruise and that we were all very excited. He told us that our luggage would be arriving shortly and asked how many pieces we had. 3 plus a case of water.

We then unpacked the carry ons we had so that was less to do. We decided to take a look around the ship so we left the cabin to go for a walk. On the way out we ran into Angelo again and I gave him a little cash reminding him again this was our first cruise. He said thank you and let me know he would leave towel animals for us. Yes, my kids are older but let me tell you how excited they got each night. This was very much appreciated.

So after our little walk around, we stopped back at the cabin quickly and our luggage was there except for the water. So we started to unpack and put the suitcases under the bed. Plenty of room for hanging and folding clothes in the closet and the empty suitcases fit perfectly under the bed. We had brought a folding mesh hamper to put the dirty clothes in during the week - this was definitely handy so no need to keep taking the empty suitcases in and out.

Next, we went to the muster drill. Quick and easy and done in less than 20 minutes.

After the drill, we went up to deck 12 & 13 for Sailaway. We got a few drinks at the BierGarten sat at a small table and relaxed a bit. We did find some lounge chairs on deck 12 and we sat there for a bit where DD got some sun and we perused the Freestyle Daily again. We took a lot of pictures of NY while leaving the pier. Gosh it was just beautiful to experience. Going under the Verrazano bridge was so cool.

After sailaway, we walked around again. Checked out the shops and found the Teen Club's registration table to sign up DS for the program.

At first we decided dinner was going to be Aqua but we hit a snag (probably the only one of the cruise). It was packed. It was lobster night and since Aqua is the less formal of the two MDRs there were many people waiting. The only problem was there was no crew member outside the restaurant taking names or letting folks know what was going on. I tried to go in to find out what was the process for putting your name down and it seemed like people were getting upset and I then saw a member of the wait staff go back out to the hall and explain that the computer system was down and that they were having issues etc. Rather than add to the confusion, we decided to head up to the buffet and check it out. I was actually quite pleased with the condition of the buffet area. There were a lot of choices in food and everything was so clean and organized. We found a table without a problem and got our food. It was quite good. I finally got to try the pretzel rolls that everyone here on CC talks about! They were great!

Well now what to do for the evening. The Teen Club Welcome Event was at 8pm so we dropped DS off for that with an agreement that he would be back in the cabin by 12. I was a little nervous about this because, well, we are in the middle of the ocean and he is only 15!! LOL! DD and I decided to catch the Welcome Aboard Show in the Stardust theater and it was quite enjoyable. Gave you a little taste of things to come.

After the show, we headed to Spinnaker for the Welcome Aboard Prize Party and the South Beach Party. I left shortly thereafter as I was quite tired from the excitement of the first day. DD came back to the cabin right around the same time as DS - yep right on time at 12. They had both made some friends and were very happy with their first day at sea - as was I.

Day 2

Woke up probably around 6 am (I'm an early riser). Went out on the balcony to enjoy the view of the open seas. All I can say is WOW! Never having been on cruise before I couldn't even have imagined the awe you feel when looking out and just seeing ocean before you. Since our balcony was on the aft, I got a great view of the wake of the ship and the sounds of it were wonderful. So relaxing. Sat there for a while enjoying the view and took a few pictures.

Got ready for the day and got the kids up. DS and I stepped out for breakfast while DD went to the gym to work out. We went to Versailles for breakfast and DS had pancakes and bacon, while I had bacon and eggs with little hash brown pancakes. DS had some of mine and then I told him he could probably get some of his own and he was like "Really?" He then asked the waiter who brought him a small plate full.

We swung by the cabin next and DD was still out. We had gotten a note on our door letting us know that we had gotten VIP status and were entitled to concierge service along with breakfast and lunch at Cagney's all week. We had also received an invitation to the Captain's VIP Party that afternoon. What a nice surprise!

DS had arranged to meet his new friends on the aft sundeck at 10:30 so off he went while I decided to walk around a little bit while waiting for our CC Meet & Greet to begin at 11:30 in LeBistro. I had arranged it for our roll call so I wanted to get there a few minutes early to meet with the coordinator. She was very nice and explained that the officers would be coming by to introduce themselves as well. They had set up a nice little spread for us with coffee, juice and some pastries and cookies. I had gotten some CC highlighters to give out to the group as well, so I laid them on the table where the sign in sheet was. The sign in sheet was to be used for a bridge tour to be given later in the week. Another nice surprise! People started coming in right on time and we all started to introduce ourselves. It was nice to finally put faces to all of the names from our roll call! After a few minutes, the officers came in and all introduced themselves and gave brief descriptions of what they do. They explained that they have folks that regularly read our posts and are always very interested in what we say and think. Pedro, the Cruise Director, also asked that if we had any issue at all, to please tell them while we were on board the ship. This way, they can try to fix it and make us happy. They wanted to do all that they could to make our trip a great one. They next asked us if we had any questions. A few folks asked about the chair hog situation and the blue dots. Yannis, the Hotel Director, explained that yes they were but acknowledged that it was very difficult to handle because of the amount of folks that want to sit close to the pool. But he was sincere in the fact that they were really trying. I have to say, that during my cruise, I was always able to find a lounge chair. Whether it was by the pool or another spot on the deck around the ship. So, all in all, I think our Meet & Greet was a success. And for anyone who is nervous about arranging one for their cruise - don't be. It was so easy and NCL made it a pleasant experience!

After the Meet & Greet, DD and I went for lunch at Cagney's. DS was still with friends. DD and I both had shrimp cocktail and then the Shrimp & Scallops entree. We then shared a warm brownie sundae for dessert. Every bit of it was delicious!

Next up was a Unique Wine & Cheese Tasting in LeBistro. The fee for this was $30 per person. A little more than I expected but I have to say it was quite nice. They served 2 reds, 2 whites, a champagne and a dessert wine. They also had different cheeses and crackers to cleanse our palates and to bring out the taste of the wine and/or cheese better. I would definitely do this again! The crew explained the wines that were being served so it was informative as well. DS had also checked in with me during this time to let me know he was good and that he was playing Monopoly with his buddies in Moderno.

DD wanted to go and sunbathe a bit but I wanted to check out Trivia in Spinnaker so we parted ways for a bit. I was too late to join Trivia but Bingo was starting right after and I got sucked in! LOL! I have to say it was a little fun. DD found me right when it was ending and told me that DS was already up in the cabin showering to be ready for dinner. We went back to the cabin to do the same. It was Dress Up or Not night and pictures with the Captain. We also had the VIP party first. So all gussied up we went to Spinnaker for the party. The officers were there and we said hello and chatted with a few. A nice touch. Next to the Atrium for pictures. The photographers had a few backgrounds set up so since the three of us were all dressed up, we just went from one to the other and struck a whole bunch of different poses. It was actually quite a bit of fun! Finally at the center of the Atrium steps, we had a picture taken with the Captain. He was very pleasant and we took a few pictures with him.

This put us right in time for dinner at Versailles. I had the New York Strip, DS had fettuccine and I honestly can't remember what DD had. But I do remember that everyone loved their dinner! The wait staff were so pleasant and we had such a nice time at this dinner.

After dinner we went and hung out a little at the Red Lion Pub. This place quickly became our favorite hangout throughout the cruise. We listened to some music had some drinks and then went back to the cabin shortly thereafter. We were all tired!

Day 3

Woke up early again and got the kids up and then we all got ready. DD decided to go to the gym again so DS and I went to breakfast at Cagney's. I had a Salmon Frittata and DS had an omelet. The coffee they serve at breakfast is excellent! Love that they use a french press and leave it at the table. Very nice. The buffet has fresh pastries and fruit and an assortment of cereals and juices.

Next we met up with DD and we all did morning trivia in the Red Lion and did ok but didn't win. Then came another round of trivia. It really is fun. We finished just in time for DD to go and participate in the volleyball tournament. NCL really does do a great job of giving a lot of choices for everyone of all ages and interests to participate in and have fun.

For lunch, we did a quick hit of the buffet. The pretzel rolls were still yummy!

DS and I then headed back to the RedLion for Music Trivia. Right before it started though, some of his new friends walked in so I told him that he could ditch me if he wanted - so he did! LOL! After he left, another passenger who was playing alone joined me for a team. Thank goodness because I knew hardly any of the songs they played!!! We enjoyed the game along with nice conversation. His wife joined us towards the end of the game and we finished and chatted a while. On a cruise, it's so easy to strike up conversations with folks and make friends.

I was very excited next to participate in a Martini Tasting. This was $15 but was more than worth it. As others on this board have said, this is not just a tasting but they give you 4 full martinis. They were yummy and the bartender was so nice and funny and really was informative on martinis and the ingredients etc.

Tonight was dinner at Cagney's. So we all got dressed for dinner and arrived at the restaurant. Very nice atmosphere. We ordered a bottle of wine. For appetizers, I ordered the oysters rockerfeller - oh my gosh this was delicious!!! Highly recommend! DD ordered the stuffed mushroom and DS order crab cakes. All were excellent. For entrees, I ordered the small filet with asparagus and cagney fries with a lobster tail. DD ordered the prime rib with lobster tail and sauteed mushrooms. DD ordered the large filet with a baked potato. Everything was amazing!! For dessert I had the creme brulee and DS had the chocolate brownie. Yummmmmm!

Since dinner was late in the evening, we decided to take a walk around deck next. It was such a beautiful night so we just stood on the forward deck and let the wind blow and chatted about how much fun we were having. After the walk we headed for the Red Lion. DD was looking to go to the 18-25 year old Night Out so when she went to that, DS and I just headed back to the cabin. We knew we had to get up early the next morning for an excursion in Bermuda so we decided to turn in. We read a little bit until we were too tired to stay up.

Another nice ending to a very nice day at sea!

Day 4

Bermuda!!! No sleeping in for this family! We needed to get up and out for our first excursion. We grabbed breakfast at the buffet - perfect so that we had plenty of time. We were due to meet the group at 8:30 for the Scenic West End & South Shore Highlights by Taxi excursion. This was a taxi tour where we were divided in groups of 6 to go by minivan on a tour of the south & west side of the island. We were grouped up with two ladies, a mother and daughter. Our taxi driver was great. So informative and personable. He explained different types of homes, how Bermuda collects their drinking water and some of the local plant life. We went over the smallest drawbridge and to Fort Sauer, a small park and then to Gibbs Lighthouse. One of the ladies in our party along with DD went to the top of the lighthouse. It was too many stairs for the rest of us. But beautiful views nonetheless. We looked over Horseshoe Bay Beach (beautiful), passed Michael Douglas & Catherine Zeta-Jones' house (hehe) and then headed for Hamilton where the taxi tour ended. The three of us then set off to walk around Hamilton. We ate lunch at The Pickled Onion - highly recommend. Not much shopping as we figured we would head back to the ship for a while so that we could come back for Harbour Nights later that evening.

We took the ferry over to the Dockyard and went back to the ship. DS decided to take a bit of a nap since he was complaining that I had woken him up too early lol! I went down to the pool for a little bit to get in a quick swim. Read my book poolside for a while (pool area was deserted due to the ship being in port) and of course had a cocktail (or two). :)

After a while I figured I would go back to the cabin and shower and change for dinner and Harbour Nights. So all three of us decided to go to the Red Lion Pub and we played a few quick game of cards and decided to go to dinner. We figured we would give Aqua a second chance. Well this time it was not as crowded but I wouldn't say our experience was any better than the first night. The staff really didn't greet us well, the hostess barely made eye contact. We were shuffled over to a table right near a wait station that the staff kept going back and forth from. We ordered apps and entrees. The food was fine, I can't even remember what we ordered except for mine and only because it was the chef's special of the evening and the waiter brought me the wrong entree! I told him and he brought me the right one straight away. I was kinda disappointed because I actually really like Versailles and figured the food would be about the same but the atmosphere just more casual. Well it was but probably too much so. Oh well, we passed on dessert.

Now that dinner was done, we left the ship to head over to Hamilton for Harbour Nights. Quick ferry ride over and we were there. It had rained in Hamilton while we were on the ship (we ended up missing most of the rain the whole week!) so I believe they cancelled the festival due to the rain as there were only 2 vendors on the street which had remained open. Bummer!!! So we ended up just walking up and down Front St. and doing some souvenir shopping instead. We then caught the 9:30 ferry back to the Dockyard.

The ship was all lit up and looked so pretty from the dock when we got back so we took a few pictures and just took our time walking back. Once aboard we headed to the RedLion to listen to a little music before retiring for the night. Another early day in store for us tomorrow.

Our first day in Bermuda was great!

Day 5

Woke up to a cloudy morning with rain on the balcony. Got into our bathing suits and cover-ups to get ready for our next excursion. Breakfast at the buffet again - no complaints here. It's so easy the food was good, lots of choices and it's very clean. Quick way to get breakfast before going ashore.

Before going ashore, I decided that I would speak to someone about our experiences at Aqua. I am not usually one to complain but I am very quick to offer a compliment. However, I had remembered what the officers had said in the Meet & Greet and also a believer in "If you don't know about it, how can you fix it." so I went to Guest Services. I explained to her what had happened and she offered to call the Maitre'D. He came down to the Atrium and I explained to him that I was only saying something so that they can make it better. Everything else we had experienced was great. He responded by apologizing profusely and acknowledging that there was a problem with the computers on Sunday and that he was running around trying to get folks into some of the specialty restaurants that evening. In addition, he apologized for the poor service the 2nd night. He then offered us complementary dinner at LaCucina for that evening. That was very nice so we accepted. He walked over to the reservations desk and got us a 6:30 reservation.

Off to the excursion. This one was SNUBA which is an introductory/beginners Scuba dive. It was just a short walk from the ship to Snorkel Beach Park within the Dockyard. It began to rain on the walk over but we didn't care much since we were going to get wet anyway! The guide's name Sean was very nice and got everyone in our party organized pretty quick. There was one family though who had small children that couldn't even swim - later I found out that 1/2 of the family didn't participate because of this. They were from Vietnam so I believe there was a misunderstanding when they originally booked the excursion because there was a definite requirement that one should know how to swim for this activity. The guide broke us up into two groups and we got our mask, regulators and fins and off into the water we went. Our scuba guide, Jared, gave us instructions on how the regulators would work. They would be attached to long hoses that ran up to air tanks floating on a raft. He taught us how to breathe through the regulators etc. Then he brought us down. This was so much fun! Great for beginners! DS looked a bit nervous before we started but he said he wanted to do it. Both kids and I absolutely loved this excursion and I highly recommend it for those of you who would like to try scuba but are nervous about the whole thing. Jared took us about 20 ft down and we saw many fish, coral, plant life etc. We even saw and petted a jellyfish! That was so cool. DD had an underwater camera and was taking pictures. Jared motioned for her to hand him the camera and he took pictures of the three of us underwater. We continued to follow him through the water for a total of about 20-25 minutes. It was just fabulous. Once we were back on the beach, we returned all of the equipment and then we got a token for a free drink at the bar. So up to the bar we went and we sat and chatted a bit with a young lady from our ship who was with our group. After a little while, Jared and a friend of his came over and joined us. We had a very nice long conversation with them for about an hour. The whole time was so much fun!

Next we were going back to the ship for showers and some lunch. We ate at the buffet quickly and then decided to go walking around the dockyard a bit. First we headed for the Glassworks and RumCake Factory. They were not doing any demonstrations while we were there but the items on display were absolutely beautiful. I was so tempted to buy so much! We ended up with three small things. DS got his girlfriend a small necklace, DD got herself a small necklace and I bought a small frog. Next we walked right next door to the rumcake factory where DD and I sampled different pieces of rumcake. Oh my goodness so delish. Now here we walked away with about 5 small cakes. We hit a bunch of shops and bought a few souvenirs for family back home and DD got a cute white dress for the white hot party later. Took our time walking back and we stopped at the shop right near the ship and I ordered a few bottles of rum to be delivered to our cabin on the last evening. I really love the Goslings dark rum!

Once back on the ship, we got ready for dinner and headed down to LaCucina. The hostess was the same from Cagney's during breakfast and lunch so she recognized me right away. DS was amazed that the crew remembers you from place to place! I have to say that LaCucina had a nice atmosphere. The crew was great. The appetizers were very good. However, the entrees were not so great. I wouldn't say it was bad but just not what I would expect from one of the specialty restaurants. Please remember, food can be subjective depending on one's taste. I had just spoken to some folks the day before who said they loved it there. I think I am just very picky with Italian food.

We decided to skip dessert as we wanted to make the 7:30 Second City show - which we did. It was very funny. Kids loved it and I enjoyed it as well. I would recommend it. I will also note that we spotted the comedians throughout the ship on several occasions as well. Very friendly, not stand offish. The parts that were the funniest was when the made jokes about being on the ship (toilet flushing, etc.).

After the Second City show we hung out at the RedLion for some karaoke. DD is actually quite a good vocalist so she was up there a few times. I myself even did a little number. So much fun! After DD sang her first song, Chris from the Cruise Director staff asked her to come over to him and asked if she would like to participate in Karaoke Idol as he would like to sponsor her. It was to be on Saturday night. Of course she said yes!!!

Next we were ready for the white hot party. This was up on the pool deck with lots of lights and music. The crew was in white as well with angel wings and hats. This is where DS really got excited. He saw some of his friends and immediately got out in the center of the dancing - and i don't think he moved from that spot till the end. DD hung with me for a little while and we danced a bit but then she spotted some of her friends so she went over to them. I hung out a little bit more but then I decided I was done and headed back to the cabin. DS came to the cabin right on time at 12:00 and DD came back to get her license to proved she was 18 for the after party. She got back to the cabin around 2. **Please note - just yesterday she and I were discussing the unfortunate incident that recently happened on a Carnival ship where a young girl was raped. Before we left for our cruise I reiterated to both of my kids the basic rules about things they should be wary of - going in other people's cabins, leaving their drinks unattended, etc. I even had DS sign a contract that I had seen here on CC. On this evening when DD was going to leave her group of friends to get her ID, another young man said he would go as well so he could get his. They stopped at his cabin first and he said she could go in - she said "Oh I will just wait out here" so he got his ID and then they came to our where she told him she would get her ID and be right out. I am so proud of her! :)

Day 6

So, this was our last day in Bermuda. Today was beach day!!! Met our bus group at 8:45 and headed off to Horsehoe Bay. The drive over there was very pretty and the driver pointed out various things on the way over. The nice thing about this transport was that they drove you down to the entrance on the beach - didn't have to walk down the hill. We rented some beach chairs and an umbrella and found a spot on the beach. The sand is so soft and since it was so early it was easy to find a nice spot. We settled in and DS and I went straight for the water while DD dived into her book and took in the sun. The water was absolutely beautiful. I am usually not a beach person. I prefer the pool. But I have to say I would visit this beach very often if I could. So pleasant. We swam and let the waves carry us a bit. Sat out in the sun and read my book an enjoyed everything. The bus was to pick us up again at 12:30 so not a lot of time, but for me it was just perfect!!! We returned our chairs etc. and rinsed off in the showers they had and headed for the bus. The bus again picked us up at the entrance so no need to walk up the hill. The driver stopped at the top for us to take pictures and it was a beautiful view.

Next we headed back to the dockyard where I quickly stopped to buy some ginger beer to bring home. Got back on the ship around 1:30 and showered decided the pool was where we were going to hang out for the afternoon. Got some burgers at the grill and found a few chairs. Again, everyone was on shore so we had our pick of spots. The pool was a comfortable temperature and we just sat and read and swam and drank. It was wonderful!!!!

After the pool we decided to clean up a bit. DD wanted to go to the art seminar as she is an art major so all of this interests her. I met her down there about half way through and it was nice information. Next we still had a little time to kill before our dinner reservations at Moderno so we headed over to the RedLion for a drink or two and to participate in Trivia. DS had met up with us by now so we had a bit of fun for a bit.

Our dinner reservation was for 7:15 and oh my gosh was this good. Moderno is a Brazilian steakhouse where they have a salad bar with some apps and different noshing items and, of course, salad! Had some of that and then on came the meat. There was lamb, beef, chicken, sausage and then some nice sides that they brought to the table for all to share. If you kept the small card on the table green they kept bringing more meat - red means stop. We ended up not having room for dessert.

After dinner we ended up in the RedLion once again. More karaoke! DD & I sang "Goodbye Earl" in Dixie Chicks style! So much fun! The bartender Jimmy came over and handed me a little gift - a small picture frame made of champagne corks. It was such a nice gesture! He made it a point to tell me it was made from recycled materials! He was so sweet for sure!

We next wanted to run to catch the SharkBait show at 9:30. We just made it! It was funny and both kids loved it. I had been hoping to catch the chocolate buffet but it was not meant to be - maybe next time!

After the show DS and I headed back to the cabin. DD wanted to meet some friends at Spinnaker but she didn't stay long. Another great day!!

Day 7

Our last day!!!! :( Got up early again. Wanted to get breakfast at Cagney's before going to our bridge tour. Once again, breakfast was great! DS had a waffle and DD and I had omelets. I just love the coffee in the french press!

Next was the bridge tour we had been invited to from our meet & greet. This was so nice of them to do. We were escorted to the bridge by a security officer and introduced to the First Officer Navigation. She was quite impressive in how she spoke and her knowledge of the systems. She explained everything so well and answered any questions that we had. After she gave us the tour, we were free to take pictures and ask more questions. We all walked around a bit and took pictures of each other's groups etc. We even got a picture with the First Officer. Very cool! The view from the bridge is wonderful!

We had been trying to think of where we wanted to eat our final dinner on the ship. It was between Versailles or Cagney's. The kids absolutely loved Cagney's (I did too) so we agreed on that. (I wanted the oysters rockerfeller again!! hehe) But we had one small problem, it may be hard to get reservations for that evening and have DD be on time for Karaoke Idol. So, I remembered that I could use the concierge's services due to being a VIP. I called Patrick and he came right down to meet us in the Atrium. I explained our time schedule issue and he got us a 6:00 reservation for Cagney's with no problem!!! This gave us plenty of time to have a leisurely dinner before DD had to report to the Spinnaker. Thank you Patrick!!!

Next off to a ping pong tournament for DS to participate. He got knocked out in the first round but had a great time nonetheless!

Bingo was next - yes probably a waste of money but it was fun! Something all three of us could do together so we did. No winnings but fun!

Last day lunch was the buffet. I have to say that I am usually not a fan of buffets but NCL's was so clean and the food was pretty decent that convenience won out for us and we ended up eating there more than I thought we would. Don't be afraid of the buffet folks - it's pretty good. We also always found a place to sit very easily.

We walked around a bit after we ate and thought about playing Deal or No Deal but decided that Bingo was where we would stick with losing our money! LOL!

After lunch we decided it was probably time to pack so that we didn't have to do it later that night. So sad to pack up. :( DS was actually pretty tired and was laying around on the bed - next thing you know he was snoring!!! So DD left to do a spin class in the gym and I headed down for a Martini Tasting. This one was much more crowded than the one I did earlier in the week. I had a few very nice folks sitting at the bar with me and great conversations ensued while we tasted away. The bartender, Anan, was so personable and funny. Enjoyed it quite a bit.

After this we all met up together at the Spinnaker to redeem our activity cards for some neat little prizes - a tote bag and a key chain both NCL branded. Neat little mementos.

Dinner at Cagney's was again amazing. We had some very good apps (yay oysters!) and I had the prime rib this time. So yummy! and dessert was creme brulee again. Shared it with DS as we were both kinda full already.

DD was now off to the Spinnaker to check in and pick her song for Idol. DS & I hung out in the RedLion and listened and requested songs from Kenny who was very good. We also played a few games of cards to pass the time.

Karaoke Idol was next in the Spinnaker. We got there a bit early to get good seats and I had met up with a few folks from our roll call and some I had met during the cruise. DD had a lot of support from different folks on the ship. Thank you to those who cheered her on!!! I have to say everyone was very good. There were 6 people who were picked to participate and they sang different types of songs, from country to pop. Very entertaining. DD was actually the last one to sing. She had chosen "Taking Chances" as performed by Celine Dion. Oh my gosh she was so good! I know I am her mom but she really was amazing! And the judges agreed with me because she won!!!! It was very exciting and so much fun. She won a trophy, a bottle of champagne, a tote bag and a t shirt.

After Karaoke Idol, we went back to the RedLion and celebrated. Told Jimmy the bartender that she had won (along with anyone else who would listen LOL). Had a great time just hanging out and listening to music such.

After a while, DS and I figured we would head back to the cabin. DD wanted to go to Second City Scriptless and the Farewell Dance Party so she headed there. She came in a little while after that.

Wow, I couldn't believe it was just about over!!!


Ok well I had thought about different places to hide so they wouldn't kick us off but I figured that probably wouldn't work out so well. LOL.

Got up and got ourselves ready to leave. We had finished packing everything the night before and put out our large suitcases for them to take off the ship for us. Since I had VIP status we had priority tags and could disembark anytime we wanted. When we were ready, we should just bring our carry-ons and ourselves over to Ginza to meet Patrick and he would escort us off.

We left the room to head to Cagney's for our final breakfast. Edna, our favorite waitress was our server this morning. How perfect. We enjoyed a great meal, I had pancakes with bananas and pecans. Delish! Yummy french press coffee!!! So good. DS & DD had omelets.

After breakfast we walked around a bit. Sat in the atrium for a while and watched folks disembark etc. I love people watching so this was very cool.

After killing a bit of time, and knowing my boyfriend was to pick us up at the pier at 9:30, I figured we should start heading off. We walked back to the cabin to get our things. We ran into Angelo one last time and he was telling us how nice it was for him to have us. I had caught him the day before and had given him a nice tip (in addition to the DSC) because I was afraid I would miss him before disembarking. I told him that I was hoping for a Breakaway cruise next year and that I hoped he was going to be assigned to that ship and hopefully I would see him again. We all wished him well. He was truly a good soul.

We got our carry-ons and headed to Ginza. Patrick was there escorting folks in groups. We followed him off the ship. I handed him a small tip as I did utilize his services the one time and while it was not what you would probably give him if you stayed in one of the suites and utilized him for other things, I believe he appreciated it.

**A note on tipping. I probably way over tipped on this vacation. I gave just about everyone a little extra because I have to say, just about everyone I encountered (Aqua was the only exception as I noted in my review earlier) was absolutely wonderful! They went above and beyond in every way. They all remembered my name each time they saw me. I can't say how much this impressed me. With the amount of people on that ship for them to remember names is quite impressive. They deserve every cent I gave them and probably more!!! The crew of the Star definitely made me feel special and without a doubt helped make my vacation a great one!

So, Patrick escorted us over to where we use our key cards for the last time and we disembarked the ship. We were directed over to where our luggage was and with some help we located ours very quickly. A porter helped us with all of the bags - even our carry-ons now and we were walked right through a line (bypassing a very long line of folks who did not use the porter's service) right up to a customs agent with no wait at all. Our passports were checked and simple questions asked and answered and we were escorted outside to the sidewalk where we waited for our ride. I tipped the porter and off he went. Less

Published 09/04/12

Cabin review: B110730 Aft-Facing Balcony

Aft-view balcony has a wonderful view. Plenty of storage space. Room is perfect for 2 people - 3 is a little tight but definitely doable considering how much time you actually spend in the cabin.

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