First Time Cruisers on NCL Star : Norwegian Star Cruise Review by bostonLilly77

Norwegian Star 5
Member Since 2012

Overall Member Rating

First Time Cruisers on NCL Star

Sail Date: December 2012
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: New Orleans
We are first time cruisers that decided to go on our first cruise for our 30th wedding anniversary to the Western Caribbean embarking from New Orleans We booked 8 months in advance and I spent A LOT of time on the internet researching "how to" cruise, excursions and NCL. I was excited and also a little nervous about getting things right from packing to tendering and tipping. I must say that we had an amazing experience. NCL made everything so easy and were so accommodating that our worries vanished as soon as we entered our state room. Here are some of our experiences:

Embarkation: Best advice we got came from a local port authority policeman when we were checking out the dock a day in advance of boarding. He told us to come early (9am) and leave our bags and then enjoy NOLA for the day and then board about 2:00 pm. We took the advice and were in our stateroom w/in 25 minutes of entering the port and it was a hassle free boarding.

Stateroom: We booked a balcony More stateroom on the advice of our travel agent and were not disappointed!! Our Staeroom was 9032 and was truly lovely. Had plenty of room, lots of storage (loved packing cubes for keeping everything organized) and our room steward Joel was terrific!! Best advice: Take a cheap over the door shoe organizer to hold all your small items like cameras, Key cards, bathroom items- best investment of the trip. Kept everything neat and organized and right at our fingertips!!

Food: We had read a lot about the food being only ok on the Star and maybe we had low expectations,( or are not super picky), but we really enjoyed our meals. There is SO MUCH food available for so many different tastes, that it is really hard to imagine not being able to find something you want to eat! My husband loved to order room service whenever he wanted and bought a drink/ juice card because he loves tomato juice. The bar staff soon recognized him as the tomato juice king as he was the only person ordering it without alcohol. If there was weakness in the food, I would say desserts were not as good as the rest of the food.
Best Advice: Try one specialty restaurant if you can afford it. We ate at Cagney's to celebrate our Anniversary and it was a real highlight of our trip. We had an amazing experience with the wait staff who truly went out of their way to make it a special occasion. From singing to us, to a complimentary anniversary dessert, picture taking and absolutely the best dining service and food we ate on the ship it was a stellar experience.

On board Activities: Lots to do and see with something for everyone. We saw most of the shows and thought they were pretty good. We danced at the Spinnaker Lounge and had a great time at the White Hot Night. We also enjoyed the International Talent show put on by the crew because it was so cute and the "Fountains" act at the end of the show as HILARIOUS.

Ports: Loved all the ports and had a great time at each one. Loved the different flavors of the countries and the weather was fab.

Excursions: We did 4 excursions and did not book any of them through the cruise ship on the recommendations of friends who had cruised before. We saved A LOT of money doing it this way and had nothing bur GREAT experiences with the tours.
Best Advice: If you are not on an NCL tour for Roatan get up EARLY - like 6:45 and get the early bird tendering tickets so you can get to your excursion on time. We had to leave the boat by 8 am in order to make our tour and would have missed it if we had been late to get the tendering ticket.

Debarkation: We chose self debarkation and walked our bags off about 8:30 am. There was a wait in line for about 15 minutes ( which more experienced cruisers said was very unusual) when we first got off the ship. We later found out immigration officials had had drug sniffing dogs out looking for something and that was our holdup, but once we got past that, things went very smoothly and we were out of the port with in about 20 minutes.

Overall we had a wonderful experience on NCL. We loved the free style dining, thought the NCL staff very kind,courteous and FRIENDLY! We loved the ports and our excursions an truly had an EXCELLENT experience. We can't wait to cruise again! Less

Published 12/18/12

Cabin review: BC9032 Balcony

Balcony Stateroom 9032- Great balcony on deck 9 with a quiet location. We loved being at the front of the ship away from the hustle and bustle of the public areas. Closet space worked for us as well as the bathroom space and our Steward Joel, couldn't have been better. We had great views all throughout our cruise. Loved having the clothes line in the shower to hang up wet bathing suits and excursion gear. Tip: bring clothes pins, as things dried a lot fast not hanging directly on the line. Best advice: Bring additional extension cord or multi-plugs to utilize the vanity area outside the bathroom for doing hair and make-up without trying up the bathroom.

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Port and Shore Excursions

Belize: Cave Tubing with - Terrific excursion! Gerson, our guide was so knowledgeable and entertaining. He really took good care of us and had nice equipment to use and very comfortable tubes. The caves were amazing and beautiful and it was really fun to float inside the caves. The caves were busy with tourists, but our guide really went out of his way to make sure we got the best tour possible and make it a terrific experience,. Lunch was included and was very nice as well. Had a ton of fun, but we did hike nearly 40 minutes carrying tubes, so good water shoes are a must!

Beach Break

Nohoch Kay beach break: Super relaxing, beautiful beach away from the masses of people piled up at many of the other beach breaks down the road from us. It was a private, clean beach with super great food all included. The owner, Jaime, and his staff went out of their way to make you feel welcome and comfortable. They kept the snacks and drinks coming all day, and everything was included in the price, with the exception of the massages available on the beach which my hubby took advantage of and thought he'd died and gone to heaven! We highly recommend Nohoch Kay Beach club.

ATV Adventure

Cozumel: Shore Off road adventure. This was the most expensive excursion we booked and the most commercial. They were very efficient and took good care of us and we had a lot of fun off roading on the beach and looking at the very small Mayan ruin they took us to. The buggy's ran a little ( a lot!)rough even on paved roads as they had seen a lot of action, but it was all part of the experience. Lunch was also included and was also very good at the El Cid resort where we were allowed to swim and hang out for free after our excursion was done. Unexpectedly they threw in a tour of one of the local tequila factories for free which added on another 40 minutes to the tour we did not really want. You were stuck going to the factory whether you wanted to or not. For some on our group that was a plus, but for us it was a waste of time, and we were hungry, and wanted to get back to the hotel for lunch, so because of that I'm rating this excursion a 4.

Roatan: Upachaya Resort snokeling tour- Beautiful, Private resort w/ PADI certified Dive Master, 10 people in our group and really great snorkeling. We went to a beautiful little reef, and also a drop off, but because of water conditions could not see anything at the drop off. Our guide found some great areas filled with star fish and we were able to handle them and he took photos of us with them.He was very knowledgeable about the area and was able to point out where octopus lived and was great at spotting exotic fish like Lion and Scorpion fish to photograph. He was also very calm & patient with some first time snorkelers in our group. We had a great lunch provided provided back at the resort and got back in time to do a little shopping in port. I'm rating our experience a 4 only because we were unable to do the drop off snorkeling and there was not another reef option to do in it's place.
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