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Norwegian Star Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
2,612 Reviews

Never Again, $10,000 down the drain!

Norwegian Star Cruise Review by Rblake

1 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Sep 2014
  • Destination: the British Isles & Western Europe
  • Cabin Type: Balcony

Never Again: $10,000 down the drain!

The Norwegian Star Icelandic Cruise was awful. My wife and I chose this cruise for our honeymoon vacation, expecting it to be a fun-filled, romantic adventure. We booked a balcony suite and also purchased a handful of cruise excursions. Between the $1200 in outrageous keycard charges ($12.00 charge per card per day), plus fees, our trip rounded out to be something around $10,000.

When we arrived on the ship in Copenhagen we were shocked to experience a ship in need of repair. The carpets were stained, dirty, and smelled of either urine or a heavy cleaning solution. There was what looked like dried blood on our balcony, mold in our bathroom, and our bedding was stained. Mind you, we booked one of the nicer, more expensive, staterooms. Also we ordered a queen-size bed in our room. What we got were two twin beds pushed together with a giant gap in the center. I’m sure it’s obvious that this causes problems on a honeymoon vacation. If you are planning to book a NCL cruise, I suggest you bring your own air mattress as the beds there were not only hard, they were lumpy and outrageously uncomfortable. Soldiers in war are more comfortable in their cots than a we were in the NCL bed.

The atmosphere

My wife and I are 26 years old and were easily the youngest couple on board as guests. The average age of the ship was near death and the ships itinerary was geared towards them. Itinerary included “Look 10 Years Younger,” “Arthritis Pain Solutions,” “Pain Management,” and “Wrinkle Remedy” workshops and seminars, Bridge Tournaments, “Frank Sinatra Tune Trivia,” and “Knitting & Crochet Socials”. The amount of things to do on the ship as a young active person were slim to none. The ship did have lounges and bars but watching 70 year old people play Nintendo Wii or cards wasn’t our idea of fun. Most of the lounges were empty leaving my wife and I to sit and watch as shocked (and clearly distressed) performers played songs from the 1940s for us.

The highlight of my time on board was walking around with my wife, taking photos of things that were “closed” or down for “maintenance.” The ship had outdoor shuffleboard, pools, hot tubs, bars, basketball courts, golf ranges, etc. but they were all closed for 12 out of the 14 days on board. They were being repainted, sanded, and varnished, etc. leaving my wife and me to do absolutely nothing. When the outdoor area wasn’t closed we decided to go outside and watch as staff sanded and painted the floors of the ship. The smell was awful and the noise was worse. The main activity we did was watch the one English movie channel available to us in our stateroom. Sadly, it was also the only channel with a ‘fuzzy’ garbled picture (which might have made our older cruise guests feel as though experiencing a blast from the past - bunny ear antenna style). The English movie channel also only played the same four movies on loop and I can now recite the dialogue to each and every one of those movies by heart. I will be posting photos of all of the things listed above.

The Food

We thought it would be exciting to try all the different restaurants and buffets on board. We were sorely disappointed. Some dining options were $15-$30 a person, leading us to believe the food would be better than what was served in the buffet. Unfortunately I paid more money to eat the same exact food. Example being: The market café (buffet) had piles of terrible roasted chicken that I could take as I please. The paid for dining options would give you a single tiny piece of that same roasted chicken.

All of the food on board tasted the same. It tasted like frozen TV dinners that were reheated. All of it was soft and mushy, with minimal salt or seasoning to cater to the elderly that we had on board. The extent of “sugar free” options led us to believe we were actual on a diabetics-only cruise. Everything tasted the same and used the same sauces. Ribs, Chicken, Lamb, Meatballs - all tasted the same. I stopped eating halfway through my dinner one evening when my wife pointed out that the Chinese lo mein on my plate was obviously made from the previous days’ spaghetti noodles. Awful. The ship boasts a large variety of cuisines, but none were made with authentic ingredients: for example, the same rice was used in Indian, Chinese, Mexican and American dishes. The only saving grace was the sushi bar at Ginza (which was always empty). The sushi chef there was incredible and saved our stomachs from eating tasteless mush all day. For celebrating a honeymoon, it was awful.

The Drinks

For a Cruise with destinations that are considered some of the best brewing countries in the world, I expected to have good beer on board. Listing cheap American beer such as Budweiser, Coors, etc. as Imports is an outrage. The beer selection was dreadful and expensive. The mixed drinks were ‘ok’ at best and seemed to be made by inexperience bartenders. If I am sitting at an empty lounge with my wife, it should not take 15 plus minutes to order a Vodka 7up.

The Experience

This trip was supposed to be a relaxing, fun, enjoyable experience with my wife on our HONEYMOON. This was the worst trip I have ever had and would rather have spent it back at work (she agrees). The majority of staff treat you like you are a child or hard of hearing. I am an educated human being and having the staff chase me down saying “WASHY WASHY” as they drench my hands in un-labled bottles of “sanitizer” 5 times a day (not an exaggeration) was demeaning. Strangely, despite the seemingly obsessive need to “WASHY WASHY” my hands, the rest of the ship was filthy (and smelled).

Secondly, the amount of inappropriate looks we received from the other passengers was insulting. My wife and I are a mixed race couple and the amount of dirty, disapproving looks was hurtful. I am on my honeymoon with my wife and I don’t need hundreds of old white couples giving us reproving looks as I eat with my wife or walk down a hallway with her. We are quiet, polite, and keep to ourselves. On the one occasion I ventured out into one of the common areas of the ship to pick up a pamphlet, I was yelled at by an outraged man accusing me of being young and cutting a line that I wasn’t even in.

Finding a place to sit on the ship during the day was impossible. The elderly would sit in the same chair all day in the cafes, common areas, library, etc. They would fall asleep, and put all of their belongings on six chairs taking up an entire table.

If we tried to take a leisurely stroll around the ship, we found ourselves thwarted by the aforementioned ship maintenance. In multiple cases, entire stairwells were roped off, making it extremely difficult, sometimes impossible, to navigate the ship or enjoy leisure time on board. I hate to think what might have happened if an emergency arose. 1200 people rushing to the exits only to find they need to find a different set of stairs in order to get to safety.

Porting and Excursions

Seeing different countries was a plus but did come with many issues. When we first booked the trips, the descriptions were slightly different from when we got our tickets. For example, a pub tour sounds like you are seeing multiple pubs around the city and drinking at each one. In reality, it was actually seeing many government buildings and stopping in a bar at the end of the trip for the tiniest sample glass of beer you have ever seen only to be rushed out minutes later. Most excursions came with a disclaimer saying “Make sure you are able bodied as this trip contains WALKING”. Really!?

Secondly, we had some stormy weather at sea which caused some cancellations of two ports. My wife and I had originally booked the cruise BECAUSE of those two locations. NCL refunded us our $100 excursion, but what about the ports? We paid all this money to see part of Norway and the Faroe Islands and now it’s canceled?

Overall the NCL advertising is misleading. They advertise grand theater shows when in reality it’s a terrible juggler who clearly not find could work anywhere else. They advertise great fresh food that is clearly microwaved. They advertise an amazing ship that should be condemned. The Itinerary is unacceptable to anybody under 75 years of age. Most days nothing was happening and the only thing we had to look forward to was an awful art auction to grab more of your money. Staff can’t handle simple passport checks and meeting times for excursions never happen when they are supposed to. The trip should be called “we take all of your savings for a terrible experience and then we try to scam you every second on board”.

NCL has absolutely ruined my honeymoon and the beginning of my marriage with my wife. Thank you for showing young people that NCL is no place for them.


Rblake's Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BX 10666

When we arrived on the ship in Copenhagen we were shocked to experience a ship in need of repair. The carpets were stained, dirty, and smelled of either urine or a heavy cleaning solution. There was what looked like dried blood on our balcony, mold in our bathroom, and our bedding was stained. Mind you, we booked one of the nicer, more expensive, staterooms. Also we ordered a queen-size bed in our room. What we got were two twin beds pushed together with a giant gap in the center. I’m sure it’s obvious that this causes problems on a honeymoon vacation. If you are planning to book a NCL cruise, I suggest you bring your own air mattress as the beds there were not only hard, they were lumpy and outrageously uncomfortable. Soldiers in war are more comfortable in their cots than a we were in the NCL bed.


Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


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Rblake
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