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We have cruised often with Princess and once each with Crystal and Royal Caribbean and based on reviews and friends' advice, we were braced for a lesser experience with NCL. We signed up for this cruise because it was a "last minute" good deal and even if the cabin was small and the food mediocre, we decided the price was worth the chance. We were very pleasantly surprised with our first NCL experience! Perhaps the secret to happiness IS low expectations. We were led to believe that the food in the main dining rooms was purposely "average" to try to force guests to ante up for the numerous specialty restaurants on board. Not true. While I would not describe the food in the main dining rooms as "inspired", neither was it "mediocre". I would put it on par with Princess and Royal Caribbean with service to match. We were also warned of constant pressure to buy everything from shore excursions to beverage/food packages and bingo games. Also not true. In fact, the absence of any sales pressure or even announcements gave us the impression that the line was consciously trying to rid itself of these criticisms. The ship was clean, well appointed and well maintained from what we could see. The layout of the ship itself was awkward vs. some other ships we've been on in that there were no direct routes from point A to point B but with 12 sea days, we had nothing but time to explore on our forced detours! Not a big deal. The biggest plus was our unexpected upgrade from mini suite to family suite. With over 400 sq. feet of space and butler service, I fear we've been spoiled forever and will be downright claustrophobic in a simple balcony room from now on (which may have been NCL's plan)! In short, I hope this helps dispel the drumbeat of misgivings about NCL. At least in our experience on this ship and on this cruise, I'd not hesitate to recommend NCL just as highly as Princess and would definitely use them again.

Upgraded to Suite - made all the difference!

Norwegian Star Cruise Review by TahoeDon

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2014
  • Destination: Transatlantic
  • Cabin Type: Family Suite
We have cruised often with Princess and once each with Crystal and Royal Caribbean and based on reviews and friends' advice, we were braced for a lesser experience with NCL. We signed up for this cruise because it was a "last minute" good deal and even if the cabin was small and the food mediocre, we decided the price was worth the chance. We were very pleasantly surprised with our first NCL experience! Perhaps the secret to happiness IS low expectations.
We were led to believe that the food in the main dining rooms was purposely "average" to try to force guests to ante up for the numerous specialty restaurants on board. Not true. While I would not describe the food in the main dining rooms as "inspired", neither was it "mediocre". I would put it on par with Princess and Royal Caribbean with service to match.
We were also warned of constant pressure to buy everything from shore excursions to beverage/food packages and bingo games. Also not true. In fact, the absence of any sales pressure or even announcements gave us the impression that the line was consciously trying to rid itself of these criticisms.
The ship was clean, well appointed and well maintained from what we could see. The layout of the ship itself was awkward vs. some other ships we've been on in that there were no direct routes from point A to point B but with 12 sea days, we had nothing but time to explore on our forced detours! Not a big deal.
The biggest plus was our unexpected upgrade from mini suite to family suite. With over 400 sq. feet of space and butler service, I fear we've been spoiled forever and will be downright claustrophobic in a simple balcony room from now on (which may have been NCL's plan)!
In short, I hope this helps dispel the drumbeat of misgivings about NCL. At least in our experience on this ship and on this cruise, I'd not hesitate to recommend NCL just as highly as Princess and would definitely use them again.
TahoeDon’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Family Suite
Cabin SJ 12526
Magnificent! This cabin is designed to sleep as many as 6 with both a fold out couch and a Murphy bed. To have the full 400+ sq. ft. all to ourselves, as a couple, was pure luxury! Throw in a butler, concierge and priority everything and it was a surreal experience. The room does NOT have a balcony but rather a "wall of windows" floor to ceiling. Being in the North Atlantic in early autumn, we would not have been on the balcony anyway and these windows were perfect for relaxing and just watching the ocean drift by.As others have commented on these suites, there is storage galore. Closets, drawers and shelves everywhere and a bathroom where two people can each have a sink and not bump elbows while brushing their teeth! By ship standards, it's enormous. Separate tub and shower and all recently remodeled as this section of the ship used to be a lounge! Therefore, all the woodwork, furnishings, etc are newer than the rest of the ship and it shows. Very, very nice. Oh, and there's an in room cappuccino machine that the butler replenishes daily.
Deck 12 Inside Cabins, Suite Cabins