Norwegian Star Cruise Review by Grant Sande
- Sail Date: March 2004
- Destination: Nowhere
- Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Inside
Embarkation onto the NCL Star was a breeze as we are now Latitudes members, so got to surpass long wait line. Then came the first in a series of "issues". Were informed of an itinerary change, no longer going to Fanning Island, which we (wife, 14 yr old son, and 16 yr old daughter) were looking forward to. Purser offered vague reasons for change (weather, currents, engine problems) but no offer of compensation of any sort.
Then we checked out our cabin, which we were told by on-line travel agent would be the same configuration as last year on the Sky, an inside with 2 singles, a pull down, and a settee. But we found the 2 singles, pull down, and a roll under from one of the single beds that popped up between both singles. This configuration then completely filled all spaces and was very confining for four. But we made due.
The first and most concerning thing for us as far as the crew/staff went was a very striking mood. It almost seemed as if the entire crew with few exceptions, was unhappy. Few smiles or greetings with exception of our very extraordinary cabin steward and stewardess who, quite frankly, may be what compels us to go NCL again or not. Many others we met felt much the same as us. Last year on the Sky, every single crew member, bar none, was smiling, happy, and greeted us at all times. We were never uneasy with going into main restaurants even in shorts after 5 pm. Not so on the Star, were my wife was verbally insulted by several guests and we were told by the crew we were not welcome unless "properly attired." (My wife hates to dress up or wear pants and is most at ease in shorts in warm weather). Again we bucked up and gave in even though we saw others in shorts.
Food was very good in main restaurants (we did not pay the extra to dine in Le Bistro or others), and although service was much slower than on the Sky, we were still happy with quality of foods. Bar service was adequate though still with much fewer smiles.
With itinerary change the ShoreEx desk was deluged with long lines to find things to do. We were unable to get what we wanted but Nicole went out of her way to help and still cannot thank her enough. 4 out of seven days were sunny for the most part with 2 days of much clouds and rain, but still warm.
Kids enjoyed the pool and cinema. Shows were good as was the comedy act. Ship rode well in heavier swells than we encountered in the Caribbean. Ship was in generally good shape with few surprises. A medical emergency on last day was handled quickly and professionally. We disembarked with no hassles, on time, and all went well.
In summary, we would have better feelings about this cruise had NCL staff been able to change rooms (full boat and unable so we were understanding) or had they offered something to offset the itinerary change (previous cruise also skipped Fanning Island so NCL knew in advance they would not be going), also we had to purchase passports due to Fanning Island at the tune of $400 which we didn't need. So many issues occurred that may sway us away from a cruise next year and back to a condo on the beach but will have to wait and see. Good luck if you plan on cruising the NCL Star in Hawaii. But we would sail again on the Sky in a heartbeat if it had a different itinerary such as a Western Caribbean.
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