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My girlfriend and I are in our early 30's. We sailed the Mexican Rivera on the Norwegian Star November 22nd thru November 29th. We took the same Thanksgiving cruise last year on the Star. Last year the cruise was 8 days and had a slightly different itinerary. As a ship, I like the Star. This was my 19th cruise and my fourth with NCL. This is my fifth cruise this year - three with Norwegian, one with Celebrity, and one with Princess. Three were short weekend cruises and two were weeklong cruises. My favorite ship that I've ever been on is Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas, which I took in 2002. FOOD I'm a vegetarian. The food on the Star, in general, was mediocre. * BUFFET: The selection of vegetarian food on the buffet was poor. I really like that Princess has the 24-hour buffet - this buffet was often closed between meals during the day and closed for the night at 9pm. Why so early? My favorite buffet food was the pasta station and the Indian food. The cookies were absolutely great. They are using a completely different recipe then they did last year - they were exceptional. We did not see an omelet making station when we went to the breakfast buffet. I am always very disappointed that in the buffet area there are no cold non-caffeinated drinks other then water and milk available. They have the juice in the dispenser at breakfast. Why take it away? Celebrity offers lemonade and fruit juices all day long. If I ordered a pizza at home and got what was on this buffet, I would send it back. Is great pizza really that hard to make? Why can't any cruise lines do it? To be fair the Star's pizza is not the worst cruise pizza I have had. * DINING ROOM: The wait wasn't usually bad, however, we did have to wait about 30 minutes to be seated a couple of times. A couple of nights the service was extremely slow with very long waits between courses - but the other nights were good. The service at Versailles tended to be better then the service at Aqua. The food was plated beautifully but it didn't taste nearly as nice as it looked. Many of the vegetarian options are curries. I love curry but not every night. Why can't they make a hot vegetarian soup instead of these cold fruity ones? Royal Caribbean knows how. Does anybody really like cold soup that much anyway? Last year the Mexican and Italian restaurants were free. We went to both of them last year and were not that impressed. This year you had to pay at both like all of the specialty restaurants. From what I overheard from people who went to them, they still aren't good and defiantly not worth paying extra. This change was disappointing and made the dining rooms busier. The dress code seemed to be much more lax this year compared to last. It made the dining room look unprofessional. I heard some angry people complaining that they could not get in with shorts. My opinion is if you want to dress like a slob, go to the buffet. If you want to go to the dinning rooms, have some class. Nobody is asking you to wear a suit and tie. * BLUE LAGOON CAFE: They changed the menu since last year and had even less vegetarian options. I asked to get one of the sandwiches on the new menu without meat. I was told that they were already made and they could not do that. I would have liked to be able to get a veggie burger at this diner. If they are going to have a diner restaurant like the blue lagoon, why can't they have diner quality food? I don't understand why you have to get your own drinks at a place where they take your order and bring you your food? The French fries I got were really bad. Seriously, how hard is it to make French fries that are crispy and delicious? I would love it if I could get restaurant quality mozzarella sticks on a cruise. I haven't yet. * ROOM SERVICE: We were very impressed with the new room-service menu. Last year it was all cold, stale foods. This year the food came very quickly - freshly made, warm and perfectly cooked. They didn't make any mistakes. The guy that delivered it was always nice. I will say that I wish they had an awesome grilled vegetarian sandwich like the one that Princess has, but this was good anyway. * POOL SIDE FOOD: We didn't eat much out there. The hamburger buns by the pool and buffet were completely stale. Every one was throwing them away and just eating the meat out of the middle. ENTERTAINMENT/PRESENTATIONS/MUSIC We went to at least one show every night. One day we saw 3 shows. We were much more impressed with the shows on this cruise then any other recent cruise. We really enjoyed the comedy group Second City, the juggler Romano Frediani, the Chinese acrobats and the acoustic guitar/singer Jana Seale. The magician Murray wasn't bad. We had a hard time getting seats at several of the shows because the cruise was sold out and they only had one show several times. One show we came about 20 minutes early so we could get seats. My girlfriend has a broken leg and can't stand well. The cruise staff were saving seats for their other cruise employee friends. We asked if we could have two of the seats and they said they were saved for their friends. I don't think a single paying passenger (especially one with a broken leg) should have to stand because there are not enough seats while the staff sits in them. The cruise director Paul Scally was really nice. Last year our cruise director on this ship was Ricky Matthews who was awesome. Paul wasn't as good as him, but he was much better then most other cruise directors. It was obvious that he was trying real hard to do a great job and he was. ROOM AND STATEROOM ATTENDANT We had a balcony. We had the curtains and door open almost the entire time we were in the room. It was great to have fresh air and the sounds of the ocean. The room was clean, seemed to have new carpets, etc. I did have to put a couple of paper shimmies into the ceiling and wall to try to make it a little quieter. Our stateroom attendant was the worst I've had on a cruise. We didn't have any towels of any size the first day, even after requesting them. We did not have washcloths or hand towels until the third day. I had to ask him for bathrobes, which we were already supposed to have in the cabin. When he delivered them, they were without the belts that keep them closed. He never introduced himself. When I first asked him a question in the hallway he said that he wasn't the attendant for our room until another attendant corrected him. He did keep the room clean. DAY 1 - EMBARKATION This process was incredibly smooth and easy. We arrived at the port at noon. It took us about 30 minutes from arriving at the pier to getting on the ship. Our room was ready about an hour after getting on the ship. I like that they are finally offering Champaign when getting on the ship like other cruise lines. It unfortunate that this is the last drop of free alcohol I got for the rest of the cruise. That would not be the case with the other lines. DAY 2 - SEA DAY The first day at sea had pretty rough water. We took motion sickness pills. This night was the first formal night, which only a few people dressed for. Most people in the dining room were just wearing jeans and t-shirts. Other lines have a "captain's cocktail party" where you see the captain and get free drinks for 45 minutes or so. NCL has nothing like this. Other cruise lines also have a "repeat customer" appreciation party in the evening during the cruise. This cruise line has it at 1pm on the day after embarkation - too early to really enjoy free drinks. Seems like they offer it just so they can say that they did, but don't really want people to go. Compared to Princess and Celebrity, and for many other reasons, it is very clear that NCL does not appreciate its repeat customers. DAY 3 - CABO SAN LUCAS The tender system was horrible. Because we didn't get to the port until around 11am and were only at port for a few hours everyone wanted to get off at the same time. It took a couple of hours to get off of the ship. We eventually begged our way off before our turn so that we wouldn't miss our dive boat. We dove with Manta Dive Shop. We dove with them last year too. I'd highly recommend them. DAY 4 - MAZATLAN We were able to just walk off the ship with no problems. We reserved a trip with Randi's Happy Horses after reading about her on cruise critic. We would recommend this trip. Randi and Tony were really nice. We took road and water taxi's to get to Tony's family's horse ranch. Every one was great. The horses are really calm and easy to ride. The ride through the palm tree forest and by the ocean was beautiful. We liked the food and beers at Victors. It cost us around $25 for 2 meals, one appetizer and a couple extra beers (our first drinks were included in the tour). DAY 5 - PUERTO VALLARTA Last year we found a nice hotel called NH Krystal on accident while we were walking along the street. It was really nice. We went back this year. It's about a 15 minute walk from the ship. They have beautiful swimming pools with great $5 piña coladas and $4 bottles of beer from the swim up bar. The ocean access is also great. We swam in the pools and ocean for several hours. DAY 6 - SEA DAY - THANKSGIVING Very rough waters. My girlfriend felt sick all day even with the motion sickness pill. They decorated the entire ship for Thanksgiving (and the next day for Christmas). It was nice. We went to Aqua around 8pm. They said it would be an hour wait. We wanted to make it to the show. They told us to come back at 10:30pm. When we came back they treated us like we were an inconvenience coming too late. Right after we began eating 3 different people came up to tell us they were closing the galley so to make sure that we knew we couldn't change anything on our order. My girlfriend felt really uncomfortable and hardly ate her food just so we could get out of there faster. Not what I envisioned for our Thanksgiving dinner together! DAY 7 - SEA DAY I ate breakfast in Versailles. I ordered the eggs benedict without the meat, little pancakes, and hash browns. It was incredible. I actually ordered a second entire meal and ate them both. For lunch we went to the blue lagoon. Fortunately I was still a little full from breakfast. DAY 8 - DISEMBARKATION It went really smoothly. We ate breakfast in the dining room. There was no line to get off of the ship. It was pretty perfect. Really as good as it can get. The cruise director was standing there saying goodbye as we got off. I thought that was a nice touch. FINAL THOUGHTS At no fault of the cruise line, there were way too many kids on board. The problem is that parents stop parenting on a cruise and the kids are free to be wild and bad. With this many kids they started to get extremely annoying. One think that I found irritating was that during every show there would be lots of groups of people looking for seats and making people get up to let them in throughout the full length of the show. Maybe they should make it a rule that if you can't get there within five minutes after the show starts, you can't see it. I am not saying you shouldn't be able to go to the bathroom and come back. I love to go on cruises. The only reason I keep going on NCL has been because of the excellent rewards from the NCL credit card. It was not hard to earn free cruises. Effective January 1, 2009 they are changing that and I will have no incentive to go NCL. If I am paying full price, I don't see why I would ever choose to go with NCL again. Princess offers anytime dining which means you eat when you want, with whom you want. That was one of the things I liked about NCL.

Thanksgiving cruise on the NCL STAR

Norwegian Star Cruise Review by marbletiger

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2008
  • Destination: Mexican Riviera
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony
My girlfriend and I are in our early 30's. We sailed the Mexican Rivera on the Norwegian Star November 22nd thru November 29th. We took the same Thanksgiving cruise last year on the Star. Last year the cruise was 8 days and had a slightly different itinerary. As a ship, I like the Star. This was my 19th cruise and my fourth with NCL. This is my fifth cruise this year - three with Norwegian, one with Celebrity, and one with Princess. Three were short weekend cruises and two were weeklong cruises. My favorite ship that I've ever been on is Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas, which I took in 2002.
FOOD I'm a vegetarian. The food on the Star, in general, was mediocre. * BUFFET: The selection of vegetarian food on the buffet was poor. I really like that Princess has the 24-hour buffet - this buffet was often closed between meals during the day and closed for the night at 9pm. Why so early? My favorite buffet food was the pasta station and the Indian food. The cookies were absolutely great. They are using a completely different recipe then they did last year - they were exceptional. We did not see an omelet making station when we went to the breakfast buffet. I am always very disappointed that in the buffet area there are no cold non-caffeinated drinks other then water and milk available. They have the juice in the dispenser at breakfast. Why take it away? Celebrity offers lemonade and fruit juices all day long. If I ordered a pizza at home and got what was on this buffet, I would send it back. Is great pizza really that hard to make? Why can't any cruise lines do it? To be fair the Star's pizza is not the worst cruise pizza I have had.
* DINING ROOM: The wait wasn't usually bad, however, we did have to wait about 30 minutes to be seated a couple of times. A couple of nights the service was extremely slow with very long waits between courses - but the other nights were good. The service at Versailles tended to be better then the service at Aqua. The food was plated beautifully but it didn't taste nearly as nice as it looked. Many of the vegetarian options are curries. I love curry but not every night. Why can't they make a hot vegetarian soup instead of these cold fruity ones? Royal Caribbean knows how. Does anybody really like cold soup that much anyway? Last year the Mexican and Italian restaurants were free. We went to both of them last year and were not that impressed. This year you had to pay at both like all of the specialty restaurants. From what I overheard from people who went to them, they still aren't good and defiantly not worth paying extra. This change was disappointing and made the dining rooms busier. The dress code seemed to be much more lax this year compared to last. It made the dining room look unprofessional. I heard some angry people complaining that they could not get in with shorts. My opinion is if you want to dress like a slob, go to the buffet. If you want to go to the dinning rooms, have some class. Nobody is asking you to wear a suit and tie.
* BLUE LAGOON CAFE: They changed the menu since last year and had even less vegetarian options. I asked to get one of the sandwiches on the new menu without meat. I was told that they were already made and they could not do that. I would have liked to be able to get a veggie burger at this diner. If they are going to have a diner restaurant like the blue lagoon, why can't they have diner quality food? I don't understand why you have to get your own drinks at a place where they take your order and bring you your food? The French fries I got were really bad. Seriously, how hard is it to make French fries that are crispy and delicious? I would love it if I could get restaurant quality mozzarella sticks on a cruise. I haven't yet.
* ROOM SERVICE: We were very impressed with the new room-service menu. Last year it was all cold, stale foods. This year the food came very quickly - freshly made, warm and perfectly cooked. They didn't make any mistakes. The guy that delivered it was always nice. I will say that I wish they had an awesome grilled vegetarian sandwich like the one that Princess has, but this was good anyway.
* POOL SIDE FOOD: We didn't eat much out there. The hamburger buns by the pool and buffet were completely stale. Every one was throwing them away and just eating the meat out of the middle.
ENTERTAINMENT/PRESENTATIONS/MUSIC We went to at least one show every night. One day we saw 3 shows. We were much more impressed with the shows on this cruise then any other recent cruise. We really enjoyed the comedy group Second City, the juggler Romano Frediani, the Chinese acrobats and the acoustic guitar/singer Jana Seale. The magician Murray wasn't bad. We had a hard time getting seats at several of the shows because the cruise was sold out and they only had one show several times. One show we came about 20 minutes early so we could get seats. My girlfriend has a broken leg and can't stand well. The cruise staff were saving seats for their other cruise employee friends. We asked if we could have two of the seats and they said they were saved for their friends. I don't think a single paying passenger (especially one with a broken leg) should have to stand because there are not enough seats while the staff sits in them.
The cruise director Paul Scally was really nice. Last year our cruise director on this ship was Ricky Matthews who was awesome. Paul wasn't as good as him, but he was much better then most other cruise directors. It was obvious that he was trying real hard to do a great job and he was.
ROOM AND STATEROOM ATTENDANT We had a balcony. We had the curtains and door open almost the entire time we were in the room. It was great to have fresh air and the sounds of the ocean. The room was clean, seemed to have new carpets, etc. I did have to put a couple of paper shimmies into the ceiling and wall to try to make it a little quieter. Our stateroom attendant was the worst I've had on a cruise. We didn't have any towels of any size the first day, even after requesting them. We did not have washcloths or hand towels until the third day. I had to ask him for bathrobes, which we were already supposed to have in the cabin. When he delivered them, they were without the belts that keep them closed. He never introduced himself. When I first asked him a question in the hallway he said that he wasn't the attendant for our room until another attendant corrected him. He did keep the room clean.
DAY 1 - EMBARKATION This process was incredibly smooth and easy. We arrived at the port at noon. It took us about 30 minutes from arriving at the pier to getting on the ship. Our room was ready about an hour after getting on the ship. I like that they are finally offering Champaign when getting on the ship like other cruise lines. It unfortunate that this is the last drop of free alcohol I got for the rest of the cruise. That would not be the case with the other lines.
DAY 2 - SEA DAY The first day at sea had pretty rough water. We took motion sickness pills. This night was the first formal night, which only a few people dressed for. Most people in the dining room were just wearing jeans and t-shirts. Other lines have a "captain's cocktail party" where you see the captain and get free drinks for 45 minutes or so. NCL has nothing like this. Other cruise lines also have a "repeat customer" appreciation party in the evening during the cruise. This cruise line has it at 1pm on the day after embarkation - too early to really enjoy free drinks. Seems like they offer it just so they can say that they did, but don't really want people to go. Compared to Princess and Celebrity, and for many other reasons, it is very clear that NCL does not appreciate its repeat customers.
DAY 3 - CABO SAN LUCAS The tender system was horrible. Because we didn't get to the port until around 11am and were only at port for a few hours everyone wanted to get off at the same time. It took a couple of hours to get off of the ship. We eventually begged our way off before our turn so that we wouldn't miss our dive boat. We dove with Manta Dive Shop. We dove with them last year too. I'd highly recommend them.
DAY 4 - MAZATLAN We were able to just walk off the ship with no problems. We reserved a trip with Randi's Happy Horses after reading about her on cruise critic. We would recommend this trip. Randi and Tony were really nice. We took road and water taxi's to get to Tony's family's horse ranch. Every one was great. The horses are really calm and easy to ride. The ride through the palm tree forest and by the ocean was beautiful. We liked the food and beers at Victors. It cost us around $25 for 2 meals, one appetizer and a couple extra beers (our first drinks were included in the tour).
DAY 5 - PUERTO VALLARTA Last year we found a nice hotel called NH Krystal on accident while we were walking along the street. It was really nice. We went back this year. It's about a 15 minute walk from the ship. They have beautiful swimming pools with great $5 piña coladas and $4 bottles of beer from the swim up bar. The ocean access is also great. We swam in the pools and ocean for several hours.
DAY 6 - SEA DAY - THANKSGIVING Very rough waters. My girlfriend felt sick all day even with the motion sickness pill. They decorated the entire ship for Thanksgiving (and the next day for Christmas). It was nice. We went to Aqua around 8pm. They said it would be an hour wait. We wanted to make it to the show. They told us to come back at 10:30pm. When we came back they treated us like we were an inconvenience coming too late. Right after we began eating 3 different people came up to tell us they were closing the galley so to make sure that we knew we couldn't change anything on our order. My girlfriend felt really uncomfortable and hardly ate her food just so we could get out of there faster. Not what I envisioned for our Thanksgiving dinner together!
DAY 7 - SEA DAY I ate breakfast in Versailles. I ordered the eggs benedict without the meat, little pancakes, and hash browns. It was incredible. I actually ordered a second entire meal and ate them both. For lunch we went to the blue lagoon. Fortunately I was still a little full from breakfast.
DAY 8 - DISEMBARKATION It went really smoothly. We ate breakfast in the dining room. There was no line to get off of the ship. It was pretty perfect. Really as good as it can get. The cruise director was standing there saying goodbye as we got off. I thought that was a nice touch.
FINAL THOUGHTS At no fault of the cruise line, there were way too many kids on board. The problem is that parents stop parenting on a cruise and the kids are free to be wild and bad. With this many kids they started to get extremely annoying.
One think that I found irritating was that during every show there would be lots of groups of people looking for seats and making people get up to let them in throughout the full length of the show. Maybe they should make it a rule that if you can't get there within five minutes after the show starts, you can't see it. I am not saying you shouldn't be able to go to the bathroom and come back.
I love to go on cruises. The only reason I keep going on NCL has been because of the excellent rewards from the NCL credit card. It was not hard to earn free cruises. Effective January 1, 2009 they are changing that and I will have no incentive to go NCL. If I am paying full price, I don't see why I would ever choose to go with NCL again. Princess offers anytime dining which means you eat when you want, with whom you want. That was one of the things I liked about NCL.
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Balcony
Cabin BA 9110
The room was clean, seemed to have new carpets, etc. I did have to put a couple of paper shimmies into the ceiling and wall to try to make it a little quieter. The drain in the sink was broken. It was hard to remove the plug without a tool.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins