We recently sailed on Norwegian Star from Tampa, Florida to Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya and Cozumel.
We have only every sailed on Royal Carribean Freedom and Oasis(x2). So this was our first midsize ship. So not only was it our first time on a smaller ship but also on Norwegian.
The ship had been recently renovated to include updates to some of the restaurants such as the Sushi Restaurant and O'Sheehans, However, their main dinning room could use an update especially to their chairs which I found uncomfortable to sit in.
Their Market Cafe, main buffet, looked more like a high school cafeteria. Very basic in looks which was depressing. I did, however, like that they had themed dinner nights here which helped with the variety of food served. To be honest though, we didn't eat much there. The line ups were long and we preferred to be served in the main dinning rooms.
We had an Ocean view room on Deck 8, which for us offered a nice view with a ledge to sit up on to watch out the window. Because their were 5 of us we had to get 2 adjoining rooms. We sleep in one room and the 3 kids in another. There was enough space for all 5 of us. I won't lie I was a little dissappointed that the room could only fit a queen. However the layout of the room was great with plenty of storage for all bags and the washroom was a nice surprise. It had a separate area for the toilet and the shower allowed for you to actually turn around in. The separate compartments in the bathroom was really handy when we were all getting ready for the day or for dinner.
I am disappointed that the renovation did not include anything in the bedroom and the beds desperately need to be replaced. We were sailing with another family and not one person liked the beds. We did request a foam topper which helped a little.
The family traveling with us also had 4 adult children, which we were told would fit into a room. Ha ha, I wouldn't call it fit. They had virtually no room to move. The queen bed was moved to one side to allow for a trundle bed on the floor. I'm sorry I am paying so much for a room I don't think a trundle bed is sufficient for my money. Being how the bed was so uncomfortable the floor would have been a better choice to sleep. Above the trundle bed was a wall pull-down bed. So for that person to get off their bed in the middle of the night they had to step on the people sleeping on the queen bed.
Since their is a trundle bed there is no room to place suitcases under the beds so they had to stack 4 large suitcases in the corner. They only had room to change in the middle of the floor and in the bathroom. My advice, these rooms do not fit 4 people, max is 3!
I think the entertainment was pretty good for the size of ship. They had many shows from Comedian to Off Broadway type shows to a Hypnotist. All of which were pretty good.
They also did provide as much classes and activities for everyone throughout the days. Including gym classes, spa related lectures, Bingo and dancing.
Our kids ages ranged from 3-7 years old. Our 3 year old hardly ever wanted to go into his class. Seperation is hard for him so I don't blame him or the fact that most of his time spent in the Kids Zone was in 10 " x 8" room with pretty bare walls and one obstructed window. It was hard to put him in the room and I felt very sorry for him.
My 6-7 year olds enjoyed more of their activities which ranged from pillow fits with bean bags to face-painting. I felt like they were more entertained which helped keep them engaged and wanting to come back.
I am for the most part very disappointed with the service. Our room attendant was wonderful and very upbeat and a pleasure to chat with as was our amazing waiter which we requested to have every night. However, it should not take 1.5 hrs to be served your main course. We had a problem with the slow service everywhere on the ship from getting drinks to every restaurant. I do feel like they need to drastically change speed of service.
In the end, my husband and I are very skeptical about sailing on another Norwegian ship. We did find that Royal Caribbean had way better service and speed of service as well as entertainment and activities and Kids Clubs. I didn't like their room service as I could only order coffee, tea or juice and danishes croissants for breakfast. Any other room service would receive a charge. However, Norwegian did trump RCL in the embarkation and disembarkation process, which with a huge family was a bonus. The lines were short and quick.
We decided to book our our excursion and took a van up to a lookout over Roatan and then onto the Monkey Sanctuary, which was pretty amazing. We were able to hold and pet the monkeys. After that we spend a few hours on West End beach. Very, very nice beach. One you don't want to miss and voted as one of the top 10 beaches in the world.
Since our kids were with us on the cruise we decided to only visit the port shops. We had been told my many people back home that Belize City is not very safe and if you wanted to do an excursion this is the place because there was nothing to do in the city and not very safe.
We rented a 12 seater Golf Cart and drove to Mahahual beach which is only a 5 minute drive. Once there we found the Krazy Lobster restaurant, which was prefect. It had a swing set for the kids, free WiFi, $1 beers, white sandy beaches, excellent food and free kayaks. Would go back here in a heart beat.
It was a rainy day so our beach plans got cancelled so we decided to do a Chocolate Tour. It was great the kids all made their own Mexican chocolate and received lots of samples and information about the Mayan way of making chocolate. All the chocolate for purchase is hand made in the traditional Mayan way.