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

Fun Family Week, Despite the Weather

Norwegian Star Cruise Review by wyattkmen

1 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Mar 2016
  • Destination: the Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Balcony

My wife and I cruised with NCL for the first time this vacation, with 2 of our adult chidlren, 2 other adults, and 3 grandkids. We all felt like this was a half-step above Carnival in terms of food and entertainment. The children (ages 10-13) really enjoyed their age-group activities ('clubs') onboard the Star.

It was a windy week which made it difficult to enjoy our favorrite Caribbean activity, snorkeling, but what can you do about that? One of our snorkeling excursions was cancelled at the last minute, and we received the correct credits for the booking without any fuss. The service on the ship was unfailingly courteous and considerate.

We ate dinner 2 times in the Aqua dining room and 4 times in the Versailles. In the Versailles, maybe because we had a party of 9, we had the same head waitress each time. She was good, but she was swamped - it seemed like she had 3 'big' tables she was covering and a couple of times we felt a little neglected. Once was the kitchen messing up, we could tell, but she didn't rat them out. Another time we were there close to closing and she was really busy clearing & setting the other tables as the people left. But we liked her well enough.

The buffet was very very well done - all the workers were courtesous and attentive, and the food was interesting, tasty, and provided variety. My favorite thing with breakfast was the croissants, although I didn't limit myself to them . The lunch offerings changed daily and were great, too. Somehow, they have the best hamburgers off a buffet line we all agreed, which you might think isn't saying much, but we went back to them every day - they were real good!

We carried soft drinks and bottled water on ourselves, because the drink packages were borderline too expensive if bought solo - However if one person bought it, everybody in the cabin had to get it too, which made it prohibitive for us. The guest services offered to hold our case of water we were lugging around on barding day until the cabin was ready, which I thought was really great, above and beyond.

Ports of call -

Roatan has some great snorkeling and beach destinations. We had been to the West end before, and wanted to try something different so we booked an independent resort beach & snorkel in French Harbor. The windstorms the previous couple of days had the traffic snarled but our resort was in good shape. We heard that some of the west end excursions were cancelled or curtailed because of the windy conditions. Before we boarded we tried some drinks under the tent-bar - the Monkyey-La-La was nice!

Belize also has great snorkeling, but the excursions were beach-heavy and expensive, so I stayed on the ship and went to the spa. We have been to Goff's Cay before and South Water Cay, and the reefs there - coral and fish - are the best we've ever seen. Facilities are sparse, but the people are great. We were disappointed that NCL's Harvest Cay wouldn't be complete until November, as we thought we were going to be there the month it opened.

Costa Maya - Our first time here, and our excursion got cancelled. The port area has been built into a marketplace with shops and restaurants, bars, and kiosks, and it really was more pleasant than I had expected. They have a free (!) swimming pool in the markeplace, and a dolphin experience you can watch from the sidelines. The open-air bar/grill adjacent to the pool on the south side had reasonable drink prices for big drinks in souvenir plastic decanters - the daquiris and pina coladas were good!

Cozumel - We were there on Good Friday, and have been there 4 other times, so we enjoyed some time on the ship. Snorkeling can be very good here, but it was still too choppy out there...

The spa - 3 of us got hot stone massages and LOVED it! My wife and daughter also signed up for the Thermal Suite, and the staff walked them through the facilities and the leadies were happy to have done it, although they didn't visit as much as they thought they would.

As a rule the mixed drinks onboard were a tad expensive, $9.95 plus the 18% auto-gratuity. So, when we got off the ship, we would stop at one of the port's bars and buy a drink or two each, for about half of what it would have been on the ship. Onboard, the drink of the day was often $7, so we would grab one of them if it appealed to us.

The ship is spacious and easy to get around. They don't have quite the "Atrium" other ships this size have, but there are plenty of nicely-done public spaces to stroll through, or to sit & relax in.

TIP/HINT - During disembarkation, we went to the Spinnaker Lounge to wait for our color to be called, and we were the only ones there. Other people were standing and sitting in the halls, on the floors, and in the window-seats of deck 7. We were very comfortable in the Spinnaker.


wyattkmen's Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony

Like any other balcony cabin, really. We slept 3 (my wife and I and our eldest granddaughter). The couch/pull-out bed was too big to pull all the way out and still have access to the balcony, so our room steward kept it one section short, and our grand slept diagonally. That way we could use the balcony at night, which I did every night. Our steward was kinda borderline passive-aggressive about our 'do not disturb' wheel, like he was offended the 2 times we didn't need service. But he was good with other cabins in our party, so maybe it was us being sensitive...


Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


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wyattkmen
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