1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Norwegian Star
First allow me to comment that the service and the food on the Norwegian Star are pretty good. The staff members are friendly and helpful. We had dinner in five specialty restaurants and the quality and service of each of them were excellent. That being said, I have a number of complaints about how the NCL as a cruise company treats its customers based upon comparing some 30 plus previous cruises (only the second with NCL): 1) The very first negative issue that came up was the cost of the water packages that are offered are way too excessive. We were carrying a 2 liter bottle of water on board during embarkation and was told that it was prohibited – first time that has EVER happened! When we looked at purchasing water on board, we were told we could buy a “water package”. I am sorry but bottled water for up to $5.50 per liter is price gouging. And, if you take into account that you are prohibited from carrying on water from either the embarking port or any ports-of-call, you may say that the pricing is almost like extortion. By the way, the bringing on of soft drinks was also prohibited. 2) To make matters worse, if you ask for a pitcher of water between 10:00 AM to 6:30 AM, there is a $7.95 convenience fee. As I mentioned previously, I have been on 30 plus cruises (only my second with Norwegian) and I have NEVER been charged a convenience fee for any room service, let alone for a pitcher of water. 3) Speaking of the room service “convenience fee”, you can order a breakfast consisting of juice, coffee and associated muffins, rolls, Danish. However, if you add eggs, breakfast meats, potatoes, or anything hot, the $7.95 “convenience fee” is added. Again, in the 30 plus cruises I have been on, I never incurred a fee. 4) NCL may notice that there is not much activity going on in the casino most of the nights and days at sea. Perhaps it is because smoking is allowed throughout the casino. Customers that did not gamble would find refuge at the casino just so they can smoke inside rather than outside. This adds even more smoke to what is already a smoke filled room. Apparently NCL does not understand that the MAJORITY of people are now non-smokers? Perhaps if it changes the policy – or at the very least designate a small smoking section – it would see more activity. I did not go to the casino whatsoever due to smoking odor, but my wife did. This cannot be healthy for the patrons OR the workers in the casino. 5) As for the casino, my wife was charged a “convenience fee” for shifting money from our account to be used for gambling. We have never received such a fee on any other cruise line. 3% for using your credit is outrageous. What’s next: a convenience fee for charging drinks and other purchases on the ship? 6) In my opinion, there should be more activities provided on sea days. What is being offered is rather weak in terms of quantity. Those that are offered seem to be satisfactory. 7) I don’t understand the tax policy. 10% taxes throughout the cruise were placed on purchases such as beverages. We were first told that the tax would go away once we left the Port of Barcelona and into international waters. However the tax never went away and I spent an additional $178.01worth of “taxes” – which I never paid in the past. 8) My wife and I had the Premium Beverage Package. It is amazing to me that water and premium coffees are not included whereas other cruise lines include it. Soft drinks are included – why not bottled water and coffee? 9) I was also told that if I have a cappuccino in the restaurants during a meal, I would not be charged. However I had breakfast in the Versailles, asked for a cappuccino and was charged $3.95. I was then told that it does not include breakfast. WHY? 10) When I am having dinner or otherwise ordering a glass of wine, I noticed that there were two “pours” – a regular one and a larger one. When I ask for the larger one, even though it is less than the $15 maximum allowed, the server will only give me a smaller one. I am told that because I am on the package I can only get the smaller one. WHY? 11) I also purchased a “drink of the day” Moscow Mule, which sold for $7.95 rather than the usual $10.95. When I received my bill, I was being charged the $10.95. When I asked why I wasn’t charged the $7.95, the server said the $7.95 was for those people who are not on the package and because I was on the package I was being charged full price. YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS! WHY ARE WE BEING CHARGED THE MORE EXPENSIVE PRICE? 12) The fees for the excursions also seem to be on the very high side. Examples: a) While we were in Messina, we were able to get a taxi to go back and forth to Taormina while the driver waited 2 hours for 20 EURO each. Yet NCL was charging $219 for a visit to Taormina plus Mount Etna OR Taormina and a Sicilian Vineyard. Adding Mt. Etna or the Vineyard for $200 more seems to be pretty expensive. b) We took a Hop on/Hop off tour in Athens for 20 Euro. The NCL charge was $49 (40 EURO) for the same tour. c) We took a Hop on/Hop off bus in Iraklion for 15 Euro, which brought us to Knossos. The entrance fee was also 15 Euro. So for 30 Euro we were able to see not only the ruins at Knossos but also the city. The cost for the Knossos and Village life was $109. d) The hotel we are staying at in Rome arranged a taxi to pick us up at the port for 130 Euro for the 4 of us and brought us directly to the hotel. NCL is charging $85 per person – or $340 for four – to go directly to the airport. There seems to be a lot of “policies” that are different from place to place and from time to time on board the Norwegian Star – none of which appear to be available to the customers in any written form. Too bad the only people that know about them are the staff members and not the customers – and even then there was no consistency from staff member to staff member. It is obvious that it is Norwegian’s policy to “nickel and dime” its customers to the absurd. As I mentioned, this is only the second trip I have taken with Norwegian whereas I have taken 30 or so with other cruise lines such as Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Carnival. In addition, we had another couple join us on this particular cruise – their first one in quite some time. They, too, noticed the petty add-ons and exorbitant charges and fees (along with other passengers, I might add). My suggestion to NCL would be to listen to and understand its customer base. It should be more transparent with the fees they will charge on board so the consumer can make a logical evaluation of pricing amongst the cruise lines. We do not mind paying for service and quality. Just don’t “nickel and dime” us on petty fees and over charge us for excursions. It appears that NCL is striving to become the Spirit Airlines/EasyJet of the cruise world.

Nickel and dimers

Norwegian Star Cruise Review by jdono1950

27 people found this helpful
Trip Details
First allow me to comment that the service and the food on the Norwegian Star are pretty good. The staff members are friendly and helpful. We had dinner in five specialty restaurants and the quality and service of each of them were excellent.

That being said, I have a number of complaints about how the NCL as a cruise company treats its customers based upon comparing some 30 plus previous cruises (only the second with NCL):

1) The very first negative issue that came up was the cost of the water packages that are offered are way too excessive. We were carrying a 2 liter bottle of water on board during embarkation and was told that it was prohibited – first time that has EVER happened! When we looked at purchasing water on board, we were told we could buy a “water package”. I am sorry but bottled water for up to $5.50 per liter is price gouging. And, if you take into account that you are prohibited from carrying on water from either the embarking port or any ports-of-call, you may say that the pricing is almost like extortion. By the way, the bringing on of soft drinks was also prohibited.

2) To make matters worse, if you ask for a pitcher of water between 10:00 AM to 6:30 AM, there is a $7.95 convenience fee. As I mentioned previously, I have been on 30 plus cruises (only my second with Norwegian) and I have NEVER been charged a convenience fee for any room service, let alone for a pitcher of water.

3) Speaking of the room service “convenience fee”, you can order a breakfast consisting of juice, coffee and associated muffins, rolls, Danish. However, if you add eggs, breakfast meats, potatoes, or anything hot, the $7.95 “convenience fee” is added. Again, in the 30 plus cruises I have been on, I never incurred a fee.

4) NCL may notice that there is not much activity going on in the casino most of the nights and days at sea. Perhaps it is because smoking is allowed throughout the casino. Customers that did not gamble would find refuge at the casino just so they can smoke inside rather than outside. This adds even more smoke to what is already a smoke filled room. Apparently NCL does not understand that the MAJORITY of people are now non-smokers? Perhaps if it changes the policy – or at the very least designate a small smoking section – it would see more activity. I did not go to the casino whatsoever due to smoking odor, but my wife did. This cannot be healthy for the patrons OR the workers in the casino.

5) As for the casino, my wife was charged a “convenience fee” for shifting money from our account to be used for gambling. We have never received such a fee on any other cruise line. 3% for using your credit is outrageous. What’s next: a convenience fee for charging drinks and other purchases on the ship?

6) In my opinion, there should be more activities provided on sea days. What is being offered is rather weak in terms of quantity. Those that are offered seem to be satisfactory.

7) I don’t understand the tax policy. 10% taxes throughout the cruise were placed on purchases such as beverages. We were first told that the tax would go away once we left the Port of Barcelona and into international waters. However the tax never went away and I spent an additional $178.01worth of “taxes” – which I never paid in the past.

8) My wife and I had the Premium Beverage Package. It is amazing to me that water and premium coffees are not included whereas other cruise lines include it. Soft drinks are included – why not bottled water and coffee?

9) I was also told that if I have a cappuccino in the restaurants during a meal, I would not be charged. However I had breakfast in the Versailles, asked for a cappuccino and was charged $3.95. I was then told that it does not include breakfast. WHY?

10) When I am having dinner or otherwise ordering a glass of wine, I noticed that there were two “pours” – a regular one and a larger one. When I ask for the larger one, even though it is less than the $15 maximum allowed, the server will only give me a smaller one. I am told that because I am on the package I can only get the smaller one. WHY?

11) I also purchased a “drink of the day” Moscow Mule, which sold for $7.95 rather than the usual $10.95. When I received my bill, I was being charged the $10.95. When I asked why I wasn’t charged the $7.95, the server said the $7.95 was for those people who are not on the package and because I was on the package I was being charged full price. YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS! WHY ARE WE BEING CHARGED THE MORE EXPENSIVE PRICE?

12) The fees for the excursions also seem to be on the very high side. Examples:

a) While we were in Messina, we were able to get a taxi to go back and forth to Taormina while the driver waited 2 hours for 20 EURO each. Yet NCL was charging $219 for a visit to Taormina plus Mount Etna OR Taormina and a Sicilian Vineyard. Adding Mt. Etna or the Vineyard for $200 more seems to be pretty expensive.

b) We took a Hop on/Hop off tour in Athens for 20 Euro. The NCL charge was $49 (40 EURO) for the same tour.

c) We took a Hop on/Hop off bus in Iraklion for 15 Euro, which brought us to Knossos. The entrance fee was also 15 Euro. So for 30 Euro we were able to see not only the ruins at Knossos but also the city. The cost for the Knossos and Village life was $109.

d) The hotel we are staying at in Rome arranged a taxi to pick us up at the port for 130 Euro for the 4 of us and brought us directly to the hotel. NCL is charging $85 per person – or $340 for four – to go directly to the airport.

There seems to be a lot of “policies” that are different from place to place and from time to time on board the Norwegian Star – none of which appear to be available to the customers in any written form. Too bad the only people that know about them are the staff members and not the customers – and even then there was no consistency from staff member to staff member.

It is obvious that it is Norwegian’s policy to “nickel and dime” its customers to the absurd. As I mentioned, this is only the second trip I have taken with Norwegian whereas I have taken 30 or so with other cruise lines such as Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Carnival. In addition, we had another couple join us on this particular cruise – their first one in quite some time. They, too, noticed the petty add-ons and exorbitant charges and fees (along with other passengers, I might add). My suggestion to NCL would be to listen to and understand its customer base. It should be more transparent with the fees they will charge on board so the consumer can make a logical evaluation of pricing amongst the cruise lines. We do not mind paying for service and quality. Just don’t “nickel and dime” us on petty fees and over charge us for excursions. It appears that NCL is striving to become the Spirit Airlines/EasyJet of the cruise world.
jdono1950’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Norwegian Star price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BB 10560
Overall a decent size room. Balcony seemed small. The bathroom was more spacious than most I have been in. Bed was comfortable. Convenience charges of $7.95 for room service, including the delivery of a pitcher of water, did not go over well.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins