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To hit the positives, this was an awesome itinerary. Rome to Dubai with hassle free stops in Middle Eastern countries that would be very difficult to reach any other way. So I would give them 5 stars for itinerary and transportation. The ship was well maintained. Our room was comfortable. The staff was outstanding. The entertainment in the main theater was excellent, night after night. That said, we will never be sailing on NCL again. Read on if you are interested in our take on NCL and “Free Style” cruising. As far as the ship itself and NCL are concerned, I am giving them 2 stars only because Carnival is out there setting the bar even lower. While the ship is well maintained, it is poorly designed, from public areas to the buffet. The buffet is basically a single line, cafeteria style layout. With the exception of the beverage islands, there are no other islands to move people away from the single line. This is 1960’s college dorm cafeteria style presentation. There are two main dining rooms and a number of other options, some of which require additional charges. I suppose this is OK if you don’t mind paying twice for institutional food. Something that I have never seen until this cruise is the opportunity to pay for certain menu items in the two main complementary dining rooms - $19.95 - $29.95, again, on top of what you have already paid for the cruise and the meals. What is the message that they are sending with this menu model – if you want the good food, you have to pay extra? The rest is crap? It is a terrible marketing idea. Also regarding the menus, very boring, repetitive and unappetizing food. Aside from the fact that all of the food that we experienced was below average for cruise ship cuisine, my biggest problem with NCL is “Free Style” dining. My wife and I have free style dining every night at home. When we are on a cruise, we are looking for something different. One of the great things about cruising is evening dining with the same people at the same time each night. Much closer friendships develop and the trip is hugely enhanced. This does not happen with free style dining. Here is the conversation model that “free style” dining supports every single night if you do, in fact, get seated with someone else: What is your name? Where are you from? What did you do today? For a 21 day cruise you can repeat that template 21 times with different people, probably none of whom will you will ever really get to know. Also, unless you enjoy standing in line, free style dining is less efficient. Wait in line. Then be shown to a table that will probably be shared with no one other than your traveling companion. With normal cruise ship dinner dining, you walk directly to your table, greet your new friends and are served by wait staff who, by the second or third night, know most of your preferences. No lines. Better human interaction. Better service. When you think about it, all cruise ships have free style dining at breakfast and lunch. Shouldn’t dinner be a little more special? We did meet a number of people on this cruise, although most were very superficial experiences. Think of the conversations that you have with people while waiting for a bus and you get the idea. Without exception, every one of them was there for the itinerary, not the NCL experience. While the initial cost may seem attractive, look out for the costs of everything else. The shore excursions were the most expensive that we have ever been exposed to over the course of 19 cruises. To summarize, we initially jumped on this cruise because of the itinerary, which was great. In retrospect, we should have tried harder to find a similar itinerary with another cruise company, even if it was more expensive. After my last 21 day cruise with Holland America, I was ready to sign up again and go back the other way. After this 21 day NCL cruise I told my wife that I would not go on the next segment of the trip if they gave it to me for free. Needless to say, this was our last NCL cruise.

Norwegian Star Oct./November 2016

Norwegian Star Cruise Review by stevemusser

10 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2016
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Oceanview Picture Window
To hit the positives, this was an awesome itinerary. Rome to Dubai with hassle free stops in Middle Eastern countries that would be very difficult to reach any other way. So I would give them 5 stars for itinerary and transportation.

The ship was well maintained. Our room was comfortable. The staff was outstanding. The entertainment in the main theater was excellent, night after night.

That said, we will never be sailing on NCL again. Read on if you are interested in our take on NCL and “Free Style” cruising.

As far as the ship itself and NCL are concerned, I am giving them 2 stars only because Carnival is out there setting the bar even lower.

While the ship is well maintained, it is poorly designed, from public areas to the buffet. The buffet is basically a single line, cafeteria style layout. With the exception of the beverage islands, there are no other islands to move people away from the single line. This is 1960’s college dorm cafeteria style presentation.

There are two main dining rooms and a number of other options, some of which require additional charges. I suppose this is OK if you don’t mind paying twice for institutional food. Something that I have never seen until this cruise is the opportunity to pay for certain menu items in the two main complementary dining rooms - $19.95 - $29.95, again, on top of what you have already paid for the cruise and the meals. What is the message that they are sending with this menu model – if you want the good food, you have to pay extra? The rest is crap? It is a terrible marketing idea.

Also regarding the menus, very boring, repetitive and unappetizing food.

Aside from the fact that all of the food that we experienced was below average for cruise ship cuisine, my biggest problem with NCL is “Free Style” dining. My wife and I have free style dining every night at home. When we are on a cruise, we are looking for something different.

One of the great things about cruising is evening dining with the same people at the same time each night. Much closer friendships develop and the trip is hugely enhanced. This does not happen with free style dining.

Here is the conversation model that “free style” dining supports every single night if you do, in fact, get seated with someone else: What is your name? Where are you from? What did you do today? For a 21 day cruise you can repeat that template 21 times with different people, probably none of whom will you will ever really get to know.

Also, unless you enjoy standing in line, free style dining is less efficient. Wait in line. Then be shown to a table that will probably be shared with no one other than your traveling companion. With normal cruise ship dinner dining, you walk directly to your table, greet your new friends and are served by wait staff who, by the second or third night, know most of your preferences. No lines. Better human interaction. Better service.

When you think about it, all cruise ships have free style dining at breakfast and lunch. Shouldn’t dinner be a little more special?

We did meet a number of people on this cruise, although most were very superficial experiences. Think of the conversations that you have with people while waiting for a bus and you get the idea. Without exception, every one of them was there for the itinerary, not the NCL experience.

While the initial cost may seem attractive, look out for the costs of everything else. The shore excursions were the most expensive that we have ever been exposed to over the course of 19 cruises.

To summarize, we initially jumped on this cruise because of the itinerary, which was great. In retrospect, we should have tried harder to find a similar itinerary with another cruise company, even if it was more expensive. After my last 21 day cruise with Holland America, I was ready to sign up again and go back the other way. After this 21 day NCL cruise I told my wife that I would not go on the next segment of the trip if they gave it to me for free. Needless to say, this was our last NCL cruise.
stevemusser’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Oceanview Picture Window
Cabin OA 5026
Spacious cabin. Sheets too small. No feather pillows.
Deck 8 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins