We chose this cruise based solely on itinerary. We have a dozen cruises on NCL which we prefer because of its informality and its short, port heavy itineraries. And the food quality, presentation and choices have demonstrably improved over the recent past. So it was disappointing how NCL handled the engine failure on the Star that occurred 3 weeks prior to embarkation. The itinerary had to be revised as a result of the reduced speed to eliminate the Thai ports which were the highlight of the cruise. Many of the passengers, including us, had made plans for an overnight in Bangkok which required prepaid arrangements. In fact, without the Thai ports, the cruise was not worth our time or money. NCL refused our request to rebook a similar itinerary. And while they compensated the preceding cruise with generous cruise credits, our cruise was limited to a 20 percent credit on the fare, excluding port charges and taxes, hardly enough to cover the canceled Bangkok overnights. This led to a sour mood among the cruisers throughout the 11 day cruise.
And the Star itself is a dated and poorly designed ship. The fitness room is located inside aft so you watch yourself in a mirror while working out. The spinnaker lounge is on 7th deck aft instead of 13th deck forward. And the buffet usually located on the 12th deck aft outside where you could eat a late breakfast and bask in the sun has been eliminated. There is no card room.
But the crew did their best. The stage shows were entertaining. The revised port visits were interesting. And the Captain did his best to keep us informed of all the changes and defend the company.
The food service was spotty. Many of the dishes were too salty. We noticed that smoked salmon was eliminated from the breakfast buffet. And the menus were somewhat misleading. For instance, I ordered caprese, described on the menu as a buffalo tomato slice with mozzarella which came on a cut up plum tomato with small pieces of mozzarella. The bistro menu has been slimmed down, it seemed.
So, all in all, it was a very disappointing cruise on an old poorly designed cruise ship and not what we have come to expect from NCL. And we travelled a long way for a once in a lifetime itinerary.
The cabin was clean and while not large, more than adequate for 2. Steward kept it clean and was prompt.