We had experienced one cruise previously, on the Jewel, so that is all I can compare to.
Despite several itinerary changes due to a failed azipod drive, more days at sea, no Thai stop and no website excursions, we were still attracted by the extra stop off days in Vietnam.
After boarding we found in our cabin a list of excursions to choose.
What looked like two days at Ho Chi Minh City was only actually 27 hours so we decided to do only the Mekong Delta tour, being the longest on offer. This was a long drive but interesting and worth the effort. We passed through the organised chaos of Ho Chi Minh City but did not stop. The Mekong Delta is a rural area had much to offer from a cultural perspective. We enjoyed the canals in traditional canoes, the floating markets to sample tropical fruits, visited local hand made confectionary and noodle traditional factories and had a very nice lunch at a nice resort.
For the Na Trang and Da Nang stops I had booked private tours before the cruise due to nothing on the NCL website. Both destinations are great places to visit.
The only problem with Na Trang is that the ship could not dock and we were tendered in from the middle of the harbour. Because we organised private tours we had to wait until the ships were tendered in first. So despite being first in line for tender tickets we were still had to wait for over 60 minutes.
We used all the complementary restaurants during the cruise. Our favourite was the Ginza as we like Asian food and second was the Versailles which had well designed dishes and a nice atmosphere. The Market Cafe buffet had a good range of foods with healthy choices and quality was above average. All staff on board were polite and competent, except perhaps for Customer Services which I will mention in the Cabin Review.
The main pool was all deep and not suitable for non-swimmers. The were two separate water slides which were popular with kids. All the four jacuzzi's temps were very hot and the air jets were unable to be switched off which made it unpleasant to stay in for long. There was a special children's pool right at the stern but we noticed the air to be contaminated by ships exhaust fumes and never saw one child there.
The Spinnaker Lounge is at the stern and seems small and dark with few windows (compared with the same on the Jewel which faces fwd). Cocktails at all the bars were well made.
The gym is also near the stern with few windows and no panoramic outlook as there was on the Jewel. This makes it a little claustrophobic and I only visited once.
We were very pleased with the cabin for the first 6 dayst Our steward was polite and helpful. Shortly after we departed from Na Trang, as the ship be can to roll in moderate seas, noticeable, regular squeaking and tapping sounds came from the balcony door frame. I called Customer Services and they sent a mechanic to have a look. Cabin 9080 is just above where a forward tender boat is stowed. The beam for the fwd hoist was directly under our balcony floor. I was wondering if the noise was related to this beam and hoist after the tender was used at Na Trang.
He spent 30 min trying to trace the source of the noise. A few hours later I got a call from Guest Services who said there was absolutely nothing they could do at sea and there was no other balcony cabin available. That evening they sent us Champaign, chocolates and a apology letter. The noises continued for two nights but only affected our sleep slightly, so I was OK with that.
For the next two days and nights, after leaving Na Dang, the sea became rough and the noise became much louder, more of a metallic grating and cracking. So we did not get much sleep at all, even using earplugs.
At Hong Kong after exiting the ship we were standing in a taxi queue talking to a couple who had a Deck 10 midship balcony cabin. They said they had empty cabins on either side of them and there was no noise there.
My conclusion is that Guest Services on the Star are incompetent. All they had to do was check for these empty cabins. They had 4 days to do this, but they were just too lazy.
If this was a hotel I would have checked out immediately but on a ship you are trapped and totally reliant on the integrity of Guest Services, which in this case failed badly.
In the NCL survey I was sent several weeks ago I complained about this and there has been no reply, which has come as no surprise.