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

Robbing you of your dreams!

Norwegian Star Cruise Review by psekand

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Dec 2016
  • Destination: Asia
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony

We had planned on a large family reunion and had focused our search in the south-east Asia region. Living in Canada, none of us had ever travelled to this part of the world due to the very lengthy flight to get there. NCL had advertised an itinerary that was quite frankly exceptional, as it would be touching upon nine ports. Based on this itinerary, we booked the cruise more than a year in advance. Also based on the itinerary and dates, we had booked all the flights and several independent shore excursions. People had booked off vacation time. Our sense of anticipation grew as the travel date got closer.

However, just four days prior to our departure, we were informed that the ship has some mechanical issues, specifically one of the azipods was disabled. In order to offset the ship's reduced speed, they deleted four ports and we would have to spend many more days at sea. This was extremely short notice, especially since the azipod issue was known to NCL several weeks in advance. They offered a compensation of 50% refund and a 50% credit for a future cruise (as long as it was taken within a year). This may have been fine for someone who hadn't booked so far in advance was travelling in a small group. However, the logistics of a family reunion are difficult to try and redo again and they didn't recognize the degree to which they compromised our travel plans.

I understand that mechanical problems can happen to any ship, regardless of cruise line. My bigger frustration with NCL is their customer service (or lack of). I have been diligently trying to talk to management on the ship as well as reach senior customer management personnel at their head office. However, they continue to exploit their bureaucracy and hide behind front-line telephone operators. They haven't answered any of my questions, but submit vague statements such as "we understand your concern and we can't do anything for you". A true service oriented company would have had their senior management reach out to me and better understand my concerns and try to address them in a more individual manner. At least they would have better articulated their reasons for reaching certain conclusions.

I have lost all trust with NCL as they have lost what it means to empathize and properly deal with customers. As a result, it is unlikely that I will ever travel with them again, regardless of the 50% discount they are providing.


psekand's Full Rating Summary
Cabin
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Balcony

The stateroom had an older look to it; definitely not as modern as some of the other ships I've been aboard. The cabin was smaller than expected, leaving you with very little floor space to move around in. The closets and storage were quite limited and didn't provide enough drawers to put all your clothes and items in. This forced us to use the internal shelving within the closets, which were difficult to see and access items. The bathroom was small but acceptable considering the size of the room. Furthermore, since they didn't have a speaker inside the room, it was near impossible to hear any announcements that were being made if you were inside your room.


Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Hong Kong

The ship was docked at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, which is fairly close to the Kowloon harbour. Once there, it was fairly easy to use public transportation to get around and sight-see.

Hanoi

This was one of the ports that was cut out of our crippled cruise.

Sihanoukville

This was one of the ports that was cut out of our crippled cruise.

Bangkok (Laem Chabang)

Laem Chabang itself is just an industrial port... nothing to see here. We ended up taking an independent transport to Pattaya, which was a nice beach town. Lots of sand, surf, shops, bars and restaurants. It takes about 30 minutes to get there.

The next day we took independent transport to Bangkok, which takes about 90 minutes to get to.

Note, independent transport is typically cheaper and more value-add than what the ship offers. However, it doesn't give you the peace of mind if the ship alters it's itinerary.

Koh Samui

This was one of the ports that was cut out of our crippled cruise.


With the major complaint out of the way, here are few other notables: The Market Cafe buffet was quite nice with a good selection of foods. The Versailles and Aqua restaurants pretty much carried the same limited menu in both restaurants throughout the entire cruise. The serving staff was slow and inattentive. The best thing I can say about Versailles is that it looked really nice.

The Stardust theatre was quite nice and they did have decent variety of live shows. The Spinnaker dance lounge never quite filled up and failed to generate any excitement. Our best bet for evening entertainment was typically hanging out on the top deck and enjoying some drinks.

I do have to give kudos to Neil, who was our stateroom attendant. He was always very attentive and personable. He was always willing to help.


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psekand
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