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There is travel and then there is vacationing. One is adventurous, exhilarating, and exhausting while the other relaxing, calm, quiet. This itinerary combines the best of both - an opportunity to visit a number of fabulous countries, do the full length of the Panama Canal and spend the perfect mix of glorious days at sea. We thoroughly loved every shore excursion we selected (Cabo sail & whale watching, Acapulco bay cruise & divers, Guatemala visit to Antigua, Nicaragua volcano climb, Tarcoles River cruise in Costa Rica, and Hop-On-Hop-Off bus in Cartagena). A fabulous two weeks with a thousand great memories and came home feeling rested and revitalized! Our only complaint was the ship, which had been renovated in 2014 but sparingly at best. This is our 3rd time on the Star (different cruise each time) and will definitely be our last. We do love NCL but are hoping that the lower quality of food, accommodations, and on-ship activites are not the new NCL normal. The on-board singers and dancers were the best we have seen on any of our 10 cruises. However, except for the Tenors of Rock who were great, the guest entertainment was nothing to rave about. Certainly did not live up to the Blue Man Group or After Midnight, two amazing shows on other NCL cruises. Many people seemed to really enjoy the hypnotist but we found the fart stunts and some of the other parts of the act to be immature and not particularly humorous. We had a mid-ship balcony cabin, which we enjoyed ever so much. Spent many hours out there reading, sipping drinks, and staring at the ocean. Highly recommend, especially for going through the canal!

Super itinerary but ship needs upgrade

Norwegian Star Cruise Review by BornToGo

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
There is travel and then there is vacationing. One is adventurous, exhilarating, and exhausting while the other relaxing, calm, quiet. This itinerary combines the best of both - an opportunity to visit a number of fabulous countries, do the full length of the Panama Canal and spend the perfect mix of glorious days at sea. We thoroughly loved every shore excursion we selected (Cabo sail & whale watching, Acapulco bay cruise & divers, Guatemala visit to Antigua, Nicaragua volcano climb, Tarcoles River cruise in Costa Rica, and Hop-On-Hop-Off bus in Cartagena). A fabulous two weeks with a thousand great memories and came home feeling rested and revitalized!

Our only complaint was the ship, which had been renovated in 2014 but sparingly at best. This is our 3rd time on the Star (different cruise each time) and will definitely be our last. We do love NCL but are hoping that the lower quality of food, accommodations, and on-ship activites are not the new NCL normal.

The on-board singers and dancers were the best we have seen on any of our 10 cruises. However, except for the Tenors of Rock who were great, the guest entertainment was nothing to rave about. Certainly did not live up to the Blue Man Group or After Midnight, two amazing shows on other NCL cruises. Many people seemed to really enjoy the hypnotist but we found the fart stunts and some of the other parts of the act to be immature and not particularly humorous.

We had a mid-ship balcony cabin, which we enjoyed ever so much. Spent many hours out there reading, sipping drinks, and staring at the ocean. Highly recommend, especially for going through the canal!
BornToGo’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Balcony
Cabin BA
Room was adequate. Our steward was wonderful. We always book a balcony room and probably used ours more on this cruise than any other time. Being on the port side of the ship enabled us to see land much of the time while sailing and to have great views during the Panama Canal passage.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Acapulco
    Leisurely cruise past old Acapulco, viewed cliff divers from the boat, onboard lunch, and then cruise past Diamond and modern part of the Santa Lucia bay. Guide gave very thorough narration. Open bar and plenty of room to spread out on the boat so everyone had great views. Especially enjoyed that three of the cliff divers swam over to the boat and came on-board for photos, etc.
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  • Whale Watching
    Fabulous adventure with awesome whale sightings! Boat crew was so personable and made trip extra enjoyable.
    View All 74 Whale Watching Reviews
  • City Tour
    Went on the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus that was specially scheduled for the ship. Picked us up right at the dock and provided transportation from the "old town" back to the ship. Highly recommend booking through the ship! Stayed on for the entire tour, which provided an awesome narrated overview of the city and excellent viewing, and then got off for the 1.5 hour old town city tour, which was also narrated. Guide was very informative and made a number of stops that provided us with a chance to experience some local flavors, make a purchase, get a special photo, and see artifacts in the museum. Would love to come back to this city and enjoy more of what it has to offer!
    View All 311 City Tour Reviews
  • Corinto
    Climbed Cerro Nego volcano. Likely the craziest shore excursion we've ever selected and the trek was incredibly challenging. However, I love having bragging rights for having done it! Our guide was wonderful and helped everyone along the way. One of the most difficult aspect was the 60+ mph wind gusts - thought we were going to be blown off the mountain or into the live crater at any moment.
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  • Puerto Quetzal (Antigua)
    We almost didn't go on-shore because we had read so many reviews about aggressive sellers pestering tourists. However, we decided to book an excursion to Antigua and are so glad we did! We had a fabulous guide and thoroughly enjoyed exploring this city with him. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch with live music at a local restaurant. Yes, there were plenty of people in the old town area selling things. If you said "no" they tried to bargain for a better price, and if you were firm in your response, they went away. However, what they were selling were beautifully woven shawls, tapestries, etc. and all kinds of other authentically made items for really inexpensive prices. I LOVE what I purchased and so do my friends back home who were gifted with one of these items! I can well imagine that some of the women in our group would write those nasty reviews but they were the same ones who spent a lot of time bragging about what great deals they got. Get off the ship and enjoy this beautiful country! We even got to see an active volcano spewing an ash cloud on the bus drive back to the ship. Amazing!
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  • Tarcoles River
    We've been to Costa Rica a number of times and always book our excursions and transport with Manuel Duarte at Guanacaste Viajes. Opted for a 6-hour trip including the river cruise and local lunch with a private driver for my, husband, mom, and sister. Price was actually less expensive than going with the ship excursion, and we were able to spread out and enjoy the comfort of a van versus a bus. Our driver, Marco, was one we had had before so it was fun to be together again. There ended up being only 6 of us on the boat trip during which we saw numerous crocodiles, 27 different bird species, numerous reptiles, and a sleeping sloth. Our lunch stop was delicious and Marco even stopped for my sister to see a howler monkey, a highlight of the trip for her!
    View All 40 Tarcoles River Reviews