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I picked this cruise because of the daytime crossing of the Panama Canal. And my hopes of that being interesting were fulfilled. I flew into LAX on the morning of the departure and a downside was having NCL provide the airport transport. I was about 2 1/2 hours at the airport before the bus left. It seems a Catch-22. If I use private transport to the port, I end up standing outside in a long luggage line. It I use NCL transport, I end up standing at the airport for hours. But it would be hard (for me) to cruise 14 days with just a carry-on. Other than that, embarkation was OK. The Star is going for dry dock on May 2018. There a few things that are "tired" like some foggy windows, teak decking in the midst of refinishing, and some nicks and scratches. But, in general, the Star looked fine for a lady her age. For the first time in 14 cruises, we made fairly extensive use of the Main Dining Rooms--Aqua and Versailles. Because of a couple mediocre experiences early in my cruise experience, I had skipped them for the last dozen cruises. That was a mistake! Food and service consistently met and exceeded expectations. Aqua can be pretty noisy but certainly beats the crowds and frenzy in the Market Cafe. I relegated the Market Cafe to breakfasts and an occasional snack. Meals in Cagneys, Teppanyaki, and Moderno were all excellent. Le Bistro had a bad night (I guess) where I was "forced" to eat first cold and then lukewarm escargot. The rest of the meal was "OK" though. The entertainment was good. As usual, the comedians don't "float my boat" but the production shows do. Jennifer Fair was also a wonderful singer. Service everywhere was good to excellent. Chatting with the crew is always interesting. A good bit of the restaurant staff seems to be rotating to the NCL Joy after their contract ends. So, I'll see some new faces when I'm back on the Star. I found most everyone to be friendly and attentive. Besides the excitement of going through the Panama Canal which I recommend, the Coffee and Ox Cart excursion in Costa Rica was also informative and fun. Ox Cart factory? One has to see it to appreciate it. Not what I expected. Disembarkation in Miami was very disappointing. Late to start disembark (apparently a customs "biometrics" program) but we did reach port by 5:30 a.m. so that seems to be an excuse that had solutions. Once we got through the port, the outside was horribly crowdedl Unorganized chaos trying to get to NCL provided transport to the airport (Ft. Lauderdale). Our plane wasn't until 6:30 p.m. so there was no issue making it. Signs indicating the appropriate lines nor where there any real lines anyway. NCL should be ashamed--this will be my motivation to try other cruise lines.

Awesome itinerary marred by poor embarkation and worse disembarkation

Norwegian Star Cruise Review by Mike D.

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
I picked this cruise because of the daytime crossing of the Panama Canal. And my hopes of that being interesting were fulfilled.

I flew into LAX on the morning of the departure and a downside was having NCL provide the airport transport. I was about 2 1/2 hours at the airport before the bus left. It seems a Catch-22. If I use private transport to the port, I end up standing outside in a long luggage line. It I use NCL transport, I end up standing at the airport for hours. But it would be hard (for me) to cruise 14 days with just a carry-on. Other than that, embarkation was OK.

The Star is going for dry dock on May 2018. There a few things that are "tired" like some foggy windows, teak decking in the midst of refinishing, and some nicks and scratches. But, in general, the Star looked fine for a lady her age.

For the first time in 14 cruises, we made fairly extensive use of the Main Dining Rooms--Aqua and Versailles. Because of a couple mediocre experiences early in my cruise experience, I had skipped them for the last dozen cruises. That was a mistake! Food and service consistently met and exceeded expectations. Aqua can be pretty noisy but certainly beats the crowds and frenzy in the Market Cafe. I relegated the Market Cafe to breakfasts and an occasional snack.

Meals in Cagneys, Teppanyaki, and Moderno were all excellent. Le Bistro had a bad night (I guess) where I was "forced" to eat first cold and then lukewarm escargot. The rest of the meal was "OK" though.

The entertainment was good. As usual, the comedians don't "float my boat" but the production shows do. Jennifer Fair was also a wonderful singer.

Service everywhere was good to excellent. Chatting with the crew is always interesting. A good bit of the restaurant staff seems to be rotating to the NCL Joy after their contract ends. So, I'll see some new faces when I'm back on the Star. I found most everyone to be friendly and attentive.

Besides the excitement of going through the Panama Canal which I recommend, the Coffee and Ox Cart excursion in Costa Rica was also informative and fun. Ox Cart factory? One has to see it to appreciate it. Not what I expected.

Disembarkation in Miami was very disappointing. Late to start disembark (apparently a customs "biometrics" program) but we did reach port by 5:30 a.m. so that seems to be an excuse that had solutions. Once we got through the port, the outside was horribly crowdedl Unorganized chaos trying to get to NCL provided transport to the airport (Ft. Lauderdale). Our plane wasn't until 6:30 p.m. so there was no issue making it. Signs indicating the appropriate lines nor where there any real lines anyway. NCL should be ashamed--this will be my motivation to try other cruise lines.
Mike D.’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

Balcony
Cabin BB 10010
"Enclosed" balcony so there is metal around the opening which cuts the panorama down a bit. But I was totally satisfied with the view. Cabin was quiet and forward away from the elevator noise and the sounds from the Star's open atrium. Would sail in it again.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews