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I booked Carnival Horizon's westbound TA for 5/9/18, then some cruise friends discovered that rather than flying to Europe days early, we could take this Star eastbound TA and have 3 nights in Barcelona in between sailings. Wasn't sure I could get that much time off, but went ahead and booked everything. For some reason, I'd never been interested in sailing NCL. Now I'm sorry I didn't try them earlier. The majority of my 30 cruises had been on Carnival and I've been a bit burned out on them lately. Love them, but wanted a change and, honestly, all the mass-market lines are pretty similar, so I wasn't expecting anything to be drastically different and it wasn't. Embarkation was a mess. Apparently, Immigrations had decided on a major inspection of the returning passengers on that Sunday morning so it was very congested and slow. One thing I will say about NCL was there didn't seem to be a lot of communication to passengers on what was happening. We had a delay disembarking in Lisbon and it was also just a confused mess with no one really keeping us informed. OTOH, the Captain was great with his announcements. He'd tell stories and talk about the upcoming ports. He was quite entertaining. Anyway, I finally go on board, dropped my carry-on in my (tiny) inside cabin and found my friends in O'Sheehans. It turned out to be one of my favorite locations. I thought the ship was lovely. Shortly before sailing, I made the mistake of reading about the mess on Sun on her sailing just prior to dry dock - how they started major work and had lots of areas closed off and how there was lots of noise and fumes. Naturally, we were all worried whether we might have some of the same since Star was going straight into dry dock once we disembarked in Barcelona. Thankfully, there was nothing at all going on. I'd also read comments on the boards about how some areas were in such bad shape and how much work she needed. Honestly, I just didn't see it. I'd also read comments how people should just skip the MDR and eat only at the specialty restaurants. When we ate in the MDR, it was mostly in Aqua (one lunch and one dinner in Versailles). I thought, overall, the food was very good. We (3 couples and me, as a solo) ate in Cagney's twice, Le Bistro once, and Moderno once. Le Bistro was my favorite although the service in there was not great. I don't really "do" buffet food and often had lunch in O'Sheehans. I thought the Black and Blue burger was wonderful! And having the drink package was certainly nice! It was tough going from that over to Carnival and having to actually pay for my drinks! Entertainment - I went to some shows and thought, overall, they were entertaining. Singers and dancers were all quite good. Although I made a few notes, I didn't really say anything about the entertainment and, honestly, with B2B 14-night transatlantic sailings, it's all rather a blur by now! I typically bring home the daily sheets but simply did not want to lug home 5 pounds of paper that I might refer to once and then stash in a pile somewhere to be forgotten. My main form of entertainment during the sea days was just trying to find somewhere somewhat quiet to read and relax. The casino just didn't have a very good "vibe." Not sure what it was. Not that I need a party atmosphere to play slots or Roulette, but it just seemed pretty low key. I did really appreciate that the bar there was able to make a decent Dark-and-Stormy! I haven't found them on either HAL or Carnival, so I was happy about that. Generally, I thought the service was good although a bit slow at times. Really, no complaints, though. All our shore excursions were booked independently. In the end, I ended up purchasing a future cruise certificate, so I'll be back on NCL at some point before the end of four years!

Experienced cruiser takes first NCL and first Transatlantic on Star 4/22/18

Norwegian Star Cruise Review by NCTribeFan

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: April 2018
  • Destination: Transatlantic
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Inside
I booked Carnival Horizon's westbound TA for 5/9/18, then some cruise friends discovered that rather than flying to Europe days early, we could take this Star eastbound TA and have 3 nights in Barcelona in between sailings. Wasn't sure I could get that much time off, but went ahead and booked everything.

For some reason, I'd never been interested in sailing NCL. Now I'm sorry I didn't try them earlier. The majority of my 30 cruises had been on Carnival and I've been a bit burned out on them lately. Love them, but wanted a change and, honestly, all the mass-market lines are pretty similar, so I wasn't expecting anything to be drastically different and it wasn't.

Embarkation was a mess. Apparently, Immigrations had decided on a major inspection of the returning passengers on that Sunday morning so it was very congested and slow. One thing I will say about NCL was there didn't seem to be a lot of communication to passengers on what was happening. We had a delay disembarking in Lisbon and it was also just a confused mess with no one really keeping us informed. OTOH, the Captain was great with his announcements. He'd tell stories and talk about the upcoming ports. He was quite entertaining.

Anyway, I finally go on board, dropped my carry-on in my (tiny) inside cabin and found my friends in O'Sheehans. It turned out to be one of my favorite locations.

I thought the ship was lovely. Shortly before sailing, I made the mistake of reading about the mess on Sun on her sailing just prior to dry dock - how they started major work and had lots of areas closed off and how there was lots of noise and fumes. Naturally, we were all worried whether we might have some of the same since Star was going straight into dry dock once we disembarked in Barcelona. Thankfully, there was nothing at all going on. I'd also read comments on the boards about how some areas were in such bad shape and how much work she needed. Honestly, I just didn't see it.

I'd also read comments how people should just skip the MDR and eat only at the specialty restaurants. When we ate in the MDR, it was mostly in Aqua (one lunch and one dinner in Versailles). I thought, overall, the food was very good. We (3 couples and me, as a solo) ate in Cagney's twice, Le Bistro once, and Moderno once. Le Bistro was my favorite although the service in there was not great. I don't really "do" buffet food and often had lunch in O'Sheehans. I thought the Black and Blue burger was wonderful!

And having the drink package was certainly nice! It was tough going from that over to Carnival and having to actually pay for my drinks!

Entertainment - I went to some shows and thought, overall, they were entertaining. Singers and dancers were all quite good. Although I made a few notes, I didn't really say anything about the entertainment and, honestly, with B2B 14-night transatlantic sailings, it's all rather a blur by now! I typically bring home the daily sheets but simply did not want to lug home 5 pounds of paper that I might refer to once and then stash in a pile somewhere to be forgotten. My main form of entertainment during the sea days was just trying to find somewhere somewhat quiet to read and relax.

The casino just didn't have a very good "vibe." Not sure what it was. Not that I need a party atmosphere to play slots or Roulette, but it just seemed pretty low key. I did really appreciate that the bar there was able to make a decent Dark-and-Stormy! I haven't found them on either HAL or Carnival, so I was happy about that.

Generally, I thought the service was good although a bit slow at times. Really, no complaints, though.

All our shore excursions were booked independently.

In the end, I ended up purchasing a future cruise certificate, so I'll be back on NCL at some point before the end of four years!
NCTribeFan’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Inside
Cabin IE 5083
Small, but great for a solo.
Deck 5 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews