Norwegian Star Cruise Review by lbledsoe1
- Sail Date: February 2019
- Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
- Cabin Type: Aft-Facing Penthouse with Large Balcony
Coming from Georgia, we decided to take the Norwegian Star out of Los Angeles so we could acclimate back to Eastern time along the way. We went a couple of days early and experienced a few touristy things there and then went to board the ship around 11:00 am since we had a suite. We were in room 10228. We are not normally there that early but thought it was worth seeing when we could get on the ship. We were placed in a room with other suite guests and had some beverages and sweets. Unlike when we boarded the Dawn, we all herded in together at the same time after we received our room keys. We were told none of our rooms were ready and we were sent to Cagney’s/Moderno for lunch. After lunch we were left on our own to wonder if our suite was ready. We finally found someone who was able to tell us we could go on back but were not escorted as before so we felt a little strange going into the closed door with a sign saying the rooms were not ready. When we did we were greeted by all the stewards so felt better.
The room is the same layout as the last one we stayed in on the Dawn 10728 but opposite. It seemed a lot more worn than the Dawn’s suite. It was still nice, don’t get me wrong. The balcony is large enough for two sit-up type chairs, two lounge chairs and two small round tables. The bed is big and the closet is nice with access from both sides. We really like the layout of the room.
For meals, we had a specialty meal package for four meals and added three meals on our own. We do not enjoy the main dining rooms. They are very loud and feel rushed. We did try both of them but always end up wishing we were eating elsewhere.
We had the beverage package too and my only advice is to beware of the port taxes. Another cruise we were on we made a mistake of buying some special they had while in port and paid a large amount of tax. The daily paper tells you if there will be port taxes.
Cabo San Lucas – Mexico
We opted for the All Inclusive – Adult’s only excursion. This was a tender stop which is not our favorite but the resort was nice. The only problem was it was Superbowl day and they had very limited space for our cruise group. We ended up just staying in the pool most of the time so ended up fine. Hector was an awesome server there and brought us lunch and kept our drinks full.
Acapulco – Mexico – Tour selected: Acapulco City with Cliff Divers – City tour was okay but great seeing the cliff divers had always heard about or read about. I would not care to go back to Acapulco.
Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala – Tour selected: Antigua on Your Own which I was partly dreading because I read about the drive but it was really nice and our tour guide Julio did a great job. It was interesting see the volcano damage and smoking volcano and then getting into the small town of Antiqua was like going back in time. We spent quite a bit of time at Santa Domingo but ended up eating lunch at a restaurant close to the tour meeting location – Arrin Cuan. We tried some local food and fajitas and really enjoyed it along with a local beer. We walked a lot and saw some neat architecture but you need to wear comfortable shoes.
San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua – got off for souvenir – tender and right back on (lots and lots of vendors)
Puntarenas, Costa Rica – We decided to try something different and went on an Artesian Craft Beer tour with lunch. Allen was our tour guide and he made it a very good tour because the ride was pretty long getting there. We had a brewery tour, local lunch (buffet) and tried several beers. I would probably not have recommended again except Allen taught us so much along the way. Very educated tour guide and probably the best tour guide we have had in all these years.
Panama Canal – Since we had an Aft Balcony suite, we mainly stayed on the back Deck and watched the bow camera and listened to the narrator on TV. The TVs are great quality so we could see the front very well and the back in person. It was quite an experience. We had room service for breakfast and lunch and were through the canal by about 4:30 pm so ended up having time to have dinner out. I wasn’t sure when making reservations if we would be able to go out so hopefully this information will help someone.
Cartagena – Final tour - Columbia Chiva Party Bus! What a great way to end our excursions! We could see three party buses pull up from our balcony and I had the purple one in mind. It was a converted colorful bus that looked like a semi-truck front. When we went down to meet them we were directed towards another bus but asked if we could stay for it and were told we could. What a crazy time! From the time you got on the bus until you arrived back to port it was music, rum and coke and later beer with some sites to see along the way. We got off the bus a few times for souvenirs and photos. At the fort we went to a certain area and danced. We had a band of three locals on the bus for some of the entertainment. It was a great way to entertain us because the traffic was crazy slow! One hint, do not sit on the outside unless you don’t want to dance. That seat is the only place you could not stand up and dance. It was seven rows of people and we sat closer to the front which was perfect.
Cagney’s twice – Always a good place for steak. We learned to order the steak less well done than we usually like it. Medium rare was more like medium each time.
Teppanyaki – Always fun - great service at the 5:15 seating and not as loud
Moderno – Better than we thought it would be just don’t get too much salad bar before so you can enjoy all the variety of items brought around
Le Bistro 3 times – Love the French onion soup and they had some crazy desserts!
La Cucina 1 time there and delivery one time – Didn’t love our visit to La Cucina but saw someone ordering a pizza so one night we had our butler bring us a pizza from there instead of the room service menu and it was much better. We had to pay ala cart but it was worth it.
We did purchase the Thermal Suite pass for the trip and had one couple’s massage. We enjoyed our time in the spa and they did not over sell it which was nice.
We saw all but one show and I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of entertainment compared to years ago.
I believe we saw 4-5 kids total on the entire cruise so it is definitely an older crowd which was fine with us. We were actually some of the younger ones. There were more walkers, canes and wheelchairs than we have seen on any trip so it seemed friendly for those slower getting around or disabled.
My husband did three spinning classes but had wished they offered more since it was 14 days.
Our room steward was awesome. Our butler was okay but was always in a hurry when he saw us and explaining how he had six other cabins so we always felt he was trying to help everyone else. We did not need to know about other people's needs who he was rushing off to help. Made us feel a bit insignificant.
Overall it was a great trip and my husband and I are still talking after our 20th anniversary trip of approximately 18 days together!
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