Norwegian Star Cruise Review by Perish2
- Sail Date: February 2019
- Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
- Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Mini-Suite with Balcony
We were on a 14-day NCL Star cruise through the Panama Canal, starting in Miami and ending in Los Angeles. The cruise itself was very good. Enjoyed the canal and the scenery. The ship was good, the room was great, and our cabin stewards were good.
First, let me tell you that we have cruised mostly with Holland America. Holland America has some of the best foods we have eaten. Just got off a cruise in September to Alaska, food was fabulous. It's always exciting to see whats on the menu for the night.
On the NCL we received the free drink package, 4-specialty dinners, $50 of each room for excursions, 250 minutes internet, and 150 ship to shore minutes (never used). The drink package was NOT FREE. Prior to paying off our cruise amount, we received an unexpected pre-billed amount of approximately $450.00. Call NCL, I found out that this is for the pre-paid amount for the tips for the FREE drink package. So the FREE drinks package was not so free after all.
You might think that you're going to drink $450 on your cruise, I think you might be surprised. We were mostly sitting on Deck 6, never once in 14-days did someone come by to ask if we wanted a drink. We would have to take the elevator up to either the casino on Deck 7 or Deck 12 to get a drink. Of course you free package includes only one drink at a time so if you plan to drink, plan to take many trips to and from the bar.
The food was the WORST food I ever had on a cruise ship, and I've taken 12 cruises. The main buffet for breakfast in the yogurt bar area was a daily a mass of frozen fruit (berries). They had two egg stations (omelets, poached), took forever sometimes. The food was bland, never any seasoning. On day two I asked if they had any salsa, I was directed to two bottles of tabasco sauce. If you wanted to use the tabasco sauce, you would have to hunt for the bottle on the table(s) (again only two bottles) and asked to use it. Salsa? The food persons would shake their heads "no". The piles of bacon were good. Scrambled eggs, no salt or pepper. WORST FOOD EVER.
The main dining room, Versailles and Aqua (another non-reservation restaurant) had the same menu (and is the same menu for both restaurants) for 14-days with the exception of a change in a salad or soup. The main entrees were exactly the same for 14-days in both restaurants. EXACTLY THE SAME. The food was tasteless and bland. For example, they had Chicken Fried Chicken. The meal consisted of a small scoop of mash potatoes (no seasoning), cold slaw (never saw it ever), and small portion of sweet corn (no seasoning), one filet of chicken with no bones (ordered it twice and my husband once), which I am positive had been frozen prior and was of the same height and same roundness, so I'm sure it was packaged. And no, it was not a pounded down piece of breast. Think frozen veal cutlet. And then also received a leg/thigh combo that was oven baked. Honestly I think they were trying to hide the frozen chicken fillet. Leg/thigh combo was breaded and no salt, pepper, or other seasoning.
They had a shrimp burger which i did hear people comment on as good. They had a hamburger, the burger was an inch think and had a roll of some kind, which was fresh baked. No seasoning, tasteless. Also on the menu was a Philadelphia cheese steakwhich because my husband is from Philli he wouldn't even order (it looked all bun and tons of bell peppers). Chicken salad sandwich consisted of two ice cream scoops of chicken salad on one piece of bread (hard to eat as a sandwich).
Salads consisted of mostly bell peppers and some salad. Sometimes the lettuce was crisp others soggy.
In the evenings the specialty restaurants were better. Italian was decent (bland), steak house, steak was good but it was good because it came with a couple different sauces. The steak itself was not cooked with salt or pepper.
We ate at the speciality Chinese restaurant. Food was awful after waiting two nights for over an hour to get in. One of the better places was O'Sheehans which was kinda like a pub...but if you ordered Nachos, you had to request 3X's the amount of cheese and sour cream or you ended up with a bowl full of chips. No salsa again.
The whole entire time getting a table seemed to be a problem. They ran your card, had to mess with their computer, had to write the table number on a piece of paper, person had to find another person to take you to your table, which also wouldn't be the person waiting on your table.
I really loved at the specialty restaurants when you were finished with your meal, they would give you a comment card and request that you filled it out right then and there. Even our local Shari's doesn't do that. Comment cards were always on the tables. Certainly cheapens' your experience. One comment was WORST FOOD EVER!
Also, when you used the specialty restaurants, even though they were free to us as part of the package, we still were charged a 20% gratuity for the cost (each menu had a cost per item). When we received our bills it was zero dollars with a note at the bottom that they would charge you 20% gratuity with was on our mail ship bill.
Television had that same 4 movies the entire 14 days. Thank goodness for the news channels, which intermittently went off/on. We reported the green screen to the front desk, they sent someone to check out our TV and told us it was the reception. No kidding Sherlock!! With the newer tv's, you can't even get a DVD from the internet cafe. You got what they had and that was it.
I did use my 250 internet /wifi minutes and then had to buy some more. It worked great. If you wanted to use your NCL app on your iPhone, you had to log into wifi (hence you use those 250 minutes really fast).
Never used the ship to shore telephone calls.
Did the excursions, they were good.
Room service was excellent as also. We were charged almost $14.50 per person per day for service charge for our room ($29.00 total) which we gladly paid.
If you ordered food room service, food was free but you were charged $7.95 for delivery. Room service was better than looking at the tasteless food so I ordered lunch several times. Salad was always crisp. Fruit came fresh.
Bottom line, I would NOT RECOMMEND ever going on a Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ever. We went on two cruises last year, food was unbelievable. Both were on Holland America. The closed lobster I saw on NCL was in some corn chowder soup. HAL always has lobster night. NCL FOOD WAS HORRIBLE. LET ME REPEAT MYSELF, HORRIBLE. WARNING, DO NOT GO ON NCL. I was actually relieved to get on an airplane and get some decent food. Thank you Alaska Airlines for making my last day on my 3-week vacation from LAX to PDX an enjoyable and pleasant one, and thank you for the wonderful food.
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