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This was my third sailing with Norwegian after cruising on the Escape and Getaway. I was a little worried that the ship would be too small and that there wouldn't be enough activities on board for our two teenagers. The teens had an amazing time at the Entourage Club and made a large group of friends that they hung out with the whole cruise. I found the Star to be a wonderful ship for many reasons. First off, embarkation out of the San Pedro port was VERY fast and so easy. The friendly staff on board the ship continually went above and beyond. Secondly, it never felt crowded to me. There were always lounge chairs available and never had to wait long at bars for drinks. In fact, waiters actually came around and took drink orders which is something we rarely experienced on the larger NCL ships. DINING (Gluten Free Perspective I'm going to start by saying that the dining was way better than the other competing cruise line that we've sailed on three times. I have a NCGS (non-celiac gluten sensitivity) and it's always a worry that I'll experience symptoms while on vacation from accidental exposure. This was the BEST NCL experience I've had as a gluten free cruiser. Every evening they had a special diets coordinator named Valan come and meet me at dinner to take my order for the next evening. Usually on cruises they forget to do this or I have to make a special trip to MDR to place the order myself. I did not have to do this and Valan always knew where and when I was dining and found me to bring me the menu. We ate at Moderno, Sushi Bar, Teppanyaki and Le Bistro and I never had a problem ordering something that I liked. My youngest son celebrated his 15th birthday and they even made a special gluten free cake so that I could enjoy it as well. I never asked for this and it was such a thoughtful gesture. I had to eat lunch at the buffet a couple times but I just asked to speak to a chef and he pointed out all the options that were safe for me to eat. I never experienced any gluten exposure symptoms the entire cruise. Most of the Indian food options (except bread of course) were always safe and were very delicious! We did eat at the Topsiders Grill a couple times but I'd be careful if you are celiac as the mayo and condiments in open containers were definitely contaminated with bread. We just ate the burgers with lettuce and other veggie but again be careful if you are super sensitive as the tongs may come in contact with bread. We also ate at O'Sheehans for both lunch and breakfast. They do have gluten free bread if you ask but the hashbrowns are not GF friendly because of the fryers. My husband and boys are not gluten free but both my mother in law and myself are and we had no problems. Amost all requests were accommodated with ease. Food takes a little longer as it is prepared in the allergy free kitchen but it's always come out fresh and tasty. My husband is SUPER critical about food and a bit of a snob and he commented on how the food was really good on this ship and we only had a few things that were mediocre. ENTERTAINMENT and ACTIVITIES We enjoyed seeing most of the shows on board the Star. We saw Paradis, Band on the Run, a comedy act, and an Acrobatic show with a husband/wife team and their son. All shows were enjoyable and the costumes were incredible! We also did karaoke and merengue dance lessons. We enjoyed the live music throughout the ship. I did book a Thermal Spa pass at Mandera Spa. It was very uncrowded but a little small. I still enjoyed it but I didn't use it as much as I would have liked to. The gym is a little small and is missing equipment like kettle bells, slam balls and medicine balls that other ships have. It does have a lot of cardio equipment but the weight lifting area is so tiny and gets crowded. The group classes were a little pricey in my opinion. I personally don't feel $20 for a 30 minutes class is a very good deal but if you book a class pack (only offered on the first day) you would save money if this is something you are interested in attending more than 3 times during the week.They at least have a gym but it is not the nicest one I've used on a ship. I was happy to find out that they recently added a Spice H2O to this ship with two hot tubs. I liked that it was covered by an awning but if you wanted sun you could go up the stairs to the helicopter pad for lounge chairs. We also enjoyed the Sky High Bar at the top of the ship because you could listen to the music and enjoy the views. We went up here on a sea day with family traveling with us to play some card games. We enjoyed all the bars on the ship but we particularly we enjoyed Sky High, 5 O'Clock Somewhere and Bliss Ultra Lounge. We were disappointed that the Sugarcane Mojito bar had very limited hours and didn't open until 5:00 but you could order your drinks to go and take them with you to enjoy poolside. SERVICE Our cabin steward did a great job cleaning our room each morning and turning it down for us at night. We rarely saw him or talked to him and he really didn't go out of his way to introduce himself to us. This doesn't really bother me at all and is really just an observation and comparison from previous cruises where the steward went out of his way to talk to us. Our cruise director was Dingo Dave and he was a fun guy. I would see him around the ship and he came to our Cruise Critic Meet and Greet. They had a very entertaining Meet and Greet and all the officers introduced themselves and even gave us their numbers to reach them. They were all very funny and it was nice meeting other cruisers from this forum. As I mentioned earlier, the staff was very accommodating and friendly. We did run into two staff members (O'Sheehans and Versailles) at the end of the trip that were a little grumpy at first but after making small talk with them and joking around a little bit, they came around almost instantly and they were smiling and happy. The staff members all work so hard and I always give a little grace and extra smiles if they seem to be having a tough time. I can only imagine what they deal with on a daily basis. PORTS This was my first Mexican Rivera cruise and I enjoyed all of the ports. We don't typically book our excursions through the cruise line. We go through reputable outside websites and find the excursions less crowded, less expensive and more personable. We went to the Marriott in Puerto Vallarta for a day pass. It was only 650 pesos and 500 of those pesos go toward food and drink. It was a beautiful hotel and not too far from port maybe 10-15 minutes. In Mazatlan we booked a city tour and the guy gave us like an extra 2 hours! It was awesome. We went to Tabascos Beach Club in Cabo and it was uncrowded and they had 2 for 1 drinks for about 145 pesos. My in laws ordered breakfast and it was huge and they said it was delicious. We had the beef nachos and they were so good. I ended up getting an hour massage for $35 and my husband and son rented a jet ski for $40. You can totally haggle on prices with them. I would do this itinerary again because we enjoyed all these ports so much. SUMMARY The Star has had a brand new makeover and she delivers on friendly above and beyond service and a relaxed fun experience. If you want things like rock walls, water slides, mini golf and ropes courses then this would not be a good choice for you. If you want an uncrowded ship with relaxed activities, delicious food and friendly service the Star provides great value and an enjoyable smaller ship experience.

Relaxed Vibe on a Fun Little Ship

Norwegian Star Cruise Review by teacherelaxin

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2019
  • Destination: Mexican Riviera
  • Cabin Type: Obstructed Oceanview
This was my third sailing with Norwegian after cruising on the Escape and Getaway. I was a little worried that the ship would be too small and that there wouldn't be enough activities on board for our two teenagers. The teens had an amazing time at the Entourage Club and made a large group of friends that they hung out with the whole cruise. I found the Star to be a wonderful ship for many reasons. First off, embarkation out of the San Pedro port was VERY fast and so easy. The friendly staff on board the ship continually went above and beyond. Secondly, it never felt crowded to me. There were always lounge chairs available and never had to wait long at bars for drinks. In fact, waiters actually came around and took drink orders which is something we rarely experienced on the larger NCL ships.

DINING (Gluten Free Perspective

I'm going to start by saying that the dining was way better than the other competing cruise line that we've sailed on three times. I have a NCGS (non-celiac gluten sensitivity) and it's always a worry that I'll experience symptoms while on vacation from accidental exposure. This was the BEST NCL experience I've had as a gluten free cruiser. Every evening they had a special diets coordinator named Valan come and meet me at dinner to take my order for the next evening. Usually on cruises they forget to do this or I have to make a special trip to MDR to place the order myself. I did not have to do this and Valan always knew where and when I was dining and found me to bring me the menu. We ate at Moderno, Sushi Bar, Teppanyaki and Le Bistro and I never had a problem ordering something that I liked. My youngest son celebrated his 15th birthday and they even made a special gluten free cake so that I could enjoy it as well. I never asked for this and it was such a thoughtful gesture. I had to eat lunch at the buffet a couple times but I just asked to speak to a chef and he pointed out all the options that were safe for me to eat. I never experienced any gluten exposure symptoms the entire cruise. Most of the Indian food options (except bread of course) were always safe and were very delicious!

We did eat at the Topsiders Grill a couple times but I'd be careful if you are celiac as the mayo and condiments in open containers were definitely contaminated with bread. We just ate the burgers with lettuce and other veggie but again be careful if you are super sensitive as the tongs may come in contact with bread. We also ate at O'Sheehans for both lunch and breakfast. They do have gluten free bread if you ask but the hashbrowns are not GF friendly because of the fryers.

My husband and boys are not gluten free but both my mother in law and myself are and we had no problems. Amost all requests were accommodated with ease. Food takes a little longer as it is prepared in the allergy free kitchen but it's always come out fresh and tasty. My husband is SUPER critical about food and a bit of a snob and he commented on how the food was really good on this ship and we only had a few things that were mediocre.

ENTERTAINMENT and ACTIVITIES

We enjoyed seeing most of the shows on board the Star. We saw Paradis, Band on the Run, a comedy act, and an Acrobatic show with a husband/wife team and their son. All shows were enjoyable and the costumes were incredible! We also did karaoke and merengue dance lessons. We enjoyed the live music throughout the ship.

I did book a Thermal Spa pass at Mandera Spa. It was very uncrowded but a little small. I still enjoyed it but I didn't use it as much as I would have liked to. The gym is a little small and is missing equipment like kettle bells, slam balls and medicine balls that other ships have. It does have a lot of cardio equipment but the weight lifting area is so tiny and gets crowded. The group classes were a little pricey in my opinion. I personally don't feel $20 for a 30 minutes class is a very good deal but if you book a class pack (only offered on the first day) you would save money if this is something you are interested in attending more than 3 times during the week.They at least have a gym but it is not the nicest one I've used on a ship.

I was happy to find out that they recently added a Spice H2O to this ship with two hot tubs. I liked that it was covered by an awning but if you wanted sun you could go up the stairs to the helicopter pad for lounge chairs. We also enjoyed the Sky High Bar at the top of the ship because you could listen to the music and enjoy the views. We went up here on a sea day with family traveling with us to play some card games.

We enjoyed all the bars on the ship but we particularly we enjoyed Sky High, 5 O'Clock Somewhere and Bliss Ultra Lounge. We were disappointed that the Sugarcane Mojito bar had very limited hours and didn't open until 5:00 but you could order your drinks to go and take them with you to enjoy poolside.

SERVICE

Our cabin steward did a great job cleaning our room each morning and turning it down for us at night. We rarely saw him or talked to him and he really didn't go out of his way to introduce himself to us. This doesn't really bother me at all and is really just an observation and comparison from previous cruises where the steward went out of his way to talk to us.

Our cruise director was Dingo Dave and he was a fun guy. I would see him around the ship and he came to our Cruise Critic Meet and Greet. They had a very entertaining Meet and Greet and all the officers introduced themselves and even gave us their numbers to reach them. They were all very funny and it was nice meeting other cruisers from this forum.

As I mentioned earlier, the staff was very accommodating and friendly. We did run into two staff members (O'Sheehans and Versailles) at the end of the trip that were a little grumpy at first but after making small talk with them and joking around a little bit, they came around almost instantly and they were smiling and happy. The staff members all work so hard and I always give a little grace and extra smiles if they seem to be having a tough time. I can only imagine what they deal with on a daily basis.

PORTS

This was my first Mexican Rivera cruise and I enjoyed all of the ports. We don't typically book our excursions through the cruise line. We go through reputable outside websites and find the excursions less crowded, less expensive and more personable. We went to the Marriott in Puerto Vallarta for a day pass. It was only 650 pesos and 500 of those pesos go toward food and drink. It was a beautiful hotel and not too far from port maybe 10-15 minutes. In Mazatlan we booked a city tour and the guy gave us like an extra 2 hours! It was awesome. We went to Tabascos Beach Club in Cabo and it was uncrowded and they had 2 for 1 drinks for about 145 pesos. My in laws ordered breakfast and it was huge and they said it was delicious. We had the beef nachos and they were so good. I ended up getting an hour massage for $35 and my husband and son rented a jet ski for $40. You can totally haggle on prices with them. I would do this itinerary again because we enjoyed all these ports so much.

SUMMARY

The Star has had a brand new makeover and she delivers on friendly above and beyond service and a relaxed fun experience. If you want things like rock walls, water slides, mini golf and ropes courses then this would not be a good choice for you. If you want an uncrowded ship with relaxed activities, delicious food and friendly service the Star provides great value and an enjoyable smaller ship experience.
teacherelaxin’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Ages 13 to 15
Ages 16+
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Obstructed Oceanview
Cabin OK 8566
The cabin was VERY small for 5 people. We are used to bigger family sized oceanview rooms on the larger ships when traveling with our teens. The rooms was clean and had everything we needed. We don't spend much time in the room on a cruise. I would recommend this room for maybe three people or if you are traveling with smaller/younger children.
Deck 8 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews