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We are health conscious vegans and one of us has a gluten allergy. In January 2019 we sailed aboard the Princess Regal on a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise. We went with relatives which didn’t give us much time for us to enjoy being on the boat or for relaxing. We needed another cruise and fast! However, we had limited funds having just cruised. We choose a 14 day repositioning cruise on the Norwegian Star which departed Los Angeles and sailed through the Panama Canal with Miami being it’s destination. We went on “the cheap” getting an interior cabin which we do not mind because the darkness helps us sleep longer and better. To save money we used the "Let Us Choose" option where Norwegian selects a cabin for you. The ports of call ranged down the Western Mexican coast, with stops in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, passage through the Canal and last stop in Columbia before heading to Miami. We did not take any tours since we had seen Mexico on other cruises and enjoy having the ship to ourselves when others are ashore. The Star had a historian give several lectures on the Panama Canal history and someone narrated during our passage through the Canal. Both were very nice. Traveling as vegans (avoid foods containing meat or products from animals), always poses a challenge. On the Princess Regal the Main Dining Room offered a vegan menu each night and gladly adjusted for gluten intolerance. The Princess had assigned seating and dinner times which worked well for us. Our waiter became familiar with our special needs and things flowed very smoothly. The Princess morning buffet had mixed greens as well as beans and several types of breakfast grains. They also had non-dairy options on the buffet. The labels above each buffet item had a “V” if it contained no animal products and /or a “GF“ if not made with wheat gluten. On the Norwegian Star, the buffet selection was more limited and we frequently went to the main dining room if we wanted something “green” in the morning. No dish on the buffet had identification as to whether it was vegan or gluten free. Non-dairy and/or gluten free items were available upon request but often took a while to get from the buffet staff. The Norwegian Star has a Free Style approach to dinner. We explained our special dietary needs to the restaurant manager and he introduced us to their special diet coordinator. He was great! At first, we would tell him what we desired for dinner but later just gave him the freedom to create meals with the chefs. The meals were very good and exciting to see what we would get that evening. However, with Free Style dining, you never knew how crowded the restaurant would be at any given time and most of the time we had a new waiter who was unfamiliar with us and our diet. English was not spoken well by some waiters so explaining each night that we had a special meal became tedious. Some nights meals took a very long time to prepare particularly if the restaurant was unexpectedly crowded. The Princess approach with an assigned waiter, assigned dinner time and vegan menu was much more efficient and pleasant for us. The entertainment on the Norwegian Star in our opinion was not as good as some other ships we have been on, however, one show by the ship's production cast was outstanding and among the best I have seen. The Star’s exercise room and decks for walking were superior to many other ships. We enjoyed the Star’s indoor movie theaters rather than the Princess ship design which features an outdoor screen for that “drive-in theater” experience. Overall we achieved our goal of being able to enjoy leisure time at sea and remain healthy. It was a good cruise but from our perspective it could have been better with a few simple changes by Norwegian. It was our first experience with Norwegian so we do not know if our experience is representative of other Norwegian ships or cruises.

Vegans On The High Seas

Norwegian Star Cruise Review by Vegans at sea

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Trip Details
We are health conscious vegans and one of us has a gluten allergy. In January 2019 we sailed aboard the Princess Regal on a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise. We went with relatives which didn’t give us much time for us to enjoy being on the boat or for relaxing. We needed another cruise and fast! However, we had limited funds having just cruised. We choose a 14 day repositioning cruise on the Norwegian Star which departed Los Angeles and sailed through the Panama Canal with Miami being it’s destination. We went on “the cheap” getting an interior cabin which we do not mind because the darkness helps us sleep longer and better. To save money we used the "Let Us Choose" option where Norwegian selects a cabin for you. The ports of call ranged down the Western Mexican coast, with stops in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, passage through the Canal and last stop in Columbia before heading to Miami. We did not take any tours since we had seen Mexico on other cruises and enjoy having the ship to ourselves when others are ashore. The Star had a historian give several lectures on the Panama Canal history and someone narrated during our passage through the Canal. Both were very nice.

Traveling as vegans (avoid foods containing meat or products from animals), always poses a challenge. On the Princess Regal the Main Dining Room offered a vegan menu each night and gladly adjusted for gluten intolerance. The Princess had assigned seating and dinner times which worked well for us. Our waiter became familiar with our special needs and things flowed very smoothly. The Princess morning buffet had mixed greens as well as beans and several types of breakfast grains. They also had non-dairy options on the buffet. The labels above each buffet item had a “V” if it contained no animal products and /or a “GF“ if not made with wheat gluten.

On the Norwegian Star, the buffet selection was more limited and we frequently went to the main dining room if we wanted something “green” in the morning. No dish on the buffet had identification as to whether it was vegan or gluten free. Non-dairy and/or gluten free items were available upon request but often took a while to get from the buffet staff.

The Norwegian Star has a Free Style approach to dinner. We explained our special dietary needs to the restaurant manager and he introduced us to their special diet coordinator. He was great! At first, we would tell him what we desired for dinner but later just gave him the freedom to create meals with the chefs. The meals were very good and exciting to see what we would get that evening. However, with Free Style dining, you never knew how crowded the restaurant would be at any given time and most of the time we had a new waiter who was unfamiliar with us and our diet. English was not spoken well by some waiters so explaining each night that we had a special meal became tedious. Some nights meals took a very long time to prepare particularly if the restaurant was unexpectedly crowded. The Princess approach with an assigned waiter, assigned dinner time and vegan menu was much more efficient and pleasant for us.

The entertainment on the Norwegian Star in our opinion was not as good as some other ships we have been on, however, one show by the ship's production cast was outstanding and among the best I have seen. The Star’s exercise room and decks for walking were superior to many other ships. We enjoyed the Star’s indoor movie theaters rather than the Princess ship design which features an outdoor screen for that “drive-in theater” experience.

Overall we achieved our goal of being able to enjoy leisure time at sea and remain healthy. It was a good cruise but from our perspective it could have been better with a few simple changes by Norwegian. It was our first experience with Norwegian so we do not know if our experience is representative of other Norwegian ships or cruises.
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Inside
Cabin IA 11613
We used the Norwegian "Let Us Choose" option. NEVER AGAIN! We wanted to economize by having an interior room. A ceiling panel squeaked and required us to brace it with wash cloths. The third and fourth beds were nuisances. The one under the bed made luggage storage difficult. A twin size bunk bed was affixed flat against a wall along one side of the bed which stuck out 8 inches, making the person unlucky enough to be sleeping there, contort when getting in or out of bed. However, the nightmare was that our stateroom on deck eleven was directly below the buffet kitchens on deck twelve. The noise was incredibly loud and lasted late into the night (1am) and began again about 5:50 am. We could not sleep. We tried ear plugs purchased from the ship’s store but they couldn't drown out large metal objects banging over our heads, heavy carts rolling and what sounded like tables and chairs being dragged along the floor above us. There was so little insulation we could hear conversations among the kitchen staff and each morning I woke to the staccato noise of vegetables being rapidly chopped on a cutting board. Passengers in the next cabin asked if we heard all the noise at night because they also could not sleep. I assume that residents of all cabins on deck eleven beneath the buffet were subjected to the noise just above their heads as the buffet shut down and started up the next day. We are aware that there is noise on a cruise ship, but Norwegian “Choose” to put us in a room no one but a deaf person would want.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins