We chose this cruise because we thought that it would be a nice relaxing cruise on a smaller ship. My wife and I have been on over twenty cruises, and are platinum members on NCL. We have previously sailed on NCL Epic, Escape, Bliss, and Getaway. We have also sailed on Princess, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Carnival and Celebrity. I get so much information from all the people on Cruise Critics, I feel an obligation to submit a short review.
EMBARKATION:Being platinum members we were supposed to have "priority check in." The customer service representative said that the person that was supposed to do the "priority check in" did not show up for work so we would have to go to the back of the line and check in with the other guests! That was a pretty telling expression of how NCL feels about their loyal customers! I asked why they didn't move one of the other check in host down to the priority check in and he said that there were more other guests than priority guests!
THE SHIP: The ship is old,but in relatively good condition. Even though it has been recently refurbished, some things can not be changed. The overall layout and design of the ship speaks to it's age. Some of the "you can't get there from here" features remain from times past. It does not have the "WOW" factor of the more modern ships.
STATEROOM: We were in an obstructed view outside stateroom. The storage space was ample, the most storage that we have had on any of the past 10 to 15 cruises. Room was well laid out. The bathroom was VERY small. Separate shower with a sliding glass door, and a separate toilet area with a sliding glass door. Each were on either side of the sink area. The steward did not clean our room on the fourth day, so we ended up getting our own ice and replacing the towels in our room from a cart that was in the hall. On another day, he did not replace the empty Kleenex in the bathroom, so my wife found him and told him that the Kleenex was empty and handed him the empty box. He said "OK" and handed her a new box and took the empty one, and never offered to put it into the dispenser. The next day as we were leaving our cabin, he handed us a "Cruise Hero Card" and a pen and asked us to fill it out!
DINING: We ate at three of the specialty restaurants, Cagney's, Le Bistro and La Cucina. We have always enjoyed Cagney's on other ships and has become our favorite specialty restaurant, That was not the case on the Star, Steaks were never cooked properly, service was bad, We found Le Bistro to be OK, not any better or worse that any other ship. The surprise was La Cucina. The food was very good and the service was excellent. We ate one evening in the complimentary Ginza restaurant, and the food was very, very good, but the service was terrible. We had most breakfasts in the Versailles MDR and the food and service were good. We also ate one dinner in Versailles MDR, and both the food and service were very good. We ate a few times in the Garden Buffet for lunch and breakfast and the meals were the usual food variety. Overall, we were most impressed with the MDR and La Cucina for the service and food quality.
ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment was very good. The show dancers and singers were awesome as was the acrobats.The overall entertainment we found to be better than on most ships.
Bars: We had the UBP, and had a very difficult time getting service from most of the bars. We found that we got the best bar service while we were eating inside a restaurant.. Several of the bars do not open until around 5:00pm or later, leaving only a few bars open during the day. Also, the Atrium area is much smaller than on previous ships, and does not serve alcohol, only Starbucks coffee that is not included in the UBP.
Disembarkation: What a mess! We do self assist walk off. We asked several different people at the Guest Services Desk as to the time and place and got a different answer each time. The Cruise Director stated in one of his informational announcements that the location of the gangway and departure times would be announced the date of departure.This never happened. I spoke to an officer at 5:30AM the morning of disembarkation, and he said that the self assist walk off would take place at the front of the ship near the Stardust Theater around 7:00AM. We were the first in line and so many people were told so many wrong locations and we got to hear all the stories as they eventually arrived at the correct location.We were able to disembark at about 7:45AM, and there was never an announcement made as to the time or location before we disembarked.
EXCURSIONS/PORTS: We did not do any shore excursions as we have done most of them previously. We have been to each of the ports several times, bot enjoyed St Thomas the most.
OVERALL: Overall it was a cruise and we were not working! A cruise is what you make of it. There was nothing "really" terrible, and other than the shows, nothing "really" spectacular either. It was a nice time away, and we got a good deal on the cruise so everything is good, however, I don't anticipate sailing on the Star again in the future. We enjoyed our time away, but we are glad to be back home. We are already excited about our upcoming cruise in November 2019.