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My wife and I wanted to join my niece and her husband in getting a taste of Europe and experiencing some places we never been to before. Having been on many NCL cruises before and having booked the Butler/Concierge level suite we were expecting a much better experience than what we had. Now don't get me wrong, when it came to the average crew member all I can offer is high praise. The butler Randy, Room Steward Wesley, Maria who tended bar, The Sommelier in Cagney's to name just a few) were spectacular. It is people like this who make we want to continue to cruise NCL as they each went above and beyond my expectations and made a great vacation for us. The room was average, decent size, but far smaller than the forward suite we had on our Alaskan Cruise. I would've rated this cruise higher except for the following reasons: 1. From around January of the year of the cruise, I was calling NCL weekly trying to get them to book me into their hotel in Barcelona. I kept getting told that they were not yet available and try in another week. This went on through September when suddenly I'm told there must've been a computer glitch because now they are completely booked up and I had to find my own place to stay. 2. Found my own place to stay, then one afternoon my wife says she happened to look at the NCL site and noticed that we are no longer at Barcelona, but it was changed to Terragona for embarkation and Monaco was removed as a port and replaced with Cannes. Again, this in itself is not a problem as I understand that port changes are something Cruise lines can and will do at times. The problem I have is with NCLs lack of communication, I should not have had to stumble across this but should have been contacted with this information and be available to answer questions I may have about the changes. 3. Transport to Terragona Spain was around $250 via cab, fortunately I accidentally discovered that NCL had a bus transport from the airport to Terragona, again, this is something that should have been communicated to everyone and not something found out on accident 4. My bus was to leave at 10:30, people were leaving before me and when I asked I was informed that my bus hadn't arrived yet. I didn't leave the airport until Noon that day and almost missed the bus because the staff were leaving and never told the group I was in that it was for our bus. I ran after one of them and she admitted that this was the bus we were to be on. 5. People were loading their own luggage and getting on the bus before they should've, there was insufficient luggage space and some people were removed from the bus because their luggage never got on. Add to this a couple hour bus ride to Terragona and waiting first in a huge traffic line to the port, followed by a huge people line to the port. And from what I could see, there were porters grabbing bags from people way at the end of the line and getting them ahead of everyone else. These were not disabled people. 6. Butler level rooms had always come with some perks such as priority dining, shore excursion reservations to name a few. We turned in our choices for excursions early evening the day of embarkation only to be informed that 4 of our choices were booked and we would be put on a waiting list. 7. Susanna, the concierge was a very gruff individual and was not always very friendly and even heard to tell a passenger, "don't you understand english", of all the crew members she was the only one I noticed to have an attitude. 8. Teppanyaki Chef we had almost speared a lady sitting with us with a two pronged fork while doing his routine and after dropping a couple of other things he lost the little bit of humor he had and just did his best to try and get through the rest of the serving. 9. Rome excursion, Hop on, Hop off we were informed to go once completely around by bus and then determine what we wanted to see to get an idea when to get back to the bus back to the port. Traffic was so bad, there was not an opportunity to go somewhere once we made one complete trip. We should've been informed to pick one thing we absolutely wanted to see, go there, walk to other places and if necessary take a cab back. Others commented on spending a large amount of money on some of the Rome excursions and being extremely disappointed. I know Rome is a big draw, but perhaps this could've been a port skipped to alleviate some of the congestion. 10. Gone are the days of lobster fest and all you can eat, for that matter Cagney's didn't even offer a lobster tail add on as they had in the past, now surf and turf is steak with a few shrimp. I mentioned the people who made the cruise special as well as the problems encountered. The Ports overall were nice, some like Kotor Montenegro, Argostoli, Santorini were breathtakingly beautiful. Athens was fantastic, Pompeii amazing. Problem was 1 sea day and different port each day. While I like having a different port each day, it isn't so great when you can't even spend at least 8-10 hours at the port, far too rushed. Better this was a 13 or 14 night cruise and have more time or remove one of the ports. I've done 6 cruises with NCL so far, 2 with Carnival, 1 with the Disney Big Red Boat, 1 with Princess and 1 with Regent. With the exception of Regent, NCL was definitely the best choice from the others. I have to say though, that I'm leaning toward Regent for my next cruise even though NCL also sails there. When we first started cruising with them, NCL was all about doing everything they could to exceed our expectations, now they just seem more interested in how many gimmicks they can come up with to get your money without giving them any overhead (just look at all the pushing for pull tabs and ship lottery tickets). NCL go back to treating your customers well, you push that into your employees, most of whom are amazing, get the rest on board by at the very least, improving your communication.

Nightmarish Beginning but fun despite it all

Norwegian Star Cruise Review by Szarekjohn

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2019
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Aft-Facing Penthouse with Large Balcony
My wife and I wanted to join my niece and her husband in getting a taste of Europe and experiencing some places we never been to before. Having been on many NCL cruises before and having booked the Butler/Concierge level suite we were expecting a much better experience than what we had. Now don't get me wrong, when it came to the average crew member all I can offer is high praise. The butler Randy, Room Steward Wesley, Maria who tended bar, The Sommelier in Cagney's to name just a few) were spectacular. It is people like this who make we want to continue to cruise NCL as they each went above and beyond my expectations and made a great vacation for us. The room was average, decent size, but far smaller than the forward suite we had on our Alaskan Cruise. I would've rated this cruise higher except for the following reasons:

1. From around January of the year of the cruise, I was calling NCL weekly trying to get them to book me into their hotel in Barcelona. I kept getting told that they were not yet available and try in another week. This went on through September when suddenly I'm told there must've been a computer glitch because now they are completely booked up and I had to find my own place to stay.

2. Found my own place to stay, then one afternoon my wife says she happened to look at the NCL site and noticed that we are no longer at Barcelona, but it was changed to Terragona for embarkation and Monaco was removed as a port and replaced with Cannes. Again, this in itself is not a problem as I understand that port changes are something Cruise lines can and will do at times. The problem I have is with NCLs lack of communication, I should not have had to stumble across this but should have been contacted with this information and be available to answer questions I may have about the changes.

3. Transport to Terragona Spain was around $250 via cab, fortunately I accidentally discovered that NCL had a bus transport from the airport to Terragona, again, this is something that should have been communicated to everyone and not something found out on accident

4. My bus was to leave at 10:30, people were leaving before me and when I asked I was informed that my bus hadn't arrived yet. I didn't leave the airport until Noon that day and almost missed the bus because the staff were leaving and never told the group I was in that it was for our bus. I ran after one of them and she admitted that this was the bus we were to be on.

5. People were loading their own luggage and getting on the bus before they should've, there was insufficient luggage space and some people were removed from the bus because their luggage never got on. Add to this a couple hour bus ride to Terragona and waiting first in a huge traffic line to the port, followed by a huge people line to the port. And from what I could see, there were porters grabbing bags from people way at the end of the line and getting them ahead of everyone else. These were not disabled people.

6. Butler level rooms had always come with some perks such as priority dining, shore excursion reservations to name a few. We turned in our choices for excursions early evening the day of embarkation only to be informed that 4 of our choices were booked and we would be put on a waiting list.

7. Susanna, the concierge was a very gruff individual and was not always very friendly and even heard to tell a passenger, "don't you understand english", of all the crew members she was the only one I noticed to have an attitude.

8. Teppanyaki Chef we had almost speared a lady sitting with us with a two pronged fork while doing his routine and after dropping a couple of other things he lost the little bit of humor he had and just did his best to try and get through the rest of the serving.

9. Rome excursion, Hop on, Hop off we were informed to go once completely around by bus and then determine what we wanted to see to get an idea when to get back to the bus back to the port. Traffic was so bad, there was not an opportunity to go somewhere once we made one complete trip. We should've been informed to pick one thing we absolutely wanted to see, go there, walk to other places and if necessary take a cab back. Others commented on spending a large amount of money on some of the Rome excursions and being extremely disappointed. I know Rome is a big draw, but perhaps this could've been a port skipped to alleviate some of the congestion.

10. Gone are the days of lobster fest and all you can eat, for that matter Cagney's didn't even offer a lobster tail add on as they had in the past, now surf and turf is steak with a few shrimp.

I mentioned the people who made the cruise special as well as the problems encountered. The Ports overall were nice, some like Kotor Montenegro, Argostoli, Santorini were breathtakingly beautiful. Athens was fantastic, Pompeii amazing. Problem was 1 sea day and different port each day. While I like having a different port each day, it isn't so great when you can't even spend at least 8-10 hours at the port, far too rushed. Better this was a 13 or 14 night cruise and have more time or remove one of the ports. I've done 6 cruises with NCL so far, 2 with Carnival, 1 with the Disney Big Red Boat, 1 with Princess and 1 with Regent. With the exception of Regent, NCL was definitely the best choice from the others. I have to say though, that I'm leaning toward Regent for my next cruise even though NCL also sails there. When we first started cruising with them, NCL was all about doing everything they could to exceed our expectations, now they just seem more interested in how many gimmicks they can come up with to get your money without giving them any overhead (just look at all the pushing for pull tabs and ship lottery tickets). NCL go back to treating your customers well, you push that into your employees, most of whom are amazing, get the rest on board by at the very least, improving your communication.
Szarekjohn’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Aft-Facing Penthouse with Large Balcony
Cabin SF 9736
Balcony was fine, only enough room for two lounge chairs and a table, difficult getting out onto it as you had to push the lounge chairs into the gutter drain in order to get outside. Cabinet for cups, wine glasses kept rattling anytime at sea but it wasn't a design problem just some cups, glasses did not lay flush to the glass, added a towel and the noise stopped. Bed was comfortable, everything worked as it should, very nice to have a shower that was part of a bathtub, however I've been in similar suites with NCL that had a whirlpool tub AND a separate large shower and tub at the same category level. Nice seating area inside,
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Argostoli (Kefalonia)
    Taking the boat ride in the subterranean lake was nice, but it was more the beauty of Argostoli that I enjoyed.
    View All 66 Argostoli (Kefalonia) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Argostoli (Kefalonia) Cruise Port Review
  • City Tour
    Consisted of Acropolis, Acropolis museum, City tour, Temple of Zeus and the Old Olympic Stadium to name a few. The guide was fantastic and the archaeology was amazing.
    View All 154 City Tour Reviews
  • Nice Walking Tour
    Nice walking and little electric train. Nice was okay, but for the drive and what was seen I would've preferred simply getting off the ship and walking through the city of Cannes which was definitely doable.
    View All 21 Nice Walking Tour Reviews
  • City Tour
    General tour, history of town, biggest draw was for Game of Thrones, otherwise would've preferred second day in Kotor.
    View All 111 City Tour Reviews
  • Florence & Pisa Tour
    Been to Florence before but it is still very beautiful to see, had a delicious Italian lunch at a place that appeared to be like a palace. Guide was outstanding, Pisa was worth going as well.
    View All 230 Florence & Pisa Tour Reviews
  • Montenegro Highlights
    Tour guide was so wonderful, she told jokes and related stories that truly made what would normally be a sleeper of a trip into one of the most entertaining trips I ever was on. I even had to tell her that she was the best guide I had ever experienced on any tour, any where so far. Add to that the beauty of this country
    View All 79 Montenegro Highlights Reviews
  • Island of Delos
    Being on this island was like being transported back into time to a period where the Greek gods were in control. The archeological findings were amazing to see. Very interesting.
    View All 86 Island of Delos Reviews
  • Mt. Vesuvius
    Cruise line rates this a level 3, thinking because it only rates with 3 levels. Climbing mount Vesuvius is a 6, but it was doable with frequent rest stops. Fortunately with started with the volcano and then did Pompeii. Would've been much harder if done in reverse. Highly recommend at least Pompeii and definitely the volcano for anyone willing to put in some strenuous activity.
    View All 51 Mt. Vesuvius Reviews
  • Pompeii Walking Tour
    Cruise line rates this a level 3, thinking because it only rates with 3 levels. Climbing mount Vesuvius is a 6, but it was doable with frequent rest stops. Fortunately with started with the volcano and then did Pompeii. Would've been much harder if done in reverse. Highly recommend at least Pompeii and definitely the volcano for anyone willing to put in some strenuous activity.
    View All 449 Pompeii Walking Tour Reviews
  • Rome on Your Own
    Specifically Hop on Hop off, which generally can be a great way to see a lot. Unfortunately this bus only passes the Coliseum and only comes in the vicinity of the other sites which wouldn't be a problem but one round trip with Rome traffic uses up all but 1 or 2 hours to see a site. It would be impossible to take this and do the Vatican. You could perhaps walk and see Trevi fountain and the Parthenon and short lunch before you head back. We ended up having a wonderful lunch and walked the rest of the way back to the cruise bus because we didn't have much time for anything else.
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  • Oia Village
    Seeing the beautiful churches in Oia was great, but in all honesty taking a picture of the 3 blue domed churches appeared to be the only reason people were there.
    View All 207 Oia Village Reviews