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My wife and I chose this cruise to celebrate our 10th anniversary. It was our 10th cruise in as many years, always in a top suite on the ship. 8 of the cruises were on Carnival. This was our 2nd on NCL. On the ship there is only one stateroom class higher...the 3 bedroom garden villa. This room is actually on the bridge wing on the starboard side. It commands amazing floor to ceiling views looking FORWARD which is a nice change. It actually feels like you're flying low when you are moving. Be aware though that there is no balcony or exterior access so it can still feel a little confined. When we arrived to our room, we found all of the blinds drawn shut which gave a first impression of the space being much smaller than expected. I pulled them all up and the room quickly heated to an unpleasant level. The air conditioning could not keep up with the heat coming off of the glass. The room steward came in and I asked about getting the AC looked at and he said "well, the blinds are all open". OF COURSE the blinds are all open. Why else would one give up a balcony and pay quite a bit of money for the room? They did eventually get someone in to adjust the AC and it worked, but it was an odd way of replying to the concern. A moment about "free at sea". We booked early and a top level suite and we awarded all 5 offers. The premium beverages package was very nice to have! We are not huge drinkers but it was nice not to think about signing for every drink ordered. The free internet is only 240 minutes and we were upsold for another ~$130 to get actual free internet. Free shore excursions means ONE $50 credit per STATEROOM per port. As most of the excursions were $120-$200 per PERSON, the excursions were not exactly free. Free specialty dining was valid for 3 nights out of 7, also a bit misleading. Free 3rd and 4th guests...we didn't take advantage of. Seems generous. The ship's food was not great. The buffet food was the worst we've ever had. The steakhouse food was decent but the lighting was very bright and setting was very loud. It was not the ambiance you'd expect from an ala carte restaurant with shorelike pricing. The Teppan restaurant was the best on the ship and the chefs were very entertaining, better than many on land. Otherwise the food was ranging between fair to moderate. I'm pretty sure there was hamburger helper being served at the buffet. The food on Carnival was actually better than on this NCL ship. The only thing that saved the food was that suite guests are offered to dine in the steakhouse for breakfast and lunch complimentary. It was nice to sit and have breakfast prepared for you...good food at that. Breakfast was also accompanied by a very nice buffet and fresh squeezed juices. Entertainment on the ship was also sadly lacking compared to the lower perceived Carnival line. There is no comedy club. There was one show a night in which the performers seemed tired. My wife is a choreographer by trade, so this is always something we check out. They were just going through the motions. TV did not offer any pay per view options like Carnival, and at least half of the channels were commercials to drive business for the ship. There was one movie channel, and a few news channels. We actually like to get a really nice room and spend time enjoying it away from the crowds on deck so a little better entertainment options would have been appreciated. The itinerary was nice. The list of ports was perfect. On our particular cruise they cancelled our call to Mykonos, which was very disappointing. It was to be the highlight of our trip and I had planned to surprise my wife with some upscale shopping for an anniversary gift. The captain said there were 70kt winds and they could not tender people to shore. I'm no meteorologist, but I'm pretty sure there were no low level hurricanes outside:) It was bumpy but feasible, which brings me to my final gripe (sorry). When we left port in Venice there were 4 ships docked from various cruise lines. We found on this cruise that they all follow the same itinerary and call on the same ports on the same days. They follow each other around like glorified buses, often traveling together with just a couple miles of separation. What this does for the clients is creates a logjam at each port of call. When multiple boats land in port at the same time and all offload their clients simultaneously, the services become scarce and the wait times become long for attractions. Couple this with what I perceive to be short durations at each port (leaving at 12:30 or 2:30 pm at times) and it's impactful to the guests. For instance, in Santorini it was very crowded and we waited 45 minutes to take a picture at a lookout spot. Locals told me that in a few hours it would be vacant. Why not stagger the ships a bit? Here is my takeaway on the NCL vs Carnival. Carnival is less expensive. Carnival has better food if you're willing to pay for it. Carnival has more and better entertainment. NCL has fewer children and is a little more mellow. NCL offers substantial perks if you are a suite guest to elevate the experience such as priority debarkation in ports, special dining for breakfast and lunch, etc. My opinion is that if traveling with family, Carnival wins. If traveling as a couple(s) it's a toss up and NCL may be the winner. I will concede that my wife and I are a tough audience but please accept this honest review as consideration of your future cruise plans if your goal is to pull out all of the stops.

Deluxe Owners Suite 12002, Greek Isles Cruise, and NCL in general.

Norwegian Star Cruise Review by oceanjake

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2019
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Owner's Suite
My wife and I chose this cruise to celebrate our 10th anniversary. It was our 10th cruise in as many years, always in a top suite on the ship. 8 of the cruises were on Carnival. This was our 2nd on NCL.

On the ship there is only one stateroom class higher...the 3 bedroom garden villa. This room is actually on the bridge wing on the starboard side. It commands amazing floor to ceiling views looking FORWARD which is a nice change. It actually feels like you're flying low when you are moving. Be aware though that there is no balcony or exterior access so it can still feel a little confined. When we arrived to our room, we found all of the blinds drawn shut which gave a first impression of the space being much smaller than expected. I pulled them all up and the room quickly heated to an unpleasant level. The air conditioning could not keep up with the heat coming off of the glass. The room steward came in and I asked about getting the AC looked at and he said "well, the blinds are all open". OF COURSE the blinds are all open. Why else would one give up a balcony and pay quite a bit of money for the room? They did eventually get someone in to adjust the AC and it worked, but it was an odd way of replying to the concern.

A moment about "free at sea". We booked early and a top level suite and we awarded all 5 offers. The premium beverages package was very nice to have! We are not huge drinkers but it was nice not to think about signing for every drink ordered. The free internet is only 240 minutes and we were upsold for another ~$130 to get actual free internet. Free shore excursions means ONE $50 credit per STATEROOM per port. As most of the excursions were $120-$200 per PERSON, the excursions were not exactly free. Free specialty dining was valid for 3 nights out of 7, also a bit misleading. Free 3rd and 4th guests...we didn't take advantage of. Seems generous.

The ship's food was not great. The buffet food was the worst we've ever had. The steakhouse food was decent but the lighting was very bright and setting was very loud. It was not the ambiance you'd expect from an ala carte restaurant with shorelike pricing. The Teppan restaurant was the best on the ship and the chefs were very entertaining, better than many on land. Otherwise the food was ranging between fair to moderate. I'm pretty sure there was hamburger helper being served at the buffet. The food on Carnival was actually better than on this NCL ship. The only thing that saved the food was that suite guests are offered to dine in the steakhouse for breakfast and lunch complimentary. It was nice to sit and have breakfast prepared for you...good food at that. Breakfast was also accompanied by a very nice buffet and fresh squeezed juices.

Entertainment on the ship was also sadly lacking compared to the lower perceived Carnival line. There is no comedy club. There was one show a night in which the performers seemed tired. My wife is a choreographer by trade, so this is always something we check out. They were just going through the motions. TV did not offer any pay per view options like Carnival, and at least half of the channels were commercials to drive business for the ship. There was one movie channel, and a few news channels. We actually like to get a really nice room and spend time enjoying it away from the crowds on deck so a little better entertainment options would have been appreciated.

The itinerary was nice. The list of ports was perfect. On our particular cruise they cancelled our call to Mykonos, which was very disappointing. It was to be the highlight of our trip and I had planned to surprise my wife with some upscale shopping for an anniversary gift. The captain said there were 70kt winds and they could not tender people to shore. I'm no meteorologist, but I'm pretty sure there were no low level hurricanes outside:) It was bumpy but feasible, which brings me to my final gripe (sorry).

When we left port in Venice there were 4 ships docked from various cruise lines. We found on this cruise that they all follow the same itinerary and call on the same ports on the same days. They follow each other around like glorified buses, often traveling together with just a couple miles of separation. What this does for the clients is creates a logjam at each port of call. When multiple boats land in port at the same time and all offload their clients simultaneously, the services become scarce and the wait times become long for attractions. Couple this with what I perceive to be short durations at each port (leaving at 12:30 or 2:30 pm at times) and it's impactful to the guests. For instance, in Santorini it was very crowded and we waited 45 minutes to take a picture at a lookout spot. Locals told me that in a few hours it would be vacant. Why not stagger the ships a bit?

Here is my takeaway on the NCL vs Carnival. Carnival is less expensive. Carnival has better food if you're willing to pay for it. Carnival has more and better entertainment. NCL has fewer children and is a little more mellow. NCL offers substantial perks if you are a suite guest to elevate the experience such as priority debarkation in ports, special dining for breakfast and lunch, etc. My opinion is that if traveling with family, Carnival wins. If traveling as a couple(s) it's a toss up and NCL may be the winner.

I will concede that my wife and I are a tough audience but please accept this honest review as consideration of your future cruise plans if your goal is to pull out all of the stops.
oceanjake’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Owner's Suite
Cabin SA 12002
See main comments, but generally a nice room. Not as large as expected. Balcony was missed more than expected. Bathroom configuration near the cabin entrance is a bit awkward. Only hair dryer is fixed in the bedroom (not the bathroom) with not enough cord to properly utilize. Other than that, the view is great and unique. It did get HOT with the blinds open and NCL fixed it for us to a degree. I think the space was not intended to be a guest area and they should probably spend the money for upgraded DEDICATED air conditioning units for the 4 premium rooms affected by the radiated heat from the glass.
Deck 12 Inside Cabins, Suite Cabins