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We are new-ish to cruising but this was our 3rd. We have done 1 P&O and 1 Royal Caribbean. We intend trying 5 cruise lines and then decide on who we want to sail with. MSC and Princess will be next. We currently have P&O and RC neck-and-neck in all aspects of quality and service from our own experience. This review isn’t against the staff because as with all cruise staff they work really hard long days and we appreciate it isn’t easy. The staff, as with others ships couldn't do enough for us. This is a long review but in sections, there is minimum opinion here because it is typed as we experienced it. This is typed purely for people to read before booking but also for those high up in Norwegian to pull their fingers out as people will just vote with their feet and you wont get them back. The problems started in Venice where we had a 1200pm check in time given to us but it seemed so did everyone else. After registering and getting the door cards we were given a boarding group number-this turned out to be a boarding time over 2 hours later. The Premium drinks package we had didn’t include water. Ive never thought as water as a luxury item but it wasn’t included, nor was the Starbucks coffee which is nearly $10 for 2 cups- we had 6 between 2 of us at nearly $30. The buffet wasn’t serve yourself as expected, all items were served to you and your plate (no trays) like in a prison. 1 person served 3 items or more so if the server was dealing with someone in front of you, you just had to wait for their return as they took the spoons off you if you dare serve yourself. Want to squirt your own tomato sauce on your bacon? They’ll take that off you too and squirt it for you. This happened. The water, juice, tea and coffee counter was placed alongside the walking gangway. You cant serve yourself here either, there’s 2 or 3 people stood there serving you but they were roped off with bollards, and we stood the other side of the rope for a drink, so you lost 4-5 foot in width of the walking gangway. This created an instant bottle neck of people wanting drinks and people passing with plates of food. I asked why we just couldn’t serve ourselves, and I was told ‘our bosses tell us this’. The casino was a decent size to be fair, but with crowds of people around the 1 roulette table it was difficult to play if you didn’t have a seat. Seats occupied by non players but the casino staff wouldn’t ask them to move to make space for players. The card tables were a minimum of $5 per play which meant the people who play just for fun for $1 or $2 werent there. The rest of the floor space was occupied by 160+ slots/bandits/fruit machines which at most had 10% occupied at any time- This is a generous estimate too. 1 craps table (this is usual), $5, $10, $25 card tables mostly sat empty 95% of the time with clearly bored dealers, and 1 busy roulette table. So much wasted space on slot machines it was a pity. The people leaving the theatre passed through the casino and carried on walking. I wonder who would have stopped for $1 / $2 games. The casino had its own rules not seen elsewhere too. Anyone played 2 hands at a card table? Me too. Not here though, you could play 2 hands but a clear plastic guard was placed over your 2nd hand of cards to ensure you played them blind. You had to gamble blind, gamble without seeing any cards. Haven’t seen that before. Roulette digital sign said $2 play with 5 chip minimum . Not sure why it just didn’t say $10 minimum. This changed when playing the columns or dozens (these are 3 available bets) because 2 out of 3 bets are often covered but the $10 minimum now meant $10 minimum on each column or dozen, so now we were at $20 per bet. Didn’t see this written anywhere and never heard of it before either. Again, no $1 $2 for the fun players to play but with only 1 table for a ship of 2,200 people on, its probably just as well. Royal Caribbean dealers said you had to be a casino dealer for 2 years outside before you could be a dealer on a ship with them. The Norwegian staff didn’t appear to have that level of experience but all were very pleasant, as were the waiters and bar staff. The casino rules and minimum pricing was clearly out of their hands by those above them. Gatsby’s bar which backed onto the casino had great bar staff, decent piano players but stunk of either blue cheese or stale feet. Every day and night we noticed it, until the last night before we sailed back to Venice on day 6 when it smelled clean. The ship had brass stair edges, bannisters and fittings but I couldn’t tell when they were last shiny. Admittedly brass is hard to keep shiny but its been done elsewhere and if it cant be kept on top of then its sensible to fit steel fittings that don’t need polishing. Tenders were required in some places (these are little boats from the ship to the town if the ship cant get any closer or into a normal dock) and the first tender needed was into Montenegro. 4 hours we had available here and after an utter shambles getting people off the ship, we had enough time for a stroll around the town and 2 drinks then we went back to the tender for the ship. Some people didn’t even get off the ship as time had simply run out for them due to the tender and ticket fiasco. For each town or island that needed a tender we had an arrival time and a departure time given to us, but no one knew the last tender time from each town. On the third tender they advised us the last tender departure time (most likely from repeated complaints about the tendering problems for the previous two days). Duty Free shop continually empty, but considering the prices it should be called Duty Added. Maintenance men painting the ship while sailing back from Croatia so a nice paint smell as we travelled watching the sun set. Pub quiz run (with football on tv, the Darby and Joan club sat nattering and other general noise) by a staff whose English was so poor she asked an English passenger to read the questions out for her. 1 notable quiz question was ‘what is the most popular river in New York?’ . We weren’t sure how a river becomes popular but we picked the Hudson and then gave up on the quiz due to the above points. Repeated queues from main dining areas up and down stairs, past toilets and lifts as there was often 1 person taking details for tables as pre booking wasn’t done, as its called ‘Feel at Sea’ or ‘Freedom Dining’ but with no booking times people turned up together and staff got overrun. I could go on but this is a long review already, so some good points. Good points Nice staff and hardworking, nice weather, nice ports to visit. In summary If I didn’t know better I’d think this was their first attempt at cruising. Wouldn’t use NCL again as theres way too many bad points that we didn’t experience on P&O or RC. If it was my first cruise I most likely wouldn’t bother again, no matter who tried to convince me.

Too many bad things we didnt find on other cruise lines

Norwegian Star Cruise Review by ge99

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2019
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Inside
We are new-ish to cruising but this was our 3rd. We have done 1 P&O and 1 Royal Caribbean. We intend trying 5 cruise lines and then decide on who we want to sail with.

MSC and Princess will be next. We currently have P&O and RC neck-and-neck in all aspects of quality and service from our own experience.

This review isn’t against the staff because as with all cruise staff they work really hard long days and we appreciate it isn’t easy. The staff, as with others ships couldn't do enough for us.

This is a long review but in sections, there is minimum opinion here because it is typed as we experienced it. This is typed purely for people to read before booking but also for those high up in Norwegian to pull their fingers out as people will just vote with their feet and you wont get them back.

The problems started in Venice where we had a 1200pm check in time given to us but it seemed so did everyone else. After registering and getting the door cards we were given a boarding group number-this turned out to be a boarding time over 2 hours later.

The Premium drinks package we had didn’t include water. Ive never thought as water as a luxury item but it wasn’t included, nor was the Starbucks coffee which is nearly $10 for 2 cups- we had 6 between 2 of us at nearly $30.

The buffet wasn’t serve yourself as expected, all items were served to you and your plate (no trays) like in a prison. 1 person served 3 items or more so if the server was dealing with someone in front of you, you just had to wait for their return as they took the spoons off you if you dare serve yourself. Want to squirt your own tomato sauce on your bacon? They’ll take that off you too and squirt it for you. This happened.

The water, juice, tea and coffee counter was placed alongside the walking gangway. You cant serve yourself here either, there’s 2 or 3 people stood there serving you but they were roped off with bollards, and we stood the other side of the rope for a drink, so you lost 4-5 foot in width of the walking gangway. This created an instant bottle neck of people wanting drinks and people passing with plates of food. I asked why we just couldn’t serve ourselves, and I was told ‘our bosses tell us this’.

The casino was a decent size to be fair, but with crowds of people around the 1 roulette table it was difficult to play if you didn’t have a seat. Seats occupied by non players but the casino staff wouldn’t ask them to move to make space for players. The card tables were a minimum of $5 per play which meant the people who play just for fun for $1 or $2 werent there.

The rest of the floor space was occupied by 160+ slots/bandits/fruit machines which at most had 10% occupied at any time- This is a generous estimate too.

1 craps table (this is usual), $5, $10, $25 card tables mostly sat empty 95% of the time with clearly bored dealers, and 1 busy roulette table. So much wasted space on slot machines it was a pity. The people leaving the theatre passed through the casino and carried on walking. I wonder who would have stopped for $1 / $2 games.

The casino had its own rules not seen elsewhere too. Anyone played 2 hands at a card table? Me too. Not here though, you could play 2 hands but a clear plastic guard was placed over your 2nd hand of cards to ensure you played them blind. You had to gamble blind, gamble without seeing any cards. Haven’t seen that before.

Roulette digital sign said $2 play with 5 chip minimum . Not sure why it just didn’t say $10 minimum. This changed when playing the columns or dozens (these are 3 available bets) because 2 out of 3 bets are often covered but the $10 minimum now meant $10 minimum on each column or dozen, so now we were at $20 per bet. Didn’t see this written anywhere and never heard of it before either. Again, no $1 $2 for the fun players to play but with only 1 table for a ship of 2,200 people on, its probably just as well.

Royal Caribbean dealers said you had to be a casino dealer for 2 years outside before you could be a dealer on a ship with them. The Norwegian staff didn’t appear to have that level of experience but all were very pleasant, as were the waiters and bar staff.

The casino rules and minimum pricing was clearly out of their hands by those above them.

Gatsby’s bar which backed onto the casino had great bar staff, decent piano players but stunk of either blue cheese or stale feet. Every day and night we noticed it, until the last night before we sailed back to Venice on day 6 when it smelled clean.

The ship had brass stair edges, bannisters and fittings but I couldn’t tell when they were last shiny. Admittedly brass is hard to keep shiny but its been done elsewhere and if it cant be kept on top of then its sensible to fit steel fittings that don’t need polishing.

Tenders were required in some places (these are little boats from the ship to the town if the ship cant get any closer or into a normal dock) and the first tender needed was into Montenegro. 4 hours we had available here and after an utter shambles getting people off the ship, we had enough time for a stroll around the town and 2 drinks then we went back to the tender for the ship. Some people didn’t even get off the ship as time had simply run out for them due to the tender and ticket fiasco.

For each town or island that needed a tender we had an arrival time and a departure time given to us, but no one knew the last tender time from each town. On the third tender they advised us the last tender departure time (most likely from repeated complaints about the tendering problems for the previous two days).

Duty Free shop continually empty, but considering the prices it should be called Duty Added.

Maintenance men painting the ship while sailing back from Croatia so a nice paint smell as we travelled watching the sun set.

Pub quiz run (with football on tv, the Darby and Joan club sat nattering and other general noise) by a staff whose English was so poor she asked an English passenger to read the questions out for her. 1 notable quiz question was ‘what is the most popular river in New York?’ . We weren’t sure how a river becomes popular but we picked the Hudson and then gave up on the quiz due to the above points.

Repeated queues from main dining areas up and down stairs, past toilets and lifts as there was often 1 person taking details for tables as pre booking wasn’t done, as its called ‘Feel at Sea’ or ‘Freedom Dining’ but with no booking times people turned up together and staff got overrun.

I could go on but this is a long review already, so some good points.

Good points

Nice staff and hardworking, nice weather, nice ports to visit.

In summary

If I didn’t know better I’d think this was their first attempt at cruising. Wouldn’t use NCL again as theres way too many bad points that we didn’t experience on P&O or RC.

If it was my first cruise I most likely wouldn’t bother again, no matter who tried to convince me.
ge99’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Inside
Cabin IE
The inside cabin was ok and clean, some chips on the paint or wood and noisy clothes drawers of the steel runners screeching as they opened. We were hoping for a complimentary can of WD40 but there wasn’t one. no kettle and we werent allowed to take one either. decent size TV.

We opened 1 bottle of water in the room, expecting it to be on the house as with the other cruises but we got charged $6 for it. Our fault for not realising it wasn’t free, no problem. The room cleaner threw out the ¾ drunk bottle and our spare Evian bottle . So we had no spare bottles to fill and $6 worse off. We took it to Guest Services but heard no more about it. Turns out it was a $5 bottle but we got stung for $6.

Daily cleaners that made the bed, but no towel animals (no big deal) but sink wasnt wiped all week, no sinkside items tidied away, toilet didnt seem cleaned. decent shower though with clothes hanging string up, clean towels
Deck 5 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

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