We went into this cruise with high expectations. We are Norwegian Platinum members and are no strangers to cruising, having also cruised on Princess, MSC, and Royal Caribbean. Norwegian has been, to now, our go-to cruise line. We thought we were booking a Greek Isles cruise, but what we got was a cruise of the Dalmatian Coast.
As the reader may have already discovered from other reviews, the Star experienced a "mechanical difficulty" sometime around 48 hours before our embarkation. We received notification about the itinerary change in an email 12 hours before embarkation, with zero information as to the nature of the problem. The cruise before us lost a port (Dubrovnick), and we lost Mykonos, Santorini (the two main reasons we booked this cruise) and Kotor. We were given Barr as an alternate port and we lost that too, allegedly due to weather but at this point, I'm no longer believing anything Norwegian has to say. (I will say that another replacement port they gave us, Split, was surprisingly nice.) The much longer cruise the week after ours apparently had a greatly curtailed itinerary as well. Had we been given the opportunity to reschedule we would have gladly stayed in Venice for a week and taken this cruise next year. But, the contract of carriage says they have the right to change the itinerary, and the almighty dollar rules at Norwegian, and "goodwill toward your customers be damned" seemed to be Norwegian modus operandi, and that ship wasn't going to out of service to fix the problem, so off we went, with the captain ensconced in his quarters or on the bridge and hardly heard from in announcements or seen about the ship.
I truly believe the quality has gone downhill at Norwegian. Yes, it's hard to keep foot hot on a buffet but the Star's self serve restaurant (are they still calling it the Garden? I don't remember) just didn't seem up to the task. I will say the bar staff on the ship seemed pretty much on top of things, to their credit. We ate at three specialty restaurants. Cagney's was johnny on the spot with service and my companion reported that the steak was great. My fisherman's platter, however (yes, I don't eat beef), was just average. La Cucina was not bad, pretty much in line with what we've experienced in La Cucina on other Norwegian ships. Now, as for Le Bistro...the food was quite good, but boy, oh boy, the service...it was as if the Keystone Cops were hired to work in the place. Nobody seemed to know what their function was supposed to be. There was just general confusion all around. I'm used to seeing a bit of that in the main dining rooms but wouldn't have expected that in a specialty restaurant.