I like the organization of exterior public spaces. Most outward facing railing is composed of evenly spaced vertically oriented glass panels. Panels range in height from four to eight feet. All panels are about a foot wide and every gap between those panes is about 3 inches. It serves perfectly it’s intended perfectly in three ways. First, you can see everything. They may get a bit obscured with sea spray, but that just means that the spray is not on you. Second, they foil wind. Though forty knot wind was making the rigging howl, behind this screen I felt only a breeze. Finally the gaps between the panels are just the right size for a camera. Most of the topside around the midship swimming pool is chaise lounge sized tiers. It’s easy to navigate with a plate full of food and there is plenty of space for everybody.
I like the complimentary restaurant meals. They were consistently well prepared. The portions were consistently well prepared and small, which is as it should be. If you need a larger meal, you simply order more courses. For example, I ordered five scallop appetizer courses, and skipped the entree.
A major shortcoming that I found for the Star is that it lacks a public quiet interior space with a view of the sea. All those seeking an interior space to pull threads or read or play card are banished to artificially lit cave like places. On the Star, all the interior, sunny comfortable places serve the purpose of dining, drinking and watching sports. This shortcoming could be easily remedied by eliminating one of the upper mid-ship specialty restaurants or eliminate the interior portion of the “owners suite” or eliminating a half dozen cabins fwd of the library on deck 12.
I did not like the access to the main dining room, Versaille, located at the rear of the ship. The room can seat probably 500 and is beautifully decorated. It’s well lit in the evenings. The problem is the entrance. The Access is gained by descending a stair from deck 7 down to the dining room floor on Deck 6. Midway down the flight is a landing that serves as the entrance to the room, and is where the maitre-de sorts party sizes and assigns tables. The stairs from the Maitre-de to the floor are ornate and inside the room. It makes for a very dramatic entrance, however for those guests who cannot take stairs very easily the only way in is via a single elevator shaft. What I mean is that on deck seven, directly adjacent to the dining room entry stairwell, is a bank of four elevator shafts serving Deck seven thru thirteen. Only one of those four shafts goes down to the floor level of the Versaille. To add to the insult, those shafts do not serve stateroom decks five or four either. For residents on those decks, travel to the Versaille dining room always requires a trip to deck seven. From the floor of the restaurant, decks five and four cannot be accessed directly by stairwell either.
I did not like the Stardust Theatre. I’ve sat in stadiums with more comfortable seating than the orchestra seats. Many are broken. All are uncomfortable. In the current configuration all stalls seating must be accessed via two central aisles. Seating on the extreme right and left of the theatre extend straight to the walls. As human nature dictates aisle seating is taken first and the theatre filles progressively outward toward the walls. Because there is no aisle access at the extremes, much standing and jockeying is forced upon those seated at the aisle. If three or so dozen seats were removed from next to the walls to create additional aisles, human traffic would flow much more smoothly. The upper “box” seating is more comfortable. The “box” seating is a set of two heavily cushioned benches where the railings are composed of a series of glass panels. From the outermost, front, box bench the view of the stage is adequate. The second row view is not. In order to view the stage one must stand, which I was compelled to do because the ships steady dance troupe put on was wonderful.
The live musical entertainment was too loud. Music for a sober mid-day crowd should not be louder than normal conversation. Mid day and sunny afternoons before an audience of middle aged and older adults is not a setting where entertainment should make itself the center of attention. Nor inside the atrium during dinner hours. At these times, in these places, musicians purpose is simply to set a mood. “Loud” is for the “not so sober” crowds later in the evening. For those of us that take care to wear ear protection when working with power tools, being exposed to the Star’s musical entertainment is (was) counterproductive.
I liked the ocean view stateroom on Deck 5. The king sized bed was centered against a large rectangular window on the outer hull while the interior end of the room held a large wardrobe and bathroom straddling the entrance. Between the bed and the bath on one side of the room was a small desk and some shelves. Next to that was enough floor space to lie down, stretch and do some aerobics, ( which on a cruise is a very advisable thing to do! 8^). The bath was large. Large by comparison to a bath in a travel trailer or any other cruise ship bath I have encountered. It had a closable toilet stall and the shower was large enough to wash your hair without damaging your elbows. The room also had a TV (about 25”), a safe and a mini-bar.