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This was our first cruise on NCL and to tell you the truth we were very nervous about it. We had read some not so great things, but were going to go into with with a positive attitude....any vacation is better than no vacation. How bad could it really be?? We live in Southern Ca so we did not have to worry about flying into LAX or finding transportation to the pier. We did use Zippy Shuttle to go from our house to the pier and he was on time and very friendly with a better price than his competitors. We arrived at the pier around 12:15 and gave our bags and case of water to the porter with a tip to make sure our bags made it to the ship. We then were instructed to go into the terminal, fill out our sick or not sick paper, went through security and were placed into various lines to check in. This is one of the few not so pleasant parts of our cruise. We stood in line in San Pedro for over an hour before it was our turn to check in. We have never stood in line that long in all of our 10 cruises...it was quite frustrating. Once we got to the front of the line and it was our turn to check in, it literally took us 4 minutes and we were done. It was at this point we realized that we were surrounded by a very large group of foreign travelers that did not speak English and that's why it was taking so long. Once we arrived on the ship, we walked around a bit, made some reservations for speciality dining and than decided to go to one of the main dining rooms for lunch. We were sat immediately and all enjoyed our lunch very much. I had the BBQ pork ribs, my hubby had the risotto and BLT. They were all served warm and were very tasteful. Shortly after lunch the announcement was made that cabins were ready and we headed off to find ours. When we arrived to our cabin it was in great shape. Clean and did not smell strange at all. We opened the balcony door to check out the view and sat there for about 15 minutes before all 3 of our suitcases arrived and our case of water as well. We unpacked and enjoyed sitting on our balcony. Four o' clock came and went when there was an announcement that we would not be leaving until 6pm. It was found out later that they needed the additional time to load construction materials and cabins on for the refurbishing they are doing on deck 12. Six o' clock came and we were off!! We went to the main dining room for dinner(Versailles) and were seated with our friends at a table of 4 after a 5 minute wait. The service was prompt and friendly and our meal was brought to us in a timely manner and was correct and served at the right temperature. We did order drinks from the bar and they were also brought in a timely manner. Our first night we were all waken up by the noise of the cabins creaking. We were in pretty rough waters with swells between 12-18 feet and the ship was a rocking!! I do recommend bringing ear plugs with you so you can sleep. Unfortunately our friends did not bring any and were very tired for the next few days. Our first day at sea was taken up by a few ship activities but mostly relaxing and taking multiple naps with a trip to Blue Lagoon for lunch and Teppanyaki for dinner. It was great entertainment and everyone at our table was quite friendly. We even sat with an actor from CSI which my husband was thrilled with as that is one of his favorite shows. We all chatted with each other and the with the chefs and the food was very good. The show that night was good as well and then we hit the sack. Our second day at sea we decided to do sushi for lunch and it was pretty good. It isn't the freshest ever but if you are not a die hard sushi eater it was pretty tasty. For $15 a person for all you can eat sushi...it is a pretty good deal. We left very stuffed and had a snack for dinner and hit the show. Our third day at sea was much like the previous two. We went to the main dining room for breakfast, had room service for lunch (Mac n' Cheese is yummy) and went to Endless Summer for dinner. We each ordered fajitas and couldn't believe the size of the serving. Two people can easily split them. The free margarita was indeed small but free so I'm not complaining. Our first port was Juneau and it is quite a quaint town. We did the whale watching and Mendenhall Glacier tour. It was educational and we did get to see quite a few whales even though it was early in the season. The weather was sunny and I think we had sprinkles for about 5 minutes all day! We had to be back by 5pm and got there at 4:30...once again, we were waiting in line to get on the ship for almost an hour!! They need to work on the embarkation and debarkation process or maybe it was the group of 700 people who didn't speak English and didn't have any manners culturally speaking. Ketchikan was the next day and we did the lumberjack show and the duck tour. The lumberjack show was very entertaining and we would do it again, the duck tour was ok and we ended walking back to things we saw on the tour to check out for ourselves. Both towns are very walkable and the weather in Ketchikan had followed us from Juneau so we were blessed with another sunny day. Our last day at sea was supposedly cruising the inside passage. We couldn't see any land so were a little bummed by that but the water was like glass and we could appreciate that after the 3 rough days we started out with. We enjoyed our last day lounging in the spa and reading in the library. Our friends purchased a $55 Internet package and they got good use out of that. On debarkation day we chose the last tag to get off. We went down and had a leisurely breakfast in Versailles then finished off our packing and had to be out of our cabins by 11:00. We decided to sit in the library until our color was called. We sat there about a half-hour and when our color was called we got off the ship in Vancouver and were in a taxi to the Westin Bayshore within 40 minutes. Definitely a much better experience than embarkation. Overall, we really enjoyed our experience with NCL. We never encountered a rude staff member....lots of rude passengers, but not NCL's fault. Of all the times we ate in the main dining room for either breakfast, lunch or dinner, I think 5 minutes was the longest we waited for a table for 4. There was not excessive usage of the intercom system for worthless announcements, so that was nice. There was an update from the captain each morning at 9am which was also a nice touch. I think the entertainment was better than what I have seen on Princess or RCL. Nobody can touch Disney so that's not up for comparison. I don't think we could have asked for much more than we received except maybe a free upgrade??? We will definitely cruise with NCL again if the price and itinerary are what we are looking for....and we will somehow make sure there is not a group of 700 foreigners on the same ship!!

Alaska Repo Cruise on the Star

Norwegian Star Cruise Review by Chuckwick3

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2010
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony
This was our first cruise on NCL and to tell you the truth we were very nervous about it. We had read some not so great things, but were going to go into with with a positive attitude....any vacation is better than no vacation. How bad could it really be??
We live in Southern Ca so we did not have to worry about flying into LAX or finding transportation to the pier. We did use Zippy Shuttle to go from our house to the pier and he was on time and very friendly with a better price than his competitors.
We arrived at the pier around 12:15 and gave our bags and case of water to the porter with a tip to make sure our bags made it to the ship. We then were instructed to go into the terminal, fill out our sick or not sick paper, went through security and were placed into various lines to check in. This is one of the few not so pleasant parts of our cruise. We stood in line in San Pedro for over an hour before it was our turn to check in. We have never stood in line that long in all of our 10 cruises...it was quite frustrating. Once we got to the front of the line and it was our turn to check in, it literally took us 4 minutes and we were done. It was at this point we realized that we were surrounded by a very large group of foreign travelers that did not speak English and that's why it was taking so long.
Once we arrived on the ship, we walked around a bit, made some reservations for speciality dining and than decided to go to one of the main dining rooms for lunch. We were sat immediately and all enjoyed our lunch very much. I had the BBQ pork ribs, my hubby had the risotto and BLT. They were all served warm and were very tasteful.
Shortly after lunch the announcement was made that cabins were ready and we headed off to find ours. When we arrived to our cabin it was in great shape. Clean and did not smell strange at all. We opened the balcony door to check out the view and sat there for about 15 minutes before all 3 of our suitcases arrived and our case of water as well. We unpacked and enjoyed sitting on our balcony.
Four o' clock came and went when there was an announcement that we would not be leaving until 6pm. It was found out later that they needed the additional time to load construction materials and cabins on for the refurbishing they are doing on deck 12. Six o' clock came and we were off!!
We went to the main dining room for dinner(Versailles) and were seated with our friends at a table of 4 after a 5 minute wait. The service was prompt and friendly and our meal was brought to us in a timely manner and was correct and served at the right temperature. We did order drinks from the bar and they were also brought in a timely manner.
Our first night we were all waken up by the noise of the cabins creaking. We were in pretty rough waters with swells between 12-18 feet and the ship was a rocking!! I do recommend bringing ear plugs with you so you can sleep. Unfortunately our friends did not bring any and were very tired for the next few days.
Our first day at sea was taken up by a few ship activities but mostly relaxing and taking multiple naps with a trip to Blue Lagoon for lunch and Teppanyaki for dinner. It was great entertainment and everyone at our table was quite friendly. We even sat with an actor from CSI which my husband was thrilled with as that is one of his favorite shows. We all chatted with each other and the with the chefs and the food was very good. The show that night was good as well and then we hit the sack.
Our second day at sea we decided to do sushi for lunch and it was pretty good. It isn't the freshest ever but if you are not a die hard sushi eater it was pretty tasty. For $15 a person for all you can eat sushi...it is a pretty good deal. We left very stuffed and had a snack for dinner and hit the show.
Our third day at sea was much like the previous two. We went to the main dining room for breakfast, had room service for lunch (Mac n' Cheese is yummy) and went to Endless Summer for dinner. We each ordered fajitas and couldn't believe the size of the serving. Two people can easily split them. The free margarita was indeed small but free so I'm not complaining.
Our first port was Juneau and it is quite a quaint town. We did the whale watching and Mendenhall Glacier tour. It was educational and we did get to see quite a few whales even though it was early in the season. The weather was sunny and I think we had sprinkles for about 5 minutes all day! We had to be back by 5pm and got there at 4:30...once again, we were waiting in line to get on the ship for almost an hour!! They need to work on the embarkation and debarkation process or maybe it was the group of 700 people who didn't speak English and didn't have any manners culturally speaking.
Ketchikan was the next day and we did the lumberjack show and the duck tour. The lumberjack show was very entertaining and we would do it again, the duck tour was ok and we ended walking back to things we saw on the tour to check out for ourselves. Both towns are very walkable and the weather in Ketchikan had followed us from Juneau so we were blessed with another sunny day.
Our last day at sea was supposedly cruising the inside passage. We couldn't see any land so were a little bummed by that but the water was like glass and we could appreciate that after the 3 rough days we started out with. We enjoyed our last day lounging in the spa and reading in the library. Our friends purchased a $55 Internet package and they got good use out of that.
On debarkation day we chose the last tag to get off. We went down and had a leisurely breakfast in Versailles then finished off our packing and had to be out of our cabins by 11:00. We decided to sit in the library until our color was called. We sat there about a half-hour and when our color was called we got off the ship in Vancouver and were in a taxi to the Westin Bayshore within 40 minutes. Definitely a much better experience than embarkation.
Overall, we really enjoyed our experience with NCL. We never encountered a rude staff member....lots of rude passengers, but not NCL's fault. Of all the times we ate in the main dining room for either breakfast, lunch or dinner, I think 5 minutes was the longest we waited for a table for 4. There was not excessive usage of the intercom system for worthless announcements, so that was nice. There was an update from the captain each morning at 9am which was also a nice touch. I think the entertainment was better than what I have seen on Princess or RCL. Nobody can touch Disney so that's not up for comparison. I don't think we could have asked for much more than we received except maybe a free upgrade??? We will definitely cruise with NCL again if the price and itinerary are what we are looking for....and we will somehow make sure there is not a group of 700 foreigners on the same ship!!
Chuckwick3’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Balcony
Cabin BA 9658
Our cabin was 9658 and was a connecting cabin to 9060. We traveled with another couple so it was nice to open the door when we wanted and close it when we wanted. We loved the separate poop room so I could shower while hubby did his business. The cabin was laid out nicely but seemed a bit smaller than other balcony cabins we have stayed in on other lines. The bed was not very comfortable but the pillows were great. It would be nice if they updated the T.V.'s to something bigger and not so old. We did not incur any noise from other cabins or hear any music from anywhere. The only noises we had to deal with was the loud creaking of the cabin when we were in 12-18 foot swells for 3 days. Just bring ear plugs and you should be fine. We would stay in the same room again for sure!
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins