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Seeing Patagonia has been on my bucket llst for a while, and we had high expectations for this trip. We booked a year in advance, planned a week in Santiago before the cruise and a week after in Buenos Aires. In a word, everything was AMAZING. This will be a long review wiih lots of recommendations. :-) We stayed at a lovely, family-run, small hotel in Santiago -- Hotel Mery. Highly recommended. The hotel provided a driver to pick us up at the airport. Juan Carlos was waiting for us at arrivals, and it was a pleasant ride to the hotel. He pointed out places of interest along the way. We did the Hop On/Hop Off bus, and I strongly recommend buying the two-day pass which gives you access to both routes and the funicular. We were lucky enough to be there for the opening night of the symphony, and we got to hear an amazing performance of Beethoven's Ninth. After a few days in the city, we wanted to get out into nature and hired Juan Carlos to drive us into the Andes on Thursday and to the port on Friday where we stayed overnight and boarded the Star on Saturday. He even stopped at an artisan village along the way -- Pomaire -- where we were able to buy some ceramics and have a typical lunch. Not much to do in San Antonio. We walked around the port and waited impatiently for the cruise. The Casino hotel was comfortable and convenient. Embarkation the next day was a breeze. We left the hotel at 11:30 and were in our cabin by 12:15! It helped being Latitudes Gold -- Platinum is better, but we still need nine more points. :-) Our cabin steward, I Made, was wonderful. We were in cabin 9712, portside eastbound. If you can afford it, definitely book port eastbound and starboard westbound to see the Chilean glaciers from the comfort of your balcony stateroom. We saw all the complaints about the Star posted by folks on a previous cruise. We had no mechanical problems and were fortunate with the weather. It's the luck of the draw with the weather. I'm not sure why people think the ship's captain can control the weather. The weather is unpredictable in this part of the world. PORTS AND EXCURSIONS Our first sea day, we had a Meet and Mingle, and it was great to meet other cruisers. The passengers on this cruise were a great international mix and lots of fun. We did a Viator Tour wtih GV Tours in Puerto Montt. I can't recommend them. There was no communication before the cruise/tour -- I had to call Chile and talk to them to confirm new times. The tour went to Osborno Volcano, Petrohue Falls, Frutillar, and Puerto Varas. Would have been cheaper and better to hire a taxi to go to the Falls and see the volcano. The two towns were just okay. I could have skipped. There were shopping areas, but we didn't really have enough time to shop. And lunch was an empanada eaten standing by the van with cups of wine and/or water. Forgettable In Puerto Chacabuco, we booked the nature walk with NCL. I had an independent tour booked but cancelled because the tour was supposed to be seven-and-a-half hours and we were only in port for six. The NCL tour was two hours late getting back to the ship, but because it was NCL, the ship waited. I was glad I changed booking and went with NCL. I'm sure the other trip was really shortened. Anyway, the NCL tour was nice. We never got to see wildlife -- even with the larger group being broken into groups of 20, wildlife was not going to sit still for 120 people walking through their habitat. Still, the flora and scenery was worth every step. The lunch and folkloric dancing was enjoyable. We wwre greeted with pisco sours, tables were set with salads and bottles of wine, soft drinks were available, and the meat was slowly roasting over hot coals. We didn't do any tours in Punta Arenas. It poured rain. We walked around town and found a cafe with wifi where we checked email and posted pictures. Sailing through the fjords and glaciers was awe-inspiring. We were lucky with weather -- Skies were clear, seas were relatively calm, In Ushuaia, I booked a small tour with Anan Turismo. Check out their Facebook page and/or email Giselle at ananturismo@gmail.com. It was awesome. They customized a tour for us to include short walks and lots of nature. Federico was waiting for us when we got off the ship, and we took off for Tierre del Fuego National Park. Federico loves the natural world and shared lots of information with us. There were four couples total, and half said it was their favorite port and best tour ever. In Stanley, we saw penguins from our balcony and swimming penguins from the tender. We took the $20 shuttle to Gypsy Cove and saw Magellan penguins and chicks. In Punta Tombo we took a tour arranged through shoreexcursions.com to see the penguins. It was 4-5 hours total in a mini-bus with about a dozen people and totally worth every single minute. There were thousands of Magellanic penguins, and we could walk among them. Again, we were very lucky because with a small tour, we were able to leave port quickly and were the second group at the penguin colony, so we had several hours to wander among the waddling cuties. No tours necessary in Montevideo -- we wanted around the old city and enjoyed the architecture and vibe. Disembarkation in Buenos Aires was well run and efficient. We found our luggage quickly and headed out to wait for our driver. We did the Hop On/Hop Off bus in Buenos Aires. While the bus is a good way to get around the city, the company really, really needs to invest in customer service training. THE SHIP The Star is the perfect size. We never had to wait in line for anything. The crew was absolutely exemplary. The food was good -- when the ship is feed more than 2,000 people, it's not going to prepare gourmet fare. But it was good. We ate at Le Bistro, Cagney's, Moderno, and La Cucina (part of our package) and in the Versailles Main Dining Room. We experienced no mechanical problems at all on this cruise. Smooth sailing all the way. We went to a couple shows -- the Pampas Devils -- which was informative and entertaining, and the Abbey Road Beatles tribute band -- which was great. We skipped the musician, the Vegas Revue, and the singer, but people seemed to like the shows. Moving seamlessly back and forth from English to Spanish to English, the cruise director Jeimy was good. Audience participation programs were fun. NCL did its usual pushing of things to buy, but it's easy to ignore the sales pitches and just enjoy your cruise.

Exceeded expectations

Norwegian Star Cruise Review by CarolatSea

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2020
  • Destination: South America
  • Cabin Type: Family Balcony
Seeing Patagonia has been on my bucket llst for a while, and we had high expectations for this trip. We booked a year in advance, planned a week in Santiago before the cruise and a week after in Buenos Aires. In a word, everything was AMAZING. This will be a long review wiih lots of recommendations. :-)

We stayed at a lovely, family-run, small hotel in Santiago -- Hotel Mery. Highly recommended. The hotel provided a driver to pick us up at the airport. Juan Carlos was waiting for us at arrivals, and it was a pleasant ride to the hotel. He pointed out places of interest along the way. We did the Hop On/Hop Off bus, and I strongly recommend buying the two-day pass which gives you access to both routes and the funicular. We were lucky enough to be there for the opening night of the symphony, and we got to hear an amazing performance of Beethoven's Ninth.

After a few days in the city, we wanted to get out into nature and hired Juan Carlos to drive us into the Andes on Thursday and to the port on Friday where we stayed overnight and boarded the Star on Saturday. He even stopped at an artisan village along the way -- Pomaire -- where we were able to buy some ceramics and have a typical lunch.

Not much to do in San Antonio. We walked around the port and waited impatiently for the cruise. The Casino hotel was comfortable and convenient.

Embarkation the next day was a breeze. We left the hotel at 11:30 and were in our cabin by 12:15! It helped being Latitudes Gold -- Platinum is better, but we still need nine more points. :-)

Our cabin steward, I Made, was wonderful. We were in cabin 9712, portside eastbound. If you can afford it, definitely book port eastbound and starboard westbound to see the Chilean glaciers from the comfort of your balcony stateroom.

We saw all the complaints about the Star posted by folks on a previous cruise. We had no mechanical problems and were fortunate with the weather. It's the luck of the draw with the weather. I'm not sure why people think the ship's captain can control the weather. The weather is unpredictable in this part of the world.

PORTS AND EXCURSIONS

Our first sea day, we had a Meet and Mingle, and it was great to meet other cruisers. The passengers on this cruise were a great international mix and lots of fun.

We did a Viator Tour wtih GV Tours in Puerto Montt. I can't recommend them. There was no communication before the cruise/tour -- I had to call Chile and talk to them to confirm new times. The tour went to Osborno Volcano, Petrohue Falls, Frutillar, and Puerto Varas. Would have been cheaper and better to hire a taxi to go to the Falls and see the volcano. The two towns were just okay. I could have skipped. There were shopping areas, but we didn't really have enough time to shop. And lunch was an empanada eaten standing by the van with cups of wine and/or water. Forgettable

In Puerto Chacabuco, we booked the nature walk with NCL. I had an independent tour booked but cancelled because the tour was supposed to be seven-and-a-half hours and we were only in port for six. The NCL tour was two hours late getting back to the ship, but because it was NCL, the ship waited. I was glad I changed booking and went with NCL. I'm sure the other trip was really shortened. Anyway, the NCL tour was nice. We never got to see wildlife -- even with the larger group being broken into groups of 20, wildlife was not going to sit still for 120 people walking through their habitat. Still, the flora and scenery was worth every step. The lunch and folkloric dancing was enjoyable. We wwre greeted with pisco sours, tables were set with salads and bottles of wine, soft drinks were available, and the meat was slowly roasting over hot coals.

We didn't do any tours in Punta Arenas. It poured rain. We walked around town and found a cafe with wifi where we checked email and posted pictures.

Sailing through the fjords and glaciers was awe-inspiring. We were lucky with weather -- Skies were clear, seas were relatively calm,

In Ushuaia, I booked a small tour with Anan Turismo. Check out their Facebook page and/or email Giselle at ananturismo@gmail.com. It was awesome. They customized a tour for us to include short walks and lots of nature. Federico was waiting for us when we got off the ship, and we took off for Tierre del Fuego National Park. Federico loves the natural world and shared lots of information with us. There were four couples total, and half said it was their favorite port and best tour ever.

In Stanley, we saw penguins from our balcony and swimming penguins from the tender. We took the $20 shuttle to Gypsy Cove and saw Magellan penguins and chicks.

In Punta Tombo we took a tour arranged through shoreexcursions.com to see the penguins. It was 4-5 hours total in a mini-bus with about a dozen people and totally worth every single minute. There were thousands of Magellanic penguins, and we could walk among them. Again, we were very lucky because with a small tour, we were able to leave port quickly and were the second group at the penguin colony, so we had several hours to wander among the waddling cuties.

No tours necessary in Montevideo -- we wanted around the old city and enjoyed the architecture and vibe.

Disembarkation in Buenos Aires was well run and efficient. We found our luggage quickly and headed out to wait for our driver.

We did the Hop On/Hop Off bus in Buenos Aires. While the bus is a good way to get around the city, the company really, really needs to invest in customer service training.

THE SHIP

The Star is the perfect size. We never had to wait in line for anything. The crew was absolutely exemplary. The food was good -- when the ship is feed more than 2,000 people, it's not going to prepare gourmet fare. But it was good. We ate at Le Bistro, Cagney's, Moderno, and La Cucina (part of our package) and in the Versailles Main Dining Room.

We experienced no mechanical problems at all on this cruise. Smooth sailing all the way.

We went to a couple shows -- the Pampas Devils -- which was informative and entertaining, and the Abbey Road Beatles tribute band -- which was great. We skipped the musician, the Vegas Revue, and the singer, but people seemed to like the shows.

Moving seamlessly back and forth from English to Spanish to English, the cruise director Jeimy was good. Audience participation programs were fun.

NCL did its usual pushing of things to buy, but it's easy to ignore the sales pitches and just enjoy your cruise.
CarolatSea’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Family Balcony
Cabin B3
I'm always impressed at the efficient design on ship cabins, whether it's a cruise ship or a 26-foot sailboat. All the nooks and crannies provide plenty of space for clothes and other "stuff."

We travel with magnetic hooks that really enhance our ability to hang caps, bags, sweaters around the cabin. If you don't have any, they are definitely worth the investment.
Deck 9 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Montevideo
    Wandered around the city and admired the architecture and artisan works.
    View All 267 Montevideo Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Montevideo Cruise Port Review
  • Osorno Volcano
    The falls and the walk to them were gorgeous; however, I can't recommend the tour company. There was no communication before the cruise/tour -- I had to call Chile and talk to them to confirm new times. The tour went to Osborno Volcano, Petrohue Falls, Frutillar, and Puerto Varas. Would have been cheaper and better to hire a taxi to go to the Falls and see the volcano. The two towns were just okay. I could have skipped. There were shopping areas, but we didn't really have enough time to shop. And lunch was an empanada eaten standing by the van with cups of wine and/or water. Nature was beautiful. Tour was forgettable.
    View All 17 Osorno Volcano Reviews
  • Petrohue Falls
    The falls and the walk to them were gorgeous; however, I can't recommend the tour company. There was no communication before the cruise/tour -- I had to call Chile and talk to them to confirm new times. The tour went to Osborno Volcano, Petrohue Falls, Frutillar, and Puerto Varas. Would have been cheaper and better to hire a taxi to go to the Falls and see the volcano. The two towns were just okay. I could have skipped. There were shopping areas, but we didn't really have enough time to shop. And lunch was an empanada eaten standing by the van with cups of wine and/or water. Nature was beautiful. Tour was forgettable.
    View All 32 Petrohue Falls Reviews
  • Puerto Varas
    The falls and the walk to them were gorgeous; however, I can't recommend the tour company. There was no communication before the cruise/tour -- I had to call Chile and talk to them to confirm new times. The tour went to Osborno Volcano, Petrohue Falls, Frutillar, and Puerto Varas. Would have been cheaper and better to hire a taxi to go to the Falls and see the volcano. The two towns were just okay. I could have skipped. There were shopping areas, but we didn't really have enough time to shop. And lunch was an empanada eaten standing by the van with cups of wine and/or water. Nature was beautiful. Tour was forgettable.
    View All 16 Puerto Varas Reviews
  • Punta Arenas
    We wandered around town. When it started pouring rain, we headed to a cafe with WIFI. Some good souvenir shopping near the port.
    View All 170 Punta Arenas Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Punta Arenas Cruise Port Review
  • Stanley
    Took the shuttle to Gypsy Cove to see penguins. Next time, I would book an independent tour to see different species of penguins. The Magellanic penguins were adorable, but I feel I missed something by only seeing one species.
    View All 148 Stanley Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Stanley Cruise Port Review
  • Tierra del Fuego National Park
    Anan Turismo customized a small group excursion for us that included short hikes around the national park and lots of time in nature. It was incredible. Highly recommended! Contact at ananturismo@gmail.com
    View All 79 Tierra del Fuego National Park Reviews