We had an unexpected two weeks off and asked our travel agent to find a good deal for a cruise. The travel agent found a Norwegian cruise on the Norwegian Star leaving Southampton on October 23, 2023. We had never sailed with Norwegian before and were open to trying it out. We've sailed previously with Carnival, Celebrity, Oceania, Princess and Royal Caribbean. We have not cruised since 2018 so we are not sure if our experiences are still reflective of current cruise practices so our review is based on our experience cruising overall.
The most important feedback we wanted to provide is that two of the ports are advertised as "Paris" and "Bordeaux" but in reality, these are inland locations that you must take alternate transportation to. For "Paris" you arrive in Le Havre which is 2 hours by train and 3 hours by bus from Paris. The ship excursion to Paris is a 3-hour bus ride with 3-hours in Paris before taking a 3-hour bus ride back. For "Bordeaux" you arrive in Le Verdon which is 2 hours away. There is very little in Le Verdon so you more or less waste a port of call if you did not book a wine tour excursions. I felt badly for those who had Paris on their bucket list and only got to drive by many of the Parisian landmarks versus actually getting to see them.
We found the food to be ok. There was only one meal which we had in the specialty restaurant, Cagney's, which we would say was excellent. The dining room meals, cafeteria and Le Bistro felt more like heat and serve food then freshly made - for some items there was a distinct institutional feel. This was the first cruise in our experience where we lost weight as we were like, nah, I'm ok or I'm not going to finish this as this item as it was just meh.
We had a balcony - room was decent. Largest shower we've had on a cruise ship but it made for a tight bathroom to make up for it.
We had two days in port which was awesome. The ship is right in Amsterdam so it was easy to walk off and explore the city.
This port was advertised as "Paris" but if you took the Paris excursion - you only had 3 hours in Paris.
The port is tiny. Make sure to book an excursion unless you want to use the day as an on-ship day.