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This is a very welcoming ship with exceptional staff and a relaxed atmosphere. Traveling with our 10 year old daughter we were appreciative of their well run kids programs, the ability to be spontaneous with our dining, the attitude from the crew that our daughter was a valued guest on the ship - not a nuisance, and a lovely ship in general (although she is now getting older and showing it around the edges). We got to Pier 66 at noon to embark and the line up was huge. We quickly learned looks are deceiving as the line moved exceptionally quickly, and in a very organized manner. Countless staff were all over the place, directing folks and answering questions and being VERY patient with several cruisers who were impatient, unprepared (have passports, e-docs, etc organized and available), or simply uncertain of where to go or what to do. The whole process could not have gone more smoothly. A woman behind us was complaining that she had been in line for 15 minutes and I said in a good natured way that considering they were getting almost 2400 people and about 5000 pieces of their luggage through this line and onto the ship within roughly 5 hours I was pretty impressed with 15 minutes in a line up. She said she hadn't thought about it that way and seemed a bit more patient with the process after that. (A week later, disembarking was just as smooth, just as streamlined). Once on board, spank'n new key cards in hand, we snooped around a bit and learned staterooms were ready earlier than expected so checked ours out. Our luggage got delivered shortly afterwards, we hit the buffet (a mad house with folks jockeying for position in line and acting like the ship was going to run out of food within hours) and we lifted anchor so to speak. Our stateroom was compact, but we weren't surprised after checking out the various cabins on several websites - we never expected the space of a hotel room and the room was exact to pictures seen. There was plenty of space in the closet - it even had a light inside and side shelves, drawers and under the bed had plenty of room to store suitcases and purchases. Although things were compact the layout worked well. The room was very quiet, and we were not disturbed by noise above, below or beside us and with a room close to the middle of the ship we experienced little rock n'roll (although we never experienced it elsewhere on the ship when we were out and about either). The balcony gave extra space and a nice place to eat breakfast, thanks to room service. Especially on the Alaska cruise where scenery and wildlife are a key component of the cruise we LOVED our balcony - a private viewing area with comfortable loungers. It was nice to tuck our daughter in bed, slide the balcony door shut, and enjoy a relaxed conversation late at night. BRING BINOCULARS. All staff, from those at the reception desk to the cruise director to the stewards to waiters were welcoming and friendly. Certainly some were more outgoing and cheery than others, but truly, we never encountered a single staff that was not at least polite and had a smile ready as we passed in the corridor. Our stateroom steward was exceptional; good natured, thorough in his care to our cabin and he quickly charmed our daughter with whom he was very patient and kind. We always took a moment to chat with him and joke around a bit. Towel animals are traditions on many cruise ships. For some "chronic cruisers" the novelty may have worn off long ago regarding a facecloth shaped into a turtle or 2 bath towels turned into an elephant but to us it was fun and our 10 year old was fascinated. Our room steward knew this and made special effort to create the towel animals with her and put on quite a show of it. He made her feel special. The ships oozes crew all over the ship and if I ever had a question, needed something or couldn't figure out which elevator to take there was always someone in close proximity to ask and they willingly and cheerfully assisted in any way they could. Yes, stellar staff indeed. Prior to our trip, we spoke with many people who have cruised and googled many websites so knew that many cruise lines (not just Norwegian) put a heavy emphasis on selling everything from jewelry to art work to photographs. You were constantly encouraged to spend, spend, spend. There are even channels on the stateroom TV dedicated to helping you figure out the best places to spend your cashola, especially on jewelry. However, although displays were always up, flyers constantly distributed or photographers walking around, etc, we feel hounded or pushed to buy. A polite smile and "no thanks, I'm not interested" was met each and every time with a returned polite smile and "enjoy your afternoon madam" from the seller. And, you can always turn off the tv spending channel. Easy. The only time I could have screamed "Enough already, back off!" was during an afternoon close to the end of the cruise when photographers were positioned with huge set ups around main traffic areas (one was directly in front of the reception desk). Large screens, lights and equipment were sprawled out, meaning folks had to carefully maneuver around them, not only causing traffic jams but introducing potential for things to be knocked down or people tripping over items. Souvenirs and items in the gift shops were quite reasonably priced and many nice things were offered. Off ship and in port the push was far more aggressive in the stores and we quickly learned to avoid row after row of jewelry stores. 3 of the 4 ports visited were very nice (Ketchican, Juneau and Skagway) with loads of history, interesting sights around the towns and residents that have lived their lifetime there. Only one port, Prince Rupert was a thumbs down with little to do, gloomy/wet climate, and run down streets. A small pocket of pretty shops and sites close to the pier were nice but venture any further and the whole place looked tired and sad. I really don't see how it was ever determined that plunking down a few thousand cruisers here would be worthwhile, enriching or entertaining. Much of the typical tourist shopping (t-shirts, key chains, mugs, local souvenirs) was the same regardless of which port you were in. If you missed getting a Ketchican t-shirt, no worries, the same one was in Juneau - just with a different town name on it. Although you can book excursions well before your cruise dates, we waited until we were on board the ship and we're glad we did it this way. With fog, mist, and rain all risks on an Alaska cruise regardless of the time of year, we were able to wait until we knew the short term weather forecast to know if it was worth booking something where the weather may effect our enjoyment or the view. There were excursions for any budget, activity level and we appreciated the level of choice. The kids programming was very good. Registration was a snap and our daughter enjoyed the activities and program staff very much. Program leaders were high energy and experienced, they communicated well with us and fostered interaction between the children. The planned activities were fun. Five minutes of shyness the first day quickly morphed into excitement to go and play each day, and our daughter really enjoyed her time there and connected with many kids. She always seemed to know at least one or two of the kids to play with at the pool - where the water slides were a big bonus. It was wonderful for her to meet several children from so many different corners of the world. Shows in the Stardust Theatre were well done. Band on the Run was so much fun and Elements was the very best, but all were entertaining. This isn't Broadway, but certainly talent was witnessed. Shows are popular so arrive 25-30 minutes prior to the show's start to get a good seat, arriving 5 minutes before show time and finding slim pickings for good seating is your own fault. The Star's food ran the gammet from stellar (Cagney's) to very good (Aqua & Versailles) to mediocre at its best (the buffet). We quickly learned to head for dinner a bit ahead of behind the crunch time (ask crew when these times are) and never waited in line more than 10 minutes to eat in Aqua or Versailles. Restaurant staff didn't seem so pressured outside of the busiest pockets of time and food always arrived promptly. All meals were nicely prepared/presented and the children's menu had many choices that our daughter enjoyed very much. My husband and I treated ourselves to a date night dinner in Cagney's on the last night of the cruise, while our daughter gleefully attended the ships pajama party for the kids. WOW. A lovely restaurant, faboulous shrimp cocktails, steaks done to perfection and crisply prepared vegetables. Worth every penny with a waiter who was attentive and good natured. The buffet is at the other end of the spectrum. Very little changed from day to day as far as what was presented and food items were often runny, soggy, and exceptionally bland. OMG, so bland. A hospital cafeteria comes to mind. It did serve its purpose though as a dine and dash venue before an excursion or when you simply wanted a light snack. What floored me about the more relaxed Freestyle Cruising philosophy was passenger's attitude that this meant that it was appropriate to arrive to the buffet in an old stained sweatsuit or even your pj's and fill your plate to practice gluttony. There was absolutely no evidence of enforcement with the required casual (but presentable) attire in the buffet with folks walking right by ship crew in torn jeans and ragged t-shirts or as mentioned, even their pajamas. Awful. I've read many of the more recent reviews of the Star and am baffled by the overt, inflated negative ones. Really? I mean, really????? Was it so awful? This ship wasn't some tub and the crew most certainly did not circulate in sullen packs. To some of these folks I might suggest that if they want a waiter or steward to smile at them or demonstrate an "over and above" effort to their staterooms, they could think to smile first, demonstrate gratitude and a welcoming demeanor themselves. A 30 second chat or brief chuckle with a crew member goes a loooong way. With a staff that comes together from over 60 countries, this is a very multicultural crew and we were appalled by blatant prejudice and rude remarks by passengers behind their backs, even mimicking their accents and snickering. One passenger I chatted with was very critical of the cruise because it got chilly at night and windy on the deck. !!!!!!!! This is ALASKA, not California - research the weather and the cruise, bring a wind breaker and layer your clothes. Take responsibility - plan accordingly. Throughout this review I've used the word "research". Comb the Norwegian website, check out pictures on line of the cabins (again, through the Norwegian websites, or simply google them), watch YouTube videos posted by past passengers, and THOROUGHLY READ your E-Docs and other information forwarded to you prior to your cruise. Be prepared, be informed and be realistic. This is not a high end, luxury cruise on the Regent Seven Seas. It is a casual, family friendly, lovely older ship with a crew that is there for you - and more than willing to bend over backwards for you, especially when you demonstrate gratitude, respect, a pinch of humour and respect for all they do for its passengers. Role with the punches when a wrinkle presents itself, take in the scenery of a beautiful journey and RELAX.

Applause For the Norwegian Star

Norwegian Star Cruise Review by Bibbs123

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2011
  • Destination: Alaska
This is a very welcoming ship with exceptional staff and a relaxed atmosphere. Traveling with our 10 year old daughter we were appreciative of their well run kids programs, the ability to be spontaneous with our dining, the attitude from the crew that our daughter was a valued guest on the ship - not a nuisance, and a lovely ship in general (although she is now getting older and showing it around the edges).



We got to Pier 66 at noon to embark and the line up was huge. We quickly learned looks are deceiving as the line moved exceptionally quickly, and in a very organized manner. Countless staff were all over the place, directing folks and answering questions and being VERY patient with several cruisers who were impatient, unprepared (have passports, e-docs, etc organized and available), or simply uncertain of where to go or what to do. The whole process could not have gone more smoothly. A woman behind us was complaining that she had been in line for 15 minutes and I said in a good natured way that considering they were getting almost 2400 people and about 5000 pieces of their luggage through this line and onto the ship within roughly 5 hours I was pretty impressed with 15 minutes in a line up. She said she hadn't thought about it that way and seemed a bit more patient with the process after that. (A week later, disembarking was just as smooth, just as streamlined).



Once on board, spank'n new key cards in hand, we snooped around a bit and learned staterooms were ready earlier than expected so checked ours out. Our luggage got delivered shortly afterwards, we hit the buffet (a mad house with folks jockeying for position in line and acting like the ship was going to run out of food within hours) and we lifted anchor so to speak.



Our stateroom was compact, but we weren't surprised after checking out the various cabins on several websites - we never expected the space of a hotel room and the room was exact to pictures seen. There was plenty of space in the closet - it even had a light inside and side shelves, drawers and under the bed had plenty of room to store suitcases and purchases. Although things were compact the layout worked well. The room was very quiet, and we were not disturbed by noise above, below or beside us and with a room close to the middle of the ship we experienced little rock n'roll (although we never experienced it elsewhere on the ship when we were out and about either). The balcony gave extra space and a nice place to eat breakfast, thanks to room service. Especially on the Alaska cruise where scenery and wildlife are a key component of the cruise we LOVED our balcony - a private viewing area with comfortable loungers. It was nice to tuck our daughter in bed, slide the balcony door shut, and enjoy a relaxed conversation late at night. BRING BINOCULARS.



All staff, from those at the reception desk to the cruise director to the stewards to waiters were welcoming and friendly. Certainly some were more outgoing and cheery than others, but truly, we never encountered a single staff that was not at least polite and had a smile ready as we passed in the corridor. Our stateroom steward was exceptional; good natured, thorough in his care to our cabin and he quickly charmed our daughter with whom he was very patient and kind. We always took a moment to chat with him and joke around a bit. Towel animals are traditions on many cruise ships. For some "chronic cruisers" the novelty may have worn off long ago regarding a facecloth shaped into a turtle or 2 bath towels turned into an elephant but to us it was fun and our 10 year old was fascinated. Our room steward knew this and made special effort to create the towel animals with her and put on quite a show of it. He made her feel special. The ships oozes crew all over the ship and if I ever had a question, needed something or couldn't figure out which elevator to take there was always someone in close proximity to ask and they willingly and cheerfully assisted in any way they could. Yes, stellar staff indeed.



Prior to our trip, we spoke with many people who have cruised and googled many websites so knew that many cruise lines (not just Norwegian) put a heavy emphasis on selling everything from jewelry to art work to photographs. You were constantly encouraged to spend, spend, spend. There are even channels on the stateroom TV dedicated to helping you figure out the best places to spend your cashola, especially on jewelry. However, although displays were always up, flyers constantly distributed or photographers walking around, etc, we feel hounded or pushed to buy. A polite smile and "no thanks, I'm not interested" was met each and every time with a returned polite smile and "enjoy your afternoon madam" from the seller. And, you can always turn off the tv spending channel. Easy. The only time I could have screamed "Enough already, back off!" was during an afternoon close to the end of the cruise when photographers were positioned with huge set ups around main traffic areas (one was directly in front of the reception desk). Large screens, lights and equipment were sprawled out, meaning folks had to carefully maneuver around them, not only causing traffic jams but introducing potential for things to be knocked down or people tripping over items. Souvenirs and items in the gift shops were quite reasonably priced and many nice things were offered. Off ship and in port the push was far more aggressive in the stores and we quickly learned to avoid row after row of jewelry stores.



3 of the 4 ports visited were very nice (Ketchican, Juneau and Skagway) with loads of history, interesting sights around the towns and residents that have lived their lifetime there. Only one port, Prince Rupert was a thumbs down with little to do, gloomy/wet climate, and run down streets. A small pocket of pretty shops and sites close to the pier were nice but venture any further and the whole place looked tired and sad. I really don't see how it was ever determined that plunking down a few thousand cruisers here would be worthwhile, enriching or entertaining. Much of the typical tourist shopping (t-shirts, key chains, mugs, local souvenirs) was the same regardless of which port you were in. If you missed getting a Ketchican t-shirt, no worries, the same one was in Juneau - just with a different town name on it. Although you can book excursions well before your cruise dates, we waited until we were on board the ship and we're glad we did it this way. With fog, mist, and rain all risks on an Alaska cruise regardless of the time of year, we were able to wait until we knew the short term weather forecast to know if it was worth booking something where the weather may effect our enjoyment or the view. There were excursions for any budget, activity level and we appreciated the level of choice.



The kids programming was very good. Registration was a snap and our daughter enjoyed the activities and program staff very much. Program leaders were high energy and experienced, they communicated well with us and fostered interaction between the children. The planned activities were fun. Five minutes of shyness the first day quickly morphed into excitement to go and play each day, and our daughter really enjoyed her time there and connected with many kids. She always seemed to know at least one or two of the kids to play with at the pool - where the water slides were a big bonus. It was wonderful for her to meet several children from so many different corners of the world.



Shows in the Stardust Theatre were well done. Band on the Run was so much fun and Elements was the very best, but all were entertaining. This isn't Broadway, but certainly talent was witnessed. Shows are popular so arrive 25-30 minutes prior to the show's start to get a good seat, arriving 5 minutes before show time and finding slim pickings for good seating is your own fault.



The Star's food ran the gammet from stellar (Cagney's) to very good (Aqua & Versailles) to mediocre at its best (the buffet). We quickly learned to head for dinner a bit ahead of behind the crunch time (ask crew when these times are) and never waited in line more than 10 minutes to eat in Aqua or Versailles. Restaurant staff didn't seem so pressured outside of the busiest pockets of time and food always arrived promptly. All meals were nicely prepared/presented and the children's menu had many choices that our daughter enjoyed very much. My husband and I treated ourselves to a date night dinner in Cagney's on the last night of the cruise, while our daughter gleefully attended the ships pajama party for the kids. WOW. A lovely restaurant, faboulous shrimp cocktails, steaks done to perfection and crisply prepared vegetables. Worth every penny with a waiter who was attentive and good natured. The buffet is at the other end of the spectrum. Very little changed from day to day as far as what was presented and food items were often runny, soggy, and exceptionally bland. OMG, so bland. A hospital cafeteria comes to mind. It did serve its purpose though as a dine and dash venue before an excursion or when you simply wanted a light snack. What floored me about the more relaxed Freestyle Cruising philosophy was passenger's attitude that this meant that it was appropriate to arrive to the buffet in an old stained sweatsuit or even your pj's and fill your plate to practice gluttony. There was absolutely no evidence of enforcement with the required casual (but presentable) attire in the buffet with folks walking right by ship crew in torn jeans and ragged t-shirts or as mentioned, even their pajamas. Awful.



I've read many of the more recent reviews of the Star and am baffled by the overt, inflated negative ones. Really? I mean, really????? Was it so awful? This ship wasn't some tub and the crew most certainly did not circulate in sullen packs. To some of these folks I might suggest that if they want a waiter or steward to smile at them or demonstrate an "over and above" effort to their staterooms, they could think to smile first, demonstrate gratitude and a welcoming demeanor themselves. A 30 second chat or brief chuckle with a crew member goes a loooong way. With a staff that comes together from over 60 countries, this is a very multicultural crew and we were appalled by blatant prejudice and rude remarks by passengers behind their backs, even mimicking their accents and snickering. One passenger I chatted with was very critical of the cruise because it got chilly at night and windy on the deck. !!!!!!!! This is ALASKA, not California - research the weather and the cruise, bring a wind breaker and layer your clothes. Take responsibility - plan accordingly.



Throughout this review I've used the word "research". Comb the Norwegian website, check out pictures on line of the cabins (again, through the Norwegian websites, or simply google them), watch YouTube videos posted by past passengers, and THOROUGHLY READ your E-Docs and other information forwarded to you prior to your cruise. Be prepared, be informed and be realistic. This is not a high end, luxury cruise on the Regent Seven Seas. It is a casual, family friendly, lovely older ship with a crew that is there for you - and more than willing to bend over backwards for you, especially when you demonstrate gratitude, respect, a pinch of humour and respect for all they do for its passengers. Role with the punches when a wrinkle presents itself, take in the scenery of a beautiful journey and RELAX.
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Cabin Review

Cabin
Deck 9, family balcony:
Comfortable bed, large balcony, quiet room, tons of space in the closet, room's safe was easy to operate, awful little tv, hair dryer was so heavy (but at least it worked well), bathroom had plenty of room.
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