Star Western Caribbean 1/29/2012: Norwegian Star Cruise Review by fergusonvt

Norwegian Star 5
Member Since 2010
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Star Western Caribbean 1/29/2012

Sail Date: January 2012
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Tampa
Embarkation -- Very smooth considering we arrived an hour later than expected due to our shuttle being late picking us up at the Holiday Inn Rocky Point. The shuttle was held up because of the delay in the Carnival ship getting to port. We were in an AFT PH so went to the VIP desk and were whisked away to another area with drinks, cookies and sandwiches. We got our key cards right away and were being escorted onto the ship about 10 minutes later. We didn't get escorted on by our butler as he was busy. We did not utilize the Butler or Concierge during our cruise preferring to make reservations ourselves. We booked the room for the view and balcony.

The room -- We had a deck 10 AFT PH (10728) and loved the room. The bed was very comfortable and the bathroom was nice. The balcony was by far the best part. Wide and deep with 2 loungers, 1 upright chair and a small table. Roomy enough for 2 more loungers. Our first sea day we took a long nap out there. It was More fabulous. I know that many will disagree with this but we didn't like the Lavazza coffee. It was much stronger then I care for. The tea was good though. We ate in 2 specialty restaurants and made the reservations ourselves. Both my husband and I liked Endless Summer although there was way too much food (not a complaint!) for us to finish. We also liked Ginza. The portions were smaller but the food was excellent.

The Ship -- We like the Star a lot. I loved the Atrium and liked the layout of the ship in general. The seats in the Stardust were not as comfortable as the ones on the Sun but the theatre is bigger. We enjoyed all the shows very much.

The Food -- As I mentioned above we liked Endless Summer and Ginza and only utilized Cagney's for lunch on embarkation day and for breakfast just two mornings. Most mornings we would grab something quick from the buffet. We ate dinner in Aqua, the smaller and more casual of the two MDR's for most nights except for sail away (BBQ) and the nights we ate at Endless Summer and Ginza. We found everything very good. Both my husband and I enjoyed all of our dinners and made choices from both sides of the menu in the MDR. I can't think of one thing I had that wasn't good. DH had some type of salmon cake as an appetizer in the MDR that he didn't care for and when they saw he hadn't eaten all it asked him if he wanted something else. The buffet was ok, nothing super fantastic but good breakfast choices. Finding a place to sit before your food got cold was the biggest challenge.

Ports -- My least favorite was Roatan. It is very poverty stricken and made me feel rather sad our entire excursion which was "Best of Roatan". The rain didn't help. The Roatan beer we had in the back of the tour van helped a little ?. In Belize we did the Lamanai ruins which made for a very long day but it was very interesting. In Costa Maya we did Maya Chan which we loved. It was very relaxing, the food was great, the company was great (several CC members) and the unlimited bar was great. This wasn't an NCL tour but one we booked on our own. In Cozumel we did the Palancar Snorkel (I stayed on the boat and took pics) and Playa Mia beach resort tour. The food was ok (ham and cheese sandwiches, fruit, and French fries) but we had open bar after the Snorkel to Playa Mia, at Playa Mia and on the catamaran all the way back to the ship. Best tour ever!! (also shared with some CC members).

Disembarkation -- Very smooth. We reported to the Stardust for 8:15 to walk off with our luggage. By the time all of the non-US citizens were rounded up (this was an issue on our first cruise also) and we were walking off the ship we were all mixed up with those passengers who chose to do self dis- embarkation. Because of this I didn't see a real benefit to the Priority disembark process.
We had a great time and loved the ship and crew. I would definitely go on the Star again but would probably try for an AFT balcony on deck 10 rather than the PH. We are probably one of the rare cases where the suite life didn't spoil us for other cabin types. We will be sailing NCL again in the near future Less

Published 02/13/12

Cabin review: SF10728 Aft-Facing Penthouse with Large Balcony

Cabin was plenty big enough for 2 people. Bathroom was a good size with a large tub/shower combo. Very large closet which can be accessed from in front of the bathroom and the hallway as you enter the cabin. It is a long walk back to these AFT penthouses but a good opportunity for exercise. Fantastic view off the balcony which was large and very quiet.

Read All Aft-Facing Penthouse with Large Balcony (SF) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

At Belize (our only tender port) we did a NCL tour to the Lamanai Mayan ruins. This is a full day tour and does require some walking uphill on a stone covered trail. The tour began with an hour bus ride (mildly air conditioned) then a 24 mile boat ride on the New River. Between the bus ride and boat ride we were given cold drinks or coffee and cookies. The boat had 2 200 hp engines and went very fast but stopped for photo opportunities (Crocodiles). At the ruins our tour guide brought us around to all parts of the temple and was very thorough in explaining everything about it. We were able to climb to the top and were given plenty of time to do this. After the tour it was back on the boat for the ride back to the bus. Before boarding the bus the tour included lunch which consisted of cold drinks and coffee, chicken, curry rice, rice and beans, coleslaw and some type of cake. After lunch the bus brought us back to the port.

I had only read good things about Maya Chan and they weren't wrong. We were given instructions to use port transportation which was included in the cost of the tour. We walked through the port area to the port taxi stand and they had our names on a list. They brought us to Maya Chan where we were shown to our private area (right in front of the web cam) that had two wooden loungers and a large covered padded bed. The price of $59pp included lunch and unlimited drinks (soft and alcohol). Lunch was chicken, beef and fish cooked on a grill with fresh grilled tortillas, salsa, beans, and lots of other fixings. We were also offered fresh tortilla chips and salsa with guacamole in our lounge area. There are sea kayaks and snorkel equipment that is free to use. When you are ready to leave you tell them about 1/2 ahead of time and they have the port transportation pick you up and bring you back to the ship. It was a great relaxing day.

Beach Break

Catamaran picked us at on the ship pier and brought us out to the reef to snorkel. All equipment was provided. Soda and water were provided prior to the Snorkel which was about 1 hour. After the snorkel on the way to Playa Mia beach resort free beer, rum punch and margarita's were provided. At the beach resort we were served lunch which consisted of a ham and cheese sandwhich, salad, french fries and fresh fruit. Free alcohol was also provided at the resort. After lunch were were allowed to use the beach and pool facilities. The same catamaran brought us back to the ship's pier at the end of the tour. Great tour!

We did the "Best of Roatan" tour through the cruise line. The port area was quite shabby compared to some others we had been to. The entire part of the Island that we saw appeared to be very poverty stricken. The tour consisted of a bus ride around parts of the island although the tour description says you will visit uninhabited parts there were houses everywhere we went. We also had a boat ride in which they brought us to see the Mangroves and several rusted ships that had hit the reef and became ship wrecked. Not really "scenery" in my opinion. We also went to a local village of the Garifuna and saw a dance. We stopped at a place to try some local coconut soap which was very good.
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