NCL Readies Star Re-Launch

April 30, 2004
Norwegian Cruise Line is in final stages of its revamp of Norwegian Star. The 91,000-ton, 2,240-passenger ship, which is transitioning from an all-Hawaii (plus Fanning Island) year-round itinerary to a new home on America's west coast, will undergo a refurbishment that spans its outside -- and inside.

On its exterior and following in the steps of other NCL newbuilds, Norwegian Star's hull will get a makeover, featuring colorful stars and streamers splashed around the ship's bow.

More significant changes to the ship's onboard milieu include the addition of the Cagney Steakhouse, a popular fixture on Norwegian Dawn. That eatery will replace Las Ramblas, a tapas-style restaurant. Another dining-oriented change is the conversion of Endless Summer, which served Hawaiian-American food, to a Tex Mex and Tapas style restaurant. SoHo Restaurant will get a redesign.

The most significant new addition to Norwegian Star is the inclusion of a casino. Because the ship was initially intended to sail Hawaii -- and because Hawaii has very restrictive laws regarding gambling -- Norwegian Star did not originally have a casino onboard. In this case, The Star Club Casino will replace the Dazzles Nightclub; highlights there include craps, roulette, mini Baccarat, Blackjack and some more unusual games like Pai-Gow Poker and Pai-Gow Tiles.

Norwegian Star is currently in dry dock in San Francisco -- both for refurbishment and for repairs to its damaged Azipod system, which necessitated the cancellation of its final Hawaii voyages. The ship will offer its first Pacific coast cruise May 30 and will spend the summer season in Alaska before transiting to its winter home port of Los Angeles. Then, Norwegian Star will offer Mexican Riviera cruises.