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33 Norwegian (NCL) Hong Kong Cruise Reviews

We booked a 10 day cruise from Hong Kong to Tokyo for some R&R and see some new Asian sights. Positives The cabin attendants were very courteous and helpful. The room was very clean and refreshed The ship was refurbished ... Read More
We booked a 10 day cruise from Hong Kong to Tokyo for some R&R and see some new Asian sights. Positives The cabin attendants were very courteous and helpful. The room was very clean and refreshed The ship was refurbished and everything is bright and current, yet somehow lacking excitement. Massage (deep tissue) was top rated. Needs Improvement Dining - Good with way too much more focus on quality at the expense of quantity/variety. I swear there’s a conveyor belt from the buffet to all the restaurants. You think you’ll get a choice steak at the Tsar’s restaurant, but it’s the same product as on the buffet. Yes, the desserts at the Tsar’s Palace are the same out of the box junk available on the buffet. Not a decent dessert to be had on board really, but the caramel sauce was delicious. With the exception of the lettuce, all fresh fruits and veggies were consistently of mediocre to good quality. I wouldn’t have eaten a tomato on that ship. Also try the buffet at the very end of the ship - keep walking back from the main buffet. Open air and very relaxing. Internet - Very Pricy but so so so slow. I had a need to log onto a secure website but never could get in as I kept getting timed out. Staff - hard working and try, but I don’t believe they’re empowered to provide customer service. I can say the staff, however, is trained to say they understand, but they can’t really do anything to address the issue. As an example, I had an urgent need to scan a signed document at 11:30 PM one night due to a legal matter. I really tried to explain the urgency of the matter at hand. The front desk advised that the staff don’t have external email accounts and only managers have external service. Again, I explained the urgency of my request and how limited I was 8,000 miles from home. “I understand, and I’m sorry.,” was the response. I asked for the manager, and the front desk was very reluctant to call. So, I gave up, took pictures of the document and sent them to a friend who cleaned them up before submitting them. Hours to send 11 pages. Did I tell you the internet was slow??? Excursion desk - We took every tour available. The tour companies were good. I put in a form to book a tour/transfer to Our hotel in Tokyo. The Excursion Desk called me at 6:30 PM to advise it was sold out and to go to the front desk to book a bus to Tokyo Station. The front desk said they stopped taking reservations for that bus at 4 PM. The excursion desk was somehow reluctant to help me with other options. . Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I was on a private charter of the Jewel from Hong Kong to Tokyo for a 10 night adventure. I had a balcony room to myself for the holiday. Boarding went smoothly but when it was announced that all the staterooms were ready, mine was still ... Read More
I was on a private charter of the Jewel from Hong Kong to Tokyo for a 10 night adventure. I had a balcony room to myself for the holiday. Boarding went smoothly but when it was announced that all the staterooms were ready, mine was still not. Even after I was allowed in, I had to call back the room attendant there was still dirt on the glass shelves in the bathroom. Not having a clean bathroom from the start was only the begining of a poorly run ship. I gave 3 stars because my state room was great and the entertainment was very good. One of our biggest complaints was the overt and racist "Washy, washy, happy, happy" in a mocking Asian accent, that were were greeted with when entering the cafeteria at every meal. How insensitive! Our Asian friends, and this cruise originated in Hong Kong so many were on board. Were horrified as we were to find out that this is a NCL saying and the crew are required to say it. I reached out to NCL on Facebook messenger and I could see they read my concerns but never responded! After a 12 million dollar restoration you expect things to work. There were so many things broken and not fixed it became was a joke. We asked every day for the lockers in the spa to work. Were told that no one had complained and they all worked, but the attendant who came to help us could not use them either because they were broken. We were told every day that no one had complained even though they took my room number every day when I said something. In the cafeteria the coffee and expresso machines were out of order most every day and when we said something were were told to go to the end of the ship for the one working machine(it did not work either). Mexican food day, there was no tortillas and asking for guacamole was like pulling teeth.. Seriously, Mexican group was very angry.. as were we..They were so stingy with tortillas we were only allowed 2 each and one teaspoon of guacamole. I made the girl angry by demanding more.. I wanted some for my tortilla chips and salsa.. which had no spice or heat. We tried the main dining rooms, but the service was so bad and the food either over cooked or just cold(cold french fries with a cold not edible steak) That was after the fish I ordered was so dry it was not edible. We had a table of 8 one night and the food came out so slow for some of us that many of our friends had finished dinner and desert by the time we were getting our main meal. It was inexcusable. We finally had a good meal at Le Bistro after the Restaurant's manager personally took us there and paid for our meal and wine as he was so embarrassed! The Brazilian restaurant was also very good, But you had to pay for that. We ate at Tapanyaki the first night and it was a joke! The "chef" did a song and dance and tapped spatulas, many of which he dropped! The rice was not edible as it was so salty and the meat was tasteless. We had to ask for salt for that! We were rushed through the meal that should have been a show. I wasn't even able to finish my food as they wanted to move on.. The entertainment was good but the drinks were a joke. They upcharged and seemed to forget what the price was inconsistent from each server and each bar. They poured premium even if you asked not and still charged your room. You asked for well drinks and they poured premium! The shore excursions were poorly run and often the guides level of English was not understandable. Mostly a waste. My bed was comfortable and the water pressure in my shower was impressive, but you could not pay me to get on another NCL ship. My whole group lost weight as often the food was terrible. We would head to get chocolate ice cream soft serve 4 times a day to keep the weight on. But even those machines didn't always work and it was not easy getting anyone to pay attention to take care of simple things. We thought the ship was a floating Denny's. Even that food would have been preferable. I paid over $5000 for my own balcony on a 10 night cruise. That works out to $500 a day, for that money we should have had good food! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary although we had been to all of the countries that were on the itinerary as recent as on a river cruise in 2017 to Viet Nam and Cambodia. The embarkation took 2 1/2 hours of which was the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary although we had been to all of the countries that were on the itinerary as recent as on a river cruise in 2017 to Viet Nam and Cambodia. The embarkation took 2 1/2 hours of which was the longest embark that we had to endure after a long flight from US to Hong Kong one day prior. We were tired and hungry, but all of the restaurants were closed by the time we got on board because it was time for Muster. Our package included premium beverage, four specialty dining restaurants, unlimited internet, which was nice although the internet was crawling most of the time, and 120 free phone calls of which we used 55 minutes. We were extremely dissapponted to find out that we had to pay NCL $69 each to get a Viet Nam Visa and $89 each for a Cambodia Visa at embark. Of course, we were not aware of getting visas in advance because we planned not to get off in Cambodia because the ship only port one day there, and because we were in Cambodia 2017. The River Cruise Company advised us in advance that we had to get visa for Nam and Cambodia, but NCL did not. Moreover, Viet Nam charges $25 for its Visa; Cambodia charges $30, and it took us less than 5 weeks to get both visa. NCL charged $69 and $89, 3x the charge??? When several passengers asked the crews at the reception, one said because it was an emergency visas; other said to me because they “are merchant” visas. I pointed to that crew member the Viet Nam visa that was stapled to my passports in 2017 indicating that was a “merchant” visa, too, yet, I didn’t have to pay $69 and I got to keep the visa. I don’t know if that crew member got trained appropriately or he thought he could fool me into believing his feeble infor. On this trip, we had to turn in our Nam Visa on the last port day in Nam. So for those who want to keep it for souvenir are of our luck! The food in the Specialty Dining Restaurants was mediocre and poor in some instances. The restaurants’ staffs seemed trying but the execution was poor. At Cagney’s Steak house, I asked for a medium rare filet mignon, it came out rare. The server took it back, the kitchen recooked the steak that I already cut into instead of giving me a new one. What happened if I were sick with a cold or have some kind of contagious illness? Some thoughts for the management. Another incident at Chin Chin, Asian Fusion Restaurant, a line item on the menu, “Chinese Chicken...” one of the passengers asked the server, “what is Chinese Chicken?” The server responded with a laugh, “may be it’s small...” He then apologized later knowing what he said was inappropriate. Note for NCL management, there should be no Chinese Chickens, no American Chickens, and etc...on the menu. There were many more that we could name. In summary, we have cruised many times on large cruise ships and many more on river cruise ships, our experiences were better than NCL, which was our first time. We are not so sure if we want to give NCL a second chance! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We joined a group of friends who had selected this cruise. The food in the dining room at dinner time was inconsistent, ranging from very good to inedible (eg steaks). Our server Marie was excellent. Breakfast and lunch in the ... Read More
We joined a group of friends who had selected this cruise. The food in the dining room at dinner time was inconsistent, ranging from very good to inedible (eg steaks). Our server Marie was excellent. Breakfast and lunch in the dining room was consistently very good. Our cabin midship on the fourth deck by the tender gangway should not be used for guests. There was consistent irritating noises day and night from ship operations. The on-board entertainment and musicians were excellent. We particularly enjoyed listening to the Love Brothers and Lira. Other than the Tsar’s Palace main dining room we ate in O’Sheehan’s which we found quite good. We did not eat at the Garden Cafe buffet or any of the specialty restaurants. The alcohol prices were more than we were willing to pay even though we enjoy a glass of wine at dinner time. The majority of our alcohol consumption was while we were in port. We chose private shore excursions with our group of twelve rather than ship excursions. We prefer the chance to customize our own tours at a cost savings. For example the Ancient Temples Tour in Ko Samui, Thailand listed at $149.00 per person from the ship was done by our group by private tour arranged on shore for $20.00 per person for basically the same tour. Activities listed in the daily schedule were mostly money making for the cruise line. In summary it is highly unlikely that we will sail with Norwegian again unless they are the only ones that have an itinerary that we want to do. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Chosen for the timing, stops, and convenience from Taiwan. The problems started with embarkation. 4 huge seating areas. A few wandering workers. You get a number for the 15 service desks. Turns out 50 people have the same number. Worse, ... Read More
Chosen for the timing, stops, and convenience from Taiwan. The problems started with embarkation. 4 huge seating areas. A few wandering workers. You get a number for the 15 service desks. Turns out 50 people have the same number. Worse, the announcement of the number is called out by someone walking the aisles amid the din. The cabin was the tiniest ever encountered, with stool angled from the wall but not enough to put a leg over. Supplies would run out, and no morning service until after noon. There was not a decent steak on board, not at the buffet, not at the dining room, not at the steakhouse. No lobster. I was informed they stopped serving libster 10 years ago, though the NCL booking agent assured mre there would be a lobster night. In contrast, Holland America has at least 1 lobster night on every cruise we've been on, as well as great steak every night. Very few activities on board, and no happy hour at all. That's enough. My wife said never again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise based primarily on the itinerary. In summary we had a good vacation despite a few notable shortcomings with Norwegian. We found the ship to be very relaxing with a good mix of entertainment options, public spaces like ... Read More
We chose this cruise based primarily on the itinerary. In summary we had a good vacation despite a few notable shortcomings with Norwegian. We found the ship to be very relaxing with a good mix of entertainment options, public spaces like casino, bars, pool, etc; and nice private spaces - our stateroom was the perfect size for our family of 3 (larger than the Celebrity cruise we took a few years back). Service onboard was generally adequate. Many guest facing folks were nice, and enthusiastic. However, there was a higher proportion of staff on this cruise who simply weren't as friendly as they should have been. Specialty restaurant waitstaff were generally underwhelming. Front desk / reception was a challenge (they were not able to help on really the only 2 issues that came up for us). Not only could they not help, but they definitely did not display empathy nor the desire to go out of their way to come up with creative solutions. Check-in in Hong Kong was not as described - we arrived around 12:30 and were issued a queue number, ended up waiting about 2 hours to get checked in and onboard. Once we were called to check in, the process was quick and efficient. I was surprised and uncomfortable with the fact that they collected our passports (and kept them) at the boarding door. I don't think this was communicated ahead of time, and in general was not something I felt good about. When I asked why this was happening, the woman literally laughed at me - perhaps a language/culture barrier problem but off-putting nonetheless. Food - was OK, definitely a mixed bag. Leathery bacon at the buffet - consistently. Ice cream machines that couldn't keep up with demand (serving liquidy soft serve). Chin Chin's was in general not tasty (we ordered 5 different entrees among 4 adults) and the only one that tasted good was the sweet/sour pork. Cagney's steak was supremely disappointing - meat quality was mid-market grocery store level (think safeway or albertson's "choice" cuts). The silver lining in this cloud was the notion that since the food wasn't great, we didn't overeat. Ever. I overheard other adults making similar statements. With about 3 days remaining onboard, we found there were some things they were running out of. No pineapple at the buffet. No lemons for iced tea. No sprinkles for ice cream. These seem like small things, but they are the little things that make a vacation great or less-than-great. Excursions - the selection was a bit thin. Too many similar outings to temples across the various ports. Would have been nice to have a few more cultural viewpoints that were more diversified. Also, our experience in Cambodia was not good - a beach with no amenities and a market with no amenities. Other tours were too limited in availability and we did not get our reservation in on time. The brightest shining stars on this cruise: 1) The cabin was large (we had a mini suite balcony - essentially one room with a curtain divider between the bed and the pull-out sofabed). Much nicer than our previous experience on Celebrity. The fact that it has recently been renewed I think helped. 2) Our 6-year old absolutely loved the Kids Club. We literally couldn't pull her away. The staff were all amazing, engaging, fun. Lots of great activities. This was our first Norwegian cruise and while we didn't hate it, they also didn't make a good enough impression on us to convince us to stop trying new cruise lines. Our next cruise likely won't be with Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise based on its itinerary and it was very enjoyable. It was a first cruise for us (well, I had been on a cruise 28 years ago with a girlfriend but that was a long time ago) so we were not sure how we would enjoy this type ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on its itinerary and it was very enjoyable. It was a first cruise for us (well, I had been on a cruise 28 years ago with a girlfriend but that was a long time ago) so we were not sure how we would enjoy this type of travel. We did a lot of research and it paid off (mostly). FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO SEEMED SURPRISED BY ADDITIONAL COSTS, TENDERS AND OTHER MATTERS, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE SPEND SOME TIME ON RESEARCH! For example, by reading other reviews of cruisers, we knew that getting to Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) and back in time would be difficult because of traffic and the timing of the ship's arrival and departure, so we took the NCL excursion. We were Haven Guests and were very grateful for the extra service (such as embarkation and disembarkation priority along with a reserved area for meals at breakfast and lunch) making our trip experience much better than many others, I am sure. What we didn't fully understand, though, was that being on deck 9 instead of 14 meant that we sometimes missed the true benefits of the Haven experience (such as having a butler and concierge ready to make things easier for us). Our butler and concierge were generally MIA unless we called and they both seem surprised that we hadn't asked to have something when we thought it would just be done (they only discovered that we were first time cruisers at the end of the trip and things might have been easier if we had volunteered that up front). There were a few other blips but we figured out what we needed to do in the first few days (and I did express my concerns to them) and we did get in tune with them after that. However, if you want to experience the full benefits of the Haven, I would recommend that you find a cabin/suite on Deck 14. Our cabin was right up front and the benefits of two balconies was wonderful, allowing us to have the best of both views and, while the noise of the anchor going up and down was clearly evident, it really didn't disturb us. Also, I am very prone to motion sickness and didn't feel the least bit queasy for the entire trip. We took mostly independent tours and they were, overall, excellent. There was one dud excursion which had more to do with the lack of English by the tour guide but we did hit all the sights. The tour into Bangkok using NCL was excellent, given that the guide was herding 32 people around but I cannot recommend the tour at the end of our trip into Singapore. We took the 4 hour tour ending at the airport and it was very expensive and certainly unimpressive. Dining was very hit and miss; Chin Chin was dreadful and La Cucina wasn't far behind. I would certainly not waste my money on La Cucina! Both service and the food was way below average. The first week seemed generally off for most of the entire dining areas - it was as if the waiters did not know what they were doing or where they should be at any one time. We were left waiting for several minutes without so much as a glass of water on a number of occasions and sometimes the food was not very warm when it arrived. A couple of very nice meals were had at Cagney's and Teppanyaki (go for the show, although the food was very good) but none of the meals made me feel that I had to go back. I admit I had expected better prepared food and the quality of the raw ingredients seemed lacking sometimes. The meal at Azura was very good and I would highly recommend going to the free sit down venues over the buffet (where a couple of times when we ventured in, we were horrified by the noise and people eating right beside the food - presumably so they could go back for more immediately. The fitness facility was good although I'm sure that it would have benefitted from some extra space. The free classes were generally well attended (or, on sea days, over attended) but the paid classes were almost empty. Internet was very poor but the guy at the Internet cafe was very helpful to get the most out of it. I must admit that I didn't pay enough attention to the small print and it was annoying that the service we had only applied to one device at a time! We had one unlimited service and two 250 minute services (that came as part of our package) so it was okay but I saved any big work on my computer for our days on shore when we could get 4G wifi service. Overall, we were very happy with our first cruise with Norwegian. They do seem to have worked out most of the problems with embarkation and disembarkation and tendering (at Koh Samui, for example, the ship was using commercial tender operations along with its own lifeboats) on this particular routing. This allowed for at least triple the numbers to get on the tender and the lineups were greatly reduced. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
In 2016, we enjoyed our earlier cruise with NCL Star for 21 days in a Suite and had absolutely no issues. This is what enticed us to take another cruise with Norwegian. This cruise with Jewel was only for 11 days from March 21 to April 1, ... Read More
In 2016, we enjoyed our earlier cruise with NCL Star for 21 days in a Suite and had absolutely no issues. This is what enticed us to take another cruise with Norwegian. This cruise with Jewel was only for 11 days from March 21 to April 1, 2018. The best part of the cruise is the fact that our Mini-Suite was kept immaculately tidy by our steward. The whole ship always looked tidy. Unfortunately, the positives stop there. NCL Jewel is a highly disorganized ship and the reasons are as follows: (1) from the initial port in HK up to disembarkation. People in HK were not even properly identified as NCL staff. They were grabbing the suitcases from our hotel limo as we arrived. (2)Furthermore, NO ONE in the check in counter in HK knew what Latitudes was. Only those in the Suites were assisted even if the Latitudes program supposedly provided for assistance on embarkation for those in Gold upwards (3)Restaurant reservation made online prior to the start of the cruise did not sync with the ship's system. Hence, I just wasted all that time planning the restaurants that we wanted to dine in. (4)The worst part is the staff at Azura ( on the first night) were demanding a print out from me for the proof of my reservation. I obviously do not walk around with hard copies of the reservation when it is supposed to be in their system as per my NCL account. I did not appreciate this because there were other patrons behind and I never expected to be treated in such fashion when the meal in question is an inclusion and not even a specialty restaurant. I later found out that the whole reservation system was not working for the entire length of the cruise(5) Water purchased in advance were not delivered to our room until after 3 follow ups. We were told that it would be delivered the next day which is unacceptable as my husband and I require such for our medication. (6) Shore excursion organizers at the start were not organized with guests even requesting that a line be formed during the process. This is disappointing as the staff should have organized the whole process better. I started wondering if they had trainees organizing these excursions. Also, some guests of the boat were complaining that the ship ran out of shore excursion openings for most of the tours. It is only for 11 days – how can they get it so wrong. (7) Room service did not deliver an order for nearly 3 hours because they supposedly failed to get our room number. We could not have our breakfast at the restaurants that morning as we were dealing with a family emergency over the phones. This was the height of how dysfunctional room service was. To order for beer at around 10 pm would take at least an hour to be delivered. (8) Food in the specialty restaurants are mostly SALTY. The dishes we enjoyed at the NCL Star are also offered at the Jewel but for some reason almost everything is about 3 times saltier. This made most of our dining experiences not enjoyable. Menus in the main dining areas/complimentary do not change at all. Azura and Tsar have near similar menus ( 9) Staff in the Garden Cafe are NOT very helpful and would really rather stand around than assist guests when the place is packed during meal time. The same goes with Azura. The staff members seem to be overwhelmed during peak times. Hence, guests are left waiting to be attended to. We dined there twice and it is sad to see that the main dining area could hardly cope and not get its act together. (10) As we had to leave the ship earlier than scheduled due to a family emergency, we had to disembark by ourselves. We have paid for the cruise until 01 April but had to leave by 30 March. We were supposed to disembark at around 11 am as our flight was at 3:00 pm. By 9:30 am, housekeeping wanted to check if we were still in our rooms. Yes, the very same room that we have paid for in full till April 1 including the unlimited internet charges I have paid for UNTIL April 1. An hour later, someone in guest relations also went to our room to check if we were still around. This was weird because they all knew we were only leaving past 11 am. I could not understand why they were rushing to get us out when the ship will still be docked until 7 or 8 pm in Kobe. Later, the disembarkation officer was VERY VERY rude and even raised her voice infront of everyone when I said that all I wanted was to get out of this ship once and for all. She should not be in hospitality if that is how she treats guests. Prior to our disembarkation and after having raised some of the issues above with customer relations, the Hotel Director Steven even offered to compensate us with US$200 off our bill for all the inconveniences we encountered. We find that insulting as we did not raise our issues to get freebies. We actually look down on people who try to pull that sort of stuff. In the long run, we believe people with legitimate issues suffer when an establishment assumes that people only whinge because they want to get freebies. We declined the offer and told him to use the funds instead towards boosting staff training and morale. He also later on sent a bottle of wine and some chocolates to our Mini- Suite. We also sent that back and politely said thank you BUT no thank you to the messenger. Over-all we regret taking this cruise. It was only for 11 days but I think it stressed us out in the 9 days that we were inside that ship. We were so impressed with NCL Star that we even made 3 CruiseNext deposits in 2016. We are not regretting that decision. Since coming back to Australia, we have read some reviews other passengers have given Jewel and all I can conclude is that we are not alone with our findings. They also are the same with the sentiments of most of the people we interacted with on the boat. Most of them even swearing this would be the final time with NCL. I hope I am wrong to assume that NCL only treats guests from the Suites better than the rest. If someone in a Mini Suite this time cannot get decent satisfaction from a cruise liner then I don’t know what hope the other guests in the lower decks would feel. The ship is running very poorly because of low staff morale and inadequate training. Suffice to say, I will surely think thrice before recommending this vessel for a cruise. The Jewel is destroying the NCL brand and needs an overhaul. It has management and staff issues. We have cruised with both Princess and Celebrity on both levels, Suite and Mini Suite, and had absolutely none of these issues. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Retired couple with 20 + cruises many different cruise lines: Second time on the Jewel. Just OK. Food all restaurants greatly improved over last Jewel cruise (2014). Garden Buffet expanded in more and better entree selections. Le ... Read More
Retired couple with 20 + cruises many different cruise lines: Second time on the Jewel. Just OK. Food all restaurants greatly improved over last Jewel cruise (2014). Garden Buffet expanded in more and better entree selections. Le Bistro still our favorite. Proper cleanliness throughout the ship - male thermal suite always maintained well. Entertainment fair to poor. Same shows as 4 years ago. Music way to loud all venues. (When asked to pipe down upon port arrival [so we could enjoy Japan's Pier Greeting Performance by musicians and dancers] the topside pool musicians said no because its in our contract. Ruined the arrival for many.) This being an Orient cruise only 1 local entertainment brought on board although we ported at 8 different piers. Most disappointing. Cabin bedding terrible -- Norwegian changed mattresses for us and still could see the slump in the beds. Felt like sleeping in a hammock. Service charges are non-stop. Though our service charges were paid up front, still hit up with charges every time we orderrd a drink, food, or activity. These are a major rip off for all cruisers. Unusually long waits for NCL sponsored Destination Tours, and long lines on-board to book these tours. Do so before sailing. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We did a back to back to back Sydney to Yokohama so this review is for the last leg, Hong Kong to Yokohama. The Jewel is now quite old and in need of a refit but provides a good cruising experience with lounges and restaurants to suit all ... Read More
We did a back to back to back Sydney to Yokohama so this review is for the last leg, Hong Kong to Yokohama. The Jewel is now quite old and in need of a refit but provides a good cruising experience with lounges and restaurants to suit all tastes. Our inside cabin was adequate and our cabin steward did his best. Dining was generally good. The two main restaurants were fine, the buffet (Market cafe) often a scrum but the food was good. The speciality restaurants were good. Service was generally good, some outstanding, some poor. Entertainment became a bit samey but we were on the ship for 40 nights so that was to be expected. Ports on this leg of the cruise were great. We did not take any NCL excursions but seldom heard anything good from those who did take them so this is an area on this ship that NCL should look carefully at. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We chose this cruise because of its itinerary (China & Japan were top of our list). Unfortunately, the itinerary changed several times before our departure, which took some of the shine off it (particularly the loss of an overnight ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of its itinerary (China & Japan were top of our list). Unfortunately, the itinerary changed several times before our departure, which took some of the shine off it (particularly the loss of an overnight stop at Beijing, which left us with very little time in between travelling from and to the port where the ship was docked), and the removal of a stop in South Korea (although this one was down to Chinese legislation) Embarkation was a bit of a nightmare, previous cruises we have been on, after checking in we have moved into a seperate 'holding area' waiting to board, but on this occasion everybody seemed to be hanging around together, making things rather confusing, blocking routes, etc. Once onboard things did improve, with the good points being as follows:- The public areas were always clean, the entertainment was very good compared to other cruises we have been on, and the bars and restaurants were plentiful and well stocked. One huge plus was the freedom dining, which allowed us to eat at whatever time we desired, with quite a few options to choose from (we were a group of 4 and we only had to wait once for a table, and that was for less than 10 minutes at one of the smaller complimentary restaurants). However, there were some negatives, as follows:- We had pre-booked some speciality restaurants prior to the cruise, but when we attended our first booking we were told that ALL online reservations had been lost (somewhere in cyber space no doubt). They did accommodate us on that first date, but only after a 40 minute wait and a gentle reminder from me that we were still waiting for a table. This first visit to was 3 days into the cruise, surely they would have known by that time that there was a problem with online reservations, and surely they could have made some sort of announcement...?? (our other reservations were re-booked, and all 4 restaurants we ate in were excellent, so no complaints after that initial problem) Some of the bar staff were a little rude, especially when my wife went to the bar (we have never come accross this on previous cruises, where 99.9% of bar staff have been brilliant) and a few of the customer service staff were even worse (not very helpful at all, in fact) The cabin, although adequate, was difficult to manouevre around, and the overhead bunk was a nightmare for me as I banged my shoulder on it many times when getting out of bed, despite it being 'stowed away'. The cruise ship's policy for passing through customs in Japan left a lot to be desired. It was explained through a flyer that every passenger required a 'face to face' inspection with a customs officer (pretty standard stuff at most ports, airports etc, you'd think). but the ship decided it was so complicated, we were to disembark at our first stop at pre-determined intervals, starting with the upper decks and working down to the lower decks. Great if your cabin was on deck 13 or 14, not so great if your cabin was on deck 5, like ours. If we had stuck to the ships plan, we would have been doing our 'face to face' (i.e. going through customs) over 2 and a half hours after the first passengers were allowed off. As we had pre-booked a private tour (costing a lot of money) I visited customer services to inform them that our party WOULD be leaving the boat at the time we had agreed to meet our tour guide (i.e. the time which NCL had said we would be docking at the port and allowing people off). After declining a 'free phonecall' to our guide to say we would be over 2 hours late, followed by several visits to the desk, and a refusal to give in (hence the comment earlier about the unhelpful staff) it was agreed to let us off earlier than our 'scheduled' time (but we were asked not to advertise the fact, so as not to upset other passengers on lower decks I presume!). One other thing, which didn't affect us but needs mentioning, was the lack of information provided by NCL prior to the cruise with regards visas. Fortunately we had done some research beforehand, and knew we needed visas, but there were several people onboard who could not leave the boat whilst in China because they didn't. One couple, we heard, were in their 80's and it had been their lifelong ambition to visit China but, because they were unaware that a visa was required, they had to stay on the boat. We also heard that another couple had even been turned away at the airport, so they didn't even get to go on the cruise. Can't say for certain if these stories are true, but I do know there were an awful lot of people stuck onboard while we were in China. Now it could be said that it was the passengers fault for not doing their research (and I agree to a certain extent), but we did a cruise last year to Thailand and Vietnam (similar countries to China and Japan in my opinion) and all the visas for that trip were sorted by the cruise ship (we just had to deposit our passports, and our cruise card effectively became our visa and passport). To be truthfully honest, I thought it would be exactly the same on this cruise, and it was only through a stroke of luck that we discovered a visa for China was required, otherwise we would have also been trapped onboard. So I can fully understand why some people may have not known they needed a visa. Surely an email from NCL a month or two before the cruise would easily have solved this problem, or at least made everybody aware? I've rambled on about the negatives but to be honest, we still had a fabulous time, and the cruise ship was generally great. Nothing is ever perfect, but most of the issues above could have been avoided, which would have made this cruise almost ... Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We saw the advertisement for the cruise from Hong Kong to Tokyo via China in the weekend Australian newspaper. The service staff, in the cabins and restaurants, were particularly impressive. Genuine friendliness and welcoming. Extremely ... Read More
We saw the advertisement for the cruise from Hong Kong to Tokyo via China in the weekend Australian newspaper. The service staff, in the cabins and restaurants, were particularly impressive. Genuine friendliness and welcoming. Extremely helpful and obliging - no request was too much or too problematic to carry out. The entertainment in the theatre was of a very high standard - each evening's performance more professional than the previous one. All areas of the ship were clean, well cared for, appealing and comfortable to relax or be entertained in. Especially enjoyed the art education sessions given by Divan from Park West and his very entertaining art auctions. The speciality restaurants, La Cucina, Le Bistro and Cagney's Steakhouse were included in our food package and very worthwhile. Disembarkation and embarkation at each port was smooth and well organised. The reception committee on embarkation were very pleasant, welcoming and friendly. We organised our own shore excursions, so didn't use the ship's excursions. There were absolutely no problems or negative experiences throughout our cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We chose this cruise for the variety of ports. When we discovered in December that 2 ports had been discontinued due to propulsion system failure. We (2 couples) immediately requested a cancellation refund as we were concerned about ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the variety of ports. When we discovered in December that 2 ports had been discontinued due to propulsion system failure. We (2 couples) immediately requested a cancellation refund as we were concerned about cancellation of additional ports and safety if the ship should lose power. Despite 3 requests, we were denied and forced to sail. The December 10th cruise received a 100% refund and 50% future cruise credit. The 22nd sailing were offered a 100% refund, 50% future credit. January 5, a 20% refund. We received a laughable $200. Cabin credit. As feared, January 26th, we were advised 3 additional ports were cancelled. including Brisbane where we were to disembark. We were summarily given an additional $800. Per cabin. Through continued passenger pressure requesting a full refund, Norwegian Cruise Line Corporate Office made a final offer of 100% future cruise credit which we find unacceptable. Precedents were set on past cruises. The offer comes with extraordinary restrictive conditions. We simply want a refund of the amount paid for the cruise. Five of Ten Ports cancelled... No assistance from NCL other than the use of 4 computers and 1 telephone line, maximum 8 hours a day for 5 days, 2000 plus passengers! On one of the 2 ports left, Darwin, we were were forced to spend our time in a shipboard meeting arranged by NCL and the afternoon in a mall, advising friends of our non arrival, cancelling car rental, rescheduling accommodation arrival, arranging transportation to Sydney Airport and flights back to the Gold Coast, no financial compensation. The front desk and customer service staff were ill informed, rude and were actually found to be purposely providing incorrect information. The captain blatantly lied, stating the ship was safe and absolutely would not lose power. NCL has continued to board unwary passengers on a compromised ship. Our concerns about the Norwegian Star were confirmed when all engines failed 70 miles from Melbourne, drifted 2 days before being towed to port. With this event we hope that NCL will now acknowledge our anxiety and justified concerns by offering a realistic refund. Despite the pressure of extra sea days and anxious passengers, all staff, Cabin, Dining Room, Casino, Pool, Restaurant, provided friendly, professional service. Our cabin was comfortable, drink service was prompt, we enjoyed the specialty dining and onboard entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and Australia were areas we were very interested in seeing. NCL had problems early December but would not cancel cruises in order to fix the problem instead ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and Australia were areas we were very interested in seeing. NCL had problems early December but would not cancel cruises in order to fix the problem instead they failed to notify passengers of loss of ports before we entered the terminal to board ship. Problems increased as we sailed. After only 3 ports they had additional problems with ship and they canceled 3 more ports. So they had canceled 5 of 10 ports. Their compensation was $500 per person for up to 2 people in a cabin and 1/2 next cruise within 12 months. This was wrong. Dining was okay but have had better. Crew and staff did their best considering the angry passengers. Entertainment was okay. Our cabin, balcony on deck 10 was smallest we have had in quite a while. Did not trust the ships seaworthiness. Embarkation absolutely the worst we have ever experienced--this was our 14th cruise. NCL is on my no cruise list. Hope their bottom line is better than our cruise experience with them. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We joined the ship in Hong Kong having selected this cruise as a special holiday to celebrate our golden wedding anniversary. We had already been advised that two ports of call were cancelled because of an Azipod engine problem. When ... Read More
We joined the ship in Hong Kong having selected this cruise as a special holiday to celebrate our golden wedding anniversary. We had already been advised that two ports of call were cancelled because of an Azipod engine problem. When coming back on board we at Bali we were told that three more stops were cancelled due to ongoing problems. The initial compensation offer was pathetic but was increased after the passengers almost mutinied. Although the offer was better it does not compensate for the loss of half of the scheduled stops. In all we spent 15 out of 21 days at sea, including two lots of 3 days. Since we left the ship in Sydney we have heard the second engine broke down while cruising from Melbourne to Hobart and she has had to be towed back to dry dock in Melbourne. As for things on the ship I must say the staff were excellent, always smiling and helpful. The food was OK but not as good as on other cruise lines we have used. Some of the shows were excellent while the others were, at best, average. Were it not for the future cruise credit that is included in the compensation package I would not consider booking with NCL ever again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose this cruise for the new and exciting ports of call on the original itinerary. However, in Dec 2016, the NCL Star had one engine problem forcing them to drop Ho Chi Min City and Bangkok from the itinerary. We only found out about ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the new and exciting ports of call on the original itinerary. However, in Dec 2016, the NCL Star had one engine problem forcing them to drop Ho Chi Min City and Bangkok from the itinerary. We only found out about this by reading Cruise Critic This occurred after final payment and NCL would not give us a full refund to cancel the cruise, they only offered a $200 onboard credit per person. So we went on to the cruise and flew to Hong Kong a few days prior and then boarded the ship there and noticed the ship could make only 9-10 knots. After 2 sea days we made Na Trang, Vietnam, which was not nearly as interesting as Ho Chi Min City would have been. Then after another two sea days we made Singapore which is a beautiful modern city that was very interesting. We stayed overnight in Singapore to allow NCL to make engine repairs, which they did. We had two more sea days while we sped at 21 knots to Bali, Indonesia, which was a tender port. NCL Star's tendering operation allowed all of their tours to tender before others could tender which meant we had a three hour wait before we could get off the ship! To our surprise, a driver for the Ubud tour with Bali Sun Tours we booked thru Shore Excursions Group, was still there waiting for us and we had a nice "private" tour driving through the Bali "countryside" to visit the arts and crafts businesses in Ubud. After a shortened Bali tour, we got back in the huge line to tender back to the ship. As we sat down for dinner that evening as the ship is sailing out of Bali, the captain came on the PA and said that the other engine is now broken and they would have to drop three more ports of call from our itinerary (Komodo Island, Airlie Beach, and Brisbane), meaning a total of 5 out of 10 original ports would be skipped. And we didn't find out until later that NCL was only offering $250 per person plus a 50% future cruise credit for this itinerary change. The mood of most passengers instantly went downhill and an impromptu meeting of passengers in the atrium started a petition to NCL to reconsider their poor offer. I believe there were some youtube videos that show the action there. So now it took us three more sea days to make Darwin, Australia, and we were told by the captain that an NCL representative from Miami would come on board to hear the passenger complaints. However, when we get to Darwin, the NCL rep was from the Sydney office, and to be able to hear him, we had to skip leaving the ship early in Darwin. The NCL rep did say that he had no power to change the offer but he would listen to our concerns. He did get an ear full of complaints. And the next day, we got another offer from NCL that was a reimbursement of $500 per person (max $1000 per cabin) and a 100% future cruise credit (up to the cost of the current cruise less taxes and fees, etc). More passengers were happy with this offer, but we noted that we wished we had been able to cancel this cruise and recoup some of our travel expenses. Anyway, we did visit Darwin and took the Hop-on Hop-off bus and Darwin was a nice place to visit even though it was rather hot. One local in a downtown cafe told us that it was just a little warm. Then we had two sea days and then we ported "near" Cairns, near being at Yorkey's Knob where the slow tendering process began again. Originally, we had booked the NCL tour to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef at Airlie Beach, but NCL cancelled that tour, but since we had booked that one early, they set up another GBR snorkel tour at Cairns and I got to be one of about 80 passengers allowed to sign up for it. The tour's catamaran pulled right up to the Star and we boarded for an hour cruise to the GBR dive/snorkel site. The seas had some big swells so the barf bags were passed out. We were at the site about 5 hours and I made 2 long snorkel trips and made many underwater pictures but the site was not very colorful but it was very interesting and I'm glad I got to see it. I felt sorry for the other passengers that weren't allowed to make this tour. We had three more sea days after Cairns until we wound up into Sydney. The captain was anxious to get into Sydney early, so the sail in to Sydney Harbor occurred around 3am, so we skipped watching the sail-in. The Overseas Passenger Terminal is right in the middle of the Sydney harbor, so we had great views of the Opera House on one side and the Sydney Harbor Bridge on the other. We had been to Sydney before on another cruise, but it is one of our favorite places. We spent a couple of days there walking around "The Rocks" and visiting the Opera House before flying on to Auckland (for 3 days) and then back home to the US. The Norwegian Star is a decent ship if both engines are working. We had a "cove" balcony cabin on deck 8 forward and our cabin was decent sized and our steward kept it very clean. Our only complaint with the cabin design is that the cabinet shelves are on the inside of the closet making it very difficult to see and reach for things stored there. The bath space is good (similar to the Jade and Dawn). And the cove balcony seems to help keep the wind and sun from bother us too much. Since this was our fourth time on the Star, we had seen all of the cast shows but we were impressed by the Star's cast singers and dancers. We don't particularly care for Acrobatics, Aerialists, Magicians, which they had, but the singing acts they had were very good. The dance band, Exotique, in the Spinnaker Lounger, are great, especially when they do their Motown set. And the Melodic Trio in the Atrium are good at times. We think the food overall on the Star has gotten worse since our last cruise with them in June, 2016. The Versailles Dining room menu didn't have enough variety in their dishes and vegetables (but it was a 21-day cruise). Note the menu also had "paid" items like surf and turf which would cost you extra, which we think is another crass attempt by NCL to nickel and dime their passengers. It seemed that the service in the Versailles was very slow compared to other cruises, too. The buffet was unappetizing. We ate at O'Sheehan's Bar and Grill many times for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, since the service there was much better. Thanks to our Platinum Latitudes status, we had a free meal in La Cucina Italian restaurant and Le Bistro French restaurant, and they were both good! If we had made all of our original ports of call, this would have been an exciting and interesting cruise. However, this was too many sea days on a ship we've sailed on too many times, and so I would have to give it a poor rating. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Have cruised NCL several times before with few problems. Wanted to see Australia and New Zealand. The ship lost one of its two engines in early December. NCL never informed us of this. I found out from on line reviews. It continued ... Read More
Have cruised NCL several times before with few problems. Wanted to see Australia and New Zealand. The ship lost one of its two engines in early December. NCL never informed us of this. I found out from on line reviews. It continued to sail on one engine. Our Jan 16 cruise had two ports dropped. NCL hoped to fix it in Singapore on Jan 22. They say they fixed it. Some 32 hours later, a loud boom, and we were back to one engine. Forty hours later, they finally told us and cancelled 3 more ports, 2 of them in Australia. When NCL offered crap as compensation, and the captain said that he appreciated our understanding, a protest and near riot erupted. A spokesman from "corporate" was going to meet us. A salesman from Sydney showed up. We were given "future cruise credits" as compensation for missing half of our ports. NCL management sucks! We arrived in Sydney on Feb 6, in time to start the second leg of our cruise, with 3 ports dropped.. The Norwegian Star is probably the worst ship in the cruise business. It has a long list of failures. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We planned this cruise for over a year. We saved so we could afford it and enjoy seeing the Far East side of the World and we booked back to back cruises to continue on the ship for the Australia/New Zealand cruise. We have sailed with ... Read More
We planned this cruise for over a year. We saved so we could afford it and enjoy seeing the Far East side of the World and we booked back to back cruises to continue on the ship for the Australia/New Zealand cruise. We have sailed with Norwegian for more than 25 years and have never been so disappointed with any cruise line as we were with the responses received from NCL regarding the problems on the cruises that was to be "our trip of a lifetime". It certainly was that but not for the right reasons. The ship broke but that was only half of the problem. The fact that Norwegian continued to sail a ship that they knew was broken was a huge problem and eventually caused the ultimate problem of being adrift at sea with no engines and having to be towed back to port. This could have been a disastrous situation had the ship gotten any further out into the Tasman Sea. They were lucky that the final breakdown happened only 77 miles from port and we were not in any rough seas. I honestly believe that Norwegian put my and all the passengers on the ship at risk by sailing a ship with a known problem and only one propulsion engine working. Ports were canceled on the first cruise and on the last cruise to New Zealand all ports were canceled. The NCL response to the passengers for this was the absolute poorest I have ever seen from a company and I am sure there will be litigation to come based on their attitude toward the passengers. The ship breaking and the missed ports might have been forgiven if the company attitude had been appropriate. Please DO NOT book any sailings on this ship - It is OLD and needs to be put to dry dock, there is no telling what could happen next. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We joined the ship in Hong Kong for a 21 night cruise. The itinerary was NOT what we had hoped for due to the azipod problems which was very disappointing. I am basing this review on the ship itself as that was very positive and we had ... Read More
We joined the ship in Hong Kong for a 21 night cruise. The itinerary was NOT what we had hoped for due to the azipod problems which was very disappointing. I am basing this review on the ship itself as that was very positive and we had a wonderful time onboard which given all the sea days was just as well ! The entertainment was great we went to just about all the shows and I have to say the Production Cast was the best I have seen. The visiting entertainers were varied and VERY good. Dining in the free and specialty restaurants was excellent food and service. The bars and public areas all good The crew were excellent great friendly service and they smiled and carried on which wasn't always easy among some disappointed passengers . I would happily travel with NCL again that was our 3rd cruise with them and I am hoping that Australia will love them as much as we do so we can see the Jewel and any other NCL ships visit us annually. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was our first experience of what we consider to be a long cruise. We booked because of the intended itinerary which was supposed to be Hong Kong, Tiwain, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Singapore. However because of Propeller ... Read More
This was our first experience of what we consider to be a long cruise. We booked because of the intended itinerary which was supposed to be Hong Kong, Tiwain, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Singapore. However because of Propeller problems we unable to do Tiwain or Cambodia which was a massive disappointment as I really wanted to see Hal long Bay and Co Suomi. Our one complaint is that the company were slow to let us the passengers aware of the situation. We flew into Hong Kong where we spent a couple of days exploring prior to embarking the Norwegian Star. This process was really smooth and well handled. Our balcony cabin was all we expected, spacious, clean and comfortable, Floria our Housekeeper was wonderful, always happy and willing to help. The food on this cruise ship is really excellent, we had a (6) Food Package so we were able to experience all the Specialist Restaurants, our favourite being La Bistro and Ginza . We didn't eat at the Buffet as its just not our thing but it certainly looked "good enough to eat". We used both Dining Rooms with Versailles being the one we liked best. But no matter where we ate it was all excellent, whether breakfast, lunch or dinner. We also had the full Drinks Package so having a drink when and where we wanted was no problem. The range of drinks stocked is exceptional with an excellent selection of good wines. Our favourite bars were the Bier Garten which was on deck, large, sunny and welcoming, and Gatsby's Champagne Bar, relaxing, calm with decent piano music. I should mention that although this was Not Adult only there were never any problems, there are lots of "quiet" areas, and loads of places to sit and sunbathe away from the pool and the general noise of families having a good time. We did go to a couple of Shows and both were very good, we also did several port excursions and these could not be faulted. We disembarked in Singapore, another effortless procedure. So overall although disappointed with the itinerary change we thought this cruise amazing. The staff everywhere are there to please and please they most certainly do. I would recommend it very highly and am already planning our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
First time cruiser so did not know what to expect. Arrived in Hong Kong to Commence Holiday on the 19th was informed of major itinerary changes due to propulsion problems on the 21st even though NCL knew of issues over a week prior. Too ... Read More
First time cruiser so did not know what to expect. Arrived in Hong Kong to Commence Holiday on the 19th was informed of major itinerary changes due to propulsion problems on the 21st even though NCL knew of issues over a week prior. Too later to cancel any holiday plan without an expense. 4 destinations were removed and an additional 5 days at sea were added. Also lost 5 star hotel night stay in Bangkok which we could have changed or cancelled if we were informed as we should have been before the 17th by NCL. Not a good start as we were already questioning the integrity of the company before we even got on the ship. NCL will provide a 50% discount on the cruise and a 50% discount on a future cruise (must be within 12 months) which I will not be taking up. When looking at back at the experience a 100% refund would have been more appropriate. The experience on the boat was mixed the good points amazing food and the majority of the staff were lovely. Not so good points was poor entertainment during the day especially considering how many extra days at sea we were given. At times children and teens were running riot all over the boat especially in pool and dining areas. Services that would have filled my time nicely were available such as spa and massage treatments but they were so overpriced that I did not have any. Ports were all very far away from the few city destinations we stopped in in Ho Chi Min and Bangkok. Many of our interactions with other passengers also involved exchanging feelings of dissatisfaction about the way things were handled. For my first cruise not many good things to say. Would I do another cruise? Never say never but never with NCL. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We had planned on a large family reunion and had focused our search in the south-east Asia region. Living in Canada, none of us had ever travelled to this part of the world due to the very lengthy flight to get there. NCL had advertised ... Read More
We had planned on a large family reunion and had focused our search in the south-east Asia region. Living in Canada, none of us had ever travelled to this part of the world due to the very lengthy flight to get there. NCL had advertised an itinerary that was quite frankly exceptional, as it would be touching upon nine ports. Based on this itinerary, we booked the cruise more than a year in advance. Also based on the itinerary and dates, we had booked all the flights and several independent shore excursions. People had booked off vacation time. Our sense of anticipation grew as the travel date got closer. However, just four days prior to our departure, we were informed that the ship has some mechanical issues, specifically one of the azipods was disabled. In order to offset the ship's reduced speed, they deleted four ports and we would have to spend many more days at sea. This was extremely short notice, especially since the azipod issue was known to NCL several weeks in advance. They offered a compensation of 50% refund and a 50% credit for a future cruise (as long as it was taken within a year). This may have been fine for someone who hadn't booked so far in advance was travelling in a small group. However, the logistics of a family reunion are difficult to try and redo again and they didn't recognize the degree to which they compromised our travel plans. I understand that mechanical problems can happen to any ship, regardless of cruise line. My bigger frustration with NCL is their customer service (or lack of). I have been diligently trying to talk to management on the ship as well as reach senior customer management personnel at their head office. However, they continue to exploit their bureaucracy and hide behind front-line telephone operators. They haven't answered any of my questions, but submit vague statements such as "we understand your concern and we can't do anything for you". A true service oriented company would have had their senior management reach out to me and better understand my concerns and try to address them in a more individual manner. At least they would have better articulated their reasons for reaching certain conclusions. I have lost all trust with NCL as they have lost what it means to empathize and properly deal with customers. As a result, it is unlikely that I will ever travel with them again, regardless of the 50% discount they are providing. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This was the worst cruise ever-saved up my leave to take this break-Hong Kong to Singapore (22 Dec16-6Jan17)-itinerary changed several times 1st informed morning of cruise but already in Hong Kong-only 2 ports visited between above ... Read More
This was the worst cruise ever-saved up my leave to take this break-Hong Kong to Singapore (22 Dec16-6Jan17)-itinerary changed several times 1st informed morning of cruise but already in Hong Kong-only 2 ports visited between above ports-ship's azipod propulsion system failed losing power-same issue 18mths previously reported by fellow passenger-19 Feb17 ship stranded off Melbourne coast heading to NZ with same issue-so much for fixing issue: http://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/travel-troubles/89291043/norwegian-star-cruise-ship-breaks-down-near-australia .Treat the passengers and crew dreadfully-promised 50%refund +50%for another cruise-still waiting for refund-no apology on ship-no ships porter to take cases to cabin -self-service and no direction of where cabin situated-cabin good but found dirty underwear in draws-complained and night porter removed said items with gloves but did not clean it-then tried to blame the cabin porter for not doing his job!!- thermal spa treatment is a joke-nothing but 2 chlorinated pools with bubbles-lap pool was only up to knees one end and mid body other end-3 arm flips and you are at end of lap pool-sit outside if you want to sweat as steam room did not work for most of the sea days-reported this sometimes 5x in the hour but problem often not rectified and never offered refund for inconvenience. Non-smokers beware- smokers are everywhere-don't stick to designated areas-if you report this takes crew so long to attend that the smokers have finished cigar/fag or moved on or no penalty if caught.If you buy water from ship to take off shore note that they wont let you bring it back on even though they have sold it to you in the first place! Cant manage dietary requirements well even though they were aware of these prior to us boarding. Very disappointed with menu-same for 14days so if dietary issues, virtually zero choices-asked for several vegetarian options but not able to provide in restaurant although they did have in the McDonalds style cafe.Couldn't choose where one sat for meals in restaurants only in the McDonalds café. Evening entertainment very average at best and little options available.Crew & passengers were kept in dark regarding ships' issue but no apology made during 14 dy cruise or letters in cabins for guest on arrival. During cruise did not berth near the cities but in commercial docks with no facilities around. This meant additional taxi rides of up to 2.5hrs each way to reach the city before starting to sight sea-told this was so ship could be fixed-obviously never happened. Shore excursions are very expensive and say they are taking you to places others don't go-don't believe, others do take you to wherever you want to go and they are often much cheaper! No apology for those of us, having booked short excursions independently of ship, for ports which we later did not stop at. Asked to be dropped off at the Orchard hotel in Singapore but told I had to book the shore excursion of US$109 to do so-lies the hotel provides a free shuttle bus from the ship. No help with asking for directions or costs of transport or free services available at the port. Overall a very unimpressed and upsettingv14days with most days at sea because of reduced speed (sea days decrease my sea tolerance)-sick for 3 days including 1 day in port.Would ALWAYS RECOMMEND AVOIDING this ship or its sister ships given the way they operate unless you are a smoker-SMOKERS RULE even around children!..so much for all the health warnings regarding smoking and smoking related illnesses. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We are currently living in Asia and wanted to "sample" the travel options available and this cruise was the perfect solution. Our family loves cruising, there's something for everyone. This particular cruise offered a good ... Read More
We are currently living in Asia and wanted to "sample" the travel options available and this cruise was the perfect solution. Our family loves cruising, there's something for everyone. This particular cruise offered a good mix of traditional sightseeing and adventure tours, which made it more appealing to our children, or at least the original itinerary was. Unfortunately the Azipod (part of the propulsion system) broke on the sailing prior to ours and it required custom parts to repair, which impacted that cruise and our cruise. I fully understand that these things happen; ships are mechanical and such things break. Furthermore, I have found the NCl compensation package to be quite generous. My problem was, and remains, with their lack of communication. I discovered that there was an itinerary change from a third party tour operator approximately 6 days prior to sailing. My NCL account had no notification, nor did my travel agent. In fact, the NCL website was still selling excursions online to ports we were no longer going too. That is not only bad business, it's flirting with fraudulent. I been on two other NCL cruises with no issues and enjoyed both but their complete mishandling of this cruise will prevent me from seeking out their cruises in the future. Now that's out of the way, here's the low down on the ship: We were in connecting ocean view cabins and it was perfect for our family of 5. The interior door allowed for free access to both cabins and greatly improved my experience. We have younger children and my husband and I usually have to split up, but not this time. Plus, there was no confusion over which key opened which cabin, etc. Loved the connecting rooms. Our cabin attendant, Sesato, was awesome. He built a special bond with our youngest son, it was very cute. Even though I'm sure Sesato was very busy, he took the time to talk to Connor and truly went above and beyond. The boys all enjoyed the cruise, the food, pool, and the splash academy, although the older two were less excited. This is our third (Spirit, Jade, and Star) NCL cruise and it seems all of the youth activities are the same. They all do the SAME circus at the end and that was disappointing. If NCL wants families to return, it's advisable to inject some variety to the youth programs. I actually prefer to have the same waitstaff each night, so we "forced" that by making the same reservation each night and throughly enjoyed that. Thomas was always ready with a recommendation and could read our boys' minds. The food was fantastic. The only complaint is that they didn't have chicken tenders available at the 24 restaurant or the buffet. We all know that's kid crack, it should be readily available; not just in the two main dining rooms. We used Buffalo Tours for private excursions and can't recommend them enough!! They were flawless in handling the TWO major schedule changes from NCL and even tried to refund part of our previous payment, because the new tours were slightly less expensive. We rarely participate in ship excursions. Too many people. Hong Kong is perpetually under construction. Our favorite thing there was Disney. Well worth the trip if you have time. Although it does look very cool at night. Hoi An, Vietnam, is still up and coming. Don't bother with the tailors there. It's all a big hustle. The street food is better than the sit down places. Be prepared for scooter chaos. Saigon, was nuts. We went to a cricket farm and the Chi Chu tunnels though and enjoyed both of those. They are outside the city. The city itself is very crowded and difficult to move about. There's no good public transport and the traffic is horrid. That being said, there are many historical sites that are worth seeing, it was just a lot for the kids to handle. Thailand was my favorite. We only went to Bangkok. Ko Samu was cancelled. We went to the temples and grand palace on day, markets on the next. We went to a market outside of town where they set up on the train tracks and then pull everything off when the train comes. It was pretty cool. We tried local fruits and street food (we love street food). The last stop was Singapore. I wasn't overly impressed. Everyone told us to go to Santosa Island but we didn't have time. The city is very space-aged in it's architecture, which is it's best trait, in my opinion. Overall, had we gone on the original itinerary, I think it would have been awesome. Would I go again on a 14 day cruise that was at sea 9 days? No. But if you book ANY cruise on the Star- be forewarned: The Azipod on the Star has broken several times since it came out of dry dock. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
The Norwegian Star cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore 22th of December suffered from itinerary changes because of a broken Azipod. The communication from NCL was totally insufficient when it was already known from the forums that the ship ... Read More
The Norwegian Star cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore 22th of December suffered from itinerary changes because of a broken Azipod. The communication from NCL was totally insufficient when it was already known from the forums that the ship will never make the original itinerary. The email came through the TA first couple of days before the cruise. The next changes were waiting when embarking the ship. The itinerary was changed once again during the cruise. Kaohsiung in Taiwan, Halong Bay in Vietnam, Sihanoukville in Campodia and Koh Samui in Thailand were left out but the ship instead stayed extra overnight in Phu My and made stops in Chan May and overnight in Laem Chabang. We would have never chosen the new itinerary while it was boring with too many sea days. The 50 % payback and 50 % future cruise credit made it still tolerable. The embarkation in Hong Kong went super smoothly as we were practically the only passengers in the cruise terminal around 4 pm. In the ship our luggages were already waiting outside the cabin. From the cruise program we noticed surprisingly that the evacuation drill was in half an hour. Just made it. The ship was still to sail first in the next day. The balcony cabins are rather small and outdated. The table by the balcony is outmost terrible. The bed was though very comfortable and the bath functional enough. Our cabin steward Jennifer was really good as we like the stewards that are not too pushy and social. She made us an unbelievable collection of towel animals and always remember the nightly latitudes guests chocolates. Market Cafe, the buffet on board, must be the ugliest on the seven seas. The beverage stations in the middle really doesn´t help. We would wait to see something like this place as a eatery for the workers in a factory, no offense for the industrial workers. The variety of the dishes was minimal and the quality seldom met our expectations. The lunch was always the same. The dinner buffet tried to have some theme nights. The service was though efficient and the used plates were cleaned up quickly. The cruise was not full and it was always quite easy to find a table. The two main dining rooms serve the same menu. It was always easy to get a table anytime, probably while the cruise was not full. The waiters were efficient and professional but why the hurry? We are not going anywhere. We usually have two appetizers and a main course, sometimes even a main course as the second course. This seems to be impossible to understand. Maybe it is the American way to get all the food at the same time but as we are used to more European style dining we find it rather strange. Why the waiter is standing by my table with the next plate in hand while I have not finished the previous one? I am sorry to say but we find this rather rude. This is though not only a problem in NCL. The quality of the food is mediocre but the portion certainly are big. The food was too often served lukewarm. The menu is a bit confusing while there are some dishes there every day, just in the other order. The lava cake and the chocolate volcano by the are the same dessert. The special restaurant onboard there lacking the "special" what they usually have on the other cruise lines or even NCL before. We noticed no difference in the service and mostly the food was nothing special. It would be ridiculous to pay the "a la carte" prices and the only way to enjoy the dinner is to have the dining package. Le bistro was nothing special. The soups were normal. I don´t eat any meat but fish is alright. The main course salmon was totally the same as served almost every day in the main dining with the same strange liquid potato smash or soupy beans made for the people with no teeth. La Cucina has lost the last bit of its charm when they change the menu. The service was bad and the atmosphere nonchalant. Cagney´s was a disappointment. The shrimp cocktail is the same you get in the main dining room in the other cruise lines. The salad with parmesan (wow?) and oversweet dressing was strange. My friend needed even to send the steak back while it was inedible, my fish was a bit better than other where. All the special restaurants have the same couple of wines by the glass as every other bar in the ship. Not even one "special" wine. The only way to get some other wine in NCL is to buy the whole bottle. The pool area is rather small and some parts were always under maintenance. The two yellow waterslides are really too much and they ruin the area. The Topsiders bar has practically no comfortable seating. The beer garden on the other end is a bit strange. They had some extra beer selection but was mostly doing frozen drinks as every other pool bar in the ships. No pretzels or anything resemblance to a German beer garten. The solarium part in the front misses the stairs. If you want to go from lower level to the only whirlpool you will need to walk quite a round. In the back of the outside deck is "a quiet zone" that here means a helipad and is located just by the kids corner which takes the best place from the outside deck where there would be a perfect place for a sunset bar. Do they really need to have to zones for the children as the main pool with the slides practically is a children pool as well? Because of the slides, the main pool falls also in the category of the most ugliest on the seven seas. The grand atrium is surprisingly impressive but why there is no bar or at least bar service? The best place and practically the whole seating area is Java Cafe which serves only costly special coffees. If somebody wanted a aperative, they were asked to get their drinks elsewhere. When the worker was alone there, he of course showed no interest in getting other drinks for the guest. The other guy sometimes working there probably had nothing else to do so he sometimes even got the drinks. Most of the evenings people were just sitting there with no coffees or drinks. This area appealed mostly the elderly public probably because of the peculiar Philippine trio playing old American country classics or something in that style. The O´Sheenans pub share the view to the Atrium and to the Philippine Trio. The bar staff was stressed out. The eatery side was tops 1/6 full on any night. We had there a lunch one day but unfortunately we don´t get the idea of this "comfort food" or pub food however you call it as it means hot dogs and hamburgers. Really? Are they not the same as are in the pool grill. The new 5 o´clock somewhere bar goes also in the category the most ugliest bar on the seven seas. Why the uncomfortable chairs made for outside seating? Why the sport screen on the other end and the "stage" with a bad guitarist or even the string duo playing classical or, what was the most shocking, karaoke? Some special drinks were served in a plastic cup as in the pool area. Spinnaker lounge would be a great place if it was meant to be retro chic but I am afraid it is the original "night club" from the seventies. Although the ship is built in the 2000´s. The ultimate white party and other ultimate things NCL likes to praise were organized in this sad vague venue. The results were no more that ultimate. Even the normal guest/crew dancing contest that usually is a bit entertainment lost a lot in this venue, although the losers lounge video inserts were genuinely funny. Gatsbys seemed to be the only decent bar to sit at the evenings. The program was always the same. First the string duo followed by Lisa playing Piano. She was though quite amusing in her own style. The martinis were good although you need to be friend with the bartenders and the waiters while the Norwegian ultimate beverage package is quite far from ultimate. You can still get in this bar the Cosmopolitan with normal vodka and a appletini with normal vodka instead of the "special " cosmopolitan and "special" apple martini that are in the menu but not included in the package. The espresso martini was though not to replace by any so we even paid the difference couple of times. Back to the "ultimate" beverage package. We understand the package often given as a free perk may not be able to include everything but please don´t call it ultimate. It is almost a crime to charge extra 6 USD for a bottle of distilled water. We rather like the Celebrity Cruise style there they have two packages the other one including also all martinis, bottled water and special coffees. If you want to have those in your package you can buy an upgrade. Everybody can choose what they prefer. The production shows were rather good and certainly the singers and the dancers the most professional we have ever seen on the cruise ships. It was nice for a change to see adult dancers instead of the young girls and boys trying to manage the choreography or trying to be sexy. We are not a big fans of acrobats but on this ship they were also very high standard. It was nice to watch a show when you needed not to think how they can evacuate this poor thing from the ship when he/she is going to fall any second. The show with lady changing clothes and "dancing" with the guy "dancing" in funny costumes and doing acrobatics were like the ones from the country side high school shows. Chan May, Phu My and Laem Chabang are industrial ports and there is totally nothing to do in there. We realized first onboard that the ship is not going to Danang although it has a port but to a tiny forgotten place called Chan May. The passport officer (really, no corruption?) sold us a taxi to Hue. The place was really not worth visiting. In Phu My we have bought a country side excursion from the ship while there was nothing else to do in the first day. The ship arrived at 3 pm but was cleared first after 4.30 pm with strange explanations from the captain who certainly was not a born talent to make the PAs. We cancelled the excursion while the sun set already in 5.30 and we thought there is no use to sit in the bus looking at a dark countryside. Next day we have booked a private car to take us to Saigon. Of course we needed to change the date while the itinerary kept on changing. We could never find the driver although he probably were outside the gate. We figured this out later from the emails from the company. He just knew no English nor could held a paper with our name. We took instead a taxi which turned out to be cheaper. Ho Minh City was nice to see but nothing special. By the way, why the excursions from the ships always start at 7.30 or 8 am? We had a nice quiet breakfast and took the taxi at 10 pm and could perfectly do everything. Laem Chabang is two hours bus ride from Bangkok. We would actually not call this port Bangkok anymore but who are we to say. We have visited Bangkok several times so we took the shuttle bus to Pattaya and a taxi back while there was nothing to do in Pattaya for 8 hours. The beach is rather small and otherwise it is a place for older gentlemen coming without female companion but searching for one or English party people. Obviously we were neither. The NCL resembles the new cheap airlines there you need to pay extra for everything, to have a luggage or to get even a glass of water. The crew in Star was though especially professional and relaxed compared to other Norwegian ships we have sailed. Once in the Pearl most of them did not even recognize the difference between red and white wine. Don´t wait any ultimate or luxury in Star, it is just Norwegian. It is alright as long as you know what can wait for. We were prepared to this and although it felt sometimes strange had a good time. And believe it or not, have booked a future NCL cruise with our credits. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
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