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1,176 Norwegian (NCL) Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

Just recently returned from NCL Spirit cruise that was suppose to be 21 days from Rome-Dubai, leaving on Feb. 11. This was changed because the ship was being refurbished and it was not ready. New date Feb. 14. We were not notified until 5 ... Read More
Just recently returned from NCL Spirit cruise that was suppose to be 21 days from Rome-Dubai, leaving on Feb. 11. This was changed because the ship was being refurbished and it was not ready. New date Feb. 14. We were not notified until 5 days before sailing, after we were in route to spend a few days in Rome. Because of this there were 4 ports that were deleted. They offered $300 for flight changes. We had already left so flights was not an issue but they would not offer the money towards hotels if not needed for flights. Which is ridiculous. It took 4 hours to board the ship because they were so unorganized. The ship should have never been able to depart. Toilets around the ship and in cabins did not work. No hot water for days. Flooding in the halls and around elevator, squishy wet carpet everywhere. Terrible smells from carpet glue and other construction. People were sick from the smell. Lights in some cabins never worked. Our cabin door did not lock and close properly. The staff was clearly not trained. No one knew what to do. Lines were huge at customer service desk with no resolve. Took three hours to debark ship at first port because they were so unorganized. We lost half a day in Jerusalem. Took almost two hours to get main entree in dinning room. Finally just ate at buffet. Jets did not work in Jacuzzi's. Games and events around the ship were very poor. They had you carry around a card they signed when you went to the games. After 10 signatures you turned it in for for a bottle opener or deck of cards. Hardly any shopping areas. The shows were very poor except for their dancers which were very good. Said they would give us 25% off cruise and another 25% towards another which I have not seen. I have reached out to them about this but no answer as yet. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
As several other posts describe a recent NCL Spirit cruise that was supposed to be 21 days from Rome-Dubai, leaving on Feb. 11, I would like to add my observations.The sail date  was changed because the ship was being refurbished and it ... Read More
As several other posts describe a recent NCL Spirit cruise that was supposed to be 21 days from Rome-Dubai, leaving on Feb. 11, I would like to add my observations.The sail date  was changed because the ship was being refurbished and it was not ready. A new date Feb.14 was given, we were not notified until 5 days before sailing, after we were in route to spend a few days in Civitavecchia . Because of this delay there were 4 ports that were deleted. They offered $300 for flight changes. We have trip insurance so we are trying to recover these costs, which is ridiculous as the insurance coverage will not begin to cover the amounts.   The ship was not completely finished and should have never been allowed to sail with passengers.  Work crews continued to swarm the boat as passengers were aboard, long lines of irate customers were at the Cruise Assistance desk and this frustrated and angry line queuing went on for days after the ship was at sea. The nightmare started from the moment I arrived at the ship’s boarding process.  There were nearly 300 people standing in line at the Guest Assistant desk in an over 3 hour wait, all massively complaining about no rooms, or not the room they booked, incorrect financials that were being sent prior to boarding saying people still owed monies for the entire trip and so much more.  In fact a near-riot was being filmed on many cell phones with people screaming NO NO NO when told that we had to get out of lines we had been in for 2 to 3 hours so to learn the safety protocol.  It was the nearest I have ever come to being afraid for my safety, and I truly think this could have gone very very badly if not for one wise NCL security officer who began a number taking process for your place in the line.  Other NCL management staff were simply watching the horrible situation from the balcony above, and much more followed with poor entertainment, problems found in the rooms like closet rods not properly affixed, in room refrigerators not working, shower-stall water backing up in the pan of the shower, and key cards that should be specific to your room only-opening other suite doors. The disappointment continued with poor entertainment on board, nothing in gift shops-as we were told the vendors did not have time to stock their shops, a non-working ATM thru the entire trip so the only way we could get money was thru the casino cashier who charged fees for their service and so much more.    Personally, I was told I did not have a room when I boarded, then was sent to two other rooms which when I arrived found other occupants in those rooms and finally arriving in a room that was much less than I had booked.  Each of the rooms I was given the toilets did not work.  I received a small compensation for this disaster. While on the ship we proactively brought concerns to the ship hotel manager and the concierge.  The concierge staff member was wonderful, the ship hotel manager did nothing but send me a form note.  We never heard a word from the captain.  I wrote two very descriptive notes to the ship upper management with no reply.  When I arrived back home after a less than happy experience, I immediately sent a three-page registered letter to CEO H Sommer and NCL Guest Services manager K Bird, to date no response.  Both the ship concierge and the NCL booking agent said their hands were tied to address issues as well as they could not respond to when we would get the offered compensation back to our accounts as promised in letters from NCL.  I would like to take a moment here to recognize all the hard working NCL staff members on the ship:the room attendants, the food servers, the bartenders, the housekeeping staff,the ship cleaning staff....these people are heroes and worked tirelessly in very stressful situations.  I doubt if NCL acknowledges these front-line staff but they are the ones saving a NCL reputation which is clearly tarnished and documented in recent shared newsletters and stories.  And as to the compensation process, many were offered different amounts seemingly based on the status of the rooms booked.  In my mind we all equally suffered and should be equally compensated.  In asking many of my fellow travelers no one has received any apology from NCL, nor any acknowledgement of the issues on this cruise, nor any updates as to compensation timing or consideration for fair and equitable compensation. I enjoy cruising very much and have previously enjoyed NCL on many occasions, all with great success.  Sadly, this time is so horrible I can’t imagine how NCL could rebuild trust.  It will take a massive effort. As of now I think of NCL as "NoCustomerLove". Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Big mistake. We weren't told at the time of booking that the ship was being refurbished but thought at least things will be updated. Nice. Well the toilets didn't work on the first day and few, if any, restrooms in the ... Read More
Big mistake. We weren't told at the time of booking that the ship was being refurbished but thought at least things will be updated. Nice. Well the toilets didn't work on the first day and few, if any, restrooms in the public areas were available. The toilets worked intermittently for the first few days. Our cabin's heating/air conditioning worked intermittently as well. We stayed in a hotel that lacked hot water but for some reason there was no cold water, at times, in our shower and no way to cool the scalding hot water. The shore excursions desk people were unfriendly and not helpful. They could not or would not answer any questions about any upcoming port. Usually, with any cruise, the customer service desk is busy the first or second day of the cruise. On this cruise there was a line of at least 10 to 20 people every day and the phone system didn't always work and when it did work, no one answered anyway. Only recourse was to wait, often more than an hour, at the customer service desk. Our first port, Haifa, was a disaster. For some reason the crew on the ship was holding everyone and, having been released to go on our shore excursions, had to wait in the stairwell. If their concern was to limit exposure to COVID-19, then holding several 100 people in a congested staircase is a bit guided. The fact that we have been given the runaround on our 25% refund, the lack of involvement by the officers, and overall abysmal customer service tells me that these problems are endemic to Norwegian Cruise Line. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
looked a decent price for a solo, originally 20 nights it was reduced to 17 nights with a promised 25% reduction and a 25% off the next booking - problems with a refit lead to the reduced cruise nights the rearranged flights meant that ... Read More
looked a decent price for a solo, originally 20 nights it was reduced to 17 nights with a promised 25% reduction and a 25% off the next booking - problems with a refit lead to the reduced cruise nights the rearranged flights meant that ncl put me up in a hotel for one night at fumicino airport. I had to arrange my own transfers to be refunded later which was odd as I was greeted at the airport by an ncl person who informed me of a coach the following morning from rome airport to the port which would cost me 60$ - so either pay 60$ to ncl or arrange my own transfers of 105 euros which ncl said they will refund, makes no sense whatsoever embarkation took over 3 hours, the longest ever, arrived on board for the safety drill which was the longest drill ever covering everything form use handrails and don't forget to tie your shoe laces only to be repeated all again in Italian my cabin, apart from the first 3 days and nights being cold and uncomfortable was very good, a number of suite owners had no suite available for the first 10 days the ship had had a refit which was incomplete hence the delayed sailing date and loads of workmen on board and was not fit to sail there was a staff shortage - entertainments staff should have been 5 was 3 - a lot of staff were unable to sail because of previous close contact with china there were a lot of unhappy people on board but being English we made the best of things and apart from my cold initial cabin and statement being wrong and having to queue every 3 days to sort it which in fairness ncl did sort out I was relatively happy but others who had paid a lot of dosh for suites that were not available were not any sign of the captain or hotel manager apologising or explaining the difficulties er NO, senior staff were conspicuous by their absence, the poor front line desk staff had to take a lot of flak for something that wasn't their fault or responsibility - they were brilliant a pity the senior staff weren't I have had automated replies from ncl but no direct contact from them or my travel agent about the promised refunds which is disappointing especially from the travel agent as there were only 5 of us who had booked from that particular agent, just an e-mail to inform us of the refund situation but nothing in 2 weeks I could have made more of an issue about my cabin and the mistakes in my account charges but I did not as there were a lot of people with much more serious problems like wet carpets in their cabins, toilets that didn't work etc basically the ship was not ready to sail and ncl should have cancelled the cruise instead they went ahead and upset a lot of passengers - I sailed on the star in November and although there were not the same refit issues there was no organisation and again low profile captain and a lot of unhappy passengers, my previous 4 cruises with ncl were brilliant sad to say my last 2 with ncl were far from brilliant - NCL YOU HAVE LOST THE PLOT Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Almost a year before the cruise, we started researching what was available to visit countries that were a part of our ancient history. Time in Israel was a primary consideration. The initial 21 day Mediterranean cruise was our choice ... Read More
Almost a year before the cruise, we started researching what was available to visit countries that were a part of our ancient history. Time in Israel was a primary consideration. The initial 21 day Mediterranean cruise was our choice which we booked in February 2019 and booked our air-fare shortly after. And the dollar-coaster ride began. Between February and July there were three price reductions bringing the balcony cabin cost from $188 per night to $140 per night. In September we were advised that the cruise was to be shortened to 20 days and be embarking 2/11 instead of 2/10. Also 2 price reductions bringing the nightly cost to $119. It needs to be mentioned that every time the reservation is rewritten, there is a $100 processing fee payable to the travel agent. In January, the Spirit went in for a 40 day refurbishment. We would be the first to sail on the new Spirit, how exciting! We arrived in Rome on February 5th planning to do some sightseeing before we boarded the ship on February 11th. While we were in the air, NCL sent out a notice to some, but not all passengers on the upcoming cruise that said, because of a dock worker strike, the cruise was being delayed for 4 days and would not leave until February 14? We would also be losing stops in Greece and Limassol. Because of the delay our cruise cost would be reduced by 25%. (The cruise was now 1/4 of what it was initially). There was no assistance offered for the extra cost in hotels, food, flight changes and other ancillary expenses. Embarkation day and no more changes. The shuttle took us to the terminal where the boarding process began. NCL staff was friendly but everyone had a different answer to our requests for wheelchair assistance. Our temperatures were taken, passports traded for room keys and we were on our way. Once onboard, we had lunch in Windows – the main dining room. Wait staff was friendly, professional and fun to talk to. One of our waitresses was from Wuhan China. She told us more than once that she was safe, the significance of her statement did not sink in until later. Lunch was good except french fries were cold – this was an issue throughout the cruise. It appears to be mission impossible to get french fries from the kitchen to the table still hot. For the most part NCL staff were wonderful.. Easy to talk to and very good at their jobs. They would admit to the difficulties of the delay in departure but would only talk about it briefly. I must confess to being uncomfortable about being a “guinea pig” for the refurbishment process. Drains drained slowly, toilets didn’t flush or only flushed partially, some toilets didn’t have toilet seats, handicap restroom doors didn’t open or close properly, stair rails were not attached, there was banging and hammering all night long as the work continued to bring the ship up to par.. The line at customer service was horrible and remained that way for the majority of the trip. Staff that worked the counter were for the most part, attentive and understanding. We had an ongoing issue with a premium beverage package, it took 10 days to finally get it straightened out. As a meet and greet activity for members of our group, we had a Pub Crawl that was a combination of bingo and a poker hand. The Cruise Director and Beverage Manager were great to work with. The Champagne Bar over looks the atrium. Evening entertainment was excellent. Of note was a piano player that played several evenings and he was absolutely wonderful. He had an extensive knowledge of piano classics and it was possible to talk without yelling. But I date myself. The addition of Starbucks was a plus for me, but I miss the towel animals and chocolates that used to be a part of turn down service. Cagney’s Steakhouse and Le Bistro remain my favorites for good food and excellent service. The new Omada was excellent as well. A very nice addition was the certified wine sommeliers. The new color scheme is a modern greys, blues and burgundies. I miss the three color coded carpeting (you knew if you were up front, midship or aft by the color of the carpet), it is all the same color now. I will probably sail with NCL again.although I sincerely hope that I never have to go through the difficulties we faced dealing with the corporate offices and trying to adjust on the fly to the changes we had to work with on this cruise. Despite my disappointment at not being able to visit Greece, Egypt, Israel, Jordan and UAE were all I had hoped for. In addition, the folk on the Cruise Critic blog were the best and the cruise staff is what made the cruise special once we finally boarded. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I like cruising and was basically looking for places where I have never been before . I did enjoy most of the ports , loved activities , basketball, games , shows , spa salon and food . Met lots of interesting people from all over the ... Read More
I like cruising and was basically looking for places where I have never been before . I did enjoy most of the ports , loved activities , basketball, games , shows , spa salon and food . Met lots of interesting people from all over the world. Played and won deal or not deal game( one of my favourites) . Went to most of dance classes , where Dan and Bianca where instructors, laughter during their dance class since it was not only a class it was just amazing and funny show. Since ship was just refurbished there was some small stuff which could and was improved almost instantly . Where were tons of dolphins swimming by cruise ship, jumping and people watching. My room was super clean though I was just coming to sleep there. Front desk was overwhelmed since it was the first cruise after it was remodelled and I saw lots of people there. Nice karaoke as well. Did not have time to check casino though it looked beautiful. Will recommend to friends and family as long as they are not too picky and want to have good time. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We picked this cruise for the itinerary. It was my pre-PhD graduation present. Both embarkation and disembarkation were smooth at the ship. We had to tender in two ports, which took much longer than expected. We spent two days in Rome ... Read More
We picked this cruise for the itinerary. It was my pre-PhD graduation present. Both embarkation and disembarkation were smooth at the ship. We had to tender in two ports, which took much longer than expected. We spent two days in Rome before the cruise. We enjoyed all of the ports, but it was difficult to figure out what would be open on the holidays in Venice and Barcelona. Because of the dry dock our cruise was shorted by one day after we booked. We tried to take the offered OBC instead of the provided hotel afterwards and our travel agent didn't notify NCL by the deadline. We got off the ship and boarded buses to the hotel quickly, but it went downhill quickly from there. They dumped about 600 people at a hotel between 7am and 9am with no information, just a conference room to wait in. There was no communication from anyone and there were no NCL representatives present. We didn't get a room until 3:30pm and it was only because we complained that we had been sitting there for more than 6 hours. We were told that we could go into Rome, but it was a 1.5 hour walk or a €30 taxi ride. The did provide us lunch the day we got off the ship and breakfast the next morning, but we were on our own for dinner and had to take a taxi because there were no options that were walkable. We wasted out last day in Rome because we were never given any clear information and were stuck at a hotel far outside the city. NCL had plenty of time to make better arrangements or give us information, but failed. Weather was chilly, except in Barcelona and Monte Carlo, and we had bad storms with lots of wind for the first two days on the ship. The storms delayed our arrival in Venice. The ship was old but in good shape. It headed for dry dock immediately after our cruise. Entertainment was good. They did a special Christmas show one night plus the 3 production shows. Elements was our favorite. The buffet is extremely small compared to what we are used to. There was less variety in what was available for each meal and from day to day. We ate at Teppanyaki, Le Bistro, and Cagney's and all were good. We ate in the main dining room for the rest of our meals and it was good too. We had the beverage package and found it frustrating. We could get any drink we wanted, but couldn't get a can of soda or a bottle of water. This just felt cheap to us, because we could get a full can of soda, but it had to be poured into a glass to give to us. One night my husband was feeling seasick and wanted a can of ginger ale to take back to the cabin to drink overnight, but it had to be poured into a glass. We will be back to Europe, but it is very unlikely that we will sail NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Some elevators did not work. The Floors in the buffet are old tile which is slippery when wet, we saw more than a couple of falls, even by crew. We hit rough weather and the captain shut down the midship elevators because he said they ... Read More
Some elevators did not work. The Floors in the buffet are old tile which is slippery when wet, we saw more than a couple of falls, even by crew. We hit rough weather and the captain shut down the midship elevators because he said they were unsafe! Out dated interior cabin. Stains in bathroom. The room Stewart was very nice and did a great job. The Internet cafe worker was rude and unhelpful, he couldn’t waste his time with the passengers. When we received the final billing they had given us our cabin and then part of someone else’s, when we told them they had made mistakes they were rude. The dining room service was unorganized and to many mistakes were made. Even though it’s an old ship it should not be in this condition. The shore excursion team did an excellent job getting everyone to the right buses, and that was the main reason for taking this ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Food poor. either overcooked or meat too tough. taste so so. hot food at raffles always not hot, just luke warm. dining food not interesting, and boring, sometimes may take long time just waiting for food. the best food was in blue ... Read More
Food poor. either overcooked or meat too tough. taste so so. hot food at raffles always not hot, just luke warm. dining food not interesting, and boring, sometimes may take long time just waiting for food. the best food was in blue lagoon chicken wings, but the service was very slow, waiters always seemed not in good mood, actually they were too busy sometimes, need more waiters. Cancel a port under good weather. they may need a more accurate weather forecast system. They forecasted and knew that day was a rough day. why did they still arrange the big performance show Elements on that day? of course, it got cancelled, dangerous for the dancers. they need more signs for embarkation, sometimes may need to go around and around to find out the way. room was clean, but just the tap water of the sink in the bathroom got yellow sometimes and we need to let it run for a while until it's clean again. and the flush button of the toilet sometimes was not working. we need to wait and tried and tried again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise because of the number of days, sea days and destinations. We prefer cruises with minimal sea days. The ports and shore excursions were great. NCL has finally begun to use personal audio devices to hear the tour ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the number of days, sea days and destinations. We prefer cruises with minimal sea days. The ports and shore excursions were great. NCL has finally begun to use personal audio devices to hear the tour guide with larger groups. The main dining room & buffet were average to fair. Sometimes there was a wait in the dining room to get coffee refills, etc. and the food was sometimes hot, sometimes warm, and unfortunately sometimes cold. The selections in the buffet and dining room were plentiful for soups, salads, entrees and desserts. The specialty restaurants were great, except for the Teppanyaki which was the worst I've ever had on shore or on a cruise. Steward for our room was superb and very friendly. He changes our towels sometimes more than once a day and our bed was always made up. We did hit a storm and had one port missed, but that wasn't NCL's fault. Can't blame them for bad weather. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
A Cruise to the Holy Land on the NCL Spirit We traveled to the Holy Land from Rome on the NCL Spirit on December 2, 2019. We were wondering how we would perceive this older, smaller ship since we had just disembarked from the brand new ... Read More
A Cruise to the Holy Land on the NCL Spirit We traveled to the Holy Land from Rome on the NCL Spirit on December 2, 2019. We were wondering how we would perceive this older, smaller ship since we had just disembarked from the brand new MSC Grandiosa. Without going into details, the Spirit was perfect for this port-intensive trip, the passengers were much friendlier, the food and restaurants better, and the atmosphere couldn’t have been nicer. I was surprised how nice the Spirit looked, considering that it is going into an extensive drydock in early 2020. It will be absolutely splendid when it is finished. Keep in mind that the NCL Spirit is regarded as a more adult ship for port-intensive itineraries. Even with the renovations, it isn’t going to have all the bells and whistles of the newer, large ships that cater to families. Embarkation at the Port of Civitavecchia We were on an MSC ship right before this cruise and had one evening to stay in the port. We chose Hotel Borgo del Mare that provided free shuttle service to their hotel and back to the port. My husband was under the weather, so I ventured out to the pharmacy and grocery, which was about a 20-30-minute walk. The signs were all in Italian, but I survived the cultural experience. The hotel was somewhat isolated, but the weather that evening was pretty rainy, so we wouldn’t have ventured out to explore anyway. Next time, I would stay closer to the port. Our day of embarkation was rainy, but the luggage drop off was inside, so the weather didn’t affect much. December is still going to have cooler weather with some rain, so this is to be expected. The processing was quick, and we were on the ship by 11:30. The Asian décor was rather garish but will be removed next month. The ship was decorated for Christmas, and that made the décor somewhat better. The staff mentioned that most will be happy to see the removal of that ugly fountain on deck 7, the seashells on the cabin doors, and the horrid statues by the staircases. Cagneys will look quite different as they are removing the private rooms. We went to the Windows Dining Room for a quiet lunch. Our luggage was delivered quickly, and so we unpacked and then explored the ship. With three sets of elevators, we almost never had to wait long. Cabin We booked an inside cabin midship on deck five as this was a port intensive cruise in the cooler weather. No need for a balcony! It was a great choice as it was quiet, with no public areas above or below the cabin. The storage was more than enough for two people, the bed and pillows were comfy, and the bathroom was clean and an adequate size, and the water was always hot. The small couch, used only for our suitcase and bags (upholstered furniture often reeks with germs) and pictures were quite old. The picture above the bed was labeled “Super Star Leo,” which went back to the Spirit’s earliest years before it was acquired by NCL. Our attendant introduced himself right away and was always pleasant and efficient. Restaurants and Buffet We preferred to eat at Windows because it is quieter than the Garden Restaurant and is open for all three meals. The menu and food would be rated between good and very good. The buffet is called Raffles, and the food was also good, and remarkably, we could always find a place to sit. There are many tables on the outside aft of Raffles, but of course, the wind and weather affected its use. The Blue Lagoon Café (known on other NCL ships as O’Sheehans) is available 24 hours a day, but the seating consists of hard benches, and the foot traffic makes it quite unatmospheric. This café will be redone and expanded during drydock. Pity the poor waiters who had to deal with serving in this hectic environment. The specialty restaurants are all very good. We liked Cagneys and LeBistro the best and ate there five times. We had the five complimentary dinners plus the two Platinum Latitude dinners. We missed our reservation at Tempanyaki because we arrived late back to the ship. La Trattoria was fine, but it is really just a section of the buffet they isolate for the dinner time. We didn’t try Shogun or the Sushi bar. Fellow Passengers This group was about the nicest I have ever traveled with. People struck up conversations in the elevator and seemed to be having a good time. My CC friends liked almost all aspects of the cruise, but a few other passengers complained about the food. I don’t agree with their views on this topic. This cruise also reinforced the importance of getting to know other people on the Cruise Critic Roll Call. Our group of about twelve, which planned many excursions together, really bonded. We toured together, often ate the evening meal together, and played games on sea days. Another nice feature was that we looked out for one another. This was especially evident when one single woman fell on an excursion and had to return by taxi to the ship for stitches and a possible concussion. One of our group volunteered to go with her. Another time, when the ship didn’t notify us about a time discrepancy, we worked hard to notify one another about this problem. Our group evolved from the Cruise Critic Roll Call. For our joint excursions, we met at a lounge and disembarked together. These wonderful people looked out for one another, played games on sea day afternoons, often ate together, and became good friends. We set the expectation to be on time, and everyone happily complied. May I suggest that on cruises like this that the roll call folks keep chit chat and other personal issues off the roll call board? Arranging a junk food exchange took the group down another alley and was hard for any new folks to find the helpful information. Also, once the sailaway or other events are planned, only provide a bad weather option if it is outside. One person decided on her own to change it, and that split the group in two because it was supposed to be in Champagne Charlies (bad weather place as it was rainy) but she moved it to the noisy Galaxy Lounge. Communications broke down because of this. Also, if you are a solo traveler, it is probably best to just work with the whole group rather than try to arrange solo events. The ship tries to assist solos, and we were always happy to include any single people who wished to dine or travel with us. On our last TA in 2018, the solos were the ones who organized game times on sea days. We were invited and loved joining them. If you are the “lead person” who organized a private tour, it is really nice if you take some responsibility and try to get others’ contact information. I attempted to do this with my van for GTI, and the group evolved into a very nice travel and dining group. Those who gave me their contact info probably had a much better experience. We had each other’s’ backs! The NCL App was very helpful in keeping us in good communication. For just $9.99 for the trip, it is a great idea and good value. The light on the cabin phone for voice mail didn’t work (I verified this with CS), so it was even more important to get the App. The public areas never seemed too crowded except in the evening at Champagne Charlies. At times, there weren’t many good alternatives, and this was a place that had reliable entertainers. The crew were almost all very pleasant and helpful. I met a few very nice customer service people who handled issues with a smile and competence. The officers tended to not be noticeable, but as long as they are doing their job, I don’t really care. Entertainment Since this was a very port intensive cruise, the entertainment wasn’t a huge factor, but we still had a good time. The lounge entertainment was good, depending on the group. Hotwire, the Acoustic Soul Brothers, and Ian, the pianist, were our favorites. The Latin Fiesta Duo was geared to the Hispanics onboard. We enjoy dancing so the Galaxy Lounge was our favorite. There were quite a few dancers on board. The one place I just don’t get is the Maharajah’s Lounge, and I doubt it was in vogue twenty years ago. It featured big heavy velveteen drapery, dumpy upholstered couches, and lots of hammock type seating. No wonder it was often a ghost town, but it took up so much space. The casino smoke that drifted into it made this lounge unusable. I sure hope this place is turned into a functional dancing lounge at drydock! The main theatre entertainment was the weak link of the cruise, but this was a very special, port intensive and tiring 13-day cruise with only three scheduled sea days. I didn’t see any production shows because I believe I missed one due to fatigue, and the other two were canceled because of sea conditions. The performers put on a cabaret show as a replacement. The Spirit has a very nice card, reading, and computer rooms. The Galaxy Lounge is available during the day for a variety of activities. The cruise director was one of the least visible and frankly maybe one of the worst we have ever seen, but her staff were attentive and ran many nice games and activities. The ship itself never seemed crowded, and even exiting and reentering the ship at ports was never a problem. The pools were rarely used because of the rain or cool temperatures. We had one major issue with the ship concerning their not adequately notifying people that the ship time and the time in Kusadasi Turkey would be different. It was listed in small print in the daily as a “travel tip.” If it hadn’t been for a member of our small travel group noticing this issue, most of us would have been an hour late for the private excursion. I’m not sure if the ship didn’t care about those not going on their ship excursions, but the importance of this detail should have been clearly communicated. Perhaps NCL was just reinforcing their preference for passengers to take ship excursions. Ports of Call Our itinerary was absolutely wonderful. We chose to use private excursions or just walk around a few ports ourselves rather than use large ship excursions. The companies we chose were really great and highly recommended. It is so much preferable to go with a tour company that you can ask questions of beforehand by email. The guides were always waiting outside the ship as they promised. The smaller vans can get in and out of traffic better than the large buses, and you don’t have to wait for the always late for the types who are problems on almost every ship excursion. So much better to travel in a van with seven to eighteen people rather than 55-65 people on a large bus. I have no idea how the tour guides kept their groups together, especially in places like the narrow streets of Jerusalem. Also, those number stickers the tour groups must wear are like flashing red lights for pickpockets. Naples, Italy A few of us went to Pompeii by using a City Sightseeing Bus (HOHO) designated just for Pompeii. The specially designated bus met us at their center drop off point, which was an easy walk from the ship. We had purchased our vouchers before we left the states, and it was a great, quick way to get to Pompeii. The cost was $15.00 pp round trip. The drop off point in Pompeii was at the entrance near the tourism office and you purchase the single ticket entry to Pompeii. We used Rick Steves audio guides supplemented by his written walking tour instructions. Easy peasy! The map given at the entry site is a bit too complicated. The Pompeii site is, of course, wonderful to see, especially with the free Rick Steve guides. The ride back was equally easy, and we walked around the commercial center for a while. Athens and Corinth One of the CC members found a full day trip split between Athens and Corinth. Our driver who gave us some background information didn’t enter the sites with us, and in retrospect, it would have been better to have a tour with a guide. Corinth, an hour away, was an excellent choice. We toured the ancient ruins of Corinth and the museum, viewed the remarkable Corinthian Canal. It is amazing to think that the ancients dragged ship over this land before it was turned into a canal in the 1800s. The most special time was a stop at the ancient pier of Conchae were the Apostle Paul, Aquila, and Priscilla left Corinth for Ephesus. We were the only ones there, and it seemed so authentic. The hour drive to Athens was marred by the traffic coming to a standstill in the downtown area. It seems some group wanted to do a spontaneous protest, so the streets were gridlocked on the way to the Acropolis. It was nice with a smaller van as the driver could take some side streets. One thing that strikes visitors is an incredibly large amount of graffiti in Athens. It is quite a tragedy, although some people view some of the vandals as street artists. No building, private or public, is safe from the graffiti, and they even paint on ancient ruins. Most is done by vandals as gang tags or to support sports teams. Despite being seniors, we were in good enough shape to walk to the top, but it was quite cold and windy. That might be a surprise to those who go during the summer! Of course, it was spectacular, but watch out for those very slippery large rocks. We went to Mars Hill, which is where the Apostle Paul spoke to groups who wanted to learn about the gospel. Because of the previous traffic issues, we did not get to go to a few other, more minor areas. Kusadasi, Turkey Before our trip, I have to admit to being a bit concerned about our safety in Turkey. We hired a great company Magic Steps Tours for their “Enjoy Roman Ephesus and Its Christian Heritage” tour at 55 Euro per person. That included a full day and a delightful buffet lunch at a Turkish restaurant. All tickets were included. We had a great guide name Ugar Duman who met us promptly at the terminal. We went first to the House of the Virgin Mary, where tradition says Mary went to live after Jesus died. Then, we spent several hours at the ruins of ancient Ephesus and the Terrace Step Houses. After that, we went to the Basilica of St. John, which is an amazing ruin with a baptismal area with steps for full emersion. Friends who went on the ship excursions usually saw just the main ruins but just walked or drove past the Terrace Steps and Basilica and didn’t go to the House of the Virgin Mary. We got it all on this tour! Excellent guide! Lindos, Rhodes, Greece The city of Lindos is spectacular and an easy walking port. After exiting the ship, just follow the wall to either the Virgin Mary Gate or the Marina Gate to enter, and the Grand Master’s Palace is an easy walk. Tom’s Port Guides has a detailed guide on how to walk the highlights. We went to the Palace and the wonderful archeological museum, which was an ancient Hospital for the Knights of St. John. As a Christian, this town gave me a great appreciation for the Crusaders. While not always perfect, they did save most of Europe from the Muslims/Ottoman Invasions. There are many delightful shops and restaurants to enjoy. The cobblestones on the Street of the Knights are a challenge. Limassol, Cyprus We had another wonderful, private tour with Spanos Bus Tours for 38 Euros, pp. It included: Kolossi Castle (Foto stop), Kurion Archaeological site, Paphos UNESCO Tour (European Capital of Culture 2017), Petra tou Romiou - Aphrodite's Birth Place Rock, Santa Solomoni Catacomb, Ayia Kyriaki church and Saint Paul Pillar, Paphos UNESCO Archaeological Park, House of Dionysos Mosaics, and free time in old Harbor and Medieval Castle (restaurants, souvenir shops, cafeterias) Another great day by a knowledgeable guide. Ashdod, Israel I arranged a private excursion for a group of eighteen cruise critics with Guided Tours Israel. They are a very highly rated company that communicated very promptly and at a very reasonable price. Most of their tours are $99 per day per person. We had to endure a rainy day, although the sun came out as we entered Bethlehem with our tour guide Yanothan, a very accomplished historian and guide. At first, the checkpoint was closed, but our driver called around to find an open one. Bethlehem is in a Palestinian controlled area, so we were turned over to Lahdo, a pleasant Armenian Christian from Palestine. The church in Bethlehem and the surrounding areas are very crowded and resemble nothing what the area looked like 2,000 years ago. The line to the crypt was very long, and we didn’t have the time or inclination to wait. The tour in Jerusalem wasn’t quite what I had hoped for as the city is tense and intense. Even the Via Dolorosa, the path where Jesus walked, didn’t seem real because the ancient path is below the modern-day streets. The exact path is more of a tradition rather than fact, and some stories related to the stations of the cross are not found in the Bible. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is under the custody of three Christian groups: the Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Roman Catholic denominations. They share custody of the church, where tensions often run high over control of its various sectors. Centuries ago, the imposing iron key to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, was entrusted to two Muslim families. The arrangement dates back to the time of Saladin, the Muslim conqueror who seized the holy city from the Crusaders in 1187. He wanted to exert the Muslim’s control over the church. We also visited the following sites: Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Mount Zion, Room of the Last Supper, Jaffa Gate, Western Wall, Arab Souk, and the Christian and Jewish Quarters. Haifa, Israel Our second day was much more enjoyable as the weather was clear and sunny and we were in the countryside. We visited Nazareth and the famous Basilica of the Annunciation, Jordan River, Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, Tabgha (site of the miracle of the multiplication of the fish and loaves and the Mount of Beatitudes. We stopped at St. Peter’s Restaurant for lunch (not included in the tour price.) Also, we stopped at a Kibbutz and their store, which offered better prices than we had seen anywhere else. The third day out of Haifa was customized and not part of GTI’s usual offerings. It ended up being a great choice considering the trip to the Dead Sea, and Massada was a very long one, and it was a bit cold for swimming in the Dead Sea. Our first stop was the Roman Caesarea (Maritima) on the west coast between Haifa and Tel Aviv. We visited the Roman ruins and the best-preserved Roman theater in the land of Israel. We then went to the top of Mount Carmel in Haifa to view the Baha'i Gardens and the Haifa Bay. Because we had a bit of time, we made a stop at the aqueducts on the coast. Stunning! Next, we drove to the old Crusader port town of Acre for a visit to the Crusader Fortress. That was a real highlight, and we greatly enjoyed our time in the town. We had lunch at a simple restaurant and were given many bowls of traditional foods to sample with our meal. We were given far more than we could eat, and it was at a modest price. We found a shofar at the silver and metal works store. The last two days in Israel were quite wonderful, and I wish that Jerusalem had been a better experience. The tensions and sellers in the street added to the negative atmosphere, and I doubt it would have been much better on a sunny day. BTW, if you are an American and asked where you are from while roaming through Jerusalem, tell them you are a Canadian, especially if you are buying something. They will quote a higher price for Americans. There are some sour-looking types who seem to guard areas and ask tourists these questions. Crete We were supposed to take a ship excursion to Crete, but the ship canceled it for a good reason: there was a “Medicane” (Hurricane like conditions in the Mediterranean) brewing near the Straight of Messina and Italy, and we had to go through it. The captain needed to slow the ship’s speed while we went through the worst. Wow, was he right about his concerns! The ship and passengers handled the storm well, but at times all the outside decks were totally closed as were the buffet and elevators for a while. It as wild, but most handled it fine. Whenever a really wild motion was observed, the passengers all vocalized together- “Whoa!” The ones who didn’t too well were probably in their cabins, but it wasn’t noticeable. The evening production show was canceled for the performers’ safety. Most crew members said this storm was the worst they had every experienced onboard a ship. Lucky us. Debarkation The exit process on the final day was a snap. We chose to self-disembark, and it took about ten minutes with no processing needed. We stayed an extra day because we wanted to see Ostia Antica and are so glad we did! I have to say it is better than Pompeii’s ruins! We booked a Habicab shuttle, and the driver agreed to take us directly to the hotel after he dropped off his other passengers at the airport. We stayed at the Fly Deco Hotel in Ostia, which is right across from the beach. What a lovely town! It was all decorated for Christmas and we enjoyed walking in the lighted square that evening which was filled with activity. The Hotel was wonderful: new, stylish, great service, comfortable beds and pillow, and a wonderful free breakfast. I never say a honeycomb at a buffet before. Highly recommended. We were given our room early and stored our bags so that we could venture to Ostia Antica. Rick Steves strongly recommends this wonderful, massive ruin. We walked about eight minutes to the train station at Lido Central (just use Google Maps) and then purchase a ticket to go in the direction back to Rome. The stop for Ostia Antica is just two stops away. The RT tickets for two were just six Euros. Once off, just follow the footbridge over the highway, and the signage down the path is easy to follow. The cost of entry is twelve Euros per person. We used Rick Steve’s audio guide and his book tour to find our way around. All the signs are in Italian and English. It was like we had the place to ourselves because it is so large. We didn’t venture to the most westerly ruins and spent the whole day there. We had lunch at the café and enjoyed the wonderful museum and the gift shop. Be sure to purchase inexpensive books with overlays so you can visualize what Ostia Antica was like back then. It is so exciting that these areas of Europe continue to be excavated and more ruins are continually being found. The sun was shining, and it was a comfortable, glorious day in mid-December! I highly recommend that instead of spending your final cruise day at an airport hotel where there are few alternatives that you stay in Ostia which is quite close to the airport anyway! For ten Euro pp, the hotel driver took us the next morning to the airport. It was an easy 20-minute ride, and we arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare. In summary, we were very pleased with this cruise. It had a great itinerary and was a super value. While a bit dated, it is good to know that a nice ship will soon be made much better when it goes into dry dock. My last NCL cruise on the Jade was generally disappointing and might have been my last, but the Spirit renewed my enthusiasm for Norwegian Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Decide to go on this cruise at the suggestion of friends who were booking it. The ports of call were very good and the time in each port, except a few, was long enough to see the sights. The cruise staff were friendly and delivered ... Read More
Decide to go on this cruise at the suggestion of friends who were booking it. The ports of call were very good and the time in each port, except a few, was long enough to see the sights. The cruise staff were friendly and delivered superior service. The food selection was substandard as was the quality. The buffet often duplicated dishes from night to night and even the same night at different stations. The Teppanyaki and Cagney's Steakhouse were the two best, but you have to pay extra as they are "Specialty" restaurants. This ship is due for a refurbishing in early 2020 and I can see why. We booked one of the larger staterooms with a balcony, but there was hardly any storage space for clothes. They also did not seem to have sheets large enough to cover the twin beds pushed together to make one bed, as ours was consistently untucked at both sides and bottom of the bed. The shows we attended were OK and nothing to write home about. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose this cruise because it was the end of the year and there were limited options. The port each day itinerary was fantastic and overall value for money was excellent. However the ship was dated, the staff were rude and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was the end of the year and there were limited options. The port each day itinerary was fantastic and overall value for money was excellent. However the ship was dated, the staff were rude and miserable at times, the entertainment was dreadful unless you were 70 years plus. The food choices were chips with everything, particularly at lunchtime. The cabin was very small and dated. Furniture table was broken. Bedside drawers were places sideways as not enough space which meant you couldn't use the drawer ! Did I have a good time? Yes it was a fantastic holiday, I met lots of people , saw so much of Europe in a short time and really enjoyed myself. Would I recommend this ship or cruise line ? No, I had higher expectations that the ship would cater for all tastes in term of food, bars, shows. Would I go on this exact holiday again. Yes I would, I don't think better value for money would exist on another holiday. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
When we arrived on board it was complete chaos, I was shocked. There was a lineup wrapping around the main level of the ship interfering with the passages to the gangway, due to all the number of complaints. People were yelling, ... Read More
When we arrived on board it was complete chaos, I was shocked. There was a lineup wrapping around the main level of the ship interfering with the passages to the gangway, due to all the number of complaints. People were yelling, crying, and were utterly miserable. No smiles or laughter to be seen or heard from both staff and guests. When approaching the Customer Service desk the staff would act as if they had no idea in the world why people were upset, "can you tell me what your issue is?" How much time do you have NCL?!?!?!?!? We didn't want our first minutes onboard spent in such a negative environment, after all it was our honeymoon. We politely asked for a complaint number, which the agent was refusing to give to us! We had to take a harsher and firmer tone in order to get the proper forms to fill out. When we raised concerns about our cancelled ports and excursions, we were directed to the shore excursion desk. Honestly it was insulting, we were treated as if we were stupid sheep. Go stand in another line for two hours to get NO WHERE! After all this wasted time we were informed that no refunds or credits would occur onboard and it would have to go through head office in Miami. We got a phone call from NCL the day before our trip advising to check our email account, we did, and it was just two emails trying to up-sale their onboard packages. We DID NOT receive notification of any itinerary changes or missed ports. I spent a full year planning, researching, and corresponding with locals at each port to ensure our honeymoon was perfection. I am glad I did this as NCL provides no information about any ports on board. Only information given about the ports was in regards to weather, disembark, and embarking times (which were changed last minute each day). If you like surprises, expect a surprise each time your disembark - as you never know whether or not your shuttle is free or charged to your room. Our cruise went from 1 day at sea to 3. The compensation was $100 onboard credit and 20% off of our next cruise. Like I would ever give my money or time to this company again!!! Instead of going to the port, Kotor, we were informed we would be making a mechanical stop in Bar for 2 hours. I curiously asked the Customer Service agent what should we do in 2 hours time. She informed that its a very scenic view from the boat as we were not permitted to get off. We arrived to Bar at night, all we saw were some lights and darkness. We literally sat in the water for two hours outside of Bar and then sailed onward. Sadly, we were then two hours late arriving to our port the following day. Pointless and completely avoidable. Our original itinerary involved us having 92 hours in port. We ended up with 61.75 hours inland. That is 33% of our trip lost. Naples was supposed to be a 10 hour day, got cut to 6 hours. Rome was supposed to be 12 hours, got cut to 9 hours. We lost Kotor and Santorini and nothing was given to replace it. One of our excursions were cancelled since we were no longer docking in Kotor. We paid $211.54 DOLLARS and got back an onboard credit. Which we found very difficult to use as most things were sold out within hours, due to the chaos that welcomed us onboard. Looking at other people's posts while we had days at sea, I came to learn through Cruise Critic that there had been mechanical errors for the two cruises prior to ours (dating back to October 2019). The fact none of this had been disclosed until last minute is absolutely disgusting and despicable. NCL whoever is at the head of your helm must be a narcissistic con-artist who enjoys robbing people of their time, hard earned money, and dignity. Staff did not manage issues at all. Staff appeared to not know or honestly did not know anything. Performances were just mediocre on most occasions. There were maybe 3 decent evening performances on a 12 day cruise. The TV channels were not appropriate for all ages and/or repetitive. One day my husband and I actually watched a TV show were two teenagers were smoking heroine or crack. I didn't know which drug since it was in another language. The days at sea were money agenda pushing itineraries. Most activities involved an additional fee or your ears being tortured. The Asian trio band singing Elvis, Beatles, Journey, etc with accents was just avoidable and the drum track was pitiful. The musicians that were actually good had awful sound staging and tone. I recommend ear plugs or save yourself the money and stay in your room. Trust me, your not missing out on anything. Room service. We never once had our toilet cleaned in a 12 day period. We found bedding bundled in a bag beneath our bed. Our queen bed was two singles pushed together and constantly slid apart, because of the serve winds and rocking the boat made. Vacuuming happened very infrequently. We never received any recognition for being on a honeymoon. Not looking for much, maybe a card and a cute folded towel. There was never a folded towel. Same staff ALWAYS working, I truely feel bad for them. When staff are overworked and get no breaks, quality will suffer. We had a meal package and even the food in those restaurants was okay at best. Finally, as for a romantic cruise it was nothing of the sort. The only romance we had is what the two of us have always shared as a couple. NCL did nothing to enhance our experience or to create romantic opportunities. The only noteworthy moments we had are due to things we had planned and researched on our own. All that was being promoted was drinking, gambling, buying artwork, buying more cruises, buying cheap overpriced jewelry, buying handbags from that were on-trend two years ago. I could go on forever, but long story short avoid this god awful cruise line. Avoid the Star. Avoid NCL. And if anyone who works for NCL is reading this, consider actually repairing the ship before frauding more people into giving you their money. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
In my opinion, my best advice would be to stay away from Norwegian all together and sail with another cruise line. If you must sail with Norwegian, I wouldn't recommend sailing on the Norwegian Star. For starters, we arrive and are ... Read More
In my opinion, my best advice would be to stay away from Norwegian all together and sail with another cruise line. If you must sail with Norwegian, I wouldn't recommend sailing on the Norwegian Star. For starters, we arrive and are told 2 ports have been eliminated from our cruise, Kotor, Montenegro and Santorini, Greece. Missing Santorini upset so many. it was a highlight stop of this cruise. we were told that a failed engine caused those to be eliminated. Of course, a few days later in the cruise, a crew member told us the engine had been fixed which must have occurred at the scheduled stop in Bar, Montenegro, instead of Kotor, at the being of cruise because the stop was noted as being for maintenance service. Santorini could have been added back to the cruise, but Norwegian probably didn't want to because it would cost them money to dock there. To top it all off, several others ports had there times cut back 1-2 hours which ruined some peoples excursion plans. This was not a cheap trip. It was a waste of my money when I could have found a more reliable cruise line to book with. All Norwegian wanted to give you was a $100 cabin credit and a 20% off a future cruise. What a slap in the face that was. Everyone was angry. Norwegian could pull this stunt no matter which of their ships you were on, so just be aware of what you're letting yourself in for if you choose to sail with them. On another note, I believe there may have been questionable sanitary practices on board this ship. The number people in our tour group coming down with respiratory ailments during this cruise was highly suspect of unsanitary conditions. We had people with problems after just a few days through the middle of the cruise and at the end of it. Also, some people had the respiratory problems the following day after disembarking. My spouse had to be hospitalized after returning home. The food onboard was good for the most part, but one of our tour members did get sick within an hour or two after eating in O'Sheehans. Needless, to say, I did avoid eating there for the rest of the trip. I only ate there the first day. Our cabin was nice. Entertainment in the theater at night was good with one exception. The Vegas Night show needed to forget the fake smoke. It was so thick people were coughing all around. It had a very funny smell to it. I even wondered if there might have been some type contamination in it. Others noticed how strange it was as well. It was very boring onboard during sea days. No truly interesting things to participate in. One activity was actually being held in a bar area that smelled terribly of sewage one day. When I walked through that area headed somewhere else, people had their noses covered with napkins. I had looked forward to my Italy/Greece trip for a whole year and just can't fathom my disappointment in this cruise line. In addition, I have just seen online where the Norwegian Joy at the LA dock has now had people come down with flu 2 weeks in a row from 2 different cruises. Some had to go to the hospital. Really makes you question Norwegian's sanitary practices. Maybe the online comment someone made about not letting the Joy sail again until it passes a health department inspection would be a good idea. That would really put a dent in Norwegian's pocketbook. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
First get a email when leaving Florida to got to Venice Italy that ports have been canceled and hours taken for or their ports. Shop was supposedly broke. Tipped on it side going in to port dishes flying off the shelf. If you like to be ... Read More
First get a email when leaving Florida to got to Venice Italy that ports have been canceled and hours taken for or their ports. Shop was supposedly broke. Tipped on it side going in to port dishes flying off the shelf. If you like to be bored go on NCL star. And for cancel the ports they gave us fifty dollars a person . Room had a leak wet our clothes o e good thing was our clothes got clean. People on the ship got sick from the food. Been on 17 cruise with carnival and royal. Never will we sail on NCL again and I tell everyone who wants to go on a cuties not to take NCL. Took this cruise cause it was suppose to have a stop everyday but one. Leaving Venice we where on the ship for three days. Only thing to do is listen to music expect for the shop at nice which is as food. As for food not much of variety. The day we left the ship a officer ask did we have fun I said no he did oh ok. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We found out two days before the cruise that we were not going to two of the destinations at all and all of the other port times have been altered considerably to be shorter due to a mechanical problem with our ship. Doesn’t exactly ... Read More
We found out two days before the cruise that we were not going to two of the destinations at all and all of the other port times have been altered considerably to be shorter due to a mechanical problem with our ship. Doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in the safety of the boat. No offer to reschedule or change to another cruise which we couldn’t do anyway because when we found out we were already in Europe. We did not get to go to Santorini at all which is one of the main reasons we chose the cruise. Montenegro was also skipped. Once we were on board we found out that time in all of the other ports were shortened as well. When we arrived at our state room we found two beds pushed together to be a king which was fine unfortunately the two were different heights by about 6 inches making sleeping in the bed very difficult as there was a cliff in the middle. when we spoke to our cabin person he said there was nothing he could do the next day we also found out or shower was broken so that the only way you could shower was to hold the hat as the bracket could not hold the shower wand and the towel bar was broken. Both things remain broken for our entire 12 trip. Whatever the problem with the ship was mechanically it made our trip horribly rough many people were seasick. We arrived late at almost every port so we barely got any time ashore and the excursions we paid for were there for shorter but the cost was not reduced. The only compensation we received for our trip not being the trip that we paid for by far was a $50 a person non-refundable credit that we could use only on the ship. The food was of poor quality but the worst was the final night of the trip when we went to what we thought was going to be our 45th anniversary dinner in the main dining room. We sat and ordered received our appetizer and then waited for over an hour our waiter disappeared and we finally got up to complain when the person in charge came over to us and told us my husband steak was taking a while to cook. I told him that if the state had been cooking for one hour it wasn’t going to be edible. We then left he came to us in the buffet where our dinner consisted of a dried out prune danish and some ice cream that I had to go under on the closed rope to get ( all of the food lines were closed even though it was earlier than the time that they were supposed to close) at least half an hour later and told us our dinner was now done. Unfortunately the restaurant was closed so I guess we were supposed to go and get it and eat it in our cabin I don’t know because by then we told him we didn’t want the dinner Unfortunately the restaurant was closed so I guess we were supposed to go and get it and eat it in our cabin I don’t know because by then we told him we didn’t want the dinner. 45th anniversary trip was ruined by this cruise line and the horrible treatment we received. When we went to complain we had to return three times to do so......With one reason after another that we couldn’t even file a complaint. he finally insisted and was given a number and told the only thing I could do was complain after the cruise which I intend to do. Horrible customer service we had to wait over an hour while he typed up a complaint form, and in the meantime did several other things and made us wait. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Cons Significant itinerary change was the largest issue and made 2 days prior, 2 At Sea days were added for a total of 3 days. Santorini and Kotor were cancelled due to ships mechanical issues (they told us they lost an engine.) They ... Read More
Cons Significant itinerary change was the largest issue and made 2 days prior, 2 At Sea days were added for a total of 3 days. Santorini and Kotor were cancelled due to ships mechanical issues (they told us they lost an engine.) They shaved off 1-2 hours per port as well. We received $100 credit and 20% off future cruise. Incredibly disappointing. Lines for everything. Leaving out of Croatia and throughout the night into Greece, the sea was extremely rough and there was no warning. It was loud, the ship was extremely unstable and rocking like I’ve never felt before. Drawers in my cabin kept opening and closing until I stuffed them with stuff and they were too heavy to move. People seemed on edge throughout the evening/night. It certainly made me question the safety of being in a storm of that size with mechanical issues. I received not even 1 hour of sleep that night. Last At Sea day we also had a decent amount of rocking. During dining at specialty restaurant Moderno Churrascaria, we come to find out there actually is no Churrasco. We got 2 free cappuccinos for our trouble. It’s like going to Taco Bell, and they have no tacos. I was surprised at the amount of crew members that were rude. Certainly a stark difference than Royal Caribbean. This is was not prepared for. You literally pay for EVERYTHING and its ALL overpriced. It's a constant money grab on that ship. Food is alright. Dining room the service was extremely slow. We went for breakfast one morning and it took 2 hours, we never went back. When I got my photo taken for my Room Key at the terminal, the photo she took came out completely black, so immediately after boarding I was told to go to guest services, which it looks like the entire ship was also told to do so. The line was snaked all the way around the bar on deck 7. Pros (Not Norwegian) Booked Kings Landing tour in Dubrovnik locally with the most WONDERFUL tour guide for 50 Euro total to include a trip to the top of the mountain, and over the bridge to get some good photos of the ships. Norwegian was charging about $150 just for Game of Thrones tour. We did however meet some incredible people on the ship, MASSIVE shoutout to Marcelo Di Fuente the bartender from Brazil. He made the entire trip! Also shoutout to the hype crew! Shirley, Enti, Sara, Stefy, and Fabi. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I chose this cruise because I was excited that we would be at port most days and I really wanted to visit Santorini, Greece. Unfortunately, we were notified the day before we set sail that the itinerary had been changed and we would not ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I was excited that we would be at port most days and I really wanted to visit Santorini, Greece. Unfortunately, we were notified the day before we set sail that the itinerary had been changed and we would not be going to Santorini after all. They offered us $100 compensation per state room. They had also removed a stop to Montenegro and had shortened 5 of our other stops. I was informed by management that we had lost an engine and were running at half speed which is what caused the changed in the itinerary. Suddenly, we were spending significant time on the ship rather than exploring the Mediterranean. I tried to make the best of it. The staff were all very friendly and helpful which did help ease my disappointment. We upgraded to include 5 nights of specialty dining. This was good as the food in the main dining rooms was fine, at times good, but at times the food was not hot and often very salty. Each day we were at sea I looked for entertainment on the ship. This left something to be desired for a middle aged person such as myself. I wasn't interested in Bingo or the art auctions. The classes offered almost always felt like they were trying to sell you something on the ship. The live music was all mostly classic rock and easy listening. There's only so much drinking I really care to do and it was too cold for the pool. This left me fairly bored most days. They had some decent shows at night and I checked out the night club and karaoke once or twice. I'm not sorry I went as I made some good friends along the way and got to see some great places. However, I will not be cruising with Norwegian again which sends people out on a busted ship and then does not compensate properly for changes they make. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I have done over 41 cruises on various lines. I choose a cruise for the itinerary & price. I also did the 14 night trans Atlantic after the 12 night Greek island cruise. This is my first cruise review and only negative feelings ... Read More
I have done over 41 cruises on various lines. I choose a cruise for the itinerary & price. I also did the 14 night trans Atlantic after the 12 night Greek island cruise. This is my first cruise review and only negative feelings about a ship. I had cruised the NCL Star twice in the past and did not feel this way then. Staff were friendly hard workers but not trained well. After taking an order from one person for drinks look around and see if others nearby also want to order; the bar tray can easily hold 8 drinks or so. Too many times a bar server would get one drink order and go to fill it - at the pool, Bliss lounge and in O'Sheehan's. In the Garden Cafe I had to search the 5 beverage stations at least once a day (breakfast mostly) for OJ, English Breakfast Teabags, and/or skim milk. The buffet itself was not restocked quickly as it should be. I asked for an english muffin as there were none in the buffet; staff came back with bagels. Another time my friend asked for lettuce and the buffet worker did not understand. Another day there was no butter at the toaster section with the various breads. Do no look for Shrimp Cocktail, escargot, or lobster in the dining rooms anymore - it is no longer offered. At a Cruise Critic dinner for Thanksgiving we were not offered cranberry sauce, gravy was beef flavored, the slices of turkey roast were white & dark meat and someone slipped Elmer's glue into the stuffing (dressing). There is no map offered at the various ports when disembarking for the day. The NY Times etc. is no longer offered at the Guest Services area. The bank at Guest Services is only open certain hours and when I wanted change for a $20 USD, all I could get was 20 singles. A special flyer in the buffet one night was chicken "Parmesson" and 1/2 and 1/2 was labeled 1/2 and 1/2 milk. The staff are primarily from the Philippines or Indonesia and many do not speak or understand English well at all.The Cruise Next Staff did not process new bookings, they sent you to the Internet Cafe to "do it yourself". The ship was clean and nicely remodeled. Our cabin steward on the TA was great, we never met our cabin steward on the Greek Island cruise! There is good and bad to everything but this was the first time and was truly disappointed in a ship. I am happy to be home and will not book the Star again with the same management team. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We took this cruise as part of a fairly large group of friends. We cruised Norwegian in the past, when we had a great experience, so we were excited. We learned through social media that the Star was having propulsion system problems, and ... Read More
We took this cruise as part of a fairly large group of friends. We cruised Norwegian in the past, when we had a great experience, so we were excited. We learned through social media that the Star was having propulsion system problems, and was unable to complete its previous itinerary as planned. One of our group is a travel agent, who contacted the NCL headquarters a couple of days before sailing to inquire about the status of our cruise. She was told that all was well, and there would be no changes to the itinerary. When we boarded, we were told that this wasn’t true. Two ports were dropped (Kotor and Santorini) and two days at sea replaced them. Other port visits were shortened, resulting in abbreviated shore excursions. While we weren’t charged for the Kotor and Santorini excursions, we were billed full price for the shortened ones. The ship arrived late in nearly every port thanks to their engine problems. A letter awaited us in our stateroom, claiming that the changes were due to “unforeseen circumstances,” which of course isn’t true. There is nothing unforeseen about known engine problems. Norwegian has an integrity problem! We were given a $100 shipboard credit and offered a 20% discount on a future cruise, which is obviously useless to us, as we’re done with Norwegian. The ship itself provided a Carnival-esque experience, with adequate food and friendly staff. The specialty restaurants were excellent. The ship was dirty in places (the glass on our balcony was dirty enough to be difficult to see through, and the rain gutter had broken glass in it), and the WiFi was glacially slow. Drink packages were exorbitantly expensive, as were the premium cocktails. One couple in our group had a stateroom immediately below one of the decks. They were awakened at 2 to 3 am every morning to the sound of deck furniture being slid and banged around on the deck. Daily complaints did nothing to resolve the issue. The shore excursions were adequate, although they provided little to no free time to explore on our own. Thankfully, we visited a couple of ports where we booked no excursions and were able to enjoy the locations. What itinerary we were able to experience was interesting, and the tour guides did their best to work within the time constraints they were dealt. As far as we can tell, Norwegian apparently has no plans to repair/maintain their ship. Unacceptable. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I choose this cruise because of the port stops. Because of mechancial issues with the ship we were not able to accomplich all the ports on the tour and other ports where we did stop the shore excursions were curtailed. These mechanical ... Read More
I choose this cruise because of the port stops. Because of mechancial issues with the ship we were not able to accomplich all the ports on the tour and other ports where we did stop the shore excursions were curtailed. These mechanical issues with this cruise ship were known well in advance of our embarkation (the last two cruises were negatively impacted) and was not revealed to us until the time of boarding. I consider this behavior a major misrepresentation of the services. NCL knew well in advance about the modified sailing and did not advise their guests. NCL apparently offered us a $200.00 future sailing credit for our inconvenience. This is a totally insincere inadequate offer for our loss, NCL should be ashamed! Shame! The ships free internet did not work at all. Even after I purchased internet minutes at a higher speed, the internet did not work...I eventually received a 50% refund of the purchased minutes, but the aggravation of not became able to text my disabled husband on a daily basis became a concern throughout the trip. The food on board was edible if uninteresting. I did use the Spa and found the staff friendly and helpful. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This is a review about Norwegian, not the Star especially. Because of mechanical issues, it was said, a Nov. 10-22 cruise from Venice to Barcelona, had too many changes. We started with ONE at-sea day and ended up with THREE. NCL dropped ... Read More
This is a review about Norwegian, not the Star especially. Because of mechanical issues, it was said, a Nov. 10-22 cruise from Venice to Barcelona, had too many changes. We started with ONE at-sea day and ended up with THREE. NCL dropped Kotor, Montenegro and Santorini, Greece, precisely why most of us went! This was a big blow. And the changes were advised one day before we left Venice, so no returns or changes could be made. To add insult to injury, various times at port were pared back considerably. For example, we wanted to travel to Florence on our own from the Livorno port. NCL's advertised day was 7 am. to 7 pm so a four hour RT trip to Florence was tight but doable. The night before, the day changed to a 5:30 return so we weren't comfortable going at all. Various days were pared back like this, not just this one. Morning departure times are often later than the docking time. All of us book based on these things. Taken together, this is actually unethical. Compensation for the port changes was $100 to be used on the ship, again after most had bought their wine/internet/whatever packages. Two more surprises: The food was not the general standard; it was definitely lower. I had to ask for salmon when I didn't see it anywhere (they put it on the menu one night thereafter). And the programming was subpar. I think there were two (what I'd call) real "production" shows over 12 days' time. I've never been able to understand why programming can't include some interesting lectures or presentations about some aspect of the country we visit, it's history, or anything of interest. Cruise participants would happily host these things gratis. Does NCL realize there are smart people on these ships? Other thoughts: A movie each night/day? Ted Talks, or discussions about this or that subject, there are thousands of possibilities. It would be so easy and is always resisted in favor of the lowest common denominator offerings. In the end, the staff always knocks themselves out to please and that, along with the wonderful cities and sights we saw, redeemed the journey. I have concerns, though, about returning to Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This cruise for our time line for our group and went to ports we wanted to see. Or at least it was supposed to. A week before we flew to Venice we got notified that there were “technical issues“ with the ship and would be missing two ... Read More
This cruise for our time line for our group and went to ports we wanted to see. Or at least it was supposed to. A week before we flew to Venice we got notified that there were “technical issues“ with the ship and would be missing two ports. They also shortened the time in the rest of the ports we were scheduled to actually visit. For this we got only a $100 non refundable onboard credit. We also had made outside private arrangements at three of the ports which really squeezed our schedule of sites we could visit. Equally annoying was the fact that at times during the nights when we were supposed to be sailing we would either be stopped or moving very slowly. However on the final night we were moving like we were in a race. Embarkation was relatively fast and easy. The whole ship is very dated but the Balcony cabins were adequate. The bathrooms are pretty good in that the shower and toilet have sliding doors and it’s larger than other ships we’ve been on. Our cabin steward was very attentive. The balcony rails and clear panels and the chairs were filthy as were the sliding glass doors. Looked like they are never wiped down. Dining rooms were horrible. The food was limited and unimaginative and the freestyle dining meant that they took forever to seat you even when you showed up right at opening. The wait staff were hit and miss. Some had no personality and were just slow and going through the motions. One had no clue about the menu or food and didn’t even know croutons and cheese went in French onion soup. She brought a bowl of broth and onions to our table then told us that was the soup even though the couple right next to us had a correctly prepared soup. The specialty restaurants were pretty good and the staff in them were ten times better than the regular dining rooms. Entertainment got better as the two weeks progressed but there were no activities on the decks to speak of except for a music group that played in the pool area during the day. Overall the vibe of the ship was laid back to the point of being somewhat boring. We missed Kotor and Santorini with little explanation as to why. As previously mentioned we only got $100 for losing those ports as compensation. Shore excursions were okay but some were extremely pricey. The guide on our shore excursion to Les Baux in Marseille wasn’t very good. However the guide in Mykonos was excellent. Wouldn’t probably book another cruise on Norwegian. I think there are other cruise lines that provide an overall very ship experience. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I chose to schedule this—my first—cruise trip, to spend some time with good friends and visit places I've never seen. I was especially interested in visiting Santorini, Greece and Montenegro. Nevertheless, I was disappointed when, ... Read More
I chose to schedule this—my first—cruise trip, to spend some time with good friends and visit places I've never seen. I was especially interested in visiting Santorini, Greece and Montenegro. Nevertheless, I was disappointed when, after starting the trip, was informed that both destinations were cancelled. Furthermore, the reasons were generic/non-specific and only given thru a letter left at my stateroom. For the "inconvenience," my stateroom (3 of us) was refunded $100 (to be divided by 3). Everyone also received a $22 refund for port taxes. In addition, we were offered a 20% discount on new trip reservations good for two years. I think the refunds were insufficient, and many passengers were disappointed with the port cancelations, and the reduction to time spent at the remaining ports, which were also changed/limited. Overall, the employees provided good service, and the ship was clean and fairly up-to-date. The food was tasty, but often at less than desired temperature (cold). There were at least two nights of terrible ship rocking, as I believe it battled stormy weather. I did enjoy spending time with my friends, but wish the experience was as we had planned it: Better! I don’t believe my next trip will be on Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
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