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Sail Date: March 2019
I had previously done a partial Panama Canal cruise which means the ship went from Ft. Lauderdale through one set of locks and then turned around in Gatun Lake and went back out through the same set of locks with a return to Ft. ... Read More
I had previously done a partial Panama Canal cruise which means the ship went from Ft. Lauderdale through one set of locks and then turned around in Gatun Lake and went back out through the same set of locks with a return to Ft. Lauderdale. When a friend suggested going on a Panama Canal cruise I instantly agreed to go with her. We chose to go on the Norwegian Bliss since there would be so many activities and things to do on this longer than normal cruise. We were not disappointed! Everything was awesome - the ship, the entertainment, food, bars, and service. There was an abundance of free activities as well as the ones that cost extra. The entertainment was first class! The small groups that played in various venues around the ship were excellent. There were many choices for food. The weather was great and we did not encounter any difficulties. The port stops in Mexico changed several times from the time we booked the cruise until we actually went but it was okay. I especially like sea days so this was a great cruise for me - 6 ports in 15 days with 9 sea days. The whole day transit of the Panama Canal was fabulous! The age of the cruisers on this trip was slightly older than normal since it is longer and more expensive and there were fewer children on board. Those who were on board seemed to thoroughly enjoy the extra time they got on some of the amenities. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We have always wanted to go through the Panama Canal, but were hesitant about the length of the cruise (15 nights). We have taken numerous cruises, with most of them 7 nights. The experience on Norwegian's Bliss was exceptional, and ... Read More
We have always wanted to go through the Panama Canal, but were hesitant about the length of the cruise (15 nights). We have taken numerous cruises, with most of them 7 nights. The experience on Norwegian's Bliss was exceptional, and the length of the trip turned out to be just right. We prefer NCL for two main reasons: open dining and on-board music. The Bliss did not disappoint. The smaller main dining room, Savor, was our go to place for diner. The food was exceptional (especially the Salmon), the waitstaff so friendly, and the ambiance very appealing. There were numerous shows, concerts and events on board, and where else could you be at poolside in the evening watching the NCAA Final Four on a big screen tv? The main event was the Panama Canal, and the full day going through Panama was thrilling. Other ports of call added to a great trip. We do some shore excursions, but find that getting off the ship and wandering the public places are culturally very rich. Hats off to all of the staff, and another special thank you to the Fourever Fab, the Beatles tribute band that took all of us back to special times. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We cruise the Panama Canal a few years ago before the new locks were open. Being so intrigued as to this 8th wonder of the world, we jumped on the opportunity to cruise through the new locks and see a different world going all the way ... Read More
We cruise the Panama Canal a few years ago before the new locks were open. Being so intrigued as to this 8th wonder of the world, we jumped on the opportunity to cruise through the new locks and see a different world going all the way through to the Pacific Ocean. This was a 15 day cruise and we where a little skeptical if we would get bored being gone that long. Well, after the 1st week , all 6 in our party agreed that there will never be another 7 day cruise again. The staff and crew aboard the Bliss get 10 stars for all their hard work. We did an Alaska cruise on the Bliss last July and this trip seem 100% better than the last. The activities and nightly shows where all professionally presented and with 5000 people on the ship, it never really seemed crowded. The food, OMG!!! Unbelievable, we meet the executive chef, who became quite friendly with our group. He would surprise us with special deserts and send cookies to each of our state rooms. Thank You Mohammad, for being so thoughtful. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
After working on the Celebrity Zenith 2004-2005, possibly I'm being too critical? This was my first cruise as a passenger and 2005 was a long time ago, but I wouldn't think that service would be so bad on this cruise. It seemed ... Read More
After working on the Celebrity Zenith 2004-2005, possibly I'm being too critical? This was my first cruise as a passenger and 2005 was a long time ago, but I wouldn't think that service would be so bad on this cruise. It seemed like many of the crew were crabby all the time if not downright rude. I prepaid my gratuity and the only person who deserved it was my room steward plus, we gave him an extra $100. I didn't understand that I could get some of that money refunded by going to Guest Services. Also, I don't drink much and didn't get any drink or dinner packages and didn't understand that I could book a room that had some of these perks. I also didn't know that every single time you ordered a drink, a coffee, anything there was a 20% gratuity automatically added to the price. Big shock. Also, who knew how dumb I could be booking my first cruise by myself through the agent, but I didn't ask enough questions. The food was good. I paid to go to Cagney's and the food was excellent. The food in the buffet got real old after a while. It seemed that every restaurant or bar we went to we were ignored and sat for a long time before someone came to the table even when it wasn't busy. The balcony stateroom was very nice. We went to one show and it was fun. The worst part of the cruise were the ports. I know cruise line has their own private Caye, but I didn't know that Costa Maya was owned by several cruise lines and it was packed. I almost started having panic attacks because people vendors were on us like crazy, We had something to eat which was supposed to be Mexican food, because we were in Mexico and it was some crappy American/Mexican. The bill was $70. for 2 meals and 2 drinks. The food was cold and horrible and I didn't have any qualms telling them about it. We did make it to the beach in Mahahual which was nice. I was extremely disappointed in most of the ports, Limon was filthy and I don't remember being in that port before when I worked on the ship or maybe we never got off there because of that. Roatan was beautiful, but we accidentally got in a tour cab and we wanted to go to the Grand Roatan Hotel West Bay Beach to get away from the crowds, but it didn't work that way. We still found a nice part of the beach that was semi-quiet and didn't have to pay for a chair and drinks were reasonably priced. The Panama Canal was nice. We did a zip line somewhere, but I have a short memory and don't remember where it was at. The worst thing about the trip is that I went with an old friend who I hadn't seen for a long time. She's a vegetarian, complained a lot, she got sick. So because I was so unfulfilled by the cruise, I just booked another one to Bermuda for May 19th on the Norwegian Escape ALL BY MYSELF! I cruised back and forth between New York and Bermuda every week for almost my whole 8 month contract so I pretty much know where things are. It will be the first time docking at the Dockyard since we docked in Hamilton. I can't wait! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We traveled with a large group so, you can be sure we had a good time. The ship was quite nice and a perfect size--not too big. The staff was great--especially Diamond in the Bliss Lounge, Sandra in the piano bar, and of course our ... Read More
We traveled with a large group so, you can be sure we had a good time. The ship was quite nice and a perfect size--not too big. The staff was great--especially Diamond in the Bliss Lounge, Sandra in the piano bar, and of course our steward, Asep. Everyone working onboard was friendly, hard working, and attentive. The specialty restaurants were great-Teppanyaki, Cagney's, La Cucina, and Moderno (Teppanyaki the best) and dining in Alizar and the Grand Pacific were also very nice. The Garden Cafe always had a variety of offerings if you wanted to eat quickly but, finding seating was not always easy. The other dining areas around the ship were also very good. It was never difficult to find something delicious to eat, or drink either. We enjoyed the piano player, Toze, and the guitar player, David, enjoyed listening to their music, singing, and dancing-while it lasted. Sometimes it ended too early, stopping for a game show or some other activity which resulted in lots of people leaving with no where else to go to dance. We didn't go to any of the shows in the Stardust Theatre after the first night so I can't say anything about them. The ports of call were not the greatest. We did private tours in Cartagena and Costa Maya and they were our best excursions. Harvest Cay was nice and we enjoyed spending a relaxing day on a beautiful beach. The private beach in Roatan was okay and the animal refuge there was interesting. Our excursions, with not a lot to choose from, in Colon and Limon were fair at best and certainly not worth the price. It would have been far more interesting staying on the ship in Colon and going back through the canal to see what we couldn't see going through the first time. Limon was too much the same as Colon. Both of these cities were so run down and poverty stricken, that it was difficult and depressing driving through them to get to where we were going. I think my favorite days were our five days at sea. Disembarkation was easier than on any other cruise we have been on which made for a pleasant ending to an enjoyable vacation. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
I was leader of a group of twenty friends age 60-70. And we chose this cruise for the Panama Canal itinerary. We ate in 4 special dining rooms and the Alizar and Grand Pacific for dinner with reservations made before we left home. My ... Read More
I was leader of a group of twenty friends age 60-70. And we chose this cruise for the Panama Canal itinerary. We ate in 4 special dining rooms and the Alizar and Grand Pacific for dinner with reservations made before we left home. My group generally agreed the food and service was very good. Embarkation procedure was good although the terminal was hot and didn’t have enough seating. The entrance to the ship was lame and the atrium space is under whelming (but clean and nice) after being on some of the bigger ships. The public spaces were always clean. The food at dinner was very good to excellent, for lunch, in the Garden Cafe, the food was a little repitious but tasted fine. We did lunch several times in O’Sheehan’s. The burgers on the pooldeck were very good too. Dinner at Teppanaki was terrific, the food was delicious and I am not even a fan of Asian food. The chefs and their “shows” were fantastic. The group loved it. Cagney’s food was great too and service good. They were helpful with a large group. LaCucina was ok. It is small (as are all of the specialty restaurants) so less able to accommodate a group of twenty. Also there is nothing special about the ambience. No tablecloths just plastic place mats. And Moderno was also just ok. The same placemats as in LaCucina. The meat in Cagney’s and Teppanaki was better, but it was our last night and I could hardly look at food because I had already eaten so much. The cabin (a balcony mini suite) was great, clean and comfortable. The bathroom had a tub and shower. So much closet and storage space. We didn’t see all of the theater entertainment, but Blazing Boots was good. We felt like they missed the age demographic in the nightclubs. Not enough dance music from my time and too many games. Our cruise director was Jacky and I was not a fan. He tried too hard to get suggestive responses during the night time games and it felt like the only type of dancing he knew was line dancing. I felt the bar service was fine. There were always waiters circulating, but you can get a drink fast enough at the bar too. And a special kudo to Diamond, our bar waiter in the Bliss Lounge. We did a few excursions. Basically they all worked well and were as described. The day at the Panama Canal was not as smooth we spent too much time waiting in the theater for the tenders, probably because we were late getting into and through the canal. The good news was the ship was early getting out of the lake and to Colon where everyone who went on an excursion was taken to reboard the ship. That way less time to kill in Colon. Debarkation went well and we did an excursion in the Everglades that was a good way to spend time before a 5pm flight and it was also transport for the group to Fort Lauderdale. And one final point. We had an included drink package but bottled water isn’t even included. Considering the ‘charge’ is shown as higher than RCI’s drink package. Water bottles should be included. It is on RCI. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
The comedian was funny as was the ventriloquist, the singers and dancers were good, the singer from Vegas (Alyssa Harris) was great, the acrobat duo were fantastic. We thought the shows were the best that we have seen and we have been on ... Read More
The comedian was funny as was the ventriloquist, the singers and dancers were good, the singer from Vegas (Alyssa Harris) was great, the acrobat duo were fantastic. We thought the shows were the best that we have seen and we have been on 7 cruises across 4 lines. Main dining room food was the least appealing of all of our cruises. Crepe and omelette stations in buffet were nice. They know how to make real cheesecake! We tried many flavors. My husband liked the ice cream and the milk stations close together. :) We enjoyed the free pub, O'Sheehan's. We appreciated the many ports included on this cruise. We usually do our own excursions but went entirely with the cruise line on this one due to security concerns. They were expensive, but with the $50 per port excursion perk, they were manageable. It was a lot of time on buses and other transport, but the guides were good and the trips well managed. We were warehoused for a couple of hours before embarking, something that we usually avoid by arriving a bit later. They offered enrichment activities like painting and origami, but they didn't interest us. We exercise daily and found the track to be small but ok and the fitness room to be ok. Staff were pleasant across the board, especially the excursions desk which allowed us to make a couple of changes at the last minute. Overall price was quite high for a vacation for us as budget conscious travelers. We enjoyed our vacation and would book with Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Embarking onto the ship was a horrible experience and we were worried that this was an indication as to what our trip was going to turn out. Felt like we were be herded in like cattle. Thank goodness once we boarded the ship things turned ... Read More
Embarking onto the ship was a horrible experience and we were worried that this was an indication as to what our trip was going to turn out. Felt like we were be herded in like cattle. Thank goodness once we boarded the ship things turned around. Our first cruise with Norwegian; overall was a great trip! Cabin service was excellent and service in the spinnaker lounge was exceptional. Many dining choices. The ship was very clean and the crew was friendly. The nightly entertainment and game shows were so much fun; the Cruise Director/Co-Director were very fun with everything they hosted. We decided to book with Norwegian because of the wonderful packages they offered; by the middle of our trip we signed up with Next Cruise to book future cruises. Only negative - compared to other cruises we have taken we felt that the Shore excursions were a little disorganized when meeting to depart the ship and trying to find the right tour bus to get on. There wasn't much direction given. Also, one evening I went to the shore excursion desk and the gentleman working was very dismissive to me and seemed annoyed that I was asking him a question. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because it fit in to our schedule, they offered free drink package, reduced airfare and 5 free dining upgrades. We were flown from Boston to Miami on a premium airline nonstop. We got their free shuttle from the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it fit in to our schedule, they offered free drink package, reduced airfare and 5 free dining upgrades. We were flown from Boston to Miami on a premium airline nonstop. We got their free shuttle from the airport to the ship terminal building. Once there, check in was immediate. We were on the ship at 12:06pm... 6 minutes after boarding had begun! Once on board, the staff welcomed us at every juncture. The buffet was open so we stopped there first to wait for our rooms to be ready at around 2pm. There are 3 free restaurants and 5 restaurants that you pay for but we had the 5 included in our package. We however, chose only to go to two of them. We found the other free ones quite nice. We have been on many cruises but this by far was the most “laid back”. We really could eat any time with anyone or just alone. The people cruising were very friendly. The entertainment was very good and the excursions were extremely well done. We chose an 8th deck cabin with ocean view which suited us fine. We saw many awesome sunrise and sunsets from our cabin. We especially liked the Tabyana snorkeling excursion and the one to the Miraflores locks because our tour guide was excellent showing us all the air bases and explaining the history. We would definitely recommend this cruise. We have been on other cruise lines (4 Royal Caribbean and 1 Carnival) and are traveling without kids (I think the other cruise ships have more for kids) this is a great cruise. It is not as fancy as some of the other ships we have been on, but the flexible schedules makes it truly a pleasure. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Checking in and disembarking went very smoothly. The specialty dining was excellent. The main dining rooms had the same menu so other than having to dress up more at the Grand Pacific there was no difference. The crew and staff on ... Read More
Checking in and disembarking went very smoothly. The specialty dining was excellent. The main dining rooms had the same menu so other than having to dress up more at the Grand Pacific there was no difference. The crew and staff on board were excellent. They were helpful and friendly and addressed us by name if they saw us several times. I lost my wallet at Colon Panama and they did all they could to help me address the trials and tribulations of this occurring. The steward said good morning etc. every time we saw him in the hallways. The room was always in excellent condition without him hovering or being in the way. The theater's seating was very uncomfortable as the seats were very low and hard to get up from. The lounge and nightclub seating was very uncomfortable as they were tight. I don't know how large people sat in any of the seating in the lounges. The bartenders and wait staff were entertaining and friendly. They remembered you if you went to the same lounge more than once. We had a mid-ship picture window room on Level 5 Our picture window was so scratched we couldn't really see anything out of it. This could be because our room was so close to the water level and is probably scratched from the salt water and wind during storms. The toilet area was tight but the rest of the bathroom area was adequate. The closet wasn't huge but there were plenty of drawers to accommodate clothing for an 11 day cruise. Entertainment was very good with a high quality and variety. There were many activities during the day that were a lot of fun. The digital scavenger hunts were very entertaining. The port in Belize is beautiful. I wouldn't plan an excursion at this stop unless it's something you can't miss as the beach area is huge, free and beautiful. The passage through the Panama Canal was the highlight of the trip. I sat right up front in the Spinnaker Lounge which has 90 degree view from the front of the ship. I used the NCL app on board. The wi-fi was active to use this app. I could check my account spending, the days activities and it listed which excursions and specialty dining were active for each day. You also can text others on the cruise that paid a $10 fee for this feature only. I did not have need of this feature but would use it if I was traveling with a larger group. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted to go thru the Panama Canal again. We did it a couple of years ago and it was not a very enjoyable experience. This time was much better. Our cabin was ok, however I really did need a handicapped ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to go thru the Panama Canal again. We did it a couple of years ago and it was not a very enjoyable experience. This time was much better. Our cabin was ok, however I really did need a handicapped cabin, which the ship could not accommodate me with. Most of the food was ok, however having a dietary issue, at times the dining staff could not find a dessert to fit my needs. Sorbet and jello were usually offered, neither of which I like. Teppanyaki is an amazing restaurant, as was Cagneys steakhouse. Le Bistro's food was intensely over seasoned, and not palatable. We were disappointed with the Dolphin swim and Adventure at Costa Maya. It was amazing to be able to swim with them, however the costs for pictures were VERY EXPENSIVE!!! Beware, and cameras are not permitted. Our trip to Harvest Caye was very enjoyable, and our least expensive. The Capuchin monkeys, macaws, and sea lion more than made up for our disappointing visit with the dolphins, Otherwise, our trip was very enjoyable, excellent entertainment, things to do aboard ship, attentive stewards and cruise staff. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary - full traverse of the Panama Canal and lots of stops in countries other cruise lines don't stop in. We have travelled with other companies, Celebrity, RCI, Cunard, P&O and now NCL. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary - full traverse of the Panama Canal and lots of stops in countries other cruise lines don't stop in. We have travelled with other companies, Celebrity, RCI, Cunard, P&O and now NCL. The reason for the low score for NCL is that there were lots of little things which were not as good as other cruise companies and they added up to make a big difference. Firstly the good: The organisation of the Freedom dining is fantastic. We only had to wait (briefly) for a table on a couple of occasions - the rest of the time it worked like clockwork. This is down mainly to the ladies who work at the front desk. They do an exceptional job. The staff in the dining rooms were all fantastic. Hardworking and always cheerful. No mean feat! The chinese restaurant is included rather than the usual cover charge and we thought the food was superb. The presentation of the food in the main dining rooms was the best we have seen There were proper showers in all of the rooms (not just shower curtains) The bad: The menus in the Chinese and O'Sheehans never changes nor does it in Grand Pacific at lunch time. Not too bad if you are on a 7 day cruise but this was 19 days of the same choice. The drinks are very expensive The ship was late in to nearly every port. Sometimes just by 15-20 mins but it messed up our plans (and on two of the occassions this was when the ship was only travelling a short distance between ports) Disembarkation was a shambles with poor communication. They put on too few tenders when needed so that it took us until after 1pm to get off the ship when we had to be back on board by 4pm. We paid for an upgrade to an ocean view room and yet all we could see was a lifeboat. There was no warnings about it being a partial view. There was insufficient shade on the ship so there was always a battle to be up early enough to grab some. They have a great lounge at the front of the boat where you can sit in the shade and cool and look at the view but insisted on running bingo and other talks in there all through the day despite having other areas that would accomodate these things. They even had to draw the blinds in the room to make it dark enough to see the projector. The talks about the ports and countries we were visiting were awful. The entertainment in the bars was not to our taste and hardly varied. No gala type dinners so no lobster or other special food. Food was the worst we have had on a ship (not bad like other reviews have said - just not as good as other ships) The food in the buffet was not great and was very repetitive. All of the entertainment was geared towards Americans (even though they were in the minority on the ship). I understand that they are usually the majority so I guess it would be too much trouble to change things cruise by cruise. Guest Relations were terrible. They handled a minor complaint so badly that it ended up being a big issue. They have zero authority and a terrible attitude. One thing that isn't the ships problem but is worth mentioning is that we like to share our table with others in the evening. Clearly most people who choose NCL don't like to so it was rare that we managed to get a table with other people on it. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We wanted to go to the Panama Canal and the time of year worked best for both my husband and I. We also thought we'd try a different cruise line (we were very sorry we did). We were on a 14-day NCL Star cruise through the Panama ... Read More
We wanted to go to the Panama Canal and the time of year worked best for both my husband and I. We also thought we'd try a different cruise line (we were very sorry we did). We were on a 14-day NCL Star cruise through the Panama Canal, starting in Miami and ending in Los Angeles. The cruise itself was very good. Enjoyed the canal and the scenery. The ship was good, the room was great, and our cabin stewards were good. First, let me tell you that we have cruised mostly with Holland America. Holland America has some of the best foods we have eaten. Just got off a cruise in September to Alaska, food was fabulous. It's always exciting to see whats on the menu for the night. On the NCL we received the free drink package, 4-specialty dinners, $50 of each room for excursions, 250 minutes internet, and 150 ship to shore minutes (never used). The drink package was NOT FREE. Prior to paying off our cruise amount, we received an unexpected pre-billed amount of approximately $450.00. Call NCL, I found out that this is for the pre-paid amount for the tips for the FREE drink package. So the FREE drinks package was not so free after all. You might think that you're going to drink $450 on your cruise, I think you might be surprised. We were mostly sitting on Deck 6, never once in 14-days did someone come by to ask if we wanted a drink. We would have to take the elevator up to either the casino on Deck 7 or Deck 12 to get a drink. Of course you free package includes only one drink at a time so if you plan to drink, plan to take many trips to and from the bar. The food was the WORST food I ever had on a cruise ship, and I've taken 12 cruises. The main buffet for breakfast in the yogurt bar area was a daily a mass of frozen fruit (berries). They had two egg stations (omelets, poached), took forever sometimes. The food was bland, never any seasoning. On day two I asked if they had any salsa, I was directed to two bottles of tabasco sauce. If you wanted to use the tabasco sauce, you would have to hunt for the bottle on the table(s) (again only two bottles) and asked to use it. Salsa? The food persons would shake their heads "no". The piles of bacon were good. Scrambled eggs, no salt or pepper. WORST FOOD EVER. The main dining room, Versailles and Aqua (another non-reservation restaurant) had the same menu (and is the same menu for both restaurants) for 14-days with the exception of a change in a salad or soup. The main entrees were exactly the same for 14-days in both restaurants. EXACTLY THE SAME. The food was tasteless and bland. For example, they had Chicken Fried Chicken. The meal consisted of a small scoop of mash potatoes (no seasoning), cold slaw (never saw it ever), and small portion of sweet corn (no seasoning), one filet of chicken with no bones (ordered it twice and my husband once), which I am positive had been frozen prior and was of the same height and same roundness, so I'm sure it was packaged. And no, it was not a pounded down piece of breast. Think frozen veal cutlet. And then also received a leg/thigh combo that was oven baked. Honestly I think they were trying to hide the frozen chicken fillet. Leg/thigh combo was breaded and no salt, pepper, or other seasoning. They had a shrimp burger which i did hear people comment on as good. They had a hamburger, the burger was an inch think and had a roll of some kind, which was fresh baked. No seasoning, tasteless. Also on the menu was a Philadelphia cheese steakwhich because my husband is from Philli he wouldn't even order (it looked all bun and tons of bell peppers). Chicken salad sandwich consisted of two ice cream scoops of chicken salad on one piece of bread (hard to eat as a sandwich). Salads consisted of mostly bell peppers and some salad. Sometimes the lettuce was crisp others soggy. In the evenings the specialty restaurants were better. Italian was decent (bland), steak house, steak was good but it was good because it came with a couple different sauces. The steak itself was not cooked with salt or pepper. We ate at the speciality Chinese restaurant. Food was awful after waiting two nights for over an hour to get in. One of the better places was O'Sheehans which was kinda like a pub...but if you ordered Nachos, you had to request 3X's the amount of cheese and sour cream or you ended up with a bowl full of chips. No salsa again. The whole entire time getting a table seemed to be a problem. They ran your card, had to mess with their computer, had to write the table number on a piece of paper, person had to find another person to take you to your table, which also wouldn't be the person waiting on your table. I really loved at the specialty restaurants when you were finished with your meal, they would give you a comment card and request that you filled it out right then and there. Even our local Shari's doesn't do that. Comment cards were always on the tables. Certainly cheapens' your experience. One comment was WORST FOOD EVER! Also, when you used the specialty restaurants, even though they were free to us as part of the package, we still were charged a 20% gratuity for the cost (each menu had a cost per item). When we received our bills it was zero dollars with a note at the bottom that they would charge you 20% gratuity with was on our mail ship bill. Television had that same 4 movies the entire 14 days. Thank goodness for the news channels, which intermittently went off/on. We reported the green screen to the front desk, they sent someone to check out our TV and told us it was the reception. No kidding Sherlock!! With the newer tv's, you can't even get a DVD from the internet cafe. You got what they had and that was it. I did use my 250 internet /wifi minutes and then had to buy some more. It worked great. If you wanted to use your NCL app on your iPhone, you had to log into wifi (hence you use those 250 minutes really fast). Never used the ship to shore telephone calls. Did the excursions, they were good. Room service was excellent as also. We were charged almost $14.50 per person per day for service charge for our room ($29.00 total) which we gladly paid. If you ordered food room service, food was free but you were charged $7.95 for delivery. Room service was better than looking at the tasteless food so I ordered lunch several times. Salad was always crisp. Fruit came fresh. Bottom line, I would NOT RECOMMEND ever going on a Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ever. We went on two cruises last year, food was unbelievable. Both were on Holland America. The closed lobster I saw on NCL was in some corn chowder soup. HAL always has lobster night. NCL FOOD WAS HORRIBLE. LET ME REPEAT MYSELF, HORRIBLE. WARNING, DO NOT GO ON NCL. I was actually relieved to get on an airplane and get some decent food. Thank you Alaska Airlines for making my last day on my 3-week vacation from LAX to PDX an enjoyable and pleasant one, and thank you for the wonderful food. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
2/15/19 - 3/1/19 NCL Star Panama Canal Voyage Top screw ups 1. Free internet, ha ha, ha, 250 minute perk what doesn’t work properly or frequently; isn’t free or useful. Waits at Internet cafe could be as much as 60 minutes. ... Read More
2/15/19 - 3/1/19 NCL Star Panama Canal Voyage Top screw ups 1. Free internet, ha ha, ha, 250 minute perk what doesn’t work properly or frequently; isn’t free or useful. Waits at Internet cafe could be as much as 60 minutes. 2. Cable/internet stations FOX, MSNBC, BBC, were very frequently not available as is the case right now as I write this, Thursday, 2/28/19 beginning at 6:40 AM and continuing unabated at present. The Sunday, 2/24/19 Oscars was not shown. 3. You will pay $4.64 for a glass of soda if you do not elect a plan. However most of time Diet Sierra Mist was poured by can to glass not by fountain spray but only 50% of time would server give you the balance of the can; note: only Pepsi products are available but Pepsi No Sugar was not. 4. Watch out for catamaran whale watch from Cabo it’s run by children who seem more interested in loud music and serving you prodigious quantities of alcohol; but to be fair soft drinks and water are available and you paid for it all inside the ticket fee. Like a party boat for mid lifers. They considered a whale sighting to be a spout or the whale’s tail as they dive. Never closer than a 1000 meters. One of the kids is the Cetaecian expert he plays loud whale sounds and provides much inaccurate information about humpback whales. 5. Avoid the Garden Cafe at almost all costs; except for periods of time when large numbers of eaters are gone. All enjoyed slopping at the Garden Cafe trough. Soft pretzel nirvana! 6. Avoid all specialty dining except for steak at Cagneys. If steak is your thing; there’s plenty of burned meat odor and taste there for you! 7. Be aware of cultural anomalies among some of your fellow passengers; like their general aversion to order, inability to patiently wait in line for their turn and the need for necessary occasional silence when and where it’s called as a need!!!!! 8. When you arrive at NCL TERMINAL at the Miami cruise port carefully assess what the greeters for NCL are telling you to do as it may be sufficiently botched or confused that you won’t know what you heard. This was something I thought NCL had down but not on 2/15/19 9. NCL will send you color coded luggage tags for embark; but you HAVE TO ASK FOR THEM. Otherwise you’ll need 8 ft of tape and print out cutouts online and then attach them yourself. 10. All Ports of Call are at best marginal and depressed. Let’s face it if they were all St Barth’s it would be a lot more expensive and after all you get to see how the Canal works. 11. Disembarking on 3/1/19 was an exercise in futility; for 3 and 1/2 hours we waited 3 hours of it in line to get out of NCL terminal. No announcements of any kind were ever made and no explanation was ever made to explain the delay; no bathroom facilities were identified; there were a number of fatigued or ill older people who should have been treated better; best bet appeared to be to claim wheelchair access need with the requirement for NCL staff to push the chair; which allowed for express debarkation of the person in the chair and their entourage, which was often as many as 3 additional people blithely passing those waiting for hours in line. - [x] People with apparent disability, which I defined as being in a wheelchair or similar conveyance, were present on the ship in what appeared to be anecdotally but positively high numbers to their and NCL’s credit! What was not clear were the express rides which all wheelchairs seemed to get as described above. It was simply unfair as NCL had asked passengers, able bodied and otherwise, to declare their need for early debarkation to get to airports for early flights. These express rides were much later in the debarkation process. NCL needs to mend fences with CPB In Miami FL to get a better working relationship with them rather than the blame put on CPB for the line and delay by at least one NCL agent. CPB needs to be open to such negotiations and to work equally hard to reach agreement and reduce their mutual disagreement which VICTIMIZED ALL DEBARKING PASSENGERS and nobody else. I’m confident that all NCL and CPB staff were paid for their work. Right now I can’t see myself returning to NCL to cruise again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise for the destination (the Panama Canal) and the season (February when it was -32C at home. We booked just 2 weeks before sail date and booked a guaranteed balcony cabin. We did not get to pick our cabin. I never ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the destination (the Panama Canal) and the season (February when it was -32C at home. We booked just 2 weeks before sail date and booked a guaranteed balcony cabin. We did not get to pick our cabin. I never actually was told the cabin number by Norwegian. I found it somewhat hidden in the cruise docs. Meanwhile, I was getting emails asking me to bid on upgrades. I found this extremely annoying. It felt like they were selling off better cabins that might have been mine. I hate the feeling that I am being charged as much as possible for every little thing Norwegian charges for its specialty restaurant ($30US per person) and does not seem to have enough seating in its general dining rooms for everyone who wants to eat there. We were asked to take a pager and wait 45 to 60 minutes for a table. The Ginza Oriental dining room is very small. We managed a table once in the 14 days. There was always a line up. It isn't really that good. I also hate that I paid $5US for a bottle of water and they won't let you bring water from shore claiming security issues. We found the staff were excellent. They were always smiling and helpful. The main dining room staff, Versaille, seemed the most most harassed and over worked and least cheerful. I have some concern with the buffet restaurant were almost everything is self-serve with poor quality tongs. I saw people give up trying to grab sausages with thick plastic tongs and use their fingers. I also saw a passenger take a pair of better tongs with her from a shrimp dish and use them on the rest of the buffet possibly contaminating the whole buffet for anyone who has a seafood allergy. We found most of the food rather bland, very salty and rather boring. There were somewhat spicy curries on the buffet but they were there every day. I found the entertainment was mainly louder than it was good. The DJ and the Latin group were able to drive me from the pool area. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Main Entertainment was very good to excellent but entertainment in main areas of ship was awful. Food good with very good variety. Service good. Can’t prove it but food on shore excursions gave both of us Montezuma’s Revenge. ... Read More
Main Entertainment was very good to excellent but entertainment in main areas of ship was awful. Food good with very good variety. Service good. Can’t prove it but food on shore excursions gave both of us Montezuma’s Revenge. TV in room had very limited and intermittently unavailable programming. Tiny stateroom with no sitting area or sofa. Onboard activities very limited and too many tried to sell something or had fees. Game show hostesses were annoying with hard to understand Eastern European accents. Tiny pool. Limited common areas for relaxing. “Free” Ultimate Beverage Package a total rip-off. Mandatory $20 per person per day charge for gratuity. Very nice main theater. Smell of cigarette smoke in many public areas. Ship staff overall were very good. Chaotic process for finding ship sponsored (and other) location of transportation for shore excursions. Very elderly passengers. Median age definitely over 70. Probably over 75. Aerialists, Magician, Thomas John, Levena B Fox and production shows were excellent. Hypnotist not very good. Female Comedian very good. Good shore excursions. Many options for bars and restaurants although too many of them are an extra charge. Terrible smoking in casino kept me away. Captain was very informative and kept us on schedule. Limited seating in complimentary restaurants. Always a line and forced to wait. Too few tables for 2. Pressured to sit with others. Disembarkation was chaotic. Very long lines. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
This is our 1st cruise with Norwegian but we have cruised several times before. This was the longest cruise at 14 days however. We had been informed to Star had recently been renovated. Ship was very clean. Staff was efficient but not ... Read More
This is our 1st cruise with Norwegian but we have cruised several times before. This was the longest cruise at 14 days however. We had been informed to Star had recently been renovated. Ship was very clean. Staff was efficient but not very friendly. There were exceptions like Ivan our room steward. There were parts of the ship that should/could have had service but didn't - the front and back of the ship where sunbathers were. Not one waiter ever came by to ask if you wanted anything. Yes there are bars near by but you would have to leave your chair,etc. to go get something. Also no light snacks at any of the bars - spicy corn nuts at Gatsby and Sugar cane only. Eric in the Tiptop bar is very nice. There's only one casual dining room (Agua)where shorts are acceptable, all the rest require reservations,long pants/collared shirts and are either ala cart or specialty priced. We came on the cruise to relax and be casual. But I didn't come on a cruise to eat at a cafeteria which the upstairs buffet reminded me of. It was crowded and noisey. The specialty restaurants were very nice though - Le Bistro was excellent and so was the Moderno - a meat lover's dream. Gapo our waitperson there was wonderful. The salad bar at the Moderno was amazing. I would have been glad just to eat that. I have come to realize that I do not Asian fusion cooking. The Ginza was a complete disappointment. The sushi rice was not correct (too sweet) and the tuna texture appeared to have been frozen. I understand that we are on a ship and frozen fish would/might be required for health safety but then do not serve sushi to consumers that will know the difference. Or when we are in port buy local fresh fish from the area. That would have been exciting to try instead. O'Sheehans was a hit or miss. I ordered buffalo wings 2x's and they came to the table cold and overcooked both times. Have your waitstaff learn how to pour a pint of Guinness beer as well. It is different from regular beer. I should not have to tell them how to do it at a place called O'Sheehans! The Tradewinds shopping area had lovely clothing. Prices were actually quite reasonable in comparison to other cruise lines. Both a few items there. But the toiletry selections is very limited. You should expand it to include more things that people either forgot or ran out of . I bought some lovely earrings and lost a back - couldn't wear them because you didn't sell any replacement backs. No AA or AAA batteries or phone chargers. Another missed opportunity. We met 2 lovely couples from England and Australia on our cruise and being with them made any of our disappointments bearable. However, not sure if we will do Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
14 Day Panama Canal Cruise – LA to Miami Coming from Georgia, we decided to take the Norwegian Star out of Los Angeles so we could acclimate back to Eastern time along the way. We went a couple of days early and experienced a few ... Read More
14 Day Panama Canal Cruise – LA to Miami Coming from Georgia, we decided to take the Norwegian Star out of Los Angeles so we could acclimate back to Eastern time along the way. We went a couple of days early and experienced a few touristy things there and then went to board the ship around 11:00 am since we had a suite. We were in room 10228. We are not normally there that early but thought it was worth seeing when we could get on the ship. We were placed in a room with other suite guests and had some beverages and sweets. Unlike when we boarded the Dawn, we all herded in together at the same time after we received our room keys. We were told none of our rooms were ready and we were sent to Cagney’s/Moderno for lunch. After lunch we were left on our own to wonder if our suite was ready. We finally found someone who was able to tell us we could go on back but were not escorted as before so we felt a little strange going into the closed door with a sign saying the rooms were not ready. When we did we were greeted by all the stewards so felt better. The room is the same layout as the last one we stayed in on the Dawn 10728 but opposite. It seemed a lot more worn than the Dawn’s suite. It was still nice, don’t get me wrong. The balcony is large enough for two sit-up type chairs, two lounge chairs and two small round tables. The bed is big and the closet is nice with access from both sides. We really like the layout of the room. For meals, we had a specialty meal package for four meals and added three meals on our own. We do not enjoy the main dining rooms. They are very loud and feel rushed. We did try both of them but always end up wishing we were eating elsewhere. We had the beverage package too and my only advice is to beware of the port taxes. Another cruise we were on we made a mistake of buying some special they had while in port and paid a large amount of tax. The daily paper tells you if there will be port taxes. Stops: Cabo San Lucas – Mexico We opted for the All Inclusive – Adult’s only excursion. This was a tender stop which is not our favorite but the resort was nice. The only problem was it was Superbowl day and they had very limited space for our cruise group. We ended up just staying in the pool most of the time so ended up fine. Hector was an awesome server there and brought us lunch and kept our drinks full. Acapulco – Mexico – Tour selected: Acapulco City with Cliff Divers – City tour was okay but great seeing the cliff divers had always heard about or read about. I would not care to go back to Acapulco. Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala – Tour selected: Antigua on Your Own which I was partly dreading because I read about the drive but it was really nice and our tour guide Julio did a great job. It was interesting see the volcano damage and smoking volcano and then getting into the small town of Antiqua was like going back in time. We spent quite a bit of time at Santa Domingo but ended up eating lunch at a restaurant close to the tour meeting location – Arrin Cuan. We tried some local food and fajitas and really enjoyed it along with a local beer. We walked a lot and saw some neat architecture but you need to wear comfortable shoes. San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua – got off for souvenir – tender and right back on (lots and lots of vendors) Puntarenas, Costa Rica – We decided to try something different and went on an Artesian Craft Beer tour with lunch. Allen was our tour guide and he made it a very good tour because the ride was pretty long getting there. We had a brewery tour, local lunch (buffet) and tried several beers. I would probably not have recommended again except Allen taught us so much along the way. Very educated tour guide and probably the best tour guide we have had in all these years. Panama Canal – Since we had an Aft Balcony suite, we mainly stayed on the back Deck and watched the bow camera and listened to the narrator on TV. The TVs are great quality so we could see the front very well and the back in person. It was quite an experience. We had room service for breakfast and lunch and were through the canal by about 4:30 pm so ended up having time to have dinner out. I wasn’t sure when making reservations if we would be able to go out so hopefully this information will help someone. Cartagena – Final tour - Columbia Chiva Party Bus! What a great way to end our excursions! We could see three party buses pull up from our balcony and I had the purple one in mind. It was a converted colorful bus that looked like a semi-truck front. When we went down to meet them we were directed towards another bus but asked if we could stay for it and were told we could. What a crazy time! From the time you got on the bus until you arrived back to port it was music, rum and coke and later beer with some sites to see along the way. We got off the bus a few times for souvenirs and photos. At the fort we went to a certain area and danced. We had a band of three locals on the bus for some of the entertainment. It was a great way to entertain us because the traffic was crazy slow! One hint, do not sit on the outside unless you don’t want to dance. That seat is the only place you could not stand up and dance. It was seven rows of people and we sat closer to the front which was perfect. Restaurants: Cagney’s twice – Always a good place for steak. We learned to order the steak less well done than we usually like it. Medium rare was more like medium each time. Teppanyaki – Always fun - great service at the 5:15 seating and not as loud Moderno – Better than we thought it would be just don’t get too much salad bar before so you can enjoy all the variety of items brought around Le Bistro 3 times – Love the French onion soup and they had some crazy desserts! La Cucina 1 time there and delivery one time – Didn’t love our visit to La Cucina but saw someone ordering a pizza so one night we had our butler bring us a pizza from there instead of the room service menu and it was much better. We had to pay ala cart but it was worth it. We did purchase the Thermal Suite pass for the trip and had one couple’s massage. We enjoyed our time in the spa and they did not over sell it which was nice. We saw all but one show and I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of entertainment compared to years ago. I believe we saw 4-5 kids total on the entire cruise so it is definitely an older crowd which was fine with us. We were actually some of the younger ones. There were more walkers, canes and wheelchairs than we have seen on any trip so it seemed friendly for those slower getting around or disabled. My husband did three spinning classes but had wished they offered more since it was 14 days. Our room steward was awesome. Our butler was okay but was always in a hurry when he saw us and explaining how he had six other cabins so we always felt he was trying to help everyone else. We did not need to know about other people's needs who he was rushing off to help. Made us feel a bit insignificant. Overall it was a great trip and my husband and I are still talking after our 20th anniversary trip of approximately 18 days together! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Overall, I found the Star to be okay. I recently sailed the Jade (Panama Canal, Miami round-trip) and have favorites on both boats and wish the two would combine to make my dream ship! My favorite area in the morning was on Deck 12, ... Read More
Overall, I found the Star to be okay. I recently sailed the Jade (Panama Canal, Miami round-trip) and have favorites on both boats and wish the two would combine to make my dream ship! My favorite area in the morning was on Deck 12, Spice H2O (adults only, though apparently one couple couldn't read and their daughter was found often in there) -- but during the day it was hard to find a comfy seat in there (mostly due to seat saving). This ship could use two pools (one preferable adult only), but only has one. I do like the tiered deck, however. We could usually find a seat in the pool area in the afternoon, which is when we preferred to swim anyway. It seemed like there were plenty of hot tubs to go around, but since it was so warm on most of our trip we didn't really take advantage of those. We had an inside cabin on Deck 8, space and organization was completely adequate for two adults. Our room steward was amazing! I was disappointed in the entertainment aboard the ship, after being on the Jade and seeing their amazing cast in action, the Star fell short. There were few shows by the cast and they were okay. One comedian was awful, and while I love Julie Barr, her routine was the exact same as the month before on the Jade (probably not an issue for most people). The aerialists were amazing and we actually got to meet them in the Cafe one day, great people. The magician was actually quite good (they usually leave something to be desired). The hypnotist was good on his first round (apparently the 7:30 show was amazing, the 9:30 show was okay) but his second show was cancelled. And the singer was pretty good, but again, didn't need a second show of that. The other music on the boat was okay, nothing special. Le Bistro was our favorite restaurant (but costs extra) followed closely by meals at Versailles. Service in Aqua was okay, but Vipin was amazing! My friends traveled with their children and we found the club hours to be short and at odd times, especially the teen club (we had a young teen with us, not really able to be on his own for extended periods of time like older teens). The trip itself was amazing! The Panama Canal was fantastic, as we went through the canal the staff went above and beyond, setting out tables with water and even opening the Deck 8 crew only area for viewing. Ports: Colombia: We took the catamaran to Old Town and toured around ourselves. Costa Rica: Hanging Bridges -- it was decent, not enough time actually on the bridges for my liking, but it was a good experience. Guatemala: Antigua on our Own -- amazing, but just not enough time to see it all! Nicaragua: Live the Traditions -- a nice trip, but our guide said it was too hot to spend much time in the city, so we didn't, so that was disappointing. Acapulco: Baby Sea Turtle Release -- once in a lifetime opportunity if you are into that, the sea turtles had hatched that morning and were in the ocean by 11am. It's a short excursion, leaving time to explore Acapulco a bit. They seem to take safety quite seriously there, as I walked out of port a government guide approached me -- I was just going for a walk to the beach, but he kept telling me about the markets and other stuff, I was alone, so wasn't going anywhere by myself with someone else. Cabo: Adults Only Inclusive Beach Resort -- highly recommended and really wish we had the day to enjoy this one, would gladly give up half a day in Acapulco to have a full day in Cabo! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
This 14 day cruise was from Miami through the Panama Canal and north to Los Angeles. The ship was clean and well maintained as was our cabin. The toilet stopped working twice (affecting a number of cabins) but was repaired promptly. ... Read More
This 14 day cruise was from Miami through the Panama Canal and north to Los Angeles. The ship was clean and well maintained as was our cabin. The toilet stopped working twice (affecting a number of cabins) but was repaired promptly. The staff, without fail, was pleasant, friendly and helpful. Any request was dealt with promptly. The food in the two dining rooms, Aqua and Versailles was very good as was the service. We preferred the latter with its high ceilings and French Provincial decor. Men were required to wear long pants at dinner although we saw some shorts wearers pass unchallenged. Everywhere else, except the specialty restaurants which we did not patronize), the dress code was casual. Most men wore shorts, day and night. I didn't care for the food in the buffet, Garden Cafe. The buffets on both Holland America and Royal Caribbean were considerably better. For example, the Brussel sprouts were rubbery and the ends weren't cut off. I used to get a couple of oranges there some days and they were good but otherwise I only ate there a few times and usually ended up leaving half of what I'd taken. I didn't care for the brand of tea used everywhere, Lipton. The Earl Grey did not taste like Earl Grey and in the Garden cafe, no tea pots are used, just the bag in a mug. We ate at the complimentary restaurant, Ginza, once. We were given a buzzer and waited about 30 minutes to be called. The food looked similar to the Asian night at the Buffet. The $20 laundry promo -- you fill a good-sized bag as much as you can -- is a good service on a 14 day cruise. Everything came back clean and neatly folded. Our inside cabin had twin beds pushed together for us. There was enough room to get around the sides which saves crawling over the top of the bed. No sofa though which meant we had to watch TV or read while sitting in bed. I missed the small sofa we have had on Royal Caribbean and Holland America. The shower was quite large though. The TV picture was good but many channels were not utilized and just displayed the Norwegian Star logo. We didn't sail with children but on a previous cruise with our grandchildren, the all children's channel (and some room service snacks) led to some pleasant evening time together when we were babysitting. Many activities listed on the daily program are shopping or activities that attract a fee. For example, a painting class, yoga, indoor cycling, wine tasting, Bingo and blackjack tournaments. I tell myself that these income generating activities are necessary to keep the fare cost down and I saw some people shopping and painting. Some activities/seminars were really sales pitches: Skin Solutions seminar, World of EFFY (jewellery) Rapid Fire Art Auction, Bag Event. The second day a meeting of knitters and stitchers was posted which I attended but unfortunately it was placed in a bar that was too dark for any close work. I was designated to ask at the front desk for a change of venue and was told it would be looked into. I never saw another listing for this group but there were self-directed meetings posted for various occupations: nurses, military, paramedics . . . I don't know if these were requested or originated with Norwegian. I wonder now if the knitting group should have made arrangements among themselves to keep meeting at a certain place and time that suited the group. That wasn't made clear. Free events included trivia several times a day, sports participation events like family dodgeball, International line dance class, basic Spanish, Ping Pong tournament, Paper airplane toss challenge and a series of enrichment lectures. Various venues played easy listening standards; some musicians were better than others. The production shows were the best we have seen on a cruise: Paradis, Viva Las Vegas. The library was a disappointment -- a small room, overly air-conditioned. The collection appeared to be garage sale cast-offs and books left behind by passengers arranged in no particular order. There were some foreign language books, Norwegian, German and Chinese. The glass cabinets were kept locked except for a few hours a day so the books were inaccessible. Basic board games were available here. Chair hogs were a problem here as with other ships. We were told that the staff goes around and puts warning notices that items will be removed on loungers that have been left unattended for more than an hour. Overall, this cruise was very good for a mid-market or mass market cruise line offering cruises at reasonable prices. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
Easy embarkation would have been flawless if the terminal staff was educated on latitudes.Room availability and luggage delivery was startling quick. Excellent food options with the exception of La Cucina. That was terrible. The menu ... Read More
Easy embarkation would have been flawless if the terminal staff was educated on latitudes.Room availability and luggage delivery was startling quick. Excellent food options with the exception of La Cucina. That was terrible. The menu options were bizarre and the flavor was exceptionally bland. Le Bistro and Cagney’s were fantastic, as usual. They were clear that the charge would be made for anything beyond what is stated on the platinum dining voucher, and they did add it to the bill! Moderno was ok, a little too small, tables were very close. Aqua and Versailles were prompt and efficient. Ginza offered small portions with a long wait. No specialty dining options on sea day afternoons for lunch. Garden Cafe lists “late night snacks”, but they end at 11. Not my definition of “late night”. Breakfast Room service order was early, but not accurate. O’sheehans was exceptional, for all 3 meals, as well as actual “late night” snacks. Ports: Cartagena, opted for the Chivaparty bus tour. Excellent, only complaint is the locals being belligerent when declining to purchase their treasures. Panama Canal, viewed from all areas of the ship was interesting. Costa Rica, beautiful place, many things to do! Nicaragua, waste of a day. Accepted a “tour” from the bike cab, required donations to dancing children in costumes in the street. Upon completion, the guide was unhappy with the pre-negotiated price, as well as the tip! Guatemala, a day at a beach resort. Long ride, but the resort was delightful. Acapulco, boat tour to see cliff divers, they boarded the ship to take tips, open bar and lunch.Wonderful! Cabo San Lucas, luxury sail , included lunch and open bar. Numerous whale sightings. Very short day, would have preferred a longer stop. Entertainment on the ship was poor. Only saw Roberto the CD for 1 minute each day, at the end of the stardust theater shows. Comedian Julie was the high lite of the trip.She was hilarious. The juggling comedian was ok. The magician put everyone to sleep. The hypnotist had 1 mediocre show then cancelled the next day. The singers/ dancers would have been great if they were performing other shows. Paradis was offensive, beginning to end. Watching a skit about ménage a trios is just too much for me, and I am very open minded. Band on the Run is always great. They had a female headline singer, Levon a, she was quite talented. The band, game of tones performed daily, sometimes twice, and they were amazing with a Vast array of songs. Jason was playing a few times, sounded ok, but I did not hear an entire set. Another group, (unclear of the name )played horrendous and loud Latin music that was hard to escape. The usual game shows that were present were boring. The newlywed game is usually a scream. This one was pathetic and awkward. The legs contest by the pool was rushed. The quest was never offered. The biggest disappointment was the lack of variety of music played by the DJ. It was either Latin or extraordinarily outdated, one hit wonders from the 80’s. Same playlist, in order, at every party and parties rarely lasted beyond 12am ?!?! Spice H2O was underutilized, only 1 event held there. Glow/white party had 2 good songs, then the same playlist. Never had a party at night around the pool despite perfect weather every day/evening. Attended 3 kids club craft events ( very few kids on this sailing), the team was outstanding. Photography team was very subdued, as a result I did not have anything of quality to purchase. The captain was really informative, he spoke twice daily and delivered valuable information. He was seen around the ship more often and was much more personable than the CD! An older, small-ish ship but it was maintained as well as possible. Always neat and tidy. Air conditioning was sufficient in Bliss and the Stardust, but it was warm everywhere else. Tons of bar service available., especially at the pool. Never had an issue finding 2 lounge chairs together by the pool, either in the sun or in the shade. Room steward was ok, he did not restock many items in the cabin. He didn’t stop and chat. Towel animals were basic, nothing imaginative. Never smelled smoke, either in the casino or around the pool. Disembarkation was an absolute disaster. I had a tour scheduled, ticket stated “meeting at stardust at 830”. No other guests there. I assumed the tour attendees would disembark together. Nope, had to get in the line , despite being platinum, to disembark. Finally got to the bus, no direction as to which bus for each tour around 915, the bus waited another hour for more guests to arrive! This was a fun trip, but there is definitely room for the NCL Star to make improvements. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We did the 14 day Panama Canal cruise from Miami to LA. I packed all the things that are essential for me. A clock radio, magnetic clips to hold the itinerary with excursions, dining reservation and the daily planner on the wall, flavored ... Read More
We did the 14 day Panama Canal cruise from Miami to LA. I packed all the things that are essential for me. A clock radio, magnetic clips to hold the itinerary with excursions, dining reservation and the daily planner on the wall, flavored creamer for my coffee. I took an extension cord for plugging in our devices but didn't need it because the suite had 2 outlets, backpack for excursions, my Yeti cup for putting drinks in (the sun melted the ice right away), & lots of lotions and hats. We left Thurs for Miami & stayed at the airport Ramada. Got on the shuttle to the port at about 11AM Fri and got there about 11:45. Embarkation was easy (I think it would have been even without a suite). We were taken to a room where we checked in and waited for our concierge (Suzanna) to take us for lunch in the Moderno. After that we were able to get into our room, 12530. Yes, the 12th floor forward rooms have no balcony and I thought I would miss that but I never did. I sat by the window all thru the panama canal & didn't miss a thing. I loved sitting by the windows. They bring a narrator on board & he explains everything (it comes thru the TV) and also the bow camera. I do wish though that our windows would have been cleaner. They were alittle spotty to take pictures. Our butler was Rex, he was very sweet. Most days I ate lunch in my room, I think the menu is different for suite guests. Everything, especially the cobb salad, was great. We also had breakfast in the room on excursion days. Brussell was our room stewart. He did a great job. We were on the 12th floor and only walked a few steps out to the pool. Chairs were always filled by at least 10 on sea days which we had 6 of, but we were usually able to find somewhere to sit. The shows were very good (the magician and the contourshonist were the best). The musical shows were great but very loud. For excursions we were always escorted of the boat by Suzanna which was really nice and also for disembarkation. She couldn't take us all the way to the front of the line for disembarkation but it really helped. I would have been angry if I would have had to wait in those long lines. Norwegian had told me I needed to book dinner reservations early before we went on the cruise, but Suzanna was not sure why they told me that because she would have taken care of it & also the excursions. We had been on the star in 2017 before the renovation. It is really beautiful now. They use paper straws now for the drinks, which is really great. All the bars were great. Friday at embarkation the pool deck bars were very slow but they improved a lot. We loved the Bliss lounge and the nighttime games and music, the grand atrium area is nice and has good snacks. We ate at Tempanaki which I think was our favorite. La Bistro twice, they had a T-bone special which we didn't care for but ate there another night and it was good, Moderno we liked a lot (don't eat much salad) Cagneys twice, soso, Ginza (which is free) very good, Aqua once, the tables were very close together & Versaiiles 3 or 4 times, very good. Aqua & Versailles have the same menu. We loved it. I could have stayed longer. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this because we always wanted to see the Panama Canal and the central America ports. Embarking was very quick. We arrived approx 11:45 and were on the ship by 12:15. Headed to O'Sheehan's bar for lunch and ... Read More
We chose this because we always wanted to see the Panama Canal and the central America ports. Embarking was very quick. We arrived approx 11:45 and were on the ship by 12:15. Headed to O'Sheehan's bar for lunch and beverage. Nice bar and good food. Great staff! Anytime dining allows you to dine here as well as the main dining rooms. Checked out the ship after that. The Start just had a major refurbishment so it looked great! Not to crazy about a few dead end areas when trying to get to a few places but we figured out out after time. Our rooms are ready before we left the port. Main dining areas were very nice. Service was very good and the food was good to very good. Staff was very good to excellent. Fine dining was very good to excellent a well as the service. Bars were great and service was very good even at the pool. They had a buffet at the pool daily. Entertainment was very good. Something for everyone. Our room was well laid out with many USB chargers. Best bathroom layout I've seen on cruise ships. Sliding doors on both shower and toilet area for privacy while the sink area can be used at the same time. Bed was very comfortable and the a.c. was efficient and quiet. Patio was big enough for 4 to sit but not lounge. Good size casino. Why do they still allow smoking in there? It's time to stop that practice. The gamblers will come back to gamble after they step out for a smoke. It's not like they can drive home. Health before profits! That goes for all cruise lines! The staff was excellent overall in all departments. Very happy, talkative, cheerful and helpful. By far NVL's biggest asset! We had a great time and weren't disappointed. I'll definitely cruise with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
The Panama Canal has been on my bucket list for a while, and I really loved every bit of our cruise on NCL Star. I shared a balcony cabin with my sister, also an experienced cruiser; however, this was our first longer cruise (over 7 days) ... Read More
The Panama Canal has been on my bucket list for a while, and I really loved every bit of our cruise on NCL Star. I shared a balcony cabin with my sister, also an experienced cruiser; however, this was our first longer cruise (over 7 days) for both of us. The Star is looking spiffy after her recent drydock… décor looks fresh, color schemes up to date, seating in public spaces is (mostly) comfortable. She’s one of the smaller ships in the NCL fleet, so, we weren’t expecting the bells & whistles of a megaship. We still found plenty to like. Our cabin was about what we expected, size-wise: a bit snug, but room enough for both of us to completely unpack & hang up what needed hanging. The beds were reasonably comfortable. We both liked the USB ports that have been added to the bedside reading lamps. The bathroom is tight quarters, as expected (particularly the toilet cubicle,) but the shower is big enough to turn around in. Dining was very good in every venue we tried. We didn’t eat at the buffet for meals (just an occasional afternoon snack… they always had some nice things set out to make up a tea tray or an ersatz charcuterie plate.) The main dining rooms had a nice variety of entrees on the menu, with enough variation that we didn’t get bored by the end of the second week. The alternate venues wowed us! Of the specialty dining (we tried them all) we particularly liked Le Bistro & Teppanyaki, but it was all quite good. We also loved Ginza, the complimentary Asian restaurant, and would return two more times during the cruise. The activities & entertainment offered were varied, and we enjoyed the live music in the several venues around the ship. I particularly liked the production shows offered in the Stardust Theater – four shows over the course of the cruise – the show band is awesome! They would also perform in the smaller venues on non-show nights, and were terrific there, too. We also had the good fortune of having a guest lecturer on board, who gave several interesting talks in the afternoons on topics related to our Central American itinerary. I indulged in the thermal spa pass, and spent many pleasant hours there. Smaller ship means smaller spa… the steam room & sauna are tiny, but barely used, so it didn’t matter much. There are only seven of the heated tile loungers, but I think I only had to wait once. The crew of the Star is what really elevated the whole experience for us. Every single person we encountered was pleasant, helpful, and ready to treat us like rock stars. It amazes me how everyone you encounter (room steward, bartender, dining room hostess) is greeting you by name after about the third day. NCL is clearly doing something right, because the whole crew seems to be happy & energized to have the best cruise possible. After such a review, I hate to mention downsides… but there’s always a couple… The seating in Stardust Theater is awful, to put it simply. I guess it didn’t get the refurb during drydock. Many of the fold-down seats seem to be sagging. I found the bench seats in the balcony to be much more tolerable. Also, the live music is sometimes much too loud in small venues, particularly Gatsby’s (the midship bar on deck 6.) It was our favorite bar in the evenings, but we’d find ourselves avoiding it if there was an over-miked musician performing when we walked by. Overall, these very small glitches did nothing to diminish our overall enjoyment of the cruise. We loved the Canal experience & we’re glad we got to enjoy it aboard the Star. She’s a fine ship with a fine crew, and I’d sail her again anytime. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
The Panama Canal has always been on our Bucket List. While we usually vacation at All Inclusives, we felt a cruise would be the best way to experience the Canal. As first-time cruisers, we began to wonder what we had gotten ourselves ... Read More
The Panama Canal has always been on our Bucket List. While we usually vacation at All Inclusives, we felt a cruise would be the best way to experience the Canal. As first-time cruisers, we began to wonder what we had gotten ourselves into: prairie folk committing to 14 nights on a ship!! We chose Norwegian for the FreeStyle cruising and were not disappointed. We enjoyed the more relaxed dress code and not having to commit to a specific time to eat. We are foodies so were excited when the Versailles restaurant offered a delicious menu which was only surpassed by the genuine friendliness and service provided by the wait staff. It’s a good thing we were there 14 days to be able to sample most of the menu! O’Sheehans was our favourite breakfast spot—open early, relaxing ambience and delicious bacon and eggs. The Theatre is not really our thing but we went to the early show the second night and were absolutely blown away! Better than anything we’ve paid for at home so we attended every show after that! The live band accompanying the events was amazing. The entertainment changed each night: hypnotist, singer, musical shows (on-board animation team was AMAZING!!), comedian etc. We did 5 shore excursions. While the NCL excursions may be pricier than on-shore options, they were some of the best we have experienced. Excellent transfer buses, guides were knowledgeable and passionate about their countries, safety was a big priority (TIP: Costa Rica: top-of-the-line safety on the zip-line and best excursion ever!!). Near the end of our trip, we sailed on the Luxury Yachts in Cabo San Lucas. It was a beautiful way to spend the day—14 people snorkelling and whale watching—a nice break from the bustle of the ship. If we could change anything, we would like to see more chairs available in the shade outside. It was quite hot sailing south, with most of the shade inside the ship! If you are a smoker, there are lots of places to smoke outside, so many that it was difficult to avoid if you are a non-smoker. Read Less
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