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Sail Date: April 2019
Choose thus iteniary to do Panama Canal in less than 2 weeks. Got off at every port, some were amazing, Panama canal is an engineering marvel, but took all day, be prepared. Costa Rica, amazing jungles, only issue on ship was planning of ... Read More
Choose thus iteniary to do Panama Canal in less than 2 weeks. Got off at every port, some were amazing, Panama canal is an engineering marvel, but took all day, be prepared. Costa Rica, amazing jungles, only issue on ship was planning of activities, they had painting events (that you paid for) in same lounge as balloon folding, painting had no microphones, but balloon instructor did. Dis embarkment waa chaotic beyond any other cruise.. Very disappointed. They let those that used a stair case not instructed too use, to exit endlessly. While those that follows directions were left piling up in tight hallway. Food was tasty, service was impeccable, iteniary was unique. Private island was beautiful, pool enormous, beach beautiful, but jelly fish warning. Cute little shops. On ship have to collect signatures for trivia, n other games, n at end of cruise trade in for gifts, missed the presentation, so never got to trade in progress report Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our third trip to Panama via Norwegian. We traveled as a group of 5 couples. There was a coast guard inspection on the day of our embarkation which slowed the process down, but in general it went smoothly. We feel that the ... Read More
This was our third trip to Panama via Norwegian. We traveled as a group of 5 couples. There was a coast guard inspection on the day of our embarkation which slowed the process down, but in general it went smoothly. We feel that the cruise director is the heart of the ship, planning events and making the ship fun and entertaining. Unfortunately, our cruise director was not that good. The cruise was very low key and lacked a really happy vibe which Norwegian is known for and what we experienced on other cruises. The food did not meet any of our expectations. The buffet offered the same food quite often and the desserts very rarely changed. Specialty dining we would consider as being the worst. The only one we all enjoyed was Cagney's We avoided the main dining room because it took a minimum of 2 hours to get out, and the food was sparse. We all noticed it was difficult to understand many of the crew and vice versa. The entertainment in the Magnum lounge was very good and the Elements show and Jeff the Juggler were great. The games shows with our cruise director were awful. Leaving the ship was painless and we were out of the terminal in a timely manner. In general, in spite of the few shortcomings, we all considered this to be a very good cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We caught an 11am shuttle from our hotel to the port. By 12.10 we were upstairs and waiting to board. We didn’t realise when checking in we required our ESTA which was packed in our suitcase. Thankfully they let us board anyway. We were ... Read More
We caught an 11am shuttle from our hotel to the port. By 12.10 we were upstairs and waiting to board. We didn’t realise when checking in we required our ESTA which was packed in our suitcase. Thankfully they let us board anyway. We were on board by 1pm. We met our cabin steward the day we embarked and we saw him at least once if not twice a day. Our cabin stewards service was great. We only ate in O'Sheehan's once on Embarkation day. We didn't have trouble procurring a table. I was dissapointed O'Sheehan's don't serve the chicken tenders anymore. Our first day at sea we ate lunch in the Grand Pacific Restaurant after we attended the Meet & Greet. I wasn’t fussed by the lunch options and wouldn’t choose to eat lunch in the restaurant again. The remainder of our lunches we ate in the Garden Cafe and we always found enough options to eat. We ate dinner in Alizars every night. We almost always arrived for dinner at 7pm and at least half the time we had a 20min wait for a table. Magnums was a great bar to spend the time whilst we waited for a table. The bar staff in Magnums were fabulous(very entertaining and prompt service). The food in Alizar was great and service was almost always outstanding. The day we were traversing the Panama canal we were upstairs by 5am. We had planned to be outside on deck 13 but by the time we made it upstairs there were already too many people so we settled on a 2nd row seat on the port side in Spinnaker instead. A fortuitous decision we were very glad we made when it started to rain. We had pretty awesome views of the locks including an LPG tanker coming the other way. Before we completed the crossing I went down to Deck 7 to get an up close view of the mules (towing trains) and the walls of the lock. We had two tender ports(Gatun Lake, Panama & Puerto Limon) but only one where we had to line up for tender tickets. I was in line for tickets by 8.10(for an 8.30 pickup) and I was about 50th in line. We just missed out on tickets for the first tender but were two of six who managed to get on the first tender at the gate. We booked two tours through NCL (Gatun Lake and Harvest Caye) the remainder we booked independently. My original tour of the Mayan ruins of Nim Li Punnit (8.30) was cancelled and I was moved to a later tour which meant I wasn't able to spend anytime checking out Harvest Caye. I utilised the gym most days. A couple of times I used the pool and the spa. The temperature of the spa was perfect. I wasn't impressed by the DJ who played in Spinnaker. The dance floor would be full and he would stop playing the song half way through. On our second night I came across Dave McHugh a guitarist from Newfoundland who was amazing. The venues where he played were always packed and standing room only. We elected to be in one of the last groups to disembark, disembarkation was VERY slow. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We had a great time on Bliss. We were back to back for three weeks. It was mostly great; a few things could improve. First, NCL's business model seems to be to jam as many people onto a ship as possible and have passengers sort out ... Read More
We had a great time on Bliss. We were back to back for three weeks. It was mostly great; a few things could improve. First, NCL's business model seems to be to jam as many people onto a ship as possible and have passengers sort out how to manage the crowds. The pool deck is chaotic. Noisy. Chairs all gone by 9 AM by hogs who put towels down and leave for hours. NCL should enforce its stated rules and remove belongings left unattended for long periods of time. The sam can be said for the observation deck and the waterfront. Very crowded and filled with hogs who leave. This dynamic leave passengers with no place to find peace -- even a little quiet to read and reflect in the nice areas of the ship. The MDR's are similarly busy until 8:30 PM, meaning that if you can wait, you will have a great, peaceful meal, which we did most nights. Having said that, the crew is amazing. Our steward, Andy was awesome. Bartenders at A-Lost (Rowena, and two fellows from India, and Rakesh (wine Steward) made us feel like we were most important), Maltings (Salavatore) and the Cavern Club equally wonderful. The ladies in the Spa (Emear and Tanya and others who kept the thermal suite safe) were great. Likewise, we enjoyed virtually every waiter at MDR for the most part. Entertainment. This was the highlight of the cruise. Siglo, Familiar Strangers, the Beatles band the first week (March 23), Jersey Boys, and all the comedy acts were fantastic. We constantly listened ti music and lauged at the comedy. Havana was not so good and Uptown was pretty good. Specialty restaurants. Cagneys, Ocean Blue and Teppanyaki were absolutely fantastic. Le Bistro was one of the worst meals we had the whole time (extremely rushed and disjointed service) and La Cucina (food was cold and tasteless). I wrote comment cards and even spoke to someone who said he'd have the restaurant manager call me -- but the call never came. I have spent 43 days on NCL and will not go back to Bistro or Cucina, even though I have had great meals there on the Epic and Getaway. The ship is gorgeous; the nerve center on the 6-8 level is great, and the spa was terrific. If they fix some of the crowding and chai hogging and improve meals in those 2 restaurants, this would be a 5 star experience Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Loved this cruise, the ship was awesome so many things to see and do, the entertainment was varied and terrific. We especially enjoyed the comedians. Jersey Boys was fantastic, what a great show . We enjoyed all our meals,especially ... Read More
Loved this cruise, the ship was awesome so many things to see and do, the entertainment was varied and terrific. We especially enjoyed the comedians. Jersey Boys was fantastic, what a great show . We enjoyed all our meals,especially the steak at Cagneys. The sea bass at Oxean Blue was perfectly cooked. All our meals at the buffet were so tasty and enjoyed the ethnic variety. Met some terrific ladies at the stichers group, we got together every morning on sea days, shared ideas, crafts and stories We plan to start our own facebook group, and have promused to schedule a stitch group on every cruise we go on We were a bit disappointed when disembarking, it was crazy busy,understandable Our transfer bus to the airport was a mess as we ended up having to get off 2 different buses and then told to wait for a third bus. (Arrival time unknown )We felt time pressured so found an alternate form of transportation. Hope to get refunded Last words, wow a fantastic cruise and want to biard the Bliss again for another cruise soon Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this criuse to celebrate our 50th anniversery and had a wonderful time. We chose the beverage and dining packages and could not have been happier with the choice. We are not big drinkers but it was nice to feel free to try new ... Read More
We chose this criuse to celebrate our 50th anniversery and had a wonderful time. We chose the beverage and dining packages and could not have been happier with the choice. We are not big drinkers but it was nice to feel free to try new ones that we would not have if we didn't have that package. The dining package gave use many great chioces. We chose Cagneys for our anniversery diner and loved it. The only negitves where the soup and potatoes where lukewarm. The service was great and, as it happened, our waiter was also our waiter when we sailed on the Star. We also ate at Le Bistro and Los Lobos. Le Bistro was above average and Los Lobos was so good we eat there two more times. Yessina at Los Lobos is a treasure. On our second night there she made my wife a napkin rose that she kept and admiered for the rest of the cruise. We ate at Savor and The Local alot and they were always top notch. Service on the ship was excellent with only a couple of grumpy grew members. I have a great deal of respect for the crew members. They work 12 hour days for up to 9 months without a day off and still show great attitudes. As far as the ships entertainment and activities go the entertainment was great! We mostly liked to just relax and read a good book, so I can't really review the activies, although there seemed to be something going on all the time. Embarkation was a breeze but disembarkation could be termed organized chaos. We only took one Norwiegian excursion and it was just OK. We took a Thumbs Up 10 in 1 excursion in Costa Rica and it was awsome. If you ever get to Costa Rica you should check this out and request Allie as your guide. Overall we were very happy with the Bliss and would cruise on it again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Bakery at Noon is a joke that a group of us that met on the ship came up with - long story Overall the cruise leaving Miami to LA thru the Panama Canal was very nice. We met some extremely great people and the Panama Canal was ... Read More
Bakery at Noon is a joke that a group of us that met on the ship came up with - long story Overall the cruise leaving Miami to LA thru the Panama Canal was very nice. We met some extremely great people and the Panama Canal was amazing. The ship is beautiful and is kept extremely clean. Our cabin steward Nollie was very good. Thank you to Rommel - Michael - Carlos (bartenders) for doing a great job and making the trip fun. GOOD 1) Jersey Boys - this show is excellent 2) Garden Buffet - thank you NCL for changing the layout to make it less crowded and the food selection was pretty good for a buffet 3) Race Track - it was a lot of fun - something that just about anyone can do 4) "Q" - plenty of food and the meats are very good 5) Los Labos - great food and plenty of it 6) Pool - thank you NCL for making this area larger and getting rid of the smoking area by the pool 7) Casino - again good job NCL enclosing the smoking area to help reduce the smoke smell from being all over the ship 8) Ship staff - overall the vast majority are very good but NCL needs to work on the staff being able to speak English and more attentive to the customer. Sorry but I felt many were just going through the motions. 9) Observation Lounge - beautful area and great for lunch BAD 1) Bartenders - I know most of the people have the beverage package but at least act like you care - except for the 3 bartenders I metioned before. The worst bartenders are in the Observation Lounge and the bar between Cagneys and Los Labos. 2) Cagneys - this was my favorite restaurant on the Escape and Getaway but on the Bliss the service was terrible and the steaks are tough and tasteless. We dined there twice on this crusie and it was the same both times. The service staff is guilty of just going through the motions and could care less about you as a customer. 3) La Cucina - I love Italian Food - they should try serving it there. Italian food has garlic in it and La Cucina must have not gotten that memo. 4) Havana (the show) - one word "terrible" - don't waste your time. We were on this ship for for 15 days and were never bored. I went on this cruise with concerns about having so many at sea days but I have to admit it really was enjoyable. Speciality Restaurants are not really that special - NCL you need to kick it up a notch. 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
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Selected this cruise for the Panama Canal experience, LA to Miami, February 1-15, which was handled superbly from having a narrator of the cruise through to having the staff having coffees, drinks, pastries etc throughout the area and ... Read More
Selected this cruise for the Panama Canal experience, LA to Miami, February 1-15, which was handled superbly from having a narrator of the cruise through to having the staff having coffees, drinks, pastries etc throughout the area and lunch on Deck 12 (need sharp elbows for the rush for t-shirts) Captain Matthias Anderson was exceptional; the first time we have heard a captain give overview information about the land masses and ocean we were passing by/through, about the stops (history and geography), just wish more folks HD stopped to listen, very informative The stops were in order of our preference, all excursions were booked through NCL before leaving home: Acapulco, Bay cruise and Cliff divers; Guatemala, on your own Antigua; Cabo San Lucas, whale watching; Scenic Costa Rica; Columbia, party bus tour of city; did not go off the ship in Nicaragua and left directly fir home post cruise. Enjoyed everyone we met. Liked Gatsby’s for entertainment especially Felicia. The Game of Tones and the couple from Columbia (Latino beat eg salsa) were good, least favourite was Jason, but having said that overall, very good. Really liked having the mariachis who came on board in Mexico, for an ‘around the pool afternoon’ - great music, wish that we could have taken home their performance. Food was good in the main restaurants, with beef or other red meat option, vegetarian, chicken, fish and pasta served nightly; breakfast had variety, and lunch in Versailles was good. We brought lunch from the Garden Cafe 3-4 times, out to the aft, adults only area Moderno was a great experience as were Bistro (anniversary), and Cagney’s. Really liked having O’Sheehan’s open, fixed menu was very good. Shout out to Jay Ann in O’Sgeehan’s during the day and Le Bistro at night. Service was excellent throughout the cruise including bar and bussing staff and c,earners —- spotless. Caveats: excellent cabin service should mean that a knock on the door and a handshake is not reserved for 20 minutes before disembarking, with a clear speciation of top-up gratuity. Suggestion that cabin attendants introduce themselves or at least be given cards with their name on it to leave in the room. The room was kept tidy and needed little more than a bed making and towels; we are neat travellers by nature, so counters clear, sink area washed down/tidied, towels put back on on racks etc. It was Day 3 when the cabin attendant next room over gently pointed out that he was not our attendant but would be glad to ask ‘our’ attendant for the ice we requested. The first cruise, ever, we did not leave/give extra to the cabin attendant. Final note, we always book flights a day before—- and this proved us right, for sure, given the weather, we would have missed sailaway had we booked the same flight, day of. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
My husband and I wanted to experience the Panama Crossing and the NCL Star itinerary was ideal. We chose an ocean view cabin on deck four and it was just fine....lots of storage, not far from elevators and Starlight Theatre. It was our ... Read More
My husband and I wanted to experience the Panama Crossing and the NCL Star itinerary was ideal. We chose an ocean view cabin on deck four and it was just fine....lots of storage, not far from elevators and Starlight Theatre. It was our first cruise without a balcony but spent so little time in the room it was fine. Our cabin steward was excellent. We flew into LA and because our flight had been delayed we were greeted by an NCL rep and taxied to the ship. We usually book our flights through the cruiseline for this very reason. Embarkation was a breeze as we were likely the last to arrive. Our dining was always a positive experience. Lots of variety and tasty choices at the Garden Cafe for breakfast and lunch. Usually no problem with seating. We chose Versailles most evenings which was always delicious and served by friendly, efficient staff. Each evening we attended the Stardust Theatre productions. Always enjoyable with professional entertainment. We found the 7:30 show busiest so tried to get there a bit early. After the show there was always something happening in Bliss lounge where we had an evening drink. In only a few instances we encountered a less than friendly employee. Generally the staff went above and beyond and service was great. We enjoyed the village of Cabo San Lucas best and the tender process was efficient. We did not take any ship excursions other than the Catamaran in Cartegena. Disembarkment in Miami was quite smooth. We chose to keep our luggage with us so could choose our own time to leave. Bus transportation to the airport was included. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise for two reasons. 1st was the chance to go to Cabo San Lucas to whale watch. 2nd was the Panama Canal. Both were amazing and we are so glad we went. The ship was good,although we did find the passageways to cabins ... Read More
We chose this cruise for two reasons. 1st was the chance to go to Cabo San Lucas to whale watch. 2nd was the Panama Canal. Both were amazing and we are so glad we went. The ship was good,although we did find the passageways to cabins stranger than usual with lots of corners and turns. Not a problem, just strange! We ate most meals in Versailles main dining room, it stops us from being too greedy and we thought the quality was very good. I am not used to having a whole cow on my plate, or that’s how it seemed as the steaks were huge but nice and tender and very tasty. Vegetable portions were a bit small though in comparison. Breakfast in the dining room was a better start to the day than the buffet. After many years of eating in the buffet we have come to realise that walking up and down trying to decide what to have, then trying to find a table or one having to wait and keep the table while the other got food is not the nicest way to have a meal. Our cabin was an inside in deck 8. It was fine for our needs, we hardly spent any time in there. We asked for the bed to be made into two singles as it leaves more space. Going to the toilet in the middle of the night when it’s a double bed is just too awkward. The bathroom was a good size and the shower bigger than most ships we have been on. A little step or ledge for us ladies to shave our legs though would be good. And I wish every cruise line would do away with the alcohol in the minibar, but that’s just my own personal preference. Our steward was fine and hopefully we kept the cabin tidy enough to keep his workload down. The entertainment was a mixture. There was a juggling comedian who we thought was very good. The other comedian we can’t really comment on as nearly all the jokes were USA based so we didn’t understand most of it. The ship based singers were an assortment of good and below average. The cruise director and his staff were very good from what we saw. We didn’t spend any time on the top deck so can’t say what the entertainment was like. We tend to spend our time on the promenade deck listening to the waves, reading, and people watching ( well, watching them walk round the deck about 20 times!) The service on board was good and there wasn’t much waiting at the bar. Every member of staff were friendly that we came into contact with, especially in the dining room. We didn’t really enjoy Cartagena, but that could just be because of the traffic and heat. We enjoyed Cabo, and the Canal . Costa Rica was quite nice too, and seeing the cliff divers in Acapulco was an experience. We made our own arrangements as we feel cruise lines are just too overpriced for tours. Embarkation was the quickest we have ever had, disembarkation very slow, but nothing to do with the cruise line, just the usual at US ports. Overall, we had a great time on the Star.8009 Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We choose this cruise for the Panama Canal. We had previously gone into the canal from the Atlantic and returned, but wanted to go all the way through. Embarkation: This was our first time to have a suite. When arriving at the ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the Panama Canal. We had previously gone into the canal from the Atlantic and returned, but wanted to go all the way through. Embarkation: This was our first time to have a suite. When arriving at the terminal, I told several people that we had priority boarding and they steered us to the line with general boarding. I happened to see a sign above the desk for those in suites (no line). I left our line and asked someone about it and when she realized we did have priority boarding, she very quickly walked us through the process, apologizing about the mix-up. After getting our cruise cards we were taken to a holding room with refreshments and told that there was no electricity on the ship and would need to wait. We were able to board in about 20 minutes and then taken to Cagney's for lunch. It was probably one of the best meals we had on the ship. Having never had priority, we did not know what to expect and things did seem to be disorganized. We made it to our cabin, met our butler (Jonjon) and settled in. Butler: For those of you who have not had a butler, they bring room service, check on you from time to time and will help you with dinner reservations and greet you for shore excursions. Cabin Steward: We had Dragonia from Macedonia and she was great. Getting around: Two tips, the fish on the carpet in the hallways are swimming toward the front of the ship and the doors on each side are painted different colors. Shore Excursions: Acapulco: We did City with Cliff Divers because we had never been to Acapulco before and felt that this was something we really wanted to see. However, unless you walk to the very bottom of the viewing area, lots and lots of steps, you will not be able to see the divers hit the water. Even if we had chosen to walk down that far, the viewing area was already crowded and if you weren't on the front row you could not see. Two people passed out from the climb and the hear (remember this is February), so choose carefully. Cabo: We went to Todas Santos, which was not offered online but was available on ship. It is a really neat little town. The included lunch was great. There was a man in the courtyard of the Hotel California making clay items on a wheel, they were free, but of course we tipped him for making us a small fountain. It takes about 90 minutes to reach this small town, so keep that in mind. Lots of gift shops, but no bargains, except for our little clay fountains. Puerto Quetzal: We choose Easy Antigua. The trip to the Jade Factory was interesting and the town of Antiqua was a beautiful Spanish colonial city. The streets are very rough and you switch to a smaller bus/van at the Jade factory as the streets are also very narrow. It is a 90 minute bus ride to the town. Puntarenas: We choose scenic Costa Rica which ended up being a stop at a Plaza for children dancing, lots of tables of vendors and then another stop at a larger gift shop for fruit tasting (very little fruit). Would choose this again. San Juan Del Sur: Our favorite excursion! We visited the Amayo Hacienda & Lake Nicaragua. A beautiful home with a small swimming pool and views of the volcanoes.Lunch was great. The lake is like an ocean and you can swim there but the waves were very rough the day we were there. Cartagena: San Felipe Fortress & City at Leisure We had been to Cartagena before, but had not gone to the fort. It is quite a walk, but mostly ramps and not stairs. Glad we did it. When we got to the old city, we jumped ship and went for lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. It was delicious and so nice to sit in the quiet. Remember that most of the wait staff in all of these places do not speak English so be prepared and patient. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Wanted to sail the west side of California, and go through all three locks of the Panama Canal, ending in Miami. Entertainment was ok, but not as good as other cruises we have been on, Stateroom service was not as efficient as we have ... Read More
Wanted to sail the west side of California, and go through all three locks of the Panama Canal, ending in Miami. Entertainment was ok, but not as good as other cruises we have been on, Stateroom service was not as efficient as we have become accustomed too. Many of the excursions we went on were disappointing, with long rides to the destination, and then underperforming, The café dining was always crowded, with very little room to pass by people as you jockeyed for a position to maneuver around others standing at the drink machines. Sometimes areas were so narrow, only an individual could get through. The entertainment director just seemed to go through the motions, and was not very creative. We did love our daily notes from various staff members, and the treats they sent us. The dinners at the specialty restaurants were good, except the service was amazingly slow. The free laundry was a great perk! I do believe that Diamond members should receive free wifi, or at least 100 minutes free. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
the embarkment went smooth, and the cabins were ready very early. the workers did a great job, and kept the ship clean. one of my excursions got mixed up, but I received a complimentary bottle of wine and a fresh fruit bowl ... Read More
the embarkment went smooth, and the cabins were ready very early. the workers did a great job, and kept the ship clean. one of my excursions got mixed up, but I received a complimentary bottle of wine and a fresh fruit bowl delivered to my cabin. my crew workers did a great job for me, very well done. NCL offered WIFI, but i had trouble log-on and log-off. almost like NCL coud hold a class for this, not just a 8x10 piece of paper with directions. even the crew sent me to the front desk. (on day 7) I asked 3 crew members for info on this, and they were not sure either. NCL highlighted the Blazing boots show, and i only saw it available on night at 7 and 9pm. but oh yes it was spectacular. i never did see any other shows advertised, except on the ship, and each one i attended was top notch. Thanks Brenda Kaye for the awesome Hypnosis show and lectures.( all included free) the sit down dining was not for me. the pepper shakers were empty, even the replacements were empty. one night i never did get my Steak, i had to wait over a hour at the excursion desk to make a change, as only two persons were working the desk. it took two days to make the correct TV adjustments to get it working, or i maybe could have use the TV service to make my own excursion adjustments. turns out the remote and the tv would not sync. there was rarely room to sit and eat at the buffet dining, i usually ate in my room or on the back deck. i did give the other sit down dining a chance or two, and it took 2 hours to get served and out of there, . O'Sheehans did a awesome job of serving me 80% of my meals and drinks. i can only hope most of my gratuities went in that direction. My bed sheets got changed every 4th night, but i am not sure what the NCL policy is there. the Bliss showroom was a great place for me to hangout in the evenings, as i do like Karaoke, both singing and listening. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
This was a "bucket list' trip which exceeded our expectations. We enjoyed all the ports we visited and the weather was wonderful. The shows were very entertaining and funny. We took a tour every day and all went very smoothly. ... Read More
This was a "bucket list' trip which exceeded our expectations. We enjoyed all the ports we visited and the weather was wonderful. The shows were very entertaining and funny. We took a tour every day and all went very smoothly. Swimming with the Dolphins was wonderful and a great experience. Our first snorkeling trip could have been better, there were way too many people in the water in a small area. There were other boats in close promiximity and we were all confined to a small area. The second snorkeling experience was in Bonaire and was much better in a smaller boat and less than half the number of people. We are still not fans of the open seating but the service was very good and we enjoyed the meals. The Buffet was great with lots of variety but seating was an issue at times. There are many places to eat other than the dining room. We ate in 2 of the speciality restaurants having one tough steak and one melt in your mouth steak. There was a huge delicious cake on the buffet that you helped yourself to. The icing was delicious and changed flavors every day. Embarkation was great, no wait and the precruise hotel was very nice. Transportation to and from the pier was fine. Disembarkation was on the slow side but there was a delay at customs. Our luggage was easily located and intact. Upon arrival my huband's luggage was not delivered or located until the next day. Someone had broken the handle and the tags fell off, NCL did have it repaired within one day. We have been doing a lot of River Cruises to avoid the crowds on the Ocean Liners but this cruise turned out to be very enjoyable. I would not hesitate going on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
It was our sewenth cruise with Norwegian. We were three times on Star, two times on Spirit, one time on Geteway , and this time on Gem. We decided for this cruise, because, after Geteway, we concluded, that we prefer smaller ships, and 19 ... Read More
It was our sewenth cruise with Norwegian. We were three times on Star, two times on Spirit, one time on Geteway , and this time on Gem. We decided for this cruise, because, after Geteway, we concluded, that we prefer smaller ships, and 19 days for the price we get, was a good deal. All the ports were very interesting. We were two cupels, and made private excursion, because we prefer to be independent. Embarkation was not so quick, like we used to have by Norwegian. Also we used to meet concierge in port. This time she wait on us in ship, colect all of us , toeld us where we can eat, where and when we can meet her.We used , to get more information first day from concierge. Food was very good , no complaint. A lot activites and , lot music everywhere on the ship. Fantastic atmosphere. Service very, very good. We spend a lot of time on 13 deck ,smoking area, and water Nikola was so nice, all the time with big smiling, made for us fantastic coctailes. Alltogether, this was fantastic cruise, and 19 days went so quick. Gem is beautiful ship, with fantastic stuf , from captain , who informed us daily about all interesting things for guests ,until our steward. Only our bathroom in caben disappointed us a little bit, and concierge was inapropierte. Read Less
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