245 Norwegian Star Alaska Cruise Reviews

This was our first cruise so I don't have another to compare to. The cruise staff was very nice and attentive but some were hard to understand because they are all from other countries. I didn't like the pushing to sell jewelry ... Read More
This was our first cruise so I don't have another to compare to. The cruise staff was very nice and attentive but some were hard to understand because they are all from other countries. I didn't like the pushing to sell jewelry all the time. They had a presentation for shopping in ports by the shopping consultant but most of it was about jewelry. I thought it would be about where to go for souvenirs and things like that but no, it was where the shops are to get the jewelry and I was so sick of it by the end of the cruise I could scream. We went to Cagney's Steakhouse to have a nice quiet dinner and of course there was a screaming toddler in there. I don't mind kids but you would think that the ship would have at least 1 or 2 specialty restaurants that were adult only to enjoy some peace and quiet from all the people and kids on board. Sometimes it was like chaos and I needed to have some quiet time and it would have been nice for 1 meal. The buffet was chaos and it was hard to find a place to sit most of the time, I hated it. The Alaska ports were good but Prince Rupert BC was a joke. What is wrong with NCL choosing this port? My husband and I walked to the mall and that was such a waste of time. We went into 2 stores close to the ship and they didn't have anything worth looking at. We were back on board within an hour. If you go on the Alaska cruise and they stop in Prince Rupert, don't bother getting off the ship. The bright shining light of the cruise was our steward Atish. He cleaned our room and left us towel animals. He was a very sweet young gentleman and we appreciated all his hard work. I think we will have to try another cruise line in the future to see how they do compared to NCL. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Star to Alaska 7/2/11-7/9/11 Background: there were 9 of us travelling Balcony #1: Uncle, Aunt and Cousin (12yr old) Balcony #2: Me, Aunt, Niece (11yr old) Balcony ... Read More
Star to Alaska 7/2/11-7/9/11 Background: there were 9 of us travelling Balcony #1: Uncle, Aunt and Cousin (12yr old) Balcony #2: Me, Aunt, Niece (11yr old) Balcony #3: Grandma, Grandpa and Cousin (16yr old) Half of us were seasoned cruisers taking a few first-timers on a cruise. EMBARKATION AMAZING. We stayed at the Waterfront Marriott, basically across the street from pier 66; the bellhop loaded all of luggage onto 2 luggage carts and brought it all over for us, including my grandfather who was using a wheelchair from the hotel. We didn't even have to wait on line; a porter came right to us with a cart and took it all. And another employee met us with a wheelchair for grandpa. Then we got on line to check in. Super smooth, right to the wheelchair accessible desk. Pretty easy check-in, considering how many of us there were ?. There we made another wheelchair switch (not quite sure why) but our check-in agent was very nice and shocked that I had the correct paperwork for bringing a minor that wasn't my own on board. Then we stopped for the photo and WALKED RIGHT on. Wow, that has never happened cruising out of New York. We were headed for Versailles we they announced that the rooms were ready (another pleasant shock) so we went and dropped off our carry-ons. Two of our rooms (9088 and 9090) were next door so we asked the room steward, Joseph, if he could open the balcony, he said yes, after the inside passage because it would be too windy (and he remembered and did it with no reminder.) My grandparents' room was 9110 and a little closer to the elevator. The accessibility at sea people delivered his actual wheelchair that we had rented ($75) while we were admiring the rooms. Only problem came when one of our bags didn't show up by our room, I found it myself at the opposite end of the hallway. RESTAURANTS: Versailles - Meals- Lunch Day 1, Dinner Day 1, Breakfast Day 2, Lunch Day 2 and Dinner Day 2 (I think) Okay so the main problem with Versailles is stairs. If you are travelling with a person in a wheelchair it can be a little tricky because only one elevator goes to the correct floor, but getting that elevator to stop for you and have room was impossible. Also the Maitre D was located at the top of a staircase, but you are seated a level lower, so if you do not have able bodied people with you, you are basically out of luck. ***Please note we eventually received a special wheelchair accessible key card that made it so the correct elevator opened and you could go to Versailles, but it came after so many failed attempts that we ended up eating most of our remaining dinners at Aqua. I'm not sure why the special key card took so long to get to grandpa, or why it wasn't given at check-in. We were thankful to have so many problems at Versailles, because then we experienced Aqua and it was incredible!! While Versailles had decent food, it had extremely slow service. Forget getting coffee with dessert, buy the time it came, you were already done. Aqua - Meals - All the rest of our dinners (except 1) Great food, very similar to Versailles, but they called it more contemporary. Amazing wait staff, Jonolito was incredible. Friendly, efficient. Never had a problem getting a table at 8:30 for a large group. The only restaurant where we were actually told what the Chef Specialty was every night. I cannot say enough about how much we enjoyed Aqua. Endless Summer - Thursday Dinner - ½ Off Night The only reason we decided to try endless summer was the promotion of ½ Off. And it was well worth it. The best meal of the entire trip, but let me say it wouldn't have been worth $90 for us, but for $45 it was great. We had very special service because of a food allergy, the only restaurant that offered to make something special because of it. Best of All (at La Cucina) Friday Lunch $15 each The idea is you get a sampling of the specialty restaurants, while the food was good; there was nothing there that inspired me to go to any of the restaurants featured. Market Cafe - All the time ;) Interesting selection, part of the group really enjoyed the Indian buffet. Took us a while to figure out that at lunch time the first two sections are the same, but the 3rd is different, sandwiches, etc. The Grill - At breakfast they have an omelet station and a waffle station. At lunch they have burgers, hot dogs, wursts, etc. Blue Lagoon - The only restaurant where I ordered soup and it came out hot. I didn't like the set-up compared to the Spirit and Dawn. PORTS: Ketchikan 7/4/11 There is plenty to do and walk to easily on your own. We walked through town and picked up all of our free jewelry and then walked over to Creek Street. Creek Street is an easy walk (hard to find a bathroom,) there's Dolly's, some shopping and a tram up the mountain to a hotel. The tram is $2, well worth it for the bathrooms!! There are some totem poles and you can walk back down to Married Man's Trail, if you go right you will end up at the fish ladder to see the salmon as well. In town there are the normal cruise shops, nothing spectacular. Highlight there is a pharmacy right on the main street where you can pick up sundry items for a lot less than on the ship. There was a town parade, but the rain got so bad we watched it from our balcony. Juneau 7/5/11 We took the free shuttle into town. Again the normal cruise shops and also a lot of tours available to book on your own. We took the 3 hour Shrine, Glacier and Town Tour through M&M tours. Well worth it. We had an amazing local guide (Kevin) who showed us all through town, the creek where they first found gold, small churches, the state house, governors' mansion, etc. Then we went to the lake that Mendenhall Glacier feeds, we got to grab some glacier ice and eat it, it was very cool. Then we were off to the Shrine at St Therese, http://www.shrineofsainttherese.org which seemed like it was in the middle of nowhere. There were seals, eagles, salmon and I guess sometimes whales, but we were there at low tide. It was a great tour because we got to see the "valley" or "banana belt" where the regular people live and we learned a lot about the marine highway. NCL Excursion: Tracy Arm Glacier!!! AMAZING!!!! You leave the ship around 1pm and board directly onto a waiting catamaran. It was really cool to walk through the crew areas. The first 20 minutes are boring, take a nap, just sailing to....WHALES!! I think we saw about 7 total whales, the captain was very generous giving us lots of time with them. We saw a humpback jump and quite a few whale tails. Once you start going up the arm you really get to admire the beauty of your surroundings. There are beautiful icebergs, waterfalls, eagles, etc. We got to spend about an hour at the actual glacier; we saw a few small pieces drop and then a huge drop about 20 minutes before we left. There was also a seal swimming about. The girls on the ship were really informative about the area, native people and wildlife. They gave us free hot chocolate and coffee. Bring warm clothes, gloves; it is so beautiful you will want to be outside as much as possible. Skagway 7/6/11 $2 Shuttle into town or $5 for an all day pass which includes ride to gold fields, gardens and cemetery. Well we were suckers and bought the all day pass, just so you know you need to pay an entrance fee at those places, or the cemetery you have to talk more than .5 miles from the bus stop. The main town was pretty cool, nice shops, some authentic. We left Skagway late due to a medical emergency, Paul kept us very informed and we still (unfortunately) got to Prince Rupert on time ? Prince Rupert 7/7/11 Waste of a stop, some really cool stores, but nothing I would buy on a cruise. The only highlight was the eagles. GENERAL THINGS I DID NOT LIKE: Spinnaker Lounge - it's at the back of the ship, no windows, bad acoustics and all one level. Very dark and depressing and/or loud. As previously mentioned, it is hard to get anywhere with a wheelchair Spa - While my treatment was incredible, the entire experience was lacking. They don't do the whole robe, changing room, etc experience that they used to. They bring you to a waiting room (with a great view) and have you fill out a form and try to sell you add-ons. Then they bring you directly to the treatment room where you disrobe and get on the table. At the end of your treatment you are told to relax, get up when ready and put your clothes back on!?! (My clothes on my oily, just massaged body?!?) Then they come back with water and a sales pitch. My massage therapist gave me a great massage, but when she tried to sell me $300 worth of lotion, I immediately regretted even having a treatment. Other family members were also having treatments so I waited for them in the spa lobby, which was freezing cold. White Hot Party - in Spinnaker lounge which is already disappointing, but on top of that the music!! Spinnaker is all ages until midnight, so please explain why they played explicit music at 11:30? I'm talking incredibly explicit. "Shots" by LMFAO and "On a Boat" by Andy Samberg. http://www.metrolyrics.com/shots-lyrics-lmfao.html and http://www.metrolyrics.com/im-on-a-boat-lyrics-the-lonely-island.html So explicit I'm only giving links because they are really bad songs. Chocolate Buffet - perhaps the most disappointing thing the whole trip, but only because I have experienced 3 others on NCL cruises that were phenomenal. There were 2 ice carvings, no chocolate sculptures, no fruit carvings, and the worst desserts we ate all cruise. No Quest?!?! At every show they would say "no flash photography" and then this crazy chick with a laser pointer would go insane if you took out a camera. If you mean "NO PHOTOGRAPHY AT ALL" say that. WRAP UP We had a great time. Paul Scally, the cruise director was incredible. Jonolito at Aqua was by far the best waiter I've had on all my cruises. Arnold, bar staff, at the pool, stardust and spinnaker remembered our drink order after the very first time, so we always looked for him. The kids swam every day. The shows were great. And I would go again in a heartbeat, but I wouldn't have a spa treatment. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
We (my husband and I) cruised with the NCL Star to Alaska in July 2011. This was our 5th cruise (2nd Alaskan), the first cruise we've done with NCL. I was a bit skeptical to book based on reviews, but the cruise fit our schedule and ... Read More
We (my husband and I) cruised with the NCL Star to Alaska in July 2011. This was our 5th cruise (2nd Alaskan), the first cruise we've done with NCL. I was a bit skeptical to book based on reviews, but the cruise fit our schedule and how bad could a cruise be right? Our experiences with Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Princess had all been generally positive and we expected the same from NCL. Basically, NCL ruined our cruising experience for us and we probably won't cruise again for a while. Quite an accomplishment since we LOVED cruising before this. Embarkation - We arrived at Pier 66 in Seattle at around 12:30. We should have turned around and gone back home the minute we saw the chaos at the pier. This is the first time that I've seen such a horrid line at embarkation (if you can even call it a line) and it was representative of the disorganization that we would experience for the rest of our cruise. People everywhere, NCL agents screaming at everyone (I thought they were supposed to be nice?!), then you finally get in the building to drop off your luggage and about 4 different "lines" become one big mess as everyone tries to drop off their luggage on one belt. Yes, they had 1 single luggage belt. Then you get through that and go through security and another line for check-in. It probably took us over 1 1/2 hours to get on the ship. And from the minute you get on board, the selling begins. They stand right at the door with menus for all the specialty restaurants and try to get you to make reservations immediately. This is the first cruise I've been on where it feels like there are salespeople everywhere. Yeah, I realize that you have to pay for stuff on any cruise, but they wanted you to pay for EVERYTHING (really, $5 for 24 hour pizza or a surcharge if you dined in the free restaurant after midnight?). I guess "freestyle" cruising means "pay for anything that is actually worth doing". Each day, you would get your itinerary and items marked with an asterisk meant they had an extra charge. About 1/2 of the activities had an asterisk - basically the ones that actually sounded interesting. Food - Generally...disgusting. And we aren't super picky eaters or hard to please. We've actually loved the food on our cruises in the past. The buffet was gross, every single time we tried it. It's also super crowded and chaotic. We tried to eat at Aqua and Versailles when possible because my husband is against paying an extra surcharge for restaurants on a cruise ship. The menu was basically the same every day with a few specials that involved things like ravioli and some sort of fish dish. We were on an Alaskan cruise, where was the seafood??? They seriously never did a crab night or anything that I've seen on other cruises. Everything was underwhelming. The only things that were okay were the spaghetti carbonara (but how could you mess up pasta), the corned beef hash during breakfast, the corn chowder (on the lunch menu), and that was pretty much it. My husband got the ribeye a few times and liked it once, but not the other times. There was really nothing else worth mentioning, which is pretty sad considering we ate here for the majority of our meals. Desserts weren't even good and we ended up eating ice cream most of the time. We did try Endless Summer (the tex-mex restaurant - $10 surcharge per person). After sitting there for 20 minutes, someone finally came by to take our order. The table next to us sat for over 30 minutes and got up to leave before anyone came over. The nachos were the same as in the buffet. The fajitas were incredibly salty. Skip this restaurant...it wouldn't even be worth it if they paid you $10 to go. Cagney's (steakhouse - $25 surcharge per person) was the only good part of the dining experience. The crab cakes are really good, the shrimp cocktail was just okay, clam chowder and lobster bisque were okay, ribeye with bearnaise sauce was delicious, crab legs were good ($8 additional charge) and brownie for dessert was really good. We ended up having to spend about $68 for a restaurant that we finally liked. Service - Absolutely horrible. From the cabin stewards to restaurant staff, this was really the most ridiculous part of the whole cruise. Finished your glass of water? Forget anyone actually ever refilling it for you. You'll have to go thirsty instead. Want to order some food? Please wait for at least 15 minutes before anyone will even approach your table. One night, someone at the table near us dropped their napkin. On any other cruise, this would have been picked up by the staff in 2 seconds. It sat on the floor for the whole 1 1/2 hours that we were in the dining room (yes, it took that long for any meal we had - including breakfast). The staff will walk in front of you and cut you off instead of letting you pass. Without even a sorry or excuse me. Still in the room when the cabin steward comes by? No turn down service for you. They will just hand you your itinerary and never come back. Seriously, did NCL forget to train their staff??? They were seriously downright rude. So basically, I paid them a $12 per person auto-gratuity to be rude to me. Entertainment - Or lack of. Really, if you didn't want to pay for it, there wasn't much to do on the ship compared to other cruises we've been on. The only bright spot in the whole cruise was that their nightly shows (at least the ones we attended) were pretty good. Elements, Second City and the game shows were good. You just had to arrive like 30 minutes early to get a seat or you would end up just standing by the door with like 30 other people all trying to squeeze in to see. I don't know why these were so crowded all the time. They clearly didn't think about building the rooms for the number of people on the ship. Cabin - This may be the only thing NCL has going for it. They had a glass sliding door instead of the shower curtain. And the cabin and bathroom seemed bigger than other ships. Ports - Warning: every time you want to get off or on the ship, expect there to be chaos, lack of any sort of lines and complete disorganization (similar to embarkation). It's never take so long to get off and on a ship. Ketchikan - We booked the salmon sport fishing excursion through the ship and really enjoyed it. Also, go to Burger Queen after for the halibut burger and onion rings (one of the best things we ate our whole cruise). Juneau - They cancelled our helicopter glacier trek booked through the ship because of weather. We signed up for the Taku Glacier Lodge. We got out about 30-60 minutes late cause NCL couldn't count the number of people and somehow overbooked for the number of planes they had. Then they tried to kick some people off. Then it turned out there was room on the plane. More chaos. Taku Lodge itself is pretty, but not $320 per person pretty. Skagway - Glacier Point Wilderness Safari. Could have done without the 1 1/2 hour boat ride each way to Glacier Point. The canoeing to the glacier was cool. Go to Skagway Fish Company and get the alaskan king crab and fried halibut. Best meal of the cruise. Prince Rupert - We booked ourselves with Palmerville Adventures which include a float plane to the grizzly bear sanctuary. After we were done seeing the grizzlies(about 2 1/2 hours into the tour), we saw the cruise line's shore excursion just coming in jam packed with people and no time to see anything. No way they made it back to the ship in time. Basically, NCL ruined our cruising experience for us and we probably won't cruise again for a while. Quite an accomplishment since we LOVED cruising before this. Service, food, organization were all horrendous. I don't generally get seasick, but I was sick pretty much the whole time (even taking medicine) because they were trying to speed up the whole time to make up for being late leaving ports. It was so bad I didn't even want to go to the free cruise bingo because, even a free cruise, wouldn't persuade me to go with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Getting there We started our trip with the airline losing half our luggage so my travel partner ended up having no clothes for the cruise. Once found the airline was unwilling to send the bag to Juneau for the ship to bring on board for ... Read More
Getting there We started our trip with the airline losing half our luggage so my travel partner ended up having no clothes for the cruise. Once found the airline was unwilling to send the bag to Juneau for the ship to bring on board for us. I can also say the staff at the airport was not as helpful as the staff at the 888 number when calling the airline. The staff at the airport said sorry but tough luck. The call in number at least advised us on how to get clothes for the cruise and how to claim the receipts. Embarkation Instead of a free style, it appeared more like a free for all. It did move quickly and we were able to drop what bags we had at the x-ray machine. I did feel sorry for the one individual who was lifting them all onto the machine. The line broke into three lines and he was certainly hustling to get them all through. Since we did not stay until the bags had gone through the x-ray machine, I wondered why we could not just hand them to an attendant and then they take them and feed them through the machine as is done by Holland America. It just seemed to be an extra line to stand in. Staff I do have to commend the staff at the desk as they made every effort to get our lost bag for us, and did quite a bit to make our first days as manageable as possible. They were very understanding and gracious in their attitude and assistance. Our cabin steward was equally helpful and did all he could to turn what clothes she had to the laundry and back to minimize the amount of clothes we ended up buying on the cruise. Overall, the staff was professional and courteous, although I did not see many smiling. Having worked in the hospitality industry I do feel for them as they all work hard with 10-hour days 7 days a week. Yes, there was always someone selling something, and they did a great job of checking back every so often without being pushy. Dining After the first day, we stayed away from the buffet as much as possible, although it was busy most of the time. Staging was an issue, as they would run out of an item and there was a significant period between restocking. In the end, we did the first day and two breakfasts in the buffet due to scheduling issues on our part. We ate primarily in the Versailles dining room. We had a great waiter on our first night (port side aft) that was smiling and very efficient. We made every attempt we could thereafter sit in his section. For three meals, we sat in a section (forward starboard side) that took twice as long to get our food. One time there was no one there to take our order for 10 or 15 minutes. The maitre de did visit with us, but offered no apology and just wanted to know if we wanted a drink. I never did figure out the issue, as there were five people for 15 tables to provide service yet once we waited 10 minutes just to get a glass of water. No other section seemed to have this problem. Chocolate Buffet was another interesting adventure, as there was only one entrance and we walked in a long line. However when we got to the side with the chocolate we noticed there were two lines, one for each section. The staff at the door did not tell anyone that there were two serving areas which would have cut the line significantly. Cabin Our cabin was on deck 5 (5137) being the last inside cabin aft on the port side. It was somewhat noisy with the dining room and kitchen areas being above us. The walls were thin and we could hear those in the cabin next to us and behind us pretty clearly. Excursions Our excursions were very good and we did the duck tour in Ketchikan, self-tour of the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, bus tour to Cross Car from Skagway and the lighthouse wild life tour in Prince Rupert. Only thing I would do different is to tell the bus driver on the Skagway trip to stop in some places so we could get pictures. Other than that, we saw several animals on both land and sea during one or more of these tours. Summary Overall, the trip was enjoyable and the onboard entertainment was more than I could image with excellent performances. Everyone did a great job, from the guitar player to the main show ensemble. We will pack differently on the next adventure just in case the airlines decide to lose some of our luggage again. We will probably cruise a line that is less for families; not that I am anti kids, but we experienced kids playing tag and climbing on chairs in the dining room next to our table while their parents visited. We also watched kids run through the buffet area playing tag. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
This was our 13th cruise but our 3rd on NCL. My husband and I were the only ones on this cruise. We are both 54, we live and Arizona, and have been married 33 years. Because Alaska is more "pricey" than most cruises, we opted for ... Read More
This was our 13th cruise but our 3rd on NCL. My husband and I were the only ones on this cruise. We are both 54, we live and Arizona, and have been married 33 years. Because Alaska is more "pricey" than most cruises, we opted for an inside cabin (for the first time I might add). We figured that since it was Alaska, it would probably be too cold for a balcony. We flew to Seattle the day before on our own and explored Seattle a bit. We stayed at the Red Lion Hotel in downtown Seattle and we pretty much could walk everywhere we went. We mainly hung out at the Public Market. The next day was cruise day so we opted to take a cab from our hotel to Pier 66. The cost of the cab was $12.00. When we reached the pier, it was 12:30 in the afternoon. There were a lot of people already in line but the lines weren't too bad. They winded around quite a bit (like you were in Disneyland). There were "discount coupon" books available for Alaska while we were waiting in line and everyone was grabbing them. We found out later that they weren't worth anything and we were told to throw them out if we took one because they weren't being honored in the ports. Anyways, like I said earlier, the lines went pretty fast but there were two women in front of us with a child about 8 years old. They were travelling on the cruise and the NCL staff asked the women if they had "permission" from the father to take the child out of the country. (We were visiting Canada also on this trip). They didn't know that they were supposed to have permission from the other parent so they were taken from the line where they had to contact the other parent and get some kind of proof. They said that no one told them that they had to have this when they booked.We got onto the ship at about 1:30 where we headed to our room. Luckily our cabin was on Deck 9 so that lessened the "pain" of having an inside room. However, when we walked in, we were pleasently surprised to see a large bed (possibly a Queen)and if we needed a bunk above it to pull out. NCL has used this small space wisely. We had a nice closet and quite a bit of storage. The room had a small refrigerator (which was stocked with liquor)and plenty of drawer space. The bathroom had a shower which was adequate. The room was equipped with a hairdryer which was outside of the bathroom. There were hooks on the walls to hang purses, shirts, etc. The only problem we had with the inside cabin was the fact that we couldn't tell if it was daytime or nightime and we slept in the following day until 10am! (Luckily we were at sea that day!).The first night we sailed (Sat), we ate in the Aqua Dining Room. They had lobster that night so we took advantage of that. We never did see lobster again. I'm sure they served it at the restaurants you had to pay for. The food was about a B+ in the dining room. Because it is considered a "freestyle" cruise, we opted to eat around 7pm.The next day when we were at sea, we decided to check out the restaurants and the ship. We saw the spa and they have an inside pool and jacuzzi's, however, in order to use these facilities, they were $30/day or $119/week (for one person). They said it's cheaper in the long run to spend the $119 and after they had 100 people sign up for it, it would no longer be available. We decided to pay the $119 (times 2 ) since the weather wasn't exactly hot. There were 4 jacuzzi's outside but like I said, it wasn't exactly hot.The ports we visited were Scagway, Juneau, Ketchikan and Prince Rupert, Canada. We had researched what to do in the ports online through cruise critic before we said so we had already booked our shore tours online. When we got to our cabin, our tickets were there waiting for us for the tours. In Ketchikan, we chose the Saxman Native Village and Lumberjack Show. We went to the Saxman Village first and it wasn't really our "thing". It was interesting but boring too. Because it was raining and the wind was blowing, we decided not to go to the Lumberjack show. We visited their giftshop and learned all about the totem poles. This tour was scheduled for 4 hours, but we only did the first part, which lasted 2 hours. A bus transported us back to the pier for those going to the Lumberjack Show so we just decided to shop instead. In Scagway, we did the train which was beautiful and breathtaking and in Juneau we visited the Mendenhall Glacier. We opted for the 75 minute tour and we were glad we did that one. They have a little gift shop which doesn't have much and even though the glacier is spectaculer, the only other thing you could do would be to hike the 45 minutes to a waterfall. Because we were told that there was a stong possibility that you could encounter bears on the hike, we opted not to do that. In Prince Rupert, we didn't take a tour. We just walked the town and visited a bar. They had a little swapmeet so to speak outside of the ship so we wandered around there a bit but everything was pretty pricey.The shows on the ship were really good and the best show was "Elements" on the last night. Make sure you see that show. It was amazing!The only negative we encountered was the fact that everything cost money (plus 15%!). The spa was 18% gratutity for my services which was a 60 minute facial, and massage for $114.00. Of course alcohol was expensive but I had an issue when I ordered a "Shirly Temple" (obviously not alcohol) and one bartender charged me $2.65 (sprite plus cherry juice) and another bartender charged $4.95 and called it a non-alcoholic cocktail. We took issue with that and had to go to the informatin desk to find out why. They refunded the difference but then after that, I noticed that almost all of the bartenders (except for one) considered a Shirley Temple a non-alcoholic cocktail (which cost us $4.95 plus 15% gratutity!). We finally gave up trying to convince them it was only sprite plus cherry juice so I decided to just drink the alcoholic specials. They weren't much more in price.All in all, we had a great time but like I said earlier, it was a lot more pricier than we were used to. I guess that's the sign of the times. Although Freestyle Dining is nice, we think we prefer the regular dining schedule offered on other ships so that we can meet people. The buffet food was adequate but nothing to write home about. We noticed that they catered a lot to the Indian culture, as they had a whole section in the buffet of just Indian food. I never did see any more lobster or shrimp or even chocolate cake in the main dining room. We did eat one time in Ginza which cost us $15.00/each for the all you can eat sushi. That was pretty exceptional.NCL is a nice line but I think we're going to explore other cruise lines next time. My preference at this time is Carnival, but all in all, it was a very nice vacation. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
First things first, we were traveling with our toddler who was 3 months shy of NCL's 2 year cut-off of babysitting, so we weren't exactly expecting a relaxed vacation; however, we had high expectations given that we're not ... Read More
First things first, we were traveling with our toddler who was 3 months shy of NCL's 2 year cut-off of babysitting, so we weren't exactly expecting a relaxed vacation; however, we had high expectations given that we're not new to cruising... and our expectations weren't met in the slightest on the star! Having only cruised with Carnival in the past, we had really expected NCL to be somewhat above/beyond our previous experiences. After all, everyone says that Carnival is the lowest of the low cruise-wise. We had gotten a bit tired of Carnival and wanted to try someone new. NCL was not the way to go, apparently. THE BAD: 1) Horribly uncomfortable beds/linens/robes One of the things I really looked forward to were the comfy pillows, linens, beds and luxuriously fluffy robes that I had loved about Carnival cruising. In my stateroom on the Star I was really disappointed to find a too-firm mattress, pillows that felt like bricks (I prefer mine extra-poofy!), and linens that made me feel like I was in a hospital instead of a luxury cruise. We also had a problem with our twin beds constantly separating on us, so I had to spend a week 2 feet away from my husband because neither of us wanted to fall through the crack in the middle of the night. 2) Poor service With a toddler I was assured by the agent that we would have a crib as was mandatory per regulations. There was no crib when we arrived, and the steward had a hard time speaking english (yes, we're used to thick accents, but this was really difficult) and said he would bring us a cot. We did get a crib quite quickly after going to the customer service desk, though. Food service was horrible - it took forever to get anything (which is tough with a whiny kid) and more often than not they messed up our orders. Room service even brought us a 1/3 of our order one morning, and couldn't understand us when we called to notify them of the problem. 3) Mediocre Food and Little Variety I always expect delicious, tasty food when we cruise; and I was extremely disappointed to find the food uninteresting, bland, and just pretty blah. Nothing wowed me like it had on previous cruises. I heard the specialty restaurants served better food, but after shucking out $3000 for a cruise, I didn't want to spend more money for food... especially when we could barely enjoy a meal in a dining room anyway with a fidgety kiddo. I also didn't like that the buffet was limited (probably because they wanted you to eat in the specialty restaurants). If you wanted italian, mexican, seafood, or some other type of cuisine you couldn't really get it in the buffet and had to pay extra for the specialty fare. 4) Horrid Buffet Setup Carnival buffets had always felt very upscale and fancy to me with comfy seating and interesting displays, but on the Star I really felt like I was back in a high school cafeteria. Crappy tables/chairs and that dreaded sterile feeling. All that was missing was the lunch lady with the hairnet. They also tended to close half the buffet early, which was obnoxious. 5) Everything Closed Early! My husband got food poisoning (not sure if it was from the ship or on shore) and was really wanting some meds. The shops were supposed to be open until "arrival" in Prince Rupert, but they closed while we were still moving! I asked them if I could just come in to get some meds for my husband, but they said they'd have to get them for me. "Stomach bug" didn't make much sense to the guy, and I didn't want to say diarrhea that loudly. We ended up going ashore to Safeway instead. Again - they seemed to close the buffet really early - ahead of schedule. 6) Smoking in Cabins/Balconies I hate hate hated this! Don't even think about opening the balcony door to enjoy the fresh alaskan air, lest someone in a 20 ft vicinity lights up on their balcony. Also hated the smell of smoking that lingered in the hallways if someone smoked in their cabin. At least the cabin itself didn't smell, but perhaps no one had ever smoked in it - who knows. 7) Only one "Dress up (or not)" night On past 7-day cruises we've had 2+ formal nights, and we really enjoy them. The first day at sea, NCL had their Dress Up or Not, but we decided we'd wait until the next one, because our son was hungry and ready to go. Sadly, they never had another one. :( Maybe I should have expected that, but oh well. THE GOOD: 1) Friendly Crew The crew was unbelievable with our son. He made so many friends with the bartenders, waitstaff, hosts, stewards etc. They really helped us keep him entertained. And they always remembered his name - impressive! 2) The Red Lion Pub This was our preferred spot. I loved the crew members who worked here. It had a great atmosphere and free popcorn. I didn't really like that they had the walkway through the pub, but oh well - still my favorite hangout spot. 3) Splash Zone Our son loves water slides, and this was an awesome area for him and his dad to enjoy them together. Even on colder days they were out there braving the somewhat chilly pool water. It wasn't too crowded, and the parents did a good job of keeping their kids under control. Awesome! 4) Kid's Table in the Buffet I liked that they had a lower table with little cube stools for the kiddos to eat at. It was easier to get our son to sit still there than in a big chair. It was difficult to find a spot sometimes, because the large asian families dominated the area (can't blame them, though - I prefer to sit at low tables myself). BOTTOM LINE: I definitely recommend bypassing NCL unless you really want a casual cruise experience (not really something we enjoyed, either). We found that people who like NCL typically or people who have never cruised with any other line. Next time we may try Royal Caribbean, because they offer free babysitting services for younger children while still being affordable. Just felt like we got more bang for our buck on Carnival... but too bad they don't go to Alaska. :( ONE MORE THING: The ports were all okay, but I expected Alaska to be AMAZING. But being from Colorado and having traveled to New Zealand, it just seemed so-so. I got more impressive pictures on a hike in Colorado after we returned than I did in Alaska. Prince Rupert wasn't worth it, and we only went ashore to go to safeway for medication. Ketchikan was cute, but too touristy with nothing really to do unless you wanted to do a tour. Skagway Brewing Company was our favorite part about that stop :). Juneau was good for the glacier - don't pay for that glacier excursion... just pay the $8/each way for the local bus. You'll get there just like everyone else and save a lot more money :) Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
We just returned from cruising the inside passage to Alaska with stops @ Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Prince Rupert, BC. We cruised to Alaska two years ago on the Pearl and loved it so returning was never in question. We selected the ... Read More
We just returned from cruising the inside passage to Alaska with stops @ Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Prince Rupert, BC. We cruised to Alaska two years ago on the Pearl and loved it so returning was never in question. We selected the Star this trip because it offered a slightly different itinerary. We sailed into Tracy Fjords @ 4 PM and arrived for our very brief, glacier glimpse @ 630 PM. Oh so disappointing. It was nothing compared to our previous trip on the Pearl which arrived @ 8AM and stopped directly in front the of the glacier for quite awhile. The pictures from that trip were stunning.           We were happy that we had chosen an excursion to the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau because that was an up close and personal experience.           The second disappointing part was Prince Rupert, BC. The people were friendly and helpful but there is little to see or do in the town. We arrived @ 4 and stayed til 10 PM. Most everyone returned to the ship within an hour and most definitely dined aboard ship as the town only had 2 restaurants that we noted. We are puzzled as to why the Star chose this stop. On our Pearl cruised we stopped in Victoria, BC which was a lovely location with plenty to see and do.           That said, the Star was fantastic. The staff were very service oriented and friendly. We stayed in a suite because we like the space, the butler and concierge service and the private dining options for breakfast and lunch. We also uitilized the specialty restaurants and can say that we had excellent food @ both Cagney's and Le Bistro. Our main dining room experiences were good but did not qualify as great. The Spa was fair.           The weather for our trip was very cold and rainy. If you are heading out soon, take along a good rainjacket, a layer for warmth such as a fleece vest, sensible, waterproof footwear and gloves/neckscarf just in case you need them. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
I am new to cruising and wasn't quite sure what to expect. We wondered how the motion of the ocean would effect us. How fun would it be if we were sick all the time. First of all, if you get sea sick I highly recommend the ... Read More
I am new to cruising and wasn't quite sure what to expect. We wondered how the motion of the ocean would effect us. How fun would it be if we were sick all the time. First of all, if you get sea sick I highly recommend the inner passage cruise. The Inner passage is just that, a cruise along the coast of Canada and Alaska between a row of islands and the mainland. There are almost no waves. During our cruise there was just one day on the open ocean. We did experience a some sea sickness that day but we took Dramamine and we were back on our feet in no time. The inner passage is beautiful. From the point we entered it you see land on both sides of the ship with small fishing villages along the way. The land is primitive, rugged, green and covered with trees. The cloud ceiling is lower that the peaks of the hills giving the whole area a mystic feel. Definitely spring for a balcony room on this one. It was AWESOME sitting on our own balcony watching the scenery float by. NCL is a good cruise line and all the staff were very helpful and pleasant. The Norwegian Star is a freestyle cruise ship so you can eat when it best suits your plans. They also have a restaurant in the stern of the ship called the Versailles that is beautiful and has great views out the side and back of the ship. We found this restaurant to be our favorite and ate most meals there. It was also not a buffet which pleased my wife. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Same cruise line but what a marked difference between two ships. My wife and I, after using various other cruise lines, first cruised with NCL on the Jade last Christmas and New year, cruising the Western Mediterranean, this to us was a ... Read More
Same cruise line but what a marked difference between two ships. My wife and I, after using various other cruise lines, first cruised with NCL on the Jade last Christmas and New year, cruising the Western Mediterranean, this to us was a bad experience. As we had already booked up on the Star for the Alaska cruise we were a bit concerned that things on the Star might be the same low quality. How wrong we were and thankfully things were much better with one exception. Prior to the cruise we had flown into Calgary to experience the Rocky Mountaineer railway to Vancouver. After staying overnight in Vancouver we traveled down to Seattle and again stayed overnight before taking a taxi to the dock. As we had plenty of time on our hands we decided to try to get on board a bit early ,as did others ,because the traffic and people unloading road side was a bit hectic. I grabbed a porter who knew the short cuts etc. and he took us to the check in area (well worth the $5 tip). We got into line with only about 20 people in front of us. At about 11.00 we were escorted to the latitudes check in desk for a very smooth process, given a card to join group 1 in a waiting area and eventually channeled on board at 1130. Having time to do so we went to the Versailles dinning room rather than what I call the "trough" self-service area (each to their own of course). We had a very nice lunch then looked round the ship and purchased a wine package, 6 bottles with 20% discount. At about 14.00 we went down to our cabin and at 15.30 to the lifeboat muster. We had arranged to meet up with some of the cruise critic folk by the pool bar straight after muster. Down to the cabin again we decided to freshen up intending to have an early 17.30 dinner in the Versailles then onward to the Stardust Theater for the show. AGH AGH no hot water. We eventually got a plumber to fix the problem but that made us very late for dinner consequently missing the show. Well things like that happen. Unfortunately the water problem reoccurred on Sunday so we called reception to deal with it and then went out to enjoy ourselves. Back to the cabin and onwards again to the Versailles. Having ordered our food and had the main course served. We were descended upon by an assistant wanting to sell bookings in the specialty restaurants. That's really not clever NCL whilst people are eating. We purchased two specialty meal tickets one for a brunch in the Italian restaurant (bad move) and one for a dinner in the French restaurant (good move). So onto Monday and after a good day enjoying the boats facilities and entertainment we went down to our cabin to get our "glads" on for a meal in the French eating house. AGH AGH no hot water!!!. Time now to be a bit firmer, went to reception and asked that the manager come down to the cabin to witness the luke warm state of the water which she did. Same plumber came so I asked him to check out another close by cabin. By this time I was gently insisting on a move to another cabin. Some time later we were offered another cabin. We changed the time on our dinner ticket and hurriedly packed our belongings and moved cabins. Bliss bliss hot water, and what's this slightly wider and much softer mattresses in a same grade cabin (good move). I suppose that it's all down to money so I'll have to smack my travel agents wrist for screwing NCL down so that they supplied a low quality cabin. Oh by the way the water problem cabin is number 4001, avoid it, the better one was 4579. In total we ate four times in the French restaurant once in the Italian and the rest in the Versailles main dining room with some quick breakfasts, for early excursion starts, in the Blue Lagoon. Overall we thought that the food was nothing special but acceptable in the Versailles ,although they could do with a greater choice lunch time menu . Shore excursions arranged through NCL were very good with the final disembarkation and tour of Seattle being well arranged. I did delight in being asked to lead the Bible study and worship for the crew in their wardroom late on Thursday night. God bless you all. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Just got home from our trip to Seattle and Alaska. There were 7 of us that were on this trip. My parents (in their 60's), my husband and our three sons (10, 8.5, and 5). We had two cabins between us. We chose the penthouse with ... Read More
Just got home from our trip to Seattle and Alaska. There were 7 of us that were on this trip. My parents (in their 60's), my husband and our three sons (10, 8.5, and 5). We had two cabins between us. We chose the penthouse with balcony on deck 12 (#12010) and my parents had one of the owner's suites (#12002) just a few steps away. The VIP treatment that we received going thru security and check-in was great since we had the kids and my parents with us. We were on board the ship within 15 minutes of leaving our luggage at the baggage drop-off area at the pier. We met, Virginia, our concierge for the week in the VIP lounge and she escorted us onto the ship. We did have a few backpacks that we carried on and she brought us to our cabins to drop them off before heading to Cagney's for lunch. The cabins weren't ready at that time but that was no problem.Cagney's restaurant on Deck 13 was a suite perk for breakfast and lunch daily and we took full advantage of it for breakfast and ate there for about half the lunches. The menu is the same for both meals each day but the variety is good and the service is excellent. They were very accommodating with any special requests and made the kids their own pot of hot chocolate each morning.After lunch, our cabins were ready. Our cabin was very nice and spacious enough for 4 of us. Two of our kids slept on the pull-out couch each night and one would sleep in the pull-out in my parents' cabin. Our kids would rotate nights between the two cabins. The bed that my husband and I had was spacious but it was actually two beds pushed together. The closet and drawer space was ample and the bathroom was perfect with two sinks and a separate tub and shower. The shower was the perfect temperature every time and the water pressure was amazing. The rainhead was great and there was a handheld nozzle as well. The cabin's decor was quite nice...lots of creams and beiges with a hint of color on the curtains. I brought my own hairdryer despite there being one in the cabin. It didn't fit in the wall socket inside the bathroom so I had to sit at my desk chair and dry my hair which had a sizable mirror and I was able to look at the gorgeous scenery while doing so. The windows were huge and the balcony had three chairs and a table.Our butler was named, Lucky, and he was great. We tipped him $20 as soon as we met him the first day and he took care of us all week. We didn't call on him often but the kids did get DVD's from the movie library everyday because there are not many channel options on the TV. Lucky was the one that brought those to us.My parents in the Owner's Suite were able to get unlimited Pepsi products in their suite and they also had Lucky as their butler. They too gave Lucky $20 upon boarding the ship and he hooked all of us up with sodas...Pepsis, Sierra Mist, Orange Crush and Mug Rootbeers...we never bought the soda bracelets and didn't need to. The kids drank water, lemonade or milk at dinner and had a soda back in the room while looking out the windows for whales.My parents suite was amazing! Their suite was directly above the bridge and the windows were floor to ceiling and even wrapped around the side of the ship so you could see everything...fantastic for viewing Alaska! They had a huge bathroom with a jetted soaking tub, water closet with a frosted glass door, separate shower, two sinks and ample drawers and shelves for storage. There was even a flat panel TV in the bathroom.The living space in the suite was huge and the separate bedroom had a king sized bed. Lots of closets as well.Without these great accommodations, I don't think I would have enjoyed this cruise as much as I did. There were 2,800 guests on board the ship and I think they were all in the marketplace and main dining rooms. The weather was pretty great so the outdoor spaces were utilized as well on most of the cruise. The food was great in Cagney's for breakfast and lunch. The main dining rooms had food that I would rate as good. We did opt to eat at La Cucina on Wednesday night and it was not good. Three of us ordered the chicken parm and it was drowning in olive oil. The kids had one of their specialty pizzas and it was terrible. My husband had the Osso Bucco and he did say it was very good. It cost us $80 with surcharges and tip. Waste of money. We had a reservation for Friday night in the Teppanyaki Grill but decided to cancel that based on our experience in La Cucina. I do have to say our waitress in La Cucina was great...very attentive without being overly so.By the end of the week, I was ready to get off the boat because I was so sick and tired of being hit up to spend more and more money every where I turned. It started at lunch the very first day! We were approached in Cagney's while we were eating to reserve space at the Father's Day Brunch the next day for an additional charge, we were approached by another person offering to make reservations for us in all the specialty restaurants during the same meal! It goes on and on from there. Then my husband and I wanted to have a beer each at the Bier Garten during pullout from Seattle. The bar staff refused to get us two beers...said we should buy the bucket of six where you buy 5 and the 6th one is free. Yeah, right, it doesn't even come close to free when each of the other beers are $5 each plus gratuity and a $5 bucket deposit.You should also be aware when playing Bingo, you can buy just one or two cards but they don't tell you that up front. They have a pitch to include a certain number of instant win card strips, raffle tickets to the "free cruise for two" giveaway and a t-shirt plus six Bingo cards and tell you come and get it before they sell out...only a certain number of manager specials for Bingo available. If you want a frozen cocktail, they ask you if you want a tall glass. I'm on vacation, right? So, I say yes and they bring me a tall, skinny, plastic "souvenier" cup with my margarita in it and I get charged $12. Not one hour later, I'm sitting in a different bar and order the same drink and when the server asks me if I want a "tall glass", I say no thanks. He brings me an actual 16oz pint glass with my margarita in it with no Norwegian Logo on it for $6.50!!! Amazing the deception that is involved on these cruise ships. They sail in international waters so they can get away with this crap. They excursions that we took were amazing and educational. The kids had a blast on each and every one. Native Saxman Village and Totem Pole Park and Lumberjack Show in Ketchican, Tracy Arm and Sawyer Glacier in Juneau, White Pass and Yukon Railway in Skagway and Crab Dinner and Bald Eagle Boat Ride in Prince Rupert. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We returned from the Star to Alaska yesterday and had a great time. We are a family of 4 with 2 children ages 13 and 9. We have sailed 3 times prior (once with the kids) all on Princess. I will try and touch on the different aspects of our ... Read More
We returned from the Star to Alaska yesterday and had a great time. We are a family of 4 with 2 children ages 13 and 9. We have sailed 3 times prior (once with the kids) all on Princess. I will try and touch on the different aspects of our cruise and will do a separate review of the ports on the Alaska boards. Overall - We enjoyed NCL and the Star, but not quite as much as Princess. This didn't make for a bad cruise, but at the end of this review I will touch base on a few comparisons. The Star was in great shape - yes there are a few signs of wear and tear, but what do you expect with over 2,300 passengers on board each week. The layout of the ship is great with things spread out enough to keep the congestion down (with the exception of the shopping area - but I am sure that is by design). There was very little smoke smell with the exception of the casino. There is a smoking area near the pool and the crew made sure no one lit up in the non-smoking areas. Embarkation - We arrived Friday evening and stayed at the Hyatt Town Place near the Space Needle - great location and hotel with a free shuttle to the pier. We arrived at pier around 11:30 and things where just starting to get busy. We were staying in a suite and had VIP check-in. Things really appeared unorganized until we were informed that there was an inspection taking place and no one would board the ship until 12:30. At that point we walked down the pier for a snack and returned shortly after 12:00 and were escorted personally through security to the VIP room. We filled out our paperwork, had photos taken for our ID cards and then were escorted to Cagney's for lunch. 20 minutes tops after our return and we were on board. Cabin - we were in a family suite on deck 12. The room is the size of 2 cabins which was very nice with the 4 of us. The bathroom is large with 2 sinks and a separate tub and shower. There is plenty of storage space in the closets and drawers. We loved the big windows, particularly for Alaska and did not miss having a balcony. There is a flat screen TV, a fancy coffee maker and mini-fridge. The blow dryer was a little weak - so the long hair took a while to get ready in the mornings. We had an awesome room steward who took care of everything we asked for promptly (emptying the mini-bar for our own sodas, etc.) He was friendly and always greeted us. Butler & Concierge - The concierge Virginia met us in the VIP lounge and was very helpful with reservations for dinner each night. No matter how full the bookings were, she could always manage to get us something. While we didn't see her a whole lot we would call her each morning with our dinner request. At the end of the cruise she was there to escort us off the ship (and around all the lines). Our butler Lucky was a different story - he served our breakfast every morning when ordered and delivered afternoon snacks. Most other requests were met with "that is house keepings job". Never once did he ask if we ever needed anything, but did eventually pull off what we requested. Not that we really needed him waiting on us hand and foot but the hype around the butler had us expecting a bit more. Food - There have been a lot of comments around the food on the Star. Overall I would say the food was good, but not great. Only one thing I found inedible - the pumpkin ginger crab bisque soup with Maryland crab - pretty sure the crab was imitation. Other than that some things were a little bland but most things were very tasty. We ate at the Sushi bar for lunch and enjoyed it. We also ate at LeBistro for dinner and had a great meal. We tried Cagney's for lunch a couple of times and were not disappointed. The buffet was good - some things very good, others we passed on. Ate lots of free ice cream in the buffet and at the ice cream bar (if it is closed you can still get ice cream inside the fitness center at the juice bar - leave it to the 9 year old how to figure out how to get ice cream). Ate snacks and a few breakfasts at the buffet and the food was ok. I think NCL is perplexed with how to staff and serve their dining rooms and buffets because they really, really want you to spend money in the paid restaurants so we found odd hours at the buffet, etc. Entertainment - The magician the first night was horrible - spent the entire performance yelling into the microphone and the routine had no flow. After that we were hesitant for other performance but found the hypnotist, Second City and Elements all fantastic. Don't miss Elements even though the grand finale is a little cheesy, it is still a great show. There was lots of music around the ship in the multiple bars. I actually won a little money at the Blackjack table. Staff - We found the staff to be very friendly and always greeted us. They appeared hard working and focused on their jobs. Disembarkation - We walked off with our own bags and when we were ready the concierge met us on deck 7 and escorted us to the gangway. Customs took less than one minute and we were on the street and in a cab for a post-cruise stay in Seattle. Itinerary - we chose the Star primarily for the itinerary and the family suite. We loved sailing the inside passage - especially leaving Seattle. Most ships head straight for open water but the Star stays on the inside on Vancouver Island. When we woke up on Sunday morning and watched the shoreline go by it was breath taking. We loved Sawyer glacier - the fjord you travel for 20+ miles to reach the glacier is magnificent. We were able to get fairly close to the glacier face - not sure how it compares to Glacier Bay, but we were not disappointed. Now, let me draw a comparison to Princess. Here is what I would say about the cruise overall - the Star was just a step off of potentially being great. I know all the food is prepared in mass for the dining rooms, but it is on the other ships too. On lobster night we watched the table next to us order the steak and ask for a lobster tail with the steak. What came out are two complete meals, because that is how the galley prepared it. Only 3 courses are served instead of 4 - so if you want an appetizer and salad both, they arrive at the same time. Service was always brisk but never personal. Servers would deliver half the food and then get side tracked taking an order while the rest of the party waited. Dishes not cleared very fast, crumbs never swept from the table, etc. You do feel nickeled and dimed on this cruise - raffle tickets, paid dinning, etc. Little things on the upkeep of the ship could improve too - dining room windows were dirty on the inside - looks like someone sprayed cleaner on them and never wiped them down. Now none of this ruined the cruise for us, but I think if the Star staff (maybe NCL in general) could work to improve simple things like this the experience would reach a whole new level. Ok, enough of the soap box. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
This was our 2nd cruise with Norwegian Cruise Lines.The first was fantastic aboard the Pearl and the 2nd was very disappointing aboard the Star. Embarkation in Seattle was very smooth, as well as debarkation in Seattle. We ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise with Norwegian Cruise Lines.The first was fantastic aboard the Pearl and the 2nd was very disappointing aboard the Star. Embarkation in Seattle was very smooth, as well as debarkation in Seattle. We had a party of 12 on this cruise and had booked through Norwegian Cruise Lines direct. Some minor problems with the booking director is where the first disappointments started. Once aboard the Star we were dismayed at the condition of our cabin. Our cabin had worn and wrinkled carpets, the beds were extremely hard and was equipped with only one electrical outlet, soap dispensers in the shower did not work the whole trip and we found that very inconvenient.We had mentioned to the steward the problem, but was never addressed. After the Star,just going through a reconditioning a few months prior to our trip, we thought that the cabins would be in better shape than they were. We feel that Norwegian should have focused on the cabins prior to the reconditioning, instead of just making new cabins on the 12th deck where the Spinnaker Lounge used to be. The stabilizers seemed in need of revamping too, we always had a rocking motion on this cruise. Smoking needs to be limited to one side of the ship or lounges only. We enjoyed the Spinnaker Lounge on the Pearl as it was a place where people could gather and watch the scenery or just go and relax. The Spinnaker Lounge on the Star is now in the back of the ship and no windows to view from, just another lounge and not a place where one could go to relax. The Stardust Theater had some good entertainment, although the sound level needed to be brought down so people could enjoy it. Many of the seats were broken and very uncomfortable. The main buffet had decent food although some of it could have been cooked longer. The restaurants were better and the food was always hot and the service was OK. The ports were as follows: Ketchikan - very good Juneau - very good Skagway - loved the port, but a disaster for handicapped persons - Handicap ramp was closed after people disembarked and then when people returned to re-board at least 3 people(possibly more) in wheel chairs were carried up step stairs by crew members, until someone realized the danger to both the passengers and the crew members. There were at least 17 people that we saw waiting, that had wheelchairs or were using walkers and finally a forklift was used to hold the ramp in place so these people could re-board. We were not very impressed with the way Norwegian Crew handled this hazardous situation. Prince Rupert - very good The crew for the most part, were very pleasant, but almost seemed like they would rather be somewhere else. We think it would be better if the passengers had the tipping control rather than it being charged to you room each day automatically. Last but not least, we feel that when passengers have complaints, the people in Public Relations should at least return the phone calls or letters, if nothing more than to show and keep good customer service. In our opinion, it seems like money wins out over customer service. Being in Customer Service for over 30 years myself, I am very disappointed in Norwegian this time around.We will really have to think about taking Norwegian for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Our cruise experience on the Norwegian Star was, at best, uh, okay. We chose NCL because, my wife and I, being strongly independent, were taken by the notion of the "Freestyle Cruising" (which we took to mean do what you want, ... Read More
Our cruise experience on the Norwegian Star was, at best, uh, okay. We chose NCL because, my wife and I, being strongly independent, were taken by the notion of the "Freestyle Cruising" (which we took to mean do what you want, when you want) touted by Norwegian. We were especially taken by the concept of not having set dining arrangements. I guess had the restaurants been better, that would have made a difference, but more about that later... The check-in process for our Alaska cruise was pretty straightforward, but it certainly helped that we were there early. We ended up being the fifth and sixth people to embark, so we didn't see a lot of pushing and shoving. Once onboard, we found the Norwegian Star to be an adequate ship. Certainly not a five-star floating hotel, but not a Motel Six either. Our balcony stateroom was clean and of an adequate size for two with only a bit of "waltzing" to get out of each other's way. I can't imagine how our next-door neighbors stayed sane with four people in the same room though... Bathrooms were small, but at least our room had a shower-tub combination. The room TV was pretty disappointing. I hadn't seen a 19-inch CRT TV since college, and, being a little older now, things were kinda hard to see when trying to view from bed (which, given the layout of the room, was the only place to view the TV). The selection of movies running during the cruise was pretty good though (from what I saw of them). The food at most restaurants was "workmanlike", neither great nor totally terrible. The fare at the Market Cafe, served buffet style, left a lot to be desired. Think slightly more upscale cafeteria food... "Free" sit-down restaurants (of which there were four) were okay and have suitably diverse menus, but it was certainly nothing special. Expect your food to be lukewarm when it arrives, depending on how far you are from the main galley and how efficient your waiter/waitress might be. There were also four restaurants with "service charges" (added over-and-above the price of your ticket), with slightly higher quality fare, but these restaurants can charge from $10 to $25 more per person, not inclusive of any tip you might consider for the wait staff. We liked the "Ginza" (the Chinese/Japanese sushi restaurant) and "La Cuchina" (the Italian restaurant) the best, probably as much for the friendliness of the wait staff as for the food. Speaking of staff, the restaurant staff on the Star was hit-or-miss... Many of the waiters/waitresses take time to get to know you, will stop and chat and are generally very pleasant. Some however must be wishing they were someplace else... They go through the motions, and serve you without enthusiasm. You end up feeling like you may as well have gone to the buffet. The "Best of All" buffet (featuring the best menu items from all of the high-end restaurants) was pretty good, but, like many things on the ship, there were ups and downs. The crab cakes from "Cagney's" (the onboard steak house) were great, as were the oriental offerings from "Ginza" and the antipasti from "La Cuchina". If you are going for the prime rib though, look out for "angry cow". It was pretty darned rubbery and way underseasoned... Avoid the "Chocholic Buffet" at all costs (offered once on the cruise). It was wall-to-wall people, fighting for some of the worst-tasting dessert offerings imaginable. The shipboard activities were decent, though we found ourselves planning our days. Here too, you had the good and the bad. The "Elements" show on the last evening was a "go out with a bang" presentation, but shows by The Second City (whose alum include many who became SNL stars) were pretty flat. Vegas it certainly wasn't. The biggest downside of the cruise we found to be the constant din to shop, shop, shop... Three of the twelve TV channels available onboard carried nothing but back-to-back commercials for the Columbian Emeralds, watches, perfumes and pay-per-visit spa treatments. I didn't know that you could get botox treatments while sailing between ports-of-call and honestly can't imagine why someone would want to, but there were certainly commercials shilling them. When you arrived in port, many of the "recommended" stores on the town maps provided every night sold jewelry and Caribbean tchotchke (sunglasses, color-changing t-shirts, etc.). Once in said jewelry stores, you were treated to the same high-pressure sales tactics as one might find on a car lot. You could look, but once you showed the smallest bit of interest, sales associates came popping out of nowhere to show you this or that piece. And if you didn't choose to mortgage the house and buy that $60000 diamond ring you passingly admired, the charming staff and management would turn surly, like you had just wasted their precious time. The most telling criticism of many of the "recommended" shops came from a Ketchikan native we spoke to, who said, "Oh those shops opened the minute your ship docked and will be closed the minute they raise the gangway. The cruise lines bring them in only for cruise season. They don't live here." After that little denouement, we generally avoided the "recommended" shops and struck out on our own. In the end, I suppose I had higher expectations than were realized on this, my first cruise. NCL and the Norwegian Star were okay, and I generally enjoyed the "cruise experience", but I suspect we may be shopping for another cruise line for our next trip. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Norwegian Star was a big disapointment. Ship was not one of the better ones, food was just plain awful and the staff were not the best. One and only NCL trip.Trip to Alaska was good, scenery was breathtaking, weather was pretty good. ... Read More
Norwegian Star was a big disapointment. Ship was not one of the better ones, food was just plain awful and the staff were not the best. One and only NCL trip.Trip to Alaska was good, scenery was breathtaking, weather was pretty good. Shore excursions were also good - Did a trip to the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau and went with the crab fishing boat (from Deadliest Catch) in Ketchikan.Lineups to get on and off the ship were bad. At least 1 1/2 hours to get to registration desk, then the NCL rep tells us we need a visa (no we dont!!) so she is gone 10 minutes checking on that - no explanation when she gets back, just basically throws passports at us. Not a good start. Leaving took forever. Didn't go to Canada Place in Vancovuer but to Ballantyne Pier (container terminal. Waited in major lines then once we got out had to wait at least 1 hour for a cab. Lineups for the next group getting on the ship were mixing with lineups for us trying to get off!!! We were still in lines at 12 noon. Major disorganization.Stateroom was fine, bathroom good (nice big shower with good water pressure. No hair conditioner or bar soap. Our steward kept the place tidy, nice touch with the coffe makers in room. Balcony with table and chairs was good.Only way to describe most of the food was awful! The buffet was a complete write off. Just a big cafeteria. Everything looked like it had been there for days. Picked up a bun and it crumbled in my hand - that's hard. Nothing looked appetizing, even the desserts looked like they had just been defrosted. Other cruise ships we've been on we couldn't decide what to have - this one for dessert we would have an apple or some fruit. Only went to the buffet when absolutely necessary. Usually left hungary. The 24 hour restaurant was also like a cafe - food awful. Ate most of our meals in the Versailles main dining room. Breakfasts were good, everything else just mediocre. Not what we have been used to with other cruise lines. There was also no presentation of food. Very disappointing. Staff were just doing the absolute minimum, no connection at all with cruisers. So different from normal. This is the first cruise we bought snacks when we got to our first stop.Entertainment in the main theatre was awesome. Some of the best we have ever had on a ship - something different evry night.Overall the ship lacked the ambience usually felt on a cruise, the crew were just doing their job with no effort and the food was not even close to other cruiselines. Other people we talked to who had done NCL before said this was the worst they had been on - we're not prepared to give them another try - our vacations are too important to us. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Well what I have read about NCL is true. Probably the worst overall experience I have ever had. It started bad with over 3 hours to get through embarkation. It was a total disaster; and never a word of explanation from anyone from NCL. ... Read More
Well what I have read about NCL is true. Probably the worst overall experience I have ever had. It started bad with over 3 hours to get through embarkation. It was a total disaster; and never a word of explanation from anyone from NCL. Almost 1/3 of the passengers were not on the ship for muster and never went through the drill. Now for the good, bad and ridiculous.Ridiculous:No concern for the delays during embarkation; never a word said by the crew; explanation, reason, or apology given. Balcony staterooms; the smallest cabin I have ever seen. Almost no room to walk between the wall and the bed to get to the balcony. Ship layout made no sense and seemed quite closed in as compared to other cruise lines. Rooms inside rooms and no area atop (as with many ships) to relax and view the passing seas. This area had just been transformed to villa suites I think.Buffet layout inefficient and confusing with the worst buffet food I have ever had !Sell, sell, sell everywhere. Really seemed overdone.Food service inconsistent in all areas. Bad:Non surcharge eating areas had generally poor food. I have commented on the buffet already. The main dining room was up and down from day to day. Selection was not that great but could always get a steak.Daily activities were limited to non existent. It was especially odd since this was an Alaska trip and everyone stayed inside since it was cold and there was no pool activity at all. Should have providedmore inside things to do during sea days especially. Staterooms were really dated; especially the carpets and TV's.Good:Room steward staff very efficient and friendly. Certain food service staff excellent but not consistent. The theater shows. They were all pretty good with talented individuals. The final show "Elements" was the most spectacular show I have ever seen on a cruise ship. Rivaled true Vegas type show.Disembarkation was the most efficient I have seen on any cruise line. No pushing crowds, line breaking, etc.; just a leisurely paced stroll off the Promenade deck.If you want a cheap cruise and a fair cruising experience I would say book NCL. The only redeeming aspect of the trip was cruising Alaska and some of the excursions. When I want an affordable 5-7 day cruise I'll stick with Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Background: Our group included 4 newbie cruisers and the veterans, my wife and I. We decided to get together to provide a cruise as a birthday gift for my 85 year old mother, and introduce my brother and sister in law, and my sister, to ... Read More
Background: Our group included 4 newbie cruisers and the veterans, my wife and I. We decided to get together to provide a cruise as a birthday gift for my 85 year old mother, and introduce my brother and sister in law, and my sister, to cruising. The NCL Star was repositioning for the summer Alaska cruising season, with an itinerary I would not normally choose ... 4 days at sea and only 2 days in port. This less-than-ideal itinerary was exacerbated by the cooler weather expected in early May. These potential shortcomings were known, but the departure from a local port, and the slower pace of this cruise seemed appropriate for my mother (who needs a walker to get around). Ship: 7 out of 10.The Star is one of the oldest ships in the NCL fleet, built in 2001. She was supposed to undergo a refit in 2010, but I suspect that was a refit of the public areas only if it happened. While the public areas met our expectations of a NCL ship, the cabins showed their age; the upholstery was faded on the couches, the beds were the old style "hard" mattresses, and chipped paint and missing chunks of the balcony non-skid distracted from the experience. I was disappointed that the balcony glass was not cleaned prior to sailing, with notable water spots (this may have been a nod to our upcoming 3 days at sea, as they did clean the balconies in our first port). The ship also has an older design, where some decks are interrupted by restaurants, and you have to go up or down a level to cross over them, then down or up again to resume your journey on that deck. But that being said, the ship is still in better shape than any of the Princess ships I've been on. (In this category, Disney is always the winner among the three cruise lines we've tried, with an attention to cleanliness unique among mass market cruise lines.) Food: 9 out of 10.Cruise food is often described as ranging from horrible to acceptable, but its obviously subjective. For my money, NCL has really outdone the rest of the mass-market cruise industry that we've tried. Every entree I had was very good, prepared as ordered, with acceptable presentation. Because of my diet, a modified Atkins-style diet, I was more limited in my choices. I enjoyed the omelets in the morning, along with fresh chilled melon, coffee and crisp bacon (one morning's omelet was a 6 out of 10, as it was cooked just a bit too long). I ordered the NY Strip Steak several times for lunch, and had it prepared it differently (medium rare, medium), and each time the result was as ordered, and very good. Dinner saw good presentations of other entrees such as salmon (9/10), prime rib (9/10), and beef stroganoff (my brother said it was good, but alas, the noodles makes it incompatible with my diet). I was interested to see how my brother and sister in law would react to the food, as they have wide experience both creating and enjoying different dishes. My brother recognized that its "resort food", created for a large customer base rather than cooked to order. But he and my sister in law were complimentary of the taste and substance of the dishes, with the occasional concern that some dishes were prepared with unorthodox ingredients (the hollandaise sauce on the eggs benedict included mustard, we think, making it yellow rather than cream white). With few exceptions, everyone else found the food good to very good. A few entrees had either too much fat in the steak, or unexpected ingredients as noted above. Our foray into the highest rated specialty restaurant, Cagney's Steakhouse, disappointed: our expectations were set high for a "premium experience", but it was not far enough above the usual main dining room experience to be a good value. As an example, the filet mignon I had was very tender, prepared exactly as ordered, and tasty. But it was on a level of an Outback Steakhouse entree rather than the lofty heights of a Ruth's Chris entree. (My wife and I enjoyed Cagney's for breakfast and lunch on our Euro cruise as part of our suite package, and liked it very much then; we may have hit them on an off night.)Because of the cool weather, the outdoor dining options were not available, and there were times when our group could not be seated immediately in the main dining rooms. I timed the wait times, and we never waited more than 20 minutes for a table. I would rate the food on the other lines we have tried this way: Princess 3/10 and Disney 6/10. NCL wins hand's down in this department in my opinion. (The exception: Disney's Palo specialty restaurant, which served the best steak I have ever eaten, and a best-ever chocolate soufflE.) Entertainment: 5 out of 10. Cruise lines have three types of stage entertainment; in-house productions, contract productions and specialty acts (magicians, comedians, etc.) Most of the time it is simply awful, on the level of theme park entertainment. On this cruise, the Star had a contract production called "Extreme Vegas", featuring a husband and wife team that performed magic acts, quick change costumes, acrobatics and self-promotion for their DVD. It was enjoyable, but marred by a pulsing, pounding intro sound track that went on far too long. On its own, I would rate this as a 5/10, a high score for cruise line entertainment. The in-house production on the first night appeared to be similar to the awful show we dubbed the "Mormon Tabernacle Choir Gets Down and Funky with Motown" on our last NCL cruise, so we skipped it ... and conversations with fellow passengers told us we did the right thing. Everyone we talked to either hated it or walked out on it. I can't give it a score, of course, but I can say that I'm glad we missed it. A contract comedy troupe from Second City was horrible, a 1 out of 10, for poorly timed and excruciatingly bad comedy skits and all-to-predictable improv. We walked out on their show after suffering far too long, and I hope these folks go back to bussing tables for a living. Or get thrown overboard and eaten by sharks. The awful performances were doubly bad since the usual stand up comedian was missing from the entertainment line-up because of them. Usually the stand ups are at least a little bit funny. The in-house "Elements" stage show was nice, a 4 out of 10, with pretty enjoyable routines. It was marred by a change in the sound system that make the music tinny and raspy, like they had blown out speakers (or tomatoes were stuck in them from the prior night's Second City performance). The show featured two couples including the one from "Extreme Vegas", as well as the in-house entertainers. I never felt like retching or running for the exits, so for a cruise line show, it was pretty good. The final production was a crew talent show, featuring only members of the crew from the housekeeping, restaurant, guest services and engineering departments. As can be expected, the show has acts of varying polish, but that's the appeal: these are not professionals, but room stewards, waitresses and even the ship's fireman. I enjoyed this show most of all,and give it a 6 out of 10 for pure entertainment value. It was surprising to see these workers belt out diva-esque tunes, perform traditional folk dances from their home countries and work together for comedy dance routines. Itinerary: 7/10 for our group; 4/10 overallFor our group of first time cruisers, the itinerary with more sea days than port days allowed them to get a feel for cruising without too much distraction. But my wife and I prefer port-intensive cruises, and realized that without the rest of the family there, the three sea days would have been pretty boring. Especially when combined with the poor entertainment options and the colder weather that kept most people inside the ship. The weather also limited night-time outdoor options (midnight buffet, BBQs, dance parties under the stars, etc.) But a 7 out of 10 for a group cruise seems appropriate, as the extra time allowed us to meet for nearly every meal and enjoy some quality family time.Ports visited were Juneau and Ketchikan, and our excursions were arranged separately, as NCL was late in getting excursions scheduled for this trip. For Juneau, we visited the Mendenhall Glacier ($16 per person for round trip bus fare). We chose a Duck Boat tour of Ketchikan as a starter, then each couple went "on their own" to explore the town. We all enjoyed the ports. Because we had limited activity due to a disabled member of our party, we did not seek out more the more adventuresome activities available in these ports.We attended the Cruise Critic Roll Call meeting on board, and had the option to sign up for a tour of the bridge. That was a nice perk, and we enjoyed the time given the group by the Captain, first mate, and the rest of the officers on the bridge. While I didn't time the visit, they were generous with their time, and answered several questions. This was very nice, indeed.Conclusion:Overall, this was a good introduction to cruising for the newbies, and enjoyable for us (hey, we weren't at work!) Freestyle dining fits well with our group, allowing us to modify our schedule at the last minute to accommodate anyone in the group, and still eat together. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
A terrific time! We flew to Seattle on 5/26, had some time to explore Seattle and had the best chowder down in the public market. There were four of us: Mom (58), brother (29), brother's girlfriend (29) and me (31). We were ... Read More
A terrific time! We flew to Seattle on 5/26, had some time to explore Seattle and had the best chowder down in the public market. There were four of us: Mom (58), brother (29), brother's girlfriend (29) and me (31). We were celebrating their graduations from law school. We're a mellow group, like a good drink, hot tub and chilling out. Food: We ate in Aqua, Versailles, Cagneys, La Cucina, Endless Summer, Blue Lagoon, the buffett, and my brother and girlfriend ate at Le Bistro. It was my first time at Cagneys, as I'm not a big meat eater, but everything was fantastic. Crabcakes, salmon, lobster bisque and a brownie sundae to die for. The other three had various forms of beef, which I heard was great. Loved the wings at Blue Lagoon, Aqua was fine and the buffet was great for breakfast. A bit disappointed at the lobster tacos at Endless Summer, I remember them being creamier. No biggie though. Entertainment We saw a couple shows. Love Second City, their rip on Amway was hilarious. I thought the dancers were a bit stripper like in Band on the Run, but Elements was fun. There seemed to be a lot of activities listed for the day, but we aren't a family of joiners. Spa Mom and I joined the spa, and went every day. Love the roller hot tub and chilling out in the loungers, looking at the ocean. It as never really crowded, and I read about four books, while watching the scenery. Ports and Excursions Ketchikan: We took a tram to the top of a mountain and wandered around Creek Street. A mellow introduction to Alaska, followed by drinks at a bar. Juneau: We took the tram to the top of the mountain again, and the views were epic! We saw an eagles nest, hiked some trails and drank it all in. We went on the Tracy Arm Excursion and it was phenomenal! Upclose with upside down icebergs, glaciers, whales, more eagles then we knew what to do with. Best excursion I've ever been on. If you're on the Star, take it. You won't regret it. Skagway: We thought about riding the train, but weren't really into it. We took some pictures by the railroad, did some shopping, got some drinks. Great scenery and a calm day. Prince Rupert: We went to see Cow Bay, watched half a dozen eagles, bout a bottle of wine to dump into a water bottle. Misc. - The outdoor hot tubs were great and never crowded. - We brought on several rum rummers and they weren't detected in carry on or checked baggage. Judge if you must, but we also bought champage or wine every night. - Small turn outs at the Latitudes party and the Gold/Silver party. Great free drinks and I won a model ship in the raffle. It's on my desk at work. - There were 900 people from Amway onboard....they were interesting. - Our rooms were forward balconies, on deck eight, they seemed smaller then I remember from other ships, but plenty of storage and room. - The ship didn't feel very crowded, except in the gift shops, around the machine in the casino where you drop the quarters in, or walking down a hallway of Amway people taking pictures of the carpet. Loved the Star, Alaska and the trip. Will totally do it again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
I'm inspired to write this because I read every review available prior to us leaving on our first ever cruise and it was an immense help. Hopefully this will provide some valuable information for at least a few people. For background, ... Read More
I'm inspired to write this because I read every review available prior to us leaving on our first ever cruise and it was an immense help. Hopefully this will provide some valuable information for at least a few people. For background, we are an energetic couple in our 30s who like to stay busy, but also like to marvel at mother nature's beauty. I had bought a walking tour book from Amazon and this came in VERY handy. Embarkation: We stored our luggage at the concierge in Seattle for $3 a bag while we took a chocolate tour. We got our bags around 1:30 and went right next door to the baggage area. They were quick and friendly and we were on our way to security. There was quite a long line to get thru security and it was held up for almost 30 minutes while they were trying to get everyone thru the check-in lines. Once the line started moving again, though, it went fairly quick. All in all, we were on the boat by 2:45 with our room keys in hand. Room: We had a balcony room towards the front of the ship. It was adequate for 2 people with a decent size bathroom. There was plenty of space and hangers for clothes. Our room steward, William, was very friendly and promised me my towel animals (which I adored). William took excellent care of us and was awesome! Favorite Food: Blue Lagoon (most people don't realize it's free) Most Visited Food Venue: Market Cafe (buffet)...it's really fast and easy, but the food isn't always the freshest and/or it has a limited selection if you're not a seafood eater Speciality Restaurant: We only went to Endless Summer. Besides the free margarita, the surcharge really wasn't worth it. Stardust shows not to miss: Band on the Run, Second City, Crew Talent Show, Elements Game shows not to miss: Newlywed Game, Perfect Couple, Dancing with the Stars Favorite Port: Ketchikan - lots of places to escape to in town to avoid the crowds (used the walking tour book), lots of shopping options other than jewelry stores Least Favorite Port: Skagway - not much to do in town besides shop. Luckily we had booked an excursion to the Yukon with Dyea Dave. Favorite Excursion: Dog sledding with ERA helicopters (booked independently) Disembarktion: We had opted to carry off our own luggage which was quite easy to do and we were off the ship in less than 5 minutes. Overall Pros: Beautiful scenery, gorgeous weather (low 70s with no rain), entertaining evening shows at the Stardust, hilarious game shows, very attentive staff, clean common areas, good fitness facility (which you'll need after all of those big meals) So/So: Food was okay (typical buffet style food), Endless Summer wasn't really worth the surcharge Cons: Large group of tourists from Thailand (~900) that insisted on taking 100s of pictures and blocking the walkways. This was not the fault of NCL, but became a huge inconvenience after 8 days of it. They also closed Versailles early the last two nights for a function for this group which put the kibosh on dinner plans that we wanted to have for the last night at sea. Also, the ship layout was off. For example, the ice cream bar was in the fitness center and you had to walk thru the buffet to reach the fitness center (hard not to want to grab something on your way thru). Other restaurants were also in the middle of the floors (Blue Lagoon, Endless Summer) so you had to walk thru them to get from one end of the ship to the other. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
If you're not fancy people, don't own ball gowns or tuxes and want to eat with your companions, then Norwegians Freestyle Cruising is the way to go! Casual wear, including jeans is our kind of cruise. We cruised on the Norwegian ... Read More
If you're not fancy people, don't own ball gowns or tuxes and want to eat with your companions, then Norwegians Freestyle Cruising is the way to go! Casual wear, including jeans is our kind of cruise. We cruised on the Norwegian Star to Alaska in late May. We had the best weather, no rain whatsoever. The ports of call were Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Prince Rupert, all were great ports to visit. We saw whales, porpoises and bald eagles. The sea was calm and we had sun every day. We also visited Sawyer Glacier, the icebergs in the water on the way there were a little unnerving, but never felt scared and it was a beautiful glacier, unbelievable. Whenever we left our cabin, upon our return the room was impeccable and always had a towel animal waiting for us on the bed. If you're going to spend the money to take a cruise make sure to get at least a balcony room. We spent a lot of time on ours with our binoculars in one hand and a glass of wine in the other, yes, it was a little cold, but we didn't care, we were on vacation! The food was great in every restaurant we ate. Definitely spend a little extra and dine at Cagneys Steakhouse, awesome food. With freestyle cruising you can eat whenever you want too, so worth it. Can't wait to go on our next cruise with Norwegian! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We really looked forward to this cruise and had decided to make the most of it however it turned out.We had read good, bad and mediocre reviews of the star, but hoped our trip would fall into the good category however, mediocre is the word ... Read More
We really looked forward to this cruise and had decided to make the most of it however it turned out.We had read good, bad and mediocre reviews of the star, but hoped our trip would fall into the good category however, mediocre is the word best described for our overall experience. Embarkation was quick. Loved how quick we got on the ship. The staff was courteous, but in robot mode. Mostly we felt let down by the food, entertainment, and staff. The food in the free areas was kept just above high school cafeteria level, we didn't complain, we just looked for better alternatives. The market cafe was just that, a Buffett with semi warm variety of snack foods and coffee. It was ok for mindless munchies, but for dinners we tried the dining rooms. The Versailles and aqua share a galley and I assume cooks. The food was good, but not at a level we have experienced on other ships. The staff seem to be in a broken record routine. No real interaction with the staff and they consistently delivered desserts a long time after your meal. Many times forgetting to deliver the coffee at all. Often, we would have to flag down a waitress to get anything. Our friend waited 45 mins after she was seated to place her order. Our group of 5 missed two early 7pm shows because our 530 dinner just could not get completed in time. The best meals we got were in the specialty restaurants where the was a 15 - 25 per person 'cover charge'. These meals were up to the standard that should have been included in our cruise price. Entertainment reminded me of the six flags performances we had seen. None stood out as incredible. Some of the magic show was literally taken word for word from David Copperfield (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxBKs1KmkEk&feature=youtube_gdata_player), but even that was poorly executed (he didn't get all the aces in the right spot and exposed his double sided cards more than once). The dancers were ok, but the show was poorly choreographed and written. Especially the 60s show on our first full day at sea. Overall, I would not recommend a trip on the star. If it's any warning to you at all, sewers nickel and dimmed to the tune of 1.5 k which many would say it's our fault for spending, but to get your vacation food experience, you will have to spend the money. Outside of the uncharged meals, we did buy a 3 bottles of wine, 2 medium priced excursions, and a couple of t-shirts. Except for 3 nights, where we ate in inclusive restaurants, we spent 30-80 per night eating in the upscale dining areas. (0 spent on gambling). Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We (DH and myself) travelled with another couple. We arrived a day early in Seattle. Stayed at the Travelodge as they had a pre cruise special of $114/night for 4 adults. This hotel was perfect for what we needed. Basic room only 2 ... Read More
We (DH and myself) travelled with another couple. We arrived a day early in Seattle. Stayed at the Travelodge as they had a pre cruise special of $114/night for 4 adults. This hotel was perfect for what we needed. Basic room only 2 blocks from the space needle and a quick monorail ride down to the market. Embarkation was very smooth. We arrived at the pier about 11:15 am and our friends had an issue with their passports so we didn't get on the ship until about 1pm. The NCL staff was wonderful, exremely professional and very helpful. Highlights/things to note:Restaurants- We didn't eat in any of the specialty restaurants. We found the selection in the Versaille, Aqua, Market Cafe and Blue Lagoon to be very adequate for our needs and never overally crowded. Service in all was great and there were only a couple of items I didn't care for. The flan in the Versaille was very jello like and the Vietnamese spring rolls were really odd - like a cold meatless sushi. The hot and sour soup had a weird taste to it as well, but this could be just that I'm used to a more americanized version of it. Bars/music - drinks are very strong. We had the drink of the day twice and both times they were strong. - Kenny in the Red Lion pub was great fun. He has a play list and will play by request. - loved the free popcorn in the Red Lion. - The Star bar was very quiet - went there twice to hang out and not many people in there. - The atrium was crowded with shoppers and we didn't care for the elevator type music.- Walked past the jazz musician in Gatsby's, but not really our type of music either.Entertainment- We attended all of the shows and really enjoyed the Band on the Run production. They did a Mod-Shout show which was ok. The crew talent show was ok and we enjoyed the 5 guys who danced and the finale with Jamie, the cruise director. We didn't care for the magician or the hypnotist (both a bit showy). Second city was good the first time, but they did a couple additional shows and were recycling pretty much the same thing. The last nights finale needs a bit of refining - couple of the dancers had a hard time and there was a warddrobe malfunction with one of the female dancers. Ports- Ketchikan - great shopping. We did a bus tour with Sourdough and they are extremely knowledgeable and friendly. I don't normally care for these kinds of tours, but they did a great job. We also took the funicular up to the lodge and walked back down. - Juneau - took a helicopter to the glacier. Views were stunning and the guides were very informational. Great trip. Also did some shopping.- Skagway. Due to passport issues took the train insted of the car we had rented. The train provided great views. Did more shopping and ate lunch at a pizza place in town. - Prince Rupert. This was the only day where it was overcast. This port doesn't have alot of shopping opportunities and they had the same things as we saw in Alaska but double the price. We did see quite a few eagles. We walked thru town and talked to a fisherman. He told us about the struggles Prince Rupert has been facing over the past 10 years. NCL will no longer be going to this port starting in 2012. While we feel bad for Prince Rupert, there just isn't enough for 2500 cruise passengers to do. Other- Jamie - the cruise director is wonderful. Lots of fun, super friendly and helpful.- The bridge tour was interesting- All of the NCL staff we encountered were super friendly and eager to talk or answer questions. - We had booked an inside room to save money for excursions and this was good move. We were rarely in our room. Debarkation was EXTREMELY smooth. We took our own luggage off and could get off at any time. There weren't any lines and we had plenty of time to get to the airport for our 1pm flight. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
My wife and I are in our mid 30's and just returned from the Sept 18 Alaska sailing on the Star from Seattle. We were traveling with six older relatives, five of which are senior citizens. We initially planned to do the Golden ... Read More
My wife and I are in our mid 30's and just returned from the Sept 18 Alaska sailing on the Star from Seattle. We were traveling with six older relatives, five of which are senior citizens. We initially planned to do the Golden Princess because I have sailed on Princess before and have always wanted to sail on their Grand Class of ships. However, due to procrastination, the ship was sold out in the category we wanted (oceanview) and the only option on that sail date was the Norwegian Star. Still seemed fine and we got a good deal as most were on a budget. There was a line at the port but we arrived at peak time (right at noon) and the moved quickly so no problem. The staff at the port were all very friendly and helped you quickly though the process. Once we boarded the first thing to do was go eat lunch because the rooms were not yet ready. Everyone was ready to try soem cruise food so we went up to deck 12 and the Market Cafe. I have cruised 8 times before but 3 of the people in our party were on their first cruise. The Market Cafe (buffet area) was packed and the way they have the tables arranged it makes it very easy for two people to hog a table for six. We spilt into two groups of six and two in two tables and started eating. It's not really laid out well because on the starboard side of the ship, the cafe is twice as long and you can walk through it to get from the midship pool area to the aft gym. But on the port side the cafe stops half way back and becomes a crew only closed door area. So if you are sitting there and wanted desert you literally had to fight your way forward the port side, around the front and all way down the aft side then go back the way you came to get to your table. Walking is never bad when you are on cruise eating non stop but a bad design is still a bad design. Plus if you wanted a soda or alcohol they set up a "cart" on that same starboard side only again making it inconvenient to those on the port side. We were all satisfied well enough with lunch and anxious to get to our rooms and unpack before the life boat drill. Mind you, we only had an oceanview and not a balcony, but the king size bed took up the whole room and the only way on or off the bed was from the foot. There is a small table and desk chair on one side and a table/cabinet piece of furniture on the other side with a stool in front. Really? Who is going to sit down at a desk in 150 sq ft stateroom to right their memoirs? Essential space could have been picked up by losing the stool (and chair) and just building wall storage. The bathroom was tiny with little sink space but the doors on the shower and separating the toilet were nice. The water temp was never consistent in the shower even when left on the same setting. One day hot, one day just lukewarm. The soap dispensors looked cheap but it saved me having to crowd the tiny shower shelf with my personal toiletries so it worked. The lifeboat drill was odd. On every cruise I've been on before, your muster station was actually out on the open deck below the lifeboats. On the Star it was in the lower section of the forward Stardust Theatre? You really are telling me that is the ship is sinking I am supposed to come into a 900 seat theatre, go to the lowest point and sit there?? We had beautiful weather in Seattle and found a nice spot on deck 13 for the sail away. The pool deck has a nice tapered rising gallery for chairs but the strange column things by the slides are ugly and so are the numerous fake palm trees. I like that forward area of the ship had nice deck space as well. This was a wonderful spot to enjoy the sailing away from Kethchikan on our third day when it was gloriously sunny and in the upper 60s! We ate at the Auqa and Versailles rooms but only the Versaille (aft) is open for breakfast and our cabins were pretty forward. The breakfasts in the Market Cafe are as bad as people say. No omelet station. No waffle station. Cold eggs. Hard pastries. Lukewarm pankcakes. The bacon was good. The cereal was good. The fruit was good. We still ate there 5 of the 7 mornings because the Versailles only serves until 9:30am. The Market Cafe though was pretty much always crowded and sometimes took several walk arounds to find a table. We ate at the Steakhouse which was excellent. As our party was looking to me to be kind of the organizer I had previously also suggested we try the Italian and Tex-Mex restaurants too. So the first day on board I make our reservations for the three nights. What I had seen before told me the last two had no cover charge but now NCL decided to charge $10 pp at these. Everyone still said we would try them and I enjoyed the Italian (where others in our group didn't) and we all liked the Tex-Mex. Excellent service there and great steak fajitas. So two of the three were hits. Dinners in the main dining rooms were ok. You can tell they have taken the food down a tier to drive people to their specialty restaurants. There isn't anything inherently "free" with their freestyle dining. One more negative then I will get to some positives. I think the ship's cruise director Candi was awful. Very plastic, fake sounding personality. She repeated the same phrases over and over seemed very ingenuine. Her cruise director staff selling the lottery cards were worse then used car salesman. And the assistant cruise director and Bingo guy was grating to the ears. His English was terrible and his "it's Biiiiiiiingo time!" announcements might as well just said "it's time for us to get more of you moneyyyyyyyyyy". Probably the least enjoyable cruise director staff I have ever had. Ok, things I liked. The professional entertainment was good. Second City, music shows, most live performers, etc. The Star Bar on deck 13 quickly became our favorite place. Initimate, usually uncrowded with the same waiter every night. And maybe the only real true bargain on board: 2 for 1 Martinis from 5-9pm each night. The only bad thing is the decor of the place lookes like a lounge from a ship 20 years ago and the view is basically the pool and those ugly fake palm trees I mentioned earlier. This ship lacked the "oh wow" public area with an amazing view. That's the one thing I was looking forward to on the Golden Princess - the view from Skywalker Lounge. We had beautiful weather in all three Alaska ports and at Dawes Glacier. Prince Rubert was a waste a time and my wife and I only got off the ship because we figured we could find a Tim Horton's (think Canadian Dunkin Donuts only better) and sure enough we did, about a 5 minute walk from the pier. Someone else mentioned the Spinnaker Lounge being a dungeon. And even the gym had only tiny walls with window views. Most of the workout equipment was facing a mirrored wall with no line of site to the outside. Two big fails in my opinion. A ship should maximize its window space and every public space should have nice outside views. Even the Versailles which has large rear windows are not full windows. They have these architectural designs that block 50 percent of your view on what could otherwise be a gorgeous glass dining room overlooking the wake of the ship. All in all, I was underwhelemed and a little disappointed. I would never go on this ship again and being my first time on NCL, I would pretty much gurantee I would not go on any of their ships again (even the Star). It felt like they were always selling something, or cutting back on something to force you to spend extra and it felt cheapened like I would expect on Carnival. Next cruise will definitely be Princess. I have leared. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Chose this trip with the help of a Travel Agent who pitched us at the right level of formality. The age range of passengers was predominantly 50+ although there were younger people, children and babies but everyone we met was friendly ... Read More
Chose this trip with the help of a Travel Agent who pitched us at the right level of formality. The age range of passengers was predominantly 50+ although there were younger people, children and babies but everyone we met was friendly and willing to talk and share experiences (not always about cruising but about lives in different countries). Majority of people were from America. The Norwegian Star seemed a big ship to us which meant we did not feel confined at any point and provided variety for eating and entertainment. Having not cruised before could not say what size ship we preferred but do not think anything much smaller would suit us although I accept this is personal preference. There was one formal night known as dress up or not and there were those that did the full whack with tuxedoes and long dresses and those that didn't. It wasn't a problem either way. Starting with arrival in Seattle- our hotel was located virtually opposite the airport although other NCL passengers were in the centre- pros and cons for both. We had anticipated spending time in Seattle but forgot the time delay and it did not happen. We were met at the airport and escorted onto the hotel transfer bus, check in was ok and there is a review of the hotel on Tripadvisor. Coach in the morning to the port was smooth and turned into a very amusing tour of Seattle as a bonus because the ship was not ready for us- brilliant coach driver with local knowledge and sense of humour set the tone. Embarkation was smooth and efficient. Cabins were not ready but passengers were ushered onto cafe on top deck where food and drink were available. It did not take long for cabins to be ready. CABIN: We heeded the advice to get a balcony cabin on an Alaskan cruise and although not essential for a good trip it is definitely to be recommended if the budget can stretch to it. I believe that balcony cabins are the lowest grade where there are tea and coffee making facilities in the cabin. Size is adequate and the layout is well organised. Bed is comfortable but pillows are abysmal. Shampoo and shower gel are provided but is no conditioner.There is a decent hairdryer ladies so you don't need to pack one. Bathrobes were also there.Needless to say it was spotlessly clean as was the entire ship. RESTAURANTS:Self service one up top which had a massive variety of food of a high standard with separate sections for different foods e.g. salads, Italian, Asian, soup etc and a further huge range of puddings> I defy anyone to not find something they liked. We only ate here at lunchtime (could control the size of our portions) or if we were doing an early morning trip (for speed and that extra 10mins in bed). By the pool area there was a burger/hotdog bar. There were 2 "posh" restaurants where there was waiter service. They served the same menu and it was personal preference as to the situation. On arrival at the restaurant you were asked whether you wanted to share a table or be on your own. Sometimes it was nice to share experiences with someone different and other times we sat on our own- no pressure either way. Choosing not to share sometimes meant you had to wait that little longer for a table but it was not a big deal. Food was superb and there was a constant menu with about 3 choices for each course and that sat alongside a daily changing one with the same variety. The 2 were interchangeable. The majority of the waiters/waitresses were friendly and chatty without being obtrusive.There were many speciality restaurants but they had a cover charge and we never saw any of them full. The food was so good in the main one that we never felt the need to pay out so can't comment (and we never met anyone who had tried them). Ice cream bar was just too nice! LOL ENTERTAINMENT: In the theatre there were professional shows which tended to happen at 7.30 and be repeated at 9.30. They lasted approx 1-11/2hrs and were of an excellent standard. They varied from a tribute act, dancing, comedy, juggling. Everyone that we saw had us enthralled. In one of the bars they had a different entertainment usually requiring participation. People we saw there appeared to be having fun. There were different things happening in different bars in the evening such as a pianist, violinist/flautist, quartet/ rocker. During the day there was something happening every hour (timetable provided in your cabin the night before) but we never did any of these activities and many carried a charge. There was a free gym with free towels and free headphones (hand in your room key in the spa reception as a deposit) It was adequately equipped and there were some classes (again a charge for many)The Spa itself was expensive as was joining the health club but you had to join the health club to use the indoor pool, although it was only approx 10m. Didn't join so again, can't comment.Casino there too but didn't partake. Bingo was $25! The outdoor pool and Jacuzzis were very much used during our unseasonal good weather. There was a library on the top deck where there was a daily crossword, word search and Suduko printed out for free and a variety of reference and non-reference books.There was also a basketball court. MONEY:We took out soft drink package when booking allowing free soft drinks and tea and coffee- excellent deal for us. There is also a wine package which I believe to be worth it if you like wine. Drinks were obviously on the expensive side but no more so than a hotel in a major city. Everything is charged to your room and paid for at the end of the cruise. There are lots of money making opportunities for the cruise operator such as photographs galore; each port, each night in the restaurant, on the "dress up or not" night, but you did not have to buy them. The shops covered most things that you might have forgotten and were desperate for. GOODS: Excellent service, levels of cleanliness, standard of food and in our case weather (not a drop of rain and opportunity to sunbathe most of the daylight hours.) You have to use alcohol gel on boarding every time and on entering any restaurant- didn't hear of any bad tummies. BADS:Pillows If you are hesitating about cruising then speak to someone who knows and let them help you choose which operator would best suit your requirements- not only do the itineraries vary but the levels of formality, the age groups and the nationalities. There will be one for everyone. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Alaska did not disappoint - the weather was at times cold and rainy (as expected for late September) but the scenery was outstandingly beautiful. We stayed in an AB penthouse on the Star, and loved the cabin. It was spacious, comfortable, ... Read More
Alaska did not disappoint - the weather was at times cold and rainy (as expected for late September) but the scenery was outstandingly beautiful. We stayed in an AB penthouse on the Star, and loved the cabin. It was spacious, comfortable, quiet, and we really appreciated the suite perks. Everything worked as expected and we had no complaints. The staff were great and always responded quickly and cheerfully to our requests. We booked online through an NCL personal cruise consultant who was also very responsive, replying to each of my emails within 24 hours. No complaints about any of the staff before or during the cruise. We met the senior staff at the CC meet and greet on the first day at sea, and they were very keen to assure us that we should let them know if we had a problem and not keep it to ourselves on the ship, only to vent later on the internet. That's fine insofar as it relates to problems that can be fixed on the spot, but of course some complaints relate to much wider systemic issues that are beyond the ability of the ship staff to fix. So I thought it a little disingenuous of them to bemoan the tendency of passengers to complain on the internet but not to them. Having said that, I did get the impression that if we had had an immediate problem on the ship, they would have done their best to fix it. This brings me to the issue of the food. It ranged from mediocre to good. It was never great. We ate mostly in the specialty restaurants - I didn't like the look of the buffet at all, and our one meal at Versailles was by far the worst we encountered. It is unrealistic to expect a truly gourmet experience considering the numbers that have to be catered to and the cost we were paying. I wasn't upset about having to pay extra for the nice food, because, really, the cruise is not expensive. You are paying from around $100 to $200 per person per night, and that includes accommodation, transport and entertainment. For that sort of money, the food is going to be basic. Another factor is the vast quantities of food on offer. Maybe if portions were smaller, or fewer courses offered (three courses for both lunch and dinner is a lot of food) then quality could improve. But I understand that other passengers have different priorities and presumably NCL knows its customer base pretty well. Other things that others have complained about we just ignored - the bingo, the art sales, the shopping seminars ... there was no hard sell to attend any of these and we found it easy to filter out everything we weren't interested in. I am very aware that much of what we liked about our experience on the ship was a direct result of being able to afford the suite and the specialty restaurants. I imagine it would be a different experience altogether if you were on a stricter budget. Overall though, I still thought the cruise was reasonable value. It is much cheaper than staying at a five star resort. Our only sour note came after we got home and realised we had left some personal items in the cabin. I emailed NCL in the (probably) vain hope that they have some sort of system for returning lost property, and have not even had the courtesy of a response. NCL if you are reading this, and I think you must be, there is no point spending so much effort on customer relations during the cruise, only to ignore them once it is over. People do remember this sort of thing and yes, they will vent about it on the internet. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
I'm a first time cruiser. I had NO expectations before leaving. In fact, I decided to keep ONLY an open mind. Just got off the boat this morning in fact. About a month after I booked the cruise and a month before leaving, I ran into ... Read More
I'm a first time cruiser. I had NO expectations before leaving. In fact, I decided to keep ONLY an open mind. Just got off the boat this morning in fact. About a month after I booked the cruise and a month before leaving, I ran into this website and read the reviews. Not much I could do, as I had already dished out more than $3000 for our small family of 4 (2 kids, 1 and 3). Alaska was recommended by friends as being really beautiful. That part is true. The positive (?): Ketchikan was so-so. Don't do the Lumberjack show. Boring! Three families, including ours, left after the first 15 minutes. It's a small town. If I could do it again, I might have done the duck tour. People are unfriendly. My son (we're talking about a 1 year old) was chasing pigeons. Some *witch-looking* woman in a toll-like booth right at the booth across from the duck tour yelled at my 1 year old. Why wasn't she doing her job instead of staring at pigeons? That was the greeting and impression we left of Ketchikan. Not a friendly town. No smiles anywhere we went. It was just a cold, cold feeling in Ketchikan. I won't return. Juneau was pretty / ok - Coming from Seattle, some of the sights were familiar, but the Mendenhall Glacier (and Garden) was nice, a little better than average. Skagway - surprisingly was my faorite. I liked the Yellow Streetcar tour. It was interesting. All in all, the sights were alright. It was one of those things that you could experience once. That's all you need. Prince Rupert was so disappointing. Looks pretty from afar. We took a tour of the city and viewed houses. I'm not kidding you! We saw new houses, old houses, stores. Not fun. The bad: The food was the worst part of this trip! Believe everything you read. There is 1 buffet - the Market Cafe, and two free restaurants - the Versailles and Aqua; the rest are specialty restaurants that require surcharges amounting to what you would pay (almost) in a regular restaurante. Granted, you can eat as much as you want, but we ate just about the same as any other restaurant. The Market Cafe had "below average food", although it was always plentiful. Everyday was the same food over and over and over again. Before going on the cruise, you'd think, it's not a problem; on and after the cruise, it was *ugh*gross*! Please no more boiled eggs. The specialty restaurants are good, but they DO require tipping along with the surcharge, even though (yes!) I did pay a hefty service fee at the end of this vacation. (Our total final bill was $837 more than what we paid on top of the ticket prices. Internet is $103.95 for 250 minutes. Service fees, automatic tipping, was $252.) If you don't tip, you get a rather rude response, just like a normal restaurant. They also act like they don't want you to eat that much. We ate at Ginza (Asian Fusion) and La Cucina. We tipped at Ginza, but not La Cucina, as we didn't like the service. The guy chased me down and thought maybe I forgot to put a tip. They made us feel very uncomfortable. I still didn't leave a tip. My opinion is: the specialty restaurants should have been the quality of food for all restaurants on the ship. What you get in the other two free restaurants is amateurish cooking (a little less than what you would find in a culinary school) that is overly salty. Soda pop is extra; so, water is all you get in the restaurants. Fortunately, we had 2 kids so we could order apple juice and orange juice free of charge in the restaurants. Soda pop was $2.25 if we wanted to order it. *Argh* Next were the rooms! Internet is slow and NOT SECURE! WARNING: USE INTERNET WITH CAUTION. Although, the ship advises you to check your bank accounts before leaving Juneau, as you may not have service, DON'T CHECK YOUR BANK ACCOUNTS OR USE PURCHASE ANYTHING. Our credit card number was stolen, right after I made one purchase, and someone has racked $1200 on my card. I feel lucky it wasn't more. (Sadly, it came right from my bank. Yes, I know.) I am fortunate that I DID not check my bank account. I am now disputing all charges. Not a fun way to end a vacation. Just a warning to all of you! Believe me, I used all precautions except one: DON'T USE YOUR CARDS OR CHECK YOUR BANK ACCOUNTS via the internet on the ship. Our room was a good size for a cruise ship. The steward was friendly; but, in 7 days, we NEVER once had our linen changed and it was looking pretty dirty by the 7th day. We have 2 young kids, so we're talking about candy on the pillow cases, chocolate on the sheets, yogurt sprinkled on the bed sheet, all visible everyday, none cleaned. We requested a few times, and finally just gave up. We'll just sleep on the dirty sheets. I just think these should be common-sense stuff. Entertainment? NONE that were interesting for my 3 year old. She goes to preschool everyday, took a peek at Kids Club and said: no, thanks. We looked in to see four adults lying on their stomachs in a slumber party-like fashion talking like if we were unwanted. We felt very unwelcomed and like they didn't want to be disturbed. So, we left. We did see the Comedian Juggler and the Cirque Pacific which we liked; but, aside from those two shows, we found eating in the Market Cafe the only other thing to do. I asked the Kids Club if I could borrow some books to take back to the cabin to read to my kids. "No, we can't do that" was the answer. Oh, not my lucky ship. Lastly, the pizza making and cupcake making were all a waste of time. Cupcakes and pizzas were made and the kids ate them. I'm a former elementary teacher (now college instructor) and couldn't think of why they couldn't have been a bit more entertaining. The TV had very few channels, all controlled by NCL. We were lucky to catch the end of Dora one day on the final day. I spoke to a lot of people on the boat. Most people I spoke to seemed to be a bit upset about things that are priced above what you pay for the tickets. A few of the families DID like the kids club, we DID not! Their kids were a bit older than ours: 5 and older. I asked my husband how he ranked our trip. We both give it 3-4 of 10 and neither one of us would do this again. I estimate that this trip cost us $5000 too much plus another $1200 that I now have to deal with. Hopefully, NCL got my billing correct so that I'm charged $837 and nothing more. We'll see. All in all, TRUST the reviews here; and, don't end up like me: very, very disappointed. Good one time experience, but there won't be a second on NCL unfortunately, not until the food is improved, at least. :( (Sorry for the ranting.) Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Norwegian Star Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 3.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 2.0 3.2
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 4.0

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