33 Norwegian Star Alaska Cruise Reviews

While my wife and I are not seasoned cruisers, we actually only went on one other cruise and with another line, we tried desperately not to compare. When we first embarked it was easy not to compare but as the week continued the other line ... Read More
While my wife and I are not seasoned cruisers, we actually only went on one other cruise and with another line, we tried desperately not to compare. When we first embarked it was easy not to compare but as the week continued the other line eventually won out. I honestly can say by Thursday I was ready to go home and that's unusual for me. I know I should give Norwegian another chance but since we didn't win the free cruise we will not be cruising with Norwegian again. Getting on the Norwegian Star in Seattle was actually good. The cruise experience went downhill from there. During embarkation, the staff were pleasant, helpful, and efficient. The lines moved very quickly. Our cabin was ready but others in our party weren't as lucky. There were quite a few guests hanging out on deck level 7 waiting until they were called to their cabins. Free Style Cruising is not for everyone. Our experience on board, "Free Style Cruising" basically meant you are on your own. If you are accustom to being waited on hand and foot it didn't happen. Activities were limited and my idea of a fun activity is not having a seminar on having your teeth whitened. There were 700 kids on board and by Wednesday most of them seemed to be bored. For a cruise line that markets to families activities geared to kids were noticeably missing. Some of the crew were very friendly and helpful. We prepaid tipping but we always tip extra when the service is exceptional. We tipped two crew members extra. I never did meet my cabin stewart and that included trying to page him/her a couple of times, I finally gave up. Food With the exception of the buffet on Level 7, the food on board was exceptional. Beware there are cover charges on some of the restaurants on board and in most cases it was worth it. By Thursday and Friday it was impossible to get reservations and the lines for the restaurants that didn't need reservations was long. We ate many lunches and some dinners in the Blue Lagoon. It's fast food but it was good and the manager was one of the few crew that was exceptional. He, Dhuri, always treated us like we were the best of friends. One theory I heard from a fellow passenger was the food on the buffet was purposely mediocre so they would force you to the other restaurants. The menu never changed and ranged from undercooked to cooked but cold. Shore Excursions The shore excursions were well run and exceptional. We had some minor issues in Skagway on the train but realistically it was partly our fault. My only disappointment with the excursions was I would have liked to spend more time in Juneau and not in Prince Rupert. Overall, I was impressed with getting on and off the ship in Seattle but the overall cruise was a disappointment. Alaska is indescribable and if everyone has the chance should go, just not on Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date July 2007
This is my fifth cruise, second time to Alaska and first time on NCL. The good things about it: 1. Staff were mostly friendly, courteous and helpful 2. The water pressure in the shower was nice and strong 3. There were hand sanitation ... Read More
This is my fifth cruise, second time to Alaska and first time on NCL. The good things about it: 1. Staff were mostly friendly, courteous and helpful 2. The water pressure in the shower was nice and strong 3. There were hand sanitation stations everywhere to prevent Norwalk virus. 4. The room service food was decent and delivered to the cabin quickly. The bad things: 1. We were told that juices like lemonade and cranberry were included on the cruise by our booking agent and verified it with an operator at NCL, however when we got onboard we discovered that juice was only included with breakfast. On all the other cruises I have been on, lemonade and cranberry juice were available freely throughout the day from a large dispenser. The electronic sensor on the ice and water machines in the dining areas didn't work properly and it was most frustrating! 2. The internet connection was poor and we spent 80% of the minutes we purchased trying to connect to our email accounts. If NCL want to charge a hefty price for internet usage then they should change their satellite connection to a decent one! The manager was most unhelpful and basically told us if we didn't like it we could lump it. 3. The inclusive food (other than room service) was extremely average, too salty and NCL went for quantity rather than quality. The desserts were mostly bland and I had tasted better in my high school canteen. The chocoholic midnight buffet was poor and a good example of quantity over quality. Most of the cakes/desserts tasted the same, they were just presented with different shapes and decorations. 4. Yet another sailing that did NOT go to Sawyer glacier (apparently the previous 3 didn't go to Sawyer either). It went to the Dawes glacier which was okay, but certainly not as majestic or blue as Sawyer or the Hubbard Glacier/college fjord glaciers I saw on a previous cruise to Alaska. I do understand that the weather is beyond the captain's control, however they should mention in the brochure that cruises go more often to Dawes glacier - we specifically chose NCL as my husband wanted to see Sawyer glacier. Why didn't they advise us when we booked a costly shore excursion 2 days before we arrived in Juneau that it was MOST LIKELY NOT going to go to Sawyer? 5. NCL charge an automatic 15% service charge with every drink you order, yet we got the distinct impression that the staff expected an additional 15% tip over and above this, bringing the "service" charge for a glass of wine or a coke up to 30% extra. The staff also keep pushing alcoholic drinks, an overpriced 'water menu' (are they kidding?) and lousy souvenirs, I felt like a tourist in a flea market on this ship. And I feel that $7.00 for a glass of pineapple juice (no alcohol) was a rip off. 6. On the first day of our cruise we discovered that our sheets were dirty and had to request fresh linen - we had expected to board a ship with clean sheets at least! The extra pillows in the closet were filthy and covered in yellow (drool?) stains and our cabin steward told us we shouldn't use the ones in the closet we had to request new ones from him. Then why on earth were they putting dirty pillows in the closet in the first place? The extra blankets we requested were dirty, had human hairs on them and were old and frayed. Surely NCL could afford to buy extra blankets that could be washed after every cruise, like a Martex? 7. The entertainment in the Spinnaker Lounge was average at best, downright poor at worst. It was an insult to our intelligence. I wouldn't cruise on NCL again EVER , it was like the Walmart of cruising, and quality was sacrificed for quantity. The decor was tacky, the food was average and the overall experience was disappointing in comparison to the Holland America and Celebrity cruises I have taken. Read Less
Sail Date June 2007
This was our 2nd cruise with NCL and our 3rd to Alaska. Had a bad experience with NCL in Hawaii but decided to give them another try. This was an improvement over NCL-Hawaii but not up to the standards of Princess and Holland America. We ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise with NCL and our 3rd to Alaska. Had a bad experience with NCL in Hawaii but decided to give them another try. This was an improvement over NCL-Hawaii but not up to the standards of Princess and Holland America. We booked just a week ahead directly with NCL - price was great, and the last minute booking went very smoothly because of e-docs etc. The Ship: Some nice public spaces on this ship, esp. the show theater, the game room, and the movie theater. Bathroom in the cabin was esp. spacious with a great shower. Nice size balcony. Furnishings on board however are less than top rate. For example, seating in the buffet (Market Cafe) is poorly laid out and cheap - rectangular laminated tables that seat 8-10 - a tacky look compared to other ships. The Service: Check-in continues to be a strength for NCL - fast, courteous and bags in the stateroom quickly. Staff on this ship were far better than the all-american crews in Hawaii - they seemed to genuinely want to please. However, the freestyle dining concept makes it tough to establish any kind of relationship with wait staff in the dining rooms since you never know where you will be seated. The Food: By far the worst part of cruising with NCL. The buffet was like eating at a Denny's with a limited menu. Dinners in the main dining room were disappointing in terms of both choice and quality. We ate at 3 of the specialty restaurants - Le Bistro (french) and Ginza (japanese) were nice dining experiences. The specialty steak house Cagney's was a real disappointment and can't compare to the way Princess does it, esp. in terms of meat quality. Activities: The beauty of Alaska and the diversity of great shore tours regardless of which cruiseline you choose take pride-of-place. Onboard activities were less than impressive. If it was a revenue-generating activity it took precedence on the schedule - for example, we like to play Team Trivia and other cruises usually have a late afternoon session, but on this cruise it was at 8PM! I guess so it wouldn't conflict with Bingo. Speaking of generating revenue, NCL takes it to a whole different level - they even have scratch-its for sale before the evening shows (tacky). That along with high drink prices and their relenting push to get you to buy a drink wherever you may be on the ship are turn-offs. Conclusion: Alaska is a memorable experience regardless of who you cruise with. However, if it's your first cruise or your first time in Alaska, I would recommend a different cruiseline from NCL. Read Less
Sail Date June 2007
This is my second cruise, first time to Alaska and first time on NCL. We are 27 and 31, and we went alone on the ship. We picked NCL at first because of the itinerary, and because we liked the freestyle cruising concept. Arrival: We flew ... Read More
This is my second cruise, first time to Alaska and first time on NCL. We are 27 and 31, and we went alone on the ship. We picked NCL at first because of the itinerary, and because we liked the freestyle cruising concept. Arrival: We flew into Seattle from Atlanta on Thursday and stayed at the Moore Hotel. We loved the Moore, and were able to go all around Seattle on Friday and Saturday morning. Seattle is a beautiful city, and people who have the time should take an extra day or two to see it. We took a shuttle from the airport to the Moore, and then a cab from the Moore to the pier on Saturday. It was cheap and dropped us right in front. Embarkation was easy, and NCL made it very easy to understand and it took us about 30 minutes total to get onboard. The Ship: The ship is big, and nicely laid out. The only place we had trouble with was the Blue Lagoon, but we didn't eat there often, as it is very small and the middle of it is a walkway! There were a lot of rooms, and lots of bars, and we had fun exploring around on the boat every day at some point. We did not use the gym, instead choosing to run on the jogging track outside to not miss a view, and that was nice and easy to do. There was a walking track as well, but we never used it. We also never used the spa, because at $15 per person per day, it did not seem worth it, however, if it were priced to half that, we would have happily used it a few of the days. We noted that most things were just priced too much for our comfort on this ship, and the more we talked to people, we heard the same type of thing! We used the free hot tubs and enjoyed them, and usually had them to ourselves! There are a few ping pong tables available, and they were nice. I used the library and it was easy and had a good selection of books. In addition, we played games in the card rooms and enjoyed it immensely! The decorations onboard are very tasteful, and we liked the big open areas. The Room: Our room was a balcony room, port side. Our neighbors were smokers, and we are not. Their smoke was not a big deal, but there was someone on our floor who was smoking pot, and security acted like it was a problem, but never followed through. It got pretty bad and a lot of people complained, but nothing was done. The rooms are nice, and we had plenty of room but recommend one of those shoe holders for the back of your bathroom door to hold extra stuff! I read this online somewhere else, and it was a huge space saver. Also, we brought an extension cord to keep all our ipods and cameras and phones plugged in. The bathroom was nice, and large enough, and the shower was better than my last cruise. I liked the sliding door separators, but wish there were fans in the bathrooms! The linens were nice, and our bed was made and turned down twice a day. I liked the duvet cover instead of a comforter. We stored our luggage (including a 28" upright) under the bed, which was a great space saver. The beds are hard, but sleep great. The coffee maker in the room was nice, and we used it to make hot chocolate that we got from the Market Cafe in addition to Cider mixes we brought from home and coffee. I really liked having this in our room. We also brought some Dixie disposable cups, and used them daily on the cruise! We had a lot of people ask where we got them from and we had to say, "HOME!" The Food: Food is not NCL's strong suit. We ate in Versailles most of the time for lunch, because Market Cafe is just horrible. It's like a middle school cafeteria in there and we couldn't stand it. We ate breakfast in there twice, and in Versailles the rest of the time. I like Versailles for breakfast and dinner, but at lunch they got skimpy on their portions. We are athletic, in-shape people, and my husband ordered trout ravioli at lunch one day as his entrEe and they gave him only 4 small pieces! We laughed when it came out and he just ordered another entrEe, but if they are trying to cut back on portions, at least be realistic! The food was very salty, and nothing was presented extra-special at any point. Dinner was a little better, but not by much. People hardly ever dressed up, which was pretty disappointing. I would have liked to see everyone in their best outfits at night! I thought there would be lemonade available, but there was not. There was iced tea, which was nice! I thought we would love the Freestyle Cruising, and we did, for about 2 days, but then were not happy with it and did not like how you never got to "know" your server. I would have liked to give some of them extra money for their service, but since we never had them twice, it was not worth it. I think we will try another line next time because I would like to have the same person every day, and the best food and service seemed to be only given at the specialty restaurants, which are up to $20 per person extra! Room service was a joke, with only 4-5 items and taking a minimum of 45 minutes to arrive. We ordered room service for our breakfast one morning and it never arrived. The Service: Besides the cabin people, the specialty dining reservation people, and a few individual servers, this is a huge deficit for NCL. We did not order a lot of drinks on this cruise and we felt that we were ignored by the staff once we declined bar service. When we did order drinks, they would push us to keep ordering and to add extra to the already included 15% gratuity. We had to repeatedly ask for more water and tea, and extra requests were hardly ever correct. We had a lot of "pushy" salespeople on us, and they would hound you to buy something to meet their quota. This got old - fast. I realize that they are supporting a family back home, and they should be commended for this, but it is never appropriate to ask for a glass of water, and be hounded to get the bottled one because "I get 50 cents from it!" while on a vacation. At every dinner, we were given a wine list, a bar menu and a water menu! It was the first time I had seen a water menu, and most people seemed annoyed by it more than helpful! Also, the pictures onboard were ridiculous - they wanted $25 for ONE! I would not pay $25 for a picture, maybe $10, but not $25! The automatic tipping was nice, but it seemed like a lot of the people were hoping that someone else would pick up their slack since they were all getting the same amount. The sanitation stations were nice, but having people standing there telling you to sanitize was a little much. We often said no as we had just gotten out of the shower, and they would act annoyed with you. The Entertainment: Bingo was a joke! It cost a minimum of $35 to play. Are you kidding me? $35? For BINGO? There wasn't a lot we did on the boat, but the Cirque de Pacific was good and there was a funny Newlywed or Not game that was cute. We did Team Trivia a few times, and always enjoyed ourselves! The comedian they brought on was not funny, and he kept giving repeat performances! We met some people at a Murder Mystery Show that were great, and we spent a lot of time with them on the boat. We also played cards in our room and relaxed, but I would have liked to see more audience participation shows, like the Newlywed one. The Itinerary: Our cruise did not go to Sawyer Glacier because of the weather and I am still very upset by this. In hindsight, we should have cruised on the Pearl, which hits Glacier Bay, but I was upset that we did not get to go. We never booked shore excursions with NCL, and instead went out on or own. We did a rainforest thing in Ketchikan, went whale watching (in our own rented boat!) in Juneau and went 4-wheeling in the Yukon in Skagway. We didn't have plans for Prince Rupert, and that was nice, because we loved that town. It was very fishing oriented and hadn't changed for the cruise lines like the other 3 have. We ate lunch at the Red Onion, and it was very good, but the waitresses are almost embarrassing in how much they get into character! Overall though, the scenery on this cruise is amazing and we thought the balcony room was well worth the extra money. After the Cruise: We had plans to rent a car and travel around the Olympic Peninsula for a few days before flying home, and it was a great extension of the trip. We took a shuttle after disembarkation, which was relatively painless, and got our rental car and off we went. This was well worth the extra time and we enjoyed being able to not rush right home. Overall: I liked the rooms and bathrooms on this ship, but the service and food were seriously lacking. We will try a more "traditional" line of cruising next time, even though we were sure we didn't want that when we first left on this cruise. I'm not sure who NCL is good for really. If their service and food would improve, it would be a great line, but without it, I feel like it is going to lose a lot of repeat business. Read Less
Sail Date June 2007
This was the second cruise for my husband and I; the first being 8 years ago on the first being 8 years ago when we celebrated our 30th anniversary by cruising to Alaska aboard the 700 passenger Universe Explorer. We chose this cruise ... Read More
This was the second cruise for my husband and I; the first being 8 years ago on the first being 8 years ago when we celebrated our 30th anniversary by cruising to Alaska aboard the 700 passenger Universe Explorer. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, although with some reservations about the size of the ship. We booked our own flights and arrived in Seattle the day before our cruise, staying at the Sixth Avenue Inn, which was in a great location. The room was plain, but clean, comfortable and quiet. We had a great lunch at the hotel restaurant and spent the rest of the day touring Seattle. Embarkation was fantastic. We arrived at the dock about 11:15 and were in our rooms within a half hour. I had packed some wine in my carry-on for consumption in the room, and was prepared to pay the corkage fee but it was not questioned. My husband had ordered a bar set-up through the ship coordinator and was pleased with the great service. Our aft inside cabin on Deck 5 was small, but exactly as pictured on NCL's website - no surprises. There was ample closet and storage space for the two of us and our luggage, both in the closet and bathroom. We did find we had more room to move around with the beds separated; not our preference, but after 38 years of marriage, we could deal with it. If it's your honeymoon you might want to choose a larger cabin. We'd brought along an alarm clock that projected the time on the ceiling, so despite the darkness, we were aware when it was morning. The power strip we brought came in very handy, as there was only one outlet in the room and one in the bathroom. We also brought along a night light for the bathroom and found that very helpful. Let me preface this by saying that we are bothered more than most people, by night time noises. That said, our neighbors liked to come in during the early hours of the morning and we were awakened on two nights by obscenities, crying and fighting. The ship was full and I realize that there wasn't much NCL could do about the situation, but we made several calls to Guest Services seeking assistance - at 2:30 a.m., 4:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. that all went unanswered after a minimum of 10 minutes on hold. Fearing a belligerent neighbor, we were hesitant to bang on the walls, but that is what we finally had to resort to. I don't think it's unreasonable to feel that NCL Guest Services should have been available to have an NCL staff member handle the situation. I like to think we had a rare, bad experience; but for us, even with good neighbors, the lack of soundproofing between cabins will keep us from booking NCL again, as we could easily hear even normal conversation through the walls. If we could hear them, they could hear us, and we felt the lack of privacy. There was a service area on the other side of our cabin, but the only sounds we ever heard was a low rumble that sounded like carts being moved; nothing that bothered us. The towel animals on the beds were cute, but our cabin stewards didn't replace all the towels and glasses on several occasions; Guest Services quickly had the missing items replaced. The stewards had a lot of cabins to cover and on the whole, did a great job. The staff was very helpful and friendly. I called NCL a week before our cruise to ask if it was true that they were charging for the indoor pool. I was told Not to worry, you can't believe everything you read on-line. The indoor lap pool on the Star is free. On board I was told the charges have been in effect since April on the Star; $15/day; $60/cruise. This was a minor issue that wouldn't have soured me on NCL. We enjoyed the view from The Spinnaker Lounge but did wish there was a quiet bar / lounge up front, where you could sit and enjoy the view without bingo and line dancing going on around you. Small point, but then we had no view from our inside cabin - our choice, so not to be taken as a complaint. The Atrium was lovely, and had a bazaar atmosphere from the sale of the day booths. We're not shoppers, and would have preferred a quieter space, but when my husband's watch broke, we did patronize the bazaar. There was some wear on the chair upholstery in several of the lounges, but overall the ship was beautiful and very well kept. We both loved the freestyle dining and it was wonderful not to have to dress up at dinner. We made reservations for the alternative restaurants when we boarded and were very glad we did, as reservations were hard to come by later. We dined and Cagney's and Soho and felt the additional fee was money well spent. La Trattoria was a total disappointment, but my husband is ½ Italian and, growing up surrounded by Italians we found the food to be OK, but not our idea of Italian. Endless Summer was a beautiful room, the food was acceptable, but it was a bit too noisy for our tastes. There's the old noise bug-a-boo again! The Market Cafe was fine for a quick meal and we sometimes went there at off-hours on sea days to enjoy the view from the large windows. We never ate at the Blue Lagoon; but occasionally grabbed a cookie and heard another passenger refer to it as the cookie restaurant. The menu in Versailles was unimaginative, but the food was good, the room was beautiful and the service was fine. We heard great things from other passengers about the shows in the Stardust Theater, but we only went there to attend a day-time lecture on whales. We found the Theater to be beautiful. The lecturer's background was not in whales, or any other Alaskan topic. It was obvious that he had done some homework to prepare the lectures, but they left a lot to be desired. We really enjoyed the musical entertainment in the smaller lounges; Stan Sykes in the Carousel, Jana Searle in the Star Bar and, our particular favorite, Monty Banks in Gatsby's. We also spent some time by the pool to listen to the band Freedom. We booked 3 shore excursions through NCL as soon as they were available on-line and were very pleased with the process. We opted, just before the cruise, to cancel our excursion in Juneau in favor of Captain Larry's whale watching (fantastic trip). The cancellation process on-board was easy. Be aware that any trips involving an airplane or helicopter can't be cancelled. In Skagway I enjoyed the free walking tour with the National Park Service Ranger and we both enjoyed the Yukon and White Pass Railroad. It didn't matter which side of the train you sat on, as everyone switched sides for the trip down, giving everyone on board the view from the edge. In Price Rupert we took the Ksee Yaen Back Country Adventure, which took us 50 miles inland to the Skeena River. We enjoyed the trip, but felt too much time was spent waiting for everyone to have their turn in the two 6-passenger jet boats. The tour guides were very knowledgeable and it was great to have the opportunity to talk with the First Nation guide and find out a little about her culture. Prince Rupert is a new port, not visited by too many ships. This was the Star's first stop in Prince Rupert and we were surprised by how many people came to the near-by park to watch us pull out, even though we were 1-1/2 hours late leaving the port. It was my husband's first visit to Victoria. We took a cab to the Inner Harbor, enjoyed a cocktail on the Veranda of The Empress, and hired a Kabuki Bike Cab for a tour of Beacon Hill Park on our way back to the ship. The Kabuki driver was knowledgeable and gave us a great tour, tailored to our time constraints and interests. Disembarkation was a breeze! During our cruise, the newest terror plot was uncovered and suddenly; toothpaste, sun block and most make-up had to go into checked luggage. NCL did a good job of keeping us informed about what to expect at the end of the cruise. We were able to take advantage of the new Bags program and checked out bags through with American Airlines right from the ship. Our boarding passes were left in our room the last evening and we were able to enjoy a final breakfast in Versailles and walk off the ship, with our small carry-on at our leisure. Overall we had a great time, just felt that another ship would have been a better fit for us. This was only our second cruise experience, so it was a learning experience, as well as a great vacation. Read Less
Sail Date August 2006
Just back from Alaska on the NCL Star - A very nice ship which appeared to be clean and well-maintained overall. EMBARKATION: We were bussed from the airport hotel to the port at about 12:30. For some reason the transfer company did not ... Read More
Just back from Alaska on the NCL Star - A very nice ship which appeared to be clean and well-maintained overall. EMBARKATION: We were bussed from the airport hotel to the port at about 12:30. For some reason the transfer company did not have our name on their list, but after reviewing our confirmation took us anyway. Bus was full. The line in the terminal was pretty long, but moved quickly because they had a lot of agents on duty. We were in our room by 1:30 pm. CABIN: We had a balcony cabin on deck 10. The room was somewhat smaller than I have experienced on some other ships of the same vintage, but it was ok for a week. Balcony was small also. The bed was pretty hard and lumpy; the sleeper sofa appeared to be only wide enough for one other adult or perhaps two small children. Shower and bathroom facilities were pretty typical, but only liquid soap was provided in the shower - not my favorite. Refrigerator was a bit small. Cabin was equipped with hair dryer as well as a coffee maker - very nice. DINING: This was our first Freestyle experience and I think we prefer the traditional or at least a blended system. Couldn't get to know the wait staff or tablemates and the odd timing of meals caused us to miss some of the entertainment times which, of course are not 'Freestyle'. The food in the main (Free) dining rooms was just average, although certainly adequate. The room service menu was so limited as to be of little or no value to us. To get superior food you have to go to the specialty restaurants and pay the $15-20 + pp extra price. That's not good, in my opinion. ENTERTAINMENT: The production company was one of the best we have ever seen on a cruise ship with strong performers throughout. Other entertainment was pretty average, including the other shows and the single (and quartet) entertainers in the lounges and atrium. PUBLIC ROOMS: Very nice and well-maintained in most areas. However, the design of the ship resulted in some of them just projecting into traffic areas. Too much smoking allowed in those area resulted in our having to walk through smoke to get where we wanted to go. Internet cafe very nice with plenty of screens, but pretty expensive for the speed offered. SHORE EXCURSIONS: I was very disappointed with the docking arrangement in Juneau. NCL had the Sun and Star booked for the same pier space with the Sun leaving at 2 pm and the Star supposedly arriving a the same time. That is an obvious misrepresentation because although the Sun did leave just after 2, it took until almost 3 to get the Star docked to start unloading. As a result we missed our scheduled 3 PM tour. Fortunately, we were able to go with a later group. Whale watching was GREAT. Other excursions were pretty much as advertised and were able to be completed as scheduled. FITNESS: Did not use but appeared to be spacious with plenty equipment available. SERVICE: Cabin stewardess was excellent and very responsive. Bar service in other areas was prompt and accurate. Everyone on the ship seemed to have a very pleasant attitude. CASINO: I was disappointed that the smallest blackjack minimum table was $10 per hand. There were also tables for $25, $100, etc. with no one playing - surprised? I though a cruise was supposed to be fun, but for me losing $10 a hand at blackjack would not be much 'FUN'. Slots were advertised as being 'loose', but I didn't see much evidence of that in most cases. VALUE FOR PRICE: The cruise was a pretty reasonable value for the price, I suppose, although as mentioned above there are some opportunities for improvement, IMHO. Better food in the free restaurants, a full room service menu and lower prices in the specialty venues would have made it a much better value. DISEMBARKATION: We carried our own luggage off just as soon as the ship was cleared, boarded a waiting shuttle bus ($10 pp) and were at the airport before most others were off the Star or any of the other 4 ships arriving that day. That was a really good move as the Seattle airport is a bit small for that many people arriving at once. OVERALL CRUISE: Very good, with some exceptions. Rating 3.5 Read Less
Sail Date July 2006
Celebrity, Holland, Princess, Norwegian. We had various choices to choose from for our long awaited Alaskan cruise. Having cruised on Princess and Carnival before, the free style cruising was intriguing, especially since we were planning a ... Read More
Celebrity, Holland, Princess, Norwegian. We had various choices to choose from for our long awaited Alaskan cruise. Having cruised on Princess and Carnival before, the free style cruising was intriguing, especially since we were planning a cruise for 9 people of various interests and tastes. Embarkment was definitely smooth and stress free. although we were told we could not check in until 1pm, lines opened at 11am. Definitely get there early, but lines moved quickly. We were even able to check in, enjoy the lunch offered and then leave the boat and walk around Pike Street Market prior to sailing. We had a total of four rooms. Trying to economize, we all took inner rooms and gave my parents the room with a balcony. This worked out well. The grandkids loved going to their grandparents room to watch for whale and enjoy the scenery. After being spoiled with the excellent cuisine on Princess, we were very disappointed with the quality of food on Norwegian. Many times, after an unsatisfying meal at the Versailles, we would go to the buffet looking for something else to eat. The only meal we truly enjoyed was our special night at Cagney's Steakhouse. But this is a specialty restaurant that charges $20 per person. It is too bad that for the level of quality you expect on a cruise, you can experience it only if you are willing to pay the additional cost after already paying the expense of a cruise. But after days of mediocre food, we were starving for something to excite our taste buds. Like Carnival, we would wouldn't have minded the uninspiring food if the entertainment on board made up for it. Unfortunately, it did not. The theatre was so sparse and drab, local high school auditoriums could put them to shame. A painted black wooden floor stage and black curtains was all they offered. Maybe staging would be brought in for the shows. Nope! No spectacular lights, various staging effects or sound. The shows were just awful. I've seen better at the amateur level. My family had to refrain me from walking out of their high touted end of the cruise Cirque du Soleil "extravaganza." Being Asian, I was totally offended with their Asian themed show with the awful, insulting painted faces and black wigs. Why is this acceptable when no one would dare present an African American themed show with afro wigs and black face paint. When was the last time you saw Asian women walking around with their hands clasped together taking baby steps as if their feet were bound? Does Norwegian not look at the demographics of those cruising and realize that cruisers tend to be highly educated, professional people? We followed a Holland and Princess ship along the route we took. How I wished I had booked our cruise on either one of those boats instead. I must say that the only truly enjoyable aspect of the cruise was the natural beauty that surrounded us. But then again, the passengers on Holland and Princess enjoyed the same beauty while enjoying a better time on their ship, I'm sure. Okay, I have to find at least one good thing to say about Norwegian. The disembarkment was the best we ever experienced. My son had to catch an early flight to Chicago and was able to be one of the first ones off the boat. The rest of us had no plans as our flight out was not until the next day. We stayed on the boat and ate a leisurely breakfast and then relaxed in the Atrium until the last call to disembark. Now if only Norwegian can do something to make the time between embarkation and disembarking better, I might reconsider sailing Norwegian again. NOT!!!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2006
This cruise to Alaska was our for our honeymoon. My husband and I had previously cruised Carnival and RCCL. At the Seattle airport, we had a cruise line transfer arranged. It was pretty disorganized, however, we made it onto our bus and to ... Read More
This cruise to Alaska was our for our honeymoon. My husband and I had previously cruised Carnival and RCCL. At the Seattle airport, we had a cruise line transfer arranged. It was pretty disorganized, however, we made it onto our bus and to the pier just fine. Embarkation was well organized and we were on the ship fairly quickly. We were impressed with our cabin, which had a balcony. We felt that we had plenty of room in the cabin and thought the furnishings and decor were nice. We loved the bathroom set up, especially the shower. It was nice having a door and room to turn around in! I also like the sliding door for the "toilet area." We thought the public areas of the ship were very nice. The ship is fairly large and it took quite a bit of time to walk from place to place. We missed having the help yourself soft serve ice cream that other lines had. However, they did have some hand dipped ice cream with a few flavors available at the rear of the ship. The only problem with this is that every time you wanted ice cream, you had to walk a long way!!! (I know, that's a stupid criticism) Plus the place was constantly mobbed with unsupervised children. The other thing we noted was that even though this is a large ship, there always seemed to be lots of people everywhere. The dining was great and we didn't have any real complaints. As to the Freestyle dining program... it was nice to eat when you felt like it rather than having an assigned time, however, I think the level of service suffered. While our servers were ok, they certainly did not seem to enjoy their work, care that we were there, or make any attempt whatsoever to make our dining experience anything other than "eating dinner." It was the same with crew members that we would see around the ship... while none were rude or mean, they certainly weren't nice either. As to the specialty restaurants, we didn't try any of those. The itinerary was absolutely wonderful!! Overall, we certainly enjoyed our time, however, in the future, we will likely not go with Norwegian because of how the Freestyle program affects customer service. The ship itself was very nice, however, for our tastes, we will likely opt for smaller more intimate ships in the future. All of my "criticisms" are all of a subjective nature, and others may love the things we disliked. But overall, we would give it a thumbs up. Read Less
Sail Date June 2005
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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