1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2012
This was our first cruise, so we don't have another cruise experience to compare it to, but we had a good time cruising to Bermuda on the Star in Oct. We LOVED Bermuda and will definitely return, though we'll probably stay at a resort next ... Read More
This was our first cruise, so we don't have another cruise experience to compare it to, but we had a good time cruising to Bermuda on the Star in Oct. We LOVED Bermuda and will definitely return, though we'll probably stay at a resort next time rather than taking a cruise. As far as the Star goes, I'm not sure that it was the best fit for us and our travel style. We are a professional couple in our early 30s with no children. When traveling, we like to get a good deal, but we don't mind spending money for a good experience. On vacation, we enjoy a mixture of relaxing and being active - Bermuda was the perfect mixture for us, but the Star was not. If we had had better weather on our sea days, our experience on the Star would have been much better. We had expected to spend our days lounging in the sun with a good book and a bucket of beer, but the weather was pretty spotty, which drove us to look for other things to do. In that respect, the Star failed to deliver for us. I've read reviews that say that it's impossible to be bored on a cruise ship because there are so many things going on - but by the second sea day, we were bored on the Star. Don't get me wrong - there were a LOT of activities offered, but none of them appealed to us. During the day, many of the activities are gameshow-related, like Bingo or Deal or No Deal. I'm sure that sort of thing appeals to many people, but it didn't interest us. I was also a little surprised at the number of bar-related activities during the afternoon. We would have loved to do a martini tasting or pub crawl...in the evening, yet these activities were offered in the afternoon. We heard from other guests that the evening shows were great, but the only ones that interested us were held on days when we were in port and had other plans. The one show we attended was Elements on the last night, and it was pretty spectacular. I'm sure it's very difficult to plan activities that appeal to all demographics, and we saw many people enjoying the activities - but for us, they fell short. The spa was wonderful. Because we were bored with the rest of the ship during the day, we spent more time there than we otherwise would have! The gym was very nice as well, though there always seemed to be a crowd of people milling around at the entrance NOT working out, which was strange. The jogging track was great when the weather was bad, but if the sun was out, it was crowded with people walking. We never used the pool, as it was VERY small and I think they closed it on one of the sea days. We never had problems finding a lounge chair on our cruise, but I could see how it could be a problem finding one at the pool area if the weather as better. However, the forward deck lounge area was much nicer, anyway - we preferred to hang out there when the sun was out. All in all, we enjoyed the Star in the evening/night much better than during the day. The weather at night was mediocre or bad on each of our sea days, so the outdoor areas cleared out completely - which meant that we could get a hot tub to ourselves, which we did several nights with a bucket of beer (technically not allowed, we learned on the last night of the cruise - but nobody had said anything before that). We don't like to eat dinner early, so we would usually grab a drink at one of the bars (Gatsby's was our favorite) and listen to some music until we felt like eating. After dinner, we'd either go out to a hot tub or hang out at Gatsby's and listen to the piano player there who had an AMAZING blues voice. The food was a major disappointment. I don't consider myself to be a foodie, but I was expecting far better. Breakfast was perfectly fine - the first two mornings, we went to the buffet because we didn't get up early enough for breakfast at Versailles. It was about what I expected for buffet food - not good, but adequate. Breakfast at Versailles was much better, so after the first two days at the buffet, we made sure to get there before they closed. Lunch was always the worst meal for us. We went to Versailles the first two days, but the menu was the same both days and the food was heavier than we like to eat for lunch. We gave up on it after the first two days, since we didn't want to eat the same thing again. We walked through the buffet at lunch time and it looked like a feeding frenzy so we didn't stay - instead, we tried the outdoor BBQ, which was also a buffet. My food was OK, but my husband said his burger was pretty bad. Our favorite lunch options ended up being the noodle bar (extra charge) and Blue Lagoon (the 24-hour restaurant). We were happy with the food at Blue Lagoon, but the downside of eating there for lunch is that the menu is the same as it is if you go there for a late afternoon or 2am snack. The two main dining rooms, Versailles and Aqua, serve the same dinner menu - the only difference is that Aqua is open a little later and allows more casual attire. We ate at Aqua the first night (because we missed the cutoff for seating at Versailles) and at Versailles the second night. We were pretty disappointed in the food at both - it is mediocre catering quality at best. It's certainly edible, and you could eat it all week if you wanted to, but we like to enjoy a good meal on vacation so it was a big disappointment to us. After the second night, we ate in the speciality restaurants or on shore in Bermuda. The food at the speciality restaurants we tried (La Cucina, Le Bistro, and Ginza) was much better than in the main dining room. I'd definitely go back to La Cucina and Le Bistro, but I'd try the other speciality restaurants before going back to Ginza. Ginza was better than the main dining rooms, but not nearly as good as the Asian food at home. The buffet is also open for dinner, but we didn't try it because it was always crowded with rude people and the food hadn't been good there for breakfast. One more word on food: the room service menu was another big disappointment. We were really looking forward to ordering room service, ESPECIALLY for breakfast, but the menu was a joke. For breakfast, the only option was continental breakfast. For lunch/dinner, only a handful of sad-sounding sandwiches were offered on the room service menu. There are a number of bars on the Star - our favorite was Gatsby's, the martini bar. The bartender there took excellent care of us and the piano players there in the evening are very talented. Fabulous martinis and mojitos. We expected to spend a lot of time at the Bier Garden, the outdoor bar on the top deck, but apparently that's where all the smokers hang out, so we usually took our drinks elsewhere. It's a great spot for sail-away, we hung out there while sailing out of both NYC and Bermuda. We also expected to hang out more in the Red Lion pub, but every time we went there, it was pretty crowded and karaoke was going on, so we always ended up going somewhere else. We had a great time chatting with the bartender at the Sake bar at Ginza, and enjoyed some quality sake and something called a Japanese martini, which was tasty. We popped into Spinnaker a couple times to see if anything was going on, but it didn't seem like our scene. As far as the accommodations go, our stateroom was great. We had a balcony stateroom on the starboard side near the aft. Having never cruised before, we can't compare its size or convenience to another ship, but we were pleasantly surprised at its size. We had PLENTY of space for the two of us, though I think it would be too tight for three people unless the third was a small child. We thought there was plenty of closet and drawer space, but we travel light - it might be tight for people who pack a lot. Our stateroom was always very clean, and our steward was nice and personable. Loved the towel animals. As a side note, I've read a lot of people's comments that balcony staterooms are not worth the extra charge because you don't spend much time in your room, but I couldn't disagree more! I don't remember there being a huge price difference between the balcony and interior staterooms (maybe $200?), but whatever it was we paid extra to get the balcony, it was COMPLETELY worth it. We left the door open at night to enjoy the sounds of the ocean, which was really nice even when it was raining. My husband sleeps later in the morning than I do, so I usually relaxed on the balcony with a cup of coffee and my kindle until he was ready to get up. We also hung out on our balcony quite a bit when the weather wasn't good, as we didn't seem to get much wind on our balcony and light rain was usually blocked, too. I would have been stir-crazy without that balcony - I can't imagine having to stay inside all the time on a cruise if the weather is bad. A lot of other reviews mentioned that the Star is a older ship and showing her age, but we didn't notice anything that looked rundown. The common areas were always clean (I was pleasantly surprised to NEVER encounter a dirty bathroom on the Star), and the crew obviously takes pride in keeping it in good repair. The crew was AWESOME. We were REALLY excited to get off the ship in Bermuda, and we had a fantastic time there. King's Wharf was a pretty sad port - there's some shopping (everything closes early), two restaurants/pubs, and a sad little beach that turns into a nightclub at night (Snorkel Park). We heard that the snorkeling is good at Snorkel Park, but the place looked so dirty that we didn't want to go. There's also a Maritime Museum at King's Wharf - I would have liked to check that out, but we didn't have time. I'd recommend the Frog and Onion Pub. The public transportation system in Bermuda is AWESOME - we bought a 3-day pass that was good for the ferries and buses. Took a bus to Horseshoe Bay Beach, which was absolutely beautiful. We had heard that it gets really crowded, but it wasn't bad when we were there (probably because Hurricane Rafael had just bypassed Bermuda). After a few hours at the beach, we hopped back on the bus and went to the Swizzle (south shore location) for some rum swizzles and nachos, then back on the bus to Jobson's Cove to enjoy the views and wait until the locals got home so the bus would be less crowded on the way back to King's Wharf. The second day, my husband wasn't up for doing much in the morning because he had gotten a bad sunburn the day before, so I put on my bathing suit and booked a snorkeling trip. (If you go out onto the pier in King's Wharf, you can book the very same excursions offered through NCL. I didn't compare prices, but I figured this was the cheaper way to go). They had space on a snorkeling excursion, so I hopped on a catamaran. This was a great excursion - the guide was very knowledgeable and it was a good day for snorkeling. When I got back after a couple hours, I went back onto the boat to check on my husband, who was ready to go out, so we hopped on the ferry to St. George's. The ferry ride was much shorter than I thought it was going to be, and St. George's is a lovely town with some great history. The only unfortunate thing is that everything closes early there - we had about an hour between the last stores closing and the departure of the last ferry for King's Wharf, so we grabbed a drink. We sat on the upper (outdoor) deck of the ferry and got to watch an incredible sunset on our way out of the bay. We had been thinking of taking the Sunset Rum Swizzle excursion and I'm glad we didn't because we got to see that AMAZING sunset on the ferry instead. My husband was bummed about missing snorkeling, so when we got back to King's Wharf, we checked with the tour company and found that they had seats available on the Evening Bermuda Triangle glass-bottomed boat cruise, so we booked that and we both really enjoyed it. The last day in Bermuda was our Atlantic Reef fishing excursion, which had been canceled on the first day - fortunately, they offered it every day, so we rescheduled it. It was a gorgeous morning to be out on the water, and we had a blast. I did not catch anything, but my husband caught three fish. So much fun! As we got back from that excursion around 1:00 and needed to shower because we were covered with fish guts, we didn't end up going to Hamilton as we had planned to that afternoon. Instead, we had lunch at the Frog and Onion pub and did a little souvenir shopping. We absolutely LOVED Bermuda, but found King's Wharf to be a poor home-base to explore from, as it's not centrally located. Forget going back to the ship to shower after the beach, as it takes a while on the bus to get places. We'd love to return, and will probably stay at the resort located more centrally so that we don't need to trek all the way back to King's Wharf if we forget something or want to shower in a real shower. All in all, we had a great cruise despite being a little bored on the ship and disappointed in the food. Maybe cruising isn't for us, but I think we'll try a newer ship or a different cruise line to compare before we give up on it. We really liked the look of the Norwegian Epic and the Breakaway. We also met a lot of people in Bermuda from the Royal Caribbean ship that was docked in King's Wharf at the same time, and their ship (can't recall the name) sounded pretty cool - it had mini-golf, rock-climbing wall, movie theater, and other amenities that the Star does not. We still had a great vacation on the Star, but knowing what to expect now, next time we'll look for a ship that fits our travel style a little better. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
My husband and I decided to do a last minute cruise to Bermuda out of NY. We'd sailed NCL twice before out of NY to Bermuda and were disappointed by service, food and behavior of passengers but decided to give it one more chance. We are ... Read More
My husband and I decided to do a last minute cruise to Bermuda out of NY. We'd sailed NCL twice before out of NY to Bermuda and were disappointed by service, food and behavior of passengers but decided to give it one more chance. We are delighted we did! Embarkation was fast, easy and efficient...getting us on board within 15 minutes of dropping our luggage at the curb. We didn't arrive at the port until 1:30 and were surprised and the numbers of people attempting to board until we realized there were two ships boarding (Star and the Jewel).Even with two ships processing, all went surprisingly well.We boarded to find most cabins were not ready; first time we'd ever experienced this but it didn't matter to us.We used the time to explore our "home" for the next 7 days.We don't go near food areas because we know the vultures are there immediately!While the ships did display some signs of wear, it was clean and well maintained. Once our floor was called, we went to our cabin to freshen up before attending the safety training which was another nice surprise.Went quickly and no need to wear the safety jacket so there were no silly games played by passengers with the jackets. We made dinner reservations at 3 speciality restaurants prior to sailing beginning with LaCucina our first night.Food was good but not impressive at all. During the week we also dined at Cagney's and LaBistro.Again, good but not any better than regular dining room food.Certainly not worth the extra money.The best part of the speciality restaurants in the service which is exemplary. Biggest downside of the buffet area was the teen area was at the back entrance to the Buffet.Teens congregated outside many times screaming and running around and inside and out of elevators. Sometimes they came close to knocking down passengers. Speaking of service...we found the service much improved from previous cruises with NCL. The Buffet was well organized and counter attendants did their best to keep order among over zealous diners who could wait their turn to be served. Table attendants were attentive and really friendly...nice touch! Nightly show were absolutely FANTASTIC; professionally done. Other activities were well organized and informative. Ship's officers were visible often and interacted with passengers regularly. The pool area is small and cramped but with the bad weather we didn't spend time there except while in port when most passengers were ashore.While at sea all passengers complained about unusually LOUD music in the area.Sure didn't provide for anyone to share conversation.While in port, volume was much lower. We did encounter some bad weather and the Captain handled it wonderfully. Tropical storm Rafael attempted to ruin Star's fun, but didn't! The seas were rough and some passengers encountered distress but for the most part all was well. NCL does continue with their hardsell of everything at every opportunity. Having been exposed to it previously, we learned to ignore their efforts to separate us from more money. After a pleasant 7 day cruise, we arrived back in NY an nour earlier than expected. We had a full breakfast served in the Versailles Dining Room and left our cabin about 8:45. We had selected the 9:30 disembarkation time. Announcements began indicating there were delays so we found seating in the Red Lion expecting to wait perhaps until about 10 am. We were finally called about 10:30 but waited on the Promenade Deck until 11:30 and then in line to customs until 12:30. This all probably occurred because three ships were disembarking at the same time!!! Now we understood why cabins were not ready when we boarded (if three ships disembarked the previous Sunday). Not good planning at all because now the new embarking passengers began arriving to board the ships. The congestion of people and vehicles was beyond belief! My husband is a Cancer patient who prefers to not announce his condition, but the long time standing in line nearly caused him to collapse. Thank goodness others in line offered larger suitcases for him to sit on. Then we were faced with the difficulty of meeting our transportation home. This really put a damper on an otherwise great cruise. Bottom line is we were impressed enough with NCL's improvement on board that we decided to cruise out of NY on the Jewel in January 2013.Hopefully the Jewel will as wonderful as the Star and the disembarkation issue will be resolved. Keep up the good work NCL, please don't disappoint us so we'll continue to cruise with you. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
Day One: We awoke very early to catch a 6:00 am Amtrak train to Penn Station. Our local train station is immaculate, with plenty of handicap parking and easy access elevators. Penn Station was not as easy to navigate, elevators were not ... Read More
Day One: We awoke very early to catch a 6:00 am Amtrak train to Penn Station. Our local train station is immaculate, with plenty of handicap parking and easy access elevators. Penn Station was not as easy to navigate, elevators were not easy to find. I have mobility/balance issues and I am terrified of escalators, but I was able to go "up" to street level, dragging one of the suitcases (DH handled the other two) where we took a terrifying, but thankfully short, taxi ride to the pier ($15.00 including tip). DH is a professional driver and he could not watch out the window. We arrived at the pier at about 9:45 am. We gave our luggage to the porters and headed inside, straight to special assistance. I had arranged wheelchair embark/disembark as I cannot stand and wait in a long line. Since we were the first to arrive that requested such assistance, I was first on the list to be boarded. They had plenty of seating for the passengers who did arrive early. At 10:15 am they called for those who were not waiting for special assistance, but kept us who were informed that they would start with us at 11:30 am. When they did start with the list of special assistance passengers, I was wheeled through security and check in, with my husband tagging along. We were able to embark very quickly at that point and we requested to be taken to the MDR instead of the buffet. The men who wheel me were wonderful and careful. Great service! DH & I enjoyed a lovely, quiet lunch in the MDR, then explored the Spinnaker while we waited for our cabins to be ready. They were ready well before 2:00 pm and we could not wait to check out our aft balcony! What a beautiful view!! At this time it was raining very steadily, but we were able to enjoy sail away from our balcony! Even though this was our third cruise out of NYC sailing past Lady Liberty, watching the Freedom Towers grow and sneaking under the Verazzano bridge are sights that always take your breath away!! We did head to the atrium where they had a (loud) band playing and it was utter chaos. DH grabbed a cup of the free coffee at the Java Cafe but we did not stay long. The noise was too much for me and I was tired and getting cranky. We headed back to our cabin where we turned on one of the the movie channels (we LOVE watching movies, and can do so over and over) I think I took a nap. For dinner, since we were hungry at "rush hour", we went to the buffet and had a quick bite before calling it an early night. I have a food allergy and the chefs were very helpful in pointing out dishes I could not eat. Since we were so tired, we did not go to any shows. Day Two: We were up early and made coffee in our cabin (our favorite perk of the balcony category was the coffee maker) and then headed to the MDR for breakfast when they opened. Breakfast was fine, it is not my favorite meal but it is for DH. Today was also our Meet & Greet for CC, which I did arrange. First we headed to the casino at 9:00 when the manager arrived so we could arrange the day/time of the slot pull. I was not given enough information as to which machine we would use, max. bet, etc. , all which would have made the slot pull simpler when it actually happened. Oh well. Later DH & I headed to LeBistro where we waited for the Meet & Greet! DH & I enjoyed meeting everyone! What a huge turn out we had -- the restaurant was packed!! We had a lovely surprise -- the Captain popped in briefly and invited us all on a bridge tour! At the M&G, as we were mingling, we were told that the Latitudes party was that afternoon and we did not receive an invitation. I approached Sean, the HD, and he told me the place and time, remembered our cabin number. A quick swing by the buffet for lunch and off to the Lattitudes party we went. We did find that the new Spinnaker in the aft of the ship is not as large or cozy as the forward Spinnakers are. Back to our cabin to relax and nap, and we get a phone call. It was Candace the Lattitudes rep, very apologetic, and she extended additional invitations to us. How nice of her!! Now that we had started to get some much needed R&R, we started our normal evening routine... a quick bite at the Blue Lagoon (I had the wings every night, DH tried different items) and off to the early show at the Stardust. The level row off the deck 6 entrance was mobbed (on the Jewel last year we never had an issue finding handicap seating there) and we had a problem with broken seats in the row below it. We did find two chairs (similar to what was in the Spinnaker) which we took advantage of. We enjoyed the music to Band On The Run but the acoustics were "off" and the sound was not as kind to my ears as I would have appreciated. From the Stardust we went to Versailles for an early dinner. Since we missed dinner at the MDR on our first night I did speak to the Maitre D on how to handle my uncommon food allergy (yes, I did email the special needs desk in advance). He made a suggestion for that evening's dinner and we arranged for me to view the menu for the next day to preorder each night. I have to admit I had my first disappointing meal in the MDR. We do not eat in specialty restaurants as DH & I eat out every weekend and we are blessed to be in an area where we have all the available options offered to us locally. We both had the Grilled New York Strip Steak, but mine was very over done (ordered medium -- was shoe leather) with an undercooked baked potato. DH's meal was ok, the steak a little tough, but much edible. I did not order a new meal as I was not hungry by any means between the delicious rolls, my starter and dessert. I did discuss my disappointment with the Maitre D as I preordered my next day's dinner. Day Three: DH woke before me and headed to the MDR for breakfast while I slept in. When I did wake, I found an envelope that was shoved under our door -- it was an invitation to dine with the Captain & Officers that night at Versailles!! DH was sweet enough to bring me back breakfast while we got ready for our second day at sea. Today was a quiet, rainy sea day. We miss that this ship does not have a card room, but we brought our cards and a small puzzle to Moderno, where you can use it as such until 4:00 pm. The did have pastries and coffee available there, a nice touch. We spent the afternoon relaxing in our room, napped and watched movies. Dinner was excellent!! We met in the Spinnaker, and with three other couples, we joined the Captain, Staff Officer, Hotel Director and Chief Engineer for a wonderful dinner!! A special menu was offered to us, which was divine!! A truly memorable evening which was the highlight of our vacation! We were able to make the late show of Shark Bait just by the skin of our teeth. Unfortunately beings o late we did not get good seats, and I could not sit next to my husband as there was a broken seat between us. The show made up for it! Great comedy and they are incredibly talented. A good end to the day. Day Four: Our first day in Bermuda! We bought a two day transportation pass for $20 and went with a great family we met here on CC to the Bermuda Aquarium and Zoo. We took the ferry to Hamilton, then a few walk block up an shallow hill to the bus stop. With my mobility issues I handled the walk OK I think. We took the bus towards St. George's where there was a bus stop directly in front of BAMZ. It was pretty easy to get there. To get back to the Dockyard, we took another bus to St. George's where it was an easy walk downhill to the ferry. I wish they had a better waiting facility to wait for the ferry in St. George's -- there is not much, all in the sun, with a huge, long line. Thank you "ensiam" for letting Leonard & I tag along!! As for BAMZ, we LOVED IT!! Day Five: Our second day in Bermuda and we really wanted to see the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. We took the ferry to Hamilton and a quick taxi ride to BUEI ($10 including tip). The taxi drivers are way more sane then the Berumda bus drivers LOL. The manager at BUEI was a wonderful person who was a very kind and generous person (long story) and we had a great time exploring! Could have spent more time there if I we were up to it. On our way back to the ferry, we had our taxi driver drop us off at The Pickled Onion, where I was on a mission to get a t shirt for a friend. The Pickled Onion is on the second story, and it was a steep, long stairway up. That killed me for the day. Day Six: Our last day in Bermuda! A quick breakfast at the Blue Lagoon (where we discovered our favorite breakfast, their "full house") and then off to our bridge tour. It was so amazing!! We were allowed to take still photography and we took advantage of that. After our tour, DH & I decided to do some shopping at the Clocktower. Unfortunately, I was pretty tuckered out from our wanderings the previous two days, and we waited for the tram to take us. The tram was packed full, and no one got off at the ship, so no room for any new passengers. At the same time it started to rain, so we did our shopping in the customs building and decided to relax the rest of the day back on the ship. We missed the show in the Stardust that night, but we did catch "Battle of the Pans" with Shark Bait. Very funny!!! Having the aft balcony, we did enjoy our private space during sail away. We had the best last views of the island. We were sad to see her disappear, but we plan to go back a third time. Day Seven: Our final day at sea was a very rough start. We had rough seas, and even though we do not get sea sick, DH & I did find it difficult to walk sometimes. We gathered at the casino for our Meet & Greet Slot Pull! DH & I found it to be lots of fun, cheering everyone on! We all had 2 pulls for $6, which we all decided to do a 2nd round of two pulls, and everyone walked away with $4. Not a bad loss. We enjoyed another lovely lunch at the MDR and a fabulous meal at Versailles. The same steak that was disappointing our second night was spectacular this night! Better than our local steak house! We did make sure to see Elements -- and we if you only want to see one show in the Stardust, this would be my recommendation! It was great!! Now for special assistance disembarkation... we had to make arrangements and pick a luggage tag in accordance to which time we wish to leave. We selected 10:00 am disembarkation. We were told to meet at the Stardust. What a line, but that was not NCL's problem, it was a hold up through customs. We did not get off the ship until close to 11:00, but we were not in a rush and tried to be patient. And, I was wheeled direct to taxi stand on level two. Talk about service -- thank you NCL! We were able to get a sane taxi driver back to Penn Station. Unfortunately, we could not find an elevator and had to take the escalator down with our luggage (scary)! I did find that going to the red cap stand they will assist you any way they can. Would we cruise with NCL again? Yes! I am booking #4 as I type this. Thank you NCL for a relaxing vacation! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
We just came back from NCL Star. I had already travelled with NCL last year and was on the Gem and it also went to Bermuda. I was a little worried that the ship would be old and that I would get bored because everything would be the same ... Read More
We just came back from NCL Star. I had already travelled with NCL last year and was on the Gem and it also went to Bermuda. I was a little worried that the ship would be old and that I would get bored because everything would be the same as the year before. Although the ship seemed a little older it was perfectly nice/ clean on the inside. The dinning rooms were great. The only thing was the buffet that looked a little bit like a cafeteria but it doesn't really matter because we only had our breakfast there. The staff was actually even more friendly then I remembered. They went out of their way to make sure we were happy and having fun. I personally liked the cruise director on the Gem a lot better because he was a lot more involved. The shows were kinda similar to the Gem's but we did other activities. There was plenty to do. For the restaurants we spent a lot of time at blue lagoon which was open 24/7 so we always grabbed snacks from there, even late at night! The teppanyaki restaurant was great. It cost 25$ extra and was well worth it. The chef was so entertaining and the food was delicious. We had the best time and wouldn't hesitate to go on another cruise with ncl! The people who were cleaning are room were very sweet and even left us a little note on our last day. The food was great and there was always something new to eat. The staff was great. the entertainment was pretty good. this is a trip we'll never forget. Bermuda is gorgeous, the beaches are beautiful and the people are very friendly. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
Left Sept 30th from NYC Pier 88 for cruise to Bermuda. Embarkation was relatively easy and quick. Cabin 8572 with an obstructed view was very nice; clean with no excessive wear except the mattresses, which were in need of replacement. Six ... Read More
Left Sept 30th from NYC Pier 88 for cruise to Bermuda. Embarkation was relatively easy and quick. Cabin 8572 with an obstructed view was very nice; clean with no excessive wear except the mattresses, which were in need of replacement. Six large drawers plus a large closet with additional shelving inside and over the vanity area provided ample storage. Bathroom was among the nicest I have experienced, as it was divided into 3 sections by plexiglass sliding doors, allowing for privacy. The TV was really funny, a tiny old thing stuck in the corner on a shelf. NCL needs to spring for a few more movies and some newer "old reruns". It was a really bad selection; but I didn't go on a cruise to watch movies. Our room steward was wonderful and by far the best out of 18 previous cruises. The ship shows signs of wear, however it is to be expected with this many people traversing the carpets and stairs daily. Everything was clean and well-maintained, including all rest-room facilities. As for the complaints about pool side chairs being scarce; that is partially correct. You had to do some walking forward and aft in order to find an empty chair. However there were chairs to be found, just not poolside. My biggest disappointment was in the dining room menu. Having sailed on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean, the menu was more comparable to Carnival. It was food and it was plentiful, but when the "regional speciality of the day" for dinner is a burrito w/ a pork sauce; do you call that "special"? Nothing on the menu was special after the lobster & snapper served on the first day. In fact the menu went downhill in my opinion. Of course, I feel this is a ploy in order to force those who prefer a more diverse menu to the "specialty restaurants". It worked and I did pay the extra to eat there. The food was excellent. Too bad they don't just give you a package option for cafeteria food, a buffet, or an upgrade to the specialty venues. The Market Cafe buffet was fine and I have no complaints at all. The poolside barbecue was excellent as well. I'm not much of a drinker, but NCL has the best alcoholic beverage service hands down. They didn't skimp on the liquor and the drinks were reasonably priced. Kudos to NCL! Buying a liquor package on other lines doesn't seem to work well for most cruisers, as the complaints of poor service and skimping on the liquor is prevalent. No real complaints except for the dining and exiting the ship on our return. We were told at the service desk the night before disembarking that we could remain in our cabin until our "selected" luggage tag color was called. Not so! The daily newsletter stated there would be no announcements in the cabins; watch the TV for information on leaving the ship. NOT! At 8:15 a rude announcement barked through the cabin to evacuate the cabins immediately!!!! Excuse me. It was get off the ship there is no one in line, come on down. Then it was STOP, we are backed up in customs. Then come on down. NOPE. Backed up again. Finally it was everyone off; the customs officials will only be in the area for a short time. Not a pleasant experience. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
We have sailed several times with Norwegian Cruise Line over the past 4 years. Our first cruise in1988 was on the long-gone SS Norway (1), and we returned to NCL after cruising with 3 other lines. We've been on the Jewel (4), the Jade (3) ... Read More
We have sailed several times with Norwegian Cruise Line over the past 4 years. Our first cruise in1988 was on the long-gone SS Norway (1), and we returned to NCL after cruising with 3 other lines. We've been on the Jewel (4), the Jade (3) and the Epic (3). This was our first time on the Norwegian Star (making it cruise number 12 with NCL) and it was our first time going to Bermuda. We enjoyed the cruise. The embarkation process in New York was painless. We arrived at the port and were checked in right away. We waited only 30 minutes (maximum) before the call to board was announced. We went to Versailles Dining Room once on board and had just enough time to finish lunch when the call to access ataterooms was made. This was, indeed, the fastest baording procedure we've ever had. We choose NCL because of free-style. It means we can dine in the main dining rooms, or any other venue with a reservation, when we choose as there is no fixed dining time. We can also choose to dine as a couple, or opt to sit at a table with other people. The great thing is we don't need suits and ties, even on the formal night; decent trousers and a collared shirt are fine. I've heard people complain against NCL because they say NCL nickels-and-dimes you into paying for everything extra. That is just the point: it is EXTRA (meaning, not included) and so it should be charged. I've been on Princess, Carnival and Royal Caribbean and each of them, at the time, charged for specialty dining venues which were not as diverse as those on NCL. Just as you must on NCL, you have to pay for wine, sodas and other alcoholic beverages on those lines, and I see nothing wrong with that. If you want all-inclusive, you must look for a line that is all-inclusive, and very likely you will pay a higher fare to cover manyof those costs. We like the NCL experience and that is why we return again and again. The Norwegian Star was built in 2001 and was refurbished in 2010. The refurbishments did not include the whole ship; Spinnaker Lounge was moved to Deck 6 aft from Deck 12 forward, where new staterooms were installed. The new stateroom area on Deck 12 is beautiful and very rich-looking, but it does not match in terms of decor with the rest of the ship. In other areas, especially in public areas, the carpets are not well-fitted in some places, and bits of chrome inlay on the floor that separate carpet from tile are missing. The carpet on the steps leading to the main area of the Versailles Dining Room (which is where we had most of our dinners) is worn almost thread-bare, but that is understandable with more that 500 people going up and down every day. Most people don't notice such things anyway, and they don't take anything away from a nice cruise. I do notice such things so that I can inform others about what to expect. Our stateroom was on Deck 5, and that is the lowest we've ever been on NCL ships. It was a comfortable stateroom and served the purpose well. After all, you use your stateroom for showering, changing clothes and sleeping as well as storing all the stuff you bought ashore. The rest of the time, you are in other ship locations, or off the ship. Our stateroom was serviced by our fabulous stateroom attendant who made sure we had clean towels, a well-made bed, and a supply of gels (soap and shampoo). This cruise was a 7-day cruise with 3 full days ported in Bermuda. Unfortunately, we were not overly impressed with Bermuda itself. The people we met there were pleasant, for the most part, but it was far too hot and far too humid to enjoy anything. The beaches were a major disappointment. We had heard raves about the pink sand on the beaches from friends who'd been to Bermuda. The sand was far from pink and most of the time the beaches were too crowded with other tourists all wanting the same thing: a place to lie in the sun and get a tan, so it was loud and not a relaxing atmosphere. The town around the port and the town of St George's have little to offer. We were in Hamilton in the early evening and everything except bars and restaurants was closed -- the shops close at 5 pm. Still, Hamilton was a rather nice city. If ever we return to Bermuda and choose to do something off the ship, we'd go to Hamilton to explore, but that's about it. If you have ever been to the Caribbean, or even parts of Florida, you can expect to see the same thing in Bermuda. The houses look the same and are panted the same colours. The vegetation is exactly the same and it is the same water. The language, in most places, is the same, and the food is the same with minor variations. On the final day, jsut before sailing away from Bermuda, a "welcome back to the ship" party was held on the pier. People from many departments, mostly waitstaff and bar staff, were on the pier welcoming passengers back to the ship after their time in Bermuda. They were handing out non-alcoholic drinks and damp facecloths to returning passenger to help them refresh before getting back on board. Even the Hotel Director got into the act by helping out with the ditributuions, and I saw him take a tray of drinks and offer them to his staff who'd been dancing or standing in the hot sun to welcome people back. I have never seen that on any ship anywhere. He takes really good care of his people and his passengers. We are glad we went, though, but if we ever decide to return it will be simply to take a cruise (very likely on NCL's new ship, Breakaway), and we will stay on board the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
The 7-night cruise on the Norwegian start departed New York on a Sunday, passing by a firefighter salute from a NY fire boat, and under the Verazano Narrows Bridge. We had good sailing and excellent weather en route. We carried on our ... Read More
The 7-night cruise on the Norwegian start departed New York on a Sunday, passing by a firefighter salute from a NY fire boat, and under the Verazano Narrows Bridge. We had good sailing and excellent weather en route. We carried on our luggage and were able to board within 45 minutes of going through security. We went directly to the buffet for lunch and soon our deck was announced as being ready to accept passengers to state rooms. Our inside state room was clean and neat. It comfortably fit two people, though the travel agency and cruise line claim in can fit up to four (with a roll out bed and a bunk style bed that folds down from the wall). Any more than two adults would have been a huge challenge logistically, in my opinion. An inside state room is a budget option, and space is limited. Our cabin steward never introduced himself to me or addressed me by name, which was somewhat of a disappointment. However, our cabin was always neatly turned down, thoroughly cleaned and stocked with towels and amenities as needed. One issue particular to our cabin was a tapping noise in the ventilation that kept us awake at night. We were unable to resolve this during our cruise. Also, some of the mattresses appeared to be very worn and should have been replaced. The food on the cruise was varied. We didn't eat at any of the themed restaurants that had surcharges, as we were on a budget. We stuck to the buffets for breakfast, and the two main dining rooms for lunch and dinner (Aqua and Versailles). The breakfast buffet had plenty of options and the quality of the food was good. We noticed an officer inspecting the buffet each morning before opening to the public. There was smoked salmon, made-to-order omelets, fresh fruit, hot dishes, cereals and much more. The buffet was OK at lunch, but dinner options seemed to be less appealing. We quickly started taking all our dinners at either Aqua or Versailles, and it wasn't until halfway through the cruise that we discovered the menu was the same for each restaurant. It got down to whether you preferred the formal ambiance in Versailles, with a nice view out the stern (and occasional live music), or the more modern feeling Aqua. Over the course of the trip, we ate at Aqua more often. The wait staff and hostesses at both restaurants were very good. Very few complaints. Any issues that did come up were remedied fairly quickly. During especially busy seatings, we were offered the option to share a table with other cruisers, and on occasion this ended up being an interesting way to meet other people. My only real complaint about the food is the options available for late-night snackers. Other than room service, the only food service area open was the Blue Lagoon lounge, and it had a very limited menu that consisted mostly of fried foods (wings, burgers, fries), and very few healthy options. We found the ship to be OK. It had a nice jogging track, but people would occasionally not respect runners and clutter the track. I never worked out at the gym because it was too crowded. During especially sunny days it was hard to get a chair poolside, and I noticed a number of unused chairs that were reserved. The pool was TINY! So tiny that at first I thought it might just be a large jacuzzi or spa. However, it was refreshing to take a dip, and much of the afternoon games and entertainment centered around the pool area. Be warned, the pools and hot tubs were salt water, so you quickly got dehydrated. There were four hot tubs in the main deck. You could usually find room in at least one of them, though, throughout the cruise, the jets didn't work in one, and this wasn't fixed. Entertainment aboard the Star was excellent, and much better than I expected going in. The quality of each show was very high, with some small exceptions. The singers and dancers were very skilled, the stage sets well made, and one felt like each event was a true theater performance. The cruise director, Kyle, was a friendly, funny guy, but we constantly felt like we were being "sold" to. Encouraged to stay out late, buy drinks, buy lottery tickets, etc. This pervasive attempt to sell us on things quickly became annoying and point of ridicule. That aside, the staff on the ship (including Kyle), was super-friendly, helpful, animated and generally very pleasant and clearly focused on making sure we were a)safe and b) enjoying our vacation. Many of the staff wore a "Vacation Hero" pin on their lapel, indicating their role in customer satisfaction. We were fortunate to get a three-hour behind the scenes tour in the kitchen prep and storage areas, and could see how hard the staff worked. We were also able to visit the bridge and learn about the ship from the very knowledgeable offers on deck. They fully answered many of our questions about safety and security. Over all, I was very pleased with this cruise. I would consider the Star again, but would also like to explore some of NCL's larger ships. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2012
Cruised the Norwegian Star from New York to Bermuda from September 9 - September 16. Overall, I would rate the experience average to slightly above average. The Star has some great attributes, but also a few flaws that need remedy. As ... Read More
Cruised the Norwegian Star from New York to Bermuda from September 9 - September 16. Overall, I would rate the experience average to slightly above average. The Star has some great attributes, but also a few flaws that need remedy. As background information, my boyfriend and I, both 30 years old, have cruised NCL 5 times, including this cruise. NCL is the only line we have cruised with, we continue to chose them because they offer the best variety of destinations and ships from New York City (we have sailed five different NCL ships in seven years), which is easily accessible from our New Jersey home. We also enjoy the freestyle cruising aspect. Also, prices for NCL sailings from the NYC area are more often than not cheaper than other lines. All of these factors make NCL our line of choice. Embarkation - very simple this time around as we sprung for the aft facing penthouse which gave us priority embarkation. This was our first experience with the priority embarkation and it was a definite benefit. We were checked in within 10 minutes of entering the terminal and waiting in the VIP lounge with snacks and coffee. After just a few minutes in there we were escorted onto the boat with fellow suite guests. All in all, the process took about 20 minutes from arrival at the terminal to stepping onto the boat. Thumbs up to NCL for this process for the suite guests! Ship - first impressions of the ship were good. We had sailed on the Dawn to Bermuda two years ago and that was our favorite NCL ship. Since the Star is Dawn's sister we were looking forward to a similar ship and experience. And yes, the Star is a near replica of the Dawn. Keep in mind this ship is a bit older, probably about 10 years old, so it is not as large or flashy as the newer ships. However, it is cozy and classy, and despite showing her age in some spots, was well maintained and clean throughout the trip. Even though the ship itself was clean, we were surprised at how lax the staff was at keeping the passengers clean. On prior sailings, we were accustomed to NCL staff ensuring everyone used disinfectant on their hands when coming on the boat and entering all restaurants or buffets. On the Star, not so much. We got on the boat, no sanitation. We went to numerous restaurants, no sanitation. Not sure why they do not stress this on the Star. Stateroom - we had an aft facing penthouse on the 10th deck. It was worth the extra cost, the room was a bit larger than a traditional balcony stateroom but the best part was the additional space on the balcony, enough for two full loungers and tables. As with the ship as a whole, the room was kept clean but showed age in some spots, such as finishing coming off light switches. The bed also seemed more comfortable than other rooms we've had, not sure if the suite beds have extra padding or if it's the upgraded sheets. These rooms also come with a tub instead of stand up shower, espresso machine, flat screen TV, butler and concierge service. Best of all, suite guests get breakfast and lunch in Cagney's free of charge, which we used daily. Although you get numerous benefits being in the suite (free meals mentioned above, cocktail parties with the officers and captain, priority embarkation and disembarkation), it seemed the littlest requests could not be filled. Example, we called at 10pm top ask for a DVD to be brought to our room. We were told no one could bring it past 9pm. Another night we called room service to ask for a piece of toast or English muffin. They made a huge stink and said that was a breakfast item. We argued with them until they brought it, an hour later, cold with no butter. We paid extra for a suite and can't get a piece of toast? We weren't trying to be difficult and didn't think a toasted piece of bread was an outlandish request. It's not like we asked for a fresh lobster tail at midnight.Which brings me to dining on the Star and NCL in general. In my experience, here's the bottom line about the food on NCL ships - yes the food in the main dining areas is often not the greatest. There can be a few good items, but for the most part it is on par with what you would find in an Olive Garden or other chain restaurant - just average. Yes, it does seem NCL tries to steer guests to the pay restaurants and yes the food in those restaurants is markedly better. We accept this and spend most of our trip eating in the specialty pay restaurants. Our thinking is this - the price for our NCL trip is much less than what we would pay for another line that may have delicious free food. So, even if we pay for dinner every night, we are still paying a cheaper price. Therefore, on this trip we ate at the following - Cagney's steakhouse, La Cucina Italian, Le Bistro French restaurant, Teppanyaki (twice!) and Moderno. The steaks at Cagney's were great. Le Bistro was a pleasant surprise, the pork plate was delicious and desserts were some of the best on the ship. Teppanyaki, we love on every ship. The chefs put on a good show and the meats and fried rice are so good, worth the $25 fee. La Cucina, I'd call it average. For the $10 cover charge it's probably worth it, but I wouldn't pay anymore for it. Moderno is NCL's new Brazilian restaurant and our first time trying it. Although it gets rave reviews I would say it is slightly above average. I was unimpressed with the salad bar but the meats and sides were good to very good. Be prepared to leave full, there are so many meats that come out and you will want to sample them all. Entertainment - NCL puts on some good shows nightly in the Stardust Theater. Some of them (such as Band on the Run) we have seen before on NCL ships. Wish NCL would change the shows out more often. The comedic act of Shark Bait was crazy but will keep you entertained. Deal or No Deal is decent; however there is a cost of $20 to play. NCL also provides parties and late night activities in the Spinnaker Lounge. The Newlywed Not So Newlywed and Quest game shows are always funny. The band in the lounge was pretty good and Kyle the cruise director always seemed to want to get up there and sing with them. He was very involved with the entertainment on the ship. Bermuda - we were coming in to Bermuda on the tail of Hurricane Leslie, therefore we had some wind and choppy seas while in port. We did two shore excursions, the glass bottom boat and the famous homes cruise. Glass bottom boat was ok, didn't see anything too special. Famous homes cruise was great. The tour guide was entertaining and very knowledgeable on the island. We choose to take our excursions in the morning and spend our afternoons exploring on our own. Since the Star stays in port for a full three days, it gives ample time for exploration and Bermuda is very tourist friendly. When getting off the ship in Dockyard, you can go straight into the visitor's center and purchase a bus/ferry pass. We purchased a two day pass, which must be used on consecutive days. This gave us unlimited access to ferries and buses for Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday we ferried to St. George, ate lunch at Wahoo's, explored the shopping area (we were sure to say hi to Flea, the island cat at the Island Shop!), and went to the unfinished church. We chose to take a bus back to Dockyard. Although the ride is quite long, it provides the opportunity to really see the island. Thursday we ferried to Hamilton, ate lunch at Barracuda Grill (delicious and highly recommended), and did some shopping and sightseeing. Friday we chose to stay at the Dockyard area. We went to the Bermuda Martime Museum, interesting and scenic, worth the $10 entry fee. Lunch was at Freeport Seafood, a small local place which is good for fresh island seafood. After lunch, a stop at the Dockyard Glassworks and Bermuda Rum Cake to pick up some handmade glass souvenirs and of course, Bermuda rum cake (they are kind enough to let you sample all the flavors). When we returned to the boat we learned that during a storm that blew through while we were eating lunch, the mooring lines of the boat had broke and the boat came free from the dock. The aft of the boat swung out, bumping Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas, which was docked behind us. The captain made the decision to cut all the lines and let the boat go into the harbor to wait out the storm. This happened while the gangways were out and people were waiting to get on and off the boat. Luckily there were no injuries to people, but the Star had a dent in her aft from her kiss with Explorer of the Seas. It took a few hours to bring the boat back in, retie it to the dock and get the gangways down safely for boarding. The storm had passed and the sun was shining brightly at this point and beating down on all of us waiting to board. NCL did eventually bring out water and let elderly and people with kids board as soon as possible. Once on board we were given free rum punch and hot chocolate until the boat was able to depart, which was a couple of hours late due to the inspection of the damage to be sure we were safe to sail. Overall, NCL handled the situation well. Back on board for the final day and a half of the cruise, we spent a good amount of the remaining time in the spa relaxation area. On many NCL ships you can purchase a spa pass which gives you access to the relaxation area. It includes hot tubs, loungers and on the Star and Dawn, a heated lap pool. We have purchased this pass on other ships, including the Dawn, and LOVED it. Soft soothing music, floor to ceiling windows looking out from the aft of the boat, hot tea and juice, the perfect place to read, take a nap and relax...except on the Star. There are no kids allowed in this area to keep it peaceful. Unfortunately on the Star the adults using this area acted like children. Every time we went to this area there were adults either speaking at full volume or yelling in the hot tub. They treated this as the indoor hot tub area instead of what it is intended and marketed as -- a relaxing oasis. To make matters worse, often times it was filthy. Passengers left wet dirty towels everywhere and staff rarely came around to pick them up. For the passengers that put the towels in the proper receptacle, the bin was overflowing with dirty towels, not being emptied nearly enough. One time in the hot tub a dirty rag was floating in there. I brought these concerns to the spa staff, specifically the noise volume, and was told they would be addressed immediately. They even took my name and cabin number. Went back the next day and no changes. No changes for the rest of the cruise. No follow up from staff. We were very dissatisfied and it was a big waste of $199 for a weekly pass. It is a shame because the Dawn spa, a replica of this one, was perfection. Star spa staff really needs to take some lessons on how to properly maintain this area. By far the biggest disappointment of the cruise; NCL please fix the spa on the Star! We arrived back in NYC on time despite our late departure from Bermuda. Disembarkation was just as simple as embarkation because we again had a priority escort off the ship. We were off the ship in about 20 minutes. All in all, this may have not been our favorite NCL cruise, but it was still average to above average. Most staff was excellent particularly our stateroom steward Santos, Jolene in the photo gallery and the officers who constantly made themselves visible and available to help. NCL does a good job of making suite guests and repeat guests (Latitudes members) feel special with special benefits. These things help to make up for the shortcomings of an older ship and flaws such as the spa and some of the food. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
My husband and I cruised on the Norwegian Star from September 23rd to the 30th. We had one major issue, as well as a few minor issues that not only ruined our entire vacation, but has also left both my husband and I with anxiety and a ... Read More
My husband and I cruised on the Norwegian Star from September 23rd to the 30th. We had one major issue, as well as a few minor issues that not only ruined our entire vacation, but has also left both my husband and I with anxiety and a feeling of violation. First and worst - My husband and I had retired to our state room before dinner. Our room had recently been cleaned and was on the yellow "Welcome" sign. We changed the sign to the red "Do not disturb," and locked our door. About a half an hour later one of the Norwegian staff members entered our room unannounced, without knocking, and completely disregarding the "Do not disturb" sign. At the moment she entered my husband and I were completely exposed and in an private and extremely intimate encounter. The stewardess was merely a few feet away from us, not only viewing us, but opening the door fully and exposing us to anyone everyone else who walked by. I was completely traumatized. We not only missed that evening show, but I couldn't bring myself to leave my stateroom for the evening or much of the following day. Even afterwards it was a highly embarrassing situation when we had to come into contact not only with our stewardess, but also all the other staff members who were brought in to be involved. Stateroom - We were in room 4565. At around 3:30 the first night my husband and I woke to loud crashing behind our room. The sound was like someone throwing shopping carts up against the wall. We could also hear loud voices. We brought the issue to the attention of the staff and the noise subsided for the night. However, every night afterwards at around the same time we were awoken by the same loud banging. We continued to bring it to the attention of the front desk, but each night the same thing occurred. The area that was behind our room was a staff only area, and it was Norwegian crew making the noise. This was very frustrating and we barely slept the entire cruise. Safety Deposit Box - Our safety deposit box kept breaking down and needed servicing three times. One time we missed the show we wanted to see because we had to wait forty-five minutes for someone to come down and fix it. Also, one time I came back to the room and the safe was wide open with my purse in it. I know for sure that I locked it, so either the safe defaulted and opened or someone came into the room and opened it when we weren't there. Food - The food was poor quality in the main dining rooms and buffet. The biggest disappointment was that the menu was the same every lunch and dinner. They only way to get good food was to pay for the specialty restaurants for an extra $10 to $25 per person per meal. The best part of our cruise were the three days that we were in Bermuda and got off the ship. My husband and I rented scooters and went to across to St. George and Hamilton, as well as all the breathtaking beaches. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
We traveled on the Star to Bermuda on the September 23rd sailing. This was the 9th cruise I have taken with NCL, and my 17th cruise overall. Embarkation: We arrived at the pier at about 11:30 am and were able to check in right away ... Read More
We traveled on the Star to Bermuda on the September 23rd sailing. This was the 9th cruise I have taken with NCL, and my 17th cruise overall. Embarkation: We arrived at the pier at about 11:30 am and were able to check in right away via priority embarkation (we are Latitudes Platinum and booked a suite). Once our paperwork was complete, we were escorted to the VIP lounge where we met our Concierge Monica. We boarded the ship and were seated in Cagney's for lunch by 12:00 pm!! By 12:30 pm, we heard an announcement that our cabin was ready! This, by far, was the quickest our cabin has EVER been ready!! Cabin: We booked a Family Suite on Deck 12- cabin 12020. The room was huge with plenty of closet space and drawers. We actually think the cabin could accommodate 6 people (2 in the beds, 2 on the fold out couch, and 2 in the Murphy bed). The room had no balcony but did have floor to ceiling windows. The bathroom had a separate stall shower, a full tub, and two sinks. This ship received the same update as the Dawn (they relocated the Spinnaker lounge and turned the space into suites). The cabin was located on the same deck as the pool (very wonderful and convenient location). The only MINOR complaint (same on the Dawn) was that there was a little bit of foot traffic noise from Deck 13 overhead. It was by no means obtrusive, just noticeable. The primary benefit of this cabin (other than how spectacularly spacious it was) was that we had the most wonderful and attentive butler, Orlando. He could not have been more accommodating. Another perk was the privilege of eating in Cagney's (the restaurant) for both breakfast and lunch: no fighting the crazy noisiness of the buffet or the hustle and bustle of the main dining rooms. Crew: I cannot even begin to say enough about the crew. My aunt (my traveling partner aka partner in crime) and I agreed that this was the happiest most pleasant crew of any sailing we have been on. This is not to say that past NCL ships haven't had wonderful/happy crews, but this crew just seemed one step above. Our butler Orlando was particularly amazing as were the b'fast and lunch staff in Cagney's. Our cabin steward Larry (a lovely young woman) was practically invisible, but she took impeccable care of our room. I was impressed with the effort that each and every staff member made to remember our names!!! (And miraculously, they DID!) Cruise Critic Gathering: NCL takes Cruise Critic very seriously. This was evidenced by the fact that the Captain himself attended the gathering as well as the Cruise Director (Kyle), the Hotel Director (Sean W.), the Food and Beverage Director as well as several other senior staff members. This time, we actually received a card with all of the senior staff's contact information printed on it, and we were encouraged to contact them should we have any problems. NCL has an amazingly visible and approachable senior staff. Entertainment: Since we have been on so many cruises, we tend to have long relaxing dinners and don't make many of the evening shows. We did see Gianni Russo (of Godfather fame) sing (wonderful), attended the Crew Show with Fountains (always entertaining), and the show on the last night, Elements, which was exceptional. The entertainment on NCL has improved GREATLY since they moved away from the previous entertainment company. We also enjoyed many of the "lounge" entertainers -- where we tended to be for pre- and post- dinner cocktails. Casino: Neither of us are big gamblers; we get a kick out of the penny slot machines, and are always pleased that NCL has current machines that give you "ticket" vouchers instead of coins (which are a, ahem, "Royal" pain in the butt if you get my drift). The only downside is the casino is smoky (we are both non-smokers)... Nice touches: A few things I noticed that were different this cruise, and I'm not sure if this is fleet wide or unique to the Star... The crew walked around with iced tea on the pool deck, as well as fresh baked cookies. In the lounges, they walked around with chocolate covered strawberries and macaroons. Also cute were the spontaneous "performances" by the crew- we saw the buffet staff doing a line dance (in the buffet of course), several of the staff doing the chicken dance by the pool, and after the second show on the last night, the staff gathered in Gatspy's to do the Twist. Great, infectious fun. Also nice were the cold towels and ice water before we boarded the ship after spending a hot day in Bermuda. Food: We ate breakfast and lunch in Cagney's nearly every day. Having a nice, quiet and relaxing meal for breakfast and lunch is one of our favorite perks from having a suite. For dinner, we ate in both the pay restaurants and the main dining rooms. We prefer the more quiet and intimate atmosphere of the pay restaurants. Our first night on board, we ate at Le Bistro. As usual, the escargots and the chocolate fondue were to die for. We also ate at Moderno- the new Brazilian restaurant...be prepared to eat a LOT of meat and go with an empty stomach! If you are a carnivore, this is a "can't miss" restaurant for sure! We also ate at La Cucina and found the calamari to be amazingly tender but found the entrees to be somewhat salty. Lastly, we ate at the two main dining rooms, Aqua and Versailles. We had wonderful meals and service here, though the ambiance is a bit more crowded and noisy. But, the food was delicious and served hot! Chef's Table: If you are a self-proclaimed "foodie" like I am, this is the treat of all treats!! "Chef's Table" is a 9 course tasting meal prepared by the executive chef on board that includes wine pairings. The portions are quite generous, so go with a healthy appetite and pace yourself! We participated in Chef's Table on the Dawn back in May, loved it, and booked it on the Star. The meal on the Star (same menu as the Dawn) did NOT disappoint -- in fact I do believe I enjoyed it more this time around (too much wine consumption on the Dawn). This is a for fee dinner and includes a pre-dinner champagne toast, the 9 course meal, an after dinner drink, and 2 photographs (one with the entire group and one per couple with Chef). It is only open to 12 guests and it seems to really be gaining in popularity, so I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in the wonderful meal twice! As part of Chef's Table, we also were given a private galley tour the next day which was really fun! Bermuda: Since this was my 6th time to Bermuda, we didn't spend a lot of time sightseeing. In fact, we didn't even get off the ship the first day in port. The weather was "iffy" and we took advantage of a quiet ship as most people braved the elements in Bermuda. The second day, we took the ferry over to St. George for a little shopping and lunch. Here we saw the daily "ducking" of the woman who was tried for being a "nag." On the final day in Bermuda, we just walked around Dockyard. Debarkation: Because we were in a suite, we had priority debarkation. We were able to leave the ship after those with walk off luggage. We had a leisurely (quiet) breakfast in Cagney's- it was this day that I especially appreciated not having to fight the crowds in the buffet line. There were three large ships in port (NCL Star, NCL Gem, and Aida), so the customs lines were much longer than we typically see when we cruise. Given the volume of people though, the line moved fairly quickly. No real complaints! We love NCL and had yet another amazing cruise on a ship we had never been on before. We always do the "future cruise rewards" and have already booked a 12 day cruise to the Caribbean on the Jewel. Read Less
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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