70 Norwegian Star Bermuda Cruise Reviews

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 ... 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 ... 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 ... 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 October 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
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
Sail Date September 2012
This was our 6th cruise with NCL. We have previousely been on the Dawn, Spirit, (same class ships as the STAR)Jem and Jewel. We actually prefer smaller ships like the Star. There are five of us in our family and we took advantage of the ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise with NCL. We have previousely been on the Dawn, Spirit, (same class ships as the STAR)Jem and Jewel. We actually prefer smaller ships like the Star. There are five of us in our family and we took advantage of the new family suites on deck 12 (SJ) where the spinaker lounge used to be located. WOW!! What a great room! This room was a wonderful size for the five of us. There are three beds: The king size bed, the sofa bed perfect for our two sons(teenagers) and a murphy bed perfect for our daughter. Each sleeping area had a folding wall or thick curtain for privacy. There was a table and chairs perfect for in room dining. A LARGE bathroom with double sinks, seperate shower and tub. Also, the entrance to the bathroom is a large closet with a sliding privacy door so it doubles as a changing room. We loved the large windows, thought we would miss having a balcony but we didn't! Being right on deck 12 was very convenient too. Just a few steps and your out on the pool deck. We also have had great experiences with freestyle dining. We only had a wait for a table one night. We requested a window table and the wait was about 10 minutes. Amazing! Bermuda is a beautiful island and the people are so helpful. We took the ferry to St Georges on the first day. We bought sandwiches in town and walked to Tobbaco Bay with our snorkeling equipment. We saw so many beautiful fish. Second day we rented a Boston Whaler for 6 hours and again, bought lunch and went to our own little private beaches for some snorkeling. Again, saw some great fish including squid. Last day, my husband toured the Navel Dockyard museum. He loves history and had a great time. All around a wonderful trip. The Senior Staff of this ship is the friendliest we have ever encountered! They came to the cruise critic meet and greet, the two latitude parties. They gave out their on board phone numbers for people to contact them. They were out and about mingling with the passengers on a regular basis. We did have 2 minor issues with our room and with each, we placed a call and within minutes someone would arrive and take care of it. I hope this review was helpful and that you book a trip and enjoy it as much as we enjoyed ours. The only bad thing about our cruise was that it had to end. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Had a great cruise from NYC to Bermuda. We were a little concerned how getting in/out of NYC would be, but it was VERY easy - I think especially helped by the fact that we went out and came back on a Sunday. Embarkation and ... Read More
Had a great cruise from NYC to Bermuda. We were a little concerned how getting in/out of NYC would be, but it was VERY easy - I think especially helped by the fact that we went out and came back on a Sunday. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. Here's a tip for disembarkation: get one of the porters to bring the luggage through customs - he brought us right to the front of the line and then brought the luggage right up to our car which was parked at the port; it was WELL worth the $20 we tipped him! The Star is showing some age, but it is still a nice ship. Unlike other cruises we've been on, the senior officers were quite visible throughout the cruise. Entertainment was quite good (always a strong point for NCL); the cruise director was OK, but we liked the cruise director on the Dawn last year much better (he was hilarious and had a voice like the Geico gecko). The Elements show was very good. Here's a tip on food for vegetarians: Ronnie in Ginza set us up so that we could request vegetarian Indian food at any restaurant on any night. It was VERY good Indian food which we enjoyed immensely! The real "stars" of the Star in our opinion were the youth staff - they did an AWESOME job! We had 3 children with us - ages 4, 5, and 15. Our 15 year old really enjoyed hanging out and doing things with the other teens. Our 4 and 5 year olds had a super time with the youth program. The youth workers are absolutely top notch and they have done such an awesome job. While they were all really great, our favorite was Tizzle; this guy is just so nice and engaging with the kids. He was also on the Dawn last year and it BLEW us away that when we first went up to the youth room he recognized our 4 year old and called him by name with a loud cheery greeting. Tizzle, I don't know if you ever read these reviews, but thank you SO MUCH for the love and attention and energy you show the kids!!! The other workers are also so amazing - I don't remember all the names, but thanks to Casper, Princess Tianna, Springs, Twinkle. You guys are amazing! The theme nights (pirates, prince and princess), the Circus Du Jour, pajama party, all the face painting - everything was just amazing. I really can't express enough the high quality of their program! Bella and Bubba absolutely loved it! NCL, keep up the good work. We also like taking exercise classes on-board. We're not exercise freaks, but it is fun doing some different classes (pilates, stretching, abs). The two staff members heading up these classes were very capable, but the young lady in particular seemed a little too intense for my liking. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
This was our 7th cruise on NCL and our second cruise to Bermuda. Bermuda is a pristine beautiful island and we liked having 3 days in port. We originally booked this cruise because it left out of Baltimore, we love Bermuda, it was my ... Read More
This was our 7th cruise on NCL and our second cruise to Bermuda. Bermuda is a pristine beautiful island and we liked having 3 days in port. We originally booked this cruise because it left out of Baltimore, we love Bermuda, it was my husband's birthday and the price was reasonable. We booked a mini suite which gives more room. The crew could not have been any friendlier. We were concerned because the Star is an older ship, but it was very clean and everything was well kept. Our cabin stewart greeted us by name and asked if there was anything additional that he could do for us. There was a bottle of wine in our cabin when we arrived from our travel agent and NCL, however, it was a bottle of Merlot (which we do not like). My husband called Guest Services and was told that they could not exchange it even though we offered to pay any difference in another type of wine. They suggested we take it to the dining room and try to exchange it there. We figured we would not have much success doing that, so we did not try. When I attended the Cruise Critics Meet and Greet and the Latitudes party, the various managers were there and emphasized that we should call them directly if they could do anything. They gave us a card with their direct number. So, I called Michelle, the Guest Service Manager and explained that we did not like Merlot and would like to exchange for another type of wine. within 5 minutes, someone came to the cabin and delivered a much better bottle of a Cabernet. Kenneth, the slot attendant in the casino, was the friendliest slot attendant we have ever met. Each night he send free drinks over to us. His wife, Jackie, was a waitress in the main dining room and once we met her, we asked for her table every night and never had to wait except 1 night for a few minutes. We love free style dining and are amazed how smoothly it is and that we never have to wait for a table. Jackie was a wonderful waitress and very friendly. Auggie, another slot attendant, was also very friendly. We love the chocolate croissants on NCL and every morning we would ask for them. If they did not have them, they would get them for us. Amazing. The food in the main dining room was excellent -- in fact, it was so good that we did not even go to any of the specialty restaurants. The officers were always very visible throughout the ship. You would see them all the time. Every sincle€ crew member would smile and greet us as we wandered throughout the ship. that is one of the things we love about NCL. We have already booked our next NCL cruise (our first Meditteranean cruise - 12 days aboard the Spirit). We also look forward to cruising on the Breakaway. We have cruise on 5 other NCL ships including the Epic and have loved each and evefy one of them. We are hooked on NCL. We will achieve Platinum with our next cruise! Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
This was our 10th cruise with NCL but first time on the Star. Our fourth time to Bermuda. We parked at the pier and embarkation went very smoothly. Lunch in Versailles and rooms were ready. Minor issues were taken care of immediately ... Read More
This was our 10th cruise with NCL but first time on the Star. Our fourth time to Bermuda. We parked at the pier and embarkation went very smoothly. Lunch in Versailles and rooms were ready. Minor issues were taken care of immediately with just one call to reception. Our room steward Moe was excellent. Friendly with the gift of anticipating our needs and routine. Towels always replaced, ice bucket always filled, room always made up with just one spin of the dial at the door. His talent with the towel animals was amazing. Towel animals are always cute but in all our cruises I have never seen such detail. Met up with some of our CC roll call for sail away. Weather was good. We had two nice sea days. Pool area tended to be crowded but we always found a seat. So much going on it's hard to choose what to do. Our Meet & Greet Meeting was well attended. Captain Kenneth and many of the officers attended. As I heard so much on this board, Sean the Hotel Manager is fantastic and during the cruise, all the officers were very visible and great to talk to. Our Group Service Coordinator, Anne, was exceptional in helping with our Cruise Critic Meeting and Bridge Tours. She went above and beyond to make this, our anniversary cruise, full of fun and surprises. Entertainment was great. Band on the Run, Shark Bait and Elements were favorites. Bermuda was beautiful. We managed to dodge the raindrops on Wednesday and do almost everything we planned. This year we decided to do the historical route with the Bermuda National Trust. They offer a combination ticket for $10 and it covers three sites Tucker House, Verdmont, and the Bermuda National Trust Museum at the Globe Hotel (Rogues & Runners). We started at the Tucker House in St. George's. The tour covers a good deal of Bermuda history. We were then directed to Rogues and Runners at the Globe Hotel. This tour offers a great video about the founding and development of the island. Upstairs they have a detailed display of the early history of Bermuda (they called themselves "privateers") and Bermuda's role in the Civil War and the Blockade. We were supposed to go to Tobacco Bay but a big black clouded ended that so we had lunch at the White Horse Pub and then took a train tour on the Olde Town Railway. Great way to see St. George's. Verdmont is off the south shore so we did that the next day (#1 bus from Hamilton). Beautiful estate and again covers much of Bermuda's early days (also read that it's haunted). They had a tea set supposedly being sent to then President Madison by Napoleon Bonaparte that was "intercepted" by a "privateer. We really enjoyed all three of these sites (didn't see any ghosts), saw a lot of the island going back and forth to them on the bus and ferry and still had plenty of time for Horseshoe Bay. On the last day we stayed at the Dockyard. We had a wonderful Bridge Tour in the morning and met up again with our roll call. The bridge is so interesting and it was nice to see everyone again. We then went to do some shopping and of course the beach at Snorkel Park. They do charge now but we feel it's worth it. One last dip in that beautiful turquoise water. To sum it up, Bermuda is beautiful. But the "star" of the cruise was the Star. The Star is an older ship but is well maintained and immaculate. You don't have to be new and shiny to be the best. What she lacks in not having two pools or a bowling alley is easily made up with her decor and the amazing Officers, Staff and Crew and they are what makes the Star shine. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
First, a little background: We are a couple in our early 60s. This was our 13th cruise together, and my 17th cruise overall. We decided to take a bus to NY from our home in South Jersey. Other than having to leave home at 6:30 a.m. to ... Read More
First, a little background: We are a couple in our early 60s. This was our 13th cruise together, and my 17th cruise overall. We decided to take a bus to NY from our home in South Jersey. Other than having to leave home at 6:30 a.m. to get there on time for the 7:30 bus, it was a painless process, and leaving our car there for a week was free. We met another couple--she and I "knew" each other from our roll call--taking the same bus, and since we really arrived too early for embarkation, they and we stopped for coffee in the bus terminal to kill time, then shared a cab to the cruise port. Embarkation was quick and easy, but we had to wait a bit after checking in to get onto the ship. Like I said, we were early! Once we boarded, we headed to the buffet until our cabin was ready. Our outside cabin was on Deck 5, midway between the front and mid-ship elevators. A tad inconvenient for getting around, but the ship wasn't so large as to make it a problem. The Ship Everything was very clean and for the most part, well maintained. But much of the furniture in the main atrium area on Deck 7--and also in the bar area between Moderno and Blue Lagoon--didn't even deserve to be in anyone's basement! These gold crushed velvet tub chairs and loveseats all looked worn and dirty around the arms, and they really need to be updated. I was spoiled by my trip on Norwegian Jewel, which had a great pool deck and buffet layout that included the Great Outdoors at the very aft of the ship. Star was definitely lacking in comparison; one small pool flanked by massive water slides that, for example, made visibility of the band impossible, as well as nothing but a noisy kids' area in the back of the ship took away from our desire to be there. Also, the buffet had several mostly identical lines, but lacked the station concept that Jewel had. It was just not a great space. Others have mentioned their disappointment in the "new" and very crowded Spinnaker Lounge as well as the many seats in the main theater that sagged and slanted forward (like a sliding board), making sitting there uncomfortable. I agree with those comments. A couple of positives about the ship: it was so stable! The waters were rough going to and returning from Bermuda, but we barely felt any movement at all. Amazing! Also, I really liked the Atrium area--it was lovely and we enjoyed spending time there, even when we were just people watching. The Crew How fabulous is this crew?! Every single person we met seemed genuinely happy to be there and concerned with our happiness and well-being. At our Meet & Greet, a slew of officers showed up, each of them promising to be there for us should we have a problem. Sean, the hotel manager, even had a box at the Information Desk for submitting good or bad comments. I submitted both. This may not be the right place for specialty restaurant reviews, but it fits in with the topic. We ate at Ginza, the Asian fusion restaurant, and it was rather a disaster. We sat for 20 minutes before our waiter came to the table, and never got any food served for 45 minutes. The food itself was NOT good--but I was more upset about the lack of service than I was about the food. The maitre d' tried to make things right, although we hadn't said anything, by buying us a drink... but it really was too little, too late. I wrote about our disappointment and submitted it to Sean. At first, I received back a "so sorry" note and a plate of chocolate-covered strawberries. I was pleased by the response. But then around lunchtime that day, we were on the pool deck and a man in uniform (officer? not sure) stopped us and asked if we were Mr. & Mrs. X. How did he know?? I'm still amazed. Turns out he was, according to his card, Ronnie Alves, Assistant Maitre D'. He told us he was sorry we'd had a bad experience at Ginza and he wanted to treat us to Moderno, the Brazilian steakhouse (which we'd already planned to try). He also said he'd provide us a bottle of wine with dinner. Pleased, we eagerly accepted his offer. Dinner at Moderno was fabulous! Our server, Krystle, was extremely attentive, as was the restaurant's maitre d'. And the food was to die for. We loved it, even though the promised wine never materialized (nor was it mentioned--oh well!). Another related note: we bought a Future Cruise Reward certificate the first day onboard by filling out a form and putting it in the box provided. By the third (I think) day, we still didn't have our paperwork or onboard credit, so we went to see the future cruise person, Candace. She was startled, and as it turned out, her being startled was because she'd totally forgotten to check the box! She did so then, found our form, and promised all would be well... and it was. But she came over to see us while we were in Moderno and asked us our cabin number, because she "wanted to do something nice" for us. Nothing ever materialized, though! Not important, but odd that she promised it and didn't follow through. Two other personnel shout-outs: the next-to-last night we dined in Versailles, the MDR (as we had on two other nights--we liked the food and service and we were seated with others, which we also liked). Our server this night, Friday, was Pongen, a young woman with lots of personality. We liked her so much that we requested a table in her section for the last night as well. I highly recommend her! Another shout-out goes to Rowena, a member of the Cruise Director's staff who led us in trivia many times. What a cutie! Loved her laugh and her whole personality. Bermuda This was our third (and my fourth) visit here, so we tried to do things we hadn't done previously. We bought a two-day bus pass. The first day, we went to the Botanical Gardens. It was a lovely area, but we wished more of the plants were labeled. Walking around in the heat and humidity tired us out, so we took a bus to The Swizzle South Shore, the newer of the two Swizzle Inns. We'd gone to the original a couple of times and made it a tradition, but since this one was much closer to where we were, it made sense to try it. We had a lovely "snack" of conch fritters and sweet potato fries with our small pitcher of rum swizzles. Yum! The next day, we took a ferry to Hamilton and just wandered around, looking for good souvenirs for the grandkids. We happened upon a beautiful little park in the midst of town and enjoyed that for a while. It was right next door to the public library, which offers free Internet service, so we stopped in for a bit and sent email home to let the family know we were alive, well, and happy. That evening we took our very first ship-sponsored excursion ever! Yes, that's right--it was my 17th cruise and my first ship excursion. It was the sunset catamaran rum swizzle cruise, and we loved it! We'd waited to book it till we were onboard, and went to the excursion desk to do so almost immediately--and we got the last two tickets! My only "complaint," if you could call it that, is that we had to sit cross-legged on the padded front of the ship to have good views. I liked the views, but I can't say I was comfortable most of the time. Still, it was a great hour and a half; the rum swizzles poured freely, the weather was absolutely perfect, and the sunset was really something to behold. The final day, we shopped around the Dockyard area. Although it was a bit more built up since we'd last been there 10 years ago, I was surprised it wasn't built up even more. Disembarkation We chose to walk off with our luggage, as we wanted to make a 9:30 bus. Got up early, managed to enjoy one last buffet breakfast, and made it to the Port Authority well before 9:00 a.m.! Very quick and efficient. Other Tidbits The buffet area had some service elements that pleasantly surprised me. There were frequent carts brought around with coffee, juice, and pastries to offer passengers--I'd never seen this before at a buffet. Also, the staff gathered at breakfast time to "entertain" us. Yes, it was rather Carnival-like, but still enjoyable. I felt a bit bad for them, though--like they don't have enough to do! I just realized I never mentioned the entertainment. As usual, NCL's entertainment was excellent. The Elements show, especially, is not to be missed. Our cabin, 5060, was an outside to which we'd been upgraded through a guarantee booking. I'd checked it on the deck plans to see what was above, and I was pleased to see it appeared that nothing was above us. Whoopsie--it wasn't "nothing," it was a walkway! Every night as we settled down to bed we joked that the elephant stampede had begun. It sure was loud! Didn't really cause any problems, fortunately, because we sleep with a white noise machine that drowned it out. Our bed, two twins pushed together, had obviously seen better days. The mattresses had a gully that we'd sink into upon getting into bed. It was difficult to get out of bed because of this gully, and my back ached toward the end of the cruise... but I slept exceptionally well! All in all, while this certainly wasn't my favorite ship, it ranks right up there among my favorite cruises. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
My two sisters and I had looked forward to our cruise to Bermuda for several months. We had all sailed on NCL previously although never on the Star. We had originally reserved a Family Suite on deck 12 but were upgraded to a 2 bedroom, 2 ... Read More
My two sisters and I had looked forward to our cruise to Bermuda for several months. We had all sailed on NCL previously although never on the Star. We had originally reserved a Family Suite on deck 12 but were upgraded to a 2 bedroom, 2 bath suite on deck 11 when leaking floor to ceiling windows caused our original accommodations to be taken out of service for repairs. Having had a similar suite on the Jade in 2011, I knew that the suite on deck 11 would be a great place to be. Our embarkation in NYC was quick and easy, and we really enjoyed our lunch, the first of many meals in Cagney's. This was my fifth cruise, and I have NEVER sailed with a friendlier, more pleasant, or more accommodating crew. The staff made a real effort to call us by name. Everyone we passed smiled and said hello. A waiter in the Blue Lagoon offered to go to the main dining room to bring my sister a brownie that was not available in the Blue Lagoon. We loved the coconut ice cream served one night in Aqua. The waitress offered to bring us an extra serving to take to one sister who had not joined us for dinner. One of our Cagney waiters retrieved bowls of coconut ice cream for lunch a day later. It wasn't on the menu, but he got them somewhere. We ate all of our dinners except one in the main dining rooms and found the food and service to be very good to excellent. It did seem to me that the Star is showing her age. The edges of the wall paper in our suite were separating; a door in a cabinet was off its rail and had to be reattached. The shade for the window of the bathroom was on the floor and could not be rolled up and down after the steward put it up again. A plumber had to be called twice to repair a leak under the sink and replaced all the pipes on the second visit. There were rust stains in the shower and some kind of stain around the edges of most of the hot tubs and the pool. These were not huge things, and I must say they were addressed immediately. We did miss having the aft open dining that we have had on other NCL ships. That area has been replaced with a kids' park with water slides We loved Bermuda and its people. We bought a 3 day Ferry/Bus pass, took the ferry to Hamilton and St. George, and the bus to the beach. We loved St. George and Horseshoe Bay. The buses and ferries were always full, but we always managed to find a seat so I highly recommend the passes for getting around the island. The most unusual thing that happened was our turning around to go back to the NYC dock shortly after we passed under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. It seems someone had been injured after we sailed and had to be returned to the dock and taken off the ship by ambulance. So we sailed out of New York twice. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Wonderful cruise even though the weather was not the best we've ever seen. For any of you cruisers who live within a bus trip of New York, this port is easy to take a trip from. We took a bus right into Port Authority and then ... Read More
Wonderful cruise even though the weather was not the best we've ever seen. For any of you cruisers who live within a bus trip of New York, this port is easy to take a trip from. We took a bus right into Port Authority and then walked to the Pier. We saved a lot on parking, skipped the hassle of driving in New York and got a great rate on Megabus. Embarkation was super quick and easy. Our room was ready when we had eaten lunch. We dumped off our stuff and made our way to the hot tub out front. An awesome place to watch the trip down the Hudson from. My husband is not particularly fond of being on the ship but even he was impressed by the staff on this ship. People like Vita Prado (Hostess at the Aqua), Diana (Hostess at the Blue Lagoon), Romanocito (Our room steward), and so many more made our stay a memorable one. They were awesome. We only ate in the complimentary venues. The food was good, but I do think the overall choices have diminished a little in quality and variety over the years. I would guess that the reason for this is because the cruise lines have added many "pay for restaurants". On our first cruise aboard Celebrity, the food was exquisite and the service was absolutely amazing. On this cruise though, all things considered, the food was very good and the service was even better. Bermuda was beautiful and we had a great time snorkeling even though the weather was not the best. Bermuda is a fantastic port to go to. You can explore the island on the public transportation and relax about time since you are there 3 days. Our biggest adventure was the squall that came in the last day. Wicked winds broke our mooring lines and the Captain had to release the rest then re-dock later to let the rest of the passengers on board. We also bumped into the other ship in port. It could have been a lot worse. The Captain and crew handled it very well. Disembarkation deserves a note. We do the easy walk off now and it seems that many more passengers are doing it as well. Some years it has been chaotic. Although we had to wait in line, it was extremely well organized and went smoothly. Just keep in mind if you opt for this type of departure you will have to wait in a line. You cannot get off the ship until Customs clears the ship and this takes quite a while after the ship actually docks. We definitely prefer the easy walk off. All in all, this was an awesome cruise and we look forward to going back to Bermuda. In fact, we have already booked on the Norwegian Breakaway to Bermuda for next year. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
I had this particular week off from work and Bermuda holds a special place in our hearts. The Star was leaving NY and it seemed like the perfect choice, although I was worried about it being hurricane season. After several phone calls and ... Read More
I had this particular week off from work and Bermuda holds a special place in our hearts. The Star was leaving NY and it seemed like the perfect choice, although I was worried about it being hurricane season. After several phone calls and a lot of online time, I found what probably was a cancellation and I grabbed it without another thought. It turned out to be a very wise decision. I took my meclizine religiously the entire week we were on board but I worried needlessly. The water was calm and the weather was extremely pleasant, except, that is, for the last couple of hours on the final day in Bermuda. A heavy rain and wind storm came through the island and we did have a bit of an adventure. The Star is a lovely ship. It is colorful, cheerful and extremely well-maintained. I honestly can say I am a critical person about cleanliness and neatness and nowhere did I see signs of worn or dirty carpets, corridors, linens or towels. Thinking back, early on I did notice a section on the stairwell where the carpet was pulled away from the metal strip on the edge of the step. I thought that someone's heel must have caused it and either I never used that stairway again or it may have been immediately repaired as I never noticed it again. The ship is very easy to navigate and signs are everywhere and food is always available! I definitely appreciated that there is a large number of restrooms in very convenient locations. The entire time, I never encountered a wait in the ladies' room and all were always spotlessly clean. I marveled at how it was even possible to maintain such high standards throughout the ship with over 2,000 guests, not to mention crew members. You always saw people cleaning and working hard to keep everything in wonderful condition. Meals onboard were pretty good and to prove it, I have been eating salads all week since we are home. When we travel we prefer a large breakfast and an early dinner, and the cruise was no different. We really enjoyed the omelet station in the Market Cafe and the vegetable, cheese and meat options to go with it were plentiful. I alternated between egg white omelets (with spinach, tomatoes and feta cheese) and lox, cream cheese, tomato and onions on toasted bagels. My only complaint was the huge amount of oil used for their omelets but fortunately when I asked for non-stick spray it was available. The half-dollar sized potato fritters turned out to be my weakness. I can live on these breakfast foods my entire life. The first night for dinner we chose the Versailles, as it was lobster night. The entre turned out to include a very small lobster tail and a piece of red snapper. The snapper was not very good at all. The second night, we decided to go to Le Bistro and my husband and I both really enjoyed the wonderful Bouillabaisse. When we decided to try the Versailles again, the entrees seemed to improve. We were not disappointed again. Some of the dinners that come to mind included salmon, roasted leg of lamb, prime ribs of beef, pork chop, lamb shank and seafood ciopinno. All were excellent. We enjoyed the various starters (the crab cakes were by far the best ever!) and the Caesars salad with plenty of shaved parmesan cheese was delicious. Now desserts are a different story. They looked really good but didn't taste as yummy as expected. Even the chocolate buffet night was a bit of a letdown. The large "no-touch" displays were a bit strange. I noticed some, if not all, were made of wood and not chocolate at all. Now that we are home I can only say it is a good thing for me that the desserts were no better. Just once we encountered a problem with the service at the Versailles. Seating was always immediate and service followed smoothly. This particular time we were served the usual water, bread and our pre-ordered bottle of wine. After half an hour, we still had not received any food. We were patient until we realized the couple at the next table was seated after us and had already finished their starter and salad and were working on their main course. We stopped the water girl and then all the courses came out all at once. After bringing it to the attention of the right people the following day, we were introduced to the maitre'd and were treated like royalty the rest of the cruise. I am not a proponent of pettiness or taking advantage of a situation, but in this case, my complaint was warranted and it was nice to see that it was taken seriously. We also encountered a problem with the plumbing in our stateroom -- twice in one night! Neither was due to anything we did and even though both issues were repaired, we were later offered another stateroom, much nicer than the first. It was all handled very quickly and professionally and we appreciated it. We realize that a ship of this size with the number of passengers it holds, things will go wrong. The important thing is that the proper people are notified and then it's crucial to see how it is handled. We were pleased and are now fans of The Star. We found the entertainment on the ship to be very good, from the musicians around the ship and out by the pool to those who performed in the Stardust Theater. Kyle, the cruise director, is an amazing talent. He has boundless energy, sings well and is quick and very witty. The last show, Elements, is not to be missed. Lots of the crew were brought on the stage during the Finale, including the Captain, Kostas Fafalios, and the Hotel Director, Sean. They all lined up in the corridors after the performance to speak with the guests. I was happy to be able to thank a few of them personally and I loved that I could tell Kyle how he reminded me of Dick Clark. He took me back how many years??? They are smart enough to appreciate the guests on the ship and they go out of their way the entire trip to show it. Even as we were disembarking in NY, Sean, Kyle and others were lined up to thank us and say good-bye. I was indeed impressed!!! The other guests we met were all wonderful - from the Meet and Greet, as well as those in the dining areas, the theater, around the pool or when just standing around the casino at the Key Master machine. That was sooo entertaining to watch! I wish we had a "Meet and Farewell" to have been able to say good-bye to those we met. We loved Bermuda and were thrilled to revisit it but I could have easily stayed on this ship and relaxed the entire week. We enjoyed lounging, reading and listening to the music but the one pool on the Star did seem rather small for the number of guests. I can see how some people may have been disappointed with that. We also had some outstanding moments with the crew. Everyone was extremely upbeat and friendly! Each morning we made a point to enter the Market Cafe where "Mr. Washy-washy, drinky-drinky", was stationed. He was near one of the many hand sanitizers around and is someone whom we joked with all the time. Thinking of him always brings a smile to my face. Then one afternoon as my husband was walking near the pool, one of the other crew members asked "How is Mrs. Mary today?' We have no idea who she was but boy did I feel good. Another woman insisted on carrying my tray in the Market Cafe and finding us a table near the window. The Bridge tour we were given as a result of the "Meet and Greet" was a thrill and I must add that the situation in Bermuda where the ropes broke and the ship drifted from the dock was another issue that was handled beautifully. After all was rectified and we were allowed to board the ship again, we were wet and tired but immediately offered hot cocoa (I still fell the warmth and comfort it provided), bottles of water, and free rum and punch drinks for well over an hour afterwards! The service the entire week was exceptional - and, best of all - sincere!! Anyone we tipped was humble and grateful. Not one person had a hand out ready to take. I sincerely can't wait for another cruise and leaving from NY was amazingly easy. We loved being able to walk on and off with our luggage. The $12 cab ride to Penn Station and then the Long Island Railroad to come home sure beat the plane rides we took to Florida for our past cruises. NCL and the Star -- kudos for a job well done! Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Norwegian Star Review 9/2 -- 9/9 2012 DH (turned 42 on the cruise) and I (50) enjoyed our first NCL cruise, and only our second cruise overall; our first was on RCCL's Mariner back in 2004. To sum up our week, we had a GREAT time! ... Read More
Norwegian Star Review 9/2 -- 9/9 2012 DH (turned 42 on the cruise) and I (50) enjoyed our first NCL cruise, and only our second cruise overall; our first was on RCCL's Mariner back in 2004. To sum up our week, we had a GREAT time! We don't have time to do a day-by-day review, but we'll hit the main points. We'll also be happy to answer any questions. Embarkation in NYC We live in Southern NJ and after investigating different ways of getting to the pier, for us, it just made sense to drive and park right there. Yes the $245 pricetag is steep, but you can't beat the convenience of parking your car right next to the ship and not having to maneuver your luggage into and out of trains, busses and cabs. Before sailaway, we actually went out on deck and snapped a picture of our car sitting right there waiting for us. Pier parking is that close to the ship! On embarkation day, we got on the road by 6:30 am and found the NJ Turnpike almost empty. We made it to the pier and caught our first glimpse of the beautiful Norwegian Star, bright, colorful and just waiting for us. At the dock we also saw Disney's Magic and HAL's Veendam, both beautiful ships as well. While it was too early to park in the official lot (that opens to newcomers at 9:00 am) we paid & parked in a temporary lot just next to the official lot and were told to come back at 9:00 am. In the 45 minutes we had to kill, we were able to walk into the terminal & use the restrooms. At 9:00 am, we drove to the official lot and brought our luggage down to the street level of the terminal where all but carryons were taken, to reappear outside our cabin later that afternoon. Inside the terminal we quickly checked in and got our SeaCards, and then waited to be called to board the Star. Boarding took about an hour or so longer than we expected... an announcement was made that the Coast Guard had called for a mandatory emergency drill on the ship before we would be allowed to board, and as we sat eagerly awaiting the start of our vacation, we watched the ship's crew don life vests and stand at muster stations as the Coast Guard did their inspection. As there were two ships boarding that day at the pier, we were glad that we got to the terminal early enough to get seats or we could've wound up standing for awhile. Eventually we were told that we would be able to start boarding by 1:00 pm, and, number tags in hand, waited to be called. We had #21 which we thought was low BUT when the boarding finally started, they would call #1 -- 4, then #5, then #6... Many people must have been given the same number, so suddenly #21 didn't seem so good after all! Since we were among the first ones at the pier, we wondered how the numbers were handed out. Oh well, all was forgotten as soon as we boarded the ship! Money Matters & the OBC OK, once and for all, here's the lowdown on using cash to fund your OBC: The one counterperson who set up cash OBC's wasn't available yet when we checked in at the pier but we were told that we could set it up at the Guest Services desk on Deck 7 (the same deck you first board the ship on) once we got onboard. As soon as we boarded, we went straight to Guest Services, only waited a few minutes, then told the friendly crew member that we wanted to set up our OBC with cash. She asked for our names, our cabin number, our SeaCards, and then how much we wanted to set up the account with. Knowing that we had a $75 credit from booking the cruise on Hotwire, we said we'd start with $625, making our initial OBC balance $700. She smiled and gladly accepted our $625, never batting an eye. Please note that, at least on the Star, you do NOT have to set up your OBC with $100 per person per day. A few weeks earlier, we had called NCL who said that the amount required for a cash deposit depended on the Guest Services desk for that ship. When I requested the phone number for the GS desk on the Star because we needed to know how much cash to bring, she actually put us on hold and called the ship for us. She said that she was glad we had asked because she learned something new that day too, and then told us that we could set up our OBC with any amount we wanted to. We were still a little anxious about it but what she said turned out to be completely true. So after setting up our OBC in a flash we were ready for our first meal (of many) onboard! The Star, inside & out She is a beautiful ship, especially inside. Colorful, upbeat, easy to navigate with good signage throughout. Every interior space has been well planned and thoughtfully and colorfully decorated. Yes there are signs of wear and tear that we never saw on Mariner in 2004, like worn carpets, missing elevator buttons, a cracked plastic sign holder on Deck 7 that I cut myself on, broken lounge chairs, small tiles falling off inside the main pool, those old CRD-type TVs, stained cloth napkins and beach towels (ewww, throw them out please!), public restrooms that should have been serviced & stocked more frequently, noticeably dirty windows in the Market Cafe, but overall she's a beautiful ship inside. Outside also beautiful but I thought more confusing and so cramped. I know that Mariner is a much larger ship, but I can't help but think that the deck areas of the Star could be more open and less -- choppy, like Mariner's were. Also, what is with the plexiglass barriers or windows on most decks? No wonder the pool area is so sweltering hot all of the time, and the smoking side of the ship (port side) just confines the smokiness. I'm on a cruise ship in warm weather, I want to feel that breeze everywhere! Our favorite spots to enjoy the day and get away from it all: Deck 13 (I think) in the aft, great place to watch a sunset (although it's just above the kiddie pool area which always seemed to have a funny smell to me). And our favorite escape, Deck 7 starboard. ? As long as you can find chairs (and sometimes you just have to lurk and wait), this is the best place on the ship to relax away from the loud music and outdoor smoke and (depending on the time of day) the sun, catch the breeze and watch the world go by beautifully. We would pull our chairs up to the railing (and under the lifeboats), grab some popcorn from the Red Lion Pub, DH would get a bucket of Miller Lites from the Bier Garten and we would spend a few hours there, drifting in and out of naps, talking, drinking, enjoying where we were and just relaxing. Now this is what we came on a cruise for! Cabin #9599 -- Inside mid-ship, portside Don't plan on upgrading at the pier, because our cruise was sold-out with no chance for an upgrade. So there we were, opening the door to our first interior cabin (we had had a balcony on Mariner) -- it was small, oh so small, but kind of cute. The good news is that if you don't like light in the cabin at night, an interior is just the thing for you! It was pitch black at night. When we first walked in we saw that the beds were set up as two twins instead of together as a queen-size. When we asked Melanie, our wonderful, friendly cabin steward to please put them together, she quickly obliged us but explained that she had left them apart because there wouldn't be enough room on both sides to easily walk -- true, but we still wanted them together. Instead of getting out of the bed on the side like normal, all week I kind of shimmied down to the foot on the bed to get off, it was no big deal and kind of funny. All of our luggage didn't fit under the bed (some were too high) so we kept them on my side of the bed anyway. We were going to use a nightlight but weren't able to because there was only one outlet in the entire room and my husband needed it at night for his CPAP machine (it wasn't near the head of the bed so thank goodness we listened to a fellow Cruise Critic reviewer and brought a long extension cord). The bathroom was fine, with a liquid soap dispenser at the sink and body wash & shampoo in the nice-size (bigger than Mariner's balcony cabin) shower. Take note that if your inseam is longer than about 32" there's no way you'll be able to comfortably sit on the toilet! You'll be angling your body in strange ways. One bad thing in the bathroom: The drying line hanging in the shower. It was moldy in spots but didn't retract so during the entire week we took showers with the moldy line (ewww!) while thankfully never touching it or hanging wet swimsuits on it. The 9th deck was good because there was nothing noisy above or below us, and the beds were very comfortable so we got good sleep at night. Will we ever do another inside cabin? DH and I both think that we won't do another inside cabin no matter how good the price is, it was cozy to the point of being claustrophobic and we need some daylight! Dining Versailles: This is the main old-world-style formal dining room (although of course, on NCL, you never have to dress formally... yes we saw shorts and sneakers in there). It's big and glitzy with beautiful chandeliers and gilded everything, and windows in the back with an aft view of the water. Have to admit, the first time I saw the room I told DH that it reminded me a little too much of the grand dining room on the Titanic, and he agreed. As you might already know, the left half of the menu stays the same throughout the cruise while the right side changes each night, and you can order as many of everything as you want, and your waitstaff will happily bring you whatever you want or make recommendations if you'd like. And yes, night one of the cruise (embarkation night) is lobster night (the lobsters are small but tasty). The food is good and varied although we both thought that the appetizers were better than the actual main courses. Portions are not huge so if you have a big appetite, go ahead and order extras. One exception was the crisped salmon over a bed of sauteed spinach that I had on two nights, it was a big filet that was crisp on the outside and moist and flaky on the inside and incredibly tasty. DH had trouble finding main dishes that he liked because he's not big on seafood (and the menu has quite a bit of seafood), and didn't want to order a steak because he was looking forward to a wonderful steak dinner later that week at Cagney's, so he wound up with a plain chicken breast with some kind of Chinese brown sauce, mashed potatoes and spinach and was a happy camper. I've read a lot of negative reviews of desserts on the Star and at least in Versailles we found desserts to be good. One to note -- the banana bread pudding with caramel sauce. Yummm! Btw with one exception, each night that we ate in Versailles we were able to walk right up and request a table for 2 and be seated rather quickly Market Cafe buffet: This is the huge buffet with wraparound windows that's a great place for a quick meal or snack. We only have one other cruise ship buffet to compare it to, the Windjammer on RCCL's Mariner of the Seas, and we thought that Market Cafe came out hands-down better. Yes, it's a big cafeteria-style buffet and yes, at times it was difficult to find a seat (especially right after embarkation) but the food was very very good for this type of eatery, much better than the Windjammer. We always joked that the Windjammer served "a whole lot of mediocre food," but the food at the Market Cafe was consistently good and varied. Breakfasts always had more than one omelet station cooking made-to-order omelets, so there was never much of a wait, which certainly pleased DH as he ordered his bacon-spinach-onion-jalapeno omelet most mornings. There was always a nice display of fresh, ripe fruit (honeydew, cantaloupe, pineapple, watermelon, oranges, grapefruit...). Assorted cold cereals. Oatmeal and grits. Baked beans (which we never quite understood). Several kinds of potatoes, including small crispy potato cakes, and wedges with sauteed peppers and onions. There were fluffy and perfectly-cooked scrambled eggs and scrambled eggs with onions and peppers, and always some kind of ready-made crepes filled with cheese or mushrooms or spinach. Big, thick, yummy and crisp French toast. Pancakes. Bagels and toast. Croissants. Several kinds of pastries and Danish and muffins. Salmon Benedict which quickly became my new favorite breakfast. Mountains of crispy bacon. Ham slices. Juicy and delicious pork sausage. Lox and all of the trimmings that go with it. And to drink, there was hot tea, coffee, iced tea, apple juice, orange juice, cranberry juice cocktail, ice water (different juices were in the juice machine at different times). Plates and napkins/silverware were of course at the beginning of each buffet line but a nice touch was that napkins & silverware were also available on each table. Let's just say that DH and I started our days well fed! We didn't always eat lunch in the buffet but I know that there were many hot offerings as well as thick, stuffed sandwiches. I don't think we ate dinner here at all but did stop in occasionally for snacks (after all we couldn't go more than two hours without eating on the cruise!). We had both read about the pretzel rolls, and let's just say that everything you've heard is true! Those pretzel rolls are buttery and just incredible. One other note, we remember the Windjammer being closed for brief periods between mealtimes to set up for the next round, but the Market Cafe never closed in between, there was always one buffet line left open even when they were getting ready for the lunch or dinner crowd. Nice & considerate touch! Ginza: Oh Ginza, not sure what to say here, we both agreed that it was a swing & a miss and a waste of a dinner on the ship. Around the ship there are flat-screen monitors telling you how long you can expect to wait at the dining rooms and specialty restaurants that evening, and now we know why Ginza always seemed to be wide open. The only way we can say it is that we thought the food here was awful. Crab wontons, Tso's chicken in lettuce cups, sesame chicken... it was just all bad, nothing tasted the way we hoped it would and always had some strange spice or herb in there. At least for us, not worth the price of admission and we would've rather eaten in the buffet or one of the main dining rooms than here. The ambience is good with beautiful decor (like every other part of the ship's interior) but we thought the dinner was bad and to be honest were happy that it stayed down. Cagney's: Cagney's is the anti-Ginza for us. Everything was wonderful and well worth the $25 per person charge. We made reservations there for DH's birthday (Thursday night of the cruise) and couldn't wait! Our server Ionela was friendly and smiling and made us feel like we were honored guests in her home. From appetizers (like shrimp cocktail with Jack Daniels cocktail sauce) to salad (we both had a wedge that was covered with blue cheese and bacon) to our main courses (DH and the filet mignon and I had the T-bone) to our desserts (more on this later), everything was amazing. OK, I have to say that the appetizer and side dish portions were very small... we both ordered the au gratin potatoes and thought the tiny round stack of potatoes they served was cute but not nearly enough (probably could've eaten them in one or two bites), but everything tasted exactly as you had hoped it would. Steaks were tender and juicy and cooked to medium-well perfection as we had requested (DH's filet was butterflied), the mushroom sauce was amazing (they had several different sauces to choose from but we both loved the mushroom sauce), the dinner was un-stuffy and unhurried in a dimly-lit and elegantly-appointed open-kitchen dining room. Oh, and I forgot about the best part -- the Speakeasy Martinis! I don't know how much they were -- probably $8 or $9 each -- but they were amazing! They were made with Grand Marnier, apricot brandy, Southern Comfort and sparkling wine and served in martini glasses rimmed with raw sugar and garnished with a lemon rind twist. I'm not a big drinker but we both happily downed two of these during dinner. They're sweet but really pack a punch.... highly recommend them! Dessert was equally delish. Before the cruise I had ordered the Happy Birthday package ($35) for our cabin for DH's 42nd birthday on Thursday, and on Wednesday when we returned to our cabin after breakfast we found it all decorated with balloons and crepe paper and a sign, with the cake that comes with the package waiting for him. Since it was a day early, we called Guest Services and asked that it be saved for the following night at Cagney's, and while we were out they took it and it showed up at Cagney's right on schedule. The cake wasn't any plain, dry box cake with cloyingly sweet icing, this was a sweet tooth's dream with deep flavors and delicious white-chocolate squares decorating the edge. Ionela brought the cake and, since there are no open flames allowed on the ship (so leave your scented candles at home!) she turned the electric candle on our table inside out to resemble a birthday candle and everyone sang to my husband. We had a piece of the cake and then, of course, ordered desserts off the menu too! DH had a brownie with chocolate sauce and I think vanilla bean ice cream, and I had what might have been the BEST thing I ate on the ship: the Raspberry Crème Brulee. I have never had a crème brulee like this, with just the right amount of crunch on top and just the right creaminess inside, and the raspberry flavor was sweet without being too sweet and fruity without being too fruity. This was a dessert I will never forget and if I wasn't full from the first cake and the T-bone would've probably ordered a second. DH's birthday dinner at Cagney's was memorable for all the right reasons. Aqua: Aqua is the less-formal main dining room on the Star, and it has basically the same menu every night as Versailles. We saw more shorts and jeans in there than in Versailles, and the waitstaff was just as attentive and friendly. The atmosphere is much more modern and sleek than gilded Versailles and it was a good option the one night we ate there. The Blue Lagoon: Yes yes yes, the buffalo wings really are that good! They're plump and juicy and crisp and the sauces (mild, medium, hot) are just right. The blue cheese is a bit liquidy BUT it tastes really really good, and there are large windows for you to gaze at the water while eating. The Grill poolside BBQ: We didn't expect the poolside (or Oasis, as the pool deck is called) Grill to be anything special, but happily we were wrong! We expected hockey-puck burgers and shriveled hot dogs and generic salads. Instead, we were shocked to find thick juicy burgers as well as burgers that were cooked to order. You want blue cheese & pineapple on your burger? You got it! Or sauteed onions and bacon and mushrooms? Sure! DH & I are hearty eaters, but honestly, one of these burgers was very filling. The hot dogs were equally as good, big & plump & juicy with a really good grilled taste. They also had fresh fruit, potato and macaroni salad and cole slaw, and French fries and potato chips. Everything was good and fresh! If it wasn't so darn hot out at the pool deck all of the time we would've eaten at a table there but most of the time we took them inside & sat at the Market Cafe (conveniently just steps away on the same deck). Chocoholic Buffet: The Chocoholic Buffet took place on Friday night of the cruise in the Market Cafe. I am a Class A chocoholic and couldn't wait for this. It was in the buffet and even though they dimmed the lights and added ice sculptures and chocolate sculptures as well, it was still the buffet so it wasn't as elegant and special as I thought it might be. The chocolate temptations were, we thought, just OK... plenty of cakes, cookies, ice cream, chocolate covered macaroons, and a chocolate fountain (although you couldn't dip the fruit or marshmallows or whatever in the chocolate yourself, which definitely detracted from it for me). Everything was OK, but honestly, just OK. DH has a bit of a sweet tooth too and neither one of us went back for seconds. Servers walked around selling a special "perfectly paired" drink but we didn't take advantage of that because we knew we wouldn't be there very long. Have to say we were a bit disappointed in the whole experience. Pool Areas Oh that pool. If the main pool wasn't meant to be used by so many people it might actually be cute, but the cuteness quickly dissipates as soon as there are throngs of happy cruisers jockeying for position in it. Yes it's small, just like everyone says it is, believe me they're not exaggerating. My husband found that the only good time to go in the pool was in the morning while I was taking a shower, before the sun worshippers came out for the day. At one point in the middle of the afternoon on a sea day, I was happily half-asleep in the shade on Deck 7 and he went to get a bucket of beers at the Bier Garten, and said that there had to be 40 people in the pool kind of standing at attention, almost in orderly rows, because there was nowhere for them to move. They just stood there, side by side, in the sun and sweltering humidity. There are two slides at the pool area but much of the time we noticed them closed and, honestly, they look more like unnecessary monstrosities in the already overcrowded pool area. There's also a mini-pool directly behind the main pool but, again, it was tiny. There's also a kiddie pool on the aft of the ship, and I believe there's an additional pool in the spa although we never went in to find it. The long and short of it is that the pool's just too darn small for all of the passengers on the Star. Oh and be careful because the small blue tiles decoratively lining the pool are starting to fall off! Entertainment Stan Sykes -- Motown: We don't care what else is going on on the ship, get yourself a comfortable seat at a table at Gatsby's on Deck 6, order a few cocktails and get ready to sing and laugh and dance from 8 pm -- 12 midnight (every night but the first). Stan Sykes is a born entertainer with a voice that does Motown classics proud. He's got a great personality to boot, is funny as heck, interacts with the audience and takes requests. We heard everything from the O'Jays and Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes (OK not really Motown but on my husband's birthday he requested some "Philly Sound" and Stan happily obliged) to Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, some real southern blues, Barry White... this guy has a unique style that kept his audience growing bigger and bigger throughout the week. We thought about trying the country hoe-down one night or taking in a show, but relaxing with the crowd listening to Stan was exactly what we needed. There's a reason why we saw many of the ship's officers (including the Captain one night) there, they know where the best entertainment is. (We made the mistake of forgetting to buy his CD while we were there, don't make the same mistake!) We actually didn't take in any of the shows all week, we were happy to do our own thing on our own schedule, as long as we made it to Mr. Motown's show! Activities Well we didn't take part in the conga line or the hoedown or Bingo, although we did try -- and win! -- the '70s music trivia contest in the Red Lion Pub! No matter what you're interested in, there will be something entertaining for you to do on the ship. There are martini tastings, wine & cheese tastings, even beer tastings; lectures on shopping, Bermuda, how your tongue tells the story of your health (no I couldn't make this up), learning country line dancing, even a how-to session on origami. There seemed to be more going on on this ship at all times than on the Mariner. What we did most of the time was nap in the shade with a bucket of beers on Deck 7 but hey, that's what interested us! Casino: DH and I made our contribution to the casino. It's not very big and if you don't smoke or like the smell of it (like us) the constant choking smoke in the air might be a little much for you (we both wondered why they can't they do something with the ventilation in there?). They have everything you'd expect, including penny & higher stakes slots, table games, regular and rapid roulette, blackjack, and this annoyingly addictive machine at the entrance: the Key Master. I tried it about 30 times during the week and watched others too (it always attracts an audience). It looks so simple -- you swipe your key card and the $1 fee allows you one chance to try to win either $25, $50, or $500 + an iPad. It's like a machine you'd see on the boardwalk at the Jersey shore, all you have to do is use the horizontal and vertical controls to guide this key through the hole in front of the prize of your choice and you win that prize. Yeah, it just sounds easy! After spending time & money on this thing, I can tell you that we noticed two things: when you lift your hand from the "vertical" control button for the key to stop moving, it seems to still move just a little bit more than you wanted it to, possibly explaining why everyone winds up just 1/8" too high to win the prize. You'll also notice that the holographic decoration around the keyhole doesn't go all the way to the edge of the opening, it actually stops just a smidge above it, creating the illusion that if you line the key up to the edge of the decoration you'll get it in the hole. Not so much. Armed with this information, we hope that you have better luck with it than we -- and everyone else we watched -- did! Crew We saw some of the ship's officers so often that we thought of them as friends by the end of our cruise! It seemed like the Hotel Director and Food & Beverage Director were always hanging out together, walking around, smiling and making sure that everyone was happy (like the last night when the Hotel Director Sean saw us waiting in Spinnaker for a table in Versailles, probably thought we looked pathetic and hungry and, with one quick call, turned our 30+ minute wait into an instant table for two!). We even saw the Captain (and got a picture with him) one night at Gatsby's enjoying Stan Sykes' show with the rest of us. Nearly everyone from the Captain on down seemed genuinely happy to see us there. I don't know how they do it week in & week out but they all managed to make us feel like we were their very first and most important passengers. Bermuda Bermuda is everything you've heard it is and so much more. The people are friendly, helpful and smiling. The kids are adorable. No matter where you look, whether it's in the capital city of Hamilton, on the beach or up an alleyway, everything is picturesque and colorful and inviting. And bonus, it's very easy to navigate by public transportation. Because of Hurricane Leslie's approach, no one was allowed in the water at the southern pink-sand beaches, so on Bermuda Day 1 we took a ferry to Hamilton, then walked a few short, colorful blocks to the bus stop and, on the advice of a local, headed to nearby Shelly Bay Beach on the northern coast. Note that you can purchase public transportation passes for 1, 2 or 3 days right at the King's Wharf dock, and each pass is good for both ferries and buses. Thanks to DH's research, we didn't have to deal with expensive cabs, and it was fun to travel like the locals. The ferry ride to Hamilton and the next day to St. George's is just beautiful, lots of good opportunities for picture taking. Shelly Bay Beach is popular for kids because it's so calm and shallow. There's not much of a beach there, the sand was definitely not pink, and you can usually hear the noise from the highway behind it but the water was perfectly calm and shallow and that gorgeous clear teal color (it's amazing that this is the same Atlantic Ocean that we see at the Jersey shore!). We could even see the Star way in the distance! It was brutally hot and humid and the sun extra strong so we spent less than 2 hours in the water, but we loved every minute of it. DH had brought along this little spongy orange ball that he bought at 5 Below and we starting throwing it around -- the thing actually bounces across the water, very cool! Some local school kids who were in the water too starting playing catch with us and before we knew it we had forgotten about the heat and the sun and were making memories we would never ever forget. We wound up giving the ball to the kids and eventually dried off and walked across the highway to the bus stop. The ride back (after being thrown off of the first bus because we were dripping wet) was treacherous to us but ho-hum to the driver and regular passengers. Those streets are very twisty-turny and narrow and our bus driver was navigating them like he was maneuvering a tiny Smart car on a wide-open highway. We'll definitely go back to Bermuda to check out the world-famous south shore pink beaches but we feel lucky that, because of Hurricane Leslie, we found a hidden treasure that we would have never found without her. St. Georges: Definitely worth the long ferry ride to St. George's, with shop after shop of treasures and trinkets, the unfinished Church, the fort, St. Peter's Church, eateries and pictures waiting to be taken at every turn. Even little pastel homes with peeling paint and overgrown brush were surreal and beautiful. It was again brutally hot but well worth the time we spent there. Hamilton: A picturesque and friendly capital city, and yes, we even saw a young professional guy walking the streets in Bermuda shorts, a long-sleeve shirt, kneesox and dress shoes! You can find anything or any kind of food you're looking for here, the people are friendly and approachable, but don't forget to be careful when crossing the street, both because they're serious about jaywalking and because they drive on the left! Shopping I guess DH is lucky, he married the one woman who doesn't go power-shopping on vacation. We bought the usual trinkets in Bermuda -- T-shirts, sunglasses, shot glasses, keychains, costume earrings, Christmas ornaments, etc. -- but nothing high-value. If you like seaglass, there's a great seaglass jewelry shop in St. George's -- there's a great little shop for just about everything in St. George's, just stroll the quaint streets and look around. On the ship they have the usual gold-by-the-inch, high-end art auctions and fine jewelry and perfume. Note that the last sea day they had a 50% off jewelry sale blowout in the Atrium, it's all costume but you can find some really nice pieces. And around the same time or maybe the day before, they set up a Bijoux Terner $10 store in the Duty Free shop too. Debarkation "Easy walk off" really was easy! We decided to walk off with our bags so we didn't have to leave them in the hallway the night before. Sunday morning, DH went to Guest Services to settle our account (and we got cash back for the credit balance we had), ate our last hearty breakfast in the Market Cafe and got ready for the cue to disembark. When we heard the PA announcement that anyone choosing Easy Walk-off was free to easily walk off, we gathered our luggage, stuffed it and ourselves into an elevator and made our way to Deck 7 where we had happily embarked just a short week earlier. It was a quick trip through Customs, then to our car and, after finally finding the Lincoln Tunnel were on the road and actually made it to 11:15 am mass in our own church! Would we sail NCL again? Absolutely. Would we sail the Star again? Probably not, we both want a newer/bigger ship experience. And although Breakaway sounds incredible (they were really hawking it on board all week) it's nowhere near as large as RCCL's Oasis or even Freedom classes. So we're torn, we absolutely love the Freestyle cruising way of life -- eat when, where and with whom you want, dressed as you want -- and also loved how warm & friendly nearly all of the crew and the ship's officers were. While we definitely want to cruise again, we're not locked into cruising as our only type of vacation. But we're looking forward to returning to Bermuda one of these days, as well as cruising Alaska and maybe the New England/Canadian Maritimes route (especially after the sweltering humidity this whole week!). We loved the single-port cruise and wish that NCL and others would schedule more single-port cruises, so we can have several days in a spot and really get to explore it. Anyone getting ready to sailaway on the Star, as long as you remember that she's not a megaship and has a few nautical miles under her keel, we're sure you will love her as much as we do. Happy cruising! Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
My yearly quick review of my cruise 9/9/2012 on the NCL Star Ship Outstanding staff Ship is in great shape Food in my opinion was great. Dessert left me a little disappointed Room a little small but we made the best of it. ... Read More
My yearly quick review of my cruise 9/9/2012 on the NCL Star Ship Outstanding staff Ship is in great shape Food in my opinion was great. Dessert left me a little disappointed Room a little small but we made the best of it. Love the layout of the sun decks. We spent most of our time in the front quiet zone. Bermuda Go see the Aquarium/Zoo. Take the bus and pay the $10 per person. Well worth it Horseshoe bay was great. Paid $11 to rent a chair. Very windy and the water was a little rough. But overall loved it A couple we met on the cruise did the Dolphin Encounter across from the ship. They loved it so much they did another one the same day. Ideas for NCL Upgrade the TV's to a flat screen. I had the similar TV in college 15 years ago. Does not have to be a 40" but we should get with the times Add a docking station in the room so you can plug in an I-Pod. It would be nice to have a little back ground music when getting ready for the day or evening activities. Change in thinking A few years back I made a suggestion of getting rid of the Art Auctions. I must say I was wrong about this and this year we bought a piece that my wife loves. Regarding the guests. Over all a great bunch of people. Not that many kids and a more mature crowd. Fun but not overly rowdy I know we cannot choose who the other 2,000+ guests are but I wish some people would be more considerate to the other guests. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
This is the first time I am writing a review. I'm doing so because I really didn't expect much but was very happy and pleasantly surprised with the Star. We have sailed NCL before and love the freestyle concept but after ... Read More
This is the first time I am writing a review. I'm doing so because I really didn't expect much but was very happy and pleasantly surprised with the Star. We have sailed NCL before and love the freestyle concept but after reading not so favorable reviews of the Star my expectations were low. We stayed in an SJ suite which was well appointed and large. The bathroom made up for the lack of a balcony. Check in was a breeze and embarkation was fast.We arrived on the pier around 11am and were having lunch in Cagney's by noon. Upon first glance at the ship it looked older but well cared for. I will tell you that by day 2 we quickly realized that what this ship lacks in bells and whistles is more than made up for by the crew of the Star. From the officers to the room attendants and everyone in between that we had contact with was in a word, AMAZING. Never have we ever felt so special than on the Star. All of our other NCL cruises have been superb and we always found the crews very friendly but the Star stood out. They really go the extra mile in every way. There was a minor incident in port the last day where the mooring line snapped due to a storm and the Star drifted away from the dock and tapped another ship. As soon as the ship was back at the dock the crew was out handing out water and refreshments and reassuring the passengers. Simply stated they handled the whole matter with care and class. I could go on and on with all of the great experiences we had but the bottom line is we will continue to cruise NCL and definitely take another cruise on the NCL Star. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
History: Mid fifties couple, 20 cruises together or between us. Embarkation: Smooth, quick, painless. About 30 minutes from arrival at pier to walking on board. Only improvement needed is the way bags are collected by porters. Kind of ... Read More
History: Mid fifties couple, 20 cruises together or between us. Embarkation: Smooth, quick, painless. About 30 minutes from arrival at pier to walking on board. Only improvement needed is the way bags are collected by porters. Kind of a free for all, no really organized lines or lanes. Once on board: Minisuite. Cabin 11090. Balcony was small but comfortable. Sliding glass door that you could leave open if you wanted. Bed was a bit hard, but egg crate we requested helped a lot. Room was clean, shower large and plenty of closet space. Public areas: We thought the ship was in great shape. She is 10 years old and there are some signs of wear on a table here and there, no ripped seat covers, nothing broken or not working. It all seemed clean, shiny and cared for. Casino: Never saw it, not even by accident. :) Activities and Entertainment: The shows were adequate, nothing spectacular. Enjoyed the comedian, who is also the cruise activity director. The magic show, Extreme Vegas, was a bit draggy, but some of it was pretty good. Skipped the music shows. We loved the Martini Tastings at Gatsby's Bar. Three sea days, at 4PM, 5 different Martinis each time, small charge. Great time. 40+ people each time and we just rocked that boat. Don't miss this. Special Activity: Norwegian offers an absolutely amazing Chef's Table dinner. Just once each cruise, limited to 12 people. Nine courses with wine pairings. It begins with champagne, pictures are taken (then given to you after dinner). During dinner each course is explained by the Executive Chef and served by a phalanx of servers and wine stewards. The wine is never allowed to go empty in your glass. :) After dinner you return to Gatsby's for a cocktail of your choice. The cost was $75 per person and well worth it. Port: Bermuda. We toured the island. Drank Rum Swizzles at The Swizzle and that was about it. We did not do a beach or any touristy stuff. Holiday weekend, most of the island was closed up. Food On Board: This is where we spent our time and money. We never ate in the main dining rooms, had one snack and lunch on boarding day in the buffet. It was pretty. Food was hot. Nothing earth shaking. Sushi: Was very good. Not cruise ship good, but Seattle sushi restaurant good. Fresh, high quality and made right in front of you. We had dinner here one night and lunch several days. Le Bistro: The French Restaurant. I had the Rack of Lamb AND the Fillet Mignon. Both cooked perfectly. Might be the best lamb I have ever had. My wife had the fish, cooked perfectly also. Sides were well done, and the chocolate fondue for dessert was above average. Bamboo: The Chinese Fusion Restaurant. Food was slightly above average, with the exception of the fried rice which was prepared too far in advance and was dry and lacking flavor. The scallops were wonderful as was the shrimp that Vicki had. We skipped desert. Teppanyaki: Better than Benihana on this night. Awesome show of cooking, prepared just as you ordered it. Rice was outstanding. Chicken, fillet, scallops, calamari, shrimp all tasty. La Cucina: The Italian Restaurant. We did not care for this meal at all. Over cooked, poor service. I had the signature pork chops and did not eat them. Miss Vicki had the seafood fettuccine. The mussels were rubber, the sauce was just "fish juice". The saving grace for me was the carpaccio appetizer. I had two. This is raw, thin cut Fillet Mignon with olive oil and greens. As I said, I had two. Cagney's: The Steak House. Norwegian's signature restaurant. Very, very average. Sides were ordinary, my potatoes were served with an ice cream scoop. The steak was ordered black and blue, turned out medium rare. The wife's salmon was over cooked and dry. Nothing to write home about. Over all, we would sail this ship again but on a different itinerary. We liked the freestyle way of cruising. Jeans and a nice shirt were all that was required. Nice shorts are acceptable at dinner too. No flip flops, but we saw this "rule" violated several times. The crew was so nice, attentive and efficient. Loved the towel animals, stupid I know, but I love the creativity. If you like your cruises with a nice ship, where the ports are secondary, well, this is a ship we would sail again...just not to Bermuda. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Some quick history ,our 27th cruise.We've cruised most of the major Lines Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America, NCL ,Princess,Cunard,Royal Caribbean,and a few no Name Lines. We pretty well know what to expect in room size, service ... Read More
Some quick history ,our 27th cruise.We've cruised most of the major Lines Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America, NCL ,Princess,Cunard,Royal Caribbean,and a few no Name Lines. We pretty well know what to expect in room size, service ,food Quality,fees etc. we've been from inside rooms to owners Suites.Since we are platinum members we receive a decent amount of perks this was one of the reasons for choosing the NCL Star. .Because of this maybe I've become to critical.Our First cruise was out of New york on a ship called the Regal Empress[now retired] Today if I were to walk onto that Ship I would instantly turn around and walk back off,even without a refund. We choose a mini-suite on the 11th deck room #11126 ,not a bad room decent sized bathroom ,but lacking some amenities I have become used to. A 13" picture tube TV[I didn't think they still sold picture tube TVs],with very limited channels to watch. The bed was so uncomfortable ,we had to request a mattress pad to make it bearable,also the lack of draws,their were plenty of shelves and compartments but only 2 draws. Our balcony was jammed with an over-sized lounge chair and regular chair,which made it almost impossible to walk onto it.At night when it was quiet our cabin made these strange creaking noises,My wife swore it sounded like mice running on top of the ceiling. On the positive side had a cold re frig. and plenty of hot water in the shower. The public areas of the ship appears to have received the most refurbishing,the Dining halls ,shops ,casino,specialty restaurants were all very clean,and seemed much newer than the cabins.Now about the food the buffet is great for breakfast with a good selection of fresh fruits,omelets,breads,pancakes etc. Lunch was also quite good with a carving board,pre made sandwiches,But stick with the Dining room or specialty restaurants for dinner. We tried La Cucina,Cagney's ,and the French restaurant twice ,they were excellent each time . Here's a few pet peeves I have. $12.00 per person per day seemed a little much for this ship considering that they automatically ad 15% to all drinks and 18% to all spa treatments ,including personal training. I was planning on taking 3- 1hour personal training for $209.00 which was a little pricey but OK. They automatically ad 18% gratuity to this [209x18%=37.+] I'll choose how much ,if any gratuity is deserved . I tip cash in specialty restaurants,so I had my daily gratuity adjusted. To me this seems like another way the bean counters are trying to switch more of their fees to the passengers .NCL seems to be the leader in this game. Overall we had a good cruise and the timing was good for us. We will probally cruise with NCL again ,but it will have to be on one of the newer ships that are coming out in 2013. There's too many newer more Modern ships to make a selection from . About Bermuda ;we used to take smaller cruise ships there. They have the advantage of being able to dock in Hamilton ,right next to the main street.Taking the ferry from the dock yard was a pain and wasted time.To me Bermuda is not my favorite Island,I prefer the Carribean ,there doesn't appear to be any deals on shopping ,and I don't play Golf,so ST.Marten here I come . Larry Realgearhead telling it like it is Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
We sailed on the NCL Star from New York to Bermuda (9-2-12 to 9-9-12) and had a great time! Everyone was so friendly, accommodating and went out of their way to make sure we had a great time! The view from our Suite was fantastic. ... Read More
We sailed on the NCL Star from New York to Bermuda (9-2-12 to 9-9-12) and had a great time! Everyone was so friendly, accommodating and went out of their way to make sure we had a great time! The view from our Suite was fantastic. We ate mostly in the speciality restaurants and we were lucky enough to take part in the Chef's Table which is a great experience. If you have the opportunity, you should do it - you will love it! Enjoyed the exercise classes, the Spa, and did their Unique Wine Tasting the one day. We had great weather every day. Unfortunately, due to Hurricane Leslie, we only had 2 days in Bermuda but that was better then getting caught in the hurricane and having bad weather. Yes, she is an older ship but you couldn't ask for a better crew! Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
This was my second cruise at sea. We were leaving, uncertain where we were going, as TS Leslie was heading towards Bermuda. Once we left port, the captain confirmed that they were monitoring the storm, would make the decision en route, ... Read More
This was my second cruise at sea. We were leaving, uncertain where we were going, as TS Leslie was heading towards Bermuda. Once we left port, the captain confirmed that they were monitoring the storm, would make the decision en route, with the Bahamas/Port Canaveral as the alternate. We eventualy went to Bermuda, but left a day early, spending two days in port, rather than the planned 3. The food was decent, not great. Avoid the Ginza restaurant, as nothing there tasted authentically Asian. The good upgrade option is La Cucina, the Italian restaurant for $10 per person. We had a very good shripm risotto and a great Osso Bucco.; the beef carpaccio was very good, and don't forget the tiramisu, which my wife said 'best ever', strangely for a ship. The menu at the two restaurants (Aqua and Versailles) is the exact same, only difference is atmosphere and dress code (no shorts at Versailles, still not too dressy). Good entertainment selection, including the typical Bingo, a casino with the usual games. Good shows on board. The only negative is Jorgos, apparently an award-winning magician, whose introduction including accomplishments is almost longer than the show itself. I took a total two 7 day cruises, the other was in the Mediterranean with MSC, and we had Jorgos then too! Unless you are a 5 year old, you'll likely think as we do that this is the lamest magic show you've ever seen. This might be reason enough to pick another cruise (sorta kidding, I guess), other than for the fact that you have no clue as to the entertainment selections until you board. The service on board though was excellent. Several servers, waiters, etc went out of their way to make us feel special! Including Joseph our cabin attendant, and Mukesh and Vanya in the Versailles restaurant. I also took in a massage on my birthday (thanks honey for the gift certificate), and it was wonderful. Be on the alert though for a hard sell for beauty products, I got caught. I also took in the ship tour, a pricey $55, but worth every penny. The ships navigator, who couldn't have been more than 25 years old, described every aspect of the bridge systems, answered every question. Overall, a very relaxing 7 days, and even though our itinerary got tweaked, the captain kept us informed every day, and we were thankful for leaving early to be kept safe and smooth sailing. . We took advantage of the early disembarkation (taking our luggage). Leaving shortly after the first announcement, we avoided all the lines and were out of the terminal in less an 20 minutes. On the terminal, we looked up at the ship at the lines to get out, thinking that it would have taken at least another hour, had we left later. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
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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