14 Norwegian Star Cruise to Nowhere Cruise Reviews

My wife and I got home about an hour ago. Had a great time on the Star. First time on NCL for me. She had cruised NCL once before. Very impressed with the ship overall. Loved the embarkation process. They have the boarding kiosks ondeck ... Read More
My wife and I got home about an hour ago. Had a great time on the Star. First time on NCL for me. She had cruised NCL once before. Very impressed with the ship overall. Loved the embarkation process. They have the boarding kiosks ondeck and had multiple entries onto the ship so there were no long lines. They did similar process for debarkation. We just walked right off!! So easy. We had Balcony cabin 9720. Had everything you needed. Comfortable bed, nice pillows a duvet. I think the closet and drawer space would be a little tight for a 7-night cruise - especially if you were bringing any formal wear. The bathroom setup was the best I had seen on a cruise. The toilet and shower were on opposite sides of the bathroom so if needed, two people could be in there at once. The toilet also has a sliding privacy door. Similar door on the shower which had ample space (I am 6' 4"). I didn't miss the curtain that most other cruise ship showers have. The ones that tend to stick to you like a burrito shell. Wasn't sure about the "freestyle cruising" approach initially, but I liked it. Would like to take a longer cruise to try more restaurants. We went to Cagney's (had made reservations online pre-cruise) and it was a great meal. Terrific smoked salmon appetizer and the oysters rockefeller were very good. And the ribeye very delicious. The onboard reservation process looks easy. They had TV screens scattered about the decks so you could see what restaurants were filling up. They also has same info on the TV in your cabin. Went to Versailles for first day lunch and had a great meal. Pasta Bolognese and Philly Cheese Steak. It was nice to have a dining room open on embarkation. That has not been the case on Carnival. Also ate in Versailles for the second night's dinner and had a good meal. Caesar salad was very nice and crispy - but missing anchovies. Could have asked for them I guess, but since I also had to ask for fresh ground pepper (and that took about 5 minutes), I decided to go without. Had a decent "latin" style sirloin steak. Pretty good seasoning - sort of like a pesto rub. Surprisingly, the worst part of each meal was the potato dishes. French fries at lunch weren't crisp or hot. Potato Gratin at Cagney's were mushy and flavorless. Wedges at Versailles dinner were dry with no seasoning. Second city comedy shows were very funny. Didn't get to see the other regular shows but people were raving about Elements. Pool area has some great seating areas. There is also a quiet area (much like Carnival's Serenity) where they have deck chairs and adults-only hot tub. We did an onboard Pub Crawl event that was alot of fun. We went to 5 bars, had a different drink at each and played some games. The final stop was by the pool deck where they had everyone play a twist on "Simon Says". Last man standing got something - maybe a t-shirt. I wasn't the last person standing. The ship has alot of music venues. There are two piano players, a guitarist and four other live bands that play at various times and bars. There was a trio in the Atrium that were very good. And the live band they had on the final night for the 70's disco theme was amazing. They were playing earlier in the same lounge with only us and about 5 other people - and played some incredible rock and rolll. The lead guitarist was amazing, able to coax alot of feedback from his Fender Stratocaster. Really talented. Some negatives: The main pool area is ill-conceived. The two slides take up alot of deck space and the pool is very small. The slides also aren't meant for adult use. Every adult we saw try to use them couldn't make it all the way down without "scooting". Gave us a few laughs. But for something that takes up that much space, it didn't seem to have enough "fun value". This cruise ship also had a much larger focus on alcohol consumption than any other I have been on. The cruise director said during his talks, "Drink Heavily". Now I realize that the cruise ships make a lot of revenue from the drinks and it is what keeps cruising inexpensive. But with past and recent concerns about passenger safety, it is irresponsible for a ship's officer to be making a statement like that. At the same time in your cabin, they have a video telling you not to sit on a balcony handrail because you might fall off. Also, the cruise director staff member Bloody Mary (yes - that is what her name tag said) who lead the Pub Crawl, was visibly drunk before it even started. She was having a hard time keeping track of where we had to go next. Will I go on another NCL cruise? Yes. Definitely. I had a great time and look forward to trying a long cruise on a different ship. The Star is leaving Tampa in a few weeks, and I think the Dawn is replacing her. So maybe I will look to see what deals come through next year. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
In September I took the repositioning cruise between Vancouver and Los Angeles. This was my first cruise experience (birthday present) and I traveled solo - my husband is a teacher so he couldn't go, but we have already booked an ... Read More
In September I took the repositioning cruise between Vancouver and Los Angeles. This was my first cruise experience (birthday present) and I traveled solo - my husband is a teacher so he couldn't go, but we have already booked an Alaska cruise this summer on NCL. I booked so late (within 6 weeks of departure) that I was able to get a balcony stateroom for the same rate as double occupancy. so I decided I couldn't afford NOT to go. The cruise started in Vancouver and stopped in Victoria, Astoria and a beautiful day and night in San Francisco. I had read all of the Norwegian Star reviews on this site, everything from five stars to zero stars, so I was trying to manage expectations. As a result, I was pleasantly surprised for the most part. Embarkation:  I flew up to Vancouver the day before departure, did not want to miss the boat because Alaska Airlines decided to have a mechanical or something. I stayed in the airport Marriott and the next morning went back to the airport for transfer to the pier. Embarkation was unbelievably quick. I had been led to believe it took hours. From the time the airport transfer bus dropped us off at the cruise terminal to the time I was walking up the gangplank must have taken a full 30 minutes. Most of that time was weaving in and out of the security line with passengers from two Holland America ships that were also docked at the terminal. Basically show your ticket, go through airport-type security, then walk down a long hall to a cavernous room where the NCL desks were. They sat us down in rows of chairs and we sat down only about long enough for someone to come around and give us water or juice and then they had our row stand up and go check in and 5 minutes later I was on the ship. As soon as I boarded a nice young crew member came up and took my carry on and asked me where I would like to go since the cabins weren't ready yet. I wasn't ready for lunch so she took up me to Deck 12 near the pool where I could walk around and take pictures of the harbor (or I could have eaten at the Topsiders Grill there anyway.) About an hour later they told us our cabins were ready. My suitcase didn't come for another hour but it was there well before we left port. We had the mandatory life jacket drill right before we departed. In fact it was so close to departure I was afraid we were still going to be lined up when the ship started moving. I was surprised by all the people who just sauntered up with (or without) their life jackets after the rest of us had been standing there 15 minutes. I don't believe I ran into one crew member the entire cruise who didn't sing out a friendly greeting when they passed - whether it was the cabin stewards or just someone cleaning the deck chairs. Everyone flashed a big smile and said, "Good morning, Madam," and they were always asking if they could help you with anything. It appeared many of the service crew were from the Philippines. When we came into San Francisco, they all came racing up on deck and were laughing and chattering and snapping pictures of each other crazily with their cell phones because they had not seen the Golden Gate Bridge before. It was fun just to watch them getting as much enjoyment from being where we were as the passengers did. Dining:  The first night I made a reservation for La Trattoria, the Italian restaurant. If I had have known better, I wouldn't have made a reservation for the first night, because there was a huge sail-away barbecue at the pool with hot wings, hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, etc. But I had no way of knowing this ahead of time. There was a $10 cover charge at LT but the food was excellent. I had fettuccine which was very good, very hot and tasty. But the bread was cold, which was disappointing. I also noticed the same bread in the regular market cafe buffet, which seemed kind of strange. I had to pay extra for a coke. There are no free soft drinks with your meals on this ship, although you can get all the coffee, juice or milk that you want. If you want a coke, you have to go to a bar. The service at the restaurant was phenomenal - every time I took a drink of water someone was right at my elbow to top off the water glass. Waiter checked on me constantly. The restaurant was kind of noisy because all they do is just hang up curtains to partition it off from the rest of the market cafe since it's still part of the market cafe at other meals. Since I was a balcony passenger, I was allowed to eat breakfast in the Aqua restaurant. It is one of the main dining rooms that is open to everyone at dinner, but apparently it's not open to the masses for breakfast. Breakfast was served on a white tablecloth and I ordered scrambled eggs, hash browns and dollar pancakes, which were very good. There was also a buffet line with fruits, juices and croissants, etc. Very nice. Again, wonderful service - there is ALWAYS someone there hovering at your elbow, pouring more coffee or water, asking you if everything is okay and if you're enjoying the cruise. I was always asked if I wanted to dine solo (which I did) or not, and I never had to wait for a table. I never did eat at the Versailles (main dining room) but several passengers told me it was excellent. I found the food in the market cafe to be good, a fair amount of variety, but definitely not the best buffet I have eaten at. That being said, I always found something to satisfy me. I never did experience any lines. Since I really didn't go on a cruise to experience the whole food thing, I often grabbed something from the market cafe and just took it back to my cabin. The ports:  I didn't get off the ship in Victoria because it was freezing cold and windy and we docked what seemed to be an awfully long way from downtown, but it was very scenic and I enjoyed just sitting on my balcony and watching all the harbor traffic. I was amazed at all the float planes - they were coming and going all day like regular buses or taxis. There were two other cruise ships in Victoria at the same time (Princess and HAL) but they were unable to dock because it was so windy. So they just sat out in the bay and ferried people in on tenders. Our captain did a tremendous job parallel parking a 92,000 vessel without the help of any tugboats. Astoria was a wonderful port. Apparently they only get the repositioning cruise ships in May and September. It's a town of 10,000 and believe me, the whole town is out in force when a cruise ship is in. They have arts and crafts booths set up on the pier and they give everyone a big VIP sticker that you can wear into town and get discounts on everything, ride the bus wherever you want to go, etc. Half the town was wearing navy blue CRUISE HOST sweatshirts and there was a host standing on every corner in case you had any questions. As with the rest of the cruise, the weather was perfect. I went looking for a market to stock up on bottled water and Coke so I wouldn't have to pay the exorbitant prices on the ship, and the market was packed with other passengers with the same idea. Someone should have set up a bottled water booth on the pier with the other arts and crafts and they would have made a killing. Water on the ship was about $5 per liter with an automatic 15% gratuity. This cruise was worth it if all we had done was come into San Francisco under the Golden Gate Bridge. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. It took us about an hour and a half to dock, just going slowly under the Bridge, by the Presidio, by Alcatraz. The sun was just coming up and the skies were clear as a bell. We docked at Pier 35 so the starboard side (the side my stateroom was on) was facing west. Since I was on Deck 10 I was above the top of the pier buildings and I could see the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the rest of the city from my balcony! It was like being in a hotel with a view. The cruise terminal is right next to Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf, close enough to walk. I didn't go on any shore excursions because I have been to SF many times, so I just went out and enjoyed some of my favorite places in the area around the Wharf. I did find a Safeway a few blocks from the water and again stocked up on bottled water and Coke. And of course BUTTER, because I went back to the ship with some of that famous sourdough bread that served as my lunch for the next two days. The ocean was very smooth the whole way. Never more than slight seas (1-4 feet.) I was actually disappointed, because I wanted to feel like I was really at sea. There was a little bit of motion on the one full day we were at sea between SF and LA. I saw a lot of people with those little patches behind their ears to ward off seasickness - hope it made them feel better because personally, I could hardly tell I was on a ship. The ship:   I had a balcony stateroom on Deck 10. There is one 110v outlet in the cabin and two more 220v outlets which are kind of inaccessible but at least they're there if you need them. There is a small wall safe to lock up valuables. The bathroom was small but functional. There is very little storage in the cabin - three small drawers. I easily filled everything up. Suitcases fit beneath the bed. The furnishings are kind of ugly - I guess you would call them Danish "modern" which means they look anything but. I think the ship is probably ready for a refurbishing in the not too distant future. The bed was absolutely the worst. I had the two twin beds pushed together into a queen but it was very uncomfortable, sagged on both sides. There was a small sofa that I think turned into a bed for a 3rd person but it was almost too hard to sit on. By all means, spend a few hundred $ more and get a balcony stateroom. I actually spent quite a bit of time up on deck, but it was still nice just to be able to go out there in the middle of the night or when you first wake up or whenever you want. The cabin TV has a voyage channel that gives you all sorts of information about how fast you're going, what time is sunrise and sunset, what's the ship's position, maps, how many miles left to the next port, etc. It's good information to have and is updated on a real time basis. CNN was on all the time plus a couple of old movie channels. The cabin was very quiet. I've heard you want to avoid getting adjoining cabins because they can be noisy. Announcements over the loudspeaker system were always prefaced with a chime, so you could either listen to the announcement on the TV or go over and put your ear up against the door and hear it from the hallway. But you definitely couldn't hear them in the cabin itself. The ship is easy to find your way around in, once you establish what side you're on! Up to the last day I still got turned around. Fortunately, the cabin doors on the starboard side are all blue and the ones on the port are red. Also you can look out the windows on Deck 12 where the elevator and stair lobbies are and see which way the water is going so you know which way is fore and aft. I went up to the Spinnaker Lounge a couple of times - it is on Deck 12 looking forward, there are floor-to-ceiling windows surrounding the lounge so you can see out three sides. The lounge is located right over the bridge and they have windows where you can look down and see the two navigators running the ship. There are signs that tell you what all the various instruments are. It was really interesting. It looked to me almost like an airplane cockpit, they were sitting in chairs surrounded by computers and instruments and had little joysticks. So much for big wooden ships' wheels and lookouts in the crow's nest. The only reason I ever found this was I read about it in Cruise Critic. Many of the passengers I talked to had no idea you could look down and see the bridge. The Cruise Director had a slide show one day that showed us the parts of the ship we are not allowed to visit, like the engine room, kitchens, etc. This review wouldn't be complete without mentioning the hand sanitizers. I guess some cruise ship must have experienced an epidemic or something, because these people are OBSESSED with washing your hands. Hand sanitizers are everywhere. I even took a picture of one. Every restaurant you go into you have to stick your hands under the hand sanitizer before they let you in (there are crew members standing by to make sure you use it.) Before you come back on board if you have been ashore, you have to stick your hands under the hand sanitizer. If by chance one runs empty, there will be a crew member standing by with a squirt bottle making sure you get your hands squirted. I went into the buffet once and put my hands under it like a good little passenger and nothing came out, so I just rubbed my hands together anyway like they were wet and the girl didn't notice and let me by. Debarkation:   The worst weather we had was saved for the last day. It was so foggy coming into San Pedro we couldn't see anything until we were past the breakwater. Since I live in Southern California, my husband and son were at Ports of Call waving as we went by. They threw the first line over at 7:30 am and started letting the Express Debarkation people go ashore at 8. The hardest part was finding an elevator that wasn't already full of other passengers and their luggage. But once I got down to Deck 6 where they were letting us off, there was only a short line. I went over into the terminal, down the escalator, turned in my immigration form and was outside on the sidewalk by 8:20. That's how easy it was. One of the receptionists told me the ship was full (although every stateroom wasn't double occupied) but I never had the sense there were very many people on the ship. I don't think I saw more than 20 different children the whole week - probably because school had already started. I am anxious to experience a "real" cruise this summer when we go to Alaska, but I would also love to take another repositioning cruise. It was very restful, had the best port ever (San Francisco) and was a great introduction to cruising. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
NCL Star March 21 - 28 , 2004 After reading for months the reviews and observation others had on the NCL Star, I thought it only fair to voice my opinions. This was our eighth cruise, our first on NCL, so we have had some experiences in ... Read More
NCL Star March 21 - 28 , 2004 After reading for months the reviews and observation others had on the NCL Star, I thought it only fair to voice my opinions. This was our eighth cruise, our first on NCL, so we have had some experiences in cruising, most of which have been good. We arrived in Honolulu on Friday, to allow time to get over some of the jet lag, and of course to enjoy the city. Wonderful stay at the Royal Hawaiian, but how could it be a bad one. We had visited Honolulu several years earlier, and honestly not much has changed other than the traffic has become more congested. We arrived at the Aloha Tower, for embarkation at around noon on the 21st of March. We had a short wait outside as the process started around 12:30, on that day. The checked bags were processed outside in a very efficient manner, and the carryon bags were screened inside. We had obtained a bottle of wine, in Honolulu which was noted by security and was detained by NCL, until our departure from the ship. This was not totally a surprise as this is clearly their policy and after all we are subject to their rules. We were booked into a AF mini-suite, so we were allowed the use of the suite check in. It was smooth , quick and efficient. Within in minutes we were being escorted to our cabin by one of the Star's fine crew. The process of cleaning the ship was well underway, but the crew dealt wonderfully with early arrivals. The importance of packing the carryon with a change of casual clothes was rewarding, as our checked bags took several hours to arrive at the cabin. Plenty of time to explore the ship and find our way around before the ship began filling with other passengers. Of course the first Mia Tai at Topsiders was a must. This also gave us the chance to meet Rosemariee, a great bartender and a must get to know on this ship. At 5pm the normal emergency drill was conducted, where we had the chance to meet Scott. He was our tender commander and had just joined the cruise as one of the wonderful singer/ dancers. By the way, don't even think of missing the review to Andrew Lloyd Weber and the Friday night combined show. The shows were well done and the experience one to remember. This was our first experience with Free Style dining, as previous cruises had been on the RCL and Holland America lines. We all in all felt it a good experience and enjoyed the variety. We especially enjoyed La Bistro and Ginza. Be sure to asks for Harry Krishna (yes really his name) and Malvin in La Bistro. Making of reservation could be a little easier. The food was special, the added costs to go from good food to great food was not painful. I guess the difference is a dining experience rather than and eating experience. We attended the Cruise Critic meeting, which is always held on Monday at 6pm at the bar on the 13th floor, above the pool, forward. We met Douglas, the Hotel Director, Rob the Food and Wine director and Kiern, the Cruise Director. They were all very enjoyable gentlemen with the common goal of making our cruise a wonderful experience. Make sure you attend this meeting, it helps to know the leaders. Douglas and Rob have got to proud of their accomplishments on running a very efficient and happy organization. It was crystal clear as the week progressed that they have established a well working team. Kiern is by far the BEST cruises director we have ever experienced. His dry wit and sense of humor along with the programs he has arranged certainly add to the joy of this cruise. Our first stop was Hilo, on Monday morning. Raining as usual when we docked. We took the Hawaii Volcanoes Deluxe Nature Adventure with our guide Anila ( sp?) who did a great job. What an enjoyable excursion, natural beauty and lots to learn about volcanoes. The ship encountered a mechanical problem half way to Fanning, so we turned around and spent 2 days in Maui. This didn't seem to upset anyone in particular. We attended the Luau on Maui , which was good, but if you have been to one before, skip it. We also did the West Maui Helicopter excursion, which is well worth the money. Truly enjoyed the sighting of whales and their young. On the final day of our adventure, we visited the beautiful Kauai. This is truly our favorite of the islands. More natural beauty and less population. The Kauai Backroads Adventure is better than we expected and is great for those that have visited Kauai before. The final morning on most cruises is horrid. The Star and their crew smoothly handled this without any apparent hitch. The NCL policy of being able to remain in your cabin until your color is called or you desire to leave makes for a most civilized procedure. Clearly we had a wonderful adventure and have great memories of our 30th anniversary cruise. I believe the NCL Star has received some unfair criticism in the past. The ship was clean, the service efficient, the staff friendly, the food was good to great, the performances and activities were memorable. Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
I have just returned from a wonderful seven day cruise aboard the Norwegian Star. Our itinerary was changed: instead of cruising to Fanning Island, we added Kona (Hawaii) and Lahaina (Maui), still having one day at sea. What can I say? ... Read More
I have just returned from a wonderful seven day cruise aboard the Norwegian Star. Our itinerary was changed: instead of cruising to Fanning Island, we added Kona (Hawaii) and Lahaina (Maui), still having one day at sea. What can I say? Free-style cruising was great. We were able to eat when we wanted to, what we wanted to and where we wanted to. There was no pressure to dine at the added charge restaurants. The food was excellent and well-presented at all the restaurants. Our cabin (inside) had plenty of closet space and adequate room for my travelling companion and myself. Though slightly less than 150 square feet, the cabin was fine. (If we had wanted to have more cabin space, we could have paid more and reserved a larger cabin -- get my drift??) The entertainment onboard was fantastic. The "Broadway shows" were very well done with great performers. The Native Dance Group was unsurpassed (even by the dancers at the Luau at which we paid almost $100!). The Hawaii Lecturer (Wayne Chang) was thorough and well-read. The ships was comfortable and well-appointed. Upon embarkation, we boarded about noon, stored our luggage, had a buffet lunch (included) and then left the ship to do a walking tour through downtown Honolulu. We had plenty of time to see all the sights (close by) and then return to the ship. I highly recommend this ship/tour to anyone who has never toured the Hawaiian Islands in order to get an overview of the major islands. Once we unpacked, we were done: ready to relax and be pampered. Speaking of which, the fitness center and spa were fantastic -- besides a very complete work-out area and (mostly) free classes, the sauna and steam rooms (separate for men and women) were available (at no additional charge) to guests. Following the cruise, we spent a week on Maui which had been pre-arranged. It turned out to be the perfect combination: a night in Waikiki prior to the cruise, a week cruising the Hawaiian Islands and nearly a week on Maui. I only hope that when you take this cruise, you will be able to echo my compliments for the crew of the Norwegian Star. Maholo for reading my review and Aloha! Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
NCL Star March 21 - 28 , 2004 After reading for months the reviews and observation other had on the NCL Star, I thought it only fair to voice my opinions. This was our eighth cruise, our first on NCL, so we have had some experiences in ... Read More
NCL Star March 21 - 28 , 2004 After reading for months the reviews and observation other had on the NCL Star, I thought it only fair to voice my opinions. This was our eighth cruise, our first on NCL, so we have had some experiences in cruising, most of which have been good. We arrived in Honolulu on Friday, to allow time to get over some of the jet lag, and of course to enjoy the city. Wonderful stay at the Royal Hawaiian , but how could it be a bad one. We had visited Honolulu several years earlier, and honestly not much has changed other than the traffic has become more congested. We arrived at the Aloha Tower, for embarkation at around noon on the 21st of March. We had a short wait outside as the process started around 12:30, on that day. The checked bags were processed outside in a very efficient manner, and the carryon bags were screened inside. We had obtained a bottle of wine, in Honolulu which was noted by security and was detained by NCL, until our departure from the ship. This was not totally a surprise as this is clearly their policy and after all we are subject to their rules. We were booked into a AF mini-suite, so we were allowed the use of the suite check in. It was smooth , quick and efficient. Within in minutes we were being escorted to our cabin by one of the Star's fine crew. The process of cleaning the ship was well underway, but the crew dealt wonderfully with early arrivals. The importance of packing the carryon with a change of casual clothes was rewarding, as our checked bags took several hours to arrive at the cabin. Plenty of time to explore the ship and find our way around before the ship began filling with other passengers. Of course the first Mai Tai at Topsiders was a must. This also gave us the chance to meet Rosemariee, a great bartender and a must get to know on this ship. At 5pm the normal emergency drill was conducted, where we had the chance to meet Scott. He was our tender commander and had just joined the cruise as one of the wonderful singer/ dancers. By the way, don't even think of missing the review to Andrew Lloyd Weber and the Friday night combined show. The shows were well done and the experience one to remember. This was our first experience with Free Style dining, as previous cruises had been on the RCL and Holland America lines. We all in all felt it a good experience and enjoyed the variety. We especially enjoyed La Bistro and Ginza. Be sure to asks for Harry Krishna (yes really his name) and Malvin in La Bistro. Making of reservation could be a little easier. The food was special, the added costs to go from good food to great food was not painful. I guess the difference is a dining experience rather than and eating experience. We attended the Cruise Critic meeting, which is always held on Monday at 6pm at the bar on the 13th floor, above the pool, forward. We met Douglas, the Hotel Director, Rob the Food and Wine director and Kiern, the Cruise Director. They were all very enjoyable gentlemen with the common goal of making our cruise a wonderful experience. Make sure you attend this meeting, it helps to know the leaders. Douglas and Rob have got to be proud of their accomplishments on running a very efficient and happy organization. It was crystal clear as the week progressed that they have established a well working team. Kiern is by far the BEST cruises director we have ever experienced. His dry wit and sense of humor along with the programs he has arranged certainly add to the joy of this cruise. Our first stop was Hilo, on Monday morning. Raining as usual when we docked. We took the Hawaii Volcanoes Deluxe Nature Adventure with our guide Anila who did a great job. What an enjoyable excursion, natural beauty and lots to learn about volcanoes. The ship encountered a mechanical problem half way to Fanning, so we turned around and spent 2 days in Maui. This didn't seem to upset anyone in particular. We attended the Luau on Maui , which was good, but if you have been to one before, skip it. We also did the West Maui Helicopter excursion, which is well worth the money. Truly enjoyed the sighting of whales and their young. On the final day of our adventure, we visited the beautiful Kauai. This is truly our favorite of the islands. More natural beauty and less population. The Kauai Backroads Adventure is better than we expected and is great for those that have visited Kauai before. The final morning on most cruises is horrid. The Star and their crew smoothly handled this without any apparent hitch. The NCL policy of being able to remain in your cabin until your color is called or you desire to leave makes for a most civilized procedure. Clearly we had a wonderful adventure and have great memories of our 30th anniversary cruise. I believe the NCL Star has received some unfair criticism in the past. The ship was clean, the service efficient, the staff friendly, the food was good to great, the performances and activities were memorable. Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
My husband and I thorougly enjoyed the cruise! Our mini suite with a balcony was large enough and nicely appointed. The ship seemed huge, and lots of people seemed lost lots of time. Carry the little map of the ship with you. We enjoyed ... Read More
My husband and I thorougly enjoyed the cruise! Our mini suite with a balcony was large enough and nicely appointed. The ship seemed huge, and lots of people seemed lost lots of time. Carry the little map of the ship with you. We enjoyed the freestyle dining and thought the food was good overall. We paid the surcharge and dined one evening in Le Bistro where the food and service were excellent. The chocolate fondue was to die for. However, my husband wasn't thrilled with the upcharges in the selected restaurants so we usually dined at Aqua which was fine. We dined one evening at La Trattoria where my pesto linguini was good but my husband's spaghetti was just so so. We didn't like the lack of atmosphere there because it's a section of the Market buffet area that they have attempted to separate with screens. We enjoyed Endless Summer one evening and liked the location above the Atrium. We enjoyed the free room service in the mornings so we didn't have to dress to go to breakfast to get coffee. The room service selection was limited, but we sometimes went to second breakfast like the Hobbits. My husband liked the ice cream every day from 2:00 to 4:00. I enjoyed the wine tasting for $10, $5 of which you got back if you bought a bottle of wine. It's neat that you can buy a bottle of wine any time, and they'll keep it in their cellar to use on future nights in any restaurant. We were fortunate to have good weather so we made it to every island. We were a few hours late getting to Maui because of a medical emergency during the night. (We understand that bad weather and emergencies can change a trip drastically.) We followed much of the advice of other cruisers on this website and rented a car (before we left for the trip via the internet, much cheaper than Norwegians' offer of a Budget car once you are onboard) in every port. We stuck with Dollar because it was cheaper. They had a convenient shuttle waiting for us in every port and shuttled us back to the ship at the end of the day. They provided maps and info at every location. We upgraded to a convertible when we could, and that was worth it in the beautiful weather. We took other cruisers' advice and did the helicopter tour on Kauai with Safari Helicopters (booked before we left via internet, much cheaper than the ship's helicopter excursion and cheaper than booking Safari when we docked). In each port, we hit the ground running and saw all we could, usually doing 2 or 3 things while people on the ship's excurions had time for 1. The lines to book excursions on the ship were often long, and we were glad we had done our homework beforehand. We made the best of the Fanning Isl. jaunt but agree that the cruise will be nicer in June 2004 when the Star will cruise only in the Hawaiian Islands. As I understand it, there will be a 7 day cruise on which you'll spend more than one day on each island. On the present cruise, we definitely ended each day wishing we could have spent more time ashore. Yet, this cruise was a great way to get a taste of Hawaii. We had 4 days in Honolulu (mostly in the rain) before we left for the cruise, and that was very nice. We had time to tour most of Oahu, hike Diamond Head, visit the Bishop Museum (very good!), and enjoy the beautiful island. We agree that Walmart is a great place to buy tacky souvenirs and any kind of Hawaiian wear you want. Also, we liked Longs Drugstore for jams and macadamia nuts. We never made it to Hilo Hatties, but the ship sure recommended it and people seemed to like shopping there. Onboard shopping was good, especially the day they pulled out a table full of sterling silver jewelry. I saw the exact same slipper (flipflop) and plumeria (flower) jewelry in shops in towns for twice the ship's price. Plus, there's no tax on the ship. My husband thought the cigars in the Galleria area were reasonably priced and fresh. I enjoyed the hula lessons and crafts with Cathy Foy, a former Miss Hawaii. She was a lovely person. The lectures about Hawaiian history and culture by Eddie Chang were very interesting. The Polynesian Patangi dancers were excellent and seemed very authentic, performing dances from vaious parts of Polynesia. (Whoever said they didn't learn anything about Hawaii and its history weren't paying attention!) The entertainment aboard ship was excellent. All the shows in the Stardust Theater (Andrew Lloyd Webber, It's Fame, Cirque Asia, the magician, and Roger Carr's cabaret show) were very good. Get there early for a seat. The Filipino group playing in the Atrium around happy hour every day were good. They play everything from the Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel, and Neil Diamond to Patsy Cline and Hank Williams, Jr. Roger Carr in Gatsby's is entertaining and developed quite a fan following. My husband enjoyed the Havana cigar bar off Gatsby's, but you can't hear the music from there. The comedian in the lounge was funny, and there was quite a crowd there. I took one step class in the fitness center and thought the instructor from the Czech Republic was excellent. Wish I had taken advantage of more of the free classes there. Some classes, such spinning, have an upcharge. My husband had a long wait to use the free weights on one of our days at sea. We didn't take advantage of any of the spa's services. They were quite expensive. The deck and the jogging track are nice, but the wind can blow you away at times. Warning: people stake out deck chairs around the pool early in the day and it's hard to find a spot. We definitely would recommend this trip and this company. The staff were knowledgeable, professional, and helpful. Patti, the cruise director, does a super job and is very approachable. She really means it when she says she's there to answer any questions and to help in any way. Read Less
Sail Date January 2004
Ok here it is... a positive review from two early 30-somethings without kids. Enjoy! Pre-cruise - We arrived in Honolulu on 1/1 it was raining and that coupled with the holiday left us with not a lot to do but shop. We spent some time at ... Read More
Ok here it is... a positive review from two early 30-somethings without kids. Enjoy! Pre-cruise - We arrived in Honolulu on 1/1 it was raining and that coupled with the holiday left us with not a lot to do but shop. We spent some time at the Ala Mohana center where we ate an excellent meal at The Pineapple Room, which is the more casual (and affordable) Alan Wong restaurant. Don't let its location inside a Macy's department store fool you - this was one heck of a meal!! That night we stayed at the Sheraton Mohana Surfrider, which we didn't really like. Maybe it was all the rain but it was very musty and or room was small and in desperate need of some updating. Before dawn the next morning we were on our way to Pearl Harbor during what appeared to be monsoon like weather. It was well worth the trip even though we returned soaking wet and cold. We then checked in to our final pre-cruise hotel - The Halekulani. We did not have a smooth start at this five star resort as it took three hours for our room to be ready and all we could do was sit in the lobby cold and wet. We ate that night at 3660 on the Rise - another fantastic meal. On our last pre-cruise day the sun was finally shining and we had a wonderful day driving all around the island - spending some time at Queen Emma's summer Palace, The Polynesian Cultural Center, and eating amazing shaved ice! Embarkation - We arrived at the pier at about 11 am. There was already a small line forming even though they weren't letting people in until 11:30. We told the gentleman who helped us with our luggage that we were in a suite and he kept us off to the side so we were among the first to go check in. The whole process was very quick and smooth and I was particularly impressed with all the security. We were escorted to our room and found that it was still in the process of being made up so we set out to explore the ship. Being among the first on the ship was awesome as it felt like the whole place was ours to explore! We quickly made our spa appointments (taking advantage of the embarkation special of saving $60 on a package of three massages), dinner reservations for the first two nights, and took a guided tour of the ship and the spa. Our Room - We were in Romance Suite 10726. It was a nice room of a decent size but we found the drawer space to be a little tight. It was, however, in the back of the ship and you really felt the motion of the ocean - especially at night. We had relatively calm seas for our voyage I can't even imagine how bad it was in previous weeks when the seas were really rough. Along with our suite came many amenities such as a DVD player and large TV, fresh flowers, goodies in our room almost daily (deviled eggs, cookies, chocolate covered strawberries, champagne, chocolate, fruit), the ability to make our dining reservations for the full week rather than two days at a time, VIP tender times, and a special cocktail party with the captain. We enjoyed the services our butler Rey who could bring us food from the main dining rooms in addition to the regular room service menu but didn't see much of our concierge Al (although it was his name on all the goodies). The Restaurants and Freestyle Dining - All in all I would say that freestyle was not for us. We are the type of people you like a schedule so we found we preferred the traditional cruise experience to Freestyle. Freestyle dress made for very underdressed people in the dining rooms even at dinner when a "resort casual" dress code was supposed to be enforced. Also overall we were disappointed in the food in comparison to the food on RCCL. We did get a chance to try many of the restaurants, however. On the first night we ate in Le Bistro, which we both enjoyed (chocolate fondue - Yum!!). We had the whole restaurant to ourselves as everyone was at the sail away BBQ. This was a good night to eat there, as it was often all booked the other nights. The second night we ate at La Trattoria, which was our favorite of the specialty restaurants. The food was great and there was no cover charge. We liked it so much that we went back three to eat on the final night of the cruise. We ate in Versailles on Tuesday for formal night and Aqua on Wednesday for lobster night. Both were good and if you ordered something you didn't like they would gladly bring you something else (one night I had three soups before I could one that I liked!). Thursday we ate at Ginza where I was a little disappointed when I was told that I couldn't order a dish that I wanted because it is really a dish for two people and my husband did not want to share it with me. My husband, however, was very excited to have Peking Duck at the mere price of the cover charge! For breakfast we found the Market Cafe to be the easiest option. We ate in Versailles on morning during the cruise and again on disembarkation day. We tried to order breakfast in our room on the Hilo morning but since they do not serve hot breakfasts in the room before 6:30 or 7:00 am, and we were supposed to be off the ship at 7:00 am for our excursion (we ended up with an extra 2 hours - see below), we could only get a cold continental breakfast - which disappointed us a bit. The Ports of Call - Due to a medical emergency we lost two hours of our already short time in Hilo. We had booked the Deluxe Volcano National Park tour, which was cut from 5 1/2 hours to 3 hours at a reduced rate (although not reduced enough in our opinion). The tour was great! We were in small group of 10 people so it was very personalized. There was no red lava to see while we were there. We didn't miss anything due to the shortened time frame; we just spent less time at each stop and ate our lunch on the bus. On Fanning Island we opted for the Napali Beach Break, which I can't recommend enough. We were the first off the ship (which makes a big difference), the beach was huge and beautiful (far better than the tiny beach on Fanning itself) and we had the use of floating beach mats (for free) as well as catamarans, kayaks, and bikes (for a small fee). After spending some relaxing time there we took the tender over to Fanning, got our passport stamped and ate at the BBQ. I think Fanning is an underrated stop. We really enjoyed it. In Maui we rented a car from Hertz and drove to the Maui tropical Plantation. It was beautiful and the tour was very informative. From there we drove to Lahiana and walked around the shops before heading to the Old Lahiana Luau. We did have to leave early in order to make it back to this ship on time but it was worth it to watch the sunset from a beautiful location while enjoying great food and entertainment. On Kauai we booked our own tour, which was the Hawaii Movie Tour. I highly recommend this informative and very fun tour of the island. We got to see many beautiful locations where many movies and TV shows were filmed and the highlight was our stop at the old Coco Palms resort. It was haunting to be on the grounds of this now closed resort with its rich and groundbreaking history as we retraced the steps of The King - Elvis - in Blue Hawaii. The Ship and Activities Onboard - The ship was very nice. The dEcor was not my style but it was not unattractive. The karaoke bar was a highlight for us as we made many friends (both fellow passengers and with the host staff - Summer is the best Hostess onboard!) singing there every night. The pool was small but the slides were a treat and you didn't have too difficult of a time securing a lounge chair even on at sea days. We spent a lot of time at the spa both getting incredible treatments as well as taking advantage of the free use of the facilities. Bingo is a favorite cruise activity of ours and we really liked the power bingo boxes (although being in the very front of the ship in the Spinnaker lounge - or as I liked to call it "Spin-your-head lounge" was sometimes not so much fun). The arts and crafts classes with Cathy, our Hawaiian Ambassador and former Miss Hawaii were great and we came in second place in Movie Theme Song Trivia. I also performed in the Star Seekers talent show, which was a highlight for me. Milt Able the comedian was fantastic. His second show was standing room only! The production shows started out great and then went downhill. Music of the Night is the only one worth attending in our opinion. And I have to give props to Patti, our enthusiastic Cruise Director, and her assistant Kawicka for keeping us entertained all week. The most disappointing part of the ship was the Galleria (shops). They seemed more like K-Mart that the upscale shops we are used to seeing on other cruise lines. Disembarkation - As a suite holder we were able to be the first to leave the ship but since we were not leaving till the red eye at 10:00 that night we opted to take an all day Deluxe Grand Circle Island tour of Oahu that did not leave until 10:30 am so we were the last off the ship. The tour, although exhausting, was a great way to spend the day while our luggage was being securely held under the bus. While we toured many of the places we had seen pre-cruise, it was nice to have a guide to tell us stories and the significance of many things we had passed along the way. Mahalo, Hilary Read Less
Sail Date January 2004
I'm submitting this review in hopes that what happened to my husband and I, will not happen to someone else. We have been on 3 cruises before this one and never have either one of us felt so lousy. The trip to Fanning Island was very ... Read More
I'm submitting this review in hopes that what happened to my husband and I, will not happen to someone else. We have been on 3 cruises before this one and never have either one of us felt so lousy. The trip to Fanning Island was very rough!! We had motion sickness pills and wristbands. They just kept you from going over the edge, but my husband was sick for 3 days straight which makes for a not-so-fun vacation. Our advice...if you have a tendency for motion sickness, take the pills a couple of days before you get on board. We were told this by a crew member 4 days after we were on the ship! We were very excited to go on this cruise. It was our first time to Hawaii and we looked forward to getting a little taste of each of the islands. We stayed overnite in Honolulu and then took the tour of Pearl Harbor the next day, which was an amazing thing to see. We boarded the ship around 2 p.m. and it was as easy as what everyone else has said. We were on board within 10 minutes. We were shown to our cabin (10186) which was a great cabin with a balcony. I would highly recommend a balcony especially if you are going to be doing the Fanning Island trip...it was a great to get some fresh air when the ship was rocking!! We chose to do our own excursion in Hilo, which was half the price of the ship's. There were several different vans waiting there to take you wherever you wanted to go for half the price (from Wal-Mart to the volcanic crater to waterfalls.) We just negotiated when we got off of the ship. As soon as we left Hilo headed for Fanning Island we knew it was going to be interesting. We had very rough seas for 3 days (a day and a half there and a day and a half back.) We knew it was a lot of days at sea, but never expected it to be so rough. Once we got to Fanning Island, it was wonderful!! We would highly recommend a walking tour with one of the locals. We went to the school and dropped off paper,pencils,crayons,markers,books,and some other misc. It is very true that they do not harass you like in Mexico or other places. The people are very quiet and shy. They always said "thank you" with a great big smile on their face! We had brought puzzles, yo-yo's, hair scrunchies and a few other misc. things that were an absolute joy to give to the kids. If you like a quiet beach, there is a great spot through the market on the dirt road and to the left. There were about 20 people on it, and it is beautiful. We tried to snorkel there, but it was way too windy and there is a very strong current. Rough seas plagued us on the way to Maui too. Once in Maui we did the downhill biking, which was a blast. We did book this through the ship only because we were with a group of 16 and wanted to all go together. It is very cold, and you go very fast!! We completed 22 miles in an hour and 5 minutes. The ship was late in to port and so we were rushed down the mountain before the sun set. We didn't get to take any photos on the way down, which was a let down since the views were breathtaking. We arrived in Kauai to an overcast day. We were a little worried because we had booked a helicopter tour for 8:30 that morning. We got off and talked to the driver for Island Helicopters. They were not going up until later and we rescheduled for 9:45. They dropped us off at the Anchor Cove shopping mall and then picked us up at 9:45. We were their first flight up that day and WOW was it awesome!! I'm not big on flying, but this truly was a once in a lifetime experience!! We would highly recommend Island Helicopters if you want to do a helicopter tour. We booked online and saved a lot of money by doing it that way. If you want to see all of the island...do a helicopter tour!! The Hawaiian waters are very calm and so our trip back to Honolulu was very nice(as was from Maui to Kauai.) Overall the ship was very nice and the food at the Soho and Le Bistro were our favorites. The cruise director and her crew were very energetic and probably the best we have seen so far. The only thing we would not do again would be three days at sea. It was a great experience to see Fanning Island, but you're only there for 6 hours which was not enough time for us after 1 1/2 days at sea. We went in to this cruise with the attitude that it would be a great experience, and with that it was!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2004
We sailed the Star on December 7th, 2003. This was our second cruise. Formerly we sailed on Royal Caribbean which was a wonderful experience. Though very different in nature, overall, I would say this cruise was at least equally nice. We ... Read More
We sailed the Star on December 7th, 2003. This was our second cruise. Formerly we sailed on Royal Caribbean which was a wonderful experience. Though very different in nature, overall, I would say this cruise was at least equally nice. We loved the Freestyle dining and although initially I didn't like the idea of having to pay at some of the restaurants (weren't we paying enough already?) we soon discovered that it really wasn't an issue because the non-pay restaurants were just as good and never once did we have any trouble getting seated. I liked the idea that they would seat you by yourselves if you wanted but also gave you the option to sit with another couple if you wished. We always chose that option finding it fun to meet other people. The ship is gorgeous and other than the rocky experience we had coming back from Fanning Island and a little difficulty finding our way around the ship at first, we had no complaints. The entertainment was superb and our cruise director, Patti we found very personable and helpful (talented too!). For the record, I know some people find it obnoxious that the ship photographers are always in your face, but you have to remember recording those events is their job whether or not you buy their photographs. As professional photographers ourselves, we just decided to be friendly with them and spent alot of our time chatting with them and talking "shop." We even attended their little mini-class on "Photography 101" for those interested in getting better shots and think they did an excellent job with their presentation. And for what it's worth, do believe them when they tell you the airport officials are dead wrong when they tell you the xray machines won't hurt your film. They certainly can (especially after multiple xrays) and this crew had actually done an experiment to prove it! One very important thing to me I would like to express; that is the issue of going to Fanning Island. It seems to me that this is a very black and white issue - people either love going there or they hate it (mostly because it takes so much time out of their cruising schedule leaving too little time to spend on the other Hawaiian islands) While I can totally understand this opinion, personally, we found it an absolute delight - for the following reasons. Fanning Island, is like a Gilligan's Island out in the middle of nowhere, where if it weren't for the cruise you would never even hear of, let alone have the opportunity to see. Here out in the middle of nowhere are people who have almost nothing in terms of material comforts, yet are happy with what they've got. Yes, they sell their crafts (mostly bead jewelry for a pittance), but never once did they act pushy or "commercialized" The children absolutely beamed when you took their picture and my husband, feeling like a GI with a pocketful of Hershey bars, brought even more smiles to their face when he handed them a quarter after taking their picture. We got some great "National Geographic" like images of those women and little kids. If you take the cruise that is going there, I would definitely recommend choosing the option that takes you to the private side of the island, because the NCL beach there is absolutely stunning (one of the prettiest beaches we saw on our whole trip) and not nearly as crowded as on the other side. You can still take the tender back to the other side at any time you want for the NCL food fest and make sure you get good pictures of the natives dancing in their black hula skirts. My opinion regarding the complaint about going is this - You know well before you book this cruise that going to Fanning Island is going to take three days of you time so if you don't like it, don't book it. I am so glad we did because I think it's not only a little different diversion from the hurry and scurry of all the commercialized islands, but it's just a really good experience to be able to see first hand how the other half lives. I understand now there's a brand new American owned ship that won't be going there. But if do like the idea of going to Fanning (and I CERTAINLY HOPE NCL DOESN"T TOTALLY DISBAND THIS CRUISE ITINERARY) then do what we did - just add another couple days to your vacation and see whatever else you want to see on your own. We stayed two days on Oahu - seeing Waikiki, Diamond Head (beautiful and worth every "ouch" of walking up their steps), the North Shore and the Polynesian Cultural Center (another delightful place). The we flew over to Maui for another couple days where we did the Road to Hana (pretty much an all-day trip - very worth while) which you would not have the opportunity to do on the cruise routine. We did snorkeling at Molokini (next time I think I'd do it at one of the beaches), saw Tropical Plantation and the Iao Valley (a photographer's paradise) and best of all - the Old Lahaini Luau - much much better rated than any of the other luaus on any of the islands, especially the one the cruise offers you. As to the cruise excursions - we did mostly their tours - now that we know our way around more, I'd probably go for the cheaper way of renting the car - I understand it does work pretty smoothly but we saw the national Volcanoes Park in Hilo ( a wonderful tour - but it was hard to choose because so many of the tours there were good - wished we could have done more) Back on Maui we went to Haleakala NP which was nice but would have preferred doing it on our own since our bus driver gave us limited opportunities for some of the greatest photo ops - including a beautiful rainbow that we could only view out the window (bummer!) Kauai was the best. After taking a rather short trip to Hanalei (pretty but the same problem with the bus driver) we still had time after we got back from there so at the last minute were very fortunately able to book on our own a helicopter tour. I think this has to be one of the biggest highlights of our whole trip. Wow! What an amazing way to see this gorgeous island. We went with Safari and at the end they gave us a video of OUR trip. A little hesitant at first I calmed down immediately when my eyes feasted on the waterfalls coming at you from everywhere in those lush green mountains, the rugged shore and sea caves of the Napali coastline and the colorful walls of the Waimea Canyon - dipping down and up close was a view you will never forget. If money is an issue, forget it. It was worth every penny we paid (and going on your own, also made it cheaper) At the end of the cruise since we didn't fly till evening we had more time to spend in Honolulu. We chose this time to take the ship's excursion to Pearl Harbor. In spite of the cost, we thought this was a very good way of doing it - especially since we had luggage to deal with because the bus, who stayed with us the whole time, kept all of our belongings, including our purses which for security reasons you can't take into the PH area, locked up and safe. We didn't have to put them in the safe at the PH area. After seeing the Arizona, he took us to the USS Missouri and then down to Waikiki for lunch. Those who had early flights he took to the airport in the afternoon, and those of us with evening flights, he came back for at a later time. I thought that was very nice as it optimized everybody's time and didn't leave anyone having to wait at the airport too long. Our trip to Hawaii was an absolutely wonderful experience and the NCL cruise I think did an outstanding job in giving you an overall experience with these stunning islands. Of course, in one week it is impossible to see it all, but if life is good to us we surely will be back and I wouldn't hesitate for one moment to cruise NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2003
Fantastic Freestyle Hawaii on the Norwegian Star -- by Joe Leader If you've ever dreamed of feeling like you owned your own cruise ship, then the Norwegian Star Hawaii experience is for you. The ship brings cruising back to its ... Read More
Fantastic Freestyle Hawaii on the Norwegian Star -- by Joe Leader If you've ever dreamed of feeling like you owned your own cruise ship, then the Norwegian Star Hawaii experience is for you. The ship brings cruising back to its glory days with 10 restaurants, consistent service, above-and-beyond entertainment, and amazing ports of call. In Honolulu, the Norwegian Star features a late departure time of 8:00 p.m. to accommodate passengers arriving from the mainland US. That provides customers nearly eight hours to board the vessel and venture back on shore to Honolulu before departure. That leisurely, freestyle pace of boarding sets the pace for the remainder of the journey. In my estimating, freestyle cruising should be the only way to cruise. Rather than being herded into a table of 12, you can grab a table of any size on any night in any restaurant. The formal night is held as optional. The activities are non-stop on board the ship but they do not cajole you into activities that you do not want. Decadent chocolate buffets, professional musical acts from Andrew Lloyd Webber, comics that are actually funny, and even financial talks to increase your knowledge without making a pass at your wallet top off the itinerary. The ship and its staff are top notch with exemplary service. In addition, there are no worries for tips as they may be automatically charged to your room or you may instead opt to personally award staff for service. My Diet Coke addiction was satisfied with an unlimited Diet Coke card sticker for $25. Normally that would be the price for 12 soft drinks and the beverages were brought to me at my table, at the buffet, and even in my beach chair by the pool for free. Early the first morning after departing Honolulu, the ship docks in Hilo, Hawaii. Called the big island, Hawaii provides a volcanic backdrop for the opening of the journey. Absolutely make the effort to get to Volcano National Park with its active lava flows visible on most trips. I would recommend booking this shore excursion before boarding the Norwegian Star as many of the popular first day trips did sell out of seats. After viewing the moonscape of the big island, the ship departs early that afternoon to the Fanning Island in the Republic of Kiribati. After a relaxing day at sea, the ship journeys 1000 miles from Hawaii and docks for tenders to ferry you to Fanning. For the island, I would recommend the private beach excursion for $20 that affords you the luxury of being the first on to a beach that resembles Blue Lagoon. The inhabitants on the island of 1600 are remarkable and friendly. Gifts of all sorts can be purchased for a few dollars - but I recommend bringing single dollar bills as change may be a rarer commodity. While the people have no electricity or running water, they do have a remarkable sprit. Norwegian has also invested heavily into the infrastructure of the island to better the passenger experience while broadening the horizons of the people of Fanning Island. For lunch, head back to the main island to have a barbecue feast and shop at the main market. There will be dancing and for a tip of $1 a police officer will stamp your passport officially from the Republic of Kiribati. After a return day at sea, the islands of Maui and Kauai afford the ultimate reward upon return. In Maui, I highly recommend the Maui Downhill experience. So long as you can coast on a bicycle, then the journey will be your dreams come true as you descend from a 10,000 foot volcano down to the ocean. In Kauai, enjoy the garden isle and pray for a sunny day as we received on our cruise. The garden island stays green from rain, but all of the excursions are unforgettable. If you have a big budget, then this is the place to invest in the helicopter ride of a lifetime. For a smaller budget, take the snorkel and boat ride excursion, as it will provide on of the best tours of the island. After venturing toward the Forbidden Island where 160 people live the life of Hawaiians from hundreds of years ago, the ship will dart down the scenic Kauai coast affording you the views of mountain after mountain along the sea, several waterfalls, caves to venture into, and snorkeling with sea turtles. On our trip, a school of several dozen dolphins followed our boat for a mile leaping out of the water. On our return, we saw two male humpbacked whales thrashing their tales in a fight for dominancy. Upon returning to Honolulu, take advantage of the late departure of most flights by doing a final trip to parts of Oahu that you would most enjoy. My final favorite moment of Freestyle cruising was the departure. On most ships, you are corralled like cattle into public areas for hours before you are allowed off the ship. On Norwegian, you are afforded the luxury of leaving the ship whenever you like. We slept in, woke up at 9:00 a.m. to pack, and left our room at 10:30 a.m. I highly recommend the Norwegian Star and her upcoming sister ship NCL America featuring seven-day all Hawaiian cruises. NCL has perfected the freestyle cruise and I recommend jumping on-board before word spreads and prices increase. Read Less
Sail Date December 2003
We just returned from the seven night cruise aboard the NCL Star. Just wanted everyone to know what an absolutely fantastic time this was for myself, my husband and two grown (21 and 22) year old daughters. We had cruised NCL 15 or so ... Read More
We just returned from the seven night cruise aboard the NCL Star. Just wanted everyone to know what an absolutely fantastic time this was for myself, my husband and two grown (21 and 22) year old daughters. We had cruised NCL 15 or so years ago and was not impressed by their ship or service but enjoyed the itinerary, sooooo decided to give another chance and glad we did! This is a very nice ship with very friendly staff, much nicer than the Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas, which we sailed last year and spent more money on. Iloved the Freestyle Dining plan as it gives you so much variety , there is absolutely no way to get bored with the food. And the food was great in all the restaurants (buffet was just ok but that is not one of the restaurants). I didn't mind spending the little bit extra on the surcharge, it was worth every penny. One complaint might be the wine selection, there was a bottle of Chardonney which goes for 7.87 at Sams Club and they were hawking it at 26.00 per bottle. needless to say, we didn't bite that one! The cabin was spotless and the most comfortable beds! Duvet covers instead of blankets, which I appreciated. The itinerary is great except for going to fanning island but that will not be an issue starting in 2004 as I think this ship will change registry,so it will be a perfect trip! We loved it and felt it was the best way to see the islands as you don't waste time getting on "puddle jumpers" and going island to island. Having done Hawaii both ways now, I highly prefer this cruise one! Take the helicopter excursion in Kauai, well worth the money for something you will never forget. If you go to the Haleakala Crater in Maui, be sure to ask if it is fogged in as we went and couldn't see a thing. I understand we could have checked on the internet cam from the ship beforehand. The Mauna Loa Volcano in Hilo is a must see for excursions also ( has vent holes with steams coming up and many "hot spots" on ground as lava is only 2 miles or so down). Wish I had extended my time in Honolulu for one day but did squeeze in the Arizona 'Monument, very very interesting. All in all a great time. Read Less
Sail Date November 2003
First of all, let me say that this was one of the most enjoyable cruises I have experienced. As a formerly loyal Crown and Anchor member, this ship, with its "Freestyle" atmosphere is surely the future of cruising. No more ... Read More
First of all, let me say that this was one of the most enjoyable cruises I have experienced. As a formerly loyal Crown and Anchor member, this ship, with its "Freestyle" atmosphere is surely the future of cruising. No more rushing to make an 8:00 p.m. second seating dinner. Sure you give up the busboy knowing how many ice cubes you like in your tea, but geez!!!! We flew in to HNL @ 2:00p.m. local time from Sacramento, CA. and arrived in time to see rather long lines for check-in. Opting not to start our "relaxing" vacation waiting in line it was a short stroll to "Hooters" on an adjacent pier. After a few brews and plenty of hot wings it was time to again attempt to board, especially after remarking in my outside voice that the place should be renamed "Cheeks" after our waitress. Oh well, I guess I still have a lot to learn, even @ 55 !!! Unfortunately, the line was as long as ever. But I was relaxed already. The goose egg on my right temple made sure of that. We joined the que, and were fortunate to meet Bill and Deirdre from Long Island, he a Port Authority police officer with many a tale of 911 and his involvement in the weeks after that tragedy, she a nursing supervisor with an equally affable personality. We were to be nearly constant companions for the remainder of our trip. This cruise, in my opinion, is less about Hawaii, and more about unabashed cruising. Which is afterall what we pay the big bucks for, right !! Forget the other reviewers complaints about the days at sea enroute to Fanning Island, how better to get to paradise ?? There are plenty of activities onboard to keep you busy, but just "cruising" was fine for me. I spent time charting our position with the help of the GPS on the T.V. (we made it to within 4 degrees of the equator !!). The one and only gripe I had about this trip was the "Barracuda Reef Snorkel" @ Fanning Island. this was an immunity challenge on "Survivor" gone mad. It was nothing more than a short tender ride...OUTSIDE THE REEF...into open ocean in 25-30 feet of murky water. Basically your "divemaster" orders everyone to jump out and "drift" until you are either hypothermic or sick, or both. There were some schools of fish, but I would save my snorkeling for Poipu on Kauai any day. Needless to say, my illusion of the Great Barrier Reef went away quickly, especially for the $79. each fare. I was looking forward to Maui, having never been there, and was advised not to miss Lahaina. Well, except for the giant Banyan tree that place is nothing but an over rated tee shirt shop in my opinion. The mad cacophony of powered catamarans positioning themselves to load passengers for a "moonlight cruise" was almost more than I could stomach. Get me to Kauai....fast. Saturday means Kauai for the Star, be sure to be on deck for the harbor entrance ballet. It's awesome from the ship, but even more amazing from shore if you get the opportunity. Here you can avail yourself of the free shuttle to the nearby shopping center, but walk a little way further and avail yourself of the luxurious Marriott Kauai Beach Club. We have a timeshare there and find it one of the most beautiful and relaxing places I have ever visited. If you tell them I sent you (just kidding...), they will give you a towel (not kidding..) to use while swimming in the largest pool on the islands. Of course the sheltered beach is right there too, if the Star didn't miss it's turn and run aground there. You'll see what I mean after you've been there. As far as recommendations, book a cabin on the starboard (right) side of the ship, it approaches most ports on that side. Try to book a balcony, it is a singular experience to read Jimmy Buffett's "A Pirate Looks at 50" from this perspective. All of the restaurants are first rate. The reservation thing is not too bad after you get the hang of it. I don't consider the Marketplace a restaurant by the way, it's just a quick place to get your breakfast and get out. Take your tray out by the pool, it's cool !! Overall, as I said at the outset, this was definitely the best cruise I have experienced and would recommend it to anyone who is truly needing some sea time, or an Island sampler, or both !! Ejn Read Less
Sail Date September 2003
I won't do a day by day or a play by play, but let me just say that Norwegian is the best. My husband and I, travelling with my husband's parents arrived in Honolulu on July 4, 2003. We did the usual things, check into the ... Read More
I won't do a day by day or a play by play, but let me just say that Norwegian is the best. My husband and I, travelling with my husband's parents arrived in Honolulu on July 4, 2003. We did the usual things, check into the hotel, walk around, have dinner, etc. My husband and I were bound and determined to see the fireworks in Waikiki, and did. It wasn't as good as we are used to seeing in Washington, DC, but that atmosphere was much better! We boarded the Star with no trouble, we used the Latitudes lines, and enjoyed the convenience, and shorter line. My inlaws had to wait in the other line, but weren't delayed that much behind us. Since we boarded on 7/6 - which was our first anniversary (honeymoon was spent on NCL Wind in Alaska's inside passage), we would have waited in line all day, just to be on the boat. The synopsis includes, getting to Hilo, taking the Volcano tour, and walking on lava that was flowing 3 months prior, taking pictures with the now famous speed limit signs almost covered in lava. While we were out about 3/4 of a mile on the lava flow, you could see a storm coming, and of course we got caught in it. Not exactly my favorite part of the trip, but memorable none the less. Fanning Island was truly a delight - if you could get past the commercialization that NCL has done there. We brought sun glasses, and toys for the kids. They were very friendly, and very much "hams" when you got your camera out. We enjoyed the visit very much. We did the obligatory playing bingo, and sitting by the pool. We were a little disappointed by the "marking your territory" of people putting towels on chairs, and leaving for hours. But, that's not NCL's fault. That's other people being rude. We enjoyed Lahaina and Kauai very much also. In Kauai we took a shuttle to Wal-Mart of all places. My husband and I like to go places like that to see what the cost of living is. $7 for a gallon of milk and we were floored!! While we were there, we bought some wine (sorry we didn't buy more since it is so wonderful). We brought it back on the ship, and it was never taken from us. We never experienced the alcohol policy. One thing we did experience, that most people don't is the medical center. Sadly, I began to miscarry after we left Fanning Island. It is a terrifying thought to be 1000 miles from the nearest ANYTHING, and facing such a situation. I have to say, the Dr. on board was very very kind and compassionate. Not that anyone takes that into account when they book their cruise, but it's good to know if you ever do need it. The only thing that we didn't really like was the Cruise Director, Patty. We felt that she was loud enough with the microphones!! Some people are just 'too' perky! Overall though, we loved Hawaii, and got to take a little bit of all the islands. We love NCL, and recommend them highly! Read Less
Sail Date July 2003
My husband and I sailed with Norwegian for our honeymoon, and had a wonderful time. We had a mini suite which I highly recommend because you get concierge service, and we took advantage of this more than once (dinner reservations, shore ... Read More
My husband and I sailed with Norwegian for our honeymoon, and had a wonderful time. We had a mini suite which I highly recommend because you get concierge service, and we took advantage of this more than once (dinner reservations, shore excursions, etc..). Plus the balcony was wonderful to eat breakfast on! We enjoyed the food onboard and tried most of the speciality restaurants. We really liked Endless Summer. We liked being able to eat whenever we wanted, and to have the option to eat alone. Also, they will save your wine for another night if you don't finish it. I recommend booking all of your shore excursions before you cruise (which we did), because the line for them looked long. We also really liked our trip to Fanning Island. It was a once in a lifetime experience. We booked the excursion to the private beach, and it's well worth the extra money. It was the most beautiful beach we have ever seen, but make sure you head to the other side of the island for the BBQ. We enjoyed the days at sea it took to get there, but after planning a wedding I think we were looking forward to the down time! My personal favorite for days at sea were lying by the pool with a Mai Tai. The entertainment on the ship was pretty good. I especially enjoyed the Andrew Lloyd Webber show. We didn't feel formal night was worth the effort or expense. You spend most of the evening waiting in line for picture to be taken, but to be fair we were tired of our picture being taken, and we had recently been all dressed up (remember the wedding!?!). So maybe it was better than we thought, who knows. The spa on the ship was great. I had a massage, and only wish I could have stayed longer! Overall, we thought everything was great and would sail with Norweigian again. A wonderful way for you to get a taste of Hawaii, especially for first timers. We stayed in a hotel on Oahu after the cruise and thought that was a great way to wrap up the trip. The Halekulani on Waikiki beach is a fantastic hotel, and I can't say enough good things about it. Read Less
Sail Date June 2003
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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