I booked this New Year's cruise for DH, DS and I to take them to the Mexican Riviera and have a fabulous holiday. It was an expensive cruise over the holiday also. Embarkation was smooth and went quickly, no complaints there. The ... Read More
I booked this New Year's cruise for DH, DS and I to take them to the Mexican Riviera and have a fabulous holiday. It was an expensive cruise over the holiday also. Embarkation was smooth and went quickly, no complaints there. The cabin was fine, nothing special, normal balcony room. There was a maintenance issue; the shower leaked out onto the carpet near the bed. Not sure it was ever totally rectified, but a fan was put in to dry the area and someone sent a bottle of wine as compensation for the trouble. Cabin steward was good, and provided towel animals after the first night.
Dining and service was where this ship had serious issues. I have an allergy, informed them well in advance, met with the designated person after embarkation and pre-ordered all my dinners. It was great they had a designated person, and he thoroughly worked in my best interest. However, because I pre-ordered, I expected the kitchen to modify the recipes to make the food enjoyable, not just leave off ingredients and essential elements of the dishes (i.e., no sauce in place of hollandaise). This was not just in the MDR (Versailles, Taste was somewhat better), but the specialty restaurants as well, Cagney's and La Cucina (Moderno was the exception, and was fine). It was not just my food that was disappointing though, as DH and DS agreed none of the food in any of the venues, except for Moderno, was up to par. Cagney's was downright disappointing.
While the service in Moderno's was very good, the same could not be said about Cagney's or the MDR. There were very long waits for drinks, food courses, and no one ever came by to ask how the food was; it was like they knew and didn't want to hear the issues. I had to waive the server down in Cagney's twice to inform him my food was inedible. I spoke with the manager, who informed the server to bring me something else. No apology, no offer for another meal on a different night. We decided to have dinner on New Year's Eve in the MDR, thinking it would be something special, but the service was terrible, the food barely edible, and the entire experience disappointing. I was embarrassed to have brought my family on this cruise for a holiday.
Service at the bars was somewhat better I have to say, and in general, it did not take long to get a drink at the bar or sitting at a table in the common areas. DH says they really have to work on their beer selection though. The one common area where service was entirely lacking was the front sun decks of the ship. Not one server ever came in that area that I saw for orders, despite repeated requests to the bars where we had to go to get our own beverages.
The dining room staff at guest services were wildly unhelpful. I stood in a very awkward line that necessitated one to stand in foot traffic area for 30 minutes to get my son the dining package. Then, I had to stand in another 30 minute line to get the other guest services to put it on his card. This made no sense, since the two areas, dining and guest services, were co-located. I asked to speak with a manager, and she walked away from me as I was talking to her. The rudest treatment I have experienced on any ship.
Entertainment was good, but not having as many venues as the larger ships was very noticeable (no comedy club or dueling pianos, no entertainment at the Sugarcane Mojito Bar). My son just turned 18, and unfortunately there was little for him to do without the benefit of the teen club. He still made a few friends on the baskeball court, but there should be more for the 18-20 set besides what he said was a lame, poorly attended meet and greet in the 5 O'clock somewhere bar.
Some of the newly created areas on this ship were just strange, apparently owning to the recent refurbishment. The Mojito Bar was part of Moderno, and did not seem to be a bar/lounge area at all, but just a restaurant bar to serve Moderno and Cagney's. Spice H2O was just a big covered area that did not have a water feature (though there was a hot tub stuck awkwardly in one corner), or a big screen for movies, just a few TVs showing music videos. I think, instead of trying to pigeon-hole all the ships into having the same named areas, they should think about retaining a ship's unique character. Naming the areas the same creates expectation that are sometimes not achievable.
I took one excursion, a whale-watching trip and DH/DS took a beach day, both at Cabo through NCL. My excursion was delayed by several hours, which I only found out upon arrival at the pier. There were no alternatives other than a refund, but all the whale watching tours offered by independent tour groups were gone, and it was the last port, and thus, last opportunity for this excursion, so I waited. The group that took us out were very entertaining, the ship beautiful, and the service of included drinks wonderful. We saw lots of whales (smaller ones), and several breaches, so a good trip. My husband loved the Exclusive Beach Resort day. My son went son his first wave-runner and had a blast. In Puerto Vallarta my husband and son went on an independent zip line tour and said it was great. I walked along the water and landed at a beach. We got an independent tour guide in Mazatlan, ending at a restaurant, and had a nice meal of seafood, including lobster and ceviche. We all decided we would return to Mazatlan, Cabo and Puerto Vallarta if we had the chance.
However, we all also decided we would avoid the NCL Star. Read Less