5 Norwegian Star Middle East Cruise Reviews

The itinerary was truly spectacular. A "bucket list" for us and our traveling companions. For us, every port from Cyprus to Dubai was a new adventure, and even several ports in Italy and Greece offered new experiences. [The ... Read More
The itinerary was truly spectacular. A "bucket list" for us and our traveling companions. For us, every port from Cyprus to Dubai was a new adventure, and even several ports in Italy and Greece offered new experiences. [The ports were Rome, Naples, Messina, Piraeus, Kakolon (Greece) Cyprus, Haifa (Israel) Aqaba (Jordan) Safaga (Egypt), passing through the Suez Canal, Salalah and Muscat (Oman) and Dubai. 21 days from October 30 to November 20, 2016.] [I praised several officers and wait staffers as well as our cabin steward] We enjoyed having a mini-suite, especially the relatively commodious bathroom, but closet space was at a premium and open shelving around the room should be replaced by drawers. The cruise trend is toward smaller balconies and our cabin fell right in line with a postage-sized balcony. The offering of bridge instruction and duplicate bridge play was a terrific plus. Steve and Donna did a great job and they attracted a large, enthusiastic group of both beginners and intermediate players. We purchased a four speciality restaurant dining package. Cagney's Steakhouse was wonderful, dining there twice. We also dined at Moderno, a thoroughly enjoyable and different dining experience, and at Le Bistro. We had differing opinions of Le Bistro. Having lived in New York most of our lives (and having taken a number of trips to Paris), we are especially conversant with "gourmet" French food. Le Bistro does not offer a "gourmet" experience and this was particularly disappointing. I won't spend the time critiquing each dish (ranging from quite good to awful). That said, service in each of these restaurants was very, very good. Also on the positive list was O'Sheehans and the Ginza restaurants, for the food and availability, not necessarily for the quality of service. What's a cruise ship without the dining experience comprised of food, service and ambiance? The quality of food was more than adequate, if somewhat repetitious and lacking in sophistication of preparation. Meat dishes were good and frequently offered, but fish dishes were inadequate both as to paucity of variety and frequency of offering. Food was often overly salted and occasionally greasy. We ate the majority of our meals in Versailles having dined once in Aqua which we likened to a high school cafeteria. The less said about the buffet the better (your huddled masses yearning to eat free), although neither better nor worse than any other cruise line. The decor in Versailles is not to my liking (it looks old and tired), and unfortunately the noise during dinner approaches a level that makes simple conversation at a table for four quite difficult. The real problem on the ship is the dining room service. Service is haphazard and appears to lack coordination between the servers and their assistants. This often leads to long waits between courses, or even a long wait before receiving the initial course, and food arriving not exactly as ordered for want of better communication. Better training would help alleviate this problem! Lastly, the uniforms worn by the servers are very unimpressive and often look sloppy -- more akin to dress for a Caribbean cruise. Why would a ship place its more expensive cabins (mini-suites) under the public areas where noise from these areas emanates day and night? We often heard noise from above throughout the night with some negative effect on our sleep. Our traveling companions with a mini-suite on the other side of the ship had similar complaints. Onboard entertainment is a very mixed bag ranging from the bizarre to the wonderful - the ridiculous to the sublime. On some occasions we would leave the theatre scratching our proverbial heads and muttering "Where did they find that?" On other occasions we would remain in the theatre giving an enthusiastic standing ovation to the marvelous singers, dancers and show band following a terrific production show. One minor quibble -- the sound level for the singers was often too loud and perhaps over modulated. Tintinnabulations: Why encourage passengers to purchase stock of NCL and then tell them after purchase that the on board credit is nonrefundable? Why is NCL the only cruise line, I think, that charges for room service? Why does NCL "nickel and dime" you (more like $5.00 and $10.00) with regard to bringing wine and/or water aboard. Other lines permit several bottles of wine and water to be brought aboard without charge. If you have an announced dress code policy in only two restaurants (Versailles and Le Bistro) at least enforce the policy. Shorts and flip-flops are not appropriate evenings attire. Lastly, you may wonder whether we enjoyed the cruise? Did the positives outweigh the negatives, the huzzahs top the disappointments? The answer is a resounding YES. The fabulous itinerary trumped all. m&pops P.S. We only took private tours which ranged from average to excellent. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Itinerary Rome-Naples-Messina-Katakolon-Athens-Limassol-Haifa-Aqaba-Safaga-Salalah-Muscat-Dubai 30October 2016 Norwegian Star. CHECKIN at Civitavecchia and bag delivery score a 10 for ease, promptness and friendliness. There is no ... Read More
Itinerary Rome-Naples-Messina-Katakolon-Athens-Limassol-Haifa-Aqaba-Safaga-Salalah-Muscat-Dubai 30October 2016 Norwegian Star. CHECKIN at Civitavecchia and bag delivery score a 10 for ease, promptness and friendliness. There is no welcoming committee as you board the ship, just the unfriendly dour faces of security. Norwegian have an inconsistent policy of removing all beverages at every port, regardless if you have purchased a bottle of water on the ship and then tried to bring it back onboard with you. This makes Norwegian the Masters of Nickel and Dime. Norwegian takes the phrase to new heights. THE CABIN Not all cabins are created equal. Apart from the bed, it contained a rather large bathroom, a shower for two!!, a separate basin and toilet. The usual TV and writing desk along with a vanity area. A very small closet space largely due to the mini bar. The cabin also has a sofa used as another bed. There are always remnants from previous guests, the usual fingerprints around doors, splash marks on the mirrors and art work. Coffee stains etc. Although the ship is regularly washed on the outside, no attempt is ever made to clean the balcony and the salt buildup. ENTERTAINMENT The production shows are always performed with great energy and vigor no matter how long they have been around for. The comedians still make fun of the buffet, people arriving late and leaving early. Same old Mary jokes from the cruise directors. I would like to see a full 45minute act which does not involve audience participation. DINING The ship has several complimentary dining areas. The Market Café for all meals – I have experienced more choice and ambience in a Westfield Food Hall. O’Sheehans bar and grill, always open, good service, simple tucker. Versailles main dining. A rather spectacular dining room that rivals any on the high seas. Its let down by patchy service. One does not serve across the table but usually from the right, or give a guest a knife and fork to eat ice cream to be replaced by a teaspoon. Also complimentary are the Aqua and Ginza catering to the very large number of Asians on board. What is considered normal fare on some cruise lines Norwegian charges a supplement. There are six specialty restaurants where a cover charge applies. DECK All decks tend to flow very well with deck 7 being an all around walking deck. Three huge water slides occupy a large amount of deck space which I assume would be busy during school holidays. There is a large kids/teen space. Apart from the library there is no nooks and crannies to hide and read. SHORE EXCURSIONS As seasoned cruisers, you know where to look for shore excursions. FITNESS One of the best well equipped gyms on the high seas, but wait inline behind the crew . CREW FRIENDLINESS Cabin stewards and dining staff are friendly. The team is let down by those that should no longer be there. There is a lot of passenger side stepping to let crew pass. DISEMBARKATION Could not have been simpler and there is committee of crew to wave you goodbye. First impressions always count and last longer. CONCLUSION There are lot of factors to consider when choosing a cruise. Cost, season, itinerary, ship. Norwegian reminds me of a low cost airline, you pay extra for everything. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
These comments are provided from the perspective of a mid-60’s retired couple who have ocean cruised on 10 previous occasions mainly on Princess and Celebrity. The primary objective was to sail through the Suez Channel and have the ... Read More
These comments are provided from the perspective of a mid-60’s retired couple who have ocean cruised on 10 previous occasions mainly on Princess and Celebrity. The primary objective was to sail through the Suez Channel and have the opportunity to experience the Middle East countries. We chose NCL because of itinerary and price. I found the website easy to use; as we like to pre-register, confirm ship/cabin layout, pre-book our dining, wine and excursions. Having the “shopping cart” time out after 15 minutes was annoying and allowed limited review of the various excursions offered. Why are the “wine packages” not available on the internet? Locating the ship at the Civitavecchia (i.e. near Rome) was a challenge as the signage was sparse. Once in the appropriate area there were ample shuttles to the ship. Unfortunately, these shuttles changed pickup and drop off locations without the knowledge of the passengers. Embarkation went smoothly with a tolerable wait time of approximately 45 minutes. The ship staff appeared genuinely friendly and helpful. Several of the Guest Services staff went to great lengths to expedite our delayed luggage arrival. We also found the tour desk staff very helpful and accommodating. The ship common areas were generally very clean and well maintained. The hull colors are attractive. The décor of the atrium and Versailles dining room impressed us. The washrooms near the dining area often required servicing during mealtimes. This line may wish to consider a full time attendant, during mealtimes. This resolute walker enjoyed the full length (a rarity) cork floor promenade deck. The fish orientation on the hallway carpets and the dissimilar colored stairway carpets made orientation easier. Major ship features were easy to find. There was an ample supply of sun deck loungers. Access to the hot tubs and pools was also readily available. Early in the cruise, the gangway location was poorly signed or not an each floor. Most of our breakfasts and lunches were eaten at the buffet. The buffet area was Spartan with worn furnishings and awkward chairs – didn’t appear to have been refurnished at the time the remainder of this ship was updated. This area lacked sufficient seating; although, the adjacent pool side seating was used as an appendage. Service in this area was also hampered by a drink dispenser that was inoperable for the entire voyage and closing one of the two serving lines during demanding times. The food was tasty, good quality and ample variety. On three occasions, we lunched at O’Sheehan’s. Twice the food and service were great. On the other occasion, the staff was overwhelmed by the client numbers - a ¾ hour wait for a lukewarm hotdog! The majority of our suppers (18, I think) were acquired in the Versailles dining room. Generally the food and service was good to great. I particularly enjoyed a number of fish dishes, the tiramisu and the chocolate volcano dessert. Our one marginal waiter was more than outshined by Nilish, Krissy and Phil. We did not use the specialty restaurants. We took four ship organized tours and did the remainder on our own, using the Hop On Hop Off Bus or Big Bus service. We found the ship tours generally well organized, interesting, at a great pace and only once late. We enjoyed our tour to Olympia. This hearing disabled person appreciated the voice box and the great guide. The tour to Petra (near Aquaba), one of the wonders of the world, was a disappointment. A huge amount of walking (~ 25 kms. I won’t recommend the available rides!) to see things we didn’t understand as presented by a disinterested guide and detracted from by commercialization. A long (12.5 hours) but enjoyable trip to Luxor along the Nile delta with a super guide, Cherry. Bought a cartouche from her! A great tour, but long (13 hours), to Jerusalem and Bethlehem with a wonderful guide. Also enjoyed our tour to Job’s Tomb near Salalah. The scenery was wonderful and the camels friendly! We took in almost all the evening entertainment and found it to be very enjoyable and unique: a comedian juggler, humorous classical music performers, humorous ventriloquist and a comedian acrobat. This hearing impaired person found the volume levels in the theatre to be much.. much too loud; even with the aids turned off. We did not patronize the Casino or Spa. We appreciated the less aggressive marketing tactics for photos and liquor sales on this line. Now for what some will believe to be bigoted remarks! Our enjoyment of this cruise was diminished by the offensive mannerisms of the Asian (I believe Chinese and possibly half the total) passengers. While the cruise staff cannot be held responsible for this group’s crude table manners, the staff can be admonished for allowing this group to disregard queuing lines, impeding traffic in pedestrian areas (holding group activates in walkways, simply blocking walkways to gain an advantage for tours,reversing the travel direction on the promenade) and generally being uncooperative to fellow passengers. This behavior is so directly opposite to that I experienced while I worked in China in the early 90’s. The NCL announcement of additional catering to this ethic group will make us re-evaluate any future travel on this line. In summary, we were pleased with what we received for the price we paid. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
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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