1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
Chose this cruise because our friends wanted to go and it was a good deal. We'd never been on Norwegian before (we're Holland and Princess all the way). Some of the problems we encountered seemed to be from understaffing, starting with ... Read More
Chose this cruise because our friends wanted to go and it was a good deal. We'd never been on Norwegian before (we're Holland and Princess all the way). Some of the problems we encountered seemed to be from understaffing, starting with embarkation in Miami. The lines were very long with clearly not enough staff to handle. Even the outside line was confusing; at one point an NCL staff person came by and directed a bunch of people in what seemed like the only line to a hastily assembled second line, which meant a lot of them effectively "jumped the line." Our steward was good, but our friends' steward was clueless and paid little attention to the work. Other cruise lines seem to have a two-person team to handle steward duties, but not NCL. Food was mixed at best. The buffets were reminiscent of high school cafeteria food - lots of items but dubious quality. Coffee was bad! We probably should have spring for some meals at what we heard were good pay restaurants like Cagney's. A very puzzling thing was the library. This may seem trivial to some, but for me a decent library on a cruise is essential. We're used to the wonderful libraries on the Holland ships in particular. This ship advertises the library being open 24/7, which is technically true, but the books are all locked behind glass doors for anywhere from 20 to 22 hours of the day. If you're lucky you can time your visit so there's a librarian there to open the cases, so you can actually take out a book. Libraries are all about access - who decided to lock up the books for almost the entire day? The glass doors were also tall and unwieldy and constantly hitting each other on the rare occasions when they were unlocked. Plus the room itself was small, not near an ocean view, and the collection an uncurated hodge-podge of old bestsellers and multiple copies of weird books few would be interested in like "The Equine Eye" about, I guess, horses' eyes. Very frustrating. The hard-sell was everywhere evident during this cruise, worse than when we got off to face the aggressive vendors in the ports of Cartagena, Puntoarenas, Quetzal, Acapulco, Cabo, etc. Single glasses of wine were in the $30-$40 range at the Versailles and Aqua. You can't do your own laundry (unlike on other cruises) and they a la carte you to death if they do it. Room service is an additional $7.95 per. And what should have been cultural-historical lectures about the ports we were visiting were mainly sales pitches for the ship's endless bad art, overpriced watches, diamonds, etc. as well as items available at port shops that must have had an arrangement with NCL. There was a single movie every few days; why not every day? The Internet was a joke. $.95 a minute if you didn't buy an exorbitantly expensive package, and so slow that you could rack up three or four dollars waiting to connect. Also, the girl running the place - as with the library, she was only there a few hours a day, another sign of understaffing - was sullen and seemed irritated that people were asking for help. The people at the purser's desk on Deck 6 were efficient but not particularly friendly. And re: the ports - we laughingly called it the "edge cruise" due to stops at destinations that are on the State Department list of dangerous locations. Columbia, Guatemala... Acapulco is particularly bad, as we were warned by our taxi driver when we got off. He said most of the cruise lines had abandoned Acapulco due to the crime. Perhaps it's further evidence of NCL's cheapness that they're visiting ports that are probably a lot cheaper in terms of port fees than normal, safe ports. The entertainment was about as expected (what we attended), magician, comedian, Broadway-style revues, etc. The high point, and it really was, was a retired Notre Dame professor named, I think, Alan Dowty, doing 6 lectures on famous historic voyages like Magellan's circumnavigation of the world, the HMS Bounty saga, and Shackleton's fantastic Antarctic expedition. The professor made these audio-visual lectures great fun as well as informative. On the plus side, disembarkation was quite easy, and our suite (we bid on an upgrade and got it) was wonderful - an oversize (handicap) cabin with a balcony. Overall, my impression of Norwegian based on this cruise was not good, and we'll be sure to book Holland or Princess or one of the better lines in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
This was a double treat! We celebrated our anniversary during the cruise, and checked the Panama Canal off my bucket list! Booking the Aft Penthouse on the Star was the best decision we made. We were able to see all the workings of the ... Read More
This was a double treat! We celebrated our anniversary during the cruise, and checked the Panama Canal off my bucket list! Booking the Aft Penthouse on the Star was the best decision we made. We were able to see all the workings of the locks from our own balcony, seeing the gates of the locks, not the walls, while we sipped mimosas and snacked on sandwiches and snacks provided by Chris, our attentive butler. We are not used to being treated like royalty, but splurging on this cruise was the right decision. We had reservations for dinner every night, either at Cagne's, La Cuchina, Le Bistro, or the Versailles main dining room. Only La Cuchina failed to impress. The Concierge, Monica, made sure all the reservations were made, and changed, as we desired. Paul, our cabin steward, made sure everything was arranged quietly and professionally. The suite was roomy, with lots of storage space, full bathtub with shower, and spectacular views of the wake trailing behind the ship. There was music throughout the ship every evening, and the shows were first rate, except for one comedian who went into areas that were not suitable for the children in the audience, and for the adults who did not agree with his amoral world view. We were limited in the shore excursions we booked. We mostly took advantage of walking around the towns on our own, but the couple we went on were informative, although rushed. We probably won't cruise the canal again, as there are so many other destinations on the bucket list, but this cruise was all we expected it to be! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
We arrived in Miami on Wed night and stayed at the Courtyard at the airport. On Thursday we did the hop on hop off in Miami. We chose this cruise for price and itinerary. Very long lines for embarkation. First about 30 minutes outside ... Read More
We arrived in Miami on Wed night and stayed at the Courtyard at the airport. On Thursday we did the hop on hop off in Miami. We chose this cruise for price and itinerary. Very long lines for embarkation. First about 30 minutes outside in the hot sun, and then inside in a maze for about an hour in a very hot building. Worst cruise port I have experienced. Once onboard we went to Versailles dining room for lunch. Rooms were available by the time we finished eating. Stateroom 8162 ocean view was adequate. The bathroom was ridiculous. For some reason they thought the toilet needed a sliding door! A see thru door! Very small, possibly smaller than an airplane toilet! Our steward Joao did a good job, but we hardly ever saw him and met him the third day. Only had five towel animals in 14 days. We liked Aqua dining room much better at dinner. Smaller and better service. We ate breakfast often at O’Sheehans. Menu items aren’t exactly what you expect, but good enough. We spent quite a bit of time in the Java Cafe. Comfortable chairs and often music. Also you could see out both sides of the ship there. At 10am on sea days there was a meeting in Ginza for knitters and stitchers. We both had hand sewing along and met some nice ladies who were knitting or crocheting. In the evenings we sat in Gatsby’s and listened to Felicia play piano and sing. She was quite good. We had a problem with excursion tickets. We both bought three online before the cruise. Upon arrival my roommate had tickets but none for me. Miami made an error. I had to repurchase on my onboard account even though I had used Amex. She had used a visa and that purchase was cancelled for some reason. After three days it got corrected. She had a credit on her account that they transferred to my onboard account and she then had to repurchase! Cherryl Cruz in Excursions was really a big help! I have been on many cruises, in fact a prior one on the Star. I have never seen so many problems with public restrooms! There was always at least one toilet in each restroom out of order and sometimes all of them! There was a gal who spent all of her time unclogging and cleaning restrooms! The shows were very good. We saw all but magic and hypotism. The showroom is awful! Seats are low, very close together ( no leg room) and long rows so you had to keep gettin up to let someone in or out! We went early and sat in balcony after a few uncomfortable times. Disembarkation in San Pedro was as awful as Miami. After our color was called we stood in line about an hour to go through customs. We went to the walled city and fishing village in Cartagena, no excursion in Puntarenas, there was a great woman narrating the passage of the canal, very good information. In Nicaragua we went to the town of Leon. After the long bus ride we only had 45 min to use restrooms and most walked up about 60 steps to top of church to see city! We quickly got some tacos and headed back to the bus. In Guatemala we did easy Antigua. Jade museum and 45 min in town square. Total about 4 1/2 hours on the bus (small bus) with no springs and cobble stone streets in Antigua. That night my Fitbit recorded 11,584 steps! Mostly bumping up and down on bus! In Acapulco we did Different faces of Acapulco. Great tour. We even got the driver/tour guide to stop at Starbucks so we could get mugs and a latte! The cliff divers were amazing. Take videos! In Cabo we walked to Starbucks for mugs and Wi-Fi. A man on our ship went on camel ride and fell off and was hospitalized. His wife stayed with him and Norwegian was going to pack their things and ship them home. Overall it was a great cruise! Just a few minor issues. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose this cruise because the price was good and we wanted to see the Panama Canal. Our previous cruise experiences were with Holland America where we were treated like royalty and fed like Kings! This NCL cruise was just the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the price was good and we wanted to see the Panama Canal. Our previous cruise experiences were with Holland America where we were treated like royalty and fed like Kings! This NCL cruise was just the opposite: the staff were not welcoming (they hardly acknowledged us), the food had no taste, was repetitive and the menus were "meh"--stuff I make at home. Very disappointing. The cabins were OK (a little on the small side-especially the bathroom although the shower was surprisingly spacious), the entertainment was mediocre and the some things (like Bingo) were expensive. The Ports and Shore excursions (which is why we chose this cruise) were fun and interesting and we enjoyed them, so they salvaged the trip. I doubt that I would not do a Norwegian Cruise again. There are too many cruise lines to choose from that will provide a better experience. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose this cruise due to the itinerary. We are NCL fans and we're not disappointed. Had superb meals at Cagney's, Moderno, La Cucina and Tepanyaki as part of ultimate dining package.Cagney's and Tempanyaki were both favourites. We ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to the itinerary. We are NCL fans and we're not disappointed. Had superb meals at Cagney's, Moderno, La Cucina and Tepanyaki as part of ultimate dining package.Cagney's and Tempanyaki were both favourites. We really enjoyed Ginza restaurant, ate their 3 times and were never disappointed. We also enjoyed the Versailles restaurant for leisurely breakfast, lunch or dinner. We are not big buffet fans but we're impressed by the variety and quality of food offered at this venue. For a quick breakfast we enjoyed the Topside Grill on the pool deck. O'Sheehan's is a great setting with a set menu. This Irish pub offers great views of the ocean and the Atrium. Amazing entertainment every night....we only missed the last act. Friendly staff for the most part. We bid on an upgrade and were happy to move to a mini suite from an ocean view room. Our suite was 11098, on starboard side, midship. Very comfortable with very little noise. Loved the towel animals we had each night from our cabin attendant . Ports......wish we did not have to stop at shipping ports like Corinto. Overall a great cruise....I will travel NCL again. . Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
This was our second Panama Canal cruise. A bucket list must for many. It was our sixth cruise on NCL. My wife and I enjoy the casual atmosphere on NCL compared to others we have been on. The Star is a smaller ship but we found it to be ... Read More
This was our second Panama Canal cruise. A bucket list must for many. It was our sixth cruise on NCL. My wife and I enjoy the casual atmosphere on NCL compared to others we have been on. The Star is a smaller ship but we found it to be a good size for us. The staff was very friendly and fun to be around. We particularly enjoyed our time in O'Sheehan's bar and grill. The Captain did a good job of informing us each day of the ships progress. Giving us information on the weather, location, etc but he also gave us the history of each port. He showed a great sense of humour during his Q & A's sessions with the cruisers. We have always enjoyed the quality and variety of entertainment on NCL but we found on this cruise it to be a hit and miss. This did not deter us from having a wonderful time. We enjoyed our ports of call. Doing our own tours and using NCL only for the bus drop in Guatemala. The food was average to good. Being Platinum members we were able to have two free speciality restaurant dinners. We enjoyed Le Bistro but found the meal in La Cucina to be too salty. The Cruise Next staff was wonderful under the leadership of Christina. We know her from previous cruises. We believe it to be a good deal to make a future cruise deposit while on board if you plan on cruising again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose this cruise to experience the Panama Canal which was very interesting. 90% of the service staff had a very unwelcome attitude except for a few exceptional people. We have experienced several great Norwegian cruises prior to the ... Read More
We chose this cruise to experience the Panama Canal which was very interesting. 90% of the service staff had a very unwelcome attitude except for a few exceptional people. We have experienced several great Norwegian cruises prior to the Star and were surprised by what felt like untrained staff. We chose the unlimited beverage package as well as 4 Ultimate Dining package. We also decided to upgrade to an Aft Suite with large balcony for the first time. We enjoyed Cagneys restaurant and would highly recommend it! We also tried Cucina Italian and the food was sub par and we were greeted with “This is your 3rd meal of your dining package” instead of Good evening, do you have a reservation...or room number please..We also tried The French Bistro and the Maître de came to our table and asked “ Who is going to be paying for this” even after knowing we had a dining package.. the Coq au vin was so salty we couldn’ eat it but the rack of lamb was exceptionally good! The Suite...the room layout was great and the view aft as we passed through the canal was excellent! The downside of this location of the Suite was that it was located directly over The Spinnaker lounge! There was no mention on Norwegians website that high levels of sound until after midnight could be an issue and we had 5 meetings with both Jamal, the Hotel manager and Gary, the head of guest services regarding the high level of sound and bass vibrations through our floor that rattled glasses until well past midnight They agreed to stop the band at 10 pm and only have a DJ. Never book 8672 if you ever want sleep! Our concierge Monica was AMAZING!! She deserves high accolades for always making things work! Nothing was a problem! 2 other great people were Robert and Nanna at O’Sheean’s restaurant/bar.. in short... Interesting ports, bad staff attitude, mediocre food...not worth the dining package .. We hope they get things sorted out as we enjoy Norwegian! If this was our first Norwegian cruise, it would be the last! A lot of first time cruisers were of the same opinion. One last note that our room steward was great! But our first Butler told us “ Read your paperwork “ when we asked him what services we could expect from him on our first day. The Butler service is inconsequential! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
This was our first time cruising with NCL. Sadly it was a cold day in Tampa when we were departing and due to the norovirus being found on the ship, we had to stand outside for 2.5 hours while they cleaned. We were so cold and hungry ... Read More
This was our first time cruising with NCL. Sadly it was a cold day in Tampa when we were departing and due to the norovirus being found on the ship, we had to stand outside for 2.5 hours while they cleaned. We were so cold and hungry and when they finally opened the doors, but it was another hour before we got on the ship. We went to the buffet, and it was jam packed because they wouldn't let you pick your own food, but had 2, yes 2, servers dishing out food for everyone. It was insane. My biggest problem was the smoking in the casino. The smoke didn't just stay in the casino, but permeated the hallways, the elevators,and the bars close by. It was horrible and my husband and I both became sick with sinus infections, which ruined the trip. We tried talking to guest services but they could do nothing. If you are a non-smoker, this is not the cruise for you. My other issue is the open seating for dinner. I am used to either an early or late seating which runs very smoothly. With open seating, there were dozens and dozens of people trying to get in the restaurants which was bedlam. Kids were crying, people were complaining and it was a horrible way to start a dinner. This occurred in Versailles the first 3 days of the trip. We then decided we would just eat very early to avoid the congestion. Not ideal by any means, but we couldn't take the craziness. Also, they say you need to dress for Versailles, but they would let some people in with shorts and t-shirts, but turn others away. There seemed no method to their madness. The things that were ok were the shows, with the exception of the comedian. Choreography was fantastic and costumes beautiful. Also, the servers in the bars and restaurants were very good. Our room was always clean and finished in a timely manner. The spa was nice and the services I had performed were done well. Food was decent, not great. In summary, the cigarette smoke was what really ruined the trip. It really is everywhere so you can't avoid it. Run away from this ship as fast as you can. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
On Sunday, February 16 of this year I embarked, along with eight friends, on the Norwegian Star for a cruise from Miami via the Panama Canal to Los Angeles. I shared cabin 8505 with my friend. The first night my bed was so ... Read More
On Sunday, February 16 of this year I embarked, along with eight friends, on the Norwegian Star for a cruise from Miami via the Panama Canal to Los Angeles. I shared cabin 8505 with my friend. The first night my bed was so uncomfortable that I slept badly and woke with back pain. I requested another cabin and was told that the ship was fully booked and that no other cabins were available. I then asked that the mattress be changed. I don't know if this was done, but a piece of egg crate foam was put on the bed, which did very little to ameliorate the discomfort, and I woke with back pain every morning of the voyage. Subsequently one member of my party and a mother and daughter we had met on the ship were offered other cabins. It was also the case that the service at dinner was very slow. On at least two occasions we reserved a table in Versailles for 6:15 pm and were not finished until 8:00 pm. The servers were very diligent and hurried with orders, but it appears that the dining room and kitchen were understaffed, leading to long delays between courses. On Friday, February 20, I had a health concern that necessitated a trip to the ship's medical center. I was wheeled back to my cabin and instructed to return to the medical center at 9:00 pm in a wheelchair. I called Guest Services at 7:30 pm to request that a wheelchair be brought up at 8:45 pm and was told that they could not take an order in advance, but that I would have to call 15 minutes before I needed the wheelchair. I called back at 8:30 pm and was kept on hold for 25 minutes before someone in Guest Services answered the phone. In the early morning hours of February 24 I was awakened by tremendous banging noises. The ship was pitching and the banging seemed to be in concert with the movement of the ship. It sounded as if some huge metal door was loose. The noise continued for hours and was alarming to the extent that I wondered if the ship could be foundering. Needless to say, sleep was impossible. That same day, because it was suspected that I might have DVT, I was to be taken ashore by NCL's port agent to the hospital in Huatulco for an ultrasound. (I was not sent ashore in Puntarenas because the hospital there was two hours from the dock.) When I arrived at the ship's medical center there was an emergency and the port agent left with that person, leaving me in the care of a young man who spoke no English (I do not speak Spanish) who took me into the town in his car. He stopped several times to ask where the hospital was and finally indicated to me that we had arrived. I got out of the car and he immediately drove off. The building he had pointed out contained a small clinic that had no equipment and was certainly not a hospital. When I enquired where the hospital was (a difficult procedure since I do not speak the language), a person there pointed up the street. I walked up the street to the other location only to find that it was a slightly larger clinic, and, although they appeared to have an ultrasound machine, the doctor there declined to do this procedure, examined my leg (he did not wash his hands or wear gloves), and told me that I needed to be taking diuretics. For this cursory exam I was charged $50. I then had to take a taxi back to the ship without finding out if I was indeed suffering from DVT. It was very hot and humid that day, I had a health concern that was preying on my mind, and I felt utterly abandoned by the NCL company. On the morning of February 25, my cabin mate stepped into the bathroom, only to find it flooded with noxious brown water. A cleaning crew arrived very quickly and did a thorough clean-up of the bathroom. Unfortunately the fumes from whatever cleaning agents they used affected my eyes and I had to get drops from Dr. Lombard. I was subsequently told that the crew was aware there was a problem with the pipes in that area. On February 27 I went to Guest Services to see how the medical bills were to be handled (we had purchased trip insurance through NCL's BookSafe Travel Protection Plan) and was told that I had to submit the bills myself, that it could not be done by the ship's staff. This seems to me to be an unnecessary and onerous additional step, since it is NCL's own insurance. On February 28 I went to the medical center in the morning for a final shot (I had been given shots of Heparin twice daily since my initial visit to the doctor on February 20) and was told that I would be taken by ambulance the next morning to The Little Company of Mary Medical Center in San Pedro, and that Guest Services would call me with the final details. When I had not heard from Guest Services by 1:30 pm I went down and spoke to a man at that desk. He looked up my name on the computer and said that there was no arrangement for an ambulance and that I was to walk off the ship with the other passengers. It seemed to me that if I did that, the insurance would no longer be in force. I questioned him about this and he directed me to go down to the medical center and talk to the people there. I asked him if, instead of that, he would phone them, which he did, but apparently the person on the other end concurred that there would be no ambulance. Thoroughly confused and worried I went down to the medical center only to find that it was closed until 4:00 pm that afternoon. When the center opened I went in to ask what was happening, and was told that I was indeed to be taken off by ambulance. On disembarkation day, March 1, I went to the ship's medical center at 7:00 am. There were several passengers to be taken off by ambulance including one who was also suspected of having DVT. For this reason we were to travel in the same ambulance, with her husband accompanying her. Because there were three of us, there was no room for our luggage to go with us. I was very concerned about this, but was assured that our luggage would be sent right after us to the hospital. By the time we had been admitted to the hospital, the procedure done and the results analyzed, it was 11:15 am. The result of the ultrasound being negative, I was free to go. When I asked where my luggage was, I was told it had not been sent from the ship. One of the hospital staff called the ship for me, and was told that the luggage had not been sent "because they didn't know where to send it". Despite the fact that the hospital was less than 15 minutes from the ship, my luggage did not arrive until 12:11 pm and, when it came, it was only mine. I was bitterly disappointed with this cruise, especially since it was my third on Norwegian, and my second on the Star. I was unable to sleep comfortably, misled about available cabin changes, abandoned in a foreign country, kept waiting for an unacceptable amount of time on the telephone, and exposed to chemicals which hurt my eyes. I have returned home physically and emotionally exhausted by this experience. Read Less
Norwegian Star Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 3.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
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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