1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Chose this for an extended family cruise (3 suites) for our 50th anniversary. Panama Canal on our bucket list. The cabin was nice, cabin steward attentive, and the restaurants were OK but not something to write home about. Entertainment ... Read More
Chose this for an extended family cruise (3 suites) for our 50th anniversary. Panama Canal on our bucket list. The cabin was nice, cabin steward attentive, and the restaurants were OK but not something to write home about. Entertainment meh. We did enjoy the talks about the Canal. Customer service desk personnel were unacceptable and mostly just angered us by blaming ship problems on us (it was somehow our fault that the batteries in the cabin door locks failed twice). The Bistro restaurant was our first choice (we did 4 extra-cost dining experiences). The main dining rooms (Versailles and Aqua were OK, but the food was only OK. Strangely, the onion soup at the Bistro was excellent but really poor at both Versailles and Aqua). Tepanyaki restaurant gave a very good show; food was like Benihana. There's a big current focus on using hand sanitizers--understandable given norovirus outbreaks. There was one "washy washy" girl (as they called themselves) in the Garden Cafe who made the most of this--super friendly and entertaining. Kudos to Hannah. Promises that we would somehow be compensated for 2 days without toilets, 1 day without water, and having to lock our door fail twice proved to be empty promises, However, I did have a long talk with the head of hotel operations, and he seemed genuinely concerned about our experiences. By the way, it wasn't just our room that had major plumbing problems. The 12th deck bathroom immediately above our room overflowed into the hallway and many other cabins suffered without toilets for some days (including one of our daughters' cabins). The internet only worked sporadically and was basically down for most of 2 days in a row. The average age of passengers was noticeably older than previous cruises we've been on. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
First let me say we had an AMAZING 14 day cruise through the Panama Canal. Everyone from the baggage handlers to the Captain were warm, inviting and went over and above to ensure our bucket-list cruise was all we imagined it would be and ... Read More
First let me say we had an AMAZING 14 day cruise through the Panama Canal. Everyone from the baggage handlers to the Captain were warm, inviting and went over and above to ensure our bucket-list cruise was all we imagined it would be and more. NCL corporate on the other hand were HORRIBLE and need additional training and a means to correct actions, which are truly of their making, which affect their employees. I planned for close to a year to ensure my near 80 year old father’s bucket-list cruise through the Panama Canal was everything and more he could have imagined- and it was. I watched countless hours of YT videos on what to pack, what to expect and any precautions which would help us avoid any hiccups during our trip. I called and emailed our personal cruise consultant and Concierge MANY times before our cruise to ask questions and request any items due to my father’s health and to confirm all was done and nothing would missed off or forgotten to avoid any troubles later. I even went to far as to create a daily guide to help us remember what day it was and what the daily activities were to help us commeroate our time together and scoured over our paperwork before and to comply with all NCL required per our cruise documents to ensure our check-in process and our cruise went as smoothly as possible. My parents even paid for the extra travel insurance just to make sure if anything happened prior to or during our trip medically, we would have some peace of mind knowing we had options available to us for added peace of mind. For our cruise we opted for the prepaid gratuities so we made certain EVERYONE who was due money was paid their dues as they are the hardest working people on the seas. You see them in the sunrise breakfasts and the midnight buffets- they must be vampires cause they never seem to sleep from the baggage handlers and dishwashers to the Captain. Lol. My husband and I traveled with my soon to be 80 year old parents to help with baggage and flew literally across the country from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angels in one day. Every step along with way we were there to help with bags from the vehicle to the airport, gate to gate, airport to hotel and hotel to ship. If we were not there this trip of a lifetime would not have been possible. Everyone we met along the way was awesome- a little hectic but what vacations don’t have great stories to tell from memories made after right?? We purchased a two bedroom- two bath suite for our extended cruise and truly had a great vacation. Everyone from the wait staff who waited on us daily, Susi our Concierge and JonJon our butler were exemplary in helping make sure this was the time of our lives and we cannot say enough great things about them- KUDOS to them all. Our issue arose when representatives from each suite were called together to discuss how disembarkation would go and where to meet. It was at this meeting- during the last two sea days of our trip north of Cuba- that Susi let us know our butler was not covered under the gratuities paid which got an audible gasp in the room. Mind you, HOURS of research, emails & phone calls to NCL were made and videos were watched to avoid circumstances such as this from happening. During my research and even during their Shore Excurision presentation they mention at certain ports, “do NOT display obvious signs of wealth.” Which, to be honest, can apply to any street in any town in the US as well so no shade. Our issue is knowing we were told ALL our gratuities were prepaid under our cruise fare by NCL beforehand we all carried cash to tip our baggage handlers, tour guides, bus drivers and a little more if anyone went over and above and deserved a little more appreication than the standard allowed- not extra money which is truly rightly due those who were not covered as we were told by NCL ALL gratuities were already paid. We were absolutely aghast. We went to our room and quickly pooled all our remaining money we had left to give to him. We purposefully didn’t travel with a lot of extra cash as, who carries cash anymore let alone buckets full when everyone cautions you against doing so and being told they were already paid? When we got into the port of Miami, (Saturday) I emailed our personal cruise consultant immediately about what had happened. I was able to speak with her on Monday as she was out of the country as well and she assured me that as we elected to prepay our gratuities our butler, along with everyone else, was covered but to contact Guest Services and let her know of what they said. I just got off the phone with GS, Anthony (i), I believe was his name and he said Butlers were NOT covered by the gratuities we paid and there was nothing that could be done to rectify the matter and it stated in the seven pages of cruise documents he wasn’t covered. I didn’t have the cruise documents in front of me at the time but when I got home later that evening i went straight to them and in fact the butler was NOT mentioned in my cruise documents as I was told it was. This completely taints our entire wonderful vacation because we actually stiffed someone who absolutely positively deserved it the most and earned every last penny of the money during our cruise as we couldn’t be happier. We’re so upset and disappointed with NCL over this, we cannot even begin to properly express them. SHAME ON YOU NCL for doing this to us and well as to your employees. Shame. On. You. You have absolutely taken a wonderful trip of a lifetime and tainted it with a policy that even your own employees do not fully grasp and in turn cheating hard working employees out of hard their earned money without a means to rectify it?? SHAME ON YOU!! We have been looking for our butler on social media to figure out a means to wire them money via PayPal, Venmo etc they are truly due without success. We are just sick over this whole debacle and pray a solution can be found as this has caused us all unnecessary stress as a result. WONDERFUL cruise and staff - - HORRIBLE Corporate office policy!!! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Traveled through Panama Canal because it was on our bucket list. Got on ship in LA and that went smooth and fast, no lines but dock porters were not part of NCL and were very rude. First stop Cabo San Lucas and very pretty, sea lions were ... Read More
Traveled through Panama Canal because it was on our bucket list. Got on ship in LA and that went smooth and fast, no lines but dock porters were not part of NCL and were very rude. First stop Cabo San Lucas and very pretty, sea lions were plentiful and tendering was very difficult and not organized. Next stop Acapulco and Do Not Get Off the boat, very dirty and people rude. Next stop Guatemala and very nice excursions and people friendly. Next stop Nicaragua and we saw volcano on this stop, bus ride very very long and not enough time set for excursions, people very friendly and sides of roads were very dirty. Next stop Costa Rica and beautiful countryside and nice excursions did train ride but too short and not much to see besides poverty and crocodile excursion down Tarcoles River and wished it was longer. Weather very hot everywhere we went and hats and sunblock very necessary. Next was the canal transit and took all day and absolutely beautiful and so much to see from any location on the ship. The captain did a wonderful job of opening the crew deck in front for passengers and also brought a narrator on board from Panama and she was wonderful. Next stop was Columbia and we did not feel very safe here at all, probarly should not have gone on excursion. Street people were so rude and begging and in our face that we couldn't enjoy ourselves. Ship was very nice and staff was exceptionally nice. Restaurant staff was highly efficient and food was Excellant. Buffet staff in the morning went above and beyond everyday. Thank you for a wonderful and relaxing vacation. As others have stated we also would like to see the towel animals reinstated and ship pins brought back. Also would like to see Latitudes Platinum members benefits reviewed. We were not able to use all our benefits including disembarkation, this process was terrible and took too long to get to our excursions. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We are health conscious vegans and one of us has a gluten allergy. In January 2019 we sailed aboard the Princess Regal on a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise. We went with relatives which didn’t give us much time for us to enjoy being on ... Read More
We are health conscious vegans and one of us has a gluten allergy. In January 2019 we sailed aboard the Princess Regal on a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise. We went with relatives which didn’t give us much time for us to enjoy being on the boat or for relaxing. We needed another cruise and fast! However, we had limited funds having just cruised. We choose a 14 day repositioning cruise on the Norwegian Star which departed Los Angeles and sailed through the Panama Canal with Miami being it’s destination. We went on “the cheap” getting an interior cabin which we do not mind because the darkness helps us sleep longer and better. To save money we used the "Let Us Choose" option where Norwegian selects a cabin for you. The ports of call ranged down the Western Mexican coast, with stops in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, passage through the Canal and last stop in Columbia before heading to Miami. We did not take any tours since we had seen Mexico on other cruises and enjoy having the ship to ourselves when others are ashore. The Star had a historian give several lectures on the Panama Canal history and someone narrated during our passage through the Canal. Both were very nice. Traveling as vegans (avoid foods containing meat or products from animals), always poses a challenge. On the Princess Regal the Main Dining Room offered a vegan menu each night and gladly adjusted for gluten intolerance. The Princess had assigned seating and dinner times which worked well for us. Our waiter became familiar with our special needs and things flowed very smoothly. The Princess morning buffet had mixed greens as well as beans and several types of breakfast grains. They also had non-dairy options on the buffet. The labels above each buffet item had a “V” if it contained no animal products and /or a “GF“ if not made with wheat gluten. On the Norwegian Star, the buffet selection was more limited and we frequently went to the main dining room if we wanted something “green” in the morning. No dish on the buffet had identification as to whether it was vegan or gluten free. Non-dairy and/or gluten free items were available upon request but often took a while to get from the buffet staff. The Norwegian Star has a Free Style approach to dinner. We explained our special dietary needs to the restaurant manager and he introduced us to their special diet coordinator. He was great! At first, we would tell him what we desired for dinner but later just gave him the freedom to create meals with the chefs. The meals were very good and exciting to see what we would get that evening. However, with Free Style dining, you never knew how crowded the restaurant would be at any given time and most of the time we had a new waiter who was unfamiliar with us and our diet. English was not spoken well by some waiters so explaining each night that we had a special meal became tedious. Some nights meals took a very long time to prepare particularly if the restaurant was unexpectedly crowded. The Princess approach with an assigned waiter, assigned dinner time and vegan menu was much more efficient and pleasant for us. The entertainment on the Norwegian Star in our opinion was not as good as some other ships we have been on, however, one show by the ship's production cast was outstanding and among the best I have seen. The Star’s exercise room and decks for walking were superior to many other ships. We enjoyed the Star’s indoor movie theaters rather than the Princess ship design which features an outdoor screen for that “drive-in theater” experience. Overall we achieved our goal of being able to enjoy leisure time at sea and remain healthy. It was a good cruise but from our perspective it could have been better with a few simple changes by Norwegian. It was our first experience with Norwegian so we do not know if our experience is representative of other Norwegian ships or cruises. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We had great weather with calm seas. The only rougher part was leaving Cartagena Columbia till we got to the islands in the Caribbean. The cruise was just enough at sea days and port days. Skip the "Easy Antigua in Guatemala" ... Read More
We had great weather with calm seas. The only rougher part was leaving Cartagena Columbia till we got to the islands in the Caribbean. The cruise was just enough at sea days and port days. Skip the "Easy Antigua in Guatemala" Nothing easy about it. Long drive and the assault of street vendors is trying! We learned to take the shorter tours as more than 3 hours on a tour bus is too much. Did breakfast and most lunches at O'Sheehans and dinner in the Aqua Restaurant. Do not recommend the buffet for dinner unless it's the Seafood Night. Lunches at the buffet was plentiful, more than we wanted to eat. Did O'Sheehan for burgers and wings mostly. Staff are very friendly, helpful and accommodating. Premium Drink Package is worth it. High quality alcohol and wine (no bar liquor like at the all-inclusive resorts) Great choice of bottled beers. Internet is slow and expensive. Best to catch a cafe on shore with free wifi, or just go dark for two weeks! Was an enjoyable , relaxing cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Choose for the Panama Canal crossing. The entertainment was good overall. The meals were medium good but not noteworthy. We ate in buffet, both main dining rooms and 3 specialty restaurants. Only Cagney's was worth the money. ... Read More
Choose for the Panama Canal crossing. The entertainment was good overall. The meals were medium good but not noteworthy. We ate in buffet, both main dining rooms and 3 specialty restaurants. Only Cagney's was worth the money. Desserts with the exception of ice cream were uniformly disappointing. The shops devoted too much space to high end jewelry and perfume (money makers?) and nothing to makeup or sundries or candy. Liked the shore excursions we took and fond them very enjoyable. Staff was very friendly. Enjoyed cruise director Dave and the Captain too. the hypnotist/comedian was not anyone I would want to see again. Jennifer Fair was delightful once again. the production band and cast did a very good job. Atrium music bounced up to the internet cafe and was deafening! acoustic issue. Although recently refurbished, The Star seemed drab and and the decor old. Overall we had a good time but are unlikely to choose another NCL cruise unless family or friends invite us to sail with them. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
2/15/19 - 3/1/19 NCL Star Panama Canal Voyage Top screw ups 1. Free internet, ha ha, ha, 250 minute perk what doesn’t work properly or frequently; isn’t free or useful. Waits at Internet cafe could be as much as 60 minutes. ... Read More
2/15/19 - 3/1/19 NCL Star Panama Canal Voyage Top screw ups 1. Free internet, ha ha, ha, 250 minute perk what doesn’t work properly or frequently; isn’t free or useful. Waits at Internet cafe could be as much as 60 minutes. 2. Cable/internet stations FOX, MSNBC, BBC, were very frequently not available as is the case right now as I write this, Thursday, 2/28/19 beginning at 6:40 AM and continuing unabated at present. The Sunday, 2/24/19 Oscars was not shown. 3. You will pay $4.64 for a glass of soda if you do not elect a plan. However most of time Diet Sierra Mist was poured by can to glass not by fountain spray but only 50% of time would server give you the balance of the can; note: only Pepsi products are available but Pepsi No Sugar was not. 4. Watch out for catamaran whale watch from Cabo it’s run by children who seem more interested in loud music and serving you prodigious quantities of alcohol; but to be fair soft drinks and water are available and you paid for it all inside the ticket fee. Like a party boat for mid lifers. They considered a whale sighting to be a spout or the whale’s tail as they dive. Never closer than a 1000 meters. One of the kids is the Cetaecian expert he plays loud whale sounds and provides much inaccurate information about humpback whales. 5. Avoid the Garden Cafe at almost all costs; except for periods of time when large numbers of eaters are gone. All enjoyed slopping at the Garden Cafe trough. Soft pretzel nirvana! 6. Avoid all specialty dining except for steak at Cagneys. If steak is your thing; there’s plenty of burned meat odor and taste there for you! 7. Be aware of cultural anomalies among some of your fellow passengers; like their general aversion to order, inability to patiently wait in line for their turn and the need for necessary occasional silence when and where it’s called as a need!!!!! 8. When you arrive at NCL TERMINAL at the Miami cruise port carefully assess what the greeters for NCL are telling you to do as it may be sufficiently botched or confused that you won’t know what you heard. This was something I thought NCL had down but not on 2/15/19 9. NCL will send you color coded luggage tags for embark; but you HAVE TO ASK FOR THEM. Otherwise you’ll need 8 ft of tape and print out cutouts online and then attach them yourself. 10. All Ports of Call are at best marginal and depressed. Let’s face it if they were all St Barth’s it would be a lot more expensive and after all you get to see how the Canal works. 11. Disembarking on 3/1/19 was an exercise in futility; for 3 and 1/2 hours we waited 3 hours of it in line to get out of NCL terminal. No announcements of any kind were ever made and no explanation was ever made to explain the delay; no bathroom facilities were identified; there were a number of fatigued or ill older people who should have been treated better; best bet appeared to be to claim wheelchair access need with the requirement for NCL staff to push the chair; which allowed for express debarkation of the person in the chair and their entourage, which was often as many as 3 additional people blithely passing those waiting for hours in line. - [x] People with apparent disability, which I defined as being in a wheelchair or similar conveyance, were present on the ship in what appeared to be anecdotally but positively high numbers to their and NCL’s credit! What was not clear were the express rides which all wheelchairs seemed to get as described above. It was simply unfair as NCL had asked passengers, able bodied and otherwise, to declare their need for early debarkation to get to airports for early flights. These express rides were much later in the debarkation process. NCL needs to mend fences with CPB In Miami FL to get a better working relationship with them rather than the blame put on CPB for the line and delay by at least one NCL agent. CPB needs to be open to such negotiations and to work equally hard to reach agreement and reduce their mutual disagreement which VICTIMIZED ALL DEBARKING PASSENGERS and nobody else. I’m confident that all NCL and CPB staff were paid for their work. Right now I can’t see myself returning to NCL to cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
The location was the main reason. The trip was excellent, smooth sailing, very good shore excursions although some a little pricey. Food good in Steak restaurant, Ambiance could be much better in Italian Restaurant. O'Sheean's ... Read More
The location was the main reason. The trip was excellent, smooth sailing, very good shore excursions although some a little pricey. Food good in Steak restaurant, Ambiance could be much better in Italian Restaurant. O'Sheean's pub food pretty good but seemed pre-made in some cases. Entertainment was the best we have had on any of our cruises, including the guest performers and the cruise group and band. complimentary restaurants food, staff and setting were great. The Panama Canal day was very memorable and a must for everyone. It was interesting to learn of the real environmental preservation efforts of most of the central America countries. The people we met from these countries were genuinely caring of visitors. Enjoyed the trip to the artist town in Guatemala. The travel was quite lengthy but through different landscapes and economic areas. Suggest Norwegian continues to offer this trip. We will continue to cruise but maybe take a little break after May as we will have taken three cruises in 10 months. Will have Norwegian as first cruise company choice in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
The Panama Canal has always been on our Bucket List. While we usually vacation at All Inclusives, we felt a cruise would be the best way to experience the Canal. As first-time cruisers, we began to wonder what we had gotten ourselves ... Read More
The Panama Canal has always been on our Bucket List. While we usually vacation at All Inclusives, we felt a cruise would be the best way to experience the Canal. As first-time cruisers, we began to wonder what we had gotten ourselves into: prairie folk committing to 14 nights on a ship!! We chose Norwegian for the FreeStyle cruising and were not disappointed. We enjoyed the more relaxed dress code and not having to commit to a specific time to eat. We are foodies so were excited when the Versailles restaurant offered a delicious menu which was only surpassed by the genuine friendliness and service provided by the wait staff. It’s a good thing we were there 14 days to be able to sample most of the menu! O’Sheehans was our favourite breakfast spot—open early, relaxing ambience and delicious bacon and eggs. The Theatre is not really our thing but we went to the early show the second night and were absolutely blown away! Better than anything we’ve paid for at home so we attended every show after that! The live band accompanying the events was amazing. The entertainment changed each night: hypnotist, singer, musical shows (on-board animation team was AMAZING!!), comedian etc. We did 5 shore excursions. While the NCL excursions may be pricier than on-shore options, they were some of the best we have experienced. Excellent transfer buses, guides were knowledgeable and passionate about their countries, safety was a big priority (TIP: Costa Rica: top-of-the-line safety on the zip-line and best excursion ever!!). Near the end of our trip, we sailed on the Luxury Yachts in Cabo San Lucas. It was a beautiful way to spend the day—14 people snorkelling and whale watching—a nice break from the bustle of the ship. If we could change anything, we would like to see more chairs available in the shade outside. It was quite hot sailing south, with most of the shade inside the ship! If you are a smoker, there are lots of places to smoke outside, so many that it was difficult to avoid if you are a non-smoker. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
The Panama Canal has been on my bucket list for a while, and I really loved every bit of our cruise on NCL Star. I shared a balcony cabin with my sister, also an experienced cruiser; however, this was our first longer cruise (over 7 days) ... Read More
The Panama Canal has been on my bucket list for a while, and I really loved every bit of our cruise on NCL Star. I shared a balcony cabin with my sister, also an experienced cruiser; however, this was our first longer cruise (over 7 days) for both of us. The Star is looking spiffy after her recent drydock… décor looks fresh, color schemes up to date, seating in public spaces is (mostly) comfortable. She’s one of the smaller ships in the NCL fleet, so, we weren’t expecting the bells & whistles of a megaship. We still found plenty to like. Our cabin was about what we expected, size-wise: a bit snug, but room enough for both of us to completely unpack & hang up what needed hanging. The beds were reasonably comfortable. We both liked the USB ports that have been added to the bedside reading lamps. The bathroom is tight quarters, as expected (particularly the toilet cubicle,) but the shower is big enough to turn around in. Dining was very good in every venue we tried. We didn’t eat at the buffet for meals (just an occasional afternoon snack… they always had some nice things set out to make up a tea tray or an ersatz charcuterie plate.) The main dining rooms had a nice variety of entrees on the menu, with enough variation that we didn’t get bored by the end of the second week. The alternate venues wowed us! Of the specialty dining (we tried them all) we particularly liked Le Bistro & Teppanyaki, but it was all quite good. We also loved Ginza, the complimentary Asian restaurant, and would return two more times during the cruise. The activities & entertainment offered were varied, and we enjoyed the live music in the several venues around the ship. I particularly liked the production shows offered in the Stardust Theater – four shows over the course of the cruise – the show band is awesome! They would also perform in the smaller venues on non-show nights, and were terrific there, too. We also had the good fortune of having a guest lecturer on board, who gave several interesting talks in the afternoons on topics related to our Central American itinerary. I indulged in the thermal spa pass, and spent many pleasant hours there. Smaller ship means smaller spa… the steam room & sauna are tiny, but barely used, so it didn’t matter much. There are only seven of the heated tile loungers, but I think I only had to wait once. The crew of the Star is what really elevated the whole experience for us. Every single person we encountered was pleasant, helpful, and ready to treat us like rock stars. It amazes me how everyone you encounter (room steward, bartender, dining room hostess) is greeting you by name after about the third day. NCL is clearly doing something right, because the whole crew seems to be happy & energized to have the best cruise possible. After such a review, I hate to mention downsides… but there’s always a couple… The seating in Stardust Theater is awful, to put it simply. I guess it didn’t get the refurb during drydock. Many of the fold-down seats seem to be sagging. I found the bench seats in the balcony to be much more tolerable. Also, the live music is sometimes much too loud in small venues, particularly Gatsby’s (the midship bar on deck 6.) It was our favorite bar in the evenings, but we’d find ourselves avoiding it if there was an over-miked musician performing when we walked by. Overall, these very small glitches did nothing to diminish our overall enjoyment of the cruise. We loved the Canal experience & we’re glad we got to enjoy it aboard the Star. She’s a fine ship with a fine crew, and I’d sail her again anytime. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this because we always wanted to see the Panama Canal and the central America ports. Embarking was very quick. We arrived approx 11:45 and were on the ship by 12:15. Headed to O'Sheehan's bar for lunch and ... Read More
We chose this because we always wanted to see the Panama Canal and the central America ports. Embarking was very quick. We arrived approx 11:45 and were on the ship by 12:15. Headed to O'Sheehan's bar for lunch and beverage. Nice bar and good food. Great staff! Anytime dining allows you to dine here as well as the main dining rooms. Checked out the ship after that. The Start just had a major refurbishment so it looked great! Not to crazy about a few dead end areas when trying to get to a few places but we figured out out after time. Our rooms are ready before we left the port. Main dining areas were very nice. Service was very good and the food was good to very good. Staff was very good to excellent. Fine dining was very good to excellent a well as the service. Bars were great and service was very good even at the pool. They had a buffet at the pool daily. Entertainment was very good. Something for everyone. Our room was well laid out with many USB chargers. Best bathroom layout I've seen on cruise ships. Sliding doors on both shower and toilet area for privacy while the sink area can be used at the same time. Bed was very comfortable and the a.c. was efficient and quiet. Patio was big enough for 4 to sit but not lounge. Good size casino. Why do they still allow smoking in there? It's time to stop that practice. The gamblers will come back to gamble after they step out for a smoke. It's not like they can drive home. Health before profits! That goes for all cruise lines! The staff was excellent overall in all departments. Very happy, talkative, cheerful and helpful. By far NVL's biggest asset! We had a great time and weren't disappointed. I'll definitely cruise with NCL again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
This is our 1st cruise with Norwegian but we have cruised several times before. This was the longest cruise at 14 days however. We had been informed to Star had recently been renovated. Ship was very clean. Staff was efficient but not ... Read More
This is our 1st cruise with Norwegian but we have cruised several times before. This was the longest cruise at 14 days however. We had been informed to Star had recently been renovated. Ship was very clean. Staff was efficient but not very friendly. There were exceptions like Ivan our room steward. There were parts of the ship that should/could have had service but didn't - the front and back of the ship where sunbathers were. Not one waiter ever came by to ask if you wanted anything. Yes there are bars near by but you would have to leave your chair,etc. to go get something. Also no light snacks at any of the bars - spicy corn nuts at Gatsby and Sugar cane only. Eric in the Tiptop bar is very nice. There's only one casual dining room (Agua)where shorts are acceptable, all the rest require reservations,long pants/collared shirts and are either ala cart or specialty priced. We came on the cruise to relax and be casual. But I didn't come on a cruise to eat at a cafeteria which the upstairs buffet reminded me of. It was crowded and noisey. The specialty restaurants were very nice though - Le Bistro was excellent and so was the Moderno - a meat lover's dream. Gapo our waitperson there was wonderful. The salad bar at the Moderno was amazing. I would have been glad just to eat that. I have come to realize that I do not Asian fusion cooking. The Ginza was a complete disappointment. The sushi rice was not correct (too sweet) and the tuna texture appeared to have been frozen. I understand that we are on a ship and frozen fish would/might be required for health safety but then do not serve sushi to consumers that will know the difference. Or when we are in port buy local fresh fish from the area. That would have been exciting to try instead. O'Sheehans was a hit or miss. I ordered buffalo wings 2x's and they came to the table cold and overcooked both times. Have your waitstaff learn how to pour a pint of Guinness beer as well. It is different from regular beer. I should not have to tell them how to do it at a place called O'Sheehans! The Tradewinds shopping area had lovely clothing. Prices were actually quite reasonable in comparison to other cruise lines. Both a few items there. But the toiletry selections is very limited. You should expand it to include more things that people either forgot or ran out of . I bought some lovely earrings and lost a back - couldn't wear them because you didn't sell any replacement backs. No AA or AAA batteries or phone chargers. Another missed opportunity. We met 2 lovely couples from England and Australia on our cruise and being with them made any of our disappointments bearable. However, not sure if we will do Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We did the 14 day Panama Canal cruise from Miami to LA. I packed all the things that are essential for me. A clock radio, magnetic clips to hold the itinerary with excursions, dining reservation and the daily planner on the wall, flavored ... Read More
We did the 14 day Panama Canal cruise from Miami to LA. I packed all the things that are essential for me. A clock radio, magnetic clips to hold the itinerary with excursions, dining reservation and the daily planner on the wall, flavored creamer for my coffee. I took an extension cord for plugging in our devices but didn't need it because the suite had 2 outlets, backpack for excursions, my Yeti cup for putting drinks in (the sun melted the ice right away), & lots of lotions and hats. We left Thurs for Miami & stayed at the airport Ramada. Got on the shuttle to the port at about 11AM Fri and got there about 11:45. Embarkation was easy (I think it would have been even without a suite). We were taken to a room where we checked in and waited for our concierge (Suzanna) to take us for lunch in the Moderno. After that we were able to get into our room, 12530. Yes, the 12th floor forward rooms have no balcony and I thought I would miss that but I never did. I sat by the window all thru the panama canal & didn't miss a thing. I loved sitting by the windows. They bring a narrator on board & he explains everything (it comes thru the TV) and also the bow camera. I do wish though that our windows would have been cleaner. They were alittle spotty to take pictures. Our butler was Rex, he was very sweet. Most days I ate lunch in my room, I think the menu is different for suite guests. Everything, especially the cobb salad, was great. We also had breakfast in the room on excursion days. Brussell was our room stewart. He did a great job. We were on the 12th floor and only walked a few steps out to the pool. Chairs were always filled by at least 10 on sea days which we had 6 of, but we were usually able to find somewhere to sit. The shows were very good (the magician and the contourshonist were the best). The musical shows were great but very loud. For excursions we were always escorted of the boat by Suzanna which was really nice and also for disembarkation. She couldn't take us all the way to the front of the line for disembarkation but it really helped. I would have been angry if I would have had to wait in those long lines. Norwegian had told me I needed to book dinner reservations early before we went on the cruise, but Suzanna was not sure why they told me that because she would have taken care of it & also the excursions. We had been on the star in 2017 before the renovation. It is really beautiful now. They use paper straws now for the drinks, which is really great. All the bars were great. Friday at embarkation the pool deck bars were very slow but they improved a lot. We loved the Bliss lounge and the nighttime games and music, the grand atrium area is nice and has good snacks. We ate at Tempanaki which I think was our favorite. La Bistro twice, they had a T-bone special which we didn't care for but ate there another night and it was good, Moderno we liked a lot (don't eat much salad) Cagneys twice, soso, Ginza (which is free) very good, Aqua once, the tables were very close together & Versaiiles 3 or 4 times, very good. Aqua & Versailles have the same menu. We loved it. I could have stayed longer. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Main Entertainment was very good to excellent but entertainment in main areas of ship was awful. Food good with very good variety. Service good. Can’t prove it but food on shore excursions gave both of us Montezuma’s Revenge. ... Read More
Main Entertainment was very good to excellent but entertainment in main areas of ship was awful. Food good with very good variety. Service good. Can’t prove it but food on shore excursions gave both of us Montezuma’s Revenge. TV in room had very limited and intermittently unavailable programming. Tiny stateroom with no sitting area or sofa. Onboard activities very limited and too many tried to sell something or had fees. Game show hostesses were annoying with hard to understand Eastern European accents. Tiny pool. Limited common areas for relaxing. “Free” Ultimate Beverage Package a total rip-off. Mandatory $20 per person per day charge for gratuity. Very nice main theater. Smell of cigarette smoke in many public areas. Ship staff overall were very good. Chaotic process for finding ship sponsored (and other) location of transportation for shore excursions. Very elderly passengers. Median age definitely over 70. Probably over 75. Aerialists, Magician, Thomas John, Levena B Fox and production shows were excellent. Hypnotist not very good. Female Comedian very good. Good shore excursions. Many options for bars and restaurants although too many of them are an extra charge. Terrible smoking in casino kept me away. Captain was very informative and kept us on schedule. Limited seating in complimentary restaurants. Always a line and forced to wait. Too few tables for 2. Pressured to sit with others. Disembarkation was chaotic. Very long lines. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We wanted to go to the Panama Canal and the time of year worked best for both my husband and I. We also thought we'd try a different cruise line (we were very sorry we did). We were on a 14-day NCL Star cruise through the Panama ... Read More
We wanted to go to the Panama Canal and the time of year worked best for both my husband and I. We also thought we'd try a different cruise line (we were very sorry we did). We were on a 14-day NCL Star cruise through the Panama Canal, starting in Miami and ending in Los Angeles. The cruise itself was very good. Enjoyed the canal and the scenery. The ship was good, the room was great, and our cabin stewards were good. First, let me tell you that we have cruised mostly with Holland America. Holland America has some of the best foods we have eaten. Just got off a cruise in September to Alaska, food was fabulous. It's always exciting to see whats on the menu for the night. On the NCL we received the free drink package, 4-specialty dinners, $50 of each room for excursions, 250 minutes internet, and 150 ship to shore minutes (never used). The drink package was NOT FREE. Prior to paying off our cruise amount, we received an unexpected pre-billed amount of approximately $450.00. Call NCL, I found out that this is for the pre-paid amount for the tips for the FREE drink package. So the FREE drinks package was not so free after all. You might think that you're going to drink $450 on your cruise, I think you might be surprised. We were mostly sitting on Deck 6, never once in 14-days did someone come by to ask if we wanted a drink. We would have to take the elevator up to either the casino on Deck 7 or Deck 12 to get a drink. Of course you free package includes only one drink at a time so if you plan to drink, plan to take many trips to and from the bar. The food was the WORST food I ever had on a cruise ship, and I've taken 12 cruises. The main buffet for breakfast in the yogurt bar area was a daily a mass of frozen fruit (berries). They had two egg stations (omelets, poached), took forever sometimes. The food was bland, never any seasoning. On day two I asked if they had any salsa, I was directed to two bottles of tabasco sauce. If you wanted to use the tabasco sauce, you would have to hunt for the bottle on the table(s) (again only two bottles) and asked to use it. Salsa? The food persons would shake their heads "no". The piles of bacon were good. Scrambled eggs, no salt or pepper. WORST FOOD EVER. The main dining room, Versailles and Aqua (another non-reservation restaurant) had the same menu (and is the same menu for both restaurants) for 14-days with the exception of a change in a salad or soup. The main entrees were exactly the same for 14-days in both restaurants. EXACTLY THE SAME. The food was tasteless and bland. For example, they had Chicken Fried Chicken. The meal consisted of a small scoop of mash potatoes (no seasoning), cold slaw (never saw it ever), and small portion of sweet corn (no seasoning), one filet of chicken with no bones (ordered it twice and my husband once), which I am positive had been frozen prior and was of the same height and same roundness, so I'm sure it was packaged. And no, it was not a pounded down piece of breast. Think frozen veal cutlet. And then also received a leg/thigh combo that was oven baked. Honestly I think they were trying to hide the frozen chicken fillet. Leg/thigh combo was breaded and no salt, pepper, or other seasoning. They had a shrimp burger which i did hear people comment on as good. They had a hamburger, the burger was an inch think and had a roll of some kind, which was fresh baked. No seasoning, tasteless. Also on the menu was a Philadelphia cheese steakwhich because my husband is from Philli he wouldn't even order (it looked all bun and tons of bell peppers). Chicken salad sandwich consisted of two ice cream scoops of chicken salad on one piece of bread (hard to eat as a sandwich). Salads consisted of mostly bell peppers and some salad. Sometimes the lettuce was crisp others soggy. In the evenings the specialty restaurants were better. Italian was decent (bland), steak house, steak was good but it was good because it came with a couple different sauces. The steak itself was not cooked with salt or pepper. We ate at the speciality Chinese restaurant. Food was awful after waiting two nights for over an hour to get in. One of the better places was O'Sheehans which was kinda like a pub...but if you ordered Nachos, you had to request 3X's the amount of cheese and sour cream or you ended up with a bowl full of chips. No salsa again. The whole entire time getting a table seemed to be a problem. They ran your card, had to mess with their computer, had to write the table number on a piece of paper, person had to find another person to take you to your table, which also wouldn't be the person waiting on your table. I really loved at the specialty restaurants when you were finished with your meal, they would give you a comment card and request that you filled it out right then and there. Even our local Shari's doesn't do that. Comment cards were always on the tables. Certainly cheapens' your experience. One comment was WORST FOOD EVER! Also, when you used the specialty restaurants, even though they were free to us as part of the package, we still were charged a 20% gratuity for the cost (each menu had a cost per item). When we received our bills it was zero dollars with a note at the bottom that they would charge you 20% gratuity with was on our mail ship bill. Television had that same 4 movies the entire 14 days. Thank goodness for the news channels, which intermittently went off/on. We reported the green screen to the front desk, they sent someone to check out our TV and told us it was the reception. No kidding Sherlock!! With the newer tv's, you can't even get a DVD from the internet cafe. You got what they had and that was it. I did use my 250 internet /wifi minutes and then had to buy some more. It worked great. If you wanted to use your NCL app on your iPhone, you had to log into wifi (hence you use those 250 minutes really fast). Never used the ship to shore telephone calls. Did the excursions, they were good. Room service was excellent as also. We were charged almost $14.50 per person per day for service charge for our room ($29.00 total) which we gladly paid. If you ordered food room service, food was free but you were charged $7.95 for delivery. Room service was better than looking at the tasteless food so I ordered lunch several times. Salad was always crisp. Fruit came fresh. Bottom line, I would NOT RECOMMEND ever going on a Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ever. We went on two cruises last year, food was unbelievable. Both were on Holland America. The closed lobster I saw on NCL was in some corn chowder soup. HAL always has lobster night. NCL FOOD WAS HORRIBLE. LET ME REPEAT MYSELF, HORRIBLE. WARNING, DO NOT GO ON NCL. I was actually relieved to get on an airplane and get some decent food. Thank you Alaska Airlines for making my last day on my 3-week vacation from LAX to PDX an enjoyable and pleasant one, and thank you for the wonderful food. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
Easy embarkation would have been flawless if the terminal staff was educated on latitudes.Room availability and luggage delivery was startling quick. Excellent food options with the exception of La Cucina. That was terrible. The menu ... Read More
Easy embarkation would have been flawless if the terminal staff was educated on latitudes.Room availability and luggage delivery was startling quick. Excellent food options with the exception of La Cucina. That was terrible. The menu options were bizarre and the flavor was exceptionally bland. Le Bistro and Cagney’s were fantastic, as usual. They were clear that the charge would be made for anything beyond what is stated on the platinum dining voucher, and they did add it to the bill! Moderno was ok, a little too small, tables were very close. Aqua and Versailles were prompt and efficient. Ginza offered small portions with a long wait. No specialty dining options on sea day afternoons for lunch. Garden Cafe lists “late night snacks”, but they end at 11. Not my definition of “late night”. Breakfast Room service order was early, but not accurate. O’sheehans was exceptional, for all 3 meals, as well as actual “late night” snacks. Ports: Cartagena, opted for the Chivaparty bus tour. Excellent, only complaint is the locals being belligerent when declining to purchase their treasures. Panama Canal, viewed from all areas of the ship was interesting. Costa Rica, beautiful place, many things to do! Nicaragua, waste of a day. Accepted a “tour” from the bike cab, required donations to dancing children in costumes in the street. Upon completion, the guide was unhappy with the pre-negotiated price, as well as the tip! Guatemala, a day at a beach resort. Long ride, but the resort was delightful. Acapulco, boat tour to see cliff divers, they boarded the ship to take tips, open bar and lunch.Wonderful! Cabo San Lucas, luxury sail , included lunch and open bar. Numerous whale sightings. Very short day, would have preferred a longer stop. Entertainment on the ship was poor. Only saw Roberto the CD for 1 minute each day, at the end of the stardust theater shows. Comedian Julie was the high lite of the trip.She was hilarious. The juggling comedian was ok. The magician put everyone to sleep. The hypnotist had 1 mediocre show then cancelled the next day. The singers/ dancers would have been great if they were performing other shows. Paradis was offensive, beginning to end. Watching a skit about ménage a trios is just too much for me, and I am very open minded. Band on the Run is always great. They had a female headline singer, Levon a, she was quite talented. The band, game of tones performed daily, sometimes twice, and they were amazing with a Vast array of songs. Jason was playing a few times, sounded ok, but I did not hear an entire set. Another group, (unclear of the name )played horrendous and loud Latin music that was hard to escape. The usual game shows that were present were boring. The newlywed game is usually a scream. This one was pathetic and awkward. The legs contest by the pool was rushed. The quest was never offered. The biggest disappointment was the lack of variety of music played by the DJ. It was either Latin or extraordinarily outdated, one hit wonders from the 80’s. Same playlist, in order, at every party and parties rarely lasted beyond 12am ?!?! Spice H2O was underutilized, only 1 event held there. Glow/white party had 2 good songs, then the same playlist. Never had a party at night around the pool despite perfect weather every day/evening. Attended 3 kids club craft events ( very few kids on this sailing), the team was outstanding. Photography team was very subdued, as a result I did not have anything of quality to purchase. The captain was really informative, he spoke twice daily and delivered valuable information. He was seen around the ship more often and was much more personable than the CD! An older, small-ish ship but it was maintained as well as possible. Always neat and tidy. Air conditioning was sufficient in Bliss and the Stardust, but it was warm everywhere else. Tons of bar service available., especially at the pool. Never had an issue finding 2 lounge chairs together by the pool, either in the sun or in the shade. Room steward was ok, he did not restock many items in the cabin. He didn’t stop and chat. Towel animals were basic, nothing imaginative. Never smelled smoke, either in the casino or around the pool. Disembarkation was an absolute disaster. I had a tour scheduled, ticket stated “meeting at stardust at 830”. No other guests there. I assumed the tour attendees would disembark together. Nope, had to get in the line , despite being platinum, to disembark. Finally got to the bus, no direction as to which bus for each tour around 915, the bus waited another hour for more guests to arrive! This was a fun trip, but there is definitely room for the NCL Star to make improvements. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
This 14 day cruise was from Miami through the Panama Canal and north to Los Angeles. The ship was clean and well maintained as was our cabin. The toilet stopped working twice (affecting a number of cabins) but was repaired promptly. ... Read More
This 14 day cruise was from Miami through the Panama Canal and north to Los Angeles. The ship was clean and well maintained as was our cabin. The toilet stopped working twice (affecting a number of cabins) but was repaired promptly. The staff, without fail, was pleasant, friendly and helpful. Any request was dealt with promptly. The food in the two dining rooms, Aqua and Versailles was very good as was the service. We preferred the latter with its high ceilings and French Provincial decor. Men were required to wear long pants at dinner although we saw some shorts wearers pass unchallenged. Everywhere else, except the specialty restaurants which we did not patronize), the dress code was casual. Most men wore shorts, day and night. I didn't care for the food in the buffet, Garden Cafe. The buffets on both Holland America and Royal Caribbean were considerably better. For example, the Brussel sprouts were rubbery and the ends weren't cut off. I used to get a couple of oranges there some days and they were good but otherwise I only ate there a few times and usually ended up leaving half of what I'd taken. I didn't care for the brand of tea used everywhere, Lipton. The Earl Grey did not taste like Earl Grey and in the Garden cafe, no tea pots are used, just the bag in a mug. We ate at the complimentary restaurant, Ginza, once. We were given a buzzer and waited about 30 minutes to be called. The food looked similar to the Asian night at the Buffet. The $20 laundry promo -- you fill a good-sized bag as much as you can -- is a good service on a 14 day cruise. Everything came back clean and neatly folded. Our inside cabin had twin beds pushed together for us. There was enough room to get around the sides which saves crawling over the top of the bed. No sofa though which meant we had to watch TV or read while sitting in bed. I missed the small sofa we have had on Royal Caribbean and Holland America. The shower was quite large though. The TV picture was good but many channels were not utilized and just displayed the Norwegian Star logo. We didn't sail with children but on a previous cruise with our grandchildren, the all children's channel (and some room service snacks) led to some pleasant evening time together when we were babysitting. Many activities listed on the daily program are shopping or activities that attract a fee. For example, a painting class, yoga, indoor cycling, wine tasting, Bingo and blackjack tournaments. I tell myself that these income generating activities are necessary to keep the fare cost down and I saw some people shopping and painting. Some activities/seminars were really sales pitches: Skin Solutions seminar, World of EFFY (jewellery) Rapid Fire Art Auction, Bag Event. The second day a meeting of knitters and stitchers was posted which I attended but unfortunately it was placed in a bar that was too dark for any close work. I was designated to ask at the front desk for a change of venue and was told it would be looked into. I never saw another listing for this group but there were self-directed meetings posted for various occupations: nurses, military, paramedics . . . I don't know if these were requested or originated with Norwegian. I wonder now if the knitting group should have made arrangements among themselves to keep meeting at a certain place and time that suited the group. That wasn't made clear. Free events included trivia several times a day, sports participation events like family dodgeball, International line dance class, basic Spanish, Ping Pong tournament, Paper airplane toss challenge and a series of enrichment lectures. Various venues played easy listening standards; some musicians were better than others. The production shows were the best we have seen on a cruise: Paradis, Viva Las Vegas. The library was a disappointment -- a small room, overly air-conditioned. The collection appeared to be garage sale cast-offs and books left behind by passengers arranged in no particular order. There were some foreign language books, Norwegian, German and Chinese. The glass cabinets were kept locked except for a few hours a day so the books were inaccessible. Basic board games were available here. Chair hogs were a problem here as with other ships. We were told that the staff goes around and puts warning notices that items will be removed on loungers that have been left unattended for more than an hour. Overall, this cruise was very good for a mid-market or mass market cruise line offering cruises at reasonable prices. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Overall, I found the Star to be okay. I recently sailed the Jade (Panama Canal, Miami round-trip) and have favorites on both boats and wish the two would combine to make my dream ship! My favorite area in the morning was on Deck 12, ... Read More
Overall, I found the Star to be okay. I recently sailed the Jade (Panama Canal, Miami round-trip) and have favorites on both boats and wish the two would combine to make my dream ship! My favorite area in the morning was on Deck 12, Spice H2O (adults only, though apparently one couple couldn't read and their daughter was found often in there) -- but during the day it was hard to find a comfy seat in there (mostly due to seat saving). This ship could use two pools (one preferable adult only), but only has one. I do like the tiered deck, however. We could usually find a seat in the pool area in the afternoon, which is when we preferred to swim anyway. It seemed like there were plenty of hot tubs to go around, but since it was so warm on most of our trip we didn't really take advantage of those. We had an inside cabin on Deck 8, space and organization was completely adequate for two adults. Our room steward was amazing! I was disappointed in the entertainment aboard the ship, after being on the Jade and seeing their amazing cast in action, the Star fell short. There were few shows by the cast and they were okay. One comedian was awful, and while I love Julie Barr, her routine was the exact same as the month before on the Jade (probably not an issue for most people). The aerialists were amazing and we actually got to meet them in the Cafe one day, great people. The magician was actually quite good (they usually leave something to be desired). The hypnotist was good on his first round (apparently the 7:30 show was amazing, the 9:30 show was okay) but his second show was cancelled. And the singer was pretty good, but again, didn't need a second show of that. The other music on the boat was okay, nothing special. Le Bistro was our favorite restaurant (but costs extra) followed closely by meals at Versailles. Service in Aqua was okay, but Vipin was amazing! My friends traveled with their children and we found the club hours to be short and at odd times, especially the teen club (we had a young teen with us, not really able to be on his own for extended periods of time like older teens). The trip itself was amazing! The Panama Canal was fantastic, as we went through the canal the staff went above and beyond, setting out tables with water and even opening the Deck 8 crew only area for viewing. Ports: Colombia: We took the catamaran to Old Town and toured around ourselves. Costa Rica: Hanging Bridges -- it was decent, not enough time actually on the bridges for my liking, but it was a good experience. Guatemala: Antigua on our Own -- amazing, but just not enough time to see it all! Nicaragua: Live the Traditions -- a nice trip, but our guide said it was too hot to spend much time in the city, so we didn't, so that was disappointing. Acapulco: Baby Sea Turtle Release -- once in a lifetime opportunity if you are into that, the sea turtles had hatched that morning and were in the ocean by 11am. It's a short excursion, leaving time to explore Acapulco a bit. They seem to take safety quite seriously there, as I walked out of port a government guide approached me -- I was just going for a walk to the beach, but he kept telling me about the markets and other stuff, I was alone, so wasn't going anywhere by myself with someone else. Cabo: Adults Only Inclusive Beach Resort -- highly recommended and really wish we had the day to enjoy this one, would gladly give up half a day in Acapulco to have a full day in Cabo! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise for the destination (the Panama Canal) and the season (February when it was -32C at home. We booked just 2 weeks before sail date and booked a guaranteed balcony cabin. We did not get to pick our cabin. I never ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the destination (the Panama Canal) and the season (February when it was -32C at home. We booked just 2 weeks before sail date and booked a guaranteed balcony cabin. We did not get to pick our cabin. I never actually was told the cabin number by Norwegian. I found it somewhat hidden in the cruise docs. Meanwhile, I was getting emails asking me to bid on upgrades. I found this extremely annoying. It felt like they were selling off better cabins that might have been mine. I hate the feeling that I am being charged as much as possible for every little thing Norwegian charges for its specialty restaurant ($30US per person) and does not seem to have enough seating in its general dining rooms for everyone who wants to eat there. We were asked to take a pager and wait 45 to 60 minutes for a table. The Ginza Oriental dining room is very small. We managed a table once in the 14 days. There was always a line up. It isn't really that good. I also hate that I paid $5US for a bottle of water and they won't let you bring water from shore claiming security issues. We found the staff were excellent. They were always smiling and helpful. The main dining room staff, Versaille, seemed the most most harassed and over worked and least cheerful. I have some concern with the buffet restaurant were almost everything is self-serve with poor quality tongs. I saw people give up trying to grab sausages with thick plastic tongs and use their fingers. I also saw a passenger take a pair of better tongs with her from a shrimp dish and use them on the rest of the buffet possibly contaminating the whole buffet for anyone who has a seafood allergy. We found most of the food rather bland, very salty and rather boring. There were somewhat spicy curries on the buffet but they were there every day. I found the entertainment was mainly louder than it was good. The DJ and the Latin group were able to drive me from the pool area. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
14 Day Panama Canal Cruise – LA to Miami Coming from Georgia, we decided to take the Norwegian Star out of Los Angeles so we could acclimate back to Eastern time along the way. We went a couple of days early and experienced a few ... Read More
14 Day Panama Canal Cruise – LA to Miami Coming from Georgia, we decided to take the Norwegian Star out of Los Angeles so we could acclimate back to Eastern time along the way. We went a couple of days early and experienced a few touristy things there and then went to board the ship around 11:00 am since we had a suite. We were in room 10228. We are not normally there that early but thought it was worth seeing when we could get on the ship. We were placed in a room with other suite guests and had some beverages and sweets. Unlike when we boarded the Dawn, we all herded in together at the same time after we received our room keys. We were told none of our rooms were ready and we were sent to Cagney’s/Moderno for lunch. After lunch we were left on our own to wonder if our suite was ready. We finally found someone who was able to tell us we could go on back but were not escorted as before so we felt a little strange going into the closed door with a sign saying the rooms were not ready. When we did we were greeted by all the stewards so felt better. The room is the same layout as the last one we stayed in on the Dawn 10728 but opposite. It seemed a lot more worn than the Dawn’s suite. It was still nice, don’t get me wrong. The balcony is large enough for two sit-up type chairs, two lounge chairs and two small round tables. The bed is big and the closet is nice with access from both sides. We really like the layout of the room. For meals, we had a specialty meal package for four meals and added three meals on our own. We do not enjoy the main dining rooms. They are very loud and feel rushed. We did try both of them but always end up wishing we were eating elsewhere. We had the beverage package too and my only advice is to beware of the port taxes. Another cruise we were on we made a mistake of buying some special they had while in port and paid a large amount of tax. The daily paper tells you if there will be port taxes. Stops: Cabo San Lucas – Mexico We opted for the All Inclusive – Adult’s only excursion. This was a tender stop which is not our favorite but the resort was nice. The only problem was it was Superbowl day and they had very limited space for our cruise group. We ended up just staying in the pool most of the time so ended up fine. Hector was an awesome server there and brought us lunch and kept our drinks full. Acapulco – Mexico – Tour selected: Acapulco City with Cliff Divers – City tour was okay but great seeing the cliff divers had always heard about or read about. I would not care to go back to Acapulco. Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala – Tour selected: Antigua on Your Own which I was partly dreading because I read about the drive but it was really nice and our tour guide Julio did a great job. It was interesting see the volcano damage and smoking volcano and then getting into the small town of Antiqua was like going back in time. We spent quite a bit of time at Santa Domingo but ended up eating lunch at a restaurant close to the tour meeting location – Arrin Cuan. We tried some local food and fajitas and really enjoyed it along with a local beer. We walked a lot and saw some neat architecture but you need to wear comfortable shoes. San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua – got off for souvenir – tender and right back on (lots and lots of vendors) Puntarenas, Costa Rica – We decided to try something different and went on an Artesian Craft Beer tour with lunch. Allen was our tour guide and he made it a very good tour because the ride was pretty long getting there. We had a brewery tour, local lunch (buffet) and tried several beers. I would probably not have recommended again except Allen taught us so much along the way. Very educated tour guide and probably the best tour guide we have had in all these years. Panama Canal – Since we had an Aft Balcony suite, we mainly stayed on the back Deck and watched the bow camera and listened to the narrator on TV. The TVs are great quality so we could see the front very well and the back in person. It was quite an experience. We had room service for breakfast and lunch and were through the canal by about 4:30 pm so ended up having time to have dinner out. I wasn’t sure when making reservations if we would be able to go out so hopefully this information will help someone. Cartagena – Final tour - Columbia Chiva Party Bus! What a great way to end our excursions! We could see three party buses pull up from our balcony and I had the purple one in mind. It was a converted colorful bus that looked like a semi-truck front. When we went down to meet them we were directed towards another bus but asked if we could stay for it and were told we could. What a crazy time! From the time you got on the bus until you arrived back to port it was music, rum and coke and later beer with some sites to see along the way. We got off the bus a few times for souvenirs and photos. At the fort we went to a certain area and danced. We had a band of three locals on the bus for some of the entertainment. It was a great way to entertain us because the traffic was crazy slow! One hint, do not sit on the outside unless you don’t want to dance. That seat is the only place you could not stand up and dance. It was seven rows of people and we sat closer to the front which was perfect. Restaurants: Cagney’s twice – Always a good place for steak. We learned to order the steak less well done than we usually like it. Medium rare was more like medium each time. Teppanyaki – Always fun - great service at the 5:15 seating and not as loud Moderno – Better than we thought it would be just don’t get too much salad bar before so you can enjoy all the variety of items brought around Le Bistro 3 times – Love the French onion soup and they had some crazy desserts! La Cucina 1 time there and delivery one time – Didn’t love our visit to La Cucina but saw someone ordering a pizza so one night we had our butler bring us a pizza from there instead of the room service menu and it was much better. We had to pay ala cart but it was worth it. We did purchase the Thermal Suite pass for the trip and had one couple’s massage. We enjoyed our time in the spa and they did not over sell it which was nice. We saw all but one show and I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of entertainment compared to years ago. I believe we saw 4-5 kids total on the entire cruise so it is definitely an older crowd which was fine with us. We were actually some of the younger ones. There were more walkers, canes and wheelchairs than we have seen on any trip so it seemed friendly for those slower getting around or disabled. My husband did three spinning classes but had wished they offered more since it was 14 days. Our room steward was awesome. Our butler was okay but was always in a hurry when he saw us and explaining how he had six other cabins so we always felt he was trying to help everyone else. We did not need to know about other people's needs who he was rushing off to help. Made us feel a bit insignificant. Overall it was a great trip and my husband and I are still talking after our 20th anniversary trip of approximately 18 days together! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Wanted to sail the west side of California, and go through all three locks of the Panama Canal, ending in Miami. Entertainment was ok, but not as good as other cruises we have been on, Stateroom service was not as efficient as we have ... Read More
Wanted to sail the west side of California, and go through all three locks of the Panama Canal, ending in Miami. Entertainment was ok, but not as good as other cruises we have been on, Stateroom service was not as efficient as we have become accustomed too. Many of the excursions we went on were disappointing, with long rides to the destination, and then underperforming, The café dining was always crowded, with very little room to pass by people as you jockeyed for a position to maneuver around others standing at the drink machines. Sometimes areas were so narrow, only an individual could get through. The entertainment director just seemed to go through the motions, and was not very creative. We did love our daily notes from various staff members, and the treats they sent us. The dinners at the specialty restaurants were good, except the service was amazingly slow. The free laundry was a great perk! I do believe that Diamond members should receive free wifi, or at least 100 minutes free. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We choose this cruise for the Panama Canal. We had previously gone into the canal from the Atlantic and returned, but wanted to go all the way through. Embarkation: This was our first time to have a suite. When arriving at the ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the Panama Canal. We had previously gone into the canal from the Atlantic and returned, but wanted to go all the way through. Embarkation: This was our first time to have a suite. When arriving at the terminal, I told several people that we had priority boarding and they steered us to the line with general boarding. I happened to see a sign above the desk for those in suites (no line). I left our line and asked someone about it and when she realized we did have priority boarding, she very quickly walked us through the process, apologizing about the mix-up. After getting our cruise cards we were taken to a holding room with refreshments and told that there was no electricity on the ship and would need to wait. We were able to board in about 20 minutes and then taken to Cagney's for lunch. It was probably one of the best meals we had on the ship. Having never had priority, we did not know what to expect and things did seem to be disorganized. We made it to our cabin, met our butler (Jonjon) and settled in. Butler: For those of you who have not had a butler, they bring room service, check on you from time to time and will help you with dinner reservations and greet you for shore excursions. Cabin Steward: We had Dragonia from Macedonia and she was great. Getting around: Two tips, the fish on the carpet in the hallways are swimming toward the front of the ship and the doors on each side are painted different colors. Shore Excursions: Acapulco: We did City with Cliff Divers because we had never been to Acapulco before and felt that this was something we really wanted to see. However, unless you walk to the very bottom of the viewing area, lots and lots of steps, you will not be able to see the divers hit the water. Even if we had chosen to walk down that far, the viewing area was already crowded and if you weren't on the front row you could not see. Two people passed out from the climb and the hear (remember this is February), so choose carefully. Cabo: We went to Todas Santos, which was not offered online but was available on ship. It is a really neat little town. The included lunch was great. There was a man in the courtyard of the Hotel California making clay items on a wheel, they were free, but of course we tipped him for making us a small fountain. It takes about 90 minutes to reach this small town, so keep that in mind. Lots of gift shops, but no bargains, except for our little clay fountains. Puerto Quetzal: We choose Easy Antigua. The trip to the Jade Factory was interesting and the town of Antiqua was a beautiful Spanish colonial city. The streets are very rough and you switch to a smaller bus/van at the Jade factory as the streets are also very narrow. It is a 90 minute bus ride to the town. Puntarenas: We choose scenic Costa Rica which ended up being a stop at a Plaza for children dancing, lots of tables of vendors and then another stop at a larger gift shop for fruit tasting (very little fruit). Would choose this again. San Juan Del Sur: Our favorite excursion! We visited the Amayo Hacienda & Lake Nicaragua. A beautiful home with a small swimming pool and views of the volcanoes.Lunch was great. The lake is like an ocean and you can swim there but the waves were very rough the day we were there. Cartagena: San Felipe Fortress & City at Leisure We had been to Cartagena before, but had not gone to the fort. It is quite a walk, but mostly ramps and not stairs. Glad we did it. When we got to the old city, we jumped ship and went for lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. It was delicious and so nice to sit in the quiet. Remember that most of the wait staff in all of these places do not speak English so be prepared and patient. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
My wife and I chose this cruise for our 45th wedding anniversary. It was our first cruise ever and without a doubt it was 100 times better then we could have ever expected. From the moment we got on board every single person on staff ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise for our 45th wedding anniversary. It was our first cruise ever and without a doubt it was 100 times better then we could have ever expected. From the moment we got on board every single person on staff could not have been any more helpful friendly and happy to see me. The garden buffet was very good for a quick bite to eat. Versalies restaurant was absolutely amazing for breakfast lunch or dinner probably our favorite. Aqua was great dining good food fantastic service. Ginza was very good Asian food. We really enjoyed OShehans for a 24 hr a day choice for eats and drinks. I cannot say enough about the wait staff at every restaurant and bar. Absolutely amazing experience! The ship itself was not too big and the perfect size for me. Although I can’t compare to any other. It was clean and all the public spaces were very beautiful. Karaoke at sea nights was my favorite thing at 5 o’clock somewhere bar. Absolutely the best time and the best people from all over. The nightly shows were very good and the theater was beautiful. We had a picture window stateroom and it was very adequate. On the third day when we returned to our stateroom it was decorated for our anniversary with champagne. Very nice surprise. We loved all of the ports and took an excursion at all but 1. All were well worth it. All in all a wonderful way to vacation. Already looking at another cruise to book. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise for two reasons. 1st was the chance to go to Cabo San Lucas to whale watch. 2nd was the Panama Canal. Both were amazing and we are so glad we went. The ship was good,although we did find the passageways to cabins ... Read More
We chose this cruise for two reasons. 1st was the chance to go to Cabo San Lucas to whale watch. 2nd was the Panama Canal. Both were amazing and we are so glad we went. The ship was good,although we did find the passageways to cabins stranger than usual with lots of corners and turns. Not a problem, just strange! We ate most meals in Versailles main dining room, it stops us from being too greedy and we thought the quality was very good. I am not used to having a whole cow on my plate, or that’s how it seemed as the steaks were huge but nice and tender and very tasty. Vegetable portions were a bit small though in comparison. Breakfast in the dining room was a better start to the day than the buffet. After many years of eating in the buffet we have come to realise that walking up and down trying to decide what to have, then trying to find a table or one having to wait and keep the table while the other got food is not the nicest way to have a meal. Our cabin was an inside in deck 8. It was fine for our needs, we hardly spent any time in there. We asked for the bed to be made into two singles as it leaves more space. Going to the toilet in the middle of the night when it’s a double bed is just too awkward. The bathroom was a good size and the shower bigger than most ships we have been on. A little step or ledge for us ladies to shave our legs though would be good. And I wish every cruise line would do away with the alcohol in the minibar, but that’s just my own personal preference. Our steward was fine and hopefully we kept the cabin tidy enough to keep his workload down. The entertainment was a mixture. There was a juggling comedian who we thought was very good. The other comedian we can’t really comment on as nearly all the jokes were USA based so we didn’t understand most of it. The ship based singers were an assortment of good and below average. The cruise director and his staff were very good from what we saw. We didn’t spend any time on the top deck so can’t say what the entertainment was like. We tend to spend our time on the promenade deck listening to the waves, reading, and people watching ( well, watching them walk round the deck about 20 times!) The service on board was good and there wasn’t much waiting at the bar. Every member of staff were friendly that we came into contact with, especially in the dining room. We didn’t really enjoy Cartagena, but that could just be because of the traffic and heat. We enjoyed Cabo, and the Canal . Costa Rica was quite nice too, and seeing the cliff divers in Acapulco was an experience. We made our own arrangements as we feel cruise lines are just too overpriced for tours. Embarkation was the quickest we have ever had, disembarkation very slow, but nothing to do with the cruise line, just the usual at US ports. Overall, we had a great time on the Star.8009 Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We wanted to sail through the canal. The price and dates worked out for us. We have sailed on numerous cruise lines. The star was average, nothing exceptional. We scheduled offshore activities through the internet. Meals were fine, ... Read More
We wanted to sail through the canal. The price and dates worked out for us. We have sailed on numerous cruise lines. The star was average, nothing exceptional. We scheduled offshore activities through the internet. Meals were fine, but no lobster meal anywhere. Entertainment was nothing exceptional. Usual activities onboard. Good narration through the canal. Music was loud, hard to find a quiet place. Not many children aboard. Accommodating layout. We would probably choose a different cruise line next time. We had some great shore excursions, but did not purchase any through the ship. Good choice of ports, some concerns with tender service. In tendered ports, be sure to sign up early, as gold and platinum cruisers get preference. If you have scheduled excursions off the ship, you may need to call ahead if seas are choppy, as tenders are limited. Overall this cruise was acceptable, great experience, going through the cana!. 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 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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