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1,082 Norwegian (NCL) Repositioning Cruise Reviews

We were excited when we heard about the new Norwegian encore boat and received a fair price for a 7-day cruise. We were disappointed to find out that almost everything on the boat was at an upcharge. When we pulled into Puerto Rico, they ... Read More
We were excited when we heard about the new Norwegian encore boat and received a fair price for a 7-day cruise. We were disappointed to find out that almost everything on the boat was at an upcharge. When we pulled into Puerto Rico, they put out a sign on the bar saying that we needed to pay tax on the drinks! the boat says that there's three pools but what they neglect to say is one pool is in the elite section called The Haven which costed considerably more for a VIP experience. that leaves the "regular" guests to share one adult pool and one kid pool and you'll be fighting for a deck chair like no other boat we've ever been on. it was extremely annoying and disappointing. About always felt crowded the elevators were always packed. You're required to make reservations for almost anything on the ship and if your travel agent didn't advise you ahead of time you'll be stuck with only the latest times on the ships. The complementary food is mediocre at best. We did splurge to spend on a specialty restaurant and the food was amazing at the tune of about $125 for a couple. I will say that the shows were excellent and they did have name brand movies that they would show so I felt like they had quality entertainment but I would have much preferred us more spacious pullback where I could enjoy the sun instead of fighting over a lounge chairs. Next time I will spend a little bit more and go to Royal Caribbean where all guests are treated with the same upscale service and you're not going to add hundreds of dollars to your bill once you step foot on the boat. We had high hopes Norwegian, but this was a miss. Get rid of the silly laser tag and add a pool And make the go-karts free! If you're thinking of going on this boat do your research everything you'll want to do costs money. Everyone on the boat was speaking about it. That and how it was so overpacked and you felt like you were always having people on top of you. We did have a cabin for five which was small but we didn't spend much time in the cabin so it was adequate. The state rooms were attended by a steward 24/7 which was nice our room was always clean. We did like the freestyle dining that you could eat at anywhere at any time. There were ample bars and we felt like we could always get a drink. I don't think I would go back to this boat unless they opened up the Haven for all guests or they booked less gas in the public spaces or if they made things like some of the specialty dining restaurants and go karts video games and virtual realities for free instead of making everything cost more than for goodness sakes it's ridiculous to charge tax on drinks and ports! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I decided to surprise my adult son with a cruise and spent months planning the trip. We were very excited about the trip and had excursions booked but couldn't decide about a specialty dining package so we chose to wait until onboard. ... Read More
I decided to surprise my adult son with a cruise and spent months planning the trip. We were very excited about the trip and had excursions booked but couldn't decide about a specialty dining package so we chose to wait until onboard. I've cruised before so knew what to expect but it was my son's first so it was important to leave a good impression. Embarking was quick and easy, despite waiting for over two hours at Enterprise for a shuttle. Our cabin was inside no window and incredibly small. We made it work but only had one electric port and our steward would not allow anything to remain plugged in while we were out of the cabin which was most of the time. (Make sure you have good batteries for whatever you are using for pictures!) We had the free drink package and headed to a smoking area H20 to grab our first drink. We ordered and were told no I'm not making that I will make you this, and were handed drinks! Not the best way to start off but we blew it off as a communication barrier or maybe he misheard us, and our second drinks were what we requested. Btw, they use some pretty awful drink mixes and a pina colada tastes horrid. There are only two smoking areas on the entire ship besides a small area within the casino, and they fill up fast. Standing room only if you don't get a seat. One is half of a side of a back deck called H20 and then a box of sorts on the 15th deck by the pool. We vape and felt like second class people stuffed into a noisy chatbot as if we were in time out. H20 played football on a large screen alot so if your not into the sports bar scene...good luck. No drink runners to be found any of the times I was in the casino and extremely tight slots. Bartenders so rude at poolside we ended up getting managers involved. Waited about 10 mins to be served and even though the bartenders were making eye contact, they kept helping others. It got so obvious we were being ignored that a group of other people were literally yelling at the staff to assist us!! Bartenders just looked at us and walked away!! We just stood there a bit dumbfounded but got taken care of by the supervisors after we said something. I hate to make complaints..I'm on vacation and nobody has time for that!! Cleaning staff was friendly and the staff at the buffet entrance were awesome. Room steward was punctual..cleaned twice a day and knew our schedule right off as well as our names. No cute towel animals the entire trip though. Missed two ports for weather-so they said. All inclusive days at the private island appear to be hard to come by if you read other reviews. Missed Costa Maya. We were refunded 12 dollars and change for those port misses. Lots of hidden charges on this ship. Drinks are taxed while in US port....and we had some random charge for seeing a comedy show in the theater but by the time this cruise was done and we reviewed our bill, we decided not to bother because the lines to everything were long and staff just wasn't all that friendly. The food was fair...some days really good, other days not so much. Big on handwashing but food was cooler than should be allowed and the seafood was usually undercooked with a strong fishy taste. I'm a huge seafood lover so that was also disappointing. Met a few people that got food poisoning right at the start of the cruise. We were only able to get one reservation for specialty dining so I'm glad we didn't buy the package. We went to LeBistro which was amazing!! Top notch food and service, a highlight for our trip really. Book things as early as you can, shows, tenders, etc or you won't get in or will have to wait in large crowds. Very disorganized. Elevators constantly full and hard to come by. Pool area incredibly small and chair savers made sure no room to lounge. Ship pretty much shuts down at 10pm unless you like nightclubs with the you get crowd. Pot smokers in the smokers box with staff right there. No one did a thing about it. Pot smokers in H20...no one batted an eye. The end of our trip was the straw that broke the camel's back. Our last night we pulled put everything to pack and decided to head to dinner before the packing began. We put on the do not disturb light so our steward wouldn't stroke out on the mess we made and headed out. We had been very diligent utilizing our safe for valuables up to this point but felt safe with our light on knowing we wouldn't be too long. WRONG!!! We came back to find that someone had placed our shore bought liquor in the room and we were missing a kindle tablet and sunglasses that were on our desk before we left!! My son went to guest services about the sunglasses but we knew for a fact the kindle was there because I was going to plug it in and decided against it last minute. I was pretty much in shock knowing that someone breached our security despite the do not disturb light on and failed to make a claim until we got home the day after disembarking. After making a claim I emailed the VP of guest services Paula and was told an investigation would be done. Was later told it was our steward who brought the liquor, and that the security cameras showed him opening our door and placing things inside but that he didn't go in. HA!! Our bottles were in next to our desk...where the missing kindle was placed ....and unless his arms are 8 feet long, he DID absolutely go inside!! After a back and forth with her I realized nothing would come of it (obviously lied to me about not entering the room) and even though things were taken, the biggest issue as far as I'm concerned was that someone came in with a do not disturb light on!! What if I had been in the shower, or worse???? Worst guest service ever!! Will never, ever book again with this cruise line. Save your money!! The service is barely rateable and it appears to be a crooked company with the crap I encountered. Despite it all...our vacation was fun but NCL won't be getting another red cent from our family!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We are frequent cruisers but had not cruised on NCL for 10 years. This cruise on the Sun was a very pleasant surprise. The ship is in great shape - all the money spent in renovations during dry dock really shows! The food was very ... Read More
We are frequent cruisers but had not cruised on NCL for 10 years. This cruise on the Sun was a very pleasant surprise. The ship is in great shape - all the money spent in renovations during dry dock really shows! The food was very good in all the venues we tried. The food and service was excellent in the Seven Seas MDR. Norwegian is a much more relaxed "freestyle" experience and we enjoyed that after cruising on other lines not quite so relaxed. There were many, many activities available during the day and night with a good amount of live music around the pool, in the atrium, in the Bliss Lounge and sometimes in the Spinnaker Lounge on deck 12. My husband and I are dancers - social ballroom, country and western, Carolina Shag - and none of the venues had great dance floors. The production shows were good. The performers were very young with LOTS of energy in their routines! The comedian and magician were pretty bad. The two ports - Costa Maya and Cozumel were enjoyable and the weather was great with temperatures in the low 80s. We had a little rain one day, but other than that, it was a great January cruise. Our cabin was a mini-suite on the 8th floor. The room was great and had been updated during the dry dock. The balcony was a large aft balcony with a nice view of the ship's wake. One negative note - the aft rooms on the 8th deck are over the theater so there's noise during the shows and when they are practicing during the day. Port Canaveral is a very nice little port. People are more friendly and you don't have all the rush and stress of a large port like Port Everglades. I would definitely take this cruise again! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
For a trans Atlantic cruise, this itinerary had great ports of call. Started in Barcelona, a great city in itself, and then 6 more ports of call, before we started on our crossing. We then had another 2 ports of call before docking in ... Read More
For a trans Atlantic cruise, this itinerary had great ports of call. Started in Barcelona, a great city in itself, and then 6 more ports of call, before we started on our crossing. We then had another 2 ports of call before docking in San Juan! Although we enjoyed ourselves, this was the largest ship we have been on in 13 cruises, and would really have to give thought to a ship this large in the future, and probably for sure, not the Norwegian Epic again. Whomever designed the bathroom layout in the cabins must of had a grudge to settle with Norwegian. And who would of approved such a design.? I cannot imagine anyone thinking this a great design. Elevators were continuously overcrowded and often had to wait in long lines in the buffet for average just barely warm food. Had several occasions were our toilet would not flush for several hours at a time. Beds are short for a 6 foot tall person like myself. High marks for the entertainment, especially Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and Burn the Floor, along with the Cirque show. Disembarkation in ports of call seemed to be fairly efficient, however the same cannot be said for the initial embarking. Did not appreciate that water was not included in drink package, and could not bring on board so much as a couple ounces left in a bottle from a shore excursion. Seems like nothing but a money grab to me. All drink stations had a sign asking you not to refill water bottles, which I blatantly ignored. Bar staff, did their best, but at many times definitely overworked, or under staffed. Before we ever sail on Norwegian Epic again, these issues would have to be addressed.. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Disappointed. We sailed in the NCL Breakaway in the Caribbean the week before Christmas 2019, and were hoping to have a relaxing time, but couldn't during the day. The one pool is small and very crowded with young adults, as well as ... Read More
Disappointed. We sailed in the NCL Breakaway in the Caribbean the week before Christmas 2019, and were hoping to have a relaxing time, but couldn't during the day. The one pool is small and very crowded with young adults, as well as the hot tubs. Loud bands. You couldn't get away from the noise. The food in the main restaurants was not up to par as compared to other cruise lines we have sailed on. That said, the buffet did offer a lot of choices and was fine. The two main shows were outstanding (Six and Burn the Floor), the rest, so so. The food in the Specialty restaurants, specially Le Bistro was very good.The balcony cabin was fine, except a bit small. Service was very good. We are seniors, but young at heart. Our next cruise will be one more geared to our age group. I/we would not go on this cruise again. Also, this was our 5th NCL cruise, and my wife and I have always traveled together, yet they had me at a lower category from her's and I couldn't get them to straighten this out! One last thing, the day at the beach that we were looking forward to was cancelled a couple of days ahead due to "anticipated bad weather" which did not happen. I understand that they have to prepare their island accordingly with the right resources, but felt this cancellation (and being re-routed to St. Thomas) was premature and unnecessary. That was quite a let down! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Open space has been reduced to sardines in a can, it irked me to no end to see the free open space turned into a paying super expensive Vibe club. Outrageous!!!!!....Stop it already with the money grab trying to squeeze more and more ... Read More
Open space has been reduced to sardines in a can, it irked me to no end to see the free open space turned into a paying super expensive Vibe club. Outrageous!!!!!....Stop it already with the money grab trying to squeeze more and more money from us. You now have anywhere between 2000 to 2500 people using a tiny pool, hardly any space on the pool deck. I would consider another ship. Then there are the employees following around at the shops like you are some kind of thief ready to pounce on a cheap bracelet I can buy at the dollar store. Annoying and just rude. The good stuff: Buffet was very good, the specialty restaurants excellent food. Most of the staff was friendly, the ship was super clean. The enterteinment was excellent as well. The many games in the Galaxy Pavilion we enjoyed very much, we did the zombie kill, the spaceship, and the dinosaur park. All very good. We did not do the go cars, or the laser tag. My husband did the water slide and loved it. I will cruise again with norwegian but not on the encore. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted to go through the Panama Canal and had been to most of the Mexican ports that would be covered by a cruise starting or ending in California. We were particularly interested in the Colombian ports, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to go through the Panama Canal and had been to most of the Mexican ports that would be covered by a cruise starting or ending in California. We were particularly interested in the Colombian ports, which were cancelled two weeks before our sailing date and NCL would refused to let us cancel and get our money refunded. Supposedly the ship had "mechanical issues" that required the change in itinerary, but as best we could tell, the ship was sailing at full speed. No one on the ship would tell us what was wrong until the last day when a "beverage manager" said they had engine issues. Our previous voyage with NCL was to the Canary Islands in January 2019. We liked that cruise and booked the Miami to Santiago cruise shortly after our return home. Our experiences with the most recent cruise were so bad, we do not intend to sail with NCL again. We booked our flights through NCL. Coming from California, we wanted to have one night in Miami prior to the cruise, but NCL insisted that we either stay 2 nights in the hotel they specified (which got poor reviews on Trip Advisor) or come in the day of the sailing on a red-eye flight. Our red-eye was scheduled to arrive at 7:00 AM, but got in at 6:30 AM. Our final cruise documents said the transfer desk would not open until 8:30 AM and the first transfer would be around 10:30 AM. We sat in a cafe and showed up at the transfer desk at 8:15 AM. There was a sign on the desk saying they opened at 8:30, but they had been open for some time and had filled all of the seats on the first two buses. There was no where to sit except on the baggage carousels, which at that point were not in operation. About a half hour later the baggage carousels started and we were left without seats. My husband uses a cane and cannot stand for extended periods of time, so it was a problem. We were told we had to stick around, because they didn't know when the buses would be loaded. We finally got on a bus around 10:30. When we got to the terminal, we were directed to the handicapped line, but we still ended up standing for about 40 minutes. Every so often a check-in staff person would rush by, look at the line and just say "Everyone fine?" and rush away before anyone could respond. The check-in process was terribly slow. We watched people being given the wrong ship card and then the come back to interrupt the line to get the correct one. This went on for a long time. When it was our turn, the check-in person walked away to get our cards and came back, looked at them, saw they were the wrong ones and immediately went back to get the right ones make the process take about an extra 5 minutes at least per person. Our balcony cabin was very nice. The cabin bathrooms are well designed and the beds comfortable. Our steward was attentive. If you want hand lotion, you have to ask your steward for it, but it can be provided. The buffet food was not nearly as good as the buffet food we had on NCL in January. Many passengers commented that the quality and variety of the buffet food was much worse than previously. One person said his last cruise was in October and the buffet was much worse this time. At lunch the best thing was the Asian noodle soup and although there was always a line for it (with many non-Asians including ourselves), they never created a second "station" for the Asian noodle soup. The other lunch highlight was the carmel sauce for the desserts, but unfortunately, except for the first day, there was never any vanilla ice cream. The ice cream at the station outside by the pool was usually overly soft and the time the buffet staff sent me out there, they didn't have vanilla ice cream either. At breakfast, the buffet ran out of both All Bran cereal and Bran Flakes early in the cruise. Also cottage cheese was not available except for a couple of days at the beginning. If you wanted prunes or prune juice for breakfast, you had to go the main dining room. We ate dinner in the main dining room every night and because of our ghastly boarding experience were given a dinner reservation for the same table for the duration of the cruise. Our waiter was excellent and provided good advice on what was good to eat. Unfortunately, the menu repeated much too often. There never was any kind of "gala night" so no lobster tail or real steak (just mediocre strip steaks). The excursion departure process has horrible, especially on the disembarkation day. We were always told to gather in the auditorium (which spans from deck 5 to deck 7 with narrowly-spaced seats in tiers. On disembarkation day, we were told to arrive 20 minutes before the time on our tickets for a tour and transfer to the airport. We arrived about 25 minutes ahead and were fortunate to secure seats in a handicapped area. However, the overall process was very nasty and in my opinion dangerous, with people moving rollaboard suitcases on stairs and lifting them over seated passengers. We sat and sat and sat. Our tour with transfer wasn't called until 45 minutes after the time on our tickets and we were on the bus until over an hour after the ticket time. We had to endure a similar, but not quite as lengthy process of sitting in the auditorium before every excursion. In hindsight at least on departure day, I would have booked an independent cruise transfer with an outside vendor, so we could just get off the ship and skip having to listen to the same messages in the auditorium for over an hour. There were supposed to be "port" lectures, but the lecturer was more interested in general trivial and sensationalism than informing people about ports. Only the first one or two of his talks concerned places we were able to visit on the cruise. Ship days got to be horribly boring, because we do not gamble, attend art auctions or do trivia. The library shelves were locked except for a few hours a day. The volume in the ship shows with the cast of singers and dancers was for us painfully loud. We had enjoyed the shows on prior NCL cruises, but this time the high volume was a major negative. We sailed with Holland American in August and with Hurtigruten in April and found them more to our liking. At this point, we have a couple of river cruises booked, and I keep my eyes open for ocean cruise itineraries of interest, but NCL is off my list of vendors. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
The Panama canal has been a bucket list trip for me for years and this one was priced right so I took it. Overall I had a great time. Going through the Panama canal was very well done with Panamanian official on board giving timely ... Read More
The Panama canal has been a bucket list trip for me for years and this one was priced right so I took it. Overall I had a great time. Going through the Panama canal was very well done with Panamanian official on board giving timely reports over the intercom as to what we were seeing. Just keep in mind that the Star is an older ship and will not compare to the newer ones in the fleet. If you have that in mind your expectations should be in line. I am not overly picky about food so the 3 star food on this ship was just fine for me. I never had any problems with the food just keep in mind it is not 5 star. The disappointment came in when NCL changed two of our ports of call the last minute which completely changed my plans for those ports. No time to switch gears...had to wing it and those days were minimal at best. The layout of the Star is odd where not all elevators go to all floors....not all hallways go through...etc. You have to memorize some shortcuts to get around. Some of my areas of focus: The gym was great... I enjoyed the thermal suite as I bought the pass...a very quiet area...almost sanctuary. The Oasis pool was the ship's focal point most of the day. They provided music much of the day there which was nice. The H2O spice area was nice...very quiet back there. Hot tubs were always fun with people in and out most of the day. At night the Bliss club was the happening place...main entertainment was also good. Food: The buffet was average at best. OSheehans was a good lunch option. Gina was a good dinner change...the main dining rooms were pretty good...but varied day to day. I did not try the premium dining. I had a mini suite on deck 11 and loved the room. Finally getting on and off the ship was pretty bad. Just be mentally ready for that. I will say the service from the staff on the ship was excellent. Very hard working people. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
-Confusing ship with not all elevators to all decks. -Salad area of buffet limited selection. -Changed ports a few weeks prior to departure but not all guests notified. -Entertainment and music were good. -Internet cafe ... Read More
-Confusing ship with not all elevators to all decks. -Salad area of buffet limited selection. -Changed ports a few weeks prior to departure but not all guests notified. -Entertainment and music were good. -Internet cafe wide open on a balcony over a noisy area. Last evening tried to checkin for flight home but could not get online. No one available to help. -embarkation was slow for no discernible reason. -Gym classes and instructors good and reasonably priced with a one time charge. -Deck 5 forward was quiet. -not happy with port changed. -Took taxis rather than tours. -this was my second time on an NCL ship. Probably will not cruise with NCL again unless the price and itinerary are exceptional. -had several enjoyable meals in dining room where food was better but did not always want to spend time there and miss a show or other live entertainment. -happy with staff. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Embarkation in Miami NCL must FIX THIS. It is not wise to begin a cruise with chaos, inefficiency and overcrowding. NCL has the opportunity to create a positive first impression ONCE; and on this cruise, it failed. I later learned that ... Read More
Embarkation in Miami NCL must FIX THIS. It is not wise to begin a cruise with chaos, inefficiency and overcrowding. NCL has the opportunity to create a positive first impression ONCE; and on this cruise, it failed. I later learned that the delay was caused by an unannounced ship inspection which NCL STAR passed with ease. An explanation of the unavoidable delays should have been communicated to all passengers as soon as possible (e.g., in the newsletter) so that those unfamiliar with NCL would know that NCL check in is usually efficient. By not communicating it to passengers, NCL missed an opportunity to reduce passenger displeasure with NCL even before boarding the ship. Even as a PLATINUM level NCL Cruiser, our check in took one and a half hours. It was the slowest and most inefficient check in I have ever experienced. Even the photograph taken at check in did not process which required that we line up again at customer service desk to re-take the photo. NCL security would not allow anyone to disembark without a photo registered. Dining People go on cruises to EAT and my experience with the food on the NCL Star is hit & miss; mostly a miss. Some dishes were good, others were less so. Here are more examples re my disappointment with dining in the NCL Star: the scallops were minuscule and overly salted; the pork loin seemed overcooked which made it unnecessarily tough, the sliced sirloin was so tough it was inedible, the french toast, scrambled eggs and cinnamon buns and every fish dish I tried (except for the salmon poached in broth) were overcooked, i.e. dry. Maybe others had better luck, The sliced fruit (cantaloupe, strawberries and honeydew) were NEVER ripe. This made the fruit hard and not flavorful. This was especially true for the morning fruit plate that could be ordered for breakfast room service. I stopped eating fruit. BUFFET Overall, the food at the Garden Buffet is below average with dishes reappearing in other forms on consecutive days and a very monotonous breakfast selection. For example, if one day you had a pork roast, the following day you may likely see sliced breaded & fried pork steaks with some overcooked sauce. Unlike on prior NCL ships where you could find a daily roast (e.g. turkey, pig, prime rib, roast beef) the NCL Star often just offered roasted chicken. Bottom line: there is plenty to eat in the complimentary restaurants; it’s just that the food preparation and presentation is below average. Maybe the NCL STAR needs a new more creative chef or a higher food budget. Not once did we see roast turkey, prime rib or sucking pig. I usually only go to the buffet for breakfast for an omelette. I’ll also admit I enjoy passing by the buffet late in the evening for a light snack. The fresh cookies that used to appear on every other NCL ship are GONE. The cookies now served seem to be made from a frozen dough roll and are not edible. There is also no real ice cream station. The soft serve ice cream machine is not good. I was also disappointed with the juices offered in that they are overly sweet and not good. Even their coffee is just OK. THE BEST COFFEE is what you can make in your room if you can get a coffee machine. Most of the cakes offered at the Buffet that I tried lacked moisture and flavor, and were not as aesthetically pleasing as on prior NCL cruises. A cake must be aesthetically pleasing to the eye, moist and flavorful; never dry. I often stopped after the first bite because the cakes failed. On the positive side: I often did not finish one entire piece of cake. The bottom line is that it’s not about serving lobster or fillet mignon; it’s about doing right what is served. The most edible daily cake was the pound cake that was consistently fresh and moist. COMPLIMENTARY RESTAURANTS The complimentary Versailles & Aqua restaurants provide a sit down served meal in a relaxed, elegant, yet casual environment with table cloths, a menu, and waiter service. You can even have dinner wearing nice shorts and sandals at Aqua. I go on cruises to relax and even having to dress up for dinner is sometimes stressful; so at Versailles & Aqua you can dress down and still have a wonderful unhurried served meal where you order from a varied menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Loved them both, but especially Versailles with its high ceilings. Aqua, on the other hand, tends to be a bit too loud for my taste because of its low ceiling. The larger more formal Versailles does not permit men to wear shorts at dinnertime. I was also able to dine at Cagney’s Steakhouse, Moderno Churrascaría (Brazilian steakhouse), Le Bistro and La Cuccina. All specialty restaurants are SIGNIFICANTLY better than the offerings at the Versailles or Aqua. There is a fee to dine in these specialty restaurants but it is the onky way to ensure you enjoy an excellent meal. It is disappointing to say that in this NCL ship, my favorite dish were the fajitas served at the 24 hour O’sheehans Pub. In all 16 days, the best meals were at the specialty restaurants. I do not remember one memorable meal at either the complimentary Aqua or Versailles restaurants. As a Platinum NCL cruiser, this is the first ship where I have uniformly been disappointed with the complimentary restaurants as well as the buffet. Not sure if it is just a substandard head chef or an attempt to cut costs. The dinner at Moderno includes unlimited served steak, chicken, lamb, pork, lamb chops and chorizo as well as a salad bar with hearts of palm, marinated grilled peppers, cold shrimp, cheeses, in addition to the usual salad bar fare. If you have a special event to celebrate Moderno could be a more exclusive quieter space with good quality meats. Even vegetarians would enjoy Moderno because of the salad bar. The Brazilian cheese rolls at Moderno are soft flavorful and delicious. Service Service is where the NCL STAR excels. The service throughout the NCL STAR is simply put: Excellent; period. I would attribute that to a committed hardworking well-trained young staff. I was extremely impressed with the commitment of the mostly young and foreign staff throughout the ship, from housekeeping to food service. Housekeeping staff was uniformly excellent. Whatever you need, they try to accommodate you. For example, I always like having iced water; my rook steward brought me a small ice bucket and made certain it was regularly refilled. Towels were fluffy, thick and absorbent, the bed was always beautifully made and the stateroom was kept impeccably clean and tidy. The restaurant staff was equally excellent: they were professional, efficient, attentive, respectful and always had a welcoming smile. Now, if the chef and food preparers could be reminded of what makes for a good cinnamon bun, soft scrambled eggs, moist French toast, tender and juicy pork or beef roast, tender ribs, edible scallops and what should be a very basic baked fish dish, I would have rated the food on the NCL Star as excellent; however, it wasn’t. Remember NCL, it’s not about seeing lobster or prime rib: just do well what you do well and passengers will reward with excellent evaluations and praise. The heroes of every cruise, are the cabin attendants that ensure your cabin is kept clean, tidy, stocked, functional and smelling nice. Even if you included the service charge when you paid for your cruise, tip them a little extra before you disembark. They should never be taken for granted and should be rewarded for having to work with those cleaning chemicals all day. Enrichment Activities Enrichment activities need to be reworked and improved, especially in the longer cruises with more sea days and with an older passenger composition. I have suggested that NCL add real enrichment opportunities more appropriate for older frequent cruisers who may not be as enthusiastic about drinking games, sexy man contest, newlywed game, etc. For example, I’d like to use my time onboard to learn how to learn how to cook new dishes, how to bake the perfect cookies or rolls or create a travel blog, something that would be of benefit to NCL itself. Imagine if NCL CRUISERS wrote excellent blogs about their NCL experience. Being able to use one’s time to learn something useful would be well received. Other cruise lines are already providing computer and cooking lessons for cruisers; NCL should too. Learning to play bridge is OK but improving one’s computer or specialty cooking skills is undeniably more desirable and better use of our time, especially for older passengers who want to improve tech skills or learn how to prepare dishes from some of the ports visited. The cake decorating session was more of a fun comedy exercise than a serious baking or cake decorating learning session. For the longer cruises, lectures about the recent history or current political realities of each country visited would add so much to the overall experience. The lecturer on this ship was more of an entertainer than a serious lecturer. His talks seemed to be aimed at middle school children that needed to be entertained. Am sure there are even some cruisers who would be willing to host talks and share their own knowledge of each port. The content of the lectures offered on this cruise were substandard and never covered the current political and economic situation in the countries visited or any discussion of their history and culture. Entertainment Enjoyed most shows. The production shows with the ship’s singers and dancers were consistently the best. The comedian was OK but a couple of young Ukrainians who did some aerial maneuvers was repetitive, amateurish and embarrassingly bad. The magician was extremely funny and performed basic but entertaining tricks. The music throughout the ship was varied and uniformly good. Everyone could find enjoyable live music. The music by the pool and in other public spaces was significantly more mellow and less loud than what one would hear on 7-day Caribbean cruises with a younger passenger composition that may prefer blaring music by Pitbull, Cardi B, rappers and top 40 artists. Fitness & Recreation The Spa Thermal Suite on the NCL STAR is not as large and impressive as the thermal suite on the larger ships. On this trip, I found the $159 price charge for the 16 day cruise VERY reasonable. In my opinion, it is worth the added expense just to have a quiet less crowded child-free area to relax in. My only observation is that the chairs in each of the relaxing areas should be replaced with cushioned lounges. The staff in the Spa should also ensure that the area is kept clean, dry and tidy. A number of times I saw plates & glass cups brought from the buffet uncollected for hours. I also never saw the Spa maintenance remove sitting water from the areas around the lap or thermal pools or the jacuzzi or from the area outside the men’s sauna, steam room & cold plunge pool. Those area were consistently wet and dangerously slippery. The iced water containers in the Spa were often empty; they should be regularly refilled. The Spa treatments offered are expensive and superficial; avoid them. Even with a $75 coupon, the facial I tried was significantly below average compared to any facial you would have at home. It was mostly pizzaz but hardly any real cleaning and definitely no extractions. For example, although I intentionally pointed out one blackhead by the nose before beginning the facial, that one blackhead was still there when the treatment ended despite mentioning it twice during the actual treatment. It was a nice face massage with a number of ointments applied, pretty background music, nice smells, but not a real professional facial cleaning. At the end of the treatment, although a 20% tip is already included on your bill, the nice young lady who just did your face massage will hand you the bill with an open space for an ADDITIONAL TIP. Beware: a 20% “service charge” already added to your bill included, IS the tip; remind her. This is how I felt at the end of the very expensive Spa treatment: I felt like one feels after one goes on one of those time-share tours. The difference, however, is that in addition to being subjected to pressure to purchase products you don’t need and to give a tip in excess of 20%, you are paying a price that is significantly higher than what you pay at home. Avoid the temptation to sign up for any Spa treatment. Beware. Shore Excursions The NCL excursions are expensive, impersonal and just too large. On this cruise, I identified tour operators through Trip Advisor reviews and searching sites such as Viator. I then contacted a number of tour operators at each port and proposed an itinerary combining the highlights of some of the excursions available through NCL, Trip Advisor or Viator. I requested a proposal from each tour operator for a group from a Cruise Critic, at a significantly reduced price, of course. Whomever hasn’t joined Cruise Critic, should. It’s a great way to learn of lower priced and more comprehensive excursions for 20-30 cruisers organized by members themselves. I was able to design an excursion at each port and filled every space with little effort; the excursions were comprehensive and cheap. If you do this, I suggest asking members for a 20% deposit a month before the cruise and requiring full payment on or before the Meet & Greet. You must ensure that when you commit to a final number, you will be able to deliver for the tour operator. Without deposits and advance full payment, you may find that some cruisers just don’t show up on the day of the excursion. That could affect everyone else because often the low price negotiated is based on a minimum number of paying participants. I was able to negotiate prices that were at most a 1/3 of a comparable NCL excursion. The key to success in organizing a private excursion for Cruise Critic members is: (1) identifying a tour operator with excellent Trip Advisor reviews, (2) not being overly ambitious in designing an itinerary (to ensure your group returns in time for departure) and (3) having all participants make payment before departure. It’s a lot of work but the benefits are significant and these smaller excursions with other Cruise Critic members are a lot of fun. Passenger Composition Longer cruises attract a calmer, older, educated, and cordial passenger load. I found fellow passengers to be extremely polite, friendly, kind, and easy going. Compared to other NCL CRUISES I also found the music selection throughout the ship to be much more relaxed; more mellow rock and vocals and less Pit Bull, rap or hip hop. It was relaxingly delicious for a cruise. There was also a time where the promenade of deck 7 was pleasantly busy with walkers, some a little slower than others but the slow ones kindly staying on the right to allow the faster walker to maintain their pace. Many of these walkers had headphones and some elderly couples walked hand-in-hand which was lovely to see as the average age of the couples was on the high side. Everyone got along well. Mi also noticed that some walkers preferred to walk also in deck 7 but walked inside on the more cushioned carpet. Another wonderful observation of the longer cruise is that the pool area is never full or loud. I also noticed that unlike in other cruises, passengers are very cordial with each other and there is not the morning rush to reserve lounge chairs. When a chair is being used there was usually a body on the chair. It was also nice to see the two pools hardly ever used or full and the four whirlpools always had plenty of space, and usually by 5 or 5:30 pm, one or more of the whirlpools were vacant. And although the pool slide was opened on every nice day at sea, there was hardly ever a line. NCL STAR Ports I booked the NCL STAR’s South America 16 day cruise primarily because of the scheduled visits to historically-relevant Cartagena and Santa Marta, Colombia. Those stops were cancelled only a week before the cruise without much of an explanation from NCL headquarters. The reason given was “mechanical reasons,” a term which caused widespread concern among Cruise Critic Roll Call participants who imagined the worse, i.e., safety issues. Those port visits were replaced by Grand Cayman and Puerto Limon. Grand Cayman is nothing more than an uneventful beach stop. Beach stops on longer cruises (with predominantly older passenger composition) are neither appealing nor desirable. Passengers would have preferred Panama City, for example, or any other more historically-interesting port. More attention should be given by NCL in how it communicates schedule changes to passengers and how it identifies replacement ports. Final Disembarkation: Be sure to pick up your preferred color luggage tags early if you have a preferred time to disembark. If someone in your party requires wheel chair assistance, the party should go to the announced meeting spot to wait for assistance disembarking. Tip your wheelchair steward. The Port of San Antonio is significantly better prepared to receive disembarking passengers than the Port of Valparaiso. When I disembarked in Valparaiso, it was chaos and I speak perfect SPANISH. There were taxis waiting to rip-off cruisers who simply wanted to get to the bus terminal less than 5 minutes away and the bus terminal was unprepared for English speaking customers. I am certain that a number of cruisers disembarking in Valparaiso were subjected to scams or even victims of pickpockets or worse. The Port of San Antonio, on the other hand, was prepared. There was English-speaking young persons providing information to disembarking cruisers, young persons serving as volunteer porters helping passengers with their luggage, the luggage was placed in a well organized, large, clean, covered holding area, Chilean customs was efficient, there were sitting areas for passengers, clean bathrooms and personnel everywhere providing information and assistance in English. The best part, however, was that disembarking passengers did NOT have to make their way to the city’s bus terminal to catch a regular Chilean $7 bus ride to Santiago. There was a bus actually inside the Port where English speaking employees from the Chilean Pullman Bus Company would sell you a bus ticket with a credit card, help place your luggage in the luggage hold under the bus and even assign you a seat in the bus. It was amazing service. Cruisers did not need to exit the protected Cruise Terminal area to hop on a regular Chilean bus to Santiago. REALLY...AMAZING! Kudos to the City of San Antonio! Why would any cruise line disembark in Valparaiso when they can disembark their passengers safely and efficiently in San Antonio. San Antońio has been the most organized port where I have disembarked on any NCL cruise, Miami included. I was impressed. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
A friend was going on it and invited my wife and I. Like the entertainment and food. Ship was filled to capacity, a little less that 4800 passengers according to a trivia tiebreaker answer, Just too many people. Since the taste ... Read More
A friend was going on it and invited my wife and I. Like the entertainment and food. Ship was filled to capacity, a little less that 4800 passengers according to a trivia tiebreaker answer, Just too many people. Since the taste restaurant closed for breakfast somewhat early [9am in port or 9:30 at sea] we many times got stuck at the buffet, which was absolute BEDLAM. Hard to find a seat, loud obnoxious spanish speaking old ladies plus the crash of dishes, cooks trying to keep up with the demand etc. made for an unpleasant experience. Some of these ladies would not wait for the elevator to empty before they crowded on. Then they act like they don’t understand English. At least they let people take their food down to the Italian restaurant 1 deck down and near the front, to eat in peace and quiet. breakfast and lunch only. Then there was the disaster of embarking in Barcelona, blamed on some kind of disease outbreak requiring the entire ship to be cleaned, or customs. My friend got a letter regarding the disease outbreak and Clay, the cruise director blamed it on customs at a question and answer meeting in the Epic Theatre. One old gentleman said he was unable to stand in line for the four hours and had to go to the sick bay once on board. I should have mentioned to the officers there that they blew it, the cruise line could have made a lot of extra money renting wheelchairs. They are otherwise so good and grinding extra money [no good wi-fi package, warm water coming out of the cold water facet in the cabin sink, signs saying don’t fill water bottles at the buffet and gym water stations, for example] out of the passengers, hard to believe they missed that chance. Then there was the disembarking disaster at Puerto Rico.. Same thing, blamed it on customs. Rumor also had it that 1-4 people died during the cruise so that could have caused the delay. So because of lack of people coming off the ship the taxi wrangler sent all the taxis to an adjacent 6000 passenger Royal Caribbean ship. Because both these ships were so large they had to tie up at a dock a long ways from the town. When we finally got a taxi he said he wasn’t going to fight the traffic jam returning to the ship after he dropped us off at our hotel in Old San Juan. So think twice before going on this ship anywhere. I will NEVER go on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I like the organization of exterior public spaces. Most outward facing railing is composed of evenly spaced vertically oriented glass panels. Panels range in height from four to eight feet. All panels are about a foot wide and every gap ... Read More
I like the organization of exterior public spaces. Most outward facing railing is composed of evenly spaced vertically oriented glass panels. Panels range in height from four to eight feet. All panels are about a foot wide and every gap between those panes is about 3 inches. It serves perfectly it’s intended perfectly in three ways. First, you can see everything. They may get a bit obscured with sea spray, but that just means that the spray is not on you. Second, they foil wind. Though forty knot wind was making the rigging howl, behind this screen I felt only a breeze. Finally the gaps between the panels are just the right size for a camera. Most of the topside around the midship swimming pool is chaise lounge sized tiers. It’s easy to navigate with a plate full of food and there is plenty of space for everybody. I like the complimentary restaurant meals. They were consistently well prepared. The portions were consistently well prepared and small, which is as it should be. If you need a larger meal, you simply order more courses. For example, I ordered five scallop appetizer courses, and skipped the entree. A major shortcoming that I found for the Star is that it lacks a public quiet interior space with a view of the sea. All those seeking an interior space to pull threads or read or play card are banished to artificially lit cave like places. On the Star, all the interior, sunny comfortable places serve the purpose of dining, drinking and watching sports. This shortcoming could be easily remedied by eliminating one of the upper mid-ship specialty restaurants or eliminate the interior portion of the “owners suite” or eliminating a half dozen cabins fwd of the library on deck 12. I did not like the access to the main dining room, Versaille, located at the rear of the ship. The room can seat probably 500 and is beautifully decorated. It’s well lit in the evenings. The problem is the entrance. The Access is gained by descending a stair from deck 7 down to the dining room floor on Deck 6. Midway down the flight is a landing that serves as the entrance to the room, and is where the maitre-de sorts party sizes and assigns tables. The stairs from the Maitre-de to the floor are ornate and inside the room. It makes for a very dramatic entrance, however for those guests who cannot take stairs very easily the only way in is via a single elevator shaft. What I mean is that on deck seven, directly adjacent to the dining room entry stairwell, is a bank of four elevator shafts serving Deck seven thru thirteen. Only one of those four shafts goes down to the floor level of the Versaille. To add to the insult, those shafts do not serve stateroom decks five or four either. For residents on those decks, travel to the Versaille dining room always requires a trip to deck seven. From the floor of the restaurant, decks five and four cannot be accessed directly by stairwell either. I did not like the Stardust Theatre. I’ve sat in stadiums with more comfortable seating than the orchestra seats. Many are broken. All are uncomfortable. In the current configuration all stalls seating must be accessed via two central aisles. Seating on the extreme right and left of the theatre extend straight to the walls. As human nature dictates aisle seating is taken first and the theatre filles progressively outward toward the walls. Because there is no aisle access at the extremes, much standing and jockeying is forced upon those seated at the aisle. If three or so dozen seats were removed from next to the walls to create additional aisles, human traffic would flow much more smoothly. The upper “box” seating is more comfortable. The “box” seating is a set of two heavily cushioned benches where the railings are composed of a series of glass panels. From the outermost, front, box bench the view of the stage is adequate. The second row view is not. In order to view the stage one must stand, which I was compelled to do because the ships steady dance troupe put on was wonderful. The live musical entertainment was too loud. Music for a sober mid-day crowd should not be louder than normal conversation. Mid day and sunny afternoons before an audience of middle aged and older adults is not a setting where entertainment should make itself the center of attention. Nor inside the atrium during dinner hours. At these times, in these places, musicians purpose is simply to set a mood. “Loud” is for the “not so sober” crowds later in the evening. For those of us that take care to wear ear protection when working with power tools, being exposed to the Star’s musical entertainment is (was) counterproductive. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
The timeline fit well for us and the price was great. The food in the dining rooms was mostly tasty, but not always hot. The service seemed to be a bit better in the Aqua restaurant, and Aqua was less noisy. You did not need to make ... Read More
The timeline fit well for us and the price was great. The food in the dining rooms was mostly tasty, but not always hot. The service seemed to be a bit better in the Aqua restaurant, and Aqua was less noisy. You did not need to make reservations, but you could if you wanted to. We did not try any a la carte restaurants, and we heard mixed reviews from those that did. We were treated to dinner with the officers (we put our name in a "hat" and they chose us), and we enjoyed it very much. The gala night was not well advertised, so we missed it. The cinnamon buns are not as good as Holland America (those of you that have enjoyed HAL cinnamon buns know what I mean). The buffet served scones with cream and jam around 3 pm for tea. We enjoy classical music, and there was very little of it, but we did enjoy the violinist from Poland. The evening entertainment was good with a good variety including comedian, magician, contortionist, gymnast, acrobatics, Adele impersonator, violinist, the Norwegian star orchestra, singers, and dancers. Robert was a gifted pianist which we also enjoyed in the Gatsby lounge. The daytime or sea day entertainment was a bit lacking unless you liked art auctions, bingo, casino activities, or trivia.I did enjoy the odd lecture from a geologist, and sometimes they showed a movie in the theater. There are many seminars available to promote their spa services or to purchase their health products. There is a library, and board games are available there to use. There is no puzzle room, but there is an internet cafe. The photo area is very modern. You can check your photos on one of the many computers, or they have a binder for each cabin where you can check out the printed photos. The photographers were very good at their work. The gym has no change room or showers. It is located at the back of the ship and is quite dark. I appreciated the morning stretch and ab classes in the morning, however the room got very crowded some mornings. There are no animal towels in your cabin, no bathrobes, no chocolates on your pillow. There was a mini fridge and mini bar in our room. This was a bare bones cruise compared to some other ships that we have been on, but overall, we enjoyed ourselves. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We were planning on a trip to Barcelona for week and decided to try a transatlantic experience. Barcelona is great city and we had a great week. Having read previous reviews, we realized that the Star was an older ship that had a ... Read More
We were planning on a trip to Barcelona for week and decided to try a transatlantic experience. Barcelona is great city and we had a great week. Having read previous reviews, we realized that the Star was an older ship that had a refurbishment, so we knew it wouldn't be perfect. All in all, it's not one of the best, but it is pretty good ship. We had a mini suite which had a couple of nice features including a full size bath tub which was very nice. The cabin was a good size. The bed was bit too firm. The sofa was like sitting on a rock. I've never understood why NCL hasn't made these couches more comfortable for daily use. We like to spend some time in the cabin and a more comfortable couch would have made all the difference! Our cabin location was on deck 11, under the pool deck. A bit of noise in the early mornings from pool deck furniture being moved around, but not a deal breaker. The glass on the balcony is getting pretty old. Not as clear as you'd find on a newer ship. Our cabin attendant Ricardo was amazing. He did a great job and we were very lucky to have had him look after us. The majority of the crew were great as well. Very friendly ser Food was average. Celebrity was much better. This was our first experience with freestyle dinning and it was a good idea. Points to NCL for coming up with this concept. The buffet was average, but the staff were really good. There are very few areas on the ship where you could go and sit for an hour or two of relative quiet to read or just relax. The other thing that was annoying was the additional 20% tip you were charged every time you ordered a drink. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem paying the daily tips and giving our cabin attendant a well deserved extra tip, but the 20% gratuity on every drink is stupid. No, we didn't get a drink package and I'm okay in paying for drinks as you go. To get your money's worth out of the drink package, you'd have to be a borderline alcoholic. Just being honest folks! The ports of call were nice. The one downer was losing our last port in the Azores due to weather. They stopped in the Bahamas at the NCL Island which was a disappointment. An extra day in Madeira would have been much better. We like doing our own thing instead of paying for excursions, so can't comment on the ones provided for by NCL. This was our first time on NCL. We had sailed on MSC and Celebrity before this one. Would we do it again? Probably not. Maybe Holland America next time. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Chose this cruise to cross the Atlantic. Cabin was nice. Service was somewhat lacking. Food on the buffet was on par with other cruise lines, but dining room food was very poor. No steak and lobster, not even once. No dress up night or ... Read More
Chose this cruise to cross the Atlantic. Cabin was nice. Service was somewhat lacking. Food on the buffet was on par with other cruise lines, but dining room food was very poor. No steak and lobster, not even once. No dress up night or even a Captains dinner. I would compare the cruise to traveling in coach on a discount airline. Not one of the crew ever called us by our name. Entertainment for the most part was top notch. Nowhere onboard to buy a bottled drink (i.e. gatoraid), only in the bars. Even the restaurants that you had to pay for were average at best. Purchased the transfer for leaving the ship, going to the airport. Disembarkation was late, took more than an hour to load each bus, then the process started over. After standing in line for more than an hour, had to take a taxi to make our flight. Will not cruise on NCL again Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
My wife has taught Kindergarten for 39 years. She only had only item on her bucket -- to take repositioning cruise just to experience doing something that isn't in the high seasons: summer, Christmas, Easter. Norwegian was ... Read More
My wife has taught Kindergarten for 39 years. She only had only item on her bucket -- to take repositioning cruise just to experience doing something that isn't in the high seasons: summer, Christmas, Easter. Norwegian was the obvious choice -- it puts more effort into adding some interesting ports of call at one end of a transatlantic crossing, and the price was the most competitive. So, this cruise had stops in Spain and Madeira. Because of rough seas in the Azores, we couldn't pull in there; we took a more southern route to Miami. Our only big disappointment was that Norwegian chose to substitute that port with a second last day stop at their own island in the Bahamas. We think they could have been more creative: how about an extra night in Madeira, a stop in the Canary Islands, or a "real" port in the Caribbean? We were really happy with the cruise. For us, food is number one on a cruise. Perhaps we were a little nervous knowing how much Norwegian promotes specialty dining. But, the main dining room Versailles was where we spent most of our time for meals since we enjoyed just about everything. The staff were incredible, and if we were patient, we could often get seated in a section with the same waiters -- something we enjoy in getting to know people better. Norwegian doesn't offer the most expensive choices -- prime rib and lobster and some other seafood -- in the "free" restaurants; yet the quality of food is great. It is served hot (even something like fish and chips). The recipes are tasty. I have yet to be on any cruise ship that can make a decent pastry or pie crust; therefore, I wasn't surprised that those kinds of food related items were not all that great. We have been on about 8 cruises with other cruise lines in the same price category -- and we can say Norwegian has the best entertainment in the main theatre. No corny musical reviews. The productions with singers and dancers were more sophisticated. And for the other nights with specialty acts, the comedians, acrobats, singers, violinist, magician were all top notch -- standing ovations each time. The show band, in whole or individually, played in other venues. They were really personable and allowed us to get to know them. The Star also featured other musical individuals or groups throughout the 14 days. We had heard that Norwegian was the "nickel and dime" cruise. Certainly, you get charged for more things than on other cruises. With the emphasis on specialty dining, we tried a three night package. In our view, they are not worth the $80 per couple per night upcharge; but it seemed as if they were popular. I think some people had them somehow included as part of their initial purchase for the cruise. Booze is expensive. No deals like a 5 or 7 bottle wine package. $9 for a draft beer seems steep. The specialty drinks at a minimum of $11 were not always prepared properly. And, it is a little annoying that in order to use the For us, the real pleasure of a cruise is getting to know the people who serve us. They are so hard working and dedicated, in spite of being so separated from their families for 8 months at a time. We wish Norwegian could give them more opportunity to somehow connect more regularly with their loved ones back home. If anyone gets an opportunity to be served by these people, you will feel special indeed: Room stewards Mohamed Rosidik, and Angel Ramirez, Dining room waiters Dora Xiao Joe Yang and Ericson Nasol; Wine Steward Roshan Mathias; Dining room attendant Johnson Miranda; Hostesses Ksenija and Maricris; Maitre D' Jasime; Spa attendant Jessica DeGraca. We will definitely cruise with Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We just completed our first Transatlantic Crossing on the Norwegian Star. It was a fabulous trip...and even in November the weather was fantastic...in the hot tub every day. The Star is an older ship but a crew was wonderful. The best ... Read More
We just completed our first Transatlantic Crossing on the Norwegian Star. It was a fabulous trip...and even in November the weather was fantastic...in the hot tub every day. The Star is an older ship but a crew was wonderful. The best port call was Madeira....Due to a storm, we missed the port call at the Azores but they more than made up for it with a final day port call at their private island, Great Stirrup Cay....a gorgeous sunny day on the beach was perfect to close out the cruise. We did mainly upgraded dining...so the food was great. We particularly loved the Sushi bar. And our meals that we did in Aqua and Versailles were very good. The one show we attended was the Las Vegas review which we first class...great story along with awesome choreography and music. Our cabin steward, Charles, was very attentive. The bar staff (Marcello, Tiger, Matt, Jamie, and Mohammed) were very helpful. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Cruised on the Norwegian Star several years ago and really enjoyed the experience on a mid size ship. The cruise itself was pure pleasure with wonderful food and service and great entertainment. The staff did everything in their power to ... Read More
Cruised on the Norwegian Star several years ago and really enjoyed the experience on a mid size ship. The cruise itself was pure pleasure with wonderful food and service and great entertainment. The staff did everything in their power to insure that their guests had a great time. The entertainment package provided was first rate and especially enjoyed the big band musical presentations. Since this was a repositioning cruise there were many and varied presentations and social activities. The only low point of the cruise was the embarkation process which was a total horror show. Total disorganization was the order of the day and compared with other cruise lines Norwegian rates a distant last place. That was the only negative for the entire cruise experience. One other added note was the selection of Cadiz as a port stop. It was my first time in this beautiful and charming city and a high point of the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I have been on previous repositioning Epic cruises. My cousin traveled with me and she has been on 9 repositioning Epic cruises at this same time of year. It seemed like a sure thing....BUT surprise! This cruise was a nightmare from ... Read More
I have been on previous repositioning Epic cruises. My cousin traveled with me and she has been on 9 repositioning Epic cruises at this same time of year. It seemed like a sure thing....BUT surprise! This cruise was a nightmare from start to finish! Embarkation was a nightmare. We are both disabled and the embarkation staff didn't know what to do with us. Then my cousin was asking for a wheelchair and she waited 3 hours for one. People were still boarding the ship during the lifeboat drill. Epic tried to blame this mess on the immigration staff, but they were the ones responsible for getting wheelchairs and helping disabled passengers through the line and they were non existent! The cruise only went downhill from there. As a disabled cruiser, I have always found NCL accommodating and helpful. Not this time! Hallways were exceptionally cluttered and impossible to navigate. Elevators were packed (with only 8 total elevators and 4000 passengers). Staff from those in the theater to excursions knew nothing and treated us rudely. There are many examples of this...while waiting for our excursion in the theater, one poor lady was begging for a chair and in pain. A crew member herded us in the corner and no one helped her, despite my efforts on her behalf! They never gave us instructions and we all finally left the ship on our own, found our way through the terminal and to the buses, no help from NCL at all! Our first excursion was a bus to the "city" for sightseeing and shopping. It ended on a 4 lane highway, a mile from the cathedral and no shops in sight. I returned to the ship via a different bus and had to retrieve my own walker from under the bus! Second excursion was no better. No one at all to help disabled people at entrance to theater, and we went on our own to find bus again. This is after battling elevators for 20 minutes. The tour was labeled activity level 1, minimal activity. Actually it involved a brisk 45 min.walking tour over a mile and included steps. With other passengers helping on steps, I managed, but my cousin had to sit and wait for us. The one good part was the shore excursion manager, Catalina...she refunded the first trip and half of the second, then personally looked out for us at the buses for the remainder of the trip. She was having quite the time training her new staff! Shows in the theater on deck 6 had a roped off seating area marked disabled for us. But no staff to move the rope and heavy stand. Our first show in the theater a crew member berated an elderly couple and said they couldn't sit there because they weren't in a wheelchair...they were very clearly unable to navigate steps! The rest of the trip crew stayed away, and healthy young people (not part of a disabled person's party) took over the area! Finally, I booked an excursion and asked the crew member if I was allowed to use my walker, showing him that the tour description said no wheelchairs due to space limitations. He glibly said sure that should be fine, but days later I got a call from the manager that I couldn't go on the tour. Totally disorganized, and with the exception on the wonderful manager, uncaring! The ship was filled to capacity and was as noisy as a school cafeteria in the atrium and dining areas. I couldn't attend many functions that didn't require reservations, despite early arrivals...just no space anywhere. It was like being a sardine in a can with screeching dolphins! Supposedly the ship was not filling up and since it was their first debarkation in Puerto Rico, they pushed deals there. 3200 Puerto Ricans came onboard, packing us to capacity. Most were large groups of celebrating families and friends, raising the noise level to intolerable levels. Let me tell you, I tolerate a lot of noise, as a former elementary teacher, but this was unreal!! I tried 3 times before I could squeeze into the cavern club for their Beatle group. Packed to the brim, even then. The entertainment for such a long cruise was pretty good, I will say. Different musicians, hypnotist, comedy, magic, etc. Nice variety. The standards were Priscilla and Burn the Floor. Those required tickets ahead of time. The first Priscilla was cancelled due to mechanical problems. Speaking of mechanical problems, the midship escalator was broken the first few days, which only added to the crowded elevators! Many crew were new to the ship and confused. Service was spotty everywhere, even in specialty restaurants. Food was inconsistent, not cooked to order, cold, someone else's order, you name it! Not what you'd expect for all of the extra fees. Oh, speaking of food, I had to order room service on my first night! I couldn't get in an elevator despite 45 min. of trying. They didn't charge me the service charge for the order, but it was a disappointment for my first night onboard. Communication was poor. NCL seems to only care about making money at this point. Phones flashed messages with ads for purchasing trip credits, attending functions, shopping, money, money, money! I felt it was an invasion of privacy. The ship announcements by the captain were difficult to understand due to his accent and impossible to hear from the dining room or atrium due to noise levels. On our last night we were delayed in port with police boats at our bow and stern for 6 hours! No announcements were made and passengers got quite concerned. Now for the medical situation...a letter was issued at embarkation saying that the norovirus had been present on the last cruise and they were disinfecting the ship. If anyone wanted to cancel their cruise, they would receive credit for a future cruise. OK, here is the issue...I was not told of this notice, only reading it after boarding the ship. Plus, I had traveled overnight for many hours, flying to Barcelona. Still, I might have elected to not travel if I had known before boarding. I definitely would have not gone if they had been courteous enough to notify me before I left home. With a serious heart problem and upcoming surgery it would have not been worth the risk. Naturally, they didn't tell us a day before because they would lose money! Now it gets interesting...onboard there were many sick passengers, some with norovirus, some with upper respiratory issues. Coughing was heard all over the ship. I was afraid to breathe! Norovirus patients were confined to cabins and given free medical care, not the others. My cousin was perfectly healthy upon arrival, but a week into the cruise she fell victim to the respiratory illness. Her trip to the sickbay netted her a bill of $2500, which was even more for her in Canadian dollars. Sure, she has insurance, but this bill had to be paid before disembarking and now she has to go through the insurance headache. AND the dr. visit didn't help. She was wheezing and having difficulty breathing the rest of the time. Getting a wheelchair to disembark was only available by traveling to the cavern club and began a 8 am, but her bus left at 7:45. Front desk replied, That's our policy. Sheesh! Some compassion, NCL! I hope you appreciate all the money passengers spent on medical care this trip! Debarkation in Puerto Rico was a disaster. 3 large ships in port, and no room in the terminal. After part of the first group headed for early flight departures had disembarked, they halted all disembarkation for 3 hours. It ended with free alcohol on deck 5 to compensate. Just what they needed with everyone packed on that deck, shoulder to shoulder, sprawled all over the floor, waiting to get to deck 4 to get off the ship. Drunk passengers should help that situation a lot...way to go NCL! I stayed on deck 15 with the patient, quiet few! Overall, if this is the new normal for NCL I will part ways with them gladly. Cruising has always been a joy, but I was never so glad to be back on land and at home. I did send NCL a poor review and asked for management to respond to me. We will see. My cousin had already booked the same cruise for next year, but says now she will cancel. It is such a shame. Cruising NCL at one time was a delight. Now I guess only the Haven passengers can expect a good cruise. Before you say anything, my hubby and I were in the Haven twice and loved it, but also have had many other wonderful cruises on lower decks! I am not a grumpy passenger and have never posted a poor review. Shame on you, NCL for this horrendous trip! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Chose this cruise for the Itinerary, price and perks. Have enjoyed NCL in the past (platinum member) but this cruise was different. The embarkation was a disaster, 21/2 to 3 hours in line, with no communication as to what was going on! ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the Itinerary, price and perks. Have enjoyed NCL in the past (platinum member) but this cruise was different. The embarkation was a disaster, 21/2 to 3 hours in line, with no communication as to what was going on! And lack of communication was evident at other times during the cruise. The crew was hit and miss on friendliness, and we unfortunately had an outright unfriendly room steward, which is a 1st. The balcony room had plenty of storage but did not like the small sink out in the bedroom area. We found the specialty restaurants good, but the regular dining just Ok. And finally disembarkation was another disaster with long delays and lines.I prefer to do only positive reviews but this was a disappointment. I think NCL needs to look at how they operate. Communication on what is happening was lacking on this cruise and should be improved. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
My husband and I arrived 5 days prior to the start of our cruise and loved Barcelona, giving us the opportunity to explore many of the sites there. We were excited about trying NCL, not ever having cruised with them before (we have ... Read More
My husband and I arrived 5 days prior to the start of our cruise and loved Barcelona, giving us the opportunity to explore many of the sites there. We were excited about trying NCL, not ever having cruised with them before (we have cruised on Holland and Princess before for a total of 10 cruises). The price of this cruise was fabulous and included free specialty restaurants, excursion credit in each port, free WiFi minutes, a free drink package and onboard credit of $150. However, the ship was not as we had hoped. Our embarkation took over 3 1/2 hours of standing in line, and then when we got to our cabin, the layout is different than what we’ve experienced on other ships with the bathroom divided, the toilet is on one side and the shower is in the other with only frosted acrylic doors that don’t provide ANY privacy and rattle when the seas are at all rough. The storage cabins are not deep, thereby limiting what fits in them. The couch and headboard are both curved so sitting on either is not comfortable. We knew the layout was different but did not expect it to be as unwelcoming as it was. In addition, the bed itself squeaked and the mattress was not very comfortable. The tv options are limited, the lighting is poor if you are trying to apply makeup, and the water temperature fluctuated to sometimes scalding levels. We always book a mini suite cabin because we like to relax in our own space. This particular cruise had 5 sea days crossing the Atlantic and were looking forward to spending time on our balcony or relaxing in our cabin, but this cabin layout is not conducive to that at all. As for the cruise itself, we liked the Free Style option with no set dining times and no formal evenings unless a person chose to dress formally. This type of cruising allowed us to try different restaurants on board, all wonderful, and plan our excursions or attend the on board shows, which we fabulous, how we wanted to arrange them. Even with 4100 passengers, we never felt overwhelmed with crowds because the layout of the ship has lots of areas to hangout in. The excursions offered by NCL were good and were reasonably priced. The cruise staff was very good and the only problem was trying to get a minibar change which wasn’t ours, reversed, that took 5 trips to Customer Service and 3 phone calls to Housekeeping and even when we left the ship, we still didn’t know till the final charge to our credit card if they had reversed the charge. We disembarked in Puerto Rico and again, this process was not very efficient and we had a 2 hour delay. We were told that the cruise line doesn’t manage this process and that the city is in charge of those arrangements but it’s still a reflection on the cruise line especially if someone is trying to make a flight, which were weren’t. Because we did like most of the cruise and the staff, we will entertain cruising again on NCL but will NOT EVER chose to go on the Epic in the future, it is thankfully the only ship with the cabin layout described above. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We've never been on a transatlantic cruise or to Barcelona, so when we saw this cruise at a good price, we couldn't resist. We spent several days in Barcelona - a great city - before getting on the ship. I've been on ... Read More
We've never been on a transatlantic cruise or to Barcelona, so when we saw this cruise at a good price, we couldn't resist. We spent several days in Barcelona - a great city - before getting on the ship. I've been on about twenty cruises; this is the first with Norwegian. I don't know whether this is typical of the line, but embarkation was very bad. We arrived about twenty minutes before the beginning of boarding (scheduled for noon) to a huge line and it took about three hours to get on the ship. Thankfully it had stopped raining earlier that morning; because there was no cover and it took about two hours before we were able to enter the building where we were processed. On previous cruises on different lines we were given an hour window when to show up and were on the ship in about a half hour. When we were finally on the ship we couldn't go to our cabin because it wasn't ready. We chose an MX category mini-suite (the line chose the cabin - it was significantly cheaper than choosing our own location) and that was spacious and clean with plenty of storage. The negatives of the cabins on the Epic are legend; the sink is next to the bed, the toilet and shower were on either side of the entry, making it noisy and less than private - but we were prepared for those negatives. Another issue is that the beds are short. Anyone taller than about 5'8" would have there feet hanging off the bed. The ship itself felt crowded and noisy, particularly 5th and 6th levels where most things happened. There were very few places that you sit quietly near a window and read. My biggest complaint was with the food. Unless you ate at specialty restaurants - at a significant extra cost - items typical at no extra cost on other ships I've been on (Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean) were not available in the main dining rooms. No lobster tails, crab cakes, prime rib, filet mignon, escargot or shrimp cocktails; salmon was on the menu once in 16 days. And what was available was on the bland side. The buffet was also lacking, with meat generally overcooked and dry. I saw no eggs benedict or smoked salmon (available daily at the buffet on my last Princess cruise), Perhaps they were available in the dining room, but that was only open for two hours and fairly early even on sea days. Entertainment was great and varied except the movies which were older and not very good. The Broadway show Priscilla Queen of the Desert was a delight. There were numerous musical venues, comedians, a magician and hypnotist. The singer NIcola Ward was fantastic. The casino was better than most, with plenty of machines and table games. However, when you made a room charge to play (who carries cash these days?), the charge was 3%. So $100 would cost $103 - $500 would cost $515, This is only time I've been charged a casino fee of this kind to make a room charge on a cruise. Considering a ten year CD pays less than 2% I found the charge exorbitant. Unfortunately I'm a cigarette smoker. There were only two areas, both outside and only one covered that one could smoke. The cigar lounge was banned to cigarette smokers - a first on any cruise I've been on. That means on cold and rainy days it was pretty miserable. Smoking was allowed in parts of the casino, but only when it was open and only if gambling. Service was fine. We were happy with our cabin steward Charles, and with the various waiters in the dining rooms. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Trans Atlantic and stops at three island groups to which we had not been as well as departing from Barcelona to which we have not been - we choose cruises based upon itinerary first. We think the ship is too large and prefer smaller ships. ... Read More
Trans Atlantic and stops at three island groups to which we had not been as well as departing from Barcelona to which we have not been - we choose cruises based upon itinerary first. We think the ship is too large and prefer smaller ships. The cabins (we had aft-facing balcony) were smaller than normal and cramped. The food was not as good as expected. However, the crew/staff made everything worthwhile - they were great! We spent 3 days in Barcelona before the cruise. We should very much like to return. We took 2 TripAdvisor tours and were surprised at how good they were - very pleased. We applaud Max & Natalia (TripAdvisor). Embarkation was awful because of disinfecting the ship from previous problems. It seems hardly possible, but disembarkation was worse apparently because Norwegian failed to estimate baggage (we were told anyway) - delayed several hours. We were concerned about making our flight, but did so; however, we know some missed flights including a couple of friends. There was a high percentage of passengers who were local and the disembarkation should have been controlled instead of pandemonium allowing passengers with flights off first and then locals. Entertainment was good, but especially "Howl at the Moon" - the best I've ever seen on a cruise. The crew and staff were extraordinary and made things enjoyable. We have been 6 times with Norwegian and would go again but on a smaller ship (whatever cruise line as we are itinerary based)' Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We have sailed Norwegian once before (The Jade). Our cruise started with a 1/2 hr line to drop off our luggage and then 2 1/2 hours in line to checkin. Luckily it was not a rainy day but it was hot. ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We have sailed Norwegian once before (The Jade). Our cruise started with a 1/2 hr line to drop off our luggage and then 2 1/2 hours in line to checkin. Luckily it was not a rainy day but it was hot. No adequate explanation- just blamed the port people. With 4100 passengers on board elevator access was often an issue. On disembarkation day there was over a 2 hour delay getting off due “to terminal congestion”. We had most of our breakfasts in the dining room and all dinners in the Taste dining room. We never had to share a table unless we wanted to. All dining staff were very good. We thoroughly enjoyed the Cirque Epicurean dinner show, Pricilla Queen of the desert and the dance troupe Burn the Floor. The Beatles cover band in the Cavern was very popular but seating was full typically an hour before show time. Over all entertainment was very good. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Although I have done many cruises with different cruise companies, this was my first time with Norwegian Cruise Lines. It started off very poorly. It took us over 2 hours standing in line, with my partner who has mobility issues, to get ... Read More
Although I have done many cruises with different cruise companies, this was my first time with Norwegian Cruise Lines. It started off very poorly. It took us over 2 hours standing in line, with my partner who has mobility issues, to get registered for boarding. We had an issue with our beverage package which was not accepted although I showed them the paper work. Guest services was not very helpful and just kept saying that they will send a note to head office. I had to get our travel agent involved and it still took 7 days to totally resolve. The highlight of the cruise was the very good entertainment available. Every evening there were a number of choices of live music or shows to attend. There were a number of good speciality restaurants however the Brazilian restaurant was excellent both is service and quality of food, I highly recommend everyone to try it. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
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