We arrived at the day of embarkation to find that the itinerary had changed. Apparently, this had been known at least a day before. We were to miss 3 (Kotor, Santorini, and Mykonos) of our 6 ports and they added Split and Bar. We were ... Read More
We arrived at the day of embarkation to find that the itinerary had changed. Apparently, this had been known at least a day before. We were to miss 3 (Kotor, Santorini, and Mykonos) of our 6 ports and they added Split and Bar. We were given $200 OBC per cabin and 20% of our cruise price as credit towards a future cruise. This felt a bit gimmicky and doesn't really make up for the fact of missing these three ports (on top of the fact that we missed Bar due to high winds). When you compare what we received to the cruise prior ($100 OBC per person in a cabin JUST for missing Dubrovnik) and the cruise after ($100 OBC per cabin AND the 20% future cruise credit) just for missing 2 ports (Santorini and scheduling a technical stop in Bar in lieu of Kotor), we really weren't compensated sufficiently. There was a lack of communication overall. At our CC mix and mingle, they told us what was going on. But, nobody else on the ship was aware and rumours flew. I wasn't that angry about missing Santorini and Mykonos, but the lack of communication was stifling.
We woke up on the day to reach Bar and were told it was too windy to dock. I could clearly see that. But, I doubt we would have made it anyway because the ship sat in Dubrovnik clear into the early hours of the morning.
Other than the faulty engine (and this isn't new to the Star...read the CC boards), the ship was well laid out and nice. It could have done with an extra bar because Gatsby's was always crowded. Yet, the locations of most events were well planned.
The cabin (a balcony on deck 10) was just below the spa. It was a large enough size, with a nice balcony, and tons of storage space for our things. Our cabin steward (when I asked) gave us wonderful towel animals every evening. I never had to ask for anything, as he always had things clean and neat for us each day. He always asked us about our day and wished us good morning.
The entertainment was quite good. The Paradis show was a bit tongue-in-cheek, but funny and good. The magician was surprisingly good. In the past, I've been disappointed by magicians so was hesitant to go. Yet, he did a lot of close up magic that is popular today. The duo acrobat show was similarly nice while the Paris show was just ok.
We loved the staff! The workers at Starbucks, the bar staff at Gatsby's, the entertainment crew. Enough can't be said for Shirley who makes you get out of your comfort zone, makes you laugh, and remembers you daily. She was the heart of the ship! I did manage to see JC a few times and he was entertaining!
Another issue we had (once again about communication) was the events taking place. We always enjoy doing trivia and were waiting for one to start. Come to find out, Steph was doing paper and pencil trivia with 2 tables in the corner (at Bliss). We noticed and I asked about it. She said it's just paper and pencil tribond. I know what it was as I've done it before on NCL and it was done with a microphone and PPT. She argued that it's not really trivia (it says tri-bond trivia on the NCL Daily). And then every body else in the room (probably 50+) people had to go get their forms as everyone was waiting for trivia to start. We also had issues on the last day (sea day). We signed up for the black glass tasting at 1pm and come to find out, it had been moved to 12 and 2pm. Having signed up on Day 1 of the cruise, it would be logical to send notifications to the cabins to provide notice. It was not done and when we found at at 12:30, we approached the sommelier hosting the event, who told us they made an announcement. Announcements don't go everywhere (cabins, spa, etc.) and even in the atrium half the announcements are muffled by talking. So, we missed our tasting. The NCL Daily was incorrect as it did not show this change and even the times of the restaurants and bars were wrong. When you have so many other things going wrong with the itinerary, this should be perfect.
Dining all around was as expected. We ate at Teppanyaki (9pm reservations but our orders weren't taken until 9:45) the first night, Le Bistro, and Cagney's. The veal steak at Le Bistro was one of the highlights of dinner! We had lunch in O'Sheehan's and the quality was mixed. All the staff were engaging, smiling, and interested in serving us. Food was nice all around, even in the main dining halls. Versailles was a bit quieter than the other one.
It rained in a few of the ports (we only had 4). I could have skipped Cofu, but Split, Dubrovnik, and even Argostoli (to a lesser extent) were nice. Argostoli was the warmest and the sunniest, so that was lovely. We did take an NCL excursion in Argostoli and not sure it was worth the money. We rode on a bus an hour there, spent 30 minutes at the caves, then rode the bus another 15 minutes to the lake. We waited in line for the lake, had a 10 minute lake/cave ride. Then, we drove the 1hr + back to port.
We opted for the premium plus beverage package and really enjoyed it. I'm 60% sold on it. While pricier, I enjoyed the option of not having to pay extra for nicer drinks (real champagne, whisky, etc.). We got coffees every day and were constantly hydrated with the bottles of water.
Another service we chose was the spa. The pedicures we got with our OBC were amazing! We always buy the thermal spa pass. Yet, I was disappointed with this ship's. Usually, there's a sign on the door that says "quiet area". This one did not have one and was always noisy and seemed like a party zone. The hot tub was almost always at capacity and the chairs were always occupied. I had to be stealthy to get a chair and wait patiently. There were also a group of women who took shifts daily in the chairs. There were only 7 chairs, and they occupied 3 of them. As soon as one was ready to leave, they waited for the next member of the group and when he/she arrived, they swapped out. I witnessed this on several occasions and the rotations lasted hours on end. I didn't even get the value from my pass on the trip and avoided it Day 7 as I knew sea days it would be packed.
I wouldn't cruise again out of Venice as the port is difficult to get to. Luckily, we just bring carryons and opted to walk from St. Marco square to Piazza Roma and took the people mover. Again, we had to cross several bridges and it took us 40 minutes to walk. The taxis wanted 100 euros to take us the 11 minutes. Read Less