37 Norwegian Star Cruise Reviews for Spring Break Cruises to Mexican Riviera

ABOUT US: we are in our early 40s, DS is 12, DD is 10. This was our 5th cruise – and our 2nd with NCL. We were able to get a good deal/promo last year and brought my mother along as a gift for her 65th birthday, and also my best friend ... Read More
ABOUT US: we are in our early 40s, DS is 12, DD is 10. This was our 5th cruise – and our 2nd with NCL. We were able to get a good deal/promo last year and brought my mother along as a gift for her 65th birthday, and also my best friend from college who is also in her mid 40s. We booked the family suite which sleeps 6 and had planned on having it be 2/2/2 in the beds but it ended up being 3/2/1 which was just fine as the main bed is large, king size, I believe – and it fit myself, my husband, and my son comfortably. I know some folks think these accommodations are tight for 6 people, but for us it worked just fine. We coordinated bathing to have 3 in the a.m. and 3 in the p.m. We were out of the suite more than we were in it, so there weren’t really any issues with the amount of people we had in the suite. GETTING THERE: we drove down from Idaho in pieces. We left after work one night and did a 2-hour drive to Twin Falls, Idaho and spent the night there. The next day we did 7.5 hours down to Las Vegas. And the next morning we drove 4 hours down to the Los Angeles area and stayed overnight in Buena Park. We stayed at all La Quinta hotels – free breakfast, free wi-fi, cheap, and we get points to earn free hotel rooms. EMBARKATION/DAY 1: we arrived at the World Cruise Center in San Pedro at 10am, met our friend who had driven in from the valley in California, got everything unloaded, trucked it over to the island where the porters can come out to, he loaded it all up on one cart, we tipped him and he took our stuff. 10:30ish there was no line outside the terminal, we passed security, and went inside. The staff there told us where to go, we told them we were in a suite, they asked to see our papers showing this, and then gave us the have you been sick paperwork or whatever that’s called and had us sit and fill that out and then escorted us to another, much shorter line (than the others) where we waited for like 5 minutes. We took our pictures, got all registered and were then escorted to the priority lounge. They were just putting out the food when we got there – 2 kinds of pound cake, finger sandwiches, OJ, water, and coffee. Our concierge Roel handed out the sheet to select our specialty dining time. We decided to wait and do this later – BIG MISTAKE. When we tried to book a dinner at Cagney’s later, everything was booked except for La Cucina at 9pm one night, and 9:30pm another and there was nothing Roel could do for us. So bummed. But I digress. Roel escorted us all on to the ship, embarkation picture, hello and welcome aboard from NCL staff, and took us up to lunch at Cagney’s (open for breakfast and lunch for suite guests). We waited in the Sugarcane Bar right next to it for about 15 minutes, and then were taken in to lunch. We finished lunch and went to check out our suite #12528. We never received the pre-boarding suite e-mail (where you can choose pillow type, and make any special requests), so I e-mailed NCL just a few days prior to sailing asking for certain snacks in the room when we boarded and in the afternoons. I had read here on Cruise Critic that gummy worms and m&ms for the kids were an option. There was nothing in the room except for a complimentary bottle of champagne and one of water. We were pretty early on-board, I think. We left the room and went out to swim, dance, and eat some more. We went back to the room after the sailaway and there were flowers and fruit on the table. We met our room steward Dani), and then later our butler, Efren. I asked Efren about the e-mail that I had sent and he didn’t seem to know about it. I requested the treats for the children and he told me only if it was available but that he would bring afternoon snacks each day. We never did receive the gummy worms or m&ms, but we did receive cookies, finger sandwiches, fruit, and canapés every day. Our muster drill was in the Stardust, it took longer to get there, and get it started than it did for the actual presentation itself. It was a tight fit for us – we are big people – so we asked to move down to a row (still in our section) that had more leg room, and the gentleman allowed us to, once there he explained to another NCL staff lady that we wanted to move down there, but apparently we should have gone all the way down the row instead of sit in the middle of it and I heard her use the word “idiota” – that’s idiot in most languages and I’m not sure if she meant us or him. Either way, she was not pleasant and was in a couple of arguments with other passengers. Never saw her again, which I was happy about. DINING: we ate most of our breakfasts in Cagney’s. On the occasion that we did not get ready in time or wanted a change from that menu, we would go to the Market Café. Breakfast at Cagney’s was always delicious, and the service was great – no delays, no food quality issues, etc. We enjoyed waffles, French toast, steak & eggs, crab cakes Benedict, and a nice buffet of cold cereal, fruit, and assorted breads. Sometimes I would ask for bacon to go with my dish and they would bring me a bunch of bacon - that I shared with the rest of the fam. At the Market Café for breakfast we enjoyed oatmeal – I love oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar – and love that they had a pot of warm milk to go with it. There was a day that the oatmeal was super watery, so I passed on it that particular day and went for some Special K with sliced bananas. Made-to-order omelets were a hit with our group as well. We ate about half of our lunches at Cagney’s, but got bored with the menu. It was good, but we just wanted something else. We enjoyed the swordfish burger, the steak, and I found the asparagus/artichoke/parm/truffle risotto yummy as well as the spinach, prosciutto, and parm starter. Lunch at Versailles only one time and it was good with no food quality or service issues. Other lunches were at the Market Café and were always good. As previously mentioned, we waited too long to try and book a specialty restaurant, and missed out. I was really bummed, and will make sure to do this at embarkation next time. My husband and DS went to O’ Sheehans for lunch one day, and the service was really slow. It took 45 minutes for the starter to arrive. The husband reports that it was a good burger, and they really enjoyed the poutine. Dinners were almost always at Versailles. We would call Roel and let him know what time we’d like to eat and he would book the table for 6 for us each night. On our last sailing on the Star, I was unimpressed with the service and the food in Versailles but was pleased to see many improvements since last time. I love French onion soup and it was bland with few onions last time. This time it had really good flavor, more onions, and was near perfect. The only thing that would make it perfect is if it had an actual crouton or a heartier bread on it instead of a mushy piece of brown bread, but it was still good and I liked it alright. With the exception of one night, the service was timely and good. One night was slower than the rest, but not too bad. The food was always good, sometimes we’d order multiple starters or multiple desserts, and there were no issues with this request. There was an orange chocolate mousse dessert on that last night that I could not get enough of. We asked our butler to get us some for a late night snack, and he did. We also did this with a dessert another night, wanted more of it, and as we were walking in to a show saw Roel and asked if he could do that for us and it was waiting in the room when we got there later in the evening. BUTLER/CONCIERGE: Efren was our butler and with the exception of not getting gummy worms & m&ms (not a big deal, just a minor disappointment for the kids as I had told them about it) he was fantastic. My mother had stomach issues (hers, not cruise/cruise food related) and one night she was in the room alone and not feeling well and asked Efren where she could get some Pepto Bismol. He told her the shop was already closed, but he brought her some bananas, some club soda, and some Tums which was very nice of him to do. My son would often call Efren and say “Hi Efren, can I have some food?” – LOL – and Efren would bring whatever it was we were requesting off the room service menu. My son would also order movies and Efren would bring those as well. Dani our room steward would ask when we’d like to have the room turned down at night and he took care of that and did a towel animal for the kids. We’d need extra towels on occasion and they took care of that as well. Dani noticed something wrong with one of the curtains and he had someone in there working on it straightaway. Roel always made sure we had the good balcony seats at the shows, took care of dining reservations for us, and also assisted with the priority tendering. ENTERTAINMENT: we went to several shows, one was a musical tribute to Burt Bacharach which was quite good, Band on the Run was really good, Marrambolla and Paradis were great too. As mentioned earlier, we also had great seats in the Stardust due to being suite guests. We took in a couple of the game show type events – Battle of the Sexes, Family Feud, Newlywed Game, and Majority Rules – those were all fun and funny. The Mentalist hypnotist we saw twice (2 different shows) and he was really good too. I remember this from the last sailing, and the arts & crafts classes are not very strong. Helmi is on the cruise director’s staff and he did not do a good job with the origami class. Part of the problem – not his fault, and this happened last time – is that they do not plan for the amount of people that show up. He is only one person and there were about 60 people there. And with origami there are a lot of steps involved and he had to go table to table, and it took too long, people were upset and leaving. But we stuck it out because we wanted to get to the end and see what this origami project was going to be. He was on the other side of the restaurant and said “OK, bye bye!” when it was time for the class to be over even though half the class was still about 19 folding steps behind. It’s kind of funny looking back, but there were people (some in my group) who were pretty ticked off that they spent all that time and patience there and never got to complete the project. EXCURSIONS/PORTS: we did the beach getaway excursion through NCL in Mazatlán. They took us in taxis to the Hotel Playa Mazatlán where we got to use all their facilities (beach and pool) and then an all-you-can-eat buffet lunch plus 2 drinks; and wi-fi. I thought this was great. The food was excellent – loved the pineapple tamales and the flan, and the beach was nice. The return taxi was included, but I think I may have gotten suckered. I speak Spanish and was chatting with the driver and he was telling me over and over how sad he was today because it was his daughter’s birthday and he didn’t have the money to buy her a birthday cake because today was his first day back working as his taxi was in the shop. He repeated this story several times. Even though the taxi was paid for, we gave him a $10 tip if any of that story was true. And if not, well, good karma will come back to me, right? In Cabo San Lucas we went on our own via van taxi ($18 for the 6 of us) to Tabascos. No wi-fi there. This was a beachfront restaurant and while it was tasty, they ripped us off. We had printed out the online menu, which matched the menu they had there and the bill was about $20 more than it should have been. I thought it might be an upcharge because there were 6 of us, but most items were billed at a higher rate than what was on their menu. Most, but not all. The beach was nice here too, but a lot of the vendors. I mean a lot a lot. The other beach in Mazatlán had some, but it was overwhelming the amount of people that came up to us every few minutes. I even tried playing like I was asleep on the beach chair (free to use if you spend at least $15 at Tabascos – umbrellas not included and sold by another vendor) but they would still stand there “amiga….amiga…” $18 to take the van taxi back to the ship. We did not do much in Puerto Vallarta. 3 of us took a $5 taxi to Walmart and went shopping for treats and souvenirs. $5 taxi back to the ship. My mother went to a little restaurant/bar outside of the ship area and had some tacos that she said were really good, and got to use their wi-fi. SPLASH ACADEMY: the kids participated in the youth program and really enjoyed it, and the staff: Captain Crunch, Pacman, and Kazoo in the 10-12 group. They played dodge ball, time bomb (another ball game), crazy tag, participated in a Circus Show in the Stardust, made beaded lizards, and a whole lot more. You can sign them up to be able to check themselves in and out – we opted not to do this. DEBARKATION: we got our gold priority tags the night before. They gave us 5, we had to ask for more. The following morning when they started calling colors, we missed ours – the first one – and went a little bit later. We got in the elevator, got in to a fast-moving line, and walked off the ship and in to the terminal. Our bags were there with the priority baggage, we got another porter, checked out of customs, and were done. A breeze. RANDOM: a teenager vomited on the floor over by the waterslides and it was oddly fascinating to watch how it was handled. It was reported and then it was just sitting there all gross and stinky for like a half an hour. But then they blocked it off and a 3-man crew came out in these astronaut-looking outfits with respirators and threw something that looked like kitty litter on it. We were invited to (2) VIP events – one was free drinks with the captain for being Latitudes members, free drinks and yummy canapés; the other was for suite guests. The kids got to go to one of them – free drinks for us and sodas for the kids. The rum punch was flowing and I sure did enjoy it. Captain Idar Hoydal said that he was celebrating his 35th year with NCL (started in 1980), there is a crew of 1050 on the Star representing 65 nationalities. He referenced drydock and the 3 portholes that were added to each side of the Spinnaker Lounge that we were sitting in. We were in room 12528 and felt a lot of movement. I’ve never been that high up in room on a ship before so it took some getting used to. But I self-medicate with Bonine for seasickness and Ativan for anxiety twice a day on every cruise, so I was good. The 6th day was a little too much for my mom and my friend so they were in bed most of the day. Smoking. I have seen this as a hot topic on the boards here on Cruise Critic and I would usually say that smoke doesn’t really bother us. It kinda did this time because the smoking side on deck 12 by the pool is where we walked through to get to our suite. Granted we can walk all the way around and go down the other hall and then back up to get to our room, but it didn’t make much sense. Also sometimes in the mornings when we’d open our door to go out, the smell of smoke would smack us in the face. So it was pretty noticeable. The only wear that stood out to me was at the electric sliding glass door going from the pool area to the suites. The wooden ramp there is pretty old, and the door opens super slow. That little area could use some work, I think. Window washers worked on our windows one day. There were areas where touch-up painting was taking place often. The husband enjoyed the $15 martini tasting - said it was a great deal as you got 18 oz. worth of martinis; and I enjoyed the $10 sale – twice. We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise, enjoyed the Star, and enjoyed "the suite life." Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was my first cruise and it was given to me by my mother. Both my mother and I went together on this cruise and we had a fabulous memorable vacation together. I absolutely loved every minute of this vacation with my mother. The ... Read More
This was my first cruise and it was given to me by my mother. Both my mother and I went together on this cruise and we had a fabulous memorable vacation together. I absolutely loved every minute of this vacation with my mother. The staff was terrific and went above and beyond to make my vacation as fantastic as could be. The ship was great, I didn't get sea sick at all! The stateroom was fanominal, mom got us a suite! Loved, loved, loved the balcony. There was so much to do on the ship that we couldn't get to do it all. The evenings were great with delicious meals at the restaurants and the entertainment at night especially the game shows! Thank you Norwegian Cruise lines for making my first cruise a success and looking forward to cruising in the future with my husband and with my family again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Mexican Riviera Aboard the Norwegian Star - 4/23/11-4/30/11Group Info: Husband & Wife (age 50) and Daughter (age 12)Cabin Info: BA Balcony Cabin #10612 Mid Ship Deck10Day 1We arrived at the Berth 92 around 11:45 a.m., which is about ... Read More
Mexican Riviera Aboard the Norwegian Star - 4/23/11-4/30/11Group Info: Husband & Wife (age 50) and Daughter (age 12)Cabin Info: BA Balcony Cabin #10612 Mid Ship Deck10Day 1We arrived at the Berth 92 around 11:45 a.m., which is about an hour drive from our home in Chino Hills, CA. We hit a lot of traffic trying to disembark from the previous week's cruises. It wasn't too terrible and we were parked and walking into the Norwegian Cruise Terminal in less than 20 minutes. This was our 2nd cruise with Norwegian, so we were able to check in through a MUCH shorter line. We were checked in and on the Star before 12:30 p.m. We knew from previous cruises that the buffet is always the most crowded place to eat your first meal, so we opted for lunch at Versailles. We already knew that this is our favorite restaurant onboard and happens to be one of the two Main Dining Rooms. There was a good selection of items on the lunch menu. I enjoyed the fried calamari rings, my daughter really liked the eggplant that was presented much like Hummus, for our appetizers. Lunch was good and filling and the best part...it was peaceful and the service was awesome. By the time we finished we were able to go to our cabin, which was about 1:45 p.m. We love the balcony cabins midship on deck 10, so we were not disappointed. We were greeted by our Room Steward, Shaik, who was always close by for whatever we needed, most times before we got the chance to ask. Our luggage arrived soon after. We went exploring, registered our daughter in the Kids Club and returned to our cabin to change for dinner. We arrived about 5:45 p.m. at Versailles for dinner and were seated immediately at a table next to one of the large picture windows at the back of the ship. I enjoyed a baby shrimp cocktail (which is always available), a mixed endive salad, Grilled Mahi Mahi and Apricot Cream Cake and a taste of Chocolate Amaretto Bavarian Cream Cake. Both delicious. The service was great! Our ice tea and water glasses never went empty. Our waiter, Ernesto, was very friendly and attentive. After dinner, we dropped off our daughter at the Kids Club and went to explore some more, until we went to the Stardust Theater to see Band On the Run. The two key dancers, Luke and a very blonde girl, that I later learned was the dance captain, were very good. The rest looked tired and unrehearsed.Now let me break down the rest of the week by category:Embarkation: Painless and very quick. Being a Latitudes Member this time certainly helped. It is a shame that NCL will no longer be sailing to the Mexican Riviera out of Los Angeles after this next week.Cabin: Balcony Cabin midship on Deck 10. The cabin is laid out very well with plenty of storage for 3 people, if everyone picks up after themselves ;-). The bathroom is quite roomy with a separate door for the toilet and shower area. This speeds up getting ready in the morning and at night. The balcony has 2 large chairs, one reclining and a small table. I spent most nights out there reading at the end of the day. The bed and roll out couch were very comfy and I LOVE the crisp white sheets and duvets. There is safe that held ALL of our electronics and valuables. A small refrigerator is useful when you ask your Room Steward to empty it when you embark. There is a small vanity table with ample lighting, powerful blow dryer and extra plug for charging electronics. Each side of the large bed has a very bright light. A table and chair sit near the balcony under the TV. shelf. All in all the layout and amenities were great.Food: We really enjoy the service and ambience of Versailles for dinner, so we ate there every night. We had extremely attentive and friendly service from everyone, but we became very fond of Marjorie. Even if we weren't seated in her section, she would go out of her way to talk to us and bring us ice tea and apple juice for our daughter. I don't remember what I ate each night, but here are some of my favorite; (appetizers) Cauliflower Cheese Soup, Pear and Walnut Salad, Tortilla Soup, Nicoise Salad, Mozzarella & Tomato Salad, Fatoush; (entrees) Rock Lobster with Red Snapper, Grilled Mahi Mahi, Pan Seared Chicken, Grilled Flounder; (dessert) Apricot Cream Cake, German Chocolate Cake, Bavarian Cream Cake, Citrus Mouse and Raspberry Ice Cream. All of those items were served in Versailles. The Market Cafe has plenty of food to fill you up and keep you satisfied. We stopped there between meals for snacks. We LOVED the fresh French Fries at the poolside grill! And my husband enjoyed the burgers BBQ'd on deck each day, weather permitting. This cruise we ordered Room Service to be delivered every morning. You set out your order the night before and schedule it for the time you want it delivered between 6:30-10:00 a.m. You can choose from a variety of things; fresh fruit, cold cereals, hot cereals, dry or buttered toast, rolls, muffins, pastries, regular or decaf coffee, hot tea, regular or low fat milk and hot chocolate. We tipped the waiter that delivered it $2.00 and it was awesome to sit out on the balcony and enjoy breakfast each day.Pool: There is really only one main pool and it is set up very well with a stadium arrangement of lounge chairs and tables and chairs. Of course there are people that throw towels on several lounge chairs whether they need them or not. We had three people, but with a 12 year old busy on the water slides and in the pool most of the time, I didn't find it necessary to save a lounge chair for her. The pool has a "wave" pool action, which I really enjoyed and the water slides were kept open all day and the kids never tired of using them. We had great service from a waiter named, Dek, who not only was quick to bring us our bucket of cold beer, continue to refill the ice and lime, but when other waiters were hard to locate when we needed a bottle of beer opened, Dek gave us our own bottle opener to keep. Those small things really make a difference. We enjoyed two long days at the pool. One on the first day and then the second day in Cabo, we opted to stay on the ship and stay by the pool, which was great. The last two days of the cruise were very cold and windy, so we skipped the pool on those days, but others braved it out.Entertainment: The first night we saw Band on the Run. As I mentioned before there were only two reasons to stay and watch this entire show...the two lead dancers, Luke and the very blonde dance captain. The next show we saw was a combination of magic and aerial acrobatics. It was more entertaining, but not amazing. They debuted a new show called Angels, which we enjoyed very much and Elements on the last night of the cruise was a cross between Cirque Du Soleil and a magic show. It was my favorite!Excursions: Since we skipped Mazatlan, we spent two days in Cabo. The first day we went to the Cabo Adventuras for the Dolphin Encounter. Our daughter LOVED swimming with the dolphins. The next day in Cabo, we enjoyed the view of Cabo from the pool deck on the ship...AWESOME!!! FYI...the prices on souvenirs in Cabo are out of control. Prices are higher than Southern California. In Puerto Vallarta, we had booked the Mahahuitas & Yelapas excursion. Our first stop was a short snorkeling and kayaking trip to Mahahuitas. The plant life was so overgrown it was very difficult to see the marine life and it was a really short stop. When we returned to the catamaran lunch was served and the bar opened. The next stop was Yelapa. You could get off the boat in town and take a walk to the waterfall or you could stay on the boat and take the catamaran over to the beach. We chose to go to the beach. We were told which restaurant we could sit in front of for free and have access to the beach, chairs, umbrellas and bathrooms. Food and beverages were of course at our expense. What they don't tell you is that if you don't order food or drinks you are moved to less desirable spots on the beach and your umbrella is moved to someone buying food and drinks. My husband found out that if you go directly to the bartender to order beers it is $3.00 US each, but if you order them from the VERY aggressive waiters on the beach it is $4.00 US. The waiters are supposed to split the difference with the bartender but that doesn't happen. On the ride back to Puerto Vallarta the crew put on a show for us and they made sure we all had drinks. We have gone on the Las Caletas excursion before and should have stuck with that excursion this time.Kids Club: The staff in the Kids Club is great! The group our daughter was in, for ages 10-12, had a very small room in the Kids Club, so they were kept busy with activities around the ship. They played on the Sports Court, did scavenger hunts, had a pajama party, Easter Egg hunt and more.Disembarkation: We had picked up luggage tags that would give us a 9:30 exit time. We went to Versailles for breakfast went back to our cabin until about 9:00 a.m. and then waited on deck 7 until our color was called. It took us about an hour to get off the ship, get our luggage, go through customs and get out of the parking lot. Not bad!All in all, we enjoyed our 2nd cruise on the Norwegian Star. It is truly the staff that makes the ship/cruise so special. It makes us sad that Norwegian will no longer be doing the Mexican Riviera itinerary. But we would definitely cruise again with Norwegian wherever they are. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We boarded the NCL Star on April 23, 2011. The embarkation process was fast and easy but we quickly found out that we could not take a bottle of wine on board without paying corkage fees. The whole process was handled wrong but the port ... Read More
We boarded the NCL Star on April 23, 2011. The embarkation process was fast and easy but we quickly found out that we could not take a bottle of wine on board without paying corkage fees. The whole process was handled wrong but the port people are to blame for that. We originally sailed on the Star a few years ago to Alaska and didn't quite enjoy the ship as much as we thought we would. This time the Star was remodeled and looked like something we would enjoy. The price was less than $100 a day per person for a balcony room so we can't complain about that. Freestyle cruising is not for everyone and certainly not for my husband and I. The restaurants are all good and the food, overall, was good but average. We constantly had to wait 20-30 minutes for a table to eat in the dining room for dinner. Once inside we could see anywhere from 5-15 empty tables. I always got the feeling that the waiting would prompt us to try a specialty restaurant and pay the cover charge. Most of the time we would ask to talk with the Maitre' D and he would always seat us within a few minutes. When we would ask him why they are creating such a wait no one was able to give us a straight answer. Service was good for the most part but with freestyle cruising you never get to know anyone and the waiters never get to know you so they cannot anticipate your likes and dislikes. Also, we were never offered to share a table with anyone else and sometimes, in our experience, it's the best way to meet people and learn about what they did or discovered when in port. The one thing that bothered my husband the most was that the waiters never asked you if you wanted coffee or tea with your dessert. Once my husband would ask for coffee it was always pretty bitter. The best coffee was at the 24 hour restaurant on the 8th floor. Actually, that little place had the best food and service of all. Chicken wings and wanton soup were the best. The Endless Summer Mexican restaurant was also very good and for $10 a person cover charge you also got a Margarita. The buffet and lunch menu in the dining room, however, was always the same and after the 3rd day I was sick of everything. This is something NCL should really change up a bit because the same thing everyday becomes boring. Our Cabin was always clean and we never saw our cabin steward but the mirrors could have used a cleaning and the chairs were never dusted. I only noticed this because my husband placed his socks on a chair under the vanity and it was quite dusty. Also, our bed was always made but never with a bed cover. Personally, I don't like to sit on the bed with my clothes on so that was a bit awkward. The bathroom was larger and quite nice after the remodel. The TV in the room was very small though and we're used to flat screens on newer or updated ships so that was a little of a let down but not a big deal. The ship is a little awkward in layout but that could be just our taste. There was no real quiet place to read other than the library and the pool area was mainly for kids even though they had their own pool area. The worse part for me was that all the chairs were in the sun so there was very limited shade and a place to sit down. I later found out that there is a spa pool for adults only but it cost $119 per person for a week. That really upset me because I don't swim and there was nowhere I could go to use the pool. We saved a lot of money on our room but if we started to pay all these fees for the pool, the sauna, the restaurants then we would have paid the same amount of money for another ship like Princess or Royal. Basically it all comes down to a preference and our was not the freestyle cruising. Entertainment was the best part of the cruise. The magician and his wife were AMAZING as were the french aerialists. The last show, Extreme Vegas, was easily a million dollar show and so amazing to see and experience. Comparing the Star to some of the other ships we're cruised with it sadly doesn't compare. This is only our opinion though. With Royal Caribbean, Princess and Celebrity you pay more for your cruise but everything like the pools, saunas, service and attention to detail is all included. The food is amazing anywhere you go and you get variety, always. One must figure out what is important while cruising and then make a decision on what cruise line to vacation with.Overall we relaxed and had a good time but that is all up to you. If you choose to be annoyed then you'll have a bad time and if you choose to let the things that bother you go then you'll have a good time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We traveled with friends, late 30's with a nine year old- first timers on NCL. We were on our 5th NCL cruise, 7th overall. We are in our 40's with a 16 year old.We have cruised Alaska and Hawaii and the Caribbean, but never the ... Read More
We traveled with friends, late 30's with a nine year old- first timers on NCL. We were on our 5th NCL cruise, 7th overall. We are in our 40's with a 16 year old.We have cruised Alaska and Hawaii and the Caribbean, but never the Mexican Riviera. This was probably our least favorite cruise to date, for several reasons. Don't get me wrong, a bad day on a cruise is still better than any day at work:) We plan to continue cruising with NCL, but between the itinerary and Spring Break, we will plan differently in the future :) On a funny note, my dear husband got notification that one of his bags was in the naughty room :) We don't drink, so we didn't have a clue.. no bottles or even an iron. What could it be??? Turns out it was our power strip. DH had to work a little on this cruise, and was purchasing a generous internet plan to log on since he was starting with a new client this week. We have always taken a power strip in the past, no problem. WELL..... NOT ON THIS TRIP! He was told it was a fire hazard, and they took it for the week. When we told the guy in the internet cafe, he said he could get us a power strip without a surge protector, which he claimed was the problem. His comment about that was "they use a different kind of electricity on board, and the surge protector is the problem, not the power strip itself" HaHaHa! That one got a laugh all week from all our cruise critic friends who still had their power strip! BTW, we never did get a power strip to use either.Our ship normally has about 2,400 but on this cruise we had 2,800+. LOTS of college students, cramming the hot tubs so they were totally inaccessible for portions of the day. If you didn't get up early (while they were still sleeping off the night before), even the pools got really crowded. 9 year old LOVED the water slides, and used them a lot. Pools were clean and well maintained.Our 3 port days (2 in Cabo, 1 in PV) were warm and sunny, otherwise it was very windy, so between that and crowded pools/hot tubs we didn't spend tons of time on deck. Sometimes the band was great, other times it was AMAZINGLY LOUD!!! We enjoyed our balcony, except that we were right next door to major smokers who would smoke us back into our cabin. Not sure what the fix to that is, it was just a bummer. We did ask to have our balcony doors opened in port, and that never happened. Cabins were well maintained as well. Beds are HARD.. forgot to ask for egg shell foam. Note to self, will do that next cruise! Food was amazing all week. We ate mostly in Versailles, and got to know Nelson quite well. He was very funny! DH and I also went to Le Bistro once, and it was the best meal of the week! We often had dinner as a group of 6, and enjoyed the group time. Tables can vary, we learned early to ask to be reseated if they gave us a smaller round table. Because our cruise was so full, lots of the four tops were extended into round tables to seat 5 or 6, but that was very tight. The dining room was so loud on Wednesday night, Lobster night. Food was super good!! Deserts seemed plenty sweet, no complaints about not using enough sugar from me :)MOVE THE CHOCOLATE BUFFET TO AQUA!! It was horrible in the Marketplace buffet area. It was logistically hard to get in and out, and the desserts were just not that great! The desserts at dinner were much better. Maybe this was a victim of the Spring Break College Crowd... they were leaving with plates piled high, and then saw some of the same plated left behind on the other side of the buffet. Missed seeing the chocolate dipped strawberries. You could have someone handing those out one per person. Strawberries seemed to be at a premium, must be the price and # on board. All 6 of us went to the BEST OF ALL lunch. That was a disappointment, mostly due to them not being able to keep up with foods on the buffet, and inconsistent portions of items ordered off the fixed menu. The lunch is from 11:30-1:30. We went at noon, and for the most part got what we wanted. Those who went later probably had a harder time. By 12:30 the buffet was trashed, and they were out of desserts. Some of the items were not the best representation of those specialty restaurants. If this lunch had been on the 1st sea day, as a sampling menu, there would have been some restaurants I would never had gone to, and some that I would have wanted to go to several times.We booked our own excursions, based on reviews from cruise critic. All those went very well. We went whale watching with Ecotours in Cabo, DD went horseback riding through Johan and Saundra in Cabo, and we zip lined with Los Veranos Canopy Tours in PV. Staff is very accommodating, but starting to burn out on the Mexican Riviera run with the pulling of Mazatlan as a port of call. That was a docking port, leaving PV as the only port now where the ship docks. We were told that staff can't really make it into Cabo on the 2 days that the ship tenders due to work schedules and waiting until all passengers have gone ashore first. Maybe NCL should run a dedicated tender for employees... wouldn't bother me to know they did that. I think they need to be aware that this itinerary is burning out crew quickly. Despite that, they are a friendly bunch. Loved meeting all the officers, and at our Cruise Critic get together we were offered a bridge tour by Captain Gunnar. That was so much fun! I loved Niko from Finland, who gave us our bridge tour. Very nice, friendly and someday will make a great captain!Our DD, 16, didn't join in as many of the teen activities on this ship as on others. There were lots of extended families traveling, and the few times she went she said there were lots of cousins/siblings hanging out and they weren't as welcoming as other times. She did enjoy the movies, the balcony and the shows. Wait time to play ping pong/shuffleboard was just horrible. Most of the time she gave up. She did greatly enjoy karaoke. Wish there had been more time to do that.Our friend's 9 year old did not like the kid's club. The first time she went was free play, and there were so many kids, she was getting hit. I witnessed mass chaos when I walked by once. We did go back later to check it out, and it seemed calmer, but the damage was done. She didn't want to go back. The family activities weren't that great either. The decorate your own cupcake was crowded and there was no decorating to it, they were just given an iced cupcake and then the staff scooped toppings on top. They also went to an open Lego session in one of the conference rooms, and sat for 20 minutes waiting. No kid's crew staff showed up, and there were no Lego's at all. The crew seemed very overwhelmed in my opinion. They needed about 2 or 3 more counselors per age group to make it work!! I'm not sure our friends will want to cruise NCL again. They had been on a Disney cruise with family that works for Disney, and it was hard to compare the two.. this one just fell super short!The entertainment on board was very good. The final show did live up to it's hype. It was completely full! Doors opened 30 minutes before the show. Our friends waited at the doors 10 minutes before they opened,and when they opened all 6 of us went in and remained seated. This would not be the show to miss, or to try to have people hold seats! It was very good!We don't particularly like the Star. We are partial to Jewel class ships. This one was easy to navigate, but we like the layout of other ships. The Mexican Riviera itinerary is a real challenge right now, and one of the reasons this trip was not one of our favorites. Cabo is a beautiful port, but it would have been nice to split the visit, and go Monday and Wednesday with PV on Tuesday if that is logistically possible with the Ship's speed.Embarkation was really smooth, and Debarkation was a disaster!! We have always collected our luggage tags in advance, and only once did we do easy walk off (where you take all your luggage with you) because we lived in the home port city and had to get to church. This trip we had Green tags, with a call time of 9:10 and a Super Shuttle pick up at 10:00. Shouldn't have been a problem. Debarkation became freestyle as well. By the time they called our color green and we got in line it was 9:50, and by the time we got to our luggage at 10:15 all the suitcases except for our 9 and about a dozen others were gone. Over 1/2 the ship did walk off, which was called at 8:40. When I went up to one of the cruise director's staff to ask what we could do since it was already 9:45 and we had a pick up in 15 minutes he was very rude and sassy! I don't think they enforced who walked off when. We saw people go in the easy walk off line with only backpacks at 9:00. You can't tell me that's all they took on board. This is a major problem they need to fix in LA. By the time this ship docks after 2 and 1/2 days at sea, people are really ready to get on land! Plus with the added stress of LAX, it was crazy. I did make my flight:)Between the lack of ports, # of days at sea on a rough, windy, chilly Pacific and the sheer number on board due to Spring Break, we will not do this cruise again (if it's offered after this season anyway). We are looking into either the Baltics or Med for a 9 or 11 day cruise in 2013 as a graduation gift for our DD. Time to save up and start researching! Debbie, Tim and Alex Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
I do my best to research everything. I was looking for a great deal for Spring Break and I thought I found one when I found NCL Star cruise to the Mexican Riviera. Overall Pros: Nice meals in Aqua Restaurant. Cagney's is a MUST do. ... Read More
I do my best to research everything. I was looking for a great deal for Spring Break and I thought I found one when I found NCL Star cruise to the Mexican Riviera. Overall Pros: Nice meals in Aqua Restaurant. Cagney's is a MUST do. Overall Cons: We felt like they were always trying to sell something to us. Each show in the Stardust Theater started with a pitch to but Bingo or Raffle tickets. Buffet food was a 6 out of 10. Dishes served in the restaurants were small. Food often arrived warm, not hot. The entertainment was lacking. Not many activties to do. Cruise Director was nice, but lacked organized activties. EVERYTHING cost extra, even the deposit for a towel at the pool! Chocoholic Buffet was a joke. Having white cake with food coloring to create the illusion of diverse offerings was a stretch. They ran out of items within 30 minutes of the opening .Beds were terribly uncomfortable. Shows were lacking. Onboard Shopping was not diverse. Not much selection. Saturday Arrival: Check in was terrific. They employees were very nice and helpful. We checked in, in less than 30 minutes. - Bought Soda package; approx cost $72.00. - Made reservations for Pub Crawl, Cagney's Wine tasting, and excursions. Very easy!- Walked around and checked out different areas.Day 1: Sunday- Day at Sea. Library was nice. Freestyle Daily gave us a list of happenings on the ship. List was short. Went to Versailles Dining Room. Food was good, service was slow and not very attentive.Day 2: Arrive to Cabo San Lucas-Great destination. Had to be tendered to shore. Great weather. Lots to do in Cabo. Day 3: Cabo San Lucas- Did not go to Mazatlan due to violence. Nice to spend another day in a fabulous destination! Love the weather!!!! Day 4- Arrive to Puerto Vallarta- Another nice port to visit. Excursions expensive.Day 5: At SeaDay 6: At SeaDay 7: Back to LADisembarkation: Freestyle disembarkation will have you waiting a LONG time. Better to get a fixed time and have breakfast. Overall, we will not be cruising on NCL again. I have been on Royal Caribbean and Princess. Those are class acts. I don't want to feel like I'm an ATM. I want to relax and have a vacation! Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
My first-ever cruise was on board NCL's Norwegian Star, leaving from Los Angeles with stops at Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta in Mexico. I had always wanted to go on a cruise but was put off by the formal nature of most of them. ... Read More
My first-ever cruise was on board NCL's Norwegian Star, leaving from Los Angeles with stops at Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta in Mexico. I had always wanted to go on a cruise but was put off by the formal nature of most of them. I'm not the dress-up kind of guy nor do I like to be put into forced social situations. I wanted a cruise vacation where I could do what I wanted, when I wanted it. Fortunately, Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) provided the perfect solution. I went with a friend of mine and we decided on NCL's 7-day cruise to the Mexican Riviera, leaving from Los Angeles (in part because my friend lived in the L.A. area for many years). NCL's Freestyle Cruise environment was exactly what both of us were looking for and we definitely appreciated the freedom during our cruise. The Norwegian Star is definitely an excellent ship for a first-time cruise. Colourfully decorated both inside and out, the ship helped create a fun atmosphere with its modern feel and hotel-like environment. I especially appreciated the many paintings and murals displayed on the walls of the corridors. One thing I had heard prior to the cruise was that inside cabins tend to be small, even for just two people. I didn't know what to expect when we first entered our cabin (8501) but immediately was pleasantly surprised. The cabin was well-laid out and made efficient use of its space. Neither me or my friend felt cramped at all. The bathroom area also was a pleasant surprise. It was laid out in a very efficient manner and neither or us had any trouble moving around or attending to our personal needs. The shower was quite spacious actually for a small cabin. Another positive experience was the food on-board. Some people have written criticisms of the food on the Star but neither myself or my friend found this to be true. The least I could say about the food was that the desserts were ordinary with little to make them stand out. However, they were still tasty. The main food was actually excellent in every restaurant or dining area we visited. The salad vegetables were very fresh, even on the last day of the cruise. The menu items were reasonably varied and very delicious. I also commend NCL for providing items that were low-fat and low-sugar as I am mildly diabetic. The outdoor pool area of the Star consists of a central pool area, flanked on either side by hot tubs. In back of the pool is a stage where entertainment was presented each afternoon. Water slides were located on either side of this stage. The sunning area was a series of stepped decks with lounge chairs to lie out on in the sun. Everything was colourful and festive and provided a positive happy atmosphere for passengers to enjoy the time in the sun or in the water. This area also included buffets, a couple of bars and a BBQ area which was very convenient. During the cruise, both me and my friend used the fitness centre. If I have to make any criticism of the Star's facilities, it would here. There were a few weight machines (some of which were more difficult to use than what I am used to at my gym), a rowing machine, a lot of treadmills and some dumb-bell weights. We were disappointed that there were no bar-bell weights available. However, we did make the most of what was available, including some time on the Star's outside jogging track (a 400 metre marked off ring of the ship's outer deck). We were able to put in the exercise we wanted. We just would have liked more choice. One attraction on the Star both me and my friend really liked was the Spinnaker Lounge. We found a number of different activities available here, especially the late-night dance parties presented after midnight. There was a good sized dance floor available and the fist-pumping music was really great. We spent several nights at the Spinnaker taking in all the fun. We didn't find all of the entertainment options to our liking, however, the two that we did attend were really enjoyable. The first was the crew show that showcased some of the musical and dancing talent of the Star's crew members. Although not entertainment professionals, the featured crew members were very entertaining and always gave their all. Some of them even rivaled the professional entertainment. The one professional evening show we attended was called "Elements" and was a visual and music presentation with the motif of Earth, Wind, Fire and Water. With magic and acrobatics, it resembled something Cirque de Soleil might have presented. It was an excellent show and I would definitely see it again if given the chance. Another area that we had some concern about prior to the cruise was the logistics (embarkment, disembarkation, etc.). We'd heard that sometimes these procedures are long and complicated. We did not find this to be the case. We made sure to be at the Port of Los Angeles at noon on departure day so that we could avoid any last minute confusion. Our check-in at the Port was very smooth and with no problems. It was done in roughly 15 minutes. Our wait time to board the Star was also about the same time. In no time, we were in the Market Place Dining area, having our first on-ship meal. Disembarkation at the ports of call was straight-forward as we were all pre-cleared into Mexico. The final disembarkation at the end of the cruise was a little longer and slower but also not too difficult. As soon as we left the ship, we both were already wishing we could do it again. In fact, my friend has already put down a deposit on his next cruise with NCL. The only major logistical change I would suggest to NCL is more use of computerized receipts. Several of the bars and specialty restaurants already used these which speeded up adding charges to your tab. However, certain things like deposits on beer buckets or beach towels were hand-written and time consuming. Also, the staff responsible for these hand-written receipts seemed not to totally have a handle on these. My friend had small hassles with having the deposit charges removed from his tab for a beer bucket because of the hand-written receipt system in use. NCL should seriously consider computerizing everything on board so that a quick electronic receipt can be generated and searched quickly when necessary. One nice thing about the cruise was simply when we took it. Since it was during Spring Break, the ship had a lot of younger college students on board and this lead to a vibrancy and festivity that were both unexpected and welcome. The students knew how to have a good time and still remained behaved. There was no rowdiness at all, just lots of good times happening. It created a nice happy atmosphere that seemed to spread to all of the passengers, young and older. Another positive here was the NCL seems to be gay-friendly. The Star held a "Friends of Dorothy" gathering in the Star Lounge every night at 6:30 pm and this was advertised in the daily ship's newsletter. It's nice to see this kind of support from a cruise line. All in all, cruising on the NCL Norwegian Star made for a great first-time cruise experience. I hope there will be another similar one in my future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Our group consisted of my daughter, wife and myself. This was are first experience with FreeStyle cruising on NCL, but not our first time cruising. We have cruised previously on Disney and Carnival. Embarkation went very smoothly, we ... Read More
Our group consisted of my daughter, wife and myself. This was are first experience with FreeStyle cruising on NCL, but not our first time cruising. We have cruised previously on Disney and Carnival. Embarkation went very smoothly, we arrived around 10:45am and there were about 50 people in front of us on the side we were told to go too. We got a boarding number 2 and was very excited we wouldn't have to wait long. About 11:40am they started boarding and we were on the ship before noon. We went straight to the buffet and it was already very busy. We found a table by the window and enjoyed our first meal on the ship. After lunch we explored the ship before we could get into our room. We found the layout of decks 6 and 7 to be confusing, but we eventually figured it out by the end of the week. We made dining reservations for Teppanyaki for Saturday night and Endless Summer for Thursday. Both of these meals were wonderful. Freestyle wasn't really to our liking, we tried Aqua and Versailles main dining room and weren't that impressed with the menu choices, so we ate one night at Teppanyaki and one night at Endless Summer, and the rest of the nights at Market Cafe. Both of the premium restaurants were very good, but had to pay extra. The food choices, quality, and temp were very good in the market cafe. But the two main dining rooms were a big disappointment, if you didn't get there before 6:00pm you would have to wait, service wasn't that good, and the food wasn't that good. We had a balcony room, we really enjoyed the balcony and it's location, but it was very tight for 3 people. Having cruised on Carnival and Disney, we had something to compare too, and thought NCL had the smallest rooms by quite a bit. On the other cruises, we had 4 in the room and didn't feel so squeezed. We never met our Cabin steward, and he didn't perform much better. Several times we shower in the afternoon before dinner and put our towels on the floor to be replaced. When we would get back, we found our dirty wet towels hung up on the door to be used again. Of course we had to call to get fresh towels. This happened at least 3 times. I know they are over worked, but come on. Bathroom was a nice size, loved the shower area. Storage was decient. But the sleeping area was extremely small and the sofa bed was the harder than a plain board. When sofa bed was out, you couldn't get to the balcony. Entertainment was very good, we enjoyed several nights, much better than Carnivals, but couldn't compare to Disney (no one can). Could have used more activities during the day, but we were still able to enjoy ourselves very much. We thought alcohol sales were pushed a little bit too much by the pool, plus they were VERY EXPENSIVE, so we tried to limit our consumption. We visited Cabo, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. This was a very good selection of ports and we love the sea days on the ship for relaxing. We booked all of our excursion on our own. Debarkation was a little slow to start, but once it started, it moved along. We were doing self debarkation and got in line about 8:05am, thinking we had a lot of time for our 9:00am pickup. The line rapped from one end of the ship to the other and back. Since the line didn't move at all for at least 25 minutes, we were starting to worry that we wouldn't make our pickup time. But the line did start to move slowing and we made it outside to our pickup spot by 8:57pm. Just made it, of course our ride wasn't there yet. Summary, this was our first NCL Freestyle cruise and we did have a wonderful time with our daughter, but I doubt we will take another NCL cruise again (won't say never). We like the set time dining and feel the service is much better on other cruise lines, we also thought we were nickel and dimed to death. Everything had an additional cost. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
As you read this review, please keep in mind that the Star was in dry dock for four weeks immediately before my cruise set sail. I thought this would be a good thing, as I heard that the ship was going through deep cleaning and sprucing ... Read More
As you read this review, please keep in mind that the Star was in dry dock for four weeks immediately before my cruise set sail. I thought this would be a good thing, as I heard that the ship was going through deep cleaning and sprucing up. Surely everything would be in working order and spic and span...right? Here is just a sampling of things that went wrong in the first 24 hours after we boarded: 1. Arriving in our room we were unable to open the safe and the television would not turn on. I called reception and was told someone would come. Four hours later I called again to follow-up as I did not want to continue carrying all of our valuables around the ship. Finally maintenance arrived. The last occupant had left the safe closed and locked with the TV remote inside of it. The maintenance man explained that the TV power button did not work, and that we must use the remote. The remote batteries were dead and he left and returned with replacements. 2. I ordered the birthday package for my daughter and paid $30. My cruise consultant explained that as part of that there would be a card in the room that she could turn in for a birthday cake on the day of her choice. However when we arrived the cake was sitting in our room, uncovered. Who wants to eat birthday cake four days before your birthday? Who wants to eat cake that has been left sitting in the open for who knows how long? Worthless. 3. Our cruise consultant was unable to answer my questions regarding things to do in ports of call if we did not sign up for excursions. She told me the shore excursion desk on board would be able to answer my questions. When I inquired there once on board, I was told they could not give me any information other than the excursions that were for sale, because of "liability". 4. Saturday evening my daughter's friend started the water to draw a bath. After a minute black gunk began pouring out of the tub faucet! I called to report this and was told to continue running the water and that it should clear. It did, but it was concerning from then on to stand under the showerhead. 5. That evening I went to the photo desk, embarkation photo in hand, to purchase it. There were two men behind the counter ignoring me. Eventually a blonde woman came behind the counter and spoke with the men. One of them left, and only then did she turn her attention to me. I was the only customer there so there was no excuse for this lack of service. I was handed my photo back already inserted into the hardcover frame with a picture of the ship in it. I had read that I could choose a picture of the ship, or a picture of our itinerary. I had to ask about this before I was offered my choice. 6. We were in a mini-suite. I pulled the divider curtain closed and something hit my leg. It was a folded Andes mint wrapper, which had been left by a previous occupant. Clearly this room had not been thoroughly cleaned for us, even though the ship had been in dry dock for four weeks. 7. We were unable to find the cinema using the signs that pointed the way, so I asked for directions. I was told that it was out of commission and was being removed to create more passenger rooms. I was told to ask at reception as movies may be shown in the theater. The answer at reception was they didn't know, and that I should watch for them in the "Cruise Daily". 8. Saturday evening around ten we decided to get a snack in the Blue Lagoon. The tables were less than half full, yet it still took almost 45 minutes to get an order of chicken fingers and an order of French fries. Then when they arrived we had to send them back to be remade as they were room temperature at best - no warmth in the fries at all. 9. The boat rolled and pitched the entire time we were on it. My daughter and her friend were unable to sleep Saturday night and became seasick even while using acupressure wristbands and motion sickness medication. 10. Sunday morning we woke up to weather that was too cold to lay out in. We wanted to use the four hot tubs near the pool, but two of them had nets across them to close them. The other two were not warm or bubbling, and were full of children including some with snorkel gear. The water slide was also not working. A maintenance man explained that there was an issue with a pump and they hoped to have it working sometime during the cruise. 11. We decided to spend $60 for the three of us to use the indoor pool/hot tub area for the day since we were at sea and there was nothing else to do. After using the hot tub we went to the relaxation room. My daughter got a glass of water from the stainless urn to drink. She brought it to me asking me to smell it. There was a definite earthy smell, similar to green moss or mold. I took it to the spa desk and the woman behind the desk said it "smells like sand". I told her where it came from and she said she would have it taken care of. When we left approximately 30 minutes later I told her it had not been removed and she stated that she had told the main dining room as that was where it came from. Her attitude appeared to be that once she told them it was no longer her problem. Later in the evening we returned to the indoor hot tub area and one of us wanted to make a cup of tea. There were no clean cups near the tea bags so we found an employee and asked for some. None arrived, so we asked the next employee we saw. I estimate it took at least 45 minutes from when we first asked before clean cups were restocked. 12. Around noon the girls were feeling motion sick (my daughter had actually thrown up) and they went to the room to rest. They woke later and wanted to order room service, as they felt the motion less in our room than in the dining room. My daughter is vegetarian and wanted cheese pizza. Room service told her they could not make that. Her only choices were to have a pizza margherita or one with vegetables or meat. There was cheese pizza being served in the main dining room at that time, but room service could not deliver one to the room? 13. Around 1:15 PM Sunday I asked again at reception about movies. Ana Marie Malinao at reception told me about movie channels (14 and 15) on the TV in our room. She printed off a listing of them for me. I returned to my seasick teens excited that I had found something for them to do! We turned to channel 14 and found a still shot from "Planet 51" the movie that was supposed to have shown at 7 AM. We turned to channel 15 and found only a blue screen. I called reception and a different woman told me the ship was already aware of this issue as others were having the same problem. We checked several other times throughout the day and the channels never showed movies. 14. My Verizon cell phone would not dial out. I had international roaming (for this cruise ship) set up on it, and had the Verizon instructions for how to dial. In addition, all three of our Verizon cell phones were having trouble sending and receiving text messages. Each one we received would come in multiple (3-6) times. Texts that we went were truncated so that the recipient only received about the last 2-3 words. I had my daughter's friend with us and I was responsible for her. It made me uneasy that the contact method her parents had to reach us did not work. 15. Sunday lunch and again at dinner it was virtually impossible to find a clean table, with clean silverware, available in the main dining room. We had to search for a clean table, then search for a staff member who had some wrapped table service settings that they could provide us. 16. Sunday evening we ordered room service at 11:45 PM. When it hadn't arrived at 12:25, I called to check on it. A man named "Marlon" became very irritated and said "I told you when you called it would be 45 minutes or more". He said he was by himself and it was busy. When the order finally arrived, none of the side dishes listed on the menu were provided with the sandwich ordered. The menu stated that the sandwich came with "mustard dressing" but it arrived with mayonnaise on it. We had asked for extra potato chips and those did not arrive either. We asked the delivery person to bring the sides and extra chips, and that took an additional half hour or more. To summarize, during the first 24 hours on board: 1. I became concerned about the cleanliness/health of the ship due to: a. foreign matter running from our bath faucet b. candy wrappers still in our room from a previous occupant c. Staff's uncaring attitude toward serving drinking water that they admitted smelled bad d. Kitchen and wait staffs inability to serve food at a proper temperature and keep tables wiped clean e. Birthday cake being left in our room unprotected f. Kitchen staffs inability to follow simple recipes for making sandwich platters. 2. I became uneasy with the customer service due to: a. Having to ask multiple times for help with our safe and TV b. Being told cheese pizza could not be ordered through room service even though it was available in the dining room. In addition, I had been assured by our cruise consultant that vegetarians were well taken care of on board. c. Shore excursion desk using "liability" as a reason why they could not answer questions about ports other than to sell us an excursion. d. Photo desk staff not bothering to greet me or discontinue their conversation to sell me a photo. Then they did not bother to explain my choice of framing option, instead assuming I would be happy with what I got and wouldn't know the difference. e. Reception giving me a list of in room movies to appease me when the reception desk was already aware that these movies were not working. f. Room service staff rudely speaking to me and telling me about their understaffing issue as an excuse for the poor service. g. After paying $60 for three of us to use the indoor pool area for a day, we had to ask multiple times before clean cups were restocked. 3. I became concerned for our safety on the ship due to: a. So many maintenance issues with hot tubs, water slide, in room movies, bath water, TV remote, safe. b. Men had been in the hall outside our cabin quite a bit with the ceiling tiles off, working on something up above. c. No way to use my Verizon cell phone, which had international roaming set up on it. d. The cleanliness issues listed in item 1. 4. The cruise ship failed to provide us with the cruise experience NCL had advertised: a. Hot tubs did not work. b. Water slide did not work. c. Cinema was out of commission. d. In room movies did not work. The temperature of the outdoor air was outside NCL's control. The motion of the boat due to undercurrent (the sea appeared calm) was also apparently out of NCL's control. But the cleanliness/health of the ship, the customer service, the safety of the ship's passengers, and providing the advertised amenities were all within NCL's control. The Norwegian Star had been in dry dock for four weeks immediately before my cruise set sail. I thought this would be a good thing, as I heard that the ship was going through deep cleaning and sprucing up. Instead the crew used the dry dock as an excuse for why everything was going wrong. When I pay over $2000 for something, I expect to get what I pay for, not excuses why it cannot be delivered.By late Sunday afternoon I was concerned enough that I decided I needed to get my teenage daughter, her friend and myself off the ship. I used the internet cafe to book a hotel in Cabo San Lucas for Monday - Thursday nights, a flight back to Los Angeles from Cabo on Friday, and a hotel in Los Angeles for Friday night so that we could catch our flight back home on Saturday. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Thank you to the many cruise reviews that helped our experience wonderful. Embarkation was pretty normal (about 45 minutes) and the transfer from NCL was a good choice for us. The room was ready and we were on board enjoying the balcony by ... Read More
Thank you to the many cruise reviews that helped our experience wonderful. Embarkation was pretty normal (about 45 minutes) and the transfer from NCL was a good choice for us. The room was ready and we were on board enjoying the balcony by 2:00 pm. The free style cruising is probably something we won't do again as we really enjoy the service and extra attention that other cruise lines provide. The food was good in the dining rooms and the buffet was stocked with a variety of choices. We did enjoy the Blue Lagoon the 24 hour cafe on deck 8. It was just perfect for the afternoon pick me up. Thank you for the tip on the spa package for the week $150 per couple. We used the facilty everyday and sometimes stayed for hours. It was a perfect spot for whale watching as we were coming into Cabo. We low keyed the excursions this time as we are headed to the caribbean in June. Cabo did the Lands End boat tour. Probably should have just rented a glass bottom boat and let them take us out. Mazatlan we did the city tour. It was nice but we are way too active for this tour. Clff diver is nothing like Acapulco. But thanks to a review we did book the Mieretes Island Eco adventure in Puerto Vallarta. Fantastic, whales, good snorkeling, Kayaking through the caves. Great time. Disembarkation was not so great. We had a flight out at 1:00 so we decided to walk off as we didn't have many bags. Definitely should have gotten in line at 8:30 instead of 9:30. The line around the ship to get off took us 1 hour but the customs was quick and easy. Did the transfer back to the airport and as we were flying southwest and the first terminal we didn't have much of a wait in the bus. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Embarkation: Went very smooth, we did arrive early and since we were booked in a Suite we had a separate check-in area, however it did look like things were organized for people checking into other decks of the ship. This is the first ... Read More
Embarkation: Went very smooth, we did arrive early and since we were booked in a Suite we had a separate check-in area, however it did look like things were organized for people checking into other decks of the ship. This is the first cruise we took where we did not have to go through a check with Border Patrol, which was unusual and we expected it at Debarkation and did not have it then either, so we are hoping this indicates a change in how closed-loop cruises are processed. Public Areas: The ship herself was in nice shape, however it was obvious that they were still in the process of reconditioning the ship from Dry-Dock, we saw lots of blue tape where work was still being done and deck 12 forward (The old Spinnaker Lounge) was still blocked for access which did create some confusion if you wanted to go to deck 12 and were in a cabin in the forward section of the ship as you had to go to mid-ship to access deck 12 or go to deck 13 then walk back down to 12. The change to the Spinnaker Lounge was a large topic of discussion for a lot of cruisers. The new Spinnaker Lounge is starting to look more permanent but is still having some issues, like a burst pipe on the final Sea Day (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYvtF7z8EPM). The new Lounge itself does look good, but could use some additional work making it more comfortable. The Carousel Lounge and Martini Bar are permanently gone. The new Gift Shops look good and the move of the Blue Lagoon to share the space of the Endless Summer restaurant worked well. We did see several spots where ceiling panels were not properly secured because additional work was continuing and in some cases it did appear that there could have been a safety hazard. Meet & Greet: I organized the CC M&G for this trip and unfortunately we did not have as many people attend as we had hoped, however I do feel it was a good M&G. We had the officer visit the M&G and they did tell us that when the refurbishing is complete the Library will return to deck 13 where it had been. The other common rooms up there may not be returning and there will not be a bridge viewing area, although there are plans to do more tours of the bridge. Spa: While we did not use any of the major Spa services, we did pay for access to the Spa pool, hot tubs, and lounges. We felt the $75 per person was a fair charge for access to this area and gave us a nice quiet area to relax for a Spring Break cruise. Dining: The food in the Main Dining Room was great, we were not disappointed in any of the meals we had there and recommend that other cruisers utilize it. We were sorely disappointed in the specialty restaurants with the exception of Cagney's and Tappenyaki. With all the Specialty Restaurants charging an additional surcharge (with the exception of Blue Lagoon) to eat in them we expected the food and the service to be exceptional, sadly it was not. We ate in Endless Summer for the first night of the cruise and found the meat served to be tough and lukewarm. The "free" margarita's were about half the size of the normal drinks and had minimal alcohol in them. The meals at Cagney's (Both Breakfast & Lunch perks) and dinner were terrific. Because of the disappointing meal at Endless Summer we bypassed dinner at the other Specialty Restaurants but decided to do the "Best of All" meal at Ginza on the last sea day. Since this represented the "Best" of the other Specialty Restaurants it is a bad representative for them. Most of the food was served buffet style and was not the "Best" in this manner. The sushi left something to be desired and if we based our Sushi experience on this and what we saw when we passed Ginza in the evenings we would have been disappointed, as a $15 surcharge for the sushi is overpriced for what they were serving. We are able to feed 3 people at a local Sushi restaurant at home for $20 with a better selection then we saw at Ginza. Tappenyaki was terrific and how could it not be with a chef at the grill in front of you freshly preparing the meal. Sadly, if asked about the specialty restaurants on the Star we would recommend only Cagney's and Tappenyaki, telling people to save their money on the rest of them. Stateroom, Butler & Stewardess: The butler and Stewardess we had for the cruise were wonderful. They didn't disturb us and took care of the few things we needed with speed and efficiency. The stateroom itself was nice but we will not book a forward facing balcony again as we could not use our balcony comfortably for part of the cruise because of the wind from the ships movement we also had to secure the bulkhead whenever we were not using the balcony because the wind created a high pitched whistle through the door. Ports: Three ports of call, Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. We did not schedule any excursions with the ship but booked them all online beforehand. In Cabo we booked with Joann and Sandra (http://cabosanlucastours.net) for the Lovers Beach Tour. The glass Bottom Boat we took to the beach looked like it needed some serious repair, the glass panels were leaking and the engine kept dying and had to be primed by the operator from a plastic container of fuel next to the engine. Unfortunately it looked like a lot of the boats being used in the harbor were in similar states but we did not personally inspect them. In Mazatlan we had scheduled a tour with one of Mazatlan Franks (http://www.mazatlan-frank.com) partners, we definitely got our money's worth and had an enjoyable tour of Mazatlan with stops for exploring, shopping, lunch and views. In Puerto Vallarta we again used one of Mazatlan Franks (http://www.mazatlan-frank.com/PVINDEX.html) partners. While we did not get the driver originally indicated, the driver we did get, "Chilli", gave us a wonderful tour with stops in locations other tourists were not visiting and background narration that was entertaining. Some of the spots we visited the van barely made it through the roads because of how tight the spots were but he navigated them like a pro. We highly recommend Mazatlan Frank and his partners for visits to Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. Entertainment: We attended the Second City performances and they were terrific, the Cirque Pacific performance started similar, if not the same as the Cirque Pacific performance from a cruise a few years ago on the Star, so we left right after it started as we didn't fully enjoy it the first time we had seen it. There were different performers playing throughout the ship and they were enjoyable. Teenage Activities: The activities on the ship for our teenage son and his friend kept them busy throughout the cruise. It was hard to get them to even join us for dinner. The only problem we had experienced with the activities is sometimes the activity had the kids roaming the ship, which was fine, but some of the kids tended to get a little rowdy while doing them, which could have disturbed other passengers. Disembarkation: Fast and easy, since there had not been a Border Crossing official on Embarkation we expected to have a line for them here and did not have one, found our bags and walked right out of the warehouse. Overall we did enjoy the cruise and the Star and will miss her when she moves to her new home in Tampa but we do feel the loss of the Original Spinnaker Lounge does affect her usability as a ship for touring Alaska. Hopefully NCL will see fit to place another ship in Los Angeles for Mexican Riviera Cruises after 2011, currently they have no plans to continue the MR cruises. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
I would like to preface this review by stating that I look at life with a glass half full mentality. That being said I don't dwell on the minor imperfections that do occasionally occur.So here I go. Embarkation:We arrived in LA 2 ... Read More
I would like to preface this review by stating that I look at life with a glass half full mentality. That being said I don't dwell on the minor imperfections that do occasionally occur.So here I go. Embarkation:We arrived in LA 2 days prior to our cruise to visit with my spouse's family so we didn't have the stress of doing same day travel. I was so excited to begin our cruise experience that I convinced my wife we should be at the cruise terminal at 9 am. Fortunately for me they let us in to wait inside since it was a chilly morning. The line moved swiftly and once the started checking people in we were on board within 30 minutes. I thought it went fairly smoothly. Our room stewards were fantastic and very friendly. They took very good care of us and we hardly saw them. It was as if they cleaned our cabin by magic. Very unobtrusive but helpful.Our room was more than spacious ,clean,and we had plenty of storage. Bed was a little too soft for my taste but my wife loved it. The food was good to great. Buffet food was good. The set up wasn't very user friendly especially if a couple of people ahead of you couldn't make up their mind. We went during off times and didn't have to wait. The coffee in the dispensing machines was absolutely terrible.I drank army coffee for over 20 years so I drank this stuff too.It was about the same.The specialty restaurants were great. We went to Cagney's, SOHO,Ginza. Very good food and service.We also ate at Versailles Main dining room. Decor was beautiful, service was quick and the food was good. Didn't have much of a selection on the day we dined there.We only ate there once. The ship was in great shape and maintenance and cleaning was constant, didn't notice any sewer odors.The layout was okay and had to get used to walking through restaurants. The shows we went to were very entertaining and well done, We really enjoyed the Mexican folkloric presentation. Top Notch in my opinion. We bought the SPA pas on the first day and used it constantly. We also used the spa services. I received the 75 minute hot stone massage. I had the full 75 minutes and it was absolutely fantastic. They did try to sell me some product but I politely declined and the subject was gracefully dropped. Definitely didn't receive the hard sell. All the ports were fun and our excursions were great. We didn't feel unsafe at any time. We did the Cabo Arch Visit and Beach Club very fun, and we did the Dolphin Swim in Puerta Vallarta. A once in a lifetime experience.I'm very glad I did it. We had plenty of time with the dolphin and even got to swim by holding their flippers. The lunch was provided by the tour company and it was excellent. We just went shopping in Mazatlan and walked along the beach. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
Norwegian Star Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 3.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 2.0 3.2
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 4.0

Find a Norwegian Star Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click