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

Small group of friends cruising together made for a great time during Spring break. On board, there was plenty to do on the Star when or if we wanted. We found room in the hot tubs, especially enjoying the one in H20 Spice area. We ... Read More
Small group of friends cruising together made for a great time during Spring break. On board, there was plenty to do on the Star when or if we wanted. We found room in the hot tubs, especially enjoying the one in H20 Spice area. We had no trouble finding a lounge chair for sunning. We loved meeting up at Gatsby's for a cocktail and good music. (I love piano music!) We thoroughly enjoyed Cagney's, the Teppanyaki grill, and LeBistro, along with what we felt was special treatment in the Versailles dining room. I tried some new flavors and some different dishes that I wasn't familiar with and of course, I made sure to order seafood, especially seafood appetizers many times. Each port of call delivered warmth, fun and interesting sights, good food and beach time. We did not do any excursion as we just wanted to look around on our own and land at the local beach. Took a cab to town in Puerto Vallarta, a pulmonia in Mazatlan and water taxi in Cabo. NCL took care of the planning of our flights and transfers. Everything went smoothly including embarkation and debarkation. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was my third sailing with Norwegian after cruising on the Escape and Getaway. I was a little worried that the ship would be too small and that there wouldn't be enough activities on board for our two teenagers. The teens had an ... Read More
This was my third sailing with Norwegian after cruising on the Escape and Getaway. I was a little worried that the ship would be too small and that there wouldn't be enough activities on board for our two teenagers. The teens had an amazing time at the Entourage Club and made a large group of friends that they hung out with the whole cruise. I found the Star to be a wonderful ship for many reasons. First off, embarkation out of the San Pedro port was VERY fast and so easy. The friendly staff on board the ship continually went above and beyond. Secondly, it never felt crowded to me. There were always lounge chairs available and never had to wait long at bars for drinks. In fact, waiters actually came around and took drink orders which is something we rarely experienced on the larger NCL ships. DINING (Gluten Free Perspective I'm going to start by saying that the dining was way better than the other competing cruise line that we've sailed on three times. I have a NCGS (non-celiac gluten sensitivity) and it's always a worry that I'll experience symptoms while on vacation from accidental exposure. This was the BEST NCL experience I've had as a gluten free cruiser. Every evening they had a special diets coordinator named Valan come and meet me at dinner to take my order for the next evening. Usually on cruises they forget to do this or I have to make a special trip to MDR to place the order myself. I did not have to do this and Valan always knew where and when I was dining and found me to bring me the menu. We ate at Moderno, Sushi Bar, Teppanyaki and Le Bistro and I never had a problem ordering something that I liked. My youngest son celebrated his 15th birthday and they even made a special gluten free cake so that I could enjoy it as well. I never asked for this and it was such a thoughtful gesture. I had to eat lunch at the buffet a couple times but I just asked to speak to a chef and he pointed out all the options that were safe for me to eat. I never experienced any gluten exposure symptoms the entire cruise. Most of the Indian food options (except bread of course) were always safe and were very delicious! We did eat at the Topsiders Grill a couple times but I'd be careful if you are celiac as the mayo and condiments in open containers were definitely contaminated with bread. We just ate the burgers with lettuce and other veggie but again be careful if you are super sensitive as the tongs may come in contact with bread. We also ate at O'Sheehans for both lunch and breakfast. They do have gluten free bread if you ask but the hashbrowns are not GF friendly because of the fryers. My husband and boys are not gluten free but both my mother in law and myself are and we had no problems. Amost all requests were accommodated with ease. Food takes a little longer as it is prepared in the allergy free kitchen but it's always come out fresh and tasty. My husband is SUPER critical about food and a bit of a snob and he commented on how the food was really good on this ship and we only had a few things that were mediocre. ENTERTAINMENT and ACTIVITIES We enjoyed seeing most of the shows on board the Star. We saw Paradis, Band on the Run, a comedy act, and an Acrobatic show with a husband/wife team and their son. All shows were enjoyable and the costumes were incredible! We also did karaoke and merengue dance lessons. We enjoyed the live music throughout the ship. I did book a Thermal Spa pass at Mandera Spa. It was very uncrowded but a little small. I still enjoyed it but I didn't use it as much as I would have liked to. The gym is a little small and is missing equipment like kettle bells, slam balls and medicine balls that other ships have. It does have a lot of cardio equipment but the weight lifting area is so tiny and gets crowded. The group classes were a little pricey in my opinion. I personally don't feel $20 for a 30 minutes class is a very good deal but if you book a class pack (only offered on the first day) you would save money if this is something you are interested in attending more than 3 times during the week.They at least have a gym but it is not the nicest one I've used on a ship. I was happy to find out that they recently added a Spice H2O to this ship with two hot tubs. I liked that it was covered by an awning but if you wanted sun you could go up the stairs to the helicopter pad for lounge chairs. We also enjoyed the Sky High Bar at the top of the ship because you could listen to the music and enjoy the views. We went up here on a sea day with family traveling with us to play some card games. We enjoyed all the bars on the ship but we particularly we enjoyed Sky High, 5 O'Clock Somewhere and Bliss Ultra Lounge. We were disappointed that the Sugarcane Mojito bar had very limited hours and didn't open until 5:00 but you could order your drinks to go and take them with you to enjoy poolside. SERVICE Our cabin steward did a great job cleaning our room each morning and turning it down for us at night. We rarely saw him or talked to him and he really didn't go out of his way to introduce himself to us. This doesn't really bother me at all and is really just an observation and comparison from previous cruises where the steward went out of his way to talk to us. Our cruise director was Dingo Dave and he was a fun guy. I would see him around the ship and he came to our Cruise Critic Meet and Greet. They had a very entertaining Meet and Greet and all the officers introduced themselves and even gave us their numbers to reach them. They were all very funny and it was nice meeting other cruisers from this forum. As I mentioned earlier, the staff was very accommodating and friendly. We did run into two staff members (O'Sheehans and Versailles) at the end of the trip that were a little grumpy at first but after making small talk with them and joking around a little bit, they came around almost instantly and they were smiling and happy. The staff members all work so hard and I always give a little grace and extra smiles if they seem to be having a tough time. I can only imagine what they deal with on a daily basis. PORTS This was my first Mexican Rivera cruise and I enjoyed all of the ports. We don't typically book our excursions through the cruise line. We go through reputable outside websites and find the excursions less crowded, less expensive and more personable. We went to the Marriott in Puerto Vallarta for a day pass. It was only 650 pesos and 500 of those pesos go toward food and drink. It was a beautiful hotel and not too far from port maybe 10-15 minutes. In Mazatlan we booked a city tour and the guy gave us like an extra 2 hours! It was awesome. We went to Tabascos Beach Club in Cabo and it was uncrowded and they had 2 for 1 drinks for about 145 pesos. My in laws ordered breakfast and it was huge and they said it was delicious. We had the beef nachos and they were so good. I ended up getting an hour massage for $35 and my husband and son rented a jet ski for $40. You can totally haggle on prices with them. I would do this itinerary again because we enjoyed all these ports so much. SUMMARY The Star has had a brand new makeover and she delivers on friendly above and beyond service and a relaxed fun experience. If you want things like rock walls, water slides, mini golf and ropes courses then this would not be a good choice for you. If you want an uncrowded ship with relaxed activities, delicious food and friendly service the Star provides great value and an enjoyable smaller ship experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
The Star may not be the biggest, newest or glitziest of the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet, but it is the Little Ship That Could! We found the crew to be positive, engaging, friendly, and accommodating from top to bottom. We attended the ... Read More
The Star may not be the biggest, newest or glitziest of the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet, but it is the Little Ship That Could! We found the crew to be positive, engaging, friendly, and accommodating from top to bottom. We attended the Meet and Greet given by the officers and heard from all of the major departments on board, all were very keen that we bring any concerns to them. I complimented the Food and Beverage lead about how they are now putting Vegetarian and Gluten Free symbols on the menus in the main dining rooms (which he told us was rolled out about 6 months ago), which was very helpful for our party. The buffet had all the food you could ever want, the two main dining rooms were elegant with adequate choices, the specialty restaurants provided that something extra in terms of food and service. Our cabin was large enough for the time we spent in it, and our room steward Joe was super sweet. Shore excursions were just what we wanted and needed. Never had to look too far to find an available lounge chair on deck, which has been an issue on previous cruises. The greatest compliment I could pay is that I would immediately get back on board and do it again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Wow, amazing, awesome. Great food, great entertainment, and wonderful pot experiences. How they can make a fuul ship feel like theres plenty of room and activities for all is unbelievable. Service with a smile, and new friends , with life ... Read More
Wow, amazing, awesome. Great food, great entertainment, and wonderful pot experiences. How they can make a fuul ship feel like theres plenty of room and activities for all is unbelievable. Service with a smile, and new friends , with life long memories. Thats why you take vacations and crusing is one of those opportunities. They are minor areas that could or should be addressed, and hopefully they will deal with it. But wont stop me from going again! Hit the Office at Cabo, and spring break was a bikini cervesa feast, and Matazlan was georgous, and visited one of the most spiritual cathedral s in the city, not to mention seeing the cliff divers and lighthouse on the hill. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
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
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
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

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