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