Norwegian Star Review
- Pro: Refurbs have kept original Freestyle ship modern.
- Con: Reservations necessary to get the venue you want.
- Bottom Line: Star provides some of Norwegian's most popular features, on a smaller ship.
Norwegian Star Overview
Launched in 2001, the 2,348-passenger Norwegian Star was the first Norwegian ship custom built for Freestyle Cruising, NCL's anti-traditionalist program that touts a plethora of dining, cabin and entertainment options.
A 2015 refurbishment saw a number of additions as well as a ship wide refresh, including carpets and upholstery. The biggest change was the transformation of the whole of the lobby area of Deck 8 with a Norwegian mainstay – O'Sheehan's Bar & Grill, replacing Blue Lagoon Restaurant and Moderno Churrascaria. While Blue Lagoon has gone for good, Moderno has moved to Deck 13 taking up the space which was once the Star Bar. It shares this space with the second Sugarcane Mojito Bar. The Red Lion Pub on Deck 7 has been converted into the first 5 O' Clock Somewhere Bar on the Norwegian fleet. Digital signage has also been added, and both the phot gallery and the casino have been given a refresh. And finally, Ginza noodle restaurant has become free.
The ship boasts 11 restaurants, including venues serving Tex-Mex, Japanese and French cuisine, and 8 bars and lounges (try the open-air Bier Garten). In line with the Freestyle mantra, public spaces range from intimate to exuberant, providing a variety of spots for activities and entertainment day and night. There are also tons of accommodation options, from standard inside cabins to the enormous 6,694-square-ft., three-bedroom Garden Villas.
Star was also refurbished in February 2010 in Victoria, British Columbia. The two-week dry-dock focused mostly on cosmetic enhancements (carpets, upholstery, etc.) and engineering work, but the line also added a number of 54 cabins and suites, and enhanced Star's spaces for kids.
Norwegian Star Fellow Passengers
NCL's passengers run the broad spectrum of families with young kids to retirees who want a casual cruise experience at a reasonable cost. The average age of guests on the Star's eight-day Mexican Riviera cruise is mid-40's, but when the cruise starts on a Friday or Saturday, the number of children on board increases. The ship is ideal for families wanting to experience an Alaska itinerary, especially since it sails roundtrip from Seattle.
Norwegian Star Dress Code
Casual, casual, casual. There is one voluntary formal night for those who want to dress up, but most choose to leave their jewels and tuxes at home. The fancier restaurants (Bistro, SoHo Room) do lend themselves to cocktail attire, but the other dining spots only require resort casual. No shorts, swimsuits or tank tops are allowed in the restaurants after 5 p.m.
Norwegian Star Gratuity
Norwegian charges a "service fee" of $13.99 per person, per day, for passengers booked in standard cabins and mini-suites. Those in suites are charged $16.99 per person, per day. Cruisers wishing to adjust or remove the charges must fill out a form post-cruise to request a refund.
Norwegian recommends that suite passengers who use butler and concierge services tip according to the level of service rendered.
An 18 percent gratuity will be added to all bar purchases and services in the spa and salon.