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Ellen

Age: 60

Occupation:Principal

Number of Cruises: 7

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Star

Sailing Date: 1-7-2009

Itinerary: Mexican Riviera

We went to Mexico with extended family that aged from 8 to 83. We have all cruised before and went on this cruise to relax - and we had plenty of time to do that! There were activities going all the time - we all got to do some fun things on board. We were surprised that they allowed our 19 year old to drink and gamble on board. She really enjoyed that privledge.

We found the freestyle dining awful. We often wait an hour for a table. One night 6 of us went to dinner and they tried to give us a table for 4 with 2 extra chairs shoved in (after waiting for 45 minutes) - didn't work for us. The staff never smiled.

The food on a whole was very average. The buffet was very average (Not as high quality as Home Town Buffet, even) and was exactly the same every day. We didn't starve! On lobster night, we asked for double lobster and were given very rude looks by the waiter. They said that they didn't change the menu like that and brought us 2 full plates (after waiting for the second one!) They didn't like to make dietary changes...

Rooms were very nice (we had mini-suites) and were kept clean and neat. The mini-suite had a tub and my mother could not climb in to it to take a shower. She had to use the shower down by the pool because they wanted to charge her extra to use a shower in the Spa. YES, the spa and indoor pool cost an extra fee.

There were lots of kids on the ship. The teen that was traveling with us went to the teen center sevven or eight different times and found it totally empty, so she can not share any thoughts with you. The 9 year old in our group said that the activites when he went to his group were very babyish (rolling a ball around a circle or coloring). He had no interest in that. This did allow us all more family time.

The ports were nice. We booked shore trips and they all lived up to our expectations. We know that we could have made the same connections on the dock for half the price, but we prefer to pre-plan.

I would never go on NCL again - mainly because of the free style dining, but also because they nickle and dime you to death on this line. Making us pay to use the indoor pool was like a slap in the wallet! Too many of the restaurants were extra fees. The kids clubs did not offer anything that the kids could not have done at home in front of the tv.

Next cruise that I take will be back on Carnival, Princess or Royal Carribean - it may cost 50 dollars more but we will get smiles, kid activities and a familiar place to eat dinner every night.

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