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Rolf Marsh

Age: 68


Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Star

Sailing Date: 2010-09-25

Itinerary: Alaska

I would like to comment on our recent cruise on the Norwegian Star, which left Seattle on Sept 25, 2010. This was the "cruise from hell". Had there been a way home without excessive airline charges, we would have left half-way through it.

• As far as I know, this is the only cruise line that automatically charges you $12.50 USD per person-per day for a “gratuity”, which worked out to $175 for the cruise. The service was not that good from the entire staff, but only a few. (the management of the “trough” would walk by us and we had to move to one side to allow them to pass!)

• Almost everybody ate at the “Market Café” which we referred to as “the Trough”. The food was dismal at best, although the fresh fruit was wonderful (we would take some up to our room in the evening and eat it there).
• There were two additional free places to eat, which, had we not asked other people about, we never would have known about it. They both were in the aft part of the ship, and there was no mention of what the daily menu was so we had to go to one of them (they shared menus) and check out lunch and dinner. Note that the menus of the restaurants that had hefty charges (from $15 to $25 USD) were predominately displayed at the entrance to the “trough” each day!
• We decided to splurge and try one of the “fee” dining rooms (an Oriental bistro), and the food was abominable! I had paid an extra $15 for lobster, which was overcooked, tough and covered with some sauce that I couldn’t eat. Now, mind you, I enjoy good Chinese food, but this was the worst! Fortunately the manager refunded the lobster charge.

• The room was relatively clean, but the bathroom was another issue. It smelled of urine, and the cleaning staff was unable to remove the smell. So over the 7 days, we had to live with it.
• The refrigerator was so loaded with soda that we could not get anything else into it. We removed some of the sodas, but were afraid that we would be charged for them, so put them back.
• The television was so small that it was hard to view. It kept skipping parts of a program, and finally we gave up on viewing anything. There was no US based news program, and the BBC news didn’t really cover any of the highlights in the US. Very disappointing.

• The "internet cafe" fees were exorbitant! Fifteen (15) minutes for $7.50 USD. We found an internet café in Skagway which gave us 15 minutes for $1.25 USD! Wireless fees were about the same.
• My wife was bored during the entire cruise¦ there was nothing for her to do, since she doesn't gamble. No activities other than ones that they charged for (i.e. Bingo, 3 cards for $20). There are no movies shown in a theatre, but rather some lame movies on the television. One night of dancing (which we don't do) which started at 10 p.m., and a few shows with pre-recorded music and some live singers¦
• I chose to do some gambling, and the first 4 days I was a winner, as were others. On the last day at sea, things changed. I lost all of my winnings, playing the same machines that I had played at the beginning of the week. Nobody else was winning either! Clearly, the machines were reset to keep a higher percentage (my guess is about 98-99%) of the money gambled. Never even thought that there was no regulation in international waters, and consequently I (and others) got taken.

• Shore excursions were expensive, especially if you purchased them on the ship. They tacked a booking fee to each, averaging $20 or more. We could have purchased the exact same thing in the towns we stopped at for much less. In addition, they applied scare tactics to your time ashore, saying if you didn't purchase from their approved stores, they would not be responsible for your purchase. So of course, most of the passengers that went ashore bought at those stores. On the last day, it was mentioned in the flyer that the ship distributes each day, that the stores paid a fee to NCL for this privilege.

The trip from hell... we will NEVER again choose NCL... we have subsequently heard that Holland America is the best, and that's where we are going for our next cruise.

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