Number of Cruises: 100
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Star
Sailing Date: June 26th, 2005
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Star Cruise Review
This was a round trip Seattle Alaska sailing. I was traveling with my family, which included 2 children, 6 and 9 years of age. The children and pricing were the most important factors in choosing. I was correct to choose this ship for the children, big mistake choosing for price.
As there were a total of 11 people in our party, cost was a factor and NCL Star was the most economical way for us to go, plus I was interested in trying “Freestyle” dining.
As far as the physical plant of the ship goes, it is absolutely beautiful. Well appointed public rooms and lots of them. Standard sized cabins with great bathrooms although somewhat lacking in storage space. Probably a little larger ship than I would have liked but still, very nice ship. The kids program was well run and kept to the schedule listed in their program very well with one exception. My grandson’s name is Simon. The cruise director’s name was Simon. The CD was supposed to visit the kids and conduct a kids cruise director program, however, each time it was scheduled he canceled due to a sore throat, severely disappointing my 6 year old grandson. And that pretty much epitomizes the attitude of the staff aboard this ship. “ Do whatever is most convenient for the staff without regard to what is best for the passenger.”
Closing dining areas fifteen minutes earlier than scheduled to get a head start on clean up.
Not opening areas of the buffet at the scheduled time and receiving a surly answer when questioned about it.
Failing to refill certain items in buffet because they were closing in ten minutes.
Requiring you to visit the purser’s desk to make arrangements for disembarkation.
Making a party of seven wait to one side for twenty five minutes to be seated in the Aqua Restaurant when there were plenty of empty large tables.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
Throughout the cruise you are constantly bombarded with announcements and extraneous papers left on your bed, all attempting to find a way to extract more money from you. Gone are the free activities we used to attend on ships. Everything here is geared toward producing revenue for the ship. It got so that the last two days of the cruise we were plotting ways to get through the day without giving them another nickel except for the “non-adjustable” service charge of $10 a day a person. And therein lies the problem with Freestyle. People working for guaranteed wages do not attend to their duties with the alacrity shown by someone hustling for tips. It’s just not human nature to do so, and while we had many excellent service people in the restaurants, there were an equal number of poorly trained, uncaring people who were just interested in getting through the day.
My son had dinner one evening in the Bistro (charge of $15 per person). While the food was good, the server with no apology laughed at the piece of sharp, white plastic which was found residing under the steak . For this type of service we should pay extra?
On three consecutive port days we arrived back at the ship (one day after a fifteen minute wait outside because only one entry was open) and called for room service. You know how you feel after coming from a long tour or an invigorating hike. Exhausted! The last thing you want to do is go to the buffet for a snack. I understand that this is probably the busiest time for room service, however, I was not prepared for what happened. The first two days I called and received a recording to press one for a call back. We decided not to wait and dragged ourselves up to the Market Café for coffee and a small (very small) sandwich. The third day, after receiving the same message, I pressed one for a call back. Sure enough, within two minutes the phone rang. But by the time I answered it, no one was there. I called back and within two minutes the phone rang again. This time I was right on top of it and picked the phone up only to hear the phone click as it was hung up on the other end. I tried one more time, same result. It seems your room number goes into a computer queue and the only way for them to get it out is to make the call back. But that doesn’t mean they have to take anyone’s order! After complaining to reception I received later that evening a message from the room service supervisor asking me to call him back. No name and no extension number, customer service at its worst.
Latitudes members (Past passengers) get a 20% discount on well drinks in the Spinnaker Lounge between 5 and 7 PM. Your personal card clearly states Latitudes but getting this discount is like pulling teeth and in fact I was charged twice for the same round and had to correct this on disembarkation day at the front desk.
I’ve just reread this, I know it sounds whiney but it’s exactly what happened and how I feel. I will never do another “Freestyle” cruise. I feel as though I wasted a ton of money and subjected my family to an inferior product.
Who should go on NCL? Novice cruisers who have limited expectations and are traveling with no more than one other couple. People who feel comfortable in the fast food environment of today’s restaurants and feel that getting dressed for dinner means putting on a clean pair of jeans.