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Charlene Bethel

Age: 61

Occupation:Dean's Assistant at a Community College

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Star

Sailing Date: September 30th, 2005

Itinerary: Mexican Riviera

NCL, Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Star Cruise Review
7-Day Mexican Riviera

Charlene Bethel

Embarkation: This was a very negative experience as we waited in line for 3 hours before boarding the ship. It was hot from the Santa Ana winds and humid from a very large fire close by. However, I later learned that the long lines were caused by Customs because there were three ships in port at the same time. We did receive a rum drink upon entering the ship which is a nice touch. Once on ship checking in was a breeze.

Did I love this ship? Very much! The crew was friendly and helpful at all times and in every area of the ship. It was obvious that the crew is proud of the ship and happy to be working on her. This indicates good management to my husband and me; and if the crew is managed well it is passed on to the passengers in very good service.

Stateroom: We booked a mini-suite on deck 11 forward and will do this again. The room is larger than a balcony with beautiful cherry wood accents, cabinets etc. and perfect size for two people. There was plenty of storage, extended balcony, nicely large bathroom with a bathtub. The room was clean at all times, and we only had to leave our room for one hour and it was made up or turned down, absolutely no complaints here.

Public places: The pool area was always hoping, however, we did not spend much time there. The Casino was fun and we won some and lost some probably came out even, but had lots of fun here. Our favorite place for a drink and a little entertainment was the Red Lion Pub where the wait staff came to know us, even on shore if they ran into us. The coffee bar in the atrium is beautifully located and we enjoyed coffee here a few times as well as cookies (the cookies are free). The workout room is well equipped with staff very helpful.

Entertainment: The Jean Ann Ryan Company put on two shows that we enjoyed quite a lot. One was “Music of the Night” Andrew Lloyd Webber music and was beautiful, the second was “Fame” and that was also very good. The Stardust Theater is quite beautiful and each seat had good view of the stage.

Dinning: We ate mostly in the Versailles and usually had good meals, a couple of times the dish was not what I thought it would be, but overall very good. My husband had prime rib the first night and said it was excellent; he is a prime rib lover and has eaten it at some very nice restaurants. We ate twice at Endless Summer and found the food good there as well. We had fish and chips in the Red Lyon and that was good. The buffets were . . . well buffets, however, breakfast was usually pretty good as was lunch. We did not like the coffee in the buffet it was too strong and bitter, but we usually made coffee in our stateroom which we enjoyed.

Ports: We did miss one port, however, made each of the larger ports and this was okay with us. We kind of had an extra day at sea because we did not arrive in Acapulco until 6:00 p.m. due to hurricane Otis the next morning we took the ship tour to the Cliff Divers and I would recommend this tour to anyone we enjoyed it quite a lot. In Puerto Vallarta we were late arriving because of strong headwinds however our captain maneuvered us very close to the dock in order to hasten our tendering to shore, this was the most amazing thing. Carnival Pride was docked and we skirted right past her, she had a sign on the side of the ship that said “for security reasons stay 50 feet away”, and I know we came closer than 50 feet. I could see the bridge crew and other passengers on their balcony and we could even yell at each other. This captain really knows how to drive a ship and take good care of his passengers. Cabo San Lucas was beautiful and our first day with sun and very little humidity, it is smaller than I thought it would be, but we had a lot of fun. Did not take a shore excursion here but those that did raved about the good time they had, so kind of wished we had too.

Disembarkation: This was the easiest I have seen so far. We waited in our stateroom until our color was called, then we went to the Spinnaker Lounge for Customs and off the ship. Our luggage was very easy to find by the way it was clustered in groups.

Will I sail this ship again? In a heartbeat. Will I sail with this captain again? In half a heartbeat. Will I sail NCL again? Without a doubt. If you have to have an unplanned day at sea the Norwegian Star is the ship to be on. In fact we plan on sailing to Alaska on the Star next summer.

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