Number of Cruises: 4
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Star
Sailing Date: October 16th, 2006
Itinerary: Mexican Riveria
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Star Cruise Review
My husband, my friend, and I embarked on
this Mexican Riviera cruise and had a great time! The embarkation process wasn’t
all that smooth. Getting to the pier, my husband dropped us girls off with the
luggage, then went to park the car and get back. There was a huge U-shaped line
of everyone with their baggage. The idea, we think, was that porters with
trolleys would load up people’s bags at the front of the line. Nope. They
arbitrarily headed for whoever apparently got their attention. So this took a
while and was chaos. Then you go into the terminal, get a number, and wait some
more. Forget the “Latitudes” (former customers) special treatment. We didn’t
notice any benefits. There was quite a wait to get through that line too, once
your number gets called, but then we were home-free to get on the boat. Everyone
must use hand sanitizer before getting on the ship, and all over the boat as
well, especially around restaurants. I never heard of anyone being sick, so I
guess that was a good idea.
The ship layout is fine (I have seen worse) and we enjoyed everything. It is true that there is basically only 1 pool. The spa has a small, heated pool, but it is so small, I got out after only 1 lap after I scraped my toenails on the bottom. It’s only like 3 feet deep! You have to pay to use this pool, or you can use it before or after a spa treatment. We each visited the spa 3 times during our trip, and each treatment was wonderful. Except the acupuncture. Somehow my husband got the idea that would be neat to try, and he was just mad afterward! Not relaxing at all. But the massages, seaweed wrap, facials, and pedicures were wonderful! Pretty pricey, but very pampering and relaxing.
The restaurants were all decent to very good. LeBistro was probably our most favorite. It is French, and everything was awesome. Teppanyaki is hard to get into, as there is only 1 table for 12 people. The food was good, but man, we were stuck with the most awful group of 8 that diminished the experience. The Blue Lagoon is a very informal, awkwardly-placed little restaurant that is surprisingly wonderful! They plug it as ‘comfort food’ and it includes a small menu of things like fish and chips, some Asian dishes, macaroni and cheese, cookies, etc. It is super casual, and really good. The main restaurants, Versaille and Aqua, had nice atmosphere, but most nights we weren’t interested in their menus so we rarely ate there. Breakfasts and lunches there were great, but I’m not sure we ever hit dinner there more than once. The Market Café is a huge buffet with 3 or 4 sections to it, and there was always plenty good stuff there to choose! We were there most of the time. The only problem was it was hard to find a Coke in there. By the way, the Coke cup (unlimited refills) has gone up to $48, which I thought was awful. A can of Coke is only $1.75, and you get the whole can. The refills are small and you can only get them filled in certain places, like the bars. There is a minibar in the cabins, and the prices there are the same. That was nice. You have to make reservations at the ‘pay’ restaurants, and by mid-week, they were pretty much booked, so we were not able to hit all of them. Cagney’s is their steakhouse, and it was rather disappointing. (Compared to Fleming’s, Rainwaters, or Ruths’ Chris fare) If you go before 6pm, most of the restaurant fees were half price.
The rooms were fine. We were in a balcony room on the 8th floor. It was bigger than others we have had, and the balcony was awesome. We later learned that the balcony rooms above us didn’t have as much enclosure on the sides as we did, but that wasn’t a big deal. It’s great to be able to lean over and see where you have arrived in the morning. The bathroom size wasn’t bad. Still small, but I’ve seen worse. My friend was in an interior room and her room was smaller, but the bathroom seemed bigger.
We didn’t see many of the shows at night (always so busy…) in the big theater, but there was this one musician that we loved- Jana Seale. She was either in Gatsby’s or the Star Lounge with her guitar, and her song book is full of the great acoustic stuff we love. She has a wonderful voice that is reminiscent of Joni Mitchell. There are trivia games, bingo, and many other things going on that are quite fun. Our group won trivia one night and was rewarded with 4 decks of NCL cards. Woohoo! So we shared with the runners up.
Our first stop was Acapulco, and we took a tour that included the Fort of San Diego, which is right where the ship parks, then on to see the cliff divers (pretty cool), we criss-crossed the main road a couple times, stopped at the Flamingo hotel. This was kind of a waste of time, because a lot of time was blown driving around. The roads are crazy, busy, and stinky like exhaust. I would have rather walked to the Fort ourselves, taken a cab to the cliff divers, and there was lots of shopping right near the ship.
The next day was Zihuatenejo, which was very relaxing. We basically just walked off the ship, found a restaurant right on the beach, had a great breakfast and naranjaras (a must!!!), then walked around, shopped, laid on the beach, had lunch, drank a few, and relaxed the whole day. The vendors are pretty annoying, coming at you nearly constantly with their wares, but all you can do is shoo them off.
Then it was Puerto Vallarta. We first (don’t laugh) went to Wal-mart! They thought I was crazy, but it is right across from where we parked, and I wanted to see how similar it was to the American stores. And get some soap- I hated the stuff on the ship. My husband wanted some walkie-talkies and found some at the Sam’s Club next door. We then took a cab to the Melancon (the touristy beach and shopping area). We had a great lunch, naranjaras, etc., then took off to relax on the beach while my husband went walking all over, exploring the place. Watch out; there was one bar where they totally try to rip you off. Try to entice you with Cheetos with hot sauce then want $9 for a little cup of a drink.
The last stop was Cabo, which is awesome. We had been there 6 years ago on another cruise, but this time I didn’t remember anything being similar to how it is now. There is a ton of new construction of condos, hotels, and restaurants all around a yacht harbor and shopping (same stuff, different port). We ended up on the beach, and it was beautiful. This is the one stop where the water is pretty and relatively warm and you want to get in it. My friend and I took a 45-minute boat ride for $12 out to see the Arch, pelican rock, lover’s beach (not much), etc. That was well worth it; it was fun, a small group, and we saw the famous stuff up close. My husband had discovered Margaritaville, a restaurant on one end of the harbor, and we met him there for awesome drinks and food. There was a very unpleasant man at the next table complaining about the prices, but you get one of their big margaritas, and nothing seems to matter after that! We had a great time at an outside, 2nd floor balcony table.
Getting off the ship was the easiest thing EVER! You have your choice of putting your bags outside your room at night to be collected, and you get off by colored luggage tags, or you can carry your bags yourself and basically get off at your leisure when they call floors. We were off by 7am!! 8 days was about 1 day too long, and it is so funny to see how everyone wants on the ship so bad the first day, can’t wait to get on, and the last day, everyone wants off so bad, can’t wait to get off! But it was a great trip, lots of relaxing, lots of food, lots of scenery, lots of things to do.