Number of Cruises: 4
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Star
Sailing Date: March 1st, 2006
Itinerary: Mexican Riveria
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Star Cruise Review
My husband and I choose Norwegian again for our fourth cruise because of the freestyle cruising, which is not offered by other cruise lines. We are not the dress up type, so the casual attire was perfect for us, (less clothes to pack too!)
We were told at the airport there was an NCL shuttle that would take us to the cruise ship pier, but we could not find it, so we went to the Prime Time Shuttle pick up area and within 5 minutes, a van came along! It took us directly to the cruise ship pier in about 40 minutes, at a cost of $16 ea. We arrived very early to the pier, about 10am, and waited in a huge room until check in started at about 12noon. The waiting area was nice, with comfortable seats and a few vending machines, but it would have been nice for NCL to offer everyone cool drinks/snacks while we waited. There was no one around to make change for the vending machines if you did not have the correct change.
Check in was a little slow, but with 2300+ other people wanting on at the same time, it wasn't too bad considering. It went fairly quick for us as NCL had a special Lattitudes members check in counter seperate from the rest.
We had taken the Norwegian Star last year on a cruise to Alaska, but it is still exciting to board such a beautiful ship with a huge grand atrium with fountains, marble floors and a spiral staircase! Our cabin was an outside cabin only 2 doors down from where we were last year, so we knew exactly what to expect as far as layout and space. Lots of drawers, big closet, roomy shower and a large picture window. (I recommend to NEVER get an inside cabin, as it is dark 24/7, pay the extra little bit and get an outside) Unfortunetly we were dissappointed upon arrival in our cabin. It was not up to it's usual cleanliness. The glassware, ie: the mirrors, door edges; were not clean and there seemed to be a slight smell from spilt milk or something. There also were sticky finger prints on the table(s.) We contacted the desk and a fellow came shortly to spray some carpet deodorizer. Problem solved! Late the next day, we saw our room steward, he apologized and gave our room the attention to detail that should have happened prior to our arrival. Perfect!
The entertainment was great, from the comedian and the magician right on down to the Jean Ann Ryan Company! The only complaint we have about the ONBOARD activities is that it was the same as it had been for the past 5 years. How many times can you watch the Not So Newleywed Game, Vegatable Carving, and people dancing like John Travolta? Because we have been on 4 cruises in less than 5 years with NCL, we remember these activities, so when we had sea days, we were bored. First time cruisers with NCL, would enjoy them though.
The restaurants were great too. We ate most of our meals in the Market Cafe (buffet), although we did eat ate The Versailles once. Because the Market Cafe is on the same deck as the pool, there were people walking through when you are trying to eat, with no shirt or shoes. yuck, not very appetizing. Come on people, observe the "no shirt, no shoes" rule! Plus, read the signs upon entering the cafe AND your Freestyle Daily, wear appropiate attire in the dining areas! There is a cover charge for the specialty restaurants, which varies depending on the restaurant. My husband ate at The Ginza, (Sushi) and enjoyed it very much. (I don't like sushi) Cover charge there was $10. We also ate at Cagney's Steakhouse, which has a cover charge of $20 ea, but I won a free dinner by matching three symbols on the oversized slot machine in the casino onboard! The steaks were awesome! Hubby having a 14oz T-bone and I had a filet mignon! YUM! A great place for wings is The Blue Lagoon. We were disappointed that there weren't any outdoor BBQ's, the weather was perfect for this the whole time. I was disappointed that the Chocoholic buffet was at midnight again. That is one thing I look forward to with NCL, but I don't want to eat all that chocolate at midnight! :o(
Because the itinerary had changed, all passengers received a $50 shipboard credit. Some passengers were upset that they were not told of the change before hand, but our travel agent knew this months ahead, so why didn't others know? We used that towards a shore excursion in Manzanillo. (City tour & shopping) We don't like tours of any kind because your on a schedule and have to be here or be there at a certain time and don't get to spend time in places you really like, but, hey it was "free!" This was the only excursion we took. It was really hot in all ports, with Manzanillo being the hottest at 102F! We found that all the ports are the same as far as shopping goes, so if you don't like shopping, take an excursion, because there isn't really much to do otherwise. Mazatlan was the place we liked the most even though it seemed the poorest and dirtiest. Take liquid hand sanitizer EVERYWHERE you go as the sanitation is poor. You must go to the open air market in downtown Mazatlan! The motto for Cabo San Lucas should be Bring Money, because it is very expensive. The marina has hundreds and hundreds of huge, million dollar yachts and fancy resorts/time shares all along the causeway, and of course there are salesmen trying to sell them to you. Be sure to get your picture taken holding a Iguana! Only 2 Pesos! ($2 US)
The last day of the cruise was a sea day, sailing back to LA, and we found it boring, and talking to other passengers, they did too.
Remember to bring along an overnight bag because you have to put your luggage outside your cabin the night before, so you need a small bag for "essentials." Arriving into LA and disembarking from the ship was easy and quick, and there are lots of buses/vans and taxis waiting to take you back to the airport or where ever you need to go! I would reco mmend NCL to anyone planning a cruise, but choose your time to cruise carefully. There were alot of kids on this cruise. The crew were very accommodating to our every question/need and all seemed happy to be there, which in turn makes for happy (and return) customers! Thank you NCL!