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Richard & Mary 11-16-2008 04:57 PM

Just returned from NCL Star Mexican Riviera 7 day cruise from L.A. I was on the Star 4 years ago. Ship is in GREAT shape. Very well maintained. Service was totally IMPECCABLE. Food was very good to excellent, and overall satisfaction scores a solid 10 out of scale of 10. This ship still delivers great value for the first time or repeat cruiser. Specialty restaurants were very good, as well as main dining areas. Accomodations were the best (Vista Garden Villa #14500) and service was outstanding and all crew members that we were involved with had a since of pride working on this ship unseen on other NCL ships that we sailed including the Jewel and Pearl.

I am available to answer any questions that you might have regarding this ship or cruise.

After sailing many NCL cruises on their top of the line ships, this NCL Star cruise was "the best" for the overall measurement of service to the cruiser.

For us NCL "Freestyle" is the only way to go.....took us 20 minutes to go thru registration and board the Star. Took us 10 minutes to get off the ship thru Customs.

NCL certainly has the embarkation and disembarkation down to science and ease for the cruiser.

We highly recomend this cruise for anyone considering a trip from L.A. down the Mexican Coast to Cabo San Lucas, Matzalan, and Puerto Vallarta.

NCL Latitudes Platinum

Bentnail 11-16-2008 05:47 PM

Richard & Mary

This is great news to here you had such a good time, we were on her 11/1/2005 and had a great time too, we know some first timers that were on the same cruise as you. We told them they would have a good time and we are waiting to here back from them. Thanks for the good news.

Drew & Donna

billybuzzy 11-16-2008 05:59 PM

Richard & Mary - Welcome back from your latest cruise adventure, It's a great review of the Star and We shall consider booking on her for our next West Coast cruise in 2010- health permitting!

More importantly- it is great to hear from you once again! These columns have missed your company and your wisdom! Stay in touch-often!


Richard & Mary 11-16-2008 07:59 PM

Reference the Garden Villa's on the NCL Star........

There are 2 Garden Villa's on the Star...Horizon and Vista (#14500..#14502...#14506) We had the Vista. Each Garden Villa has a large living room, with sofa, 3 large chairs, grand piano, wet bar, desk, computer, telephones and 3 bedrooms. Of the 3 bedrooms, 2 are master suites and one is the same as a Penthouse Suite. They are very nice. There are two entrances into the Villas. The are totally secure and offer the ultimate of privacy and class. Since there was 2 adult couples, each of us occupied a master suite. The forward master suite has a large bathroom that actually looks out over the swimming pool. There is plenty of privacy. The rear master suite has a large sliding door that exits to the large rear patio with tables, gazebo, hot tub and sauna, and leads to an upper deck (15). The upper deck is split between the 2 Garden Villas and covers about 1200+ sq ft. for each Villa. The upper decks are for the Villas access from other cruisers. You could entertain 100 people easily on the upper deck. Mary and I took the rear master suite. Each suite and penthouse bedroom has 3 very large floor to ceiling tinted windows with automatic wood blinds that retract automatically up and down. Then there are curtains that can be closed over the blinds. The interior lighting options are fantastic with all electronic lighting and dimmers of several choices. Artwork decks the hallways with art type lighting. The bathrooms are unbeliveably beautiful with a clear glass round shower stall, marble floors and jacuzzi tubs. There is a large walk in closet leading from the master suite to the bath that is bigger than any household closet. Great for the ladies. Each master suite has 2 safes in the rooms. Each master suite has it owns portable telephone and television. The new beds are foam topped beds that are fantastic. The pillows are to die for.

We had a butler and room steward and assistant room steward, as one steward could not effectively handle each Villa. We were charged the $10.00 room charge per person per day. I STRONGLY feel that if you use the Butler service he definately deserves an extra gratuity which we paid him an extra $200.00 for his services, in additon to the standard daily room charges. We also gave the room steward and assistant additional compensation equal to the Butler. We also gave our personal concierge additonal compensation. Since you are in the best of the best, you will receive the ultimate of service, and will be highly recoginzed on the ship. You have the privilege of eating in your Garden Villa dining room served and set up by the butler. It is grand treatment. I highly suggest that you use the services offered by the Butler, Concierge and room stewards. The room stewards will do anything that you ask. These staff members are assigned exclusively to the Villa and are very professional and are used to dealing with upper scale cruisers.

We had a Garden Villa party for the cruise critic members and additonal guests that we made friends with. About 30-35 people. Between the Butler, Concierge and room stewards, we selected the drinks and NCL provided the professional catering and services of the butler. It was truly top notch, first class all the way. The butler set everything up and when we returned from dinner, the Garden Villa was completely cleaned up. We did nothing. We had priorty seating in the Stardust Theatre for all shows, VIP tender off the ship, and VIP treatment off the ship at the end of the cruise. We were escorted directly to our luggage and had priorty service at US Customs.

The Garden Villas are the best of the best, If you're not a celebrity or royalty, you will feel like royalty. I suggest that anyone considering going this way have a minimum of 4 adults or minimum of 6 adults to share the costs and rooms. I think the Villa for just 2 people is overkill...why leave 2 bedrooms ....Penthouse and master suite empty/unoccupied.

Since the Garden Villa was not booked or occupied prior to sailing, this was a chance of a lifetime of cruising to be able to secure this Villa. It was the best cruise we ever took, as we are Platinium NCL Latitudes cruisers. We have been on the Jewel and Pearl ( 3 times in 2007 for the Pearl) and this NCL Star cruise topped them all. The overall quality of service from ALL staff members was impeccable, and treatment from the executive staff was over the top. We dined with the Hotel Manager, we dined with the Food & Beverage Manager, both outstanding gentlemen, and very hospitable men. The Food & Beverage Mgr. arranged a private tour of the galley with the executive chief (Peter Dcosta) guiding us thru. Bob, our other party member in the Villa, is the owner of a 32 unit restaurant chain, so he had an interest in the food operations.

Any cruise is what you make it. Having the Garden Villa was a great start. Adding in a party for cruise critic members in the Villa was great, and getting to know the executive staff on a one on one basis was absolutely terrific. The treatment was royal, and this is one cruise we will NEVER forget.

Hopefully this information helps when considering the Garden Villa. We have numerous photos and can forward them to anyone who has an interest in the securing the Garden Villas on future cruises on the NCL Star.

Las Cruces, New Mexico USA

penny3333 11-17-2008 06:40 AM

Welcome back Richard & Mary, sounds like a wonderful time. How marvelous to be able to enjoy the Garden Villa, not many can. I did enjoy the documentary on the travel channel about them, truly magnificent accomodations. I have truly enjoyed all of my cruises on NCL and look forward to many more. I'll add this one to my list of possibilities.

LisaP 11-18-2008 05:01 PM

Glad you enjoyed the Garden Villa. From the descriptions I've heard, it's hard to not enjoy it. Of course, service is impeccable in those accommodations. But what was the hold-up with embarkation? I'd expect it to be much less than 20 minutes for those in the top cabin category.

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