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12 Night Europe Cruise from Southampton

12 Night Europe Cruise from Southampton

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Norwegian Star
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Itinerary

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  • Day 1
    Southampton
  • Day 2
    Cruising
  • Day 3
    Invergordon (Inverness)
  • Day 4
    Edinburgh (South Queensferry)
  • Day 5
    Kirkwall
  • Day 6
    Greenock (Glasgow)
  • Day 7
    Belfast
  • Day 8
    Liverpool
  • Day 9
    Dublin
  • Day 10
    Dublin
  • Day 11
    Cobh (Cork)
  • Day 12
    Isle of Portland (England)
  • Day 13
    Southampton

Norwegian Star

Norwegian Star - Norwegian Cruise Line

Pros

Refurbs have kept original Freestyle ship modern

Cons

Constant upcharges may turn some cruisers off

Bottom Line

Star provides some of Norwegian's most popular features, on a smaller ship


Cruise Reviews

Sail Date: September 2019
We have always talked about going on a cruise. My wife had been on quite a number of cruises and she was excited about going on a Mediterain cruise for the first time. Bookings of flights was not correct until brought to the attention ... Read More
We have always talked about going on a cruise. My wife had been on quite a number of cruises and she was excited about going on a Mediterain cruise for the first time. Bookings of flights was not correct until brought to the attention of NCL. At one time our travel agent was told that NCL is a Cruise company and not n airline, which I told my agent that they should not offer air travel with the cruise then. The sailing time was changed and not communicated to anyone of our travel party although other members did get an email or this change. A destination was removed because of the delayed departure which was also not communicated to our group until we boarded although it was known three days in advance. The food seemed to be discounted in flavor and in texture. There are certain things I have seen working in food service before that some restaurants do to cut food costs, and it appeared to me that NCL practiced all of them (Watered down juices and beverages, Kraft singles? Really, Bland flavor). It was like food on a retirement home cruise. One Word NCL: SALT. Ok, two words: SALT and SALT. The staff, the crew, every person on the cruis was friedly and helpful, but that did not make up for the poor quality of logistics and food. What a shame, because everyone I know that has been on a cruise talks about the food more than anything and this was a complete disappointment. Entertainment was ok but not fantastic. The actors and singers worked hard just the shows were not the qualty I expected either. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
My wife and I chose this cruise to celebrate our 10th anniversary. It was our 10th cruise in as many years, always in a top suite on the ship. 8 of the cruises were on Carnival. This was our 2nd on NCL. On the ship there is only ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise to celebrate our 10th anniversary. It was our 10th cruise in as many years, always in a top suite on the ship. 8 of the cruises were on Carnival. This was our 2nd on NCL. On the ship there is only one stateroom class higher...the 3 bedroom garden villa. This room is actually on the bridge wing on the starboard side. It commands amazing floor to ceiling views looking FORWARD which is a nice change. It actually feels like you're flying low when you are moving. Be aware though that there is no balcony or exterior access so it can still feel a little confined. When we arrived to our room, we found all of the blinds drawn shut which gave a first impression of the space being much smaller than expected. I pulled them all up and the room quickly heated to an unpleasant level. The air conditioning could not keep up with the heat coming off of the glass. The room steward came in and I asked about getting the AC looked at and he said "well, the blinds are all open". OF COURSE the blinds are all open. Why else would one give up a balcony and pay quite a bit of money for the room? They did eventually get someone in to adjust the AC and it worked, but it was an odd way of replying to the concern. A moment about "free at sea". We booked early and a top level suite and we awarded all 5 offers. The premium beverages package was very nice to have! We are not huge drinkers but it was nice not to think about signing for every drink ordered. The free internet is only 240 minutes and we were upsold for another ~$130 to get actual free internet. Free shore excursions means ONE $50 credit per STATEROOM per port. As most of the excursions were $120-$200 per PERSON, the excursions were not exactly free. Free specialty dining was valid for 3 nights out of 7, also a bit misleading. Free 3rd and 4th guests...we didn't take advantage of. Seems generous. The ship's food was not great. The buffet food was the worst we've ever had. The steakhouse food was decent but the lighting was very bright and setting was very loud. It was not the ambiance you'd expect from an ala carte restaurant with shorelike pricing. The Teppan restaurant was the best on the ship and the chefs were very entertaining, better than many on land. Otherwise the food was ranging between fair to moderate. I'm pretty sure there was hamburger helper being served at the buffet. The food on Carnival was actually better than on this NCL ship. The only thing that saved the food was that suite guests are offered to dine in the steakhouse for breakfast and lunch complimentary. It was nice to sit and have breakfast prepared for you...good food at that. Breakfast was also accompanied by a very nice buffet and fresh squeezed juices. Entertainment on the ship was also sadly lacking compared to the lower perceived Carnival line. There is no comedy club. There was one show a night in which the performers seemed tired. My wife is a choreographer by trade, so this is always something we check out. They were just going through the motions. TV did not offer any pay per view options like Carnival, and at least half of the channels were commercials to drive business for the ship. There was one movie channel, and a few news channels. We actually like to get a really nice room and spend time enjoying it away from the crowds on deck so a little better entertainment options would have been appreciated. The itinerary was nice. The list of ports was perfect. On our particular cruise they cancelled our call to Mykonos, which was very disappointing. It was to be the highlight of our trip and I had planned to surprise my wife with some upscale shopping for an anniversary gift. The captain said there were 70kt winds and they could not tender people to shore. I'm no meteorologist, but I'm pretty sure there were no low level hurricanes outside:) It was bumpy but feasible, which brings me to my final gripe (sorry). When we left port in Venice there were 4 ships docked from various cruise lines. We found on this cruise that they all follow the same itinerary and call on the same ports on the same days. They follow each other around like glorified buses, often traveling together with just a couple miles of separation. What this does for the clients is creates a logjam at each port of call. When multiple boats land in port at the same time and all offload their clients simultaneously, the services become scarce and the wait times become long for attractions. Couple this with what I perceive to be short durations at each port (leaving at 12:30 or 2:30 pm at times) and it's impactful to the guests. For instance, in Santorini it was very crowded and we waited 45 minutes to take a picture at a lookout spot. Locals told me that in a few hours it would be vacant. Why not stagger the ships a bit? Here is my takeaway on the NCL vs Carnival. Carnival is less expensive. Carnival has better food if you're willing to pay for it. Carnival has more and better entertainment. NCL has fewer children and is a little more mellow. NCL offers substantial perks if you are a suite guest to elevate the experience such as priority debarkation in ports, special dining for breakfast and lunch, etc. My opinion is that if traveling with family, Carnival wins. If traveling as a couple(s) it's a toss up and NCL may be the winner. I will concede that my wife and I are a tough audience but please accept this honest review as consideration of your future cruise plans if your goal is to pull out all of the stops. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Our 7-day Mediterranean cruise was fantastic. We left from Venice after staying there overnight in August (HEAVY tourist season - glad we didn't stay longer). We checked in at like 11:30 (technically embarkation started at 12), gave ... Read More
Our 7-day Mediterranean cruise was fantastic. We left from Venice after staying there overnight in August (HEAVY tourist season - glad we didn't stay longer). We checked in at like 11:30 (technically embarkation started at 12), gave them our bags, then walked back to Venice to get lunch and spend a little more time there. I didn't expect things to be happening on the ship before we departed - would have been nice to know but it probably wouldn't have changed anything. Embarkation a few hours later was super quick and painless and our luggage was just arriving at our room which was nice. Disembarkation was similarly easy and relaxed because we had a train to catch to Florence at 11am and we got to stay onboard to enjoy one last breakfast (in a free restaurant). We had the Ultimate Beverage Package - a wonderful and key addition, and the 3-meal specialty dining, where we went to the French, Italian, and hibachi restaurants. The French one (the "fancy" one) was easily the best and nicest, though the other two also had good food and experiences. The bars on the top decks got SO crowded during the afternoons when the outside crowd was at its peak so you had to wait several minutes for whatever drink you wanted, no matter how simple or complex. I think it'd be nice if they could somehow figure ways to have an expedited line for simple drinks (beer, wine, premade/two-ingredient cocktails, etc). Despite making TONS of cocktails everyday, I give so much credit to the bartenders who were all really great and consistently provided great service with a smile. Same goes for all the servers and everybody else onboard - service and cheerfulness was amazing! Drinks would be quite expensive a la carte without the beverage package - I feel like we got our money's worth with quantity and variety, but even so, it would be a significantly worse experience without the beverage package, even if it may have even ended up slightly cheaper. The entertainment crew and nightly shows were all amazing and so fun and well done. We loved seeing the entertainment crew everyday across the ship and interacting with them in different activities. We did trivia a lot and for some reason it was very geography-based (I.e. which country/sea/etc. is the biggest/smallest/etc.) but I suppose they wanted to be accessible to all crowds, even if it wasn't super diverse of a trivia experience 1-2 times a day throughout the cruise. And it was still fun playing, especially with the great hosts. Easily my biggest gripe with the on-board experience was that I paid so much for the all-inclusive cruise and it felt like I was being sold on extras all cruise long, whether that be photos or CruiseNext deposits or the duty-free store or even bingo. Why not even offer a single free bingo for fun??? (I guess because it's obvious a lot of people will in fact pay for it...?) Don't even get me started on the "free" health or well-being seminars... After curiously staying for a seminar immediately following a raffle (the main way they rope you in), I regretted being guilted into staying for a 15-20 minute strong sales pitch for an expensive product by the fitness guru onboard. My only other main gripe was dining, specifically the chaos that was the main buffet dining hall and the unimpressive/occasional lack of vegetarian options. The Garden Cafe buffet was very big, but somehow not big enough. I can't entirely blame NCL for it (unless it's a ruse to sell more dining packages...?), but we very quickly learned that if we continued going there instead of the restaurants (even if just the free ones), we would have had a worse overall experience - not at all relaxing to eat at the buffet, even with the good selection and variety. And speaking of which, I expected the inclusivity and variety of the cruise to at least have strong vegetarian options (and hopefully even some vegan ones), but the latter would have been very difficult to do consistently and even the former seemed to be occasionally lacking, not necessarily in the buffet but notably in the restaurants. The only other thing to write about was shore excursions and we did one everyday through NCL, which definitely made it easier and more convenient. In fact one port call had to get cancelled due to weather and we immediately got refunded for our paid excursion, no effort necessary. All the excursions ranged from very good to really great, and the local tour guides were all great. There was a good variety of options and even though the tours were larger size than ideal (20-30+) and some ports (I'm looking at you Santorini) were really crowded, they still all ended up being great experiences. Read Less
View All Norwegian Star Reviews
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