1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
Generally, when we travel, the time comes that you just want to click your heels together and be back at home. This cruise was not one of those times. We are avid cruisers, having been on most lines. We left Colorado on the 3rd of ... Read More
Generally, when we travel, the time comes that you just want to click your heels together and be back at home. This cruise was not one of those times. We are avid cruisers, having been on most lines. We left Colorado on the 3rd of October. Although we’d booked our cruise only a couple of weeks prior to the sail date, we were able to take advantage of frequent flier points to keep our prices down. We spent the nights of the 4th and 5th at Holiday Inn-Ariel. Not a wonderful hotel, but good enough to keep us for 2 nights. We got an early check-in at about 1pm and hung out there for the rest of the day. The next day, they helped us with instructions as to which bus (route 285 and FREE) to take to get the Underground. We made it to London and spent the day on the hop-on, hop-off bus. Saw all of the highlights in the rain. The next morning, we took the “Hoppa bus” back to Heathrow and met up with others being bussed down to Dover. This transfer was $75, but well worth it, as carrying our luggage on a bus, on the Underground, to the train station, into a taxi and to the port sounded like a lot of work. When we figured out the cost, it was only a couple more dollars to take the NCL transfer, and once we were on the bus, it was the last we had to deal with our luggage until we had it delivered to our stateroom. We were celebrating our 34th anniversary on this trip, and everyone went out of their way to make it special. We were also NCL Silver tier prior to the trip and managed to skip Gold and go right to Platinum! No more long check-in lines for us with NCL again! Our stateroom. We generally get an “outside”, but decided to splurge with a Penthouse Suite (10226…aft corner). Was it ever worth it! At the terminal, we were whisked away to a line of one, met Roel (the concierge), got dinner reservations made, and were taken on the ship to Cagney’s for lunch. Now here’s where I started to worry, as we were seated, water was poured, lunch was ordered, and we were completely forgotten! Yes, we were served our lunch, but never checked on or offered anything else to drink. Dessert? Nope. (Not a problem, though, as we were excited to see our stateroom and then explore the ship). When our water ran out, I waved and waved and never was acknowledged. Luckily, we’d had bottled water for the bus ride which wasn’t removed during security screening, so we poured some for ourselves. NOT the way I’d thought we’d be treated! Staterooms were ready by 1:30PM. Within minutes of arriving, we met Asep, our room steward. He was wonderful throughout the trip! When, after a couple of rough nights, I mentioned that the duvet was just too warm, he found a blanket to substitute it with. Each time we passed him by, he’d chat. He’s probably the best room steward we’ve EVER had. Our luggage took quite a while to arrive. That was fine, as we used the time to explore the ship and start our use of the Ultimate Beverage Plan. I’d get that again, in a heartbeat! We were worried, as they have you sign a bill for the entire cost of the drink (including service charge), but when we finally got our bill at the end, the only costs were the tips we paid on top of the standard gratuity. Stateroom: Again, we had an aft-facing penthouse suite. The balcony had 2 lounge chairs with cushions and 2 chairs and a table. With all of that, there was still some room to maneuver and to stand by the rail and watch where we’d been (more on that later). The room had a king-sized bed, 4 chairs and a table, a pull-out single which was a comfy place to read, an ottoman (stained), the coffee maker, lots of glassware, a champagne bucket with a complementary bottle of champagne and a bottle of water…both on ice and cold! The bathroom seemed to have as much space as some cabins I’ve been in. Some folks say that the closet arrangement is awkward, but we really liked it as you could open doors on both sides to facilitate unpacking/packing, and dressing. There was so much storage space that we didn’t even open some of the drawers until we were packing to leave. (Too bad that the previous folks left a pear and a banana in one of those drawers! YUCK!) We didn’t meet our butler for a few hours, and when we did, he really didn’t offer much besides, “Is there anything I can help you with before I head back to the front where most of my cabins are”. I did get him to show me how to use the coffee maker, but there was no offer of unpacking, different pillows, etc. Oh well. He did deliver snacks between 4-4:30 each day, and changed them once we told him that we didn’t care for sweets. From that day forward, we got cheese. LOTS of cheese. General things: By now, most folks know that our ship had a problem and it shortened our cruise. Our aft balcony gave us a terrific view of both our “sea rescue” (they’d spotted something adrift, and we did a HARD left turn to approach it…apparently, it was a Canadian weather station which went adrift). After that, we began to see that the port Azipod wasn’t functioning correctly. Was it a result of the “rescue”? Who knows, but a LOT of folks saw this as the beginning of the end of their nice trip. When it was announced that our ship would skip Miami and end early, it began a panic. Lines everywhere. We took it in stride, and went out in the rain to play on the waterslide. Funny thing, the pool was closed for days, followed by the waterslides. They were doing repairs, I gather for the Western Caribbean cruises. But what about OUR trip? We had some beautiful days where we couldn’t make use of the pool. We also had a couple of VERY rough days. Some folks say 27 foot swells…personally, I believe that they were closer to 45 foot. Luckily, neither of us get sea-sick, though our steward had a tough time getting to the back of the ship to clean. He managed, though. We had shore excursion credit which we decided to use for Tampa. They don’t tell you, but it can NOT be combined. That is, you’re expected to use your credit in each port. $25 p/p with 2 ports wasn’t going to go far, and then Tampa excursions were cancelled. That’s $100 wasted, as we didn’t go on an overly price excursion in the Azores. Oh well, I won’t pick that again! The communication about getting off the ship early wasn’t as good as it could have been. Lines everywhere and a few folks threatening to sue. Really? We were relaxed about it, and NCL took good care of us by putting us up at the Marriott with $100 p/p vouchers for food and drink. On the Riverwalk, so we were able to walk to the aquarium. We met some of the most wonderful people on this trip, and hope to see many of them again. Internet: We had 250 free minutes. Usually, it took over 10 minutes to get into e-mail. When I ran into problems and went to see the internet manager, he was rude. I’m not sure that I can take another “working trip” unless internet service improves. And the manager? I hope that I’m not the only person he is rude to, and I hope that NCL finds a more pleasant person to replace him with. Entertainment: Kudos to the Cruise Director and his staff! There was an abundance of activities for various interests. If you’re “sporty”, there were basketball games, shuffleboard, etc. Like to dance? Lots of classes and dancing every day. A brain? Many trivia games daily, maritime lectures (Thanks, Dave!), etc. Crafty? Lots of things to do for them, as well. The production shows were just that….production shows. I’m not a juggling fan nor do I care for aerialists, but there was always something else to do….sometimes there was just too much to choose from! One place that they could improve would be to have a sing-along (either piano or guitar player who encouraged audience participation). Yes, they had a pianist and a guitar player, but we were not encouraged to participate. That would have made my evenings more fun. Staff: I’ve read other reviews and wonder what cruise those folks were on. The staff was about the best I’ve ever seen! The Maître ‘D of Aqua worked at the buffet during lunch, and always sought us out to chat. He also spent a LONG time helping fellow cruisers who’d had a rubber wheel separate from her wheelchair. Although communication was poor about NCL being able to help, he persevered and made sure that HER chair was repaired. The guys at 5 O’Clock were terrific, both our room steward and concierge were fabulous. Even the hotel director took time to talk to us, in a stairwell! Also, we were invited to dinner with the Captain (pay attention to your daily, as it was a small blurb about getting the chance to do this!), but he was too busy to attend. Instead, we ate with one other couple and the Staff Captain, and it was a highlight of the trip. Wonderful man with a myriad of stories. Food: Alright…this is VERY subjective. My husband was happy with nearly all of his meals. Personally, I found nearly everything over-salted. Makes me wonder what they were trying to hide….. Especially in Cagney’s. We had the UDP and ate in a variety of places. Food was fair to good, as far as I’m concerned. With so much of it, there was always something to eat, and I really never got hungry. Conclusion: I had worried about so many sea-days, prior to this trip. I shouldn’t have. NCL did a great job at mixing folks up and giving a lot of options as to what to do. Would I do this again? In a heartbeat! I just hope that I don’t have to bring work with me, next time! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
We have cruised on NCL many times, as well as a number of other cruise lines. This has to rate as the worst cruising experience, ever. The only redeeming feature was that we met many friendly fellow cruisers from the US, UK and Germany. ... Read More
We have cruised on NCL many times, as well as a number of other cruise lines. This has to rate as the worst cruising experience, ever. The only redeeming feature was that we met many friendly fellow cruisers from the US, UK and Germany. Some we hope to remain friends with in the future. The food was poor, in our opinion, and so heavily salted that my wife and I had to ask for no-salt meals. The entertainment was mediocre, except for the electronic string quartet. The service in the restaurants was very slow, at times. Our propulsion system failed as we were approaching Florida, causing us to skip Miami and proceed to Tampa, where we arrived a day early, but had to leave the ship. We were shuttled from one hotel to another and spent most of our final day standing in lines with no information as to where we were staying. It was a very poorly handled situation, and I understand, that it was the second time in the past several months that the Star had a similar problem. It is highly doubtful that I can be persuaded to ever step foot on another NCL ship. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
Checked in at Dover this took us 3hrs processing did not start until 1 instead of 12 and then problems with checking in passports and debit card We then encountered bad weather so all time was spent inside ship we tried everything but ... Read More
Checked in at Dover this took us 3hrs processing did not start until 1 instead of 12 and then problems with checking in passports and debit card We then encountered bad weather so all time was spent inside ship we tried everything but choose was limited and could not be classed as quality entertainment, after stop at the Azores and improvement in weather we went on deck 12 to enjoy the sunshine and found that entertainment on deck was again limited spoke to captain and said we were on holiday and did not need background music, Entertainments was to two half hour sets and 1 hour set which ended by 4 each afternoon we heard the same songs and in the same order over and over again No entertainment staff on top deck for first 2 days then a few of entertainment team turned up and the games consisted to chucking a ping pong ball into a bucket, line dancing and chucking bags onto poles towards the end of the cruise we had male and female competition but all very third rate. Then an announcement by captain: trouble with shop by passing Miami nothing mentioned about people on back to back cruise. stood in line for 2 hours to be told problem with ship and we would have to take hand luggage and stay in hotel for night and then come back on board for the second part of our holiday. After speaking with another passenger who said they had been told back to back passengers would be staying on ship queued for another 1 and half to be told no we would be leaving ship and we would receive further information in our cabins of times of getting of ship etc. Arrived tampa could not leave ship, that night at 2am in the morning went to reception once again to confirm what time we should leave ship as nothing had been sent to our cabin, to be told we would be staying on ship (people were still queuing at this time as well due to lack of information being given out). Emigration took 3 hours we left ship and on return found we were 2 of approx 100 passengers on board. No entertainment staff cleaning everything they could clean, even in cafe staff on window ledge beside us as we ate and cleaning the empty chairs at our table only about 10 people including crew in cafe on deck 12, it was a ghost ship bars closed, no entertainment, no casino, food so limited it was a joke told a film on in theater so we went it was Helen Mirran and the film was unwatchable, no midnight buffet due to the known inspections which would be taking place on the Tampa port day, staff were saying it could be up to 3 days. wrote letters spoke to customers services staff with nothing but received in answer when we know you will know asked for something in writing nothing ever received, Left letters for staff, customer service manager and the cruise hotel director and also the captain, which i never received a reply to. 19th October a British couple who had been told with their 2 children they would be going to a hotel returned, they went to hotel as they and we had been instructed to and found they did not have a room they then had to wait for another room at a hotel near the airport for them to be found they were not brought back to the ship (why Not) On the day of the 2000+ passengers coming on board we went out into tampa for the day when we tried to get back on board the boat in the afternoon we were not allowed into the building due to passengers inside the building reaching capacity numbers and ncl once again having problems processing passengers, we had to wait outside for an hour and half before we could get onto ship That night i went to reception and demanded to speak to a manager i was let into office behind customer services and met a blank face and told sorry for the trouble you have had I will look into it and get back to you ( once again nothing ever received ) I did receive 6 strawberries in melted chocolate was this our compensation for such bad service from NCL, 36 hours in the port of tampa with nothing on board, it was a ghost ship apart from staff cleaning everything in groups. Food choose on whole cruise was very limited and in all food outlets apart from service charge outlets uneatable due to being cold, floor 8 menu was the same for 19 days but the food was hot. Casino closed at sea one night due to audit and the bar was also closed at 1pm Shows were repeated and at some shows people were walking out after a few minutes due to poor standard of entertainment This was our 2nd cruise on NCL and the back to back our 3rd out of 9 cruises i have been on in the past two years this was the worse and before this our 1st ncl cruise was rated 2nd bars were overrun on 2nd cruise and not enough waiting staff so queuing for over an hour sometimes to get a drink and towards the end of cruise could not order my husband a drink we had to produce ind cards and limited to 1 drink on each. It was a joke in reception showing a video of people enjoying themselves and fireworks from ship have you ever been on board a ship for 2400 people and be 1 of less then 100 people Other people had also been told they would have to leave ship but found out by going to reception that this was not the case no letters to staterooms Did ncl not care about the 100 who had done the 1st cruise and then were going on, the inspections took place with only the 100 as you had put all other passengers into hotels for the night before due leave date of ship why were they not kept on board, or was it because you wanted all crew to be cleaning ship for the inspections? cleaning in cabins next door and corridors took place into the hours of the early morning, I opened my cabin door and two men cleaning edge of carpet with toothbrushes Ship was meant to leave tampa early evening then 10 at two oclock the following morning nets were still around ship we could see them in water from our balcony It would have been something to receive an apology from NCL 6 strawberries does not cut it and i feel like i was treated with contempt as i was 1 of only 100 passengers in this position due to ship breaking down and inspections at tampa this is a holiday i look forward to each year and it was ruined by NCL who had a total lack of consideration for the 100 passengers who had booked back to back cruises Entertainment on deck on the 2nd cruise was better and went on until 7pm ever night on deck 12 and not 4 as on the 1st cruise, food was no better and the late food in the cafe was the same everything cold as always and uneatable bar service was worse and the time to get a drink could be up to 90 mins. All passengers on 1st cruise were giving a refund (days fare and tax) and 15% discount of next holiday for missing Miami, for being treated as non customers for 36 hours on board ship we got six strawberries and as my husband just reminded me 3 cookies I look forward to hearing from you and i hope you look at the service to customers on board the star as i expect it has given an impression of NCL you do not wish to have it passengers to come away with You need more staff better food (and make it hot) more quality entertainment, you must also ensure that there is entertainment on board that goes on until the early hours people are on holiday and dont expect to have to go to bed early every night due to lack of entertainment. Some of the staff you have are fantastic marsha casino zeron top deck and casino and the lady on floor 8 who left ship to return home to Peru to her 21 month baby after 8 months on board ship. Cabin boys were great but they know they will be left tips in cabins. To get service from a lot of staff you have to tip otherwise you could be ignored for long periods of time. The cruise director did a great job with limited resources and would seem to be responsible for all public announcements, but a lot of the staff were rude and could not be bothered (nearly all staff could do with training in customers service). Did NCL price this cruise wrong then made the passengers suffer due to getting it wrong? Getting of the ship was once again a nightmare meant to leave at 9 but gone 10 before we were called to join the line to get of the ship. We finally got off the boat so we could stand in line again for customs. Our first cruise with NCL on the Epic we rated the 2nd best of the 7 cruises we have been on in the past 2 years, this cruise we rate the worse and would we go back again. Never Never Never If it was not for the people we met I was one of the mad English ladies on deck 12 everyday and part of the British casino syndicate everynight and the food on floor eight, only place on ship which you could be guaranteed hot food, the menu was the same everyday of the 19 days on board except for the house special which got changed i think i would have jumped overboard Well rant over but be warned great difference in ships on the NCL fleet in terms of food entertainment and service Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
We took this trip to visit my family in England as we do most years, 2010 was the last time we crossed on NCL, timing was the important factor we needed an early October crossing. Knowing it was hurricane season, we still chose this ... Read More
We took this trip to visit my family in England as we do most years, 2010 was the last time we crossed on NCL, timing was the important factor we needed an early October crossing. Knowing it was hurricane season, we still chose this trip, Joaquine joined us for a couple of days before the Azores. ' Twas a bit rough, up to 27 ft seas. The remainder of the crossing was perfect, water, a sheet of glass, my USNRet. husband said he had never seen the Atlantic so smooth taking pictures to show his pals. Our luck began before we left home with an upgrade from Mini Suite to a 405 sq.ft. suite, it was a wonderful treat with all of the frills. Our butler, Made, was a first for us. We had received the UDP so we were unable to judge the main dining room, no complaints about the cafe. I ate there most mornings before "morning stretch". Zumba was offered complimentary, great instruction both by a male dancer and the assistant C.D., our numbers grew as the word got out. I normally enjoy the pool but due to weather they didn't fill it 'till day 5, the outside was closed down for almost 48 hours during the storm. We participated in the T/A progressive trivia and missed a few options at that time of day, too much to do, too little time. Loads of activities, lectures even some of the evening entertainers and the C.D. with his magic performed extra afternoon shows. The entertainment troupe was newly formed at the beginning of our journey and improved immensely with time. My favorite guest entertainers "Oh What a Night" Jersey Boys style were exceptional. The cleanliness of the ship was impressive, I witnessed the early morning inspections on more than 1 occasion. The Star looked as good as new but had all of the charm of it's era, would take it again in a heartbeat, love those smaller ships. Finally the crew, so many smiles and always helpful, a couple of waitresses I could do without but they do work hard. Since the early 90's we have enjoyed the Norwegian Way. It was unfortunate that our ship had an azipod problem as we reached the Bahamas, the Captain chose to skip Miami and head straight for Tampa. We arrived a day & half early. NCL managed to arranged hotels and transportation changes and charges, we were more than satisfied but I have read a few cruise critic reports that were negative. Disembarkation was a breeze but more than half of the passengers were non U.S. passports making our line much shorter. Best part of all NO JETLAG! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
We have cruised many times with various lines, but this was the first time with NCL. We booked a Transatlantic crossing, and after reading some reviews we were a bit apprehensive. WE HAD NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT! - We found that embarkation ... Read More
We have cruised many times with various lines, but this was the first time with NCL. We booked a Transatlantic crossing, and after reading some reviews we were a bit apprehensive. WE HAD NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT! - We found that embarkation and disembarkation was very well organised, the cabin was a reasonable size, the shower room was the best we have had on any ship, the food was good, with lots of choices. The speciality restaurants were great, the crew and service fantastic, and the onboard activities and entertainment were good. We would not hesitate to sail with NCL again. Believe me, we are very critical, and when something is good, we say it is, but if something is bad - watch out! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We departed Dover on 6 October 2015 after a couple of weeks in Morocco and the Saraha. A nice change and we were glad to be on the Star. I made the mistake of attempting to move our cabins and we ended up in the forward section of deck 8 ... Read More
We departed Dover on 6 October 2015 after a couple of weeks in Morocco and the Saraha. A nice change and we were glad to be on the Star. I made the mistake of attempting to move our cabins and we ended up in the forward section of deck 8 with an ocean view stateroom. This is not our first cruise, and it won't be our last on Norwegian. I should remind you that the placement of your stateroom above or below major entertainment areas should be a consideration when booking if you want a good nights sleep. Our stateroom was above the Stardust Theater but it wasn't an issue since we generally saw the first show, looked at other entertainment venues and went to our cabin after 10:00 pm. Things I liked about this cruise: Embarkation - smooth, efficient and timely. Cabin - large enough for comfort and good storage overall. Cruise Director: This is the first time that I couldn't find fault with the Cruise Director - group of people who try so hard to be friendly, happy and your best buddy that they are more than annoying. Ian - the cruise guy on this trip was a helpful, informative, entertaining and genuine. Of all the times we interacted directly or indirectly through ship wide announcements, I never felt that he was forced or ingenuine. Kudos to Ian the Cruise Director. Dining: Very good to excellent dining choices of well seasoned and prepared dishes served by professionals. Stateroom Attendant: "Johnathan" was an excellent steward who kept our stateroom spotless and ship shape. He was friendly, accomodating and a credit to Norwegian. Entertainment - The show cast was very good and gave very entertaining shows throughout the crossing. I enjoyed the musicianship of the duo Touche, the solos of the pianist, guitarist and trombone player from the house band. The bass player was also very good. Disappointing -the ship broke so we had to divert to Tampa without going to Miami. Having to depart the ship a day early was well done by US customs and the local Tampa staff, however the letter provided by the Star Captain and coordinating staff was less than adequate to the task of providing complete information to customers. Basically it was "You can stay or you can go by yourself and we won't tell you before we get to Tampa (and maybe afterwards) what all your options are." This can't be the only time an NCL ship has had a problem during a voyage, and there should have been a template available to who ever was providing the customers needed information and options a document with frequent updates. Two days of long lines at the customer service desks should have tipped off the cruise staff that they left too many issues unadressed. I suppose that the ship's administration was handicapped by what I believe is NCL's lack of administrative support, coordination, forward thinking and active corporate management. For me, I've enjoyed the ships, crews and entertainment of Norwegian Cruise Lines, but dread having to deal with their headquarters staff related issues. As an indication, the form for requesting an airline change fee is buried below layers of their web site, AND THE PROCEDURE WAS NEVER BRIEFED PRIOR TO DEBARKATION!!! Just a huge lack of complete communication, which I attribute to a less than adequate corporate headquarters staff. Read Less
Norwegian Star Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 3.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 2.0 3.2
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 4.0

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