Norwegian Star Cruise Review by jenbufl
- Sail Date: June 2019
- Destination: Mediterranean
- Cabin Type: Inside
We stayed at Hotel Villa Rosa for a few days before the cruise. It is a short walk to the train station and about a 30-minute total walk to the port. We didn't use the people mover and found the walk easy. (I did notice it is still a 10-minute walk from the people mover to the port.) Venice is not a large suitcase friendly city and we saw many tourists struggling to navigate the many bridges with large suitcases.
We are a family of four (17 and 13-year-old boys) and we only travel with carry on luggage. This trip, including before and after the cruise was a total of 16 days (5 flights, 5 trains, 2 hostels, 3 hotels) so we have learned to pack light and travel with fewer hassles. We booked in an inside stateroom on deck 12. The room worked well for us. There was plenty of room for our luggage and the bathroom was roomy compared to some of the hostels we have stayed at. The location was a 30-second walk to the pool deck and the Garden Buffet. I do wish the in-cabin movie selection was better. I know most people do not intend to spend a lot of time in their rooms but we do enjoy watching a movie as a way to unwind after a long day. This is a great perk on DCL. The room steward kept our room clean and we had no issues. We did have him push together the bottom beds to make a queen size bed, but this does really limit space in the cabin.
We did enjoy some of the entertainment. The comedian/magician was entertaining as well as the aerialists. We did not care for the Tango dancers or the "big production" shows and ended up not staying more than a few minutes. We did the trivia and other family activities offered and they were enjoyable.
We did not visit the casino and never encounter much smoke. There is smoking allowed at the Sky High bar but we usually just grabbed a drink and moved on.
The Garden Buffet was good but people tend to needlessly line-up. There are multiple buffet lanes but the lines at the first lanes were always long. *Pro tip* head to the port side of the buffet for more buffet lanes and more seating. We never had to wait for a table on the port side and the furthest buffet lane was always empty even the omelette station was no waiting. The service in the restaurants was hit or miss. Versaille was much better than Aqua. I did have to get the head waiter involved with our unacceptable service in Aqua. He did his best to take care of us the next evening. O'Sheehan's was a lesson in patience and they always seemed understaffed, but the food was good. It wasn't terrible service just not at the level we were expecting.
There is only one pool but seven hot tubs. There are a lot of loungers and for those looking to sunbathe there was plenty of room but it may not have been on the pool deck.
Disembarkation was very smooth and we did utilize self assist. We ate in the buffet and headed off the ship about 9:00 am. We walked to the train station to catch our 10:50 train to Milan.
We found out after we boarded that our stop in Kotor was changed to Bar, Montenegro. I was super bummed about missing Kotor! The ship docked in Bar and port time was 4:30-9:30 pm. The dock is in an industrial area and passengers are shuttled to the city center. Bar is a regular city with not much to offer tourists, but they do have a beautiful church. Our plan was to find Avis and rent a car for a few hours. We never did find Avis but in a strange twist of fate we ended up renting a car from a resident and driving the 45 minutes to Budva. It was a nice drive and Budva was a quaint city with a walled old town to explore. We drove back to Bar and checked out the "Oldest Olive Tree" and dropped the car back off. We headed back to the city center and grabbed the shuttle back to the ship.
Corfu 10-3:30 Dock
We walked the 20-25 minutes to the Old Fortress. We climbed to the top to see the views. It was challenging since it was pretty hot, but the views were worth it. We then walked a short distance to a bar/restaurant named Imabari that offers a swimming area. We ordered a few drinks and enjoyed the water and the views. Around 2:30 we headed back to the ship.
Santorini 2-9:30 Tender
It was announced that tender tickets were going to be handed out starting at 11am in the Bliss lounge. I was worried about the tender process and I did not want to end up waiting for hours for a tender so I grabbed a book and headed to the Bliss lounge at 8:30. There was one other person waiting. The staff came by and said we didn't have to line up for tender tickets but we were completely content with waiting and soon the line grew pretty long. The crew started handing out the tender ticket at 10:40 and we got tender #1. By the time I left the lounge, they were on tender #5. We expected the tenders to start being called at 2 but we arrived early and the crew started calling tenders at 12:30. The process was very quick and the tenders held around 200 people.
We were on that first tender. At the tender port, we took the high-speed boat to Oia. It was 15 Euros a person which included the boat, bus to Oia and then a bus to Thira. We had decided to do the 11km /6-mile walk to Thira from Oia. It was a tough hike that took about 3 hours but the scenery was beautiful. After we arrived in Thira we took in the sunset and then walked down the donkey trail to catch the 9:15 tender back to the ship. It was an amazing day!
Mykonos 8-2:30 tender
We took today easy and did not worry about getting on an early tender. We got on a tender around 9-9:30 and just walked along the water to the 5 windmills. We explored the area for a while and decided to check out Mykonos Brewing Company. It was a 20-minute walk from the main tourist area. The brewery was great. They offered a flight of 6 beers for 10 Euros. The beers were very fresh and the staff was friendly. We walked back to the tender pick up spot and got back on the ship.
Argostoli, Kefalonia 9-2:30 Dock
We rented a car from Thalassa Car rental. It was really smooth and they were waiting at the dock for us. We drove to Melissani cave and did the boat ride. We drove to Asos to climb to the Venetian castle ruins. The lookout for Myrtos beach is along the way and we stopped for some pictures. We ran into a road closure on the way back to Argostoli which added a little stress but we made it back at 2:20 and joined a long line of other passengers embarking.
Dubrovnik, Croatia 7:30-12:30 pm Dock
We were able to disembark around 7:15 and headed to the ATM at the port to get some local currency. We took the 275 Kuna (50 Euro) 1-hour panoramic cab tour. The prices are set by the local government so all cabs charge the same. The tour was great and included wonderful views of the walls and a brief history of Croatia. Our driver dropped us at the Pile Gate. I had bought tickets to walk the walls online to avoid the lines. Walking the walls is a great experience, but it was hot and bottled water along the walls was expensive. It took us about 90 minutes to complete the whole walk. We spent some time exploring a farmers market and around 11 decided to walk back to the port. The walk was easy and less than 3 miles. I heard from other passengers that the shuttle buses were very slow and traffic to and from the port was very heavy. There were 3 cruise ships in port when we were there.
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