Second cruise on the Star
Norwegian Star Cruise Review to Mexico
Sail Date: March 30, 2007
Cabin Type: Inside
Traveled As: Singles/Friends
Reviewed: 10 years ago
Review SummaryAfter having a GREAT time on the NCL Star last year, we decided to bring a group of friends on the same cruise this year.
As before, the vessel's crew played a huge part in our enjoyment of the cruise. Stewards, wait staff, even maintenance personnel went out of their way to ensure that we were well cared for. NCL should be commended for putting together such an amazing group of people.
The ship is comfortable and easy to navigate. Staterooms, though COMPACT, were quite comfortable and well laid out to provide ample room for both us and our stuff. (Note to self: don't bring so much stuff next time.)
Beds and bedding are really comfortable ... sheet/blanket is a bit warm for Mexico. Being neurotic sleepers, we packed our own pillows and lightweight blanket, which ain't such a bad idea.
Food services onboard provide a terrific choice of dining options. Buffet (Market Cafe) was our main source for breakfasts and snacks before and after trips ashore. Like most buffets, the Market Cafe compromises freshness and quality for convenience. It's cafeteria food ... but really good cafeteria food.
Sit-down restaurants were nicely varied in theme and selection. Surcharge restaurants weren't necessarily any better than the standard restaurants, but they did provide a substantial variety onboard. Our favorites were Endless Summer for Southwest and Tex-Mex dining and Aqua for group dining. Note: if it's possible, make reservations early, or you'll end up eating while you could be watching one of the Star's feature shows.
Speaking of shows, NCL gets some great talent onboard! The Jean Ryan dance company is consistenly entertaining. It's amazing what the dancers can do on a stage that doesn't necessarily stand still (the Showtime Theater is in the bow of the boat, and can be a bit disorienting in a medium to large swell). The shows are a bit "five blocks off of the strip" but the performers are really fun to watch.
Both 2006 and 2007 cruises featured a couple of headliners as well. We fell in love (figuratively) with Shawn Farquahar, an engaging and hugely talented magician. The cool thing about the entertainers on the Star is that they tend to be very accessible and Shawn seemed delighted to interact with the passengers. We hope to have an opportunity to see him perform again!
All-in-all, there's no question that we'd jump aboard the Star at our first opportunity in the future.
Now the (petty) complaints:
1. The indoor pool at the Barong Spa was accessible to all passengers on the previous cruise. This time, there was a substantial daily fee to access that area of the ship. Note to NCL: the Oasis Pool area is always LOUD, crowded and frantic with activity. For those of us who wanted to enjoy a swim without having to endure a barrage of "skinny leg" and "beer belly" contests, the Barong was the only option. Either add a pool elsewhere, or drop the additional fee for the indoor pool.
2. Drink prices. I know it's a vital profit center ... but for crying out loud. At least make the soft drinks a bit more reasonable.
3. Healthy options in the Market Cafe (qualifies as more of a request than a complaint). How about adding some whole grain breads and soymilk as options on the buffet line for those that prefer healthier foods?
4. Another request of NCL ... Would it make sense to have some conveniently placed bus trays in key locations around the vessel (specifically, the Promenade Deck) where passengers could place dirty dishes, cups and glasses? The crew was great about picking up after passengers, but it might be even better if passengers could learn a bit about cleaning up after themselves.
5. Slot machines. Tighter than tight. It would be fun, once in a while, to win something back.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Ports of Call
Don't Miss: Cliff divers are such an icon, you should check them out.
Pros: Staff are consistently of the highest quality
Cons: Free access to ship features seems to be shrinking