As this was our 8th cruise in 6 years - we couldn't help but make comparisons to our previous cruises (several with Holland America, also on Carnival, Royal Caribbean & Celebrity). The embarkation was much delayed and very disorganized. Due to a tragedy on the previous cruise, we were unable to get on the ship until after 7 pm. While we know the delay wasn't NCL's fault, the way they handled it was very poor. There were close to 2000 passengers milling about, and at no time were there updates provided regarding how long people would have to wait. Many people had been at the terminal since the morning hours after long flights. There were also quite a few elderly and disabled folks, and also parents with young children. There was no food available until we finally entered the terminal that evening and received a sandwich & water. Not a great start to a vacation. The concept of freestyle dining did appeal to us, as we don't like to have to conform to schedules on vacation. While the wait at the restaurants to be seated was brief, the quality of the food was mediocre at best. Also, as tender service was used at 3 of the 4 ports, NCL's system of getting people to port - especially those with tours was very poor. We almost missed our tour in Acapulcio as we had to wait for an hour in line to board a tender. We felt that people who had paid for tours should have been given priority. This is how things were handled on other cruises we went on in the past ( on other cruises, you were given a ticket to get off the boat at a specific time, thus avoiding long waits).
Cruise with a shaky start
Sail Date: October 01, 2006
As not to dwell on just the negative, we did find a few nice things on the NCL Star. The ship is beautiful and well maintained. Our cabin was comparable to the ones we've had on other cruises. The NCL Star's activities were family oriented, and there seemed to be lots going on that included things for kids to participate in. The cruise director, Simon Murray, worked harder & was more visible than any CD we've ever encountered - he did a great job.
While this was not our best cruising experience by far, we may be willing to give NCL another chance in the future when cruising with our children.
Pros: The concept of freestyle cruising
Cons: Lack of communication/any service from staff during lengthy & much delayed embarkation