An introduction to SE Asia, the Subcontinent, and the Persian Gulf
Norwegian Star Cruise Review to Asia & Indian Ocean
We took two cruises in a row, for 37 days in succession on the Norwegian Star cruise ship, from Auckland to Dubai. Daily life aboard was enjoyable. We felt free to be as busy or as lazy as we pleased. The variety of dining options suited us, as some days we wanted to be served in the fine big dining rooms, some meals we just wanted to hang out by the pool, and we knew that the market buffet offered great choices all the time, breakfast, lunch and supper. Only once did we take the big splurge at an extra-cost specialty restaurant on board, because the free options were so good. Celebrating my birthday was a treat, because the wait staff in the big restaurant gathered to sing to me.
The crew members were generally friendly and competent. NCL should offer courses in English pronunciation to their employees who deal directly with passengers. Misunderstandings occur when service staff are not articulate.
The handling of shore excursions needs improvement. The young lady who offered commentary on each port was difficult to understand and she didn't have first-hand knowledge of some of the destinations. She was sloppy about mis-pronouncing and mis-spelling names of port cities. Even the printed material posted about Khasab, Oman, for example, said "Kashab" erroneously.
Handling passports appeared to be slipshod, with no assurance that strict security measures were being employed.
The itinerary was attractive, providing varied experiences for seasoned travelers. We especially appreciated the arrangements NCL made to provide group visas for shore excursions in India, a country with notoriously bureaucratic practices.
Tendering was a pain in the neck. We were unaware in advance that so few of the ports in this part of the world would accommodate docking for such a big ship. We suspect that NCL takes the cheaper option and uses industrial ports to avoid port charges. There's no substitute for tying up to a dock with a nice passenger terminal to welcome us. We'll be more wary next time about anchoring offshore. On the earlier cruise, we even had to tender into one of the greatest, best-developed harbors in the world, Sydney! And we missed Brisbane altogether!
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Ascertain in advance whether you'll be docking the ship or tendering at each port of call. It affects the time available for shore activities.
Ports of call