We chose NCL cruise out of Venice as it was perfect for our schedule and we thought the itinerary was quite interesting.
Even though things weren't perfect during this 7-day cruise (are they ever, though? :)) and I was rather disappointed with our interconnected staterooms situation, overall, we had very good times both on and off the ship.
5 out of 5
We did not experience any problems/issues.. everything went smoothly.
Food and Dining
4 out of 5
For easiness, we mostly ate at the buffet-style Market café on Deck 6 . The food was very good, the café was never too crowded and we always were able to find a place at a table.
Our very first cruise was in May-June of 2016 with Carnival (on Carnival Vista ship) and I remember that every day during breakfast it was pretty hard to find an empty table.. and the lines to get food were very long. So in comparison with the Carnival cruise, Norwegian Star experience was much better for us.
4 out of 5
We did not participate in any onboard activities, so I cannot comment on this one. From what I saw and heard, the activities were quite good.
5 out of 5
Entertainment: We LOVED the evening shows and we went to see one every night. Great talented artists, dancers and musicians. One night they also had a show with trapeze artists from a Moscow circuits (Elena and Rinat).. stunningly beautiful and almost an awe-inspiring experience to me. Also “White Magic” show featured a “magician” from the UK and a gymnast from Mongolia.. we couldn’t believe some of the most amazing things that girl could do with her body!!
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Very friendly staff who work hard to make sure the guests’ needs and wants are met (when possible :)).
4 out of 5
The Norwegian star ship has been around for a while, so in my opinion it does not have all the latest bells and whistles, but it’s pleasant nevertheless. And again a comparison with Carnival Vista comes to mind.. On Carnival Vista there were several decks were they have jacuzzies and the “Adults Only” relaxation area with sun beds where it’s nice and quiet.
The only place where we saw jacuzzies on N.Star was on the deck with the swimming pool and the whole area was rather crowded. We only used jacuzzi once because of that.
Cabin / Stateroom
3 out of 5
Although we enjoyed our stateroom (Ocean View, Midship Deck 5), it was a rather unpleasant setup: our stateroom was connected to another stateroom from the inside, and we heard our neighbors. This lack of soundproof was somewhat upsetting to me - I do not go on a holiday to hear my neighbors. I think this whole idea of putting people in those “family rooms” (i.e., interconnected staterooms) is very poor to begin with. This setup works well only when the interconnected staterooms are shared by families or close friends. In our situation, we were put right next to a family with two kids (so 4 people in a stateroom). We asked Guest Relations to place us in a different stateroom, but were told that the ship is 100% full. Oh well.. I guess I can’t complain too much, as we could have paid more money to choose our stateroom (in my humble opinion, significantly more money) but we didn’t go with that option in an effort to cruise as inexpensively as possible.
Ironing process made easy: One thing that I thought was very helpful/thoughtful was an opportunity to call Guest Services for an iron request. Housekeeping staff deliver an iron to your room (with an ironing board) and allow you to keep it for 50 minutes (if I am not mistaken about the time period). After you are done ironing, you call Guest Services for the iron pick-up.
I used this service on the very first day of the cruise and was able to iron all my clothing for all 7 days of our trip.
LOVED Venice! This was our second time to visit this truly unique city and we were just as taken with it on our second visit as on our first.
We stayed in Venice for 4 days after the cruise and enjoyed ourselves immensely. I actually felt like we could have easily stayed for one or two days more to see everything there is to see in Venice and other nearby islands like Murano, Burano and Torcello.
Dubrovnik was a lot of fun: we walked the wall that is built around the "old town". The weather was kinda crazy that day: rain and strong winds and then in cleared up just as we were finishing our walk! The views are awesome though, in any weather! We found Dubrovnik to be quite expensive (the Old Town Wall walk costs around 20 euros per person, if I remember correctly). And we made a mistake of ordering Spritz in a cafe without asking the price first.. we were hugely surprised when we learned that its cost was around 13 euros!!! (in Rome and Venice this cocktail costs around 3 euros).
Kotor was so beautiful! We walked to the old fortress located up in the hills above the town and the views were just stunning! After the walk (which took us about 3,5 - 4 hours, with lots of stops along the way to admire the view) there wasn’t much time to do anything else in Kotor before our ship left the port.
We took a bus to Olympia from the port and visited the ancient site on our own. We had purchased Rick Steve’s book on Mediterranean Cruise Ports (great buy, by the way!) and did a self-guided tour described in the book. Worked very well for us. Olympia is a unique place for those who love history. If you don’t do research and come out to Olympia ancient site on your own, it might be a disappointing experience, as all you will see is a bunch of rocks. This is one of those places that requires you to do a research or join a tour group with a knowledgeable guide.
Athens was a great experience for us. We started exploring the city by joining Athens Free Walking Tour.. what a great start of our day! After the tour we walked Acropolis on our own (did a self-guided tour by Rick Steves). Returned to the port by taking a metro from downtown Athens (a ticket costs 1.40 euros per person). It was quick and easy.
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