Great Itinerary, but Unfortnatley for Us, We Were the Post-Overhaul Guinea Pigs

Norwegian Star Cruise Review to Europe - Mediterranean

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Reviews: 5
Helpful Votes: 46

Overall rating:

3.8 out of 5
Norwegian Star

10 Night Mediterranean (Barcelona To Venice)

Sail date: May 24, 2018

Ship: Norwegian Star

Cabin type: Inside

Cabin number: 9036

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review summary

It was a great value for a cruise. The ability to have things like free drink packages, specialty dining really made for a better experience. It cost a lot of money for the flights to Barcelona and from Venice and we had to see the sites at all these great ports, so not worrying about getting drinks and a huge bill later was nice. Glad to have our friends on the cruise with us. We hung out a lot, which made up for the not having much to do, especially on the sea days. Get out and see all the ports, even if it's just walking the city like we did in Barcelona, Venice, Monaco and Old Town Croatia. Old Town Croatia, it was a nice place, great food/prices. Made for a more relaxing port after several ports with so much heat/walking/tourists.

Embarkation

2 out of 5
We did not leave on time, nowhere close. Apparently they were still putting luggage on. Missed the sail away party after waiting hours on the pool deck because we all were hungry for some dinner.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
We had the unlimited drink package, so can't complain about drinks. They were aplenty and easy to order. Food at their Garden Cafe looked to be leftovers from previous nights dinner. Odd, but my husband got a leg of lamb for lunch so he wasn't upset about that. Not as many choices for breakfast as I'd hoped. You had to get in line and just wait for your turn to look in each serving dish (or jump ahead if you are skipping bread items or fruits. Creamer ran out, Milk machines ran out, and flavored water was only available for lunch (maybe dinner, I don't know for sure about that since I never ate dinner here). I am not one for juices or basic coffee so I made myself some tea or just drank ice water. I like the way the WindJammer cafe is set up on Royal Caribbean ships TONS better. Plus the WindJammer always had lots of food choices and beverages running out did not stay that way long. Main Dining Room food wasn't the best we've had compared to other cruises and some meals were not exactly what was on the menu, um guys, tzatziki sauce is white, that was marinara LOL. That meal threw our group for a loop, we all saw something that sounded really good on the menu but turned out to really just be meatballs and marinara sauce. I love creme brulee, but of the two I ordered, the top was never the stiff layer of molten sugar. When I saw it again on the menu, I just tried something else. Also, does Norwegian not do lobster nights? I was hoping...never saw it on the menu. Sad-faced passenger. I felt there was too much repetition in the menus. I love when ships theme out their meals, as I love the opportunity to try something different. One day all but one of us at an 8 person table had the previous day's menu. Another night, my husband and I ate by ourselves in Aqua and aside from my initial drink, spent forever waiting for someone to take our food order. Servers and other staff hurried by left and right but no one seemed to notice we were sitting with menus and without food for such a long time. Didn't do the specialty dining but a few of my friends bought specialty dining packages for a few of the nights. They seemed pleased. Must try the Japanese restaurant! The hibachi was part of the specialty dining, but the rest of included in cruise fare. It was really good and I wish I had tried it sooner on the cruise so I could have gone again.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
Not a whole lot to do...I'm used to Royal Caribbean's ships (and several classes of this brand actually). Some of the sports games were not in good shape and really, aside from the let's try out these games since no one is playing them, that's probably when they got played. No lines ever waiting for this stuff. Fitness center was a pain to get to, but it had the equipment. Husband hated having to dodge people in the Garden Cafe just to get to the gym so he found other routes going up/down levels, around and back up to the passageway where the entrance was.

Entertainment

4 out of 5
The comedy and magicians were just OK. The main show had several sound issues. We still enjoyed it. The best was the acapella show with The Four Stations :)

Service and Staff

3 out of 5
Rajendra Mathpal (Gatsby's) and Yuliya Voytenko (Aqua) were amazing bar staff. They were the top of their game. Not only did they remember us, they remembered drinks we liked and were on top of checking when empty. Food servers, just ok. I know they are busy, but I've been on several cruises and never had service this lackluster. I won't say bad, it just wasn't good either. Our cabin attendant, never met him/her. They didn't stock things we actually needed. Laundry special day, there was no bag in the closet. had to hunt someone down for one. Personal hygiene disposal bags...not there until after I no longer needed them. (gross, but had to share, it was an awkward moment since you shouldn't flush anything not tissue/bodily waste in the toilet). Used glasses and cups didn't seem to leave the room. So I took them out myself. Those were never replaced. Guest services, very helpful.

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
The design of the ship, even after 10 days being on it, still got us confused. I generally get acquainted with where things are really quick. Not on this ship. The ship seemed clean, though bathrooms were out of order A LOT. Toilet issues were EVERYWHERE. They didn't flush a lot, leaving passengers feeling embarrassed or without working toilets.

Cabin / Stateroom

3 out of 5
Not so bad for an inside cabin. Had what we needed to get cleaned up and rest. Being that it was an inside cabin, it was super dark once the lights were out. You can easily lose track of the time of day. Set alarms if you have places to be. Also, get something to put over the peephole. The light from that just happened to aim right at my husband's head. I was the lucky one, there. I guess this is due to the overhaul, but our room also had screws on the floor, broken sink stopper, work clothes and boots under our bed and empty cigarette pack in our closet. Left us scratching our heads, guess there wasn't an in-depth QA inspection after it was over. Kind of wonder if our room was ever vacuumed since I found the screws in view.

Ship tip

This is an older ship, not with a lot of bells and whistles. If you don't enjoy sitting on a pool deck for long periods of time or read, you might find yourself bored quickly.

Ports of call

Barcelona, Spain

5 out of 5
If you have never been there, plus if you are flying in overseas, get there a day early and stay the night. That way you get to see the sights. It has a lot of nice and walkable areas to see. You can even rent bikes, though locals say they take transit everywhere.

Monte Carlo, Monaco

5 out of 5
BEAUTIFUL! They were practicing for the Grand Prix when we were there so we heard the cars when the ship was arriving. The tender made it difficult getting into the city on time (had an independently booked excursion), but we set the time for a few hours out after arrival and the timing ended up perfect. Visited Ese, France as well and it was great site to see. Don't have any cameras with you that you don't want to check if you see the casino. It costs to get in as well. We didn't have a lot of Euro at the time so we opted just to peek in. I also didn't want to check my camera.

Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy

5 out of 5
Got off the port shuttle, got shuttled to near the train station where, after we got our money situation figured out (had a credit card instead of debit so could not use the ATM), got tickets to Rome. Had to take the metro to get to Civitavecchia. Apparently, there was a strike going on so people weren't around to help answer questions, sell tickets to tourists. Ensure you have Euro coin available in case you wish to use the metro and the machine isn't accepting paper bills or credit card. Had an independent tour for touring the Colloseum and highly recommend that, as once you are on a tour, you end up in a guarded mode, as there are lots of peddlers. If you buy yourselves, you are more likely to be approached by someone wanting to give you a free gift, then instead wants some payment and wants to get all touchy with your hands (I had a watch and rings on), so I kept my hand in a fist and repeatedly said no thank you. Once past that, we enjoyed the tour.

Livorno (Florence & Pisa), Italy

5 out of 5
Some of our friends went to Florence, some went on tours that went to Pisa. We took a low-cost transfer bus to Pisa and pre-bought tickets to climb the tower of Pisa, though buying them in person would not have been hard either. It was a surreal experience. Whatever you do, visit one of these places!

Naples, Italy

4 out of 5
Naples, when you first pull in, isn't much to see. But as you travel further, you realize it's just a very populated port town. We booked a tour and went to the city of Pompeii and had lunch and headed off back on a bus to the near top of Mt Vesuvius. It was well worth the hike. Got some wine at the top to celebrate (and cool off).

Santorini, Greece

5 out of 5
Santorini had to be my most favorite port. We just had to deal with the tenders again, and well with this trip, the water was very rough and they suspended tender service for a bit. Threw a wrench in our plans as we had an independent tour and we didn't want to miss it. We eventually got to our tour guide 1/2 hour late; they were without people so they had to wait. All ships had the same issue as us. So we departed about another 1/2 hour after that but still saw everything on our tour, to include a winery. Took the sketchy trip on a donkey back down the stairs. It was either that, walk next to said donkeys on poop laden slick stairs, or take a cable car where the lines took an hour for some to get through. But Oia was beautiful, as was the rest of the island and I'll never forget it.

Piraeus (Athens), Greece

5 out of 5
I actually missed this one because I felt very sick, but my husband ventured out and thoroughly enjoyed all the history this place had to offer. Took tons of pics so I could relive it through his eyes.

Zadar, Croatia

5 out of 5
We walked off the ship, made a deal with a taxi guy and a bunch of us packed into a minivan and went to old Town Zadar. It was a beautiful walkable town. Listened to the sea organ, walked the streets of the city with shops, cafes and restaurants you can easily walk into. We chose an outdoor seating and had some of the best Italian (had to laugh since we weren't in Italy anymore and this was super good) gnocchi I've ever had and affordable good house wine.

Venice, Italy

5 out of 5
Venice was a bit of a culture shock getting into port and not knowing how to get anywhere else. Multiple ships of people trying to ask questions and figure out if they should take a water taxi, water bus (private/public) or walk. We ended up walking after that debacle. Luggage in hand/on back, that made it not so fun. A friend of ours had a hotelfor the night so we were allowed to leave our luggage there. It was there when we got back, thank goodness. Luggage weight removed, we ventured out on foot. After a while, after walking so many ports prior, we found our poor legs/feet were over walking, but you have to walk if you are in the part of Venice with no cars, just water taxis/buses. We ate lunch, toured the Murano Glass factory on the island of Murano (water taxi there and back) then later flew out of Venice back to Barcelona, staying the night there and then back to the US. So glad we chose to wait until the end of the day to fly out, Venice was beautiful.

Disembarkation

2 out of 5
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