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A Great Week on the Norwegian Star


JohnG
"Karen's Birthday Getaway"

Overall Rating: Excellent

TRIP INFO

Sail Date:02/26/2012
Destination:Caribbean - Western
Departed From:Tampa
# of Nights: 7 Nights
Cabin Type: Balcony
Sailed As: Couple

RATINGS

Food:<p>0</p>
Itinerary:Excellent
Cabin:Excellent
Entertainment:Very Good
Overall Value:Excellent
Spa/Fitness: Very Good
Embarkation: Excellent
Debarkation: Good
Staff/Service: Excellent
Overall Rating: Excellent

COMPLETE REVIEW

This was our second sailing on Star, the first one being Alaska in 2005. The ship is in great shape. The service from the crew, and particularly in the Versailles Dining Room, was outstanding. They let us make a reservation for the week at the same table with the same wait staff. Both the Asst Maitre’ De’s and the waitress and asst waiter were great.

The food was impressive: first night Lobster/Red Snapper combo, other nights Lamb Shank, Leg of Lamb, Prime Rib, Cioppino, and every night available steaks and North Atlantic salmon, etc. No real need to eat in the specialty restaurants with this quality and selection. We did eat in Cagney’s Steakhouse one night.

I was pleased with the food and selection in the Market Cafe. The only criticism is that the omellet stations have only one pay each, but there are a number of stations. Tables were cleaned quickly. Room service is has a limited menu, and like RCCL, they now charge a service charge for room service after midnight.

Not many of the events were around the pool deck, as it is somewhat cluttered, so the Caribbean party and White Night were held in the Spinnaker Lounge.

We love to dance, slow dancing/ballroom style, and the had multiple venues for it. Not many dancers but great music. The show band played in a number of locations, including the atrium, the Spinnaker Lounge, and Gatsby’s piano/champagne bar. Shows were okay, with several production shows, acrobats, etc. But after 67 cruises, we are not as motivated to go :).

There were some excellent discounts. 20% off of 6 bottles of wine if purchased the first day. Same with liquor in the duty free shop, and even off of specialty dining the first night. As a Gold Latitudes member, they also offer discounts on photos, and purchases in the gift shop, and nice perks like priority tender embarkation and priority debarkation.

Ports were the same as we did last May with our daughter and her friends: Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya, and Cozumel. We visited Bananarama Dive Resort again in Roatan, a great value, and snorkeling there is excellent. In Belize we did a Goff’s Cay snorkel/island excursion through Shore Excursions Group. Fun day, and reasonably priced. In Costa Maya we took a taxi outside the port to the nearby village of Majuahal, and stayed at Tropicante on the boardwalk/beach. Excellent food and beverage prices and you can reserve space in advance online at their website. Taxi is $2 pp each way. In Cozumel we again did the Cozumel for a Day day pass at Cozumel Palace, which we did the last time, too. We liked being berthed, as NCL always is, at Punta Langusta, right downtown across from Senor Frog/Carlos & Charlie’s. We walked to and from Cozumel Palace in a few minutes.

On the way back Saturday, west of Cuba, we diverted to rescue 2 people from a disabled 32 ft sailboat and the ship’s rescue boat did the pickup with Coast Guard plane flying low overhead. Still got back to Tampa on time.

A great getaway for the week for my wife’s birthday. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the ship. The port is just a $25 taxi ride to or from the airport, about a 15-20 minute ride.

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John, thanks for another great review! With the multiple venues for dancing we might just give the ship a try!

That is why we are going to do MSC Poesia in Dec. The dancing venues. When we sailed on MSC Orchestra a couple years back they even had me trying the merengue'ing, and I had never done it.

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In the past 3 years NCL has made huge progress. It is a fine product, just different from the others due to their emphasis on Freestyle Cruising: no formal nights, no having to get out ouf your cabin by 8 on disembarkation day, open dining in 2 main restaurants from 5:30-10pm nightly, and four or more specialty restaurants with service charge and reservations. But we seldom eat in the specialty restaurants because we have no complaints about the food in the main restaurants. Bowling alleys, great water parks, some of the best suite areas at sea, a ship with lots of single occupancy cabins, etc.

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