Year Started: 1966
Ships in Fleet: 13
Summary: With the recent introduction of new ships the third biggest cruise company in the world. Free-style cruising, elaborate dining options and surprisingly good entertainment.
Regions:Bahamas, Bermuda, Caribbean, Mediterranean Western
Good for: Teens. Seniors. Group.
Regions:Eastern Seaboard, Caribbean, Bermuda
Good for: Value for Money. Children`s Programs. Singles.
Regions:Caribbean, Mediterranean Western, Transatlantic
Regions:Bahamas, Caribbean, Eastern Seaboard
Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.
Regions:Alaska, Bahamas, Caribbean
Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.
Regions:Alaska, Bahamas, Caribbean
Good for: First-time Cruisers. Value for Money. Teens.
Good for: Group. Singles. Families.
Good for: Teens. Seniors. Families.
Regions:Caribbean, Inland Waterways, Mediterranean Western, Mexico
Good for: Value for Money. Children`s Programs. Families.
Regions:Alaska, Caribbean, Inland Waterways, West Coast
Good for: Families. Value for Money. Teens.
Good for: Value for Money. Overall Service. Disabled Travelers.
Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian Star by Bruce Pederson Alaska July 24, 2010
Booked early, with suggestions of up grade 4th cruise on NCL, booked 5 staterooms 15 people Put on deck 5, given no up grade, no pepsi, nothing for a $12,000 booking
Our cruise group was 8 friends who have travelled extesnivly over the years. The ship, as many previous reviewers have mentioned, is a floating hotel. We had an outside stateroom with a balcony, and the room was average in size. We liked having the balcony to sit and watch the islands.
The food was good. The buffet was better then average, and the night they had prime ride was as good as some of the food I've eaten here in Kansas City! Many good choices, and the breakfast was wonderful.We had breakfast in the 50' diner, and it was fun and not crowded at all. Evening dinner at the dress up dinner(men are requested to wear slacks), the service was OK and the food was average.
The staff was mostly American, and were polite and friendly. Our cabin steward was just OK, and we missed a few turn downs for our bed after having dinner.
The evening's events were good. Second City was on board, and had some very funny skits, and were on stage 3 nights during the week. A group singing the 4 Seasons's songs were very good. The cruise directorwas just OK, and was informative in terms of events going on daily.
As far as the 4 islands, I think that the packages that NCL offered were OK, but we decided to do our own arrangements, since there was a large group involved. Renting cars proved to be worthwhile, as we could come and go at our own pace. The trip we took through the cruise was the helicopter tour, as well as the luau which was very good and entertaining. There were several local artists and venders selling their wares when we arrived, and for those who wee looking for unusual souvenirs,this was the place to find them. The dinner and dancing were much better then what I had imagined, and considering they do this evemt three times a week, I don't know how they keep up the enegy.
Having taken this same trip 4 years ago, I had concerns, but I was pleasantly surprised how smooth it all went. I was expecting the 'Griswald Hawaii vaction' but I'm glad to say it was a whole lot better! It was a fun and relaxing vacation.
The NCL Epic. The ship itself is quite nice. The shows were very good. Blue man Group and Cirque Dreams are terrific. The Ice Bar is "cool"
However- The staff and service leaves much to be desired. This was my first and last NCL cruise. i have been on 6 cruises prior to this one. Even Carnival puts the service on the Epic to shame. let's start at the top. The cruise director-silas-is a joke-I never saw him except on the ship's tv channel cavorting with other crew members on the Adults Only Spice h20 deck.
The cabin steward was a ghost. Did not even see him for the first three days. Our room keys never worker properly-oh by the way you have to put a key in a slotby the door or nothing works. it would have been nice if some one told us about that. there was no sign.
The freestyle concept works well in theory, however since tips are automatically billed to your room the service personal have ABSOLUTELY NO INCENTIVE to provide anything that even remotely come close to decent service.
If NCL expct customers to pay top dollarand get this level of service, they will be out of business vvery quickly.
Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian Star by Jenny Tran Alaska July 3, 2010
My significant other and I have been on Carnival and Royal Caribbean.
Norwegian Star is the worst cruise experience we have had.
The Norwegian way - "Service-teamwork and yes lead to excellence." and "You're free to whatever! " is a total joke! I've never heard so many no's with bad attitude in my life! and you're not free to whatever because they have a full on itinerary, so if you wanted to do something you better have a watch on you to make sure you don't miss it... most of time... one time shows only! Unless it's a function to buy something... horrible, horrible, horrible!!!!!!
They have this thing, they call it FREESTYLE cruising. This just means that it is an all-inclusive trip. What they don't tell you is that, unlike the other cruise lines... There are only two restaurant that serve the same thing and a buffet that is included. The other 5 restaurants are not and you have to pay anywhere between $10- $30 a meal to get decent food. This is on top of the $800.00 you are payingfor over cooked, luke warm to cold food everyday.
The service was not good. Other than our super friendly house cleaning service. The waiters/ waitresses, customer service, and well... anyone else were always giving you bad looks, and pushing you to buy a drink from the bar or get something extra... I'm talking constant pressure, every second. This is because that they are under paid and you get charged an extra 15% for gratuity which they live off of. They are everywhere! At the " free entertainment" , casino, etc. They also wear different hats and work 16 hour days it seems... the same guy that was at the pool, at 10 am, was serving me at noon, and then was "entertaining me" at 10 pm!
You also get charged an extra $12 a day each person for gratuity. They also encourage and recommend that you give them extra! yaaaaay!
I went on the 7 day Alaska trip and other then the beautiful view. Everything else was so mediocre.
oh by the way, other than breakfast. The only free drink included in your all-inclusive trip is tap water.
My wife and I just returned from a 7 day cruise to the Bahamas on the Jewel, and to be quite frank, we were somewhat disappointed. Having cruised on Holland America, Celebrity, Princess and Royal Carribean, it is obvious that NCL is not in the same league. The attention to detail that we had come to expect was lacking. When we first entered our minisuite balcony cabin, my wife noticed that the area adjacent to the couch and desk had not been vacuumed or cleaned. There were several "items" that she picked up and placed in t he trash can. There were very few lounge chairs on the pool deck in shaded areas. If you wanted to protect yourself from the sun (and it was hot) shaded areas with lounge chairs were hard to come by. My brother-in-law jogged regularly each morning. He advised that he passed the same dirty glasses sitting next to the jogging track for three days. For those "mature" travelers, be prepared to be in the presence of many, many children, and unfortunately, many parents seemed to believe that it was not their responsibilty to maintain controlof their young ones. This was particularly disturbing on the night that my wife and I visited Cagney's Steakhouse, one of the several restaurants that required an additional $25 fee to eat there. Several tables over were two couples with their four children, ages 5-6. The children were allowed to scream and play during the entire course of our dinner, and no one, ship staff included, ever attempted to ask that they be made to behave.
Overall, I would rate that cruise and ship a "4" at best. If you want first class service and attention to detail, stick with Celebrity, Princess or Holland America. I would suspect that Carnival might even be a better value.
My husband and I just returned yesterday from a 7night 8day cruise from New York to Cape Caveneral, Great Stirrup Cay, and Nassau. I am comparing this cruise to our last year's cruise on Carnival.
We were on Deck 10 Balcony stateroom which was smaller than Carnival. The food (main dining room and buffet) was just O.K. Menu was limited. The speciality resturant (Cagney's Steakhouse) was a disappointment. My husband's steak was not as good as the steak served in the main dining room and the 1 1/2 lobster (which was advertised) was not available, I was given 2 small lobster tails, at an additional charge, besides the $25 charge- not worth the extra money. Carnival's food was better. The day we were supposed to go to the private island the weather was very windy so the Captain announced for safety reasons with the tenders(boats to take you back and forth from the ship to the island) we would go directly to Nassau for two days. The casino is a ripoff - the staff are not qualified. Do not enter the slot and blackjack tournaments. Carnival, again, wins. On a scale from1 - 10 I would rate this cruise 5.
Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian Star by elaine dickson Alaska May 15, 2010
What a mess of a ship design. In creating 14 new restaurants ( at a cost) virtually all of the public spaces have been taken away and there is not one place to sit with a drink and look out the window a6t the gorgeous Alaska Scenery. To make matters worse, they have leased out the top deck round observation lounge to a spa and only there will you have access to those panoramic windows where passengers used to pass the day. In order to do this it costs $150 per couple and there are only 12 lounges and several chairs. It is sheer idiocy.
At the back of the ship where other ships have a place for lounges and tables & chairs to look aft with the shelter of the ship behind you, this ship has built a children's playground which was virtually empty every time I passed by. The Norweigan Star is ill equiped to do Alaska and I would sail ANY other ship before this one.
On the plus side, their dining room is particularly beautiful, the fooddecent, the entertainment okay.
Our room steward service was excellent. However we thought the food a little bland. We took an inside cabin which we will NOT do again. The entertainment was superb. But we found the Port & Shopping Consultant, did not live up to all the things he said. We were disappointed with the raffle system which sometimes never took place. But all in all,the cruise was definitely worth it for the price.
We recently arrived from a week vacation aboard the NCL Spirit. We had a wonderful time. We were a group of 10. My wife and I with 3 teenagers (14, 14 & 15), my adult sister and another family with 2 adults and two kids ages 6 and 8. There was enough to do for everybody. My kids loved the teen club, my friends loved the excursions they booked through the cruise and my wife and I loved the fine dining, ship activities, the shows and the port of call we went to.
I would mention Santo Tomas de Castilla in Guatemala as my favorite place. I booked a tour at the pier, with the local people to see the town of Livingstone and the Rio Dulce. It was a great trip. The Guatemalans are very nice & humble people with deep Mayans roots. We went to a school founded and run by volunteers out there in the middle of nowhere that was an eye opening experience. The Port of New Orleans is very easy to maneuver and the Mississippi River was great to navigate.
Overall the NCL Spirit experience wasa positive one. The only minor thing I didn't like was pushy selling they have most of the time.
We had a few hiccups but nothing that kepted us from having a great time. The booking procces was good. The only problem that we had was when we put some money on our OBC, they tried to take out double the amount. It took 15 days to get that straight and then it took 2 days onbaord to get our account straighten out again.
This was our first cruise with Norwegian having cruise with Carnival twice. And our first 7 day cruise.
Embarkation: Embarkation went well. Not to many problems. It was a little warm inside but luckily by the time we we checked in they were allowing people to board. And of course like most people we headed over to the buffet. Which brings us to the next subject.
Food: The food was great. Ate in all of the free restaurants and we like the food. The buffet lines were somewhat long most of the times, but that was to be expected. As for the specialty restaurants. We ate at the Le Bistro.(Came with the romance package we bought) We also ate at Cagney's and Teppanyaki. Now thefood was great at each of the restaurants. And the service was great as well. But I would have to say that the service we received at the Le Bistro was by far the best out of any of the restaurants that i have eaten anywhere. And I have been some of everywhere. Our waitress and Jr. waitress was Elizabeth and Anna. And they were great. Always made sure that everything was great with our meal.
The cabins: We had 2 inside cabins. 5539 & 5541. They were slightly smaller that on the Carnival Fantasy but the were nice. No complaints there. Our cabin stewards were Manuel &
Ship: The ship was nice and clean. Took a few days to learn the layout of the ship. I liked the fact that you can go to deck 11 forward and look into the bridge. I also like that they put hand sanitizers everywhere. A helpful reminder to keep those hands clean.
Entertainment: We only went to 3 shows. The Welcome Aboard Show, Cirque Bijou and the International Crew Show. All 3 were great. Make sure that you see the Crew Show. They have some very talented people on board and the Fountains show is great.
Excursions: Initially we booked excursions at all of the port but we had to canceled due to me having to have foot surgery. But we booked some onboard. Even with my foot in a boot. We still had fun We eventually did a excurison in all of the ports. And had a lot of fun. I love that fact that they have several kisok that you can use to book excursions.
All in all. We had a great cruise. Were there some problems. Yes. But guest services took care of them. You will allways have problems on any vacations. But why dwell on them when you can be having fun instead. The Norwegian Jewel is a great ship with a great crew. You do have to pay extra to dine in the specialty resturants but it is worth it. My advice is go on a cruise, any cruise. And just have fun.
On another note. If you are driving to Miami. We drove from Louisiana. And this is the first time. Make sure you have cash on had for tolls. We paid around $21 going and $13 coming back going through tool booths. Also when you get to the port. Check the signs for which ship is at which terminal. The Jewel is at terminal B which is the last one and you should be parking in lot C. We had to pay $140 for parking.
Roatan: This was our first port. Initially we booked a beach deal here but due to my foot we decided to do the Best of Roatan instead. That was a great tour. We learned a lot about Roatan and the boat ride was great. We walked around before we took our tour. Met a local name Gabriel who walked with us for a while and told us about himself and life there.This is not a tourist port but it was still a nice place to visit.
Belize: Our second port was Belize City. We did the Altun Ha tour which was great a well. This was our second time going to a Mayan Ruin. Our first was Chichen Itza. This time we were allowed to climb the structures. Be prepared to stretch a little while climbing though. Those stairs are somewhat hard to climb. Our tour guide was great. He kept us laughing throughout the tour. Would love to go back again.
Coasta Maya: This was our 3rd port. They are still trying to rebuild there. We did the Jungle Beach Break. Which was ok. All of the drinks were free which is always good. The food you had to pay for. We had s nice time here. the wife finally had a chance to go to a beach.
Great Stirrup Cay: Our last port was Great Stirrup Cay. Which is NCL's private Isle. Not to much to say about here. Just after we got there it started raining. Didn't last to long but long enought though. We got off of the ship just long enough to take some pictures and to buy some items. To us it was just another beach break. But we did get to relax some though.