This was our 50th cruise in 29 years, our 9th with NCL.
I would like to start off by saying we enjoyed this cruise very much. Well worth our time and money.
This was a very relaxing cruise with 3 days at sea, ¾ day in Fanning Island, ½ day in Hilo and Maui, full day in Kauai. My favorite part of the cruise was days at sea. Fanning Island reminded me of the private outer islands in the Carribean of various cruise lines. NCL constructed a beach area with facilities for barbecue, sports, entertainment. The native villages are nearby within easy walking distance. There was really little to see or do other than the beach activities. A group of about 20 native dancers provided enthusiastic entertainment nonstop during the whole time we were on the island.
The Norwegian Star is a beautiful ship. I had some reservation with the decoration of the Market Cafe. The Galleria Shop reminded me of JCPenney. The major fault is reserved for the 2 slides in the main pool area which were a eyesore and took up too much room and were hardly used. I understand the slides will be eliminated from the new Norwegian Dawn.
So much were said about the structure noises inside the cabin from other earlier reviews, so I was quite surprised to find that there were not anymore excessive noise in our cabin than on the average ship we were on previously. We had inside cabin #10509 on the 10th deck forward. The dark wood paneling inside the cabin made the room seem smaller.
The production shows on this cruise were typical of a Jane Ryan's production which are the very best on the high seas. Other entertainment and organized daily activities were about average for a cruise ship.
I consider the food over-all above average for a cruise ship, good being the average. We had breakfast every day in the Market Cafe. Its offered the usual typical cruise ship buffet breakfast. The excellent barbecue ribs and pizza were served every day for lunch on the pool deck. These were the best I had on any cruise ship. One day we had beautifully barbacued jumbo shrimps. The server was piling it on our plate right from the grill. I really enjoyed it. With food like these why go inside to the Market Cafe or the main dinning room.
We ate dinner in Le Bistro, SoHo Room, Endless Summer, Versailles, and three times in Aqua main dinning room. Aqua was my favorite resturant on the ship. Contrary to what the brochure said the menu are identical for Aqua and Versailles. The only dinner I did'nt like was at Endless Summer. The jumbo shrimps in the main course were un-eatable. Le Bistro and SoHo were well worth their extra costs of $12.50 each excluding wine.
Blue Lagoon served all kinds of snack 24 hours a day. The snack served here is very unique for a cruise ship. We tried it once and it was very good.
Contrary to what I read on the earlier reviews during the early part of Star's operation about the long wait to be seated and slow service in the main dinning room, we were always seated right the way in a small table for two or four. The services were usually courteous and efficient. We usually ate between 6pm and 8pm.
Considering the many extra resturant personels required to operate the Freestyle dining, the recommended $10 a day tip for waiters and room stewards seems very reasonable.
We like Freestyle crusing. We give Norwegian Star two thumbs up for the execution of Freestyle crusing. I am glad to say that based on our own experience we don't agree with the negative comments that were written prior to Feb 2002 concerning the Star.