Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian Star by Bob & Patsy Alaska May 19, 2007
My wife and I have been on six cruises in the past and have found them all pleasant experiences. That is until we found NCL. This is the second time we have sailed on NCL. The first was to New England and Canada on the NCL Jewel. We were disappointed in this cruise, but believed that it was it's maiden voyage in the US and some bugs needed to be ironed out.
On this cruise we found out that the last cruise was in some ways better then this one. We had decided to give NCL the benefit of the doubt and try it again, because we had some friends that were booked on this cruise.
To start with, we attempted to book our excursions on line, and found out that many of the ones that are on the web site didn't exist. Phone calls to NCL didn't help as we were given the run around.
We flew to Seattle the day before the cruise was to live to give ourselves plenty of time to get to the ship. We arrived early to register because we were given another run around when we tried to register early from home. We found the staff there was indifferent to down right rude. After we registered we were given a number and told to have a seat in the holding area. There were about one hundred seats for about one thousand people. Our number was finally called and we were allowed to get on the ship. There was no one to direct people to their rooms, or did we see any one along the way. We made it to the eleventh floor only to fine all of the doors to the hallways closed and locked and there was a girl by the elevators to tell us that the rooms were not ready. She directed us to the twelfth floor to have lunch. This is the area that NCL tries to pass as a buffet. There was very little selection and almost no taste. We decided to go out to the pool area and wait because the buffet area was filling up fast. There waiters trying to get us to buy drinks accosted us every two minutes. Some time the same waiter several times in rapid succession.
We finally went to our room, a "Mini suit" and found it to smaller the one on the Jewel. It looked like it was well lived in and was in need of refurbishing. Our bags came in short order and the was room to put every thing away. The bathroom was large and had plenty of space to put everything away. The bed was old and worn out, lumpy and hard. The room stewards came and introduced themselves, and were very efficient, although we did not see them very often. On NCL the stewards have certain hours that they are available. The cabin was not properly cleaned. When my wife put her suitcase under the bed she found two pairs of shoes under the bed that had been there for quite some time by the layer of dust on them.
There is nothing free about "freestyle" cruising. Because we were with a large groupe we were given permanent reservations at the Aqua restaurant. The first night we had a waitress that was delightful She was efficient, friendly, with a great sense of humor. Unfortunately She was not the waitress for those tables every night. For some reason they rotate the waitresses. One night we missed our dinnertime and sat at another table. The waiter was so bad that we exchange words. He had the worst attitude I have ever experienced on a cruise ship. As I stated before the buffet was a complete disaster. NCL is completely obsessed with making sure that all passengers keep their hands clean, with hand sanitizers every were. But I found plates and silverware that had not been properly cleaned and tables that were still sticky and not wiped down after the plates were picked up. The buffet closes several times a day and closes for good at nine o'clock in the evening. After that the only place to go is one of the "extra pay restaurants", which we tried on our last trip and found the over rated and as lacking as the rest of the eateries. You can also go to the Blue Lagoon restaurant. This is a small part of a hallway with almost no seating, lousy service, and terrible food. The menu consists of hamburger, hot dog and fish and chip. For desert the only offering are two types of cookies. They are open all night so NCL can say they have food twenty-four hours a day.
NCL is a "discount "cruise line and it shows. I do not intend to sail NCL again, and I would not recommend it to any friends.