This was our second cruise with NCL and we had reasonably high expectations after our first expresence on the Gem. Sadly we were some what disappointed, this ship is on a constant 7 day cycle around the Hawaiian Islands and its overuse without refurbishment means the ship is looking and even feeling
tired. The cabins were adequate but a bit on the small side, on the plus side the cabin attendants were excellent.
The food on board left lots to be desired. Lots of fatty, cheesy and other unhealthy options. Maybe they are catering for the American market but there is a need to offer food which looks good tastes good and is generally good for you. We had a meal in the Italian restaurant as a treat, thinking it must be better if there is a surcharge. Not so, my daughter ordered a lobster linguine which was quite inedible as the fish tasted and smelt off. When we spoke to the maitre de he very quickly and brusquely offered to get another of the same, why he thought we would want more of the same rubbish I don't know. They did not offer a different dish or a refund which was very disappointing. Again on the upside the only other time we tried a meal at the Jefferson restaurant I gave it 5 stars. The crew in general were reasonably helpful without going that bit extra. The itinerary of the ship is very good and means that one can get a good look at the main islands an tourist hotspots. The cost of this cruise is quite expensive compared to what NCL offer in the rest of the world but I guess they pretty much have the monopoly in Hawaii which shows in the pricing.
Overall it seems that NCL are happily milking a good profit from this ship while putting very little back into either crew or ship.
We had originally booked our much anticipated cruise around Alaska on Celebrity and were arriving 10 days before. The cruise was leaving from Seattle and we were wondering what we should do while making our way from LA. Instead of catching a few domestic flights we thought "why not cruise our way
along the coast." What a wonderful idea this turned out to be. We found an NCL Pacific Coastal cruise on the Pearl that departed LA the day after we arrived from Melbourne and finished in Vancouver 2 days before our next cruise started.
The 7 day cruise included the ports San Francisco, Astoria Oregon, Nainamo BC, Victoria BC and Vancouver.
We thought the embarkation at LA went smoothly with only a short wait however the Americans must expect a quicker process as they seemed disappointed and a bit upset that they had to wait a couple of hours. We later heard from the Captain that the authorities would not let the passengers onboard from the Panama Cruise leave. The only other cruise we had been on was Dawn Princess in May 2009 at the height of the Swine Flu and we didn't board until midnight, so this time seemed a breeze.
As the prices are absolutely fantastic, we had a balcony stateroom 9080 which was midship. The room was lovely, very clean and modern. The bathroom was also modern with sliding screens dividing the toilet, vanity and shower. No shower curtains was a smart idea.
Our stateroom attendants were very approachable, quick and always around when needed.
We ate in the dining room for breakfast, lunch and dinner almost everyday. Freestyle dining was wonderful. It was very easy to get a table for two and if the dining room was full, they would give us a a pager and we would be called within 20 minutes. Even though we didn't have the same dining staff everynight, we got to know most of the dining staff by name and vice versa. The menu was delicious and came very quick. Amazingly quick. The only thing we didn't like was the photographer that came around everynight, even when you had a mouth full of food. A quick "no thanks" was all that was needed.
We didn't attend the evening entertainment, so I can't comment on that. We would sometimes have a snack in the Blue Lagoon cafe which was opened 24 hours and listen to the comedian/music/lectures in the atrium and they all seemed good.
The Pearl was very modern and clean with no signs of obvious wear. We found the staff to be friendly and helpful all the time. They have a laundry special halfway through the cruise. $20.00 for a large bag. They lost one of my items worth 40.00 but then didn't charge us for the laundry and took 20.00 off our account, so we came our even. Being a bra they knew I would have to replace it.
I don't know if the cold coastal weather deterred most people venturing onto the upper decks at night or if they all ate later than us but we would often go up to the hot spas (x4) on the pool deck and sit in their for a couple of hours.
We didn't book any shore excursions through the ship. We loved exploring all of the ports ourselves and found it easy to get around.
I had read to expect rough seas going up the coast but we never felt any movement. We had prepared by taking Kwells every night but honestly it was so smooth. The Captain Lars Bengtsson was so funny, we loved his announcements that would come at anytime. He is a real character and had everyone laughing. You could tell he loved his job.
Disembarkation was a breeze. No waiting for your number to be called. Everything about Freestyle cruising seemed to work on this cruise.
We booked this cruise mainly to get from LA to Vancouver (then train to Seattle) so having such fantastic ports was definitely an added bonus. We loved every one of them, especially San Fransisco. This cruise definitely exceeded our expectations and we would highly recommend both the Cruise line/ship and itinerary to anyone looking for a reasonably price holiday in the US.
It was to be a trip of a lifetime,my husband and I had planned our journey for 12 months. We had a picture window booked with unobstructed view. No disappointments, from the moment we set foot on board we were in awe of the service delivered, the activities and entertainment provided as well as the
many restaurants and bars to explore. The staff always greeted you with a smile and really made the experience memorable. The ports visited along with tours undertaken were also well organised and informative. Would definitely like to repeat the experience one day
This is a review of NCL cruise line's - Norwegian Star
When my mother asked me to look at cruises that visited Acapulco I couldnâ€™t believe my luck when I came across a 15-night cruise from Los Angeles to Miami by way of the Panama Canal, with stays in Los Angeles, Miami and Las Vegas.
Traversing the 40-mile Panama Canal felt like a rite of passage and something weâ€™ll remember for a lifetime. With the addition of time spent in compelling ports like Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Cartagena, Puerto Quetzal, Huatulco and laid-back Key West, the cruise component was a perfect blend of ports and days at sea.
Norwegian Star - Passenger Capacity: 2,348 (double occupancy), Crew: 1,065, Gross Tonnage: 91,740, Overall Length: 965 feet
Food and Drink
Norwegian Star featured 14 dining options and nine bars and lounges. All of them were surprisingly good although there was little choice at the breakfast buffet. Unfortunately it was always the same and the queue for toast each morning became too much for us to bare. We opted instead for room service breakfast in the cabin on port days as we enjoyed sitting on the balcony as we arrived into the various ports. It also meant that we could eat in our PJâ€™s, dress and then depart for a day of sightseeing. Rooms service food was really fantastic â€“ fresh, hot or cold as dictated by the dish and it arrived promptly on time.
Choices for dinner included the buffet again, the main dining room (our preferred choice) or for a little extra, the ship has a French restaurant, Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant and Cagneyâ€™s, an upscale steakhouse.
The French restaurant, Le Bistro, has a light, airy atmosphere and a menu of modern and classic gourmet fare - including fresh lobster - was just like eating in a little French cafÃ© in Paris. Tre magnifique! There are some lovely bars on board and hereâ€™s my tip - make sure you keep an eye out for two-for-one cocktail evenings and a definite not to be missed: Watching the sun go down 14 decks above the ocean at the open-air Bier Garten.
Cabins and DÃ©cor
We had a twin bed balcony stateroom with two lower beds, a nice sitting area and floor-to-ceiling glass doors that opened to a private balcony. There was plenty of room to store clothes and the bathroom, whilst very compact, was cleverly designed with the toilet being separate to the shower and handbasin.
The ship has a sprawling spa, a casino and a small shopping precinct and we enjoyed them all. The evening shows however were quite disappointing. Normally on a ship of this size the shows would be a lot more extravagant. On sea days apart from sun baking or reading there was very little to do. The only lectures were on things to buy in port-approved stores or the big â€˜sellâ€™ talk each morning for what was being offered in the spa.
Ports visited included Los Angeles, Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Huatulco, Puerto Quetzal, Puntarenas, Cartagena, Key West, and Miami.
Number of Cruises Taken:
38 â€“ please note this trip was fully paid for.