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  #1  
Old March 30th, 2010, 06:57 PM
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Post Norwegian Star - 3/20/2010 Review

Embarkation: Went very smooth, we did arrive early and since we were booked in a Suite we had a separate check-in area, however it did look like things were organized for people checking into other decks of the ship. This is the first cruise we took where we did not have to go through a check with Border Patrol, which was unusual and we expected it at Debarkation and did not have it then either, so we are hoping this indicates a change in how closed-loop cruises are processed.

Public Areas: The ship herself was in nice shape, however it was obvious that they were still in the process of reconditioning the ship from Dry-Dock, we saw lots of blue tape where work was still being done and deck 12 forward (The old Spinnaker Lounge) was still blocked for access which did create some confusion if you wanted to go to deck 12 and were in a cabin in the forward section of the ship as you had to go to mid-ship to access deck 12 or go to deck 13 then walk back down to 12. The change to the Spinnaker Lounge was a large topic of discussion for a lot of cruisers. The new Spinnaker Lounge is starting to look more permanent but is still having some issues, like a burst pipe on the final Sea Day (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYvtF7z8EPM). The new Lounge itself does look good, but could use some additional work making it more comfortable. The Carousel Lounge and Martini Bar are permanently gone. The new Gift Shops look good and the move of the Blue Lagoon to share the space of the Endless Summer restaurant worked well. We did see several spots where ceiling panels were not properly secured because additional work was continuing and in some cases it did appear that there could have been a safety hazard.

Meet & Greet: I organized the CC M&G for this trip and unfortunately we did not have as many people attend as we had hoped, however I do feel it was a good M&G. We had the officer visit the M&G and they did tell us that when the refurbishing is complete the Library will return to deck 13 where it had been. The other common rooms up there may not be returning and there will not be a bridge viewing area, although there are plans to do more tours of the bridge.

Spa: While we did not use any of the major Spa services, we did pay for access to the Spa pool, hot tubs, and lounges. We felt the $75 per person was a fair charge for access to this area and gave us a nice quiet area to relax for a Spring Break cruise.

Dining: The food in the Main Dining Room was great, we were not disappointed in any of the meals we had there and recommend that other cruisers utilize it. We were sorely disappointed in the specialty restaurants with the exception of Cagney’s and Tappenyaki. With all the Specialty Restaurants charging an additional surcharge (with the exception of Blue Lagoon) to eat in them we expected the food and the service to be exceptional, sadly it was not. We ate in Endless Summer for the first night of the cruise and found the meat served to be tough and lukewarm. The “free” margarita’s were about half the size of the normal drinks and had minimal alcohol in them. The meals at Cagney’s (Both Breakfast & Lunch perks) and dinner were terrific. Because of the disappointing meal at Endless Summer we bypassed dinner at the other Specialty Restaurants but decided to do the “Best of All” meal at Ginza on the last sea day. Since this represented the “Best” of the other Specialty Restaurants it is a bad representative for them. Most of the food was served buffet style and was not the “Best” in this manner. The sushi left something to be desired and if we based our Sushi experience on this and what we saw when we passed Ginza in the evenings we would have been disappointed, as a $15 surcharge for the sushi is overpriced for what they were serving. We are able to feed 3 people at a local Sushi restaurant at home for $20 with a better selection then we saw at Ginza. Tappenyaki was terrific and how could it not be with a chef at the grill in front of you freshly preparing the meal. Sadly, if asked about the specialty restaurants on the Star we would recommend only Cagney’s and Tappenyaki, telling people to save their money on the rest of them.

Butler & Stewardess: The butler and Stewardess we had for the cruise were wonderful. They didn’t disturb us and took care of the few things we needed with speed and efficiency. The stateroom itself was nice but we will not book a forward facing balcony again as we could not use our balcony comfortably for part of the cruise because of the wind from the ships movement we also had to secure the bulkhead whenever we were not using the balcony because the wind created a high pitched whistle through the door.

Ports: Three ports of call, Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. We did not schedule any excursions with the ship but booked them all online beforehand. In Cabo we booked with Joann and Sandra (http://cabosanlucastours.net) for the Lovers Beach Tour. The glass Bottom Boat we took to the beach looked like it needed some serious repair, the glass panels were leaking and the engine kept dying and had to be primed by the operator from a plastic container of fuel next to the engine. Unfortunately it looked like a lot of the boats being used in the harbor were in similar states but we did not personally inspect them. In Mazatlan we had scheduled a tour with one of Mazatlan Franks (http://www.mazatlan-frank.com) partners, we definitely got our money’s worth and had an enjoyable tour of Mazatlan with stops for exploring, shopping, lunch and views. In Puerto Vallarta we again used one of Mazatlan Franks (http://www.mazatlan-frank.com/PVINDEX.html) partners. While we did not get the driver originally indicated, the driver we did get, “Chilli”, gave us a wonderful tour with stops in locations other tourists were not visiting and background narration that was entertaining. Some of the spots we visited the van barely made it through the roads because of how tight the spots were but he navigated them like a pro. We highly recommend Mazatlan Frank and his partners for visits to Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta.

Entertainment: We attended the Second City performances and they were terrific, the Cirque Pacific performance started similar, if not the same as the Cirque Pacific performance from a cruise a few years ago on the Star, so we left right after it started as we didn’t fully enjoy it the first time we had seen it. There were different performers playing throughout the ship and they were enjoyable.

Teenage Activities: The activities on the ship for our teenage son and his friend kept them busy throughout the cruise. It was hard to get them to even join us for dinner. The only problem we had experienced with the activities is sometimes the activity had the kids roaming the ship, which was fine, but some of the kids tended to get a little rowdy while doing them, which could have disturbed other passengers.

Disembarkation: Fast and easy, since there had not been a Border Crossing official on Embarkation we expected to have a line for them here and did not have one, found our bags and walked right out of the warehouse.

Overall we did enjoy the cruise and the Star and will miss her when she moves to her new home in Tampa but we do feel the loss of the Original Spinnaker Lounge does affect her usability as a ship for touring Alaska. Hopefully NCL will see fit to place another ship in Los Angeles for Mexican Riviera Cruises after 2011, currently they have no plans to continue the MR cruises.
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Reviews: NCL Norwegian Pearl - Sept 2007 - 4 night Pacific Coast - Vancouver to Los Angeles ~ NCL Norwegian Star - May 2007 - 1 night Dinner & Dance - Vancouver to Seattle ~ RC Vision of the Seas - April 2007 - 5 night Pacific Coast - Los Angeles to Vancouver Other Cruises: Carnival Elation - September 2009 - 3 nights to Baja, Mexico ~ HAL ms Statendam - May 2009 - 14 night - Alaska ~ NCL Norwegian Star - April 2008 - 6 night Alaska - Vancouver to Seattle ~ RC Monarch of the Seas - February 2007 - 4 nights to Baja, Mexico ~ RC Monarch of the Seas - May 2006 - 4 nights to Baja, Mexico ~ Carnival Paradise - November 2006 - 4 nights to Baja, Mexico

Last edited by PokrTom; March 30th, 2010 at 06:58 PM.
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  #2  
Old March 30th, 2010, 07:11 PM
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OP, thank you for taking the time to post your review. I enjoyed reading it.
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  #3  
Old March 30th, 2010, 07:17 PM
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I did forget one additional comment about the new Spinnaker Lounge. We were at dinner in the MDR when there was a bunch of pounding going on. Aparently they were having a contest in the Spinnaker and people were bouncing and this was being reflected in the dining room.
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Reviews: NCL Norwegian Pearl - Sept 2007 - 4 night Pacific Coast - Vancouver to Los Angeles ~ NCL Norwegian Star - May 2007 - 1 night Dinner & Dance - Vancouver to Seattle ~ RC Vision of the Seas - April 2007 - 5 night Pacific Coast - Los Angeles to Vancouver Other Cruises: Carnival Elation - September 2009 - 3 nights to Baja, Mexico ~ HAL ms Statendam - May 2009 - 14 night - Alaska ~ NCL Norwegian Star - April 2008 - 6 night Alaska - Vancouver to Seattle ~ RC Monarch of the Seas - February 2007 - 4 nights to Baja, Mexico ~ RC Monarch of the Seas - May 2006 - 4 nights to Baja, Mexico ~ Carnival Paradise - November 2006 - 4 nights to Baja, Mexico
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  #4  
Old March 30th, 2010, 07:44 PM
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Enjoyed your review--but IMOP the sushi we have had on all the NCL ships we have sailed has been good. The price point compared to Southern California is excellent--to get sushi all you can eat for $20 for three people in Southern California is impossible--I have never seen that--maybe you can share with us the name of the sushi restaurant where 3 people can eat for $20 in Portland that you go to so we can try it the next time we are there.

Big Green
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Sailed NCL Sun Hawaii Escape 09/30/07-10 day
Sailed NCL Spirit Carib relo to NY 03/30/2008-16 day
Sailed NCL Sun Exotic Americas 11/04/2008-19 day
Sailed NCL Star Mexican Riviera 12/20/08-7 day
Sailed NCL Spirit Relo to NOLA 10/23/09-16 day
Sailed Carnival Splendor to Mexicana Riviera 05/23/10-7 day
Sailed NCL Spirit Relo to Nola 10/23/10-15 day
Sailed Holland Oosterdam to Hawaii 12/10/11-14 day
Sailed Holland Westerdam to Hawaii/Tahiti/Marquesas 10/03/12-30 day
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Old March 30th, 2010, 07:46 PM
big green big green is offline
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Enjoyed your review--but IMOP the sushi we have had on all the NCL ships we have sailed has been of good variety and quality. The price point compared to Southern California is excellent--to get sushi all you can eat for $20 for three people in Southern California is impossible--I have never seen that--maybe you can share with us the name of the sushi restaurant where 3 people can eat for $20 in Portland that you go to so we can try it the next time we are there.

Big Green
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Sailed NCL Sun Exotic Americas 11/04/2008-19 day
Sailed NCL Star Mexican Riviera 12/20/08-7 day
Sailed NCL Spirit Relo to NOLA 10/23/09-16 day
Sailed Carnival Splendor to Mexicana Riviera 05/23/10-7 day
Sailed NCL Spirit Relo to Nola 10/23/10-15 day
Sailed Holland Oosterdam to Hawaii 12/10/11-14 day
Sailed Holland Westerdam to Hawaii/Tahiti/Marquesas 10/03/12-30 day
Sailed NCL Jewel Panama Canal 09/27/13 16 day
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  #6  
Old March 30th, 2010, 07:49 PM
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Default Thanks for the review Tom!

Enjoyed reading about your cruise on the refurbished Star. Sounds like she has changed considerably from our December sailing on her but has retained much of her special charm. We also enjoyed the main dining rooms, but did find that Le Bistro on the Star was several cuts above other Le Bisto experiences we have had on NCL ships. I absolutely agree with your high rating of Cagneys and your so-so rating of Endless Summer. Both matched our experiences.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 08:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big green View Post
I have never seen that--maybe you can share with us the name of the sushi restaurant where 3 people can eat for $20 in Portland that you go to so we can try it the next time we are there.
Sushi Hana - 3 locations in PDX - Every night after 5:00pm everything is $1.00-$1.50 a plate, this is their lunch rate too. Between 2:00 and 5:00 the plates go as high as $3.00 a plate. However it isn't all you can eat, the point was, for $20 we have eaten our fill.

http://sushihanaus.com/
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Reviews: NCL Norwegian Pearl - Sept 2007 - 4 night Pacific Coast - Vancouver to Los Angeles ~ NCL Norwegian Star - May 2007 - 1 night Dinner & Dance - Vancouver to Seattle ~ RC Vision of the Seas - April 2007 - 5 night Pacific Coast - Los Angeles to Vancouver Other Cruises: Carnival Elation - September 2009 - 3 nights to Baja, Mexico ~ HAL ms Statendam - May 2009 - 14 night - Alaska ~ NCL Norwegian Star - April 2008 - 6 night Alaska - Vancouver to Seattle ~ RC Monarch of the Seas - February 2007 - 4 nights to Baja, Mexico ~ RC Monarch of the Seas - May 2006 - 4 nights to Baja, Mexico ~ Carnival Paradise - November 2006 - 4 nights to Baja, Mexico

Last edited by PokrTom; March 30th, 2010 at 08:39 PM.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 08:54 PM
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The carousel lounge is gone? I really liked that place. It was cute with the carousel horses for seats.

But as i recall, it was empty most of the time.
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March 2005 NCL Star Mexican Riviera (8 day intinerary)
May 2005 NCL Star Alaska
January 2006 Sapphire Princess Mexican Riviera
September 2006 NCL Wind Hawaii
March 2007 Carnival Pride Mexican Riviera
November 2007 Carnival Pride Mexican Riviera
September 2008 NCL Sun Alaska Repo S.F.
November 2008 Carnival Valor Western Caribbean
January 2009 Carnival Liberty East. Caribbean
May 2009 Carnival Paradise Catalina Island
September 2009 RCI Mariner of the Seas Mexican Riviera
October 2009 RCI Radiance of the Seas Cabo
April 2010 NCL Pearl Pacific Coastal/British Columbia
October 2010 NCL EPIC Western Caribbean
November 2010 NCL Star One Night Cruise to Nowhere
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  #9  
Old March 30th, 2010, 09:00 PM
big green big green is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PokrTom View Post
Sushi Hana - 3 locations in PDX - Every night after 5:00pm everything is $1.00-$1.50 a plate, this is their lunch rate too. Between 2:00 and 5:00 the plates go as high as $3.00 a plate. However it isn't all you can eat, the point was, for $20 we have eaten our fill.

http://sushihanaus.com/
Nothing like fast food sushi---nothing like this where I live .So my point is NCl has some good sushi and prices for a lot people depending on where you live and what type of ambiance you want. I could easily eat fifteen dollars worth at your sushi place. Thanks for the tip--I have some relatives up your way--I will ask them about this place.

Big green
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Sailed Regency Regent Sea Caribbean 10/82- 7 day
Sailed NCL Pearl Alaska 07/02/07 - 7 day
Sailed NCL Sun Hawaii Escape 09/30/07-10 day
Sailed NCL Spirit Carib relo to NY 03/30/2008-16 day
Sailed NCL Sun Exotic Americas 11/04/2008-19 day
Sailed NCL Star Mexican Riviera 12/20/08-7 day
Sailed NCL Spirit Relo to NOLA 10/23/09-16 day
Sailed Carnival Splendor to Mexicana Riviera 05/23/10-7 day
Sailed NCL Spirit Relo to Nola 10/23/10-15 day
Sailed Holland Oosterdam to Hawaii 12/10/11-14 day
Sailed Holland Westerdam to Hawaii/Tahiti/Marquesas 10/03/12-30 day
Sailed NCL Jewel Panama Canal 09/27/13 16 day

Last edited by big green; March 30th, 2010 at 09:08 PM.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 09:20 PM
cali2010 cali2010 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big green View Post
Enjoyed your review--but IMOP the sushi we have had on all the NCL ships we have sailed has been of good variety and quality. The price point compared to Southern California is excellent--to get sushi all you can eat for $20 for three people in Southern California is impossible--I have never seen that--maybe you can share with us the name of the sushi restaurant where 3 people can eat for $20 in Portland that you go to so we can try it the next time we are there.

Big Green
We ate a Ginza our second night (March 20 cruise) One member of our group had the sushi and thought it was great. I think $15.00 for all you can eat sushi is a good deal (I live in California).
I ordered a noodle dish from the main menu which had to be specially prepared due to be seafood allergies. This restaurant did an excellent job accomodating my needs and the dishes were very good. The service was a tad slow in the beginning, but after mentioning it, we had superb service.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 09:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big green View Post
Nothing like fast food sushi---nothing like this where I live .So my point is NCl has some good sushi and prices for a lot people depending on where you live and what type of ambiance you want. I could easily eat fifteen dollars worth at your sushi place. Thanks for the tip--I have some relatives up your way--I will ask them about this place.
I think your missing my point. The Sushi we had on the Star was at the "Best of All" lunch. This was to be a representative of the best items in all the Specialty Restaurants. In my opinion it wasn't, and if I was to base my opinion of the Sushi on what we were served and what I saw when we passed the restaurant, it isn't worth it (and in my review I did say "...if we based our Sushi experience on this and what we saw when we passed Ginza in the evenings..."). The Sushi that was served at the "Best of All" was a choice from six Sushi items, all were small and did not seem like they had cared about the preparation to the point they fell apart when you picked them up. When we had passed the Ginza Restaurant on other nights and I looked at the Sushi counter there were very few plates on the conveyor belt and the selection then still seemed minimal.

It is obvious that you had a great experience at the Ginza on previous cruises, I was giving a review based on our experience on our cruise.

While Sushi Hana may be "Fast Food Sushi", we have enjoyed it and since the Ginza used a conveyor belt this is the comparison we had to go on.
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Reviews: NCL Norwegian Pearl - Sept 2007 - 4 night Pacific Coast - Vancouver to Los Angeles ~ NCL Norwegian Star - May 2007 - 1 night Dinner & Dance - Vancouver to Seattle ~ RC Vision of the Seas - April 2007 - 5 night Pacific Coast - Los Angeles to Vancouver Other Cruises: Carnival Elation - September 2009 - 3 nights to Baja, Mexico ~ HAL ms Statendam - May 2009 - 14 night - Alaska ~ NCL Norwegian Star - April 2008 - 6 night Alaska - Vancouver to Seattle ~ RC Monarch of the Seas - February 2007 - 4 nights to Baja, Mexico ~ RC Monarch of the Seas - May 2006 - 4 nights to Baja, Mexico ~ Carnival Paradise - November 2006 - 4 nights to Baja, Mexico
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Old March 30th, 2010, 09:30 PM
STARFISH*4 STARFISH*4 is offline
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carousel lounge
enjoyed always going in there to listen to KAROKE and STAN SYKEs...so WHERE is He hanging out these days on the STAR?
still dont like the LOCALE of the BLUE LAGOON...just wont be the SAME.
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NCL STAR~(MR)_12-05/2-07/12-08/2-11
NCL STAR~(PC)_12-09
NCL JEWEL~(W.Carib)_1-10)
NCL SUN~(E/W.Carib)_12-10*/12-11*
NCL SPIRIT~(CN/NE)_ 9/08
RCL LegendoftheSeas-(HI)_11/04
CCL Victory-(W.Carib)_ 1/04
X Mercury-(AK)_7/02
USNS BARRETT-(Guam, HI, CA)_7/64

Last edited by STARFISH*4; March 30th, 2010 at 09:35 PM.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 09:37 PM
big green big green is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PokrTom View Post
I think your missing my point. The Sushi we had on the Star was at the "Best of All" lunch. This was to be a representative of the best items in all the Specialty Restaurants. In my opinion it wasn't, and if I was to base my opinion of the Sushi on what we were served and what I saw when we passed the restaurant, it isn't worth it (and in my review I did say "...if we based our Sushi experience on this and what we saw when we passed Ginza in the evenings..."). The Sushi that was served at the "Best of All" was a choice from six Sushi items, all were small and did not seem like they had cared about the preparation to the point they fell apart when you picked them up. When we had passed the Ginza Restaurant on other nights and I looked at the Sushi counter there were very few plates on the conveyor belt and the selection then still seemed minimal.

It is obvious that you had a great experience at the Ginza on previous cruises, I was giving a review based on our experience on our cruise.

While Sushi Hana may be "Fast Food Sushi", we have enjoyed it and since the Ginza used a conveyor belt this is the comparison we had to go on.
All I know when I was on the Star there was no conveyor belt sushi--I WATCHED THE SUSHI CHEF PREPARE OUR SUSHI FRESH--I WAS WITH FOUR PEOPLE WHO had dinner there several times times and it was great--so I guess I do not know what you mean by conveyor belt on the STAR. Since you did not eat at the sushi bar only observed when you passed by I find your comments a little harsh. Anyway I will dine at the sushi bar when i cruise on the Star in the future without any worry based on my experiences
on having sushi on the NCL ships I have cruised on.

Thanks again for your review.

Big Green
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Sailed Regency Regent Sea Caribbean 10/82- 7 day
Sailed NCL Pearl Alaska 07/02/07 - 7 day
Sailed NCL Sun Hawaii Escape 09/30/07-10 day
Sailed NCL Spirit Carib relo to NY 03/30/2008-16 day
Sailed NCL Sun Exotic Americas 11/04/2008-19 day
Sailed NCL Star Mexican Riviera 12/20/08-7 day
Sailed NCL Spirit Relo to NOLA 10/23/09-16 day
Sailed Carnival Splendor to Mexicana Riviera 05/23/10-7 day
Sailed NCL Spirit Relo to Nola 10/23/10-15 day
Sailed Holland Oosterdam to Hawaii 12/10/11-14 day
Sailed Holland Westerdam to Hawaii/Tahiti/Marquesas 10/03/12-30 day
Sailed NCL Jewel Panama Canal 09/27/13 16 day
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Old March 30th, 2010, 09:46 PM
cali2010 cali2010 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big green View Post
All I know when I was on the Star there was no conveyor belt sushi--I WATCHED THE SUSHI CHEF PREPARE OUR SUSHI FRESH--I WAS WITH FOUR PEOPLE WHO had dinner there several times times and it was great--so I guess I do not know what you mean by conveyor belt on the STAR. Since you did not eat at the sushi bar only observed when you passed by I find your comments a little harsh. Anyway I will dine at the sushi bar when i cruise on the Star in the future without any worry based on my experiences
on having sushi on the NCL ships I have cruised on.

Thanks again for your review.

Big Green
The sushi the members of my group had on the Star (March 20) was prepared fresh.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 09:56 PM
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Embarkation: Went very smooth, we did arrive early and since we were booked in a Suite we had a separate check-in area, however it did look like things were organized for people checking into other decks of the ship. This is the first cruise we took where we did not have to go through a check with Border Patrol, which was unusual and we expected it at Debarkation and did not have it then either, so we are hoping this indicates a change in how closed-loop cruises are processed.

Public Areas: The ship herself was in nice shape, however it was obvious that they were still in the process of reconditioning the ship from Dry-Dock, we saw lots of blue tape where work was still being done and deck 12 forward (The old Spinnaker Lounge) was still blocked for access which did create some confusion if you wanted to go to deck 12 and were in a cabin in the forward section of the ship as you had to go to mid-ship to access deck 12 or go to deck 13 then walk back down to 12. The change to the Spinnaker Lounge was a large topic of discussion for a lot of cruisers. The new Spinnaker Lounge is starting to look more permanent but is still having some issues, like a burst pipe on the final Sea Day (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYvtF7z8EPM). The new Lounge itself does look good, but could use some additional work making it more comfortable. The Carousel Lounge and Martini Bar are permanently gone. The new Gift Shops look good and the move of the Blue Lagoon to share the space of the Endless Summer restaurant worked well. We did see several spots where ceiling panels were not properly secured because additional work was continuing and in some cases it did appear that there could have been a safety hazard.

Meet & Greet: I organized the CC M&G for this trip and unfortunately we did not have as many people attend as we had hoped, however I do feel it was a good M&G. We had the officer visit the M&G and they did tell us that when the refurbishing is complete the Library will return to deck 13 where it had been. The other common rooms up there may not be returning and there will not be a bridge viewing area, although there are plans to do more tours of the bridge.

Spa: While we did not use any of the major Spa services, we did pay for access to the Spa pool, hot tubs, and lounges. We felt the $75 per person was a fair charge for access to this area and gave us a nice quiet area to relax for a Spring Break cruise.

Dining: The food in the Main Dining Room was great, we were not disappointed in any of the meals we had there and recommend that other cruisers utilize it. We were sorely disappointed in the specialty restaurants with the exception of Cagney’s and Tappenyaki. With all the Specialty Restaurants charging an additional surcharge (with the exception of Blue Lagoon) to eat in them we expected the food and the service to be exceptional, sadly it was not. We ate in Endless Summer for the first night of the cruise and found the meat served to be tough and lukewarm. The “free” margarita’s were about half the size of the normal drinks and had minimal alcohol in them. The meals at Cagney’s (Both Breakfast & Lunch perks) and dinner were terrific. Because of the disappointing meal at Endless Summer we bypassed dinner at the other Specialty Restaurants but decided to do the “Best of All” meal at Ginza on the last sea day. Since this represented the “Best” of the other Specialty Restaurants it is a bad representative for them. Most of the food was served buffet style and was not the “Best” in this manner. The sushi left something to be desired and if we based our Sushi experience on this and what we saw when we passed Ginza in the evenings we would have been disappointed, as a $15 surcharge for the sushi is overpriced for what they were serving. We are able to feed 3 people at a local Sushi restaurant at home for $20 with a better selection then we saw at Ginza. Tappenyaki was terrific and how could it not be with a chef at the grill in front of you freshly preparing the meal. Sadly, if asked about the specialty restaurants on the Star we would recommend only Cagney’s and Tappenyaki, telling people to save their money on the rest of them.

Butler & Stewardess: The butler and Stewardess we had for the cruise were wonderful. They didn’t disturb us and took care of the few things we needed with speed and efficiency. The stateroom itself was nice but we will not book a forward facing balcony again as we could not use our balcony comfortably for part of the cruise because of the wind from the ships movement we also had to secure the bulkhead whenever we were not using the balcony because the wind created a high pitched whistle through the door.

Ports: Three ports of call, Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. We did not schedule any excursions with the ship but booked them all online beforehand. In Cabo we booked with Joann and Sandra (http://cabosanlucastours.net) for the Lovers Beach Tour. The glass Bottom Boat we took to the beach looked like it needed some serious repair, the glass panels were leaking and the engine kept dying and had to be primed by the operator from a plastic container of fuel next to the engine. Unfortunately it looked like a lot of the boats being used in the harbor were in similar states but we did not personally inspect them. In Mazatlan we had scheduled a tour with one of Mazatlan Franks (http://www.mazatlan-frank.com) partners, we definitely got our money’s worth and had an enjoyable tour of Mazatlan with stops for exploring, shopping, lunch and views. In Puerto Vallarta we again used one of Mazatlan Franks (http://www.mazatlan-frank.com/PVINDEX.html) partners. While we did not get the driver originally indicated, the driver we did get, “Chilli”, gave us a wonderful tour with stops in locations other tourists were not visiting and background narration that was entertaining. Some of the spots we visited the van barely made it through the roads because of how tight the spots were but he navigated them like a pro. We highly recommend Mazatlan Frank and his partners for visits to Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta.

Entertainment: We attended the Second City performances and they were terrific, the Cirque Pacific performance started similar, if not the same as the Cirque Pacific performance from a cruise a few years ago on the Star, so we left right after it started as we didn’t fully enjoy it the first time we had seen it. There were different performers playing throughout the ship and they were enjoyable.

Teenage Activities: The activities on the ship for our teenage son and his friend kept them busy throughout the cruise. It was hard to get them to even join us for dinner. The only problem we had experienced with the activities is sometimes the activity had the kids roaming the ship, which was fine, but some of the kids tended to get a little rowdy while doing them, which could have disturbed other passengers.

Disembarkation: Fast and easy, since there had not been a Border Crossing official on Embarkation we expected to have a line for them here and did not have one, found our bags and walked right out of the warehouse.

Overall we did enjoy the cruise and the Star and will miss her when she moves to her new home in Tampa but we do feel the loss of the Original Spinnaker Lounge does affect her usability as a ship for touring Alaska. Hopefully NCL will see fit to place another ship in Los Angeles for Mexican Riviera Cruises after 2011, currently they have no plans to continue the MR cruises.
I was disappointed by Endless Summer - TEX Mex too. We found the service to be very slow and the food was just fair.
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  #16  
Old March 31st, 2010, 06:52 AM
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newmexicoNita newmexicoNita is offline
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thanks for your wonderful review, I am disappointed to hear about both Endless Summer, which was our favorite dining adventure and the Carousel Bar was another favorite spot. I had client on the Star a few weeks ago, they too didn't care for Endless Summer.

Again thanks for the review, I would add, I am amazed you can feed 3 people sushi anwhere for that kind of bucks...

Nita
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  #17  
Old March 31st, 2010, 08:16 AM
snorklin'barb snorklin'barb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PokrTom View Post
I think your missing my point. The Sushi we had on the Star was at the "Best of All" lunch. This was to be a representative of the best items in all the Specialty Restaurants. In my opinion it wasn't, and if I was to base my opinion of the Sushi on what we were served and what I saw when we passed the restaurant, it isn't worth it (and in my review I did say "...if we based our Sushi experience on this and what we saw when we passed Ginza in the evenings..."). The Sushi that was served at the "Best of All" was a choice from six Sushi items, all were small and did not seem like they had cared about the preparation to the point they fell apart when you picked them up. When we had passed the Ginza Restaurant on other nights and I looked at the Sushi counter there were very few plates on the conveyor belt and the selection then still seemed minimal.

It is obvious that you had a great experience at the Ginza on previous cruises, I was giving a review based on our experience on our cruise.

While Sushi Hana may be "Fast Food Sushi", we have enjoyed it and since the Ginza used a conveyor belt this is the comparison we had to go on.
Thanks for what I consider a very well written, thoughtful and honest review. I've been on all NCL ships except the Star (and POA) but have just booked my father on her so was very interested in your comments.

Is this 'Best of All' lunch something new they're trying on the Star? It's the first time I've read about it. It's held in the Asian restaurant at dinner? Could you give us an idea of what's offered besides the sushi you mentioned?

FWIW, we've enjoyed NCL's sushi for years on many ships. I do remember back in 2003 and 2004 that the Dawn had the all-you-can-eat sushi off a conveyor belt as the OP described. But then it seems all the sushi we've had since then has been freshly prepared. Again, haven't seen the Star's set up. Even when there was the conveyor belt on the Dawn (and maybe they still have it?) the chef would end up making special things as the conversation flowed and the compliments were appreciated.

I would also suspect that on a sampler type plate they might choose something "easy to eat" like cooked shrimp (as not everyone will try raw) or maybe the smoked salmon rather than some of the more "exotic" fish, uni, roe, octopus, squid, etc. If so, I could see where the taste might not be representative of their better sushi. Was that the case?

Could you give a rundown of the various music performers around the ship and some of the solo acts at night? I know things change often but just trying to get an idea of what the Star offers. Also if you have the names of the 3 JAR shows, could you post them? I've always rather liked the JAR company but see you don't so usually do try to catch their shows.

Thanks!
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  #18  
Old March 31st, 2010, 09:43 AM
medford2 medford2 is offline
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I have to agree with Terry Bradshaw...Sushi is bait.
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  #19  
Old March 31st, 2010, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snorklin'barb View Post
Is this 'Best of All' lunch something new they're trying on the Star? It's the first time I've read about it. It's held in the Asian restaurant at dinner? Could you give us an idea of what's offered besides the sushi you mentioned?
We were told it was being tested on the Star, they actually had a few different menu's that they were doing, I believe one was Indian. It is done during Lunch on the Sea Days in the Ginza. Someone (I believe SeaShark) had posted all of the special menu's a few weeks ago. I will have to see if I can find them again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snorklin'barb View Post
FWIW, we've enjoyed NCL's sushi for years on many ships. I do remember back in 2003 and 2004 that the Dawn had the all-you-can-eat sushi off a conveyor belt as the OP described. But then it seems all the sushi we've had since then has been freshly prepared. Again, haven't seen the Star's set up. Even when there was the conveyor belt on the Dawn (and maybe they still have it?) the chef would end up making special things as the conversation flowed and the compliments were appreciated.

I would also suspect that on a sampler type plate they might choose something "easy to eat" like cooked shrimp (as not everyone will try raw) or maybe the smoked salmon rather than some of the more "exotic" fish, uni, roe, octopus, squid, etc. If so, I could see where the taste might not be representative of their better sushi. Was that the case?
The star does have a conveyor belt, however there is a Chef standing right behind it. I am sure that they do prepare the Sushi fresh at night, however this particular menu was promoted as the "Best of All", so needless to say, that is what I expected. I do suspect you are correct about the choice of items to serve in the Sushi Boat.

I suppose my big mistake in my review was that I had chosen the Sushi as an example but did not say "For Example". With the exception of 6 dishes, which were the Cagney's dishes, steaks cooked to order, and the Escargot, all of the food was served Buffet Style. Food served Buffet Style just does not keep the appeal that served by the wait staff does. It is very possible that behind the kitchen doors everything is kept in serving trays like they are, but to be honest, I suspect not. So, for example, the Potato Lazagna, representative of La Cucina, I believe, was in the serving dish and was dry and pasty looking. My daughter had taken some of it and commented that it was like eating cardboard. I could run down all of the dishes but you get the basic idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snorklin'barb View Post
Could you give a rundown of the various music performers around the ship and some of the solo acts at night? I know things change often but just trying to get an idea of what the Star offers. Also if you have the names of the 3 JAR shows, could you post them? I've always rather liked the JAR company but see you don't so usually do try to catch their shows.
While we did stop to listen to some of the entertainment in the various venues, we did not pay attention to who they were. However I did keep all of the Freestyle papers, so I will scan then and post a link. Hopefully your answer will be there.
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Reviews: NCL Norwegian Pearl - Sept 2007 - 4 night Pacific Coast - Vancouver to Los Angeles ~ NCL Norwegian Star - May 2007 - 1 night Dinner & Dance - Vancouver to Seattle ~ RC Vision of the Seas - April 2007 - 5 night Pacific Coast - Los Angeles to Vancouver Other Cruises: Carnival Elation - September 2009 - 3 nights to Baja, Mexico ~ HAL ms Statendam - May 2009 - 14 night - Alaska ~ NCL Norwegian Star - April 2008 - 6 night Alaska - Vancouver to Seattle ~ RC Monarch of the Seas - February 2007 - 4 nights to Baja, Mexico ~ RC Monarch of the Seas - May 2006 - 4 nights to Baja, Mexico ~ Carnival Paradise - November 2006 - 4 nights to Baja, Mexico
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  #20  
Old March 31st, 2010, 12:47 PM
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No more carousel bar?

And maybe great priced sushi is a Northwest thing? DH and I can get pretty stuffed for $20 on fresh sushi here!
Our favorite: Sushi Station in Eugene
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