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  #1  
Old July 7th, 2012, 06:05 PM
TerpGirl77 TerpGirl77 is offline
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Default Review of the Norwegian Star NYC to Bermuda - June 24 to July 1, 2012

Hello everyone,

Cruise Critic members have been a wealth of information in planning my very first and second cruises, so I thought I'd pay it forward and make a little contribution to this community by writing a review of my recent voyage on the Norwegian Star from NYC to Bermuda.

Warning: This is the first time I've ever written a review of anything and I learned I wasn't always the most attentive, especially when it came to taking photos so please forgive me if there are some gaps. After all, I was on vacation and got wrapped up in the moment!

A little bit about me, I'm a single 35 year old living, working and playing in Washington DC. I'm a VP at a marketing and public affairs firm, so 80 hour work weeks, constant business travel and a lot of go, go, go, stress, stress, stress is how it goes for me.

Because of the upcoming Presidential election, party conventions, etc. our senior management team was asked everyone to take vacations earlier in the summer instead of in August when Congress is normally not it session and everyone flees the city.

For me I've learned cruising solo is my SECRET WEAPON to keep me top of game in my career. Time away with a barely connected mobile device helps me clear my head, get some rest, regain focus and actually relax for more than five minutes!

Alright, I'm sure you're saying "enough about you lady," let's get on with the cruise!
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  #2  
Old July 7th, 2012, 06:29 PM
yoyocruiser yoyocruiser is offline
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I am always anxious to hear the perspective of young adult cruisers. Looking forward to it!! I hope it was good--because you have a stressful life and DESERVE a nice time. I am older and have cruised when newly married, with young children on Disney, then older kids, and most recently with my two college kids. . . (one of whom is at AU in DC so I know a little bit about the stressful world there)
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Sky, Bahamas, NCL, 2012
Dawn, Bermuda, NCL, 2011
Jewel, Western Caribbean, NCL, 2010
Spirit, Bermuda, NCL, 2008
Majesty, Bermuda, NCL, 2007
Majesty of the Seas, RCCL, Eastern Caribbean, 2005
Magic, Eastern Caribbean, DCL, 2002
Wonder, Bahamas, DCL, 2000
Norway, Virgin Islands, NCL, 1986
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  #3  
Old July 7th, 2012, 06:31 PM
TerpGirl77 TerpGirl77 is offline
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Default Day 0: DC to New York

Day 0: DC to New York

I'm using this copy as my travel diary too, so I'm including it here, but feel free to skip...

Of course the week leading up to my trip brought all manner of crises, needy people and clients out of the woodwork and other work shenanigans, including the Supreme Court deciding to let us know when they would issue a decision on the Obamacare legislation which will have a major impact on my clients.

Work commitments meant no laundry was done, no packing, no trips to Target, nail salon, or general preparation for being away from home for eight days. My intrepid and incredibly patient PCC Jorge kept e-mailing me to check-in for my cruise and print out the documents which I did very early on Wednesday morning before the Sunday departure.

Arrived home at 10 pm on Friday night with an 8 am Amtrak train to Penn Station on Saturday morning. I had grand ideas of spending the whole day doing what I wanted to do in NYC (instead of sitting in client conference rooms which is the norm). Spent the entire night cleaning (I cannot leave home without it being completely spotless, feel free to call me crazy), doing laundry, ironing, packing, making my Priceline reservation for a Saturday night hotel (nothing like the last minute, interesting Princeline story to follow) and sending some last minute e-mails. Then it was time to run errands!

Cut to 3 am I'm standing in the dressing room in the 24-hour Target in tears because I cannot choose the right pool coverup (ladies, I'm sure can you relate). At this moment I realize I'm completely running on empty and an 8am train WAS NOT going to happen. I'm overwhelmed and not looking forward to vacation. I change my Amtrak reservation to 4pm which would still get me in town early enough to have a planned dinner with some old friends, go home and go to bed...

Will little Miss Target Temper Tantrum even make it to the ship? Find out in the next installment...
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  #4  
Old July 7th, 2012, 06:40 PM
Pokeraddict Pokeraddict is offline
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Really!!!!!!!!!
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  #5  
Old July 7th, 2012, 06:50 PM
yoyocruiser yoyocruiser is offline
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LOL. Am hoping you make it to the ship. . .guess you do.
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Jewel, Western Caribbean, NCL, 2010
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Majesty, Bermuda, NCL, 2007
Majesty of the Seas, RCCL, Eastern Caribbean, 2005
Magic, Eastern Caribbean, DCL, 2002
Wonder, Bahamas, DCL, 2000
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  #6  
Old July 7th, 2012, 07:38 PM
TerpGirl77 TerpGirl77 is offline
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Default Day 0, Part Two: Onward to NYC

Several hours of sleep ended the theatrics of the previous night and I was safely on the train to NYC.

Note for newbies (from a semi-newbie; after how many cruises are you a veteran?): If your budget allows definitely try to arrive in your departure city the day before. My simple Amtrak trip was delayed two hours because of speed restrictions due to heat, which was not announced until we stopped somewhere between DE and NJ. If I had waited until Sunday morning it would have been a VERY close call getting to the pier in time.

Checked into my hotel -- Millennium Plaza UN. Priceline lists this as a four-star hotel and I got it through the "name your own price" feature so I know there is not much room to critique BUT I do think they should list this as a 3 or even 2.5 star hotel. It is dated, dated, dated. The entire lobby is covered in mirrors. Seriously, every.single.surface. It reminded me of the show Dynasty from the 80s. Or as my friend who walked me back to the hotel after dinner said a "crack den from the 70s." Anyway, you get the picture.

Had a lovely dinner at Zengo and settled in for a good nights sleep before the big day! I was FINALLY starting to get excited. Reading many of your previous thread on Cruise Critic I knew that I could show up at the Pier as early as 9 or 10am so I planned to do just that. Then I had one last minor drama.

In the middle of the night I woke up itching, coughing, sneezing with red, swollen eyes. Unbelievable. I don't have any food allergies, only seasonal allergies and something like this has NEVER happened before. I didn't think it was an allergy attack or a cold, but as a precaution decided to do my pre-flight protect against sickness ritual.

Went down to the corner store (love the city that never sleeps) got some OJ, huge bottle of water. Mixed the Emergen-C powder with orange juice and took two Benadryl and drank the whole liter of water and tried to go back to sleep. Medical mystery unsolved, but when I woke up at 3am I was feeling much better and my eyes were back to normal.

Another note to newbies: During my 3am wake-up I also realized I had not printed and did not have luggage tags. This is not a problem, they provide them for you at the pier if you don't have them.
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  #7  
Old July 7th, 2012, 07:39 PM
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Jan_In_Maine Jan_In_Maine is online now
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looking forward to the continuation! Jan
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8/17/03 Voyager of the Seas Cruise - & 30th wedding anniversary
10/28/06 Radiance of the Seas Cruise - DH 55th Birthday cruise
8/4/07 - Carnival Triumph - DS 16th's Birthday Cruise
8/17/08 - Mariner of the Seas - & 35th wedding anniversary
8/23/09 - Adventure of the Seas - Southern Caribbean cruise -36th anniversary - 5 days late
10/9/10 - Radiance of the Seas - From Tampa, FL-DD's first cruise
10/8/11 - Oasis of the Seas - Eastern (DH's early 60th birthday)
9/14/12 - NCL Dawn - Boston to Bermuda (Jan's 60th birthday cruise - oh my!)
8/17/13 - Oasis - B2B Cruise - 40th Anniversary (DS & DDIL (first leg of cruise - 1st anniversary).
8/24/13 - Oasis - 2nd leg of the cruise
9/5/2014 - NCL Dawn - Boston to Bermuda - 1st suite - mortgage paid off celebration!!!
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  #8  
Old July 7th, 2012, 08:30 PM
TerpGirl77 TerpGirl77 is offline
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Default Day One: Let's Go Cruising!

It's a big day people! Time to get up and go cruising! Except, I slept until 11am (thanks Benadryl). Anyway, I was up, dressed, checked out and in a taxi on my way to Pier 88 by noon on the dot. 15 minutes and $17 later I had arrived and took the first photo of my vacation:



Not a great photo, but there she is! Time for some fun.
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  #9  
Old July 7th, 2012, 09:05 PM
TerpGirl77 TerpGirl77 is offline
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Default Day One: Part Two

Newbie Tip #3: Make the start of your trip less hectic and arrive early.

At 12:15 the lines for check-in were loooooooong and everyone was confused at what to do since the pier staff weren't directing people to the appropriate starting point (one area for handicap and Latitudes and everyone else in the other.) So, when you walked in there was a huge bottleneck of people just milling around.

I figured out my line and got in. It looked like the Atlanta airport at 6pm on a Friday. Since I spend a lot of time in airports I always count the number of people in front of me and try to do the math to see how long it's taking security to process each person. I counted 55 in front of me and the line was moving pretty slow. Then I saw the TSA folks has stopped screening for a few moments, apparently they found a rum runner in a gentleman's check-in luggage and needed to huddle on that for some reason?

After that episode the security line moved quickly and I breezed right through the metal detectors. Then it was on to check-in. A very friendly gentleman handed me a boarding number (34, played at roulette later and hit) and I got into an even longer line that the security. A lot of good people watching -- a wedding party with their family and friends, family reunions, a band called Kartune going on a cruise and a lot of impatient children. We waited and waited and finally it was my turn.

Now, my previous two cruises were from Miami and Ft. Lauderdale and check-in from taxi to gangway was literally 20 minutes so I was getting a little concerned that it was coming up on the 2:00 hour (I arrived at 12:15). BUT when I arrived at the check-in desk the representative was so warm and so friendly that I forgot all about the wait. This was the converse of my Miami and Ft. Lauderdale departures where the representatives were a little cold and snippy.

My boarding number was completely irrelevant by the time I'd gone through check-in and just like that I was on the ramp and walking on board. Just a little bit of calm started to come over me. Lovely staff were there dancing, waving and greeting all of the passengers.

Literally the moment I stepped into the Grand Atrium the announcement was made that the staterooms were ready. That was great news, but I was headed to restaurant reservations area to see if I could get a reservation for the Chef's Table.

Was a bit concerned since all the good people on this board said it fills us up fast and it was already late in the day, but there was no line in Moderno when I arrived to make the reservation and I was in!

Once again I was astonished at how friendly and perceptive the staff is on NCL (previous cruises were with Carnival and RCCL). The reservations person asked if I was sailing solo to which I replied yes and then she proceeded to suggest some restaurants I might enjoy, helping me select times that would allow me to not be late to shows, etc.. So, by the time I left I had reservations for the Chef's Table, Ginza and Cagney's as well as suggestions for the martini and wine tasting! Next, on to my stateroom...
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  #10  
Old July 7th, 2012, 10:32 PM
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Keep it coming, can't wait for some more!!
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Norwegian Star-Bermuda-
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  #11  
Old July 7th, 2012, 11:22 PM
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Thunderwoods Thunderwoods is offline
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I'll be on the Star out of NOLA in November but love these reviews - more, more!
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  #12  
Old July 7th, 2012, 11:25 PM
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More!!! Tell us more! You are a very food writer and we're hanging on the edge of out seats. Sailing the Star for the first time in January so very interested!!
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  #13  
Old July 7th, 2012, 11:39 PM
linny11 linny11 is offline
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I love your review so far. I am traveling on the Star in August. This will be my first solo cruise. I am excited to read a review from a solo traveler's perspective. I can't wait to read more!
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  #14  
Old July 8th, 2012, 07:55 AM
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thanks for your review, we are on the last Bermuda cruise in October.
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  #15  
Old July 8th, 2012, 08:32 AM
choirleader choirleader is offline
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Great review. Eagerly awaiting the next installment!
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  #16  
Old July 8th, 2012, 09:28 AM
HowardK HowardK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TerpGirl77 View Post
Several hours of sleep ended the theatrics of the previous night and I was safely on the train to NYC.

Note for newbies (from a semi-newbie; after how many cruises are you a veteran?): If your budget allows definitely try to arrive in your departure city the day before. My simple Amtrak trip was delayed two hours because of speed restrictions due to heat, which was not announced until we stopped somewhere between DE and NJ. If I had waited until Sunday morning it would have been a VERY close call getting to the pier in time.


Went down to the corner store (love the city that never sleeps) got some OJ, huge bottle of water. Mixed the Emergen-C powder with orange juice and took two Benadryl and drank the whole liter of water and tried to go back to sleep. Medical mystery unsolved, but when I woke up at 3am I was feeling much better and my eyes were back to normal.

Another note to newbies: During my 3am wake-up I also realized I had not printed and did not have luggage tags. This is not a problem, they provide them for you at the pier if you don't have them.
Two excellent points you raise:
ALWAYS show up a day ahead if not 2, assume that there could be some sort of delay
Also-travel with benadryl,pepto,robittussin,aspirin,vitamins even clearisil- you never know
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  #17  
Old July 8th, 2012, 09:42 AM
TerpGirl77 TerpGirl77 is offline
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Default Day One: "You're On Vacation Now"

Thanks to everyone for the nice comments. I'm very much enjoying reliving my vacation!

Day One, Part Three: You're On Vacation Now...
Restaurant reservations in hand (you are given receipt like slips listing your confirmed time) I headed off to my stateroom 12005, an inside cabin. I started unpacking my boat bag that had my toiletries, a change of clothes and electronics and while I was doing that my larger roller bag arrived!

Previously, I'd sailed in a balcony cabin and was a little nervous about going back to an inside, but decided to use those extra funds for spa treatments, shopping in Bermuda and was totally fine in the inside cabin.

The nice thing about this deck is it's on the same floor as the pool, spa and market cafe which was very convenient. My PCC helped me pick my cabin noting the good and maybe not so good. Cabin 12005 is on an all suite floor which meant the best cabin stewards are assigned to these floors (although I think all the staff on this ship are all terrific). And, it was a virtually brand new cabin, since this was the former location of the Spinnaker lounge.

Downsides were it is far forward and high up which is the worst combination if you are prone to sea sickness (it did get REALLY bumpy the second sea day and I could feel all of it in my cabin...) and you have to walk outdoors through the pool area to get to your wing if you take the center bank of elevators.

Note for Newbies: Advice from my doctor/dad, if you are prone to motion sickness, begin whatever treatment you use BEFORE you get sick and BEFORE you head out to sea. It is very hard to "treat" motion sickness once it has happened so take precaution before hand. I am a fan of Bonine because it does not make you drowsy and I don't get what I call "medicine head."

Also, according to my pharmacist, it contains a higher level of the active ingredient that helps with sickness, more than some of the other products. As soon as I saw how forward the cabin was, I took one Bonine and did so every day through the trip. I believe this is what saved me from getting seriously sick on that very rough sea day.

Now here's the cabin and here's where I fail you as a reviewer. I got a very nice Nikon One camera for Christmas, but in my rush to get to NYC I chose to leave it at home opting for my iPhone camera instead. I was already feeling like I had over packed and didn't want any more electronics with me (took my MacBook in case I had to work and my iPad too). This means photos are not the greatest but here goes:



The bed, which I loved. As comfortable as my beloved Westin Heavenly Bed, with great linens and lots of pillows.



The ladies room



Closet, with a peek of the dressing table.

A couple of notes on this cabin, which I loved:
1. For those traveling solo, it is the perfect size and I did not feel cramped at all. I brought my big rolling suitcase, my big handbag and my big Vineyard Vines boat bag and everything fit perfectly.

I hung up the dresses in the closet to the right and stowed the luggage and boat bag to the left, and put shirts, shorts/pants and underthings separating them into the three deep sliding drawers. I brought too many clothes (approx. two outfits for each day with some planned mix and match) but everything fit. My two shoe bags went into the cubby holes to the right of the closet and books and magazines went in the cubby above the TV (I don't have a photo of this.)

The shower has two small shelves for toiletries and three glass shelves near the sink for other items.

I am obsessively neat and hate to see things lying around with out a place, so I was so pleased with my clutter-free little home for the week!

2. For the ladies -- my hair often makes or breaks my mood for the day so I will not leave home without my Chi flat iron, but I did leave my hair dryer. This was taking a risk, since I've seen some hairdryers in hotels that are so tiny I would have better results with a cool breeze. This is not the case on NCL. They have Conair Ionic dryers with the cool shot. It's medium size, but worked perfectly.

3. The shower has shampoo and body wash dispensers but no conditioner and no body lotion. This didn't matter to me since the women at Sephora know me by name and I brought my own travel size stuff.

4. My cabin steward Aramando was amazing. He was sweet, friendly and took care of me. On that rough sea day when a lot of people had turned their door sign to Do Not Disturb all day, he snuck me some chocolate covered strawberries from the suite across the hall. The residents in the suite were sick and didn't want them.

5. I LOVED how dark the cabin got at night. Completely dark, cool from the air conditioning and quiet meant I actually slept through the night for 8 hours for seven days straight (I live in the city, so constant light and noise). This is an AMAZING feat for me and this opportunity alone made the trip completely worth it. I literally felt like a new person with all of that sleeping.

I'm not the type of person who brings extra things for a cruise like bungee cords or tape and the like, but I would suggest a night light for anyone who does not like complete darkness.

Not sure what else to say about the cabin, but do let me know if you have any questions! I'm off to mass, but will post later and try to speed this up a bit. Thanks for your patience! Next up, walking the ship, first meal, first cocktail and the opening night show!
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  #18  
Old July 8th, 2012, 10:24 AM
mythreesons5 mythreesons5 is offline
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Love your reading your review so far!! Very informative and also entertaining! I can totally relate to your Target meltdown looking for a swim cover up. I am in the bad habit of not trying things on in stores, then when I get home I don't like what I bought and have to return. Needless to say I have been making alot of trips to and from stores in preparing for our trip in August on the Star! Looking forward to the rest on your review!
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  #19  
Old July 8th, 2012, 11:00 AM
chrisc71 chrisc71 is offline
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Very good review

An enjoyable read.
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Norwegian Breakaway 2014
Norwegian Star 2012
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Royal Caribbean Nordic Empress 2000
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Royal Caribbean Sovereign of the Seas 1995
Carnival Sensation 1994
Carnival Jubilee 1991
Celebrity Horizon 1990
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Old July 8th, 2012, 04:53 PM
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Love your review, can't wait to read more!
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