Star Dec 1 – 14 Trip Report with some pics

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#41
1,062 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
Canal transit continued.

The Pedro Miguel is just a single lock that lowered our ship to the next part of the canal. In the picture you can see our lock is full of water. It’s hard to tell from the photo but the ship in the lock next to us was much lower and ready to depart the lock.


As we were about to depart the Pedro Miguel lock a light rain began to fall so we moved the chairs off the balcony and since we had imposed on Mark and June long enough we went back to our cabin.

As the rear of Star cleared the Pedro Miguel lock a loud rubbing/scrapping noise could be heard. I was pretty sure we rubbed against the side of the lock.


I thought this was going to be a brief shower but the one dark cloud continued to grow and get blacker. By the time we were approaching the Miraflores locks the clouds had opened up and dumped copious amounts of rain.


It rained hard all the time we were in the first lock. I really felt sorry for the canal workers. When it rains as hard as it did you get wet even wearing rain gear. As we entered the second lock where the visitor’s center is located the rain began to let up.


The rain finally ended as we were about to leave the second lock. There weren’t many people in the visitor’s center after that rain.


It was getting pretty dark by the time we cleared the last lock and headed for the Pacific Ocean.


We met June and Mark for pre-dinner drinks in Gatsby’s at 6:30. Although we had reservations in the Aqua dining room for 7:30 we decide to go at 7 PM. We thought there might be a waiting line to get into the restaurant but there was no wait to be seated. With the exception of the Ginza we never had slow service or a bad waiter the entire cruise.

The show in the theater this night was called White Magic. It was a combination act of the illusions of Michael White and his assistant Hulan who was also a contortionist. Normally I’m not a big fan of magic shows but I think this show was worth seeing.

When we returned to our cabin there was no towel animal but there was a notice to turn our clocks back one hour.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures I included.
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#42
Calif. USA
3,058 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
Originally posted by fastpitchdad
It is next to Gatsbys and Le Bistro on deck 6 but when we sailed the Star this past fall I never saw it open. We are really into wine and were looking forward to it as well. Hopefully you have better luck.
Thank you for that information. I was pretty sure that was where it was located. That's strange it was never open. I will ask at Gatsbys to see if they know if I find it not open. Thanks again.

Candi
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#43
Citrus Heights, CA United States
4,089 Posts
Joined Dec 2002
Wow, you outdid yourself with the great pictures. The DH enjoyed them too as of course, I said you have to see this. What suite were Mark and June in? We visited the owner's suite on Deck 9 on the Star (out of our pocketbook range) and I could not tell if they had the one next door or not.
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#44
1,062 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
Originally posted by Linda the Book Lover
Wow, you outdid yourself with the great pictures. The DH enjoyed them too as of course, I said you have to see this. What suite were Mark and June in? We visited the owner's suite on Deck 9 on the Star (out of our pocketbook range) and I could not tell if they had the one next door or not.
There were in suite 10502 which was next to the owner's suite. Thank you for the nice comment about my pics.
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#45
SoCal (California)
775 Posts
Joined May 2011
Thanks Oakman58, this is a great review. We will be doing this cruise in Jan 2019.
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Past Cruises
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#46
Kailua Kona, Hi
457 Posts
Joined May 2009
Thanks so much for posting such great pictures and commentary. I have always wanted to do a canal transit. Also love seeing and reading all about the Star. My first NCL cruise was on the Star back when she had a Spinnaker Lounge (before it was sacrificed to make room for new suites).
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I love cruising when I can tear myself away from my home in Kailua-Kona, Big Island of Hawaii.

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#47
Syracuse, NY
238 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
A Panama Canal Cruise is on my bucket list so enjoyed your description and pictures! Also interested in learning about the smaller NCL ships after taking our first NCL cruise on the Getaway back in March. Thank you for taking the time to share!!


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#48
1,062 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
Happy New Year everyone.

December 6 Sea Day

We changed time zones last night so we gained one hour. We would change time zones two more times on this cruise so our cruise would be three hours longer than cruises that depart the west coast and head to Miami.

I woke up at 5:30 and headed to the bathroom only to discover we didn’t have running water in our cabin. Not good, I need coffee first thing in the morning. Fortunately we are Gold Latitudes members so we were given one bottle of water each on the first day of our cruise. I used this bottled water to make my cup of coffee.

I decided to wait to report the water issue because I didn’t want to wake my wife using the phone. Instead I took my cup of coffee out on the balcony to enjoy the morning. It was overcast and a light rain was falling. Because of the location of our cabin we had an overhang from deck 11 that extended out about two and half feet and kept our balcony dry. We will be on the Jade in a couple of weeks and have a cabin on deck 10. I hope it has a similar overhang like this.


A half hour later I was ready for another cup of coffee so I checked on the water situation and found the water was back on. However when I flushed the toilet black particles flowed into it. Even after three flushes black particles were still coming out. I decided to keep making my coffee with the bottled water.

By the time I took this picture of the toilet, it had been flushed at least six times black crud was still coming into the toilet.


The light rain didn’t last long but the skies remained overcast. The Freestyle Daily listed a Cruise Director’s Staff Coffee Chat at 9AM and the Hotel Officers Coffee Chat at 10:00, both in the Atrium. My plan was to mention the condition of the theater to the Cruise Director’s staff and then ask the hotel staff about the safety and condition of the ship’s water.

So we sat in the Java Café in Atrium from 9 until 10 and no one showed up from the cruise director’s staff. While we sat there waiting we both had a hot chocolate. Here’s the price menu for the Java Café.




I forgot to mention that two days ago while most of the passengers were on excursions in Cartagena, the crew began decorating the ship for Christmas. In the picture you can see the two Christmas trees in the Atrium and the garland on the railings of O’Sheehan’s on deck 8.


Just after 10 AM a couple members of the hotel staff showed up in the Atrium. One of the staff members informed me that maintenance had to be performed on the water system last night and it had been shut off from 2 AM until 6 AM. I was also told that the water for the toilet is a different system from the drinking water system. I accepted that answer but with a bit of skepticism. I decided to be safe and only consume drinks containing alcohol for the rest of the day.

After getting the reassurance from the hotel staff about safe drinking water we headed out on the promenade deck to get a little fresh air and exercise. On sea days the promenade deck was a very popular area.


Continued in my next post.
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#49
1,062 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
As we walked the promenade deck we saw some Brown Booby seabirds flying alongside the ship trying to catch flying fish as they came out of the ocean after being disturbed by the ship. I only mention this because I wanted to use the word booby in my trip report. Hey, I said I was old but I didn’t say I was mature.


OMG, I had a text message on my smartphone from Mark via IConcierge telling me he and June were on the pool deck. This was one of the few times we were able to text each other in real time using IConcierge. It was almost lunch time when we joined them by the pool. By now the clouds had cleared and the skies were mostly sunny and it promised to be a beautiful day.


We decided to eat from The Grill again today. The Grill always had great French Fries and the burgers, chicken, and hot dogs were excellent and there were plenty of fixin’s to dress up the sandwiches. My only complaint is the buns were always very dry and usually disintegrated before you could finish the burger or hot dog. I guess that was probably due to being on the serving line in the fresh sea air.


After lunch the four of us headed to the Spinnaker Lounge for the afternoon Dog Breed Visual Trivia game. We did surprisingly well but we never win any of the trivia games. There always seems to be one team that gets 18 of 20 answers correct. After the trivia game Joyce and I went back to our cabin to relax for a bit.

We played trivia again at 5 PM and then went back to our cabin again to get cleaned up for dinner. We had reservation for Cagney’s tonight at 7:30.

We met up with Mark and June again in the Sugarcane Mojito bar for pre-dinner drinks. Dinner in Cagney’s was outstanding. My steak and Joyce’s was cooked perfectly (medium). Sorry no food pictures but here’s the menu.


The show in the theater tonight was the comedian Jim David. I thought he was very funny. If you get a chance to see him, do so. After the show we went back to our cabin and called it a night. We had a towel animal waiting on our bed for us.
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#50
Citrus Heights, CA United States
4,089 Posts
Joined Dec 2002
You are too funny! My husband gets a kick out of saying certain words too just to see my face.
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#51
St. Louis, MO
872 Posts
Joined Jun 2014
Liked your comment about drinking alcohol the rest of the day in case the water wasn't safe.
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#52
1,062 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
Originally posted by Linda the Book Lover
You are too funny! My husband gets a kick out of saying certain words too just to see my face.
What can I say, It's what loving husbands do to entertain their wives. You must have a loving husband.


Originally posted by mimmy52
Liked your comment about drinking alcohol the rest of the day in case the water wasn't safe.
Thanks for giving me the incentive to get this trip report started.
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#53
1,062 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
December 7th Puntarenas Costa Rica

When I opened the balcony door to go out with my cup of coffee I was hit with a wave of heat and humidity. I was going to take some early morning photos but as soon as I brought my camera out from the air conditioning the lens fogged over badly. By the time the lens cleared up it was no longer early morning. As we came into port I took a picture of the town using my cellphone.


The ship arrived in Costa Rica just before 7 AM. I always enjoy seeing and taking pictures of the various fishing boats as we arrive at the different ports of call.




The Oceania Sirena was already in port and tied up on the other side of the pier. The Sirena was a considerably smaller cruise ship but it looked like it had some great aft balcony cabins.


Our shore excursion today was the Tarcoles River Eco Cruise with a meeting time of 11:50 on the pier. With such a late excursion we had a late and leisurely breakfast in the buffet. After eating we took a walk around the ship which by 9:30 was beginning to feel like a ghost town. We ended up back on the pool deck so I grabbed a couple of Mimosas at the Topsiders bar. We had our choice of where to sit this morning. After we finished our Mimosas we thought what the heck, and drank two more.


We decided to leave the ship at 11:30 and head for the pier to meet up with Mark and June. We had a choice of debarking the ship at mid-ship on deck 6 or forward on deck 5. In the photo below the ramp from deck 5 is in the foreground and in the background you can see the ramp from deck 6. When we returned from our excursion the tide had come in so the incline to deck 6 was much more severe.


Continued in my next post.
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#54
1,062 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
Costa Rica continued

On the pier there were four dancers entertaining passengers. It was so hot and humid I remember thinking they were going to give themselves a heat stroke.


Our bus was running late and we didn’t depart the pier until 12:15 PM for the one hour bus ride to our river boat. Our guide introduced herself and told us her name was Lady. It sounded funny to me every time someone would ask her a question and begin with, “hey Lady, or excuse me Lady.”

I’m going to stop here and give an FYI for wheelchair passengers. I don’t think any of the countries we visited had any ADA laws. With the exception of Acapulco there didn’t seem to be any tour buses that were equipped to handle someone in a wheelchair. On this river tour we had a wheelchair passenger and he had to be carried onto the bus and his wheelchair was folded and put in the storage bay under the bus. When it was time to board the boats the man sitting in his wheelchair had to be carried down a flight of steps by three men. If you have mobility issues and plan an excursion through NCL in a less developed country, you might want to call NCL and make sure the transportation provided for your excursion can address your mobility needs. More about this when I write about our excursion in Corinto, Nicaragua.

After arriving at the Tarcoles River we had time for a bathroom break before we boarded our covered boat. Here’s a picture of what the tour boats looked like.


After leaving the dock we headed upstream and it didn’t take long before we spotted a crocodile on the riverbank.


We saw a large variety of birds on this river cruise too. At one point we cruised past a dead tree in the river that was covered with egrets.


We also came across the largest crocodile I’ve ever seen in the wild, or in captivity for that matter. This guy was huge and incredibly fat too.


We also saw a few iguanas. I was happy the boat slowed down enough that I could get a picture of this beautifully colored male.



Continued in my next post.
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#55
1,062 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
Costa Rica continued

Soon the boat turned around and headed back downstream toward the ocean. At one point a small boat with a fisherman and his young son passed by us headed upstream. The young boy held up their catch for us to see. They were both sporting big grins and obviously were very proud of their catch. I don’t blame them, it was a great looking fish.


As we neared the ocean, our boat turned to the right and headed up a different branch of the river. We saw a number of ospreys but I was only able to get one photo that didn’t turn out blurry. It’s not easy taking getting pictures from a moving river boat.


As we slowly cruised up this arm of the river, Lady our tour guide, suddenly let out a loud scream and yelled something complete unintelligible into her microphone. Her scream was so loud and sudden it made everyone jump in their seats. Lady apologized for her sudden outburst. She had seen a pair of macaws fly across the river in front of our boat. Apparently sightings of macaws are rare in this part of Costa Rica and it excited her so much she let out an involuntary scream. Jeez, she had scared the bageebees out of me. I was glad I had used the restroom before we boarded the boat.

As we continued up this arm of the river Lady spotted those same macaws in a tree near the riverbank. The boat got just close enough that I was able to get a good picture of the pair.


After that excitement our boat turned around and headed back to the dock. Along the way I snapped a picture of some cormorants on a tree branch. We also saw a couple of howler monkeys on the way back but I couldn't get any pictures of them.


Back onshore we were offered some juice drinks and fresh fruit and the opportunity to buy some souvenirs. If you enjoy viewing wildlife I highly recommend this tour.


After another bathroom break we boarded our bus for the hour ride back to the ship. We were back on the pier at 4:45 PM and the ship’s crew was already storing gear for the ship’s departure. All aboard had been at 4:30 PM.

We said goodbye to Mark and June and went back to our cabin to freshen up for dinner. The ship departed on time at 5 PM and soon after we had a very unusual looking cloud formation and sunset.


Just before we left our cabin to head down to Gatsby’s for pre-dinner drinks with Mark and June an announcement was made that the water needed to be turned off again. It was only off for 10 or 15 minutes when they announced the water was back on. I was hoping this wasn’t going to be an issue for the rest of this cruise. As it turned out that was the last time there was a water issue on the ship.

We went to dinner in the Aqua dining room tonight. Joyce ordered the Lasagna and wasn’t happy with it at all, it was very dry. This was one of the few food misses we experienced on our cruise.

The show in the theater tonight was Band on the Run and the four of us really enjoyed it. The Star really has some very talented singers and dancers.

After the show Joyce and I headed back to our cabin. No towel animal tonight. I eventually asked Mark and June if they were getting a towel animal every night and they were only getting one every other night too.
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#56
1,044 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Oakman58 - Thank you for your in-depth review! I am particularly grateful for the pictures and details you have mentioned about mobility issues and accessibility. It has not been easy finding out the particulars about the style of buses used on tours in these various ports. The Accessibility desk nor Shore Excursions could answer our specific questions. It looks like buses are quite basic without the capability of having a ramp or lowering the bus down to curb level. This makes it near impossible for folks who struggle with steep stairs or high buses. Seeing the photo with a wiggly step stool was enlightening to say the least! Good to know before spending money on a shore excursion that will not work. We are grateful for the time and care you are taking in sharing such good information!
#57
Midwest
1,969 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Taking Star to Barcelona. Do you by any chance have a picture of the ship's hull? I could share?


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First cruise: November 22 1996, 25th wedding anniversary-Norwegian Leeward
Second cruise: 1998 (2-3 day part of vacation package--unknown ship)
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Norwegian Majesty March 2008 from Charleston
Carnival Fantasy March 2 2009 from New Orleans
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Carnival Destiny, Jan 23 2012 Miami
Princess Star July 1 2012 Alaska
RCCL Oasis Feb 16 2013 Ft Lauderdale
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Carnival Freedom August 24 2014 FTL
Celebrity Reflection Feb 2 2015 Miami
Carnival Breeze Feb 28 2015 Miami
Norwegian Escape Feb 6 2016 Miami
Carnival Conquest Sept. 25 2016
Carnival Vista Jan 16 2017 Miami
Norwegian Escape Feb 18 2017 Miami
Carnival Glory Oct 7 Miami
Norwegian Star Aprill 22 2018 Miami
Carnival Horizon May 9 2018 Barcelona
#58
Citrus Heights, CA United States
4,089 Posts
Joined Dec 2002
Originally posted by oakman58
what can i say, it's what loving husbands do to entertain their wives. You must have a loving husband.
:d
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NCL Canceled Our Pearl October 1, 2018, Cruise!
NCL Epic ~ Europe, Mediterranean 7/17
Carnival Inspiration ~ Mexico 7/16
NCL Jade ~ Western Caribbean 4/16
Carnival Inspiration ~ Mexico 7/15
NCL Star ~ Mexico 3/15
Carnival Imagination ~ Mexico 7/14
NCL Pearl ~ Alaska 5/13
NCL Epic ~ Western Caribbean 4/11
NCL Majesty ~ Bermuda 5/09
Carnival Paradise ~ Mexico 5/08
RCC Monarch of the Seas ~ 7/07
Coral Princess ~ Panama Canal 4/06
Sapphire Princess ~ Mexican Riviera 12/05
Carnival Paradise ~ Mexico 7/05
NCL Majesty ~ Bermuda 5/04
NCL Wind ~ Hawaii 4/03
Carnival Tropicale ~ Southern Caribbean 5/93
#59
1,436 Posts
Joined Jul 2012
this is terrific! thank you! we will be on Star for the 3rd time doing this transit from LA to Miami. we are so excited!!!!!
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Carnival Sensation - Bahamas, January, 2011
NCL Star - Bermuda, July, 2012
NCL Breakaway - Bermuda, September, 2013
NCL Breakaway - Bahamas, April, 2014
NCL Epic - Western Caribbean, November, 2014
NCL Jewel - Western Caribbean, April, 2015
NCL Getaway - Eastern Caribbean, August, 2015
NCL Dawn - Western Caribbean, January, 2016
NCL Star - Baltics, May, 2016 (Non-Haven 2 Bedroom Suite)
NCL Sun - Alaska, September, 2016
NCL Gem - Eastern Caribbean, December, 2016 (New Year's Sail)(Haven 2 Bedroom Suite)
NCL Breakaway - Bermuda, May, 2017
NCL Jewel - Alaska, September, 2017
NCL Jade - Cozumel, January, 2018 (Non-Haven Aft Penthouse Suite)

In the Works:
NCL Star - Panama Canal (West to East), April, 2018 (Non-Haven Family Suite)
NCL Getaway - Western Caribbean, September, 2018 (Haven Penthouse Suite)
NCL Spirit - Italy and Greek Isles, October, 2018
NCL Escape - Bahamas, December, 2018 (New Year's Sail)
NCL Gem - Bermuda, May, 2019
#60
1,062 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
Originally posted by sunnydaygirl
Taking Star to Barcelona. Do you by any chance have a picture of the ship's hull? I could share?


Sent from my iPhone using Forums
I only have a few pictures of the Star. Here's what I have.










I hope this helps.
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2018 Norwegian Jade 4 day Cozumel https://boards.cruisecritic.com/show....php?t=2592418
2017 Norwegian Star Panama Canal full transit https://boards.cruisecritic.com/show....php?t=2577896
2016 Norwegian Epic E. Caribbean http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...highlight=epic
2016 Norwegian Jade W. Caribbean http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...highlight=jade
2015 Norwegian Dawn W. Caribbean
2014 Norwegian Star Panama Canal full transit http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2130707
2011 Carnival Valor W. Caribbean
2009 MS Giselle Nile River Cruise
2005 RCI Rhapsody of the Seas W. Caribbean

Future cruises:
2018 NCL Jade British Isles