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SwimnwFishes

Recent Return from Star - Mini-Suite - Long

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Well, unfortunately, my vacation has ended...so it's back to reality for me. :) I know there are a thousand threads about various cruises, but I wanted to add my thoughts on the Star and our Mexican Riviera Cruise.

 

I use a TA to book my cruises and 2 for 2 cruises with NCL we've received, and taken the offer of an upgrade to a Mini-Suite. I must tell you that I was sincerely disappointed in the mini-suite on the Star. First, for my taste, the decor was a little dark, but that's just me. The biggest disappointment though was that the room simply was not as large as the mini-suite on the previous cruise. My previous mini-suite had a walk in closet, seperate dressing table in the bath, seperate sink area, seperate tub. THe tub was deep and large. On the Star, the bath was all one room, although the commode had a door to seperate from the sink, and the shower door closed off the tub. The tub was NOT large enough to take a bath in. It was functional, but nothing special. Gotta say though that the water pressure on the ship was UNBELIEVEABLE!!! I hate my shower at home now. :)

 

The closet was not, in my opinion, functional at all. the shelving in the closet was inaccessable when clothes were hanging. That's the only place to stash luggage, which made the shelves even more useless because you had to move luggage to get to the shelves. We ended up putting luggage on the couch and stashing clothes in there. THere is a light in the closet, but I never figured out how to make it work. Yes, there are drawers near the dressing area, but they're not big enough to hold two people's clothing for 8 days. I did appreciate the dressing table in the hallway, and having the hair dryer there.

 

The beds were surprisingly comfortable to me, and I'm pretty picky. Beds were made up with duvee's, covered top and bottom, with surprisingly soft sheets.

 

Our mini-suite was on the 11th deck, mid ship. Lovely view from the deck. Biggest problem was the noise from the 12th deck, where the pool was. The staff was always rearranging the deck furniture at 6 am, making sleeping in impossible, napping impossible in the afternoon because of the blaring music. The day we returned, the powerwashed the 12th deck at 2 AM. LOTS of noise.

 

My goal on this vacation was relaxation, and so I made use of the spa a great deal. I found their treatments satisfactory, although somewhat expensive. The most unusual thing was that unlike most spas that have some sort of environmental music going, this spa had contemporary music playing. Let me tell you how strange it is to be in the middle of a massage and realize that the music playing over the musak is the theme to Titanic! :eek: I can't imagine who selected the musak....but considering the theme to the spa is tropical, find a tape of the rain forest for heavens sake! They also PUSH very hard to sell you extra stuff.

 

With the exception of the Chocolate Buffet, which they held during the day as opposed to midnight, we never ate in the main dining rooms. Our favorite restaurant was Cagney's. THey have an amazing staff there! The food was excellent. The atmosphere was wonderful. We also ate in SoHo and Le Bistro, which were both wonderful, but Cagney's did it for us. The buffet was well stocked and they kept the food fresh and there was plenty of it.

 

We did do several shore tours. They were more or less what you expect from an organized tour. The only exception was the Whale Watching in Cabo San Lucas. I must say, NCL certainly got their money's worth from the whales last week! This was an absolutely, without exception, the best, can't say enough good about it, trip. There was a pod of 3 humpback whales who put on the MOST spectacular show for us. I can't begin to tell you HOW amazing this was.

 

I know MANY people will disagree with me, but I tolerated the shows in the evening. I didn't find them to be overly impressive. That may be because for some reason I feel the movement of the ship MUCH more in the theatre than anywhere else and I spent most of the time simply trying to maintain my equalibrium. I recommend going to see the shows, they just weren't my favorite part of the cruise.

 

There is a young man who sings in one of the lounges that IS exceptional. Name escapes me right now.

 

My significant other and I did buy the soda card, which although it seems pricey, I think we got our money's worth.

 

Now, I don't know if this is true or not, but I was told by one drink server that if you put additional tip (beyond the 15% they already add) on a drink tab, that the additional $$ does NOT go to that server. It apparently goes into a general tip fund for distribution later. Don't know how true that is, but that's what this person said.

 

The general decor of the ship, as well as that in the cabins, was as I said, a little dark for my taste. In the main portions of the ship there were tons of fake flowers, some water features, which only worked intermitently. The hot tubs were only minimally warm, but that's probably to avoid someone doing something stupid like staying in too long.

 

I did not use the internet cafe, mainly because of the price.

 

THe pool area is adequate, although the slides were closed most of the trip. We did have some rough days, so that might be the reason.

 

I did enjoy the trip more than this posting probably sounds, and I do love NCL. The staff of the Star was very friendly, eager to help, cheerful and we truely enjoyed talking to the young men and women who staff this ship. For the most part they are excited to be there, hard working and always willing to help.

 

For anyone interested in buying jewelry on-board, there is a young lady in the Colombian Emerald's shop named Yolanda who is SUPER. If you see her, please tell her Cathy and Aryan from DC are sorry we didn't get to see her before we left.

 

That's about all I can think of. We did have a great trip. I do love cruising and will travel with NCL again. If you have any specific questions, don't hesitate to e-mail me.

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Cathy,

 

Thank you for the review.

Did you try and put the suitcases under the bed? Any NCL ship (except Sea) I was able to do this. What other ship were you describing? It sounds like a Penthouse to me on the Star.

 

I am sooooo looking forward to the whale watching. Did they say when the season ends? I am going March 21.

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I use a TA to book my cruises and 2 for 2 cruises with NCL we've received, and taken the offer of an upgrade to a Mini-Suite.

 

Thanks for the detailed review. I'm not sure where this leaves us as far as a balcony or a mini suite. I checked the ncl website, which is lame compared to others, and they didn't list sq footage for rooms or balconies lower than the penthouse :mad:

 

However, here's my question. We've never cruised NCL before but I've noticed that many threads indicate upgrade offers from ncl. Do they just call you out of the blue?

 

Thanks.

 

Glen

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Thanks for all the info. Good to hear the Chocoholic Buffet was during the day. Do you recall which day it was? Who needs all that caffeine at midnight!

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Cathy,

Thank you for your review. I always enjoy reading about the Star. I had to laugh when I saw what you wrote about the light in the closet. We only found it on our last night when packing. Sure wished we would have saw it earlier. The switch was on the back wall of the closet but it was missed by us. Even funnier, all week long we kept complaining that there was no light.

 

Our largest luggage (which is quite big - we were packing for 4) did fit under the bed with no problem. If yours did not, that would be frustrating.

 

While I did enjoy the shows, I too found that the theater was definintely one of the hardest places to get use to with the rocking motion. I have never suffered from seasickness but it was very noticeable.

 

Thanks again for your review. We are so looking forward to our third trip on the Star this summer.

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Before I answer questions.....let me say that I don't want to give the impression that I didn't enjoy the cruise....I did very much....the original post was just some thoughts I had.

 

To answer questions, as for the light....jeez, I never even saw a switch IN the closet! There were two switches beside the bed, which didn't opperate a single thing in the room, and they didn't turn the light on either. Maybe the light was just burned out but frankly, I didn't bother to ask. Next time, I'll check all the options for the switch, you know, on the balcony, under the bed, on the ceiling. ;)

 

 

I did manage to cram my diving gear under the bed, but I didn't attempt any of the other bags. Perhaps if I lift the bed, put the luggage down, lay the bed on top.....yeah, THAT might work. Seriously, it worked for us to leave one on the couch (we didn't use that much anyway), we just stashed the dirty stuff in that one.

 

 

Oh, and that theatre......GOODNESS, gives a whole new meaning to "rock 'n roll"!

 

 

Glen&Kathy, My TA was recommended by a girlfriend who met her on a cruise, and she's GREAT! I'll be happy to share her name if you drop me an e-mail. She told me that the cruise line offering upgrades is sort of hap-hazard. The only thing I can think might have affected my upgrade percentage is that I booked both cruises probably a year in advance. Maybe timing is everything....I know the Star cruise was booked to the hilt. The offer came probably in November....so 3 months before sailing. I do know that I don't necessarily think that the Star upgrade was worth the extra $$, where as the upgrade on the Sun (the other ship we were on) the Mini-Suite was vastly larger than the one on the Star.

 

 

Seahorse, I think that you might be catching the tail end of the whale watching season. I believe the whales begin to migrate back to Alaska in March. I know people think I'm totally crazy when I talk about the whale watching but I truely cannot think of a better tour! I don't think I mentioned that as soon as the boat left the dock, the free beer/margaritas, etc., began to flow....and the MOST awsome salsa and chips followed. I also recommend the Tequila Factory tour in Puerto Vallarta.

 

SunnyGirl, the chocolate buffet was on the day we were in Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa. It only lasted an hour, so if you have a tour that comes back late, you might miss it. The buffet started at 2.

 

 

AND, speaking of tours....do yourself a favor....sign up for tours IN ADVANCE of your cruise! Avoid the lines. Fill out the form on the NCL web page, fax it in and then in a couple of days check telephonically with them to make sure they got them....one of my pages got lost, but I handled it over the phone and got an e-mail confirmation right away. Tickets were waiting on our bed, in our cabin when we got there.

 

 

I did think of one thing that really did bug me though....in the entire room, there were only TWO 110 v outlets.:mad: If you travel w/a compliment of cell phones (which yes some people got to work in Mexico), PDAs, electric tooth brushes etc., really isn't enough. We ended up swapping stuff out a lot.

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Great info, Fishes!!! I will be on the Star this Wednesday and am still scrambling to find any and all information about the ship. :)

 

I'm VERY happy to hear you had good whale watching in Cabo, we have booked that excursion and I hope that the whales are as cooperative on our cruise. ;)

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We were on the Star Jan 8-16. The chocoholic buffet was at 11:30 pm on Cabo night. We didn't prebook our excursions, but did sign up as soon as we boarded the ship. There were no line ups yet but even if there are, there was usually no line up for the computer kiosk station which is good if you don't have any questions about them. As for the light in the closet, I think we turned it on once and it stayed on for the duration of the cruise. We had a balcony room, BA, and had lots of room to put our suitcases under the bed. The closet and drawer space was plenty large for us and since we didn't hang too many things, the shelving in the closet was fine. We sure noticed the movement in the theatre as well and we didn't enjoy the shows much either. They did have a juggler one night that was super funny though and we quite liked that show. Also the acrobats were worth seeing.

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LOL....OK....I'm getting seasick just thinking about a juggler...in the swaying theatre....:eek: ...oh oh.....I'm feeling a little green around the gills......:D

 

We were really thrilled that the chocolate buffet was during "regular" hours. But, truthfully, even during port days, you spend some time cruising, so having something for passengers to do during that time was a good idea. The ship was moving when the buffet was happening...so it was a good thing.

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Wow....glad I read your review...was about ready to book an AF mini suite on the Star...deck 11....but don't want all that noise. What would you recommend?

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Frankly, I wish we had just stayed with what we had, which was on deck 9, Balcony room.

 

We were directly below the pool deck, mid-ship on deck 11, and I suppose it may have been quieter at the ends. Perhaps near the spa. I don't know.

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We were first told that writing an additional tip on your onboard account charge slip DOESN'T go directly to your server when we were on QM2 and were not surprised to find it was the same on the Dawn. Customer service is happy to give you single $ bills in change whenever you need 'em. We generally went out in the evening with 10 or so and distributed them as merited. Don't bother writing extra tips on the slip if you feel extra pleased with the person who's serving you...they won't get it...

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Wow....glad I read your review...was about ready to book an AF mini suite on the Star...deck 11....but don't want all that noise. What would you recommend?

 

We have been on the Star, deck 11, mini suites and never had a problem with noise. We sleep with the door open too and typically sleep in. Some it bothers, some it does not. We never noticed it at all.

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We have been on the Star, deck 11, mini suites and never had a problem with noise. We sleep with the door open too and typically sleep in. Some it bothers, some it does not. We never noticed it at all.

 

I'm sure it's entirely possible that it was just where I was located....11076....but it was INCREDIBLY noisy.

 

I never thought to open the sliding door, which would have made for ocean sounds instead of deck scraping sounds. I'll have to remember that next time. Thanks for the tip.

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We were on the Star Jan 8-16.

 

We've changed our minds and are doing the 01/12/06 instead of 11/01/05. What was the weather like on your trip?

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We've changed our minds and are doing the 01/12/06 instead of 11/01/05. What was the weather like on your trip?

 

The weather was nice....not overly hot...well, I take that back, it was bloody cold a couple of times! :) The last day, at sea, it was so cold and windy you couldn't sit by the pool. It was never sweaty hot.

 

Plenty of people were wearing shorts, so it must have been OK.

 

In the evening sometimes, I wish I had taken a sweater to dinner, but it wasn't so terrible that I had to go get it.

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