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Ella2

LOVED the Star and the Mexican Riviera!!! 2/9- 2/17/05

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...and the Mexican Riviera itinerary, my first cruise on NCL, and it exceeded my expectations in nearly EVERY way! The crew was outstanding, the ports and excursions we did were among the best ever, we had amazing weather, I loved freestyle dining and the alternative restaurants. I've cruised 10+ times on other lines, and frankly had lower expectations for NCL...but am very happy to report I was sadly misguided. :)

 

I have every intention of writing a review (and we know what road is paved with good intetions :rolleyes: ) but for now will be happy to answer any questions that I can, until I have time to put a review together.

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We had the exact same experience when we first tried the DAWN. So we are now on STAR leaving this Friday. Any last minute tips for fellow experienced cruisers?

Sam and Audrey Adrezin

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Well, as experienced NCL cruisers you probably know all the following, but I'll throw out a few random thoughts to see if any are helpful. :)

 

- If you enjoy the ALTERNATIVE dining (we did, ate there almost every night) they do 1/2 price cover charge on Acapulco night. One crew member also told us that they discounted the alternatives the FIRST night (we ate at Le Bistro) but that was not true. It didn't matter, we loved the meal anyway. We ate at SoHo and Ginza both twice...all great meals.

 

- If you plan to do any SPA treatments, wait and book them during the week, they ran MANY, MANY specials each day, and they got better as the week progressed. We booked the first night (at a raffle thing they did) and did get a discount, but they discounted other treatments as the week continued.

 

- The pier in Puerto Vallarta was damaged recently, apparently, and we had to tender in there instead of dock (that made three tender ports out of four on the cruise). Just a heads up if you need to be there early for any independent excursions...it may be fixed by your cruise, but not sure.

 

- I found the buffet food to be average, at best, but many times the cold salads at the Grill were quite good (even on the sea days when it is cool and windy).

 

- The "Live at Five" shows that Kieran Buffery (CD) and his assistant (who left the ship the day we disembarked, the new asst. CD will be John) were quite fun! We were part of the "studio audience" in the Red Lion Pub and won several different NCL items by answering questions correctly. If you don't want to go to the pub, watch it on the ship's TV and call in...lots of good prizes there too. Be prepared to either wear a towel or women's clothing, though. ;)

 

- There were LOTS of specials on ship merchandise on the last sea day...I got two decent watches and a travel clock/calculator for $30. Also watch for specials in the photo shop; I only bought a few of the ship's photos but got deals on some of them.

 

- I don't know what excursions (if any) you have booked, but you will be in Mexico during prime WHALE WATCHING season. We got great views of whales in both Puerto Vallarta (unplanned, on a boat heading to a different excursion) and in Cabo San Lucas (on the whale watching tour, although it was a large boat).

 

I'm sure there are many other tips but that's all I can think of off the top of my head. :) I'll try and get my review together before your trip. You're going to have a wonderful time!

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I definitely want to do the Canopy Zipline one in PV, and I've heard there is plenty of time to book one cheaper than the one offered by the boat, but it makes me a little nervous, especially with news of the pier. I think I want to do the whale watch in Cabo, especially since it is prime season. What about Acapulco? I know we want to see the Cliff Divers..but it seems as if it would be pretty easy to go to a restaurant and do that on our own. What about that and anything else you would recommend there or in Ixtapa/Zihuat? I swam with dolphins on last cruise and loved it, but probably don't want to pay the money to do it again this time. Thanks for your help and glad you had a good trip!

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Enjoyed the STAR, 2/9-17...far exceeded all of our expectations. mini suite (paid to upgrade) was WellWorthIt! As well, worth the value was the Anniversary Package. Did organized tours in each port: ACA-106: as promoted - tis a public beach your tour shares w/the locals. saw whales on the boat ride over to Isla La Roqueta. ZIH-120: as promoted and more. don't miss the moray eels. PVR-105: as promoted; however, showers are cold water and not private. uneven walking for those w/challenges. beware of jelly fish if you take the snorkel side trip. This tour was excellent even if you didn't want to get into the water. CSL -106: as advertised. beer cold/salsa excellent. saw many fins 'n spouts; however, saw just as many whales when simply enjoying our mine suite balcony and that was included :cool: Tendering a bit of a bother, but on organized tours, no timing issues. Highly recommend organized tours due to so many different time changes, language barriers, money conversions. Port and cruise consultant desk an excellent stop! Already deposited same ship/same time for 2006 -- hope we get upgraded again:D We luv'd the Freestyle! jacket 'n tie for hubby stay home next year;)

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Sorry, been sidelined with the flu since returning home, and just saw the excursion question.

 

I originally wanted to try the zipline but my traveling companion did not, and I'm actually glad we went with the other excursion choice, Las Caletas Hideaway. I honestly didn't pay too much attention at the pier since we were heading to a different boat, but I think you COULD probably book something there if you wanted to.

 

As for what we did -- all EXCELLENT:

 

Acapulco - Mayan Palace Pool Party - We had a GREAT tour guide on the bus to the resort, she was smart, funny and very knoweldgeable...quite interesting! The Mayan Palace itself is a beautiful timeshare resort, very open-air, and it reminded me of Hawaii. The tour included three FULL hours at the resort, no matter what time we got there (they had construction going on). HUGE, long pool, water park area, beach, two drinks included, awesome weather...what more could you ask for? :)

 

Ixtapa - We stayed on the ship that day, we were only in port till 2:00 and didn't want to bother with tendering. From what I heard folks enjoyed it. The ship was great that day and we enjoyed just laying by the pool.

 

Puerto Vallarta - Los Caletas Hideaway - WOW, what a beautiful place this was! And what a FUN FUN FUN boat ride there and back, with a great crew. I don't think I've laughed so hard in my life. We saw several whales on the way over and were able to slow down and watch them for a bit. At the hideaway, we got a WONDERFUL authentic Mexican lunch outside overlooking the beach, all the FREE margaritas or drinks you could possible want, use of a variety of water sports equipments, nature walks...or you could just relax on the beach, which we did. :D Absolutely my favorite excursion of any port, any where, it was that good.

 

Cabo San Lucas - We did the whale watching tour through the ship; it was quite fun but we were on a HUGE catamaran so didn't get as close as I would have liked. Still a very nice excursion, though, and it gave us time to walk around town and visit Cabo Wabo. :)

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hey, Ella2 : we not only sailed w/you, but as well did some of the same tours. Noteworthy is that 3 out of our group of 5 also came down w/the flu upon return home. grrrrrrr....and we tried to be so darn careful w/the santizer stations, frequent hand washing, blah.blah.blah. I should have thought AllThatAlcohol consumed on those tours would have kept the bugs at bay; alas, not! grrrrr. Feel better soon....ThinkSpring:rolleyes:

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How's the weather the first and last day of the cruise...? Is it warm enough to go to deck or is it inside kind of weather?

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Emjake....you said you upgraded to a mini suite w/balcony. May I ask what the upgrade price was? Were you offered the upgrade or did u request it on your own?

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paid $133 to upgrade from category BA into a mini suite (forget category) - our traveling buds didn't upgrade -- their staterooms were noticeably smaller especially the bathroom. However, they had more serviceable storage availability. The bed configuration in our m.suite interferred with the closet and the shelves in the closet were not agreeably accessible. I took the recommendation from a previous posted thread and used my suitcase under 'my side' of the bed as a storage container, as well, used another smaller s.case placed on top of the 'sofa' as a storage container. This resolved my storage problems. hubby who had the closet side of the bed was better able to get to the closet. Appreciated the honest-to-goodness coffee pot that came w/m.suite whereas standard rooms just get a hot water pot. Fresh flowers were placed in the room - a nice touch. Everyone who visited our m.suite said "Wow!" - we didn't feel the $133 was too much for an 8-nt upgrade. NCL is noted for their upgrades - some can be complimentary. Just gotta watch for upgrades when that upgrade might be to an obstructed view.

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Emjake - I would love to be able to upgrade to a balcony cabin. I hope they offer me something like you got and at that price it seems like a great deal..we have 2 rooms and I'd be willing to upgrade both if possible. If they don't offer, I guess there wouldn't be any harm in asking for it myself...wish me luck.

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What kind of shows did they have in the evenings? Were there any really good ones that are not too miss??

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The shows were pretty good - - however, don't miss the Magic show they do early in the cruise at night and then one later in the cruise during the day. This guy is AWESOME! Best I've ever seen. He talks alot about his life and it's just so heart warming - you can't help but feel like you know him. Great show for kids and adults.

This ship is so nice, the staff were the best we've ever had on any of our cruises. I can't find anything bad about this vacation! I hope you enjoy.

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BZellner,

we really enjoyed this show, as well. It was Sean Farquhar, no? Very funny and enthusiastic, as well as an amazing magician.

We really enjoyed all of the shows on the Star.

 

camaj, if they still have the Chinese acrobats, don't miss that one. It is a dance production-type show with the regular troupe, punctuated by performances by the Chinese acrobats.

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We Did All Our Excursions Off The Ship For A Lot Less.

Acapulco-hired A Taxi For $25 Pp For The Whole Day And Night-took Us All Over

Ixtapa/zihual-took The Water Taxi From The Pier For $3 Round Trip To Las Gatas Beach-beautiful Beach With Small Restaurants With Lounge Chairs And Shade - Rent Snorkel Stuff Etc. Had Great Guacamole And Chips.

Cabo - Went On Whale Watching Boat From Pier And Paid $60 For 2 People (the Ship Wanted $65 Pp) For 2 Hours Saw A Mama And A Bambino Whale Frolickingpuerto Vallarta - Just Walked Through Town And Went To A Beach, My Son Went Jet Skiing ($40 For A Half Hour)

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Weather On 2/17 Was Drizzly Out Of La

Every Other Day Was Warm/hot And Sunny

Last Day 2/24 Was Cool But Sunny-we Sat On The Deck With Sweatshirts

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Thank you for all the great ideas for our up-coming cruise! We are taking our two kids (boy - age 11 and girl - age 14) and would like to know if anyone has taken their kids on the NCL Star before? What type of activities did they have for the kids on-board? Also, we are wondering if parents can pay a nominal fee to go watch their kids "Swim with the Dolphins" in Acapulco or do you have to participate as well? We have reserved spots for our kids but we are wondering what options there are for parents?

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