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karfest

Star 3-29-05- Some Observations

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Not a full review, but some answers and observations:

 

-Stayed at the Inn of Venice Beach pre-cruise, further from port, but a nice way to start the vacation if you don't mind driving in LA. Rental car from Hertz picked up in LA, dropped in Lomita, about 15 mins from the port.

 

-Went to the port at 11am, got our cards right away and were seated in a waiting room. Embarkation started at 11:45, we were in our room by noon. Later arrivals were held up because of new rules from Homeland Security

 

-Dropped the "kids" (ages 20 & 17) and carryons in the cabin, left the ship to return the rental and pick up Diet Pepsi and Red Bull. Carried on two 12 packs and 12 cans of Bull with no problem. We did have to go through security again but didn't have to wait for another group number. Luggage was at the door when we got back. (1/2 hour)

 

-We were in AB penthouse 11060. Beautiful cabin but lots of noise from the deck above. I would book this type of suite again but further forward. This is an excellent cabin if travelling with older kids as everyone gets their space and privacy and you pay the 3rd and 4th person rate for them.

 

-Amit the butler stopped by to introduce himself and bring snacks. There was a bottle of chilled champagne waiting. Amit brought snacks twice a day in case we were starving! We used him everyday to deliver hot breakfast. He set the table with linens and china and set up our meals. He is probably the most polite person I have ever met.

 

-Went to LeBistro the first night. Excellent food but we paid $78 for 4 of us and a bottle of wine. We didn't go to any other pay restaurants as we found the other specialty restaurants to be just as good with better service.

 

- For formal night, I wore a sundress, hubby wore dress pants, dress shirt and tie. Daughters wore nice slacks and fancy summery tops. There were many tuxes and cocktail dresses. Not many formal gowns. I never saw anyone dressed innapropriately, but I wasn't really looking, either! I t was great not to have to pack long gowns and suits.

 

-We ate at LaTrattoria twice, Endless Summer twice, Versailles once (too crowded, noisy, and hectic for me), Blue Lagoon for the in-betweens, and the buffet on a few occassions. Best service was in La Trattoria, although we had very good service everywhere. Our concierge made reservations for us each night, but I never saw people waiting more than a few minutes to be seated.

 

-The "Star Grazers" got together after the muster at the Bier Garten. A little cool and windy, but we found each other. Our official CC get together was the folllowing night at the Star Bar. I was surprised there was no snacks or beverages provided but the cruise director, Kieron (who is fantastic!), the hotel director, and restaurant director were there. It was a nice get-together and we met a lot of fun people.

 

-There are free fresh baked cookies at the Java Cafe. No one tells you about this!

 

-No problem getting a deck chair even on busy at sea days

 

- A great way to start or end the day is in the spa hot tub, followed by a sauna and steam. Take you hair conditioner into the steam room to repair the salt and sun damage! Warning- many women sit naked in these rooms. Most of them you don't want to see. :eek:

 

-There were 600 kids on this cruise, ranging from babies to teens but there were no issues. This was a very diverse bunch of cruisers, but everyone got along great. :)

 

-Weather was 85 and sunny everyday but a bit cool on the last at sea day. Bring a jacket or sweatshirt just in case.

 

We had a great time in every port, I won't go into details, but if you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them. Overall, a great time was had by all and I am now starting to plan the next cruise. We will again be going on NCL as I really love the Freestyle way of cruising.:D

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Thanks for the review. We are going on the Star to Alaska and I wondered about the restaurants and also what my husband could/should wear on formal night. I'm sure we will have a great time.

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What new security rules held up the later boarding groups? We are going 5/8 for the repo and can't wait. It's our 2nd time on the Star. She is a great ship.

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Thanks Karen, great information for future cruisers. Did Kieron say when he was taking his next vacation? I remember he was off right around Christmas, so I hope he is on the ship for a couple more weeks at least.

 

:)

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We enjoyed both the Sun and the Star. They had totally different itineraries so they seemed like different ships, but were in many ways similar. The Star had much newer workout equipment and the Spa had the lap pool, hot tub, and "big" hot tub (can't remember what it's called). I liked the main dining room on the Sun better because it wasn't as noisy. Le Bistro on the Sun was more intimate. These are minor things, I would go on either ship again with no hesitation.

 

We were in line when they came around to the agents to train them on the new security measures. We ended up showing our ID at many different points before actually being allowed to board. There was much complaining about this but NCL had no choice but to comply. I'm sure it's not fun when the rules change in mid-stream! Just be prepared to show ID alot.

 

I have never really paid attention to cruise directors and never understood the fascination with them-but I'd never experienced Kieron Buffery before!! He and his assistant, Lance were the life of the ship. Their sense of humor and presentation set the tone for a great time! He didn't mention when he was vacationing again, so I would guess it's not soon. I should also mention the only show we went to was the magician, he does 2 different shows and we enjoyed both.

 

Regarding the "dress code" The signage mentioned no shorts or beachwear in the restaurants but nothing about jeans. I did see a few teens in nice jeans and it was certainly not upsetting!! For evening, most men wore dockers and polos and women wore capris, sundresses, or pantsuits. Even the kids were dressed nicely- there were many little ones in their "Easter clothes" getting their pictures taken. I actually felt people were nicer dressed on this cruise than on our last Princess cruise. Nothing fancy, but not sloppy t-shirts, either.

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Thanks Karfest...

welcome back to you & the others... We too had a great time, we had a very nice CC group. HD (Douglas Hernadez) said we had the biggest group to date. Bet you guys had more :)

 

Gotta go...

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Thanks for the great review! We're going in Jan. '06 with our 4 kids. We have been telling them about our last cruise and we were able to go to the buffet and get icecream, hot chocolate, and pizza 24/7 (Carnival). Do they have the same thing on the Star? The cookies will be a great second to that plan if they don't. THANKS!!!!

Jenne

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Were you given suite boarding since you were in a suite?

 

Did you arrive in Acapulco on time as we sail 4-22 and want to do the divers at 1 on our own and are hoping we get there in time.

 

Any must see or do that you would recommend.

 

Thanks for the information above as it is great.

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Ice Cream is not 24/7 but it is available all afternoon by the kids pool area. They seemed to have lots of kid friendly flavors. (like that nasty blue stuff!) There was always pizza on the afternoon buffet. Also very good pizza at LaTrattoria. I took packets of hot chocolate and used hot water from the coffee maker for my bedtime snack.

 

We only used room service for breakfast, but it is available 24/7. We were in a suite so we had a large room service menu, I'm not sure what the other rooms offer. Blue Lagoon is always open for burgers, fish n chips, hot dogs, etc.

 

We arrived early so there was no need to use the "special" line for suite guests. One nice thing about NCL is they escort EVERYONE to their cabins. We did have VIP disembarking which got us off the ship and through customs in less than 15 minutes. Our luggage was in a separate area which made it easy to spot.

 

 

In Zihua, I would recommend the water taxi to Playa Las Gatas and find a chair at a restaurant. We paid $3pp for the water taxi, and $10 for 4 chairs, table, and snorkle gear. The restaurant we were at also had a security guy to watch our stuff and bathrooms with actual plumbing, not an outhouse as I had expected. This was our cheapest but most fun day. We also did the banana boat ride there for $5 pp.

 

We arrived in every port on time, sometimes early. Acapulco is the only non-tender port so it's quick and easy to get off the ship.

 

Hey Sodell- glad you also had a great time. We had a really interesting and fun CC group. What a great way to meet people!

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for the answers to all questions - I'm really thinking we can make the 1pm show of the divers without a problem as I understand it is close. Just a little over a week away now and really getting excited. Again Thanks.

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Great to hear that you enjoyed your cruise.

 

We didn't think that 11060 was too noisy. We always had one or two of the televisions on so we probably didn't notice. Speaking of the TV's. Anyone in an AB suite you need to close the french door is you have the TV in the bedroom and the one in the livingroom on at the same time. They use the same remote frequency, we kept changing each others channels.

 

 

I thought Amit was a great butler. We brought soda, and purchased more in Acapulco. We didn't think that the refrigerator was cold enough. Amit filled the wine stantion (sp) bucket with ice, wrapped it with a towel to keep the cold in and put our sodas in the ice. He made sure it was always full of ice.

 

Marilyn

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thanks for the review. Glad you had a great time. We are going on the Star in May and it's nice to hear so many positive comments on it.

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Hi Julie! Your name came up at our CC meeting--I'm sure it was in a positive light!!

 

We also had the problem of the remotes changing all the TV's! It became almost a game with my hubby to change the channel in the living room when he knew I was watching in the bedroom. grrr...

 

I think it was just particulary noisy because of all the kids on this sailing--I loved this room and felt bad finding any fault with it. I miss having Amit bring me breakfast every morning:(

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We were on the same cruise as karfest. In fact, almost directly across the ship in 11550 (AB Penthouse) and it was wonderful. Luckily, we did not have trouble with noise. There is ice cream available in the buffet (Market cafe) until Midnight. There are cookies, pound cake (yum!) and banana bread available for the taking in the Blue Lagoon 24 hrs. They also have a cooler with cartons of milk easily accessible there. My husband appreciated the milk and cookies (and cake) even more than my kids did. Pizza was available 24 hrs from room service and I imagine they would bring hot chocolate too. Such a fabulous family vacation, have a great trip!

 

Angela

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Thanks Angela! The kids will love it. This one is all about them, if I get some sun time, great. I think no matter what, they'll have a great time. Thanks for the info. I'll be sure to tell them to make their mouths water some more.

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Hi Karen!!! Nice review! I've been working too many long hours to write my own, but I plan to sometime.

 

I was on the same cruise as Karen and I just wanted to add that the Jean Ann Ryan Co. put on some great shows. My favorite was The Music of the Night. It was a tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals. They had fantastic singers and we enjoyed that show very much...and I'm not even an old guy! LOL I say this because my son said it was music for old people....I told him, "Sorry, but you're not gonna hear anything here from Snoop Dogg or 50 cent!" Don't miss this show.

 

We only missed one show because I was too tired from waking up early that day and getting my 2 mile jog in. Then it was off to the workout room for another 2 hours. OK OK truth is I was kidnapped by people wearing ski masks and hawaiian shirts and they refused to release me unless I sampled all the food from the buffet and as they were about to let me go, they decided I needed to have seconds........it was a terrible ordeal I tell you....so I just couldn't stay up for that one show.

 

The magician Shaun Farquhar was great. My son made us go early so we could be in the front. He loved the show...at the end he does this great magic trick where he makes $15 dollars disappear from your pocket and makes his DVD appear in its place. I think he also moonlights in the casino. You see I walked in there with money, and it vanished! What's really amazing is how FAST he can actually make that happen......Shaun...you are good!

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Not a full review, but some answers and observations:

 

-Stayed at the Inn of Venice Beach pre-cruise, further from port, but a nice way to start the vacation if you don't mind driving in LA. Rental car from Hertz picked up in LA, dropped in Lomita, about 15 mins from the port.

 

-Went to the port at 11am, got our cards right away and were seated in a waiting room. Embarkation started at 11:45, we were in our room by noon. Later arrivals were held up because of new rules from Homeland Security

 

-Dropped the "kids" (ages 20 & 17) and carryons in the cabin, left the ship to return the rental and pick up Diet Pepsi and Red Bull. Carried on two 12 packs and 12 cans of Bull with no problem. We did have to go through security again but didn't have to wait for another group number. Luggage was at the door when we got back. (1/2 hour)

 

-We were in AB penthouse 11060. Beautiful cabin but lots of noise from the deck above. I would book this type of suite again but further forward. This is an excellent cabin if travelling with older kids as everyone gets their space and privacy and you pay the 3rd and 4th person rate for them.

 

-Amit the butler stopped by to introduce himself and bring snacks. There was a bottle of chilled champagne waiting. Amit brought snacks twice a day in case we were starving! We used him everyday to deliver hot breakfast. He set the table with linens and china and set up our meals. He is probably the most polite person I have ever met.

 

-Went to LeBistro the first night. Excellent food but we paid $78 for 4 of us and a bottle of wine. We didn't go to any other pay restaurants as we found the other specialty restaurants to be just as good with better service.

 

- For formal night, I wore a sundress, hubby wore dress pants, dress shirt and tie. Daughters wore nice slacks and fancy summery tops. There were many tuxes and cocktail dresses. Not many formal gowns. I never saw anyone dressed innapropriately, but I wasn't really looking, either! I t was great not to have to pack long gowns and suits.

 

-We ate at LaTrattoria twice, Endless Summer twice, Versailles once (too crowded, noisy, and hectic for me), Blue Lagoon for the in-betweens, and the buffet on a few occassions. Best service was in La Trattoria, although we had very good service everywhere. Our concierge made reservations for us each night, but I never saw people waiting more than a few minutes to be seated.

 

-The "Star Grazers" got together after the muster at the Bier Garten. A little cool and windy, but we found each other. Our official CC get together was the folllowing night at the Star Bar. I was surprised there was no snacks or beverages provided but the cruise director, Kieron (who is fantastic!), the hotel director, and restaurant director were there. It was a nice get-together and we met a lot of fun people.

 

-There are free fresh baked cookies at the Java Cafe. No one tells you about this!

 

-No problem getting a deck chair even on busy at sea days

 

- A great way to start or end the day is in the spa hot tub, followed by a sauna and steam. Take you hair conditioner into the steam room to repair the salt and sun damage! Warning- many women sit naked in these rooms. Most of them you don't want to see. :eek:

 

-There were 600 kids on this cruise, ranging from babies to teens but there were no issues. This was a very diverse bunch of cruisers, but everyone got along great. :)

 

-Weather was 85 and sunny everyday but a bit cool on the last at sea day. Bring a jacket or sweatshirt just in case.

 

We had a great time in every port, I won't go into details, but if you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them. Overall, a great time was had by all and I am now starting to plan the next cruise. We will again be going on NCL as I really love the Freestyle way of cruising.:D

 

 

Hi there,

 

Just off the star also April 6...Any questiones let me know....Illl ahve some pics available soon. Yes cookies at Java Cafe were great as was the Blue Lagoon for 24 hour stuff. Some in our group didnt like it but I thought the wings were great. Versailles was nosy and a bit confusing(too many people in and out) . Must just not be what Im used to I guess. Lance was the cruise director this sailing and he is a "Native of Atlantic Canada" It was his 1st week. Did an EXCELLENT job was always around and very "cruise directorish"....Any specific questions let me know........Enjoy the cruise!!!!:D

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Hi Julie! Your name came up at our CC meeting--I'm sure it was in a positive light!!
Hut, oh..now you've got me curious. Yet another reason I should have been on your cruise..to defend myself:p .

 

I thought of you all while you were on your cruise. Nita and I have been trying to get together for over a year now, as we live in the same town! How about another try on the Steamboat Rose, Nita? We had such fun last May. Sorry you couldn't make it. Let's put a get-together on our "list of things to do".

 

originally posted by budgetED

The magician Shaun Farquhar was great. My son made us go early so we could be in the front. He loved the show...at the end he does this great magic trick where he makes $15 dollars disappear from your pocket and makes his DVD appear in its place. I think he also moonlights in the casino. You see I walked in there with money, and it vanished! What's really amazing is how FAST he can actually make that happen......Shaun...you are good!

:D :D

Good one, budgetEd. I agree, Shawn puts on an excellent show. We put that DVD in as soon as we got home, and got weirded out and amazed while unpacking...uncanny.

 

Did you guys have the Jean Ann Ryan show that was punctuated by performances by Chinese Acrobats? Another extremely memorable show. Amazing feats by the acrobats. (Hope this wasn't the one you slept through bE:( . If so, sorry I mentioned it.;) )

 

While I'm chatting away this morning, I'll share some news. We had booked the Spirit for this summer, using our MBNA coupons (acrue NCL dollars through credit card usage). Started getting really excited, then went to the orthodontic appointments recommended by our dentist for the daughter and husband. The sad musical tune of $12,000 for the two of them smothered my happy cruise dream. No way we could swing the cruise now. After a few days, I mentioned to my husband that I needed to cancel the cruise. He said, "But don't we have to use those coupons within one year or lose them?" EXCELLENT POINT!!! So I guess my cruise dreams will come true sometime before next March, after all. I might have to set it back a few months to earn another coupon, but an now back happily planning.

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Julie....the Acrobats were great!!!!!! The Jean Ann Ryan Co. really has some great shows. I'd pay to see them here at home. If u can't use your NCL certificates, I'll take em off your hands.:)

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Julie- I believe it was Nita who asked if I knew you. I replied "yes" before realizing I only know you through cyberspace! Isn't it funny how we become "friends" on this board?

 

We only made it to the magic show (both shows) and the comedian. We had the best intentions of going to the Jean Ann Ryan shows but somehow never got around to it! I guess I need to book another cruise so I can see if Ed is right about them:)

 

I wonder where Kieron went? He never mentioned that he was leaving. Lance was his assistant and also very good. Like I said, usually CD's are to be ignored but these guys were good. Lance was trained by the best!

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BudgetED, I am sorry I haven't sent you the pictures of the sailfish we caught in Acapulco, Still on the computer. Hard copies don't email very easy. Next week, I will try and get them to you.

 

All in all the cruise was outstanding.:)

 

Along with the Jean Ryan Dancers they were very good. Though some of the seats in the Autotorium need to be replaced. They seem to slant down-hill. My daughter was on the Vision of the Seas last year and they have cup holders in all their seats. That sure would be nice.:rolleyes:

 

I know that I would love to take another 8 day cruise on the Star again, but in February. I like the temps around 70-75. Afterall being from the Sumner, WA I enjoy the cold a whole lot better than the hot. Though I did live in Summerville, SC from 1970-1990. Too Da** hot for me.:)

 

Tom

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