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Stealthdog

Live Updates NCL Star June 9-16

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On 6/11/2019 at 2:31 PM, queenL said:

Hi, Thank you for posting dailies and menus.  We will be on this ship in a few weeks.  Are there lots of taxi tours waiting in port as you debark?  We aren't into ship tours.

 

In my opinion there was no stop where you absolutely had to do a ship tour.  The ports are different than the Caribbean ports - there aren’t a horde of private tour groups waiting outside the pier.  Your options are probably either booking something third party, hiring a taxi at the port to take you where you want to go, or just exploring on your own.  You stops are all in the main town/city areas - so it is easy to do your own thing.

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On 6/14/2019 at 9:42 PM, jvswine said:

One question would you do the thermal spa pass for the week?

 

I bought the week pass for Eric before the cruise because it was his birthday.  He only used it three times, but he enjoyed.  With no at sea days, the value may not be there to buy the week pass.  If you are committed to go there multiple times, I’d say go for it.  Otherwise maybe be a day pass when it works in your schedule.

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Thank You. Your posts have been fantastic!!!!!  I may have more questions to follow.

 

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Posted (edited)

No problem jvswine.  Hope any of this helps you for your cruise.

 

Here is all the disembark info for those looking for timelines for transportation.

B6CC338C-4B48-45A0-A91A-BDF58A068668.jpeg

314E7172-3750-40A6-BAC2-D79D319A649A.jpeg

6AF82F53-DCE9-4D35-A337-E5C8729C3005.jpeg

Edited by Stealthdog

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On 6/12/2019 at 10:21 AM, Yankee123 said:

Thank you for the updates

 

if possible, would you be able to share with us the process to get tender tickets for non suite passengers - when and where do they start distributing tickets? How early should we get in line? ...

 

thank you

 

Yankee - the tender information is on the daily day 2 and 4 a few posts after you posted the question in case you didn’t see it.  It looks like they do tender and ticket distribution a couple hours before reaching the port.  One day was at 5 o’clock somewhere bar and another was at bliss.  Passengers with Latitudes Status, with ship excursions, or in suites did not need tenders tickets.  They had very large tenders - looked like they could fit 100-200 people in each.  There were only about 2500 guests on board, so the process seemed really quick.

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Posted (edited)

Last few thoughts.

 

Not a huge fan of the Ginza restaurant.  We ate there one evening.  It was packed every time we walked by at night.  It’s nice to be able to mix up a routine and try something else, and it’s complimentary, so definitely worth trying.  I did not think the food there was great.  A big bonus though - you can use your drink package to get Sake at the bar there.

 

For those in Suites - I think the Concierge is brand new.  He never really did anything for us and we could never find him.  The last night we sat in the reserved suite seating in the balcony (the seats down below are better - just be far enough back to be outside the smoke zone) and he was outside there.  So I guess he was spending his evenings protecting empty seats from the masses.  We are used to the concierge making rounds around the specialty dining restaurants to check in on the suite guests.  We really didn’t need anything from him, but we probably only saw him 3 times the whole cruise.

Edited by Stealthdog

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To close things out - here is our view from the post cruise stay in Venice.  Hotel Paganelli with water facing room.  It’s great!  We are spending 2 more days here and then taking the train to Milan for 3 days there before we fly home.  If anyone has any general questions about Venice or Milan, or any follow up questions about the cruise, feel free to ask.  I hope you all enjoy your trips as much as we enjoyed ours!

 

JC and Eric

80B1B023-AF43-499E-B6E6-F9DCFC584703.jpeg

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Stealthdog, thank you for everything.  I had the ship GOT tour booked but have switched it to a private tour for a 1/3 the cost.  Also I had no clue how the disembark thing would work so posting that info is so helpful.  It does look easy.

 

Although you are breaking my heart with that photo from Hotel Paganelli. Had that balcony room booked in January but decided to stay over by Piazalle Roma just to make it easier to get to the ship.  Now I want to go back to Paganelli but those rooms are booked for September.  Maybe I'll still book there and hope for an upgrade on the day we arrive.  Anything can happen.

Have fun on the rest of your vacation and safe travels home! 

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30 minutes ago, firstimer2009 said:

Stealthdog, thank you for everything.  I had the ship GOT tour booked but have switched it to a private tour for a 1/3 the cost.  Also I had no clue how the disembark thing would work so posting that info is so helpful.  It does look easy.

 

Although you are breaking my heart with that photo from Hotel Paganelli. Had that balcony room booked in January but decided to stay over by Piazalle Roma just to make it easier to get to the ship.  Now I want to go back to Paganelli but those rooms are booked for September.  Maybe I'll still book there and hope for an upgrade on the day we arrive.  Anything can happen.

Have fun on the rest of your vacation and safe travels home! 

Firstimer2009, who did you use for a private tour company for the GOT tour? I also have the ship's tour booked and interested in taking a look at a private tour as well. 

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On 6/12/2019 at 1:51 AM, Stealthdog said:

 

Thank you for all of this info!! It's great! What private tour group would anyone recommend for GOT at Dubrovnik? We have the NCL excursion booked because I just wasn't sure which would be best to pick, especially, if they don't pick you up from the port. Also, we have the Paganelli Family Basin room booked in august. View looks great!!

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Here is where I booked the tour, but it can be found on Viator too.  Tripadvisor has many more reviews of it than Viator.  This was $45 for the two of us with my husband's senior discount.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductReview-g295371-d14007472-Game_of_Thrones_Tour-Dubrovnik_Dubrovnik_Neretva_County_Dalmatia.html

 

Tour departs at 9:30 which I thought was perfect to be able to have lunch in Dubrovnik after.  One thing not included is the entrance fee to fort, which is 50 kuna or approx. 7 euro. 

 

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1 hour ago, firstimer2009 said:

Here is where I booked the tour, but it can be found on Viator too.  Tripadvisor has many more reviews of it than Viator.  This was $45 for the two of us with my husband's senior discount.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductReview-g295371-d14007472-Game_of_Thrones_Tour-Dubrovnik_Dubrovnik_Neretva_County_Dalmatia.html

 

Tour departs at 9:30 which I thought was perfect to be able to have lunch in Dubrovnik after.  One thing not included is the entrance fee to fort, which is 50 kuna or approx. 7 euro. 

 

Thanks Firstimer! I was thinking about just downloading a map from Google but for £18 it's not worth the hassle! Really looking forward to this. We will be there 29th June :)

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On 6/17/2019 at 10:31 AM, Stealthdog said:

 

Yankee - the tender information is on the daily day 2 and 4 a few posts after you posted the question in case you didn’t see it.  It looks like they do tender and ticket distribution a couple hours before reaching the port.  One day was at 5 o’clock somewhere bar and another was at bliss.  Passengers with Latitudes Status, with ship excursions, or in suites did not need tenders tickets.  They had very large tenders - looked like they could fit 100-200 people in each.  There were only about 2500 guests on board, so the process seemed really quick.

 

Thank you so much. This is awesome. I greatly appreciate the information. You have been a depth of information. 

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@firstimer2009

What date is your cruise? We are also on the Star in Sept this year, 22-29, and we are looking for a great way to do Oia in Santorini?

 

Im also wondering how the tender process works, as we are first timers too!

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@Stealthdog

 

Thanks for your reveiw, we are going on the Star in Sept, first ever cruise, so feeling a little lost with all the mentions of "tender tickets" and so on lol

 

Questions:

 

1. With Santorini, we def want to get to Oia by boat. Its mentioned you dont need to do the boats excursion, and my understanding the ships excursion takes you up and down on the cable car, whereas we want to do one direct from the tender ferry. Am i understanding correctly, if you do a ship excursion, you dont need to get tender tickets, and you are the first off, so no hassles. And if you DIY you need to line up for tickets on the day? Do you see this as problematic for first timers like us, and do they actually tender in different spots, from my understanding?

 

2. The other thing sticking in my mind is, getting down from Fira, if cable car too long a line, we would walk. You then have to tender back to the ship i am assuming? Or does the cable car or walk take you directly down to the ship? Im wondering if you need return tickets too?

 

3. We are supposed to be in port in Santorini from 2-10pm. 8 hours. Effectively, what time approx (25 Sept) would we need to be down to get on the ship, ie how long does the process take, and if you do a ship tour is the process actually quicker getting down and back on the boat?

 

4. People mention on other threads, " there is 3 boats in port when we arrive". Do you know how we find out about that? And am i wrong in assuming that if we leave at 10pm, we might be the only ship there that light?

 

We would like to do Oia on arrival, then back to Fira for evening dinner watching sunset before getting on the boat. If its doable DIY, or if we should book an excursion

 

If there was one ship excursion you would recommend, or say do with the ship, which one would it be?

 

Thanks

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On ‎6‎/‎23‎/‎2019 at 9:24 PM, blondelinda said:

@Stealthdog

 

Thanks for your reveiw, we are going on the Star in Sept, first ever cruise, so feeling a little lost with all the mentions of "tender tickets" and so on lol

 

Questions:

 

1. With Santorini, we def want to get to Oia by boat. Its mentioned you dont need to do the boats excursion, and my understanding the ships excursion takes you up and down on the cable car, whereas we want to do one direct from the tender ferry. Am i understanding correctly, if you do a ship excursion, you dont need to get tender tickets, and you are the first off, so no hassles. And if you DIY you need to line up for tickets on the day? Do you see this as problematic for first timers like us, and do they actually tender in different spots, from my understanding?

 

2. The other thing sticking in my mind is, getting down from Fira, if cable car too long a line, we would walk. You then have to tender back to the ship i am assuming? Or does the cable car or walk take you directly down to the ship? Im wondering if you need return tickets too?

 

3. We are supposed to be in port in Santorini from 2-10pm. 8 hours. Effectively, what time approx (25 Sept) would we need to be down to get on the ship, ie how long does the process take, and if you do a ship tour is the process actually quicker getting down and back on the boat?

 

4. People mention on other threads, " there is 3 boats in port when we arrive". Do you know how we find out about that? And am i wrong in assuming that if we leave at 10pm, we might be the only ship there that light?

 

We would like to do Oia on arrival, then back to Fira for evening dinner watching sunset before getting on the boat. If its doable DIY, or if we should book an excursion

 

If there was one ship excursion you would recommend, or say do with the ship, which one would it be?

 

Thanks

 

1)  People on excursions through NCL aren't necessarily first off.  If you book an excursion through NCL, you will have a meetup time (usually in the theater) and then follow instructions until your tour is called.  While waiting for our tours to be called in the two tender stops, we heard the announcements of tenders being boarded - so others were getting off before us.  And it sounded like they were getting the tenders moving fairly quickly once the port authorities authorized.  I really don't think the tender process will be that difficult for a first time cruiser.  You will probably be a little stressed and nervous, but trust me, its not overwhelming.  Just follow the instructions they publish in the dailies (I posted copies earlier in the thread for our sailing). 

 

2) You will have to take the tender back to the ship.  Some of the tenders have very large capacities and can carry hundreds of people at one time.  They will publish when the last tenders will leave the port for the ship (typically it is about 30 minutes prior to the all aboard time).  Just make sure you are back to the tender by the time they state for the last one.  You will not need return tickets to take it back.

 

3) Taking a ship tour will not make it faster getting on a tender back onto the boat.  There is no priority for getting back on the tender - its whoever is next in line.  The tender at Santorini back to the ship is pretty quick.  Just make sure you are in line in time for the last tender. 

 

4) I think there is a website that tracks how many and which ships are projected to be at a port on a given day.  I'm not sure what it is.  On our day in Santorini, we started with 3 ships, and we were the last to leave.  There was still another ship in port when we made our way to the tender site, so the area was packed with people waiting in line to take the cable car back down to the tender site. 

 

You should definitely be able to do Oia and dinner on your own.  But, with this being your first cruise, it may be less stressful to do an excursion through the cruise line.  I saw signs for transport to Oia, so its probably just a matter of looking up the schedules for when the ferries depart and booking tickets independently. 

 

These are the excursions we did.  We had the Platinum discount and the $50 per port discount, so we did all through NCL.  In the Caribbean, we will normally do most on our own or third party, but the prices worked for us on this one.

- Kotor - Hike to the Top of the City Walls

- Corfu - Best of Corfu

- Santorini - Volcano Hiking

- Mykonos - Delos:  Birthplace of Artemis and Apollo

- Argostoli - Cephalonia Highlights

- Dubrovnik - Game of Thrones - Venture through Kings Landing

 

I would not recommend the NCL tours we did for Corfu or Dubrovnik.  The other 4 we would definitely do again.  You don't need to an organized tour for the city walls in Kotor - you can walk there and purchase your own tickets. 

 

There are pros and cons of using the cruise lines excursions.  Pros are that it is generally less stressful and hassle free.  If the ship excursion is late getting back to the ship, the ship waits for you - so you don't have the stress of looking at your watch.  Cons are that they usually cost more than a private tour or just doing your own thing, and they tend to be larger groups so you don't get the experience you would in a small group.

 

The tendering process seems to be a little stressful for you, so I would recommend booking excursions through the cruise lines for the two tender stops (I think in Santorini, they have at least one Oia excursion) and doing your own thing at the other four.  In Santorini, if you want to have dinner in Fira after Oia you will still need to get back to the tender site on your own.  If the tendering process doesn't bother you, and I was recommending one of the ones we did, it would probably be the Mykonos - Delos one.  But, I am completely into ruins and archeology sites.  It really depends on what you like doing. 

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@Stealthdog.

 

Thanks so much for the detail

 

It makes a lot of sense now

 

Being first timers and reading so much it just had me confused

 

Im sure the tender process would be fine, and I would prefer in Santorini in particular, where its already so busy to do a smaller tour than a ship tour. Ive been onto the greektravelling which is recommended a lot and trying to put together a semi private tour to make it cost effective, hoping others on my roll call are interested

 

My only other question i ask is, that i read everywhere and you confirm, if doing a ship tour and it runs later, then the ship will wait. However, doe the tour leave you at the cable car top or the tender dock? As im thinking, if your late due to long lines and the tour leaves you at the top, how does this actually help you? Unless they are committed to getting you back on the ship and they wait in line with you? Is that correct? Thanks

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Posted (edited)

@blondelinda

I haven't done this cruise yet but from I have read and researched the Star is the last cruise ship in Santorini that evening.  There should be NCL people at the cable cars that night radio'ing to the boat/tenders how many people are there.  They also will know based upon who has checked back into the ship how many people are still left on the island.

 

We have decided to get back to the cable cars by 8:30 pm just to make certain we leave time to get down the cable car and tender back to the ship.  And yes, the cable cars in Fira are the only way to get back to the tenders including any ship excursions.

 

The good news is if you look on a map where Santorini and Mykonos (the next port) are they are very close.  I'm certain the ship has had to wait for passengers in Santorini and easily made their sail time into Mykonos.  I just don't want to be that passenger.

 

I was a firstimer in 2009 on an Alaska cruise.  Decided I didn't like sea days that much so that is why I am excited about this itinerary being in port every day.

Edited by firstimer2009

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Thank you so much for your review- it was wonderful!  We will be doing cruise-line excursions in the tender ports (with the $50 credit) and wander/beach in Corfu and Argostoli.  We also hired a private taxi to take us from the port on debark to the airport, instead of using NCL transfers.  Hope we made the right move, as our flight isn't until 1:15 pm.  Hoping our cruise in 1/2 as good as yours seemed to be!

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We were on this cruise 23rd - 30th June and really glad that I read this thread as all the information was very useful!

 

Here are a few hints and tips from us.

 

We have always had a balcony cabin but as this was last minute with my parents we had a guarantee outside and were on Deck 4 with a porthole. There was a fair bit of white noise from the engine but I didn't notice it until someone pointed it out! It was brilliant not having to get into a lift after returning from an excursion as we always left from Deck 4.

 

We caught the fast boat from where the tender lands in Santorini and went to Fira. It's 15 euros per person. The boat takes you around to Oia and they tell you that there is a shuttle after the boat lands to take you into the town. They don't tell you that there is a 10 minute walk up a steep hill to get to the shuttle. It is worth it though :). There is another bus included in the price which goes from where the first bus drops you off which takes you to Fira and this is also included in the 15 euros. Then we made our mistake. We went straight to the cable car as we wanted my parents to catch it down and we were going to walk down the donkey trail. The queue was huge as there were a number of ships in. They didn't want to wait so we all started to walk down the trail. My mother was struggling as she had hurt her foot and eventually decided to go on a donkey. So did my dad. They are 78 and 79 (although they are fit and I keep forgetting their age!). Anyway - the steps are very slippery cobbles and full of poo and wee so off they went in a string of 5 donkeys. I could hear someone running down the steps and I thought "what an idiot" as I was walking gingerly along concentrating on not slipping. I turned around to see who it was and came face to face with a runaway donkey!!! I was petrified and flung myself against a wall! A few minutes later I heard "Anne - your dad's fallen off". Luckily he was ok just bruised ribs but it could have been a lot worse! My mother decided to walk the rest of the way but it probably took us 3 times as long as waiting in the cable car queue. It was a horrible experience! There were people walking barefoot too as their sandals and flip flops were slipping. Its very dangerous.

 

Mykonos was lovely and we had a nice stroll around the town and up to the windmills. Corfu, Kotor  and Argostoli were also lovely places. (My takeaway has just arrived so will talk about Dubrovnik GoT later!

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@Cyclospora. Thanks for your post. How scary for your Dad, I hope he was ok

 

>>We caught the fast boat from where the tender lands in Santorini and went to Fira. It's 15 euros per person. The boat takes you around to Oia and they tell you that there is a shuttle after the boat lands to take you into the town. They don't tell you that there is a 10 minute walk up a steep hill to get to the shuttle. It is worth it though :). There is another bus included in the price which goes from where the first bus drops you off which takes you to Fira and this is also included in the 15 euros.>>

 

When you get dropped off from the ferry to Oia, is the bus not at the landing where the ferry is? I have read it to believe the bus meets you where the ferry drops you off?. Also, can you confirm is it easy enough to get to Oia on your own, with this fast ferry and did you pre buy the tickets online or just get them once you tendered without any problems?

 

>>>Mykonos was lovely and we had a nice stroll around the town and up to the windmills. Corfu, Kotor  and Argostoli were also lovely places. (My takeaway has just arrived so will talk about Dubrovnik GoT later!>>>

 

Cant wait to read what you did in these ports, and also are you getting take away on the boat?? Please tell! lol

Thanks!

 

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On 6/14/2019 at 1:42 PM, jvswine said:

One question would you do the thermal spa pass for the week?

The Thermal Spa on the Star is one of my favorite places. It's not like the bigger fancy ones on the other ships so it is usually less money for the pass. For me, the scale is just right. I especially love the cold plunge! I went every day on our 14 day Panama Canal cruise.

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Thank You!!!  Needed good advice and I got it!!!!!

 

The cold plunge sold it in for me.

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