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TheTides

Star - 9 Night Greek Isles Review

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Ciao! 

 

I hope this review finds everyone well!  We recently made it home (sadly) after our 9 night Greek Isles trip along with a few days on the front end for Venice.  I am hoping this review can help all of those planning  this incredible itinerary, and please as questions (and others can chime in as well) along the way.  Cheers!

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Pre-Cruise

 

We flew United from Charlotte - Newark - Venice.  I know this isn’t the place for Airline reviews, but to be honest, probably one of the worst transatlantic experiences. We usually fly Luftansa/Delta over the pond, but the service on this route was pretty piss poor, hearing flight attendants insulting passengers under their breath... to each their own I guess.  Once we landed in Venice, we took a private water taxi into the city, and I must say this is a MUST DO.  It is much more expensive than a bus, but being able to see the grand canal before you even set foot in Venice is magical.  We felt like James Bond before we even landed.  Once we made it, we had 2 full days in Venice.  To be honest, we felt like this was the perfect amount of time in Venice.  If you go on TripAdvisor to look of the top activities in the city, the highlights are Rialto bridge and Bridge of Sighs.... so once you cover the two bridges, my best recommendations would be to get lost.  The beauty of Venice is being in Venice.  Just wander the streets, enjoy the people watching, and relax in this unique city.  Yes there will be crowds near Doges palace, but once you move from this iconic area, the rest is extremely enjoyable.  

 

 

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Following along!  We are booked on a Greek isles cruise next year on the Getaway from Civitavecchia but I've been pondering whether I should switch to the Dawn which leave from Venice. 

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Looking forward to this review!

 

Venice-wise, I LOVED Venice.  It is massively crowded at the tourist spots, but just a block or two off the main area is almost deserted - and yes, magical.  Also, Venice is where I learned what a ghetto actually is (or started as, or whatever).  Sobering to walk past those blocked-up entryways to it...

 

Rome of course is an amazing city as well, but with all the vehicular traffic it definitely didn't have that magic hold on me like Venice did.

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Following! I’m also doing the Greek isles cruise next year on the Getaway from Civitavecchia 

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Nice! Looking forward to hearing more. We are going on the Star in August. We are also flying United so hopefully we have a better experience. 

How was the entertainment on the ship? Did you do any shore excursions? We signed up for the Game of Thrones tour. 

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Keep going please,  very excited  to  hear your review. 

We are cruising the Greek islands next year on the Getaway. 

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Looking forward to this review.  We will be on Star for a 7 night cruise in September.  First time on NCL too, so a lot will be new for us.

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Following!  On the 7 day in August.  Flying Delta from JFK - hope we have a better experience than you did.  Have a private water taxi reserved through our hotel to pick us up from airport and transfer us right to hotel dock.  We only have 24 hours in Venice, and figured this would be a great way to start.

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Following also! Booked for this 9 night in April 2021, it will be the Dawn on this route in 2021. 

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Posted (edited)

Embarkation:  Incredibly easy.  We arrived around 11:30 at the pier and they were already letting numbers 9-10 board the ship.  We headed to the Latitudes priority line, but were told if you are not platinum you are not given priority boarding.... We are a lowly silver member and thought that was odd, but no harm no foul, and headed to the basic line, only to check in and be on the ship in 10 minutes.  Thats right... We entered the terminal, checked in and boarded the ship within 10 minutes!  Pretty impressive right?  

 

On a side note, for those who enjoy decent wine, or do not want to pay NCL’s prices, we were able to carry on 4 bottles of wine.  Hindsight we wish we would have pushed more through. but still we were able to enjoy a glass of wine in our room before dinner every evening which was perfect.  

 

The Ship:  So I have a love/hate with the Star.  I would never say she was my favorite ship I have ever sailed, but there were aspects I loved about her.  Every area of the ship that was redone is beautiful, and feels like a more modern resort.  Spice H20 was hands down our favorite are of the ship.  I could go on and on, but we spent our mornings having breakfast, sail always on the couches, and late nights in the hot tubs.  In my opinion this space is a better design than the Epic/Away class H20 zone, as it feels like a true serenity deck.  There is a bar attached to the area, which had two fantastic bartenders and would recommend spending a lot of time here.  There is also a forward hot tub in the front of the ship which feels like a small pool.  It’s another great place to watch sail out.  The pool deck never felt crowded, and honestly this entire cruise it was a breeze to find 4 deck chairs together.  

 

The layout below the deck seems slightly odd to me, but overall I felt like everything worked well.  I loved the views from Osheehans, and all of the dining rooms felt redone except Versailles.  We ate here once for embarkation, and after a horrible experience/decor we never went back.  Both of the main restaurants open to the stairwell which adds some congestion, but overall the ship itself really never felt overly crowded, something that really bothers me.  

 

The one negative on the ship for me, and why I would debate not sailing her again, was the gym was not only pathetic, but reeked of smoke.  The instructors apologized multiple times, but we. Realized it was better to have our exercise from walking throughout Greece than gain 2nd hand smoke from the gym.  It was just odd, as the entire ship I never smelled cigarettes until I was in the gym.  So, if you are into having a morning run, I would utilize  the running track, and avoid the gym!

Edited by TheTides

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Will start to update a few photos for your enjoyment as well!  A photo is worth 1000 words so hopefully this will give you a taste of the ship, and as we progress the itinerary! 

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8ED9BEDB-5FBC-4936-A7BB-6D233B9E0B36.jpeg

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If there is a photo you would like to see of the ship in general, please let me know..  We took over 4000 (yes, that number is correct) and probably have what you are looking for.  

99F5737A-4481-476E-A691-7FFAA700F682.jpeg

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011CE6E8-56FF-4CB0-A969-1CA3A31184F8.jpeg

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1 hour ago, Dejlig Ko said:

Following also! Booked for this 9 night in April 2021, it will be the Dawn on this route in 2021. 

 

We are thinking of booking this as well!  Not to be a spoiler, but this was the best itinerary we have cruised, and am so excited to get back!  Just need to see the Baltic’s one of these days!

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2 hours ago, pe4all said:

Following!  On the 7 day in August.  Flying Delta from JFK - hope we have a better experience than you did.  Have a private water taxi reserved through our hotel to pick us up from airport and transfer us right to hotel dock.  We only have 24 hours in Venice, and figured this would be a great way to start.

You will love it.  And to be honest with you, the day you embark you could spend most of the morning exploring the city as well.  You can see the bridge of Sighs, Doges palace, and St. Marks Square in the morning, and explore the city on your own in the afternoon.  Sounds like a perfect day to me! 

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4 hours ago, joejoe 59 said:

Keep going please,  very excited  to  hear your review. 

We are cruising the Greek islands next year on the Getaway. 

What is your itinerary!  Getaway is our favorite ship, and dining on the waterfront as you sail out of Santorini would be spectacular!  

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20 hours ago, kodesthemoose said:

Following along!  We are booked on a Greek isles cruise next year on the Getaway from Civitavecchia but I've been pondering whether I should switch to the Dawn which leave from Venice. 

Tough choice... I love the getaway, but the venice sail-away was simply spectacular, one of the highlights of our trip.  Something to think about, I am sure in the next few years they will have a new port built, and the cruise ships sailing through the canal will be a thing of the past after the MSC fiasco last week

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18 minutes ago, TheTides said:

If there is a photo you would like to see of the ship in general, please let me know..  We took over 4000 (yes, that number is correct) and probably have what you are looking for. 

 

 

 

207C9EDC-309F-496B-8699-071BC8EAA0EB.jpeg

 

thanks for your review and great pics. this one is awesome.

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15 hours ago, Jenjohncourt said:

Nice! Looking forward to hearing more. We are going on the Star in August. We are also flying United so hopefully we have a better experience. 

How was the entertainment on the ship? Did you do any shore excursions? We signed up for the Game of Thrones tour. 

We really didnt partake in any of the shore excursions.  We try to have smaller/private tours, and enjoy exploring on our own for the most part.  I did hear everyone who did a game of thrones tour loved it!  The beauty of this cruise is most every port you can do well with a DIY.  I will go over every port on what we did, and what we would do if we went back, but you are in for a treat either way.

 

Entertainment wise, we rarely went to the shows (I think maybe 2-3). It’s just tough when you leave port around 7-8, so we watch sailaway, shower, head to a dinner its already 10 pm.  In our opinions the sail always are part of the entertainment!  But there was live music everywhere, and the show we did see was surprisingly really good.  Something I would expect on a much larger vessel.  

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We are on this cruise in September.  The water taxi sounds great.  Would you share how much and where you booked it.  Looking forward to September.

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1 hour ago, TheTides said:

 

We are thinking of booking this as well!  Not to be a spoiler, but this was the best itinerary we have cruised, and am so excited to get back!  Just need to see the Baltic’s one of these days!

Thanks for the spoiler actually! Can hardly wait. We are coming off a 15 day Dubai/Suez Canal cruise on Celebrity that arrives Athens 5 days before, so will spend 2 days in Athens and 3 days in Venice prior. So happy I found this sailing on the Dawn that matches up so good. Any recommends for a Venice hotel. How as the weather in April? Thanks for any tips!

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3 hours ago, TheTides said:

 

The one negative on the ship for me, and why I would debate not sailing her again, was the gym was not only pathetic, but reeked of smoke.  The instructors apologized multiple times, but we. Realized it was better to have our exercise from walking throughout Greece than gain 2nd hand smoke from the gym.  It was just odd, as the entire ship I never smelled cigarettes until I was in the gym.  So, if you are into having a morning run, I would utilize  the running track, and avoid the gym!

This is good to know, as I am in the gym at 6 a.m. every cruise morning, getting my 2 mile walk in on the treadmill.  Will definitely think of using the outdoor track. 

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Loving your review so far! We've got our eye on a Norway/North Cape sailing on the Star next June so I'm definitely interested in your experience. Also your photos are definitely making me want to book the Greek Isles!! Looking forward to your comments on dining.

 

Does this version of Spice H20 only have hot tubs? Are there loungers? 

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Your pictures are beautiful! So thankful for your review. I'm doing a seven day in November and living vicariously through your pictures for now. 

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