Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
TheTides

Star - 9 Night Greek Isles Review

Recommended Posts

3 hours ago, George48 said:

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.

 

110 Euros!  So not cheap at all!  But you can also coordinate if you have people arriving on the same flight to share one. One of our highlights of Venice!  I will not recommend a company, because ours was an hour late.  But there is a stand right by the dock you can buy them and walk on.  We regret not doing this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, basicprincess24 said:

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? 

Just hot tubs, couches, and chairs.  There really isn’t anywhere to lay out, as the area besides the hot tubs are covered.  My suggestion is to walk one deck up to the Helipad which is full of loungers and never busy, then come back down for drinks, hot tub, and serenity! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Dejlig Ko said:

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!

Cannot comment on weather or hotels!  We booked an Airbnb which we loved thought, close to a lot of great local restaurants. Weather for mid-late May was in the 60s though if that helps!  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours 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!

I am loving this.  I will be there in around 100 days - have just paid in full !!!!!!    However I have to say that a Baltic cruise is mega-special.  It was made wonderful for us by having our family together with friends from home.  There were several families that the kids knew who were coincidentally on the cruise.  However ...  Stockholm, Oslo, St Petersburg, Helsinki, Copenhagen and Estonia - what is there not to like???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, TheTides said:

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

 

I feel a little awkward.  I knew the environmental problems caused by cruise ships.  2020 was supposed to be the end of the ships cruising the Grand Canal so I booked for this September.  I am looking forward to it and was worried that the MSC thing speeded up the use of the new port.  I would still love it though.  

 

I am not planning a James Bond arrival - my husband would be furious at $110, but we will be using the Vaporetti and want to do an evening trip down the Grand Canal.  PArt of me thinks we will not be using the boats very much but I would like one of our days to include Murano, Burano, and Torcella.  

 

But now Tides - please spill the beans about the ports.  I am particularly interested in how Santorini worked out.  I think I may take a ship tour to Oia  because it will get us there sooner than relying on the cable car and bus.  Not sure.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One quick side note, the beauty of this trip is it is essentially the exact same 9 day cruise for the Dawn the next 2 years, and the 7 day is the same itinerary minus 2 ports (I believe Athens and Rhodes). So hopefully this can be a resource for  the future.

 

Okay!   Onto some Dining and service. So we ate at all the Venus onboard except Moderno’s which we had heard great things about.  Overall dining was good to very good.  Most dinners took two hours.  I really wish they would make these slightly faster, it just felt like the restaurants were understaffed. If you added 4-5 more servers per room, I think it would be a much more attentive experience.  Also, the menus to me have started to lack creativity. Everything seems for the most part simpler, or a dumbed down menu to cater to the pickiest eater, which the foodie in me is disappointed in.  You will not go hungry, and will for the most part probably enjoy the cuisine on the ship, but I just wish there were more dishes that I was Wowed by. 

 

MDR: We ate Versailles  once for lunch (horrible horrible) on our first day, and Aqua for an evening of desserts, as well as a full meal.  If I had to suggest one, while they are the same menu, pick Aqua.  It felt more like a boutique restaurant, great finishes, and very pleasant service.  Everyone in Aqua bent over backwards to assist us in our meal.  Had probably one of our best dishes here as well.  Plus this dining room allows shorts and is open til 11!  Our lunch in Versailles took roughly an hour and a half, had to keep asking for refills for water, and was served moldy (yes) watermelon.  Possibly the worst way to start a trip, but I promise it went up from here.

 

Ginza:  Wow.... Loved this place.  Just purely for the potstickers. Service was for the most part efficient, menu had a nice variety, and had great views of the water.  We loved it so much we went here 2x for dinner and one night for potstickers!  

 

La Cucina:  Probably top two speciality restaurants for us on the ship.  We have avoided this spot since the Epic, but I feel their menu has improved vastly.  The steak and blue cheese ravioli was fantastic.  

 

Le Bistro:  Our other favorite meal on the ship.  Great service all around.  As always, great food.  

 

Cagneys:  Good, not great.  Steak was probably most flavorful but tasted like it has been sitting under a heat lamp for 15 minutes, so it was pretty tough.  Shrimp (surf and turf) was the highlight.  Lobster bisque (skip) like tomato soup. 

 

Teppanyaki: I know some people love it, and I really wanted to love it, but the fact it took 45 minutes to go from our salad to the show is a little crazy.  Food is good, just wish you got WAY more veggies.  I asked for extra knowing this would be a problem, but they assured me I would get plenty (one slice of onion, one zucchini slice, one carrot slice). Show was fine, thought was better than last time, as the entire dining room was coordinated which makes it fun!  Next time I’d choose Moderno.  

 

Garden Cafe: You know, once again good not great.  There was two days the buffet wowed me, but other than that just your standard buffet food.  Once section always changed (Mexican-seafood-Italian) while the rest was sandwiches, Indian food, desserts, salad, fruit, Asian.  You wont go hungry.  But I rarely left saying wow, that was one heck of a meal.  
 

Pool Deck:  the burgers were actually awesome!  Seems so basic but really a nice treat once and a while, and they were very tasty

 

Osheehan’s:  I thought pretty dang good.  Fajitas were great (guacamole was yellow, so didn't taste) wings fantastic, cheesecake great, and once again great wings.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you have pictures of the Le Bistro menu, including desserts?  I had heard they change them since our January cruise and was wondering if it was true.  Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MNcruisingcouple said:

Do you have pictures of the Le Bistro menu, including desserts?  I had heard they change them since our January cruise and was wondering if it was true.  Thanks

I do, but they are on my other computer.  I will post menus hopefully soon!  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those sunset pictures are unbelievably beautiful.  Thanks so much for sharing!  Still following along.  I will probably regret sticking with Getaway/Rome vs. Dawn/Venice, but I have younger kids and feel like they will enjoy the Getaway more.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Tides, 

 

LOVE the pics. Thanks so much for posting them. Did you bid on an upgrade? I put a bid in for my August cruise but haven't heard back yet. Keeping fingers crossed. I was successful last year with a bid on the Breakaway Baltic cruise. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let’s get onto the meat of the review.... the ports.  This cruise is truly about the ports.  For looking at the other itineraries, NCL had the best port times for our dates, as well as a port every day.  This is what sold the cruise for us.  Our Cruise had the following itinerary.

 

Venice

Kotor

Corfu

Santorini

Athens

Rhodes

Mykonos

Argostoli 

Dubrovnik 

Venice

 

I mean how could you say no to this.  I think after this, our hesitation on doing the Baltic’s is not having a port every day.  It was so wonderful exploring every day, and relaxing in the afternoons.  Another side note, each port’s sail in is spectacular.  Make sure you at least watch the sail in for Dubrovnik, Corfu and Montenegro.  Each are beautiful in their own regard. Also, we arrived in each port at a minimum of 30 minutes early. So if you want to maximize your time, be ready to roll early!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kotor

 

 What a place.  What a sail-in. We woke up late, as we were winding down after a wild few days in Venice, and headed up to the top deck around 11.  As we started to grab breakfast, we noticed all of a sudden we were just entering the harbor.  It was about a 2 hour sail-in, but just stunning.  Make you you take part in this!  Today was a tender port, and and its extremely simple to grab tender tickets.  I had read reviews of the horror of tendering on this itinerary, but all we had to do was show up maybe 20 minutes before tickets are released, and you should be on the first few tenders.   We ended up with Tender 3

 

In my thought there are three things to do in Kotor:  The hike to the castle, the old town, and the Lady of our Rock.  From 2-8 (we arrived at 1) I believe you can do 2 out of the three things comfortably.  We chose to do the hike and the town, both DIY.  The hike was a blast.  And hard haha. If you are not in the greatest shape, this may take some time (I think we were there and back with pictures in 2.5 hours). But the views are breathtaking.  And if you need a break just turn around and see how far you have come!  

 

Once we made it back down, we grabbed a few drinks and explored the town.  I wish I could tell you what we saw or where we walked, but we just enjoyed being there in this beautiful place.  There were musicians playing in the main square, so we just drank, danced until it was time to head back!  Ended the night with a wonderful meal at Ginza (complimentary), then a few drinks watching us sail out in the hot tub in H20

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Tides.  Wonderful pictures.  We are on this ship in September for Greek Isles.  You are making me very excited about going.  I wanted to do an all Italy land trip, but my husband wanted a cruise.  Guess who won?  We are in Venice for 5 days in the beginning, then cruise, then taking train to Rome for 5 days.

 

So to be clear, when you sailed out of Venice you were at H20 Spice?  We have the mini-suite on the port side next to the bridge so I figured I would just be in my room, but I wanted a 360 degree view from somewhere on deck.  Would this be the best place to be?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve read that H20Spice is supposed to be adults only, however other posters said they avoided that location due to children being present.

The Tides what  was your experience?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First time cruiser... We were on the port side (left) since we could see Doges Palace from the land.  Below is a video of sail out!  Then we concluded our sailout in SpiceH2O. 

 

SpiceH2O was for the most part kid-free.  I saw a few kids here and there, but to be honest with you they were so well behaved never really bothered us.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, TheTides said:

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

Hello we fly to Rome from Australia then board the ship 2 day's  later. Rome, Dubrovnik, kotor, Corfu, santorini,  mykonos, Naples, Florence,  Rome.

We the fly to Copenhagen for a night & Then sail on Escape to the Baltic. 

Pretty  excited as never been to Europe before as it's  so far away😁

 

Edited by joejoe 59

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, joejoe 59 said:

Hello we fly to Rome from Australia then board the ship 2 day's  later. Rome, Dubrovnik, kotor, Corfu, santorini,  mykonos, Naples, Florence,  Rome.

We the fly to Copenhagen for a night & Then sail on Escape to the Baltic. 

Pretty  excited as never been to Europe before as it's  so far away😁

 

That is one heck of a vacation!!!    I would find packing a bit of a challenge, but layers is always the way to go.  I hope that you have lots of memory in your camera.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, firstimer2009 said:

Thank you Tides.  Wonderful pictures.  We are on this ship in September for Greek Isles.  You are making me very excited about going.  I wanted to do an all Italy land trip, but my husband wanted a cruise.  Guess who won?  We are in Venice for 5 days in the beginning, then cruise, then taking train to Rome for 5 days.

 

So to be clear, when you sailed out of Venice you were at H20 Spice?  We have the mini-suite on the port side next to the bridge so I figured I would just be in my room, but I wanted a 360 degree view from somewhere on deck.  Would this be the best place to be?

 

 

It’s hard to say.  I’d say you should be on the port side, but if your balcony is, it maybe worth it to stay there.  Regardless its awe inspiring, and thankfully for us the canal is still open to ships!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Corfu:

 

We docked here from 10-4.  Simply a wonderful port.  This was probably the worst weather we had all trip, as it was pretty chilly and overcast. For the day we chartered a boat for a day cruise around the island.  The original plan was to swim in the caves and snorkel, but with the weather being in the high 60’s, no chance!  We used Corfu town boat rentals, just a wonderful company.  They will pick you up from the cruise ship dock, drive you through old town, then to their dock, which is overlooking the old fort.  I believe we paid 120 E for the boat for the day, 30 E for a captain, and of course gas, which I believed turned out to be around 20 E.  This was a magnificent and relaxing way to see the north side of the island.  As you can see in the photos, the island is very lush, and our captain was able to point out interesting icons as well as the history of the island. Plus, lets be honest.  Anytime someone is driving us around on a boat I am happy.  We could have cruised all day, but we decided to head back around 2 to have a small taste of the town.  Corfu seems like there is quite a bit to do, with both the of the forts (old and new), the UNESCO old town, and the water of course.  Talking to a few people the forts were slightly disappointing (I am sure if you are into that history it would be great) but we really enjoyed the mix of sightseeing and relaxing as we headed back to the boat.  We once again headed up to (you guessed it) H20 to enjoy snacks, drinks, and some loungers as we watched sail-away.  Side note, when you cruise in/out of Corfu, Albania will be on your left side.  This evening we dined at Le Bistro, and were planning to go to the show, but after a 3 hour dinner we decided it was time to head to bed for our next big morning, Santorini!  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, TheTides said:

Corfu:

 

We docked here from 10-4.  Simply a wonderful port.  This was probably the worst weather we had all trip, as it was pretty chilly and overcast. For the day we chartered a boat for a day cruise around the island.  The original plan was to swim in the caves and snorkel, but with the weather being in the high 60’s, no chance!  We used Corfu town boat rentals, just a wonderful company.  They will pick you up from the cruise ship dock, drive you through old town, then to their dock, which is overlooking the old fort.  I believe we paid 120 E for the boat for the day, 30 E for a captain, and of course gas, which I believed turned out to be around 20 E.  This was a magnificent and relaxing way to see the north side of the island.  As you can see in the photos, the island is very lush, and our captain was able to point out interesting icons as well as the history of the island. Plus, lets be honest.  Anytime someone is driving us around on a boat I am happy.  We could have cruised all day, but we decided to head back around 2 to have a small taste of the town.  Corfu seems like there is quite a bit to do, with both the of the forts (old and new), the UNESCO old town, and the water of course.  Talking to a few people the forts were slightly disappointing (I am sure if you are into that history it would be great) but we really enjoyed the mix of sightseeing and relaxing as we headed back to the boat.  We once again headed up to (you guessed it) H20 to enjoy snacks, drinks, and some loungers as we watched sail-away.  Side note, when you cruise in/out of Corfu, Albania will be on your left side.  This evening we dined at Le Bistro, and were planning to go to the show, but after a 3 hour dinner we decided it was time to head to bed for our next big morning, Santorini!  

Tides

 

We are hoping to have a DIY, wander around the town day in Corfu.  I know that you were driven from the ship, but have you any advice about getting to and from town.  Is it walkable??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, ollienbertsmum said:

Tides

 

We are hoping to have a DIY, wander around the town day in Corfu.  I know that you were driven from the ship, but have you any advice about getting to and from town.  Is it walkable??

Great question... Whether its walkable is up to you... we debated it, but a cab was also 6-8 euro on the way back... not bad at all.  NCL also was offering free shuttles to and from the port.  While we did not take advantage of this, I heard others used this service and was happy with it.  Maybe someone can also comment who used this service. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter for a chance to win a $3,000 Norwegian Cruise Line Gift Card
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...