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hookedoncruisin'

Yet another review of Star, March 1-9

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After spending everyday the past several months reading the reviews and reports on NCL, cruising in general, and the Norwegian Star in particular, it is time for me to return the favor and write my own review. Because of all of your wonderful hints, tips and suggestions I felt more prepared than I ever have for any vacation. What a GREAT idea to bring a shoe holder to put over the bathroom door for our toiletries and to have a nightlight in the bathroom (especially since my DH thought it was great fun to turn off the bathroom light while I was in there!). Bringing our own sodas and a couple water bottles was also a great idea. I was fine drinking water and iced tea the entire trip and my husband only had to buy a soda here and there, since he doesn’t drink alcohol and I only had a couple drinks when we were in port, we saved a ton of money.

We are a mid 40 yr old couple who have been married only 3 ½ yrs. This was our first cruise and we are hooked! We live about an hour away from the Port, so we both worked the morning of our departure and then drove to the port, arriving at around 3 and in our stateroom by 3:30 or so. Parking, dropping off our bags at the ship, having a porter right there to assist us and embarkation was a piece of cake. We fell in love immediately with our room and the ship in general. We had an ocean view stateroom, nothing fancy, but completely adequate and comfortable. It was room 5570. The stewards were great, at times you didn’t even know they were around, but were very efficient. The beds were comfortable; I really didn’t even miss my custom comfort bed at home, which I always miss when I am away. We spent some time the first evening just getting used to the ship and becoming acquainted with where everything was located, we never did quite get it, My DH was better than I, I was always going the wrong way. We are pretty simple people with pretty simple taste, we did not eat in any of the specialty restaurants, didn’t really see a need. I am sure they were wonderful, but we were quite happy eating dinner in Versailles, at the poolside BBQ, the Grill by the Pool and those wonderful fish and chips at Blue Lagoon. We ate at Aqua twice, but much preferred Versailles. We eat alone several times and shared a table several times. We LOVED being able to choose when, where and with who to eat. We usually ate dinner around 6 – 6:30 and never had to wait for a table.

Everything was PERFECT, we have absolutely no complaints, okay, my DH did complain about the seats in the stardust theater, but other than that, everything was great. The friendliness of the crew was very mixed, some were over the top wonderful, some were very reserved, we chalked it up to cultural differences and did not take it personally, even when we had an encounter with someone I dubbed the Roulette ****. A story for another time. We fell in love with the Crew Director’s staff. We had close interaction with Sean, Gemma, Carlos and Carmen and they were so wonderful and great fun. We joined in a lot of the activities and games. I won a free game of Bingo at ‘Live at Five”, we came in second place several times in the Red Lion Pub Trivia game (really difficult questions) We went to the newlywed game and thought we should have been selected to play as we matched each others questions each time as we played along (he even guessed that I would say that the kind of fruit I would say he was most like was a Coconut, go figure) We had a blast playing the Murder Mystery Dinner and met some great fun people.

The one regret we have concerning our ship activities was that we did not participate in the CC roll call get together. We met some people who did and had a wonderful time, we definitely will next cruise.

Ports: For those who did not like Manzanillo, I am so sorry as we LOVED this port. We took the ship sponsored “Beach and Shopping Tour”. It was shopping, beach and so much more. Our guide was incredible, his name was a bit unique and we cannot remember it, but he was so knowledgeable about the city. He not only took us to the best places to shop, but he also gave us a great tour of the City including “Gringo Gulch” which was absolutely gorgeous. He then took us to a wonderful ocean front restaurant were I sipped a margarita and my DH had a couple cokes (we brought a small insolated lunch bag and our stewards kept us supplied with ice each day, we ordered sandwiches through room service and I put these and the potato chips in the ziplock bags I brought and we had lunch for free). This was the only port we opted to do this and I am still not sure it was worth lugging that big back pack around and all, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. The ocean was so warm (remember we are from California where the ocean is FREEZING this time of year). We had a wonderful time playing in the waves and laying in the sun. Yes, there were vendors at the beach selling their wares, but they had a job to do and we did not let them bother us, we politely said, “No, gracias” and they did not bother us any further. We had plenty of time when we arrived back at the port in time to get a taxi (really a golf cart in which you saw your life pass before your eyes while dodging all the traffic, an experience in itself) into old Manzanillo (at the advise of our tour guide). This was so great as we love to see old Mexico. The driver took us to a market place where the locals do their shopping (there are no Ralph’s or Albertsons grocery stores there). There were booths with huge sides of beef and hog heads right next to the booths of t-shirts and wallets, it was fascinating.

Mazatlan: We did another tour sponsored by the ship, we took the Estuary tour, it was a fun bird watching and area tour. Our guide Martin was brilliant and articulate and really knew his stuff. He took us through the estuary system, the mangrove swamps and then we took this tractor that towed our trolley about 25 miles over the sand to this restaurant in the middle of nowhere surrounded by sand. Here we ate a great Mexican meal of fish, quesadillas, rice and beans. Martin hooked us up with a Mexican cowboy who took us horseback riding on the sand for $5 each. This was another fantastic excursion.

Puerto Vallarta; Because we waited too long to book our excursions we missed out on the jungle tours in this port, they were all sold out, so we just took a taxi into town. We found this wonderful restaurant in a beautiful park that had margaritas for $1.50 and fajitas for $6 we had a wonderful relaxing day just walking the streets and finding great deals.

Cabo San Lucas: Whale watching in a Zodiac Raft. What a WILD ride! This was probably the most exhilarating, fun thing we did the whole time. We were airborne much of the time. Since we were in the front we were also wet most of the time, there was only one other person sitting in front of us and he was so happy when we saw whales so the boat would stop for a few minutes, but we loved the ride almost as much as we loved getting so close to the whales. I have been whale watching several times in Maui and California, but have never experienced anything like this, there are regulations in the states as to how close we can get to the whales, but there are no regulations in Mexico and while I understand why the regulations exist, it was unbelievable to be so incredibly close to such a magnificent animal!

We went to most of the shows and loved them all, didn’t think the comedian was all that funny, but perhaps we don’t get humor from back East.

We were very sad to head back to LA. The water was a bit rough. I am VERY susceptible to seasickness (I get sick when I snorkel in the calmest of water, I even get sick when my DH and I go dancing and he spins me more that a couple times, how pathetic!) I was SOOOOO grateful that I got a prescription for the patch from my doctor and wore one the entire time. I actually put it on 24 hours before we left as it tends to make me VERY sleepy and even a bit loopy the first 24 hours, but after that I am perfectly fine and did not have any discomfort in the least bit.

Disembarkation was a bit hectic, since my DH had to get to work that morning as soon as possible (how SAD is that!) we chose the “express” debarkation, I think 80% of the pax decided to do the same thing. The line was so long. This was not the cruise lines fault, it was because so many chose to use this service, next time, we will eat a leisurely breakfast and stay on board much longer.

We hate being back on the hamster wheel, but loved our cruise and even booked a cruise for next year while onboard, this time on the Sun to Belize, Guatemala and the other side of Mexico. We can hardly wait! I have already begun reading the reviews of the sun. Yesterday my DH came home and said, “Honey we are not leaving for a year, are you going to read those everyday until we go?” I reminded him that we leave in 11 and ½ months and that yes, I may just read them everyday until we leave.

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Great Review! Welcome to the world of cruising. Hope you enjoy the Sun as much as we did. One of the links in my sig go to webshots for our Sun cruise. Give it a look if you'd like.

 

-Monte

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Thanks so much for taking the time to post your review.

 

We will be on the Star this October for our first cruise and like you I have been all over these boards looking for tips and information.

 

It is just amazing to me how helpful everyone on this board has been.

 

Thanks again.

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We sailed the STAR a couple weeks ago and enjoyed every minute of it also. GREAT REVIEW!! :)

 

Happy Sailing!

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;) Hookedoncruisin,

If I wasn't booked on the Mercury (Celebrity), in September and the Star in November, your review surely would have made me drool! We started cruising in the mid 1980's had our last cruise in 1994 and then started again this last October....I've got the bug again! I had forgotten how much fun it was! Thanks for all your insights about the Star. I, too, am counting the days until we set sail!:p

Happy Sails to You,

Roz

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Hookedoncruisin,

Hi, we were on the same Star cruise you were and we loved it just as much as you did. We are looking at the Dawn in January. We were looking to go in March, but January is 2 months earlier. LOL We are excited to go on an 11 day cruise, but it leaves out of New York so it will be cold the first day or so. Have a great time on your second cruise!

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Great review I loved reading it. I know what you mean about reading all about the ship and itinerary. I can't get away from the computer and I should be thinking about getting organized now, not reading more info!

 

Do you remember the name of the restaurant in P.V. you went to? The whales are gone when we go in 3 weeks or I would have done the whale watching. We have done it many times from the east coast but would have been nice in a small boat.

 

Sound like you are really hooked, have fun planning your next cruise.

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judyf,

I don't even know if there was a name posted on the resturant we just happened upon. We were in what seemed like the middle of the city and we found this river we walked along the river and ended up in a park, there were a few other resturants and shops in the park, but because it was Sunday everything else was closed. I am not even sure if there was a name on the building, it was very small (perhaps 8 tables total) and just had a small sign in the front advertising $1.50 Margaritas and $6 fajitas. I know this isn't much help, but that is all I can remember :o .

Have a wonderful trip!

hookedoncruisin'

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Thanks, sounds like a nice place. If I see the sign advertising $1.50 Margaritas and $6 fajitas I'll know we found it.

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