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Review of Star April 16-24


trvlbug

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We are back from our 8 night sailing on the Star. Thought I would write a review. Just to show you how objective these things are I just read cruzelovers and they liked the shows and hated the comedian. We were the opposite LOL. So here goes.

 

There were 6 of us. Myself and DH (both 51), my sister and her boyfriend (44 and 52) and my husbands brother and his wife (both 48). Our 9th cruise and for everyone else it was their first. We are all from Canada.

 

Flew to LAX and got a cab to the Hyatt Regency in Long Beach. Got it on Priceline for $80 a night. Great spot overlooking the Queen Mary and the Marina. Went to the Yard Pub for drinks and appies then walked around for a bit. Good food. They were setting up for the Toyota Grand Prix so that was interesting to see.

 

Next morning went to the buffet breakfast as we were up early. Pretty good and not overly pricey ($15 each). Took a cab for all of us and our luggage to the San Pedro port ($24 with tip). We were on the ship by noon.

 

Got to to go to our cabins about 1:30 and our shore excursion tickets and our anniversary package was there. The anniversary package consists of a bottle of champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, dinner for two at Les Bistro with a bottle of wine, canapes one night (Zihuantanejo) and a get together at the honeymoon party. Good value for $79 total.

 

We were in 10010 which is a balcony cabin forward. Our original booking was for a balcony guarantee on deck 8. The cabin was fine and we put all of our things away and put the suitcases under the bed. I had a pop up hamper from the dollar store which worked out well. The balcony itself was a little different in that it was not as open as others. The forward three balconies on this deck are coved if that makes sense. At first I was a little disappointed as it did make the view a bit smaller but it was actually nice in avoiding the wind so we ended up liking it. Our cabin was on the starboard side and we got the afternoon sun and we also faced the ports quite often. Jeannette and Garry were our attendants and they did a great job. You will recognize Jeannette by the very large bow she wears in her hair. Both were very professional but also very friendly.

 

Our favourite bartender was Singh at the Bier Garten. He was friendly and attentive and made some strong drinks. Also gave us deals once in a while! On the last night he told us he had been promoted to the Casino Bar as bar manager because of how many nice comments he received on the comment cards. So please remember to fill those out.

 

Captain Lars was great! He was very forthcoming in his announcements and they were very informative. We also thought he was hilarious although I am not sure that he was trying to be LOL. In Puerto Vallarta we had a problem with a water seal and so were late leaving. He told us that although we would be arriving a bit later in Cabo that he was giving us an extra half hour there. Very nice man.

 

The food was mostly good. We ate in the buffet, at the grill, the dining rooms, Cagneys, Teppenyaki and the Bistro.

 

The market cafe was a buffet. I am not sure what other people have in their kitchens but it amazes me that people complain that the breakfasts are always the same. There were eggs, bacon, sausages, oatmeal, grits, waffles, french toast, fruit, bagels, toast, hashbrowns, potatoes, cereal. I especially loved the freshly made waffles that were at the outside area.

 

We had breakfast at Versaille which was nice and relaxing. It was packed in there also so a lot of people are going to the dining rooms for breakfast. One morning we also ordered room service. Very limited menu but we just wanted juice, coffee, croissants and fruit. Came quickly and was fine.

 

Our first night we had coupons for 2 for 1 at a specialty restaurant so we all chose Teppenyaki. It was very good. They seat 12 people and each group of 6 each got their own chef. Very entertaining and the food was great.

 

Ate at Aqua one night. We went about 7 and had no wait for 6 of us. It was also good but did get a bit noisy. We wore jeans which are not a problem.

 

Cagneys was on our last night and it was very good. The steaks were great and the person who had the lobster was also impressed. They were out of the whole lobster but gave him 3 lobster tails.

 

The Bistro was just ok for us. The portions were so huge that we were stuffed before the entree came. DH ordered the poached halibut that was an appetizer. When it came it was about 6 inches long and about 3 inches high! Far too much for an appetizer. The food was not as good as Cagneys although I did enjoy my mussels and onion soup. We did not have room for dessert.

 

It was easy to make reservations by 7 the previous morning. We were usually up then anyway so would just phone. At no time did we see where you could get a deal if you ate early.

 

My sister and her boyfriend ate at La Trattoria one night and said it was ok. Nothing special, but the portions were much too large.

 

Next up.........entertainment

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Part 2

 

We went to see Peter Sasso the comedian and thought he was hilarious. Saw him a couple of times during the cruise and enjoyed each time.

 

They advertised a pub crawl so we all went down at 9 to the Red Lion Pub. Sean was playing there. Someone from the cruise directors staff came down and asked who was there for the pub crawl. A bunch of us cheered and he came around and gave us each a deck of cards. That was it! So it was actually a pub stop! They never did anything else! Sean would have been good but the music was so loud we couldn't talk to each other at the table. We stayed about an hour or so then left.

 

The chinese acrobats were giving a preview one day so we went to that. They were absolutely amazing. We were told that this was a preview to Cirque Pacific so make sure we go to that and see more of the acrobats.

 

The newlywed game was fun and we were in it as the middle couple. Let's just say that we were teased about stairs for the rest of the cruise.

 

The deck party when leaving Acapulco was a lot of fun. Music was good and they had some games. Enjoyable evening.

 

One day we were kind of bored so went to see the passenger talent show. I think there were four people in it. It killed an hour. Plus the right person won.

 

Off we went to see Cirque Pacific and the chinese acrobats. I am thinking it was supposed to be a South Pacific theme. Well they did some karate, stomping and a bit of dancing. All of this to loud drum beats. It was terrible. The appearance of the chinese acrobats consisted of the one fellow flipping across the stage in the middle of a dance sequence. The two girls were given the spotlight for a few minutes each and they were awesome. The show on it's own was horrible. We left and were looking forward to the Farewell show on the last evening.

 

Looked in the daily for the time of the Farewell show. None listed. We then heard that after Cirque Pacific they had brought the crew up for some applause. No cruise video, no fountains, no farewell. Very disappointing.

 

Que was the cruise director. He was the worst we have seen in 9 cruises. It was just awful. Absolutely no personality and he could not get the crowd going. In the newlywed game he had six names to remember and he even had them written down. He forgot our names each time.

 

The Ports:

 

Acapulco: Walked to the fort and paid $8 for two of us to get in. Very interesting rooms and a lot of the rooms have explanations in English. Unfortunately we had hired a guide at the entrance where you pay. All he wanted to do was sing to us. He kept singing Dean Martin, Elvis and Paul Anka. He wanted to wait for the ships tour to come in the room to give us an explanation but of course we did not want to be crammed in with all those people so we just kept ahead of them and read for ourselves when we could. When we refused to pay him (he had really literally sang the whole time LOL) he became irate and walked away. Do not hire Alphonso. Also, no need to take the ship tour here. It is a five minute walk.

 

We then walked about three blocks to the Zocallo which is the local shopping district. Sat and had a beer for $1 each. Looked in some of the stores and watched some of the local merchants filling bags with different items. People were very friendly and helped point us on our way.

 

Our next stop was the cliff divers. We discovered that this was all uphill from the Zocallo and once again people were helpful in letting us know that we were going the right way. It was a bit of a hike and I would say took about 20 minutes. Once at the top we were at the hotel where the cliff divers were. We asked a fellow outside and he said the next show would be starting in approximately 1/2 an hour. I told him we did not want the dinner but wanted drinks. So for $15 a person we were seated at the very front of the verandah under some shade and were given two drinks each. Lovely. The cliff divers were spectacular. One was a 13 year old girl! Oh, and the bathrooms were great.

 

Headed back down hill and stopped in at a local restaurant and had tacos and beer. We then walked back to the ship. It was a great day and had not cost us an arm and a leg.

 

Zihuantanejo: This was a tender port so we rode that in. Did not have to have tickets or anything. Just lined up and away we went. We just walked through the flea market and part of the town. Also walked along the shoreline and stopped at an umbrella on the beach for beer and chips and salsa. $1 beer once again. Very pretty place. Spent about 3 hours there.

 

Puerto Vallarta: Booked a shore excursion (should have known better). It was the Las Caletas tour at $89 a person. Met on the dock and were taken to a boat. Had a leisurely boat ride along the shore. The "cruise director" had some of his facts mixed up but it was fun. Landed at Las Caletas which was very pretty but things were quite regimented there. Eat lunch, snorkel at this time, nature walk at this time etc. No one ever really said when things were starting so you had to keep an eye out. There was another group there when we arrived so beach chairs were at a shortage. Plus they were not loungers so you could not stretch out. When it was time to leave we piled back in the boat and he flew across that water! With the tour being all you can drink some people were looking a little green at this time. I would not do this tour again. The same company does a tour to Ylapa that we went on last year and it was much more fun and interesting.

 

Cabo: We were tendering. However, they had not posted that we needed tender tickets so people were heading to the gangway. Finally the cruise director came on and said you had to get your tender tickets from the shore excursion desk. Some people still had not heard the announcement so there was much confusion on the loading deck. They should have put this in the daily the night before! We finally got ashore and walked right to the back of the dock area. Behind the chain link are all the taxi, tour guys wanting to take you somewhere. I saw Gabriel and he gave us a price of $25 a person. We went on a tour of Cabo, saw the surfing beach and family beach. He gave us a tour of some of the exclusive resorts and the gated community that Michael Jordan owns. Then he drove us up to San Jose Del Cabo and we saw the Mission and dancing fountain. He recommended a restaurant to us and it was very good. Walked back to the van while looking in some stores and he drove us back to the dock. He was a very nice, unobtrusive man who gave us a lot of information and would still have driven us around but we were hot and tired. His van was air conditioned. It was a wonderful day and again, did not cost a lot.

 

Next up: What we liked, didn't like and would we do it again.

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Trvlbug-

 

You and your husband were hilarious at the Newlywed Game! We had a blast watching.

 

Sorry you missed the crew fairwell and Fountains, although I will say Fountains did not work as well as when we had seen it before. The participants were cracking up through the whole thing, kinda ruined it.

 

I agree Que wasn't the greatest CD ever. He was nice enough when we ran into him around the ship, but he seemed rather disorganized and constantly trippping over his words.

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Part 3: Likes, Dislikes and Maybe

 

Being on holiday with my husband is a wonderful thing. I get to see him relax and reap the benefits of his hard work. We love cruising and we are only going to do one more all inclusive and that is to Cuba. After that, it is all cruising.

 

Here is what we liked and disliked about this cruise.

 

Liked:

 

The ship: She is very pretty and each venue is decorated differently

 

The staff: As always, amazing people. Always a smile even when working those long hours. Singh did not get to see his baby girl being born and has not seen her at all yet here he was serving us crazy canucks with professionalism and a smile. Get to know a bit about those that are making your cruise so enjoyable. Watch them light up when you ask about their family!

 

The Food: We love freestyle cruising (this is our 2nd time on NCL) and thought the food was very good. Even the food we did not enjoy so much was edible. Besides, I could not, and do not cook like that at home so whatever we eat is a treat! Also, I forgot to mention about the BBQ that NCL put on a few times during our cruise. Great chicken, ribs, chops, salads etc. This is out by the pool and is not to be confused with the grill that is outside by the buffet which serves hamburgers and hot dogs.

 

The Ports: That is one of the things we love about cruising. A chance to see places that perhaps we would never visit. I would not plan a trip to Acapulco but was so glad we went for a day. All of the others were also wonderful although I love Puerto Vallarta and have been there once before.

 

The Weather: Great all cruise. We were in the 90's each day! The last day at sea heading to LA was windy so therefore a bit chilly. By about noon the pool deck was pretty well empty. We even saw dolphins our first day at sea!

 

Entertainment: We loved Jana who sang at Gatsbys. Stan Sykes who was in the Carousel lounge was great. Sean at the Red Lion would have been great except it was way too loud. This could have been because we were stuck by a speaker. But still, if you can't even talk! Thought the chinese acrobats were amazing. Peter Sasso the comedian made us laugh a lot. Xcite, who played by the pool were wonderful and played a real variety.

 

What we Disliked: Now before you flame away LOL remember that something that bothered me on the cruise may not have bothered you and vice versa. That is what makes the world go round!

 

Cruise Director: Que was just not up to par with what we are use to. Did not make the venues he was directing fun.

 

No Farewell Show: We look forward to seeing parts of the video and fountains and applauding the staff. This was not advertised so did not get to see it. Also, we may have bought the video as we could have been on it but it was never shown and no one we talked to seemed to know what was on it.

 

Tendering in Cabo: Mass confusion which could have been avoided had something been printed in the daily. Especially since we didn't need tickets in Zihuantanejo. The staff were getting very surly towards the passengers.

 

The Pool Deck and lack of covered pool: With the two giant slides the pool deck is ugly and small and also lacks a view because the slides block it. There is nowhere to go on a windy day and I don't want to pay $15 each to use the spa pool.

 

Pub Crawl: Don't advertise this as such if you are not going to different venues and just handing us a deck of cards. Others we talked to said that in the past these have been fun.

 

Entertainment: The Stingrays in Spinnaker made us feel as though we were watching a high school band. Their voices were overpowered by their music and when you could hear them they did not sound good. Cirque Pacific - it was just bad and amateurish and made absolutely no sense.

 

So, how did we like it? Well we had a great time! If the price and itinerary were right we would go on NCL again. We prefer RCCL for their ships, ambiance, entertainment, pools etc. but any cruise is better than sitting at home! Right now NCL would be our second choice but we would have no qualms about sailing with them again.

 

Oh I forgot to mention that we had a great Meet and Greet that Debbie arranged on our roll call. A lot of the staff came and we had a fun gift exchange. It was nice to see a lot of them around the ship and we also met a great couple that we can hopefully stay friends with. Hi Rod and Jill!

 

Well that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Any questions please ask and I will try my best to answer.

 

Trish

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Part 2

 

We went to see Peter Sasso the comedian and thought he was hilarious. Saw him a couple of times during the cruise and enjoyed each time.

 

They advertised a pub crawl so we all went down at 9 to the Red Lion Pub. Sean was playing there. Someone from the cruise directors staff came down and asked who was there for the pub crawl. A bunch of us cheered and he came around and gave us each a deck of cards. That was it! So it was actually a pub stop! They never did anything else! Sean would have been good but the music was so loud we couldn't talk to each other at the table. We stayed about an hour or so then left.

 

The chinese acrobats were giving a preview one day so we went to that. They were absolutely amazing. We were told that this was a preview to Cirque Pacific so make sure we go to that and see more of the acrobats.

 

The newlywed game was fun and we were in it as the middle couple. Let's just say that we were teased about stairs for the rest of the cruise.

 

The deck party when leaving Acapulco was a lot of fun. Music was good and they had some games. Enjoyable evening.

 

One day we were kind of bored so went to see the passenger talent show. I think there were four people in it. It killed an hour. Plus the right person won.

 

Off we went to see Cirque Pacific and the chinese acrobats. I am thinking it was supposed to be a South Pacific theme. Well they did some karate, stomping and a bit of dancing. All of this to loud drum beats. It was terrible. The appearance of the chinese acrobats consisted of the one fellow flipping across the stage in the middle of a dance sequence. The two girls were given the spotlight for a few minutes each and they were awesome. The show on it's own was horrible. We left and were looking forward to the Farewell show on the last evening.

 

Looked in the daily for the time of the Farewell show. None listed. We then heard that after Cirque Pacific they had brought the crew up for some applause. No cruise video, no fountains, no farewell. Very disappointing.

 

Que was the cruise director. He was the worst we have seen in 9 cruises. It was just awful. Absolutely no personality and he could not get the crowd going. In the newlywed game he had six names to remember and he even had them written down. He forgot our names each time.

 

The Ports:

 

Acapulco: Walked to the fort and paid $8 for two of us to get in. Very interesting rooms and a lot of the rooms have explanations in English. Unfortunately we had hired a guide at the entrance where you pay. All he wanted to do was sing to us. He kept singing Dean Martin, Elvis and Paul Anka. He wanted to wait for the ships tour to come in the room to give us an explanation but of course we did not want to be crammed in with all those people so we just kept ahead of them and read for ourselves when we could. When we refused to pay him (he had really literally sang the whole time LOL) he became irate and walked away. Do not hire Alphonso. Also, no need to take the ship tour here. It is a five minute walk.

 

We then walked about three blocks to the Zocallo which is the local shopping district. Sat and had a beer for $1 each. Looked in some of the stores and watched some of the local merchants filling bags with different items. People were very friendly and helped point us on our way.

 

Our next stop was the cliff divers. We discovered that this was all uphill from the Zocallo and once again people were helpful in letting us know that we were going the right way. It was a bit of a hike and I would say took about 20 minutes. Once at the top we were at the hotel where the cliff divers were. We asked a fellow outside and he said the next show would be starting in approximately 1/2 an hour. I told him we did not want the dinner but wanted drinks. So for $15 a person we were seated at the very front of the verandah under some shade and were given two drinks each. Lovely. The cliff divers were spectacular. One was a 13 year old girl! Oh, and the bathrooms were great.

 

Headed back down hill and stopped in at a local restaurant and had tacos and beer. We then walked back to the ship. It was a great day and had not cost us an arm and a leg.

 

Zihuantanejo: This was a tender port so we rode that in. Did not have to have tickets or anything. Just lined up and away we went. We just walked through the flea market and part of the town. Also walked along the shoreline and stopped at an umbrella on the beach for beer and chips and salsa. $1 beer once again. Very pretty place. Spent about 3 hours there.

 

Puerto Vallarta: Booked a shore excursion (should have known better). It was the Las Caletas tour at $89 a person. Met on the dock and were taken to a boat. Had a leisurely boat ride along the shore. The "cruise director" had some of his facts mixed up but it was fun. Landed at Las Caletas which was very pretty but things were quite regimented there. Eat lunch, snorkel at this time, nature walk at this time etc. No one ever really said when things were starting so you had to keep an eye out. There was another group there when we arrived so beach chairs were at a shortage. Plus they were not loungers so you could not stretch out. When it was time to leave we piled back in the boat and he flew across that water! With the tour being all you can drink some people were looking a little green at this time. I would not do this tour again. The same company does a tour to Ylapa that we went on last year and it was much more fun and interesting.

 

Cabo: We were tendering. However, they had not posted that we needed tender tickets so people were heading to the gangway. Finally the cruise director came on and said you had to get your tender tickets from the shore excursion desk. Some people still had not heard the announcement so there was much confusion on the loading deck. They should have put this in the daily the night before! We finally got ashore and walked right to the back of the dock area. Behind the chain link are all the taxi, tour guys wanting to take you somewhere. I saw Gabriel and he gave us a price of $25 a person. We went on a tour of Cabo, saw the surfing beach and family beach. He gave us a tour of some of the exclusive resorts and the gated community that Michael Jordan owns. Then he drove us up to San Jose Del Cabo and we saw the Mission and dancing fountain. He recommended a restaurant to us and it was very good. Walked back to the van while looking in some stores and he drove us back to the dock. He was a very nice, unobtrusive man who gave us a lot of information and would still have driven us around but we were hot and tired. His van was air conditioned. It was a wonderful day and again, did not cost a lot.

 

Next up: What we liked, didn't like and would we do it again.

 

 

Thanks for the great review!

Can u tell me the name of the hotel u went to for the cliff divers and any ideaa the times they dive? thanks again

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FEB21 Sorry, no 2.0 yet

 

cruzeluver: just wish they had advertised it. Glad you got to see it though. I was so nervous at the newlywed game. First time ever being in anything like that! I still can't believe that we both remembered that one "incident" which happened probably more than 20 years ago.

 

KPATE: I thought Sean sounded great. Maybe the night we were there it was extra loud or just that we got stuck by the speakers. It wasn't just me but a few tables around us that thought it was just too loud. Well we'll just have to go back and give him a second chance huh! Anything for another cruise!

 

easygoesit: The hotel was the El Mirador I believe. Not sure really what times their shows are. I think they change when a ship is in port. If you go to the Mexican Riviera Board there is a thread by the ACA (port director) from Acapulco. I believe the regular times are at 1, 6, 7 and 10 but when we went they dove at 5. Hope this helps.

 

Trish

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