Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 376 out of 500
Accommodation: 145 out of 200
Food: 240 out of 400
Service: 272 out of 400
Entertainment: 67 out of 100
Cruise: 273 out of 400
Overall Score: 1373 out of 2000
Norwegian Star Statistics
Size: Large Resort Ship
Cruise Line: Norwegian Cruise Line
Former Names: none
IMO Number: 9195157
Builder: Meyer Werft (Germany)
Original Cost: $400 million
Entered Service: Dec 2001
Length (ft/m): 964.9/294.1
Beam (ft/m): 105.6/32.2
Draft (ft/m): 26.9/8.2
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (39,000kW)/2 azimuthing pods
Passenger Decks: 12
Total Crew: 1,083
Passengers (lower beds): 2,348
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 39
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.1
Cabins (total): 1,122
Size Range (sq ft/m): 142.0-5,350.0/13.2-497.0
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 509
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 20
Wheelchair accessibility: Best
Cabin Current: 110 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 3
Hot Tubs (on deck): 5
Self-Service Launderette: No
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: Yes/151
Onboard currency: US$
A family-friendly, multi-choice ship for active types
Overview. Many more choices, including lots of dining options, add up to a very attractive package, particularly suitable for families with children, in a very contemporary floating leisure center that really does provide ample facilities for enjoyment.
The Ship. Norwegian Star, a sister ship to Norwegian Dawn, has a pod propulsion system. A large structure located forward of the funnel houses a children’s play center, and, one deck above, the two outstanding ‘villa’ suites. The hull is adorned with a decal consisting of a burst of colorful stars and streamers.
There are plenty of sunloungers. Water slides are included for the adult swimming pools, while children have their own pools at the ship’s stern.
Facilities include an Internet café, a showlounge with main floor and two balcony levels, 3,000-book library, card room, writing and study room, business center, karaoke lounge, conference and meeting rooms, a large retail shopping complex, and a casino.
With so many dining choices, some cost extra. The dress code is very casual - no jacket and tie needed, although you are welcome to dress formally if you wish. Although service levels and finesse are sometimes inconsistent, the level of hospitality is very good. But the hustling for passengers to attend art auctions is aggressive and annoying. Reaching room service tends to be an exercise in frustration.
A mandatory per person service charge is added to your account daily; 15 percent is also added for bar charges.
Families. Children of all ages will get to play in a superb wet ’n’ wild space-themed water park complete with large pool, water slide, and paddle pool. They also get their own dedicated cinema in which DVD movies are featured all day long, a jungle gym, painting area, and computer center. Even the toilets are at a special low height. Teens get their own cinema with DVD movies, discotheque with dance floor, and whirlpool tub.
Accommodation. With 29 price grades, this is a mix that includes something for everyone. There are 36 suites, including two of the largest aboard any cruise ship, 372 balcony-class standard cabins, 415 outside-view cabins (no balcony), 363 interior cabins, and 20 wheelchair-accessible cabins. Suites and cabins with private balconies have easy-to-use sliding glass doors.
All have a powerful hairdryer, and a tea and coffee making sets, rich cherry wood cabinetry, and a bathroom with a sliding door and a separate toilet, and shower enclosure and washbasin compartments. There is plenty of wood accenting in all accommodation, including wood frames surrounding balcony doors.
The largest accommodation is in two huge Garden Villas (Vista and Horizon), located high atop the ship in a pod that is located forward of the ship’s funnel, and overlooks the main swimming pool. Each measures 5,350 sq ft (497 sq m) and can be combined to create a huge, double-size ‘house.’ These villas have huge glass walls and landscaped private roof gardens (one has a Japanese-style garden, the other a Thai-style garden) for outdoor dining (with whirlpool tubs, naturally), and huge private sunbathing areas that are completely shielded.
Each suite has three bedrooms, one with a sliding glass door that leads to the garden, and bathrooms. One bathroom has a large corner tub, and two washbasins set in front of large glass walls that overlook the side of the ship as well as the swimming pool, although most of the view is of the overlarge water slide, and a large living room with Yamaha baby grand piano, glass dining table, and eight chairs. These units have their own private elevator and private stairway.
There are many suites (the smallest measures 290 sq ft/27 sq m) in several different configurations. Some overlook the stern, while others are in the forward part of the ship. All are lavishly furnished, although closet space in some of the smaller units is tight.
Although the suites and junior suites are quite spacious, the standard interior and outside-view cabins are very small when compared to those of other major cruise lines such as Carnival or Celebrity, particularly when occupied by three or four people. The bathrooms, however, are of quite a decent size and have large shower enclosures. Some cabins have interconnecting doors - good for families with children - and many cabins have third- and fourth-person pull-down berths or trundle beds.
A small room service menu is available; all non-food items cost extra, and a 15 percent service charge are added to your account. Bottled water is placed in each cabin, but a charge is made if you open the bottle.
Dining. Norwegian Cruise Line operates Freestyle Dining, so you can choose which restaurant to eat in, at what time, and with whom. Ten restaurants and eateries, with 11 different menus nightly, are spread over two decks. Overall, the food is best described as adequate, but lacking in taste and presentation, although the menus make the dishes sound good. The wine list is quite good and moderately priced, though the glasses are small.
Versailles, the ornate 375-seat first main dining room, is decorated in brilliant red and gold. This offers traditional six-course dining experience and has excellent views through windows that span two decks.
Other dining options. Aqua: a contemporary-styled 374-seat second main dining room, offering lighter cuisine, and an open galley where you can view the preparation of pastries and desserts.
Soho: Pacific Rim mixes Californian and Asian cuisine. It has a live lobster tank - the first aboard a ship outside Southeast Asia. A main dining area seats 132, and private dining rooms each seat 10.
Ginza: a Japanese restaurant, with 193 seats, a sit-up sushi bar, tempura bar, show galley, and separate ‘teppanyaki grill’ room.
Le Bistro: a French restaurant, with 66 seats, serving nouvelle cuisine and six courses.
Blue Lagoon: a funky food-court-style eatery with 88 seats, both indoors and outdoors, with hamburgers, fish and chips, potpies, and fast (wok stir-fried) dishes.
Market Café: a large indoor/outdoor self-serve buffet eatery, with almost 400ft (120m) of buffet counter space. ‘Action Stations’ has made-to-order omelets, waffles, fruit, soups, ethnic specialties, and pasta dishes.
La Trattoria, an Italian, evening-only dining spot within the buffet area, has pasta, pizza, and other Italian fare.
Steakhouse: prime USDA beef steaks and lamb chops.
Endless Summer: a Hawaiian themed restaurant, incorporating a performance stage and a large movie screen.
Other spots include the Red Lion, an English pub for draft beer and a game of darts; Havana Club, a cigar and cognac lounge; Java Café, an atrium lobby bar-café for hot and frozen coffees, teas, and pastries; a Beer Garden for grilled foods; a Spinkles, an ice cream bar; a Gym and Spa Bar for health food snacks and drinks; and Gatsby’s wine bar.
Entertainment. The Stardust Theater, seating 1,037, is the venue for colorful Las Vegas-style production shows and major cabaret acts. Two or three production shows are presented in a typical seven-day cruise, all ably performed by the Jean Ann Ryan Company. They’re very entertaining if not particularly memorable.
A number of bands and solo entertainers provide live music for listening and dancing in several lounges and bars.
Spa/Fitness. The two-deck-high Barong health spa complex, operated by the Steiner-owned and Hawaii-based Mandara Spa, is at the stern, with large ocean-view windows on three sides. A gratuity of 18 percent is automatically added for spa and beauty treatments.
The many facilities and services, almost all cost extra, include Thai massage. There is an indoor lap pool measuring 37ft (11m), hydrotherapy pool, aromatherapy and wellness centers, and 15 treatment rooms.
The fitness and exercise rooms, with the latest equipment, are at the top of the atrium lobby. Recreational sports facilities include a jogging track, golf driving range, basketball and volleyball courts, as well as four levels of sunbathing decks.