Typically found doing Alaska and Mexican Riviera cruises, Norwegian Star was built with NCL's Freestyle Cruising concept in mind. Because of this, she has 14 dining choices onboard (including Asian, Mexican, Japanese, French, and more) and a very relaxed atmosphere. Norwegian Star is an excellent choice for people of all ages, and for cruisers of any traveling experience level. This ship has a wide variety of accommodations available, ranging from a standard inside stateroom all the way up to their ultra-luxurious Garden Villas (that are 5,750 square feet in size!).
Norwegian Star will be featuring cruises in the following regions (subject to change, based on the cruise line's discretion):
2012: Western Caribbean 2013: Western Caribbean, Europe, Panama Canal
Norwegian Star features a wide array of stateroom types, from its standard interior staterooms all the way up to its unbelievable Garden Villas.
Interior Staterooms: The interior staterooms onboard Norwegian Star are quite typical for inside rooms, relative to the rest of the cruising industry. Standard features include two lower beds (that can convert to a queen-size), a TV, a small refrigerator, a hairdryer, a closet, and a bathroom with a shower and sink. Room categories range from a category N (usually the least expensive, located on the lowest passenger deck) all the way up to a category II (located on the higher decks of the ship, and usually the most expensive inside stateroom category).
Oceanview Staterooms: The oceanview staterooms have the same standard amenities as the interior staterooms, however; they feature a porthole or window of some sort (for a nice view of the surroundings while you're traveling). The most basic oceanviews are the category H's (which feature a porthole window), while the most premium oceanviews are the category C's (which feature a picture window). The category G's have an obstructed view (there will be a lifeboat hanging in front of your window, blocking the full view).
Balcony Staterooms: The balcony staterooms onboard Norwegian Star feature a sitting area, and a floor-to-ceiling glass door that opens to a private balcony. The most premium category for the standard (non-suite) balconies is a category BA, while a BE is the least premium.
Suites: Like most NCL ships, there is a wide variety of suites onboard Norwegian Star. The most basic suites are the (category AF and AG) mini-suites. These rooms feature two lower beds that can convert to a queen-size, a sitting area, private balcony, luxury bath, and shower.
After the mini-suites, the next most premium room category are the Penthouses. These rooms feature a living area, private balcony, dining area, and a bedroom with a queen-size bed. There is even a CD/DVD library, and a luxury bath and shower. These rooms have a butler and concierge service available. The Romance Suite (category AD) is a special type of Penthouse, designed for romance. Category AB Penthouses are the only Penthouses that feature a separate children's bedroom.
The Owner's Suite (category AA) is over 740 square feet in size. This suite features a living room, private balcony, dining room, separate bedroom with king-size bed, mini bar, CD/DVD library, and luxury bath with whirlpool tub and separate shower. Butler and concierge service is also available for this category room.
The most premium, and spectacular, accommodations onboard Norwegian Star are her two Garden Villas. These suites are 5,750 square feet and feature a complete living room, a dining room, and three separate bedrooms that each have a king- or queen-size bed. Two of the bedrooms feature a full bath and whirlpool tub, with a separate shower. Each of the Garden Villas has a private garden (hence, the name) with a hot tub, outdoor dining area, and terrace. Of course, these Villas have the butler and concierge service available.
All Norwegian Cruise Line ships have an open dining setup (which is one of the main aspects of their Freestyle Cruising format). Open dining means that you can eat where you want, when you want. Norwegian Star has 13 dining venues from which you can choose from, besides the 24-hour room service!
There are two main restaurants onboard Norwegian Star, Aqua and Versailles. These two restaurants offer the same menu as each other, but the menu changes each night of the cruise. Dinner is served from 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm.
The Market Cafe is Norwegian Star's indoor buffet. This buffet features a wide array of options for you to choose from, depending on the time and day you dine there (including omelets, pastas, soups, salads, and more). There is a special Kids Cafe area for children, with smaller chairs and tables.
Perfect for those "midnight snackers," the Blue Lagoon is a 24-hour food court, featuring a menu that includes favorites such as hamburgers, french fries, and even fast-wok dishes.
The specialty restaurants onboard Norwegian Star offer many dining choices to choose from. Most of these venues have a per person cover charge, ranging between $10 and $30. Cagney's Steakhouse (located on deck 13) is one of the most popular specialty restaurants onboard Norwegian Star. Cagney's is an upscale traditional American steakhouse, with a 1930's theme. This restaurant charges a $20 per person cover charge for those that dine in it and choose anything but the Surf 'n Turf (which costs $30 per person). Le Bistro is a French specialty restaurant with a great menu, located on deck 6. Ginza is Norwegian Star's Asian Fusion restaurant, featuring a Japanese/Chinese/Thai menu. This restaurant features a sushi, sake and sashimi bar and teppanyaki (also known as Hibachi) room. There is an all-you-can-eat sushi option available at a flat fee of $15 per person. There are two specialty restaurants onboard Norwegian Star that have a $10 per person cover charge - La Trattoria (a casual Italian Restaurant located on deck 12) and Endless Summer, where a delicious Tex-Mex cuisine is served.
Reservations are highly recommended for the specialty restaurants, as they are very in demand and can book up quickly. Dining reservations cannot be made prior to your cruise. You can make a reservation 24 hours prior to the day you want to dine, unless you have a balcony or higher (in which case you can make a reservation within 48 hours). Be sure to make reservations at least the night before you want to dine, to help ensure that the time (and restaurant) you want to dine at will be available for you.
Norwegian Star is packed with tons of places to go and things to do. There's really something for everyone...
As far as sport-related features go, there is a jogging/walking track (located on deck 13), a basketball/volleyball/tennis court (on deck 14), and the Barong Fitness Center (which is open 24-hours a day and has daily aerobics, spinning, and fitness classes). There is also the Oasis Pool, and six outdoor hot tubs! The Barong Juice Bar is a great option, especially after finishing a workout. Go there to grab some juice and/or a smoothie.
During the day, Topsiders Pool Bar & Grill (on deck 12) is a popular, and busy, place to hang out. It's a great place to grab a quick snack and a drink. The Carousel Bar & Nightclub is a lively place at night, often times featuring karaoke and dancing. Spinnaker Lounge (located on deck 12) often times features live music (or a DJ) and dancing; it's a great choice to spend you evening in. For those looking for a more relaxed atmosphere, there is also the Pearl Martini Lounge, Gatsby's Champagne Bar, and the Star Bar (a 30's style bar located on deck 13).
The Star Club Casino (located on deck 6) is a real hot spot, especially at night and on days at sea. There are 158 slot machines and many tables to choose from. There will usually be many poker, slot, and blackjack tournaments throughout the cruise. Of course, there is also a full bar in the casino.
One of the most popular things to do onboard Norwegian Star is to go to the Stardust Theatre for its nightly show. The Stardust Theatre is huge! It spans three decks (5, 6, and 7). This theatre has a capacity of 1,037 and features various Broadway and Vegas-style shows.
For those looking for a more relaxing time, there is a library, internet cafe, card room, the LifeStyle room (a place for quiet reading), the Havana Club (a premium cigar, cognac, and spirits area), and a huge outdoor deck to pick a spot on and relax in a lounge chair. There is also an indoor lap pool and Jacuzzi. The Barong Spa is located on deck 11. Feel free pamper yourself and choose from a wide range of spa treatments - you won't regret it!
Want to shop? Not a problem...the Galleria shops are located on deck 7. This set of department store style shops feature tax-free discounted liquor, jewelry, clothing, snacks, medicine, and much more.
Because of the Freestyle Cruising concept, the dress code is not very strict or formal on a Norwegian Cruise - it is actually quite casual, relative to other cruise lines. As far as dining goes, casual attire is preferred during the day. Examples of casual attire are: khakis, skirts, jeans, casual tops, and shorts. At the buffet and outdoor dining venues, swimwear with a cover-up is just fine.
During dinner a collared shirt and pants (or nice jeans) is fine for men. For women slacks, jeans, dresses, skirts, and tops are fine. If you'd like to dress up for dinner and wear something more formal or glamorous that is OK too, as on most NCL cruises there is usually at least one night were many people will do so (known as the "Captain's Night" or "Formal Night"). For kids 12 and under, shorts are OK in all of the restaurants.
NCL's children's program is called the Kids Crew. The Kids Crew program is run by NCL's Youth Staff and is free of charge (of course, gratuities are appreciated by the staff). Each staff member is CPR and First Aid certified. The Kids Crew program features complimentary activities that are scheduled throughout each day of your cruise. Examples of these activities are painting, pajama parties, pizza making, and shows. A parent or guardian is required to initially register 2-17 year olds for this program. Children are assigned to groups, based on age (Juniors = 2-5 years old, First Mates = 6-9 years old, Navigators = 10-12 years old, and Teens = 13-17 years old). Kids under 13 may not sign themselves out. There is not a one-on-one care program available in the Youth Program.
There is group-sitting available for kids. The "Late Night Party Zone" and "Port Play" are both programs for kids 2-12 years of age. The "Port Play" program is run from 9 am to 5 pm and is for parents that want to go on shore excursions alone, leaving their kids in the hands of qualified professionals. The "Late Night Party Zone" is available from 10 pm to 1 am. The cost of these two programs is $5 per hour, per child, and $3 per hour for each additional sibling in the same family. These charges are applied to your onboard expense account.
There is also a Teen Program available onboard Norwegian Star. This program is for those that are 13-17 years of age. This program is a great way for teens to meet and have fun.
As far as facilities for children and teens goes, there is a video arcade (Video Zone) on deck 12 that features various video games and machines. There is also the Teen Club, a hip teen hang out (also located on deck 12). Planet Kids is located on deck 13; it's a special kids area filled with an indoor jungle gym/obstacle course.
NCL charges a fixed fee for what they call service charges on all Norwegian Star cruises. This fee is $12 per person, per day and is charged to your onboard expense account. There is no such charge for children under 3 years of age. If while on your cruise you find that these fees are more than you'd like to pay (or if you are very unhappy with the service you've been provided with by the staff), you can adjust the service charge fees to the level you prefer (as long as you do so before you leave the ship). NCL does not consider this service charge to be the same thing as a gratuity or tip. NCL states that they do not auto-charge you for gratuities (even though the service charge does seem to be a similar fee).
If you find a few staff members that really stand out and make your vacation more enjoyable, NCL's staff is allowed to accept cash gratuities. The recommended gratuity for guests purchasing bar beverages is 15%. For those purchasing spa and salon services, please be aware that NCL automatically adds a gratuity of 18% (called a service charge on certain ships).
The official legal drinking age on a Norwegian cruise is 21 years of age. However, guests that are 18 to 20 years old with written consent from their parents or guardian are allowed to purchase beer and wine when the ship is sailing in international waters (except in Alaska & Hawaii, where you must be 21 years old to do so).
The minimum gambling age on all NCL cruise ships in 18 years of age. A valid photo ID may be required, so be sure to have one with you while in the casino. Please be aware that onboard casinos are closed on NCL ships while sailing in Hawaii.