Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Norwegian Star - 4/3/16

Norwegian Cruise Line
Leaving: Port Of Tampa
April 3, 2016

Here we go the Freestyle Way!  Maraloha Travel's newest ship inspection adventure on the Norwegian Star.  We really love Norwegian Cruise Line and had a very smooth transition from the Port of Tampa to get onto this ship.  I must say that every time I get on a Norwegian Cruise ship, I always feel like I am at home.  I have been on many of their ships and really enjoy the staff and people on board.  

Both J.C. and I took tons of pictures and video as our fans requested so read on......

For those of you that don't know much about this beauty, Norwegian Star began sailing in 2001 and was the first Norwegian ship custom built for Freestyle Cruising (NCL's anti-traditionalist program) that presents an abundance of dining, cabin and entertainment options. NCL Star underwent its first refurbishment in February 2010 giving a two-week dry-dock focusing mostly on cosmetic enhancements (carpets, upholstery, etc.) and engineering work. It also added a number of 54 cabins and suites, and enhanced Star's spaces for kids. Another refurbishment was just done in 2015 which again, added a number of additions as well as a ship wide refresh, including carpets and upholstery. The biggest change was the transformation of the entire atrium area of Deck 8 with a Norwegian mainstay – O'Sheehan's Bar & Grill, replacing Blue Lagoon Restaurant and Moderno Churrascaria. While Blue Lagoon has gone for good, Moderno has moved to Deck 13 taking up the space which was once the Star Bar. It shares this space with the second Sugarcane Mojito Bar. The Red Lion Pub on Deck 7 has been converted into the first 5 O' Clock Somewhere Bar on the Norwegian fleet. Digital signage has also been added, and both the photo gallery and the casino have been given a refresh. And finally, Ginza noodle restaurant has become free.

Keeping that knowledge in hand and as we boarded the ship, you could see the updates that were recently done on this ship.  As you can imagine though, with over 40 travel agents and our NCL tour guide trying to keep everyone together, it was not easy.  Especially all the excitement to see the new updates the ship underwent.  But it was a lot of fun!      Here is a little video of our experience boarding the ship....

First up was the Vista & Horizon Garden Villas - S1 - 14500 & 14000.  This Villa is amazing and has so much to offer. The two Villas are joined together, one on either side, and comes with many amenities.  It has 3 bedrooms which will sleep up to 7 people, butler service, walk in closets, galley, shower, bath, Jacuzzi, and overlooks the pool area in the middle of the ship!  You can even host your own parties, have a private chef cook for you and your guests, and a private sun bathing area!  Pretty big and spacious for a special occasion, family getaway, or a honeymoon with some close family and friends.  It's an all-around WOW factor!


Next up is the Family Suite - SJ - 12006 & 12526.  This Suite sleeps up to 6 people, however does not have a balcony.  That's ok as the room is quite spacious for the family along with butler service.   


Another Suite is the 2-Bedroom Family Suite With Balcony (aka: The Garnet (located on starboard side) & Amber Suites (located on port side) - SC - 11058/11060.  Since the new refurbishment, they have combined and renamed the category of the suites.  These particular suites include a separate bedroom as well as a separate bedroom for the kids and a private balcony with butler service.  GREAT for families and mom and dad getting some private time.


Right next door to the Garnet Suite is the Mid-Ship Mini Suites With Balcony - MA- 11062.  Just like your traditional balcony, pretty much exactly like a balcony cabin, only it has a little more square footage and it is in the middle of the ship with easy access to everything on board.  It has a full pull-across drape separating the seating area from the sleeping area, is double-lined shutting out almost all light, and enjoyed by those who have alternate sleeping and waking schedules. Maximum capacity is 4 people.  Here is the video on that one, but of course I call it "The Balcony." ROFL...


The last cabin we were able to see was your standard Inside Cabin - IA - 11035.  Although it is a nice room and has all the conveniences of what other traditional cabins have, comfortable bed, shower, lots of storage, and a mini-fridge.  This is your basic traditional cabin just to book to get away, not spend a lot of time in the cabin, and convenience of somewhere to sleep.  I stayed in an inside cabin only once and then when I decided to upgrade to a balcony cabin, I never went back. 


At around 12 noon, it was time to head to one of the main dining rooms "Versalles" to have lunch. Still beautiful as always and very nice decor.  On any NCL ship tour (and I have been on many) you get a chance to sample food and have many choices to chose from especially with the appetizers and desserts. Of course, lunch came with red or white wine! If those of you have had a chance to be on a ship inspection in New York with me, you know what I am talking about!  Here are some pictures of the scrumptious food.  You were also able to get more than one, or have another!  What's great about NCL is that not only are the staff super friendly and accommodating, but NCL really gives you a chance to sample the food as opposed to the "not so much to choose from" menus from our last two ship inspections on Holland America and Carnival.  Sampling is a great way to get an idea of what they have onboard and what my clients may be interested in trying.  However, I did not eat it all, even though I REALLY wanted to. LOL!!


After lunch, we had about 1/2 hour or so to kill so we went to see the public areas, especially the Pool Area, which is one of my favorite places to relax.  Here is another video to give you a "heads up"...

From the infamous Spinnaker Lounge where you can dance the night away or sing your heart out on Karaoke night, enjoy a great Broadway/Vegas style show at the Stardust Theater, enjoy a cocktail at the newly added 5'oClock Somewhere Bar, or try your luck at the Star Casino! There are endless options to make your cruise, however you choose to spend your days, a memorable one. This is what Freestyle Cruising is all about on Norwegian Cruise Line!


Some of their amenities, such as The Freestyle Daily (which is delivered each day on your cruise), Mandara Spa Services, Tour Descriptions, CruiseNext, NCL Credit Card, 5'oClock Somewhere Bar Menu, and a map of the ship are all here for you to look at as well, just click on the link:

Overall: The ship was AWESOME and had many great upgrades and additions to explore. NCL Star is a great, all around cruise to take and priced right! I would definitely suggest taking this cruise or any other one in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet as the staff are wonderful and the service is impeccable! Its also great for any event or special occasion for you and the family/friends.  Unfortunately, for 2016 - 2017, since this was the last cruise out of Tampa, it will now be heading to do Israel, Dubai, India, Asia, Australia and New Zealand!  Perfect cruise to add to your bucket list!  With so much to do and the Freestyle concept, what's not to love?

Thanks so much for joining Maraloha Travel on our latest ship inspection onboard the newly refurbished Norwegian Star.

Stay we have a full video of our tour coming soon...

I hope you all enjoyed our visit on the Norwegian Star and stay tuned for more visits with Maraloha Travel!

Please feel free to comment as I would love to hear from you.

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