Norwegian Star

Norwegian Star Ship Review

Norwegian Star docked at Vancouver’s Canada Place cruise ship terminal. Photo © Aaron Saunders

In the year 2000, NCL decided that cruising had become too stuffy, so it began redesigning its onboard programs and its ships to be more casual, down-to-earth, and just plain fun. The 91,000-ton, 2,240-guest Norwegian Star and her sister ship, Norwegian Dawn, were some of the first fruits of that makeover.

Launched in 2001, Star offers a festive atmosphere, great entertainment, a slew of restaurants, awesome children’s centers and outdoor play spaces, fun decor, fantastic suites, and comfortable standard staterooms, all at a fair price.

From Star’s bow, festive streamers and stars painted on the hull add a playful touch that was designed to say, “Hey! Come aboard. We have fun in here.”

Public Rooms & Entertainment On Norwegian Star

The spacious atrium aboard Norwegian Star. Photo © Aaron Saunders

Inside, the mood continues from the moment you step into the atrium lobby, with its fantasy furniture and artwork. An explosion of bright Caribbean-style colors set the tone in both the public rooms and accommodations, and a dash of contemporary and art deco styling elevates things in some of the ship’s fancier restaurants and lounges.

Like all the NCL ships, Star shines when it comes to entertainment. The multi-deck Stardust Theater seats more than 1,000 guests for some of the best production shows in the cruise world, as well as performances by the great Second City comedy troupe. In the stern on Deck 7, the newly-relocated Spinnaker Lounge hosts late-night music and dancing. Gamblers head to the expansive Star Club Casino on Deck 6, while those with a taste for sophistication lounge stylishly at Gatsby’s Champagne Bar.

Beer more your thing? Try the Red Lion Pub, an English-style pub offering English pool, big-screen TVs for sports, and proper fish and chips. There’s also a Bier Garten outdoors on Deck 14, stocked with German pilsner, hefeweizen, and wheat beers. Other public rooms include a library, an Internet center, a a coffee bar, and a sake bar attached to the ship’s Asian restaurant.

Just For Kids On Norwegian Star

Kids get a huge, bright play area on Deck 13, outfitted with cozy TV rooms, a jungle gym, and great crafts, play, and computer areas. One deck down, in the stern on Deck 12, there’s a fantastic, space-themed kids’ pool area with a paddling pool, water slides, and a kid-size Jacuzzi. A separate teen club is located elsewhere on Deck 12, right next to the video arcade.

Dining On Norwegian Star

The dedicated Sushi bar aboard Norwegian Star. Photo © Aaron Saunders

A dinnertime, guests can choose among 11 different restaurants:

  • The main Aqua and Versailles dining rooms
  • Le Bistro, the most formal restaurant onboard, serving French and continental cuisine
  • The Ginza Asian restaurant
  • The Teppanyaki Room, where chefs prepare your meal at a tableside grill, Japanese style
  • A sushi bar
  • Cagney’s, a classic steakhouse with an attached, 1930s-style bar for cocktails before or after dinner
  • La Cucina, serving casual, family-style Italian meals
  • The Market Cafe buffet restaurant
  • The casual Blue Lagoon, serving comfort food 24 hours a day
  • The Endless Summer Tex-Mex restaurant and tapas bar

There are also the usual outdoor grills and indoor snack spots during the day, plus room service, and you can even order pizza 24 hours a day for $5 per pie, delivered to you anywhere on the ship.

Pools & Fitness On Norwegian Star

Outdoors, Star’s resort-like pool deck is hedged to port and starboard by a row of palm-tree-shaped street lamps, framing a large pool, six hot tubs, and twin corkscrew water slides. Up in the bow on Deck 11 is the ship’s amazing Barong spa, with its multiple treatment rooms, saunas, beauty salon, juice bar, and indoor lap pool and jacuzzi. A large fitness center is located upstairs, and there’s a jogging track, a basketball/volleyball court, and two golf driving net outside. Up on Deck 13, there’s an out-of-the-way sunning spot with a hot tub and deck chairs, all looking out over the bow.

Staterooms & Suites On Norwegian Star

One of the brand-new Inside Staterooms located forward on Deck 12. Photo © Aaron Saunders

Standard staterooms are comfortable if not plush, decorated in bright fabrics and woody paneling and accents. Furniture tends to be a bit spindly and insubstantial, but overall the rooms are pleasant and livable, with TVs, minibars, well-designed bathrooms, and, in a little less than half the outside cabins, smallish but acceptable private balconies. Outsides range from about 159 to 203 square feet.

At the high end, the ship offers 10 different categories of suites, from the incredible Garden Villa — with its three separate bedrooms, living room, dining room, private garden with hot tub, and outdoor dining area and terrace — down to the 283-square-foot Mini-Suite.

Norwegian Cruise Reviews

To read a review of a particular ship, click the link under "Read the Review." If applicable, our Live Voyage Reports offer a day-by-day overview of an actual cruise onboard. In some cases, there may be more than one report, to be sure to see if your favorite destination is represented.
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