I, too, am going on this sailing and am looking forward to it. I have been reading so many negative things about the Star and NCL, but I don't care! This will be my 10th cruise and 2nd with NCL's Freestyle, and the last one wasn't that bad. I am traveling with my husband, my son (almost 3), and my daughter (7mos.), as well as another family. I think it is important to just relax, try not to stress about little things, and eat in the better restaurants!
I just returned from the Star Thanksgiving sailing. We had a great time. Although we had no children with us there were 600 onboard for our sailing, probably with the holiday. Many parents were praising the kids programs, and the pool although small has great slides for the kids.
We found the food in Versailles to be very good. In fact we were a bit suprised as so many negative things have been posted. The only other restaurant we went to was Cagneys. Excellent. Well worth the 20. fee. Endless Summer and La Trattoria filled quickly. Ths daily Menus are in the lobby each morning and you can make decisions then. I would say to avoid the buffet. Not very good in my opinion. Breakfast lunch and dinner are usually avail in Versailles. We had no complaints there.
The Star is charging 65.00 per person for the Zihuatanejo Las Gatas Beach Break. We avoided this and got off the ship and bought water taxi tickets on the pier for 3.00 each round trip. We sat on lounge chairs 5 feet from the water and drank 1.50 Coronas and had fish tacos and some of the best Guacamole of our trip there. Our total bill for all day was 25.00. Of course an hour after we got there the NCL group came ashore and sat at the place right next door. I say do your homework, shore excursions while nice can be overpriced.
Last night on the ship was VERY rough. Other than that it was a great time.
Enjoy and remember your vacation is what YOU make of it.
We were on the Thanksgiving sailing of the Star, too (sorry we didn't get to meet you Suzi). But I second Suzi's opinion on everything. We had a great time. With the exception of the last day and night at sea, the weather was great. I think it was sunny and in the 80s or 90s everyday we were in port. Great beach weather. There were a lot of kids on board b/c of the holiday (two of them were ours, 5 & 9), but the kids programs did a good job of handling the crush. Since you are sailing on a non Holiday, the programs (and the pools) will probably be less crowded with kids.
We ate in the two main dining rooms (the Aqua and Versailles) most days for breakfast and most dinners. We too thought the food and service was pretty good and were surprised by all the complaints we had seen posted from previous sailings. The staff was good with the kids in the dining room and they (the kids) behaved reasonably well (every now and then you get lucky). We also ate at Cagneys steak house for my wife's birthday and found it excellent. Definitely worth it. We took the kids with us to Cagneys and the wait staff brought them kids meals so we didn't have the extra charge for the kids. They graciously served us a special bottle of wine we brought along for the occasion and didn't charge us the standard $10 corkage fee. Overall Cagneys was great. We also ate at Endless Summer (Tex Mex, ok), and La Trattoria (Italian, good). We found the buffet mediocre the couple of times we tried it. There are other options available, inlcuding room service which we used and liked.
The ship is big and modern. We stayed in a minisuite on deck 11 and really liked the room. We went to Las Gatas Beach in Zihuatanejo which is a convenient spot for beaching and snorkeling. You can get water taxi tickets from a booth at the foot of the pier where the ship's tenders dock for 30 pesos (a little less than $3) per person round trip. Had a great time at Las Gatas and in addition to the fish tacos Suzi mentioned, we'd recommend the shrimp tacos. Excellent. That was our Thanksgiving feast! In Acapulco, we did the city tour and cliff divers excursion through the ship. This was the only tour we booked throught the ship. It was not too bad after the initial wait, but I wouldn't do it again. I'm sure we could have just gotten off the ship and found something similar for less money and less wait. In the other ports, we just did our own thing and had a great time. We really liked Cabo.
Overall, we all really enjoyed this cruise. I hope you have a great time too. If there are specific questions you have, feel free to post or email and I'd be happy to try and answer them.
Thank you so much for the review. The only question I have is did you go
snorkeling and how much was it.? I agree with touring on your own. We
were going to go thru the ship tour but when we sat down and saw how much
it was going to cost,we have decided to go out on our own and explore.........
Now that I am thinking about it when you were off the ship did you find the cities
to be clean and what about the restrooms. The reason I ask is the I have been to
Rosarita Beach and once out of the hotel it was very dirty and and very hard to
convince one self to use the restrooms.
We are down to just a few days left before we leave and I feel there is still a million
things to do!!!!!!
The only place we really snorkeled was Zihuatanejo at Las Gatas Beach. Once you get to the beach ($3, see above) you don't need anything but equipment, which you can rent there. I had my own equipment, but I rented a mask, snorkel and fins for my son for $5 for the day. There is a little man made "reef" there that you can just swim around and look at things. Lots of colorful fish, but mostly small. My kids both loved it. The water isn't very deep and it's calm.
I think there are places (through tours operated from ship and shore) to snorkel in the other ports as well, but we didn't try any of those. The kids also snorkeled off the main beach in Cabo, but there are waves there and not much to see in close to the beach. Again, you can book tours at the dock from locals for much less than the ship tours.
As far as the bathrooms, the ones we chanced on in Acapulco were probably the worst. I think its the largest city by far of any of the ports, and it shows in some places (but has awesome scenery in other places...overall, I enjoyed Acapulco). Las Gatas beach bathrooms were iffy, but we got by. Cabo was probably the closest to American standards that we ran across, and in Puerto Vallarta we used the hotels on the beach, which were fine. All this is very subjective, of course, and based only on the limited places we happened upon on our trip. If you carry along some wetwipes along, you can generally get by.