I chose this Latin American cruise because I had a very memorable experience with Gate1 Discovery guided tour last year and I wanted to re-trace my path with my wife from Buenos Aires to Strait of Magellan in Chile, with extension to P. Chacabuco, Puerto Montt and Santiago.
With the other cruise ships I have luxuriated myself with Steam and Dry sauna free of charge. NCL Star on the other hand has Fee for its use. Exercise room on Deck 12 stinks with smell of cigarette smoke. I don't think I am not the only one who noticed this. The origin of this is from the Casino on Deck 6. This is a health hazard and the Captain should visit the area to find out what I am talking about. The Casino place is overwhelming with cigarette smoke and passing though it is subjecting the cruise passengers to 2nd hand smoking. The ship should redesign this in such a way that there should be a powerful smoke exhaust.
Free dining restaurants i.e Aqua and Versailles have very limited selections of Menu. Seafood menu are very very limited. There is no Lobster night. I ordered a dish with shrimp and ONLY 5 pieces were on it. The scallops were tiny and there were only a dozen in it. Every seafood plates were kid's size. Try to order a crab cake and you'll see what I mean. At the Garden Cafe, there is no Salmon and capers during breakfast. This is available during breakfast at the Buffet at Princess and Royal Caribbean. Lobster claws are also offered at the Buffet during Lobster night.
Try to have your photos taken and this is another money-making business. We ordered a package for $199 and only got 8 copies together with the folding album. At Royal Caribbean, you will take home all your photos at the end of the cruise for a few dollars more. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the friendship of the vey professional photographers - Theunis, Jacobus, Rebecca, Mr Honduras (sorry I forgot your name) and Mr Argentina (sorry, I also forgot your name)- the Portrait photographer.
Beverage packages are exorbitantly high. Order a bottle of Corona beer and you'll end up with a bill of $8.50. I am very disappointed that there is no Coffee package like at Princess Cruises.
We did not avail of the ship's sponsored excursions because they are incredibly expensive. Our group used vans outside the port and we saved several hundred dollars.
Despite my negative feedback, We did enjoy the performances at the Stardust, from Music to Magic to the Trapeze. Ely Rose with her blue "Car-wash" outfit is funny, multi-talented and so lively, The lovely and shapely dancers captivated the audience with their endless energetic performances. Th macho dancers and the singers performed well. The Beatles brought us back to the memory lane. The Latin dance instructors were very helpful especially the basic Tango.
Most of all, I was mesmerized by the guitar sounds of Duo Siqueira Lima. Theirs is a very unique love story and their DVD will always be part of my car's disc drive.
Special mention to Mr. Balagot, the cabin crew who always attended to our needs. I met a lot of your crew members from the Philippines all over the place and I feel proud of myself that my "Kababayan" are pivotal to making our trip from Buenos Aires to Cabo de Hornos, to Strait of Magellan until our destination in Santiago, Chile another memorable journey. Perhaps we will meet them again at other Cruise Lines.
Cabin size is just right. There is outlet for 110 V but with limited TV channel access. Thank God THERE IS NO CNN. The bathroom needed upgrade. Not enough space for toiletries. The toilet seat is old and the floor wafts with urine smell. Given that this was built in 2001 and refurbished only few years ago, the toilet flooring should require an upgrade too. No matter how the crew cleans it, the latrine smell lingers.
We used a van for our group and toured around the city