Innovator of Freestyle Cruising, Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line operates a growing fleet
sailing to more than 140 ports around the world. Its Homeland Cruising program offers more
regularly scheduled, round-trip cruises from more U.S. and Canadian ports than any other
cruise line, utilizing Miami, Seattle, Vancouver, San Juan, Boston, New York, Honolulu,
and Lahaina. Freestyle cruising provides an ultra-relaxed, resort-style cruise product
with flexibility in dining and other onboard pleasures. NCL has pioneered several on-board
firsts including the first Internet café at sea (now fleetwide), and was first to offer a
nationwide air/sea program combining cruise, hotel and transfers from more than 150 U.S.
and Canadian cities. NCL also was first to position a modern ship full time in the seven-day
Norwegian Star, NCL’s $400 million shining star, carries 2,200 passengers and 1,100 crewmembers.
The ship was purpose-built for NCL’s exclusive Freestyle Cruising and has 10 distinctive
restaurants and 14 separate lounges and bars. Norwegian Star has more private balconies and
oceanview staterooms than any other ship in Hawaii. Meeting space includes a board room with
business center support, and four meeting rooms (London, New York, Paris and Rome), and a
cinema/auditorium. In fall 2004, for the first time ever, NCL deploys the Norwegian Star to
the Mexican Riviera for a full season of round-trip 8 day cruises from Los Angeles. The Star
will take passengers in style to some of the Mexican Riviera’s most exotic ports of call
including Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas.
With Freestyle Cruising, NCL automatically applies gratuities to shipboard
accounts at $10 per guest per day, for ages 13 and up, and $5 per day for
ages 3-12, and no charge for under age 3. To tip more or less than guidelines,
adjustments are made at the front desk.
Designated staterooms have wider doorways and baths that accommodate wheelchairs,
with lights and under-pillow vibrating alarms for hearing impairment. Guide dogs
are permitted and many staterooms have refrigerators for storing mediations.
Oxygen-therapy users are welcome, and must bring their own supplies. Guests
with disabilities must be self-sufficient and should travel with another guest
who can provide assistance. Powered wheelchairs must have gel-cell batteries,
and NCL will not accept any wet-cell or acid battery-powered wheelchairs.
Rechargers must be adaptable to 110 voltage.
In addition to a 24 seat chapel for weddings and vow renewals and the longest
indoor pool on a cruise vessel, Norwegian Star has a library, card room,
cinema/auditorium and the Havana Club, a cigar haven offering hand-rolled
premium cigars, cognacs and spirits. Also on board are a photo gallery,
atrium gift shop, and a department store.
Spectacular 5,350 square foot Garden Villas have a living room, dining room,
and three separate bedrooms, a private Thai Garden with outside dining area,
hot tub and more. The 800 square foot Owner’s Suites have two private balconies,
living room with dining table, separate bedroom and more. Penthouses have a
living room and dining area, private balcony, separate bedroom, and more.
Romance Suites have private balconies, separate bedrooms and more. Mini-Suites
have private balcony and sitting area. Other categories include Oceanview
Stateroom with balcony, Oceanview Stateroom, and Inside Stateroom.
All staterooms on Norwegian Star have a TV, refrigerator, safe, duvet,
bathroom with shower, and tea and coffee facilities. Most lower beds are
convertible to a queen size bed. All suites and penthouses feature
floor-to-ceiling glass doors with private balcony. Garden Villas have
a mini bar and counter, walk in closet, CD library, TVs with DVD/CD player,
Baby Grand Piano, personal computer and printer. Higher level accommodations
offer butler or concierge service.
Kid & Teen Stuff
The NCL Kid’s Crew program caters to youngsters up to 17. Facilities include a Child
Care Nursery and Center, a children’s movie theater; children’s pool, video game arcade,
and a teen club/disco.
Venues include the 375-seat Versailles, an ornate main dining room for traditional
six-course meals; 374-seat Aqua Main Restaurant with a lighter, modern menu and an
open galley displaying pastry and dessert prep; SoHo Room, with Asian/Hawaiian/Californian
fusion cuisine; Endless Summer, with delectable selections and exotic drinks in a central
atrium, has a performance stage and a large movie screen. Ginza Restaurant, has a sit-up
sushi and tempura bar. The 56-seat Le Bistro French Restaurant has nouvelle and classic
cuisine. Blue Lagoon, a 24-hour food court-style eatery, serves burgers and fast wok fare.
Market Café/Kid’s Café has action stations for made-to-order omelets, waffles, and such,
with a 130-yard buffet. La Trattoria serves pizza and such, and Las Rambias Tapas Bar &
Restaurant has hot and cold dishes.
Sports / Health / Fitness
Sports Deck has a golf driving range, volleyball and basketball court, and a jogging
track where five laps equal a mile; Oasis Pool has sun loungers, chairs and tables with
beach umbrellas; Barong Spa & Fitness Center, aft on Decks 11 and12, has a waterfall
in its own atrium, along with a gym, Jacuzzis and the longest indoor pool on a cruise
vessel. Star Deck (13) is ideal for sunbathing.
The triple-tier Stardust Theater, with traditional European opera house ambiance,
seats up to 1,150; Dazzles Nightclub seats 388; the circus-themed Karaoke Circus/Bar
seats 131, including five private rooms; The 504-seat Spinnaker Lounge, with horizontal
windows in the floor affording a view of the bridge, has a stage doubling as a dance floor.
Gaming action awaits.
Libations (along with cigars) can be enjoyed at the Havana Club, or at the Wine Cellar,
Java Café, the Red Lion Pub, Bier Garten, Topsiders, Dazzles Lounge & Nightclub, Spinnaker
Lounge and the Star Bar.