Mitsugirlys STAR end of the world/pre-Christmas cruise detailed review & pictorial

DAY 1:  Continued from yesterday

Ok time to start from the beginning….I just know that I’m going to mess this up and forget things that happened on certain days and have to make extra posts, but bear with me. I’m trying. There’s just so much to a cruise and so hard to remember everything.

 

I have my trusty dailies beside me and a few notes I’ve made on the computer that I wanted to touch base on and hopefully things will just start to flow once I start. If I forget something, I pinky promise I’ll come back and post, it just might not be in the right order. LOL That happens when you get order, you forget things.

 

Actually I have already forgotten, the first night at the hotel, I noticed a MAJOR catastrophe…we had forgotten my daughters “blankie” YIKES RUN FOR COVER!! She has not gone to bed EVER without this blanket since she was born. It is her soul mate. Oh no. That took a lot of explaining to do. I promise I had it on the kitchen table beside my carry-on bag for the plane and she had to have moved it off the table prior to leaving and I didn’t notice it was gone and forgot to grab it. Now the entire vacation is going to be ruined. I got super excited about her being in that (remember) big girl pull out sofa bed and she shared in the excitement and the tears left. I pulled out a “big girl blankie” from the closet and told her now that she’s a big girl, she needed to sleep with a big girl blanket. To my surprise, it worked.

big-girl.jpg

Now I also have to tell you, I’m a planner. No, you don’t get it, I’M A PLANNER!!!! I research and read for MONTHS on everything. I read reviews; I ask tons of questions, I have everything planned. I make spread sheets with EVERY single charge that we will spend to the tee. I ask anyone that has been to a certain place how much the cab ride was, how much were drinks, how much was food, I ask for menus…you name it. I make folders containing each port/place we will visit, an air flight folder, ship folder, food folder, taxi folder…you get the picture. In said folder I have printed maps, typed up hints/tips, spread sheet from above, any emails for proof needed, printed receipts and confirmation numbers, and an envelope that contains the exact amount we are to spend on each. I know I’m a little OCD but it has always worked for me and I’ve been doing this since I was 18 and doing land vacations every year. It helps plan the trip and budget it and it works for me. People ask all the time about how to set up a cash on board account and how it all works…well, this girl knows how and does it and up until now, I’ve walked away every time with THEM owing ME less than $10.00. Insert my praise here please.

 

Ok, time to bring me down off my pedal stool. I take pride in being such a planner that when I screw up (and let me add this has never happened), then it completely throws me off. Well, I forgot the blankie. I screwed up. I start looking for things…um well, I might have forgotten my hair ties as well (oh no, it’s hard to look your best on a cruise all the time and those beach days definitely require a hair tie with my long hair), oops I forgot my comb too…ok, I can live with that and improvise by using something else. No biggie. Oh no, I forgot my suction cupped 64x magnification mirror to use to put my contacts in. GASP. I had lasik in my early 30’s and had 20/15 vision, but they let you know that your close up vision will sooner or later go. Well it went and I wear contacts in order to read. Well if you are blind and can’t see up close, looking in a regular mirror doesn’t cut it. I will be blindly putting in contacts the rest of the cruise and getting aggravated. Ok, I screwed up this cruise. But, the best is yet to come trust me.

 

So after the fiasco of trying to get on the ship and the delays, we got on the ship and I got to see my WOW factor of the Atrium! Holy moly, it was BE-U-TI-FUL (yes I’m aware that’s not spelled right, I was shouting it out the way I said it). Immediately I made my first official “On the ship facebook post”…I believe it read something like “OMG, I love this ship”…or something along those lines. I immediately started texting my 24 year old daughter to tell her about it (she was supposed to be on this ship with us and didn’t get to come in the end and they are waiting for the “next” cruise).

 

Most people get on the ship and immediately head to get lunch. We were still full from the awesome HOT breakfast buffet breakfast we had earlier and figured it was the perfect opportunity to do some exploring before everyone tried to become a permanent fixture in my awesome (so you guys say) pictures. Yes, this is the first time I’ve done this. We are usually the “normal head-to-the-buffet-for-some-grub” type of people because we’ve skipped breakfast or had the “complimentary” COLD breakfast, which is never satisfying, that the hotel usually offers.

 

I was picture snap happy. Two camera’s in my hand (I discovered the Canon D10 back before my Epic cruise in 2010 and have never looked back or even bothered to take my dslr since that cruise because I simply love that little camera and purchased a second one at the beginning of this year before my Pearl cruise) and strolling every venue I could wander in to.

We were on the ship maybe 1 hour when we heard the “ding-dong, hello and welcome to the beautiful Norwegian Star. We would like to let you know that rooms on decks ___ (insert whatever deck is lowest, I think maybe deck 4 that passengers can have rooms on?) through deck 7 is ready.” They take a 30 second break and you hear “Ding-dong, passengers on decks 9 through 13 are now ready.” Doesn’t it figure we are on deck 8. Oh well, it’s ok, I wasn’t done exploring anyhow. By the time we made it to the Market Cafe, we both turned and looked at each other and knew we still weren’t hungry but kind of shrugged our shoulders and said “what the heck” and headed for a plate. We didn’t get much, just a little snack and something to drink. Then finally we heard “Ding-dong, passengers on deck 8, your rooms are now ready.” Knowing now what I didn’t know back then, hindsight should have been an indication of what was to come with our rooms being last on the list.

  

We headed down to find our room. I knew it was somewhere in the middle and kept thinking we were more toward the aft of the ship (that’s where our interior room originally was supposed to be, but we got the “free upgrade” when prices dropped and were now in a new location. I would not get use to knowing that this new location consisted of being toward the front throughout the cruise).

  

When we got to our room WOW, this obstructed port window was actually one of the BIG picture windows and not really too obstructed. Yes, we had boats in front of us, but we could see out, see land and water and we were kind of “in between” two boats, which made it nice. I have only sailed once in an exterior cabin and it was a porthole room with no view because of the salt on it. I also didn’t know how things were going to work out with now having some light in the room and sleeping. I kind of enjoy that darkness of the interior and go to sleep much faster. However, it worked out pretty darn good and my daughter especially liked it because it was kind of a “night light” for her and she wasn’t scared. (She’s been freaked out over the last 6 months and insists on sleeping with the hall light on every night).

Now don’t be making fun of my small room, but as I’ve said, we are used to an interior so this was a huge upgrade. The interiors are 142 sq ft I believe and I “think” this is around 187??? But it made a huge difference, especially on the sides of the bed. Even more so once we pushed the bed to the side up against the wall and actually had room to walk on the side of it. Yep, I’m excited.

room2.jpg
room.jpg

This is our "obstructed view" not really too shabby:

inside-window.jpg

This is standing down on deck 7 looking up at our window:

outside-window.jpg

For those of you asking about the “comfort” of the beds. I have sleep like I was sleeping on a cloud on all of the NCL ships and have never felt where the beds are divided. This bed gets a minus for comfort. It’s the worse bed ever. It was hard; you could not only FEEL the division of the beds but see it! It was awful. Let me tell you, the pillows were not much better! They felt like they were down feathers but the minute you laid your head on them, you sunk and it became totally flat. This week would prove to be the worse night’s sleep I’ve had in many many year. I also have to comment on the bed sheets. Do they always use a regular sheet as a fitted sheet? Or was it just this ship? Every morning I woke up with the so called supposed to be “fitted” sheet that was not a fitted sheet pulled back off the bed and the foam exposed while I was all tangled up in it. Maybe it was just me since it was the worse bed to sleep in and maybe I tossed and turned more than normal and caused them to come off? I’m not sure at this point. One last bad-bed comment is the comforter. Now I have always been EXTREMELY happy with the thick down comforter on the previous ships. This was a matching set however…they matched the pillows…FLAT and thin.

 

 Anyhow, getting to the picture I took. This shows what “this” ship/room had for bedding when put together. I guess I really can’t verify that this is the same set up on all of the other ships that I was on since they did not feel like this.

 

 As you can see, there’s the mattress, then the foam, then a sheet, then the padding, then another sheet posing as a fitted sheet.

bed.jpg

So I guess it's going to be hard for me to jump in now when the question is ask “how are the beds on NCL?” because now it’s a mixed review of all good and one bad. I wonder if it depends on the ship now? I did talk to others on my roll call that complained about their beds as well and this was before I ever said anything about mine. So, it’s not just me.

I will now just give you a tour of the room (it’s not like it’s big and requires a lot of explanation so you can figure out what everything is). Tons of storage and definitely adequate enough for our family of 3 in this room.

 

 Also, I might add that there is a trundle bed under one of the twins (which is usually what my little one sleeps on, but remember, she’s a BIG girl now, so she chose to sleep on the top bunk pulled down).

Holy batman the glare from the life vest, if that don't save you out in the water there's no hope for you at all!

 

It may be me, but it seemed like the safes here were a bit smaller? Anyone else notice this? Or did I just have more "crap" this time around? Yea, that's probably it. They just seemed like they weren't as tall as previously.

 

On to the bathroom. It's the normal small, cramped bathroom as the interior rooms. The potty area did have a pull out glass door. I'm not sure what for or who would use this. It just makes it more cramped in there and there's a main door to shut if you are using the potty. If you are shutting it for privacy while someone else is using the sink...um HELLO...it's a glass door, there's no privacy.

toilet.jpg
shower.jpg

Their shower is just the same as the others; they provide you with their pump on the wall shampoo and body wash. I do use the body wash (plus I bring along a bar of soap), but I would never be able to use their shampoo, my hair is too long, fragile, thin and tangley.

Sink area standard but wait for it, wait for it…does anyone notice what’s in this picture??? Anyone??? I noticed right away when I walked in and shouted for joy. Can you spot one of my missing items?

bathroom-sink.jpg

Do you see it? A MAGNAFYING MIRROR BUILT IN (well glued/stuck/whatever) to the mirror….SCORE!!! :D

 

Sorry, this will be a post with no pictures (don't cry, there's more to come), but I have already showed you my small room and there's not anything left to see.

 

These are just some notes so sit back and read and let the anticipation build up for the pictures to come:

 

We decided to go ahead and move the previously put together twin beds in the middle over to the side up against the wall and get the room situated the way we wanted it. We found that it worked out best if we put it up against the wall where the pull down bed was located. That gave us the maximum space on the opposite side where the vanity was and we could easily walk through there. But wait, what was that on the floor??? The most disgusting glob(S) of dust balls I’ve ever seen. :eek: It was gross. I kept thinking now how long has this been here and if the beds are normally pulled apart, how could this be missed when vacuuming? Either way it was nasty and disturbing. I made sure to leave the end table pulled away from that area so that the room steward could visibly see it…and he did not that night when he turned down our sheets, but the following day when he made up the room some time during the day.

 

I figured I would go ahead and start to put away some of our things in the drawers and shelves. I pulled some of the life vest off the shelves and stored them in the overhead cabinet that was hard to reach and I knew I wouldn’t be putting things up there. GASP, the shelves were covered with dust! Now I understand that those life vest have probably been sitting there for a while and not used…since the ship has not pulled a Costa Concordia yet (and hopefully never will), but still…you don’t dust the shelves? :confused:

That’s like me going around my house dusting around my vases, knick-knacks, candles etc, on shelves or tables. I mean come on. Who does that? It was gross and I ran to the bathroom (well, not ran since it was right in front of me…remember, I have a SMALL room) and grabbed a wet washcloth and started wiping down things.

 

I finally recovered from my vacation housekeeping chores :rolleyes: and started putting things away trying to evenly distribute each of our clothes per drawer. I did end up sharing the socks and undie drawer with my daughter, but that was ok, she has mini socks and undies so mine hardly noticed hers were there at all. ;)

 

We did have our NCL slot coupon sitting on our bed when we entered. If you play slots, it helps. Pay $10 and they give you $20 to play with. (I take advantage of any offers I can get). I also buy the slot play coupons…pay $25 and get $50 in slot play per person (limited 1 pp per 14 days).

 

I had my “thank you for organizing the cruise critic meet & greet, this is your time, place, date and so on letter. Boy did I feel important and special.

 

We had our “come join us for the latitudes members’ party” tickets there as well. I’m a silver the hubby a bronze. I like to stay a step ahead of him like that. Hehe :p

 

Also if you noticed in the pictures of the room…questions are always ask about the hair dryers in the rooms. You’ll see the big silver hair dryer hanging in its holder on the wall at the vanity. It works fine and like I said, I have LONG hair and I don’t have a problem with it. I never bring my own. Just be aware…you must have muscles to use it. The thing is H-E-A-V-Y. If you don’t have muscles and use it every day, by the time you disembark, you will have muscles.

 

Also, (as I said before, I would forget something)…still containing to the rooms, so I’m claiming “SAFE” on this one… it was around 2pm when they announced that our rooms were ready. It was around 4pm when our luggage finally arrived. Also at 4pm is the MANDATORY life boat drill which we went to before putting our luggage away.

 

By this time, after all the hard work I had done, I thought it was about time we actually went and ate lunch. I decided that Versailles sounded good and off we went.

Off to Versailles we went. I may be a little confused about my timing on this. We might have done Versailles now, before the sail away or after…it’s all a blur at the moment, but I’m pretty sure that we did it before the sail away. If someone comes along and says “hey idiot, Versailles isn’t even open around that time for lunch” then I’m changing my story to it was after the sail away. Ok? But then that would make it dinner right? I do know it was for lunch. So, yea…that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

 

We get to Versailles and we are immediately seated at the front of the ship (we always seem to get this spot on all the ships) by the beautiful glass arched windows.

 

I ordered the stuffed mushroom for an appetizer and it was yummy.

IMG_0244.jpg

For the main meal, I ordered the Philly sandwich. We it arrived…hmmm. I’m not sure if maybe the Philly’s that I have always had are wrong or if this was wrong. Problem number 1, the bun was so hard I ended up having to eat the inside leaving the edges on my plate. Problem number 2, it had some type of gravy on it??? Is this normal? I did not like the gravy or whatever it was. Problem number 3, the cheese was American and not Mozzarella like I’m use to on a Philly. The fries were yummy and would remain yummy throughout the entire cruise.

IMG_0245.jpg

My husband order a hamburger and fries and said they were good and he proved it by cleaning his plate.

 

My daughter had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and chips. She decided at that point that our yummy fries were better than any potato chips and would keep this decision for the rest of the cruise and stand firm on it! She had to have her daily fix on fries…daily! (I can’t say I blame her they were good).

IMG_0246.jpg

Ok, our bellies were full and it was time to head out to the sail away party on deck. We get up on deck and the party music is playing and Xcite is getting everyone pumped up by playing music that you interact with and it was awesome….until we started to see this roll in…

IMG_0627.jpg

We knew it was a matter of time. Come on, it’s past 5pm, let’s get the big boat (I know ship) moving!!!

 

Well, nevermind, Carnival beat us to it and pulled out first. She came really close (at least from our perspective it was close). It was fun to watch her sail away with her huge big screen t.v. on deck (like the Epic has).

IMG_0629.jpg

This was now our view…people were still pumped up and anticipating the storm rolling in by coming up to where we were sitting at the Bier Garten under a roof.

IMG_0633.jpg

We watched the Conquest pull out and with the clouds rolling in, the lights came on and I thought it actually made for a nice picture.I actually like storms. I think they make nice pictures. I’m the one you’ll find out standing in my yard taking pictures of lightening. Yep, that’s the crazy neighbor. If it’s just raining and no lightening, we’ll go outside and the daughter will play in the rain and she loves every bit of it!!!

IMG_0635.jpg

I turned around and snapped this picture because I thought it was neat to see the nasty looking clouds just peaking underneath the bridge.

Here we go…it’s finally our turn. I think we could have tailgated the Conquest a little more, but hey, we at least pulled out and the rain came!

It wasn’t as bad as I thought, but it did get a little windy so the rain was blowing in under the roof at the Bier Garten and people were scrambling for cover. That is…except for those down on the tiered seating/lounging areas…they took off their flip-flops and kept dancing away. GO THEM!! I would have done the same thing if I didn’t the munchkin with me. Nothing like dancing in the rain. When we decided to head down and back inside, we passed by the dancing mob, I gave my husband that “look” and he returned that other “no way look” back at me. Yes, he can read my thoughts and knew I would have stopped to dance!

IMG_0655.jpg
IMG_0645.jpg
IMG_0650.jpg

We headed inside and looked around a little more, a few more pictures, and then my camera battery finally died. Back to the room to pick up the other (twin sister) camera. By then it was time to let the munchkin have some “kids her age” interaction. She LOVES the kids club and she’s one of those that will wake up begging to go and go to bed talking about going to see her friends the next day when she gets up. NCL has a wonderful kids program. They must be doing something right.

 

We checked her in using that oh-so-small crowded hallway with the rest of every other family onboard with a child who was ready to adventure off on their own, unattended, without kid in tow.

 

Ok, checked in and ready to….um, what shall we do?

 

I know…head to the Casino! Yes! Now I have to say, I have ALWAYS walked away at every casino (land or ship) way ahead of the game. I have a strategy I use and it works for me. I’ve won jackpots before on progressive machines (on the Epic…I managed to win enough to buy the hubby a new black diamond ring in the gift shop). This time, the hubby was the lucky one. He used my strategy and it was working for him. I hung my tail between my legs like a scolded puppy that night. I won some, but not like normal and definitely not more than I came there with.

 

On the way back to pick up our daughter from the kids club, they were having a Mardi Gras party in the atrium. There was a lot of music and dancing and the employees were up on the next floor throwing beads down to us. Thank goodness you didn’t actually have to “do” anything but raise your hand in the air for them to throw them. ;) We ended up with 4 beads. I had to keep trying until I got a purple one (my daughter’s favorite color). Then we were on our way to pick up our daughter and eat dinner.

 

We decided to go to Versailles again since we knew it was LOBSTER NIGHT!!! Now I have somehow managed to miss lobster night on EVERY cruise. I have been told it’s the first night. I have always taken that as the first actual full cruise night I guess. Well, I finally ask these fine cc people on here and they clarified it for me that it was actually sail away night. Yep, I wasn’t about to miss that! I have also read on here that they know it’s this night because it says so in the daily. Um no, it does not at all. I have read it front to back several times and it’s not listed. (But remember I’m blind until I have my contacts in, but no worries, I have magnification now in my bathroom).

 

Yes, there was a line!!! There was also a wait once you made it down the line to the reservation desk. Once “registered” they gave us a little buzzer and we headed next door to the Spinnaker to wait. The lights were almost out. It was very dark in there. They did have the disco balls going around the dance floor and my little one had a blast dancing on the dance floor…she was the star on the Star of the night and had the floor to herself. She loved it.

^^crappy picture that I forgot to put the setting on NIGHT

 

I think they said it would be about ½ hour wait, but I think it was more like maybe 15 minutes if that and our buzzer went off. We were quickly seated…guess where? Nope, you’re wrong, not a window seat up front this time…weird but fine.

 

I’m searching the entire menu…where is the LOBSTER???? Give me lobster! Oh, I see it’s hidden under the alias “Surf & Turf”. Haha NCL, clever. I really think they don’t want people to know about this lobster night. It’s not advertised in the dailies, it doesn’t clearly state “Lobster” in the heading on the menu and when you waiter comes to take your order, then not only do they not mention the lobster or that it’s your once-in-a-lifetime chance to get your lobster on the ship but they direct you to their “special of the night”….chicken. Um, I can get chicken any night of the week on the cruise…give me my well waited for 4 cruises in a row lobster…tonight!

Now that we know what the surf is…I guess everyone knows that the turf is steak. Does everyone remember I don’t like steak? Well if you didn’t, I don’t! So I ask to have the Rosemary chicken (see I tried your “special” after all Mr. Waiter aren’t you happy now?) instead. They were definitely both yummy! The delivery of soda's was very slow. (We pre-purchase the soda card prior to the cruise every time). The soda also seemed very watered down.

For starters I had the mushroom soup and it was very good. I don’t know who’s chicken plate this is…either the hubby or the daughters…and nor did I care that night. I was in lobster heaven!

I had ordered cheesecake (because I’m a cheesecake freak) for desert. We sat and sat waiting for them to bring it after we were done eating. They had cleared our tables and then nothing. I finally had to flag the waiter down and tell him I'm still waiting on my cheesecake. It finally arrived. But wait, it tasted funny. Kind of foamy textured funny. I have had cheesecake on NCL with every cruise and have always LOVED it…like the real deal…like New York style type. This was not that! Please tell me you have not changed your cheesecake to this.

We left totally full and totally happy and I felt like I had finally accomplished something (making it to Lobster night).

 

We came back to our beds pushed back out to the middle??? Um, ok we put them along the wall because we obviously wanted them that way for maximum space. Ugh. Me and this room/steward is just not off to a good start and I haven’t even met him yet…which is also kind of weird. We have always been introduced to the steward every prior cruise and they are calling us by name by the next day.

 

Sakari (our daughter) was so excited to see a towel animal and remembered them from the previous cruises. Santa had also brought her a present…just to let her know “Yes, I do know that you are on a cruise and I will not forget you at Christmas and of course, I’M STILL WATCHING YOU and can change my mind at any moment about the naughty list”. Well, at least that was my story. Santa gave her some new “night-nights” to wear to sleep while on the cruise. How thoughtful Santa.

IMG_0664.jpg

We moved our beds back along the wall and called it a night after Sakari ate our chocolates on our pillow that she is now totally convinced Santa is leaving for her. Somehow during the entire cruise, she never catches on that Santa doesn’t put any on her pillow. She always grabbed ours and said Santa left them for her. I used our room phone, which I might add is over on the desk on the wall instead of beside the bed like I'm use to in order to put my wake up call in (which if you think about this...when your phone call alarm goes off you actually have to GET OUT of bed to turn it off). I'm still undecided if this was a good thing or not.

 

I crawled in to my hard bed and had a semi-restless night on my flat pillow and thin sheet.