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

Day 7: Sea Day 

Our last sea day…we were going to make the most of it. There were shows lined up most of the day and I was excited about it. We are normally not the “show” type of people and usually only go to the magic shows (which there wasn’t one and I was disappointed) and the comedian show. We sometimes hit some of the game shows like deal or no deal if we don’t have anything going on and some times the crew talent show. But this time, since it was a little colder than what I would like it to be, we decided not to do the “normal” thing (hanging by the pool on the last sea day) and do the show thing instead.

 

The night before we had an invitation from the captain to come to a tour of the Captains Bridge. The hubby didn’t act too excited about it because he wanted to take a day to “sleep in” from having to get up and go-go-go all week long. (We are not morning people and usually don’t get up until around 11am-2pm in the afternoon). I decided that I would go without him. While I was getting ready, Sakari woke up and decided that she wanted to go with me instead of sleeping in.

 

We headed for the “meeting spot” for the tour. There was a pretty big show of people from the meet & greet, but yet I would guess maybe 1/4th of them showed. Still a good amount of people.

 

Off we went to the bridge.

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The Captain told us about the ship…and forgive me, but I’m trying to go off memory, so I may get some things wrong. There are 2 80,000 hp engines on the ship. The engine is electric, which cuts fuel cost by 80%. It runs the electric on the ship, like a generator. There is no vibration when we are pulling up to the dock because the ship does not have rudders. The stabilizers cut down 80% of the side to side movement ONLY. You can not do anything about the front to back movement. At the time of the tour, they had the stabilizers on. They have a navigation system that allows them to dock out in the sea without any anchors (because it’s too deep) and keeps the ship fixed in one spot without moving. The rules of any ship is that they have to have 1 officer there at all times. NCL’s policy is there has to be 2 officers at the bridge at all times. The Captain works 10 weeks on and 10 weeks off. This was his Christmas to work since he had last Christmas off. He is allowed to bring his family on board with him. The Captains sign a 3 year contract with the ship they are on. Then they have the opportunity to change ships or stay on the one they are currently on. He said he had 1 year to go on the Star and then would be switching to a different NCL ship.

  

He told us about all of the controls and what they did.

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We were cruising right along at 20 knots.

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Everyone know about the waving hand? I had read about it on another site. They said that everyone on the pier always waves goodbye to the ship as they are pulling out. Since the Captain is busy trying to navigate the ship out, they installed this hand. It waves back at them and can be viewed from outside the ship at a far distance (the pier). hehe

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Notice the floor....hehe

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Anyone want to know where the video camera is that you are looking at when you are stalking the Star to see what they see when they are out to sea? Here it is...brought to you by Samsung.

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Just a link for those that have never seen the website with ALL of the webcams on the NCL ships in the same place. I use it all the time to dream.

 

http://www.kroooz-cams.com/ncl-fleet.php

 

The room with a view:

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What's a bridge without a Christmas tree?

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Plenty of ways to communicate:

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He gave the kids the Captains hat to take pictures in.

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I ask if we could get a picture with him and he was happy to do so. Then he suggested doing a picture by the Christmas tree:

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They served us snacks (the same kind that they had served in other venues on the ship). I had just had breakfast, so I declined. Where was the free alcohol? Just kidding…it was only 9am at that point.

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The tour lasted about an hour and we were all very grateful for the opportunity to view the bridge. The closest I think I ever came to seeing the bridge before was on the Spirit with the neat little spiral staircase in the middle of the lounge (Galaxy I think it was) that led you down to a window behind the bridge.

  

On the way out, there was an office just behind the bridge. I snapped a pictures of course:

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A member of our roll call that we had spoke to several times during the cruise and ran in to everywhere invited us back to their mini-family-suite to view it. These are the rooms that use to be part of the Spinnaker Lounge and they made them in to rooms. The room was LOVELY and huge. I learn that these were the rooms that were down one of the hallways that we kept passing through many times during the cruise. I figured by the way they looked in the hallway that they must be some type of suite or something. The hallways definitely looked different than any of the others.

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I headed back to the cabin to wake daddy up. When we got there, daddy was no where to be found. Oops. We had to go searching for him and found him outside on the pool deck enjoying a cup of coffee and happy that he was able to sleep in for once. We told him about the ship tour and how Sakari got to wear the Captains hat and then told him that he missed out on seeing the family suite (which I have to admit, I’m glad he missed that part…he would be wanting to book those instead of saving money and booking the interiors)

 

I think around 1pm or 2pm the shows started. For the life of me I can’t find them all listed in the dailies but we did go.

 

 

They had a talent show with the cruise staff. I have to admit, I wasn’t too impressed simply for the fact that most were all singing and consisted of the singers from the White Night party and we had already heard them sing. I think there was only 1 dance group and they did a mixed up track of hip hop music.

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I have to mention here that everyone is always asking over and over…do we need to bring a jacket or shawl on the cruise with us. Everyone always replies how cold it can get in the theaters and the Star was no exception.

 

I did notice that EACH CHAIR had an a/c vent in it. Yes, there was cold air coming out of it and yes it was cold in there. So, I snapped a quick picture of the back of the chair to show you the vents in them. (yes crappy quality pictures taken in the dark)

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After that, they were having the Cirque Du Jour Circus show. We already knew that this was a show that consisted of all the children in the kids club and they had been working really hard all week on their “skills”. I have to admit, some of the older kids did a really good job and they all gave 100% effort. It was cute.

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Parading in to the show:

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The little kids (Sakaris age) dressed up like tigers and jumped through a (play) fire hoop. Some of the other kids did magic “stick” tricks which looked really hard and they did a great job. Some did juggling…it was just a great little show and the kids did an awesome job.

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Sakari was SO excited to see us (well to see daddy) and she was jumping up and down and telling her friends “there’s my dad” and pointing during the show. She did not see me because I have the camera in front of my face taking pictures and video taping most of it. I also had my Santa hat on. Toward the end, she finally spotted me and was so thrilled. Yes, I caught that on video too.

She has officially spotted us:

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Everyone at the end taking a bow:

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We decided to take a break before it was time for the next show and we all went and got something to eat.

 

On the way there was a display of “Towel Animal Gone Wild” in the Atrium. I couldn’t resist getting some pictures of all the towel animals that we missed out on due to the fact that we wasn’t doing a back to back to back cruise like some people that were on the ship. (insert really really sad face here! Even cruise critic doesn’t have a sad enough face to put here).

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Now remember, this is the only other day that the kids club was closed from 5-7pm. We took the time to do a little bit more shopping and to check out all of our pictures from the cruise at the photography place and have to make a decision on which 5 we wanted to purchase. Decisions, decisions. I hate to be rushed when it comes to making decisions. You all know that “I’m a planner”. I think I may need another week on the ship to decide which pictures were just right to take home with us!

 

 

But since I just didn’t have enough time for such a big decision, I decided on these:

 

(I found it funny that most of the shirts that I had on in these pictures are cruise shirts LOL)

 

This one I purchased on the Spirit and it says "I love Cruising"

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My "Pearl" shirt:

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My "Pearl" shirt:

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My "Pearl" shirt:

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I must have had an "off" day here. I should have had my "I am Epic" shirt on here. What was I thinking???

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They had given away raffle tickets during the cruise and you got 1 ticket for every $50 you spent. I had several tickets and I knew that you had to meet at the duty free stores at 7pm. My daughter also went back to the kids club at 7pm because we had another show to catch (Elements) at 7:30pm. They had announced the entire cruise not to miss the Elements show and you HAD to be in there by 7:30pm or you wouldn’t be aloud in because they were locking the doors. So this was going to be a sticky situation.

 

I had my husband drop Sakari off while I headed to the Duty Free stores for the raffle. I know, never my luck to win anything for free, but I was still going to take a shot at it. Earlier that day my husband had brought home a STACK…and I mean STACK of light green tickets and told me that he found them laying in the hallway. I told him those were not for the raffle I was in. My tickets were blue.

 

Well…what do you think happened? They had several different colored tickets!! Green, light blue, dark blue and red. Darnit, why did I throw those away? I could have been a winner! Well, needless to say, I didn’t win. The hubby finally found me in the mob of people at the stores trying to win gifts, figured out that there were green tickets and gave me the rolled eyes I told ya so look.

 

Disappointed in not winning, we headed to the Stardust for the Elements show. I have to admit, I have never been to the elements show before. I have heard multiple people talk about it and said it is THE SHOW not to miss. But, it was my understanding, from what I had read, that it was a compilation of the weeks shows all put together as one. I thought I had read that it also involved the staff in it. My thoughts have always been that there are only certain shows that I am interested in. I went to those shows. Why would I want to sit through another show that had those shows in them along with the other shows I wasn’t interested in to begin with? But I figured I would give it a shot and try it out. What else was there to do on our last night?

 

The show started. Let me just say, I was glued to my chair the entire time. WOW…SIMPLY PUT WOW!! I had no idea. This was not a compilation of the week’s shows. This was not the staff on the ship putting on a show…this was a show in itself. Where was that magic show that the Star didn’t have? It was in this show. The acrobats, dancing, singing…hanging from the ceiling over the audience and swinging. OH EM GEE! This was the best show I have ever seen. The costumes were amazing, the lighting was amazing, the props were amazing, the entertainers were amazing. WAY TO GO NCL! There was so much going on at the same time you were just amazed and didn’t know when to look or when something was going to pop up beside you. They made use of every part of the Stardust from the stage, to the moving stage that went up in the air, to the 2 parts on the upper half of the Stardust that popped out, to the isles all the way down the stairway, to the roof of the Stardust. Wow. I was SO disappointed that I have not went before now. I was even more disappointed that I didn’t have Sakari with me. She would have LOVED that show. The hubby and I walked away from this show and said that our entire day filled with shows made this ship 110% better than the others. Yes, there were some disappointments along the way, but this day more than made up for any flaws we might have experienced along the way. This was the best day ever. The acrobats Maria and Dmetri were in the show and the dancers and singers in this show were the same performers from the Christmas show. But they were AMAZING.

Of course you are not allowed to take pictures or video tape…but I did snap a few pictures at the end when they brought out everyone and the staff on the ship for us to thank them for what hard work they do.

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FOUNTAINS SHOW:

We had a reservation to meet in the Versailles at 9:30pm after the show for our “special” meal that night. The show seem to still be going on (well the portion of introducing the staff to everyone) and I felt so bad to have to get up and leave in the middle of that part. But we still had to pick Sakari up from the kids club and race down to the restaurant where they were waiting on us. The people sitting next to us at the end of the isle were VERY perturbed that we were leaving and causing them to have to get up so that we could get by the non-existent isles between the seats.

 

We literally walked at a faster pace than I would have liked (but it didn’t hurt my legs the way it did to walk through the sand at Nanci Cocom that’s for sure) first to our room to grab Sakari a dressy outfit and then to the kids club and grabbed Sakari. I did a James Bond move and snuck in to a nearby bathroom (which was full) and I just did a quick change out of clothes right there on the floor and she popped out in a brand new outfit. Yes, she was still part tiger, but then again, I still had my Mrs. Clause Santa hat on too. We then headed for Versailles.

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When we arrived, we told the lady at the front reservation desk that we were here as special guest of Deepat Gonsalves, the head person of dining, and they quickly seated us in our “normal” spot at the front of the dining room close to the arched windows. They provided us with a menu. Hmmm, this is not what supposed to happen. Our waiter was Mohammad Shaikh and when he came around to take our order, I told him that we were not here to eat off the menu and that Deepat was suppose to be fixing us an Indian meal. He said he knew but the meal was not ready and we could order appetizers or whatever we wanted to get us started.

They had brought us bread already that we were munching on:

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I ended up ordering some type of mushroom quesadilla. It was ok, but I come to the conclusion that mushrooms just don't belong in a quesadilla.

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Sakari and the hubby ordered the onion soup. I have to say I tried it and man was it STRONG. I couldn’t eat it and neither could Sakari and she LOVES soup.

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Mohammad brought out some friend breaded mushrooms with some type of yummy sauce. I do remember having these on the Pearl and they were GREAT! This time did not disappoint.

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I'm sorry for the terrible pictures. The lighting was just throwing me off tonight and I was so hungry and would only stop long enough to snap a picture. I kept changing the settings, but it just wasn't working out for me tonight.

It's funny how every single picture I took of the hubby tonight, he had his tongue hanging out licking his lips. I could not find one picture that there wasn't a tongue in it. So, I settled for this one and figured his meal must have just been that good.

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Mohammed started to bring out our Indian meal. At first he brought out something that kind of looked like a tortilla that had been cooked in this shape and possibly had grown tortilla warts, but of course it didn’t taste like a tortilla. It was really crispy and light. You eat it with your meal he said. Oops. I’m just trying things out one at a time.

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Next he brought out some Indian bread and some "butter chicken" with lots of curry on it. I was in heaven. It was so good. There was some kind of chick peas, I think he said it was, but I really didn't care for it much. It was kind of hot and spicy and I'm not really in to hot and spicy after a certain point.

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Next up was some rice (which was plain) and some type of spinach. I'm not a spinach eater (unless it's in the form of my salad), but he explained that they add some type of cream to it in India, which definitely helped. I ate it, but it wasn't one of the items I ask for a second round on.

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The entire meal we talked in depth with Mohammed and he was such an interesting man. He told us about his home life, about his work with NCL, how his mother would get mad when he returned home and he wanted Pizza instead of a good home cooked meal. Hehe He told me the names of different foods and good places to go to get authentic Indian meals. He told me the names of the different types of food that they use to serve at the Taste of India. He was the most proud, enthusiastic man ever to talk about his culture and you could tell he was loving every minute of us being interested in it and asking questions the entire time. He had the biggest grin on his face when he spoke and enthusiastically brought back more and more of the food when we ask for another round. The butter chicken was my favorite. YUM! It’s so sad that NCL took away the taste of India. Mohammed explained that the cook that made our meal was Indian and he was the greatest at throwing things together to make it as authentic as possible. They didn’t always have all of the ingredients needed for certain dishes, but he could improvise and make it with other things he had back there and it tasted the same. I did learn that sometimes people ask for “special” meals and some of these ingredients are in those, so that was why he was able to make these lovely dishes for us. I was most gracious and the night (and day) couldn’t have been any better!

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We walked away from dinner (wanting to bring Mohammed back home with us) very full and content.

 

Sakari had a rough but exciting day and this was her by the time we finished our meal and was done chatting with Mohammed.

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This of course meant another LONG walk carrying her back to the room. YIKES....and on a full stomach!

 

I hated the thought of having to go back to the room and start packing to get our luggage out by midnight for the staff to pick it up. I just didn’t want it all to end.

 

We had one last present left at the room for Sakari (which I managed to put out that night on the bed when we were in a rush to stop and get her a dress for dinner and pick her up at the kids club)<---yes you learn to multitask when you’re a mom even though I had not done a very good job of it since the beginning of the cruise and leaving my battery charger at home...among other things. She definitely woke up for that one.

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Awww, what did Santa bring you? Your very own DVD player and some movies. I guess mommy knows what will keep her occupied on the airplane ride home right?

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Oh my gosh, I did not even notice until I just now posted this picture that I completley forgot to change Sakari's bright hot pink sandles for her black shoes that night. Ok, failure mom mode now. How could I have missed this? Even when I was getting her dressed.

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The night ended in a frantic display of packing and HOPING that I would not forget anything that I needed to leave out in our carry on bag. Sakari quickly passed out after getting a shower and her face paint removed….which she completely put up a fight about. “I like being a tiger. I want to be a tiger. I like my face and want to keep it.” Me-“Well I like your face too, but the paint has to come off because you will get it all over your pillow and some day soon, you will come back and they will paint your face again.” She settled for that explanation and was clean as a whistle after that.

 

We got out of the shower…um, where’s the bath towel mat? Once again, it was missing. Ok Mr Room Steward, I have had the BEST day ever and you will NOT ruin it for me. I have 2 hand towels that I will use. Now take that!

I finished my packing and I gasp…”Look at my luggage honey!” Some of the stitching was coming apart. YIKES! At that point everything possible was running through my mind. Would it hold up getting slammed around through customs? Would it hold up to not 1 but 2 airplane rides (because of a transfer)…would it end up ripping the rest of the way and I would loose all of my contents inside? Should I take everything out of all of the luggage we had and pack the “good” things in the 2 secure luggage? What would happen if I was to loose some of my stuff. I’m going in to panic mode.

 

I always try to pack “lightly” and I seem to get lighter and lighter as we go. I know that I don’t always end up wearing everything I take and I try to take outfits that mix and match. Then I know that toward the middle of the cruise I will gain…say um…7 pounds or so and I won’t feel like wearing anything but my tee shirts from previous cruises and the ones that I bought this cruise. However, this cruise was a little different. We sailed in December. I’m use to sailing in September during the summer and with our last cruise in March. The last time I sailed in December was back in the 90’s. I had no clue what to expect weather-wise and therefore had to pack both summer and winter things. Now I had all this extra stuff that would have to go in my bags as well from the cruise.

 

Of course you always have people excited about taking a cruise that will ask “What will the weather be like in the Caribbean in December” and you get those few Cruise Critic snobs that will replay “Try going to google and enter what is the weather like in December” answer. Well, that’s not exactly what people are looking for. They want real life experiences. They want answers from other “real” people. They want advice. I hate when people give smart remarks. I mean come on…just give them your experience, give them hope, encourage them, and share in their excitement of packing and getting ready for a cruise. Don’t belittle them or make them feel dumb for asking a simple question. Did you really need to make that remark? If you think it’s a stupid question or one that could be answered by a simple search, then how about you just don’t comment at all and go on to another thread that you might be able to actually help someone. I encourage those here to ask questions. That’s what we are here for…to help one another out. To share our experiences. That’s why I’m writing this review. To “share” MY experience. If I have been somewhere or no the answer to a question, I’m always there to try to help. I don’t reply with a smart remark. I even take the time (because if I’m on the cc board, it’s because I have some time to kill) to google things myself and answer questions for people. I’ve taken the time to look up pictures online and post them in a thread to show and help others out. I’ve taken time to make maps and made little arrows to point to something they were looking for. Why? Because I know if I’m in the same situation, if someone would do that for me, I would greatly appreciate it. Share the love for cruising and helping people out on here….that’s all I’m saying. Ok, getting off my soap box and getting things packed.

 

I finally got the luggage out a few minutes before midnight and set the not-so-loud phone alarm clock to get up at 8am. We had picked the blue luggage tag that was for a 10am disembarkment. We wanted to stay on the ship as long as possible. Our flight out of NOLA did not leave until 4:50pm that day. We were in no rush at all.

Off to bed we went!