At more than 20 years old, Norwegian Star might not be all that bright, shiny and new — but recent refurbishments and Norwegian Cruise Line’s dedication to the Norwegian experience have kept things feeling fresh and cemented this cruise ship as a favorite.
With lots to do for every age group and cruise itineraries that can take you to just every corner of the globe, no one will be bored on this ship — and if you think the size is a little lackluster (Norwegian Star certainly isn’t the largest ship on the ocean), think again.
NCL has managed to make great use of this ship’s relatively small footprint, for cruises that give you everything you need for a great time, without overwhelming you with too many options.
Considering taking a Norwegian Star cruise in the near future? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about this ship, including your various stateroom and suite options, restaurants and dining options, what entertainment is on offer, what amenities to expect and more.
In This Article…
Norwegian Star Stats
Norwegian Star isn’t that large, sitting at only 91,740 gross tons (GT). This makes Norwegian Star just slightly smaller than its sister ship Norwegian Dawn, but significantly smaller than today’s mega cruise ships, like Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas, which is more than double the size at 236,000 gross tons.
- Gross Tonnage: 91,740
- Feet Long: 965
- Passenger Capacity: 2,348 guests at double occupancy
- Crew Capacity: 1,031
- Year Built: 2001
- Cost to Build: $400 million
Construction and History
Speaking of building Norwegian Star, this ship’s construction wasn’t exactly straightforward.
The ship was originally ordered by Star Cruises. Based out of Hong Kong, Star Cruises was, at one time, the eighteenth-largest cruise line in the world.
Star Cruises acquired Norwegian Cruise Line in 2000 (Star Cruises would go on to sell 50% of Norwegian in 2007, before Norwegian Cruise Line spun off and reorganized, apart from Star Cruises, in 2013), but Star Cruises had already ordered a ship from Meyer Werft in Germany.
Rather than keep this ship, which had already been named SuperStar Libra, for itself, Star Cruises transferred the ship to Norwegian. The ship launched underneath the Norwegian banner in 2001.
Because Norwegian Star was originally designed for the Asia Pacific market, there were a few key factors that set the cruise ship apart from some of its North American cruise ship counterparts.
When it debuted, for example, it did not feature a casino and the layout and decor were both designed to appeal to Asia Pacific cruisers.
Over the years, Norwegian Star has received a variety of upgrades and refurbishments. In 2004, the ship was outfitted with new dining options.
In 2011, more than 50 staterooms and suites were added and some of the common spaces were moved around. In 2015, new digital signage was added around the ship and dining and entertainment spaces were upgraded.
In 2018, as part of the Norwegian Edge program, the ship rebranded some of its restaurants and lounges, and also made some minor upgrades to suites and staterooms.
Over its life, Norwegian Star has received extra attention in a variety of ways. In 2010, the ship was chartered to serve as lodging for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, though the deal was then canceled due to lack of lodging demand and costs.
It’s also been involved in a small handful of accidents and one incident involving a passenger jumping overboard.
Norwegian Star Class
A similar story to the one above can be told of Norwegian Star’s lone sister ship, Norwegian Dawn, which was originally SuperStar Scorpio. Together, the two SuperStar ships were the Libra class, but then became the joint Dawn class. Norwegian Dawn followed Norwegian Star closely, debuting in 2002.
Staterooms and Suites
Norwegian Star staterooms and suites include interior staterooms, ocean-view staterooms, balcony staterooms and multiple types of suites.
You’ll notice that, while the staterooms and suites did receive a few minor upgrades in 2018 (USB charging ports were added to the rooms, for example), they’re not incredibly modern in terms of decor. Think a budget hotel aesthetic; even in the suites, you won’t find very much luxury, though you will find a good amount of extra space.
Interior staterooms aren’t as small as you might expect and are actually quite comfortable for solo travelers or couples. Especially if you spend the majority of your cruising time not in your stateroom, you won’t feel cramped. The decor is nautically-themed, with lots of blues and beiges.
Oceanview staterooms may not be as oceanview-y as you hope, though. The oceanview windows are quite small and may not show off as much of the scenery as you’d like. However, you will enjoy more space than you would in an interior room.
Balcony rooms offer even more space, including a sitting and entertainment area, and decor choices that help make the cabins feel larger. Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors show off the balcony space, with its extra seating and glass railing that ensures nothing interrupts your view.
If you don’t want to quite upgrade to a suite, but you still want the best cruising experience possible while aboard Norwegian Star, a balcony stateroom is the way to go.
There are only a handful of suites on Norwegian Star, so if you want one, you’ll want to book it quickly.
Mini suites are your smallest suite option. You get a larger layout with a bigger bathroom (that features a tub!). While everything is still mostly one large room, the seating area is separated from the sleeping area by a fabric divider.
Club balcony suites are very similar, with all the extra space of a mini suite, though not as many amenities as some of the larger available suites.
These larger available suites include garden villas, penthouse suites and owner’s suites. Garden villas are absolutely mammoth, with nearly 6,000 square feet of space, their own private gardens, hot tubs, multiple bedrooms, butler service and more — and there are only two of them onboard, so you’d better snag this VIP offering especially fast.
Owners suites and penthouse suites are dramatically smaller than the garden villas, but still nothing to scoff at. Penthouse suites, for example, come with wrap-around verandahs.
For your dining options aboard Norwegian Star, you’ll find a range of both complimentary and for-a-fee dining, both traditional cruising restaurant fare and more modern takes. Norwegian offers the perk of Freestyle dining across its fleet, allowing you to dine on your own schedule.
Complimentary restaurants where you can dine for free, include…
- The Aqua Main Dining Room, serving traditional cruising fare
- The Versailles Main Dining Room, serving much the same
- Ginza Restaurant, the ship’s complimentary Asian offering
- The Kids’ Cafe, for casual kid-friendly eats
- The Garden Cafe, your buffet option
- O’Sheehan’s Bar & Grill, for Irish pub classics and brews
- Topsiders Bar & Grill, for burgers and hot dogs by the pool
Specialty, for-an-extra-fee dining options include…
- La Cucina, an Italian family-style restaurant
- Le Bistro, for a French-style fine dining experience
- Sushi, an aptly-named sushi bar
- Teppanyaki, for Japanese-style dining
- Cagney’s Steakhouse, for American-style steakhouse eats
- Moderno Churrascaria, a Brazilian-style steakhouse with a huge salad bar
- Java Cafe, the coffee bar
You can also order room service for a small convenience fee.
Bars and Lounges
If you’re thirsty for a drink, you’ll find a range of bars and lounges aboard the ship, where entertainment is often served up alongside your favorite cocktails.
- 5 o’Clock Somewhere Bar, for a Margaritaville-themed experience (when this bar premiered it was a first for Norwegian and replaced the ship’s previous Red Lion Pub)
- Sugarcane Mojito Bar, for mojitos inside of Modern Churrascaria (this replaced the ship’s prior Star Bar)
- The Sky High Bar, a more modern Norwegian offering, which replaced the bier garden and which offers an outdoor setting and casual, frozen drinks
- Gatsby’s Champagne Bar, for bubbly in an Art Deco atmosphere, alongside upscale bites
- Atrium Cafe & Bar, for people watching in a lively setting
- Bliss Ultra Lounge, another newer offering, with live music and dancing
- Proof Whiskey Bar for your favorite whiskey blends
- Spice H20, an adults-only watering hole
- The Star Casino Bar, for drinks while you enjoy your favorite gambling diversions
- Topsiders Bar, for pool-side drinks and some eats, too
Things to Do on Norwegian Star
But what can you actually do while you’re aboard Norwegian Star? Beyond picking out your stateroom and making your dinner reservations, here’s what you can look forward to enjoying while hitting the high seas.
Catch a show
Tickets to a range of shows are included in the price of your cruise, so make sure to stop by the ship’s theater to catch one. The offerings range, but you can expect musical performances, choreographed shows and tribute bands, among other entertainment.
Relax at the spa
The cruise ship’s spa offers all the basic spa treatments that you would expect, including massages, manicures, pedicures and beauty treatments for both women and men.
Play a game (no matter how old you are)
Think that games are just for kids? You can get just as competitive as the kiddos when you hit the sports courts on Deck 14. Basketball, volleyball, golf driving and more await.
Hit the pool
You can’t go on a cruise without spending a day by the pool, right? (However, if the pool isn’t really your scene, don’t worry; you’ll find six hot tubs scattered across Deck 12).
The Oasis Pool is the main pool area, with its own two hot tubs and lots of sun loungers, plus easy access to Topsider’s Bar & Grill, for drinks and snacks.
Try your luck at the casino
While the NCL cruise ship didn’t debut with a casino, it has one now and you’ll find a mixture of slots and table games. Grab a drink and settle in — you may just find that luck is in your favor.
Enjoy some alone time
One of the great things about Norwegian Star is that it offers a little bit of everything for everyone. Every member of the family has their own space.
So, don’t feel bad about enjoying a little alone time, on your own, away from the kids. They’ll be kept busy not just at the pool, but at kid-specific areas offering programming to appeal to children as young as 5, all the way up to teens.
Beyond lots of fun, Norwegian Star also has your basic amenities covered. Ship amenities include a fitness center that’s open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., with classes available for a fee; an internet cafe; meeting rooms; a library with books available for check out; and a handful of shops, just in case you forgot something at home.
Book Your Norwegian Star Cruise
Does all of the above sound like exactly the kind of cruising experience you’d prefer? Then take a chance on this one-of-a-kind cruise ship and see what awaits beyond the flashy mega ships that get all the attention.
Norwegian Star FAQ
The ship was originally ordered by Star Cruises in 2000. However, Star Cruises acquired Norwegian Cruise Line in 2000 and transferred its previously-ordered ship, which had already been named SuperStar Libra, to the Norwegian brand. Norwegian Star launched, for the first time, underneath the Norwegian banner in 2001.
Norwegian Star can hold 2,348 guests at double occupancy.
Norwegian Star isn’t that large, sitting at only 91,74- gross register tonnage (GT). This makes Norwegian Star just slightly smaller than sister ship Norwegian Dawn, but significantly smaller than today’s mega cruise ships, like Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas, which is more than double the size, at 236,000 GT.