My terrible cruise was on the superstar virgo with star cruises. i have been on 13 cruises, so these comments are from an experienced, knowledgeable traveller... This is by far the worst cruise i have ever been on! I thought costa with their discount vacation was scrapping the bottom of the barrel, but star cruises, at twice the cost, was much, much worse!
It appears this company does not survey or care what the competition does. It is also apparent their version of cruise is not very successful judging by the low quantity of passengers/occupancy.
They need to have employees check out other cruise lines and see what a real cruise ship looks like, because this isn't it!
We will never sail with star cruises again on any of their ships. i will advise all of my family, friends, coworkers, employees and anyone else i can think of to stay as far away from this joke of a cruise line as possible!
Here are just a few of the problems we experienced:
- i paid my gratuities in cash directly to the cruise employees (which was verified), but they would not let me leave the ship until i also paid their automatic gratuity, which is not required under the contract (passage terms). they made me pay my gratuities twice!!!
- they changed the port from published naha island to ishigaki island without any notification. this required again a cancellation of private tours and arrangements. why in the heck would you change the destination of the cruise to a completely different island without notifying passengers in advance?
- the web page is lacking greatly for pre-cruise planning or purchases. Most excursions are not even listed! Very few drink packages, excursions or other available options are listed or purchase even though they are available upon arrival. That mean you cannot purchase in advance like other cruise lines.
- changed port arrival times in schedule from the one on confirmed ticket (said 12 noon but changed to 7am). This required private tours to be cancelled with a loss of fees as they did not give any advance notice and did not refund the cost of the tours, even though it was their fault!
- buffet was terrible! Poor selection (about 1/4 of what we have seen on other normal cruises). Food was bland and another passenger called it "low end cafeteria food" which was a perfect description!
- you can only eat once per meal period. In other words, if you have an early lunch and then want to go to the buffet later for a snack, you can't! This was ridiculous and a new low for a cruise ship. if you go back they will charge you a fee. for something like coffee or a muffin, this is ridiculous.
- the mexican dinner served was one of the worst… the most armature of foodies would know that an empanada is not served as a tart dish. what they called chicken asada was no more than regular baked chicken. they obviously were clueless as to what mexican food is and how it is served, but tried to pass off the theme that night as “mexican” night… what a joke. they could have at least looked up the food on google and seen that what they were serving was not mexican food!
- the “gala” dinner was a joke! overcooked steak they tried to say was tenderloin (if it was tenderloin, it was the worst quality filet ever). it was paired with chicken teriyaki and a very bad selection of sides. if this is what they pass off as the marque dinner that is supposed to be the best meal of the cruise, the head chef needs to go back to cooking school.
- they did not allow us to bring coffee from the restaurant to the deck and stopped us at the door. that meant that i could not enjoy my coffee on the outside of the restaurant and instead had to finish in the loud, crowded restaurant.
- balcony cabin was very small compared to other ships with two uncomfortable beds that had a big, hard gap when put together. The pullout foam couch was better than the main bed!
- only 3 english tv stations, 2 of which always showed the same repeating asia news stories every hour. Strange considering 90% of the passengers were english speaking.
- no pay movies on the tv which would have made the lousy station selection tolerable.
- ship entertainment was sparse. Some piano playing and duets, but overall no real diverse nightlife, clubs, or discos like other cruise lines. Felt like an old folks retirement community with a few duets playing each evening.
- bought an all you can drink package, but it can only be used in 3 places on the ship... Even when another location has the drink readily available... Go figure.
- excursion in okinawa was a joke! 3 of the 5 stops were for shopping at their "partner" vendor locations (which the tour company gets a percentage of sales for bringing the cruise passengers).
- had to wait 1 hour 40 minutes for a return tender boat back to the ship. When you add the 30 minutes commute each way, more than 30% of our entire time in japan was just for getting back and forth to he ship. Not what i paid for!
- staff from the philippines was good, but many of the chinese staff were clueless when it came to customer service. Abrupt, rude, no smiles/greeting and treated us like a number.
- magic show was pitiful! lame show with fake violin player, same trick 4 times with different variations, and so easy to see the trick method. My 5 year old was able to see some of the obvious ways they tried to pull off the illusion... pretty bad when a 5 year old can figure it out
- kid's club isn't much. A few 30 or 45 minute events scattered over the 2 days at sea. Not much more. The fee was not worth it.
- casino was poor as well. Very few games a non-chinese customer would recognize. No roulette, craps, or other popular games.
- the advertising of " chance game called "key master" in vending machine was often in your face. Sad considering that it is almost impossible to win and the prize is so small. Again, another desperate attempt to rip off passengers ad make money.
- carpets and chairs in restaurants were badly stained and ugly. Obviously not well taken care of, cleaned or replaced as needed.
- a la carte restaurants were grossly overpriced considering the base cruise fare already paid. They could follow the model of other cruise lines and have a minimal add-on fixed fee to visit the specialty restaurants to supplement the already paid fare.
- Dirty salty balcony (not washed regularly like other cruise lines)
- very few activities on the ship compared to other cruises we have been on. of the activities you had to pay for many including things like ship tours. Charging for a tour... Are you kidding? sad thing is they are so desperate to make money and fill the list they put things like "pre-selling of bingo tickets" 3 times on the schedule!
- they were so desperate to sell tickets to an adults only topless show that they advertise all over the ship every day and promote buy one get one passes nearly everywhere.
Cabin was VERY small for the price, beds were uncomfortable and had wood frame in between mattresses that you had to sleep on! Injured my back. The pullout foam couch was more comfortable than the bed!
Balcony was poor, needed repair and was always caked with salt because they did not clean.
Cruise did not go to Naha as scheduled. They changed the port without telling us in advance. There was no weather, mechanical malfunction or reason to change, but they did anyway. Pre-Booked tours were now worthless and they refused to reimburse the cost.
Instead we went to a completely different island and they even changed the time!
For the new port Ishigaki the excursion was TERRIBLE. 3 out of the 5 stops were at stores the cruise or tour company had an agreement with for a percentage of the profits. I do not pay for an excursion to go to an over priced tourist trap of a store so they can make money!
We compared the prices and they were anywhere from 50% to 120% higher than comparable items at non-cruise mandated stops.
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