Review: NCL Norwegian Star Suite 9500 Forward With Large Balcony

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The Norwegian Star is a Dawn Class ship, that is, a mid size ship with maximum guest capacity at just under 2400 and was built in 2001. That is a long time ago but it was refurbished in 2018 and is still looking good.


We booked this as part of our month long vacation that we are documenting on EyeOfTheFlyer so if you want to know what this cost and how we booked it you can follow along over there. But here is a review of the room and the pro’s and con’s of booking this suite.

If you have been on any of the forward or aft suites on Dawn class ships you will notice they are all very similar design and size. They are also all rather compact compared to say the family suites that are large and were part of the old Spinnaker lounges.

Immediately as you enter you have a closet with doors on both entrance side as well as the other side. Very convenient in this small space when more than one person is trying to get ready at the same time. There are rarely enough hangers in these rooms but your butler or room attendant can take care of that for you.

All the suites onboard have personal coffee (and tea) makers as well as extra cups and glasses. There is also a mini refrigerator (not a mini bar full of stuff you have to pay extra for). Now on to the room itself.

You get a reasonably soft king size bed with a twin fold out soft bed next to you if needed. This room really is setup for two with a small table for breakfast.

We brought our own caviar (very reasonably priced btw) and then had our butler provide the rest of the ingredients to have some friends over for a sail away party before dinner. It worked but was a bit tight.

The chute to get to the bathroom and changing area is tight. You do have plenty of storage including dual safes that became useful for us when the battery in one of them died.

There are two environmental controls in the room. One here in the hall and another on the wall just when you enter. They did seem independent of each other. Also keep in mind all the power plugs in the room are standard 2 pin European design so bring an adapter if you need one as they have limited quantities (or none) at customer service to borrow.

The bathroom is a step up but the only real issue is the LARGE step up to get into the shower / tub. If you have any kind of mobility issues with your legs you will want to think twice about booking this suite. Now on to the real star of this suite – the balcony.

It really is one of the biggest balconies I have sailed on and was wonderful. Your room attendant will tie the chairs and tables up for you each night and take in the cushions. The seat cushions are soft and somewhat water proof but we had our butler bring us 4 pool towels and had them swapped out every few days on our 21 day crossing.

One thing to note is you do have a large and heavy water tight door in addition to another standard door to get onto the balcony. While heavy, it was simple to spin the wheel and open each day but does make a rather loud “clank” when it latches outside into a fixed open position.

The views from the balcony are simply amazing. Pulling in to a new port or island each morning was a highlight of the trip. Also many would think this forward suite would be windy but it really was not. Out of the 21 days onboard we only had one day when the wind was direct into us that it was unpleasant. Most days, and especially so when you pulled the seats back under the overhang, you would not even notice anything but a kiss of wind (even in the middle of the Atlantic).

Some thoughts about the suites above us on the 10th floor. We spoke to our neighbors and they said one frustration they had was you could hear the bridge crew walking back and forth. Also their balconies were much smaller than ours.

Speaking of noise, one big drawback of this suite is that it is right above the theater below. That means, almost every day around noon, you will hear them rehearsing for the shows. Then, at night, you get to enjoy two shows almost like you are in the theater. I mean it is LOUD. We often went to early dinner and then the late show as we had no chance of sleeping early if we wanted to.

A few other bits. You will have butler service who will bring you breakfast each day if you want it but you also have access to the Brazilian steak house for suite only guests each morning as well as Cagney’s steak restaurant for your lunch. Your butler, if you would like, will unpack for you and repack your stuff. Also shine your shoes if requested or bring you a pizza and so on.

I have a video review of the suite on Youtube if you would like to review it. Bottom line, if you are looking for an amazing balcony then this is the suite for you despite it’s small compact size, bad shower design, and noise from the theater below. – René


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René de Lambert
René de Lambert
René de Lambert has been a travel blogger for over 10 years covering the travel industry - including cruising.


  1. René, I’ve never stayed in a forward facing cabin/suite, thanks for the insights! The closest we’ve come was a cabin right behind the bridge. I would note, like your upstairs neighbors, that we heard crew coming/going from the bridge at all hours. I would not select to stay in the same corridor that leads to the bridge again given the option of the same cabin located elsewhere on the ship.

    Did you also have to turn off your lights and/or close your drapes at night? I’ve heard that the light from these cabins can bother the officers on the bridge, with some ships even having a “kill switch” to disable balcony lights at night.

    • @DLPTATL – Yes. There is a sign on the wall next to the door that you must pull blinds and keep door closed at night. That does not prevent you from going out on the balcony – you just have to close the door behind you. There are no outside lights on the balcony in this suite.


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