Norwegian Star's cuisine: 'quite good,' healthful, too

HONOLULU -- The Norwegian Star has mastered onboard dining by offering 10 different restaurants yet limiting the menu within each one. Consequently, I didn't get overwhelmed by too many selections. And it seemed that culinary staff stick to a few things they could do well.

My favorite restaurant was Le Bistro -- a standard on all NCL ships -with inviting decor, excellent food, friendly service and a can't-miss chocolate fondue for dessert.

Overall, the quality of the food was a bit uneven, though much of it was quite good. And I found it easy to eat healthful meals.

For example, at lunch at the Market Cafe, salads, vegetables, fruit and sandwich-makings supplemented casseroles, lasagna and beef dishes.

We also liked the Market Cafe for its ease. Breakfast is served cafeteria-style, and no reservations are necessary for any meal.

Dinner reservations at all other restaurants are recommended. Actually, they are required if you want a seat at a reasonable hour.

A word to the wise: Have clients book dinner reservations before they board, or they will spend part of each day waiting in line.

Our first night we ate at Ginza, where service was attentive and the sushi fresh. Japanese fare didn't go over well with the kids, but a children's menu -- with old standards such as macaroni and cheese -- is available in every restaurant.

While dinner in the main area of Ginza was enjoyable, the Tepanyaki room in the back of the restaurant was a dining highlight.

Chefs prepared fried rice, filet mignon and jumbo shrimp theater-style. Their rapid chopping and food-tossing antics had the children cheering and clapping for more.

Another favorite was SoHo, where Pacific Rim cuisine is served.

When we ate at Versailles, the ornate French-designed restaurant where we indulged in the "Chocoholic Buffet," we enjoyed a window view from the stern of the ship during our meal.

The service was friendly and prompt. We often had a large table, yet every time we explained that we needed a quick exit to catch the start of a show or keep a child from losing interest, they accommodated us with a smile.

Most restaurants are included in the price of the cruise, but two -- Le Bistro and SoHo -- require that passengers pay a cover charge of $12.50 for a meal. At Ginza, items on the menu are priced a la carte. -- K.N.

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To contact reporter Katherine Nichols, send e-mail to [email protected].

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