Norwegian Cruise Lines has a slogan: "freestyle cruising." What this means is that they offer lots of options so you can do things however you want them. Traditionally cruise lines have had one main dining room with set dining times every evening. On Norwegian, you not only have the choice of when you want to dine, you can also choose from a number of specialty restaurants on board.
One of these specialty restaurants is Ginza, an Asian restaurant. For a small surcharge of $15 per person, you can dine here for an evening and order whatever you like off of the menu, including appetizers, entrees, and desserts.
On board the Star, Ginza is a very open restaurant. It doesn't have walls between the restaurant and the walkway, so you can smell and see everything going on inside every time you walk by it. It's decorated really nicely, with a subtle Asian theme that is very elegant. It also looks down onto Gatsby's Bar on the floor below it. If you are having a late dinner you might be able to enjoy some tunes from the piano player in Gatsby's - and if music while you eat isn't something you're interested in, I recommend grabbing an earlier bite here.
Ginza has a nice variety of Asian specialties to try. On our visit we tried three of the appetizers: the crab wontons, the shrimp salad, and the dumplings. The crab wontons were great, with a very crispy outside and a generous helping of crab in the center. The shrimp salad is not really a salad at all, but rather a few shrimp rolled in batter served with a small bit of salad. The plum sauce that came with this was especially delicious. It was sweet and the perfect complement to the shrimp, to make the flavor a little more vibrant and fun. Finally the dumplings were very good, exactly what you'd expect from Chinese dumplings.
For entrees we ordered the Kung Pao Chicken and the Szechuan style beef. Both were pretty spicy, but not ovewhelmingly so. The portions were very large, and came with your choice of white rice or fried rice. For dessert we had the creme brulee sampler, which included the flavors green tea, ginger, and lychee. All of these were quite good, but the ginger really stood out as a unique flavor that worked really well as a creme brulee.
Like all of the restaurants on Norwegian, the service was great. We had multiple people wait on us and help us out throughout our dinner, all of them were friendly and kind. If you like Asian food and you're going to be on the Norwegian Star, it's worth the extra $15 per person to get a truly fantastic meal.
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