Sail Date: September 2005
Geez, from all the negativity you'd think the Pride of America was doomed! I was very skeptical, thank to everyone's reviews, prior to getting on the ship. While some of the concerns were true, I feel some balance needs to be ... Read More
Geez, from all the negativity you'd think the Pride of America was doomed! I was very skeptical, thank to everyone's reviews, prior to getting on the ship. While some of the concerns were true, I feel some balance needs to be voiced. We just arrived home yesterday. We did NOT book our flight through NCL because we decided we'd prefer to travel direct from Chicago. No problems with that. I must say, though, that in anticipation of our trip, the "customer service" that NCL offered was very poor. Mainly because they operate on Hawaii time, which, in the Midwest, is difficult to manage. If there was a 24-hour customer service line, it was kept a secret from us. This was our 5th cruise. We've cruised Carnival 3 times, and Celebrity (truly our favorite) once. What we have learned is that you have to make your own fun, and take certain things in stride. We anticipated a lower service level once we learned it was an all-American crew. Sorry, but Americans are just not as service-oriented as are international crews. The crew here was, for the most part young, and not used to working 7-days a week. Many seemed dour-faced and unhappy. We didn't like the casualness of the "Americanized" experience. Got sick of the "Howdys" and "Hey Guys" greetings. I think it downgraded the ship experience, personally. Though the housekeeping staff in our case was terrific, our complaints were mostly with the bartenders (slow, inattentive) and a couple of wait staff in the main dining rooms. In many cases, they did not know what they were serving, had not tried the food, nor could they offer suggestions at dinner. We asked a deck waiter what the drink of the day was and his response, "Hmmn, good question!" To us, that's just inexplicably bad training on someone's part. The ship is beautifully decorated, especially the restaurants and the Napa Wine Bar. We decided not to get into the reservations game, and ate in the Liberty or Skyline all but one evening, and we were not disappointed! The food was wonderful in all cases, and never did we spend more than an hour dining. It just didn't make sense to us to spend up to $25.00 more per person to eat at a specialty restaurant. As you can tell, we were not at all fans of the Freestyle dining. Our reasons? The expense, the stress of having to wait in line in hopes of getting the time/night you want. Phooey! We can do that at home. No thanks! Besides that, we really missed the camaraderie from past cruises when you're assigned to the same table at the same time every night. That was always the highlight of our day, and we've met the most wonderful people doing so. With freestyle dining, you're on your own, and we never really got to know anyone new. We opted for an inside room on this cruise, only because we knew we wouldn't be in our room much, and we used the savings to spend on shore excursions, etc. Glad we did. We've had balconies in the past, but did not at all regret our decision. Our room was small, but adequate. I just don't understand why people seem to think that rooms should be large on a cruise ship! It's not the Love Boat! Deal with it! This isn't a party ship. Entertainment can't compare with Carnival, there's not a lot to do at night, but that was okay with us, as we were raring to go each morning. Excursions (zipline, hiking, snorkeling)were terrific though expensive, but everything was. Everyone has their opinions, but in our minds, we were in Hawaii for 7 days for goodness sake! How bad could it really be??!! We loved it! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2005
I have to say what a difference it was from my past cruise with NCL. First of all the service was not great at all. It seemed as if the staff was very unhappy at all times. Many of them even gave you dirty looks. Oh god forbid if you get ... Read More
I have to say what a difference it was from my past cruise with NCL. First of all the service was not great at all. It seemed as if the staff was very unhappy at all times. Many of them even gave you dirty looks. Oh god forbid if you get in their way during your travel around the boat, I got some real nasty looks. Also many of times I saw the employees fighting with each other this includes the upper level ship leaders in the white outfits. Its a real shame that this is quite vivid all around the ship. I also have to say if you take this cruise bring some nose plugs it smells like the boat is a large un flushed toilet that has been sitting since last year! It is really bad even in the hall ways it smells this way. I spoke to some employees and they informed me that the design of the sewer system needs to be re done but NCL has not taken any steps to repair the stink. NCL and the employees spray all day with Febreeze but it is a real unpleasant smell it takes your enjoyment away its that bad. Also as far as the 10.00 charge per day per cabin guest that is charged to your on board account one employee from the EAST MEETS WEST dinning she informed me that they never see a bit of that money that is charge for tips. So I asked several other and they informed me of the same they never get any of the money and if they do its like 22.00 for a full pay period. All in all this was a cruise ship that had no idea what service should be. Also the cruise director did not plan events good at all. As far as that he even have very few events on board and many were bad and were a waste of time. They really need to see how the other NCL ships do it in style! I think this ship needs to really look at what they are doing wrong and correct it quick. Bottom line I have many more stories but it would take a week to share them with you. Also the latitudes member ship director was very un helpful. She was in fact a real disappointment. I wanted to inquire about a NCL cruise for the following year and she gave me some info sent to my room but she never followed up nor did she really seem to care about my desire to book the cruise and put a deposit down. In fact I went to her office to make a deposit on the cruise and someone was in the office with her and her new trainee so I waited and that client came out and I went to step in the office and she slammed the door shut right in my face. She never answered my knock on the door to enter as if they were not in the office what poor treatment for a customer. Also I heard that she could not wait to the end of the week's cruise so she can go on a break now that she has a replacement in place. I guess my advance booking was not important to her at all. She never even called to see if I wanted to place a booking or even ask if I received the information to my cabin. All in All it was a so so cruise. I suggest if you want to do a Island hop cruise stick with the NCL WIND that does the Island hop. Also the staff is not American staffed like The Pride is and you will get the best service from no American service staff. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2005
The most noteworthy thing about this ship is the fact that it is dirty and the staff is poorly trained and supervised. The cab drivers and store clerks on the islands know it is dirty and ask if it has been cleaned up yet or not. There is ... Read More
The most noteworthy thing about this ship is the fact that it is dirty and the staff is poorly trained and supervised. The cab drivers and store clerks on the islands know it is dirty and ask if it has been cleaned up yet or not. There is a smell of sewage midship most noticeable on deck 5. Elevator doors look as though food has been thrown at them. The areas around the call buttons are filthy. Embarkation was pretty easy and the ship is pretty. The normal "we can't do enough for you" attitude that is prevalent on most cruise ships was absent here. I suspect that there are some good employees who are trying very hard but many of the problems are beyond their control. The housekeeping staff seems to be universally dismal. My husband and I have been on about 15 or so cruises. Some were on budget cruise lines that no longer exist. We have never had such an unhappy experience. We got off of Norwegian Cruise Lines brand new ship, the Pride of America on September 9, 2005. I have never been so glad for a vacation to end. 12 hours before we were to leave home, the cruise line left a message on our home phone that the Radisson Hotel, where we were to stay, was overbooked and we were being moved to a much cheaper budget hotel some distance away that is due to be renovated this year for the precruise part of our package on Oahu for 2 days. It was nowhere close to being a comparable hotel. On Saturday, September 3, we boarded and there was a buffet awaiting. It included large shrimp with cocktail sauce. We expected to settle in and enjoy paradise. We got to our high priced balcony cabin on deck 10 and discovered that we could only see straight out. The cabin was tiny. There was about 18 inches or less to walk past the bed to get to the rest of the cabin. Two people could not pass. The balcony had a large overhang of about 10 feet past the rail and walls that came down from the roof that kept it dry in the rain but also prevented us from seeing to either side at all. We could only see straight out. It was much like having blinders on. By the second day, the chairs and rail were salt encrusted and stayed that way the remainder of the cruise. We were handed a schedule for the day as we boarded. Inside was a letter saying that we would not be sailing past the volcano on Sunday evening. That was one of the chief reasons for booking this particular cruise. We were supposed to sail past the erupting volcano on the big island after dark and turn around and come back so that it could be viewed from either side of the ship. Within an hour of reading the letter, we happened to run into the Captain on deck and asked him why were losing a part of our trip that was so important to us. He first told us that there was an engine problem that prevented us from reaching top speed and we would have been late arriving in port on schedule. After pressing him a bit, the Captain, who has now left the ship, told us that it was too costly to sail up the coast and back, a distance of about 30 miles. We all know what has happened to the cost of fuel but it was the biggest reason to book this particular cruise and was a MAJOR event on the cruise. They should continue to do it until they have notified all passengers of the change and allowed them to cancel their cruise without penalty. They sell you overpriced shore excursions in port. Keep in mind that we are seasoned sailors and have taken many cruise line shore excursions in the past and have enjoyed most of them. If you want to see the port, rent a car. They run about $27-50 and that is way cheaper than the cheapest shore excursion is for one person. Car rental shuttles meet the ship at every port. The islands are small and there aren't enough roads to get lost. We didn't have advance reservations but you might get an even better price. NCL passengers can't buy reasonably priced tours on the islands from local operators. They have a deal with the cruise line. You need a hotel key to get the normal, reasonable price. If you are on the ship, you pay double or even triple the advertised price. These vendors are not about to risk their contract with the cruise lines by selling you the tour at the price hotel guests pay. We found this out when we tried to buy a tour at the advertised price. I don't think that is legal but it is the way it worked. This ship has no casino to generate revenue as the international ships do. A single photograph is $13. They take photos regularly as most ships do. We usually buy several for $6-8. We bought none. The price is a bit high and we already felt gouged. This ship is staffed by Americans. Unfortunately, instead of tips, you are billed a service charge of $10 per person per day. We are good tippers and have always had wonderful service on every single ship we have sailed on in the past. On this ship, we were charged the service charge but didn't get the service. Our cabin was filthy. It had not been vacuumed before our arrival and there was a dirty paper napkin and toothpick on the floor when we arrived that was still there on Tuesday afternoon when I had the Assistant Executive Housekeeper, Diane Clark, come to our cabin to see the condition it was in. Our mirrors were splattered, the dust was several weeks old on every surface, the glasses were dirty and it took us two days to get ice in our room. We suspect that the bedding was not changed from the PREVIOUS passengers before our arrival. There was hair on a pillow that didn't belong to either of us. It took until Tuesday to get it taken care of. Diane Clark had our room completely cleaned under her direct supervision at dinner time on Tuesday but our room was NEVER cleaned again after that and our bedding was never changed again. The service to our room after our contact with Diane Clark, was limited to clean towels and ice. WE GAVE UP. The cabin stewardess and HER BOSS were called on the carpet for the condition of our room and IT MADE NO DIFFERENCE. That's pretty typical of the attitude on this ship. The people in the cabin next to us had similar conditions. Ours was not an isolated incident. Passengers from every area of the ship were complaining long and loud about the condition of their cabins on this ship that was on its 7th or 8th cruise. I was in line behind about 8 of 10 people at the front desk complaining about their rooms to no avail when I asked to see the Hotel Manager and Diane Clark was summoned. The others never did get their problems resolved. The doors of the elevators look as though food was thrown at them and they never were cleaned while we were on board and I did take Diane Clark to see them. She notified the department in charge of them but they were never cleaned before we left 4 days later. The brownies and robes that Diane Clark left in our room could never make up for the condition of our cabin before and after she had it cleaned and the effort it took to get it taken care of. I took pictures of the ship to send to the corporate office and was told by previous NCL passengers that were on board that corporate would not care. I will send them anyway. I can't imagine sailing again on a line that didn't care about the kind of conditions that exist on this ship that I will provide them evidence of. These previous passengers said that they continued to tolerate the conditions because no one else offers "Freestyle Cruising". Take my word for it, it isn't worth not getting dressed up to put up with these conditions. Every ship we have ever been on has some alternative to eating in the main dining room at set times at set tables. Buffets are available at all meal times and most offer room service as well. The Dining Room staff is poorly trained overall but we found one excellent waiter, Greg, and stuck with him throughout the cruise. He was the bright spot in our cruise and he was tipped in addition to the "service charge" that was billed to us and every other passenger who got lousy service. The food is adequate, at best. We had veal that was so tough, it was hard to chew. Our Prime Rib, the first night out, was overcooked. Our expectations dropped after that and we let Greg advise us on what was the best offering. Menus at each meal were meaningless. There was always at least one item that was not available. They didn't run out of it, there simply wasn't any. All fish is frozen in this seafood paradise. To get wonderful fresh fish, we ate ashore. Papaya grows wild in Hawaii and I was really looking forward to eating my fill. We saw papaya offered one time as an appetizer at dinner in the dining room. For two days, there was no pineapple in Hawaii. They ran short of butter and put only margarine on the tables. I really enjoy yogurt and it usually readily available. I enjoy a large variety of flavors. I had never had watermelon or green apple and that was what was available. I skipped the yogurt. Upon leaving the pretty ship, my husband approached an NCL employee on the pier to ask a question and she turned to him and told him in a very nasty tone that they don't answer questions. We had found this to be true of the shore excursion people on the ship as well. We had had enough and skipped our prepaid transfer to the airport and took a cab. The bright side: we flew home safely and I lost a pound. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2005
Booked a two night pre cruise stay and a seven night cruise with airfare on Pride of America our first NCL cruise for Sept. 17-24. We flew direct from Houston, TX to Honolulu on Continental and were met by the NCL rep at the gate. After ... Read More
Booked a two night pre cruise stay and a seven night cruise with airfare on Pride of America our first NCL cruise for Sept. 17-24. We flew direct from Houston, TX to Honolulu on Continental and were met by the NCL rep at the gate. After getting our baggage we were taken by van to our hotel, The Radisson Prince Kuhio on Waikiki Beach. We did have a great view of the beach, since our room had been upgraded to an oceanview. The only negative with the hotel was the fact that several of the elevators were being worked on which made the other elevators very slow. Tip- Use the garage elevator for faster service. We rented a car and took in Pearl Harbor, USS Missouri, Punchbowl Cemetery, Diamond Head, North Shore, Hanauma Bay and several other sites. Beware traffic is equal to Houston or any other big city. The day of our cruise we were picked up at 1 pm and taken to the ship. The line was long for check-in but moved pretty fast and soon we were onboard. I immediately booked reservations for Little Italy for the first night and Friday night (NaPali Coast sailing) for 6pm-this was a tip I received on Cruise Critic. Our balcony cabin (8690) was ready and we dropped off our carry-on luggage before heading to the Aloha Cafe for lunch. Great boiled shrimp on the buffet. Unpacked after lunch, our bags were waiting for us. Dinner and service at Little Italy was very good! Attended the show, juggler was good! Arrived in Hilo at 8am and had booked a tour- (Hilo Volcano Tour and Akaka Falls) independent of the ship. We used Tony Patao with Green Travel and Tours (www.greentours.com), he did a fantastic job. He picked us up at the dock in a small van and we enjoyed the whole day with another couple. He is a wealth of knowledge and took us to many off the beaten tourist path places. I highly recommend Tony and Green Tours. That evening we sailed by Mt. Kilauea and saw the lava flowing into the ocean, a memorable site. The first day in Maui we had booked the Molokini and Turtle Arches Snorkel Trip excursion. We arrived at Molokini crater a prime snorkel spot to find the water was very rough and not good for snorkeling, so we went on to Turtle Arches. We did see lots of turtles. The second day we had booked independently with Bike it Maui (www.bikeit@maui.net)for the Sunrise Bike Tour down Mt. Haleakala. Rob picked us up at 2:30 am and we made our way to the top of the crater. Coffee, hot chocolate, and muffins were served as we waited for sunrise. Sunrise was spectacular and worth getting out of bed in the middle of the night. Dave gave us our equipment-bike, coat, gloves, helmet, pants, and safety instructions. It was cold, even with the jackets, dress warm. We took off down the mountain, 38 miles behind our fearless leader, Dave. Wow what a ride!! After the ride they took us to Charley's in Paia for breakfast which they had ordered earlier. Great food! Highly recommend Bike it Maui- Petra, Rob, and Dave-first class tour! They are cheaper than the ship excursion and include a great breakfast. In Kona we booked the ship excursion-Captain Zodiac Raft and Snorkel. Great snorkeling and a fun raft ride. Saw lot of spinner dolphins. We walked around Kona, shopped and had lunch at Bubba Gumps Shrimp. In Kauai we had booked th Napali Snorkel, Dinner, and Sunset Sail which was canedlled and the Journey to Waimea Canyon. We decided to rent a car, canceled our tour, and did the island on our own. We caught a Budget shuttle at the dock and went to the airport to get a car. We rented a convertible ($77.00 for full day) and drove almost 200 miles. Waimea Canyon was fantastic! Traffic was easy but we needed a better map to get around. Heard from shipmates that took the Waimea Canyon tour by tour bus and said it was too long. The second day in Kaui we had an early departure at 3pm, onboard at 2:30pm so we just did some shopping. Shuttles take you in to town. We had booked Little Italy for 6pm and had requested a table by the window for the NaPali coast cruise. Great dinner and breathtaking scenery! Disembarkation went pretty smoothly, we got up had breakfast in the Aloha and waited for our color tag to be called. Transportation to the airport was provided at the dock. We had a long wait for our direct flight home to Houston, If you are looking to be pampered this is NOT the cruise for you, but it is a good economical way to see the Hawaiian Islands. We were lucky, our cabin attendant was very good, but heard many horror stories from other passengers. Our room was cleaned, a top sheet was placed on the bed as per our request, ice bucket full, clean towels, etc........... The bad news is our cabin attendant is the leaving the ship soon. The cabin (8690) was small and storage was tight, but okay for the two of us. Food was best in the Aloha Cafe, boiled shrimp fantastic! Service in the Liberty and Skyline really hit or miss. One night we had a woman that must have worked in a Texas truck stop, she was serving like she was slinging hash! Service was not even close to service received on other cruise lines-Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Radisson. We opted for the Aloha Cafe several nights. We did not enjoy the freestyle dined, missed meeting new people and interesting conversation at dinner. We skipped formal night, seemed a joke with the service given in the restaurants. High points of ship-Gym the best I have ever seen and not crowded, Coffeemaker in room convenient, good hairdryer in cabin, cold, cold milk in machines, comfortable bed-request a top sheet. Low points- SERVICE! SERVICE! SERVICE! Poor food quality and selection, lack of dance music and place to dance, cabin small, fireproof door extremely heavy, lots of chemical in hot tubs-will fade swimsuit, pools small, lack of fresh tropical fruit on tropical cruise. Lobster night was a big disappointment, not very good! Photos placed to low and hard to view in photo shop with passing traffic, Layout of ship is confusing at times The ship is new, but my fear is that it won't be long before it gets run down because of lack of good maintenance and cleaning. Carpet in elevators was stained and dirty looking. We had a good time and saw the beauty of the Hawaiian Island, but would NOT cruise with NCL again. They need to take a long hard look at their Customer Service before they can compete with other cruise lines. I was concerned before our cruise with the bad reviews I had read, but I went with an open mind, a cruise is what you make it. We did have a great time and spent very little time on the ship. A few last minute tips to bring - Power strip-only two plugs in cabin, extra hangers, only half the clothes you have already packed! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2005
Having never thought I was a "cruise person", my husband and I took our first cruise last year on Royal Caribbean and had a blast. So we were really looking forward to our 2nd cruise in Hawaii given the great experience we had ... Read More
Having never thought I was a "cruise person", my husband and I took our first cruise last year on Royal Caribbean and had a blast. So we were really looking forward to our 2nd cruise in Hawaii given the great experience we had last year. Man, were we in for a rude awakening.... The embarkation process was fine, and though I was pretty disappointed in the change of itinerary, nothing really seemed amiss. We were directed to the buffet and found the food in the Aloha Cafe to be fairly good for a buffet style meal. The ship is new and does have some very nice decor and features, though the layout seemed a bit more chopped up than on our previous ship. Once we were able to make our way to our stateroom, the first sign that something was not quite right was the fact that the toilet still had "remnants" from a previous user that had not been flushed. We soon found that throughout our cruise, towels would be changed but other things like toilet paper and tissues would not always be replaced. Also, the shower smelled mildewy wet mop--odd for a new ship and is likely the reflection of the equipment that they use to quickly wipe it down. Midway into our cruise, the drains also clogged up and it took about 4-5 hours for someone to come take a look at it. Several other people on the cruise also had drain problems. Speaking of things that smell, the ship itself smelled like sewage a lot of the time. I understand from a couple of other reviewers that there are problems with the treatment facility on the ship, but talk about unpleasant. In general, service and entertainment were sub-par. Friendly faces were hard to come by and disorganization was the norm. We only received our daily itinerary once on the night before the following day. Other times we either received it around 8:00am that morning or on several days, not at all. We also never received our disembarkation tags and had to get them at the reception desk Friday night. We saw several people in our area of the deck who were room stewards, but I can't tell you which one of them was ours. We heard the area supervisor yelling at the room staff several times during our cruise--this is something that should not be aired out for the guests to hear. The food and dining service wasn't much better. The concept of freestyle dining is a good one if you don't compromise the quality of the food or service, but that was not the case here. We ate in the Skyline Restaurant on our 2nd night, one of the 2 main dining rooms. The staff seemed to rush around quite a bit, and no one seemed to know who was doing what. After we had finished our soup and salad, the assistant server (apparently that is who she was) came and asked us if we had gotten our salads yet. When the main meals finally came, they were as mediocre as the appetizers had been. My husband had ordered the executive chef "featured" entree, a red snapper that was supposed to come with shitake mushrooms, green beans and hearts of palm. When it arrived, it had very little flavor, a few slivers of mushrooms among the green beans. The hearts of palm were apparently stealth. We never went back to the main restaurants and opted for the Aloha cafe instead. We did try one of the specialty restaurants, the Jefferson Bistro. The food and service was pretty good here and was along the lines of the kind of food you would expect in the main restaurant on any other cruise. The only difference is that on other cruises, it would have been included in your package. Here we had to pay an extra $10 per person for good quality food. One of the draws of other cruises are "Midnight Buffets", which this cruise did not have. Instead it opted for one mid-afternoon "Chocoholics" buffet. I was quite disappointed to see that the majority of the desserts offered here were the same desserts I saw each night in the Aloha Cafe. So basically we stood in line to eat the same kind of desserts that we could go and eat 2 hours later with no line. Entertainment was also disappointing. The initial cruise kickoff party on the pool deck started off with two large puppets clapping to Neil Diamond's "Coming to America" followed by the cruise's Hawaiian ambassador demonstrating a solo hula dance. That was about it. Yawn. In the Hollywood Theatre, one of the recurring acts was a comic juggler which, while entertaining to some, wasn't really our cup of tea. They had a female Broadway singer on board for one evening show, and though she was a decent singer, the show itself was lacking in pizzazz. There were a few musical shows that were given by the cruise's show group which we did not attend--given the quality of the other things so far we didn't have faith that this entertainment would be much better so we didn't bother. The pool entertainment consisted of a two man group that, aside from not playing there very often, just simply wasn't very good. Inside there were two lounge acts every evening, one in the Champagne bar and one in the Saloon. The piano player/singer in the Champagne bar wasn't bad, but the bar it self was usually pretty sparse on crowd. The Mardi Gras nightclub usually didn't commence entertainment until close to 11:00pm and though we attended the '70s night that provided some amusing moments, we didn't spend much time there. One event that was listed was a Tribute to the Beatles by the Pride of America musicians. Being a Beatles fan, I thought that might be worth checking out, but when we went by, the place was pretty empty and the Beatles song being played was Muzak-like in format. We spent most of our time in the Napa Wine Bar and it was the highlight in that the bartender, Aubree, was a very friendly girl who took care of us during our time there. In Hawaii itself, the excursions can be pretty pricey. Being on a budget, we balanced the number and kind of excursions we took. In our first stop, Hilo, we decided to pick a "Bike on Your Own" excursion, and that was a big mistake. I didn't know anything about Hilo and found out too late that the area we were in consisted of a lot of busy thoroughfares and roads that were not intended for people not accustomed to cycling on busy streets. In general, port information on the itineraries could have been more detailed (that is, when we even got an itinerary). In retrospect, I would have rented a car in a couple of the ports rather than take the excursions. You can see a lot more on your own and it is a lot cheaper than some of the overpriced excursions. There are quite a few free shuttle busses from each port and that was a nice feature, and though they can be pricey, there were quite a few excursions to choose from. It is a real shame that this cruise was so poor in quality...there is obviously a market for Hawaii cruises but I could not recommend this cruise to someone else until they do some significant improvements. The level of service from the mostly American staff is much poorer than that of the international workers on most other cruises, sad to say. The majority of the international workers on cruises are making significant personal sacrifices for the opportunity to work on these ships and their work ethic is obvious. Sadly, I can't say the same for the majority of staff on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2005
My husband, daughter (22), and I left on this cruise on September 17th from San Francisco, CA, full of trepidation because of the reviews we had been reading on this site. We were so pleasantly surprised that our experience was quite the ... Read More
My husband, daughter (22), and I left on this cruise on September 17th from San Francisco, CA, full of trepidation because of the reviews we had been reading on this site. We were so pleasantly surprised that our experience was quite the opposite. The embarkation went very well. The wait was reasonable, only 15 minutes. As we arrived late (4 pm) our cabin was ready. When we walked up to our cabin on deck 10, we were met by our steward, Andrzej. He warmly welcomed us and this set the tone for the entire cruise. Our cabin was clean and we felt very pampered by Andrzej. He worked so hard, cleaned the room every morning, in the evening he made up the sofa bed, turned down our bed (with a chocolate on the pillow) and cleaned again. We were very lucky to have him. We even got the beautiful towel swan for us and an elephant for my daughter. Very creative. The cabin was small but fit us three comfortably with plenty of storage (put your luggage under the bed). We did not get a top sheet either but that did not bother us because the comforter is covered and the covers are changed. Shower water was warm almost immediately after it was turned on. Shower stall was very compact, such that I had to turn off the water to lather up, but hey, maybe that's a good conservation effort! We ate mostly at the Liberty and Skyline restaurants for dinner and a few lunches, the Aloha Buffet for breakfast and other lunches when we were on board. The food was not spectacular but good. The service, at all but the last evening at the Skyline, was very good. There are a few terrific servers and I would suggest that when you find one, book his/her table for the duration. For most dinners, we walked right in, usually at 6 pm. Longest wait at Skyline was one night for 45 mins (they paged us at the planned 35 min mark but we didn't receive the page...pager was supposed to work throughout the ship and we were only up one deck in the John Adams bar. Our only specialty restaurant experience was at the East Meets West Teppanyaki. Our chef was very entertaining and meal was outstanding. The servers were all great, the only unhappy person seemed to be the hostess (she seemed a little flustered). The juggler, comedian, and the Hawaiian show were terrific. The production shows were amateurish, but the main three singers had wonderful voices. The choreography and dancing were mediocre. The main pools were small. Inadequate for a ship this size. We enjoyed the pool at the aft, below the Waikiki Bar. It was never crowded as the main pool area was. One complaint is that there are plenty of servers walking around, you had to either trip them or yell at them to get any service for drinks. This would be in the pool area and theater. They walk so quickly by you and they don't make eye contact. I also found the bartenders at the pool area are not very friendly either. We were so lucky, we saw the lava flow off the Big Island and sunset at Napali Coast. Both were breathtaking and since the ship was in good shape we were able to see all. We also had pineapples at every meal (at the Aloha Buffet). I know this did not happen on every cruise but I feel that NCLA is trying to address issues we bring up. My husband and daughter went on the Capt Zodiac Raft & Snorkeling trip to Kealakekua Bay, 14 mi south of Kona. It was a spectacular marine reserve accessible only by boat. The boat crew was extremely knowledgeable and funny. The captain had the expert ability to snuggle the boat into several sea caves that were only wide and high enough for the boat. Also saw lava tubes and LOTS of spinner dolphins. We went on one other excursion, the Hawaii in Movies tour on Kauai. Again, the driver and guide were extremely knowledgeable and funny. They took us to places we could have never found by car. The debarkation went well. Since we were staying a few extra days in a Waikiki hotel, we took our time and were one of the last ones to leave. The Pride of America is absolutely beautiful! We were proud to be passengers on her. We also met some wonderful cruisers and hope to keep in touch with them. The cruise was not perfect but the most important things went well. The others were minor. We would definitely cruise NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2005
Arrived at Honolulu Airport. Rented a one-way car from National at Honolulu Airport on Friday and dropped off the car on Saturday at National at 1778 Ala Moana Blvd. No drop charges. National is located in Discovery Bay condo complex ... Read More
Arrived at Honolulu Airport. Rented a one-way car from National at Honolulu Airport on Friday and dropped off the car on Saturday at National at 1778 Ala Moana Blvd. No drop charges. National is located in Discovery Bay condo complex across the street from the Renaissance Ilikai Waikiki Hotel (approximately 8 miles from airport). Hotel located close to Waikiki Beach and ship terminal. National's shuttle will take you to the ship terminal free of charge. ABC stores are on almost every corner in Honolulu/Waikiki area. They sell can or bottled sodas, bottled water, and alcohol. NCL scans your luggage for alcohol and searches your carry-ons at Honolulu. NCL confiscates your alcohol and will return it to you Friday night and Saturday morning prior to disembarkation. However on the first day, you have to go down to the 3rd level and open up your suitcase and remove the alcohol. Then, you get your suitcase less the confiscated alcohol. The suitcases that pass the scan are delivered to your room. ***Tip*** 1) buy small mini (50 ml) bottles of alcohol at ABC's that have plastic caps and pack in your suitcase and; 2) buy and carry-on 1.5 liters of wine and pay the $15 corkage to NCL for each bottle. If you buy the 750 ml bottle of wine, NCL charges $15 corkage per each bottle and you would pay $30 for 2 - 750 ml bottles. Wine is $6.00 - $6.50 per glass on the ship. At the other ports when you return to ship, security passes a metal detecting wand over your body. Ate at the Aloha buffet the first afternoon. Also, the buffet on the aft deck outside of the Aloha buffet is good. Beds turned down with chocolates on pillows. Luggage arrived outside room at 3:30pm. Exception noted above. Room, bathroom, linens was cleaned and made up daily and towels were changed as needed once or twice daily depending upon our usage. The room was kept exceptionally clean. We never had to ask or request anything. It was just done. Our room steward was a very pleasant young lady and she was rewarded with an extra gratuity for her outstanding service. When I presented her with this extra gratuity she said she didn't expect it, but really appreciated it. Previous postings on this site are unfounded. After reading the previous reviews about the cleanliness of the rooms I became paranoid. I purchased Lysol anti-bacterial spray and brought it on the ship to disinfect. That was a waste of time and money. Never needed or used it. Never had a problem with the cleanliness of the room or with the daily service of the room. It was done meticulously and promptly. The room was normally made up when we were out on our daily excursions and the bed was turned down nightly. If towels needed to be changed at that time, they were. Ice was always in the ice bucket. 24 hour food room service was available. No charge. The menu was limited; however, the food was good. Each day the ship published and distributed to each cabin the Freestyle Daily, a paper outlining and describing what was going to happen that day. TV onboard channels, included a live bridge cam, information, activities, plus ESPN, CNN, TNT, and two full-time movie feature channels, 24/7. All the pre-cruise opinions that we've read, all the negative press that this ship has received, hasn't matched our positive experience. No sewer or foul smells as previously reported. Occasionally, if you are on the ship's outside decks you might get a slight whiff of diesel fuel from the ship's exhaust stacks. This is common on all ships. Also, the entire crew had been very friendly and polite. They are very courteous and helpful. Left my video camera on the counter at the Aloha buffet and by the time I walked back up from my seat, it was taken to the Capitol Atrium front desk by one of the servers and turned in at the Lost and Found. It was placed in the ships safe until I retrieved it ten minutes after I left it on the counter. Our stateroom was a handicap-accessible room, was approximately 45% - 50% larger space in both the room and the balcony. We asked for this type of room at the time of booking. The bathroom was great, since it had to be wheelchair-accessible. The shower was large, and there was plenty of space even for two people to maneuver in the room. Floor space was larger than normal, there was the same amount of storage and features as other rooms. Storage was more than we could use. The bed had space enough underneath to stow four suitcases. There was a double-door closet with an automatic light when you open the door on the right; there were several drawers in two places, plus several available shelves. The room had a small refrigerator, a 4-cup coffee maker and an electronic safe into which you put a 4-digit password and it will close and open electronically. There were a number of nicely shaped wooden hangers in the closet, which would take shirts/jackets, pants, and skirts or shorts. We had a couple of drawers left empty after stowing our stuff from four suitcases. One evening in a loop we cruised past Kilauea volcano lava flowing into the ocean. It was an awesome sight. Pacific Paradise Luau on Kahului - Disembark ship and were transported by bus for 35 - 40 minutes to and from the Luau at local hotel. Ends at approximately 9:00pm - 9:30pm. Well presented and good food. If you pre-rent a car from Avis, Avis at several ports didn't have a shuttle to take you to the location to get the rental car. Avis expected you to take a cab to their location. Kahului and Kauai Lihue locations did have Avis shuttles. Chocoholics buffet in the Skyline restaurant was in the afternoon. Chocolate cakes, chocolate cookies, chocolate cheesecake, and chocolate ice cream sundaes. We decided to do the Express Walk-Off at 7:30 am. So instead of packing in the evening, leaving luggage outside the door by 1 am, then finding the luggage on the pier. We packed the next morning and carried it with us. Wheeled pull-cases are great; two each. The express people were first off, so we didn't have to disembark by groups (8:00 am to 10:00 am) as designated by our luggage groupings. Took the bags straight to a cab and the cab fare to airport is approximately $20 w/o gratuity. Aloha cafe starts serving a continental breakfast at 5 am and a buffet breakfast at 6 am. Everything that you purchased on board was charged to your shipboard account via the ship ID/credit card. Same card was used when you left and returned at each port, so the ship always kept track of who may or may not have returned to the ship on time. After you leave ship, you retain your card as a souvenir. Cover charges 1) $15.00 pp Lazy J steakhouse 2) $10.00 pp East meets West 3) $10.00 pp Jefferson Bistro Cadillac Diner - Late night - 11pm to 5am No jeans, shorts, t-shirts, or athletic wear after 5:30 pm in restaurants. Tipping 1) $10.00 pp per day added to your shipboard bill (not for bar service throughout ship) 2) Bar service - gratuity not included. You add gratuity to your check or bill at time of service. Pride Of America - No Gambling Purchase and carry-on your own bottled water, bottled or can sodas from ports daily. Soda card isn't worth it. Tuesday is Formal night - optional Passengers dressed - Approximately 60% - 70% formal attire 30% - 40% casual attire Ports where you have to take tender ashore - obtain tender pass from crew member at 7:00 am at Pink's Champagne Bar. If you are not one of the first 75 - 100 people to get your pass, you will have to wait approximately 1 to 2 hours to get off ship due to amount of people that want to go ashore. Ship's telephone - 1 732 335 3280 Pre or Post JW Marriott Ko Olina Resort and Spa located on the sunny west shore of Oahu overlooks one of the finest white sand beaches in Hawaii located 20 miles (Hwy 1/93) from airport. Polynesian Cultural Center (Polynesia.com) - A must see on North Shore Oahu. Have a great time and don't let previous negative reviews ruin your cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2005
This was our second cruise to Hawaii, the first being on the Patriot 4 years ago. The 2 ships had basically the same itineraries. First of all we thought the POA was a very beautiful ship. I could find many small problems with this ... Read More
This was our second cruise to Hawaii, the first being on the Patriot 4 years ago. The 2 ships had basically the same itineraries. First of all we thought the POA was a very beautiful ship. I could find many small problems with this ship,but first of all we kind of expected this to begin with. This is an American flagged ship with an American crew. Most of the workers appear to be college students, either there to pay off student loans, or attempt to see the world. However the ones we dealt with were very nice and courteous, except for one young lady in the Lazy J steakhouse,who was obviously an expert on steak cooking and tried to explain to my wife, why she did not need to have her bloody, medium well, ordered, steak sent back and re cooked. We ate in a different restaurant every evening. The Liberty and Skyline dining rooms have the same menu so it is just a matter of which one you prefer. No reservations are required, if you are a party of 2. The specialty restaurants, a reservation is needed, although we did just walk up to Little Italy one evening and were seated. I would rate the food on this ship mediocre at best,I am not that hard to please, but I do like my food hot, and that never happened on this ship. The Aloha cafe,tried to change every evening, with a different theme every night, the only one we had was Asian food and it was probably, the best meal had on the ship. We thought room service was pretty good, although it was limited. Had breakfast one morning, and one afternoon snack of a turkey sandwich, chips, and personal pizza that was actually hot. About he cabins, very small but efficient. The shower is tiny, if you weigh over 250 lbs you will have some difficulty I am sure. Our steward had to be the best one on the ship, room was always made up, ice was there every day,he even folded the towels into animals. He also took care of the laundry we wanted done, making a special trip, to get it in so we would have it back the next day. We did have a drain overflow during the second night while we were asleep, called desk at 5 A.M.,maintenance showed up about 530 A.M., after a second call, and took care of the problem. They made 2 follow up calls the next day, to see if it was ok, I liked this. No more problems. Our balcony always had salt on it, but a used bath towel and pool towels on the chairs took care of that very well. We took only 4 excursions,having done most of it 4 years prior. Liked the dolphin adventure in Kona the best, it is basically a boat ride that attracts dolphins, with a lady that entertains, that it is quite a lot of fun really. All in all this cruise was a lot of fun, the passengers were a real diverse crowd, this is what makes cruising fun for me, meeting a few people, watching a whole lot of people, and relaxing. Use the ship to see Hawaii, that is the idea. Talk to the locals and learn a few things. My biggest complaint, and another poster brought this up, was the change in itinerary where you do not sail by the volcano out of Hilo. This is a highlight of this cruise, a once in a lifetime sight, and NCL should not advertise this if they do not deliver. We saw this on our first Hawaiian cruise and it was spectacular. I would have thought of canceling this cruise also, had I known in advance, it was our biggest disappointment. Now for the 3 night post cruise stay. Stayed at the Moana Surfrider, the only hotel provided by NCL that is ON Waikiki. You walk out the back door and you are on the beach. This is the thing I really liked best about the hotel. It is historic which means old to me. Our room was city view in the diamond wing. Requested upgrade when checking in, was told it would be $300 per night additional. Needless to say that did not happen. So when booking your pre or post hotel stay SPECIFY what you want. I didn't and was a little disappointed. To sum things up, if you want and expect gourmet food, impeccable service, do not go on this cruise. If you want to see Hawaii, 4 islands in 7 days, go on this cruise definitely, because it is the best way to do it. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2005
On October 22nd 2005 my wife and I took our first cruise aboard the Pride of America. I would like to thank all of the members of Cruise Critic for their previous reviews and comments. This was a great help for two first time cruisers. Our ... Read More
On October 22nd 2005 my wife and I took our first cruise aboard the Pride of America. I would like to thank all of the members of Cruise Critic for their previous reviews and comments. This was a great help for two first time cruisers. Our flight to Honolulu landed at 3:00PM and we were in our room by 4:00PM. The boarding process was very smooth. Our room #10000 was incredible. It was a deluxe penthouse suite and it had a balcony that ran along the entire bow of the ship. It had a living room, small dining room, king bedroom, large dressing area, and a bathroom with a jacuzzi and a shower that you could huge shower. Jessica the Butler and Al the concierge were incredible, ask for them if you get a chance. The room was spotless. It was cleaned every day within an hour of when we left. DINNER: Make your reservations as soon as you get on board. I figured I was on vacation and did not want to worry about it during the trip. We ate at all of the specialty restaurants. They were all very good , and worth the upcharge. Service was good, and we never waited at a single restaurant. Al the Concierge arranged for us to have dinner with the Captain on formal night, what a great experience, we had a wonderful time sitting and talking about the ship. We had breakfast in the Aloha Cafe and also in our room no problems and food was hot and decent. Jessica was happy to bring us whatever we needed, food, wine, even plates from the chocolate buffet since we were on a shore excursion at the time. Shore Excursions:This was the one area I was disappointed in. It was great not having to worry about missing the ship (booked through NCL) but I did not think the quality was very good. In Kauai we had the heaven and earth tour which consisted of appx. 10 people getting into a van and heading out for a trip to the heli-pad. A van is not a small tour bus, which is what should have been used. After the ride we spent another 4-5 hours trying to look at the beautiful scenery from the van, it was not a lot of fun. Lunch consisted of a soda and a sandwich from 7-11. Nothing against 7-11, but I expected more. Maui was great rented a car and drove around the North end of the island, it was beautiful. Snorkeled Molakini through Maui Dive, very professional and a great place to snorkel. We had an incredible time and I can't wait to cruise again, you guys have us hooked. I think the upsell to cabin 10000 was worth every penny. E-mail me with any questions you may have and I will do my best to answer them. Again Thank you all very much, your help made a lot of difference. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2005
We arrived Honolulu on a Friday late afternoon. Was great stayed one night on Wakiki beach. PEARL HARBOR on Sat. morning. AFTER that went to the ship. EVERYthing went pretty smoothly at the embarkment. THE WELCOME ABOARD picture was ... Read More
We arrived Honolulu on a Friday late afternoon. Was great stayed one night on Wakiki beach. PEARL HARBOR on Sat. morning. AFTER that went to the ship. EVERYthing went pretty smoothly at the embarkment. THE WELCOME ABOARD picture was great to has the date ON IT Oct 15. OUR cabin wasn't ready yet so we went to ALOHA Cafe. Food was very good! Then our room was ready. VERY nice queen-size bed nice double window little love seat, I thought was perfect. BATHROOM SMALL but efficient. I really like Freestyle cruising. My husband and I thought that's the way to see the islands. CRUISING and no set time at dining. WE ate at Lazy J's very good. I would ORDER your steaks med. well. THAT WAS formal night too, was nice. PICTURES too. WAS busy. ALSO LITTLE ITALY was great. SAUCE was very good! LIBERTY was great too! BREAKFAST was quick very good at ALOHA CAFE. SKYLINE BREAKFAST AND LUNCH WAS GOOD ALSO. EXCURSIONs were very good, too. We did HALEAKALA Crater at sunrise great! ALSO rented a car convertible on MAUI. ROAD to Hana is beautiful! We did our own LUAU, it's the OLD Lahaina LUAU. THE BEST! EXCURSION on Hilo WAS VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK & RAINBOW FALLS great! KONA, Kahua RANCH ATV ADVENTURE was all that! KAUAI, excursion was PARADISE GARDENS & WAILUA RIVER CRUISE AWESOME! Free mai tai's and coconut. RENTED CAR from rent a wreak great deal. POIPU BEACH also did WAIMEA CANYON on our own. WAS AWESOME! THEN we sailed AT 2P.M. beautiful day . Scenic KAUAI COAST. It was like sailing by HEAVEN. MY dream was to go to HAWAII but never even imagine anything so beautiful as this. I would cruise NCL for my next cruise. The ship was beautiful, wonderful and was very clean. THE CREW was very nice and polite always. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2005
First of all I would like to thank all of the members of cruisecritic.com for all of their help. My wife and I had never cruised before and I decided to check the internet, your reviews and comments were a great help!!!! Thank You !!!! ... Read More
First of all I would like to thank all of the members of cruisecritic.com for all of their help. My wife and I had never cruised before and I decided to check the internet, your reviews and comments were a great help!!!! Thank You !!!! First let me apologize, this is going to be a rambling review, but I wanted to get this in for your members. My wife and I sailed on the Pride of America on October 22nd, 2005 and we had an incredible time. We arrived at Honolulu airport at 3:00 pm on the day of departure and we were in our room by 4:10 pm. Check-in was a breeze, we were in a special line for people with suites, they took our picture, we checked in and we were on the ship. Our room was incredible, (room 10000 purchased through an upsell app. 3 weeks prior to the cruise). It had a dining room, living room, king bedroom, walk in closet, and a bathroom with double sinks, jacuzzi tub,and a huge shower. We also had a balcony on the bow of the ship with a jacuzzi for two. It ran across the entire bow of the ship. After we arrived in our room we went to the muster drill at 4:30, and arrived back in our room by 4:50. Since this was our first cruise and we had a butler and a concierge, which we did not know what to do with, we called them both to our room to find out what we could expect from them along with our expectations. Al and Jessica came up to our room, we talked for about 15 minutes and everything was clear, whatever we wanted would be handled, from dinner reservations to breakfast, wine, water, snacks, would be taken care of. Little did we know what we were in for! What a week Al the Concierge arranged for us to attend a cocktail party with the Captain, Dinner with the Captain (my wife and I and three other couples), along with the VIP art auction. For people on their first cruise I was very impressed, and we had a wonderful time. Al was great ask for him if you get the chance. Dinner was wonderful, we made all of our reservations with Al during our first meeting, we ate at East meets West, Lazy J, Jeffersons Bistro (twice), Little Italy, and dinner with the Captain at the Liberty. Food was very very good at the specialty restaurants, Liberty was good. Service was about the same, it was not fast, but I was on a ship sailing to another island, why rush? Excursions were booked through NCL prior to our departure. During this cruise we were unable to dock in Hilo due to the weather. We had a helicopter tour booked, this was promptly refunded. In Maui, we rented a car and spent the first day snorkeling at airport beach, eating Hula Pie at La Loni's at Kannapoli, and drove the north end of the island back to the ship. This side of the island is incredible, I enjoyed it much better than the road to He__. The next day we booked an early morning scuba with Maui Dive, what a great trip out to Molakini. If you want to go snorkeling with professionals, these are the people to call. In Kona we snorkeled on a catamaran, after Maui Dive, I wanted to try a "party boat" this was not even close(e-mail, I will pull the name). Barely had enough snorkel gear to cover 20 people, plus a 7-11 sandwich and a beer does not cut it. Kauai was a helicopter tour along with a 6 hour land tour (heaven and earth). The helicopter tour was great, weather was incredible and the views were picture perfect. The VAN ride, yes I said 12 passenger van for 6 hours with three across seating was very disappointing. Six hours of bending over to see the sights, bus drivers home, wife's employment, neighbors house, daughter coming home from school, along with some beautiful sights would have been better in a small tour bus instead of a van. Excursions in my opinion need a lot of work. The 7-11 sandwich and a pop at a picnic table seem to be the norm. For the prices, they should do a better job. Hawaii is beautiful. We had a wonderful time stopping at all the islands (except for missing Hilo). Our room was incredible. Food was very good and so was the service. Al the Concierge, Jessica the Butler and Tonya one of the staff photographers (say hello from J), the Captain and his staff were absolutely incredible. We had such a great time I am ready to return NOW!!!! (Chicago 3 above windchill this morning). I am sure I missed a ton of items, but I wanted to give you some idea of what we experienced compared to a number of previous reviews. I was very worried I blew this vacation (booked prior to finding the Cruise Critic web site). Our trip was wonderful. We will be planning a cruise to Alaska in 2006. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2005
Sailed out on 10/22/05 on the Pride of America. Cannot believe that we were on the same cruise of some of these reviews. Our wonderful American workers could not have worked harder to please us. Though it may be different from the other ... Read More
Sailed out on 10/22/05 on the Pride of America. Cannot believe that we were on the same cruise of some of these reviews. Our wonderful American workers could not have worked harder to please us. Though it may be different from the other cruises we have been on, there was no less service! All were friendly and more than willing to make our stay with them the best! Our room was always cleaned and taken care of,,this was even before we tipped our Steward, Eddie, for the first time! We eat out a lot and were not disappointed by the food..maybe not top of the line, but definitely very good..never came cold. Contrary to another review, our wine was always poured by our wait staff. We tried all the specialty restaurants except East meets West...and enjoyed them all.....never a wait. The only wait we had was a 15 minute one on Lobster night...DUH...the whole ship turns out for that night!!!! Excursions were fun...all through NCL..did not want to take the time to do our own planning..well worth the money to have it taken care of for you! I definitely recommend this beautiful ship..we will be taking her again in the future!! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2005
First off, I am in my 40s and single. I cruise with my single gal friends. And we have cruised once before.. I have done 3 Cruises now.. Carnival Sensation 2002, Caribbean Princess 2005 and now NCL Pride of America October 2005... ... Read More
First off, I am in my 40s and single. I cruise with my single gal friends. And we have cruised once before.. I have done 3 Cruises now.. Carnival Sensation 2002, Caribbean Princess 2005 and now NCL Pride of America October 2005... Wonderful to do 2 cruises in 1 year....lol... We flew into Honolulu/Waikiki on the 27th of Sept. giving us 4 days before our cruise.. The best decision we could have made. Did the Pearl Harbor thing and other tours before the cruise.. Wonderful to not have to rush.. October 1st was embarkation day.. We went to the beach in the morning as we couldn't board until 1pm.. Embarkation was smooth... We tagged our luggage, dropped it off and away we went to check in.. Easy... We were told initially our cabin wasn't ready and we went to double check but didn't eat our cheerios that morning apparently as we couldn't get the door open.. We just weren't trying hard enough.. We had lunch @ the Aloha Cafe... Very good... Excellent shrimp.. I must stop to stay the ship is beautiful... the decor awesome.. the pursers desk is simple but nice.. On our second try we got in our cabin.... It was wonderful.. We were on Deck 12 in a Penthouse suite (an upgrade about 4 weeks ahead of time) on the Starboard side... The suite was big... Large king size bed, couch that was a double size bed, living area w/desk, espresso machine, wine glasses, fridge, lot's of cupboard space, large walk in closet w/sitting area, large bathroom with tub.. It was luxurious... Glass doors not curtains and plenty of room to bathe.. the balcony was wonderful.. One could sleep on it if they wanted too... lol.. had 3 lounge chairs and a table with 4/chairs... I loved it.. The highlight was that I could wash my scuba gear in the tub then dry it on the balcony.. I think my roommates thought I'd lost my mind but hey, it worked....lol We had a meet/greet planned from our roll call thread and met up with most of the group around 5:30pm after the 4:30pm muster drill... So glad we remembered.. We loved our group and bumping into them several times throughout the cruise... had breakfast with some, beach break with some and drinks in our cabin with some... it was great... Loved them all.... Now I have to admit, I was nervous with many of the reviews that came back.. I had visions of dirty linens, no towels, unkept room, but we had just the opposite. But I have to say, I think we got excellent service due to our location and that makes me sad. It shouldn't matter if your on the 12th deck in a suite or on deck 4 with an inside cabin.. We all deserve good service, clean room, and clean linens/towels.. Jessica was great.. Face it, 3 women in one room can be torture.. but we did well.... We ate at the Liberty restaurant, Skyline restaurant, Little Italy, the all-you-can-eat sushi and the Cadillac diner.. Liberty and Skyline restaurant had good food but it got somewhat boring.. The same standards, New York strip steak, BBQ'd Salmon or Chicken Breast... They need to change around the standards.. They had different selections with the standards but it was a little too different for me.. loved the desserts... Little Italy had great food.. Cadillac Diner was generic hamburgers/floats/french fries but it was good.. Ask for Cathy from Oregon.. She is a hoot.. And totally loved the Sushi place.. All you can eat for $5... And good sushi.... The excursions were fun... Did Hilo Circle of Fire helicopter tour, wonderful.. The Tropical/Botanical Garden tour awesome.. But do take insect repellent.. I used it but was still eaten alive by mosquitos....It's beautiful and not too aromatic. I dove in Maui with Lahaina Divers... Wonderful... The next day we did the Kaanapali Beach Break.. Awesome and a snorkelers delight. Lots of fish and some saw turtles.... Bring your own snorkel gear if you have it... It's a little pricey.. Then we did the Kona cultural and snorkel tour in Kona.. The snorkeling was even better....Much more fish which surprised me as there were more snorkelers...But also lot's of turtles... we swam with turtles....it was awesome.. then off to the national park where the Hawaiian refugees sought refuge.. Quite cool... And the a kona coffee mini tour.. it was fun.. The next day we did the Waimea Canyon tour... that was awesome... the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.. We stopped in Hanapepe to see the blowholes along the coast.. Very cool.... We didn't see many shows...Too busy...lol... I caught part of one show that looked like 60's music.. Wasn't sure... it looked good.. Then we caught most of the Polynesian show.. it was cool music and dancers but of the 5 girls onstage twirling these balls that looked like "knockers" from the 70's, 3 of them messed up.... I'm sure it was hard but if it's that hard, then take it out.. It was a shame..But the finale was cool.. About 200 of the crew including the Capt. and first officers came up on stage to sing on the finale song.. That was very cool.....loved it.... The internet cafe was fine... the chapel right across, not that I went there...lol.... the library was close too... I loved the Piano singer on deck 6.. Awesome voice..... I have to admit, I didn't see a lot of the ship... Couldn't get enough time to get everywhere.... lol..... But overall I loved the cruise.. Would do it again.. We got our scenic cruising for the Lava flow. It was wonderful... I'm so glad whatever needed to be fixed was fixed to do that....It was a highlight.. Then on the Friday which was our sea day, we got the scenic cruising for the Napali coast... Very awesome... Spent the day at the pool.... There were a lot of kids for the time of year but never felt overrun... I got a kick out of watching them.. Only at one point in the pool did they seem to not mind their manners of splashing or jumping but it was brief.. Mostly they were fun to be around.. Deck chairs could be tough in the main pool area but not so bad in the back areas.. Disembarking was way too easy.... we wanted to be stranded longer...lol .. We had VIP disembarking but left later after breakfast. Our luggage was there no problem. Even for those of us who had 3 pieces of luggage.... That final swipe of the sign/sail card was tough.. The transfer from the pier to airport was fine too.... Now for my complaints or suggestions.... After being on Carnival for my first cruise, I miss the "funness" of the staff..the singing/dancing in the main dining room... I know it's free style and with this cruise and due to excursions, it's a good thing it is...But I still miss the meeting of everyone in the main dining room at a set time....So I guess I like both ways.. Princess was very stuffy to me in regards to the dining room.... Everything else was fine. You can tell the staff is trying so hard to make up for shortcomings.. They are pleasant, polite, nice, friendly but they seem to forget the simple things.. I'd ask for sugar for my ice tea (which I shouldn't have to ask for) but they'd bring the container with no sugar, just equal or sweet/low... Or we'd have to ask for butter for the bread.. And we'd have to ask for more water or tea... that shouldn't be.. Again, it's the small things. The food was always hot though.. In the Sushi place it was top notch.... Unbelievable.. I do however wish they had chocolate ice cream in the buffet.. Only Vanilla... yuck... I have no room complaints.. Our steward was great.... Regarding excursions, my only suggestion/complaint was that the Kaanapali Beach Break and the Kona Cultural/Snorkel Tour weren't long enough... Only 2 hours with each snorkel... They should do a bigger group, earlier and longer..Otherwise, no complaints on excursions... Pursers desk were always friendly and informative... Elevators were much better than on Princess.. We would wait several minutes for them but not on Pride of America... they were fast and empty a lot... Overall the ship seemed big not where you'd get lost.. Never made it to the spa.. They were all booked up.... My advice is: For the Spa and the Specialty restaurants, book them the day you get on the ship....You can always cancel... One of the highlights of the cruise was meeting Capt. Evans Hoyt.. I can't speak highly enough of this man.. My first cruise I only saw the Capt. once, at formal night.. On Princess, never saw him... However this cruise, many times. We met him at a VIP champagne meeting, but then saw him numerous times throughout the cruise. Got nervous when he would recognize us and comment on the "3 musketeers"... But he was always nice/talkative... He was very much out there to meet the passengers.. Very much a gentleman.... I enjoyed that.. Knowing he was available to the passengers.... Overall I enjoyed the cruise... Would do it again.. It's an excellent way to see the Hawaiian islands if you've never been and to discover which island you may want to visit later on a longer basis... Decent amount of time in each port.. Never really felt rushed... I have to say I think it should be longer, like a 10 day cruise to give an overnight in Kona and an additional sea day.. Missed my sea days for relaxation... Let me tell you, we were like the energizer bunnies, just going, and going and going.... lol... It keeps you busy but you do need some down time too.... I think that about covers it.... If anyone has questions, I will try to answer... All I say it book it.... However, for the next 2-3 weeks of cruisers, have patience... There will be new staff as the others are going on vacation so things might be a little crazy.... Go, have a good time...... __________________ Read Less
Sail Date: October 2005
Simply a couple of comments of our cruise on the POA since we had read lots of critics on this site which had worried us. This was our 12th cruise, first time on NCL. Previous cruises were on Princess (7), RCCL (2), Celebrity (1) AND ... Read More
Simply a couple of comments of our cruise on the POA since we had read lots of critics on this site which had worried us. This was our 12th cruise, first time on NCL. Previous cruises were on Princess (7), RCCL (2), Celebrity (1) AND Costa (1). Embarkation : Fine, little wait (20-25 mins) as we were on the peak period (between 2 and 3pm). Stateroom: We had a obstructed view stateroom (7084). We usually always select an inside stateroom, but had selected this obstructed view stateroom since it was pretty much the same price as an inside stateroom plus it was located right in the middle of the ship. Even if the lifeboat blocked the bottom 2/3 of these big windows, it was still fine, we still had a nice view. We will for sure repeat this kind of room on our next cruises. Yes the stateroom are small (smallest i've seen) but no big deal ! Limited closet space; yes, but we still manage to store all of our clothes Bad smell (sewage) ? didn't smell anything. Our stateroom was clean and kept clean. The only little thing is that we found some used/dirty wine glasses when we first got in on the Saturday....no big deal and that there was an unlocked communicating door....we called, they came an hour later..again, no big deal. Just don't expect your room to be made up by lunch ! Food: We ate in the, Skyline, Liberty, Little Italy, Steakhouse, East meets West. All was fine (I guess the trick is to always ask the waiter what he recommends). We would of like more choices of entrees in the Skyline and Liberty as most of the time there was only one meat, one fish/seafood and one veg (and always available steak, salmon and chicken). Buffet ? a buffet is a buffet i.e. average as on most cruise ship ! Service: Little uneven but most of the time it was ok. As examples, you receive your wine after your appetizer. Almost all of the time, don't expect them to pour your wine (after the first time). One waiter wanted us to order our desert at the same time we ordered our meal because he was too busy !! Elevators: Slow, yeah, but no big deal. Disembarkation: We had the option to disembark on our own (with all of our luggage); great !! We were out by 7h30 and no need to try to find our luggage !!! Overall this was a good to very good cruise with a great destination ! You do this cruise to visit Hawaii not for the boat. I would recommend POA to visit Hawaii but would probably stick with Princess, RCCL or Celebrity for other destinations. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2005
IGNORE THE NEGATIVE REVIEWS My Husband and I just got back from our 7-day honeymoon cruise on the Pride of America. We had an AMAZING time! I was honestly very worried at first because I have the read the nasty reviews people have ... Read More
IGNORE THE NEGATIVE REVIEWS My Husband and I just got back from our 7-day honeymoon cruise on the Pride of America. We had an AMAZING time! I was honestly very worried at first because I have the read the nasty reviews people have left. Horrible service, rude employees, sewer smell on board, bad food and my favorite...the unwanted hair on someone's pillow. PLEASE! We experienced NONE of that. CABIN- We had a room with a balcony..it was perfect. I have been on 3 other cruises before so I knew what to expect with room size. You cannot expect a hotel sized room unless you purchase a sweet. They have a nifty dial outside the cabin door where you can request your room to be made...or turned down. It was ALWAYS done as we requested. Room service was always delivered in a timely manner. FOOD- We ate at all of the restaurants except Liberty House. We thought Lazy J. Steakhouse was the best. Cadillac diner is fun when you have had a long day at the beach and you do not feel like dressing up. We always ate breakfast in the Aloha cafe and were not disappointed. Because it is located right off the pool deck, people will grab lunch in their bathing suits...but WHO CARES! The service in all of the restaurants was EXCELLENT. If the food was mediocre, the friendly staff made up for it! They were always asking how our trip was and where we were from. They loved telling us their stories too! I am surprised they were as friendly as they were knowing all the crap they have to put up with from snotty guests. ENTERTAINMENT- We only attending one show...the comedian / juggler. He was OK. Most nights we just enjoyed wandering around the ship and hanging out in the Champagne Bar. The piano player there was always great to listen too. As far as excursions go, we really enjoyed the Molokini / Turtle Arches snorkel. Yeah, you probably save a few bucks booking outside of NCL but for the convenience it is worth the extra money. As others have said, yes it is probably best to book before hand. We did not and I think there were only 2 that were sold out already. There was a long line to book excursions but you do not have to stand in it. We just filled out the form and dropped it in the box. The next day our tickets were at our door. I really could go on and on about how much we enjoyed this cruise. The mistake I made was listening too much to what the others had to say about the cruise and to think that there negative experience is the norm. What it comes down I think is that people generally only like to leave reviews when they have had a bad experience. I am hoping that this positive review, along with others, will balance it out some! Email me with questions ANYTIME: liznics11@yahoo.com Read Less
Sail Date: October 2005
This cruise was supposed to be a great honeymoon for my husband and me. Instead, it was just a great waste of time and money. We booked our flights through NCL because we thought we would get a better deal and ended up flying from ... Read More
This cruise was supposed to be a great honeymoon for my husband and me. Instead, it was just a great waste of time and money. We booked our flights through NCL because we thought we would get a better deal and ended up flying from Seattle to Salt Lake City and then to Hawaii. Before leaving on our honeymoon our travel agent and my husband's father told us to look for something in our room when we got there. After the unnecessarily long flight, we got to our room to find nothing extra. Therefore, we gave them a day to correct the problem on their own and set off to explore the ship. When we turned in that night for bed we found that there was no top sheet on the bed, something that no one had notice in making the bed or in turning down the sheets that night. The next day we pulled into port and went off on our shore excursion hoping to find the surprises people had purchased for us in our room. No such luck, so we ventured down to the front desk to try to remedy the problem. In dealing with the front desk, the help was at best incompetent and confused. They kept telling us the computers did not show any of the information and that there was nothing they could do about it, accept call the main office when they opened the next day. Upon going down the next day to see what they had found out and armed with my father-in-laws confirmation number they still had nothing of use to tell us, in fact it appeared that we knew more information about what was going on than they did. Finally, by the fourth day they were able to figure things out, but by then all the surprises had been ruined and we had to fight for what was given as gifts to us. During the entire process they tried to fix things by giving us a free bottle of wine, after they were specifically asked what can they do to fix this or make it better now? The food was marginal at best and most nights it came out cold and slow. One night my Husband and I went to the sushi restaurant that was a five-dollar extra charge, and that was the only night I can say our food was good. In addition, on that night we had a bottle of sparkling wine that we did not finish so we asked them to re-cork so we could have it the following night, which they kindly did. However, the next night when we ate at the dining room that did not charge extra it took them forty minutes to find the bottle of sparking wine, and during 30 of those minuets we did not even have salads. The only morning we ate breakfast in one of the sit down dining rooms I commented to the waiter after he confused my husband's juice order and got mine completely wrong that they were really busy giving him a chance to realize that I was not mad about the juice. His comment to me was "I hate when we are underway, we are so busy," keep in mind this was the only day that we were underway. I think it is unacceptable to allow staff in any business particularly a cruise ship to voice their frustrations like this; I am on my vacation, not at my job. The shore excursion desk had terrible hours, specifically one night when over 1/3 of the ships passengers went to the Hawaiian luau which went from 4-9, and the shore excursion desk was open from 6-9, so my husband and I had to run up the gangplank at 8:55 in hopes they stayed open late. When we finally got there, we tried to turn in tickets for an excursion we did not want to go on, only to find out it was too late. The only thing they could do for us was to sell the tickets if anyone would want them. The man at the desk said he would call and let us know that evening and or the next morning if they sold the tickets. We received no call that night or the next morning, so I called the front desk and asked to be connected to the excursion desk. With out saying please, hold, or I will connect you, the front desk clicked me on hold again. I was not aware if I was talking to the front desk or the excursion desk until they picked up. It turns out I was talking to the excursion desk, to the same man who told me he would call me and let me know about the tickets, I was shocked at his response to my inquire, “I like totally forgot to call you my bad, I sold the tickets this morning.” I was very happy to hear the tickets had sold but amazed at the lack of concern the entire staff had. In summery I will NEVER go on an NCL cruise again, this cruise was poorly run and the staff was rude and uneducated in their jobs. The only shining moments were spending time with my husband and getting off the ship. If you haven’t already gotten your tickets, choose another ship. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2005
After reading all the negative reviews, we did not expect a great cruise. Then again, we were going to Hawaii, so how bad could it be? We were very pleased with the cruise in general. Having been on nine previous cruises, we did have a ... Read More
After reading all the negative reviews, we did not expect a great cruise. Then again, we were going to Hawaii, so how bad could it be? We were very pleased with the cruise in general. Having been on nine previous cruises, we did have a good basis for comparison. Staff: Excellent. We did not encounter any crew members with "attitude". Just the opposite. Everyone went out of there way to please. Kudos to Michael, one of the bar waiters in the Madri Gras lounge. Also to the wait staff in The Skyline Room; especially Diedre & Sean. We dined in the steakhouse twice; Ryan & Allie were top shelf. Living in New York City most of my life, and now residing in Las Vegas, I am used to good service in restaurants. I got it on The Pride. Dining: The food in the Skyline was a bit below par with most cruise lines. It always came to table hot. Friends we traveled with ate at the Italian restaurant and told us it was not very good. The food at the Lazy J Steakhouse was exceptional. However, they add a $15.00 PP service charge, and another $10.00PP if you want lobster. Avoid The Cadillac diner! Ugh! I'm not a fan of the freestyle dining. It just creates hassles. If you want to eat at one of the specialty restaurants, you have to plan ahead and make a reservation very early in the cruise. Entertainment: Here is where I was very disappointed. The production shows were absolutely the worst. No real themes, and poorly put together. The dancers worked hard, but were not the most talented group. The piano player/singer in the Champagne Lounge was very good and the combo that played by the pool were also very good. Cabin: We had a balcony cabin on deck 8, mid-ship. It was slightly smaller then on other ships, but, hey, how much time do you spend there? I read people complained about the shower. I'm a big guy, 6'1", 270 pounds, and I fit, no problem! The ship was spotless. No odors. Our cabin was made up daily and the beds were also turned down. We always had ice. One minor universal complaint from several people. This only matters if you're a chocoholic. They had the chocolate buffet, in the middle of the afternoon while the boat was docked in Kauai! The itinerary was great. Loved the overnights in Maui & Kauai. If you're planning a Hawaiian cruise, this one is top shelf. Go, enjoy, Aloha! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2005
The flight on Delta to HNL was uneventful.. Met the NCL agents at the airport and got transferred to the port without delay. Once at the port we had to wait about 90 minutes until we were finally allowed to board. Check-in was quick but ... Read More
The flight on Delta to HNL was uneventful.. Met the NCL agents at the airport and got transferred to the port without delay. Once at the port we had to wait about 90 minutes until we were finally allowed to board. Check-in was quick but once we got to the ship the first thing we heard was that our cabin was not going to be ready for a couple of hours. We went to the Aloha cafe and had lunch while waiting for the announcements that the cabins were ready. I immediately made reservation for the Little Italy Specialty Restaurant for the whole week. Since we were one of the first one's on board making reservations was not a problem at all. However while talking with other passengers it was clear that if you didn't make immediate reservations for the whole week you were out of luck trying to get into the specialty restaurants. Our balcony cabin was adequate except for the bathroom. I'm not sure how anybody over 200lbs or the elderly can even turn around in the shower. We noticed some dirt on the cabin door and it was never cleaned, not for the whole week. Our balcony furniture was dirty and the table had salt crystals on it... we asked several times for a more thorough cleaning but it was futile. Also, the tabletops in the cabin were so dusty you could write your name in it. The windows on the ship were so dirty that one could barely see thought them. On the second day the Kleenex dispenser was empty and it never got refilled. One day we came back after a long day exploring Maui and at 5 PM our cabin was still not made up. When we called housekeeping they told us that the cabin personnel was on-shore and nobody was available. Also, the sheets never got changed. Having been on several other cruise lines this ship has to be the dirtiest I have ever seen. Considering it's only been in service for a few month, I don't even want to think what it's going to look like in a year. The food in the main restaurant is exactly what most other reviews mentioned. Barley warm and the service slow. The Cadillac Cafe was serving a decent burger but everything else was horrible. Food at the Aloha Cafe was OK for a buffet... OK if your expectations are low. The food at the Little Italy was very good and girls serving were a riot. This was the only pleasant experience on the ship that we had. Given the very expensive shore excursions, we decided to skip them altogether and just rent a car in every port and explore for ourselves. Take the shore excursion guide and ask the car rental or harbor staff how to get there and explore for yourself. Not being a typical male I have no problems asking for directions... hint hint LOL. For $45 a day we had a full size car and exploring the islands was fun and we saved a lot of money. After all this is still the US and everyone speaks English. On Kauai we went on a 45 minute Heli tour that we booked directly on the internet. It wasn't a big savings but still $25 less per person than through the cruise line (same Heli Company). The daily newspaper was full of errors. When we were in Hilo they were talking about Kona, departure times were wrong.. etc. DON'T rely in the information, check with the reception. Every 7 days they do the same tour...they only have to change the dates, how hard can this be??? I have to say that I was very disappointed with the quality of the cruise ship and cannot in good conscience recommend the Pride of America at all... in certain areas of the ship the smell of toilet was quite strong ...I would call it the Shame of America. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2005
All precruise hesitation was quickly put to rest! My husband and I (both late 40s) started our cruise with a NCL arranged 2 night stay at the Marriott. We paid for a standard view room but received a room with a great view of the beach. ... Read More
All precruise hesitation was quickly put to rest! My husband and I (both late 40s) started our cruise with a NCL arranged 2 night stay at the Marriott. We paid for a standard view room but received a room with a great view of the beach. Sure glad we did not pay the up-charge for a room with a view. The pre-cruise check-in and transportation to the POAm was great. No lines and no waiting. Great way to enjoy Oahu and adjust to the time difference prior to boarding the ship. We were on the ship at 1:00 and our room 11524 was ready and waiting for us. The room was adequate with plenty of storage. There was definitely a "no passing zone" at the end of the bed but besides that we had plenty of room. (we did put our desk chair and coffee table on the extra large balcony for added space in the room.) After making reservations for the Lazy J and Little Italy, I started putting our clothes in the drawers only to discover the prior room occupants had left a few articles of personal clothing. OMG!!! My first thought was the horror story has started. I immediately called housekeeping -- within less than 60 seconds our cabin girl was in our room to remove the clothing and wipe the drawer with disinfectant. She was extremely apologetic. Bernadette was extremely sweet and accommodating the entire cruise. We did tip her daily and write her notes which we saw that she had posted on her cart. We also had towel animals on two occasions. We rented convertibles on all islands (a Harley in Kona). This worked great for us. I had read the "Revealed Books" and had them in hand. These books offer a great wealth of information and we found them very accurate and helpful. We used Hertz and Thrifty, but all rental car companies had shuttles available at the piers. (whatever company you are with will be the last one to come to the Pier -- Murphy's Law!) Just be patient -- they will make the rotation. We found all the restaurants very good. Especially enjoyed Little Italy. Be sure to check out the outdoor breakfast buffet in the Aloha Cafe. They have an omelet station. Not very busy the first part of the cruise but the secret gets out by the end and there may be a 10-15 minute wait for an omelet. We missed the Chocolate Buffet but they have the very best chocolate dessert in the Cadillac Dinner -- Chocolate Avalanche. Have one more for me!! Yes, we actually did use the fitness facility!! Top notch in every way!! We saw the Lava Flow, the NaPali Coast and also sailed by the Forbidden Island and saw beach fireworks the last night of the cruise. I actually enjoyed the last day at sea -- it was a relaxing way to spend the last day of a way too short vacation. We finished the our vacation with a post-cruise NCL arranged excursion to Pearl Harbor and the USS Missouri. No worries with storing luggage and they had us to the airport in plenty of time for our 6:30 pm flight back to reality. Go with a positive attitude and enjoy -- you will have a great time!! e enter your review. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2005
Needless to say, after reading numerous negative reviews concerning the Pride of America, we were not anxiously awaiting this cruise, in fact, we tried to cancel the trip. It is a pleasure to state that this cruise was fantastic! None of ... Read More
Needless to say, after reading numerous negative reviews concerning the Pride of America, we were not anxiously awaiting this cruise, in fact, we tried to cancel the trip. It is a pleasure to state that this cruise was fantastic! None of the negative reviews that we read were found to be true. The staff aboard Pride of America did everything possible to make this cruise outstanding. The food was excellent, the entertainment was great, the service was fantastic, and the ship himself was spotless and beautiful. The Aloha Cafe was an excellent place for breakfast and lunch. We enjoyed on the outdoor area of the cafe. The variety of food was excellent and the atmosphere was wonderful. You need to remember to go through the first part of the cafe to reach the outdoor seating area. This could be missed. We ate at all of the other restaurants except the Lazy J Steakhouse. Would like to offer you some tips concerning the restaurants: the first nite aboard is two for one night at the speciality restaurants. We ate at the Jefferson Bistro and had great seabass. The cover charge was $10 instead of $20. This is not common knowledge to the tourists. The cover charge at the speciality restaurants is well worth the cost. You need to make reservations as soon as possible for all speciality restaurants. Thurs. nite is lobster nite, and you need to make reservations for either the Liberty or Skyliner because you will find long lines if you don't. We found that all the restaurants were beautiful and the food was above our expectations. The service at all the restaurants was exceptional. Our food was served promptly and was always hot. The waiter was knowledgeable and explained and suggested items from the menu. The atmosphere was romantic at the speciality restaurants and at the Skyliner and Liberty. We also enjoyed a late evening snack at the Cadillac Diner. The Pink Champaign Lounge was a great place for a late evening drink and a relaxing piano bar. The entertainment in the Hollywood Theater was enjoyable and professional. We looked forward to the evening shows. Our cabin steward was "always on the job". He came in twice a day, we always had fresh towels, the bed turned down, and a fresh mint on the pillow. Ice was always there with clean glasses and coffee cups. We talked to him several times and gave him tips a couple times. He seemed surprised by the tips. We found absolutely nothing wrong with our cabin and enjoyed the balcony. Suitcases fit under the bed and we found a place for everything. We made use of the tours offered by NCL and found the tours to be excellent and well worth the money. We had first class transportation and the tour guide/driver was always knowledgeable and entertaining. We didn't have to worry about lunch on our longer tours, because to our surprise, lunch/buffet was included at very nice resorts. We would highly recommend the tours from NCL. We did rent a car one day and took the road to Hana. That was an enjoyable, but long drive. It is easy to find a car rental, but can be expensive unless you shop around. We enjoyed the scenic cruise and the lava display on the nite cruise. We understand that sometimes this does not happen due to very rough seas. We fortunately did not have this problem. Everything about the Pride of America was above our expectations. We have absolutely no complaints and would take this cruise again. Evidently previous problems reported have been solved. We had an excellent travel agent and this trip was well worth the cost. We found other cruise travelers to be pleased with the itinerary. Things are expensive in Hawaii. We stayed three days prior to the cruise at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. What a beautiful place! Can't wait to go again. Aloha! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2005
For our 25th anniversary, my wife and I chose a trip to Hawaii. Two days in Oahu, a cruise on Pride of America, and six days in Maui. We travelled with another couple, who expressed similar views. This was our sixth cruise, first with ... Read More
For our 25th anniversary, my wife and I chose a trip to Hawaii. Two days in Oahu, a cruise on Pride of America, and six days in Maui. We travelled with another couple, who expressed similar views. This was our sixth cruise, first with NCL. Having followed cruisecritic.com closely for months, we were somewhat skeptical of the ability of Pride of America to meet our expectations. However, wanting to see as much of Hawaii as possible in the allotted time, we chose NCL. Overall, ship appearance and maintenance seemed adequate. Salt spray was significant (7-12 foot seas), and the ship's exterior showed rust in spots, and weathered teak. Interior condition was excellent, if a little bit gaudy. Our balcony cabin was similar to other ships, maybe slightly smaller. We are an average sized couple, and had no complaints with space. Can't imagine three or four sharing a cabin. A modest sofa, located next to the balcony, was conveniently placed. Salt spray on balcony doors diminished beautiful vistas, but was understandable given the ship's speed, wind and seas. The room steward introduced herself on the first day. Laurie kept the stateroom clean, orderly, and in fresh towels, without intruding on our privacy. Two shore excursions were a disappointment. Substantial savings can be realized by renting a car and exploring on your own. Large buses, tedious rides can be best enjoyed by less confident or infirm(elderly), passengers. This applies in particular to golf excursions. Car rental on Maui for one day was $31. Rent a car, spend time where you want to, instead of being at the mercy of a tour operator. We didn't like the live entertainment in the Hollywood Theater. It was obviously directed at an older age group. Wow, did the Pride of America rock and roll! I don't know if this is due to winds and currents around the islands of Hawaii, or a problem with the ship. On our one day at sea, upper sunning decks, forward near the bow, were closed due to high winds. I walked the bow before the decks were roped off, and could barely make it. A small child, or elderly person, could have been seriously injured. I'm a hurricane survivor in Florida, and these winds exceeded tropical storm force. Our most enjoyable experience was Freestyle Dining. We sampled all of the specialty restaurants, and loved them all. There is value in the premium charged. Even the Liberty restaurant was acceptable, with service moderately slow at dinner time. Waiting 10-20 minutes for a table at peak hours gave us an opportunity to have a relaxing drink in the Napa Wine bar. Another pleasant surprise was the American crew. Maybe service wasn't stellar, but it was wonderful to be able to have an extended conversation with a fellow countryman, who could share insights and experiences regarding a particular port. NCL and the crew are acutely aware of reviews posted on websites such as cruisecritic.com, and their friendliness reflected a desire to improve service. Overall, we were satisfied with our cruise on the Pride of America. However, now that we've seen some of Hawaii, we would probably fly to a particular island, rather than take another cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2005
Sailed 10/22/05 for 7 night Hawaii cruise with my wife on deck 8 midship. Embarkation: Went smoothly with minimum wait Cleanliness: This was the 6th cruise I have taken, first with NCL. This ship was by far the least clean of any I have ... Read More
Sailed 10/22/05 for 7 night Hawaii cruise with my wife on deck 8 midship. Embarkation: Went smoothly with minimum wait Cleanliness: This was the 6th cruise I have taken, first with NCL. This ship was by far the least clean of any I have been on. Windows, glass and mirrors always needed to be cleaned. Hallways had debris in it for a few days before being cleaned. Room service trays remained in halls all day. Packets of sugar were on my balcony floor when we checked in and remained there all week. There is a constant smell of sewage on board on many decks and stairways. Aloha cafe never seemed to get a real good cleaning. The tables always seemed to be barely clean. Our Little Italy, Skyline, and Liberty restaurants were exceptionally clean. On other cruise lines, you always see workers vacuuming, cleaning brass, cleaning elevator mirrors, etc. You won't find this on POA. Cabin: -The ship has been sailing for less than a year, yet the balcony rails are already rusting quite a bit. I can't imagine what they will look like in a year -We found that the coffee mugs in our cabin are not replaced after use but just rinsed out. My wife's lipstick was still on the mug. We had to empty out the used coffee grinds because the steward neglected to do it. -The bed is comfortable and the room is quiet. However, NCL has this silly PA system. If you are in your cabin or on the balcony, you can't hear any announcements. You have to open the door into the hallway in order to hear anything. -On other lines, the steward introduces him/herself to you on the first day. You are lucky to see your steward on this ship. -You cannot access your account on the TV since this ship doesn't provide this service. Entertainment: -Comedian was good. We skipped the juggler's act. -The Broadway review type show was so-so. -Thursday night show was entertaining. Native dancers from all the islands did a great job. -Piano singer at the Pink Champagne Bar was good. -Overall entertainment is C+ Bar Service: You will die of thirst if you sit around the pool waiting for a waiter to come by. There was a gap of 1 hour 45 minutes between waiter visits. So you go to the bar yourself and depending who the bartender is you may get served in 10 minutes or served by a surly female bartender at one of the aft bars. Check cleanliness of your glasses before you pour a beer into it. Smudges and greasy stains. . Excursions: -Went to Luau on Maui. Very touristy, but fun. -Volcano excursion from Hilo was cancelled since rough waters prevented ship from tying up to dock. We rented cars on Maui, Kauai and in Kona. Definitely the way to go. You can rent a full size for about $32. (use AAA or other type of coupon when booking). On Kauai, must see the Canyon. On Maui, there is a parking lot directly across from the boat if you want to leave car overnight. Rental cars provide shuttles from ship to rental location Food: Little Italy has great food and service. Must make reservations as soon as you board to lock in a table. The waitress addressed us in French and this seemed a little too much. East Meets West was nice but food was so spicy, you couldn't taste the meal. (Book for Saturday night and it is 2 for 1) Liberty and Skyline restaurants are the main dining halls. Food was good and we were served in reasonable time. Cadillac Diner has typical diner menu. OK for afternoon snack. -The ship has the chocolate buffet at 2:30 pm. Many are off the ship on excursions or travelling around. Why not in the evening??? Overall, I was unhappy with the ship. They seem to be understaffed and this shows in the overall condition of the ship and service provided. Many employees work hard but they are overwhelmed. The turnover rate is very high according to many employees. In the Skyline restaurant one evening, they were 5 waiter teams short. The waiters who did show up were always playing catch up. Scott and Joe did a great job as did Domenick Presto. -Friday night cruise around Na'Pali coast was great. I would not recommend NCL to friends nor will I travel with them again. When I looked at cruisecritic.com before sailing, I hoped that the many negative reviews were wrong. They were right on the money. Part of the problem, I believe, is that the crew is comprised of American workers. They do not work as hard as the foreign crews found on other shipsI have sailed on. Bottom line is that they are the only game in town. But as unhappy as we were with the ship, we were still in Hawaii. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2005
Due to previous reviews, my husband & I were a bit concerned with booking this cruise. Well, the reviews were pretty much on target. To start on a positive note, NCL has the most organized embarkation process. Since we booked our ... Read More
Due to previous reviews, my husband & I were a bit concerned with booking this cruise. Well, the reviews were pretty much on target. To start on a positive note, NCL has the most organized embarkation process. Since we booked our hotel stay in Honolulu as part of our cruise package, our luggage was picked up in our hotel room & we did not touch it until it arrived in our room. Upon arriving at the pier, we were checked in and on board the ship in under 30 minutes. Our tour vouchers were in our cabins but we were missing a few of the tickets. We stopped by the excursion desk and they immediately printed the missing vouchers. Unfortunately, from that point on there was one error after another. Since it was raining the day of embarkation, some one obviously left our luggage in the rain & the clothes in 1 of our suitcases was wet. I called the front desk & they said I could dry it. When I suggested that NCL should pay for that service I was told they would get back to me. I never received a call back. I mentioned this to the manager of the front desk 3 days later & he said he would check into it & get back to me - he never got back with us. The dining service was pitiful. We ate late in the main dining room one night & had to deal with the ringing of senior cruise staff cell phone during our meal. They did comp our meal at one of the specialty restaurants when they realized that ringing cell phones was a distraction. The wait staff in the restaurants had trouble with the freestyle seating. They were constantly running and could not provide simple things like refilling water glasses. We had read about a smell in the halls. We did not notice anything until about 5 days into the cruise. The odor was found in certain areas in the cabin area of the ship. The cleanliness of the bathrooms was pretty bad. I would not use the one that was located outside the theatre. It was always dirty & smelled awful. The ship is a nice ship with a great itinerary. We did find the cabins to be on the small size compared to other cruise ships. The tour excursions we took were excellent. We went to one dance show & it was awful. The juggler was excellent - don't miss the show. If you only have 1 week to visit Hawaii - take this cruise but expect below par service. If you go with that attitude, you won't be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2005
I was somewhat nervous after reading the negative reviews before taking our cruise. We sailed out on 10/8/05 for a 7 day cruise of Hawaii. We absolutely loved it! Cabin - It was very nice, but small. Our steward, Tony, kept it very clean ... Read More
I was somewhat nervous after reading the negative reviews before taking our cruise. We sailed out on 10/8/05 for a 7 day cruise of Hawaii. We absolutely loved it! Cabin - It was very nice, but small. Our steward, Tony, kept it very clean and stocked with towels. We had a queen bed and it was comfortable. The bathroom was terribly small, but we made it. We were only in our room to sleep, so it wasn't too bad! Entertainment - We went to several shows. The first comedian was pretty boring. We loved Barry the juggler and comedian. He was super!! If we hadn't been so tired, we would have stayed for his second show. We really enjoyed the Pride of America singers/dancers. They put on two amazing shows. We also went to the Not So Newlywed game and it was pretty funny. Dining - We ate the majority of our meals in the Aloha Cafe. Breakfast is great there! Especially the omelets on the outside Aloha Cafe. The Cadillac Diner has awesome buffalo wings. I got spaghetti one night and the meatballs were not done at all. They were kind of slow there. We ate at the Skyline too and it was fine. They really should have more of a variety on their menus. The food was fine, but nothing really to brag about. Our final day, we discovered the outside grill on the 12th deck. They had fabulous shrimp, cheesesticks, burgers, etc. We should have been eating there all week. Excursions - We only booked 2 excursions through the NCL desk. We found it much cheaper and better to book them on our own. In Maui, we rented a car and drove the road to Hana. We continued on past Hana and found BEAUTIFUL waterfalls and pools. That part was worth the terrible roads getting there! It was a long day, but we enjoyed it. We drove on over to Lahaina and had a great night shopping. The best shops are there! Our car rental was about $60 through Enterprise. I actually reserved the car before the cruise. I am so glad I did because there were NO car rentals when we got off the ship that day. So glad we had a reservation! We were with another couple so it was cheaper & we could go at our own pace and go where we wanted to. The second day in Maui we went on the Maui Downhill Bicycle. It was great. We booked through the ship. We couldn't have done this one cheaper by ourselves (or at least we didn't find it). Hilo was kind of boring. We took the free shuttles to Hilo Hatties. My husband went on the Mount Kilauea hike. It was more than $100. If you had someone to split it with you, you could rent a car and do the hike by yourself. We did get to sail past Mount Kilauea that evening and it was super neat! Kona was beautiful!! As soon as we got of the tender boats, we found a local guy offering snorkeling for $30 a couple. He shuttled us 5-6 miles down the road and my husband & I shared the equipment. It was great snorkeling (great big turtles and tons of fish). We spent some time on the beach. His shuttle runs back to the beach on the hour, so we could spend as much time as we wanted snorkeling or on the beach until the last shuttle that afternoon. It was much cheaper than going through the NCL desk. Plus, he shuttled us back and dropped us off at the some of the shops so it worked out nice. The only bad thing about Kona was the Ironman was taking place & there was another ship there so it was very crowded. We REALLY liked Kauai. We took a rental car shuttle to the airport (5 minute drive at most) and checked with a couple of rental places to get the best deal. We got a great deal with Dollar. We rented a car and drove all over the island. First, we drove to the North Shore. We stopped at Wailua Falls. This is wonderful!! We drove past some wonderful beaches and the roads weren't too bad (nothing like Hana). Then we drove to Waimea Canyon. Make sure you do this! We stopped at Jo Jo's on our way back to the ship. It's a great place for shaved ice. We finally stopped at Salt Beach (I think that was it) and it was a very nice place to relax for the rest of the day. We came out much better renting a car and seeing the island on our own - we were able to see MUCH more and it was much cheaper! All the car rental places have shuttles that will bring to back to the ship. We spent our final day at sea and it was great seeing the Napali coast. We needed a day to rest! I cannot stress enough to rent a car on your own, get a map, and do the excursions on your own. It is cheaper, you do what you want, and you go at your own pace. I would suggest calling and making reservations. You can always cancel. They were often booked or only had speciality cars available if more than one ship was at the same port. Staff - We didn't have any bad incidents with staff. They were all nice and helpful. On the final morning of the cruise, the soda cart was not out in the Aloha Cafe. I asked a nice lady if I could get a diet coke and she went down to the 5th floor to get me one. Also, one evening we were lost on the ship. A staff member overheard us in the elevator trying to figure out where we were supposed to be going and she took us right were we needed to go. That's service! Our steward was always very nice and helpful. However, we were with another coule & their room rarely got cleaned. We though Rich did a wonderful job with the entertainment on the ship. He has a super personality for his job. Great job! We also used the laundry service for dry cleaning. They were good! Fitness Room - It was VERY nice! We only used it a couple of times, but it was super nice and loaded with equipment. Embarkation & disembarkation were both very smooth. We found our luggage very fast. We had to wait for too long in Honolulu to shuttle to the airport. It would have been smarter to caught a car rental shuttle at the port, rented a car, and toured Pearl Harbour before flying out. The ship was decorated very nicely and always very clean. We were pleased with our cruise. It is a great way to see the islands. We were exhausted after flying back home though. I would suggest staying a couple days in Honolulu to rest on the beach if possible. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2005
We had a wonderful time on the Pride of America. We were nervous about cruising on this ship after reading some of the reviews here, but we found nothing but good on this ship. Embarkation was a breeze. We stayed at a hotel the night ... Read More
We had a wonderful time on the Pride of America. We were nervous about cruising on this ship after reading some of the reviews here, but we found nothing but good on this ship. Embarkation was a breeze. We stayed at a hotel the night before the cruise. The hotel forgot to give us our welcome letter from NCL when we checked in. So, we did not know NCL staff were on the second floor of the hotel to provide us with information on Honolulu. This was the hotel's fault and not NCL's. The next afternoon a bus picked us and our luggage up and dropped us at the pier. From the time we walked off the bus until we walked on the ship was probably 15 minutes. They had it down to a science. On board, our stateroom was great. Get a balcony room if you're planning on going on this cruise. It is worth it! Sure the room is small, but this is a cruise! You don't spend much time in the room. The first night was rough and the next morning we were unable to dock in Hilo. We were so impressed with the staff. It was obvious this had never happened before, but they had all staff up and around and coming up with activities to keep us busy. The shops opened, the excursion desk opened, everything was opened. Some of the staff obviously didn't have time to put on uniforms, but they were there working with smiles on their faces. The food was pretty good. The best deal is the sushi bar. If you eat at the sushi bar, it's all you can eat for $5. And it is good. In the morning, walk all the way through the Aloha Cafe and go out to the aft deck. They make eggs to order and omelettes there. Very good. We also ate at the Lazy J Steakhouse. Good food and good service. But, again, it cost extra to eat there. Of the included restaurants, we liked Liberty best. Good service up there. I'm not a big fan of the free style dining. I like getting to know the wait staff and others at the table. However, for this type of cruise it works well. Our room steward was great. She was very friendly and did a wonderful job. It was always in great shape when we returned. We found all the staff friendly and they all seemed happy we were there. Remember, you get back what you give. If you're rude to these people, you'll get that back, but if you're pleasant with them, they will be pleasant with you. It isn't rocket science! We were on vacation and happy to be there and that's how I treated the staff. On one occasion we had to wait a while to be seated in a restaurant. The hostess apologized for the wait and thanked us for waiting patiently. I replied, "No problem. We're on vacation and not in a hurry to go anywhere." She told me that was the best thing she heard the entire week. We were treated like royalty that night. We took in the comedy act and the juggling act that was provided. Both were very good. We stayed late for "Liars Club" one night. That was great! We laughed hard that night. I can't comment on how late bars stayed open. We generally had the lights out by midnight as we were up and exploring the islands each morning. Rent a car on Maui. There is secure parking near the ship and a car is worth it. But, make reservations! There were many disappointed people who thought they could just pick up a car the day they showed up there. They were wrong. This is a great way to see Hawaii. The shore excursions we took were worth it. NCL now owns Polynesian Adventures, so they have more control over the quality of the tours. I think this is a good thing. We loved this and I would go back in a heartbeat! Read Less
Pride of America Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 3.9
Dining 5.0 3.5
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.8
Family 5.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 5.0 4.0
Enrichment 4.0 3.5
Service 5.0 3.8
Value For Money 4.0 3.5
Rates 3.0 3.7

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