Sail Date: June 2005
We JUST returned from a cruise on Pride of America. We are frequent cruisers and have had some wonderful experiences. This was NOT one of them. Along with many fellow passengers, we are disenchanted with Norwegian Cruise Lines and will ... Read More
We JUST returned from a cruise on Pride of America. We are frequent cruisers and have had some wonderful experiences. This was NOT one of them. Along with many fellow passengers, we are disenchanted with Norwegian Cruise Lines and will never cruise with them again. This voyage was clearly undertaken for training the crew and not on behalf of the passengers (we were used and abused). There are some serious communication and organization issues that must be resolved before I would even consider recommending this cruise to anyone. Here are descriptions of just a few of the things that contributed to our miserable voyage: On the first day of the cruise, we arrived to find our cabin prepared for double occupancy, not the triple occupancy that we had booked. We reported this to the reception desk at 2:30 and called 3 more times between 2:30 and 10:00. Each time we were told that it would be taken care of, but nothing happened. Finally at 10 pm, we started flagging down housekeeping staff in the hall. We procured a pillow, but no one came to help us fold out the trundle bed. Because we'd been traveling all day, the two of us with beds went to sleep. We were awakened at nearly 11 pm as two maids loudly came in to make the bed. After talking to other passengers, we learned this was common practice. Another issue was the chocolate. Call us decadent, but one of the things we love most about cruising is receiving chocolates on our pillow each night. We did not receive them the first or second nights, so I called down to reception to request them. The receptionist replied "um......I don't think we do that.....some people are allergic to chocolate". Upon talking to other passengers, I learned that they had received chocolates, so I asked again. Another receptionist told me that NCL doesn't give chocolates on pillows. On the third night, we had a miracle—chocolate on two of our three pillows!! For the next few nights we received either two or three chocolates, but did not receive ANY on the seventh night, so I called again. This time, our complaint was taken seriously and we received six chocolate covered strawberries in our room on the eighth night. This thoughtful gesture went a long way toward sweetening our thoughts about the service on the boat...until the next night, when we did not receive chocolates for everyone in our cabin. Admittedly, chocolates are a very small thing, but this was a good example of the schizophrenic customer service that characterized this cruise. In addition to the above issues: there is no ATM or bank on the ship, room service typically takes at least an hour and a half, many food and beverage items on every menu are not available (on the 9th day of the cruise, we were informed they had no egg beaters, Splenda, potatoes, or many menu selections), sections of the upper decks smell faintly of sewage, and our breakfast room service order was only correct one of 12 times! Our experiences are not unique. We met people who didn't have cold water in their rooms and some that didn't have hot water. We met people with room refrigerators that didn't work and some with faulty air conditioning. We met a woman who arrived to find dishes and dirty boxer shorts in her room and a couple who paid for a suite and arrived to find that they'd been downgraded to a much smaller room. Disembarkation began nearly 2 hours after it was supposed to--it was a disorganized nightmare! The cruise director gave out incorrect information in the briefing and inconvenienced many passengers. Despite these pervasive issues, we managed to have a good time (our family took bets on service issues and played 'survivor'!). Some of the waiters and service people went out of their way to circumvent obvious institutional inadequacies. The bottom line is that NCL booked passengers on this ship before it was ready. Efficient routines hadn't been established and staff hadn't been trained. The company may have offset costs by selling berths on the transit voyage through the Panama Canal. However, given the long term damage to brand equity caused by charging people full price for what is obviously a training cruise, that was probably not a wise decision. NCL management must focus on correcting these issues before we would come within a nautical mile of this ship. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2005
It was scary that on the inaugural cruise the utensils were always dirty. Not one day without finding a dirty utensil. The entertainment was good and shore excursions ok but aside from that, there was lots of chaos. Granted it was the ... Read More
It was scary that on the inaugural cruise the utensils were always dirty. Not one day without finding a dirty utensil. The entertainment was good and shore excursions ok but aside from that, there was lots of chaos. Granted it was the inaugural cruise, but they kept running out of food and everything on the ship seemed to malfunction. There was a horrible smell near the back of the ship and scarily the ship was filthy by mid trip and this was the FIRST true itinerary. Had major room problems such as stains on the sheets, not enough towels, cups, and for the most part lower than average service. Certainly do not get the bang for your buck. Definitely will not ride with NCL again and this gives a bad name to America. On the fourth of July there was a party that lasted 45 minutes and that was it for the whole day....on the PRIDE OF AMERICA ship. Not much else to say except that after riding on the Princess line before this was extremely disappointing at the least. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2005
My wife, Audrey Newman, our grandson Gavin, and I, Howard Wallenstein, had been looking forward to this trip through the Panama Canal on NCL's newest ship Pride of America. Our first sight of her alongside the pier in Miami on June ... Read More
My wife, Audrey Newman, our grandson Gavin, and I, Howard Wallenstein, had been looking forward to this trip through the Panama Canal on NCL's newest ship Pride of America. Our first sight of her alongside the pier in Miami on June 25th was not a disappointment. Her gleaming white hull with the distinctive artwork was spectacular. Further, we were not disappointed in the beautiful public rooms and our staterooms. Unfortunately, the joy ended here. Our Experience: The ship layout appears to be of random design. It is not possible to access the Liberty Dining Room (the "upstairs" to the Skyline Dining Rooms' "downstairs") directly from anywhere else on the ship except from the aft elevators or through the Skyline Dining Room. On several occasions we had to go out onto the weather decks in the rain to get around either the Cadillac Diner or the Lazy J Steak House as opposed to going all the way forward and down to the fifth deck and then aft and through the Skyline Restaurant. Very annoying. The Pride of America was about 18 or 20 days out of the building yards in Bremerhaven when we boarded, and the air conditioning system was not under control. All the public rooms, the restaurants, main lobby, and the Hollywood theater were too cold to linger in without a warm sweater or jacket. Several rooms had no a/c at all. Tests were run almost daily on our staterooms "to determine the full load capacity" we were told. This required placing our a/c control in maximum cooling while locking the controls. We were told that "these tests were only for an hour". Four hours later they were still under "test," and repeated calls to reception produced no technician's appearance. Finally, five hours later a technician appeared, and I closely observed his procedure in unlocking our a/c control. During this "test" our room temperature dropped into the 50's, and the room became uninhabitable. Where could we go? All the public rooms were of the same temperature. Who brings cold weather clothing onto a cruise into the tropics? All further "tests" were limited by me to one hour, and then I unlocked the a/c control and put on the heat! The two rooms next to ours were occupied by our grandsons and dear friends. I stopped the "tests" in these rooms as well. The next most serious problem was in the dining rooms. These comments are for the Skyline and Liberty Dining rooms, Little Italy (until the last two days when the management changed - more later on this issue), Lazy J Steak House, and East Meets West. There are two major problems: food preparation and service. Food preparation first. I cannot comment on the layout or management of the galleys since we were unable to observe them first hand, however ongoing bottlenecks caused delays in food preparation all cruise long. The first night the appearance of the steak, which everyone ordered, was delayed over one hour. That's right, we sat on our hands for more than one hour after the appetizer, soup and salad were served. Has no one aboard operated a large dining room before? We had problems completing our meals in less than two and a half hours. We started initially planning to go to dinner at 7:30 planning on attending the 9:30 show in the Hollywood theater. We were forced to miss dessert and rush through the entrEe or miss the start of the entertainment. Eventually we started dinner at 6:45 with the request to our waiter to complete meal service by 9:00 p.m.. Late arrival at the show meant that our family of six could not sit together. Additionally the waiter and his assistant were reversed in their interaction from what we had observed, and enjoyed, on our prior 25 or so cruises. Aboard the Pride of America the waiters had the job of running to the galley to fetch the food, and the assistant cleared the table, set the bread service, and (sometimes, when he remembered) get the drink order. This forced the least experienced member of the table service crew to manage the meal experience. One evening at the start of the cruise Mr. Michael Landry, whose card has the title "Food and Beverage Director" stopped at our table and inquired "How are things going? Do you have any comments about the food experience?" We described the above observations to him. The only change from the pattern we have described was the next day when all the tables for two were clustered in the front of the room in response to complaints from several couples that the "fuss" caused by several small children was disturbing their meal, and the "romantic mood was spoiled". Of course this change had negative repercussions in that the waiters in the rest of the room now had to handle all the large tables which naturally slowed things down further. We had observed the senior ships' managers lounging in the specialty restaurants, smoking in groups in the common spaces and drinking a leisurely cup of coffee. In my 45 years experience as a Naval Officer and senior manager in the food industry I had learned to LEAD BY EXAMPLE. The lack of hands-on supervision was visible in all ship operations. The only exception to this ship wide problem was in the Cadillac Grill. The manager of this operation was David Verschoor. He closely managed the Grill. Service was prompt, the wait staff were attentive and appeared well trained and competent. The last two days of the cruise his talent must have been spotted and he was transferred to the Little Italy Restaurant. We had our last meal of the cruise in this dining room and the change from our first experience was like night and day. This proves my contention that management is severely lacking on the Pride of America. On the same subject: there is a serious fault somewhere in the food handling chain. My wife, myself, and our grandson had a severe case of "runny tummy". In the case of our grandson (13 years old) it required two trips to the ships' doctor. We found him caring and competent. He was very concerned that this might be a transmittable form, and quarantined Gavin to his room for 24 hours. He prescribed a bland diet which would be served to him in his room by Room Service. Room service could/would not comply. All attempts to order white rice and plain chicken failed. "It is not on the menu, we will not make something special". We coped by delivering food from the Aloha Buffet. An informal interviewing of all the people we came across during the last three days revealed that almost one person of each couple questioned reported a case of "runny tummy". By informal count we spoke to over 250 couples. This is a serious problem. One more fact on the subject of food preparation. The garbage handling system for the Aloha Grill was built too close to the Little Italy Dining Room forcing the Little Italy Dining Room which is directly next to the Aloha Grill to fetch its' food from the main dining rooms six decks away. Yet, under Mr. Verschoor's management the service and dining experience was excellent, and what we have learned to expect from a first class cruise ship. Lastly, and the most embarrassing to as an ex-Naval Officer was the total lack of seamanship on the Pride of America. Our last scheduled port visit was in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The absence of pier facilities required that shore visits must be made via tenders. We have visited this port on other ships and had experienced small boat operations before. My Naval experience was in USS Cambria (APA-36) an assault ship whose mission was landing Marines over the beach. We earned our pay by unloading, filling and dispatching landing craft. Our Pride of America schedule had us anchoring at 8:30 - 9:00 a.m. and starting tender operations by 10:00 a.m. With a scheduled ship departure at 3:00 p.m. (last boat departs shore at 2:30 p.m.) we could anticipate a brief, but tolerable four and a half hour visit. Short, but tolerable for our grandson to "taste" Mexico, and renew memories for us. Having drawn Tender #8, we anticipated a short wait, and decided to watch tender operations from the sixth deck. What I witnessed was complete chaos, and an increasingly dangerous operation. There were 3 to 4 (varying from time to time) seamen handling lines, and no visible supervision. The tenders were supplied by the port and were handled by experienced boat handlers. As I said the ship was anchored. In these conditions, there is no net current at slack tide, up to a few knots of current when the tide is running. Under all conditions the ships' head is into the source of current, as she is anchored. That is why ship designers install a bitt in the ships' hull forward of the tender platform. What is supposed to happen is that ships' sailors bend (attach) a line called a "painter" to this bitt, and it should be of sufficient length to run to the platform. As a small boat approaches, the deckhand seizes the painter, and bends it around the boats' forward cleat. This act stabilizes the boat alongside of the ship allowing the attachment of another line, and the discharge and loading of personnel. No painter was in use. Further, and adding to the dangerous situation, seamen on the platform ALWAYS bent the first line to the boat onto the aft cleat, assuring instability and the swinging of the boat at right angles to the platform causing the boat to cast off and try again. One more thing added to the chaos: when a seaman caught a line from the boat he did not know that his weight and strength was insufficient to keep the boat alongside, and he should immediately take a turn around the cleat in front of him to snub the line to keep it from running and allow its' further tightening. After watching this debacle for two hours, and listening to my fellow passengers' grumbling, I went to the Reception desk and asked to speak to the most senior officer available. The Assistant Front Desk Manager appeared. I described what I had observed and requested that this situation be made known to the responsible operating officer, and a decision made to extend the shore visit by several hours. He refused stating that the ships' schedule was unalterable. So, off I went with my grumbling shipmates. We hit shore at 12:30, had a wonderful (ha!) two hours visit, and was aboard at 2:45. Adding insult to injury during embarkation ship personnel had dispatched one of the their lifeboats to fetch supplies from the port. Loading tenders was interrupted for 35 precious minutes while the seamen attempted to bring the lifeboat alongside to receive several crew members. Then when it returned about 3:30 to unload these precious emergency supplies, four loaded tenders had to cast off and heave-to while these supplies were off loaded as a priority cargo more important that four boatloads of increasingly seasick passengers. And what was the emergency supplies? It was toilet paper and bananas! As it worked out, tender operations continued until 4:30 p.m. This delay could not be made up over the next 36 hours of cruising, and we arrived late in Los Angeles. Delays caused by the documentation of about 75 American citizen crew added to the final time we were able to debark. We used the NCL "Express Disembarkation", which means we hauled our own luggage and stood waiting in the sixth deck passageway with about 500 other guests who had elected the "Express Debarkation". Needless to say we missed our scheduled flight, and the next one we changed to, finally arriving at LAX at 12:15. Flight connections failed all day, and we arrived home exhausted the next day. All personal spirits and wine were confiscated from us upon boarding. They were returned when we arrived in LA, and this operation took over an hour. We had lots and lots of time waiting to get off. As a parting note, we found the lack of "work ethic" among the US crew as compared to foreign staffed ships. Our stateroom steward had to be reminded daily to fully replace the in-room coffee service, and wash out the pot and throw away the spent coffee filter. Our room was never dusted, and the balcony glass was not wiped to remove the salt deposits. I mention these petty items because they illustrate the condition, and many of our fellow passengers cited the same issues. Every port (even the Panama Canal) saw several crew members with their personal luggage leave the ship. Most were disenchanted by the requirements to work, and the rest were terminated for various reasons. We had heard through the "scuttlebutt" (ships' rumor mill) that 100 new crew members would be boarding in LA to take their places. Guess our answer to NCL's question: "Would you sail on an NCL ship again, and will you recommend it to a friend?" Read Less
Sail Date: June 2005
I cannot believe a cruise line like NCL would actually book cruises on a ship that was not in proper working order or staffed with a well-trained crew. I think the only reason they did so was due to the advanced publicity they received ... Read More
I cannot believe a cruise line like NCL would actually book cruises on a ship that was not in proper working order or staffed with a well-trained crew. I think the only reason they did so was due to the advanced publicity they received from the Regis and Kelly Show. There were many minor problems too numerous to list in great detail but here are several that seem to stand out. The restaurants ran out of menu items on first day of the cruise and several other items in the days that followed. The food service in dining rooms was extremely slow and seemed rather disorganized. They seemed to be trying several different procedures to improve the service and even rearranged tables but things never seemed to be working as they should. Several times my food was not prepared as ordered and one time it was actually cold - not lukewarm or room temperature - cold. The food in the buffet was good. The bakery was especially tasty. Unfortunately you always had to go looking for silverware if you were lucky enough to find a table that was cleaned off. Personnel working in the buffet seemed very understaffed and overwhelmed. Supervisors walked around seemingly taking down notes but no improvements could be noticed. One of the ice cream machines broke the first day of the cruise and remained that way for the remainder of the cruise. Frequently the ice machine and ice tea and juice dispensers were not working. Mechanically there were also problems. There were many contractors on board still working on problems and installations. The air conditioning went out for almost a day and a half. Sometimes there was no cold water, other times there was no hot water. The spa in the back deck of the ship never was operational. There was also a terrible smell in the back by the main restaurants which we were told came from a downdraft from the smoke stacks. There was no navigational information available on the room television and we were told it was not operational yet. Housekeeping was the worst I have ever experienced on a cruise. Housekeepers in the walkways by the cabin were very noisy and made it difficult to get to sleep and often woke us up early in the morning. The rooms were very dusty and the balcony window was filthy and was never touched during the entire two weeks. Coffee pots were not cleaned regularly and supplies were not replaced until we requested them. The entertainment was good with the exception of the impersonator who almost walked off in the middle of her performance due to technical problems. The sketch artist in the main area was a great touch. The ship itself seemed to be rather plain compared to others we have been on. It is obviously designed to be used where much of the time on the cruise is to be spent in port which is what will be the case in Hawaii. The rooms were very small. We had a balcony room and the two of us could not get around without bumping into each other. The fitness center was the best we have seen on a ship. Many treadmills and cycles with individual televisions and ample room for other fitness equipment. In general crew members were pleasant and seemed to be trying to do the best they could. One got the feeling that they were on a "shake down" cruise. Obviously management knew there were problems since almost every announcement ended with "We appreciate your patience" or "We ask for your patience". My question is "Why didn't NCL do something to accommodate passengers for the many inconveniences they endured?" If this were a fine hotel they would have either refunded the purchase price or given something towards any future visits. NCL did neither. Not only would I not recommend NCL but I feel they should be ashamed for their lack of consideration of passengers. The only thing worse than poor customer service is none at all. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2005
Been on a number of cruises in recent years... Disney, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and have got to say the Pride of America was, in a word, unique. Service ranged from first class to rude... overall rating at best could be categorized as ... Read More
Been on a number of cruises in recent years... Disney, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and have got to say the Pride of America was, in a word, unique. Service ranged from first class to rude... overall rating at best could be categorized as spotty. The photographers were pushy and always had a "comment" if you declined an offer to be held up and photographed at every port. The Italian specialty restaurant should be avoided at all costs... the food was dismal (small portions of frozen TV dinner quality and the young man from Guam who greeted and seated us was a boorish snob. Most obnoxious crew member I have ever encountered on any cruise. There were some high points... The Texas Steakhouse and East Meets West exceeded my expectations. The Cadillac Diner was almost as bad as the Italian eatery. The Aloha Buffet was OK... Couldn't seem to get over the fact that most of the crew we encountered almost seemed overwhelmed by their appointed tasks at hand. Our room host was pleasant but always seemed short on towels and bed linens... I especially enjoyed the little yellow sticky note on our bathroom mirror stating there would be no towels available until later that night... just want you want to see after a long day of volcano hiking... a quick trip to the pool towel stash resolved that issue. I think the most amazing thing about this particular ride was you could never count on the toilet flushing after you used it. Ours remained out of commission for nearly 10 hours one day... the highlight of which was when it started pumping out raw sewerage into the bathroom floor. It took several calls and a trip to the customer what service? desk to resolve that issue. Also, the boat always smelled nasty, especially during peak flush periods. A vacuum pump responsible for sucking the waste out of the respective commodes was the apparent culprit (not the company line that someone had put a no no in the potty). So.... did all of this ruin our trip to paradise. Absolutely not... the NCL hosted excursions were top drawer in every respect (Road to Hanna, Crater and Turtle Arches Snorkel, and Volcano Hiking Adventure should not be missed)... the boat sponsored Luau wasn't really worth the money but still entertaining. Consider Island Helicopters in Kuai for your chopper ride... lots of air time over a bigger portion of the Island. The islands were out of this world... sadly you had to take the Greyhound Bus of the Seven Seas to enjoy them. Not sorry we went but the boat and the quality of service it offers is in need of serious improvement. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2005
We sailed on 7/23/05. Ship is brand new but housekeeping was a problem and service was not to a standard I would have expected for the price paid. We left Honolulu 4 hours late due to a 27 passengers late out of Denver. Obviously NCL felt ... Read More
We sailed on 7/23/05. Ship is brand new but housekeeping was a problem and service was not to a standard I would have expected for the price paid. We left Honolulu 4 hours late due to a 27 passengers late out of Denver. Obviously NCL felt these people were more important than the other 2000+ waiting to sail. We were 4 hours late into Hilo which caused a large number of excursions to be cancelled or rebooked. We left Kauai 3 hours early so NCL could get to Honolulu to work on the ships engines (one of the reasons given for late arrival into Hilo.) Embarkation: We had pre-boarding because of a 2 night pre-cruise add on at the Marriott. The only long line we dealt with was the lei greeting and photo. Dining: Food was adequate but not exceptional. Because NCL has a warehouse in Honolulu, we were told by several crew members that they could only take on provisions there. By Thursday, the dining rooms were out of fresh pineapple, pineapple juice and grapefruit juice. By Friday, the bananas on the Aloha Buffet were over ripe (BLACK). Service was substandard. While you could get an occasional good server, it was a rarity. The two young men who were host at Little Italy were one of the exceptions. Both were polite and helpful. We waited more than 45 minutes for breakfast in the Skyline two separate mornings. The LED screens for finding where to dine without a wait were a great idea when they were actually working. Standing in front of the Skyline we looked at the board which said the Cadillac Diner was open with no wait, we took stairs and arrived at the Diner within 3 minutes and found ourselves in a line and told it would be a 20 minute wait. The Host told us he had been just to busy to worry about updating the info on the LED screen. Public rooms: Most of the Public areas were okay. The biggest complaint I had was the automatic doors to the pool area were heavy and with the ship moving were really difficult to open and about 75% of the time the automatic assist was broken. Also, they had real problems with the elevators and toilets although not affected by the latter only the smell on level 4 when walking through. Entertainment: Didn't really attend. Cabin: Cabin is small even for two people. Closet space is VERY limited. The lanai was the best part of the cabin. Had a problem with the shower drain which took 2 days and 2 trips from maintenance to fix. Our cabin attendant was good, but not great. Soap dispenser in shower not filled upon arrival. Cabin made up as a double when requested a single (we rearranged the beds, but housekeeping never did provide a King bedspread). Service: Cranky crew members with "not my job" attitudes through out the ship. Ordering a Diet Coke in a specialty restaurant requires the crew member to go to the nearest bar and get it. There are no fountain dispensers set up in any specialty restaurant. The hours may not be the hours the bar was actually open. John Adams Coffee Bar was to open at 7AM and was NEVER open before 8AM. Although we left Kauai 3 hours early no attempt was made to open any additional facilities. Only the two pool bars and the Gold Rush were open. Unfortunately, there were incredibly long lines at the two pool bars and the Gold Rush was low on inventory. When we questioned this we were told that the "guy with the store room key would be on duty at 5PMand we should try then". Fitness Center: Equipment was nice, several machines were already out of order however. Shore Excursions: Extremely long lines due to the fact that the desk was only open 5 hours a day. Book on-line as soon as you can. Several times NCL only had one computer available (we were told several times that the other computer was not working) to scan ID cards for those leaving and returning to the ship. This caused long lines which could have been avoided by having leaving and returning guests use separate gangways like other cruise lines do. If you want to snorkel Molokini, book it independently for the morning of the second day of Maui. Ours was spoiled do to the fact that NCL offered only an afternoon snorkel on a 200+ passenger boat. We could not get close enough to any spot because of the winds and the size of the boat. The Na Pali Explorer Snorkel and Coastline viewing on Kauai was outstanding!!!! Disembarkation: One of the few thing NCL excelled at...getting off the ship even earlier than your tags said. NCL directs passengers to a specific location for cab service. These cabbies have paid a permit fee to NCL and we never did see a cab where we were sent. However, there were many cabs across the street so just look around after getting your luggage and head toward the cabs. Value: Overall the experience was not what I had expected for the amount of money. NCL is a Denny's/Motel 6 experience. Next time we will skip the cruise and enjoy Hawaii on our own. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2005
This was our first cruise and our first time in Hawaii. We booked via the internet for our 20th wedding anniversary. We took the 7 day circle around the Hawaiian islands. The Trip We booked the airfare via NCL, had no issues with ... Read More
This was our first cruise and our first time in Hawaii. We booked via the internet for our 20th wedding anniversary. We took the 7 day circle around the Hawaiian islands. The Trip We booked the airfare via NCL, had no issues with luggage, the flight times and experienced no delays. Not a bad trip. The itinerary was perfect. Just enough time in port, traveling almost always at night. The Ship The ship is brand new so nearly everything is spotless and unused. We upgraded to a balcony cabin. We got lucky because nearly all the travel near the islands was on our side of the ship. The room and balcony was larger than I expected. I'm 6'4" and slept comfortably and was able to use the bathroom/shower without bumping into everything. Entertainment/Shore Excursions We booked all our excursions via the ship. I noticed many were much cheaper from the shore but we traded cash for convenience. We arrived late to our 1st destination where we booked a lava hike. Normally, the 6+ mile hike takes over half a day but due to the late arrival, it was more of a death march. We received 25% off and were very disappointed not to make it all the way to the lava in the time allotted. I loved the mountain bike ride in Maui. Apx 22 miles from the top of a volcano 10,487ft to the beach. Very beautiful, fast, scary and exciting. They should have warned us about the temperature (40 degrees F) or provided something warm to wear as I caught a cold which side-lined me for 2 days. The doctor was very helpful and explained everything well, gave me a series of drugs at a cost of apx 80$. The luau sucked. Basically a bus ride to a field at a hotel. There must have been 5000 people. I guess we should have known it was impersonal. The meal was ok but I tire of buffets. The desk staff was very lacking. Since we went for our anniversary, I pre-ordered champagne/fruit for embarkation. It was a no show. I visited the desk and scheduled it twice more, both no-shows. When trying to cancel it altogether, a manager near the desk said she would get to the bottom of it and call me. No call. Luckily, our neighbors had a bottle they had place in our room. We are in their debt. I had to visit the desk for one or two other minor issues with similar non-results. I have worked for 5 star hotels (Boca Raton Resort and Spa) and I hoped to see similar service. Dinners The dinner staff was numerous but inept. 3 people hovering over you both uncoordinated and unsure. Asking a junior member of the staff for wine nearly caused her to faint. The maitre d' had to serve it to us. On more than one occasion we got the wrong food. One particularly annoying time, we order a chocolate desert and they substituted strawberry not telling us until serving it. Very tacky, as If I'm an animal that will be happy with whatever they throw down? I guess they put the dregs in the freestyle areas. As a result, we spent a lot of time/money in the specialty restaurants. Not bad at all. Especially the hibachi and steak restaurant. I'm not sure if I will ever cruise again. I think you can probably get better service/experience on land or at least not be stuck with bad service for 7 days. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2005
Save your money! This trip was a total disappointment. Our family of 8 just returned from week long cruise (8/13 - 8/20/05). Pro: New ship, a few staff members who tried very hard to "make things work." Cons: Lackluster food, ... Read More
Save your money! This trip was a total disappointment. Our family of 8 just returned from week long cruise (8/13 - 8/20/05). Pro: New ship, a few staff members who tried very hard to "make things work." Cons: Lackluster food, mostly bored staff, poor quality entertainment, nothing for 18-21 yr olds, and not much for others to do but drink at bars. (10 on ship.) Freestyle meant slow service in main dining rooms due to people coming to dine at all hours with not enough staff to effectively handle them. One meal took 3 hours to complete service! Be forewarned re Smoking: the Cigar "bar" is just an open space to the side of a main public space which means smoke goes everywhere. On our cruise the air conditioning, generators, and 4 engines went out at differing times causing various types of inconvenience including no hot water for showers, a shortened day on Kauai and a cancelled sail past the Napali coast because the ship had to "limp" straight back to Honolulu port. Jokes about "getting off and pushing" abounded. 3 hot tubs were cold. "Swimming pools" are extremely small, should be labeled "dipping" pools. With so many things not up to speed, this ship definitely was not ready to be put into service and should not have been. Try for some other line or visit these beautiful islands on your own. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2005
* NCL customer service = Abysmal * Sewage smell = Everywhere * NCL adhering to the itinerary sold = Not even close! * Food = Mediocre at best * Cabin = Closet sized with a bathroom out of a travel trailer * Staff = Undertrained, ... Read More
* NCL customer service = Abysmal * Sewage smell = Everywhere * NCL adhering to the itinerary sold = Not even close! * Food = Mediocre at best * Cabin = Closet sized with a bathroom out of a travel trailer * Staff = Undertrained, overworked and treated horribly. *Security = A joke, as long as you're not trying to smuggle in booze you _ should be able to bring just about anything on board. *Value = We'll see if I get a refund, then it might have been a value. *Recommend to others = Not even to my worst enemy! Precruise stay at Waikiki Marriott was great. NCL transfer from airport to hotel was not. Very lengthy ride with several stops at other hotels along the way. NCL transfer to the ship was great considering there were only 8 of us on the bus. When we boarded the ship the first thing we did was head to the front desk to make dinner reservations. This was around 2:30 and was a long and tedious process. There were only two very confused people handling this and the line moved very slow. When we finally reached the desk, reservations were limited to very late hours if at all. Next we headed to our cabin and were treated to the lovely aroma of sewage in several areas. Not a great first impression of our home for the next 7 days. Our itinerary was changed without notice porting late and cutting our day in Hilo short by 2 hours. We didn't do the evening sail around the lava, one of the only reasons we booked this cruise in the first place, and the only reason we booked a balcony. We arrived 2 hours early in Kauai, we would have been able to schedule things much differently had we known in advance. We left Kauai 4 hours early the second day forcing us to cancel a whole days plans and reservations. Food was hit and miss, you better get on the ship early the first day and book your whole week's meals in "specialty" restaurants if you want decent meals. Main dining rooms constantly had wait times well over an hour leaving you with the Aloha Cafe. Aloha Cafe is like playing the lottery. You might get lucky and have a decent meal, you may get lucky and have said meal actually found on the buffet hot, you may get lucky and be fed at all! Never saw a trash receptacle anywhere. This forced passengers to just leave things on tables. Dirty plates, food, spilled drinks and trash everywhere. Saw things blowing into the sea on numerous occasions. Dress code was not being enforced. First nite at Little Italy was far from quiet due to the obnoxious drunks dressed for a ballgame. For those concerned about eating too much at the buffet, shirtless sweaty guys at the Aloha Cafe will help you shed pounds while onboard. Nothing like a intoxicated, sweaty, shirtless man near a buffet to ruin an appetite. I know a snack poolside is a nice idea but PLEASE put a shirt on before going to get it! There are touchless hand sanitizers throughout the ship but were usually empty. I'm sure everyone washes there hands thoroughly before hitting the buffet. I know you'll enjoy watching a young crew member being yelled at and ridiculed in a very public area by an officer in front of everyone. Theres nothing like watching a young girl forced to tears because they're understaffed and she can't keep up. We witnessed this no less that 5 times during our cruise. Nothing encourages pride and loyalty amongst crew like a good public beating! Maybe they could give them 20 lashes or make them walk the plank like the good 'ole days. Security at ports without x-ray equipment was horrible. They seemed to only be concerned with finding booze. They would shake water bottles, rifle through and make a mess of our things and send us through. Not once was my backpack thoroughly searched. Had a passenger been a crazed lunatic, or god forbid, a terrorist wishing to do harm they would easily been able to bring something onboard to do so. Obviously I'm a little bitter over the ship. I feel that Pride of America was rushed into service and is not ready for passengers. I have requested a refund from NCL for the cruise portion of our trip. I believe that it was bait & switch and NCL didn't come close to delivering the services we paid close to $4000.00 for. Did we let it ruin our vacation, nope. We were in Hawaii and had a great time OFF the ship! We booked rental cars on each island and did everything on our own. We swam with dolphins on Oahu before the cruise. Saw most of Volcanoes National Park at our own pace, we did have to cut our hike on the flows short due to our late arrival in port. We drove the road to Hana and saw some incredible scenery and waterfall's. We did an amazing helicopter tour of Kauai, they flew without doors! We found several small uncrowded beaches and met some really nice locals throughout our vacation. Best of all, we were married on Maui at a great little beach! Island hopping sounds like a great idea, but you really need at least a week on each island to experience all they have to offer. Even with a week you'll still only be scratching the surface. Next time we'll pick and island, find a condo and stay on land. We could have done so on any island for around the cost of just the cabin alone! This would be my advice to anyone even considering booking through NCL. Whatever you decide, we found Hawaii to be a magical place and are already trying to figure out when we'll be able to return. Feel free to email me. Questions, comments, complaints are all equally accepted ;)   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2005
NCL Pride of America. Traveled in August 2005 with 10 family members. Since ours was one of the first cruises after newly being launched, we chalked our bad experiences up to that fact. Alas, I'm disheartened to read reviews that seem ... Read More
NCL Pride of America. Traveled in August 2005 with 10 family members. Since ours was one of the first cruises after newly being launched, we chalked our bad experiences up to that fact. Alas, I'm disheartened to read reviews that seem to show not much has changed for the better with this ship. All of us found our cabins to be dirty much of the time. We also found dirty "stuff" from the prior occupants. No clean towels on regular basis. Extremely poor service in the main dining room, we were never able to book any of the specialty restaurants, (did not know that you should book as soon as possibly after boarding!). Found the night entertainment in the main theater very hokey and amateurish. The ship had constant mechanical problems, 2 days of hot tubs that were NOT hot, and no hot water for showers. One morning; no coffee(!) available in dining areas due to electrical problems. Shore excursions were okay, just pricey as with most cruise lines. Despite what others write, we found not much to do onboard. The cabins are the smallest I've seen on any ship (we've been on Princess, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival). Every place was over crowded and yes, smoke did drift out from the "smoke area" making that upper space uncomfortable for non smokers. Please visit Hawaii, but book land trips to several islands. We found this was such a waste of money. Boarding and embarkation was one bright spot - fast & easy. 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
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
Just returned from our seven day cruise and wish I had found this site prior to booking this cruise jem. NCL ~ never again. Freestyle cruising ~ you can't be serious. Cabin size ~ unless you are a midget, get use to bumping around the ... Read More
Just returned from our seven day cruise and wish I had found this site prior to booking this cruise jem. NCL ~ never again. Freestyle cruising ~ you can't be serious. Cabin size ~ unless you are a midget, get use to bumping around the cabin. The waitstaff, and I use that term lightly, is a joke. The food was okay, but not nearly up to the standards of other cruises which we have been on. Plan on being in the dining room for at least one and one half hours. There may be plenty of waitstaff, but they seem to wander around like chickens with their heads cutoff. No offense, but international waitstaff are far superior in trying to please. Room Service ~ ho ho ho!! Ordered room service one evening for a 7 AM breakfast. At 7:15 AM, I called room service and got this message from the guy on the other end, "well, we are extremely busy this morning, it will get there". At 7:20 I left for the 11th floor buffet. The rest of the day came and went, never saw a tray of food. One of the nicest features of a cruise is being seated with fellow cruisers at dinner time. A chance to meet and great fellow passengers for the entire week. By the end of the week, most tables have exchanged photos and email addresses. This was an impossible task on this cruise as there was no designated seating. Another feature of other cruises are waitstaff which preform nightly with a song or dance to those in the dining room. After 9PM, no other foods available other than a small room service menu or the "Cadillac Diner" which serves mediocre food. A highlight of this tour was an evening pass by a volcanic lava flow on the Big Island. This never happened due to "a minor technical difficulty that didn't allow the ship to achieve full speed". Needless to say, we were very disappointed and truly upset when we read other reviews of prior cruises which stated the same thing. I wonder if this ship ever makes this route? False advertising??? There was a very strong smelly odor which was highly noticeable in our cabin hallway daily. What's up with that? We never met our room steward ~ the first person which we have always met on every other cruise we have been on. The shows were good, but we have seen better. The comedian, juggler, and woman singer were very good ~ the other evenings, okay. With no casinos, pretty much that was the end of the evening ~ no partying poolside with midnight buffets. BTW, a chocolate buffet at 2:30 PM?? Not exactly a high brainwave in planning this event ~ why not showcase this in the evening when everyone can see it? Bottom line, I don't think there will be too many NCL re-bookings from those who made this trip. 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
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: November 2005
This was the 7th cruise that I've taken and I have to say if it were the first I probably wouldn't have gone on any others. My first 6 were great, this one just okay. I had read many of the reviews before my cruise so I thought I ... Read More
This was the 7th cruise that I've taken and I have to say if it were the first I probably wouldn't have gone on any others. My first 6 were great, this one just okay. I had read many of the reviews before my cruise so I thought I would be prepared, but I wasn't! Food on this cruise was terrible and the service slow (meals generally took 2-3 hours). I can't really blame the staff but I do blame management. Not enough help! Another thing, when I go to a "speciality" restaurant, I don't expect it to cost me $92.00! Give me a break, I guess NCL figures that if the food in the main dining area's stinks, they can make more money! Room's were tiny with little room to put clothes away. Even the balcony was small. On our fourth day out, the shower water wouldn't drain, couldn't get back in the room for 4 hours. The next we had the same issue! Entertainment, what entertainment??? This was the worst collection of "shows" and I put it mildly, that I've ever seen. NCL should be ashamed of what they call entertainment. My observation is that NCL should not have a "lock" on Hawaii ports, not if Hawaii is looking for tourist dollars. I will not take another NCL cruise but will cruise with other lines. Believe the reviews or be prepared for disappointment! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
This is a letter my partner and I wrote to NCL after our return from our Hawaiian cruise on Pride of America, Dec. 3, 2005. My partner Tom Compise and myself, boarded the Pride of America cruise ship on December 3, 2005 for what was ... Read More
This is a letter my partner and I wrote to NCL after our return from our Hawaiian cruise on Pride of America, Dec. 3, 2005. My partner Tom Compise and myself, boarded the Pride of America cruise ship on December 3, 2005 for what was supposed to be a vacation of a lifetime. I had never been to Hawaii and thought what better way to see the Hawaiian Islands than island hop while enjoying the wonderful environment of a luxury cruise ship. What should have been a wonderful week turned into a nightmare. We left the ship on our second day of the cruise to explore Maui. After a beautiful day driving the Road to Hana, we returned to the ship to be greeted by an extremely foul smell that can only be described as sewage. The smell greeted us soon as we got off the elevator and entered the lobby/reception area of Deck 5. We were traveling with another couple, who also observed the foul odor. We commented about the smell, and basically ignored it until we went to our cabin, on Deck 8 cabin #8136. As we were walking towards our room, we observed the same unpleasant odor in the hallway. When we opened the door to our cabin, the noxious smell was stronger than ever. We immediately went back to the Customer Service desk on Deck 5 to report the problem. We were advised by the gentleman at the front desk that he would have someone check into it immediately. He also mentioned this same problem smell was reported on a prior cruise. When no one responded to our complaint, we returned to the Customer Service desk a few hours later to again report the smell in our room. At that time, we were advised there were no other rooms available on the ship and that once again the problem would be reported. Soon afterwards, a young lady name Kopola came to our room, concurred the smell was very strong, and sprayed our room with Fabreze air freshener. Needless to say, it didnt fix the problem and Tom and I slept on our balcony that night. We left the ship early in the morning of the third day to continue exploring Maui. Again, when we returned, the smell was now apparent in many areas of ship, including Decks 5, 8, & 11. Unfortunately when we got to our room, it was as strong as ever. Other travelers on our deck were also experiencing the same problem. At one point, some of the folks joined Tom and tried to get some resolution at the front desk. Patrick, the front desk clerk, advised that he would contact Kara, the Office Manager, of the problem. Patrick told us they believed we were possibly docked on a sewage dump, or that there was a problem with a sewage plant on Maui. Shortly after that conversation, Tom received a call from Kara, the Front Office Manager, who asked to see Tom personally. She apologized for the problem, assured Tom the smell would be gone when we left Maui, and promised Tom a bottle of wine and a $50 credit for the inconvenience. Unfortunately the smell DIDNT leave our room that evening as we were assured. Again, we went to the Customer Service desk and explained the problem. Patrick at the front desk seemed determined to try to help us. He contact Kara again and magically we were given another cabin to sleep in for the night. (Obviously there were empty cabins on the ship!) Low and behold, the smell was gone from our room the next day when we docked in Kona. With much relief we spent the day off ship. Our room was still free of the stench when we returned to the ship; however, we kept smelling the foul odor in other areas of the ship including areas around the elevators, the ship lobby in certain areas, and in the waiting area of the Liberty Dining room. The following day, we docked in Kauai and left the ship early to explore the island. We returned to our room late that afternoon, showered, and again left the ship to attend a Lua at Gaylords. When we returned to the ship that evening, the smell was back. It had a very potent, chemical odor to it, more so than before. Once again, we went to the Customer Service desk, and were advised Kara was sleeping and would be notified later. Some time later that evening, Kara phoned Tom and advised him there were no cabins available to move to. She suggested we contact the NCL Customer Relations Department for further resolution. Apparently there was nothing more she was able to do. Tom was extremely upset and ready to throw up his hands in frustration. Fortunately we met a vendor on the ship, who advised us to contact John OHara, The Hotel Director of the ship. One of the front desk clerks left John a message that we wanted to speak with him. We met with John, who assured us he would find us a cabin for the night. He said this was the first he knew of the problem. He walked us to our room (1:00 am in the morning) while we got a bag together, and in his own words was APPALLED by the stink in our room. He took us to the 10th deck to relocate us in a cabin for the evening (cabin #10114). Unfortunately, that room was also full of the same disgusting smell. John then made a call to advise someone that the smell was on deck 10 also. He then brought us to a room on the 9th floor that was finally satisfactory. The following day we returned to our own cabin, which seemed to finally be free of the stench We met the Fire Chief of the ship one evening while having a drink, who was so disturbed by our problem, that he made calls there on the spot, only to find out that not even the environmental engineer of the ship had been notified of a smell. We spoke with numerous people who were aware of the smell, but were trying to ignore it. Lucky for them, it wasnt in their cabins. We had people show up at our cabin days after the problem was reported, to see if our bathroom toilet was the problem. There was an apparent lack of communication on the ship&One hand didnt seem to know what the other was doing. And it took hours of numerous complaints to get anyone to take the problem seriously. Most importantly we spent HOURS of our holiday time trying to get some resolution to a most DISGUSTING problem that not one person had an answer or resolution to. We still dont know what exactly we were smelling all that time. The air vents were blowing this horrific gaseous smell in many areas of the ship. Coincidentally (?) both Tom and I got sick with bad bronchitis upon returning home. In addition, the food was mediocre at best. The freestyle concept, while sounding like a good idea, did not work. Reservations were needed days in advance and you were lucky if they were honored on time. There wasnt one specialty restaurant worthy of any praise or worth any additional charge. Shame on you! The best meal we had was in the Little Italy restaurant, which was described by two people we met as of Chef Boy R Dee quality. There was nothing and nowhere to eat between the hours of 3-5pm when people were coming back to the ship hungry for a bite. When we tried to get something to eat at the Lets not forget the soggy potato chips too!. When we asked if there was anything else to eat, we were advised by the Cafe Manager that this is only a snack. We tried to go to the Cadillac Diner. However , because it was the ONLY place to get a bite, it was jam packed. When we finally did eat there, we were served a grilled cheese sandwich with mozzarella cheese as they were OUT of American Cheese. We got an earful from the waitress who explained that when foods are ordered, they need approval from corporate, and often the orders are changed, without alerting the restaurant personnel. The entertainment, what little there was, was like watching amateur hour. The Mardi Gras lounge was run by a group of young adults, barely beyond their teenage years. They were unprofessional, untalented, and could not relate to the people they were entertaining and visa versa. The cocktail lounges throughout the ship were empty most evenings. One evening we observed some elderly people trying to play a quiet game of cards with Guns and Roses playing n the video. They were the only people in the lounge. The staff was well trained in how to say Im sorry&as they seemed to be used to the constant complaints they were hearing, whether it was regarding bad food, bad smells, bad entertainment, etc. etc. Im happy to say weve cruised before, or this would be the last cruise we would ever take. We cruised with Royal Caribbean last year and had the time of our lives. The staff was professional, the food was delicious and bountiful, and we were made to feel spoiled and special. Food was available 24 hours a day. Entertainment consisted of many different live bands and wonderful shows. Lounges were filled with people having fun all hours of the day and night. It was what inspired us to take this cruise. You need to look very closely at what you call the Pride of America. I can assure you, it is nothing to be proud of. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
After reading several negative reviews about Pride of America I was prepared for a lack of service but I wasn't prepared for several things on my New Year's cruise that I found unacceptable. This was my 4th cruise but my first ... Read More
After reading several negative reviews about Pride of America I was prepared for a lack of service but I wasn't prepared for several things on my New Year's cruise that I found unacceptable. This was my 4th cruise but my first with Norwegian Cruise Lines. Let's start with the condition of the stateroom. When we arrived at our room we discovered dirty windows and mirrors. The bed was neatly made but there was no bedspread. Our maid gave the excuse that the previous cruise has a lot of youths onboard and they had trashed the place. One of the most bizarre things about our room was the toilet. Each time it was flushed it made an ear deafening (explosive) sound. I'm really not exaggerating. My wife would literally have to plug her ears when she flushed to avoid hurting her ears. It wasn't just OUR toilet but possibly all toilets on the entire 8th deck. Someone must have reported the problem because a maintenance man knocked at our door and asked if we were having problems with our toilet. I explained that it worked fine but that it was extremely loud when flushed. Upon his inspection he agreed that there was a problem and that he was going to adjust the vacuum and that it should be better in a couple of hours. If it didn't improve he asked us to call the service desk. The toilet continued to sound like a cannon going off for the duration of the cruise in spite of repeated calls to the service desk. Everyone we talked to about it was courteous but nothing was ever done to correct the problem. On the NCL website they really need to more accurately define what they mean by their so called "Freestyle Cruising." Regarding attire the NCL website it says: "Wear what you want. Dress according to your mood. It is your vacation. ... How you dress is up to you." With this in mind my wife and I decided not to bother packing any formal attire at all. We have always brought formal wear on other cruises, but since this was Hawaii and since NCL has this thing called "Freestyle Cruising" we were going to go casual. (We did bring one change of dressy clothes because our first cruise night was New Years Eve.) It was a good thing we did because we were totally misled by the NCL websites definition of "Freestyle." (more on that later) Our New Year's Eve dinner was at the Skyline Restaurant. We didn't have reservations (which on any other cruise line you wouldn't need) so we took a pager which was supposed to notify us (in approximately 45 minutes) that our table was ready. We were assured that the pager would function everywhere on the ship so we went back to our room and waited...and waited...and waited. When we past the 45 minute mark we decided to return to the Skyline Restaurant and check on our table. When I let the restaurant hostess know that we were never notified that our table was ready she looked rather surprised and said she would be right back. (She left and we never saw her again.) A few minutes later a gentleman (I assume the head waiter) finally courteously greeted us and took us to a table. (One of several tables that were empty). To say the service was slow is an understatement. It took us nearly 2 hours to be served. With each course came an apology by our food server for the slowness. No explanation, just an apology. The food was fine but the service was terrible (perhaps because it was New Year's Eve?) The following night we dined with friends. This time, all 4 of us were in casual Hawaiian attire. Shorts and sandals. My wife had read in the daily newsletter that there were dress restrictions in the dining rooms. We returned to the Skyline Restaurant (in spite of the terrible service the night before) and my wife inquired about the dress code. The response given by the staff of the Skyline Restaurant was, to me, extremely rude and humiliating. The hostess proceeded to explain that shorts and sandals were not allowed (as she snootily looked down at what we were wearing.) This information and attitude was echoed by a male counterpart. I relayed to them the bad dining experience we had had the previous night (for which we WERE properly dressed) and that based on their attitude we would not be dining in the Skyline Restaurant for the duration of the cruise, properly dressed or not. Without changing clothes we immediately went upstairs to the Liberty Restaurant where no one seemed to care or even notice that we were wearing shorts and sandals. We were immediately seated and had an excellent dinner served by our singing waiter, Luis Martinez, and the service was excellent. During our week long cruise we ate several more meals in the Liberty Restaurant but each time after that we conformed to the newly discovered dress restrictions and wore the one and only change of dressy clothes that we had packed. Another issue was the public address system on the ship. It was completely worthless. There were frequent announcements that were preceded by a chime. You could hear the chime just fine but trying to understand the garbled message was futile. I consider this a safety issue. If an emergency message were to be announced who would hear it? There is a speaker mounted in the staterooms but they don't seem to be functional. I realize that I have focused only on the negative things about Pride of America and its crew, but in spite of all my complaints and the shortcomings of NCL, we had an excellent sampling of the Hawaiian islands. I will probably never cruise again with Norwegian Cruise Lines, but the cruise did provide a unique way to visit several islands while taking my floating hotel room (with it's exploding toilet) with me. I am bothered by NCL's lack of response to ongoing problems. The complaints you read in the reviews of previous cruises seems to be repeated over and over. It's a nice, new ship with great destinations. It's too bad NCL can't seem to get it right. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
I have never before been on a cruise and I was very excited to visit the different Hawaiian Islands. I had heard from friends who loved the food, service and wonderful mixture of relaxation and fun-packed activities from their various ... Read More
I have never before been on a cruise and I was very excited to visit the different Hawaiian Islands. I had heard from friends who loved the food, service and wonderful mixture of relaxation and fun-packed activities from their various cruises. I purchased my cruise online based entirely on the itinerary. In the months leading up to the cruise I read very mixed reviews of the NCL Pride of America. It seems that the reviews fell into two distinct categories: Those who had been on cruises before and felt the service and food fell far short of other lines and those who didn't seem to mind the food and service they experienced. They definitely saw the glass as half full. I was determined to be one of those folks. After all, I had already paid and there was no turning back. Why not just enjoy all there was to enjoy and forget the rest? This proved to be harder than I thought. 12:40pm Embarkation: The pier in Honolulu where you embark has almost no parking near the ship. If you are dropping off the rest of your party with the luggage and want check in with them, this will be a problem. There were no signs listing where to bring your luggage. There were just piles of luggage all over the place. After carrying our luggage way out of the way, we noticed, we were the only people in line waiting with luggage. Finally, we asked someone who had checked our Ids where to go. They directed us to an unmarked table somewhere "out there." We had walked right by it. The person working the table quickly tagged our luggage and we were on our way. Unfortunately, they tagged it with the correct cabin number but used the wrong tag, which stated that our cabin was in the forward section of the ship. We were in the rear (or Aft Section). This would result in the luggage not getting to the room until 8pm. Next we went to a cashier of sorts who checked our IDs, swiped our credit card and issued our ship IDs. Some of us were given leis and we were herded before a photographer who snapped our photo. Next, up the escalator and we entered the 5th floor where the main lobby and ship's staff greeted us and informed us that our cabin (and indeed the entire 10th floor) was not yet ready for guests. They suggested we visit the Aloha cafe for a bite and wait. We did and this is where things began to deteriorate. Food -- This cafeteria-style "cafe" features food best described as "Casino buffet meets Hospital Cafeteria." It is as though they took the bland food of a hospital kitchen and combined it with the presentation and the occasional fryerlaytor of a second rate casino buffet. This tasteless mess is then made to sit under hot lights until it expires. And then you are meant to eat it. Having read the online reviews and cruise website, I knew that it would be important to get reservations at the "specialty restaurants". I left my family and began the frantic rush to literally run from restaurant to restaurant to secure dinner reservations so that we would never again have to visit the Aloha Cafe. I thought part of the allure of taking a cruise was that you would not HAVE to rush around. As the cruise progressed, we tried almost every restaurant. I am sorry to report that although none were as dreadful as the Aloha Cafe, they never rose very high above it either. East Meets West is the Asian-inspired eatery just off the main lobby. I live in New York, so I am used to good Chinese food and a bit weary of a place that features, Chinese, Japanese and Indian. To dine here, you will pay $10 per person and you will automatically get edamame, (1/2 cup to share for 3 people) and dim sum dumplings (3 dumplings and 1 small pork bun) for 3 people to share. Even though there is a limited menu, they will still be out of at least 2 items, even if you are there when it opens at 5:30pm. When your main course arrives, it will be approximately one cup of food and one cup of steamed or fried rice. You may also choose a soup or salad and dessert. My family found the food here the best with the chicken salad particularly good. There are constant flashes of light bursting into the East Meets West dining room because the eateries interior windows face the ship's lobby where a photographer's studio is set up. It will surely test the medications of any epileptic in your party as well as your own patience. Lazy J's Steakhouse charges a $15 per person charge and features steaks that taste better when served on airplanes. The dining room is nice and the service was prompt and efficient. Little Italy has no per person charge but does require reservations. We enjoyed our 5 rings of calamari and cup of pasta. Pass on the mozzarella on tomato slices and basil. It was a tasteless affair with colorless tomato and a quarter teaspoon of basil chiffonade. The chocoholic buffet was widely touted by the servers as a wonderful experience. Wonderful is a strong word. Crowds are corralled into the waiters' stations, which have been configured to force you into a long line. Once in this line, you must walk all the way though with escape only at the end. You will be met at the end of the line by a server who politely suggests that you take your plate back to your room. Servers do not want to have to clean and reset tables that are set for dinner. The buffet features many repeating items except chocolate -dipped fruit. Servers will ask you which piece of fruit you would like dipped in white or milk chocolate. Lobster night was even more hyped by the staff. It is served in the Liberty and Skyline restaurants (different levels of basically the same restaurant). You may think "Lobster Night" would feature an all you can eat lobsterfest or even a menu with a few different lobster dishes. You would be wrong. On Thursday night, the menu featured one lobster dish - small warm-water lobster tails. The meal that warranted this hype is 1/2 cup of saffron risotto, 2 spears of asparagus and 1 1/2 half lobster tails (approximately 4 ounces of lobster). My family found the lobster bland and tasteless "a butter delivery system" as they are used to Maine Lobsters. I enjoyed it. Chocolate decadence is a strange dessert that resembles a hostess Ring Ding but it is filled with so many hazelnuts, it has an odd mouth feel, part cake, and part brittle. I can't tell if it was a good idea executed badly or just a bad idea. Drinks -- I do not drink so I purchased the "soda program." It cost $35 plus tip for the week and you will get a sticker on your ship ID. In theory, you just have to flash your ID whenever you want a soda and there is no charge. In the Aloha Cafe, a lonely person stands with an improvised beverage cart of sorts. If you ask that person for a can of soda, they will tell you that you can't have a whole can. You will have to come back for another cup of soda when you want it. The reasons given for this ranged from: "Well, you are supposed to only have fountain soda." To "I'll get in trouble if I give you the whole can." I also do not drink coffee but one of the most disgusting things I saw on the ship were scores of dirty cups presented as clean. Early on, diners at the Aloha cafe knew to look into the coffee cups. Some featured lipstick, coffee rings or general food stains. I would say that 100% of the time, I had to pick up at least 3 cups before I found one to be clean. When I explained that there were tons of dirty cups mixed in with the clean ones, I was met with a staff member displaying what can only be described at the John F. Kennedy autopsy stare. Cabin -- We had 3 people sharing a balcony cabin which we found to be in good condition and pretty new and nice. The pullout sofa was very comfortable. There is a room safe that is easy to use and a fridge and coffee maker in the room. Within the first 5 minutes in our cabin we killed a roach, but never saw another one. Housekeeping was a bit of a challenge. Despite the fact that we had 3 people in the room, the room attendant would only leave 2 towels. The first day, I just called down and someone came up with some. They apologized and mentioned they would leave a note for the housekeeper so she would leave more towels. That day, I left a tip on the bed along with my laundry. When I returned, the tip was on the dresser and there were still only two towels. Day in and out, I would call down and ask for another towel. When I would see the attendant in the hall, I would explain there are 3 people in the room. She would apologize and then the next day it would happen again. You wouldn't think that something like this would be a big deal, but you'd be surprised how something so simple could become so irritating. One day it took 2 hours to get another towel. On the last day of the seven-day cruise, she again left two towels. Laundry -- You will not be allowed to bring an iron on the ship. The ship does offer laundry and dry-cleaning services. I found this to be very bad. I had to go to the front desk to get a laundry bag and ticket as none was left in my room. I left my laundry on my bed at 8am as directed for express service to be back by 6pm that same night. When it was not back at 8pm, I called housekeeping and they explained it was not done and "hopefully", it would be done by noon the next day. The following day at 6pm, it was still not back. I called and 2 hours later a gentleman came to my room with my laundry unironed but on hangers and apologized. As I placed it in the closet, I noticed it contained items that did not belong to me and were even labeled with a different cabin number on it. During my stay I overheard other guest complaining about lost laundry at the front desk. Television -- My room had access to 15 television channels. Three have broadcast programs, the rest are commercials and reruns of old movies. They are: #21 Ship info, explaining what is on each deck, #22: ship travel info: seas, sunrise and sunset, next port, report from bridge, time, date, etc. # 23 commercials for shore excursions, 24: commercials for cruises, port shops, etc. # 25 a live bow cam showing the bow of the ship, # 26: ESPN, #27: CNN International, # 28: Cable Network TNT, # 29 Favorite Show: reruns of series, #30: Reruns of movies (like Sound of Music, Batman Begins) #32: Activity channel, which rebroadcasts whatever the cruise director staff did last night in the "Hollywood Theatre" on the ship, #33: Safety channel, safety information about the ship, #34: reruns of old movies, #35: Commercials for ship's restaurants. My Cabin had wired access to high-speed Internet service using a satellite. It was expensive but worth it. $.75 a minute or packages of 100 minutes for $55 or 250 minutes for $100. The ship also has an Internet lounge that offered the same services you can get in your room and is staffed by a friendly, knowledgeable person. There is an extra charge for printing and an even bigger charge to send an email using an email account they set up for you. This $3.95 charge is per email sent. Sales -- I was the least prepared for all the sales activity that I would be subject to while I was on the ship. It is one thing to get a call from a telemarketer. It is another thing to trapped on a ship with a team of them. Every time you exit the ship, you will be herded into a picture. At the ship's restaurants, you will be accosted by a photographer who asks you to stop eating and gather close together so he can photograph you. In Kauai, my Mom was jostled and pushed down the gangway by someone dressed as Uncle Sam who was frantically trying to beat the crowd off the ship so he could assume his position for the photographer. I had to politely tell a person dressed as an American Eagle that I was not interested which I did by saying: "Sorry, I'm in a relationship." Once your photograph has been taken, it is placed in display cases for your purchase. Ironically, the really bad photos do not get purchased so as the cruise progresses the photo gallery gets filled with more and more hideous photos. It is good for a laugh when you get sick of the 3 TV stations in your room (unless you happened to be in one of the photos I suppose). There are many shore excursions to choose from and I have to admit I did not do any. I found it just as easy to rent a car and drive wherever we wanted. We could go at our own pace and stay longer or shorter as our interests dictated. We always rented from Avis but I would advise anyone except Avis as sometimes they had a shuttle, sometimes they didn't. I noticed Hertz, Thrifty, and Budget all had much better shuttle service to and from the pier. The Road to Hanna was thrilling; Volcano National Park and Wimea Canyon are must-sees. All of these are nearly free and require only a rental car and a map. If going on the Road to Hana bring food and best to drive a small car. The Blue Hawaiian Helicopter ride in Maui was terrific. We rented a car everywhere except Kona where you will not need one. Entertainment -- I enjoyed playing cards with my family in Shuffles Card room and I enjoyed the "Not So Newlywed Game" which features onboard patrons answering embarrassing questions for token prices. The professional entertainment very mixed. We found the juggler and Chris Alpine (the comedian) to be polished and funny. The America-themed review was the most dreadful thing I have seen in a very long time. Take 4 talented singers and 9 reasonably talented dancers and have them sing a mixture of "America-themed" songs. Despite modern stage facilities, picture recorded music, lip-syncing dancers, lights that don't appear to be focused on anything in particular. Most times the person singing is in the dark. One particularly odd number had a background saying "TIMES SQUARE" and company members in church robes singing about love while a haze machine pumped so much smoke, one wondered if the ship was on fire. What any of those things has to do with one another is anyone's guess. In fact, much of the review is like that. It is so badly conceived and directed, it makes one long to be at a high-school band concert. The next night, there was a review featuring native dancers from Kauai. This show made the America-themed review look like Broadway. There was nothing redeeming whatsoever. If STOMP can make banging on trash cans entertaining, surely someone can make the rhythmic moves and chats of Hawaii more fun than this! As I said early in my review of the cruise, my glass is half-full. Whether searching for a clean cup, begging for a towel, enjoying my cup of spaghetti, or running away from the ship photographers, I was determined to keep my sense of humor and enjoy myself. Spa -- My mother and sister enjoyed the La Therapie Hydralift facials at the spa. Each cost $117 plus a $17.55 tip, which was automatically added to the service. They also bought product and came back from the spa like giddy school girls. Evaluation -- You will be given the opportunity to evaluate the cruise. On Wednesday night, you will get an evaluation form. The cruise director asked that we mark everything "excellent." He asked that guests not let any "one thing" effect their overall evaluation of the cruise. This seems to epitomize the overall service on the cruise. Guests should consider "good enough" to be "excellent." And maybe it is in the cruise line business. I have never been on a cruise before. It's disappointing when essentially a floating hotel can't get the simple things right: Towels, food, and laundry. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2006
This was our fourth cruise experience but our first, and last, on an NCL ship. Our party of 6, all experienced cruisers, were together to celebrate the 25th wedding anniversary of my wife and I. A celebration impacted in many ways by this ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise experience but our first, and last, on an NCL ship. Our party of 6, all experienced cruisers, were together to celebrate the 25th wedding anniversary of my wife and I. A celebration impacted in many ways by this negative cruise experience. Instead of pleasant memories of good times, good food and great service, we are left with feelings of being short changed. There is one piece of good news. Hawaii is a beautiful place and whenever we left the ship our experiences were more positive. I only wish there had been more time in each port to explore the natural beauty of Hawaii. I also wish we had done more research before our trip to pick the best excursions and places to tour. Although we saw some beautiful, breathtaking sights, we could have avoided some snoozers. I take full responsibility for this shortcoming of our trip. A Few Positives & Some Suggestions: For most everyone, getting to and from this cruise involves a very long plane ride. I urge you to get to Honolulu at least one day early and I would recommend staying an extra day after the cruise. We arrived in Honolulu on Thursday afternoon for a Saturday afternoon sail and this was just about right. On the return however, we disembarked at about 9:30 AM on Saturday and our flight did not depart Honolulu until after 10:00 PM that evening. We are from the East Coast of the US so, with time zone changes and flight delays, we did not get home until 10:30 PM Sunday evening. If you stay in Honolulu before or after the cruise, I strongly recommend the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Most guests with rooms booked through NCL will stay at the Marriott instead. Luckily, our cruise was booked during a time when NCL and Marriott were in a contract dispute so we were put up at the Hilton. This was truly fortunate for us. The Marriott is clearly an inferior property, at least as compared to the Hilton. The Hilton is a HUGE facility sitting directly on the beach and it has every amenity imaginable. If I return to Honolulu for any reason I would stay at the Hilton. Embarkation and disembarkation were reasonably smooth. We pre-registered at the NCL office located at the Marriott in Honolulu the day after our arrival in Hawaii. We also signed up for most of our shore excursions at this time. I strongly urge anyone going on this cruise to take this step. You can avoid the long lines at the excursion desk onboard and it makes the embarkation process a breeze. Back to the cruise ship and its positives, well, there arent many. I guess that explains why the Cruise Director asked us all to say positive things when completing our cruise evaluation forms. I thought Jesse White in another review you can find on this website put it best; You will be given the opportunity to evaluate the cruise. The cruise director asked that we mark everything excellent. He asked that guests not let any one thing effect their overall evaluation of the cruise. This seems to epitomize the overall service on the cruise. Guests should consider good enough to be excellent.  Perfectly stated Jesse! Well, I never had the chance to fill in that cruise evaluation form because, each of the 3 cabins in our group were left a crew evaluation form (Do you like your job? Is NCL a good company to work for; Do we pay you enough?, etc.). One person in our group even went to the reception desk to ask for a proper evaluation form and they were given one copy. When they asked for three copies to satisfy the needs of the rest of our group they were told, in a terse and derogatory tone, that there were none left. Sorry, I just realized this is supposed to be the positive section of my feedback. Let me get back on track. Of the specialty restaurants, the one with the best food and service is the Lazy J Steakhouse. Our waitress, Tiffany, by far provided the best overall service of anyone on this cruise ship. She was professional yet fun, prompt, efficient and caring, traits severely lacking on this ship. The food at the Lazy J is a 7 on a 10 point scale. Is 7 on a 10 point scale the best this ship had to offer you say? Yes, sad but true. I give NCL kudos for fully refunding two excursions that were cancelled due to weather. One was for a helicopter tour for two members of our group and the other was for a luau that all 6 of us were scheduled to attend. Both events were cancelled due to rain, which of course NCL had no control over, yet they provided full refunds totaling over $600 just for our small group. Refunds were provided to literally hundreds of guests scheduled for the luau. The entertainer in the Champagne Bar was phenomenal. I believe his name was WT Greer. He had a voice I could listen to for hours on end. Unfortunately we did not discover him until two days before our cruise ended. If he is still on board when you cruise on this ship; do NOT miss him! The comedian in the Hollywood Theater is rather funny and the Newlywed Not So Newlywed game was a hoot. We also enjoyed a couples massage in the spa which is a very nicely appointed facility. This 50 minute massage was a pricey though at over $300 with the included tips. Sorry to say that my second visit to the spa was not so pleasant. We returned one afternoon to inquire about getting a broken nail fixed for my sister-in-law and to ask about getting pedicures for my wife and I. We were told, in a terse and condescending tone, that the spa was booked for the rest of the day and there was a clear inference that a broken nail was the least of their worries. Based on the tone of the person behind the desk we simply left without scheduling our pedicure and no one in our group ever returned to the spa for the rest of our cruise. I give the on-board photographers an A for effort and a C for results. Of the two dozen or more shots we had taken during the week, the only photos we fell in love with were shots taken with a flag in the backdrop (the Pride of America logo), which took away from the photo. The remaining positives about this cruise really have nothing to do with NCL; well credit the good Lord. The views of the Na Pali coast are to die for. It is difficult to describe this breathtaking experience as you cruise slowly and closely along this expansive and dramatic coastline. During this portion of the cruise we also saw literally dozens of whales playfully meandering around the ship. I even got to experience a full breech. What an awesome sight! There was one thing that took away from this experience though. While the 2,000 guests were enjoying the magical view and the whales passing ever so closely, you could hear a pin drop. That is, until several crew members decided they wanted to play basketball in the open court on deck 14. Couldnt they have picked a different time? The nighttime cruise past the glowing red lava of the Mount Kilauea Volcano was also a sight I will never forget. Hearing the sounds of steam being created as the lava hit the waters of the coastline was simply awesome. Excursions: We had four excursions planned including the luau that was cancelled due to rain as I mentioned earlier. I only wish we had done more excursions or ventured out on our own in rental cars as there is so much natural beauty to experience in Hawaii and I was left with the feeling that, although we experienced some beautiful sights, much was left to see. My strongest recommendation for an excursion is the Valley Waterfall Hiking Adventure in Kona. This is a MUST DO! You will experience sights and remote beauty unseen by even many of the locals. Do not let the word hike scare you away. It is basically a flat ground walk with only gentle slopes easily walked by people of most abilities. Only if you have a raw fear of heights should you avoid this excursion. Colleen was our tour guide and she was caring, truly knowledgeable of the island, its history and all the vegetation. This tour operation as a whole was extremely professional. They had every detail covered including sufficient bathroom stops (sometimes porta-potties but clean ones), walking sticks, fanny packs, ponchos in case of rain, bug spray if needed, plenty of bottled water and a fresh and tasty boxed lunch. Every detail was covered including offering wet wipes to remove any bug spray from your hands so would not ingest any or get any in your eyes. All of this was included in the price. WOW! I also recommend the Maui Downhill Bike excursion on Mount Haleakala. We did the 22 mile midday tour. There is also a 38 mile morning sunrise tour that I was told on a clear day is an incredible trip. Now, 22 and 38 miles may sound like a looonnngggg bike ride but, these bikes are very comfortable and you are simply sitting and coasting down the mountain. On our ride there was only one spot about ¼ mile long that required some easy pedaling. The rest of the trip was simply coasting. Driving up the mountain in our transport van we experienced some incredible views. Unfortunately, during the rainy season in Hawaii, the weather can change at a moments notice. When we reached the mountain top there was a light snow on the ground  yes, I said snow. It began to rain as we suited up and it rained for our entire ride. In fact, it even hailed for a time. The tour operator I would rate as a C minus. Their base camp operation was run down and tacky, the rain gear was old and less than effective and they provided nothing other than the van ride, bike, guide and rain gear. It is a long day and they do not provide water or lunch. Regardless, I highly recommend this tour but watch the weather closely. Also, there are several operators doing very similar downhill bicycle tours. I suggest you check out some of the others not tied to NCL. Our last excursion was the Waimea Canyon, Wailua River and Fern Grotto trip. This trip is mostly a boring, long, long; did I say long (?), bus ride. The 3 major stops were a must see but, rent a car and do these stops on your own and you will be much better off. This tour lasted nearly 9 hours and cost the 6 of us $500+ in total. We could have accomplished the same trip in 4 hours with a rental car at a total cost of approximately $200. The Negatives: Let me highlight some of the negatives. - None of our documents such as cruise tickets, hotel reservations and flight reservations arrived until a week before our trip. We booked this trip at least 6 months in advance so the late arrival of these documents did not make any sense. These should arrive at least two weeks in advance if not 30 days. - The process at the Honolulu airport was unclear. I am a very experienced traveler having done business travel for 30 years and yet I found the process confusing and harried. - The toilet in our cabin was dirty on arrival; and I mean dirty. - Cleaning supplies had been left in our bathroom on arrival. - Shoes from the prior guest had been left under the bed and were not found by the cabin steward. This happened in two of the three cabins our group was occupying. - The carpets in all of our cabins were dirty and looked as though they had not been fully vacuumed to the corners in weeks. This may be why shoes left behind were not found. - One party in our group needed to ask for towels on more than one occasion. One of our cabins asked about getting face cloths as none had been left  they never arrived. - One cabin in our party was left without toilet paper. - Each cabin is outfitted with coffee and creamer. I am a coffee lover. The problem is that the coffee maker was missing from our cabin. I pointed this out to our cabin steward on the second morning of our trip. A week later  still no coffee maker. - In all of my prior cruise experiences I had been in awe at the efficiency of the cabin stewards. It always seemed as though my room was cleaned or picked up every time I left the cabin, even if only for an hour. Not so, on this cruise line. One cabin in our group actually went two days without being cleaned. We would return from day long excursions to find that at 3:00 pm our cabin was still not made up. In fact, one day someone in our group returned at 4:00 pm and their cabin was not clean so they asked the cabin steward to get it done so they could prepare themselves for dinner. The cabin steward said that it would need to wait as she was going on break and would not return until 6:30 pm. That would NEVER happen on other cruise lines. - We had laundry done and all of the clothes were returned with a stiff starchy feeling. This was not dry cleaning, it was laundry. - My wife needed a zipper replaced on a nice pair of slacks that were part of a suit. We were pleased to learn that they had a tailor on board  great! The next morning the laundry room called to say they could not replace the zipper. I was ok with that as I understand that their supplies and capabilities were probably limited. The issue was when it took two requests to our cabin steward and a trip to the reception desk, and I will admit to not being pleasant about it, in order to get the slacks back. All in all, a three day process. And, when they were returned they were rolled up in a laundry bag. Speaking of laundry bags, there were none in our cabin. I requested that our cabin steward provide some, to no avail. I ended up going to the supply closet later that day to get some myself. - Each cabin has a $4.50 bottle of Evian water and a bottle of Pellegrino. They are tagged with a note indicating the price and suggesting that if you use up the supply to simply fill out a slip to request more. On day three of our trip we used up the water bottle. I was never left a slip to ask for more nor did I ever get anymore. - Each cabin is outfitted with a nicely designed welcome sign that can be rotated to indicate do not disturb, to request turn down service or to request that the cabin be made up. Dont bother using these signs as they are completely disregarded by your cabin steward. They clean cabins in sequence and only in sequence. - The very first person I spoke with upon embarking could not answer any, none, nada of my questions. Now, if I was managing this ship and I assigned four or five greeters to work in the gangway during embarkation, I would be certain they were some of the most knowledgeable crew onboard. Not so, this person told me he had been here only one month! Why was he a greeter? - Smoking is acceptable, or at least condoned, in several public areas on this ship. For example, every public restroom has ash trays in the stalls. - Ahh, the Aloha Cafe. It could best be described as the worst possible hospital food served buffet style. My food quality expectations whenever I go to a buffet are not very high. This buffet could not even come close to my lowest expectations. For example, the eggs are simply not palatable. If you had time you could wait in line and have eggs prepared for you but there was always a line. Each and every day the bacon was like wood paneling. The coffee was terrible and fully half of the latte machines were broken and stayed that way all week. Finding a spoon to stir your coffee was always difficult. They would only put out about 100 spoons at a time and with over 2,000 people feeding themselves every morning they always seemed to be out of spoons. The coffee cups are disgusting. At least every other cup one touched was coffee stained. They saved money by buying plastic coffee cups and the dishwashers will simply not remove the stains. There were never any utensils at the fruit bar. You could pick up a plate and some nicely done fresh fruit but needed to go elsewhere to get utensils. Fruit, salads and desserts were the only edible foods in the Aloha Cafe. Forget trying any of the hot foods. - If you must use the Aloha Cafe, I urge you to use the area at the aft of the ship. It is outdoors and offers some pleasant seating. The outside buffet is not as crowded and has all the offerings as the inside cafe. - To avoid the hospital quality buffet in the Aloha Cafe we took to having breakfast and lunch in the Skyline restaurant. The problem was this. Breakfast took from 1-2 hours and lunch was always well over an hour. In fact, on the last day of our cruise breakfast took over 2 ½ hours. That is simply unacceptable. - Jeffersons Bistro; sounds upscale doesnt it? This is where we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary dinner and a sad evening it was as we were expecting a fine dining experience. It was not to be. Our evening began with an assistant to the Maitre d ignoring our arrival and simply looking down at the computer screen of table assignments. He eventually walked away without ever acknowledging our presence. When the Maitre d arrived sometime later she ignored us and carried on a conversation with a waiter. Whatever he whispered to her was upsetting and she huffed and sighed loudly while looking at the group seated at one of the tables. She eventually acknowledged our presence in a youre bothering me tone. When making our reservation we were told that the ONLY available table for six was 6:00 pm, much earlier than we wanted to eat, yet, more than 50% of the restaurant remained empty throughout our 3.5 hour dining ordeal. Next we met our waiter. I would describe him as arrogant, ornery and condescending. He was frustrated with every question we asked during the ordering process. I could write several paragraphs about this one part of our dining experience however, two events say it all. First, the chefs special that evening was a petite filet mignon and lobster tail (at a $15/person additional surcharge by the way). We asked if the lobster was Maine lobster or something else. He said he didnt know and seemed rather irritated by the question. He stood there looking at us so we asked if he could find out the origin of the lobster. His response, again in an irritated tone was, Why, does it make a difference. When we indicated that it did in fact make a difference he proceeded to tell us it was probably from Indonesia. Again he stood there. We then asked him directly to ask the kitchen. He left in a huff. He returned a few minutes later and announced to the table that it was in fact Maine lobster. Great, five of the six in our party ordered the filet and lobster tail special. When our entrEes arrived it was clear that the lobster was not from Maine. You see, we are all from New Hampshire and we are very familiar with the appearance, taste and texture of Maine lobster and, yes, it does make a difference. So, basically the waiter lied to us to appease the group. There was another issue with this waiter that we were so upset by that we nearly walked out in the middle of the meal. We had entered the restaurant with our drinks from the adjacent John Adams bar. This is an accepted practice when cruising. One member of our party was not consuming alcohol that evening so he had a glass of Coke with him as well as the remainder from the can when we arrived. When he ordered another Coke the waiter said I suppose you want that in a can. He said this in the most condescending tone you could imagine. All of us were both insulted and embarrassed. - One evening we had a 5:00 pm reservation in the East Meets West restaurant, specifically in the Teppanyaki room. This was again the only available seating. Well, the restaurant did not open until 5:10 pm. By now even simple things like a restaurant opening late irritated me. And, as was so often the case on this cruise, only about 50% of the seats in the restaurant were used during our dinner. Why is it we can only get a five oclock reservation but seats go unfilled all evening? This seemed to happen in every specialty restaurant. I will give credit to our Teppanyaki chef. He was funny, flexible and he made the meal enjoyable. These Teppanyaki tables are designed to seat 10 per table. The staff put eight Japanese speaking guests at one table, our English speaking party of six at another table and they seated a young couple with us that was also Japanese speaking. In fact, they knew hardly any English. If the restaurant had customer service in mind, they would have seated those of similar language together. After all, there were only 16 of us in the entire Teppanyaki room and the issue was very obvious. - One night in the Liberty Restaurant, one of the more nicely appointed facilities on this ship, our waitress had a few concerns. She told us how she hated her work, how she had this job only as a way of trying to become one of the entertainers, how she was jealous of the high pay and treatment of the entertainers and how tired she was of working so hard. Now theres good customer service for you. And, it gets better. We asked about the specific preparation of the Osso Bucco veal shank. The waitress proceeded to tell us, in complete disgust, how veal was actually baby lamb. Oh my! - Freestyle dinning simply means you fight for a reservation at some time other than when you want to eat and you pay more. Did you know that the $10-15/person cover charge is just the beginning? Most of these theme restaurants also charge you even more for their better entrees? Supposedly you can dial extension 50 to make dinner reservations. Most times this was a waste as no one would answer the phone. This left you walking from restaurant to restaurant trying to find a reservation that worked for your party. - Lets talk about sewage. This ship either has a design flaw or a system malfunction which causes strong smells of raw sewage to be prevalent at different times and at different locations around the ship. You can be standing on deck 11 aft and suddenly you are met with strong sewage smells. Later you might be on the walking area of deck 6 about midship and the same smell is pervasive. Whenever you tender to shore, the sewage smells in the area of the gangway are particularly strong. The worst was one evening when I was returning to my cabin on deck 4. That evening the sewage smell had permeated the entire cabin area in the ships aft to midship. It was strong enough to make one sick to their stomach. - Pool deck; too small for this sized ship. Im guessing that a maximum of 50 guests could sit in the sun at pool level. That is a pretty small percentage of the 2,000 people on board. I recommend that you go to the small pool at the back of the ship. It was quiet and the bar service was better. Fumes from the engines were a negative back here though. - The John Adams Bar is conveniently located at midship near the main gangway doors. This was a convenient meeting location for our group prior to any events or meals. Sadly though, this bar had the worst customer service of any on the ship. It was nearly impossible to get served if you sat anywhere but at the bar. The waitress was always off roaming the ship and didnt seem to care that people were waiting to be served. Further, with only one bartender, whenever the waitress did wait on tables she became frustrated because the bartender would always wait on bar patron after bar patron before addressing her order needs. Several times during the week she would need to go behind the bar to make her own drinks. Now that is team work for you! - The staff at the reception desk was generally pleasant (not always as noted above) but they lacked knowledge of many things relative to the ship and they lacked a can do attitude. Excuses as opposed to solutions seemed to be the norm. As an example, we needed to check on a possible change to our airport transfers. The reception desk acted as though this was the first time they had ever heard such a question. They eventually gave us an extension number onboard ship of someone who could help us. We called that number, several times, and the phone was never answered. Having gone back to reception, we were given a number to call in Miami. Making that call was a waste of time. They were completely uncaring and unhelpful. Maybe the Miami office at NCL needs customer sensitivity training also. - STOP&.STOP&.the forced or automatic tipping. This degrades customer service at all levels. I believe it is one of the greatest mistakes cruise lines are making today. Forced tipping is an industry wide trend and is not NCLs problem alone. I do propose however, that NCL could dramatically improve its customer service very rapidly if they were to reinstitute the recommended tipping versus forced tipping program. Poor service performers would quickly be weeded out through attrition. - The design of the Hollywood Theater is simply bad. One must remember that the Pride of America is a smaller ship and as such there are many design constraints. One area where design was comprised is in the theater. The elevation change from one row to the next is insufficient to stop the person in the row in front of you from blocking your view. Other than the first few rows, all the seats shared this problem. Ive already bloviated extensively in this review and rest assured I could go on and on, in particular with the negatives. Simply put, most every customer service experience onboard the ship was poor. Only about 20% or less of the crew was caring and professional. It was hard to even get acknowledged when passing a crew member in the hallway  something you would never find on other cruise lines. Most crew members never smiled. I am going to step out on a ledge a little and give my opinion of what is going on with this ship as compared to other cruise lines. What I am about to say may not be politically correct, but it deserves to be said. This is one of the few ships sailing from US ports that has a primarily American crew. Sadly, that fact is a real negative for this ship. Crews on ships have a demanding job working seven days a week for weeks and months on end. Most Americans are simply not accustomed to this schedule and many of the crew seemed to resent their treatment or found the routine too difficult. Generally speaking, foreign crew members on other ships are glad to be there, they appreciate their jobs. That was not true of the crew on the Pride of America. In a mere seven days, I was directly told by three different crew members that they hated their jobs. In a fourth case I overheard two crew members going on and on about their hatred for their work and NCL. I also experienced a supervisor disciplining a bus boy for not cleaning up some dishes brought into the Aloha Cafe by the poolside bar. This was essentially a turf debate about who should clean up after whom. This discussion took place in public. When it was over, the supervisor left and the bus boy sputtered loudly enough for all to hear about how he felt while clearing away the dishes from the poolside bar. Every member of our six person party on multiple occasions during the week heard crew members complaining about their jobs. Just what I am looking for when I vacation! How much of these crew quality issues are the direct fault of NCL due to poor hiring and training and or poor working conditions is not clear to me. I propose, however, that a clean sweep of 80% of this crew must be accomplished and strong consideration should be given to the source of new hires. Overall Summary: This could be such a wonderful cruise as the ports of call are exceptionally beautiful. But, NCLs poor crew selection and training and the overall lack of customer service as well as the freestyle experience ruin an otherwise incredible cruise. Unless a high quality cruise line comes to Hawaii, I strongly urge all comers to avoid NCL and island hop via airplane instead. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2006
This was our first cruise on NCL and we were definitely disappointed. Having previous experience cruising with other lines, we wont try NCL again. The ship was beautiful, but the staterooms were very, very small. The balcony was ... Read More
This was our first cruise on NCL and we were definitely disappointed. Having previous experience cruising with other lines, we wont try NCL again. The ship was beautiful, but the staterooms were very, very small. The balcony was wonderful. Freestyle dining does NOT mean that the guest (and I use that term loosely in regard to the way we were treated--) can eat when and where one desires. We were able to eat in the formal dining rooms only two evenings. We had to wait quite a long time for that opportunity. Even in the small town where we live, an area of seats is provided if there is a wait time. Not on the Pride of America. Cool your heels in the hall or sit on the stairway. We later tried making reservations with limited success, and could not get in at all on formal night. It seems strange that there is not enough seating area in the two main dining rooms to accommodate the passengers...... The Cadillac Diner, where we often ate, was more accessible and the food fairly good. The Aloha Buffet was excellent the day of embarkation. After that, at noon we could have a hamburger, hot dog, or sandwich. The menu was very meager and much like a high school cafeteria. When I go on a cruise, I expect to be pampered and be served gourmet meals.... The food on this ship was mediocre at best, which gave me the feeling that I was not being pampered!! The young people who worked on the ship were, generally, very likeable and friendly. As a retired high school teacher, I enjoyed meeting them and hearing their stories. They were fairly well trained as service staff--if a bit forgetful in what they had told you they would get/do for you. The theatre entertainment was excellent. The excursions were very good, but greatly over priced in relation to what is charged visitors who are not on the cruise ship. The golf excursions were exceedingly well managed. In all, we felt that life on the ship was very inferior--and second rate, at best. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2006
Background information -- My husband and I are avid cruisers. We have been on 7 cruises in 5 years so I consider my review as fair from someone who has traveled on several cruise lines. We selected the Pride of America mainly because of ... Read More
Background information -- My husband and I are avid cruisers. We have been on 7 cruises in 5 years so I consider my review as fair from someone who has traveled on several cruise lines. We selected the Pride of America mainly because of the itinerary. Overall, we were not impressed with the ship, ship activities, and especially the service onboard. Travel To Port of Embarkation -- We arrived in Honolulu and took a taxi cab to the pier. The cab fare was $20 from our hotel (Hilton) in Waikiki. Kind of pricey, but very convenient. The port was quite nice. There were plenty of restaurants and shops to keep us busy until we could board the ship. Stateroom -- Our stateroom was decent. We expected it to be smaller than other cruise lines after reading reviews, and it was. But it was still well-appointed. We had a balcony room and it was nice to leave the doors open to let in some fresh air. The stateroom was not as clean as other cruise ship rooms. There were smudges all over the mirrors behind the bed that were never cleaned. The carpets were not vacuumed, and unlike other ships, the stateroom attendants did not vacuum daily or clean daily for that matter unless you indicated that you wanted your cabin made outside your door. On other lines, it seemed as though our rooms were made every few hours if it needed to be. Dining -- This is by far where the Pride of America ranks quite poorly. Selections at the buffet were limited. A lot of the food served was not very good. Dinners in the main dining room lacked quality presentation and tasted old and dry. I ordered salmon on one night, lobster on another and chicken. My husband ordered steak, lobster, and prime rib. Each time, the dinner did not look appetizing and tasted how it looked. It was apparent that there is definitely a lack of experience in the kitchen. The ship also offers "freestyle dining" which in theory could have been a good idea. But the execution was so unorganized that the wait for dinner would often be around 45 minutes - 1.5 hours. Even with a reservation we (and many other unhappy guests) waited for at least 30 minutes. The sad thing was that there were plenty of tables available, but the staff was not well trained which would cause for a chaotic mess. Activities -- We usually love to go to the casinos onboard. Since this ship did not have a casino, we went to EVERY place available on board. The comedian onboard was great. And they had a gentleman who sang at the piano bar who was fabulous. What we noticed was that many times, venues would be closed. On other ships it did not matter if only one person was at a bar, that bar remained open until it was supposed to. Also, a certain band were scheduled to play 70s music one evening and we decided to go listen to them. There was only a handful of ship guests at the club. The band was scheduled to play for 1 hour. After 10 minutes, the band decided they didn't want to play music anymore and the dj started to play hip hop music. All the off duty crew members got out on the dance floor and started dancing. It turned into the "crew members" dance club. Which would have been fine if the itinerary said it was hip hop night, however, it was supposed to be '70s live band till 11 pm. And it wasn't. The gym was great but not as sanitary as it should be. We went everyday around 7 pm. We saw an employee there once. Many times the machines were wet with sweat, so we had to find the disinfectant and wipe them off ourselves. Shore Excursions -- The luau provided by the ship was nothing like we expected. There were over 300 people seated in a large grassy area at a local hotel. Despite the ocean view, the luau did not feel authentic. We felt like we were at a luau factory. There were only 10 dancers so anyone seated in the back (you did not get to pick your seats, you were seated in the order your tour bus arrived) did not feel as though they were a part of the festivities. We swam with sea turtles in Maui, and that was WONDERFUL. The water was crystal clear and the turtles were curious and abundant. Service -- This has been said repeatedly in reviews. But I can not stress enough how bad the service is onboard. We were told by different waitresses at different times that the ship ran out of certain items (a-1 sauce, vanilla ice cream and tabasco sauce). These items reappeared the following day at the buffet so we had no choice but to come to the conclusion that the dinner waitresses were too lazy to get them. With the exception of the staff that greet you upon embarkation, the majority of the staff do not smile at guests or even acknowledge them. We not only encountered this, but many other guests who we befriended on this cruise did as well. The photographers on the ship also do not know how to take pictures. The quality of photos were poor. Many were overexposed. Also, do NOT fall for the direct tipping charge. When we found this out, we immediately had them refund the balance to us. We only tipped 2 staff members on the ship --- our stateroom attendant and one waitress at the 24 hour diner who was probably the most pleasant lady onboard. During dinner, you do not get the warm greeting from your server as you do on other cruise lines. One evening when we were waiting to get seated for dinner at 9:30 pm, the hostess offered to seat us with another couple. We told her that would be fine as long as the other couple did not mind. She proceeded to seat us with the couple, who, once we approached looked surprised to have dinner guests. The worst part was that there were MANY empty tables around us. I brought this to the hostess' attention and told her that maybe if their staff cleaned some of the tables there would not be a line for dinner at 9:30 pm. Her reply was "well, maybe you should talk to the captain for firing a bunch of employees just cause they got drunk one night." Excuse me? I can not tell you how much I felt like I was on a "Crew Gone Wild" ship. There are too many young, out of high school, taking a "break" from college employees on board who see working on this cruise ship as an opportunity to party in hawaii. While that's perfectly fine, they should maintain a level of professionalism while on duty. For her to say that to me, was baffling. Sadly, the crew of the ship know how bad their service is. The cruise director often made jokes about it and mentioned that it's getting better. If that was better service than before than I feel terrible for anyone on past cruises. Even as they collected the comment cards as we disembarked, the crew members ever so sarcastically said, "Oooh comment cards, we LOVE comment cards." Summary -- We would not recommend this ship to anyone. It was awful. And they (NCL) know it's awful yet they still charge a premium. We have never made so many friends on a ship where the one thing we had in common was how terrible a time we were having on board. The bad service showed no prejudice - old & young, married & single, black, white, didn't matter. My advice is if you want to go to hawaii, wait for a flight & hotel special and fly to honolulu and maui. (if you're on a budget) if not, throw Kauai into your itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2006
Our trip was planned with a hotel stay at The Marriott on Waikiki beach two days before the cruise and two days after the cruise. I had booked some shore excursions on the internet from home. Upon our arrival at the hotel we received a ... Read More
Our trip was planned with a hotel stay at The Marriott on Waikiki beach two days before the cruise and two days after the cruise. I had booked some shore excursions on the internet from home. Upon our arrival at the hotel we received a package from NCL informing us of a Continental breakfast, tour briefing and ship orientation on March 10. At this briefing we were told that if we had prebooked any shore excursions we should immediately upon boarding the ship go to the shore excursion desk and cancel them because he, a representative of NCL, wanting to see us have the best trip ever, was about to go over the best shore excursions, and because we were attending this briefing we would have priority booking. I had a question about the Pearl Harbor excursion. There was one on the day of embarkation and one on the day we arrived back to Honolulu. The one on embarkation day would pick you up at the hotel and bring you to the ship at the end. Where we were going to stay two more days at the end of the cruise I asked if the Pearl Harbor and Polynesian Cultural Center excursion would take us to the hotel instead of the airport at the end of the tour. He did not know the answer so he made a phone call. The person he called also did not know, so we decided to take the one on embarkation day. At this time we planned our shore excursions for each day. When we boarded the ship we canceled our prebooked excursions. Later that afternoon we received a shore excursion notice stating that two of our choices were sold out, so now we have two days without shore excursions. When we tried to rebook the ones we had canceled they were sold out too. I did receive four tickets for the same excursion. I did not know why my wife and I would need four tickets for the same excursion, so I took them back to the desk only to find out that that excursion was canceled for mechanical problems with the boat. In some ports, direction assistance for our shore excursions was minimal. Princess cruise line shore excursions had people with signs indicating tour numbers in highly visible positions. NCL had people but no signs - they just yelled. In one port, we had to tendered in. Neither the daily newspaper nor the announcements over the public address system indicated we should arrive in the theater a full hour before our tour to pick up our tender tickets. We knew we had to go to the theater, but the only place the one hour prior was mentioned was on a poster in the theater! Fortunately, we didnt miss our excursion as a result. As for the ship Pride of America  it was beautiful and clean. Our balcony stateroom was very small. The bathroom was so small you could not turn around in the shower with out bumping into the walls. But we didn't spend much time in the room so that wasnt a big problem. I did have a problem in getting bottled water delivered to the room. The rooms come with coffee makers. My room did not have one so I asked room service to find one for me. They were not able to do this. I was able to get one from a friend. Back to the water - I signed a slip stating that if I signed this water would be left in my room every day. Out of the 7 days I had to call for water six days and even then I did not always get it. I ended up buying some on shore, which was a lot cheaper anyway. As for dining - I did not like freestyle dining. If you got to the dining room at opening time (5:30pm) you would not have a problem getting seated, but if you arrived later than that you could be in for a long wait. We did try the specialty restaurants twice. We booked a 5:30pm seating and the service was so slow that we were not able to make the 7:30pm show. Additionally, we were surprised that the Italian specialty restaurant was out of Chianti by opening time on Thursday! I did ask about having an assigned table in the main dining room and the waiter said that was not possible, despite the fact an NCL questions web site said reserving a table in the main dining room was possible. Disembarkation was good. No problems. But upon arrival at the hotel we were told that the rooms would not be ready for about four hours. This is when I found out that we could have taken the Pearl Harbor- Polynesian Cultural Center tour and been dropped off at the hotel instead of the airport. This would have been better that walking around Honolulu for 4 hours. Of course, we still had our carry-on luggage with us. The hotel had an alcove in the busy tour bus lobby where we could leave it, but there was no security. Our room wasnt ready, so it was our only option, aside from walking around Waikiki for four hours carrying our luggage. This, of course, was more a hotel problem than and NCL problem, but just as irritating. In summary: This was not our first cruise, but it was the most expensive and least enjoyable. I think I can safely say it was and will be our one and only NCL cruise. The stay at the Marriott was wonderful. I would say that NCL was the most unorganized cruise line that we have ever been on. However, I would like to say that the crew was very polite and pleasant but seemed to be under- manned and as a result, not always able to perform to the best of their ability. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2006
We've cruised with Princess, Celebrity and Carnival. First time with NCL because of the one-week visit of four islands. (Was very attempted when Star first came out, but schedule did not permit at that time, but could very well be ... Read More
We've cruised with Princess, Celebrity and Carnival. First time with NCL because of the one-week visit of four islands. (Was very attempted when Star first came out, but schedule did not permit at that time, but could very well be better service, and cheaper for sure.) Good: ** Quick and convenient embarkation and disembarkation. ** Dining Room service in general was courteous and efficient, all around an hour (except Jefferson Bistro). We made reservations for all specialty restaurants once on board. Only ate in Liberty on the formal/lobster night. All other dinners in specialty ones. Did not go to Lazy J, as not into steaks. The hostess at Liberty forgot about us after we checked in with our reservation and were told to stand on the side to wait, until we approached her again 15-min later. Had stomach upset for both of us after dinner at EMW regular part (we came to that conclusion after quite a bit of "analysis") -- nothing tasted fishy, maybe just food not agreeing with us. Liberty lobster, though warm water, was done better than the warm water ones that we had on Celebrity Constellation. Overall, food selection not too varied and quality just ok and presentation lacks creativity and menu lacks imagination (this includes JB). Service is on par with the other lines we've been on. No complaint on this one. Bad: ** cabin steward: Once got into our cabin after it was announced that the cabins in our level were ready, I literally had to be hands-on to clean up the toilet bowl for very unpleasant surprises left by the previous guests. I could not find our cabin steward, as I was told of them being on "break". I did not pursue further as in the same situation as not telling the waiter the bad course of food if wanting the "kitchen" to make it right. Throughout the week, things just got done and sometimes I would request just clean towels and no make-up of the cabin to avoid more disappointments. Worst cabin service we've ever got on a cruise ship. ** cabin size: small. This is small compared to the balcony cabins of other lines. The bathroom is even smaller in comparison. We did all the excursions on our own with rental cars. Given this being very port-intensive, we had to keep looking at our watch and adjusting our activities accordingly, and we had detailed planning done even beforehand. Still missed quite a bit at each place. Will not do NCLA again. May be NCL one day if really good deal and good itinerary, given foreign workers who provide better service on NCL as discusses on this board. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2006
We cruised for our Honeymoon. I am glad we planned a pre stay and post stay! Embarkation day We got out of our cab to find complete confusion by the pier. There were several different lines and nobody knew what differentiated each so ... Read More
We cruised for our Honeymoon. I am glad we planned a pre stay and post stay! Embarkation day We got out of our cab to find complete confusion by the pier. There were several different lines and nobody knew what differentiated each so this was not a good way to begin our trip. Once we figured out where to go, the embarkation process wasn't so bad. They got us through quickly enough. We deliberately got there around noon to check in and we were very glad we did because by checking in early, we got to make reservations at all the restaurants (specialty and main) and I highly recommend you do this. Too many nights we saw poor people who didn't know any better or maybe (thought it was unnecessary) waiting on line, even at the main restaurants at times! Nothing worse than the lines on NCL. As far as the cover fee, I found it unnecessary with 2 exceptions, Lazy J (cuz lets face it, steak is expensive) and Jefferson's Bistro (I'm used to dining at expensive gourmet restaurants here in New York so $10 extra didn't phase us considering the wonderful meals we experienced here.) Our mini suite was very spacious. Cabin 9698 was located at the very back of the boat. We had gotten an upgrade due to my complaining. Originally we had booked the Pride of Aloha which sailed out of Maui. This was perfect for us as we were doing the Four Seasons before and the Hyatt Maui after. At the very beginning of November, months after booking my entire trip, (airfare, hotels, & cruise), I got a call about how they were drydocking the boat. Something pressing came up and they had to fix the ship& which would have made sense if they weren't continuing to sail it until 2 months before the sailing. How pressing could it have been and why didn't it get fixed immediately when it was discovered so it would be up in time for us to sail?!!!!) They offered to move us onto the Pride of America, for no extra charge. First off, I didn't book the Pride of America 1) for the dEcor. I wanted a HAWAIIAN atmosphere while in Hawaii instead I felt like I was all over the continental US the entire time! 2) the itinerary was different. I was livid. We were going to have to try to change everything, as the POAM DOCKED IN HONOLULU! This meant, we also now had to buy interisland flights AND the ship wasn't scheduled to go to Kauai at all. So naturally I wasn't about to fly all that way to NOT see Kauai so we switched from the Hyatt Maui to the Hyatt Kauai. But still our flights were a complete mess and I was livid. NCL graciously upgraded our balcony cabin to the family mini suite. I had no need for 3 TVs & extra sitting area, but the HUGE balcony was great. I tried to push for a penthouse, but they didn't go for it. They are going to wish they had once they receive the complaint letter my husband and I are sending. Dinner the first night was at East Meets West. Not much to talk about here I've had better Asian food in New York City. Second Night we dined at the Lazy J Steakhouse. This was surprisingly decent, contrary to some of the reviews I read. The menu is pretty much all steak, as you would gather from the name, so that made me pretty happy. Who ever decorated it should lose their job though because everything about it screamed TACKY. Monday we went snorkeling. My husband had never done this so he was a little nervous but we had a wonderful time. The excursion was run by the Pacific Whale Foundation and was supposed to be going towards Molokini, but the winds were rough that day and they said the conditions weren't the best so they took us to a different spot. The coolest part was that on the way, we ended up seeing whales. Yes whale season is only from December to April, so the captain was surprised that we were so lucky. We also sailed next to dolphins for a while and saw turtles. That was before we even got off the boat to snorkel! It was such a great experience!!!!! That night we did the Luau. WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY. Food was alright, but the entertainment, as I expected, was boring. My husband really wanted to do this so I gave in, but even he said it wasn't worth it. Tuesday was lobster night in the main dining rooms. We were glad we made reservations as the wait was over an hour for anyone who didn't have one. It took 20 minutes before someone came over to us to take our drink orders after we sat, and it only got worse from there. We ordered wine and when we asked what was taking so long on that, the girl helping our waiter admitted she couldn't open the wine so she had to wait for him to finish with the table he was with. SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN TO ME HOW YOU WORK IN A RESTAURANT AND DON'T KNOW HOW TO OPEN A BOTTLE OF WINE?! When dinner came, I was surprised to find plastic wrap in my food. I guess they were cooking and forgot to get rid of this. Our waiter (who should never attempt to work in a fine dining restaurant because he was terrible) brought us an extra main course for the inconvenience. But I couldn't help but laugh with my husband as the food was included so if I wanted another one I would have been able to get that anyway. He didn't know the answer when I asked him what kind of cheese was included in the dessert cheese plate, which turned out to be the most ridiculous cheese plate ever. American & cheddar are you kidding me? Wednesday was at Jefferson's Bistro. This place was wonderful and the saving grace of this awful ship. It was fantastic from the decor to the service to the food. Our server Vanessa was very attentive and knowledgeable about the menu. Normally I wouldn't make a big deal out of this as this is the proper way to run a restaurant, but having experienced such awful staff up to this point, this was a breath of fresh air. The experience reminded me of dining at our favorite restaurant back home. The food had excellent presentation and tasted amazing. We ordered the fondue for dessert& EXCELLENT. The Cadillac diner was probably the worst specialty restaurant of them all. The first time we dined there we had just gotten back onboard the boat from Hilo and wanted to grab a quick something before dinner. They were clearly understaffed as the line was out the door to be sat when there were dirty tables open that just needed a quick cleanup. We waited for a table, and when we sat we were surprised to notice that our server was handling 75% of the tables there. No wonder they were slow. The poor guy could only do so much by himself. I can only blame the management for this one as they obviously don't know how to schedule their staff in accordance with the demand of the ship. I ordered the shrimp cocktail as I just wanted something light to hold me over, but was thoroughly disappointed when he brought it out. They were the smallest shrimp I have ever seen in my life. We took a pic as my husband wanted to show the chef he worked with to have a laugh. AND because they were so tiny they tasted terrible& no flavor whatsoever! Thursday dinner was at the Skyline Restaurant. Thankfully we got a better server, but the food wasn't anywhere near as good as at the Bistro. We ended up getting hungry again around midnight so we went to the Diner figuring it wouldn't be too busy so it shouldn't be bad. I only wanted some fries and my husband a grilled cheese. Surprisingly there were 4 other tables filled, service still slow. Of course it doesn't help though when the cruise staff orders lots of stuff and they need to be served to. I saw this as apparently NCL allows their employees to dine in the restaurants as well as a bunch of the cruise directors staff walked in and started being loud and obnoxious. We ordered our food well before them, they got their food immediately, and we ended up sitting there listening to their childish antics while we waited. Very unprofessional. Friday Dinner we did the Bistro again as we loved it that much. Again, excellent food and service. I was so glad when Saturday finally arrived, I just wanted to get off the ship ASAP and go to a real resort again. We decided we didn't want to deal with waiting to get off the ship so we did the express check out, meaning we carry our own bags off instead of putting them outside the cabin the night before. We stopped by the photo gallery to buy a last minute picture along the way. I suggested we pay cash as I didn't think it payment would clear in time for us to get off the boat. The young lady behind the desk said they could only take ship cards. Fine. So we rush to the gangway before they call the next group, I get off the gangway to realize my husband isn't behind me. I end up waiting there 15 minutes before he finally appears. Apparently when you go to swipe out the final time, something was wrong with his card so security wouldn't let him off the boat. He tried to tell them that I was already off the boat and if it was that photo charge causing the issue, he was going to raise heck. He had to be escorted, BAGS AND ALL to the counter to look into what was wrong. LOW AND BEHOLD the charge we had just made hadn't cleared LIKE I KNEW IT WOULDN'T. He was livid. We wanted to pay cash the first time, and now, he said, (looking at the massive line to get off the boat that had appeared in his delay), he was going to risk missing our flight. They wouldn't even let him cut the line, he had to wait for a whole heard of people to get off before him. POAM: Great Itinerary, AWFUL staff. I have been on MUCH better NCL Cruises. The lines were always too long, even on things that could have been avoided: example, the day we were in Lahaina we had to take tenders so of course everyone waited to the last hour to head back to the boat to maximize the time in town, but NCL still only ran 2 tenders. It was a scorching day and everyone had to wait an hour on line in the sun. The lady behind me actually passed out and hit her head on the metal gate, knocking herself out cuz we had been standing there so long. Luckily my husband used to be an EMT so he was able to help out until a real EMT came. But you would have thought that NCL could have planned for this, or even have provided water or something. Of course not. Service was terrible (with the exception of our meals in Jefferson's Bistro & Anthony the bartender in the Gold Rush Saloon.) At one point we had to call maintenance because we noticed that when the boat shifted, our balcony door would open. This of course happened quite often so I called for maintenance on Tuesday and the door didn't get fixed until Friday morning. At one point the photographer blatantly hit on my husband while I was standing right next to him, claiming he looks like John Stamos. Bartending service EVERYWHERE on the boat (except at the Saloon) was extremely slow. Its pathetic actually, they lots of customers all the time and they are as slow as molasses. Ridiculous. At one point, I sent my husband to get our drinks, I ended up briefly falling asleep waiting for him. So... no I would never do Hawaii again with NCL. Might do NCL with an international staff, as my previous experiences have been.. but no, never again with an American staff. 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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