1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2005
This review has been written whilst on the ship, Pride of America, July 12-22, 2005, San Francisco to Hawaii and therefore I may tend to use both the past and present tense when writing ...my apologies in advance! First let me preclude ... Read More
This review has been written whilst on the ship, Pride of America, July 12-22, 2005, San Francisco to Hawaii and therefore I may tend to use both the past and present tense when writing ...my apologies in advance! First let me preclude any other thoughts and say, we love cruising. Let me also state that the reason we love cruising is because of the choice you have. For us, a great cruise is the opportunity to do nothing and to eat well. The itinerary on this cruise meant we had 5 days at sea to start and 5 ports of call ending in Honolulu at the end, therefore it seemed absolutely perfect! As a result of our likes and dislikes, we always tend to book the best cabin available, whether that be a Garden Villa, owners suite or penthouse, it doesn't matter. What does matter is enjoying our space and keeping away from other people if we choose to do so. Now that may sound odd but we work in the tourism trade and on vacation we prefer to keep away from tourists! Cruising for us, meets all our needs. We can do what we want, when we want and with whom we want. So, with that said, our experience on POAm has been very indifferent. Firstly the all American crew.... it simply doesn't work IMO. Very few smiling faces, few people enjoying their jobs and restaurant staff that would be best suited to McDonalds, Burger King or Ponderosa at the best. Further, the amount of gay staff is unbelievable. I've no problem with gay people in general if they are good at their jobs but frankly, they weren't on POAm...with one notable exception....our butler, who was great once he got to know our likes and dislikes. One thing that we have found hard to take is the staff pretty much accusing us of contributing to our problems. For example, in the Spa on the second day at sea, on the first we had spent $500 - $600 with them, the gum-chewing receptionist called us at 3.20pm and asked my wife if she had an appointment today? Yes, my wife responded at 4pm. The receptionist then accused my wife of missing her appointment, as it was 4.20pm on her watch! My wife informed her the ship's clock was showing 3.20pm on our TV and that she must have made a mistake. My wife then called the concierge after hanging up with the dumb receptionist and he confirmed the ships time at 3.20pm. He said he'd call back and confirm the appointment was still on. At 3.55pm we hadn't received a call so my wife went to the spa for her appointment. 10 minutes later she was back as the half-baked gum-chewing receptionist was now making out the appointment was for 3pm! My wife showed her the appointment card she had with a time of 4pm. The manager was duly called and it was explained there was a mix up. My wife then asked who was going to do her spa treatment and when told that it was to be the gum-chewing receptionist she duly cancelled that appointment and the subsequent appointments we had made for the duration of the cruise. That's another $600 plus saved through bungling POA inefficiency. Then we have our useless cabin steward. On embarkation day we are used to being greeted by our stateroom steward within the first couple of hours but not this time. This sole didn't turn up until evening time and frankly, we could easily have missed the lifeboat drill if we were so minded. Then he repeatedly forgot to bring us the newssheet for the following day and we didn't see a chocolate until day 3! Capping this off, he then didn't make up our cabin for 3+hours in the morning. We usually had it available and marked up "make up cabin" by 8.30am but if it was done by mid-day it was an achievement. We complained to management on day 4 and he came and tried to blame us for not saying anything to him! He was then good the following day but then he probably had had his card marked by the Hotel Director after we complained. So ...there we were expecting him to improve...fat chance. The following day at Hilo we got off the ship at 8.30am. We returned at 1.30pm and the room still wasn't done....he was still "detailing" it! Fortunately one of the senior hotel staff was walking our corridor and seemed pretty horrified by what she saw. We don't know what she said to him as she took him out on the balcony but it didn't seem to make any difference as when we returned in an evening we found he'd moved the sofa bed away from the wall about 8-12 inches and there was a right mess behind it comprising of swarf shavings and toe nails from previous guests. Again we called the Hotel Director and again he came out, took a look and said it wasn't good enough. He did offer to change room steward for us but wanted to give him another chance. So his chance came and he blew it big time. We got off the ship in Nawiliwili, Kauai at approximately 8.30am and had a thoroughly enjoyable tour to Waimea Canyon. We got back to the ship around 2.15pm and went to our stateroom where to our utter dismay our cabin hadn't been made up yet again. We reported this to the hotel director once again and within an hour the cabin had been done by our guy who had apparently been feeling ill that morning. Funny that, because at 8.30am when we saw him he was very chirpy and didn't at all seem ill. So....let's move onto the food. Day one we went to the French. On previous NCL ships this has been a highlight and we wanted to start our vacation in the best manner possible. Overall this ranked as a 5/10 and was something of a let down from a food quality point of view. The staff were OK and the manager was a guy who didn't know the itinerary of the ship...we found that amusing ! Day two saw us try out the Steakhouse. We were eventually greeted by a hostess who decided she needed to walk round the restaurant to see there was space for our reserved reservation. Again, quite comical as we could clearly see many open tables ! After what seemed like an eternity we ordered. The waitress was pleasant enough but hadn't a clue what to do with the wine. We ordered Pouilly Fume and also a nice red zinfandel. When it came, she opened the white wine without showing us the bottle and we discovered she had delivered Pouilly Fuisse...a $ 50 bottle. $ 12 more expensive than our order. Further, amazing how the prices of Fuisse has risen from the mid 30's to $50 these days...last November we were on the Sun and it was $ 32 ! Oh well, c'est la vie. It didn't matter, crab cakes were due any second. So we waited and waited and when they did arrive we noticed they were burnt on the one side (facing down of course) and cold in the middle ! We both left them and waited for the steaks we had ordered. They were just about acceptable but we were disappointed with the veg and the potato. Live and learn....we won't be visiting the Steakhouse again. On 3rd night we opted for East meets West and this was nothing short of a disaster. We arrived promptly, were shown our table efficiently and from there things got worse. We ordered our wine...it arrived and we ordered our meal. Starters arrived after 15 minutes and we're very very poor. We then had another 35-45 mins before our next food arrived and when it did, it was nothing short of disgusting. The duck, in particular, was awful and I would think twice about giving it to a dog. My eldest daughter had pork and that was inedible. By the time I'd tried the alleged Chicken Tikka Masala I had had enough....we left. Another restaurant we won't be revisiting. Shame really, we had made further reservations for a couple of nights time and we had also booked the Teriyaki room...we cancelled both reservations, particularly after remembering our Teriyaki experience on the Star ! This could only be worse ! We then proceeded to the main dining room to get something to eat. Our evening was rescued by Kevin and Amanda who were truly excellent. Exactly what the specialty restaurants are calling out for. People with a sense of humor, people who know their job and people who can actually perform their task with a smile on their face. We stuck with them from that point on except for one night where the hotel director comped us in at the French as some sort of an apology for the problems we had so far faced. This time the French was much better but the quality of the steak I had still wasn't as good as I've had on other Norwegian ships. Day 4 saw us at Little Italy and whilst the wait at the table was a little longer than one may have hoped for, the food was OK and the service attentive. It was the best specialty restaurant we came across but again nothing to be excited about and nothing to tempt us back. Other frustrations with dining were seen at the Cadillac Diner. The reception staff here are utterly brain dead. I watched in bewilderment that a party of three couldn't be accommodated at a table that needed a chair from a nearby table bringing over. Instead, the brain dead who operate this room seated a young couple at this table and left the elderly party of three standing for 20 mins. Seemed to me they were unwilling to exercise both their brains and their brawn. And I'll not talk about the food.....or drink except to say a chocolate milk for my daughter was also beyond them ! In conclusion, the food has been very poor and dear Amanda was horrified by the "chocolate decadence" served up one evening.....it actually tasted like washing up liquid and she regretted trying a piece of mine immediately she took a bite. The buffet service is inadequate and although not great pasta lovers we would have appreciated a better choice away from the burgers/hot dogs and general meats on offer. The buffet really wasn't organized well and the food on offer was generally unappealing. As for the lunch time offerings in the main restaurant, again, all we can say is that the food was uninspiring and the staff bordering on ignorant. Very often it seemed to blend into much of a muchness and the choices we made were based more on hunger rather than "I've got to have that". Let's now talk of the ship layout for a minute. At first glance everything looks great. Lots of deck space and a feel of spaciousness. However, as you explore the ship you become aware of decks with only one entrance/exit and they just feel odd. What bewildered me was the space allocated at the front of the ship for the business area. A huge auditorium takes center stage and another 3-4 rooms capable of taking 30-75 people each could be found. Now if NCL believe that they have an audience for this space in Hawaii, then good luck to them, but personally I just can't see this space being used unless the ship operates from New York. Something I guess it won't do as the ship has no casino. The casino is no big deal to me but for business people, I rather think they like this sort of thing....go figure! The other thing that surprised me was the size of the spa. It was small. About 8 treatment rooms and a small sauna / steam room in each of the male and female changing rooms. What happened here? Where are the indoor pools, jacuzzi's, etc? A very big disappointment. Moving on from that, everyone's pet hate...security. I don't know if "Pride of America" has got everyone wound up and extra vigilant, for that read stupid, but this cruise really did take the biscuit. For those that don't know it, it's an English expression...look it up one day ;). Anyway, security.....in San Francisco it was fine, everything ran properly and everyone was on the ship in decent time even allowing for the 2 hour delay whilst waiting for latecomers from the airport. However, upon reaching Hilo, Hawaii it became clear we were entering another world. There was one Coast guard cruiser and two or three other boats equipped with guns coasting around the ship. Coast guard security was crawling all over the place including on the ship. As if this wasn't bad enough the security in the ports of Hilo, Kona, Kahului (Maui) and Nawiliwili (Kauai) were out right ridiculous. On most mornings we were woken by a Coast Guard helicopter circling the ship for hours on end, so those that wanted a lie in practically had no chance. Upon returning to the ship, the security staff excelled themselves and it seemed that passengers were practically being strip-searched at times...and I'm not joking. On one occasion I witnessed several passengers who were very angry when asked to take their hats off and then proceed behind a white line which already housed an overcrowded area whilst we were waiting for the tender to take us back to the ship from Kona. This wouldn't have been so bad if the guy had asked nicely but he was downright rude and arrogant...enough to annoy the mildest of people. All I can say is thank heavens it wasn't raining or that it wasn't exceptionally hot because if it had of been, Norwegian may well have seen their first riot as the one 20 foot covered area was totally inadequate. At all ports we had the privilege of having our bags searched by hand. Now forgive me here but aren't we in 2005 and X-ray machines have been around long enough for either the port authority or the cruise line to use? Naturally this ridiculous state of affairs caused long lines and many fed up guests of the ship who have paid decent money to have a vacation. Everyone is in favor of security but please let's keep it sensible and to the point. Opening and sniffing people's drinks is taking it too far IMO and I couldn't believe it when it happened to my daughters (aged 11 and 15)...maybe they thought they were smuggling a swig of alcohol on board in their lemon and lime drinks...who knows? Capping this all off, we had security at Maui to contend with. Getting back to the ship and through security was comical. These bunch of cretins (I know no other word) decided to stop the coaches at the entrance to the port and one security guard got on board the bus and inspected all our credentials! Of course, this caused traffic to backlog and much inconvenience to all concerned. Why on earth they didn't have someone stationed as you entered the terminal is beyond me or why they couldn't park the coaches and then let people off after they had been inspected was beyond me but no, we all had to sit there until they cleared the bus completely. The security guard came on board took 5-8 mins inspecting photo id's and ship board cards and then allowed us to drive another 50 feet where everyone got off to go to the ship through the main security. You really couldn't make this up could you..anyone heard of common sense? So to round all this off, we were tailed everywhere in Hawaii by the Coast Guard cruiser. I can bet this cost a pretty penny and I'd love to know which way we are picking up the tab for this, is it through our cruise fare or through yet more tax that the wonderful Mr. Bush has imposed on us through his ridiculous ill thought out war? So, overall, a very disappointing cruise and probably our last with NCL. My report probably seems to be very negative but we did actually enjoy ourselves. Our balcony was one of the best we have had at sea and thus, we spent a lot of time there. Our butler was fabulous and managed all our requests in reasonable time but best of all was the other passengers we mixed with at meal times. From speaking to them, most had similar comments in regard to the food so most of us pitched up with Kevin and Amanda and we got to know each other reasonably well enough to have some great fun in a slapstick sort of way. We've now experienced 4 NCL ships in the last 18 - 24 months and the time has come to go elsewhere. I'll be interested to see how POA copes in the next two years but I think the policy of employing Americans only has to be reviewed. Forgive me here, but a lot of the staff we saw and met, clearly weren't enjoying their time on Board and as such, it made the whole experience poor. Maybe they are accustomed to better paying jobs & better working conditions than people from other cultures? Maybe it's also that they're just damn lazy and want to take the easy way instead of going the extra mile to please guests on the ship? Who knows? All in all we still enjoyed our cruise. The ports of call were great and the days at sea were wonderfully relaxing. Just a shame so many things didn't come together to make a great cruise but we only have to wait until November for our next...Princess here we come. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2005
My husband and I sailed the FIRST true cruise through the Panama Canal on June 25th. We weren't the "Regis and Kelly" show guests nor did we receive a "special invitation" for a 2-night preview. We were full-fare ... Read More
My husband and I sailed the FIRST true cruise through the Panama Canal on June 25th. We weren't the "Regis and Kelly" show guests nor did we receive a "special invitation" for a 2-night preview. We were full-fare paying passengers. Embarkation.. not a problem. I wouldn't give it a 6, but personnel was friendly and made it less stressful. This was our sixth cruise and we've had it worse. The ship itself as far as appearance goes is very impressive, once inside. What was suppose to be a memorable trip for us, especially since we've been dreaming of cruising the Panama Canal for sometime, turned into 12 days of regrets. Once in the stateroom, we discovered traces of previous guests. They were given to a crew member that happened to be walking by because it was total chaos on that ship at that time. Our neighbors discovered dirty underwear in a drawer along with a disgusting bowel movement in their toilet. After numerous calls for housekeeping, they used the restroom in the public areas. The dirty underwear were never picked up so they were tossed by the elevator hoping some crew member walking by would do their job. We heard so many similar complaints from other passengers. Aside from the housekeeping, the a/c was uncontrollable or they didn't know what the heck they were doing. Taking it to the other end, we were informed that an elderly couple down the hall from us had no power in their room for a day. That makes everything else seem trivial. Our safe malfunctioned on the 2nd day. After numerous crew members were called in to check it out, ship security finally handled the situation. It took him almost four hours to rectify because orders on what to do had to come from Miami. The safe had to eventually be drilled out and replaced. There were numerous complaints on safes, as well. Other passengers that had the same problem were told they could not replace their safe and they would be able to use one obtained from their office. A little inconvenient, isn't it when one has to go down to reception to get something from the safe! The Freestyle iTV was not operational. There was no navigational system available on TV to inform us of our location. Overall, the cabins are very small with only a few drawers and a very tiny closet. The bathroom is also tiny. I'm a small person and I found it difficult to move around in it. The restaurants...Our first day, we went to the Cadillac Diner, waited about 10 minutes for a seat and an hour and a half for our meal. That was very disappointing. We didn't go back there until the last full day of our cruise, hoping that service had improved. What a joke. We were seated right away but waited AGAIN an hour and a half for our meal. Well, at least my meal. I ordered a hamburger (well done) and when it was brought to me, was still pink and soggy in the middle. What could they have done in an hour and half !?!?!?! My husband had been served 20 minutes prior to my meal being served and this just ruined the entire meal for both of us. Service...what does it say when the maitre D' is clearing tables while his crew members are standing around talking ? Sounds like bad management to me, and not at this level. It goes up to the top. Someone up there that should be overseeing this entire operation isn't doing HIS job. We went to the Taste of Italy on our last night and that was a disappointment, not to mention a pain in the belly. I consumed bad food that had me wanting to be sucked up by that vacuum line in the toilets. I was too sick to move and if I moved I felt even worse. We usually ate at the Aloha Cafe because we didn't feel that we should have to pay for the specialty restaurants but this was at times unbearable too. There were gas fumes that overcame the rear of the back of the ship. We heard passengers complaining that the fumes went all the way down to their cabins on deck 5. The Aloha Cafe is on deck 11. That is totally unacceptable. The other complaint is that the some of the food in the Aloha Cafe was not labeled. My husband has an allergy to shellfish and almost served himself fettucine but when he asked what the sauce contained, he was told that it was a white sauce with some sort of shellfish. That would have been tragic had he not asked. They had one working ice cream machine, which was a joke. The coffee machines were another joke. They were either down or needed coffee. Once I was told to go to the other side of the ship if I wanted coffee. That was the only working coffee machine at the time. After trying other restaurants, we finally decided just to bear it and eat at the Aloha Cafe. The wait was too long in the main dining rooms and at times the food was just mediocre. Not what one would expect from a main dining room. The shore excursions were almost sold out when we went down to book on our first day. We ended up with the leftovers that no one else wanted. I guess we should have booked on-line but without knowing more about the excursions, one is hesitant. Our stop in Roatan could have been skipped and wouldn't have mattered. Costa Rica on both sides was ok. The Panama Canal is what were mainly interested in and that was something that I'll never forget. Our stop in Cabo San Lucas was VERY short. By the time the tenders got the last of passengers on land, they had 2 hours to run around and be back to make NCL deadline. This was one stop that most of the passengers were very upset about. I found the tenders to be extremely dangerous in the loading and unloading. I don't believe NCL was prepared. The spa....the massage that I booked was great, however, when entering the ladies changing room I found a male crew member that was in there (possibly cleaning?). There was a female crew member fixing her hair and neither one of them batted on eye when I walked in. Is this procedure? Well, maybe I expected too much from NCL. Needless to say, I didn't want to interrupt their routine so I just walked out. My husband, on the other hand, had to go to our stateroom to shower after getting his massage. He asked for soap and towels because the men's changing room had none. Needless to say, he waited quite a while and ended up walking out in a an oil-covered body. What a sight !! The entertainment...The guests entertainers were great, especially pianist, Juan Pablo. NCL entertainers were just mediocre. We attended 2 of the 3 shows they performed and found them to be lacking something. I understand this is a very young crew and they're just getting started, so perhaps quite a few years down the line there will be an improvement. However, they do get an "A" for effort. The Captain and other heads of departments appeared before the passengers in what was called "Captains Profile". This happened just a few days before the end of the cruise. The was a short question and answer session where most of these complaints were voiced. The a/c dilemma, we were told, was "being worked on" and the gas fume dilemma was also "being worked on". Other complaints were answered by merely saying that this was a new crew and everyone was doing their best. There were still many kinks to work out and eventually it would happen. We have traveled other cruise lines before and I can honestly say that I would take Carnival any day over NCL. It was pointed out by the hotel director, Scott Hamby, that having an ALL AMERICAN crew had it's advantages and one of them is not having a language barrier. Well, that may be so but we found that even with a language barrier on other lines, the service received was phenomenal. Most of the crew on this ship has to be in the 20-25 yr old category. This is a very young crew and most of them don't know what real work is about. We heard their disenchantment with NCL all through the cruise on many of the decks. Many of these kids couldn't wait to get off the ship. Many of them stated they were in it just long enough to pay off their college bills. These aren't crew members that want to be committed to doing this for the long haul and somewhere along the line work ethics becomes a problem. That was very evident on this ship. Many of these kids did not want to work. They wanted to go back to their hometown or back to their Mom and Dad. I also have to recognize the few that really worked their hineys off. They earned their fair share and their co-worker's share as well. We weren't all as fortunate as the first reviewer. He received an invitation for a 2-night preview, had the pleasure of enjoying two deck parties. One with a mechanical bull and the other with a mechanical surfboard. He was obviously treated better. NCL was more attentive with him than they were with us. We were never treated with such a show. Upon disembarking, he also received a commemorative inaugural gift. Well, that was very generous of NCL. One would think that the the passengers that had been the true "inaugural" passengers, that paid the price with both money and aggravation, that had made the first "true" cruise to their destination would be the ones to receive such a gift. Once again, NCL has shown their true colors. For those of you that are considering traveling NCL on this ship, read the reviews and reconsider. Remember, "they're still working on it" !!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2005
We went on this cruise for our honeymoon. When we walked in for embarkation, a friendly woman asked if we were celebrating anything special and we told her. Immediately, we were whisked to the VIP line and waited at most 5 minutes to check ... Read More
We went on this cruise for our honeymoon. When we walked in for embarkation, a friendly woman asked if we were celebrating anything special and we told her. Immediately, we were whisked to the VIP line and waited at most 5 minutes to check in and get set up. We were in our room maybe 20 minutes after we arrived at the ship. We walked into our room to find two twin beds. Great for any honeymooners... We asked our room steward to make one bed and he said sure, in a minute. We went to explore and came back before the lifeboat drill and they still weren't done. We told him we were on our honeymoon and he asked why we didn't tell him sooner!?!? He fixed it pretty soon after that. The room was small, but laid out as well as possible. However, if one of us was getting in the closet, the other could not come in or out of the bathroom. Our room steward was consistently slow getting our room made up and turned down. Some nights, we never got it turned down no matter how long we seemed to wander around. Our first night in the dining room was pitiful. We spent almost 2 hours having dinner, which made us miss the leaving of the ship from Honolulu. The service was slow and the food was poor! Almost everything had allspice in it from eggdrop soup to fettuccini alfredo! Both of us have been on many cruises before and were very disappointed with this experience. The food was bad, unless you paid extra, and the service was slow and poor. It just seems like we didn't get what we bargained for. The ship itself is incredible. It's new and clean, but a great ship will only impress for so long. Most of the crew was around our age and had obviously taken a semester off to see Hawaii. It was very different from a crew who is working hard to support a family at home in a foreign country. We would both suggest an international cruise over this one any day. Not only would the service be better, it would also be cheaper. We both agreed that the redeeming point of this cruise was that we were with each other and on our honeymoon. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2005
Embarkation: A dream, no lines and we got on immediately. Short wait for our cabins but no more than 10 minutes. Food: Dismal at best, not what one would expect from a Major cruise line. I had read many reviews on how poor the quality of ... Read More
Embarkation: A dream, no lines and we got on immediately. Short wait for our cabins but no more than 10 minutes. Food: Dismal at best, not what one would expect from a Major cruise line. I had read many reviews on how poor the quality of the food was, however, I was not prepared by how little things had improved by the time I sailed. It took 3 hours for each meal in the Skyline Restaurant (we ate there 3 times). Although we had one of the better waiters and assistants, it takes to long for the food from the kitchen. It could well be Freestyle cruising, but, I belive it is just inexperienced kitchen staff. We ate one night in the Lazy J and one night in Little Italy. Both meals were exceptional, service was fantastic. However, if I had not read on these boards about the need to book on Sunday am at 7, I would not have gotten a reservation. If you do not you will NOT get a reservation. The line forms well before 7am and it books quickly, (my first 2 time choices were not available and I was 20th in line). So my advice is get up and get in line if your interested in eating there. The menu changes very slightly in the main dining rooms and my 17 year old niece ate chicken and beef every night but once when we ate in Little Italy. Ate one night in the Cadillac Diner, food was ok, service slow. Bread is delicious. Never saw a grape or strawberry, and every morning watermelon or pineapple were in the buffet. Don't miss the chocolate buffet, it was GREAT. The wait staff is working very hard on its customer service and everyone we met was terrific. I have not one complaint about the American crew. Although my suggestion to NCL is to train the American crew on a NCL ship for at least 3 months prior to placing them on the Hawaii ships. This way they can work their tails off and decide if it is for them. I saw 3 different crew members leaving at ports saying they had had enough. The cabin is so small you can not turn around, I mean this LITERALLY..............We had 3 people in the room and it was beyond cramped. Couldn't open the balcony door at night unless we climbed over the pull out sleeper chair. Not enough storage for our clothes,or personal items. I packed everything in the 2 1/2 gallon Ziplock bags and so our clothes were bagged the entire week. (Not bad as the clean stuff never left the bag and I can just put it away). But keep in mind how close the quarters are and do not expect a lot of room. I gave the room steward a $20 bill when we got on and so I had great service and always what I needed, the rest of the people in our group (traveled with a group of 22), never had clean towels or their beds turned down. One couple had the service charges removed because they felt they had such dismal service all week. You will need to ask for a egg carton as the beds are like rocks. Also NCL does not put a top sheet on the bed just a duvet cover, so if you want a top sheet you better ask for it before you go to bed so that your not looking for it at night. The ship lost electrical power on the 19th (Friday) in the middle of the night so we all woke up to no air conditioning or hot water. No explanation was given. It sure was HOT. The room was never cold enough for me. No sailing by the Na'Paoli coastline either, due to a propulsion problem. I never felt any problem and we sure made great time getting back to Honolulu. They offered you a rum punch drink for the missing of the coastline viewing. I thought the ship was rockier when we left Honolulu. But, I am not an engineer so what do I know? We didn't make it into Hilo until after 10 am either. The hot tubs were so loaded with chlorine that on the first day they ruined my husband and nieces bathing suit. I was given a ship board credit and the matter was handled to my satisfaction immediately. The comedian Bud Andersen was the BEST I have ever seen anywhere. The juggler was phenomenal. The other shows were not to my liking. The singer in Pinks is wonderful (I couldn't stay to enjoy him as it is loaded with cigar smoke). No casino, (my husband really missed this, but, we came home with money) I must admit that after a full day on the Islands I was tired and in bed by 10. At each port they go thru all your bags (ok with me). But, they carry it to the extreme when they shake up your soda and sniff your water to make sure your not sneaking any alcohol on board. I don't drink so this is not a problem for me. But it sure is ridiculous. How many drinks do they think you can make with a 16 oz bottle of rum? Most people do not care to carry on booze and you can drink as much as you want on the Islands. A bit excessive. Debarkation: Was smooth and great that you could wait in your cabins, instead of 3000 people all over the place with their luggage. But,it takes way to long for your luggage and they need a new system for this. Porters were fast and efficient at helping you once you found your luggage. I used a new service I found at the Marriott for our precruise stay called Baggagedirect. For a fee they printed our boarding passes and picked up and transported all of the luggage from the pier to the Airport. We didn't see it again until we picked it up in Philadelphia. Well worth the money. I can honestly say this was the first cruise I was ever delighted to get off of. All in all this was not the cruise I dreamed it would be. But, it could have been far worse. After reading these boards I was certainly prepared for everything. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2005
This was our 11th cruise, first with NCL, and we expected a first class cruise. We were in for many surprises. NCL arranged airport transportation but they were difficult to find once we arrived. They were very disorganized and mixed ... Read More
This was our 11th cruise, first with NCL, and we expected a first class cruise. We were in for many surprises. NCL arranged airport transportation but they were difficult to find once we arrived. They were very disorganized and mixed people going on the Norwegian Wind and the Pride of America. The adventure had begun. Embarkation at the pier was good and fairly fast. Luggage delivery to your stateroom was a different story. The first of four bags arrived within three hours, the next two 4 hours later, and the last one arrived three hours later. Balcony Cabin:Tiny is an over-statement. Room service - expect your room to be made up once late in the day and turned down sometime between 10 and midnight. If you retire early you'll need to call Housekeeping BUT you can only reach them by dialing the Reception Desk. It seemed like there was one cabin steward per 40 staterooms so don't expect much especially if you've cruised before, prepare to be disappointed. Bathroom - One of the florescent bulbs was burned out and you needed to wait 3-5 minutes for the flickering to stop before you went inside. The bathroom drain in shower clogged. 4th day mechanical problems no one could flush toilets for 4-5 hours. 6th day there was a power outage during the night so no hot water in morning. Elevators: Like the cabins, small and usually crowded so expect to use the stairs a lot. Ship overall: Made in the old style, cramped and retro - no comparison to modern Grand class ships. Freestyle dining - Great if you don't mind spending 2-3 hours for a meal with long waiting for food and drinks. Hot food is usually cold or lukewarm. Food rating: poor. The waiters and servers are all rushing but they are seriously understaffed. Optional restaurants - Nice to have a guaranteed seat but again service was very slow. Food rating: below average. Entertainment: After 9pm it's only the Mardi Gras room with 60-80's music or one of the smaller smoking lounges. Overall rating: Poor Activities on board - limited SPA: Excellent. Excursions: All excursions were great, food was excellent and the crew went out of their way to make sure everyone was having a great time. Speakers inside cabins not working so you had to open cabin door to hear them. Transportation from pier to Airport: There are no carts or porters inside the terminal so you have to move your own bags outside to the buses (but security won't let you back in the same door for you other bags). At the Airport: No one tells you you must go through Agricultural inspection, then ticket counter, then x-ray inspection while moving through crowds, with your baggage. Flights home (arranged by NCL): Wife and I were given two different seats (not even close together) on a full flight. Overall: NCL needs to understand service by sailing on other cruise lines and offer "freestyle dining" as an option to regular early or late seating. General comments from everyone we talked to on this cruise was the same: they were disappointed and complaining about service and waiting a long time for everything. If you want to see Hawaii and have a great time try Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Holland or Pleasant Hawaiian or SunTrips but do not cruise with NCL. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2005
We just returned from this cruise ~ what a major disappointment. We have cruised Carnival and Holland America many, many times and have never had such an experience as we had on this ship. Stateroom ~ Closet small; barely able to get two ... Read More
We just returned from this cruise ~ what a major disappointment. We have cruised Carnival and Holland America many, many times and have never had such an experience as we had on this ship. Stateroom ~ Closet small; barely able to get two twin beds in. However, each room is supplied with a coffee maker and small refrigerator. Why would one need either on a cruise ship? There were no top BEDSHEETS, just comforters. One can only wonder how many times theses comforters are used by people before they are replaced ~ what an ugly thought. Hallway ~ An unbelievable sewer stench was noticeable daily in the hallway. From other reviews we have noted, this seems to be par for the ship. Food ~ Unless you enjoy standing in line for your breakfast, lunch, and dinner ~ you're in trouble. People eating up in the Aloha Cafe tend to have on bathing wear or muscle shirts (uck) while reaching for their food. Main Dining Rooms (there are two, serving the same meals). Forget the tables of 8 or 10 where you meet and greet fellow cruisers for the entire week. Here a couple is seated at a table for four and the other two place setting are promptly removed. Plan on being there for a minimum of one and one half hours. The same food is usually available in the Aloha Cafe. So eating in a main dining hall where you have to be properly dressed gives you the same food as those eating in muscle shirts. After 9 PM, the Aloha Cafe is closed and the only other food service available is the Cadillac Diner. Food is mediocre, at best, and service is slower than slow. The other option is room service with its limited menu. Let me take a minute to tell you about room service. I placed an order the night before for a 7 AM breakfast. AT 7:15 AM, food had not arrived. I called room service and the man on the other side of the phone stated, "well we are really busy right now, it will get there". At 7:20 AM I went to the Aloha Cafe for breakfast. Oh, did I miss something, yes, the food never arrived throughout the remainder of the day. Some Room Service. One of the main reasons to cruise Hawaii was to sail by the flowing lava in the evening. We ate early that evening and went to the Purser's office to find out what time we would be sailing by this part of the Big Island so that we could get a good view for photo ops. We were told, "didn't you get the memo from us, due to technical problems they are unable to achieve full speed and therefore can't do the lava pass by." We have read many of the reviews on this cruise since our return only to find out that many past cruises also did not do to lava pass. Is this false advertising at its best on the part of NCL? Do you think we can be reimbursed ~ right! We never saw our cabin steward from day one ~ had to leave him/her notes to get supplies as he/she was like the phantom. Bottom line ~ we will never sail with NCL again. I only hope that others planning this trip will be smart enough to look at the reviews prior to booking this tour. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2005
This was our 5th cruise to date and our first Norweigian. It will be our LAST Norweigian cruise. I will NEVER sail with them again. What a disappointment. So many things on this cruise were terrible. From the service to the food. The ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise to date and our first Norweigian. It will be our LAST Norweigian cruise. I will NEVER sail with them again. What a disappointment. So many things on this cruise were terrible. From the service to the food. The excursions were the only things that kept us afloat and even those can be disputed. What sums it up is lack of information on everything. They don't tell you things ahead of time and you wind up missing things or regretting choices made. For example: was unaware that you would have to pay extra for dining at 3 of the top notch restaurants on the ship. And trying to get reservations was very difficult. And for the freestyle dining..you have to put your name in and wait 30-45 min for a table to open up so plan ahead early. Day 1: Embarkation. Process went smooth however we were never asked for any of our identification other than our drivers license...so much for the birth certificate or passport?? But the process went smooth. Once on the ship we were off to find some food...the aloha cafe had just closed due to the munster drill and we went hunting for somewhere to eat. The Key West bar and grill was the place. Food was good and they cooked it right there. However, the people working there were complaining about their duties and we hadn't even set sail yet. They were telling us that over 500 people that sailed over from Germany on the maiden voyage quit and that they all had been overworked and many more were planning on leaving after this cruise. Not what you want to hear within the first few minutes of your paradise vacation. After lunch we went to check out our cabin. Barely been vacuumed, our room wasn't much to speak of. To top it all off---the entire cruise we never once met or talked to our steward. The refrigerator in the room was broken and we tried several times to contact someone for it and it never got fixed the whole cruise! Very disappointed in the hotel staff! Their idea of room service is just changing the towels and occasionally vacuuming! Also, on past cruises there always seems to be music and fun going on all the time. This ship really does cater to the OLD crowd. Things shut down at 9pm. Only a few things were open for us younger crowd. The staff even referred to this ship as the Newlywed and Almost Dead cruise. We are in our 30s and found it hard to believe that is was so quiet at 10 at night--NO ONE to be found on the Lido/pool deck on any night! Onto the excursions: After finding our tickets in our room, we noticed that we didn't have all of our tickets that we had been confirmed for (we booked our excursions online). So we had to wait until the excursion desk was open and that would be a hit and miss. Because of our first excursion leaving so early on the first day we had to wait until the second day to inquire about the others. Excursion 1 Hilo: Lava Hike and Viewing. There was no viewing to be had on this 4 mile hike. We felt very misled asto what we had got into. No one ever told us that we would not actually be able to get close to the lava and in the pictures of this tour you were literally standing within feet of hot red lava. NOT THE CASE. We got about 5 miles from a billowing cloud of smoke that was the active volcano. Our guide was fantastic and was surprised to know that the cruise line didn't inform us that we would not be able to get that close. Our question was why would they show pictures of it like that if you were unable to get that close-false advertising. That night we saw more lava onboard the ship than we did on the tour itself. However, they didn't make any announcement that we were there and a lot of people missed one of the best parts of the trip! They had also said that they would turn off the lights on the upper deck for pictures and that never happened either! Excursion 2: Molokini Crater snorkel! It was fun and saw a lot of fish. Even a reef shark! Great tour would recommend it! Excursion 3:The Luau! That was so much fun! We had an amazing time and I would recommend everyone to go! Food was great and the entertainment was awesome! Probably one of my favorite experiences on this cruise. Excursion 4: Haleakala Crater Sunrise tour. On the tickets it had said to bring a sweater, more like bring your parka and gloves. It was so cold half of the tour didn't even get out of the bus to view it. Had we been informed that it was going to be 40 we would have prepared. Other than the weather---great tour. Beautiful scenery and it was worth standing out there for over an hour! There was also a tour where you could bike down the mountain but we were unaware of that one! Those people did get jackets and gloves. But if you just went up to see the sunrise you were on your own! After we returned back from the crater sunrise it was about 9 am and we wanted to go and see more of maui so we stopped at the excursion desk and that is when we were informed that one of our excursions (helicopter tour) had been cancelled. When trying to book another tour similar to that one, they were sold out! I was so bummed! Had we known earlier we would have definitely booked another tour in its place! The excursion desk said that we could take a taxi to a state park called Iao Valley and spend a few hours there and that there would be transportation available. So we hopped in a cab (who didn't speak english) and showed him where were wanted to go. Once there ($20 cab fare) he dropped us off and we ran into a couple of people we met on the ship (they were on their tour) they told us that this would only take about 30 mins to see the park and to hold our cab. The cab had already left and we were stranded there. We asked the Tour guide for help and he said that we should have thought about it before we were dropped off and that he could not take us back to port. He was very unhelpful. Thank God i had my cell phone on me and we were able to call information for another cab company. The kicker is when we went back to the excursion desk the man had said he had never been there and didn't know that there was no cabs waiting and that he was sorry that he told us to go there! Dining that night was an experience too. Not enough staff to cover everyone and staff members were very standoffish. When we asked for some steak sauce, one waiter huffed and said that it would be a while because he had to go all the way to the steakhouse to get it. Excursion 5: Captain Zodiac Snorkel Adventure! If you are adventurous like we are you will LOVE this tour. They take you out on a Navy Seal Raft (seats 10) and fly you thru the ocean at top speeds. This raft can go places the other boats can't and gets you up close and personal with the craters and sea walls! It was great! What a thrill and the snorkeling was good too! However, there was a lady on our excursion that had never been snorkeling before and was not told by the excursion desk that she would be on a raft like this and she was very afraid. She could not swim and did not like this tour at all. I feel like the captain held back a little on the adventurous side because she was very afraid. That night was all you can eat lobster. It wasn't Maine lobster like we have had on other cruises. It was spanish/hawaiian lobster. Very small and chewy. It was ok but again the food on this ship wasn't very good overall. The last excursion we took was the Jungle Mountain Trek, Wagon and Zip Line Adventure. Overall it was a good experience but i wish they would have told us that we were going to destroy our shoes in mud and water. I would have not worn my good shoes and would have opted for a different pair. We did go and see the site of where Jurassic Park was filmed and we did swing from ropes into a lagoon and waterfall so that was a bonus! The last day spent on the ship was relaxing. We just hung out with people whom we had met and enjoyed their company. In the evening we went and saw an outstanding guitar player in the Pink Champagne Lounge. He was great and if he is there, go and see him! A lot of other people had similar experiences and will not be cruising with Norweigian again. It's a shame to spend all of your hard earned money and not get the service or courtesy that we have come to expect from a cruise line. I felt bad for the people whom had never cruised before and were very disappointed. The main reason why we chose this cruise line was the fact that it had the itinerary through Hawaii, stopping at all of the islands. We have filled out several comment cards and sent an email to the company to help them change and grow but for now our cruise experience with NCL's Inaugural Season on the Pride of America was less than par. Hopefully they will take our comments and change some things for cruises to come. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2005
Very poor overall service, even Captain and several other "ranking" persons, on several different occasions did not even stop to inquire about our cruise experience while we were the only ones on the deck in the evenings. Our ... Read More
Very poor overall service, even Captain and several other "ranking" persons, on several different occasions did not even stop to inquire about our cruise experience while we were the only ones on the deck in the evenings. Our group of six were the only ones on the Lido deck after say 8:00p.m. it seemed, no crowds, no service, no drinks, no food, no live music, you can get the jest......thank god we brought our own poker chips to play poker. Food service was horrendous, surcharges to dine were outrageous, no seafood at all on a Pacific Ocean cruise is unbelievable in my opinion. All surcharge dining areas we were told were booked by day three, even if we had wanted to pay the surcharges each time in. No midnight buffet at all like Carnival, very disappointing cruise all the way around. Hot Tubs shut down in the evenings at approximately 10:00p.m. not to be re-opened until ported at approximately 8:00a.m. each morning, no bar service at tubs or on exterior decks after approx. 8:00p.m. each evening. Over chlorinated (maybe a good thing), 2 pair of shorts completely bleached from blue to brown in 7 days. Very unenjoyable cruise, a complete waste of a $3500.00 vacation, with exception of getting to and on the islands. Thank god we had an opportunity to disembark each day to get something good to eat, and also to find something interesting to do!! Unbelievable lack of service, options, dining. I would not recommend this cruise to anyone under the age of say 65 yrs old. I am almost 40 by the way.... Read Less
Sail Date: November 2005
The Norwegian Cruise Lines "Pride of America" has nothing to be proud of. This was the worst cruise I have ever been on. As soon as we got to our cabin we discovered the toilet was plugged with someone else's waste. A call ... Read More
The Norwegian Cruise Lines "Pride of America" has nothing to be proud of. This was the worst cruise I have ever been on. As soon as we got to our cabin we discovered the toilet was plugged with someone else's waste. A call was made to housekeeping and they told us someone would be up immediately but, after half an hour no one showed and another call was made. They told us someone would be up later but, we needed to use the restroom (luckily my sister had a cabin next door and I could run over there), and told them that was unacceptable and they needed to come immediately. A few minutes later someone came and fixed it. For the rest of the week we had calls asking if our toilet had been fixed yet. It seems the plumber never let anyone know when the job had been done. We ran into our housekeeper in the hall after boarding and discovering our beds were separated, we asked her to put our beds together she made a face and said pointing, "I have to do that cabin and that cabin and that cabin, and now I have to do you too?" Isn't that her job? Throughout the whole week the food was awful in the main dining room with almost half hour waits in between courses while we had to look at dirty dishes on the next table that were never removed during our whole meal. We were lucky to get our cocktails after waiting for half an hour. On Lobster night the lobster was inedible, tough as shoe leather and so salty you couldn't swallow. The menu always had something that wasn't available and the wait staff would tell us there was a substitution, which no one would want. If you weren't savvy enough to know to make reservations at the other restaurants on the day you arrive you were out of luck when it came to getting into any of them for the entire week. A pair of expensive Chanel sunglasses were stolen from our cabin and it took from 7:00am to 12:00pm to get any help from security. We missed breakfast while waiting for help because every time we called downstairs they would give us information that was incorrect about the procedure for reporting a theft. They were going to send housekeeping to check it out which was ridiculous because we thought it was probably housekeeping that took them. Finally a report was taken but nothing was every remedied. The bathroom had dirt and hair on the floor as well as on the shelves above the wash basin that was never cleaned the entire week and the desk had dirty glass rings on it the entire time as well. One evening the housekeeper came to our room as we were dressing for dinner and said she'd like to turn the beds down. It was only 6:00pm and I wasn't even dressed and told her that we couldn't let her in at that time. She said she wanted to go downstairs now because she was off and so our bed never did get turned down that night. I brought a travelling iron which I used and left unplugged on the counter when I went to dinner. When I came back from dinner I found a note on the bed saying it had been taken away because it's against Coast Guard rules to have a travel iron onboard. They told me I would be able to pick it up on the last day when we picked up our luggage in port. There would be a table near the luggage for guests to pick up their belongings. After getting off the ship and collecting our luggage I looked for the table and not finding it I asked someone at an information desk who said "Oh they've been giving everyone the wrong information. You're supposed to pick that up on the ship before you depart." Already being off the ship and not able to get back on again, I now had lost my travel iron for good. Disembarkation was fine until you try to find the shuttle to the airport and then it's chaos. Nobody is around to tell you where to go and there are shuttles of all kinds for excursions and the airport with everyone running amok trying to find where they should be going and fighting the onslaught of passengers getting on the ship for the next cruise. When we did get on the shuttle the driver, speaking on the microphone, asked all of us how we enjoyed our cruise and everyone groaned. He answered back, "I guess I shouldn't have asked." I must say the bed was very comfortable although I'm not sure the sheets were changed very often. The shower was so small you could barely turn around and it never looked clean and the shower curtain was stained and old looking which is amazing for a ship that was less than 6 months old at the time. The windows on the ship never looked clean and the wood railings alongside the ship were already peeling from the salty air. Service was practically non existent. Anytime you asked someone for something it wasn't their job and we heard many of the staff complaining to the passengers about other staff members. During our days off the ship we would meet with other passengers on the way back in the shuttles and ask them how they were enjoying the cruise and we didn't meet a single person who was having a good time. Everyone had some complaint of some kind or other. All in all I would NEVER recommend this cruise to anyone unless they want to waste a lot of money. I'm sorry to say it but, Americans don't want to work and this being an American run ship you are pretty sure of having rotten service. The tips are included in the price of the cruise and I believe that is why the staff feels they don't have to work because they know they're getting their tips so why bother to go the extra mile or inch for that matter. I give this cruise a grade of F. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
This was my first cruise using NCL and we picked one of the highest cabins for our honeymoon. But this ship made our honeymoon a disaster! It is the WORST cruise I have ever been on! The host at East Meets West was so extremely rude to ... Read More
This was my first cruise using NCL and we picked one of the highest cabins for our honeymoon. But this ship made our honeymoon a disaster! It is the WORST cruise I have ever been on! The host at East Meets West was so extremely rude to us. This is supposed to be a "Freestyle" cruise where you can pretty much go where you want, how you want. The host would not let me in because I was wearing sandals and his attitude towards others besides me was uncalled for. He was acting like he owned the ship. Also the waiter at the Skyline restaurant was extremely rude to us once he found out that we didn't want any alcoholic drinks (because they get tips on the alcohol) and said that we were ready to order, he walked away and didn't come back for 20 minutes. The only real decent place was the Aloha Cafe. The people there were nice and the food was pretty good. We also went to "THEIR BEST SHOW" so they called it at Hollywood Theater. IT WAS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BORING, that half (not exaggerating) of the audience got up and left. It started with one person walking out slowly on stage and sitting down looking at the background. That was about 5 minutes of that. Then they had about another 8 people do the exact same thing ONE AT A TIME! It took them over 40 minutes just to get out on stage and stare at NOTHING on the backscreen!!!! We left soon after that, because all they did was waste our 40 minutes watching them sit there. We booked a shore excursion for surfing lessons, and they put us on the wrong bus so we missed the lessons. When we went and complained to them, they said they would have the manager call us back at 4 pm. Days went by without a call, we did not get a refund for the excursion that we missed, nor any apology! One other thing about their "Freestyle". They charge you $10 dollars per day, per person for tips to their staff. On Saturday, the last day, they charged us the $10 dollars, we left at 7:30 am. There was nothing for them to charge us for! Also, they charge the people coming on board the same day $10 dollars. Hmm? 40 dollars on a day that they don't do anything for their guests? That does not sound right! I will never use NCL for any cruises ever again for the way they ruined our honeymoon. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
We have been on at least six other cruises, including two on NCL and this is the worst by far! The food was far below Hometown Buffet,and the dining room service for the first four days would compare to a three stooges movie. However ... Read More
We have been on at least six other cruises, including two on NCL and this is the worst by far! The food was far below Hometown Buffet,and the dining room service for the first four days would compare to a three stooges movie. However starting Wednesday morning the food service became much better, I think they put on a new crew, and then sat. morning at the last breakfast they had the dumb crew back in service. The entertainment was the worst we have ever encountered on any cruise, they did have a juggler on two or three times that was very good Also on the food service, the freestyle cruising and open dining is a joke. One evening we were told we would have to wait thirty minutes for a table and we waited one hour and fifteen minutes and went to the garbage buffet because my wife is diabetic and had to eat. We were told we should make reservations, so the next day my son went to the dining room and they would not take a reservation and we were told to call reservations in so the next day he called, this was Wednesday, he was told they were all booked up and not taking reservations. One night we tried the special steak house where you pay extra for going there plus extra for certain items, I ordered a 24 oz steak that was about as good as a piece of soft pine lumber but not as flavorable. There were 8 in our family group, four of our group were sick, one of my sons was so sick with apparent food poisoning the nurse came to his cabin to give him a shot and later had to taken by wheelchair to see the doctor. They at first said he was seasick and then the flu and gave him a bill, but later sent a note and cancelled the bill, so you figure it out.   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 didnt 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 ships 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 eatiers interior windows face the ships lobby where a photographers studio is set up. It will surely test the medications of any epileptic in your party as well as your own patience. Lazy Js 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 cant 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 cant 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 Ill 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 coffeemaker 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 wouldnt think that something like this would be a big deal, but youd 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 ships 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 ships 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, Im 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 didnt. 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 dont 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 anyones 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 trashcans 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. Its disappointing when essentially a floating hotel cant get the simple things right: Towels, food, and laundry. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2006
This cruise in Hawaii was our sixth cruise, but the first on NCL. Our group was a group of ten family members, all adults. To avoid the hassles of the bus transfers we've experienced with other cruise lines, we opted for a taxi from ... Read More
This cruise in Hawaii was our sixth cruise, but the first on NCL. Our group was a group of ten family members, all adults. To avoid the hassles of the bus transfers we've experienced with other cruise lines, we opted for a taxi from the airport to the pier. This was a very good option, and only cost us about $30.00 for four people. Not only did we avoid the lines associated with the busses, but we managed to snag a limousine for the trip to the port! Check in at the terminal seemed well organized, and went reasonably quickly. Upon boarding the vessel, we were initially a bit confused. While we thought that the boat was relatively new, it seemed to be old and run down. The main lobby area was hardly impressive, being rather small by modern standards, and completely lacked any glitz. Ducking to the back bank of elevators avoided any lines to get up to our rooms. Our baggage arrived very quicklywell within an hour of checking in. The rooms themselves were small, but adequate. The balconies contained two comfortable chairs that reclined. As with much of the ship, the decorations were horrific. Anything above the waist was very nice, but the carpeting, bedspread and orange hide-a-bed were ugly and hard on the eyes. The bed seemed worn out, even though only a few months old. We proceeded up to the Aloha Cafe, which is the buffet portion of the ship. Throughout the cruise the food in this section looked too old and disgusting to even try. The layout was also extremely poorly designed, consisting of eight islands of four different types. Silverware (a knife and fork but never a spoon) was available only in one of the many places where plates and bowls were located, and at breakfast syrup was only available at one of the four places pancakes and waffles were located. The eight islands made for a very bad traffic pattern for customers, and I witnessed one collision that resulted in a dropped tray. The decoration in the seating area was the worst of the entire ship, being extremely loud and ugly. This ship offers "Freestyle Cruising" which I came to call no-style cruising. There are two main dining areas where you make reservations at any point in time rather than having only two times for dining as is common on other cruises. They have a number of specialty restaurants, most of which have an additional fee. Reservations were difficult with any group larger than four people, except in the two main restaurants, so setting up your reservations immediately would be well advised. If you fail to cancel a reservation at a specialty restaurant, they apparently charge a fee, which is reasonable so other can dine. One thing was consistent among all the restaurantsextremely poor service. While some might attribute this to the American crew (a result of the need for work permits?), I attribute it to the Freestyle Cruising" system. On a normal cruise ship you eat most of your meals with the same waiter and assistant waiter. The waiter is more experienced, and teaches and supervises the assistant waiter in order to get the best tips. Speed is important, because the next waive of guests will arrive at a pre-defined time. On NCL, the waiters didn't seem to be any better trained than their assistants, and in fact sometimes were vastly inferior to their assistants. Speed was a very annoying problem, with three hour plus dinners being common, as was 45 minutes plus to the first appetizer. On more than one occasion our wait team changed for no apparent reason, even during the relatively short breakfast session. The food was spotty at best. The filet mignon I ordered at the "Lazy J" was one of the chewiest steaks I've ever had of any type, although others in the group reported good steaks from all the restaurants. Many of the dishes were extremely salty. The best food was undoubtedly the breakfast offered in the "Skyline Restaurant" which is one of the main two dining areas, but it was only open from 7-9 a.m. Seating there was often difficult for breakfast or lunch due to short staffing. The bar areas were more expensive than other cruise ships, even before the 15% tip they expected you to add which doesn't exist on other lines. The beer I had was $5.00 before tip, and the cheapest drink I had was over $6.00 before tip. They did offer a reasonable selection of Scotch, and single malts were perhaps the most reasonably priced drinks on the vessel. Unlike other vessels, it apparently was not possible to order a bottle for your room. Our room steward did an adequate job, keeping the room in good condition. My only complaint was that she was not as fast getting into the room as on other vessels I've been on. On more than one occasion it was early afternoon before our room was cleaned, and only once was it cleaned by 10:00 a.m., even though we would be out of the room by 8:00 a.m. Getting robes in required a request, which apparently was something unique for someone in an ordinary balcony unit, for neither our attendant, nor another one nearby, knew whether getting a robe was even possible. On board activities seemed practically non-existent compared to other cruise lines. Further, during times of bad whether they didn't open up any of the inside bars that were ordinarily closed. The nightly entertainment was also seemingly lacking, although the three hour plus dinners made it impossible to see much of that. Disembarkation was far better on this ship than any other ship I've been on. You're allowed to stay in your room until called, and the process went quickly (perhaps due to the lack of customs). Our baggage was available and easy to find (although the crew was very noisy the night before gathering the baggage in the hallways). Again, we used a cab to get to the airport, which saved us standing in line to wait for a bus. Overall, this cruise was very disappointing. The service and food were such that I constantly contemplated making a few phone calls to arrange an earlier flight off the island. In fact, the food was so bad that the food on the return flight home seemed really good in comparison. Before I took my first cruise I was concerned that I'd feel trapped and want to go home. That never happened, until this cruise. If this had been my first cruise, rather than my sixth cruise, it would have been my first and last cruise. There are far better cruising options than this. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2006
We have gone on many cruises and have enjoyed every cruise BUT on NCL Pride of America. We signed up for the package to stay at the Marriott in Oahu and be transported to ship. The transportation to the ship was over and hour late. ... Read More
We have gone on many cruises and have enjoyed every cruise BUT on NCL Pride of America. We signed up for the package to stay at the Marriott in Oahu and be transported to ship. The transportation to the ship was over and hour late. Embarkation went well and we soon found our SMALL balcony room. The room had no washcloths--melted ice in ice bucket and a toilet that didn't flush. Out of the 7 days we were on the ship the maintenance man had to come 5 days to fix the toilet. The Pride of America has the smallest balcony rooms I have ever seen. We came back to our room one day after an excursion and could hardly breathe because of the Clorox smell--we had to open our balcony doors to get fresh air. The shower did not drain from that day on either--so you would shower a little then turn off the water until it went down then turn shower on again to finish. The sewer smell in the hallway was terrible. I got a 35.00 soda card when I got on the ship--to be able to have a soda whenever I wanted. Well the second day I asked for diet caffeine free soda and was told that wasn't a FOUNTAIN drink--it only came in cans---and to go to front desk and they would refund my money. Now if I had 2 sodas a day NCL would still have made a profit at 35.00. The food terrible---when they had what was on the menu--which wasn't often. One morning at 8:30-we ordered orange juice---sorry we are out of it--French toast--sorry-we are out of it---corned beef hash--sorry we are out of it. The entertainment was a non existent compared to other ships. NCL had a juggler juggling oranges one night AND he was the entertainment a second night--juggling the same oranges while riding a unicycle--THIS IS FOR REAL PEOPLE!!!! NCL had a comedian two nights also--and NCL dancers the other nights--All I can say is NCL should see the shows on other cruise lines and they would be ashamed. Pride of America has 7 restaurants--but only two are included with the price of the cruise----so you guessed it---all the passengers are trying to get into the 2 restaurants that are included. We went to the steakhouse one night--the steak was the worst quality ever. We had better food the night we went to the Luau---the Luau was the best excursion of the whole trip. This was the most expensive cruise that we have been on and the worst. NCL should know when tips are taken out of your shipboard account automatically--the help has no incentive ---the help will get the same tip if they do a good job or if they don't do a good job. To sum up this review DON'T cruise with NCL---getting on the ship and off the ship was the highlights. The rooms-- small, the food was not good and were tiny portions and out of something every meal, the entertainment was so bad it was laughable, and the room not having a working toilet and shower was the worst. Just to let you know--we had friends on another floor and they had the same problem with their bathroom, and the ship is not GRAND like the others we have been on. Oh-two days we came back to our room for a nap---NO way----they were teaching personnel how to lower the lifeboats--screaming the instructions--and this went on until dinnertime. I would not go on NCL again if it were free. People--stick with Royal Caribbean or Celebrity or Disney--but not NCL. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2006
I am sorry to say that the ship is named Pride of America. Boarding the ship went well. When I arrived at my room I found that the bathroom was not cleaned. There was soap in the shower that was used by the last passenger with hair samples ... Read More
I am sorry to say that the ship is named Pride of America. Boarding the ship went well. When I arrived at my room I found that the bathroom was not cleaned. There was soap in the shower that was used by the last passenger with hair samples left behind. The soap dish was dirty and there was a leak under the sink. I reported this to an attendant that ran past my room but nothing was done. I am a diabetic and asked for a container for my needles so that I may dispose of them in a safe manner. This didn't arrive until two days into my trip. We felt like we didn't have a cabin person to clean our room the whole trip. The other two couples that traveled with us felt the same way. Sorry NCL this is not the way to run a ship. The first night we ate in the main dining room, the waiter took the orders of four of my guests and walked away from the fifth. We didn't know why but he just left. I called out to the waiter and he came back and seemed to be upset. He threw a menu in front of my guest and was very rude. A fight almost broke out, so we called over the head waiter and told her the problem. The food is bad enough, we didn't need this on our first night. From that day on we ate in the downstairs dinning room. NCL where do you train your staff? All week long I felt like I cruised down to Mexico not Hawaii. The music by the pool every day was Mexican. I asked the bartender if she could change the music for awhile and she said that was the only music she had. I went to the Main Desk and asked them If they could fix this situation. Nothing was done, who would have guessed. I was told that our ship would have a wonderful Piano bar that we could go to. I was not told that it was also the cigar lounge. My family could not breath. The same problem in your show room. I would advise anyone who does not smoke please do not take this cruise. The service in the specialty restaurants was OK but the food was not. The Cadillac Diner the food and the service were OK. Thank you for this chance to vent. This has been my second negative experience with NCL, I hope the last. My friends asked me to go along with them this time saying that it would be a better experience and they found out that I was correct from the beginning. NCL is not a cruise line that should be taken. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2006
This is the most difficult review that I have ever had to write. Based upon time limitations, this was one of the few cruises that fit into our schedule and the only one our extended group could agree on, so we decided to give it a chance. ... Read More
This is the most difficult review that I have ever had to write. Based upon time limitations, this was one of the few cruises that fit into our schedule and the only one our extended group could agree on, so we decided to give it a chance. This was our 10th cruise - our first and our last with NCL. Embarkation: Went fairly smooth in the terminal. We were able to start boarding the ship around noon. What they don't tell you is that once on board most of the cabins are not ready. They send you to a public room and invite you to lunch at the Aloha Cafe. It is a real pleasant experience to obtain food in a buffet while carrying both your tray and all your carry on baggage. Cabin: We reserved a category BE cabin. This was the smallest and most poorly laid out cabin of any ship we were ever on. At this point let me add that we are two adults traveling with two kids (3 & 6) in the same cabin. This is the first time we ever had difficulty fitting all our clothing in the closets. (We have gone on voyages as long as 11 days without any problems). The irony here is that we did not even have any formal clothes thanks to NCL's Freestyle dining. The cabin was the filthiest cabin we ever occupied. As you brushed against the walls the dirt just transferred onto you. There were remnants of previous occupants on the floor and in the dresser drawers. The cabin was just disgusting. Not what you would expect in a new ship. There was no soap or shampoo in the bathroom. It took two days and multiple visits to the Guest Relations desk to get this resolved. Simply unacceptable. NCL provides a dial on the outside of each cabin to indicate to the steward. During the week, it was a rare occurrence for our cabin to be made up before 4pm. Maybe this is an NCL cost cutting move: make-up and turn down the cabin at the same time. Ports/Excursions: This was Hawaii. The ports were simply perfect. We did use NCL's excursion desk and, other than being overpriced, the excursions went off without a hitch. Tender service was among the worst we ever experienced. In Lahaina we had to wait over an hour to catch a tender to get off the ship. The wait was the same to get back onboard. When you are in port for only a few hours, it is very disappointing to waste over two hours of a short day just on transportation. We were assured by the Cruise Director that in Kona the situation would be better. It was not. We had to stand in the hot sun in line for over 90 minute for a tender. For every Pride of America tender, we saw three Island Princess tenders. There was one additional POA tender in the water practicing and other tenders that were not even lowered into the water. Maybe this is NCL's way of conserving fuel? Security: NCL had contracted with Akal Security to provide their pre-boarding screening. Needless to say I did not feel safe. While they were very good at catching food and beverage items being brought on board, people were just walking around the agents wanding other passengers and getting right on the tenders. This level of incompetence is just unacceptable in the post 9/11 world. Once onboard, on one occasion the security personnel failed to check one member of our party back onto the ship, even though all four key cards were presented. We did not find out about this until the party member was paged over the ships PA. This is really reassuring that NCL knows who is on the ship. Kids Program: Perhaps, this is the one part of the ship where we met the most devoted crew members. Overall our kids thoroughly enjoyed the program. Unfortunately, unlike other lines, the hours are extremely limited for the free program. Dining: Due to a severe food allergy in the family, we made special arrangements in the Skyline dining room for a fixed table and wait staff. Because of this, we did not experience any long waits for seating and overall the wait staff was helpful. Unfortunately, dinner was still a two hour ordeal and the food (both preparation and selection) was barely acceptable. Food selection in the Aloha Cafe was also only fair. In my prior cruise experience, I have never seen a cruise line run out of food. That was until this cruise. Over the course of the week, they ran out of garlic, mozzarella sticks, bananas, onion rings, grapefruit, cream cheese, lox, and assorted boxed cereals. During the week, no attempt was made to replenish these items, even though we were in port every day. They did however have plenty of mahi-mahi as it was the only fish on the dinner menu for the entire week. The biggest problem was in the handling of a food allergy. My child is allergic to nuts. NCL Corporate was first notified (both orally & written) at the time of booking about this severe allergy. Upon initial embarkation, both Maitre'Ds (Skyline & Aloha) were informed of the allergy. In Skyline, we were assigned an experienced wait staff. We met with the head chef in Aloha and were briefed on NCL's policy regarding treatment of passengers with food allergies. In Aloha, we were told that all wait staff in the buffet stations are aware of the ingredients in the food that they are serving and if they are in doubt to always consult a chef. This is important since most of the food in the Aloha Cafe was never labeled. Unfortunately, their procedures did not work and were not followed. My 6 year old was almost KILLED by crew negligence. She was given a cake with peanut butter icing (which did not look like peanut butter) and almost immediately went into shock. The crew member working the dessert station assured us that there were no nut products in any of the cakes being served at that time. Medical attention was necessary and provided, but the damage was already done. Disembarkation: This was fine as well. We were given the opportunity of carrying our luggage off the boat and leaving at any time. We took advantage of this opportunity. The sooner NCL & us parted company, the better. Prior to taking this cruise we consulted many of the online cruise review sites and read many negative reviews about this ship and her crew. We decided to take these reviews with a grain of salt and make the best of it. We were wrong. We should have listened to the reviews and gone elsewhere. Based upon these reviews and our personal experience both on the ship and dealing with NCL corporate, we have come to the conclusion that they just don't care. Even if the nut incident hadn't occurred, we probably would never cruise with NCL gain. That just sealed the deal. To see Hawaii, our opinion is that this is one destination best seen by staying on land. If one really wants to cruise the islands, there are much better options available. We will sleep better at night knowing that we are hopefully helping prevent someone else's misery. Note that this review was not written directly after the cruise. Prior to posting this review we attempted to get some satisfaction from the cruise line or at least some answers and an apology. Our main concern was not compensation, but to make sure that their policies & procedures are updated so that someone else with food allergies does not go through what we did or worse. Apparently they were not even interested in talking to us as written correspondence was ignored and calls to the Executive Customer Relations team in Miami have gone unreturned. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2006
This was our second cruise. The first was with Royal Caribbean 2 years ago. We flew from Rochester, NY to Chicago and then to Honolulu. Embarkation was very swift. No problems there. Our luggage did not get to our room until very ... Read More
This was our second cruise. The first was with Royal Caribbean 2 years ago. We flew from Rochester, NY to Chicago and then to Honolulu. Embarkation was very swift. No problems there. Our luggage did not get to our room until very late,but we were told it was problem with customs. We had an inside cabin that was very clean. The rooms seem to have a place for everything. But trying to get extra towels was a BIG problem. As well as coffee,stirrers and creamers. Finally one day I grabbed an extra towel from the cart only to have someone take it from the bathroom when they turned down our beds for the night. Freestyle cruising we did not like at all. We didn't realize that you had to make reservations at the beginning of the week. We tried on Wednesday and all the specialty restaurants were booked. But when we went to go to the Skyline half the tables were not even being used. Why? Not enough crew. When we did get served the food was excellent and so was the service. We ended up eating at the buffet most of the time,because it was the only restaurant we could get a meal. Shore excursions were great. Went snorkeling and the luou(?) was great. Well worth the money. The music piped through got a little old after a while. You heard the same songs over and over again. Our room was very quiet. No noise bothered us at all. The thing that bothered us the most was we were told that the price of the cruise included gratuities. That was WRONG! I felt that the crew didn't have to work to get them,so why work so hard? We were very disappointed in the service with everyone. Some people were downright surly. We loved the entertainment. The comedians and the juggler were great. so was the show with The Pride of America singers. A little loud ,but good. Would we go with NCL again? No! When you go on a cruise with Royal,you are treated like royalty. Not here! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2006
We just came back from a 7 day cruise to Hawaii. We were very disappointed with the Pride of America. We had read many negative reviews but we were not sure if they were all true. Unfortunately, they are. First we found our cabins to be ... Read More
We just came back from a 7 day cruise to Hawaii. We were very disappointed with the Pride of America. We had read many negative reviews but we were not sure if they were all true. Unfortunately, they are. First we found our cabins to be dirty. We never saw the cabin attendant as he never showed up to introduce himself. He forgot to take the trash out and our cabin was not made up. We had to complain many times to make this happen. Every time when we went to the dining room, we had to wait for our table for four. One time we waited half an hour to get into the Cadillac Diner and waited another 45 minutes for the food to come. And they forgot some of the items we ordered. We found this type of service totally unacceptable. NCL also messed up our shipboard credits and it took almost 4 days and daily complaint to finally resolve the issue. We were very upset with the way they handled everything. We are not sure if NCL know what customer service is all about! We had cruised with other cruise lines and never had such a terrible experience. We only had 7 days of vacation and we spent just too much time complaining about their services. If you are considering this cruise, think it twice. We would never go back to NCL America unless it is free! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
This was without a doubt the absolute worst cruise I have ever taken. My husband and I have taken several cruises and really liked cruising until this one. We were really excited about this one because it was to everyone's dream place ... Read More
This was without a doubt the absolute worst cruise I have ever taken. My husband and I have taken several cruises and really liked cruising until this one. We were really excited about this one because it was to everyone's dream place - HAWAII and we were traveling with friends who were either celebrating their anniversaries or on their honeymoon and for some it was their first cruise. The cruise was downhill from the time we boarded the ship. When we arrived at the ship around 5:00 p.m. they were finishing the life boat drill. There was a note in our cabin stating that life boat drills were mandatory and that if we missed the drill that day there would be another one the following day in the theater at 5:00 p.m. We were out on an excursion when the drill was done the second time so we never had the "mandatory" life boat drill. Fortunately for us, we had cruised before and were familiar with life boat drills. For first time cruisers, this could have been traumatic. The air conditioning was not working in many of the cabins the first night and none of us rested very well because it was so uncomfortable. There were no wash cloths in our bathroom the first night and we had to request them. Our bathroom was not cleaned the entire week. We had no top sheets on the beds, only comforters which were to warm to cover with. It was the second night before we got a top sheet put on our bed (after two requests). Our bed was turned down only twice the entire week. The ice had melted in our ice bucket several nights. It took us three hours to complete our meal the first night because we had only one server to meet the needs of 16 people. The second night we had two, and one of them started out with an attitude but became a little friendlier later on. Several times things were ordered from the menu and the server came back later and said they were out of the item. We were some of the first passengers in the dining room, how could they be out already? The food did not taste very good. A number of crew members on this cruise were very rude to us and appeared to be very unhappy in their positions. Several even told us they would be leaving the ship at the end of their contract. There was an earthquake when we were pulling into the port at Maui and there was no power on the island and we had to wait until almost noon before we could leave the ship, which was no big deal because this was unavoidable. It rained all day on Monday and a some of the excursions were cancelled because of mudslides, so we stayed on the ship all day. Again, no big deal as this, too, was unavoidable. We were supposed to set sail for Kona on Monday evening but were detained in Maui until Wednesday morning because our ship had "snagged" a buoy pulling into port at Maui, or so we were told. We received a letter in our cabin stating that we would not be going to Kona and because of the change in itinerary, a $100 onboard credit per cabin would be offered to us and free cocktails on Friday evening. However, we found out later when a group of passengers called a meeting and became irate with the captain, that we had actually snagged the buoy in Honolulu and dragged it and its 2800 lb. concrete slab with us to Maui and and the chain wrapped around the pod and divers had to be brought in to remove it and this caused our delay. This made headlines in the newspapers and radio in Hawaii. On Thursday evening of the cruise, we received another letter stating that since we were dissatisfied with their offer, if we wanted, we could send our concerns in writing to NCL Customer Relations, which I will be doing. We had a luau planned for Kona but it got cancelled because of the change in the itinerary. It was rescheduled for Thursday night in Nawiliwili. The shuttle drove us to the luau but failed to pick us up and we were left stranded. Our travel agent called the ship to check on our shuttle and was told they could do nothing about it. They then stated they would send taxis to pick us up. However, a bus driver who had taken a load of passengers back to the ship came back to check on us and he drove us to the ship - even though he was supposed to be off at that time. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
Well, we read all the warnings and still attempted to make this a great trip!! I am only trying to make this point by telling you that we booked an AA suite, costing a total of $8632 with taxes, fees and one night at the Marriott Waikiki ... Read More
Well, we read all the warnings and still attempted to make this a great trip!! I am only trying to make this point by telling you that we booked an AA suite, costing a total of $8632 with taxes, fees and one night at the Marriott Waikiki in advance. Our arrival in Waikiki was non-eventful - we cabbed to the hotel and the cost was about $40 plus tip. Our room was nice - we had a tiny view of the ocean and what more could one want? We were almost ready to go to sleep&except we hadn't had lunch yet! Soooo, we went to the restaurant, which was like walking across country! I's down a ramp and quite a long trip for 2 tired campers. Afterwards, we got our paper work completed took our pictures for the boarding passes, which we still had to pick up at the dock next day. After breakfast, we waited for the bus&the ship was late in docking, so the trip was an hour late to begin with no big deal. We were on board in less than 10 minutes!! We were next told to go to meet our concierge on the 13th deck. Couldn't find him, so we just went to our suite, which was LOVELY!!!. You can't complain about 3 HD TV's, including one in the bath and a WONDERFUL verandah, complete with hot tub and a bottle of champagne. ALL (and I mean ALL) the dining was as far back as you can go and of course, we were as far up front as you can get!! This is not the ship's fault so again, we'll take the blame or credit for the long walks. Everything was great! Our concierge made every dining reservation for us for each night on board. We never particularly care to get off the ship and this was no exception. We're both seniors and don't like the exercise. We enjoy time on the ship, but on this one, there really is NOTHING to do between sailing times. LUNCH: There are 3 spots to eat the buffet, one bar that does hot dogs, hamburgs, grilled chicken and a bit more&including French fries and the Cadillac Diner, which I would suggest you stay clear of& Meatloaf that Jim says is fair to below fair. Again hot dogs and hamburgs. Not diner food don't let the name fool you. Every day in the lunch buffet, the food was the same sliced pizza, hamburg, hot dogs, some lunch meats, a carving station with some type of chicken (looking sad), and tuna and egg salads. Lots of rolls and bread, condiments, and veggies as well as a salad bar (they had NO tomatoes on the last two days) and fruits and desserts, which were decent. Also a soft serve machine that was chocolate or vanilla or a choice of both as well as some kind of pudding with sauce. All in all, decent&.and I love hot dogs, tuna or egg salad, but I don't want to see them for a long, long time. That was lunch each day, with no variations at all. DINNER: Each place is unique and let me tell you that they are not glitzy, but rather decent as I compare with other cruise lines. Service was good to better in most events. With the exception of the Cadillac diner, which I've singled out, we enjoyed them. The teppenyaki would have been more fun if we went on a busy night&.there were only 6 at the table with a Houston born chef. That took any fun we expected out of it he didn't do anything interesting and really didn't feel in the mood to entertain although he cooked well enough. We had NO PROBLEM with the Skyline dining room. Service was good, and the food was not only available, but plentiful. Waiter and his server were both friendly and helpful. NOW, the negatives. First night out, the Captain advises that we will not be going to Hilo at all&we will go directly to Kahului, Maui so they can fix the broken propeller and we will be there Sunday & Monday&.for that we all get $50 per cabin credit and no view of the volcano at all. We depart at 5:30pm Tuesday, cruise around a bit and return to a different dock in the morning, leaving at 5:3opm for Kona, where we have tenders until 5:00pm. Thursday, we dock in Nawiliwili, Kauai and we are docked until 1:30pm on Friday. I don't know what this did to some peoples' excursion plans, we were very glad we hadn't made any so we didn't need to stand in line to make changes, although I think that James, our concierge would have handled most of it for us if needed. I must tell you that the plans for debarking were quite simple&we decided to take a cab to the airport. Took us about 10 minutes and was about $25 with tip. However, NO ONE told us that US citizens must put their luggage through special clearance by the US Agriculture Department before reentering the mainland and that this is only done at 9:30 and 5:30. I can only imagine what happens if you arrive too late&you have to rebook your flights?? No one is anywhere in sight to explain this to you. It took all of 10 seconds except for those folks who arrived at the last minute and jumped to the front of the line&I felt badly for those who were waiting nicely where they should have been. No one was there to manage the people. Once done, we were sent to an automatic check-in machine we had never used them before&it was easy, asked if we wanted to upgrade from HNL to LAX and we said yes, swiped the credit card through and went to the gate. Although we were staying overnight in LAX, we never saw our luggage again until we landed in Boston last night. We were told on the ship that we couldn't use the easy-fly plan because we were overnighting&but I guess it would have worked. Only the Agriculture check-in would have been eliminated from our waiting time. Now, the big thing&.we had NO HOT WATER from Monday on one time, we actually got a note saying that our problem had been fixed. RIGHT!! We had not water in the sink for about 10 minutes&no amount of complaining got anything fixed. We told James, he said it had been out for two days. We spoke with the reception desk and the girl seemed surprised until I showed her the repair slip and then she admitted that it was a problem. I still intend to write to whomever. We were speaking with someone a few doors down and he had hot water, but an air conditioning problem. There were no available rooms for changing and they wanted him to leave his room, so they could fix what they fixed the day before. Needless to say, what we didn't see of Hawaii will go unseen in my lifetime and that was my choice. To take this cruise line a second time would be not only foolish but a waste of time. You'd have to be nuts to spend that kind of money and put up with this foolishness twice!! Even once was a mistake, but we accept blame for wanting the accommodations badly enough. You can do better on any other cruise line and probably can fly over and get on board at the first stop, never thought of that before. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
I have been on many cruises in my life and enjoyed every one of them. To me, a cruise is a cruise and I just love being at sea. That being said, I will never cruise this ship, or any other in the NCL America fleet again. I prefer other ... Read More
I have been on many cruises in my life and enjoyed every one of them. To me, a cruise is a cruise and I just love being at sea. That being said, I will never cruise this ship, or any other in the NCL America fleet again. I prefer other cruise lines. But, NCL is the only line with U.S. registered ships that sail 7-night Hawaii itineraries. I did not have the time to book a 15-night cruise from Mexico. The embarkation went rather smoothly. Initially, I thought the ship looked nice, and the public areas were well-kept. That feeling quickly went down-hill when I got to my room. There was garbage under the bed, a dirty Q-tip on the bathroom floor, and the toilet was not flushed. I planned on pointing this out to my room attendant, but never met him until the 3rd day. I wish I never met him at all because he acted like it was a burden to clean the rooms. He just was not happy. And, the room never felt clean. He didn't empty the garbage or change the ice. It didn't help that the A/C didn't work very well. That "sticky" humid feeling never went away. On day 1, I noticed a clump of long, black hair and what appeared to be a wet piece of Kleenex in the corner of the balcony. It didn't bother me too much, but I was going to ask my attendant to clean it - if I would have seen him on day 1. Since I didn't, I thought I would see how long it lasted. At the end of the cruise, it was still there. The room could have been very nice if it was kept better. The attitude of my room attendant seemed to be contagious. Crew members just seemed like they didn't want to be there. The service did not even compare to that of every other cruise I've been on. They didn't smile. They didn't greet you in the hallways. I don't demand to be treated like royalty, but they didn't even acknowledge us as customers. The Freestyle dining arrangement is not for me. I prefer the assigned table and times. I found myself waiting in lines to be sat in the dining room. The waits were as long a 15 minutes. As for formal nights, there really was no point in dressing up. Never have I experienced so many people dressed down on formal nights. Past reviews suggested NCL food was quite good for the cruising industry. Well, they must have done some cut-backs because the food was terrible. Everything I ate just lacked taste. Until this cruise, I have never been told by a waiter that I couldn't have my menu selection because they ran out. Yes, they ran out! At least, that's what I was told. Somehow, other tables after me were able to get what I wanted. The Pride of America is not a good riding ship. I believe the stubby bow contributes to the pitching and rolling of the ship. The entertainment was Ok, but nothing to write home about. I would consider this to be a fluke experience, but everyone I talked to on the ship, who were experienced cruisers, felt the same way. First-time cruisers seemed happy. But, other frequent NCL cruisers also voiced their dissatisfaction and stated this seems to be the trend with all the new NCL America ships. One man told me he had these same experiences on the Pride of Hawaii. If you insist on a 7-day Hawaii itinerary, try to make the best of this ship. Just, don't expect much. Otherwise, I would seriously consider other options. If you are used to excellent service from previous cruises, stay away! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2007
My wife and I toke her parents on the Pride of America. While I was a tad leery of Norwegian and their freestyle cruising (we have been on Celebrity in the past and liked it very much), we felt it was the only way to truly see all the ... Read More
My wife and I toke her parents on the Pride of America. While I was a tad leery of Norwegian and their freestyle cruising (we have been on Celebrity in the past and liked it very much), we felt it was the only way to truly see all the Islands. We booked a veranda cabin on the very back of the ship for both couples primarily to see the Volcano as we passed the big island. About two months prior to embarkation, we received a call and upgraded our cabin to the Owner's Suite and my in-laws to the Penthouse next door. I will leave out the arrival in Honolulu and the airline stuff - there are plenty of web pages to cover that. My expectation of NCL was that the freestyle cruising would be less stuffy in the formality, but the professionalism and quality would remain high. I was wrong about NCL. It was certainly less stuffy than other cruise lines, but the quality and professionalism were certainly not there. Embarkation: Perhaps one of the strangest embarkations that we have ever done. On every ship that we have cruised, when we arrive on the ship we were met by rows of officers and crew in white gloves with champagne and welcoming us on board. Then a porter would great us and take our bags and lead us to our room. On NCL, we had our cabin cards scanned and then - NOTHING! No one met us, no one greeted us, and no one showed us to our cabins. We sort of found the elevators on our own and then found our cabin. VERY ODD and totally unprofessional. Right then, I realized that NCL was less freestyle cruising and more "Southwest Airline of the Seas". Take nothing away from Southwest, but your expectations are more on scale with Denny's than a quality restaurant. Rooms: The Owners Suite was very spacious. The extra powder room is wonderful on these cruises and having a living room/dining room where breakfast can be delivered is wonderful. The room was over the top Hawaii - both a positive and a negative. Positives were that the wall coverings were nice and the veranda furniture was quality. Negatives were that the furniture was little more than a wicker sofa bed. Having a hot tub on the balcony is nice as well - don't have to fight the pools - but the Plexiglass windows around it had clearly not been cleaned in some time. The bathroom was spacious as well and had separate shower and tub. The shower took significant time to have warm water and even then don't expect it for very long. The room had three televisions (a nice touch) with all three being plasma flat screens. Unfortunately, two of them did not work - even after asking twice for them to be fixed. The interactiveTV system is nice especially to see the menus at the eating locations. Service: My wife and I somewhat disagree on this issue. I thought service was generally terrible. She thought it was slightly better than awful. Our room came with a Butler who was all-in-all good. We met him around five of embarkation day and asked that he set up dinner reservations - which he did and also recommended to us that we make main dinning room reservations for Lobster night - a VERY good idea indeed. He also was helpful in getting soft drinks for my wife who is pregnant. The Butlers - with the exception of one woman who did not know what a Black and White Milkshake was and called me back to ask what it was (never heard of a Butler who admitted to not knowing something) - were good. The concierge was worthless. Neither us nor my in-laws understood why we had both a Butler and a concierge. After he didn't get the TV fixed and stopped returning calls about ice and other needs, we decided that we didn't need to leave him a tip (and Concierges are not covered in the $10 per day fee). With a few exceptions, the wait staff was less than polished. Dinner service was slow, lunch service was often non-existent and the attitude was more about how much they didn't like their jobs than "be our guest". After two days on the ship, any level of professionalism disappeared and the reality of "we are getting 10 bucks a day off you upfront, so why work hard for more" set in....A very strange occurrence happened to us on day four of the cruise. We were in the elevator and literally ran into the Captain. We said hello and he did ask us where we were from. However, he didn't ask us how we were enjoying the cruise - perhaps he didn't want to know. Probably with good reason. Food: My wife and I both agree that the food we had on our previous cruising experiences have been by and large outstanding. NCL was nothing less than terrible. Had the food been of any quality, we might be thinking of returning , but it was worse than most cafeteria food I have eaten. The main Liberty dining room would serve food almost luke warm - with good reason when the main kitchen is three decks down. The food was uninspired and very bland. We went to the Lazy J Steakhouse (closer to a Ponderosa than a quality Steakhouse both in atmosphere and food quality), Jefferson Bistro (the one positive in a sea of awful), and Little Italy (hard to even describe this one as it was so odd in options). The buffet was alright, but with one drink station it was almost near impossible to get soft drinks in the Aloha Cafe. Cleanliness: Where does one begin. First, the ship is not filthy, but it is certain not clean. Two years ago, we sailed the Celebrity Constellation and one item that we noticed was that almost every time we used the elevators, someone was cleaning the brass and the polishing the rails. On NCL, we never - repeat NEVER - saw anyone with a rag in hand to clean. The tablecloths and napkins were almost always dirty. The plates in the Aloha Cafe were almost always dirty - please be careful with this as it was consistent to find food stains on plates set out for use. I think I used every hand sanitizer that I found on the ship for fear of disease. Excursions: Can't really comment on this as we only used the ship once for an excursion and it was fine. Others that we spoke to said that they enjoyed the excursions provided with the ship. Disembarkation: Routine and nothing outstanding. It should be noted that as we walked off the ship, two rows of officers stood on each side of the gangway and offered us Aloha. Where were seven days earlier? Overall: We will never take NCL again. Had the food been anywhere near good we might have reconsidered, but it was not. The ship's personnel all seem to want off the ship and have no problem telling you that. The level of cleanliness was substandard for even a Carnival ship. The rooms are in desperate need of better furnishings. Overall, it was simply not a positive experience. More like a discount airline than say cruising without the fuss. If you want to have a Carnival experience and pay more for it, then NCL is your brand. If you want to have an experience that is worth the price of admission, look elsewhere. NCL leaves a lot to be desired. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2007
WARNING: DO NOT ASSUME THAT THERE IS A BENEFIT TO BOOKING THE ENTIRE PACKAGE (CRUISE, AIR, TRANSFERS, ETC.) THROUGH NCL. We were to arrive on 7/28 to board our cruise that day (leaving from LA). They do not give you the air information ... Read More
WARNING: DO NOT ASSUME THAT THERE IS A BENEFIT TO BOOKING THE ENTIRE PACKAGE (CRUISE, AIR, TRANSFERS, ETC.) THROUGH NCL. We were to arrive on 7/28 to board our cruise that day (leaving from LA). They do not give you the air information until 30 or so days prior to leaving. Even then, I had to initiate any contact with NCL to get information needed for the trip. I was concerned about the departure flight since it had us arriving in Honolulu close to 4PM on the day of departure. I called the morning of the flight to confirm our flights and was informed that our connecting flight in San Francisco was delayed by 4 hours! I immediately called NCL to see about making alternative arrangements and the fun began. They told me to contact the travel agent. The travel agent said "no", the entire package is through NCL, call them. Called NCL again, they said call United. I called United, they said changes had to be through NCL. I called NCL again and they said not to worry, the ship would wait. This was about a 4 hour experience! Every person at NCL gave a different response, however, one thing was consistent, they were all very rude!! At this point, we went to LAX to try to figure out if United had any alternatives that would get us to Honolulu sooner since I was uncomfortable with the NCL response. United agents were terrible. They couldn't even confirm my seats on the flight out of San Francisco to Honolulu at all. They were unwilling to look for other flights to get us to Honolulu sooner. We caught the flight to San Francisco and discovered a very long line of other POA passengers at the customer service desk at United. Apparently, there were over 100 of us on this flight that were scheduled to board POA that day. United was telling everyone not to worry, the POA was going to wait for the flight since there were so many of us. There ended up being 3 other United flights to Honolulu from San Francisco that left before ours, but none us were able to leave sooner. Shortly before leaving San Francisco, we were informed that the ship would leave without us. The agents for United assured us that there would be representatives waiting in Honolulu to help us with Hotel, meal vouchers, and arrangements to get to Hilo the next morning. I called NCL and they were again very rude. They explained that there would be representatives waiting in Honolulu with our arrangements made. We finally all made it to Honolulu at about 9PM Hawaii time (midnight to us). When we got off the flight, we were met by the rudest people yet. They were literally yelling at the passengers to gather in a corner of the airport. They were extremely rude to those of us who hadn't received a flight confirmation to Hilo the next day. We told them that we were told that all arrangements would be given to us when we arrived. We stood in our assigned "corner" of the airport for 2 hours without being given any additional information. They handed out one sheet of paper that had local hotel information for our overnight stay. We then had to follow the rudest person of all (a representative (supervisor) for United) downstairs to a ticket counter that had no one working. We waited there for another hour to get flight information for the next day. I was given a flight for noon the next day on Aloha airlines to Hilo. I asked for an earlier flight and they said they were too busy to look for other times and that we had to take what they gave us. At this point, we were exhausted but still had to back track to get our luggage, then catch a shuttle to a 2-star at best, local motel. We were given no meal voucher at all which, I suppose, didn't matter since there wasn't anywhere to get anything to eat anyway. Needless to say, my 15 & 16 year old boys were starving at this point! We were told by a local that this happens weekly with NCL passengers. I woke up at 4am to call Aloha airlines myself and did secure an earlier flight to Hilo (of course, on my own). When we finally caught up to the ship, I had hoped that they would make some attempt to make up for all of our trouble. We arrived hungry, frustrated and exhausted. NCL gave us a voucher for a bottle of wine and offered to take fake "embarkation" photos of us later in the trip so we could purchase them! By the time we were onboard, we were much too tired to see any of Hilo. We went straight to our cabin to nap. I also submitted a 4 page letter to the officers of the ship explaining our ordeal. We never heard a word from anyone in response. OK. Sorry for all of that, but, needless to say, it was a tough start. Our balcony stateroom was of fair quality and our cabin stewart was nice enough. The overall food quality was fair at best. Actually, the best food experience that we had was with room service. They had a decent selection and the person that delivered it was very pleasant. We ate breakfast at the Aloha buffet most days and it was average but without much selection. The main dining rooms were mostly fair with a few good items. The boys really enjoyed the cadillac diner but the service was probably the worst here. We did eat at Lazy J's Steakhouse on the last night which was a real disappointment since it has a $20 pp surcharge. The food was less enjoyable than the main dining room. We rented a car and did our own thing at all ports. The Helicopter ride that we booked through Jack Harter on Kauai was the highlight of the trip. What a beautiful island! Our only shore excursion booked through the ship was the luau on Kauai. It was a bit of a cattle call due to delays getting us all there but a great experience once we arrived. We have cruised 10+ times on Carnival and we have never had a bad experience. A previous review suggested that you should only expect a "Carnival" like experience on this ship. This is very insulting to Carnival who has always done a great job for us. It is very clear that the employees of NCL are unhappy. The overall service was very poor and the lack of response to the nightmare that we had in trying to embark can not be excused. While I understand that travel delays happen, the response of NCL and their travel partner, United Airlines, was completely unacceptable. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2007
This was not my first cruise but it will be my last with NCL America, specifically on Pride of America (which is a joke). While I did look at Cruise Critic prior to booking my trip I just chalked up some of the complaints as an isolated ... Read More
This was not my first cruise but it will be my last with NCL America, specifically on Pride of America (which is a joke). While I did look at Cruise Critic prior to booking my trip I just chalked up some of the complaints as an isolated problem. To all who are looking to go to Hawaii, please, please take everything you read here and all the other reviews seriously. Don't waste your money or potentially ruin your vacation by booking NCL America for a Hawaii vacation. From almost the moment my boyfriend and I boarded we were disappointed. When we arrived we retired to our room to take a short nap. We were waiting to here the all ship call for everyone to gather for the emergency drill. Two hours later we woke up never hearing anything in regards to a call for the drill. While we were not too worried about ourselves and knowing what to do (we have cruised twice before) I at least thought it was weird we heard nothing and I assumed we would be contacted to have to our drill rescheduled, nope didn't happen. Even when I inquired to one of the staff what we should do I was basically told not worry about it. I thought this was troubling to say the least, but that was the least of my problems with this cruise. On day 2 upon returning to our cabin we found a repair notice from maintenance for our toilet, we were confused because we never requested a repair but we ignored it. On Day 3 our toilet stopped working we called it in that morning and left for our excursions, upon our return new notice and it appeared to be working. Day 5 - same problem, same response next day it worked and surprise, surprise stopped working on Day 6. But this time it really stopped working like became majorly clogged, threatening to overflow. Day 6 became a day from hell. Let me add that I have had some medical problems and need access to a restroom so this was no minor inconvenience. I reported the problem on Day 6 before 8am at the desk and was told no problem a maintenance person will come. By 11am still no repair person so I called and for the first time was told there was a ship wide problem and they were working on it and would come soon. By 3pm I called again was nastily we know you are in the system and we will have someone come but you are one of many we have ship wide problem and the toilets are being turned off as they look for a clog. I asked her why on the last day of the cruise were we just now being told about a problem and the fact that they were shutting the system down periodically. She had no answer and basically said that I should be patient. Meanwhile when I need to use the facilities I am now forced to hunt around the ship for a working toilet. Finally in the late afternoon a repair person shows up works in the hallway for a while comes in the room, tries to flush the system--still doesn't work. And he leaves barely saying a word other than I will be back. By 7pm I am boiling I go back downstairs to the desk and am assured that someone will come, they are very sorry for my inconvenience "Here is a complimentary bottle of wine, go to dinner and I promise you by the time you come back all will be fixed!" So we go to dinner come back—toilet is STILL BROKEN! It is now after 10pm! I go back downstairs and am like what the heck people, I paid way to much to be forced to live in the conditions of a developing country!! Again lots of apologies they make a call and say the repair person is on his way he will meet you there. Sure enough I go upstairs and the repair man is there. He looks in the service closet in the hall wall, fiddles in the bathroom comes out and says I can't fix it. We need to pull it out from the wall, let me make a call. He pulls out his phone and I can hear his side of the conversation, "Yeah I have another one for you.". . . "I can't". . . "Because I'm busy, I need to fix a coffee machine. . " "Look you need to come up here and fix it!" And with that he closes his phone and announces someone will come soon. 45 minutes later, I give up. Go back downstairs and tell the desk staff that I cannot believe how incompetent and disinterested they all are. I will NEVER, cruise NCL again and will tell as many people as possible to NEVER, EVER use them. The staff stare blankly and unconcerned at me and weakly say sorry but others are having the same problem. (Really at this point do you think I really care about what is happening with other people!!) It is customer service 101 to never answer a complaint with a statement like that. This was the worst cruise ever. Luckily Hawaii and its residents are beautiful that was the only saving part of this trip. I do however want to highlight the only good thing NCL has going for them, Vicente, my cabin steward and he was absolutely AWESOME. The only shining star in what literally became a cesspool. I implore future cruisers to pass NCL America—Pride of America by!! Add the extra days on and sail from the mainland via somebody, ANYBODY else. Oh almost forgot, NCL really jacks up their excursion prices, do yourself a favor book on your own. You will find a number of your shipmates on the same excursion but you paid 30-40% less than they did. And for an excellent zipline experience go with Just Live in Kaua'i, our best time n the islands!! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
We spent 3 weeks in the Hawaiian Islands on Maui, Honolulu and Kawai prior to boarding the Pride of America. We found Hawaii to be a very calming, relaxing almost spiritual place (and we are not spiritual people). The local people are very ... Read More
We spent 3 weeks in the Hawaiian Islands on Maui, Honolulu and Kawai prior to boarding the Pride of America. We found Hawaii to be a very calming, relaxing almost spiritual place (and we are not spiritual people). The local people are very relaxed, friendly with a very giving nature. Overall we were extremely disappointed with this cruise. It was like a culture shock boarding the ship to a mainly American crew who were there for all the wrong reasons. The service on the ship was disgusting in every regard from the cabin steward, who we very rarely saw, to the rude and obnoxious restaurant wait-persons. They all put on a phony "welcome" greeting but basically did not do anything to provide good service. Probably most of them were there to enjoy the Hawaiian Islands and the ship was a means of them getting around. The staff were loud mouthed in the restaurants and public areas, charged around everywhere and purposely walked directly across your path - they "own" the ship! We have done many cruises on large and smaller ships with the crew coming from cultures who know how to provide genuine service. The "Pride of America" is an older ship which has been modified and refurbished some time ago, the interior is quite acceptable, but the exterior decks etc are in need of maintenance. Our stateroom was a good size, mainly because we had a disabled room, which we did not require. On our arrival the room was reasonably clean but the balcony was filthy, we requested the table be wiped and the area cleaned. It was done but the out-door furniture was very old, dirty and unusable. The food was dreadful in all the restaurants, we purchased a four night "specialty restaurant and wine package" when we boarded the ship. Two of the restaurants were OK the other two the food was inedible, some overcooked and dried out to the meat in one Chinese dish in the East Meets West restaurant being red raw just under the browned surface. Most meals throughout the cruise were luke warm. The remaining three nights we ate in the Liberty, Skyline and the Cadillac Diner and all were mediocre to awful. Most days we had lunch at the Aloha Cafe Buffet which was a feeding frenzy and a zoo with cruisers rushing around as though it was their last meal. Same for the mornings we had breakfast at the same venue. One morning, when requesting an egg on muffin from a tray a chef was serving from, I had the muffin literally "thrown" onto my plate. Other mornings we gave up, stayed in our room and ordered a light breakfast from room service. This was also very bad, cereal and no milk, coffee or juice not delivered and some days missing eating utensils. We had one breakfast menu left in our room and the second time we wanted to order breakfast we had to telephone for more menus, we waited 45 minutes for them from 10pm then they brought two - I would have expected them to provide six to last the remainder of the cruise. We also ordered two wine glasses one night to finish the remainder of our bottle of wine from the restaurant, they took 50 minutes to be delivered. Twice, we ordered ice to replenish our empty ice bucket (cabin steward neglected to do) and this took around 45 minutes to arrive. The theatre shows were very ordinary and most nights there was party style entertainment that focused on crew involvement and again the crew partied and enjoyed a wonderful time. We became concerned about our stateroom Number 10534 having a very wide opening in the wooden paneling in the passageway and were opposite the "service elevator". Every morning we were awoken very early (around 5:00am) by noisy activity, metal trolleys and various staff shouting from this area. On the final night we had the departing passenger luggage being dispatched from deck 10 outside our stateroom door, banging, rolling, thumping and shouting most of the night. We slept for a while and then the noise peaked at 2:00am we rang "customer service" who did nothing to quell the rowdiness. All destinations except Kona are in Ports which are very industrial and noisy. We should have continued making our own land arrangements and NOT done the cruise. We saw more from doing our own touring with a rental car instead of paying NCL for their exorbitantly expensive shore excursions. We could not wait to get off this horrible ship. 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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