12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We had two balcony cabins for the PoA cruise in March 2016 to bring her from dry dock in San Francisco back to Honolulu for her usual year-round island hopping. Departure was delayed by one day as the bad weather in SFO impacted some of ... Read More
We had two balcony cabins for the PoA cruise in March 2016 to bring her from dry dock in San Francisco back to Honolulu for her usual year-round island hopping. Departure was delayed by one day as the bad weather in SFO impacted some of the renovations. Boarding at Pier 27 was the most chaotic and unprofessional procedure that I ever had to witness, it took us 3,5 hours to get on the ship! Onboard we had to learn that significant areas of the ship would be inaccessible for the whole cruise: Spa, open deck space on decks 12 and 13, many of the public toilets. While we have understanding for the weather issues in dry dock which led to delays in remodeling the outdoor spaces, there is no excuse for not even having indoor stuff like toilets and Spa operational. Due to the uncompleted renovations we had extensive loud and dirty work being continued during the whole cruise (and they still weren’t finished when we disembarked in Honolulu). On top, in the midship area on decks 5 and 6 there was a constant smell of toilet waste - supposedly there were some issue with the AirCon. Speaking of the AirCon: It was running way too high in public areas (mostly in the forward section), half of the passengers left the ship ship sneezing and coughing - come on, we're sailling Hawaii! This brings me to the most disturbing topic which continued throughout the whole cruise: The level of service by the crew is significantly lower compared to the international ships. I never had to witness so many slow / sloppy / incompetent crew members on any ship (NCL or other cruise lines). I simply don't want staff who just hop on due to a cheap advertisement on Craig's List or CandyCrush (that's what the staff told me!) - I'm used to a professionally trained crew. But let's be fair: There were also several positive things. The "beautification" (as NCL calls it) brought many of the current standards on this somewhat aged ship. The specialty dining venues as well as the bars and fitness centre now look similar to the newer ships. And while only the suites got a full renovation, the other staterooms are still in quite a good shape. The Aloha Café is still too small, therefore suite guests are lucky to have Cagneys as their dedicated restaurant for breakfast and lunch. The food itself was NCL standard, which -personally- we like even if it lacks on this small ships a bit of the variety that you'll find on the bigger ships. The food quality and service in the specialty dining were great (obviously it helped that the corporate chef from NCL headquarters was onboard to brief the kitchen crew). One thing that we weren't aware of before the cruise: As this is the only NCL ship registered in the US, the laws of Hawaii prohibit an onboard Casino. And as the ship is usually only acting as a floating hotel on the Hawaiian islands, there are also no duty free shops (just "trashy" holiday items which you can get cheaper and nicer in every port of call). For domestic US travellers without real international experiences all of this might be sufficient - but compared to real international itineraries / ships / ships, the downsides are inacceptable for us. But then again: Should you do the standard island itinerary, you probably wouldn’t notice some of these flaws as you simply don’t have the time to experience them… And once all of the renovations are completed, the PoA is a nice 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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