17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Flew to San Francisco 2 days before our scheduled cruise departure, to see the sights around the area. Wanted to be there because too many things can go wrong flying in the same day as the cruise. This way we are rested rested and ready to ... Read More
Flew to San Francisco 2 days before our scheduled cruise departure, to see the sights around the area. Wanted to be there because too many things can go wrong flying in the same day as the cruise. This way we are rested rested and ready to board at our scheduled time. The problem was NCL gave us the notice of delaying departure by 1 day, less than 24 hours of our scheduled boarding time. We were on a tour of Alcatraz Island, with limited cell phone service, trying to find a room for an extra night. No such luck! Our hotel was already booked up because of a convention and spring break. No room for us there! Staying at Fisherman's Wharf, we were just blocks from the cruise terminal. We were desperate in a unfamiliar city! Holiday Inn finally found us a room about an hour north of SF, across the Golden Gate Bridge in Mill Valley. So, the next day we check out, get in a taxi, and head to another hotel. Then have to come right back the next day to board the ship. Of course there were no restaurants, or anything else near our hotel. My main complaint is NCL should have given us more of a notice! Hopefully NCL will pay our the extra night for a hotel room like they said. I asked for the round trip cab fare we had to pay, and for the meal at a restaurant we had to walk about 3/4 of a mile to and from, (along a highway and feeder roads) because of no restaurants close by. I will be happy then! The way NCL sent out notice of the 1 day delay was a disaster! I got 3 texts and 3 recorded phone messages that afternoon and evening. Telling me to call a toll free number for more information. Also, there were 2 messages left on our home phone, and with our son, who was our emergency contact while cruising. NCL even called the agent we had booked our cruise with. (She was no help.) When calling the toll free number to find out more information, there was a long wait to try and speak to someone. Some of them didn't know what was going on. Not one person with NCL could tell you what time to show up. Arrived by taxi at the cruise terminal around 1:00 pm and got in the long line with everyone else. Once we made it into the building and through security, we had it made. We were in a suite and went to a special line to check in. Then a butler took us to Cagney's for a glass of champagne and lunch. Only took 1 hour. After lunch we were escorted to our room. Disembarking was also an easy process. We were given priority tags for our luggage, told breakfast would be served in Cagney's, and we could leave whenever we wanted. Our room was on the 11th floor at the front of the ship. Lucia Colon was our room steward. She was very friendly and helpful, and took good care of us and our room. Chris was the butler. He said not to bother with the concierge - "he would handle everything." Chris showed us how to use the tv order room service, book shore excursions, check account, book restaurants, etc. Everything to make his job easier. Not really impressed with Chris. Thomas was our concierge and we really liked him. He was always around visiting at breakfast and lunch at Cagney's. He answered all our questions and made recommendations when we asked. Thomas got us off early in Kona on the tender for our excursion. We did have a small electrical problem in our room. Told Chris the coffee machine didn't work, and he said we didn't know how to use it. (He didn't give us a chance to tell him, we had the same Lavazza machine exactly a year before on another NCL cruise.) Chris tries and can't get it to work, either. So, he hauls it off and will bring another to replace it. Trouble is they don't have any extras on the ship. Later on we noticed the refrigerator wasn't cooling, the plug in portable lighted mirror wasn't working, and some of the other plugs weren't working in the desk and makeup area. Told Chris about all the electrical problems the next morning, and he would check on it. That morning at the Cruise Critic Party we talked to Vanroy Roberts, Executive Housekeeper, and he said it was probably just a breaker not flipped back on. He took care of our problem ASAP! My wife still had to use an extension for her hot iron, because it wouldn't fit the plug on the vanity. Everything else was fine and Chris brought the coffee machine back. We had all our tours planned out and paid for before boarding the ship. Had four booked with Robert's of Hawaii - who are about half the price for the same big bus as NCL, The two others were booked through Marylou's on the big island. These were small groups 5 people in Hilo and 7 people in Kona, and they were in a/c comfortable vans. These were a welcome break from the large buses. We didn't eat at any of the specialty restaurants in the evening. Our last cruise we had the free specialty dining, and were not really impressed. The prices have really went up the past year, and NCL has added a service charge, too. We did enjoy the breakfast and lunches at Cagney's. Tried the buffet once at lunch, but it was crowed and hard to find a table. Had breakfast twice in Skyline dining room, and it was good. Had all our evening meals in the Skyline dining room. (Like being able to wear shorts to dinner - you are on vacation.) We liked to go to the early shows, and went to eat at 5:30 pm. Only one time our meal ran late and had to leave without dessert. That's the only time the service was bad, and the waiter kept blaming everyone else. The Cadillac Diner was ok for a quick snack. (Really missed O'Sheeans.) There was the ice cream machine at the buffet. Enjoyed all the shows. Toby Beau was my favorite entertainer, though. They had several different shows on this cruise. "Fellow Texans" from the South Texas area. Balde and Rennetta Silva even knew where our little town (Cuero) of almost 7,000 was located. "Thank you all" for saluting the Veterans on our cruise That meant a lot to me and all the others! I would like to say that we did have some problems on this cruise. The one day delay. The trip across the Pacific Ocean was rough at times. The new waiters learning the new menus. Not having all the new facilities ready on time to cruise. Etc. All is forgiven! The personnel very friendly and helpful starting at the top with Kaj Turunen, the Hotel Director who was all over the ship, making sure everything was going fine. Malu Punohu the Cruise Director was also a busy lady, going above and beyond what is expected of her. Like to say "Thank you Malu" for recognizing all the Veterans, the evening of the last show in the theatre. We were on board the Pride Of America with a great crew to look after us. NCL first offered off 25% off a future cruise for the problems they were having. NCL also refunded the cruise fare for the one day missed, on to your account that you could use or be refunded. I thought that was a great deal. After all you were cruising to paradise and being well taken care of. Then right before we embarked, NCL increased the amount to 50% off a future cruise, for the price you paid on the Pride Of America. "A BIG THANK YOU" to Klaus Lugmaier, Regional Vice President Fleet Hotel Operations who was on the cruise with us. He was there to greet us we came onboard, and I shook Klaus's hand the morning when we disembarked. I told him thanks for everything. Also, saw Klaus several times during our cruise, too. It was great to have a top management team member along. That shows NCL really does care about you! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Have taken this cruise 3 times now. Usually from HNL to HNL. Last time from San Francisco as POA was in dry dock for refurbishment. Gave us 5 sea days which I badly needed. (4 with a small delay because rain hampered NCL from finishing ... Read More
Have taken this cruise 3 times now. Usually from HNL to HNL. Last time from San Francisco as POA was in dry dock for refurbishment. Gave us 5 sea days which I badly needed. (4 with a small delay because rain hampered NCL from finishing work) BUT they made good for the small delay with credit for the 1 day delay, 50% credit back what we paid for Hawaii cruise toward future cruise, and hotel in SF paid for. I'm hearing complaints, but come on people, NCL had no control over weather and I'm sure would have rather not given us back all that money. Some people will complain no matter what. First of all, if you have or have not been to Hawaii, this is a simple, easy way to see the islands without having to pack and unpack, hop inter- island airplanes. Hate to waste time on something like packing, getting another plane, checking in a new hotel etc. Use this ship as a floating hotel with free food and perks like activities and you will love it. Evening entertainment was always abundant and fun. Only tip I would say is bring a jacket, blanket, towel- anything as all three trips we took, the theaters were freezing. I mean REALLY cold and I am not the only one who thought so. I always brought my airplane blanket and jacket each night. The ship has been renovated and is a fine mid size at around 2,000 pax. I actually like this rather than 4K plus passengers mega ships. Book yourself a balcony if you can afford it. More room and good scenery. Entertainment is always fine and abundant. Cruise Director Malu, is really nice and tries to make everyone welcome as is her staff. We have not eaten at any specialty restaurants, as we save our bucks for the islands. The buffet and complimentary restaurants are plenty. 5# on me and more on hubby can attest to that. Diet time now. As for the islands, we've always rented from Thrifty before we cruise. Sign up for Blue Chip and avoid any lines. You could probably do without a car if you don't want to drive on Kona and Hilo. There are always plenty of small little vans when you depart the ship that can take you around and cheaper. There is a Hapu and Hapu bus(sp?) basically a hop on and hop off bus that ran around $20 and we found that easy and not stuck on a huge Roberts type bus with many people. Do your own thing if possible, read before you go,look at reviews etc. Everyone is different from wants and needs to physical abilities. Only you know what you require. Stay a day or so before or after your cruise in HNL/Waikiki. Rent a car if you are able to go around island. Plenty of hotels, nightlife or lounging. We prefer the end closest to Diamondhead. Lots of shopping up and down the Kalakaua Ave. Have stayed at Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Place, Holiday Beachcomber and Aston Waikiki Beach. Can't complain as they all had great deals. I never book 3rd party. Always direct. If I have a problem, I can take it up with them easier. Most mentioned above have breakfast included so you can leave with a full tummy and grab some fruit or bagels etc. for your beach lunch and only pay for nice dinner. Mai Kai Catamaran coupons on groupon have always worked well for us in Waikiki. A great catamaran ride 1 1/2 hour trip that is relaxing and fun. Much cheaper on Groupon. We also like Tiki's Bar & Grill, again at the Diamondhead end before the HNL zoo. Sign up for their birthday/anniversary club and they will send you great coupons. Happy hour specials every day and live music every day. Never went to the zoo, but usually most Sunday's there is an art/craft exhibit at the near by park. Free hula show at Kuhio beach park. Google it for days/ hours. City busses are fine way to get by in HNL cheap. Parking at most hotels is impossible and expensive. Aston Banyon has the cheapest parking if you are at that end of Waikiki. But back to the ship as this is a NCL review. Love this cruise, would do it again in a heartbeat. No complaints. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
This was our second time on the POA as Hawaii is a favorite destination for us. It offers the best itinerary and is the most relaxing way to see all the islands, offering overnights in Maui and Kauai, two ports on Hawaii, and an hours ... Read More
This was our second time on the POA as Hawaii is a favorite destination for us. It offers the best itinerary and is the most relaxing way to see all the islands, offering overnights in Maui and Kauai, two ports on Hawaii, and an hours long sail by of the Na Pali coast which I don't believe anyone else offers. POA is the only cruise ship which sails strictly inter island and weekly, year round. Other lines offer only seasonal, trans Pacific cruises. However, this cruise the POA was returning from an extended dry dock in San Francisco and offered a unique 11 night return to Hawaii combined with the nearly normal inter island itinerary ( we lost the overnight in Maui ). Because it was a last minute change in dry dock location from Hawaii to San Francisco, we were able to book a suite for about what we had booked a balcony on our previous POA cruise. Too good to pass up. I have seen in other reviews that posters referred to this as a "luxury" cruise and it did not meet their expectation for a "luxury" cruise. Perhaps they were basing this on the cabin prices? When in paradise, there is a premium to pay. Hawaii is expensive and the POA is the only game in town. But Norwegian is not a luxury line, but very comparable to other mainstream lines like Royal Caribbean. If you go in with the right expectations, there is no better way to see Hawaii. In port daily, with overnights, it allows maximum time to explore the islands. This was our 9th cruise with Norwegian. We generally avoid the main dining rooms, preferring the specialty restaurants or the buffet. New menus were recently introduced. Three of the specialties are now "a la carte". Buying a 3 to 7 night dining package highly recommended. An a la carte meal including lobster which might otherwise cost $50 on an can be had for @$20 with a package, which has no restriction on items ordered. We had no problem with food temperature which others have noted, but we did notice a distinct decline in specialty food quality, particularly the meats, compared to other recent NCL sailings. We had a few less than stellar experiences with totally inept service in the specialties as well, something we had not run across previously. In general, the staff were pleasant, attentive and helpful, and appeared to be hard working. This cruise was delayed by 1 day, notifications going out only a couple days before sail date, with some people already in the port city or in transit, leaving some scrambling for hotel rooms. NCL did make good with a 1 day credit, reimbursement for 1days hotel and expenses and a credit of 50% of cruise fare paid toward a future cruise. I rated the embarkation process as poor, but in fairness, it was a 'one of' complicated by a new embarkation port and the surrounding confusion re the delay. We did not see any shows, but comments I heard were complimentry. Two theatre shows nightly, other shows in the cabaret and live music in various bars. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2005
We just returned from the 11-day cruise from San Francisco to Hawaii. As expected, the new ship is well-groomed, and the employees were very enthusiastic to please. The cruise's own production shows were excellent. Among the guest ... Read More
We just returned from the 11-day cruise from San Francisco to Hawaii. As expected, the new ship is well-groomed, and the employees were very enthusiastic to please. The cruise's own production shows were excellent. Among the guest entertainers, Scott Alexander (magician and comedian) was fantastic. The kids club activities were well thought out, and the employees there won kids heart. Our son was particularly impressed with Queen Jennine and HighFive Heather. We have cruised Princess and Royal Caribbean's before, but this was our first NCL experience. We liked the NCL "FreeStyle cruise" feature. The major disappointment was the choice of vegetarian food. The choices were very limited, and the food was not clearly marked being vegetarian. In the Aloha cafe (buffet), throughout the cruise every single soup had meat in it, and the servers did not always know about it. I was fortunate to have found a great chef Keegun Reynolds at the Aloha Cafe, who cooked meals specifically for me almost everyday. If it was not for his personal attention, the cruise would have been miserable from the food perspective for me. If you are NOT vegetarian, I would recommend this 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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