Another Flamingo back in Nest from Pride of Aloha

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#1
TX USA
810 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
This will be a short post--I can answer questions later. I just wrote a 5 page (on word) review of this trip and posted to Cruise Critic under the reviews for Pride of Aloha. I spent about two hours writing between loads of wash and then submitted. It said there is a backlog of submissions and they will let me know by email when it will be posted. After spending 5 pages writing a review, I DON'T want to redo it here, but will say that the flamingos had a fantastic time overall. I think there were a few who found some problems which I am sure will be addressed but I have full faith that this will become a very successful cruise itinery for NCLA. The staff from the captain, to Mr. Deering the hotel manager, the cruise director, Patty, the concierge, Al, the great photographers who we fell in love with--you know who you are-the two Heathers, Matt, the cute red head, and their fearless leader, were great. Our cabin steward/stewardess Kathleen and Nathan deserve kudos for their hard work. Yes the ship was still short staffed but that should be under control very shortly. Food quality was only average in the dining room. A disappointment for me was that this was the first cruise which did not have lobster tails offered during one night in the regular dining room. I did not eat on board one night when we went to a luau but I do not think it was offered then either. This was the first cruise I have ever taken in 15 that did not have tails offered one night. Of course they were available at the cover charge restaurant. We had surf and turf at the Bistro and there was even an extra 5.00 charge for getting both there. The food in the cover charge restaurants was very good. Since I have been cruising for 18 years, it seems that what used to be common in the regular dining rooms has now moved to the "pay for" restaurants. As recently as 8 years ago, the quality of food in the cover charge restaurants was very similar to the quality in the main dining room. This seems to be an industry standard in the mass marketed cruise lines which is a disappointment. To keep fares low, food quality has been sacrificed, sadly. I suppose you should resign yourself to eating about half your dinners in the cover charge restaurants if quality is highly important. Dining room food was not as good as most prior cruises I have taken. Deserts were good but were premade in many cases and always premade and bought in the buffet. Soups which are generally a highlight for me, were only adequate here. Breakfast buffet was good until the omelette and waffle stations as well as the bread stations disappeared along with some fruit. These stations were removed, we were told, because there was a food inspection. The first day in Kauai, I saw the inspectors, the second day they didn't offer these stations, I suppose there was still an inspection??? Yes there were often waits for the dining room at evening meals because, as we already knew, they were short staff. I found friends to eat with and it really was never a problem for me. If the wait was longer than 20 minutes, we went and had pics made, went and had a drink, sat with newly made friends at talked. I just wasn't that uptight about having to wait for dinner at times. Granted, we didn't bring our son this cruise and I can appreciate families with hungry children wanting to eat. It seemed that there was never a wait if you ate early anyway. This wait was probably the biggest complaint I heard all cruise and will adjust once all crew is aboard. The wait and the "resort fee." I had several passengers ask me if I would go in with them to refute the resort fee. I said I would not since I was aware of it prior to sailing. One honeymooning couple was quite dissatisfied with the cruise and the wait for dinner. It was their first cruise and they had no other to compare it to, but had been listening to others complain and wanted to jump on the bandwagon I suppose. Entertainment was overall very good. Loved the comedians, especially Kermit. A talk by Buzz Aldrin was an added treat. The Hawaiian ambassodor was great! We hula'd all week and made ribbon leis, ribbon flowers, paniolos, headdresses for our hula and more. This was special I imagine, to our cruise, since on the seven day trips, they will not have nearly the time that we had to do these things. Great speaker on Hawaiian culture. His talks were always packed. A plethora of shore excursions are offered and there is something for everyone. We booked all of ours prior to the cruise through independent sources, but not to worry if you don't. There is soooo much to do. Be ready for rain. It is probably guaranteed with your cruise, but does not hamper the experience. Get over your hair getting wet and remember you are in the tropics with rain forests. Short showers come and go in many areas. The sites are breathtaking. Viewing the volcano pouring into the ocean at night is phenomenal and the captain gave plently of time for viewing it. Even though we hiked four miles to see the lava and walk on it, there is nothing like the view from the ship. He also sailed quite slowly by the Na Pali coast as this is also a gorgeous site. Hopefully the full review will be available soon under "Reviews" as I don't want to repeat everything. The Flamingos were a very positive group of fun people. I would cruise with them again in a minute because of their fun, giving, friendly, and positive perspectives. Was everything absolutely perfect? No, but a cheerful crew and our positive and flexible attitudes made this an absolutely wonderful cruise. I would do this 12 days across the Pacific again in a heartbeat. Thanks Nancy and John for arranging the cruise critic party and everything. You are welcome to my home anytime. We had birthday parties aboard with kids turning various ages. Laura, your family always seemed to have fun too. Tammy, you are a hoot and my hat is off to you. You have that large family organized to the nth degree! I hope you find the missing film and baggage! Tom and Bill, I loved playing friendly poker with you guys. Margie, you have Tom's winnings around your neck I hear! Jane, your family is great and I enjoyed visiting with you folks too. If in Houston, call us! Jane went on a fishing trip and caught the second biggest swordfish (Marlin?) in the islands all year! 831 pounds!!! What an awesome picture and tale you have there. Tina and Bill, ya'll were great too. Tina, Nancy, Margie, Deb, and I hula'd in the final show along with the kiddos. I know I missed someone--who did I miss from the hula? Stacy, you and your hubby know how to party too. If you have bar questions, ask them. They have the inside scoop there! Tracey and Chrisanne, it was nice to get to meet you and your families as well. We saw your pics on the family site but I know you were very busy and had little time to post. Todd and Tony, you guys were great too. Tony even won a bingo game--you go! Margie also won one for 300. too. Marilyn, it was so great to meet you. You have such a giving spirit and I am glad I got to visit with you and your family at the hotel post cruise too. I love my flamingo hat and it came in quite handy throughout the cruise. The lanyard too. And our door signs were awesome! I cannot say enough about the flamingos. We will probably be sailing on NCL this Thanksgiving out of Galveston on the Sea. Hubby wants to do more diving and these are great places for that as we have done these islands many times. Come to Galveston and join us. The Sea is an older ship and has no balconies (boo) but the flamingos will have fun regardless. It was great vacationing with all of the flamingos as well as some of the new friends we met including one couple from my home town, Jim and Karen. Folks, a vacation is what you make of it! You spent many hours earning the vacation you take. Now enjoy it. If there are a few lemons, add some sugar and make some lemonade! Hawaii rocks!
#3
Sioux Falls SD
436 Posts
Joined Aug 2001
Thanks so much for your time in writing this! What cabin/category were you in? And just an observation: for the 9/5 PoA sailing, the NCL price of the lowest cabin available (Cat. N) is $1577 pp. I realize you can get that cabin lower from a discounter; however, I do not see any move on NCL's part to "keep fares low" (i.e., the poor food quality).

So, I must ask - why do you think (really) the food was not up to par? It had nothing to do with fares (they are high enough).
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Regal Princess (Caribbean) - 1/2015
Star Princess (Caribbean) - 3/2006
Diamond Princess (Alaska) - 9/2005
Pride of Aloha (Hawai'i) - 9/2004
Golden Princess (Caribbean) - 3/2003
Pacific Princess (Bermuda) - 9/2002 --> The Real Love Boat
MS Patriot (Hawai'i) - 9/2001


#4
Florida
269 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Originally posted by Another ship trip
Okay, I lied. It wasn't as short as I intended once I started remembering my Flamingo friends!
Thank you for a great review! We are sailing on the POA on September 12, 2004, can't wait. Can you please tell me how does one get or make a Cruise Critic party?
Thanks again, Voltdoc
#5
Simi Valley, CA
818 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
Hey - Thanksgiving! That's close enough to my anniversary - I just might be able to talk the hubby into it! Maybe an "adult" trip! (we do try to get away anniversary time by ourselves! I'm going to look into it!!!!

And I'm not sure what else needs to be heard - you sure shared a lot!


What I am appreciating the most is that we all have unique reviews of the same cruise! Best part of it is that we all agree that we had a great time!!

Talk soon!
Tammy
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#6
Houston, Tx
650 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Thanks for your review. I kind of thought it wouldn't be as bad as some of the posters have implied. We are scheduled for next spring and are really looking forward to it. I can't see how any cruise around the islands could be bad
#7
TX USA
810 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
TWA4Ever,
I did have a superior Inside cabin which was a cat J I believe. I did not pay the fare you mentioned. I booked during a sale on inside cabins. I noticed that the fares for the 7 day cruises were often higher priced than the 12 day repo cruise that I took. I definitely believe I got value for my dollar; however, I do know that some in my group did pay considerably more than I did for virtually the same thing. Yes, if you book with an internet broker, you will usually save more. We also booked within a window of about 5 days when they had a great sale on inside cabins. But my husband is willing to watch for sales. Caveat emptor, I suppose. The quality of the food is not bad--don't get me wrong. It just wasn't as good as some of my other recent cruises including the Norwegian Sun, the Carnival Legend, the Golden Princess, or the Celebrity Horizon (though that was long ago--about 9 years ago). I think part has to do with the chefs and the food the company has decided to order and the vendors and suppliers they choose. That would be a good question for NCL. Since there are no longer galley tours, I suppose you would have to make a point to ask a head chef some very pointed questions. Once again, I didn't have to cook, so I would still do it again for the same price I paid without batting an eye. At the higher prices that this market will now command, I don't know if I would. There is no competition in this Hawaii market as of yet, so prices will be determined by demand.
#8
TX USA
810 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
Tammy,
Charles was looking at the cruise last night. He got a price on board from Matt and it was exactly the same as we can get through the internet broker we use. If interested, email me and I will tell you who we are using. Wouldn't it be awesome to get some of us together again? Hey, what happened to your luggage? Did they find it?
Lisa
#9
California
14 Posts
Joined Jun 2004
Lisa, another fun experience with you! Great post! I really enjoyed our time together! Looking forward to more soon!

I agree with everything you said, however, we thought the food in the dining room was fine, we preferred the service in the specialty restaurants! But I had some meals that were just as good in the dining room, and we had 3 kids on board that also enjoyed the food. Oh, and they post the dinner menu all day, so you can check it out and plan accordingly!

Margie! Tell me about the winnings around your neck!

Hope everyone got home safely! We are heading to Jamaica on Monday the 12th...yes, we are insane, but no kids this time!

Love to you all,

Stacy

Stacy
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Stacy B in California
#11
TX USA
810 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
I'm jealous Stacy! I remember us talking about your Jamaica trip. Been there several times and Charles won't go back. For some reason, he didn't like it there. Bet if he went where ya'll will be going, he would LOVE it! Going to Negril? Or Trelawny? I stayed at Trelawny beach 20 years ago on my first trip to Jamaica when I was just a babe out of college with some girlfriends. I was a newly certified diver and did my first Caribbean dive there. The dive master got some lobsters on the dive and grilled them on the beach for us. If you haven't done it before, do the Dunne's River Falls climb. It is a one of a kind thing. I have done it 3 times and it is fun, not to mention, beautiful. We got in yesterday and I slept on and off. We had business first seats for the way home from Honolulu but stupid me, I stayed up watching the movies for several hours. The last couple of hours they were serving us breakfast so I only got about two hours of sleep. I think I caught up yesterday and have tons of laundry still to do. Have fun and let us know how that trip was when you get back!
#12
Bushkill, PA, USA
323 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Hi Lisa & Charles!

Loved meeting you all on the PoA! What a blast we had huh?
Did not recognize your screen name Lisa so forgot to send an Aloha your way on Tammy's review thread - guess 3 weeks of vacation has me a few brain cells short.
Hoping you are enjoying the coffee - just had some Kona Raspberry coffee and choc chip mac nut cookies to take the post-Hawaii edge off.
Hoping we can cruise together again - Carrie Mae would love to meet Charlie.
Bet you were happy to see him - we were anxious to see our cats!
Billy would like to play more Texas hold em and I am sad we never had a girls night out. So much to do/so little time.
Stacy - can see the 11 yr old girl gang forming a future cruisers group!
Keep in touch
Tina
#13
213 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
Wow-reading this is bringing up so many great memoroies!!!!! Having taken 2 cruises this year, doubt if I can talk John into a third but I'll try. Already talked to my TA about seeing if we could get any money back, but I doubt it since it was so late, for having to come home early from Hawaii via John's company. When she called John last night I told her to check on the repo cruise next June for the Pride of America to Hawaii as soon as it comes available.

Stacy-John worked late tonight so I went over to Tracey's for dinner and watched her panama Cruise DVD. They had a great time in Jamaica so I'm very envious of your upcoming trip.

Missing the flock! :9 Nancy
#14
TX USA
810 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
Wow, another repo. Now that sounds great! I love those longer cruises! We are pretty sure we will cruise again at Thanksgiving and we are looking at leaving from our home area. The Sea has the itinery we like but the cabins are smaller than the ones we just had unless you get a superior outside or a suite. So we are looking at one of those this time. I will let you all know if we definitely book as I would love to see the Flamingos again. We will definitely bring Charlie and probably Charles' mom and those two will be roomies for the cruise. If the review doesn't post soon, I may put the highlights out there on this thread. I sure had fun, folks. Hope to see some pics on the family site that some of you took too! Mahalo for the great memories,
Lisa
#15
Boca Raton, Fl.
232 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Were we on the same POA cruise from San Francisco to the Islands? Did you have a bar of soap in your cabin? A soft matress perhaps? I saw lamb, fish and tough steak enough to last me a lifeitme. The crew were quitting 15-20 at every port. What cruise were you on? Sure, we had a good time in the Islands, but we had to make our oun good time. I agree, the entertainment was very good, but we prebooked tours through POA and the itinerary that the ship wrote about was nothing that the tour guides knew about.
Please dont think I'm bashing you, Im not. Im just wondering how your cruise was that much better than ours. Thanks for letting me sound off. Ray
#16
las vegas, nv
1,663 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
One last qustion if anyone knows, how much were each of the pay restaurants? I saw 12.50 and $15.00 per person, which restaurants were these? Sorry for the ?'s.
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#17
TX USA
810 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
The Bistro and the Italian restaurant were 15.00. The Pacific Heights was 12.50. If your ordered both the lobster and filet at the Bistro, it was an additional 5.00 making the charge 20.00. Don't forget to tip on these as well.
#18
las vegas, nv
1,663 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Thanks so much Another Ship Trip. These boards are really great for sharing info
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Majesty of the Seas (2) 10/04 our 10 year Anniversary!
2/03 Norwegian Dawn Eastern Caribbean
2/04 Monarch of the Seas Baja
5/04 Diamond Princess Alaska
9/04 Grand Princess New England
12/04 Diamond Princess Mexican Riviera
6/05 Golden Princess Western Europe
8/05 HAL Oosterdam Alaska
2/06 Grand Princess Western Caribbean
5/06 Radiance of the Seas Pacific Coastal
6/06 Empress of the Seas Bermuda
#19
Santa Clara, CA
397 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
Can any of you (who were not in suites with a conceirge to arrange them for you) tell me how hard it was to get a reservation in the extra charge restaurants? I keep getting mental images of hundreds of people trying to flee the food in the buffet or the service in the main dining rooms.

Thanks,
Patty
#20
Bushkill, PA, USA
323 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Patty - if you make reservation day in advance or same morning, you should not have a problem getting a reservation in any of the specialty restaurants. If you are flexible about dinner time, that will also make it easier; the 7-8PM slot fills up first. By early afternoon, some days, the restaurants were booked for that evening but remember that we had 4 days at sea; I suspect that was a factor.
Tina