Is NCL America Past Its Rocky Start?

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867 Posts
Joined May 2004
When Pride of Hawaii launched in May, we had one question in mind: Is smooth sailing ahead for NCL America ... or is the line barely past its notoriously rocky start?

We just launched a story in our news section tackling that very question ( with the help of your fellow Cruise Critic readers ... and we're hoping YOU will take a minute to share YOUR thoughts with us here!

* Have you traveled on one of NCL America's ships (Pride of Aloha/America/Hawaii)?
* What's been the best aspect?
* What drove you crazy?
* Would you return to Hawaii via NCL America?
* If yes, why ... and if not, which cruise line would you choose?
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Director, Product Development
Cruise Critic
2,304 Posts
Joined Nov 2002
I did both Pride of America and Pride of Hawaii, six months apart. They both are beautiful ships.
Our group left the ships both times with a feeling of "Wow, that was great".

(background: I've done most every mainstream cruiseline and have lived in Hawaii most of my life. )

On Pride of Hawaii the food was really quite good in the main dining room, but on the PoAM cruise I did 6 months earlier it was mediocre. Yes there are slowness issues, that is a common complaint. Two of the 3 paid specialty meals I did were outstanding. The Italian restaurant was just ok but a nice change. Main dining room Breakfast on both ships were better than most lines I have tried.

I had good room stewards both times. I never encountered any rude people on the ship, really they seemed enthusiastic to please and I enjoyed chatting with them. On balance I actually slightly prefer the American crew.

The itinerary on the NCL american flagged ships makes the competition look stupid in my opinion. Overnights on both Maui and Kauai are really great, sailing past the lava at night and breathtaking Napali coast. Kauai in particular is a real gem, and most other lines seem to skip it completely these days.

PoH had some really great activities going for the maiden voyage, not sure if they'd keep that up for the regular cruises. They had hula lessons, lei making, extensive history talks... Really felt like a HAWAIIAN cruise, not a generic one. Also some of the entertainment (broadway style + singers + polynesian dancers) were really good. I was pleased to see a fantastic job on some of the Hawaiian theming on PoH (main dining + 7th floor hallway).

I recommend both the Pride of America and the Pride of Hawaii.
Washington State Ellensburger
14,302 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Originally posted by Host Cecilia
Hang on Melissa! This may be a bumpy ride. .
Oh Cecilia, It's obvious you know this group better than Melissa LOL

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When there's a leak in the bottom of a cruise ship, it's one hull of a problem
434 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
I sailed on the Pride of Aloha in January 2005, roughly 6 months after the ship began sailing its exclusive inter-island itinerary. I had such a wonderful time onboard that I have eagerly scheduled a sailing onboard the Pride of Hawaii in January 2007. Not coincidentally, my upcoming sailing is also at least 6 months after the new ship has had its inaugural cruise. This, I think, is an important factor that should not be overlooked. Given 6 months or so to iron out the kinks, I think that the POH will be able to provide me with a similar excellent experience.

As a devoted cruise critic member who has learned much valuable insight from these boards in the past, I payed careful attention to all the member reviews and topics about the POA before going on my cruise. Unforunately, the POA experienced some serious quality and service problems that were directly related to having an inexperienced, all-American crew. However, I ultimately decided to go on the cruise because the member reviews consistently got better and better, and the issues onboard the POA gradually lessened as my cruise neared. I also looked at some of the consistent complaints (i.e., small buffet with long lines, average food quality in main dining room, service issues with room stewards, smaller cabins) and simply decided that it was something that I could live with and that I wouldn't let it bug me. For my part, I made sure that we arrived for breakfast early, dined almost exclusively in well reviewed specialty restaurants and gave our room steward some slack. Some people might suggest that I was just lowering my expectations and that I shouldn't have to do that. I cannot disagree with that opinion; however, I prefer to view it as making an informed decision and taking precautions to avoid situations that would otherwise bug the heck out me. And it worked.

When all was said and done, the POA was the best cruise that I have ever had. The ship was beautiful. The staff was very good overall. The nightly entertainment was some of the best I had ever seen. The exclusive inter-island itinerary avoided the necessity of wasting time going to/from a foreign port and gave me the most island time of any cruise out there. And, as it turned out, an unintended consequence was that I absolutely fell in love with eating in specialty restaurants. So much so, that I have since sailed on NCL ships 3 times mostly because I love freestyle cruising and all the different food choices!

Because of the exclusive itinerary and the freestyle experience onboard the Pride of Hawaii (steakhouse, french, italian, tepanyaki, etc.), I would most certainly sail onboard NCLA over any other cruise line at this point, notwithstanding any potential service/quality issues that may still exist.
21 N 157 W
624 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Our recent sailing on Pride of Hawaii confirmed our suspicions that there are "big-ship" and "small(er)-ship" sailors, we being the latter (Oceania).

It's my opinion that the "shake-down" of this new ship will go much better than the other two. It situation, however, is still "training mode". In chat(s) with the staff, we were informed that they signed-on in two groups, the first in Germany and the second in Maryland. The do have a lot to learn, but are trying hard.

I'll keep this short, but there are two areas that disappointed us:

First, the food was disappointing. Being used to Oceania (< 700), it became evident that kitchen procedures must be different for a ship serving 2,000+ people. Production of the food is quite obviously done in HUGE batches and slapped on the plates from steam tables ... pretty ragged around the edges.

Secondly, similar to the Waikiki Sheraton many years ago, the decor appears to have been done by someone in New York that has never visited Hawaii. (The Sheraton re-did the whole place a few years later after catching flak for the decor). Purple-Yellow-Magenta combinations don't exactly portray colors found in nature, which is what Hawaii is all about :-) They had one of the villas open for viewing ... the layout is quite impressive, but you have to be into Las Vegas honeymoon/bordello decor.

Can't resist this last comment: The tropical bar drinks are also mass produced. The Pina Colada came out of a slurpee machine to which the bar tender slapped a shot of rum ... try it, you'll like it ... I didn't. Tried the Mai Tai next ... don't know where they got the recipe from, but I couldn't finish it.

The next time I go, the golf clubs will also. There are "Top 100" courses easily accessibly on each of the ports of call.
39 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
I would have to say, after just returning from an NCLA "adventure," that the company still has some rather large strides to make. The first time we cruised Hawaii was on the Norwegian Star about two years ago. I can say that this was one of my favorite cruises to date and the reason I chose NCL again for my trip. I expected more of the same, dare I say magic, that made my Star trip so memorable. Pride of Aloha, unfortuniely was nothing like the Star--not even close. The food, service, and attention to detail do not match up with the star or any other Norwegian vessel.

I would say the best aspect of Pride of Aloha was the sheer beauty of the ship itself. There is no doubt that she is a pretty lady. Someone took a lot of time to design the Hawaiian theme to the hilt in her interiors. I also thought the cultural centre was a great idea. It's just a shame that the rest of the product didn't match the attention to detail of the decor.

What drove me crazy? I think it is obvious--service food and attitude. I'm not going to go into more detail as there is already a lengthy review on the NCL board written by me.

Would I choose NCLA to go to Hawaii again? Most likely not. Hearing the reviews now, I kind of wish I would have done PoH or PoAm. The trouble lies in the fact that we must travel to Hawaii in the summer months as my children can not take a leave from school. This means, essentially that NCL is our only choice for summertime cruising as all other companys are gone in Hawaii by June. If I were asked what company would I choose if all companies went year round, I would choose RCI or Celebrity.
Santa Clarita, CA
3,707 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
My friends and I sailed on the Pride of America in October 2005.. Less than 6 months after her coming into service. But we had been waiting for THIS ship for 2 1/2 years.. So nothing was going to detour us...

* Have you traveled on one of NCL America's ships (Pride of Aloha/America/Hawaii)?
* What's been the best aspect?
* What drove you crazy?
* Would you return to Hawaii via NCL America?
* If yes, why ... and if not, which cruise line would you choose?

As I said, we sailed the Pride of America

The best aspect was that we'd never been to Hawaii. Everyone said, "you should do a land vacation".. Well we had no idea which island we wanted to go to.. For folks that have never been to Hawaii, this is the best way to go and decide which island you like and then to go back to it. To me it's the best way to see Hawaii, unpack only once, see several islands and it's less expensive.. Love it.

What drove me crazy, hmm.. Nothing really.. But if I had to choose something, probably that the crew was very inexperienced. But overall, it was Hawaii... Nothing can be bad.. I also loved the crew for the diversity..

Yes, I would sail in Hawaii again on NCL... I would like to try the Pride of Hawaii... But I would also love to spend several days on Maui or Oahu.... It's all good as my friend
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In Memory of September 11th
Always Remember, Never Forget.......

Carnival Sensation-Caribbean---March 2002
Caribbean Princess-Caribbean--January 2005
Pride of America-Hawaii------------October 2005
Carnival Paradise-Mexico Baja--March 2006
Carnival Valor--Caribbean----------December 2006
Coral Princess-Panama Canal----April 2007
Carnival Miracle-Caribbean--------November 2007
Tahitian Princess-Tahiti--------------October 2008
Ruby Princess----Caribbean---------November 2009
Grand Princess- Caribbean---------January 2011
Caribbean Princess-Caribbean----February 2012
Celebrity Equinox---Caribbean----January
Pacific Princess-Tahiti to Hawaii to Los Angeles--November

The Scuba Diving in Tahiti was fantastic
Willow Glen Ca. U.S.A.
2,451 Posts
Joined Aug 2001
We were on the Pride of America on May 20th. We found the ship was very clean and beautiful.We had small problems every day with the Cabin Attendant. We met her, the first day...and never saw her again. For every problem, we had, once I called Housekeeping it was promptly seen too. The Problem with the "Freestyle" Dining is...It isn't....If you don't make reservations at the time you board...You are in for a long wait every night. So, it isn't really "Freestyle" is it????...I think this concept works on the other NCL ships as they have experienced staff and full staff...The PoAM is understaffed and inexperienced. They are friendly, and try very hard...They are just not ready yet. There is something missing on this cruise...It seems that the crew hasn't figured out, to go that extra step to make the guest feel welcome and wanted. However, the Hawaiian Island are soo beautiful...I think what this cruise needs is a Sea Day....Everyone is running around so much, that by mid-week you are worn out with a port every day...If you want to see the Hawaiian Island this is the cruise for you. The food in the Main Restaurants is OK, but, you have slow service and hot food issues. The Specialty Restaurants are very good, with good service and hot food...One of the waiters told me there is only one galley for the entire ship. We had a great time on this cruise....Don't sweat the small stuff.....Don't get me started on how small the stall shower is...
The Crescent City
35 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
We sailed on the Pride of America in June of 2005. If I had related my experiences then I would have told you never to sail NCL and that the ship was a disgrace for being a new ship. I would still tell you to avoid NCL if you could, but if you want to cruise Hawaii, NCL has a monoploy in that market. I think eveyone's experience is unique and really depends on what you expect walking onto the ship. I had been regaled with stories of how lavish the service was on Princess and since this was to be my first cruise I had high expectations.
We cruised with a party of 18 people and each of us remembers the trip differently. One of our party NEVER got their room cleaned. They arrived to a nice full toilet left from the previous cruisers. Our cabin attendant was good, but there is something to be said when you get into the shower and have no soap or shampoo. The room was never really vacuumed but if the tip is built in how hard do they have to work? My in-laws who are the most low maintance people I have ever known, told us two weeks ago, they would never sail NCL again, but did enjoy seeing the different islands.
There was a sewage smell on the deck that you exited the ship by. We didn't smell it up on the 8th deck, but I really felt sorry for those down lower. The food was adequate. I have definitely eaten at better restaurants, but I certainly didn't go hungry. The staff had a "who cares" attitude, but I thought it was pretty typical of young working Americans.
I say the trip was okay. If I take the cost of the cruise and divide it by the number of nights it was really pretty reasonable. If I had gone to Hawaii and wanted to see the number of islands that we stopped at, the cost of lodging, air transfers and food would have been a lot higher than what I spent. This cruise gave me an overview of what Hawaii has to offer. Would I visit Hawaii again? In a heart beat. Would I cruise NCL to Hawaii? If it was my first cruise, no way. If I looked at it as a cost effective way to see one of the most beautiful places in the world. Sure I would. But my expectations would be realistic. This cruise ship (POA) is, in my opinion the floating Motel 6 of the Hawaiian Islands. I heard things had improved, but seeing the reviews of the Pride of Hawaii, I think they remain the same.
3,985 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
Not having sailed with NCLA, nor intending to in the future either.

Several US flagged vessels/companies have been down this path over the years leading upto the NCLA attempt to ressurect all American crews etc.

The last one to try it, failed in 2001. I know there is legislation regarding US flagged ships having US crews, but it has never worked, it isn't working and it will never work.

You have other lines such as Princess and Celebrity doing Hawai'i itineraries with international crews and you rarely get any bad press about the standards of service, compared to NCLA ships.

The idea of 'homegrown' crews is a good theory. In practice, however, its lacking in every respect most of the time.

The ships on NCLA are some of the most beautifully appointed afloat.

Sadly the one thing that lets them down are some of the crews. Yes, there are some good ones, but its the bad ones that are leaving a very bad taste and making a very bad impression...not just for NCLA but the entire US workforce.

You board a ship and are met by disarray, bad tempered and lazy staff, it only takes one to ensure a bad impression, and thats every single worker tarred with the same brush.

Nice idea, Mr Veitch, I admire you for trying, but its time that those ships were made international as they will drag NCL as a whole down, as people who have only ever sailed on NCLA and had a bad time will paint NCL as being the same.....its human nature.
990 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
I don't think they could make them international crew even if they wanted to, if they did they couldn't sail the same route. The maritime union and there lackies in congress would have a field day with NCL and probably make it extremely difficult for them to continue. Personally, I have a real problem with international crewed ships, those people are treated like slaves and I hope that one day they unionize and demand better treatment then what a lot of them get.

I think it has a lot to do with attitude. I'm a travel agent and have been in customer service profession for over 10 years. If you have an attitude when talking to someone on an foreign crewed ship, they're just going to take it, because they truly believe you're better then they are, but an American whose on the same level as you are economically isn't going to put up with it. I hear horror stories on here about NCL customer service, but every time I call them and greet them with a good morning or afternoon and ask how there doing, they're great. I've know people who have been on all three NCLA Ships and they have all said it's one of the best cruises they have been on and thought the crew was great.
97 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
POH Inaugural sailing 6-5. I personally had the best cruise and vacation of my life. but not b/c of NCLA. The ship was beautiful; at least what I saw of it; and some of the crew were very nice. Every waitor in the buffet everyday we got into conversations with. They were all nice; should have just carried cash to tip them; but they were overworked and all said they were going to quit and knew many that already did on the repo cruise. We spoke with 2 on the aft eating area; 2 in the Aloha Nui Buffet and a few others in other areas and off the ship. They were the nice ones but the rude ones far outweighed that and make you forget all about the good ones. Our rooms were never cleaned just bed turned and towels picked up half of the time and the toilet paper left in a V to show he was there. When we embarked our sink looked like someone had gotten sick in it; and the day we left it still had not been cleaned. UGHHH Well I just think NCLA lacks the service and class of NCL. I agree that international crews need to be treated better; we always feel that way and give much extra tip to our room stewards, they just do such an amazing job and go above and beyond. But no matter what they will always be surperior in customer service to Americans. Sure you can have a few bad apples; but on the American crew ships the bad far outweigh the good in my opinion. Note: IN MY OPINION! I encountered good but a lot of bad also. Being from the south we are used to people being nice but are also don't put up with nonsense. And so that service compared to all the other cruises and cruiselines I have cruised, don't compare. I will not do NCLA again. I will do land based or another line.
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Pride Of Hawaii !!!!!!
June 5-2006

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Mount Pleasant, SC
4,545 Posts
Joined Mar 2003
* Have you traveled on one of NCL America's ships (Pride of Aloha/America/Hawaii)?We traveled on Pride of America June 10 of this year. Also did the Hawaii cruise on NCL Star 4 years ago that included a visit to Fanning Island.
* What's been the best aspect? The itinerary is hands-down the best aspect. This is the best way to see several islands in Hawaii without the hassle of flying and packing/unpacking.
* What drove you crazy? Going home! j/k Nothing at all - the ship was clean, service good and everything met expectations.
* Would you return to Hawaii via NCL America? Yes, but it will probably be a while. We have many other places we would like to visit first.We didn't have any problem at all with the ship, the itinerary or anything else with NCL America.
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25+ cruises and planning more all the time!
1 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
We traveled with a group of 11 staying in 6 different state rooms with different cabin stewards. Some of the individuals had excellent service but most had horrible experiences. From finding trash under the bed from previous occupants of the room to not getting their rooms cleaned at all!!

All of the individuals have cruised at least 3 times and some as many as six times. We had all cruised with NCl previoisly and had a great experience.

The food was mediocre at best! The service was poor to horrible!! Whether this is because it is American vessell or not is not clear. We were told the ship is not up to capacity with help. Also told that about 50 employees walked of the ship half way through the cruise.

Might do NCL again but would never do the Hawaii cruise again!!

Just don't think the team has had adequate training or something!!
1,637 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Having sailed on POAloha (just DW & I) and POAmerica (DW, 3 kids, MIL), I must say both ships were beautiful, in different ways. POAloha was my best vacation ever, but not because of the traditional cruise ship experience. We did sincerely enjoy the crew, which at the time (October 2004) was largely made up of young Hawaiians.

The issues we encountered on POAloha were minor, and with it just being DW & I sailing, were easy to overlook and overcome without any stress at all. POAmerica, on the other had was more challenging because we had the "3-kids factor" involved. This made the service issues seem even more prominent, and I'm sure it stressed me out more than if it would have been just DW & I. I would recommend either ship, so long as the cruiser understands it may be different from what they may like about traditional cruising!

We were initially booked on POH for next month, but cancelled in favor of our scheduled British Isles cruise. I just wanted to give POH some time in the water before jumping in. However, I do expect to book her within the next few days for a trip next Spring.
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1,415 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Maybe a good reminder to all---NCLA and NCL are two different entities in the same corporation (Star Corporation, part of the Genting Groups). Same as Carnival Corporation and their different cruise components.
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Birmingham, AL
10 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
A detail of the happenings of the first 2 days of a cruise my wife and I took are below. Days 3 and 4 were not much better however I think we got used to being completely independent and staying away from anything requiring crew assistance. The ports were great but not much else. We were also told that 46 crew quit the day we boarded in Honolulu. Finally note that the comment regarding "idiot germans" was not made by me but was a quote from the bartender. Sadly I now believe American crews do not posess the work ethic or mannerisms so many of us have come to expect on Internationally flagged ships. Finally the notes below come from an e-mail I sent to NCL corporate management the 2nd night of the cruise.

Never again NCL..............

First – My wife and I cruise on an annual basis at a minimum. We have cruised with Celebrity, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Windjammer and now for the first time, NCL. We are currently on the Hawaiian Isles cruise on the Pride of Hawaii that left Honolulu on June 26th. On the initial booking we were in room 4567, we are now in room 6016. Below is our saga as of this writing.

Day 1
1. The embarkation process was the smoothest we have ever experienced. We arrived at Pier 11 in Honolulu at 1:10 pm and within 30 minutes we were on the ship. It took approximately 2 hours to complete room cleaning and during that time we chatted with others and ate lunch. We were then released via the PA system to go to our rooms. Off to a great start.
2. When we arrived at our room, 4567 we discovered that is had not been cleaned, no towels, no toilet paper, nothing. At 5:15 pm we called 00 and told them that we needed the room cleaned. We were told that someone would be right down. We proceeded to go to dinner.
3. I went to the Internet Café and signed up for 250 minutes at $100. Then I was told that they had no Ethernet cables so I could have access from our cabin.
4. At approximately 6:30 pm we came back to the room and it had still not been cleaned. We called 00 again and were told that they were turning down rooms and ours would be done shortly.
5. At 7:30 no one had shown up so we went to the customer service desk and asked to speak to a supervisor. Mr. Jon Thompson (referred to as JT on the ship) assisted us. He was great and called the executive housekeeper and asked them to take care of the room immediately. He gave his apologies and all seemed like it would work out.
6. At 9:00 pm we returned to our room and discovered that we now had towels and toilet paper but the bed had not been turned down, the room had still not been cleaned (bathroom was filthy) so my wife started cleaning. I called and spoke to JT and explained the situation to him and he said that he would meet with the housekeeping supervisor and we would hear from him on Tuesday.
7. We went to bed at 10:00 pm and the room starts this very loud creaking at about midnight. It is so loud that we cannot sleep. We toss and turn all night thinking it will go away but at 5:00 am I call 00 and ask that someone come down and check it out.
8. At 5:20 am one of the security people (Mr. Lee) comes down and I meet him in the hallway. I ask him if he hears this very noticeable sound with our cabin door closed. He does and I then open the door and let him in. He immediately calls 00 and tells them that the issue cannot be fixed as it is a problem with the way the cabinetry is installed. He told them that it would be very annoying to him if he were in the room. He was very professional and after he left I call 00 and ask what they will be doing about the issue. The person that answered tells us that the supervisor will be in at 8:00 am and it will be taken care of at that time.

Day 2
1. Since we cannot sleep my wife and I go to deck 12 and sit by the pool and then go eat breakfast. At 8:20 we go to customer service and ask to speak to JT. He comes out and tells us that we will be changing rooms today. Again he is extremely professional and helpful. We leave for a tour of the island and return to the ship at 4:30 pm.
2. We went to customer service and were given cards to room 6016 and they called to have someone bring our luggage from 4657.
3. We went by the Internet café and they had Ethernet cables and they provided us one.
4. We went to the room and discovered it had NOT BEEN CLEANED. Trash in the dresser drawers, bathroom nasty and cabinetry very dusty.
5. I plugged in my laptop and could not get Internet access. I am a Director of IT for a very large company and am computer literate so I started troubleshooting only to find out that our cabin was on the SHIP LAN. I could access all ship alarm logs through the Ship Diagnostic History as well as access all printers on the network. I also discovered that nothing was password protected so anyone on this network could change all printers on the ship to make them inaccessible.
6. I immediately picked up the phone, dialed 00 and asked for JT. When he came on the phone I explained everything related to 3 through 5 above. He expressed extreme concern and told me I would hear from someone very soon.
7. About 10 minutes later I was no longer on the ship LAN and had Internet access.
8. At about 6:45 a Ms. Flores, the Assistant Executive Housekeeper knocked on my door and I let her in and showed her what the cleaning issues were. She talked to me for about 10 minutes. She asked if we would like a balcony room and I told her the room type was not important to us as we are hardly ever in it except to sleep and get cleaned up. If we wanted a balcony room we could afford it. Ms. Flores was a very professional person.
9. At approximately 7:15 a steward named Amber came to our room to start cleaning. She was extremely nice.
10. My wife and I left and I stopped at the bar to have a nice cold draft Heineken beer only to be told that none of the draft beer was working because the IDIOT Germans put in the incorrect tubing for the transport system and all the draft beer tasted like plastic and would not be working for the entire cruise.
11. We came back to the room at 8:00 pm and Amber had done a remarkable job. The room is now spotless and she left the sweetest note.

In a nutshell the bad room experience ended after that 2nd night when Amber became our steward however the food quality, the crew attitude, the crew restaurant service (Iand the fact I never was able to get a draft beer) ruined it for us and our 25th anniversary trip. The only salvation was the beauty of the Hawaiian islands.
1,637 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Originally posted by cruisinwoods
In a nutshell the bad room experience ended after that 2nd night when Amber became our steward however the food quality, the crew attitude, the crew restaurant service (Iand the fact I never was able to get a draft beer) ruined it for us and our 25th anniversary trip. The only salvation was the beauty of the Hawaiian islands.
Sorry to hear of your experience. It seems the only constant with the NCLA sailings are the inconsistencies.

I'm also sorry to say that after reading so many similar reviews over these past few days (after we were leaning toward booking POH), we've decided not to book NCLA again (despite what I said in my previous post). We base this not just on POH reviews (it is a new ship - growing pains are understandable), but we also read tons of recent POAl and POAm reviews as well, and it seams that your just as likely to have a great cruise as you are likely to have a horrible one. Right now, I don't real like taking my chances.

Had the consistency of the original two ships (in terms of positive reviews) improved, we would have booked POH. Instead, it'll be a Hawaiian land based vacation this time.

We wish all future NCLA cruisers the best, and wish you a great cruise! As always, this post is JMHO, and so is my vacation cash (and I'm not in the gambling mood right now, despite the recent NCLA price drops).
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RCI Splendour of the Seas 10/1/06 (Greek Isles)
Golden Princess 8/10/06 (British Isles)
Carnival Fascination 3/24/06 (Bahamas)
NCL Pride of America 10/15/05 (Hawaii)
RCI Majesty of the Seas 8/15/05 (Bahamas/Key West)
Carnival Triumph 4/9/05 (E. Carib.)
NCL Pride of Aloha 10/17/04 (Hawaii)
Carnival Fantasy 2/04 (Bahamas)
RCI Enchantment of the Seas 8/03 (W. Carib.)
Carnival Paradise 3/03 (W. Carib.)
Portland Oregon
2,775 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
We were on the PoAM 5/20/06 and had a wonderful time. We have cruised twice before with NCL (Nor Sky to AK 02 & 03). I had read both the good and bad here on CC prior to departure. We found embarcation to be smooth. We booked the Arizona/city highlights tour that left the hotel at 6:45 AM and ended up at the pier. We went right through the line and up to the lattidues check in desk and were check into our cabin in a matter of minutes. Once on board we were greeted by a nice girl from Texas who was a wealth of information - she explained that the rooms were not ready yet, but that we could go up to the Aloha Cafe and enjoy a buffet lunch. We said thanks and went up to eat. We came back down to the Sam Adams and bought our soft drink stickers and settled back with our diet Cokes. It took about 15min for them to start calling out the decks that were ready. When they called deck 8 we went up to our cabin. We found it neat and clean. We were tired so we took a nap. Our luggage arrived a few hours later. We changed and went to dinner in the Skyline. We arrived at 5:30 and was able to walk right in - the wait staff was trying thier best, but it was obvious that none of them had eaten much less worked in a fancy rest. But I will give them credit, they tried very hard to give us good service. Most all of the staff we encountered were friendly and eager to find out how our cruise was going. Some were also quick to point out if thier contract was up in the next week or two and that they were not coming back. We only ate in the dining room twice, we did Little Italy and Caddy Diner and the buffet. Lunches were usually provided on our tours so breakfast and dinners were the only meals we ate on board. Food and service in the Caddy Diner were the best along with Little Italy. The buffet was fine once you figured out the flow. We used the little dial to tell the stewards what to do with the room. When we left for a tour we set it to Make up room - when we returned it said Welcome - leaving for dinner and shows etc we set it for Turn Down when we came back it said welcome and the bed was neatly turned down, mints and the next day's freestyle daily. The only problem with this cruise was our tendency to do too much and with no sea days to rest we were more tired after this cruise than our others. One thing to consider is that we were crusing while the PoA was in drydock and the PoH was not on board yet. We learned from the crew that some of the PoA crew was on the PoAM - not sure if this was good or bad as I suspect there were some inter crew bickering. This is based on some things I overheard and observed.

Hawaii is wonderful, the PoAM was great way to see the islands for the first time. I am not sure that I would do it again - my next cruise will be either New England or Europe and will most likely be through NCL