Norwegian Sky Cruise Review by Diane H.: Pride of Aloha - Hawaii
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Pride of Aloha - Hawaii
I would like to preface my review by saying I had read from this forum more negative reviews than positive regarding Pride of Aloha so I went with some trepidation. The cruise turned out to be wonderful. Yes, the cabins and bathroom are small. We were fortunate to have a cabin with a balcony which certainly helped. But you spend (hopefully!) so little time in your cabin that this should not be a priority. In regards to the cabin it was in pristine condition from the moment we first saw it til the moment we left. We saw very little of our cabin steward, Jeffer, but there was always fresh ice in the bucket, fresh towels, and the bed in perfect order by midday & also for the turndown service. The bathroom could have used more drawers for toiletries but this was no big deal.
As for the food, my husband & I are not "buffet" people so any meal we had on the ship was in one of the main, sit-down restaurants. I was pleasantly surprised to see that included breakfast & More lunch. Not many passengers took advantage of this nice dining option. We had most of our dinners in the Crossings Restaurant. There were different items on the menu every night with ample choices of appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, & desserts. Everything was delicious. The service at the restaurant was just perfect. We never felt rushed nor did we feel we had to wait for our courses.
We ate twice at the upscale restaurants, the Royal Palm Bistro & the Pacific Heights. These cost $10pp extra. They were both outstanding. At the Royal Palm Bistro I had the filet & lobster tail which was $20 additional but that included the $10 surcharge. Yes, it is more expensive but the quality, presentation, & service made it all worthwhile. My suggestion would be to try one of the 3 upscale restaurants at least once during the week but make reservations in advance because they are popular.
We only made it to one show which was the comedian/magic show. It was so-so. I heard the Polynesian show was terrific. I got the impression people did not go on this cruise for the entertainment. People went on this cruise to see the Hawaiian islands. It is THE ideal way to get a first hand look at the 4 major islands without having to pack up your suitcase from island to island. The cruise down the Na Pali coast was breathtaking, rainbows, waterfalls and all! The captain did a wonderful job off the coast of the Big Island, doing a 360 degree circle so everyone got a beautiful view of the lava flow into the ocean. It was spectacular! Those were both highlights of the cruise itself.
As for the ship's shore excursions, we did not participate in a single one. We had been to the islands before so we were quite comfortable renting a car and doing touring on our own. It is correct that if you book things yourself (not with the ship) the tours will be less expensive. The car rentals were very easy because each agency had complimentary shuttles directly from the pier to their agency. FYI, it is best to reserve your car in advance. (Alamo had the best rates but be prepared for a wait.)
The embarkation & disembarkation were the easiest we've experienced.
Lastly I would like to comment on the staff. All the staff we had contact with were Americans. They were quite honest about their contracted work schedule. They work for 5 months & have 5 weeks off. They work every day but have time off depending on their schedule. It was a grueling schedule to do week after week but not one of them complained about it. Every single person we came in contact with from the wait staff, bar staff, security, officers, stewards, store staff, and excursion staff were as friendly, accommodating, and courteous as could be. My husband was not aware at first to contact the golf shop the night before to arrange having his clubs available for the next day. But the shore director herself offered to retrieve his clubs for him on that particular day & was happy to do so. I did see a disgruntled passenger every now & then but I felt their complaints were quite petty & unwarranted. If you go with a positive attitude you will NOT be disappointed.
In closing I would highly recommend this cruise & the ship. Less
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