We have cruised on NCL 2 times prior to cruising on the Pride of Aloha. After reading many of the reviews, I too was a little concerned. We flew in 3 days prior to the 6/18/06 departure from Honolulu. We had booked our own airfare and hotel accommodations in Honolulu as it was cheaper than doing it through NCL.
The embarking process was very smooth. Once we were on the ship we went upstairs to the buffet for lunch. Evidently the week prior to our cruise was leaving many passengers from the previous cruise had gotten sick. This caused the food staff to have to serve all of the passengers in the buffet line. This caused long lines because the boat was very understaffed. The staff was doing the best they could but the long lines were very frustrating.
Our cabin was very small for 2 adults and 1 child. Our luggage arrived at 4pm without any problems. We refused to pay additional money for the specialty restaurants so we always ate in either the Crossings or the other restaurant. If you got to the restaurant by 530 there was never a wait. If you waited to eat to after 530 you had to wait at least 45 minutes to eat. The food was nothing to brag about, but the service was horrible. The waitress often had to bus the tables as well as get the food out. The restaurant was never full because they didn't have the staff to work, which did not help the long lines waiting to eat. Unfortunately this occurred for the entire week.
We booked several excursions through NCL which were a little pricey;however the excursions were all excellent. We did however book our own Luau in Maui, which was awesome and less expensive than NCL's.
We attended the art auction and purchased 1 picture which was promised to be mailed within 8 weeks. I just found out that NCL has not paid the art gallery and the art gallery is not honoring anything purchased on a NCL boat. I am now in the process of getting a refund from NCL.
The only good thing I could say about this cruise is that it served the purpose of getting you from 1 island to another. Overall the service was terrible and the food was ok at best. We will never cruise on another NCL boat again.