This cruise was our fifth cruise and our second on norwegian. Unfortunately, because we had other cruises and cruise lines to compare it to, this cruise was the worst. We booked this particular cruise because we wanted to sail from hawaii and because our experience on the norwegian jewel in europe had been very good.
We boarded the ship in maui on friday. There were few passengers who were boarding there as most of the passengers embarked in honolulu. There were no ncl personnel at the outside of the terminal, so my husband and I had to carry our own bags to the check in area in the terminal. The embarkation went quickly with very friendly customer agents and our bags were taken by the ncl personnel to be sent to our room.
I was quite disappointed seeing the cabin for the first time. We had booked an "a" balcony room expecting it to be as large as our room on the "jewel" and other ships we have sailed on. The room was small, closet space taken up with a room safe, bathroom was miniscule. There was no interactive tv, only two electrical plugs and the air conditioner seemed to be at half capacity. It was, however, very clean. Our "view" from the balcony at Maui was an industrial dock and a cargo ship loading containers. We boarded the ship at approx 1:30 pm and we were starting to get a little panicky when only one of our bags was in our room by 6:30 pm. After several inquiries, we finally found one of our bags in the baggage area. While again carrying it to our room, one of the room stewards noticed the luggage and mentioned that she has seen another piece of the same luggage outside of someone else's cabin. Turns out it was our luggage left at the wrong door. We now got to make our way down the ships hallway carrying two large, heavy pieces of luggage.
Our first evening in the main dining room set the scene for what was the most common complaint we, and almost everyone had. The food was above average, well presented, with varied selections, but the service was all but non existent. It was almost as if the ship was severely understaffed and the staff that was there was poorly trained. Our one experience in a "specialty" restaurant was horrible. The food was almost inedible and the service again was really, really poor. All this despite the fact that the restaurant was only a quarter filled. We met some of the other diners on an excursion the following morning, and they echoed our sentiments about the very poor food and service.
We found the shore excursions to be very good and certainly the Hawaiian Islands are a beautiful sight to see. All of our tour guides were very knowledgeable and interesting. Being off the ship was the best part of the cruise. While the shore excursions were very nice, the shore excursion personnel were not particularly helpful or even personable.
While our cabin steward was always pleasant and our room efficiently cleaned everyday, most of the other personnel we encountered really didn't care if we liked their service or not. The reception dept had several young trainees who answered questions in monosyllables with no hint of friendliness in their voice. They seemed particularly bored and annoyed with having to work with the passengers.
We've sailed on celebrity, carnival, norwegian and royal caribbean. While not each cruise line excelled in all areas, most of our complaints were minor and usually quickly fixed if we mentioned them to anyone. All of our cruises have left us with a desire to cruise again. However, after this cruise, i can honestly say I would never recommend the ncl pride of aloha and would have difficulty recommending ncl at all. more often than not.