Considering how bad our cruise was, I am surprised to see so many positive reviews. I'm glad that many of you had a good experience.
My wife and I who have cruised over 6 times just returned from Hawaii onboard the Pride of America. Sail dates April 28 - May 5th. We have sailed previously on Princess, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean.
I would like to say that this was the trip of a lifetime, but it wasn't. In fact, it was the worst cruise we had ever experienced. And judging by our fellow passengers, NCL will likely receive many e-mails and phone calls about the poor quality of the cruise.
Boarding the ship in Honolulu was fast and easy and we were warmly welcomed and thought the ship was beautiful. Unfortunately that was the last of the warmth we experienced.
The service was deplorable. In fact, I would say there was no service.
In no particular order, the issues were as follows:
I had to call daily for clean cups in the cabin. They offer in-room coffee makers but if you don't have coffee cups, it doesn't do any good to offer the coffee maker. If they removed 2 dirty coffee cups every day, wouldn't you think they would replace them? One day I never did get clean cups. Other passengers said their cabins hadn't been cleaned for the first 3 days. Calls to housekeeping went unanswered and messages were never returned. More than a few resorted to using pool towels because they couldn't get clean towels brought to their room. Many told us of a lack of hot water.
We had trouble finding a clean table in the Aloha Cafe. (inside or outside) Dirty dishes were removed but the tables were not wiped clean. Spoons were almost impossible to find and were not included in the wrapped up fork and knife inside the napkins. The food was below average.
On more occasions than I can count, the wrong meal was brought to me in the main dining room. Often the meal belonged to the next table. I thought that was why the tables were numbered? Servers just removed it from in front of me and placed it in front of a diner at a neighboring table who then looked at it like they wondered if it was sanitary to eat.
Even with empty tables, we had to wait 45 minutes one night to get a table in the Skyline restaurant. Dinner often took 1.5 hours while we sat motionless for 10 - 15 minutes between courses while the waiter was nowhere to be found. We did get to know some of the neighboring diners since we had nothing to do but wait for the return of the waiter. Without fail, each passenger had nothing nice to say about the cruise.
One evening I ordered the steak 'medium' which came back very rare. After finally catching the server again, he took it back, had it cooked longer and brought the same steak back to me. Is it sanitary to re-cook food that a diner has already eaten part of? (I had taken a bite out of it) I thought that was why you had to use a clean plate at a buffet. When the steak was returned, it was of such poor quality of meat that I was unable to eat it. We did not wait for the rest of the dinner and left the dining room arriving at the buffet just in time to grab something before they closed.
More than one meal was served cold.
One night we ate in the Lazy J Steakhouse which was considered 'Elegant Dining' by NCL. There was nothing 'Elegant' about the Lazy J Steakhouse. Cowboy shirts, country western music and a horse's saddle are not considered 'Elegant' by anyone I know. I expected to see peanut shells on the floor like a Texas Roadhouse. And we had to pay a surcharge to eat there! I did have a good prime rib but the service was no better than in the main dining room, again taking 1.5 hours to eat a simple meal.
A martini was $12 and of course, a tip was added to that.
The entertainment was the worst of any cruise and that crew talent show should be stopped. A cello player sounded like she was half way through her 1st year of lessons and wasn't doing all that well with them. Dozens of people got up and left shaking their heads. We could overhear comments being made that the show was awful. We left too. The comedian (Chris Alpine)apparently jumped ship half way through the cruise and they had to find alternate entertainers to take his place. Their Broadway review consisted of 4 average singers who say they had played on Broadway (although no one had ever heard of them) They sang a couple of songs from Phantom, Cats and JC Superstar with no costumes or stage props. They just stood side by side on the stage and sang. This was supposed to be their 'Big' show of the week and it was boring. Again, many people left long before it was over, including us.
We have always looked forward to dancing on board but this ship had no dance floor. The only place to dance was in the Mardi Gras and we had to dance in front of the stage to bad music. Unfortunately the band was the only band on board and were not very good. All other ships we had been on had multiple venues to choose from and wooden dance floors. The music ended at 10:30pm. On other ships, we danced until 2am and the party was still going!
The crew was overheard many times talking about how badly they wanted off that ship. On one tender ride, we sat next to a crew member who talked on her cell phone the entire time, telling the other person how bad things were on the Pride of America and that she just wanted off and they were having problems keeping staff on board.
Our cabin had the 'special' view of the back end of a life boat even though the cabin was not considered as having an obstructed view yet we paid full price. The noise from the crew working around the life boat kept us from opening the sliding door or using the balcony that we paid extra to have. Because of their presence, we often had to keep the drapes closed making it seem like an inside cabin.
One evening we sailed past Kilauea but we were so far away (2 miles?) that all you could see was a small red dot where the lava flowed into the ocean. This was supposed to be a 'highlight' of the week but you could barely see it. Obviously none of the photos came out.
I can assure you that we will never sail on NCL again. And judging by the comments of our fellow passengers, they won't either.
I have read that NCL is already making changes to that itinerary.
Upon return, I sent a strongly worded letter to NCL detailing our experience and within 2 weeks, we received a refund of over $1000. Even with the refund, this cruise was not worth it.