I was on the Pride of Aloha leaving Honolulu on 10/31/07. It was a real disappointment. When we arrived at the airport baggage claim area, a representative was holding a Pride of Aloha sign. When we approached her, our greeting was " Go over to pick up your bags and walk to the bus!" No aloha greeting. Very rude. We went to pick up our luggage and walked over to the bus drivers. Not a word was spoken to us except- " get in the bus!". Upon arrival at the port, still no representative there to welcome us. We followed the pack into the terminal and got our boarding ticket. We then barraged the ticket agent with questions because he was the first person who we could talk to about the cruise.
When we got our room assignment, we got a single bed. We had requested a double. When they converted the bed into a double, the maid did not vacuum underneath the bed. There was dirt and debris from previous passengers that was exposed when the bed was converted. During the whole cruise, this dirt was never vacuumed. I did not know who was my cabin steward during the whole trip. On previous cruises on other cruise lines, they made a point to introduce themselves to me. Not on Pride of Aloha.
We had breakfast in the Crossings restaurant the next morning. My mother in law, who is hard of hearing, was trying to order an espresso. The waitress was rolling her eyes at her. The waitress then gave my mother in law a meal she did not order. My mother in law was too intimidated to tell the waitress she got the wrong meal. I was also told by this rude waitress that breakfast service ended at 9:00 am that day. When you are on a cruise, you want to sleep in. Nine in the morning is too early to end breakfast service. The following day, they expanded it to 9:30 am.
The pay restaurants was not worth the money. I was served tough steak in the Bistro, among other issues. They also limit how much entrees you can order. After sampling the pay restaurants, I just decided to eat in the Palace restaurant for the rest of the trip. The food was better, and I did not have to pay extra. The problem with NCL freestyle concept is that you have to wait in line for everything. I averaged a 20-30 minute wait for the Palace restaurant for dinner. They even give you a beeper to page you when your table is ready. They have a beeper system because they already know that people have to wait. I tried the Hukilau buffet. The food is tasteless, and they also have a long line. You are served cafeteria style. The salad bar was very limited on the type of fresh greens they served. On the last two days on the cruise, we were not allowed to serve ourselves at the buffet because they had an outbreak of Norwalk virus on their sister ship- Pride of America. No one told us why we could not serve ourselves. I found out after we departed the ship and read it on the news. There was no midnight buffets.
When I was on other cruises, I usually could find a chair by the swimming pool to sunbathe. On the Pride of Aloha, the chairs were usually full. I never did get to relax poolside. I never once during the cruise saw an attendant at the gym.
When I traveled on other cruise lines in the Caribbean, when we were in a harbor, there was local people on the dock who had taxi service and you could negotiate a tour on your own. Not on the Pride of Aloha. The ports in Hawaii- especially Nawiliwili Kauai and Kahalui Maui are industrial. You are stuck in the middle of nowhere. Your room overlooks industrial buildings. Therefore, you are forced to purchase their overpriced tours. I spoke with a Hawaiian taxicab driver in Kahalui. He stated that the local people are angry at NCL. They used to be allowed at the port to offer tours, etc. NCL drove them away in order to funnel people into their own tourgroups and reap a profit. In Lahaina, I spoke with some people who waited in the hot sun for an hour and forty five minutes for a tender back to the boat.
The food menu from room service was limited, but good. The only problem was everytime I ordered from room service, they usually would forget to put either eating utensils on the plate or cups for the pot of coffee I ordered.
On our itinerary, it stated we were going to sail by Kilauea volcano. They cancelled that part of the sail without notification as to the reason why. I went to the front desk, and they told me that the lava flow was not visible from the ship anymore, and that was the reason for not sailing by the volcano. They knew this for 2 months, but never notified me of the change.I also missed seeing part of the north coast of Molokai because I was eating breakfast and did not have a window seat. They announced that we were sailing by the scenic north coast HALFWAY through passing by the coast.
My feelings about this cruise was felt by every person I talked to on the ship over the course of the 10 day cruise. No one was happy.A lot of people were angry and stated they were never going to sail NCL again. NCL needs to take a hard look at how this ship is managed. Change in management and service staff is needed. I felt that they were just dialing it in.